Friday, September 30, 2011

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NOM's Spooky Message to Lawmaker: "You're Next"



By Lucas Grindley

Marriage equality opponents swore to campaign against New York senator Mark Gristanti, who helped to pass the law, but their latest tactic sounds dangerous, gay right supporters say.

"Mark Grisanti You're Next," reads a billboard on a highway on the way into his district in Buffalo. Except for a link to an antigay website, that's the entire message, written in all-caps, knockout type.

The National Organization for Marriage reportedly bought the billboard and is behind the communique. So what does it mean by "you're next" in its message?

Gay rights supporters in a report from local news station WGRZ suggest the billboard incites violence, even if that's not the intention.

"Are the homophobes suggesting Grisanti should be the next public official attacked?" wrote one viewer in the report. "Putting up a threat like 'you're next' begs for violence to be committed. Don't they know who Gabby Giffords is?"

If passers-by actually do go to the website, they might connect the dots. NOM claims that Democrat David Weprin's loss in a special election earlier this month was because of his support for marriage. Political analysts say that interpretation is wrong.

Gay weddings can be performed by military chaplains, Pentagon says

The Pentagon will permit military chaplains to perform same-sex marriage as long as such ceremonies are not prohibited in the states where they reside, it said Friday.

Defense Department guidance issued to military chaplains said they may participate in ceremonies on or off military bases in states that recognize gay unions. Chaplains are not required to officiate at same-sex weddings if doing so is counter to their religious or personal beliefs, the guidance said.

And regardless of the Pentagon guidance, military chaplains will still need to take cues from their religious order, said Gary Pollitt, spokesman for the Military Chaplains Association.

“Just because the Department of Defense says this can happen, the chaplains perform such rites in keeping with their ecclesiastical authorization. Period,” Pollitt said.

Gay couples may get married in Washington, D.C. and six states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Maryland and several other states recognize same-sex marriages but do not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Forty-one states have either laws or constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The decision validates a move made by the Navy in May that earned the ire of conservative critics and Pentagon observers, because Navy officials acted on their own instead of in tandem with other military services. The guidance also irked Republican lawmakers who were still attempting to block plans to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

But the Pentagon officially ended the ban 10 days ago. Friday’s guidance is seen as additional, detailed instructions for military chaplains. Similar guidance on how lifting the ban affects other aspects of military life is expected in the coming months.

Friday’s announcement coincides with the departure of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who advocated for ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Must Be Friday Because Ulf Is Horny

This Friday, it's super sexy Scottish rugby player Sean Lamont!
I picture us nekkid in a woodland field, wrastlin' and hav'in a manly 'tussle gettin' all hawt and shweaty.
When he was all exhausted and forced too admit defeat, I'd hold him down and lick every drop of sweat from his straining body before stuffing his sizable cock and balls into my hungry mouth and gulping down a heavy load of his piss before sucking him dry of every drop of sperm his 'nads could produce.
Then, at his most vulnerable, I'd flip him over and suck his beautiful fuckhole inside out before ramming my hungry cock deep in his aching guts and fucking him into glorious oblivion.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

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The Avengers' -- EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK!

The whole enterprise is falling apart. Egos, tempers, uneasy alliances and bad attitudes are threatening the group, and failure would be catastrophic. Luckily, we’re talking about the actual team of superheroes in the Marvel Studios movie The Avengers, not the cast and crew. In this week’s issue, EW takes a deep dive into the May 4, 2012 movie that will finally unite Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and Chris Evans’ Captain America — along with Mark Ruffalo’s The Incredible Hulk, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow — on the big screen. We use the word “unite” loosely. “Just because they’re super heroes doesn’t mean they’re super friends,” says Renner. (For some exclusive, on-set pictures of The Avengers‘ superheroes, see our gallery here.)

It was a different story with the cast and crew: If anything, they got along too well. Far from home on the Albuquerque set, they had little to do except hang out together, maybe hit a Motley Cruë concert, or go dancing with writer-director Joss Whedon, who says he knew “every dance club in Albuquerque.” Whedon was actually counting on a little bit of friction, since there’s so much in the actual story. “I was like, well, if they hate each other, I guess we can use that,” he shrugs. “But they don’t.”

When he wasn’t out dancing, Whedon was obsessively rewriting dialogue. On the Iron Man movies, Downey was notorious for pushing for heat-of-the-moment script punch-ups (or as he puts it: “I dominated like a rabid, horny gorilla”). And even as part of an ensemble in Avengers, he still nudged Whedon to go a little farther in some scenes. The day EW was on set, Whedon (the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the acclaimed Astonishing X-Men comic book series) was scribbling out new pages of dialogue right before our eyes. Says the director, “There is a weird element of: they handed me one of the biggest movies of all time, and I’m making it up as I go.”

For more on The Avengers, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Sept. 30.

I'm a huge Marvel comics fan, I've collected the X-men comics since I was a kid and later started collecting The Avengers and Fantastic Four.
Hell, as a young Ulf, I even applied a few times as a comic artist at Marvel (I just wanted to work on X-men)

HIV MVA-B Vaccine May Reduce Virus To 'Minor Chronic Infection'

Spanish scientists at the National Biotech Centre in Madrid say a new vaccine could reduce HIV to a "minor chronic infection."

The researchers report that 90% of participants given the MVA-B vaccine showed an immune response to the virus and 85% kept the immunity a year later.

According to a press release from The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC):

The success of this vaccine, CSIC's patent, is based on the capability of human's immune system to learn how to react over time against virus particles and infected cells. “MVA‐B vaccine has proven to be as powerful as any other vaccine currently being studied, or even more,” says Mariano Esteban, head researcher.

MVA‐B is an attenuated virus, which has already been used in the past to eradicate smallpox, and also as a model in the research of many other vaccines. The “B” stands for the HIV subtype it is meant to work against, the most common in Europe.

Once injected, the vaccine teaches the volunteer's immune system to track down and fight off the virus. "It is like showing a picture of the HIV so that it is able to recognize it if it sees it again in the future," Esteban says.

The researcher added “If this genetic cocktail passes Phase II and Phase III future clinic trials, and makes it into production, in the future HIV could be compared to herpes virus nowadays."

Russia's Arkhangelsk Region Outlaws All Gay Events, Pride Parade

A new law outlawing all public displays of homosexuality, including Pride parades, has gone into effect in the Arkhangelsk region of Russia reports RT.com.

The measure, which was drafted by several local activist organizations and religious groups, is being championed most vigorously by the Russian Orthodox Church.

“All priests know that the souls of those who suffered through sinful homosexual experience are empty and desperate,” said Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Russian Orthodox Church PR department, who added, "And it is this insecurity in a minute-long pleasure that forces these spiritually unhealthy people to hold marches and other public demonstrations.”

Chaplin has been a busy man of late. Yesterday he appeared on Ekho Moskvy radio to insist that the Russian government remove Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" from high school classrooms because the books "romanticize perverted passions that make people unhappy." He also asserted the acclaimed novels justified pedophilia. "Obviously, the popularization of these novels in schools will not make our society more morally happy," he said.

Sadly, the new law won't come as a shock to many in Russia. In May more than 30 people, including American "dont ask, don't tell" activist Dan Choi, were arrested in Moscow while attempting to stage a Pride parade. Police disrupted the event because they say organizers did not have the proper permits.

In October of 2010 the European Court of Human Rights found that the ban on Pride parades in Russia was unlawful and urged the nation to allow LGBT people to peacefully assemble. The Court also fined the government 30,000 euros for banning the parades in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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NC Senator James Forrester, Sponsor of Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment, Exposed as Ignorant Liar

North Carolina Senator James Forrester is the sponsor of that state's successful bill to put an amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot. You may recall a disgusting video I posted in early September of Forrester, who is a doctor, at a town hall, saying this:

Forrester "I’ve got a few homosexual patients and I treat them just the same as anybody else. I love them perhaps even more because I know they are going to die at least 20 years earlier and it’s something I have no control over and we need to reach out to them to try to get them to change their lifestyle and back to the normal lifestyle which we can accept."

Forrester agreed to appear on Michelangelo Signorile's radio show yesterday which was a big mistake for him.

Signorile writes:

This interview has to be heard to be believed: Forrester not only could not back up his claims with any evidence -- after first trying to source the Centers for Disease Control, only to be debunked by me -- but he actually acknowledged that he could be wrong. He eventually credited a Christian activist named Frank Turek (who is associated with Maggie Gallagher and the National Organization for Marriage) as his source of this bogus public health information. Forrester had said in his town hall some of his patients were gay men who died early deaths, yet didn't seem to know anything about public health, including that, on a global level, AIDS drastically affects heterosexuals more than gay men. Later, he couldn't answer why he wasn't proposing a divorce ban if his goal is to save marriage, and couldn't explain why gays harm marriage.

Listen to the interview which ends with this dangerous crank accusing Signorile of trying to set him up.

Is My Son Gay’ App Has Gay Community Outraged

"Is My Son Gay?" a new app offered in the Android Market, claims that it can determine whether or not your son is gay in an updated version of the classic game of "20 questions."

The controversial app (which sells for $2.68) prompts users to answer 20 questions about their son. It enquires "does your son dress up nicely?" or "does he pay close attention to his outfits and brand names."

Other questions include:

"Does he read the sports page in the newspaper?"

"Does he like musical comedies?"

"Is he a fan of divas (Madonna, Britney Spears)?"

"Does he spend a long time in the bathroom?"

"Was he shy as a child?"

The app even asks the user if, before their son was born, they hoped for a girl.

If the app determines that the users' son is in fact gay, it says:

"No need to look the other way! ... He is gay! ... ACCEPT IT!"

The other two possible responses read:

"Your son is a normal young man: modern and concerned about taking care of himself assuming some feminine habits while maintaining his attraction to girls. However, he may have already had some homosexual experiences with his best friend. These things happen. It is more and more usual in these times to maximize pleasures without taboo."

"You do not have to worry, your son is not gay. So there are chances for you to be grandmother with all the joys it brings."

The Android app was created by French developers "Emmene Moi," whose only previous work was on the French version of the same app, "Mon Fils Est-Il Gay." The English version appears to be a direct translation of its French equivalent.

"This app was conceived with a playful approach," the developers told The Huffington Post in a statement. "It is not based at all on scientific research... Through humor, 'Is My Son Gay?' and the forthcoming novel have the sole objective of toning down/improving the situation and helping mothers to accept their sons' homosexuality."

However, many don't see it that way. Several organizations are calling upon Google to remove the app.

"Socially responsible companies should have standards that prevent such offensive and derogatory content," Mike Thompson, Acting President of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), told IBTimes. "The 'Is My Son Gay?' app promotes inaccurate stereotypes about gay people and should be removed immediately," he added.

Online magazine Jezebel remarked that the app's laughable results are based on "horrible, stereotypical questions," while Instinct magazine accused it of being based on "the science of tired and offensive stereotypes."

Controversial apps pop up from time to time. Earlier this month, Apple dropped the "Jew Or Not Jew?" celebrity identifier. That too was created by a French company. Apple also pulled the plug on a "Gay Cure" app that used Biblical teachings to help "cure" homosexuals and make them straight.

Android is no stranger to controversial apps either. In March, they came under fire for not dropping the virtual dogfighting game "Dog Wars."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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The Abscence Of Color

Retailers Are Put on the Spot Over Anti-Gay Aid

The culture war over gay rights has entered the impersonal world of e-commerce.

Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

Stuart Wilber, a gay Seattle man, started an online petition when he learned about Charity Giveback Group.

A handful of advocates, armed with nothing more than their keyboards, have put many of the country’s largest retailers, including Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and Wal-Mart, on the spot over their indirect and, until recently, unnoticed roles in funneling money to Christian groups that are vocal in opposing homosexuality.

The advocates are demanding that the retailers end their association with an Internet marketer that gets a commission from the retailers for each online customer it gives them. It is a routine arrangement on hundreds of e-commerce sites, but with a twist here: a share of the commission that retailers pay is donated to a Christian charity of the buyer’s choice, from a list that includes prominent conservative evangelical groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.

The marketer and the Christian groups are fighting back, saying that the hundred or so companies that have dropped the marketer were misled and that the charities are being slandered for their religious beliefs.

The national battle was ignited in July by Stuart Wilber, a 73-year-old gay man in Seattle. He was astonished, he said, when he learned that people who bought Microsoft products through a Christian-oriented Internet marketer known as Charity Giveback Group, or CGBG, could channel a donation to evangelical organizations that call homosexual behavior a threat to the moral and social fabric.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding, Microsoft,’ ” he recalled, noting that the software giant — like many other corporations accessible through the commerce site, including Apple and Netflix — was known as friendly to gay causes.

In July, Mr. Wilber went to a Web site that helps groups and individuals circulate petitions, called Change.org, and started one, asking Microsoft to end its association with what he called “hate groups.” By that night, 520 people had signed, with their ire copied to Microsoft officials — and Microsoft had quietly dropped out of the donation plan. Much to Mr. Wilber’s surprise, this would be the start of an electronic conflict that has put hundreds of well-known companies in an unwelcome glare.

On one side are angry gay-rights advocates and bloggers, wielding the club of the gay community’s purchasing power.

On the other side are conservative Christian groups that say they are being attacked for their legitimate biblical views of sex and marriage, as well as a Web marketing firm that feels trampled for providing consumers with free choice.

Caught in the middle are companies, including such giants as Macy’s, Expedia and Delta Air Lines, which have the dual aims of avoiding politics but not offending any consumers. In this case, they have been pressured to make a choice that may involve little money either way but that could offend large blocs of consumers.

“This is economic terrorism,” said Mike Huckabee, the former pastor, governor and presidential contender, who is a paid CGBG consultant. “To try to destroy a business because you don’t like some of the customers is, to me, unbelievably un-American,” he said in an interview.

CGBG, a for-profit company formerly called the Christian Values Network, resembles hundreds of so-called affiliate marketers, which retailers use to bring customers to their own Web sites. The affiliate receives a commission on any sales, and CGBG allows buyers to send half that commission to any of the Christian charities on its list.

In July, as word of Mr. Wilber’s victory spread virally, Ben Crowther, a college student in Bellingham, Wash., started a similar Internet appeal to Apple, which would soon succeed after drawing 22,700 signers. Roy Steele, who runs a gay-rights Web site in San Francisco, picked up the crusade, directly contacting about 150 companies listed on the e-commerce site.

AllOut.org, a gay-rights group in New York with hundreds of thousands of e-mail-ready members, focused on the travel industry, helping to push Avis, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Expedia and many other hotels and travel agencies to disassociate themselves from CGBG.

Close to 100 companies have left the charity arrangement, though most refuse to discuss the matter. These have become the objects, in turn, of a countercampaign from the Christian groups — “Please Don’t Discriminate Against My Faith” is the heading of a sample letter — and of high-level entreaties from Mr. Huckabee and other Christian leaders.

A few companies that briefly left the network have been persuaded to rejoin, including Delta, PetSmart, Sam’s Club, Target and Wal-Mart.

“People have been misled. The retailers are not donating to anyone; they are simply paying a commission to get traffic,” John Higgins, the president of CGBG, said in an interview.

He said CGBG focused on Christian consumers and marketing through large organizations like Focus on the Family because it saw an untapped commercial opportunity.

“Retailers should keep their doors open to everybody,” Mr. Higgins said. He also complained that some competing e-commerce sites included the same conservative groups on charity lists but had not been subjected to similar attacks.

Beyond condemning the advocates’ efforts as an infringement on consumer freedom, Mr. Huckabee said it was offensive to apply the “hate group” label to organizations that are legal, peaceful and promote biblical values.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Family Research Council a hate group for “regularly pumping out known falsehoods that demonize the gay community,” said Mark Potok, a project director at the law center — and not, he said, because the council calls homosexuality a sin or opposes gay marriage. The falsehoods, he said, include the discredited claim that gay men are especially prone to pedophilia.

The Family Research Council has accused the law center of “slanderous attacks.”

Advocates insist that their push is not anti-Christian. “It has nothing to do with biblical positions,” said Mr. Steele, the blogger. “It has to do with the fact that these groups spread lies and misinformation about millions of Americans.”

The discomfort of retailers has been evident in their varied responses. Expedia, in an e-mail to AllOut.org in August, confirmed that it had withdrawn from the network. “Expedia values diversity in its employee base and customer base and does not support discrimination of any kind based on sexual orientation,” the message said.

Barneys New York said it had left CGBG because of the site’s support for groups that promote discrimination.

But Microsoft, though it led the way with its swift response, has never said a public word about it, nor has Apple been willing to do more than confirm that it no longer is associated with CGBG.

This summer, Macy’s told Change.org that it had left the network because “Macy’s serves a diverse society” and is “deeply committed to a philosophy of inclusion,” but the retailer declined to comment for this article.

In a statement explaining why it had returned to the network, Wal-Mart and its sister company Sam’s Club said their marketing affiliates included “more than 43,000 diverse organizations” that “serve a wide range of interests with diverse viewpoints.”

Delta changed course “because of the letters we received from several faith-based leaders,” including Mr. Huckabee, said Chris Kelly Singley, manager of corporate communications. “This was important to them, and we were willing to reconsider,” she said, adding that Delta had a history of supporting gay and lesbian causes.

“We don’t want to engage in a political debate,” Ms. Singley said. “And we just thought we were flying airplanes.”

What's In Your Cum?

Ever wonder what’s actually in semen? Well, maybe you have an maybe you haven’t, so the following is either going to be just what you’ve been looking for or way too much information. Here you go…

The base of seminal fluid is primarily fructose (sugar) and proteins, with many other trace minerals and substances. Here’s a listing of some of the main ingredients:

Sugars:

1. Fructose - very sweet sugar, that occur in many fruits and honey and used as a preservative for foodstuffs and as an intravenous nutrient.

2. Sorbitol- found in various berries and fruits or prepared synthetically and used as a flavoring agent, a sugar substitute for people with diabetes, and a moisturizer in cosmetics and other products.

3. Inositol - preventing the collection of fats in the liver, as well as promoting healthy hair growth. It is also can be considered brain food, as the nutrient is necessary to properly nourish the brain.

Proteins and amino acids:

1. Glutathione - involved in detoxification—it binds to toxins, such as heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides, and transforms them into a form that can be excreted in urine or bile. Glutathione is also an important antioxidant. In preliminary research, dietary glutathione intake from fruit and raw vegetables has been associated with protection against some forms of cancer.

2. Creatine - supplies energy for muscle contraction. Athletes need creatine supplements to make their muscles strong.

Minerals:

1. Phosphorus – helps the body absorb calcium to make the bones stronger.

2. Zinc

3. Magnesium – helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis

4. Calcium – makes the bones strong

5. Potassium – is essential for the normal growth of the body and for the replacement of worn-out tissues which depend upon the presence of this mineral.

Vitamins:

1.Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) - can help a person look younger and more beautiful. It encourages growth of the protein chains in collagen, which is the main ingredient in all fibrous tissue. Fibrous tissue is your bone matrix, cartilage, tooth dentin (right under the enamel), skin, tendons, ligaments, and all other connective tissue. Collagen is what keeps your cells bound together.

2. Vitamin B12 – Boosts energy.

3. Choline – Sharpens the mind.

What does it actually taste like?

It’s hard to describe exactly what semen tastes like and it varies somewhat from guy to guy. It’s been describes as everything from salty to sweet to acrid to sublime. In general it has been said to taste similar to other body fluids you may encounter. We hate to say it, but if you really want to know, you’re going to have to give it a taste for yourself. And, as we said, the taste of yours may differ somewhat from the taste of someone else.

Can you do anything to impact/change the taste?

To improve the taste of the semen, people recommend eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice to make it sweeter. Citrus fruits and cranberry juice are also recommended, possibly because they make the body’s pH more acidic, counteracting the alkalinity of semen that contributes to its “bleachy” quality. Any fruit or fruit juice high in sugar content, like apple, melon, mango, or grape, may increase the amount of sugars put out in your semen. Parsley, wheatgrass, and celery have been recommended for sweeter semen as well, perhaps because of the chlorophyll in them.

Drinking a lot of water is probably the best thing one can do to improve the texture of semen; being dehydrated can make the spunk thicken or get stringy.

What should you avoid that might make it taste worse? Meat, alcohol, garlic, onions, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are all said to negatively impact the taste. Smoking also is a no-no.

Monday, September 26, 2011

All Comfy?

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Toledo Pastor Erects 9 Gay-Hating Billboards, Says He Loves Everyone

From the Towleroad:

Back in April I posted about Central United Methodist church in Toledo, Ohio which had funded a billboard (above) reading "Being Gay is Gift from God."

A local pastor has now responded to the billboards, by putting up nine of his own, The Blade reports:

Rev. Tony Scott of the Church on Strayer felt compelled to offer an opposing point of view.

The Maumee megachurch this week bought nine billboards that proclaim, "Being Gay is NOT a Gift from God -- Forgiveness, Love, and Eternal Life Are."

"I love everyone. There's nothing on that billboard about hate," Mr. Scott said in an interview. "I'm getting hate mail from lesbian and gay people, but my point is that I love them too much to let someone believe a lie. I love this city too much to let a lie be sown."

It still amazes me, that so called preachers have never read the book of Leviticus and just recanting the same old tired lame bullshit answer they have for condemning homosexuality.
Here's the truth, the book of Leviticus was written for Gods chosen priest (jewish men)
It does not apply to gentiles, why you ask?
Because no one on this planet can live by these laws and what gets me, these fucktards know this!
Yet they still incite the weak minded with diatribes of hatred and intolerance, and they fall for it.
Sheep indeed, more like lambs to the slaughter.


Ulf

Sean Maher Is Gay: 'Firefly,' 'Playboy Club' Actor Comes Out

Firefly alum and Playboy Club actor Sean Maher has worked steadily in Hollywood for 14 years, and during that time, he made the choice to be closeted about his personal life as a gay man -- until now.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

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We need parks like this in every state.

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When Did You Choose to Be Straight?


Street interviews conducted by Travis Nuckolls and Chris Baker (ilovechrisbaker.com) in Colorado Springs prove that asking the right question can be more important than anything you can tell someone.

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Sorry Dave, juz kiddin'

Ulf

Indie Focus: 'Weekend' couple being gay is partly beside the point

By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times

September 25, 2011
For his second feature, British editor turned director Andrew Haigh wanted to pick up on the rhythms of everyday life, capturing both the highs of budding romance and the spaces in between. In "Weekend," which opens in Los Angeles on Friday (the same day it will be available on video ondemand), Haigh follows with naturalist grace as would-be partners meet, fool around and then fall in love.

That the characters happen to be men is intended to be at least in part beside the point.

Although "Weekend" has played some of the most notable gay-themed film festivals in America, Haigh said he has made every effort to prevent the movie from being branded simply as a "gay" film. It had its world premiere this year at the Austin, Texas-based South by Southwest Film Festival, an event better known for shaggy indies, bawdy comedies and out-there genre fare, where it picked up an audience prize.

The movie opened the prestigious BAM Cinemafest series in New York City this summer and will have its United Kingdom premiere next month as part of the BFI London Film Festival.

"I'm not a massive gay cinema fan or even that knowledgeable about the history of gay cinema," Haigh said in Los Angeles this year. "I just love films, and I see myself as a filmmaker. This film obviously has gay characters, and it is about the gay experience, but for me it's just a film. I wanted to be part of that mountain of just films, and not just be compared to gay films."

Quiet and observant, "Weekend" begins with Russell (Tom Cullen) attending a birthday party for straight friends before heading alone to a nightclub. After tentative flirting with one stranger, he ends up taking another guy home, the mercurial Glen (Chris New).

The two end up spending the weekend together, opening up to each other as they bond over sex, talk, a little drinking, a bit of drugs, a lot more talking and Glen imminently moving from Nottingham to America.

The film captures the same sense of intimate discovery and the longueurs of extended conversation as "Before Sunrise" with the political undertones of the more recent "Medicine for Melancholy" — a film to which "Weekend" has garnered comparisons — all while conveying what it's like to be gay in a predominantly straight community.

"On one level it's a very specific film," said Kim Yutani, director of programming at Outfest, noting that the film "raised the bar" for other lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender filmmakers at his year's fest, where "Weekend" was awarded a jury prize. "I think the thing that makes it totally special is the way Andrew is able to capture two people who are getting to know each other, those connections that you have with somebody when you first meet."

Shot in a little more than two weeks in October of last year on digital video, "Weekend" was filmed in sequence, which allowed Haigh, Cullen and New to spend each evening going over the next day's scenes, subtly tweaking the script to include things that emerged from the day's work.

"I just wanted to be as authentic as I could be — to me even the theme of the film is probably authenticity," said Haigh, 38, citing current American filmmakers such as Kelly Reichardt, Ramin Bahrani and Joe Swanberg as influences. "I wanted every element of the film to be true to that."

To that end, he tried, whenever possible, to shoot in single, unbroken takes. "I wanted to approach it almost as if it was a documentary," Haigh said. "This was life unfolding in front of our eyes, and I had one chance to capture this moment…. I find it quite powerful when something is shot in a long take. You're allowed to look around, and in some way it becomes almost more intimate, like sitting in the corner and watching."

"Weekend" is Haigh's second feature, following 2009's docu-fiction hybrid "Greek Pete." He began his film career working as an editor and editorial assistant, with a hand in such diverse projects as "Gladiator" and Harmony Korine's "Mister Lonely."

With this project, though, Haigh did infuse the story with some of his own experiences, particularly a sense of dislocation he often felt being gay in mainstream society. For that reason it was important to Haigh that the film be set in a rather provincial town like Nottingham rather than a more cosmopolitan locale like London.

"I've always, as long as I can remember, felt like I haven't really fit in, in the gay world or the straight world," Haigh said. "And I think it's how a lot of people feel, especially if they don't live in West Hollywood or London and they aren't surrounded by gay people all the time. And you carry that with you constantly."

As much as "Weekend" is shot through with the gay experience, its larger ideas — the difficulties of finding one's place in the world, the awkwardness of meeting and becoming comfortable with a partner — help transform the film into a more universal romance.

"That's what's important for me about the film," Haigh said, "it's about something more than just being gay."

Saturday, September 24, 2011