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27 posts categorized "INTERVIEWS"

Nov 11 2016
LOOKING Back: An Interview With Michael Lannan As Everybody's Favorite/Least Favorite Gay Series Comes To Blu-ray/DVD Comments (0)

Looking jonathan groff

When Looking debuted on HBO, everyone had an opinion, and that opinion usually included the word “love” or the word 81TLiqh+vnL._SL1500_“hate.”

After two seasons, the show went out with a bang—a movie meant to tie up loose ends to the extent that loose ends can ever be tied up, and to give the series' fans proper closure.

With Looking being released November 15 in a special Blu-ray and DVD set containing the entire series and the movie, I chatted with Michael Lannan, the guy who created the show that took on HIV panic, infidelity, racism and classism in the LGBT community and, well, rimming.

Keep reading for the Q&A ...

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Oct 28 2016
Christian Slater & Justin Kelly On KING COBRA Comments (0)

Y8652P(GIF via IFC)

About 10 days ago, I was on a phoner with Justin Kelly and Christian Slater to discuss their film King Cobra (my review here), 6a00d8341c2ca253ef01b7c8a5886b970b-800wi which opened in NYC last week and opens in L.A. today.

Writer/director Justin Kelly on the optics that he favors non-uplifting queer stories after 2015's I Am Michael (about an ex-gay activist) and now King Cobra:

Um, yes! [Laughs] Fair enough. No, for me, it's about telling really interesting stories with the kind of fascinating characters that we don't see as often. And to me, it's not about, like, representing gay characters in a bad way at all, it's just about the story and about the characters, and who they sleep with is secondary ... which is I think how it should be. So it's not as if I go out there and try to find these non-uplifting stories at all. [Laughs] It's something where if there's an implication that it's a bad thing, I just have to agree to disagree with people because I feel it's more progressive to approach queer stoires in this way, where you're not only focusing on coming-out stories.

The short answer is I read about these stories and I feel like I wanna understand why these characters did what they did. In Michael's case, how an anti-Christian gay activist can become an anti-gay Christian activist—I mean, that's insane.

Star Christian Slater on humanizing his character, the victim Bryan (changed to Stephen in the film) Kocis, who was by all accounts a porn producer who used his models shamelessly:

I did have some compassion for this guy, I definitely feel like that was in the script. Again, you could take this story and set it against any sort of backdrop—I mean, it's a story of obsession and about human beings trying to sort of find their way, maybe not choosing the most quote unquote ethical path you could take, you know? People, their lives go in all kinds of different directions. Everybody wants to find their path and what it is that motivates them and excites them.This guy was a guy that certainly was presenting a certain image to his family—his sister's asking him to meet a girl, so he's obviously a closeted guy who hasn't revealed himself to anybody and is doing all these things udner the radar. I just thought that was very, very fascinating. I could identify with the frustration of that.

I was thinking about it last night. There were just a couple of lines in it, particularly in the scene with Garrett where I say, “I just wanna feel wanted.” That feeling is universal and something I think a lot of us can identify with.

Check out the movie, playing now—or on demand. Keep reading for a new scene, just released ...

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Oct 10 2016
Pulling POCUS: A Chat With Sexy Singer Jay Armstrong Johnson Comments (0)

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Beautiful out singer Jay Armstrong Johnson just released his latest album, Jay Armstrong Johnson—Live at Feinstein's/54 Below (Broadway Records)—and he's 51wUqJBamoL._SS500
celebrating with a bash at the titular venue in NYC on October 30. Word is it will be Halloween-themed, which is right up the Hocus Pocus fanatic's alley!

Jay's also an actor (you may recognize from Quantico) who's just been cast as the straight guy in a sitcom version of the popular Web series My Gay Roommate.

Check out my interview with the talented crooner and actor below ...

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Sep 08 2016
Daring To Be Truthful: Julie Brown On The Prostitunes, Gay Rights, Madonna (Way!), Trump & The Best/Worst Celebs EVER Comments (0)

Tumblr_mseltxZqMd1r18xrto2_500School shootings were funny, not news, in the '80s, guys. (GIF via Bulletz Records)

Mike Zara reached out to me regarding his baby—the Prostitunes. Okay, so his baby is demented ... don't judge!

Zara (with Mark Byers collaborating on the music) conceived the ladies-of-the-evening-themed, '60s-style girl group, and has casted it with Natalie Lander as Thursday, Candace Brown as Leeza, Corbin Reid as Koral, Colleen Smith as Fran and the inimitable Julie Brown—the uptown version—as “the brains of the outfit,” Satin.

The group's “Hey Psycho! (Do U Recycle)” has already surpassed 180,000 views on Facebook, hooking people with humor, trashy outfits and social responsibility. But don't stop with the video, because the behind-the-scenes interviews are even more hysterical:

In honor of the video's success, I was geeked to speak with Julie, the somehow sweetly twisted mind behind such pop-culture Jj4 classics as the singles “The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun” (1983), “I Like em Big and Stupid” (1983) and “I Want to Be Gay” (2005); the album Trapped in the Body of  White Girl (1987); the film Earth Girls Are Easy (1988); and the savagely funny Truth or Dare parody Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful (1991).

Highly watchable (coke helps!) pilot with a Drew Carey-esque opening: 

On top of all that, she's appeared on a slew of your fave childhood TV series; has popped up in an array of movies; starred on her own shows Just Say Julie (1989-1992) and The Edge (1992-1993); and was the lead writer on that Disney Channel Romeo 'n' Juliet jam Camp Rock (2008).

Brown's Valley Girls-gone-wild character, complete with the first recorded case of attention deficit disorder and a healthily unhealthy case of body dysmorphia, is like Cyndi Lauper and Pee-wee Herman adopted a full-grown woman, an obvious precursor to the stage persona of many female comics who followed her.

Keep reading to find out Julie's thoughts on turning to Prostitune-tion at this stage in her career, and to hear her candid thoughts on her so-funny-it-ain't-even-funny career ...

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Sep 06 2016
Funny Business: An Interview With Bruce Vilanch On The Occasion Of MOTOWN & MORE: On AIDS, Body-Shaming, Eartha Kitt & That Bette Midler Caitlyn Jenner Joke Comments (0)

BVBruce Vilanch (Image via Help Is on the Way)

When you get an opportunity to interview Bruce Vilanch, one of the most celebrated comedy writers in history and a way-out gay man to boot (and boots go with anything), you do not pass it by.

Vilanch spoke with me last week about a cause close to his heart, the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation and the great work it does and will continue to do thanks to the bucks it seeks to rake in from a one-night-only Help Is on the Way cabaret benefit: the Broadway touring cast of Beautiful will perform in Motown & More on Monday, September 12, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. at the Marines' Memorial Theater in San Francisco.

PC(Image via Help Is on the Way)

The highly anticipated show will be co-hosted by Vilanch and operatic drag diva Katya Smirnoff-Skyy. Get your tickets here.

Vilanch's career took off when a friendship with Bette Midler (before she was Bette Midler!) led to him writing for her 1974 Broadway show Clams on the Half Shell. He's collaborated with her many times, and has written for a dizzying array of TV shows and performers, from Donny Osmond to Elizabeth Taylor, and for some of the funniest people of our time: Robin Williams, Roseanne Barr (she really did used to be funny), Billy Crystal, Lily Tomlin and more.

Help Is on the Way performers speak out about the charity:

Somehow, Vilanch has been able to be a part of the best and worst of pop culture, writing for the Oscars for 27 years and counting, and also counting The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (1976-1977) and that infamous Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) among his credits. He is the nuclear cockroach of HA!, and always the best thing about whatever project he's tackling.

Vilanch survives in any milieu because everyone knows he knows from funny. He's beloved because, unlike some very funny people, he also has a sense of humor about himself, and a sense of duty toward the gay community and people in need.

Read on for my chat with the most hilarious person in the room, because the room is usually filled with people delivering lines he's given them to say ...

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Jun 02 2016
A Cheat Day For Your Eyes: Q&A With Buff Fitness Buff Dan Welden Comments (0)

Unnamed-3I think crunches are the pits, but looks like Dan finds them abs-olutely essential (Image by Stockwell Photography)

Dan Welden is an NASM certified personal trainer based in New York whose Instagram never fails to spoil its 11K+ followers with images of his, um, progress.

Keep reading for my Q&A with the fitness junkie ...

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Apr 18 2016
Blond Admissions: Madonna's BLOND AMBITION Dancers Open Up On Their Revealing New Documentary Comments (0)

IMG_6062 copyFront: Luis Camacho. Back (L-R): Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan, Carlton Wilborn, Kevin Stea, Oliver Crumes, Slam Gauwloos. (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Strike a Pose, the touching documentary that catches us up on the lives of Madonna's dancers from her Blond Ambition World Tour and the ensuing warts-and-all documentary Truth or Dare, is currently playing the Tribeca Film Festival. This limited engagement was enough to score me some face time with five of the seven original dancers: Slam Gauwloos, Carlton Wilborn, Luis Camacho, Oliver Crumes and Kevin Stea (Gabriel Trupin died of AIDS in the mid-'90s and Jose Gutierez was doing another interview).

Check out my review of Strike a Pose

First, I thought I was getting them in a crowded round table session, so I only had a couple of questions prepared. After all, I'd once been in the same situation with Madonna and it had been a battle to get a word in edgewise. As I got into a cab, I received word I'd have them to myself. Gulp. Could I handle those guys? They seemed high-maintenance in Truth or Dare, holding their own in scenes alongside the planet's biggest superstar. On that topic, Slam later noted of Madonna, “She was not that insecure, you know? I think a lot of artists don’t do that because of their insecurities. She just was perfect at picking the good talent, putting it together, and just, in the end, it made her look better, too.” Kevin chimed in, “When you’re secure with yourself as a star, you want stars around you.”

I frantically dashed off some impressionistic questions. Lucky for me, I'd seen Strike a Pose as well as Truth or Dare and do know quite a bit about the subject matter, so even though I ultimately wound up sharing them with one other journalist, I was ready for these guys and wasn't too nervous that they'd gang up on me.

Making things easier, I found the boys—now men—to be extremely articulate, witty and forthcoming, as you might expect from the cast of Truth or Dare, which has been called the “grandmother of reality TV.” (I submit that Madonna might prefer “aunt.”)

If I dominated a bit, I hope the other writer can forgive me. After all, these were the guys who showed me it was okay to be gay, and who were in the position I most coveted 25 years ago: Madonna-adjacent.

As the film shows and as my life experience had already taught me, glamour is often an illusion, and reality is better anyway. 

Keep reading for my talk with the guys, and with filmmakers Reijer Zwaan and Ester Gould ...

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Feb 29 2016
The Passion Of Joey: An Interview With Joey Suarez Comments (0)

Gasporro - Joey 204_FINALJoey (Image by Richard Gasparro Studio)

If Joey hasn't pinged your radar yet, it's time to recalibrate.

Joey's already big on Twitter, bigger on Facebook and huge on Instagram.

This 22-year-old is a multi-hyphenate, except along with model and singer, tax man is in the mix. Yes, he's studying tax law while pursuing the arts. It's debatable which is his backup plan.

Also of note, the artist is not only out, he came out at 14 to his 11 brothers and sisters back in San Antonio, Texas, the kind of story that wouldn't have been possible the year he was born, but that's become increasingly common—thankfully!

Keep reading for my Q&A with the young artist ...

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