So Much Better Than Ever Beforeby David Cohen
Good Looking, sexy, smart, intelligent and charming are just a few words that describe the talented young, gay singer and songwriter, Levi Kries
who recently released his sixth album just in time for gay pride.
Since we both live in Chicago, I have decided to meet Levi in-person. I wanted to get a sense of the person he is. I was curious to learn more about his gospel and R&B infused modern music and his views on life.
The new album Imagine Paradise carries a new strong personal message of sexual liberation, freedom, and the expectancy of being an openly gay man, and a proud member of the LGBT community.
Three years in the making, the new album reflects Levi’s personal preference, staying true to his own feelings and identity. Levi delivers the music he loves most a mix of R&B and disco that comes directly from his heart. His new music emerges from his soul just like the “Queen of Disco” Donna Summer
did in the seventies, as she ruled the dance floors all over the world.
With his commanding voice and presence, fiery beat and rhythm, Levi fearlessly delivers his best work and vocals to-date. To me, this album is so much better than ever before.
One song in the new album Imagine Paradise
addresses the right to love who we choose. It was inspired by one of Levi’s friends who is in the military, and it addresses the issue of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act. “I’ve never done anything harder, and I’ve never done anything more rewarding” said Levi. His ability to use his voice as a tool to present other people issues is a gift from heaven, and he hopes it will articulate our day-to-day issues in the only way he knows how––with his music.
You may know Levi as the 2010 Tony Award Winner for his role as Jerry Lee Lewis in the musical Million Dollar Quartet
. Now he returns to his roots in Imagine Paradise by setting a new tone for his future, embracing our history and his identity. "My music captures a period of time where R&B and dance music emerged from the black and gay communities as vital anthems of freedom. It’s sort of new-disco, it is a sound that celebrates our history and takes pride in our accomplishments."
Levi’s music has been featured on many major network TV shows such as The Vampire Diaries, Sons of Anarchy
, The Apprentice, The View, David Letterman
, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
. Levi was featured as one of Out Magazine “Out100” alums, a ‘number-one’ Logo TV artist, and a winner of OUTMusic Awards.
The song “Love Revolution” will lead the album release, following up the radio success of the debut single "So Much Better" which was released last March. Imagine Paradis
e will be released on June 20, 2013,
and will be available on iTunes.
For more information on Levi Kries visit his website www.levikreis.com
by David Cohen
A young Israeli writer describes his struggles in finding his own way in gay life and the right to do what he loves most.
There are only a few days in one’s life that you can truly be described as “milestones,” or game-changers, like one snow flake of many that lands on a branch and break it.
In the summer of 2007, Itamar was blessed to get that kind of day - the day he decided to start writing his first book, Niv.
The years prior 2004-2006 were the most amazing––and the most painful––of his life. In 2005, he obtained his first recording contract, and for the first time ever someone believed in his art of music. Also, a successful Israeli singer recorded one of his songs, and it instantly became a huge hit. To Itamar, the sky couldn’t have been sunnier.
It didn’t last long. God very quickly turned his wheel of fortune upside down. The radio stations did not welcome Itamr’s music with open arms anymore, and they didn’t accept any of his other singles. Instead, they put a big red “X” on his songs, which became a big red “X” on his entire being. Itamar’s manager deserted him, and “I felt as abandoned as a motherless child. As a result, I became depressed and very self-destructive.”
With no light at the end of the tunnel, Itamar stayed up late many nights, took too many drugs, and drank way too much alcohol. His thoughts were running in high speed, and his agony was unbearable. He was disappointed in himself, and “I felt I had let my family down because I did not succeed with my music career. I didn’t see any purpose to my life, and I thought that the smart thing to do would be to raise a white flag and admit defeat.”
The thought of going back to a ‘normal’ career frightened him, so instead he found comfort in the next drink. Being drunk made his thoughts blur, and “I came to a point where I became tired of thinking. Night flew by, and before I knew it, the sun was rising. I tried to shut my eyes, wishing for some peace and quiet––or a dreamless sleep––but I couldn’t. One day, I suddenly woke up, staring at the ceiling, knowing that I shouldn’t just quit because some people slammed the door in my face. If there wasn’t a door to go through, I would find a window to climb through.” In that moment, Itamar knew he didn’t deserve to be miserable, so he began questioning everything to find the hope that was waiting for him.
Itamar needed to fight back and make his dreams a reality. “I knew that I would have to dive wholheartedly into the creative process. However, I decided to write my first novel, Niv. I was going to be happy again and not allow any force to ever turn my life upside down again.”
My name, Itamar, in Hebrew means palm tree, as they are known to be flexible but unbreakable.
The moment of enlightenment came to him as Itamar decided to leave his old life behind. Within one week, he quit his job as a club manager and left his apartment in Tel Aviv. “I decided to take a year off from my previous life and to move into my parents. There I began my new adventure in my new life.”
Itamar’s life consists of three great loves: family, literature, and music. “I sustain each of my loves with 26 letters of the alphabet (twenty two in Hebrew) and eight basic musical notes.”
His parents always stood behind him. “No matter how hard any decision I made in my adult life, they accepted me and my decisions completely.” “My parents supported me when I was 19, a soldier in the Israeli army, and in love for the first time with the ‘wrong’ gender (Oh boy, it felt so right!) Their support continued when I decided to be a musician and singer/songwriter, instead of becoming a doctor or a lawyer.”
As a new author, Itamar was unable to make it on hismy home country of Israel. His only choice was to travel to the other side of the world to promote his new book and to find a publisher. During his travels, Itamar’s parents remained his anchor, and always stood by him.
“Everybody has their share of crazy family stories. My nutty family didn’t need the hot climate of Israel with its eastern desert winds called “hamseen” to make them crazy.”
His family life went in cycles from being calm and cheerful to explosive. Every time his parents had a fight, his mothor would be yelling while packing her stuff in a suitcase about to leave his dad. Of course, the next morning she didn’t understand why we were worried, saying, “I never said I was leaving.”
“My oldest sister had a baby when she was on the verge of a breakdown. My other sister ran to India to sit on a mountain with ‘crazy’ people in white togas. And me? I got another tattoo.”
Itamar grew up with three dogs, about 23 cats and several not-so-friendly ghosts who used to hang out with his familly in the house. “I’m not kidding, closet doors opened all at once, toilets flushed themselves, but we got used to their presence. My chef sister and my mother are some kind of Jewish gypsy psychics who always performed séances as part of the family’s entertainment.”
Itamar was accepted because he wasn’t the only freak in his family. The amount of love built on the ‘crazy’ genes they all shared. As the saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is true. This was obvious at any family gathering. where his domineering, almost deaf grandma meets with her other six equally domineering almost deaf sisters. Soon it’s a loud soap opera where everybody is gossiping, fighting, yelling and hugging.
In general, his family is a very maternal family, where the women dictate the tone. “As for myself, I am somewhere in the middle. If you think of my family as a parliament, you would definitely find me in the women’s coalition; an important member, but not equal because, gay or not, I’m a man first.”
Itamar spent his three years of military service in the Israeli Defense Force’s Intelligence, which for him was definitely the biggest gay community he have sever seen. “I always wish I was open with my sexuality while serving in the army. I can’t imagine how rich my sex life would have been. My unit was the biggest flourishing gay “Green House.” Although, who would believe that, The best intelligence in the world run by gay men and women? It is hard to believe, but Itamar was truly consider himself lucky to have been born in Israel where the Israeli Parliament and the Supreme Court are leaders in gay rights. “I’m proud to have the choice of being openly gay and able to live with a male partner, if I choose, and be accepted as equals. Unfortunately, I haven’t found my partner, yet, but with some luck, I will have one in the near future.”
During his quest for love and a publisher for his book, Itamar moved to the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe because his music was influenced by Greek and Yugoslav culture. “I spent some time in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, and totally fell in love with the city. I thought I had found my second home. However, because homosexuality is taboo there, I couldn’t see myself living there in an open and free same-sex relationship. For me, there is no career or Prince Charming that would be worth not living as a free, proud gay man.”
From the Balkan Peninsula his journey continued and Itamar moved to New York City. During his search for a publisher Itamar met Lisa Hutton, a brilliant poet that became friend. With her brilliant English skills, Lisa brought his book to life. However, his journey was cut short as his father was diagnosed with fatal cancer. “My father died a few months after my return to Israel. It felt like a tornado attacking our house, with my father gone and the rest of us all with an unnatural emptiness.” While in Israel, Itamar continued his attempts to find a publisher and finally he found the Wilkinson House Press, a new and small UK gay literature press, who agreed to publish his book. The owner and editor, Mr. Rod Evan, had given Itamar the opportunity for which he was looking for. Mr. Evan helped Itamar with the editing, as well as finding the right cover image, and finally “I knew I found my real second family.”
Itamar interest in Middle Eastern studies and its politics were the leading force behind his serving in the IDF’s Intelligence. This was also the reason why he studied the History of the Middle East and International relationships at the Open University. “Of course, I still have the passion to learn more about my fascinating region, and religions in general, but I prefer to deal with those subjects through my own stories as portrayed in my first novel Niv.”
Itamar personal opinion follows the Arab saying ”you have your religion, I have mine, but God is one, and all of us to Adam.” Anyone can choose their own God, but we all came from the same source Adam and Eve, have the same flesh and blood, and share the same genes. We were all created in the same way––we were created as equals.
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NIV the book
Niv, Erez, Katya and Anush are four young lovers whose sexual awakenings are threatened by the rigid religious values and social attitudes that surround them. These pressures, coupled with the concerns of their families and the course of history itself, means that each must fight for the freedom to find their own way in life and the right to love the one they choose.
In this first novel, Itamar S. N weaves together parallel stories to reveal tragic secrets and hidden truths. From the rural borderlands of Armenia and Azerbaijan during the first World War, to the hectic, cosmopolitan art scene of the 21st century Tel Aviv, Niv is a story that will intrigue, surprise and inspire any reader.
With millions of views on his YouTube channel, a huge fan club, and a successful debut album titled “ELI LIEB: Place of Paradise,” the good looking young man never gave up hope. “If you want something you must stay on it until you achieve it.”
During his ten years of living in New York City trying to develop his music career in the East Village, Eli took the New York City songwriting scene by storm. After his first performance at Sidewalk Café, he met with many producers, label executives and big shot collaborators in the industry.
After exploring the big-labels, to no avail, Eli decided to go back to his hometown. In Iowa he was able to find refuge and get to do what he loves most, writing his own music. At home, Eli was able to find himself, and regain the focus that would change his life.
Currently he is working on his sophmore album, “It definitely still has the same electro-pop feel, but there is a little more acoustic stuff in there. I feel like it is just more mature. I think as an artist you keep on evolving and growing and learning more, and I think that this album, I approached it in a way that I knew a lot more than I did for the first album.”
In the fall of 2011, Eli quickly became a YouTube sensation after posting homemade videos of his covers of Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, Adele, Lana del Rey and Rihanna. His sensational electropop ballad video “Place of Paradise,” was one of the most exciting, self-produced, club-beat albums that year, garnering over 200,000 views on US Weekly’s website.”I understood what YouTube can do, and I really don’t need the big labels to succeed, what I need is to be happy, healthy, eat well with lots of vegetables and to get enough sleep. You need to be healthy.”
Perhaps one of the keys to understanding Lieb's intuitive sense of melody and insightful candid lyricsis rooted in his lifelong practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM). Raised in a small town with loving parents who practiced meditation every day, he continues to make himself stronger, focused and grateful for what he has in life. TM is the same meditation that the Maharishi introduced to the Beatles. “Meditation allows me to go through life with positivity and joy and makes me feel a deep connection to the underlying currents that we are all a part of.” These currents of life have led Eli down a very rewarding personal path. While performing at a fundraiser hosted by the David Lynch Foundation, a proponent of Transcendental Meditation, Eli had the opportunity to meet Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Brand, Katy Perry and other celebrities.
Being honest, writing lyrics from the soul, and staying true to his artistic inspirations from the deepest levels of his spirit, allow Eli to seamlessly transform these elements into quality raw music with very little editing. When I asked him where he wants to be in five or ten years from now, he reponded, “This is what I want to keep on doing, writing my music...I already made my dreams come true.”
by Gary Jordan
Raised in Malibu and Los Angeles, California, Samantha Lockwood
the only child of Hollywood actors Gary Lockwood
and Denise Dubarry Hay
, is more than just another pretty Southern California girl. Lockwood is a self-made accomplished actress, artist, jewelry designer, entrepreneur and accomplished Bikram Yoga instructor.
Samantha began studying the fundamentals of acting at the age of 16 at the Aaron Speiser Acting Studio. At UC Santa Cruz, she studied Theater Acting and Marine Biology. Under the direction of Robert Eastman she got her training in voice and accent, and joined workshops for improv, commercial, and cold-reading under the direction of Carolyn Barry, Lesly Kahn, and her current teacher, Joseph J. Pearlman, who coached her in the leading role as "Kate" in Shoot the Hero
(2010), in which she received great reviews.
Beginning her work as an on-camera spokesperson for her mother’s firm Thane International, Lockwood has been featured as an upcoming actress in Esquire
's "Me in My Place" photo series, and in her yoga-inspired action shoot for Maxim UK
. She appeared in many commercials to include Apple, Old Navy, Swim-ways, and in the Miller Light "Skinny Jeans." In the movies, she played the leading lady role in the western, Mexican Gold
(2009) (aka "Return of the Outlaws"), a pill-popping teen in the "CSI: NY" (2004) episode, "CSI: NY: Manhattan Manhunt (#2.7)" (2005), and as Topper's girlfriend in Lords of Dogtown
As a self-made online jewelry entrepreneur Lockwood is also the inventor of an eco-friendly jewelry line, Fleurings, an idea inspired by her grandmother, earrings made to hold live flowers..
At the age of 30, Lockwood is a young beauty with a no-holds barred awareness of the lure and frailties of the always tough and sometimes stagnating entertainment industry. Unafraid to speak up, Lockwood shared with PINK many secrets and why she refuses to be be pigeon-holed by taking the reality television road to instant success. PINK: Growing up with famous actor parents, your father who was in the original pilot for Star Trek; your mother was a player for Aaron Spelling and Stephen Cannell, Charlie’s Angels, and Black Sheep Squadron. Then you in the string of successful infomercials and in yoga. How did all those Hollywood crossroads made you the woman you are today? Samantha Lockwood
: (Laughing) Well I think it definitely gives me a different perspective to be an actor. I believe all things happen for a reason. I really feel you have to be committed to being an actor for the rest of your life, going the long haul, constantly expanding your horizons as an actor,. I see a lot of people come in to Hollywood to do reality TV just to get famous! I think because my parents were actors, it helped to ground me more. I’m at this age now where I feel like I will do whatever I have to do to continue doing what I love to do. However, it’s not the same as when my father was coming of age, the opportunities are just not there like they were when he got his start. PINK: How has the industry changed since your father’s time? SL:
Our business has changed a lot with regard to submissions compared to my parents. Today a lot of actors have to write and develop their own material, They’re famous because they’re writing and developing their own parts. I’m going down that road now, trying to develop projects that will correctly showcase who I am as an actor. PINK: Who are some of your peers who see being successful developing their own material? SL:
Seth Rogan’s wife Lauren Miller and I were in a short film together. My boyfriend, Alex (Kudo), was in it as well. So we all three were talking. She was telling me about this movie she was writing. So it’s a couple of years later and it got a theatrical release through Focus Features -- it was a darling at Sundance! I thought ‘wow’ she has more clout now. I thought she went for it herself, she’s truly made her own vehicle, and the part is really sweet! PINK: So it seems a good path for young Hollywood to take? SL:
Uh, hmm, I did another movie this past year, The Other Country, the director Brett Leonard did The Lawnmower Man. It was the kind of role that I feel will establish my style, will get me out there, much like the music video I just did for JT Hodges song, (Goodbyes Made You Mine). I’ve been getting a lot of good reviews for the work I did on that music video.
PINK: In addition to racing to auditions, you also are the CEO of your own jewelry line, Fleurings? (www. Fleurings.com) SL:
I feel part of the thing that’s going to get me out there is the jewelry line. I’m definitely trying to tap into the Japanese market. I’ve been in their celebrity magazines, I‘m known as “the actress creating this jewelry.” My jewelry is being picked up in their wholesale market, so it’s wholesale and resale in Japan. I just got my first store in a Japanese shopping mall so I’m pretty excited. In Hawaii and Japan, they have such respect for flowers. They give flowers for everything. It’ such an integral and important part of their life! When I did go to Japan --I went last year for my father’ in laws art show, (Muramuso Kudo) -- I literally had women buying my jewelry off my body. I couldn’t believe how much they loved Fleurings over there. Then, the interview that I did for the Honolulu Star Advertiser became a cover story. It was amazing! When I can tie it all together! Whenever I meet people who live in Hawaii or have family there, about 20% of the time, they say they’ve seen my jewelry in Hawaiian Airlines Magazine, so I feel I’m known throughout the Pacific region. PINK: Getting back to your acting career, what is the temptation for young actors to do reality television as opposed to waiting for that perfect dramatic role? SL:
Well, to be honest, I don’t think reality TV has that much to do with acting. It has a lot to do with being dramatic, who can blame them? I’ve considered it, but something makes me feel it would be so embarrassing in the long haul. I understand the attraction to that business, it’s sort of a big shiny carrot in your face. You basically just have to be willing to sign your life away -- have no shame whatsoever, then go for it! But I think for people like myself who want to do it the hard way, achieve some success in a more, challenging, classy way, I do think you have to search out or build decent roles. I’m very fortunate at this point in my life, I do struggle, I have to work to make ends meet, but I’ve never been willing to go after reality TV. I would feel I’m not serving the artistic side of myself if I did. I know my family was considered for this Bravo (network) show. They were looking for a huge multi-generational Hollywood family, My dad (Dr. Frank Poole in 2001 A Space Odyssey), my mom (Denise Dubarry Hay) is very successful, my grandmother! So Bravo came, they shot, afterwards they came to me and said, “they will probably want to see you in all the episodes.” I thought, “I’m so scared of people seeing my personal stuff, it would feel like I’m selling out.” But at the same time, I don’t like the way reality TV has the capacity to totally distort family relationships. Some topics are just not for the camera. So I just said no. PINK: You studied with Aaron Speiser, Robert Eastman, Carolyn Barry, Lesly Kahn, and most recently Joseph Pearlman, how did each of these teachers affect your style of acting, your craft? SL:
Thanks, that’s a good question! I have learned something different from each one of those teachers, ultimately the most important thing I’ve learned has been how to bring a very genuine authentic entity, being who you are, bringing your own humanity to the role, especially with my most recent coach, Joseph Pearlman. Carolyn was all about the commercial technique, even so she was about being authentic as well. In any case they are some of the best teachers in the business! Joseph above all, he’s all about being who you are, right now he’s considered one of the best coaches, he coached Zooey Deschanel and her show New Girl really went over the top! Yet bringing yourself to the role is very challenging. But I feel that’s where the connective tissues lie, when you the can fully bring yourself to the part. Meryl Streep makes every character she plays a piece of her, you never catch her acting, she’s fully believing everything she does. PINK: Streep is a hero then?SL:
I actually met Meryl a couple of years ago. I told her I was Gary Lockwood’s daughter and she said “he’s a fine, fine actor.” It made me feel really good, I thought, I‘m from great stock! She said, “when you’re an actor there are many ups and there are many downs. The downs are low and the ups are very high -- you just have to have the stomach to stick in there with all of it.” That was her advice to me, she was basically telling me the nature of our business. I felt like what she was saying you have to be understanding of our business, how it works, the long haul, you can’t be at the top every day of your career. As our business continues to morph and change, you see famous actors doing 30 second commercials, I think you have to be very understanding of that! Ultimately, everybody just wants to do good work! PINK: You’re an accomplished Bikram Yoga teacher, in fact you were raised with Yoga, your mother does Yoga, how has this “hot” yoga impacted your work both as an actress and as a jewelry manufacturer? SL:
I feel yoga has offered me a sense of community. I have lots of friends through my yoga practice. It has given me the ability to do anything in my life, on a karmic level -- how we are all tied together. When I teach and even through my acting work, I’m offering a service. I think it’s a great service to entertain people. Yoga teaches me that whatever I do, even with my jewelry line, I want the end user to love this piece. I always think about servicing the person with whatever I do. I taught them to do a yoga post, the jewelry, it gives me a great philosophical back bone.
PINK: As an entertainer, what would be your perfect role? SL:
(gasping) I have auditioned for so many types of roles! I do feel overwhelmingly a lot of roles that are out there for women just seem to be the girlfriend or the wife. There are a few roles every year that have that element of heroism that I love to see in female characters, No matter where the character starts, I love to see women with a backbone! PINK: Are you pursuing theatre? SL:
No, I have not pursued theatre. I feel like I’ve trained myself to be a film actor, to develop the more subtle actor in me. You need that for film. I have done theatre, but it’s not something I’m dying to get back into for the moment. PINK: How will you go about developing custom made roles for yourself and the others in your circle? SL:
I don’t know, that’s a difficult thing to say. The only power I currently have is to develop those things on my own. You just have to give yourself those parts, so that other people will see you as that strong, unique character, when somebody sees you bring a role across, I think that’s what gets you get cast as that other person, that other breakout role. But you have to be careful. I’ve got to find a piece of work that’s going to draw those kind of roles for me -- like Jennifer Lawrence had in Winter’s Bones, then she got Hunger Games. It always takes that one piece of work. Mostly because it’s hard to find those parts, they are usually taken by the top 20% of actors, the ones who have access to those parts! But it’s my goal to be part of that 20%! PINK: You’re having great success with your jewelry line in Japan, have you thought about acting in that market? SL:
(pausing) Well, I think you have to speak the language! (laughing) No I’ve never really considered that. But it’s interesting that you asked me, I just got a flyer from AFM (the American Film Market). I haven’t been in years, but this year I’m going, so we’ll see. PINK: Tell us more about the sitcom you‘re developing... SL:
My boyfriend Alex (Kudo) is a co-creator on the project along with a writer by the name of Tim O’Hara. The pilot is for an ethnically diverse sitcom. Alex is half Japanese and his father (Muramasa Kudo) is a famous artist, so we’re loosely basing it on that. At this point, we’re still in the early stages of development. Tim, the writer, wants to bring my Dad (veteran actor Gary Lockwood) into it as well, so it’s an ensemble piece. I’m also interested in doing a show about three or four girls who are trying to develop their own business. As a business owner myself, I’d like to do something that shows how challenging and rewarding it is to be an entrepreneur. PINK: Are there other roles you dream about? SL:
I would love to do something action oriented, really cool stuff, riding horses, shooting bows and arrows. I could list a bunch of roles, I love great stories! I love the work that Emily Blunt does, they’re all great Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Your Sister’s Sister, really fantastic, independent, fun stories. PINK: Isn’t there a certain amount of luck associated with getting those meaty, heroic parts? SL:
I think you make that kind of luck! And you definitely have to be lucky -- because the first couple of parts you get, you have to follow through and do well. My dad always said, “Hollywood is no different then it ever was before, you have to be in a couple of movies that made money and when you’re associated with a success then you’re considered to be a success!” The bottom line is you cannot control all the elements of a film, you’re performance can suffer or shine depending upon your fellow cast and crew, from marketing to story. PINK: Does the California girl good looks impede your ability to be cast in a wide variety of roles? SL:
(Laughing) Right now my hair is a little darker. I think today I bring a little bit less of the beach bombshell, (laughing again). I think if you can bring a powerful performance to the part, your looks are secondary. Amy Adams, Rachel McAdams -- they’re very pretty but they seem to work on great parts. You just need that first part, that showcases your talent. Plus, you can do anything with wardrobe and makeup!PINK: What other things are you working on now? SL:
I’m really just focused on acting. I feel if I could do one thing well, I’m trying to put all my creative energy into that. Tomorrow we have a 5 hour development meeting, that’s part of my day, when I’m not auditioning, I’m branding my jewelry line.
PINK: Which celebrities are wearing your jewelry? SL:
Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren bought a bunch for their bridesmaids. I’ve given some to Hayden Panettiere, Mandy Moore, Jessica Alba. At the MTV Music Awards my jewelry was part of a gifting suite. Jennifer Love Hewitt loved, loved, loved my jewelry and she was showing it off to her girlfriends on the client list. There’s Molly Burnett, Claudia Lee. Fortunately I have great photographs of them wearing my jewelry. I even gave one to Angelina Jolie -- her nail girl is married to my boyfriend’s father. PINK: Any last thought? SL:
(pausing) I think it’s really important to have foresight and longevity! I think you have to be willing to commit to something for the long haul. Sometimes I want to throw my hands in the air and run laughing or run screaming. Either way, my whole thing is I really want to see it through. Eventually I would like to get into directing. I can see that. But I really want to do funny stuff, witty. I can be really silly. I want roles that showcase that side of me.
For more information go to www.SamanthaLockwood.com
BEND THE RULES
IT’S ALL ABOUT WHAT’S UNDERNEATH
by Gary Jordan
photography courtesy of Markus Bender
Working as a personal fitness trainer for many years, Markus Bender understands the importance of proper fitting performance underwear and active wear. Out of personal necessity in 2002, Bender created the ultimate fit boxer-brief.
Overnight, Bender’s new underwear line Bend the Rules captured the attention of Hollywood's top elite men and became the most favorite underwear of bad boys Bruce Willis, Charlie Sheen, Burt Reynolds and Boris Kodjoe. "The elements of fierce dragons, skulls, and Gothic emblems are the motif I use while designing my collection, and they are the perfect representation of the bad boy inside me," said Bender.
The luxurious fabric, trendy look, and the fabulous fit are some of the signature elements Bender uses for his collection. His devotion to creating an eco-friendly products set him apart from his competition, and has earned him a spot at the prestigious Neiman Marcus stores, as well as at the incredible ‘Under U4 Men’ stores located in Seattle and Portland.
Made in the USA, Bender uses a fabric called Tencel, which is made from Eucalyptus trees. The fabric's ability to be more absorbing, breathable and durable put the Bend the Rules collection above any cotton underwear. These unique factors also place this new collection of underwearas the superior brand in the performance category.
Growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Bender knows what it takes to be successful. His dedication and commitment to the work required to design and produce the Bend the Rules label is the reason why the brand has become so successful. In a recent interview with PINK, designer Marcus Bender shared some inside information about his company.
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PINK: Was the packaging of Bend The Rules intented to look like a Bible?
Markus: Yes, it was intentional. I designed it to look like srcipture––except it's the 'Bend the Rules' Scripture. The underlying message is that we all Bend the Rules and perhaps scripture also needs to bend the rules at times as well. Perhaps it’s gay marriage or allowing priests to marry.
PINK: Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?
Markus:My inspiration comes from people. I'm a people watcher and I am also into fitness. I love to travel and look at what people are wearing. I get inspired by knowing how I can make someone look better when wearing my designs.
PINK: Describe the typical Bend the Rules customer.
Markus: A guy who is active, knows true quality, and appreciates the finer things in life. He's Intelligent and sophisticated, but also a rebel at heart. As far as age, I really can't say if we have a typical customer. I have had young men tell me they love BtR, but I have also had older men tell me it makes them look and feel great to wear BtR. I even had a well-known actor switch from the famous brand he had been wearing for 8 years and is now exclusively a BtR customer.
PINK: How did you discover the fabric Tencel?
Markus: Personally, I felt most underwear fabric just did not cut it for a guy who leads an active lifestyle like me. I methodically searched for a fabric that would give me superior performance with extreme comfort. I discovered that Tencel, which is derived entirely from eucalyptus, is extremely breathable, absorbing, and naturally anti-bacterial––all features that make for a fabulous garment for the active guy. I spent over a year perfecting it. I wanted it to last, feel luxurious, and give great comfort and support. I kept testing until I got it right.
PINK: Was it easy to get your line into Neiman Marcus? Was the line an over-night sucsess?
Markus: Neiman Marcus now carriers my label, although I don't think anything happens over night when dealing with a national chain. However, they were quick to recognize the quality and comfort which Bend the Rules is all about.
PINK: What do you anticipate this will mean for the label's future?
Markus: Being recognized by an upscale high-end national retailer such as Neiman Marcus definitely helps put Bend the Rules on the map as a serious brand in the apparel industry. Continued growth in the direction of select upscale stores in key cities domestically and abroad are already taking place.
PINK: What’s your opinion on fashion reality TV, and would you consider being on one?
Markus: I can not tell a lie––I never watch any of those shows! I do, however, have lots of friends who are avid fans. And even though I don't watch them, I would consider taking part. After all, life is an adventure, and delving into the unknown can be rewarding.
PINK: Do you think men use their underwear to their advantage?
Markus: I would love it if more men were as meticulous in looking as great in underwear as women.
Women use underwear to enhance their sexuality, while men just wear it to cover up. However, more and more men are waking up to the fact that when you take your clothes off, you want what is underneath those expensive designer jeans to look just as good. Men also need to use their sex appeal.
PINK: What's the ideal male body to design for?
Markus: Personally, I enjoy designing for guys who are active and who are in decent to great shape. PINK: Any final thoughts you'd like to share with our readers before saying goodbye?
Markus: Yes! Wearing Bend the Rules is an experience unlike any other and they will literally last years. The more you wear them, the better they feel.
The Bend the Rules active wear collection includes the BtR Ultra comfortable track suit, BtR boxer briefs, and various t-shirts, and isavailable in black, red, white, navy, and blue slate. Prices range from $22-$66.
Designer Markus Bender and PINK are offering you a special gift.
With a purchase of $50 you will recieve a FREE hand lotion.
With a purchase of $75 you will recieve a FREE hand lotion and FREE shipping.
With a purchase of $100 you will are eligble for FREE shipping and FREE CD. The Give-A-Way Cds will include CDs from Kylie Minouge, K.D Lang and others.
This offer is available only at PINKStore/Underwear
and on www.bendtherules.com
. Use code VIP PINKCLUB
at check out. Free shipping available only in the USA.
“Eddie Murphy: One Night Only”
To be taped on November 3
at the Saban Theatre
In Los Angeles and Premieres Wednesday, November 14
on Spike TV.
Comedy fans will be treated to an evening filled with some of Hollywood’s biggest comedic superstars appearing and performing at Spike TV’s
“Eddie Murphy: One Night Only
,” the first-ever televised tribute to the comedy legend. Joining the all-star talent roster, which features many of Murphy’s peers and co-stars, includes Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler, Tyler Perry, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Nick Nolte. In addition, The Roots will perform throughout the evening as the show’s house band. “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” will tape on Saturday, November 3
at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles
and will air on Wednesday, November 14
Previously announced talent includes Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Tracy Morgan, Arsenio Hall, Brett Ratner, Charlie Murphy, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Martin Lawrence.
The exclusive Spike TV event, produced in conjunction with Don Mischer Productions, will include short films, musical performances, sketch comedy and culminate in an appearance by Murphy.
“Thirty years ago, Eddie Murphy came on to the comedy scene and changed the game forever,” said Casey Patterson, Executive Vice President, Event Production, Talent Development & Studio Relations – Viacom Entertainment Group. “We’re thrilled to be honoring him for the very first time, ‘One Night Only’.” “Eddie Murphy is the standard for comedic excellence” said Vernon Lynch, Murphy’s brother and Executive Producer.
“Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” will pay homage to Murphy’s journey from a 15-year-old aspiring comedian, to the record-breaking “Raw,” which remains the highest grossing stand-up film of all time, to his indelible characters and impressions from “Saturday Night Live” including Buckwheat, Gumby
, Mr. Robinson
and James Brown.
The special marks 30 years since the release of the groundbreaking stand-up concert film “Delirious,” and the classic film “48 Hrs.,” which featured the breakout performances that made him one of the biggest superstars in the world.
Spike TV has been an industry leader in original event programming honoring male icons and heroes from the worlds of comedy, sports and entertainment. Recent honorees at various signature events include Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Robert Downey Jr., LeBron James, Adam Sandler, Kobe Bryant and more.
Don Mischer, Casey Patterson, Charlie Haykel, and Vernon Lynch serve as Executive Producers for “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” with Juliane Hare as Producer.
The presenting sponsors for “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” are The All-New Dodge Dart and Quiznos and the associate sponsor for the show is Pep Boys.
Don Mischer is an internationally acclaimed Producer and Director of television and live events. He has been honored with 15 Emmy® Awards, a record 10 Directors Guild of America Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, 2 NAACP Image Awards, a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting and Europe’s prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux. This past January, Mischer was also honored by the Producers Guild of America when he received the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.
Vernon Lynch is a Creative Consultant for Eddie Murphy Productions whose credits include “The Making Of Delirious” special, “Eddie Murphy Delirious 25th Anniversary DVD,” and “Eddie Murphy’s Greatest Comedy Hits.” Lynch and his producing partner Jeff Dyson recently founded the production company Lynch-Dyson Entertainment. Together they are the Creators and Executive Producers of “Hollywood Exes” on VH1.
Source: Press release Spike TV.
by David Cohen
With a career spanning more than four decades, Olivia Newton-John is still a vibrant and creative individual that is adored by fans all across the world. Obviously, her appeal is timeless. Born in Cambridge, England in 1948, Olivia was the youngest child of Professor Brin Newton-John and Irene Born, daughter of Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born. When Olivia was five, the Newton-John family moved to Melbourne,
Australia. By the age of 15, Olivia had formed an all-girl group called Sol Four, and later that year won a talent contest on the popular TV show Sing, Sing, Sing, which earned her a trip to London, England. By 1963, Olivia was appearing on local daytime TV shows and weekly pop music programs in Australia. In 1966, Olivia recorded her first single for Decca Records, a version of Jackie DeShannon’s "Till You Say You’ll Be Mine." In 1971, Olivia recorded a cover of Bob Dylan’s "If Not For You," co-produced by John Farrar, who she continues to collaborate with today.
Olivia’s U.S. album debut, Let Me Be There, produced her first top ten single of the same name. Olivia was also honored by the Academy of Country Music as Most Promising Female Vocalist, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocalist. These two prestigious awards marked the beginning of her very exciting career.
With over 100 million albums sold, Olivia’s successes include four Grammy Awards, numerous Country Music, American Music and People’s Choice Awards, ten #1 hits including “Physical,” which topped the charts for ten consecutive weeks, and over 15 Top 10 singles. In September 2008, Billboard Magazine listed “Physical” at #6 on their “Top 100 Songs of All Time” and in 2010 as “The Sexiest Song of All Time.”
In 1978, Olivia’s co-starring role with John Travolta in Grease catapulted her into super-stardom. Grease’s best-selling soundtrack features the still popular duets, "You’re the One That I Want" and "Summer Nights" with Travolta, as well as Olivia’s mega-hit, "Hopelessly Devoted to You." To date, Grease remains the most successful movie musical in history. Olivia’s other feature film credits include Toomorrow, Xanadu, Two of A Kind, It’s My Party, Sordid Lives, Score: A Hockey Musical, and A Few Best Men.
Olivia’s charmed life has not been without its share of challenges. In the early 1990’s, Olivia successfully overcame her own battle with breast cancer. This life changing battle inspired her to self-produce the album GAIA—an incredibly personal album reflecting upon her experiences with cancer. Her experience not only gave her the opportunity to gain greater self-awareness, but also to becoming a positive inspiration to millions of people who are also battling cancer. Olivia has become increasingly well known and respected for talking openly about her battle with breast cancer and for promoting public awareness of the importance of early detection. Her personal triumph over cancer led Olivia to announce a partnership with Austin Health in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, along with the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre (ONJCWC) on the Austin Campus. The ONJCWC not only provides a comprehensive range of services and facilities for cancer treatment, education, training and research, but also includes a wellness center for the mind, body and spirit.
After being absent from the U.S. Country charts for almost 20 years, Olivia released Back With A Heart in 1998. In 1999, she was awarded a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Song – "Love Is A Gift" after being featured on the daytime serial As the World Turns. After a 17 year absence, Olivia once again began performing and touring in the United States.
The new millennium has once again brought Olivia international recognition that continues to grow. Among numerous other awards, Olivia received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, presented by her long-time friend John Travolta at the G’Day L.A. Gala. Olivia’s 2007 holiday recording, Christmas Wish features both new and classic holiday favorites and duets with such Grammy winners as Barry Manilow, Michael McDonald, David Foster and Jon Secada, and was called one of the “Best Holiday CDs of 2007” by USA Today. In 2008, Olivia began co-hosting and co-producing the PBS series Healing Quest. In the series she reprised her film role of Bitsy Mae Harling from Sordid Lives to rave reviews. In 2010, Olivia also appeared as herself in two episodes of the hit series Glee, adding another Top 100 hit to her credits with a new version of “Physical” sung with Jane Lynch. In October 2010 Olivia starred in the breast cancer docudrama 1 A Minute and the Canadian film Score: A Hockey Musical. Her latest film A Few Best Men was released in January 2012, garnering her some of the best reviews of her film career.
The soundtrack to A Few Best Men features dance remixes of classic hits such as “Sugar Sugar” and “Daydream Believer” recorded by Olivia and remixed by some of the hottest club remixers in the world. In addition, the soundtrack reunites Olivia with her longtime producer and songwriter John Farrar on the single “Weightless.”
Adding author to her already impressive list of accomplishments, Olivia's released a cookbook earlier this year entitled LivWise: Easy Recipes for a Healthy, Happy Life with all of the royalties benefiting her Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia. As a breast cancer “thriver,” Olivia is thrilled that the Centre opened its doors to patients on July 2, 2012 - almost 20 years to the day from her own cancer diagnosis. With her current ongoing projects and philanthropic endeavors, Olivia’s worldwide popularity is as strong as ever!
Olivia Newton-John will perform at the main stage at Northasted Market Days in Chicago, on Sunday, August 11, 2012 at 8 p.m. She will return to San Francisco for a rare one-night-only concert appearance on September 13 at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre. Produced by Rick Bartalini Presents, this will be Newton-John's only Northern California appearance and first performance in San Francisco in nearly a decade.
Are long distance relationships posssible? In a recent interview with Jared Labell and Seth PINK learned how the two hotties make it possible and still manage to have some fun.
PINK: How did you guys meet each other?
Jared: We met this year on Feb 18th about 2 am.
Seth: It was on Saint Ann St. in New Orleans, the Friday night of Mardi Gras.
Jared: Right. I had just finished working and was in the mood to go out despite being incredibly tired. As I was walking from work down St. Ann, I recognized Seth.
Seth: And I had just finished doing a Kettle One vodka promotion at a Mardi Gras ball. I was walking with my buddies toward the gay bar Good Friends as Jared was leaving. We crossed paths on the sidewalk.
Jared: I stopped and ventured a friendly "Hello, I'm Jared," and he warmly invited me to hang out with him and his friends.
PINK: Was it a love at first sight?
Jared: I don't really believe in “love at first sight,” but I know what you mean, and I don’t think it was. Of course, Seth is a stunning man with a captivating smile, but I had no intention of even flirting with him at first meeting for a few reasons. And red-heads weren’t really a “thing” for me anyway, but then we started talking. As it turned out, we had tons in common. We were both from Louisiana, dancers, had masters degrees in science, adventuresome, had similar ideas on relationships, and we both place value on simplicity, friendship, communication and travel. In one very distinct moment, I got an incredibly strong feeling that this guy was different, unlike so many other men I'd met in my life before.
Seth: At first sight, it was a simple hello, an exchange of glances and a smile. Rather than love at first sight, it was more a feeling of home and something familiar. We both live hundreds of miles away from our native Louisiana but ironically met very close to our roots. Like Jared said, we found we had much in common, and as the conversation progressed, a sexual chemistry arose. I had urges to kiss him as I watched his lips telling stories of his past. As we walked to Jared’s place, we held hands in the drizzling rain and the rest has been love in the air!
PINK: Where do you guys live?
Seth: I live in Raleigh NC. Jared: And I’m currently in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
PINK: We all know that long distance relationships don't work, how do you manage to make it work, and how often do you see each other?
Jared: I’ve often thought that long-distance relationships don't work, but then again, a lot of close-distance relationships don’t work either. But I have known people who have made it work, like Seth and I are doing. We also didn’t jump into it blindly. Coincidently, Seth had already planned two trips to South Florida before we met. Those trips allowed us to get to know each other better before starting a relationship. We both had a chance to meet several of each other’s friends, and chances to learn how we interact and deal with other people.
Seth: And true love really isn’t about being inseparable; it’s about two people being true to each other even when they are separated. The physical distance apart of 700 miles is not a distance in my heart. Jared and I are able to interact and share our daily lives through texts, phone calls, e-mails, personal letters, facebook, and skype.
Jared: Very true. We communicate very well--probably better than many living in the same house--and I think that’s key. Our first “Skype date” was very special. We each made dinner for ourselves, had a glass of wine, and set a time to “meet up.” Seth sent me a cute message informing me that the “restaurant was able to seat us a few minutes early” because he was ready before me. Three hours later into our date, I knew it was something special.
Seth: It was! Jared is the first person I think about when I wake up and the last person I talk to before I go to sleep. We are both very effective communicators and work hard “first to understand, then to be understood.”
Jared: I love that quote! Another reason we work well is that neither of us is the “jealous type.” If one of us goes out in our respective cities, it doesn’t bother us that the other wasn’t there. Of course, we’d rather be with each other, but it doesn’t negatively affect us. We genuinely want each other to have a limitless life experience.
Seth: We also plan trips to each other’s homes and to destinations we both want to visit. We see each other in person about 3 times a month for 3 to 5 days each time. For example, this past July we saw each other 14 days total. Not bad!
Jared: I’d say that’s pretty damn good, babe! We also do lots of little sentimental things. I named a stuffed tiger I caught at Mardi Gras after him. For his birthday, I bought him a teddy named “Jare-Bear” so we’d each have one. We spray them with cologne at the end of each trip, and we always travel with them. It’s the little things keep us in each other’s lives when we're apart.
PINK: Do you ever want to live at the same city or same apartment?
Jared: Yes, we do eventually. Although, living in separate cities adds intensity to our dates. It's like Christmas morning a couple times per month! But, living in the same city or the same apartment/house is ideal.
Seth: Agreed. Every time we spend days together I think how nice it would be to snuggle up with Jared every night, go to the gym with him, cook supper together and have the opportunity to do daily tasks that some take for granted. I would like to surprise him at work, randomly take him to a movie on a weeknight, watch our favorite shows, or wake him up with breakfast in bed. I hope that in the future, we can figure out how to make that possible. When it happens, I want it to be in a city where we both desire to live and a home that we create together.
PINK: You guys perform as dancers and singers, how do you get your bookings?
Seth: Our bookings come from our own networks. Before Jared and I met, we were both getting booked by our own hardworking nature, reliability and talent. As a couple, we have doubled our network of contacts, and have many opportunities to work together.
Jared: Yep. So far, we’ve been freelancing it and helping each other. Recently, I was hired by the Live Free Be Strong Foundation, to work on a new national campaign against bullying, for which I wrote the song “Live Free Be Strong.” (Music video available online.) I will be performing, and promoting their message with people of all ages, especially with young gay youth, encouraging them to stand up against intolerance.
PINK: How do your regular jobs work with all the travel you do?
Jared: As a part time science educator, I can work on many projects, including travel.
Seth: I’m a full-time chemist for the USDA. So, I’m able to accrue annual leave, which allows me to take Fridays or Mondays off periodically. This way, I can have a long weekend for dancing too. It actually doesn’t take a substantial cut out of my normal workweek.
PINK: You guys do a lot of volunteer work, why?
Jared: I’ve done some. I’ve worked with gay rights organizations such as HRC before. It’s always important to learn about what is going on in the political sphere that effects us all. Last year, I choreographed and directed a number for “Broward Bares It” to benefit the Broward House in Fort Lauderdale, and I regularly give to Foundation Beyond Belief because I love their message of giving strictly for humanitarian purposes.
Seth: Over the last 5 years, I have been heavily involved with North Carolina Pride, and for the previous 2 years I served as a volunteer chair. I did it because it serves a large community and creates a family festival style Pride March every fall. Due to all the recent travel, I took off this year.
PINK: How do you find time to do everything and still be in love?
Jared: Interesting question! I don't really feel it is an issue. We include each other in our daily lives constantly.
Seth: We do! And we do everything IN LOVE! When you go through life being totally yourself and having passion for the things you love doing; someone will come along and fall in love with you for being you.
Jared: Yes! I love hearing about all the things Seth does, especially when he gets excited about them. Plus, we plan almost all our travel together. We both were already in the habit of traveling before we met and now we have fun with it! And work trips usually pay for themselves, taking pressure off travel expenses, which I think is something that haunts a lot of long-distance relationships.
Seth: We are both extremely active people: physically, socially and creatively. We chose to embrace our activities and travel both together and separate. We use them as building blocks to develop our love. Falling in love with someone is not a choice, but staying in love is. Anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you. It takes someone very special to stay in your life, and show you their love.
PINK: You guys work all the time, do you have any time for fun just for the two of you?
Seth: For us, fun is not determined by what’s happening around us, but rather what’s happening inside us. Fun and happiness come from within.
Jared: Right. Most of the work we do that requires us to be apart gets done in our respective cities. When we are working together on a trip, that is time that I value getting to spend with him as much as our time alone. It's fun to watch him in action. But of course, we also make time for just the two of us.
Seth: I have had amazing moments with Jared in the midst of insanely busy venues. We can be in crowds of thousands of people, and I can look in his eyes and feel like it’s just us. When we work weekend events, we usually have lots of other hours in the day to explore cities, shop, go to shows, or hit the gym together. We make the most of our time!
PINK: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years from now?
Jared: I’ve never liked this particular question. It’s always been hard for me to say, but based on where I’ve been so far, I’m sure it will be somewhere fun and interesting. I’ve always happy with the simple things in life, and stay open to the opportunities that present themselves. I love my work with Live Free Be Strong as a singer/songwriter, and would love to see that do well, and I have few more
surprises along the way.
Seth: I see myself as a business owner. I enjoy being a chemist, and I definitely feel that lab work is temporary. My life ambition is to own a bed and breakfast. On the dancing front, I most likely will not be dancing in 10 years. However, I do see myself managing dancers for festivals and circuit parties. I have an incredible knack for organization, which is a quality that is lacking in the dancer world. I always appreciate a dance manager who gets the ball rolling, and lets me know what to expect ahead of time. I will do more volunteer and organization for events and use my amazing festival network to develop in this arena.
PINK: Is there anything you would like to say, add?… or to say to anyone gay on the planet?
Jared: For anyone working through a relationship or about to start one, I'd say one thing––communication is incredibly important. Don't make assumptions. Ask your partner what they mean, and listen to them. Make sure you understand what they are saying before you start talking. So many people talk at each other instead of talking to each other. Sometimes two people hearing the exact same words will understand it differently because of the meanings they assign to words based on their own past experiences. When you really listen to someone, it shows that you care.
Seth: If someone wants to be part of your life, they will make an obvious effort to do so. Value your heart and think before reserving a space in it for a person that does not make an effort to stay. Don’t lose yourself in the process of loving someone; remember that you are very special too! Don’t worry about choosing a partner who is beautiful to the world; fall in love with the partner that makes your world beautiful! Be honest, stay open, and talk about your feelings. Being a student as well as a teacher in a relationship will make it strong and lasting. Be romantic, burn the candles, write letters and cards, blow kisses, and have inside jokes. Don’t save the special things for special occasions––today is special! As the song goes, “Love is not a gimme gimme, if you’re really with me, gotta show me show me!” So SHOW each other the LOVE!
To stay in touch with Jared and Seth go to:
Jared: www.facebook.com/jbradford.leblanc. • Seth: www.facebook.com/SethFornea1.
Photos by: Isauro Cairo • Dennis Dean • Andy Katz • Denis Largeron
PETER MARC JACOBSON: FRAN DRESCHER’S EX HUSBAND GOING GAY
by David Cohen
photos by Jeff Lipsky for TV Land
It was almost perfect. For over two decades Peter Marc Jacobson and Fran were in love. Everyone though it would be forever — just like a fairytale.
Fran and Peter met in high school in Flushing, NY. For the next 19 years the two were inseparable, and very much in love. In 1978, at the age of 21 they were married. The newlyweds decided to leave New York and move to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams of becoming big stars.
In 1993, after working diligently in Hollywood for a number of years, the couple’s big break came in with the TV series The Nanny, which both Peter and Fran co-created. The TV show became an instant success with Peter as the
executive producer and writer, and Fran playing Fran Fine, the lead character of the show.
Soon after the show aired, Peter and Fran received an invitation to attend a Barbra Streisand concert, and immediately accepted. Ironically, Peter had a secret obsession with Streisand but, was uncomfortable admitting this out loud. Infatuate with Streisand as most gay people are, he wrote an episode for The Nanny where Fran’s character was obsessed with Streisand. This allowed Peter to explore his own obsession with the icon without “outing” himself.
When Peter and Fran arrived at the Streisand concert, the crowd recognized them instantly. “Of course, Fran was the one people recognized-she was the star, not me. We heard ‘Fran!’ being yelled by the audience continuously. It didn’t bother me, she was the star and the one who made the big money,” Peter said. From that moment on, they knew they were famous.
Much to their surprise, Peter and Fran were escorted to front row seats. Peter stated, “We kept thinking that someone would be asking for these seats.” After the concert, the two were invited to attend a meet-and-greet with Streisand. “At the end of the evening, Ms. Streisand sent us home in a limo. She was so gracious. All these famous people were there, and we were too. We realized we were not in Flushing anymore.”
As their fame grew, the couple realized they were having difficulty handling the success. Fran was hoping that stardom would add a new dimension and excitement to her life. Disappointed with the outcome, she became depressed.
At the same time, unable to accept his true feelings as a gay man, Peter became a control freak, trying to control Fran’s career and show. The two were constantly arguing, and thus became very unhappy. In 1999, the couple decided to end their marriage and get a divorce. "We never missed a day of work and we always came in on time, so to everyone on the outside, everything looked great. But it wasn’t” Peter said.
In 1999, Peter and Fran announced their divorce on the Oprah Winfrey Show. “We didn’t want to make our story a tabloid thing, so we decided to let Oprah handle it as only Oprah could.”
According to Peter, the marriage didn’t end because of his sexuality. However, because of his frustration of being gay but not out, he took everything out on Fran: he didn't like the way she dressed, the way she acted, or her weight. Obviously, these were just excuses for his denial.
Because of this, Fran and Peter were constantly arguing, causing them both much grief and unhappiness. The man who fell in love with his high school sweetheart always knew he was gay, but buried it deep down. Having lots of sex, and great sex, more than many couples they knew, did not help their unhappiness.
“After the divorce, I moved back to New York and didn’t talk to Fran for almost a year. I hit rock bottom. My family had all passed away. I had no brothers and no sisters, and I couldn’t lie to myself anymore,” Peter stated. After talking with a therapist, Peter finally came to terms with himself as a gay man, and came out to his friends first, and then to his ex-wife, Fran.
In 1985 at the age of 28, Fran had been raped while Peter was held at gunpoint. This was the worst thing that had ever happened to Fran, so, “When I told Fran I was gay, she said, ‘You gotta be true to yourself,’” Peter said.
In 2000, Peter received a phone call from Fran’s agent telling him that Fran had been
diagnosed with uterine cancer. He immediately offered his support, but Fran refused to see him until she recovered.
Peter went back to Los Angeles to cast a movie, and slowly he and Fran began to rebuild their relationship, free of anger and disappointment. The two decided to take a vacation together in Mexico. During their vacation, the ex-couple had so much fun reconnecting and enjoying each other’s company, Fran was inspired to create a new sitcom based on their experience. Thus, Happily Divorced was born.
In June 2011, Peter once again found himself working as producer and writer with Fran on Happily Divorced. However, this time the sitcom was based on the lives of himself, a gay man, and Fran, his ex wife.
Set in Los Angeles, Happily Divorced is about Peter Lovett, a gay man living with his ex-wife (played by Fran Drescher) due to financial difficulties. The couple lives as “a very traditional family. Everyone’s very accepting that he’s gay. They’re both dating–he’s new at it, she’s new at it.”
“Fran is hilarious,” Peter said. “This season will have some wonderful guest stars, including Morgan Fairchild. And Peter, will date a bit. It is a fun season.”
“Fran and I are soul mates, and we choose to be in each others’ lives in any capacity. Our love is unique, rare, and unconditional,” Peter stated. “At the end of the evening when we leave work, Fran goes to her home, and I go to mine. She’s brilliantly talented, and it’s a pleasure writing for her.”
Happily Divorced is about two people who love each other no matter what. Being straight or being gay, it’s all about being truly happy!