Withering Glance surveys the year in gay

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2012 - 12:58 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

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Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

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CP: What a year-in-gay it has been. The gay-marriage idea shed its loser image and prevailed in, count 'em, four statewide plebiscites, including right here in Ole and Lena-land. This was bigger than "Magic Mike." I never thought you'd live to see it.

RN: Please, when you were on the Gay Pride committee -- back in, what, '57? -- you probably never imagined hearing the leader of the free world say he was in favor of marriage equality, as President Obama did in May.

CP: I'm glad that Obama's statement pre-dated the death in late July of Gore Vidal, the cranky writer who also loved politics.

RN: Maurice Sendak's death preceded that interview by a day. Speaking of politics, how about the U.S. Senate's first gay member -- that we know about, anyway -- Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin. Oh, and leave it to gay literary lion Tony Kushner to pen what just might be the screenplay of the year, "Lincoln."

CP: That script gots to get an Oscar, along with a Best Actor statue for Daniel Day-Lewis. And I kind of couldn't believe Tammy toppled Tommy in our neighbor to the east. To celebrate, I have doubled my bar tab in Hudson.

RN: How's about all the celebs that came out? Anchorgod Anderson Cooper, actors Jim Parsons and Matt Bomer, boxer Orlando Cruz, fitness guru Jillian Michaels and singer Frank Ocean, for starters. The news was mostly greeted with a yawn, remarkable in itself.

CP: The new Minneapolis police chief, Janee Harteau, is a lesbian. Then we have the straight-identified allies. Vikings kicker Chris Kluwe tops that list. His cojones-to-the-wall support for same-sex marriage won him GQ magazine's Honorary Gay of the Year designation, and his poster went up on gay guys' rec rooms all across the land.

RN: Kudos to "Days of Our Lives," which, despite being the Dollar Store of daytime dramas, managed to put on a fairly decent gay love story, its first. It helps that actors Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey rise above the dreck they're contractually obligated to recite.

CP: Locally, Peter Rothstein and his Latté Da put up a fine "Company." Thanks for making me see the Sondheim show for my first time.

RN: A different kind of theater was watching the silly protest that bubbled up when Ellen DeGeneres became J.C. Penney's talking head. Her TV ads were hilarious, naturally.

CP: I liked "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," with Ezra Miller as the complicated gay teen who seems bully-proof. The ACTUP documentary "How to Survive a Plague" was a recent-history knockout. A concert highlight was the Magnetic Fields at First Ave, with superb songwriter Stephin Merritt.

RN: My favorite book of 2012 might have been "Flagrant Conduct," U of M Law School Prof. Dale Carpenter's myth-shattering account of Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark 2003 gay-rights Supreme Court case. It reads like a suspense novel, and I couldn't put it down.

CP: Here's hoping there can be another tome written next year about a sweeping gay-marriage ruling by the SCOTUS.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com Follow on Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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