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25 May 2020

“Hate and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people started long before
Trump and Pence took office.  Defeating them will not solve the problem,
but it is an essential first step in order to resume our march towards equality”
 
Joe Biden, while stressing his support of the Equality Act.  See? 
Isn’t that better than that stupid “you ain’t black” quote?

One night I went to bed, and we were in a pandemic.  I woke up the next day, and it’s as if it never happened.  People are walking around, playing, socializing, and even tanning.  A friend called me earlier today from Macy’s.  Would you risk life and limb to go to Macy’s?  OK, I understand it if you have a coupon.  But still…

Not everything is back to normal.  In South Lansing, Michigan, complaints were made about a complex right up my alley…or at the very least, alley-adjacent.  Fantasies Unlimited is one of those stores that has a back room (you know what kind of back room).  The health officer for Ingham County popped in for an inspection and said, “No way they are 6 feet apart” – which should go without saying.  The back room even has its own name – Club Tabu.  Now it has another name.  “Closed By Order of the Department of Health”.  Not nearly as catchy..

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If it’s male companionship you seek, perhaps you should head to Dallas.  As you’d expect, all bars were closed in Texas for the past two months.  This past week, the ban on bars was lifted, and most watering holes reopened.  However, many of the gay bars in Dallas’s fabled Cedar Springs area are waiting to explore options on how to operate safely.  The exception to those erring on the side of caution is Club Dallas, which I wouldn’t consider a bar.  I got a lot of things at “Club Dallas”, but I don’t recall any of those being an alcoholic beverage!  Club Dallas advertises that “Social distancing must be maintained in all areas”.  I find that hard to swallow.

Another bar may be fading into history.  The Stud, which has the title of “San Francisco’s oldest continuously operating queer nightclub”, is closing its doors.  A co-owner issued a statement.  “Because of a lack of revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the historic bar will be announcing that they are permanently closing their location and will be holding a drag funeral to honor the end of an era of LGBT nightlife.”  Sounds like an event I should host!  But not so fast.  Rumors of the club’s untimely death may be somewhat premature.  Another co-owner issued a statement of his own.  “We’re still going to come back when this is over – a different space with the same lovingly outrageous vibe.”  Stay tuned.

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Time for a Whodunit!  Ruby Rose, who plays the title character in Batwoman, abruptly quit the CW show days after the show was picked up for a second season.  The producers vow to recast!  Why is Ruby leaving?  Lots of rumors are circulating – including one about her being injured during a stunt and deciding she wasn’t going to risk permanent physical damage.  But people whisper that’s not the real reason.  Allegedly there was a “personality conflict”.  Between whom?  My sources are mum, but I’m not one to give up that easily.

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You know who has given up?  Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli.  You’ll recall that Lori and Mossimo were implicated in Operation Varsity Blues, where parents tried to buy their kids’ way into colleges.  The Loughlin-Giannullis spent roughly half a MILLION dollars to get their dippy daughters into USC.  Although I don’t care about them, I’d really enjoy seeing Lori and Moss serve considerable jail time.  After all, they pleaded not guilty repeatedly (versus Felicity Huffman, who quickly admitted guilt, apologized, did her time, and moved on).  The couple also unsuccessfully tried to get the case thrown out of court – going so far as to force the FBI to disclose whatever evidence they had.  When the Feds revealed text messages and photos, the couple suddenly changed their tune.  Too little, too late, if you ask me.  Throw the book at them – preferably a book that’s been sitting in a crowded supermarket for a while.

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Last week didn’t go down exactly as planned on Billy Masters LIVE.  There was much anticipation for the dual interview with Lainie Kazan and Michele Lee – speaking for the first time together about their experiences in the musical Seesaw.  A couple of hours before we went live, Lainie called in sick.  Michele was game to go solo – but would only give me 30 minutes (50 if she felt it was going well).  The show lasted an hour and a half!  Since I had prepped so diligently, I was thrilled to discuss Lee’s long and varied career.  We even surprised her with Charles Busch, who wrote Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.  Michele had a great time and promised to return with Lainie very soon.

On Thursday, we had Gloria Allred.  She was brilliant as we surveyed the pandemic, the political climate, the upcoming election, and her many historic cases.  I was aided by news anchor Sue O’Connell and, while it was different than our usual show, it was quite fascinating…and still fun.  You can check out all of our shows on our our YouTube channel at Billy Masters TV, or at BillyMasters.com/TV).

This week, we’ll reunite the hot gays from The People’s Couch.  Yes, Scott Nevins, Emerson Collins and Blake McIver will join me on my virtual couch Tuesday.  We’ll also talk about Voice of Hope (the Desert AIDS Project Benefit), the all-star benefit reading of Del ShoresSordid Lives, Blake’s upcoming concert, and much more.

Did you all watch Bombshell in Concert?  It was without question one of the most THRILLING things I’ve ever seen.  For those who don’t know, Bombshell was a musical about Marilyn Monroe that was being staged in the NBC series Smash.  After the series was cancelled, fans clamored for a stage version of Bombshell.  This concert performance of that score (written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman) was a benefit in 2015 for The Actors Fund – and was fortuitously filmed professionally for archival purposes.  Although it wasn’t televised on NBC (where Smash aired), it was livestreamed on People Magazine’s website – also as a benefit for The Actors Fund (to watch it, click here).  Since it was a benefit, union rules only allowed a week for some vocal and dance rehearsal in a studio, and then a few hours in the theatre the day of the show itself.  Despite this tight schedule – to say nothing of the fact that the concert happened two years after the series’ demise – everything was picture-perfect, including the thrilling choreography of Joshua Bergasse.  The fact that Megan Hilty was effortless was expected from this Broadway vet.  It was Katharine McPhee – at that point, a Broadway newbie – who blew me away.  She handled intricate vocals during difficult dancing with aplomb.  And it’s impossible for me to let a Smash item end without noting the presence of the dreamy Wesley Taylor.

For you Smash/Bombshell fans, I have good news and bad news.  After numerous efforts, coming up with a cohesive book for a Marilyn Monroe musical that would include all of the score has proven impossible.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that the original producers have announced plans for a musical based on Smash the series, which would retain most of the score.  Should this happen, it could mean that there would be two Marilyn Monroe-centric musicals on Broadway at the same time – both written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.  The duo has also written a musical version of Some Like It Hot, which is set for a Broadway bow in 2021.

Our Ask Billy question comes from Danny in Denver.  “What do you know about Christopher Fawcett?  He’s an underwear model and absolutely gorgeous.”

You didn’t ask, but you’ll probably be pleased to hear that Fawcett is openly gay.  HOORAY!  He’s also openly married.  BOO!  To fill in some other blanks, he’s 34 years old, lives in NYC, and has modeled extensively for DKNY and CK.  But, please, don’t limit Fawcett to undies.  He’s also happy to pose in nothing at all – as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com.

When you’ll need two hands to turn this Fawcett, it’s definitely time to get out the elbow grease and end yet another column.  You may not be stuck at home, but you’ll still need some entertainment.  Might I suggest you check out www.BillyMasters.com – the site that doesn’t require social distancing.  And, of course, go to our YouTube channel of Billy Masters TV and subscribe.  I’ll make it worth your while.  For details on how, drop a note to me at  Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Macy’s opens up a back room.  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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