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14 June 2021

“Now, therefore, I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., President of the United States of America
…do hereby proclaim June 2021 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,
and Queer Pride Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to recognize
the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, to celebrate the great diversity
of the American people, and to wave their flags of pride high.”
 
President Joe Biden.

Despite President Biden allowing US embassies around the world to fly the rainbow flag during Pride Month, many demurred.  The Pentagon banned the flag from flying outside of military bases.  The more things change…  And then, out of the blue, everything changed with the single act of a single person.  It helps when that single person is the sitting Vice President of the United States.  Without any fanfare, Kamala Harris (and second dude, Doug) showed up at Capital Pride celebrations in DC.  Just by strolling around wearing a “Love Is Love” tee, waving to people and saying, “Happy Pride”, history was made.  Remember that when you wonder if your voice matters.

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On the same day, someone else made a statement.  When David Archuleta was on American Idol, MANY gay men eagerly questioned his sexuality.  I was not amongst those people.  Archuleta was 17 years old at the time and – well, my feeling about sexualizing youngsters is well documented.  I also knew from several sources that he came from a devoutly religious family – and had a very domineering father.  A couple of years later, I reported about David going to a NYC gay bar – ostensibly to see singer Charice.  He Tweeted, “Wasn’t my kind of place”, adding “I have friends who are gay, and they’re great people.”  Now he’s all grown up and shared the following on Instagram: “I came out in 2014 as gay to my family.”  Then he thought he might be bisexual, since he was attracted to both genders.  Now he kinda considers himself asexual.  “I don’t have too much sexual desires and urges as most people, which works I guess because I have a commitment to save myself until marriage.”  However he chooses to define himself, we congratulate him on his authenticity and wish him well on his journey.  As to waiting till marriage…well, see Colton Underwood.

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On the other side of the pond, cheers to Sir Ian McKellen.  You may recall that the beloved knight commemorated his 80th birthday by touring with a solo show that raised money for small theatres.  That tour brought in £3 million (over $4 million).  An additional £2 million was generated by the broadcast of the show, bringing his fundraising effort to over £5 million (or $7 million).  Again, a reminder of what one person can do.

If I’ve learned nothing else over the years, the devil’s in the details.  That requires reading the fine print – which I am loath to do.  That explains why I was utterly perplexed when Bruce Springsteen announced that his one-man show, Springsteen on Broadway, will return to the Great White Way on June 26th.  Apparently, I missed Governor Cuomo saying Broadway theatres “could” reopen on May 19th – with lots of stipulations, including reduced capacity.  And reduced capacity means less money.  And if there’s a second thing I’ve learned, it’s that Broadway shows cost lots of money.  But for Bruce Springsteen’s one-man show, all he needs is a mike, a guitar, someone to open the curtain, and perhaps a wife in combat boots shaking a tambourine.  Done!  BTW, audience members must show proof of the final dose of a Covid vaccine at least 14 days prior to attending, or present proof of a negative antigen test within 48 hours.  Proceeds from the opening night will be donated to a number of NY and NJ charities, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and The Actors Fund.

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Readers of this column are well aware of The Trevor Project – the nation’s only 24/7, 365-day-a-year suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ+ kids.  And I cling to the hope that you know the organization was named after the Oscar-winning short film, Trevor, about such a kid.  Well, get ready – Trevor: A New Musical is headed off-Broadway.  Previews begin on October 25th, with opening night scheduled for November 10th.  I’m not sure at what date the phrase “A New Musical” will be retired.  I’ll keep you posted.

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It’s been a while since I did two Billy Masters LIVE shows in one week.  But I love a theme.  And when I got books from both Paul Rudnick and Dan Mathews, I knew they were perfect for Pride Month.  Paul Rudnick is fascinating because he’s done SO much – essays, novels, plays, films.  His latest, Playing the Palace, is a perfect summer book (I read it on a plane).  Dan Mathews may be Senior Vice President of PETA, but his writing has always entertained and enlightened.  His memoir, Like Crazy: Life with My Mother and Her Invisible Friends, is heartfelt and hysterical.  I had a blast chatting with these witty gents, so be sure to check out Billy Masters LIVE on our YouTube channel Billy Masters TV or on BillyMasters.com/TV.

One of my favorite events every year is Broadway Bares.  Due to that pesky pandemic, Broadway Bares: Twerk From Home will be a virtual chance to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  Naturally, I’m gonna have some of the hunkiest performers join me for a special Billy Masters LIVE.  On Thursday, June 17th, I will host Jay Armstrong Johnson, Patrick Boyd, Sebastian La Cause, Mark MacKillop, and perhaps a couple others.  Bares founder Jerry Mitchell is in London rehearsing Hairspray, but he’ll also pop in.  See you on Thursday.  And be sure to check out Broadway Bares which takes place on June 20th at 9PM.  Watch it for free on BroadwayCares.org.

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Speaking of fundraisers, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley have raised close to a million dollars for The Actors Fund with Stars in the House.  Seth is pulling double duty by performing virtual concerts on Sunday nights.  While there have been countless great ones, I have to say that note-for-note, phrase-for-phrase, none hold a candle to the recent concert he did with our own Alex Newell.  I know Alex is talented, but DAMN!  This was epic and extraordinary.  It was all the more poignant that the next day, NBC cancelled Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist – which I never saw because I simply cannot bear lip syncing.  Sorry, not sorry.

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Frankie Grande just got engaged…again.  Isn’t he engaged around this time every year?  Sometimes to two guys at once?  Well, this time it’s only one guy – so he must be something!  Frankie proposed to beau Hale Leon where the two had one of their first dates – LA’s virtual reality venue, Dreamscape.  Congrats.

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Our Ask Billy question comes from Kevin in Chicago: “I just saw a nude photo Channing Tatum posted.  Is that recent?  Because he looks AMAZEBALLS!”

And that, dear reader, is the first – and hopefully last – time the word “amazeballs” will appear in a Billy Masters column.  I’m often stymied when people with perfect physiques on screen – Channing Tatum, Colin Farrell, Mark Wahlberg – turn up in candids on the beach or jogging shirtless with a body more akin to one’s second trimester.  I don’t know how Channing goes from chunk to hunk with such annoying regularity.  But the photo he posted from the set of The Lost City of D is abs-olutely striking, indeed.  He captioned it by saying, “You know when you in the make-up trailer asshole naked holding a towel over your junk you about to do some shit on set that you gonna have to prepare ya mama for before she see the movie.”  That Chan – he’s got a golden tongue.  He added, “And yes I’m flexing so hard I got a cramp”.  You’ll appreciate his efforts on BillyMasters.com.

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When Tatum is cramping for our pleasure, it’s definitely time to end another column.  You know what won’t cramp your style?  Checking out www.BillyMasters.com – the site that always delivers a happy ending.  If you have a question, send it off to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before David Archuleta chronicles his coming out story on a Netflix series!  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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