Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... boy culture: INTERVIEWS

30 posts categorized "INTERVIEWS"

Jun 10 2017
Pride Month: Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato — Class Is In Session! Comments (0)

636261827379396103-1837549981_635879698894970088-290439679_o-RUPAULS-DRAG-RACE-facebookBailey & Barbato's oeuvre is not all about RuPaul's Drag Race ... but this interview is! (Image via VH1)

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato founded their now world-famous World of Wonder production company in 1991, taking on a slew of documentaries, FentonBaileyRandy_Feb2004reality TV and scripted films.

The onetime couple — they have described their journey as de-merging from romantic, never wavering creatively — and longtime best friends are responsible for some 1,600 TV episodes and series you know and love or know and hate or hate to love or love to hate or know you love: Tori & Dean: Inn Love (2007-2012), the Million Dollar Listing franchise (2006-) and so many more.

The films of Bailey and Barbato represent a peculiarly queer perspective, one so badly needed in an arena where people are coming up with ideas like remaking shitty Brendan Fraser mummy movies starring shitty Tom Cruise. If you've never seen their The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000) about the late televangelist-turned-LGBTQ alley Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, do; and their Party Monster (2003), about the murderer Michael Alig, is an early '00s must.

Image-w856How I love ya, my dear, old Tammy ...

On Sunday, June 11, Bailey and Barbato's Menendez: Blood Brothers, a smart, stylish look back at the notorious Menendez Brothers slayings, airs on Lifetime (my review here).

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 6.41.35 PMMyko Olivier as Erik Menendez in Bailey and Barbato's Menendez: Blood Brothers (Image via Lifetime)

I spoke to these queer cinema icons about their most famous baby: RuPaul's Drag Race (2009-) ...

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Feb 20 2017
ABA DABA HONEYMOON Period: Actor Carleton Carpenter On His Unfulfilled WWII Gay Love Story, Losing Debbie Reynolds & Cary Grant's Visit To His Dressing Room Comments (0)

6a00d8341c2ca253ef017c31b0e17a970bCarleton Carpenter in fall 2012 (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

“You know, you and I are gonna be singin' 'Aba Daba Honeymoon' when we're both a hundred years old!”

Tumblr_static_tumblr_mc0jo84fvk1re82s3o1_r1_400(GIF via MGM/Matthew Rettenmund/Tumblr @carletoncarpenterfanatic)

So said the late, great Debbie Reynolds to her duet partner and movie co-star Carleton Carpenter over 60 years ago, and while their final performance of the tune together was in 2012 (when she was 80 and he 86), she was right in that their indelible rendition of that old chestnut in the 1950 film Two Weeks with Love was prominently mentioned in every one of Debbie's adoring obituaries. That unforgettable performance only happened thanks to the ingenuity of “Carp,” who recalls duping his boss into thinking it had been his own idea.

Last Live Perf of “Aba Daba Honeymoon” at 5:21: 

“That was a whole big ruse,” the 90-year-old actor recalls in a phone interview from his Warwick, New York, home. “I found that sheet music in a pile on top of a piano on the set of the movie, dug that out and thought it would be fun. I put that sheet of music back underneath the whole pile with a little corner hanging out and I waited about two and a half days until Jack Cummings, who was the producer, was on his way in. I got Deb over and I pulled this out and there was someone playing the piano there and I said, 'Don’t bother with any of the beginning stuff, just start here,' and we jabbered away. He came in and walked over to where we were singing and he said, 'You know —' it was hard to keep a straight face! — 'That would be a good number for the two of you…' And I said with the straightest face ever, 'Reallllly?' The rest is history.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 12.48.33 PMCarpenter & Reynolds performing “Aba Daba Honeymoon” at a Busby Berkeley Thalians tribute in 1971

Carpenter, not a household name except in the households of true cinephiles, has nonetheless Scan 5made history more than once in his 70-plus-year career, starting with the unprecedented chart success of “Aba Daba Honeymoon” and continuing with his work in early TV, spectacular runs on Broadway and Off- (he took over the lead in the original production of The Boys in the Band), his nonchalant handling of his bisexuality and, now, the publication of his detail-packed memoir, The Absolute Joy of Work: From Vermont to Broadway, Hollywood and Damn Near 'Round the World (BearManor Media, $24.95).

With typical humility, Carpenter chalks up his success to luck and pursuing an acting career with the naïveté of a kid from Vermont who showed up in Times Square 100% convinced he was right for the part — any part, some part.

He says he got his first Broadway show, Bright Boy, fresh off the bus one frigid January in 1944 at age 17. He picked up Actor's Cues for a nickel, went somewhere to grab a bite and found his calling. “They were looking for 17-to-20-year-old guys for a play and I thought, 'I’ll just go get that after lunch.' I got over there and they said it was on the top floor and when I got up there, you heard them rumble from the room and the door opened and the guy was leading somebody out the door and I was there and he said, 'You’re too old!' and took the other actor down. A guy sitting there grabbed the bottom of my heavy winter coat and said, 'They told me the same thing six months ago… and I’m still reading for the part!'”

Scan 4Carpenter & Michael Dreyfus in Bright Boy (Image via Carleton Carpenter)

That did it. “Off came the coat and I scrunched down behind several people and smoked three or four cigarettes and probably 35 or 40 minutes later the same guy with the slate board in his hand came over and said, 'Hey, you’re next.' I went in and read five different parts and they gave me the show and told me to go into the other room and read it, so I did. Then they told me they wanted me in the show, but they didn’t know what part, and could I come in the next morning? I left and was practically on top of Grand Central, so I picked up my bag and headed for my mother’s second cousin’s place. He asked me how I did and I said, 'I think I have a show.' He said, 'That’s nice.'” 

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Jan 30 2017
This Is Who Trump Blames For His Muslim Ban's Chaos Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 3.08.05 PM(Video still via MTV)

Stephen Guarino is always hilarious, and when I read that Trump was blaming chaos caused by his Muslim ban on Delta's system, all I could think of was this sketch.

For fun, check out a Q&A I did with sexy Stephen six (!) years ago ... on Cam4 ...

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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)

5.208545(Image by Matthew Murphy for Broadway.com/JayArmstrongJohnson.org)

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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