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161 posts categorized "RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE"

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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Aug 24 2016
Legacy Hires: Eight Queens & One Raven Gather On Behalf Of RuPAUL'S DRAG RACE ALL STARS, Season 2 Comments (0)

IMG_8872 copyLittle “women” (All images by Matthew Rettenmund, unless noted)

Took a friend to the media event for Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars at the Crosby Street Hotel last night, and we think we already know who is going to win the whole damn thing, but I won't say so nobody thinks I'm giving a stealth spoiler.

IMG_8888*The hand on top reminds me of Hitchcock's “Man from the South” ...

Of course, we actually do know who goes home when the show's first episode airs on Thursday, August 25, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Logo ... but we're sworn to secrecy on that one.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 12.35.20 AMThis is what you came here for.

The girls who showed up: Alaska, Alyssa Edwards, Coco Montrese, Ginger Minj, Katya, Phi Phi O'Hara, Roxxxy Andrews and Tatianna. Only Adore Delano and Detox were not there in the flesh, and Logo persuaded Raven-Symoné to act as moderator for a Q&A sesh, part of which was seen live on Facebook and part of which was not seen live—thankfully, because the girls discussed the first to go and other top-secret secrets.



IMG_8886*Hey, girls—does the red carpet match the drapes?

The gimmick this time around is that each week's Top 2 are the ones who lip-synch for their lives legacies, and the winner—who has already made a selection—gets to choose who goes home from the other, not-safe ladies.




IMG_8905*Raven lunatics

It's a twist that generated a lot of tears and a lot of fears on the episode, in which we also learn that some of the girls really wanna repair their images ... while others just really want the money.

IMG_8898*Single white “female”

I can tell you this is one of the most exciting and effortlessly funny premieres of any Ru series yet. Plus, it has the brand's characteristic lightning-fast editing and hilarious sound effects and dry spit takes. It's all dressed up with everyplace to go.

IMG_8913*Pay attention, gurl!

During the Q&A period, Raven-Symoné (whose name is actually pronounced sih-mow-NYAY?!) got two of the queens' names wrong, and also asked them a question that presumed all of them had won their seasons when in reality none had. When corrected, she offered a classic That's So Raven face and covered even better than Coco's foundation. She was actually delightful in her function, and later said, “My whole childhood!” when I reminded her I was the editor of a teen mag she appeared in frequently.

IMG_8916 copyKatya said drag queens used to be streetwalkers, Ginger seems to say, “Used ta???”

Someone in the audience tried to get each queen to say which person should've been voted off the first episode, but they were too afraid to lay it on the line. I also asked them each to tell me who they'd send home at that moment for what they were wearing onstage and got very few replies.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 12.55.13 AMThat's so Ronnie (with Raven) (Image via Ronnie Marte)

Katya very wisely noted, in response to another question, that drag queens used to not be nice, saying they used to be thieves, drug users, drug dealers and hookers. She was spot-on, though it was ironic that she was reading the mainstreaming of drag while promoting the show that has at once elevated and somewhat sanitized the form.

IMG_8930 copyKatya also said she can't stand Katy Perry, which elicited gasps.

IMG_8919*Orlando Cal-miss-ian

IMG_8923*Tatianna was serving fish harder than Red Lobster.

IMG_8925 copyPhi Phi O'Hara said her drag's changed the most. “Yeah, you're a man now,” Ginger quipped.

IMG_8928 copyAlaska matched the theater's seats, that sign behind her and Coco's face.

Removing our thinking caps, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars is a not-so-guilty pleasure. Just wait until you see Tatianna's talent routine ... or Coco's, for that matter.


Aug 23 2016
6-PACK — Courtney Acting Up + W Official Backs HRC + Clinton Foundation Helps People, Just Not Hillary At The Moment + Melania Suing Mad Over Hooker Smear + Josh Duhamel's Skivvies + 58-Year-Old Dancing Queen! Comments (0)

*widget boy cultureABOVE: Courtney Act attended a Trump rally, had no problem finding idiots. Please vote for Hillary.

*widget boy cultureHighest-level Republican yet backs Hillary Clinton, cites experience, value, character.

*widget boy cultureWhat the Clinton Foundation does, did, does not do—and why it's Swiftboating 2.0.

*widget boy cultureMelania Trump using Hulk Hogan's lawyer to sue Daily Mail over escorting claims.

*widget boy cultureJosh Duhamel's underpants.

*widget boy cultureGreat footage of Madonna dancing in Cuba for her b'day after the jump ...

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Aug 02 2016
Draggin' My Heart Around: Fresh RuPAUL'S DRAG RACE ALL STARS Trailer Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 1.53.40 PM(Video still via Logo)

The next season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars is almost here, and as this trailer shows, queens are wild ...

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Jul 18 2016
HEY Bob The Drag QWEEN! Comments (0)

Unnamed(Image via Hey Qween!)

Bob the Drag Queen visits Hey Qween! just in time to close out another successful season. Watch!

Jul 08 2016
6-PACK — Horrendous: Cops Mowed Down In Dallas Sniper Shooting + Trump's Veep: Gingrich? + Adam Lambert Lookin' Good + AMERICAN DRAG STORY + Takei Not Impressed By Gay Sulu + Sarah Silverman Almost Literally Died Comments (0)

*widget boy cultureMultiple officers slain in sniper shooting at Black Lives Matter protest march in Dallas. How is this America in 2016—POC being executed, cops being shot?

*widget boy cultureSo the game will be that Gingrich is Trump's VP and if Trump somehow wins, he—wink, wink—steps down and lets Gingrich be president?

*widget boy cultureAdam Lambert looking JACKED.

Adam lambert(Image via Warner Bros.)

*widget boy cultureDRAG ME TO HELL: RuPaul's Drag Race meets American Horror Story.

*widget boy cultureThe original Mr. Sulu. national treasure George Takei, thinks making the character gay suddenly is “unfortunate.”

*widget boy cultureI would've been so bummed if Sarah Silverman had actually died. Who ever heard of this inflammation? Another thing to fear. 

Jun 29 2016
6-PACK — Hillary: MOVE ON ALREADY! + Bernie's Mistake + Bareback Like Me + Ending The Gay-Male Blood Ban? + China Not Gaga Over Dalai Mama's Pitch For Kindness + RuPaul On Gay Pride, Drag, Anonymity & What To Call Him! Comments (0)

*widget boy cultureHillary Clinton responds to anticlimactic Benghazi report: “It's time to move on.” Slain ambassador Stevens's sister doesn't blame Hillary.

*widget boy cultureHow Bernie Sanders apparently overplayed his hand, squandering the real power he'd accumulated.

*widget boy cultureDoes watching condomless porn lead gay men to engage in more condomless sex? Will you see condomless porn at the link?

*widget boy cultureFind out who wants the FDA to end the ban on gay male blood donors.

*widget boy cultureLady Gaga meets with Dalai Lama to discuss kindness (tell some of your monsters, lady), gets banned from China? She did right. More power to her.

*widget boy cultureRuPaul has been going mainstream in a big way lately! Check him out matching wits with Stephen Colbert (plus, his take on Gay Pride):

Jun 28 2016
Finger On Pulse: NYC Pride March 2016 — With 100s Of Pictures! Comments (0)




IMG_7509*All of the above! (All images in this post by Matthew Rettenmund, unless noted)

My day at the NYC Pride March was a beautiful reminder of my experience in life and of the fact that I'm always having new experiences in life ... and proof that my little body's slowing breaking down. Oh, my aching gay back!

READ: 100+ Sizzling Pics from the Adonis Lounge Go-Go Boy Float!

I was tapped to follow the stripper-drenched Adonis Lounge float, photographing the guys and the gays' reactions to them as we tooled through Manhattan, Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 11.43.40 PMbut was told the night before—at a nude party, which are great fun when only the strippers and not the patrons provide the nudity—that I wouldn't be meeting then until 3 p.m. That blew my mind, as anyone marching in the parade usually meets up in the morning. This year, organizers seemed to get more realistic about when groups should assemble on the side streets in the 30s and 40s along Fifth Avenue to cut down on congestion and fatigue, but there was no way I wanted to miss the parade itself just because I was going to be in it, toward the end. [Pictured: Me with Angel (Image by Angel Jimez), me with Edward (Image courtesy of Edward Thomas)]

So, I woke up early, fed myself, pulled on my beloved Mildred Fierce T-shirt and hauled camera over to W. 41st St., which I picked IMG_7475*
because I read that was where a group featuring teen trans star Jazz Jennings would be meeting up and thought she'd be fun to shoot again. I never found her, but did find my pal Edward Thomas and his sister.

It was a great block on which to hang out, filled with plenty of beauties, interesting faces and spirited coppers—I was mixing it up with the Gay Officers Action League, where I met a lesbian couple in love with Varla Jean Merman (my shirt provided the conversation-starter), was handed my first NO when asking to take someone's picture (an all-but-naked man in a leather jockstrap, who apparently wasn't seeking attention) and fell in love several times.

IMG_7495*Copping out!

I don't have official press I.D., which isn't technically needed to cover a public event, but I'm always worried I'll be stopped when walking from float to float. Once our group poured onto Fifth, there was no turning back and I was able to march forward pretty far, to within a few groups of the very beginning of the parade (I had fun with the Hillary marchers, unaware that had I just stuck with them a few more blocks, I would've encountered the woman herself—oh, well, I did get Chelsea last year).

IMG_7470*The first one I fell for: The adorable Zico boy and his hairy legs.

Once I'd gotten way down from the 40s to the teens, I simply turned around and began slowly moving back against the tide in order to see as many marchers as possible.



IMG_7555*Now cheer this!

It was a beautiful march—colorful, exuberant, and sunny—but it surprised me that it didn't feel as pregnant with purpose as I'd expected in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting. To be sure, there were countless expressions of solidarity and sorrow over the event, most prominently in the inclusion of Pulse owner Barbara Poma and the many WE ARE ORLANDO signs, but the parade didn't have a different vibe—it was just much, much longer. Maybe that was the Pulse effect, a rush to be a part of the bigger picture, even if more than a few moms back home were wishing their LGBT kids were not going to be quite so LGBT, quite so out in the open; I guess a lot more people wanted to send the message that they were deeply affected by Orlando, but wouldn't let that stop them from being themselves in public.


IMG_7612*Many 49ers in the crowd

The other thing I noticed more so than ever, and that drives at least some people away from the otherwise energizing event, is the relentless corporatization of it. I have argued before, and it is still my belief, that big business marketing to us is not demonic, and that if we live in a capitalist society and are the target of marketers, that is a sign of respect for our importance, our power. Also, it's psychologically vastly important that everyday brands go out of their way to support the LGBT cause openly—even if I'm not sure whether Kiehl's is a top or a bottom (probably bottom), or in what stage of transitioning Facebook may be.


IMG_7606*Case in point: Delta Airlines had human billboards ... and yet these two pics were among my favorite due to the marcher's joy.

I appreciate that the captains of industry understand that LGBT people are there customers and are not afraid to have our back on our biggest day of the year. Frankly, we'd have to buy from them anyway.

IMG_8674*The only thing they were selling was love.

That said, it's more and more of a killjoy to see so many marchers who were casted to walk attractively alongside and while wearing a logo. This fatiguing omnipresence of big business first hit me when I heard a team leader giving what sounded like shareholders speech before his company group's step-off, was compounded by running into a young friend who was being paid to participate (would he have even gone otherwise?) and was hammered home when, at the end of the draining day I was handed three rainbow bracelets—and upon closer inspection, discovered they advertised Wyndham Rewards. Womp-womp.

IMG_7436*Whether the message is from MasterCard or Harvey Milk, it's true: Acceptance does matter.

It's not moving, this businessy side of the parade, but on the other hand, I suppose it's the biggest pie in the face of every Anita Bryant ever that Walmart's with us, and that MasterCard is telling the world #AcceptanceMatters. Because it does, but who knew MasterCard would one day care?

I think what would help me get over the $$$ aspect is if the march could somehow encourage much smaller groups to have floats (at a discounted rate?) that were being judged for creativity and messaging. That way, I think people would be less inundated with pitches (including political ones) and the parade itself would only be more fun.




IMG_7716*Their bodies are not your enemy.

In the past, I've also read a lot about people thinking the parade is too sexy, too about perfect bodies. I really don't get that at all. I hunted for those sexy IMG_7777*bodies, and while there were plenty on display, it sure didn't feel excessive. I recall other parades in decades past that felt far more decadent. (I later wound up on the dirtiest float in the entire procession, and it suck out like a sore thumb-job.) I also just unfriended a very intelligent but ridiculously politicized writer whose posts obsess over racism and sexism and homophobic in ways that are more self-parody than self-help. The straw that broke the homo's back was his declaration that he “hates” Gay Pride, partly due to a wrenching experience he had once (which I get) but mainly due to his feeling that all the lovely bodies are shaming him and telling him he isn't good enough.

I fully understand that twinge one can get when one sees a gaggle of ostentatiously sexy, mind-bogglingly muscled gay dudes in Speedos IMG_8111* acting like they were born that way, and there are definitely a lot of boys who, like too many girls have always done in order to seem less threatening to men, fake air-headedness and flash skin until it becomes who they are. But they are not the ones telling you you're not good enough by having great beauty, you're the one telling yourself that. Get over it, enjoy their beauty and—you know what?—enjoy what you've got, too. We are all born and we all die and any one of us can get shot in a club or get cancer or get gay-bashed or anything else you can imagine, so celebrating our fleeting sexiness should be an act of pleasure and defiance, not something to make us binge-eat a bag of doughnuts and declare our hatred for gay pride.

IMG_7754*Don't ever hate Pride.

All that said, I did have a blast playing photojournalist (surprising that I had about a half dozen people I asked for posed pictures decline), taking portraits, candids and landscapes of the gigantic, throbbing event from noon to 3. Ultimately, there is nothing else quite like a big-city LGBT parade, even if someone, somewhere is making a little cash off of it.

IMG_7543*See change!

By 3, I had made my way back to where the floats were waiting to make their way down Fifth, and found the Adonis Lounge's station. I spent several hours there—we didn't step off until something like 6!—and then spent another few slowly, ever so slowly, marching the entire route. But that's for another post.

IMG_7577*Looking at these women, who wouldn't wanna be a lesbian?

Enjoy some of my favorite photos, SHARE on social media and feel free to chime in if you see anyone you know ...

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