Meeting Michaud (left) and Burr (right) in Los Angeles
In February, following an interview I did with Michael Gregg Michaud, the author of Sal Mineo: A Biography, I was pleased when he introduced me to Mineo's partner, Courtney Burr. Burr had been with the actor for years at the time of his tragic stabbing death and had provided Michaud with many invaluable insights into Mineo's personality because he "just wanted the story of what happened in our lives to be truthful and to reflect even the things some people might find strange."
I met with Burr, once looked down on as Mineo's "twinkie" and now a respected acting teacher in his sixties, and Michaud at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles on brisk day, but was immediately warmed by Burr's gift of gab. His story holds interest not only as a peek into the private life of Mineo, but as a candid look at how two men fell in love and made it work until it was taken away unexpectedly.
Continue reading to be regaled with Burr's memories of his lover's artistic vision, to find out if Mineo identified as gay, to get pissed off at how the Mineo family mistreated him after Mineo's murder, to get dish on the infamous Broadway version of Harold and Maude and to hear what it was like directing first Oscar winner Janet Gaynor...
Last week, I was invited to a special reception and preview performance of the revival of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, which you will—and should, immediately—find at the Golden Theatre. A show widely regarded as a seminal part of gay and AIDS history is having its Broadway debut; it is co-directed by Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe; and its stars include Ellen Barkin (finally good again in something good again!), Joe Mantello (the director's first acting gig since the original Angels in America), Lee Pace, Jim Parsons, John Benjamin Hickey, Patrick Brreen, Mark Harelik, Luke MacFarlane, Richard Topol and Wayne Alan Wilcox...for those reasons, sight unseen, this was always going to be a must-attend. But having seen it, I can't unsee it, am likely to forget it and can't recommend it highly enough.
Last night was the big party at Providence on W. 57th in NYC celebrating the season finale of season three of RuPaul's Drag Race, which—as you undoubtedly know by now—was unsurprisingly won by longtime front-runner Raja.
Women on the verge
I didn't do the bash, but did the preceding press event, which was probably five times or more larger than a similar event I covered last year. Nine (!) of the queens showed up (but no RuPaul and no judges) for our interviewing pleasure, and I got to meet an adorable Boy Culture reader from Passport, a candidate for Mr. Friendly Hunk-of-the-Year who works for Networq, an A-List: New York producer (I did not smack him, and he told me he loves all the boys, especially Ryan) and saw my pals Ian and Mike and Mark and more.
When I arrived, Raja, Carmen Carrera (barefoot!) and Mimi Imfurst were milling about outside, greeting fans. Mimi looked a bit put out that so much attention was being showered on Raja, but I think everyone knew Raja was going to win, and Mimi's look was not only fierce, it was fearsome—in a good way!—so maybe the fanboys and fangirls were a bit more shy.
Inside, we lined up to take pictures and video as the girls paraded before a step-and-repeat. A regal-looking (read: the bitch was carrying a scepter!) Manila Luzon definitely seemed to generate the most excitement, followed by a Goth Yara Sofia, looking like a gorgeous courtesan who'd just dug herself out of her grave for a second chance at life.
A queen and her subjects
It was kind of a Q&A S&M, which is what I call it ("round-robin" is too Tiger Beat) when you just have to grab whichever subject is closest for your questioning and/or stand in painfully long lines if others have beaten you to the punch.
Here are my thoughts, along with video—I asked each to tell me about their "last drag, first drag, best drag, worst drag" stories—to back them up:
Hot off the presses: It may be "The Hardest Thing" to believe, but 37-year-old former 98 Degrees star Jeff Timmons is teaming up and steaming up with Chippendales at Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from May 12 to June 5. Though he's got the body for it, will he actually be, you know, dancing? And if so, can you break this hundred for all ones and fives?
Cool down—he's billed as the emcee and special musical guest, so while Timmons will be shaking his moneymaker, in his case that moneymaker is his golden throat and not his pec-tacular physique.
It's been years since I last interviewed Timmons, one of the nicest people I've ever encountered in teen idoldom, but I got in touch with my old buddy with plenty of burning questions about his surprising gig...
On Friday, I was thrilled to finally be able to go see my pal Simon Curtis perform live in his first-ever NYC gig. Curtis was just profiled by Billboard, which estimates his debut album 8Bit Heart's been downloaded 150,000 times and which previews four of his new tracks, yet he was setting foot in Manhattan for only the second time in his life as part of the supercool, superyoung SUPERFRAICHE concert put on by Arjan Writes and GUMBO.
I've been to Brooklyn's DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) fewer times than I've been to L.A. since moving to New York 18.5 years ago, but it was worth the trip; it's a beautiful area and despite being pitch-black as I made my way to the Galapagos Art Space, no one seemed too concerned about the deserted quality of the streets. Everyone was more interested in gazing at the majestic cityscape. I, however, was sprinting along since I had a pocket full of cash in advance of my Burbank trip the following day. Still, I slowed down and was able to scoop up some chocolate at a cute shop that was closing—I even got some free bark, which was no match for my bite.
Speaking of candy, I was then promptly carded at the Galapagos Art Space (always delicious when you're 42), which I would say is a sweet spot for this kind of showcase. Considering the youngsters (and a few oldsters) who gathered for a bill headlined by Sky Ferreira and featuring Curtis and newcomers Databoy and She's The Queen are probably more than used to standing around for G.A. shows, it was a treat to be able to sit down. The stage faces a lower level made up mostly of comfy circular booths with narrow runways between them, everything punctuated by mini-moats. Yes, there are metal railings everywhere, but after a few drinks, it's conceivable more than one party person might wind up not only soused but doused.
I had an excellent seat with a perfect view that was only occasionally marred when just one of the many photographers, who were not reined in at all, kept waltzing up the central runway to the stage and pausing to reflect on which angles she liked before taking countless shots without bothering to stoop or move along quickly. It's important to record events for posterity, but not important enough to wreck the view for a chunk of the audience.
Host with the most Arjan emerged in a natty red jacket to announce She's The Queen, a boy-girl duo with an authentically '80s sound but not as much stage presence as one would expect considering that fierth band name. I think they will improve over time, though, because the songs were tight and while the lead singer is a bit awkward when it comes to moving and presenting herself, she has a strong voice I'd like to hear again. Their EP hits iTunes April 12, 2011.
Next up was Databoy, a cute, quirky electro-duo who won me over with their loosely choreographed, in-sync pelvic thrusts, not to mention a sturdy performance that had the challenge of having to rebound after a sound issue thwarted their initial try. I don't know if heads rolled after that, but they did bob rhythmically to choice cuts like "Stupid." Plus, if you pronounce the word as "day-ta," then their group name is queerily appealing.
I was sitting next to a cute college student, Eric, who has a radio show on campus down in DC, so I asked him who he'd come to see. "Simon and Sky," he replied. This put me in prime proudness position, allowing me to brag that Curtis is a friend. Eric proceeded to school me on other acts I should brush up on, and in return I made sure he got a pic with my wunderkind buddy.
Curtis followed soon after, easily living up to my high expectations. He's been at this doggedly since I first encountered him when he was 17, and his devotion to it shows—he's a singer who owns the stage and knows it. He takes care to ensure that his act is more than just an excuse to win potential fans or reward devoted fans with readings of his songs.
He opened with new song "Don't Dance," a pained, line-in-the-sand expression of his determination as an artist:
Next up was one of his best new ones, "Pit of Vipers." Whereas 8Bit Heart was vulnerable and romantic, his new album RΔ (sounds a lot like "raw") is more reflective of what happens to boys who are vulnerable and romantic—they get stepped on and abused, and, in Curtis's case, they strike back:
I'm sure the crowd was jonesing for some familiar stuff, and Curtis served up one of my personal favorites, "Don't Wanna Be Alone," a stark contrast to what had come before:
Matt Skrincosky proves he's one bad apple, spoiling us a bunch
I was in L.A., so had to miss out on Broadway Bares: Solo Strips (please donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) at Splash on Sunday, April 3. I sent my new pal and de facto BoyCulture.com stringer, Tim O'Leary...and he definitely didn't disappoint!
Charlie Sutton from Catch Me If You Can...and believe me, I'd try!
Keep reading to see videos from chorus-boy knock-outs including Matt Skrincosky, Tony Guerrero, Dave August, Rickey Tripp, Tyrone A. Jackson, Andy Mills, Charlie Sutton, Kellen Stancil and Brandon Rubendall.
Andy Mills had to split
And don't forget to take a lingering look at our footage of a slimmed-down and always sexy Christopher Sieber, your master(bator) of ceremonies...