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11 November 2019

“The booing is fucking us up.  It’s messing with everyone’s mic. 
You can grimace and all that.  All we hear is booing.”
 
Whoopi Goldberg admonishes the studio audience during Donald Trump Jr.’s appearance on The View
After the fiasco, Junior said, “I don’t think I’ve enjoyed an interview this much in my life.” 
And they say he’s the smart one!

A few years ago, I was sure I was having a stroke.  I had the most excruciating pain in my head, blurred vision, dizziness, and some numbness.  I looked up symptoms of a stroke, looked in the mirror for signs of drooping – which was no help since I always think my left side droops a bit.  I didn’t feel up to driving to the ER, and was embarrassed to either call a friend or even an ambulance.  What if I was fine?  Needless to say, I did not have a stroke – I had my first migraine.  Chely Wright found herself in the exact same position – with strikingly different results.  “Exactly one year ago today, I went to the ER at Lenox Hill Hospital because I was on Day 3 of a migraine, which isn’t uncommon for me.  Because I had shows booked for the coming weekend, I wanted to get this headache out of the way…After a series of diagnostic tests, I was informed that I’d had a stroke.”   While the openly gay country singer is now fine, she shared her story as a cautionary tale.  Don’t be like me – be like Chely!

I really can’t stand it.  Sean Spicer – safe again!  I hope that by the time you read this, his tenure on Dancing with the Stars has come to an end.  Mind you, I am basing that not on politics, on his previous job, nor any feelings about him as a person.  I’m basing it solely on the fact that he CAN’T DANCE!  Alas, this is the downside of living in a free society.  You give people the right to vote, and have to pay the consequences.

The UK’s version of the show, Strictly Come Dancing, made a bit of history by having the first same-sex routine.  While they’ve previously featured mixed groups with some same-sex interaction, this was the first time that a routine was solely two men.  However, this dance was not part of the competition. It was two pros dancing while singer Emeli Sandé sang “Shine”.  The dancers were Johannes Radebe (who is openly gay) and Graziano Di Prima (who is not).  Reaction to the routine was largely positive.  Radebe said, “I’ve never felt so liberated.  For the first time in my life, I feel accepted for who I am.  That says so much about the people of this country.” 

Meanwhile, the Danish version of Dancing with the Stars (Vild med dans) has a same-sex couple competing.  When Jakob Fauerby, an openly gay actor, was cast, he was prepared.  “I had already thought that if they called me, I would ask if it was possible to dance with a man.”  Not only did he get a man – he got two-time mirror ball champion Silas Holst, who is also gay.  The pair topped the leaderboard four times in the past eight weeks.

There have been same-sex dances on similar shows around the world.  In 2011, TV host Alfons Haider danced with a male professional in Austria’s Dancing Stars.  The Israeli show Rokdim im Kokhavim featured female sportscaster Gili Shem Tov competing with a female pro.  And last year, Italy’s Ballando con le Stelle included an openly gay fashion designer, Giovanni Ciacci, competing with a male professional.  They made it to the finals.

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Drag star Courtney Act competed on Australia’s version of Dancing with the Stars.  She appeared in drag and had a male dance partner, which technically makes it a same-sex match-up.  She did well enough to come in second!  These strides around the globe have been noted by the domestic powers-that-be at DWTS, and I hear they are considering using one of RuPaul’s girls next season.  Is it just me, or does this have Shangela written all over it?

Alas, all is not rosy for some other Drag Race alumnae.  Pearl, Shea Coulee, The Vixen, and Kim Chi have been collectively slapped with a $5 million lawsuit.  Allegedly, the ladies made slanderous and defamatory claims about a company which manages LGBTQ entertainers.  I won’t name the company because: a) I don’t know the veracity of the claims and 2) I may need new management someday!  The aforementioned drag divas stated on social media that the company never paid them for gigs.  I’m reporting this as nicely as possible – so don’t sue me!

Meanwhile, Caitlyn Jenner is itching to get back to reality television – or perhaps it’s simply a yeast infection.  Rumors abound that Cait may appear on the UK competition I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!.  Not only has she pitched herself to the show…the producers consider her a huge “get”.  You know what else is huge about it?  The paycheck.  Allegedly, just for participating, Jenner would be paid roughly half a MILLION dollars.

Over 40 years ago, Studio One opened in West Hollywood and quickly became THE gay dance club in the country.  Owner Scott Forbes was proud of saying, “Studio One was planned, designed and conceived for gay people, gay male people.  Any straight people here are guests of the gay community.  This is gay!”  Like Studio 54 (which opened two years later), Studio One had the hottest male staff in the skimpiest outfits and attracted record numbers every night.  The club also housed The Backlot, a theatre which featured such performers as Joan Rivers, Chita Rivera, Barry Manilow, Divine, Rip Taylor, Roseanne, Nancy Dussault, Mimi Hines, and moi.  We even filmed the pilot for my talk show there.  So I was thrilled to participate in the closing night event for the club (the space is being incorporated into a hotel and shopping plaza).  The night kicked off with yours truly interviewing people on the red carpet.  As to the show itself, I co-hosted with the irrepressible Bruce Vilanch.  People like Freda Payne, Charlo Crossley and Thelma Houston blew the roof off the house.  Who says you can’t go home again?

Alas, there’s no rest for the weary.  The next day, I was off to see The Lion in Winter at the Laguna Playhouse, with a cast led by Frances Fisher and Gregory Harrison.  I love the play, I love the performers, and I was entertained.  But I had issues.  While the set was attractive and serviceable, I found the lighting too bright and devoid of atmosphere, especially for a show set in 1183.  There was a lack of gravitas from top to bottom.  Everything seemed a tad too contemporary for my taste and mitigated the impact of this extraordinary text.  Fisher gave the weightiest performance and surely has the chops for such a pivotal role.  While Harrison commands the stage, he portrays Henry as an aging frat boy – the geniality of which belies the torment of the aging monarch.  While not a perfect presentation, it’s still a rare opportunity to see a truly marvelous drama on stage.  It runs through November 24th.  You can get more details at LagunaPlayhouse.com.

You may recall that last year, The Golden Globes started a new honorary award.  In addition to the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, they inaugurated the Carol Burnett Award for outstanding contributions to television on and off the screen.  Needless to say, Miss Burnett won the first award – wouldn’t it be embarrassing if she lost?  This year, the recipient will be Ellen DeGeneresThe Golden Globes are given out on January 5th.

Our Ask Billy question comes from Walter in Maine: “I just saw a photo of one of those One Direction boys posing in underwear.  He looked pretty grown-up to me.  Do you have any of the pics?”

There are underwear shots, and then there are Liam Payne’s underwear shots for Hugo Boss.  I’ll let Liam explain: “I hadn’t been properly warned about the amount of nudity Mert and Marcus do in their work, let’s say…I mean it was just a room full of five or six people and a hell of a lot of tequila to get me to this level.  I was standing there and all of a sudden it was, ‘Right, OK, take them off.’  I’m like, ‘Really?  Take them off?  Off, off?  Like on-the-floor off?  Oh my God.  And there was a real hollow moment afterwards where I was sitting outside smoking a cigarette thinking, ‘I have basically just shot soft-core porn.’”  First, where did that body come from?  And let’s not even discuss the basket – which is ginormous.  Because a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I’m close to my limit, I’ll post a few thousand more at BillyMasters.com.

When Liam looks like he’s putting more than just eggs in his basket, it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  With so much talent to take in, check out www.BillyMasters.com – the site that’ll give you something to stroke about.  As for your questions, send them along to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Caitlyn is dancing with a real star!  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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Revised: Nov 11, 2019 @ 12:51 am

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