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86 posts categorized "STARRY-EYED"

Nov 15 2016
My Last Pet Shop Boys Gig Comments (0)

 I've always loved the Pet Shop Boys. I think I first heard “West End Girls” on a family trip—our only fancy trip ever—to Hawaii, if memory serves. Cool Europop is my jam.

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DSC01092Neil Tennant's introductory look (All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

Over the years, I've seen them perform quite a few times, but there's really only room in my heart for one overall musical inspiration, because as time has passed, I've become kinda a bad fan of my #3 faves (and of Blondie/Debbie Harry, my #2 faves)—like, I haven't even listened to their new album, and yet I bought VIP meet-and-greet tickets to their MSG show.

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Nov 04 2016
In NYC, Cher Sings Hillary's Praises, Says BIG PUSSY Trump Has NO SYMPATHY, NO EMPATHY, NO HUMANITY, Warns We Will Be Unsafe If He Wins Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2016-11-03 at 11.12.23 PM(Images by Matthew Rettenmund)

I was pissed off when I missed my chance to get a pic-with alongside Cher earlier this year—the unpredictable diva did several meet-and-greet events nearby (Fire Island, for one), but none that worked for me. So I was thrilled when the Hillary campaign announced a new set of events—including one right in Chelsea: Cher is Strong Enough for Hillary in NYC. Thanks to Ben Ryan and Jeff Campagna and all the other chairs, it turned out to be a dream-come-true kind of event.

For $250, you got to share air with Cher, for $1,000 you got a pic-with and I'm sure people paid even more for a private reception, all worth it to help Hillary become president and to help ourselves to some face-time with Cher.

I polled Facebook to figure out what I should wear. I had bought a fake leather (Nasty Pig!) shirt that I thought looked good on me, and that would be very Cher, but I also had a more ME polo. Then there was a sleek black Hillary tee.

People liked the tee the best, but I stuck with my gut (and I'm sure my eventual pic-with will reveal said gut) because I wanted to try something new. I even left the house with stubble! Gasp. (Hey, once I'm totally bald, I'll need options.)

The event was held at The Park on 10th Avenue, which has lighted trees inside and so little other light you could mistake Cher for me, so it had a nice, romantic, upscale-NYC vibe. I hovered near the front, where it was obvious Cher would eventually speak. I was behind a cool chick and her crispy friend (in a cute way), who was angry when he thought I was asking him to take my picture with Cher (since he knew I was getting one anyway!). They were sweet, and they unwittingly held my spot for me when, 45 minutes late, those of us getting pic-withs were called into the receiption area to form a line.

Some queens who'd just met her were talking about her vampiric agelessness, suggesting they'd had long moments to drink it in, and it soon became clear from the slow line that she was taking her sweet time with each person. Right when I got to the door, before stepping into Cher's presence, the handler was saying they needed a better puller because people were taking too long. I said, “Not yet!” and he snapped, “No. We do.” Bad timing ... but they didn't get around to it until I was done, haha.

Scan 8My shots from the back of Cher's November '88 Marshall Field's Uninhibited event

When it was my turn, I approached Cher, who was luminous under black hair, in a black, cleavage-baring outfit and black accessories (and so tall). I told her I'd been at a Marshall Field's event for her perfume Uninhibited 28 years ago and had been able to ask her a question, which I'd thought was going to be my ultimate Cher moment. (At the event, I asked her what she thought of tabloids, to which she replied, “Just look at the pictures.” I also sent up a tube with her “Skin Deep” 45 sleeve in it and my address and the bitch sent it back to me autographed within days!!! Ah, the '80s.)

“But this is better,” I said, emphasizing how lovely it was to pose for a picture with her. Cher replied, “Well ... yeah!” She then leaned in, pushing her hair in my face, and said, “And I still smell exactly the same—smell me!”

It was, indeed, Uninhibited. Or a reasonable facsimile. Or I just think that's what it smelled like.

I got beside her and two snaps went off before I was ready, but Cher must've felt the same because she asked for a third and pressed her head right against mine. It was so warm of her to do that. I hope I don't look utterly terrified. In pleather.

I thanked her for doing her Hillary tour and went directly back to my front-stage spot, while everyone else was shooed over to the side.

It took her a good 30 minutes more to do the other photos, but she was finally introduced hilariously by an elected official (who noted her use of the toilet emjoi for Trump and suggested it might also be used to represent Comey, Christie, Thiel and Giuliani) and then strode out onto her short catwalk and stood behind a lucite lectern with STRONGER TOGETHER emblazoned on the front of it.

Cher spoke with no notes for about 20 minutes. Here are the highlights (all transcribed by me—please provide link and credit if used anywhere):

On her right to speak up and her empathy for the poor:

Mostly Trump supporters and usually Republicans say, you know, “Libtard, you have no idea what's going on, you have no right to have a voice, just vote and shut up.” And if you read my Twitter, sometimes I'm very pleasant. And sometimes not so much ... I understand shame and I understand poverty. My grandmother picked cotton, my mother when she was 8 years old helped support her family by singing on bartops ... We were poor for the most part, really poor for the most part, but then my mother did marry this really rich guy and we moved to Beverly Hills and it was like the Clampetts. Okay? And I realized that rich is better.

Relating her dyslexia to being simpatico with LGBTQ people:

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Oct 22 2016
Deep In The Nyle: Chippendales Is NOT For Ladies Only Comments (0)
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(First gallery image via Chippendales, all others by Matthew Rettenmund)

I went to see the Chippendales in Vegas a few years ago, and was surprised how gay-friendly it was. Returning this past week to catch the final night of Nyle DiMarco's residency as celebrity host, it had only gotten gayer—while still maintaining its unique status as the premier male burlesque stop for ladies.

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IMG_1211*JPGThe Chippendales Theatre at the Rio, plus Nyle's sexy-as-hell promo poster! (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)

The show is a nonstop parade of irresistible, hypermasculine clichés designed to elicit scream after scream—Marines, construction workers, motorcycle gangs, they're all there, as are the mostly hairless, uniformly muscled, TALL, sometimes tattooed men who thrust their way through the numbers.

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IMG_1129*So many men, including my Chippendales hubby, John, center (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)

As bulky as they are, most of the guys are terrific dancers, the music is up-to-the-minute, the costumes are on-point (and half-off!) and the newly installed LED displays let you check out every flex.

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Oct 20 2016
A Little More Olivia: Catching ONJ's SUMMER NIGHTS Show In Vegas! Comments (0)

ONJ2014_02_ByDeniseTruscello-1(Image by Denise Truscello)

Though cool is probably not the first adjective she'd use to describe herself, Olivia Newton-John represented one side of my impression of coolness as a kid—my favorite male cousin was into Blondie, so Debbie Harry represented New Wave edginess to me, and my favorite female cousin received an ONJ album for Christmas that seemed to herald her arrival into womanhood. Both acts made me realize that keeping abreast of pop music was the only way to be true teenager.

Olivia is seemingly as busy in 2016 as she was back then, and her commitments are not only physical (she just returned to her wonderful show at the Flamingo's Donny & Marie Show Room in Las Vegas) but spiritual (she's always busy with her Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, and makes environmental causes a cornerstone of her stage show).

Tumblr_nsloty0vEp1roqc5co10_400(GIF via Universal)

As I told the incandescent songbird—now the same age Gene Kelly was when he danced alongside her in Xanadu (1980)—she looks beautiful, sounds beautiful and, most importantly, is beautiful; her centered approach to her enduring career is inspirational without being preachy, and is spreading a little more love with each passing day.

Perhaps most exciting for fans is her brand-new album, LIV ON, a collaboration with Amy Sky and Beth Nielsen Chapman, which dropped October 14. The album emphasizes the trio's vocal skill and sensitivity, nowhere more powerfully than on the single “LIVE ON,” a sonic rock on which survivors can cling while struggling to get through life's challenges. LIV-ON-CD COVER_FINAL The album and single take ONJ full circle, back to her early country roots.

Speaking of her roots, I was lucky enough to catch Olivia's return to her Vegas residency following her August tour dates.

The Donny & Marie Show Room is a gorgeous space, designed like an old-fashioned nightclub/dinner-theater venue, just larger. There isn't a bad seat in the house, and Olivia didn't hit a bad note—all sung live, so you get more than just a piece of her.

Olivia looks phenomenal, isn't afraid to tease her audience and for the show's spirited numbers, especially a generous Grease segment and the stand-out from her pop/rock years, “Twist of Fate,” was frequently kick-dancing up and down the stage.

QNL1Jy(GIF via 20th Century Fox)

If you want variety, she's got it—Olivia nimbly segues from country to pop to rock to yes, even a Latin number, to New Age. Along with singing most of her iconic hits, she threw in new work like the aforementioned “LIVE ON” and lesser-known singles like the heart-tugging nature anthem “Don't Cut Me Down.”

Somewhat surprisingly, “Physical” arrived in the dead center of the very lively show, which allowed for some of her less reserved fangirls to jump up and recreate the choreography from that unforgettably gay-friendly music video.

Just when I was thinking Olivia had exhausted her top-tier smashes, her finale—delivered in a dazzling, silver-sequined, form-fitting gown—arrived in the form of a gorgeous take on “I Honestly Love You.”

And, honestly, right back atcha.

After the show, I was escorted to the green room, where I was able to meet with Olivia, have her sign two of my cherished 45s and tell her how much I loved the show. When I randomly blurted out that I've always loved her 1992 hit “I Need Love,” she asked me to remind her of it, so I had to speak-sing to Olivia Newton-John! She gamely jumped in and sang what she could remember of the tune, which was a slinky pop number with one of the best Hi-NRG dance remixes of all time.

IMG_3102*Love is what I found. (Image by Michael Caprio)

Magic indeed.

Catch ONJ's show Olivia Newton-John: Summer Nights at the Flamingo!

 

Full set list: Xanadu0002

“Magic” (1980)

“Xanadu” (1980)

“Deeper Than the Night” (1979)

“Suddenly” (1980)

“Make a Move on Me” (1982)

“A Little More Love” (1978)

“Twist of  Fate” (1983)

“Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975)

“Please Mr. Please” (1975)

“Jolene” (1978)

“Let Me Be There” (1973)

“Physical” (1981)

“The Promise (The Dolphin Song)” (1981)

“Don't Cut Me Down” (1994)

“LIVE ON” (2016)

“Not Gonna Give in to It” (1994) 017-grease-theredlist

“You're the One That I Want” (1978)

“Hopelessly Devoted to You” (1978)

“Summer Nights” (1978)

“We Go Together” (1978)

“Grace and Gratitude” (2006)

“I Honestly Love You” (1974)

GET TICKETS HERE!

 
Aug 28 2016
Chelsea Handler Finally Cuts Madonna Some Slack, Lola Reacts To Mom's On-Screen B.J. Demo Comments (0)

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Friday the 26th was the long-awaited 25th-anniversary screening of a pristine, restored print of Truth or Dare at Metrograph in NYC, featuring commentary by director Alek Keshishian (who also co-wrote W.E. with Madonna 20 years after they first met) and moderated by noted Madonna-basher Chelsea Handler.

IMG_9169*** copyBlack-and-white ... and would Madonna get read all over?!

I hardly knew what to expect, considering the week's other Truth or Dare screening—at MoMA on Wednesday—had attracted Madonna herself.

[If you live in NYC and haven't been to Metrograph, do go. It's a lovely, chic theater that offers eclectic movies, including classics, midnight movies, cult hits, first-run arthouse fare and, well, Space Jam. (Look who's snarking—I'm paying $15 to watch Body of Evidence there next week!)]

IMG_9155***Team Quantico

Before Truth or Dare started, my friend Raj noticed in the lobby two of the female stars of Quantico (Yasmine Al Massri IMG_9248***and Johanna Braddy) with their dates, so I was able to get some quick pics of them. Braddy was turning 4 years old when Truth or Dare was released, BTW.

The guy who came out to intro the movie had the hipster vibe down pat, shrugging his way through a few lines about how the movie was part of a series of Madonna's masterpieces, then telling us the place has a restaurant upstairs if we ... whatever. It was actually very funny, and not the typical anal-retentive speech given at fledgling moviehouses about upcoming events.

Watching the movie for the second time in 48 hours was odd because ... it totally didn't bore me. I found new things to focus on, and even spotted the late Jack Larson in/near the infamous Kevin Costner scene.

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IMG_9176***My T-shirt went over big.

As the movie wore on, though, I was nervous because I'd been hoping to get some shots of Chelsea and Alek before or after. Luckily, one of my companions, Anthony (who designed my book) was monitoring Facebook and noted that fellow fanboy Michael Da Rocha had posted a pic with Chelsea from outside. That was my cue to hit the lobby, where I found Chelsea and Alek holding court at the bar with a gaggle of familiar fan faces.

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Apr 16 2016
Starry-Eyed: John Benjamin Hickey Comments (0)

IMG_7925(Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

John Benjamin Hickey, one of the stars of The Normal Heart—one of the best productions I've ever seen—was hanging around outside Eclipsed as I passed him to go see American Psycho. Handsome, no?

 
Mar 28 2016
Starry-Eyed: Becky Ann Baker & Jonathan Groff Comments (0)

IMG_0504(Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

I didn't realize until recently that Becky Ann Baker is married to Dylan Baker; I have seen both around my neighborhood for years.

Becky Ann is currently giving an Emmy-worthy performance on Girls (a show on which it's damn hard to make a big impression, with so many other outstanding performances), and she also knows that redheads look fantastic in purple.

IMG_5816(Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Seeing Jonathan Groff in Hell's Kitchen is about as rare as seeing guys in tank tops on cold days here, but it's exciting seeing him nonetheless. Granted, my snap this time is not the best, but it's still hard to take a bad pic of the looker.

More interesting than his looks, Groff is simply not given enough credit for all he has done. He has killed it on Broadway more than once, was a part of the phenomenon that was Glee and fought the good fight with Looking, an honest effort to present the LGBT experience (part of it!) to the mainstream without watering things down.

Along with looking good in jeans.

 
Feb 24 2016
Caught Up In The Ru-pture: Meet The Starlets Of RuPAUL'S DRAG RACE: Season 8! Comments (0)

*DSC06780Laila in action (All images by Matthew Rettenmund unless noted; all drag selfies with me by Jason Viers)

One of the only events I attend that reliably leads to YouTube views for me is the annual
premiere party for the new season of RuPaul's Drag Race

The show's rabid fans seem to live for news about the fresh crop of queens who have been drafted to do engage in gladiatorial battle—backwards and in high heels. (Visit VossEvents for info on tickets to other events in your area.)

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Last night, the 12 ladies of Season 8 showed their mettle, their talent and various body parts (receipts available) at a Hell's-Kitchen-fabulous party for the March 7 premiere of the season, which will also be the 100th episode in the series.

*IMG_5342There's always time for a “Guydar” pic.

At Stage 48 on W. 48th St. and 11th Ave., I shot the girls on the carpet and met and interviewed each and every one—finally, after all these years, Logo realized the press needs a full two hours to get time with all of these talkative broads!

*IMG_5493Naomi & a popular drag blogger express their selfies

Your Season 8 queens are (click to connect with them):

Acid Betty

Bob the Drag Queen

Chi Chi DeVayne

Cynthia Lee Fontaine

Dax Exclamationpoint

Derrick Barry

Kim Chi

Laila McQueen

Naomi Smalls

Naysha Lopez

Robbie Turner

Thorgy Thor

*img_5332Naomi, Robbie & Cynthia Lee

The carpet portion of the evening went so smoothly and the ... let's go with “women” ... were so dazzling in comportment and wardrobe I'd have to call it a luster-fuck, even if a sweet kid from Logo was filming everything on his phone over my head, narrating each entry with, “Yasss!” ... and even if some of the queens weren't yet able to find their light.

First impressions are everything, and I have to admit Thorgy Thor—in a fat suit that was one step up from the one “Monica” wore in those Friends flashbacks—fooled me into believing she was an actual large lady. It was like Pat Ast had returned, give or take, from the grave.

*IMG_5334Laila, Thorgy & Bob

Otherwise, Kim Chi was probably the most out-there yet still striking, flaunting a glitzy (gangnam) style, Naysha Lopez and professional Britney Spears impersonator Derrick Barry were the most in need of an aquarium and Bob the Drag Queen (space suit) and Laila McQueen (unitard emblazoned with slurs) were the edgiest.

*IMG_5169Kim Chi

*IMG_5267Naysha & Derrick

As a bonus, Younger co-stars Molly Bernard (who I'd just interviewed via email) and the delicious Nico Tortorelli—whose name sounds like something that they should've been passing around on a tray—showed up and did some photos with their crew, allowing me to get selfies. I loved Nico's Cry-Baby styling and inexplicably punk/drag-black ears.

**IMG_5565The Younger crew

*DMy favorite Nico since the one who fell off the bike

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 4.02.45 PMOlder & Younger

Finally, it was time to interview each queen. Here are my impressions, and be sure you watch all the videos:

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Dax Exclamationpoint

Gorgeous in gray, Dax was the prettiest queen who was not consistently name-checked by her rivals as being among the prettiest queens of the season. Jealousy? Or is her persona just more understated than that of some of the vixens she did battle with this season?

I'm not sure, but she came off as sweet to me and pulled off an unforced coquettish performance when in character. Not a try-hard.

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Cynthia Lee Fontaine

A Puerto Rican queen who's based in Austin, Texas, she for some reason gave herself a name she can't really pronounce. Sinteeali. It's gold.

Miss Fontaine is a true nut, in the best possible way. She was babbling gaily about how she calls her ass her “cucu” (for culo, one presumes) because it was a word she used when she had to go poop as a child. She's a real character, but not a character in the sense of some of the others; she seems to be the person she is, in or out of a dress. I also couldn't detect an unkind bone in her body, and she was serving a Susan Lucci/Jackie Zeman soap diva beauty.

Wait until you hear her in all my videos—bitch has the gift of gab.

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