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24 July 2017

“I always try to dance when this song comes on,
because I am the Queen…and I like to dance!” 
Queen Elizabeth II allegedly made this proclamation when ABBA‘s “Dancing Queen” was played
at a recent dinner party.  Whether true or not, isn’t it an absolutely delicious vision? 
Particularly if you picture her trying to coax Prince Philip to join her!

One usually thinks of the Brits as a courteous group of people.  But I believe they may be going overboard.  In an effort to avoid offending anybody, the London Underground has made a decision.  After over 100 years of greeting people as “ladies and gentlemen”, they will now switch to a more gender-neutral greeting.  From now on, people will now be referred to as “everyone”.  Which begs the question – who, exactly, is being offended by the terms “ladies” and “gentlemen”?  Is there someone who fits into neither category who comprehends human speech?  In addition to wanting to be more inclusive, some felt that “ladies and gentlemen” was “too polite” and “outdated”.  Well, we wouldn’t want to accuse the people who brought us Downton Abbey of being either of those!

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Someone who has been addressed as both a lady and a gentleman is Caitlyn Jenner.  And s/he is getting some flack after posting a photo with Steven Tyler on Instagram and captioning it, “@iamstevent and I are working on our duet for Dude Looks Like a Lady. One of my favorite songs!”  Well, many trans people took offense to this, but I may be on Cait’s side.  One of the things we always say when it comes to offensive terms is that they are OK when they come out of the mouths of the people they are talking about.  We don’t want heteros calling us “fags”, but gay people can say it.  Black people use the so-called “n-word” all the time, but don’t want others using it.  So if Jenner wants to make a bit of a joke at her own expense, why not?  She explained her feelings on the subject a while ago with Jimmy Kimmel: “I was at a fundraiser in Minneapolis and [Steven Tyler] was the entertainment.  I met him once briefly, years and years ago, but I’m sitting there and I got to go and say hi.  So I go backstage after and I say to Steven, ‘I have had some really, really tough times in my life.  For six years at one point I stayed in my house, and every once in a while, I would sneak out, get dressed and drive around in the dark.  I always used to take your song, ‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’, and that became my theme song.  Driving around in my little car with my little CD in there, whipping up the tunes and stuff.  And I just wanted you to know that it made me feel good.”  And who am I to deny Caitlyn Jenner the chance to feel good?  If it’s OK with her, it’s OK with me.

In more Caitlyn news (and has any paragraph ever started more ominously), Jenner has revealed that she is considering a run for the US Senate.  In a radio interview last week, she said, “I have considered it.  I like the political side of it.  I gotta find out where I can do a better job.  Can I do a better job from the outside, kind of working the perimeter of the political scene, being open to talk to anybody?  Or are you better off from the inside, and we are in the process of determining that.”  Just like Caitlyn – always wanting to have it both ways!

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Meanwhile in Texas, Dallas businessman Jeffrey Payne has announced he will be running for governor in 2018.  What caught my eye about this situation is that Payne is not only openly gay but also owner of the Dallas Eagle, a popular gay leather club.  He was also crowned International Mr. Leather in 2009.  So in a way, becoming Governor of Texas would actually be a step down!  And yet, I predict none of these will be the biggest hurdle he will have to face in the upcoming election.  Far more daunting is the fact that he’s a Democrat.  Let’s face it, Texas ain’t known for its liberal views.  But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’ve had some of the best sex of my life in Texas – often in very public places.  So I think they’re a bit more liberal than we think.

What you wear often makes quite an impression.  Photos of Mr. Payne in his leather regalia will likely be trotted out during the campaign.  Then there’s John Barrowman, who appeared onstage at San Diego Comic-Con in a dress.  Why?  He was applauding the powers-that-be at the BBC for choosing a female Dr. Who.  His dress was actually a TARDIS dress (TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space, the name of the machine which allows Dr. Who to travel through time).  And as it turns out, it isn’t the first time he’s worn this frock in public.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, John used this as an opportunity to say what he thinks should happen next on Dr. Who.  “Give the Doctor a transgender companion, give him a boy, give him a girl, give him a little boy or a little girl; we could have many different combinations.  It can be open to a lot.”  Then, Barrowman launched into “Copacabana”.  Why?  Why not?

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In light of the upcoming continuation of Tales of the City on Netflix, Armistead Maupin is coming clean about a mistake he made.  At Los Angeles Outfest last week, he talked about the “whitewashing” of characters, and made this revelation: “I was scared as a writer that I would look uncool if I tried to represent people who were not of my race and didn’t do it well.  That’s just stupid.  I took on lesbians, and I didn’t think I knew anything about them.  As I said in the documentary, it’s about the human heart, so that was a mistake on my part.”  He plans to rectify that in the new series, which promises to explore a bit more diversity. 

Another story came out of Outfest.  Director Kevin Smith was hosting a screening of the 20th anniversary of Chasing Amy, and he made a startling revelation.  Ben Affleck said, “A man kissing another man is the greatest acting challenge an actor can ever face.”  Funny, I never found it difficult in the slightest.  Of course, Affleck made this revelation years before he went out and enthusiastically promoted Gigli – talk about your acting challenges!  After he filmed the Amy scene, Affleck is said to have quipped, “Now, I’m a serious actor”.  After hearing all this sturm und drang, one actress was less than impressed.  Evan Rachel Wood Tweeted: “Try getting raped in a scene.  Also, grow up Ben.  Also, you think us ladies like kissing all the guys we kiss?  Just cause its a ‘straight kiss’ doesn’t mean we enjoy it.  Ahem.”

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Speaking of serious actors, Ryan Seacrest will definitely be hosting American Idol when it returns to the airwaves.  Of course, I already revealed this months weeks ago, but why stand on ceremony?

Kenny Rogers is preparing to retire from touring.  To make his final performance special, he’s asked frequent duet partner Dolly Parton to join him.  The special show will take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on October 25th.

Liam Payne – formerly of One Direction – is willing to do whatever it takes for people to pay attention to him as a solo artist.  While making an appearance on Virgin Radio in Paris, he started to sing “Strip That Down” and decided to take his own advice.  People who were previously unimpressed with his vocals perked up and took notice – and you will too when you check him out on BillyMasters.com.

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Remember Andrew Garfield telling people he’s like a gay man – just without the icky sex part?  Well, he feels his comments were taken out of context.  For those of you who don’t know, he’s in the London production of Angels in America and said that he’s totally immersed in the gay culture and lifestyle – so much so that the only break he takes is to sit with his mates and watch RuPaul’s Drag Race.  He added, “I am a gay man right now just without the physical act – that’s all.”

“That’s of course not what I meant at all.  That discussion was about this play and how deeply grateful I am that I get to work on something so profound.  It’s a love letter to the LGBTQ community.  We were talking about, ‘How do you prepare for something so important and so big?’ and I was basically saying, ‘I dive in as fully as I possibly can.’  My only longing is to serve and to keep the world spinning forward for the LGBTQ community in whatever way I’m meant to.  It’s important to a community that I feel so welcomed by.  The intention was to speak to that, speak to my desire to play this part to the best of my ability and to fully immerse myself in a culture that I adore.”

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And this leads perfectly into our Ask Billy question.  Harry in Chicago wrote, “I just saw National Theatre‘s production of Angels in America at the cinema and was mesmerized.  Are there any plans to release it on DVD?”

No announcement has been made about releasing Angels in America on DVD, and I doubt it will happen.  These things tend to be licensed only to be shown in the cinema.  But if you missed it, you’re in luck.  Someone leaked your humble scribe a copy of it – well, of Part One: Millennium Approaches.  I assume we’ll get Part Two: Perestroika after it airs next week.  And, because I’m filled with the milk of human kindness (amongst other fluids), I want you to be able to watch it from the comfort of your own home.  So, should you be interested in seeing the aforementioned Andrew Garfield act alongside actual gay men such as Nathan Lane and Russell Tovey, you should head on over to BillyMasters.com.

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When I’m bringing you gossip from both sides of the pond, it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  And whether you’re a lady, a gentleman, or an “other”, you can always check out www.BillyMasters.com, the site that’s never outdated – or polite!  If you have a question, dash it off to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Caitlyn and Steven Tyler make a music video for “Love in an Elevator”!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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