March 3, 2014
After watching this year's Academy Awards, it was clear to me that these Oscars featured the most mispronounced names in history. Sure, anyone could say Christopher Waltz instead of Christoph Waltz, so I gave Ellen a pass. Zac Efron got a bit tongue-tied when he tried to refer to someone as an "inspiration", but he called her an "aspiration". Fine. But clearly the most jarring moment of the night was when John Travolta introduced "Let It Go", sung by "the wickedly talented, one and only, Adele Dazeem." Huh? Maybe all those rumors are wrong - no gay man would have screwed up Idina Menzel's name so badly. Thank God someone told DeGeneres to immediately come out and say "Idina Menzel" - twice.
I must congratulate my dear friend, Darlene Love, the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom. It was also great to see Kim Novak - someone with whom I share a birthday (but obviously not the same year). She looked divine, but her presentation was reminiscent of the infamous Elizabeth Taylor "Gladiator" debacle. And, I know it's a different person, but every time they mention Steve McQueen, I expect the camera to cut to Neile Adams. Maybe I am getting too old to do this column!!!
When Glenn Close came out to introduce the In Memoriam tribute, she looked eerily like she was about to star in The Linda Evans Story. Just put the Rejuvenique mask on her and call it a day. On the other hand, perhaps she was just getting us ready for the ghostly specter that is Goldie Hawn.
Please, don't take these observations as criticism, since I truly enjoyed the Oscars immensely. And I think Ellen is a terrific host - one of the best. But it did occur to me after the fact that between Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress there was roughly one hour and forty-two minutes of what I lovingly call a bunch of nothing. Sure, I enjoyed some of that nothing, but did I need it?
Liza Minnelli was poised to make history by joining with her siblings, Lorna and Joey Luft, in a tribute to the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. However, all we got was Whoopi Goldberg pointing them out in the audience and asking them to rise and acknowledge the applause. What a wasted opportunity (not that I could think of anything the three of them could do together that didn't require at least a dozen utterances of the word "Mama"). And their choice seating led to another memorable moment. I don't know who was more shocked when Liza grabbed the Best Supporting Actress winner - me or Lupita Nyong'o.
Rick Murray, proprietor of Provincetown's Crown and Anchor, announced the formation of Raising the Volume, a concert series which will also benefit the Trevor Project. I thought it was a big deal when he revealed that Linda Eder would be performing on August 18th and 19th. As if Ptown couldn't get any gayer, he then announced that the series would include a special performance on August 4th by Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli. What? Liza in Ptown? Alert John Travolta...just in case. Within hours of this news hitting the web, the show sold out! Days later, a second show was added. Just as the Oscars began, that show sold out. I suggest checking out their website, OnlyAtTheCrown.com. You never know what else they've got a-brewin'.
There's all sorts of upheaval over at CNN. In case you've missed it, AC 360 Later has been cancelled. That show, which directly followed Piers Morgan Tonight, was a panel discussion hosted by Anderson Cooper - not to be confused with the discussion show hosted by Anderson Cooper which directly precedes Piers Morgan's which is simply called AC 360. Days later it was announced that CNN was also canceling Piers Morgan Tonight, the show that was in the middle of an Anderson Cooper Sandwich - and who among us hasn't dreamed of that? Who will replace Piers? Doing his best Jay Leno impersonation, Larry King made it clear that he'd happy to come out of retirement. I think it's crystal clear how to replace a show that had Anderson Cooper on either end (again, another fantasy we've all shared) - simply move Anderson Cooper into that slot. You're welcome, CNN.
When talking about her comeback with People magazine, Paula Deen said, "I feel like 'embattled' or 'disgraced' will always follow my name. It's like that black football player who recently came out. He said, 'I just want to be known as a football player. I don't want to be known as a gay football player.' I know exactly what he's saying."
Last week, former NFL player Deion Sanders appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show and was asked specifically about Michael Sam coming out. "He's not the first gay guy in the NFL. He's the first one to come out - let's get that straight. Every team I've played on, there was someone...we always knew. But he was cool. That was our boy. We had to look out for him. Every team I've played on - five different teams - there was someone gay in the locker room." Let the guessing game begin.
You know what else shows up in locker rooms? Cameras! Last week someone posted a photo of Tom Daley showering and....well, it's pretty steamy, as you'll see on BillyMasters.com.
In case you're wondering how Daley's coming out has affected his career, it hasn't. Despite some criticism and vitriol on social media, Tom continues to be the golden boy of British sports. He still is a key component on the UK show Splash! He's still competing. And he's just signed a deal to be the face (and, presumably, torso) of sportswear for Adidas. The new NEO line allows people to order what is called "athletic inspired street wear" and have it customized. The campaign is called "Live Your Style" and features Daley modeling various items, which people can order personalized with logos or words. Reportedly, Adidas UK has banned the use of words like gay, lesbian, trans, homophobia, faggot, etc. Intriguingly, these words are allowed on the US site.
It was just announced that HBO has renewed Looking for a second season. Many of you have e-mailed me your opinions about the show. While it is undeniably slow and took a bit of time to get going, it's growing on me. This is, in no small measure, due to the nuanced performance of Jonathan Groff. Anyhoo, Looking leads to TWO Ask Billy questions. First, Karl in Albany writes: "Do you know anything about Murray Bartlett, the hot daddy on Looking? He looks amazing for an older guy."
I find it très amusant that Dom is being referred to as a "daddy" - especially since his character is 39. Is that what now constitutes a daddy? What does that make Scott Bakula? Grandpapa? In real life, Murray Bartlett is 42, he is openly gay, and he's Australian! Yes, who knew? In addition to his TV work, here's something interesting - he appeared in the Australian tour of The Boy from Oz playing Hugh Jackman's lover. Nice work if you can get it!
Our second Looking question comes from Will in Atlanta: "Who was the hot little muscle bottom who hooked up with Dom via Grindr? The one who was singing 'Defying Gravity' in the shower?"
That would be the adorable Andrew Keenan-Bolger, who is also openly gay. The 28-year-old hottie made his Broadway debut in Seussical back in 2000 (which, apparently, was a long time ago). Since then, he's done oodles of things, but this Looking episode certainly played to his strengths. Alas, he wasn't completely naked. As Murray Bartlett describes it, "I was acting like I was fucking a guy up against a mirror and we were in these like little socks...it's basically this pouch that you tie around your dick and your balls." Still, it's less clothing than he usually wears when appearing with The Skivvies. Have I not mentioned The Skivvies before? They are Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley, two accomplished (and hot) Broadway babes who play eclectic, stripped down arrangements of songs while stripped down to their underwear. Lauren is a marvelous cellist while Nick is quite adept at the ukulele. Keenan-Bolger has appeared with them, most notably singing "It's a Small World After All", while playing the glockenspiel. Interestingly enough, this performance helped him land the role on Looking. After his agent submitted him for the part, he was told the producers wanted a "topless photo". He said, "OK, I have one. But I'm playing a glockenspiel in it. Is that OK?" His manager checked with the brass and said, "Yeah, the glockenspiel's OK." And the rest is history. Of course, all of that sexy skin can be found on BillyMasters.com.
Lastly, let me follow-up an item from last week. I mentioned that HBO would premiere The Normal Heart on the same weekend as last year's smash hit Behind the Candelabra. The network just announced that The Normal Heart will indeed debut on Sunday, May 25th (Candelabra premiered on May 26, 2013). Regarding HBO's request for a sequel, it will NOT be a filmed version of Larry Kramer's play The Destiny of Me. That was really more of Ned's story told in flashbacks. This new film (if made) will tell the continuing story of the key players in The Normal Heart, and will include many of the stars of the first flick.
When I can work in the word "glockenspiel", it's time to check something else off my bucket list and end yet another column. What an exciting week. And the excitement continues over at www.BillyMasters.com - the site that never sleeps. If you have a question you'd like me to answer, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Liza introduces Lupita to the Lufts! Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.