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May 23 2016
Feeling The Burn: A One-Night Stand With Carol Burnett Comments (0)

IMG_0156(Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Months ago, I bought my mom and I tickets to see Carol Burnett's latest show, a traveling Q&A about her life and career aimed at plugging her upcoming book, In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox (Crown Archetype, September 2016). It was as much a gift to myself as it was to her, and the event ensured I'd visit more than just at Christmas for a change.

Having parted with my original tickets (to my good buddy Shaun and his partner and a mutual friend) in favor of reasonably priced front-row (!) seats, we sat waiting for Carol to emerge, just like we had waited for her show to begin each week over 40 years ago. This time, we were side-by-side. Back then, I was usually at the end of my parents' bed, or even hidden at the foot of it (if I wasn't supposed to be up), where I would sometimes fall asleep and trip my dad in the middle of the night.

I once wrote Carol to tell her it was her fault I didn't have more brothers and sisters, because my parents were too engrossed in her show. I also wrote her to ask her to contribute a one-word description of Madonna for my Encyclopedia Madonnica 20, a request you might think someone of her generation would ignore or even find annoying. Instead, Carol was the very first star to reply—with a handwritten note, no less. Her word? TALENTED!, with the exclamation point.

Now, waiting for Carol to come on, the man we sat next to kept asking me, “Are you excited?” I think he was using me to talk to himself. He also wanted to compare ticket prices, as older men love to do.

What I paid was more than worth it.

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Renewed Push To Make FROZEN's Elsa A Lesbian Comments (0)

This whole #GiveElsaAGirlfriend movement is, well, moving!

At last night's Billboard Music Awards, presenter Idina Menzel was asked what she thought of the idea of her character getting a girlfriend—and she's down:

I think it's great. Disney’s just gotta contend with that. I’ll let them figure that out. No matter what, [Elsa] changed my life.

Though there is less than a 0% chance of Disney actually doing this, it's nice to have friends who simply won't let go on gay visibility in the arts.

 
6-PACK — It's Hillary + Trump's Tax Dodge + Antonio Sabàto Jr. Is 100% For Trump + School Says It Will Expel Students Related To LGBT People + Patti LuPone B'day Gig + Biden Praises Out West Point Class Prez + San Diego Shame! Comments (0)

*widget boy cultureHillary confident she will be the Dem nominee, okay with Bernie continuing his campaign, calls out pretend-successful Trump & nails why he won't release taxes.

*widget boy cultureDumb-as-a-post model/“actor” Antonio Sabàto Jr. comes out 100% for Donald Trump.

*widget boy cultureWichita's Trinity Academy asserts it can deny admission to or expel students with LGBT family members, or who live in pro-LGBT homes.

*widget boy cultureFull video of Patti LuPone crooning “I Was Here” at Ben Rimalower's 40th birthday celebration in NYC:

*widget boy cultureVP Biden remembers recent history of DADT in praising West Point's first out class prez, Eugene “E.J.” Coleman.

*widget boy cultureOUT-RAGE: San Diego Gay Men's Chorus not allowed to sing at Padres game, heckled as female vocal played over their voices

 
Madonna & Stevie Wonder Pay Homage To Prince @ The Billboard Music Awards Comments (0)

Madonna-800(Video still via ABC)

I didn't have high hopes for Madonna's tribute to Prince on Sunday's Billboard Music Awards, but I was pleasantly surprised—she took on the very big song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” sounded great, looked great (and appropriate, in her purple paisley suit by Gucci's Alessandro Michele, who said, “It's more than a performance, it's a real act of love.”), and overall seemed very much in awe of Prince rather than making the tribute an act of ego. Anyone who thought she didn't sound good, I guess she's never sounded good, then, and is not for them. Anyone objecting to her daring to pay tribute to her peer and ex needs to find a hobby.

The inclusion of Stevie Wonder was a surprise, but I'm glad he was with her on “Purple Rain”—their voices blended nicely and I don't think she'd have done as well solo on that one.

It seemed heartfelt and unpretentious, not at all like it was attempting to put itself forth as the be-all, end-all, definitive Prince tribute.

Grotesquely, BET immediately tweeted an ad for its own awards show, touting a Prince tribute with the phrase, “Yeah, we saw that. Don't worry. We Got You.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 1.03.01 AM(Video still via BET)

Nothing like a naked attempt to stir up racial resentment (like that puny Change.org petition had tried to do) and to commercialize Prince's death and legacy.

 
May 22 2016
6-PACK — The $80K Gay Kiss + Military Meat + Hillary Dwarfs Trump + LGBT History In The Making In Dallas + Zimmerman's Gun Auction Slays + TSA Report! Comments (0)

*widget boy cultureLesbians wrongfully arrested for kissing in Honolulu have settled their lawsuit for $80K.

*widget boy cultureInsanely adorable military dude! Also, this tall, lean looker ain't half bad, either.

*widget boy cultureHillary Clinton's campaign infrastructure is 10X the size of Tiny Hands Trump's. Let's hope it helps.

 Hillary Clinton will start with a huge infrastructure advantage over Trump https://t.co/VyKK8da9Zh | AP Photo pic.twitter.com/L1x96tVz6l

*widget boy cultureCheck out the new Resource Center for LGBT people in Dallas, located in landmark building.

*widget boy cultureGeorge Zimmerman sells gun he used to murder Travyon Martin for $250,000.

*widget boy cultureMy experience at O'Hare with the TSA on Saturday: Insanely long lines, but I did get through quickly:

 
MISTER ED's Alan Young Dies @ 96, 60 MINUTES Staple Morley Safer Dies @ 84 Comments (0)

60mins-candidsafer-640x360_1463675286877_2385892_ver1.0Morley Safer (November 8, 1931-May 19, 2016)

I was traveling this weekend, so was not able to post a lot of breaking news, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the passing of two TV figures: Alan Young and Morley Safer.

Safer, who worked for 46 seasons on 60 Minutes, and whose reports from Vietnam helped shape the public's perception of that war, died Thursday at the age of 84.

For a man whose career was all about TV, he seemed to schedule his exit, announcing his retirement, being the center of a tribute show and dying within the same month.

According to The Hollywood Reporter:

Safer's August 1965 piece from Vietnam, in which he witnessed and reported on a U.S. Marines mission that destroyed the village of Cam Ne with flame throwers, matches and cigarette lighters, aired on the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite.

The segment prompted the U.S. military to issue new rules of engagement and earned the wrath of members of the Lyndon Johnson administration, who called CBS News executives “unpatriotic” and accused Safer of being a communist.

Said Safer in the 2003 book Reporting America at War: An Oral History: “Cam Ne was a shock, I think. It’s hard for me to know exactly, because I was 13,000 miles away, with really lousy communication, so I only got the reverberation of the shock. I think [viewers] saw American troops acting in a way people had never seen American troops act before, and couldn’t imagine.”

DPkabuGAlan Young: November 19, 1919-May 19, 2016 (Image via CBS)

English-Canadian Alan Young died the same day as Safer, at age 96. He starred alongside a talking horse on Mister Ed (1961-1966), one of the most popular—and goofiest—sitcoms of the '60s. Young's charm in the role sold a preposterous storyline in a way that Scott McKay (1915-1987) could not, having appeared in a pilot that failed to sell. The show has become a pop-culture touchstone, and featured memorable guest stars, like Mae West and Jack LaLanne.

Young was recognizable as Mister Ed's Wilbur Post, to put it mildly, but continued making many TV guest appearances and was doing voice roles up until this year. You may know him as the voice of the contemptible Scrooge McDuck.

The rest of the primary cast members of Mister Ed pre-deceased Young: Connie Hines (1931-2009), Allan “Rocky Lane,” the voice of Ed (1909-1973), Bamboo Harvester, the horse who played Ed (1949-1970)

Previously, along with a smattering of film roles, Young had starred in The Alan Young Show (1950-1953), for which he won the Emmy. 

 
6-PACK — ATTITUDE's Trans Knockout! + Spacey As Clinton Lays Into Trump + Trump's Supremely Unqualified SCOTUS Pick + Cher's 70th + Still More Prince-Tribute Drama + Help Fund This Gay Movie! Comments (0)

Modello_trans_Laith_Ashley_mostra_il_pacco_su_At-500x665(Image via Attitude)

*widget boy cultureKNOCKOUT! Trans model Laith Ashley covers Attitude with a Speedo and a thrown punch.

*widget boy cultureKevin Spacey impersonates Bill Clinton, roasts Trump at amfAR Cannes event: “Foreign films contain 2 things Donald Trump hates the most: foreigners & reading.”

*widget boy cultureOne of Trump's Supreme Court hopefuls (Work Unfriendly) has a nudie past, thinks people have no right to sex outside wedlock, is rumored to be a Karl Rove plant.

Full-Bill-Pryor-Gay-Porn3A-page-0(Image via Badpuppy/The Sword)

*widget boy cultureCher turned 70 this weekend. She was touched by all her fans' messages of love and support.

*widget boy cultureLinda Perry inadvertently shaded various Paisley Park artists, especially Sheila E., while explaining Billboard's bottom line in asking Madonna to salute Prince. 

*widget boy cultureYour chance to help a film about an AIDS activist falling in love (starring Alan Cumming, Wilson Cruz, Zachary Booth) is waiting here!

 
May 17 2016
Bob The Queen Of Drag Queens: RuPAUL'S DRAG RACE Season 8 Winner Crowned Comments (0)
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(Images in the gallery above by Matthew Rettenmund)

Last night, Bob the Drag Queen was crowned the America's next drag superstar at the end of the the Season 8 finale of RuPaul's Drag Race, walking away—in heels—with the $100,000 prize.

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*IMG_6114Bob has an eye for the boys (All images in this post by Matthew Rettenmund)

At a festive press reception at Stage 48, immediately prior to a viewing party and late-night performance by several of the season's most popular queens, I was able to interview Bob, Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, Thorgy Thor, Derrick Barry and Chi Chi DeVayne ... not to mention special guests Dina Lohan and Tiffany “New York” Pollard.

*IMG_6082Black-and-white and red-carpet all over

The girls were all perfectly polished in their replies, and unfailingly polite and funny. I'm not sure Season 8 was the most mind-blowing season, but it definitely had the most uniformly nice and diligent girls. 

I missed part of the carpet, but I didn't miss Naomi Smalls walking in nearly naked. Hey, play to your strengths, right?

It was also highly entertaining watching a relaxed Bob (he hadda know he had the win in the evening bag) flirting with Logo's cute host, who helpfully shucked his shirt at the first suggestion.

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*IMG_6174Dina was a little shy around the Logo hottie, but right at home with New York!

Before the round-robin-style interviews, I caught New York freaking out at the sight of buddy Dina. The two hugged and laughed and mugged for the cameras. It was the surreal deal.

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*IMG_6205Naomi & Chi Chi favored each other, and Naomi had a hint of Sharon Needles in her expertly beaten face.

The first person I chatted with was Ms. Smalls, looking vixenish. She asked if she could stand because she'd otherwise “come untucked.” Far be it from me to stand in the way of a boy trying to be a girl. Looked great.

Interestingly, Chi Chi DeVayne had a very Naomi Smalls look about her. She was beaming, seemingly happy to have done as well as she did on the show.

*IMG_6179Derrick's “winning” look

Derrick was sandwiched by a hot boyfriend and a hot friend and gave her usual sassy answers, including saying that her amazing outfit was custom-made for her (not by her). “That's winning!”

*IMG_6203I tawt I taw Kim Chi!

Kim Chi is one of the most likable in her interviews on the show, but one of the hardest to interview—she likes to turn questions around or give Warholian non-answers. It's just her sense of humor, but it makes things interesting.

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*IMG_6251Thorgy 4: Thorgy, her boobs, her pic with Chi Chi, her pic with winning pal Bob

Thorgy was hilarious! A fan jumped ahead of me “just to get a picture,” and then proceeded to do a video and chat with her as I (and other outlets) stood cooling my heels. I finally leaned over to a young publicist and said, “Get rid of this guy.” I didn't mean to be so direct! But he did as I suggested and Thorgy thanked him, and then apologized profusely, as if she'd been rude to me. I loved her look—neon, clown-tastic and yet glamorous, too. I complimented her on her tremendous weight loss—remember her fat suit from just three months ago???

*IMG_6213Winning pose

Finally, Bob asked for some gum as I fired up my video camera. “Oh, great, you're gonna chew gum throughout my interview?” I teased. “Yeah, you wanna fight about it?” she teased back. She had some spicy answers; I was ashamed that my questions didn't live up to the ones asked just before me, which, as I overheard, led to a discussion of why black Americans deserve reparations.

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