October 27, 2014
It's time to come clean. Many of you have been asking why I've spent more time than usual in Boston over the past year. I've had what turned out to be a series of surgeries on my shoulder. Since the bulk of my loved ones are in Boston (to say nothing of some of the best hospitals), it made sense to have the surgery done there. The biggest downside is that I've spent an endless amount of time in a sling - which reminds me of a weekend I once spent with Michael Brandon, but that's another story.
No convalescence could keep me from returning to Hollywood for Divas Simply Singing. This was the 24th consecutive year that the divine Sheryl Lee Ralph has helmed this AIDS benefit and, rumor has it, next year will be the last. From her opening Caribbean-inspired production number through her plethora of scene-stealing gowns, Miss Ralph knows how to deliver a show that never falters. Due to my injury, I was unable to accompany Jenifer Lewis on the piano. But I was thrilled to watch my Play Mama take ahold of the audience with a heartfelt "Here's To Life". I must add that there was one hysterical moment when Jenifer went out to help Sheryl with her mike. Sheryl thanked her, adding that Jenifer was always there when she needed her. She added that if needed a kidney, she was sure that Jenifer would "think about it". Lewis' reaction was priceless...and you can see it only on BillyMasters.com. Loretta Devine delivered a hysterical gender-bending take on "You've Changed". From divas like Michelle Destiny's Child Williams to the stars of the off-Broadway show Sylvester - a Mighty Real Musical (which, coincidentally, was produced by Sheryl and the Diva Foundation), the capacity crowd ate it up. Bravo to everyone - and especially Sheryl, who is even more beautiful inside than she is on the outside.
Another star's outsides got quite a bit of press this week. Renée Zellweger caused tongues to wag when she turned up at the Elle Women in Hollywood party looking like a younger version of.....well, not of Renée Zellweger. She looked like a completely different person. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Personally, I've never cared one way or the other about Zellweger or her previously scrunched-up face. But I do find it somewhat disingenuous to show up on a red carpet, have your photo taken by media outlets around the world, and then take issue with criticism about your appearance. Unless someone held a gun to her head...which of course is a distinct possibility.
Derek Hough revealed that he actually once had a gun held to his head. Last weekend at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, the hoofer was honored with the Respect Award and revealed a connection to the organization. And he shared a painful childhood secret: "For those of you who don't know, I was actually bullied as a young boy on one occasion." I can feel you on the edge of your seats - at least, I hope that's what I'm feeling. "They would tie my ankles up with a very rough rope and hang me in a tree upside down, spit on me and call me names, even hold a gun to my head....Dance became my GLSEN. It became my safe place." So, there you have it - if you don't have a GLSEN chapter nearby, you might want to consider doing the cha-cha-cha. Of course, that may be what led to the bullying.
That old woman will never leave ABC. Now I know the moment some of you read those words, you'll be dashing off an e-mail to me saying, "Why are you always picking on Barbara Walters?" How do you know I mean Barbara Walters? I could be talking about Diane Sawyer or Robin Roberts. Heck, I could even be talking about David Muir! But this week I am indeed talking about BW, whose retirement from ABC seems to have been greatly exaggerated. Less than a month after her much ballyhooed departure, she returned to host a special 20/20. She's also appeared at least twice more on the network (for tributes to Robin Williams and Joan Rivers). Now she's not just making a cameo - she's taking over two hours of primetime! On December 19th, Walters will once again helm the 10 Most Fascinating People for ABC. You'll note that last year, she not only said it was the final installment of the series, she also named the most fascinating of all time. This year's special is set to include Oprah Winfrey, Chelsea Handler, Scarlett Johansson, and Neil Patrick Harris. And people wonder why Elizabeth Vargas drinks.
Speaking of Neil Patrick Harris, turns out he was not the first choice to host this year's Oscars. But I'm sure he doesn't mind being second choice to Ellen DeGeneres. She brought in boffo ratings - to say nothing of crashing Twitter. That's a mighty hard act to follow. Good luck, Doogie!
In one of the more surprising stories of the week, auteur Bryan Singer has announced that he's gonna be a daddy. If one believes all those rumors, this would not be the first child he's had. But in this case, we're talking about him actually fathering a child. The mother will be his best friend, Michelle Clunie, who you might remember from Queer as Folk. This news doesn't come completely out of left field (that, Bryan, is a baseball reference - just in case you have a boy). Earlier this year, Singer told Out magazine, "I'm quite bisexual. In the last five years, I've had two girlfriends - one for two years, one for eight months."
And now, an update on the young man who alleges Singer and other Hollywood bigwigs sexually assaulted him when he was a minor. When we last heard from Michael Egan, he had rejected a payoff from the director, lost his lawyer, and his lawsuits were all but kaput. But that didn't stop one of the defendants, Garth Ancier, from filing a malicious prosecution suit. When Egan stood before a Hawaii judge on October 17th, he was asked if he had any assistance filling out the legal paperwork - after all, he has no attorney of record. When Mikey said no, the judge instructed him "not to lie to me". Egan conceded that a law clerk had done some research and helped him draft his document. That was fine with the judge, who allowed the documents to be admitted but said that moving forward, the firm in question would either have to represent Egan fully or not at all. I'm no lawyer, but the exchange seems to imply to me that any attorney who aided Egan might very well find themselves liable sometime down the road. Needless to say, that clerk and the firm are distancing themselves from this case. A partner issued this statement: "We will be providing him no more assistance, because I just can't incur that kind of liability for the firm."
Elsewhere in Hawaii, our buddy Matthew Morrison tied the knot with model Renee Puente. The couple married on Maui, performed a hula, and sang a duet of Laura Benanti's "Starry Eyed/Video Games". Congrats.
Lance Bass and fiancé Michael Turchin have set a date for their nuptials - December 20th. The ceremony will be filmed by E! for a special to air sometime around Valentine's Day. While Bass' 'Nsync bandmates will be invited, there are no plans for the group to perform. "I think it's a little cheesy if I sing at all at my wedding," said Bass.
What Lance didn't consider cheesy was posting a nude video of his betrothed. Well, if an underwear model was my fiancé, I'd insist he was naked at all times. The video shows Lance chasing Turchin into the bathroom, where the bare-assed beau is attempting to get into the shower. Where he's running naked from we'll leave to your imagination when you watch the vid on BillyMasters.com.
There's very little left to your imagination when it comes to the subject of our Ask Billy question. Darren in Miami writes: "Everyone talks about the hot gay law student on How To Get Away With Murder. But who was the guy he hooked up with who was working for Elizabeth Perkins? He was amazing!"
That would be Niko Pepaj, who happens to be Albanian - like your humble scribe (except he was born there 23 years ago). You might have previously seen him in MTV's Awkward or Bunheads or My Super Psycho Sweet 16: Part 2. I must admit, I never saw any of these. But I certainly didn't miss his copy room romp with legal eagle Jack Falahey. Niko also has quite an extensive body of work....as a model. And his body has been documented from a variety of intriguing angles. One very revealing photo was accompanied by an apt quote: "I'm very proud of my butt! I work hard on my lower body". You can appreciate all the work he put into his body if you check out BillyMasters.com.
When we're featuring a pair of bare asses, that's definitely the end of yet another column. But don't you worry - you're getting more than that on www.BillyMasters.com - no ifs, ands, or butts! I may be slightly incapacitated, but I'm still here to deliver whatever you need. So send your questions off to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Renée reveals she was just trying out a Halloween costume. Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.