Category Archives: Breaking

Where is Wendy Williams?

I am certainly no medical doctor – although I’ve slept with more than my share.  But I’m gonna tackle this Wendy Williams situation.  Full disclosure – a family friend had frontal lobe dementia, so while not exactly what Wendy has, this is something I know a bit about.  The causes of dementia are unclear, but frontal lobe issues are exacerbated by alcohol and drug abuse.  Last week, Williams allegedly went public with a diagnosis of aphasia and frontotemporal degeneration.  I say “allegedly”, because I have no idea who is speaking for Wendy.  Unless I see her say it herself, I don’t know – and even if I see her say it, I still ain’t so sure.

Last weekend, Lifetime aired the documentary, Where is Wendy Williams?.  Many people have criticized the network for airing this show.  Well, that offends me – because Wendy signed the contract for this and is an executive producer, which means she also got paid handsomely.  I presume so did her son, Kevin Jr. – he’s also listed as an executive producer and participated.  I’m not sure if Kevin Sr. got paid, but I bet money exchanged hands.  Yes, you might say Wendy’s not in her right mind to make those decisions.  Except she signed this contract pre-2020.  Back then, she had a three-project deal with Lifetime.  The first was a dramatization of her life, Wendy Williams – The Movie.  At the same time, she did a documentary called, Wendy Williams – What a Mess!.  This latest doc fulfills her contract – and is also a mess.  It should be noted that it began shooting just after her show got cancelled (June 2022) and ended when she was admitted to an unknown “facility” (April 2023).  As to the content, that could be another full column.  While I would like to hope I’m wrong, I think we all know how this story ends.

Kirk’s Playing with Himself

If people don’t want to be offended, they shouldn’t get out of bed.  Wise advice from your humble scribe.  This is apropos of a story regarding “trigger warnings” for the UK tour of the classic musical My Fair Lady.  For those of you who didn’t digest every second of the Rex Harrison/Julie Andrews original cast recording, let me tell you that the musical is set in Edwardian London – not an era known for equality.  Women had no rights, classes were more delineated, and poor people were happily dancing in the street!  The Old Vic warned that the show contained “portrayals of abuse, abusive language and coercive control”.  This is not unprecedented – the Broadway revival of 2018 “softened” the ending – because why would a woman come back to the man who mistreated her?  Last year’s revival of The Sound of Music warned that it “touches on Nazi Germany and the annexation of Austria…viewers may find certain themes distressing.”  Then don’t go!  Ralph Fiennes doesn’t believe in any warnings.  “The impact of theatre should be that you’re shocked and you should be disturbed.  I don’t think you should be prepared for these things.”  In other words, if you are someone who is offended by a work of art, STAY HOME!

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Kirk now and in his prime (right). Why, it’s almost criminal

I’m a bit offended by this next story.  On one hand, Kirk Cameron is crazy as a loon and looking more weathered.  On the other hand, he has residual cuteness and is entitled to have whatever opinions he chooses.  Frankly, I’m more offended by what time has done to his lovely visage.  Anyhoo, Kirk is launching a new series geared toward children.  “Parents and grandparents are sickened and tired of their children being attacked by the woke wolves of Hollywood.”  Are they?  Frankly, I found three things offensive in that statement – but I just picture him shirtless in his prime and, poof, I got over it.  The show is called Adventures with Iggy and Mr. Kirk.  Do you know how I’ve longed to call him Mr. Kirk?  Who is Iggy?  He’s a puppet.  So, Kirk is on a show that espouses fisting – not that I’m judging (I’m mildly titillated).  He lost me when he told Fox News, “It’s not just time to take back our libraries and literature.  It’s time to take back every area of culture that these animals have devoured.”  First, I haven’t devoured anybody in weeks.  Second, why are people always talking about taking things back?  Isn’t there room enough for all ideologies?  If you want to espouse Christian values standing next to a guy up to his elbow in felt, be my guest.  If I want to support drag queens reading to kids, fine.  If you don’t want your kid around the drag queen, keep them home.  And if I don’t wanna see you with a puppet…well, who am I kidding?  I’ll be watching.

All About Peachyboy

This beautifully leads into an Ask Billy question I’ve been sitting on for a few weeks – so to speak.  Dan in Miami asks, “Do you know this internet model who goes by the name Peachyboy?  He’s gorgeous – but I don’t know anything about him.  Has he done porn?  Is he gay?  And what’s his name?”

Do I know Peachyboy?  Have you met me – he’s exactly my type.  Sure, he’ll be bald in a few years, but the haircut definitely helps.  Not only is his body perfection, his face is dreamy and he has a British accent.  He’s exactly like me – except for the body, the face, and the accent!  OK, so he doesn’t kiss.  The good hookers never do.  And, sure, he might not have the biggest dick in the world.  But I betcha his perfect ass could definitely take it.  Tricky camera work stops us from seeing actual insertion.  But we do have video of him taking things bigger than most human penises with ease – and he seems to enjoy it.  Does that make him gay?  Nope – but it sure makes him open.

So, who is he?  His name is Sam.  He’s a fitness model and “influencer”, although what he is influencing is unclear.  He first popped up on British TV way back in 2016 on a show called The Lie Detective, where he was confronted by an ex-girlfriend Sophie who was angry he didn’t come to visit her in the hospital after a horse accident – and, no, I’m not making that up (we have the video).  At the time, he was an AC repairman.  While his fitness photos and videos got loads of attention, he’s honed his focus on gay men and makes what people would call “bait content”.  He plays the game, comes off almost completely asexual, and mostly courts the attentions of other very fit men.  There have been videos with some gay porn stars which mostly show them working on his ass with their fingers, tongues, and toys.  When criticized for being gay-for-pay during a video Q&A, he quipped, “If you think I am 100% straight, you are SO wrong!”  He certainly seems charming and sincere – but I’m a sucker for an accent (even if that really isn’t my thing).  I know what my fans want to know.  Yes, like many of the people in this week’s column, he’s on OnlyFans.  He can also be found on BillyMasters.com.

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When I’m suddenly in the mood for cobbler, we’ve definitely come to the end of yet another column.  And I ain’t talking about an old man working on my boots – although I do have a pair that needs a bit of resoling.  While I’m looking into that, you should look into www.BillyMasters.com, the site that’s got plenty of soul.  If you have a question, dash it off to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before any of these OF boys pays me a commission – and I do accept nature’s credit card.  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

 

Divers Doff Drawers

Olympian Tom Daly has a new partner.  Noah Williams is taking over as Tom’s synchro diving partner since Matty Lee is out with a back injury.  The newsome twosome are getting along famously and have all but qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics after taking the silver at the World Championships in Qatar.  To seal the deal, Tom knitted Noah one of his famous “cock socks”.  When asked how he knew what size to make, Daly said, “I go by the one-size-fits-most rule.”  When Noah said, “Are you surprised I’ve actually worn it a few times?” Tom responded, “No, I’m not.  I think you actually posted a photo on your OnlyFans”.  Oh, yes, Noah’s got an OnlyFans account.  One reporter had the nerve to ask Tom if Noah is his type – a curious question since Tom is married to occasional auteur Dustin Lance Black.  I think we know what his type is, although variety is the spice of life.  Tom answered, “I like broad shoulders.  I like a swimmer’s physique.  Because that was what drew me to Lance in the first place, the fact that he was so wide at the top and then narrow.”  So, is that a maybe?

Noah ain’t the only Olympian with an OnlyFans page.  In fact, he isn’t even the only Olympic diver on OnlyFans.  In fact, he isn’t even the only Olympic diver connected to Tom Daley on OnlyFans.  In fact…oh, you get the idea.  Daley’s former partner Matty Lee has a page.  So do fellow British divers Daniel Goodfellow and Matthew Dixon.  Aussie diver Matthew Mitcham also has one – and he has the distinction of also being gay.  Speaking of gay, I think we’ve previously told you about New Zealand rower Robbie Manson.  I don’t believe any of them have shown what’s inside their Speedos – at least not up front.

 

Gay Porn Erectionist

Did I tell you about the gay porn star who was involved in the January 6th tourist jaunt?  Steven Miles is a member of the Proud Boys – which I thought was the name of a gay porn flick!  Previously, he “performed” under the name Sergeant Miles for Michael Lucas.  He was identified after posing for a photo with a woman, to whom he bragged about entering the Capitol building by breaking a window.  The woman became an FBI informant, and remembered some details about Miles and his “companion”.  After pleading guilty to all charges, he was sentenced to two years in prison for “assaulting, resisting, or impeding a law enforcement officer.”  Miles, who is married to a woman, said he was “humbled and humiliated” by his actions.  I expect he’s in for two more years of humbling and humiliation.

Monsoon’s a Mama Again

Last year, Jinkx Monsoon made history by being the first drag queen to play Matron “Mama” Morton in the Broadway company of Chicago.  In a bit of history repeating, Monsoon will return to the role for a limited run – June 27th through July 12th.  Not a bad way to celebrate Gay Pride in New York City.

A wise person once said you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and then you have the facts of life.  Come to think of it, it wasn’t a wise person.  It was Gloria Loring.  Whatever.  We’ve already told you the good, now we have to report the bad.  The show My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) has been a hit in London, and was slated for a Broadway run.  This solo show was scheduled to open February 27th.  And yet, at this very late date, the producers announced plans to delay the opening until next year.  Something to do with money, I suppose.

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Another show has announced intentions of reigning over the Great White Way next year – The Queen of Versailles.  It is based on the documentary of the same name about the life of beauty queen and TV personality Jacqueline “Jackie” Siegel.  The Boston tryout starts on July 16th for a limited five-week run.  This new musical will star Kristin Chenoweth and has been written by Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, who I’m told wanted Chenoweth.  Tickets go on sale to the general public on February 28th at 10AM at EmersonColonialTheatre.com.

I want to applaud the Ogunquit Playhouse for their commitment to presenting new works.  True, many of these shows have had no life beyond the rocky Maine shore, but I’m still glad I saw them.  This season, they’ll be producing the world premiere of a musical version of My Best Friend’s Wedding.  Now, doesn’t that sound like a hit?  As long as they don’t screw up the book.  Not only is it a perfect vehicle for a stage show, but the songs come from the Burt BacharachHal David catalogue – including “I Say a Little Prayer”, “Walk on By”, and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”.  It runs September 26 – October 27.  More details can be found at OgunquitPlayhouse.org.

Drake’s Handy in his Plane

Our Ask Billy question comes from Kurt in Cambridge: “Everyone is talking about the Drake video, but I haven’t been able to find it.  Do you have it?  Is it real?”

For those of you who don’t know, a video leaked of Drake allegedly “pleasuring himself” on a bed that looks exactly like the bed on his private jet.  So, yeah, I think it’s him.  During a concert last week, Drake even said, “The rumors are true.”  I don’t know how hard it is to find, but you certainly could grab ahold of it at BillyMasters.com.

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When we’ve got our hands on Drake, we’ve definitely come to the end of yet another column.  In fact, this column needs two hands!  For all that and more, check out www.BillyMasters.com, the site that’ll never leave you dangling.  If you have a question you need answered, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Usher shows us what’s under his Skims.  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Tyne’s Out, Spacey’s Gig

Meanwhile, things are not so hunky-dory for a comparatively young lady.  Tyne Daly was scheduled to return to Broadway in a high-profile revival of Doubt (co-starring Liev Schreiber).  Previews were scheduled to begin on February 3rd, but tragedy struck.  “Ms. Daly was unexpected hospitalized on Friday and unfortunately needs to withdraw from the production while she receives medical care; she is thankfully expected to make a full recovery,” said the Roundabout Theatre’s vague press release.  Previews ended up beginning on February 4th helmed by Tyne’s understudy, Isabel Keating.  Then it was announced that Amy Ryan will take over the role on my birthday, February 13th.  Since this is a short run (it closes on April 14th), Daly rejoining the cast is in…well, doubt.

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This week, 90% of the news coverage was about two elder statesmen (emphasis on the elder part).  But what caught my eye was when I heard that Danny Masterson was denied bail while awaiting his appeal.  The wording of Judge Charlaine Olmedo’s decision was…well, curious.  “If defendant’s conviction and sentence are upheld on appeal, he will likely remain in custody for decades and perhaps the rest of his life.  In light of the fact that defendant has no wife to go home to, defendant now has every incentive to flee and little reason to return to state prison to serve out the remainder of his lengthy sentence should his appeal be unsuccessful.”  I hear that Scientology’s diminutive head honcho, David Miscavige, has not returned any of his calls.  And I’m sure the same goes for Shelly Miscavige.  But on the positive side, I hear Danny’s mighty popular in his cell block!

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Speaking of people with legal troubles, there’s some surprising news about Kevin Spacey.  We hear that he’ll be appearing at the Mad Monster convention in Concord, North Carolina on February 16-18.  And he’ll be in good company.  Hottie John Schneider, who called for Joe Biden to be publicly hung, will also be in attendance.  Maybe that’s why Spacey is going – all he heard was “John Schneider” and “hung”!  I dunno how much you have to pay to get a photo with Kevin, but whatever it is, it’s a bargain!  Plus, he needs the money.  While he was originally ordered to pay the producers of House of Cards more than $31 million, he got them down to $1 million – which can be paid in installments.  I’m told the reduction was due to medical documentation that Spacey was in no condition to film due to mental illness, so now the insurance company is kicking in.  Still, I see many more cons in his future – in one way or another.

 

Joan Collins and GalPals

If you’re Joan Collins doing a book signing of your latest memoir, Behind the Shoulder Pads near Beverly Hills, what do you do?  You invite some of your favorite galpals, naturally.  Those fabulous females included Juliet Mills, Donna Mills (no relation), Stefanie Powers, Jane Seymour, Jerry Hall and Alana Stewart.  They even posed for a photo, and how lucky that they all still show up on film!  Add up their ages, and it’s positively biblical!  And it’s on BillyMasters.com.

Grammys, Go-Go’s and Bowl

I enjoy Bill Maher and am a fan of Real Time.  I particularly like his “New Rules”, but had a curious reaction to a recent installment where he complained about people in the music industry having invoking both violent and materialistic imagery.  While I agreed with him, I found the timing of this rant curious because earlier in the same program, his guest was Killer Mike.  I am not familiar with The Killer’s oeuvre, but the timing was…well, curious.  That Mike was charged with misdemeanor battery after winning three Grammys only added to my…curiosity.

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The big story at the Grammys was the appearance of Celine Dion – who has been routinely reported to be close to death.  I’m not saying she’s the picture of health, but I thought she looked fine – certainly by Celine standards.  Sure, she bore a striking resemblance to Madame Khrushchev when she appeared onstage in her coat, but maybe she was cold!  That was always the excuse Nikita’s wife used.  Meanwhile, everyone made much of Taylor Swift’s apparent disregard for the legend.  Now, I am no Swift apologist.  I think there’s a dark side to the pop star that most people haven’t seen – well, I bet John Mayer and at least two of the three Jonas Brothers have seen it.  Anyway, I hear that people at the Grammys were told to not get too close to Celine.  Of course, that doesn’t explain why Swift didn’t even glance at her onstage, but at least they took a photo backstage.

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Every time she thinks she’s out, they pull her back in.  I suspect this is how Belinda Carlisle feels about The Go-Go’s.  Despite frequently stating the band will never perform together again, they always do.  In her defense, it usually takes a really good cause – like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or helping one of the other members pay an overdue electric bill.  This time, it was to be inducted into the California Hall of Fame, which I actually had no idea even existed.  Not only did all five ladies fly in for the event, they even performed.  While the performance portion was not telecast, you can see some of their acoustic set on BillyMasters.com.

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During the pandemic, Dolly Parton considered abandoning plans for a stage musical about her life in favor of a biopic.  But here she comes again.  “Nah, everybody’s doing a biopic!  I’m going back to Broadway now that it’s open.”  As to who could play her (it should be noted that she approved of the casting of Megan Hilty in the stage version of 9 to 5), she thinks it’ll take more than one person to fill her ample…shoes.  And she’s taking some inspiration from The Cher Show – maybe she’ll have a “little Dolly”, an “earlier years Dolly” and an “older Dolly”.  She’s also open to discovering new talent.  “They may never have been on stage before, or maybe in some local theater somewhere.  But we’re going to look for them and that’s going to be part of the fun, I think.”

Speaking of country legends, I’m sure you all saw Reba McEntire sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl – and how clever of her to avoid high notes and sing it in Barry White’s key!  But that’s just the beginning.  She’s planning a return to sitcom life and has interest from NBC (where she already appears on The Voice).  The show, still in development, will find Reba inheriting her father’s restaurant, which she’ll co-own with the half sister she never knew she had (I can almost hear Melissa Peterman warming up now).  To make Reba feel even more comfortable, it will be executive produced by Kevin Abbott, Michael Hanel and Mindy Schultheis – who were all executive producers on The CW’s Reba series.  You throw in the fantastic Christopher Case (also an executive producer on the show), and you might have a winning combination.  NBC has ordered a pilot – the first official pilot order for next season.

Madonna Reunites with Ripa

In the nick of time, we have an Ask Billy question from Patrick in Chicago: “What happened with that reunion Madonna was supposed to have with [former backup singers] Niki and Donna?”

Oh, it’s a sad, sad story.  Everything I’m going to say at this point should be put under a huge “allegedly” umbrella.  What I hear is that someone close to the ladies (allegedly, closer to Donna) reached out to Madonna to say the girls would love to go to the Madison Square Garden show on January 29th.  Why that show?  Because the duo, who perform as Niki + Donna, would have just wrapped up their weekend gigs at The Green Room 42, just down the street from MSG!  We’re told that Madonna happily set up tix for her former colleagues in the front row.  Fans were excited that there might be some onstage reunion.  However, not only was there no reunion, there was not even an acknowledgement from the stage.  We hear the gals didn’t even get invited to the post-show party.  Why?  Well, after the tix to the concert were arranged, someone allegedly showed Madonna videos of the duo performing some of her songs…and, let’s just say she was not happy.  So, while there had been an idea brewing of a reunion onstage to judge the “Vogue” dance-off, Madonna instead invited up her pal Kelly Ripa.  Oh, the humanity!

A&F Boys Speak Out

I heard that the UK docuseries Panorama recently did an episode called The Abercrombie Guys: The Dark Side of Cool.  I sat down with my popcorn, ready to watch, when all of a sudden I said, “That’s David!”  Yes, on the screen as one of the primary talking heads was David Bradberry, who had a litany of stories to tell.  But, full disclosure – because I’m sure someone will find photos of us on the Internet – yes, I was close-ish with David shortly after the events he talks about in this doc.  Many of you probably remember him from Below Deck.  Getting back to the doc, it’s primarily about Mike Jeffries, former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch and possible victim of some sort of palsy.  What this cyclops-esque guy seemed to want more than anything was to look like an A&F boy.  What’s the next best thing?  Surrounding yourself with A&F boys in various forms of undress.  Say what you will about Jeffries, he did transform a stodgy company into the “it” brand for a decade or so.  Once his peccadilloes became public, he was pushed out and the brand became more diverse and approachable – to the point that nobody slows down by an A&F store anymore, let alone goes in.  The other model interviewed is the lovely Barrett Pall – who I don’t completely believe or trust.  Each of the guys interviewed were clear that while they felt they had to “perform”, they were never forced to do anything.  And they were always paid for their “services” – and all had some sort of background in payment for sex on some level.  To the best of my knowledge, none of them ever ended up working for A&F formally.  But some of them did get flown to parties around the world.  And got shaved…but that’s another story.

Shannen and Alyssa Drama

If you’re not listening to Shannen Doherty’s podcast Let’s Be Clear, you’re really missing out.  So far, she’s chatted with Jason Priestley, her cancer doctor (and Liza’s bff) Lawrence Piro, and Charmed co-star Holly Marie Combs – who chatted about why Shannen got fired.  They reveal that Alyssa Milano made formal complaints claiming that Doherty created a “hostile workplace environment”.  Alyssa allegedly gave the network an ultimatum – “it’s her or it’s me”.  In response, Milano firmly stated, “I did not have the power to get anyone fired”.  She added, “I’m the most sad that a show that has meant so much to so many people has been tarnished by a toxicity that is still to this day, almost a quarter of a century later, still happening.  And I’m sad that people can’t move past it.”  Easy to say when you weren’t the one fired!

Getting back to Shannen’s podcast, one of her guests was pal Chris Cortazzo, realtor to the stars.  They spent time talking about Doherty’s funeral – as one does.  Shan said she wants it to be a party – and would like it to take place in her house.  As to the guest list, she was pretty clear.  “There’s a lot of people that I think would show up that I don’t want there.  I don’t want them there because their reasons for showing up aren’t necessarily the best reasons.  Like, they don’t really like me and, you know, they have their reasons, and good for them.  But they don’t actually really like me enough to show up at my funeral.  But they will, because it’s the politically correct thing to do and they don’t want to look bad.  So I kinda want to take the pressure off them and I want my funeral to be like a love fest.  I don’t want people to be crying or people to privately be like, ‘Thank God that bitch is dead now.’”

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Which leads us back to Alyssa Milano.  Her latest scandal seems to be one of her own making.  It started with her 12-year-old son’s basketball team’s GoFundMe page, which was raising money for a trip to Cooperstown, NY.  Being a good mom, Alyssa shared the campaign on Twitter (now known as X, but I really hate typing that).  “Any amount would be so greatly appreciated.  You can read more about the team and make a donation.”  Well, people got angry.  One person wrote, “Imagine being so out of touch that you ask your followers to contribute money to your child’s trip when you have a net worth of 10 million dollars.  That is gross.  Pay for it your own damn self.”  I was totally on Alyssa’s side – why should she pay for all these kids?  Teach them that they have to raise it themselves.  Then I discovered that Alyssa actually started the GoFundMe campaign – under her married name Alyssa Bugliari!  I don’t know what disappoints me more – that she did this, or wasn’t clever enough to cover her tracks?  Have we learned nothing from Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman?

Death, Murder and Mayhem

I don’t know what caught my eye first.  The headline, “Queer Couple Found Guilty of Horrific Murder of Gay Couple’s Son” or the photo of the unphotogenic assailants.  This crazy crime took place in San Francisco – surprising those of you who think these things only happen in Florida.  Gerald Rowe and his trans partner, Angel Anderson, met up with 23-year-old George Randall-Saldivar and had a sexual encounter with him in the Donnelly Hotel – an establishment primarily populated with low-income and homeless people.  Amazingly, surveillance video from the apartment captured all of the gruesome details.  After the sex, the couple attacked George with a machete – which I don’t believe you can buy with food stamps!  Randall-Saldivar was placed in a noose and tethered from a pulley hanging from the ceiling – think of Dabney Coleman in 9 to 5.  I won’t get into the rest of the details – which included pliers, a plastic bag, some fentanyl, a suitcase, and a guitar.

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Yet another passenger died on the latest Atlantis cruise.  Initially details were slim.  All Atlantis would say was that there was a death and it was “unexpected and not suspicious”.  We now know that person was Jonathan Mindrum from Chicago.  Whispers on the ship claim he died after taking some fentanyl-laced Ecstasy that he bought on board.  His father called Jonathan a “brilliant person as a professional consultant and thinker”.  Enough said.

Absolutely Masked Singer

 

Meanwhile across the pond, the fabulous Jennifer Saunders was filling in as guest judge on the UK version of The Masked Singer.  After a stirring rendition of “Le Freak” by Chic, the panel had to guess the identity of the singer, called Bubble Tea.  Guesses ranged from Miriam Margolyes, to UK presenter Fearne Cotton and even Jane Horrocks, who played Bubble on Absolutely Fabulous.  Saunders thought it might be Geri Halliwell – that’s Ginger Spice to you.  Once the mask was removed, Bubble Tea was revealed to be Julia Sawalha – Saffron from AbFab.  “Oh my God,” exclaimed Saunders.  “Mummy!” said Sawalha.  “Darling, what are you doing?” ask Jen.  “I have no idea!” said Julia – who, it should be noted, sang in the AbFab film.  Saunders added, “You got yourself in a mess…but you were very good.”  You can check it out on BillyMasters.com.

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Could it be that oft-rumored-about guy really REALLY wants that Oscar?  He wants it bad…so bad that he’s rekindled something that was never kindled to begin with.  He’s tired of always being a bridesmaid and never a bride (although he briefly had one).  That’s what happens when you’re constantly being teased by your mother.

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When someone’s ambitions are limitless, we’ve definitely come to the end of yet another column.  This was a long one.  If there’s one thing we will remind everyone, it’s that not everyone wins the gold – some have to suffice with the silver.  And, for Pete’s sake, don’t try and convince us of anything with a professional beard.  Before picking a mate, check out www.BillyMasters.com, the site that can tell the difference.  We didn’t have room for an Ask Billy question.  But if you have one, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you – even if you use an alias!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Happy Birthday, Mayor Pete

This week, two unlikely people showed off their vocal talents.  The first instance happened on January 19th.  The scene was the US Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting at the White House – which we all somehow missed.  Someone in attendance was Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who will forever be known as Mayor Pete.  Not a bad way to be remembered, until one considers being a former mayor with a national platform didn’t work out so well for Rudy Giuliani!  Be that as it may, President Biden noted the former mayor’s presence when addressing the crowd.  Someone obviously told him that it was Buttigieg’s birthday (and while it may not look difficult, try and say “Buttigieg’s birthday” three times fast).  “Pete turned 30 today,” said Biden – obviously using hyperbole in accentuating Pete’s youthful appearance.  “My wife, she has a tradition in her family – and on everybody’s birthday, you’ve got to sing ‘Happy Birthday’.”  What a curious tradition.  And, how strange that my family does the same thing as Dr. Jill’s.  It’s almost eerie.  “So,” continued Joe, “stand up and let’s sing ‘Happy Birthday’.”  And then the president led a somewhat tuneless sing-along.  Happy Birthday, Mayor Pete!

Truth about Bobby Berk

At long last, Bobby Berk has revealed why he left Queer Eye.  According to the designer, the entire cast initially signed for seven seasons.  They did an eighth by shooting back-to-back seasons in New Orleans.  “We thought we were done.  Mentally and emotionally, I thought we all moved on.  I know I did, and I started planning other things,” he told Vanity Fair.  Then Netflix renewed the show and offered all five contracts for four more seasons.  Since Berk was sure the other guys weren’t gonna sign, he felt comfortable saying no.  “And with only one of us not coming back, Netflix felt they could recast one person.”  Let that be a lesson to all of you – communicate!

Mattress, Wine & Roses

The opening quote for this week’s column could have been the following quip by composer Mary Rodgers, when discussing how to cast the lead in her musical Once Upon a Mattress:  “You need a real clown with a great voice, someone with a huge personality but immediately likeable, and there aren’t many performers like that…as we unfortunately found out in the 1996 revival, when Sarah Jessica Parker got one of those four things right.”  While you try to determine SJP’s sole attribute, let me tell you about Sutton Foster, who is leading Encore!’s production at New York’s City Center.  I’d say Sutton is a good solid 3.0 on the Mary Rodgers scale.  She has a great voice and is immensely likeable.  She’s not a natural clown or in possession of a huge personality – but she is game to do virtually anything, so I gave her half a point for each.  It’s a curious thing – while watching her terrific performance, I couldn’t help but think there is a role-tailor made for her talents – Annie Get Your Gun.  Someone get on that!

Back to Mattress – this is as good a cast and production as one will ever see (to say nothing of the luxury of hearing a full orchestra).  There is a bit of questionable direction which I found distracting.  When Carol Burnett belted out the word “Shy”, the onlookers leaned back and covered their ears at the force of sound.  Sutton is not a belter, and her “Shy” sounds no different than the rest of her impressive instrument.  So having the same response that Burnett got was not only lazy direction, but nonsensical.  That out of the way, the cast is superb from top to bottom.  Prince Dauntless was played by Broadway MVP, Michael Urie (whose costume, while fetching, was all but drab).  His mother, Queen Aggravain, is assumed by the divine Harriet Harris at her most imperious – she all but steals the show whenever she’s onstage.  The second couple, played by the dreamy Nikki Renée Daniels and a charismatic Cheyenne Jackson (wearing spurs), delivered everything one could want – gorgeous vocals, touching acting…and they ain’t bad to look at.  Let me make special note of the wigs for Urie and Jackson.  J. Jared Janas (who presumably designed them) should get the Nobel Prize.  The show runs through February 4th.

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I also saw the new musical Days of Wine and Roses by Adam Guettel (Mary Rodgers’ son) and Craig Lucas – the same team that brought us The Light in the Piazza.  Truth be told, I am not a fan of lengthy expositions.  I like just getting into the story.  However, a bit more exposition would have been nice in this case.  Within a few short minutes, a girl who didn’t particularly like her male coworker or alcohol, is convinced to go out with him and have a drink.  Shortly thereafter, they sample about a dozen different cocktails – including margaritas out of metal cups with way too much salt.  And then they’re married with a child.  That’s a whole lotta ground to cover in a short amount of time.  At that point, the show settles into a beautiful, if episodic, piece about these people’s descent into alcoholism.  I can’t blame the show for wanting us to get to the heart of the relationship between Bryan d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara – two of the most talented performers around.  What we find in this show is that they’re more than great singers – they’re fantastic actors.  While each has standout vocal moments, the score takes a backseat to the drama.  This is ultimately a play with music rather than an outright musical.  That isn’t a bad thing – it’s a heartbreaking play that is beautifully performed.  It’s at Studio 54 for a limited 16-week run.

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Returning briefly to Sarah Jessica Parker, she made a stir last week during a performance of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite – in which she appears alongside hubby Matthew Broderick in London’s West End.  Fans have not been able to control themselves from taking photos or videos.  In mid-sentence, SJP looked out at the audience, pointed at someone in the orchestra section, and said, “Please put your camera down.”  She then paused – surely for dramatic effect – and then continued what she was talking about.  At least she didn’t go all Patti LuPone on the person!

By the by, Sex and the City is headed to Netflix.  All six seasons are poised to land on the streamer starting in April.  I don’t believe this will affect their deal with E!, where we get heavily sanitized episodes regularly.

Sweatin’ with Shore

Our Ask Billy question asks for an update of a story.  Harry in Providence says, “I remember you saying Pauly Shore wanted to make a movie about Richard Simmons.  I just saw a trailer for it.  How did he get it done so fast?”

You actually didn’t see a trailer for “it”.  The sometime comedian allegedly had a deal with The Wolper Organization to do a feature-length biopic about the exercise guru.  Then things took a strange turn.  “We got another random email from this director named Jake Lewis who did the Robin Williams short and he said he wants to do a Richard Simmons short, not knowing that I had a deal with this production company already.”  Shore read the script and loved it.  A deal was made and it was shot quickly.  And then, a wrinkle – Simmons came out of seclusion to make a statement: “Hi Everybody!  You may have heard they may be doing a movie about me with Pauly Shore.  I have never given my permission for this movie.  So don’t believe everything you read.  I no longer have a manager, and I no longer have a publicist.  I just try to live a quiet life and be peaceful.  Thank you for all your love and support.”  Whatever you may think about Pauly’s acting ability, I think we can all agree on one thing – someone better get that awful wig back to whatever tour of Annie they stole it from!  The Court Jester premiered last week in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival and depicts Simmons’ 2004 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (and wait till you see their Ellen).  You can watch it on BillyMasters.com.

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When there are battling Richard Simmons projects – both starring Pauly Shore – it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  As we went to press, we heard of the sudden passing of Olympic pole vaulter Shawn Barber.  The openly gay athlete was 29 and suffered what has been called “medical complications”.  There’s nothing particularly complicated about www.BillyMasters.com, the site that surely doesn’t need Richard Simmons’ permission (but we do know he’s a fan).  If you have a question, send it along to me at Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Dame Joan Collins is hired to revive those “Where’s the beef?” commercials for Wendy’s!  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Booster Buck Naked

Joel Kim Booster was at the Emmys because Fire Island was up for two awards (Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Writing).  And he was able to share some news – his next film, Again Again Again, will be produced by Searchlight Pictures, the same people who backed Fire Island.  One person on the red carpet asked if there was anything “too rowdy or naughty to make it into the film”.  His answer surprised some people.  “Fans will be outraged to find out that sex scenes between myself and Zane Phillips had to be cut for time…and other reasons.  But, yeah, they missed a shot of my ass.  You know?  Justice for my ass.”

While we haven’t come across that Fire Island footage, we have seen Joel’s ass.  In his comedy special Psychosexual, Booster revealed that he had taken several nude shots which have found their way online.  “Obviously I was angry.  I felt violated.  But then I found out they were put on a website for male celebrity nudes.  And I was like, ‘They can stay.’”  And, obviously you can find them on BillyMasters.com.  You’re welcome, Joel!

And Just Like That…Fired

Elsewhere on HBO…er, Max…we have some news about And Just Like That….  It’ll be a while till we see season three.  With Sarah Jessica Parker and hubby Matthew Broderick appearing in the West End production of Plaza Suite, she’s not available for winter filming.  Between her stage gig and the delay caused by two strikes, the network is saying we won’t get any new episodes until the 2024-25 season.  When the show returns, we won’t see a familiar face.  Although Che has been a main character since the series debuted, we hear they will not be back.  Sara Ramirez claims that this is due to being a vocal supporter of Palestine.  However, I have yet to run into a single person who has had a positive opinion about the character.  One industry insider said, “Sara needs to accept that this is not Grey’s Anatomy, and her character was not a pivotal part of the storyline.”  Someone else added, “Sara was fired because Che brought nothing to the show anymore.”  I take issue with the word “anymore”.

RuPaul, Reunions & Royalty

“And, listen, if a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library,
listen to her because knowledge is power. 
And if someone tries to restrict your access to power,
they are trying to scare you.  So listen to a drag queen!” 

RuPaul’s acceptance speech for Outstanding Reality Competition Show for RuPaul’s Drag Race
This was the show’s fifth consecutive win in this category, and RuPaul has won
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program eight consecutive times.

The awards season got even more cluttered than usual with the 75th Emmy Awards.  What a marvelous ceremony it was.  Admittedly, it would not take much to look good days after such a lackluster Golden Globes.  It’s a curious thing – when the show goes badly, everyone blames the host; when the show goes well, everyone gets credit except the host.  As far as I was concerned, Anthony Anderson kept things moving and stayed out of the way.  With the show all-but-stolen by his mother, someone should have thought about bringing out Anthony’s TV mama, Jenifer Lewis.  Still, I’m sorry I skipped going.  Alas, most people skipped tuning in altogether.  The 2022 Emmys had been the lowest-rated ceremony in history…until now.  This show was 27% below that.  Ouch!

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The most pleasant surprise of the night was the appearance of Dame Joan Collins, who showed everyone how it’s done.  I must confess, I braced myself for a Gladiator moment.  But if this turns out to be the last major public appearance by the 90-year-old Collins, she went out on a grand scale.  She looked great and entered to a standing ovation.  But I’d bet dimes to donuts she has no idea what Beef is.  I’m just glad she didn’t exclaim La La Land!

Who decided David Furnish should be seated in the back of the auditorium?  Even I’ve had better seats at the Emmys!  Of course, he’s now sleeping with an EGOT.  We also learned that more people have apparently seen a ghost than know a transgender person.  But how many of them have seen a transgender ghost?

I really enjoyed the reunions, but got many e-mails from people wondering where the people missing from Cheers were.  I can tell you that Woody Harrelson is doing a play in London.  And I believe Shelley Long couldn’t find anyone to take her shift at Target!  But, fear not – Long could have an acting gig on the horizon.  On the red carpet, Kelsey Grammer said that he could see Shelley guest starring on an episode of the Frasier reboot.

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Once again, the speech of the night came courtesy of Jennifer Coolidge, who went out of her way to thank “all the evil gays”.  On behalf of my people – you’re welcome!  I dunno what’s more tragic – that Tanya met her demise on The White Lotus, or that we’ll be without Coolidge in future awards seasons.  Someone better write her a juicy role – stat!  At least she has a film to look forward to.  It was just announced that Jennifer will join Jason Momoa in Minecraft…presumably as his love interest.

Posa & Sikes Steal the Show

I am currently down at the sumptuous Filth2Go Beach House in Fort Lauderdale.  In addition to frolicking in sand and sun, I’m also spending some time with friends.  Maybe a better term would be peers.  Except Joe Posa’s impersonation of Joan Rivers is peerless.  His Tributes show played the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, and he was more than ably assisted by the song stylings of Seth Sikes.  The show is anchored by Posa’s loving portrayal of Rivers, which features some of Auntie Joan’s tried and true material alongside Joe’s original jokes – many of which were up to the legend’s exacting standards.  Sikes, a devotee of legendary ladies, sweetly sings some solos, and then is joined for duets by Posa as Barbra and Liza, in a masterful bit of audio wizardry.  I’m a harsh critic, so it is no petty praise for me to say I enjoyed myself.  Posa has constructed a show that is as fantastic as his famous females, and kept the audience thoroughly entertained.  Brava.

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Scott Thompson, who many of you will remember from Kids in the Hall, has embarked on a new tour, courtesy of the City Winery venues.  This show, King, focuses on one character – gay lounge lizard, Buddy Cole.  The evening promises to include “hilarious and sometimes incendiary monologues never before seen on television and a series of brand new monologues written for the recent revival that were deemed too hot for Amazon.”  Well, that’s what the press release says.

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The West End recently hosted a revival of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard.  This stripped-down production starred the much-lauded Norma Desmond of Nicole Scherzinger.  Everything about this show – from the production to the casting – seems odd to me.  And yet, everyone says it’s brilliant.  I’ll be able to find out for myself since Scherzy will be making her Broadway debut when the show transfers to New York.  Details to follow.

By the by, the lovely Jonathan Bennett is poised to make his Broadway debut on January 23rd when he replaces Michael Urie in Spamalot.  Urie is leaving to do a brief run of Once Upon a Mattress with Sutton Foster and will then begin filming a television project.  Bennett is committed to staying with the production until April 23rd.

A film version of the musical Mean Girls just hit cinemas.  That film is based on the 2017 stage musical, which was obviously based on the original 2004 film – both of which were penned by Tina Fey, who starred in both.  I only mention this because that’s where we first saw Jonathan Bennett – in the original film, not the musical (on stage or on film).

The Truth About Liza

And this leads beautifully into our Ask Billy question.  Roger in Santa Barbara writes, “How is Liza Minnelli really doing?  Because I keep seeing these troublesome videos and it looks like various gay guys are dragging her around.”

“She has lots of gay friends”.  Didn’t we just say that about Bure?  Well, who has more gay friends than Liza Minnelli?  For Christ’s sake, husbands alone!  From what I understand, Liza spends most of her time with Michael Feinstein and his husband Terrence Flannery, who is on the payroll as Liza’s assistant.  The third person in their little cabal is Dr. Lawrence Piro – who recently popped up on Shannen Doherty’s fantastic podcast, Let’s Be Clear.  Piro is an oncologist who tended to Farrah Fawcett during her final years.  Odd, n’est çe pas?  He seems to be with Liza quite a bit – whether that is in a professional or personal capacity is unclear.  But many of Liza’s former inner-circle gays tell me that they have basically been cut out of the loop and that Minnelli is somewhat isolated from her friends.  Which brings up my question – where is Lorna?  Where is Joey?  They are certainly not in any of the recent videos you can see on BillyMasters.com.

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When we’re running videos of the real and fake Liza, it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  Frankly, I think Joe Posa looks so much like Minnelli, Feinstein and Flannery might start sniffing around him!  Thank God for www.BillyMasters.com, the site that passes the sniff test (you’ll have to take my word on that).  If you have a question or concern, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Luke Macfarlane co-stars in a romcom with Kirk Cameron!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

 

Cher Doesn’t Want To Share

We’ve previously reported that Cher was attempting to gain conservatorship over her son Elijah Blue Allman’s money.  This begs the question, “What money?”  Turns out, Elijah Blue has a trust which was left to him from his late father, Gregg Allman, who was briefly a Mr. Cher.  Elijah is struggling with addiction, and the struggle is real enough for Cher to have allegedly had Elijah abducted and placed in a facility.  She feels that this conservatorship is a “life-and-death proposition”.  Judge Jessica Uzcategui said, “I am not persuaded” – even in light of some confidential documents Cher’s lawyers presented to support the motion.  It probably didn’t help that Elijah made the following statement: “While I understand that my mother, the proposed conservator, believes she is looking out for my best interests and I appreciate her love and support, I do not need her unsolicited help or support at this time.”  I believe similar statements have been made by every single addict.

 

Networks Nobody Watches

“As you all know, Mel is a famous EGOT. 
And, after tonight, he’ll be the even rarer EGOOT!” 

Nathan Lane presents Mel Brooks with an Honorary Oscar at the 14th Governors Awards.

I can’t say it enough times – truth is stranger than fiction.  Every once in a while, a headline catches my eye: “Mexican Teen Carries Decapitated Sister’s Head Down the Street”.  This took place in Quiroga, which, admittedly, is not one of Mexico’s more popular destinations.  Still, I was sure this was a made-up story – like half the cases on Caso Cerrado.  But I did my due diligence and was shocked to discover that it did, in fact, happen.  19-year-old Sebastián was arrested when witnesses saw him carrying his sister Julieta’s decapitated head “in broad daylight” – as if moonlight would have made it all better!  Obviously he was arrested, and the police stated he appeared to be intoxicated.  I have so many questions, including why he was carrying a rifle.  A machete, yes.  But a rifle?  On the other hand, nobody has said anything about his sister’s torso.

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Many people complained to me about the Golden Globes.  They didn’t have an issue with Jo Koy or the ceremony itself.  They just cannot comprehend why network shows no longer get nominated.  Not only did many people never hear of the shows, they hadn’t heard of most of the networks.  I have news for them – it’s only going to get worse.  This week, Don Lemon announced his return to the “airwaves”…and I use that term loosely.  The Don Lemon Show will appear on X, formerly known as Twitter.  I remember scoffing when people were doing shows on Amazon.  At this rate, people will be nominated for shows that can only be seen in cabs (and don’t ask, “What’s a cab?”).

Someone who used to have a show – and perhaps still does, but nobody knows where you can see it – is Judge JudyJudith Sheindlin has used her somewhat diminished platform to endorse Nikki Haley.  “I’m proud to endorse Nikki Haley because she is whip smart, has executive credentials and was a superb governor.  I truly think she can restore America and believe she is the future of this great nation.”

 

Taylor Swift’s Secret

A curious opinion piece appeared in The New York Times last week, querying whether Taylor Swift is in fact a lesbian.  I cannot think of a bigger waste of my time than pondering this idea – although telling you about it seems totally fine.  Since the straight men Swift has slept with haven’t gotten off so easily, I can’t imagine lesbians want anything to do with her.  The point of the piece is that because Swift is so saintly and omnipresent, she’s fair game.  Someone in her camp took exception to this, and said (anonymously, naturally), “This article wouldn’t have been allowed to be written about Shawn Mendes or any male artist whose sexuality has been questioned by fans.”  Well, isn’t that nice.  In protesting Swift’s right to privacy, someone dragged in poor Shawn Mendes – who is hanging on by a thread.  This broken shell of a 25-year-old boy spends his day depressed, listless, doing crunches, and suddenly he reads this.  Hasn’t he suffered enough?  As for Taylor, she once said this about the LGBT-whatever community: “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of.”  Really?  I’m not a straight white male, but I have no problem saying, “Leave Shawn alone.”  Then again, I’m no Taylor Swift.

Breaking Bway Barriers

A friend of mine tells a story about a dinner theatre in Fresno where they had a production of Evita – presumably with dinner.  There was a rotating cast, and one person stood out.  Eventually people would buy tickets to see the “Black Evita” – who happened to be a 16-year-old Audra McDonald.  It was somewhat unusual to have an Evita of Color in the mid-‘80s.  But Broadway may get to see Audra break another color barrier.  Rumors are flying about that McDonald will turn up in a revival of Gypsy next season (it should be noted that Audra reportedly played a minor role in Gypsy as a kid – also in Fresno).  While everyone always talks about how often Gypsy is revived, it should be noted that the last Broadway production took place in 2008 – helmed by Patti LuPone.  That said, I saw another revival slightly more recently – and starring a Mama Rose of ColorLeslie Uggams led Gypsy at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Hartford back in 2014.  What I found more jarring was that Uggams was 71 years old at the time.

Legal Woes

 

Legal problems aren’t restricted to famous folk.  Remember Kim Davis?  She gained infamy as the county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses to couples in Kentucky way back in 2015.  Obviously, same-sex marriage has continued since then.  So has the legal case of the couple Davis refused, who sued for discrimination.  The case wound its way through the various courts and, of course, the couple won $100K in damages.  But due to the length of this trial, the associated fees have been what one might call excessive – and the “one” would be lawyers for Miss Davis.  However, the judge disagreed and ruled that Davis must pay an additional $260,104 in legal fees!  Incredibly, Davis is appealing the decision.  Put it on her tab.

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Then there’s the case of Vanessa Joy, who is running for a seat in the Ohio House (presumably of Representatives).  Joy, who is a transgender Democrat, was removed from the ballot because she did not include her previous name.  According to Ohio law, any candidate running for office has to include any name changes in the last 5 years – and this includes her so-called “deadname”.  While many people are claiming this is a seldom-invoked law, it is nonetheless a law which has been on the books since 1995.  It should also be noted that Michigan has a similar law.

Then there’s Kimberly Dragoo, who is running for the School Board in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  You may know her as one of the January 6th insurrectionists.  And not just any insurrectionist.  Her husband (also an insurrectionist) took a photo of Kimberly entering the U.S. Capitol building through a broken window.  And let me stop here to say I have begrudging admiration for anyone who has the balls to not only do something illegal, but post a selfie doing the act.  I’m not sure if it’s hubris or stupidity – it’s a fine line.  Kimberly plead guilty to the crime and is awaiting sentencing.  In the meantime, she’s running to be on the School Board!  Apparently in Missouri, one is allowed to run for office if found guilty of a misdemeanor – just not a felony.  And thank God she didn’t change her name.

New Year, Old News

“Call me anytime.” 
Chris Christie, when he gave Joy Behar his phone number backstage at The View
I know politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is ridiculous.

We’re a week into the New Year and many of you have asked if I have any resolutions.  Longtime readers know I’m not really into resolutions.  I resolve every day to live my life to the fullest.  However, maybe my life has been a bit too full.  Yes, I’m thinking my resolution should be to have less sex.  Much less sex.  Nothing against sex, which I enjoy…and am very good at.  But sometimes you do it because.  Like, I don’t think Venus and Serena play tennis with just anyone holding their racket…so to speak.  Perhaps moving forward, I’ll be a bit more selective.

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As 2023 drew to a close, I found myself in a courtroom.  Yes, I got jury duty.  I know this will sound amazing, but the entire experience was quite positive.  It might have been the lack of traffic during my seven-minute drive to the courthouse.  It might have been because the court provided free parking.  Or it might have been that I picked up two Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwiches at Wendy’s on the way!  When I arrived, I found out I was the fifteen-hundredth person seen as a potential juror for a high-profile case!  As the judge laid out the details, I found myself glancing past the five-person dream team at the defense table and making eye contact with the accused.  Neither of us broke our gaze.  At first I mused if defendants get conjugal visits with jurors (this was before my resolution, obviously).  As it turned out, I didn’t get on this jury.  But I was willing to do public service!

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Didya know Tiffany Haddish was arrested by the BHPD over the holidays?  The day after Thanksgiving, officers found her sleeping in her car with the engine running.  She first commented on the DUI at the Los Angeles Laugh Factory during a stand-up benefit for people in need.  “You ain’t lived till you got arrested in Beverly Hills, OK?  It’s beautiful over there.  I’ve been in quite a few jails – just like the rest of y’all – I can tell some of y’all have been to jail.  I still smell jail.  If you’re gonna do something, I say get arrested over there ‘cause that jail is nice.  That jail was nice – it’s so clean!”  She even joked that she got her period in the slammer.  “I’m bleeding in the jail.  OK, cool, but they had the best maxi pads.  I’ve never seen pads so big.”  She said it was so big, she used it as a pillow.

Melton’s Meat

Our first Ask Billy question of the year comes from Randy in San Francisco: “I just saw May December.  Tell me that’s really all Charles Melton?  I’ve read conflicting reports online, but it sure looked real.”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news – especially so early in the New Year – but you’ve been hoodwinked.  If it’s any consolation, Charles is not trying to pull a fast one on anyone.  In fact, he’s rather forthcoming in admitting it wasn’t him.  “I had to wear that prosthetic for nine hours that day.  I didn’t have anything to drink that morning or the night before.  That was an annoying process but still very respectful.”  It’s amazing that brief scene required nine hours of shooting!  In the interest of being thorough, I will post the scene in question on BillyMasters.com.  

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When we’re ringing in the New Year with a fake phallus, we’ve definitely come to the end of yet another column.  The good thing about starting with something so anticlimactic is that things can only get better.  If you’re looking for the real thing, simply check out www.BillyMasters.com, the site that’ll never steer you wrong.  And if you’re looking for the truth, send your questions to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before we celebrate our silver anniversary.  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Psycho Schneider

I’m often fascinated by people who say or do really ridiculous things…and then deny it.  That brings us to John Schneider – who, admittedly, looks good for someone decades past his prime.  That the Dukes of Hazzard star is a Trumpster didn’t surprise me – although I thought the Confederate flag on the General Lee was simply a prop.  He first emerged in the recent zeitgeist after losing The Masked Singer while dressed as a donut.  Again, a gig’s a gig.  He then allegedly responded to a Tweet from Joe Biden: “Mr. President, I believe you are guilty of treason and should be publicly hung.  Your son, too.  Your response is…?  Sincerely John Schneider”.  This Tweet has since been deleted – which means either Schneider is the target of a plot, or he’s a pussy.  I don’t see any other options.

The Secret Service opened a probe, saying “We look at all threats against our protectees and, due to intent, this falls under the definition of a threat.”  No surprise – ask Kathy Griffin, who, too, waded into these waters.  The difference is she also stood by her actions (she also just filed for divorce on the eve of her fourth wedding anniversary).  Not only has Schneider’s post been deleted, he’s denying it even existed.  “Despite headlines claiming otherwise, in my post, I absolutely did not call for an act of violence or threaten a U.S. president as many other celebrities have done in the past.  I suggest you re-read my actual post and pay attention to the words before believing this nonsense.”  Of course, it’s hard to re-read something that’s been deleted.  True, the phrase “publicly hung” is open to numerous interpretations.  Personally, I’m all for it – but I’m hardly a bastion of good taste.

Shannen Speaks Out

Another reunion took place as 2023 drew to a close.  Shannen Doherty started her podcast, Let’s Be Clear, and spent two hours talking to Holly Marie Combs about everything that went on with Charmed – and I mean EVERYTHING.  We’d all heard rumors that Alyssa Milano pushed Doherty out.  But when Holly threatened to walk with her, the producers said they would garnish her wages forever – even if she were bagging groceries in Arizona!  Shannen now regrets going along with the narrative that she left of her own accord (i.e. The View), and feels that she should have spoken up.  After all, she had a “pay-or-play” contract.  So since they pushed her to leave, they should have paid her.  She also regrets that she did not come back for the finale (they did ask).  When Shannen asked if there were any way to have an actual Charmed reunion or reboot, Holly said, “Yeah, I would do it, I would just hope that people would come to it with an understanding that some things are bigger than you, and some things are more important than personal feelings.  And that being said, there’s also split screen and green screen, and people don’t have to work with each other if they don’t want to – we can just make it look like you do!”

Holiday Traditions

Welcome to 2024.  It doesn’t often happen that this column drops on the actual first day of the year.  Since this is the 24th year of our wildly popular weekly column, I am feeling like we’re closing in on a landmark.  But that’s business of another day.  The topic at hand is ringing in the New Year.  Since I’m a traditionalist (unlike a Constitutionalist – which is a whole other thing), I spend the evening with some dear friends watching Lindsay Wagner movies.  A highlight was seeing Lindsay, in the course of a half hour, play six very different roles – one of whom was a stripper.  Talk about range!  Hey, a gig’s a gig, and a tradition’s a tradition.  Happy New Year!

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One of the most beloved holiday traditions of days gone by returned this year.  Way back in 1986, Darlene Love sang “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on David Letterman’s show (starting on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman).  For many, it wasn’t Christmas until Darlene appeared, and Letterman had her on for 28 consecutive years.  In 2015, he retired.  What would Darlene do?  One of Letterman’s producers (Brian Teta) took over the reigns of The View, and brought Darlene with him.  And that was all well and good, but it really wasn’t the same.  Another Letterman producer, Barbara Gaines, reunited Letterman and his sidekick, Paul Shaffer for an Internet episode last week, and the guest was Darlene.  After some chit-chat, Paul sidled on over to a piano (which had clearly seen better days), and Love launched into her biggest hit – joined by backup singers Milton Vann, Diamond White and Keesha Gumbs.  Sometimes you can go home again.  You can see this special on our website.

It should be noted that this was not Darlene’s first reunion with Paul Shaffer.  On April 7, 2020, Love was a guest on Billy Masters LIVE!, where we surprised her with Paul Shaffer and the great Marc Shaiman.  On that show, Shaffer surprised me with quite a compliment.  “Billy, you are a new find of mine.  I’m now your biggest fan!”

Rise and Fall of Gage

Prior to 2023, nobody knew Lukas Gage’s name.  All we knew was that he was a cute guy whose apartment was trashed by a director during a Zoom casting session.  Looking back, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lukas leaked that footage himself, and used the sympathy as a launching pad.  We next saw him bent over a desk getting rimmed – not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Then he was all over social media cavorting with hairdresser to the stars Chris Appleton (another name I’d never heard before).  Within days, they were dating and expressing their love for each other on television.  In the blink of an eye, they got married in a ceremony presided over by Kim Kardashian.  That it lasted a few months was the most shocking part of the story to moi.  Somehow in the midst of it, Gage got to make a movie that received a teensy bit of attention.  What will happen to him?  It depends on who he meets next.

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Let’s congratulate a few couples who found each other.  Comedian Matteo Lane tied the knot with his short-term beau, Rodrigo Aburto.  I hate to point out they knew each other for less time than Lukas and Chris, but at least they’re still together…for now.  Then there’s singer Ty Herndon, who also tied the knot.  “Never in a million years would I have imagined meeting someone who would bring so much love and light into my heart.”  This inevitably leads to talk about breakups.  Ricky Martin and Jwan Yosef divorced after six years.  So did Billy Porter and his hubby Adam Smith.  Straights have the seven-year itch; we have six.  I guess we gays just figure things out quicker!  On the other hand, Antoni Porowski didn’t even make it to the altar with Kevin Harrington.

 

Drag Triumphs Over Evil

Florida governor Ron DeSantis launched his “War on Drag” by enforcing a law from 1947 – which stated that men impersonating women is too indecent for children.  So he ruled that drag queens fell under “adult entertainment”, and if a minor were there, you could be fined…or worse.  People claim this started as a way to stop drag queens from reading stories to kids in libraries – and let that sink in.  It had unintended consequences.  Stage musicals like Hairspray, La Cage, and most of Shakespeare’s plays feature men dressed as women – and they could be shut down.  Drag queens in gay pride parades in public could be arrested.  Then the Orlando franchise of Hamburger Mary’s restaurant filed a suit against the governor and the State of Florida for infringing on their First Amendment rights.  And they WON!  U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell ruled, “This statute is specifically designed to suppress the speech of drag queen performers.”  It doesn’t overturn the law, but it does make it unenforceable.

Around the same time, the phenomenal Jinkx Monsoon made Broadway history by playing Mama Morton in Chicago.  Jinkx was sure to let people know she didn’t do it alone.  “I’m following in the footsteps of my sister Peppermint, who broke ground as the first Ru girl, drag queen, trans woman to perform on Broadway in Head Over Heels.  And now I get to take the torch and do my own thing with it.”  Speaking of torches, flaming George Santos made history by being elected to the House of Representatives and being thrown out within the same calendar year.  Perhaps he’ll go back to doing drag…anywhere other than Florida, naturally.

Kim and Jada On Top

Was anything sweeter this year than Kim Cattrall’s triumphant return to the Sex and the City family?  After everything that went down, nobody expected a rapprochement.  And just like that, there she was.  The fact that the head of HBO called her directly and brokered the deal – without any input from the creatives or cast from AJLT – speaks volumes of Cattrall’s cache.  She got to call the shots on every aspect of her appearance – except for the spin the show put on it.  Still, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Alas, we can’t look back on 2023 and not mention the J-word.  Yes, Jada.  Bottom line – I don’t believe a word anyone in the Pinkett-Smith family says.  I think there are major psychological problems afoot – but I’m no psychiatrist (or podiatrist, for that matter).  In the past, one would call Will “cuckolded”.  Then we heard a fascinating tale from Will’s former assistant and former best friend, Brother Bilal.  He went on a podcast and claimed that he walked in on Will being…how shall we say it…“sodomized” by Duane Martin.  How does he explain Jada’s role in all this?  “I am saying to you if a woman is used to something the size of a baby leg and you come in with a pinkie toe, there’s nothing you’re gonna do to please her…If she’s itching for that baby leg, she want that baby leg!”  I dunno about you, but I suddenly feel dirty.  And slightly aroused.  And a little bit hungry.

Lourd vs Fisher

“No offense, but you look like Billy Masters.” 
l don’t know which part of this quip from a stranger insulted me more – that he didn’t realize I am Billy Masters,
or he thought someone would take offense to being told they look like Billy Masters.

This was a strange year for someone who writes about the entertainment industry.  After all, most of it was shut down due to those pesky strikes.  And yet, we rallied on.  One of the sticking points in negotiations was the threat that AI would eliminate people’s jobs.  So we put it to the test.  I asked ChatGPT to generate the opening of a Billy Masters column.  This is what I got: “Ladies, gentlemen, and those of you who are still deciding what fabulous category you fall into.  I’m Billy Masters, and I’ve got a mouthful of sass and heart full of glitter.”  The fact that highly advanced computers took almost three decades of weekly columns (that’s over a thousand columns) and came up with such drivel proves that my position as the most beloved of gay columnist is as secure as ever.

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Sitting here aloft my perch, I surveyed many stories.  But I don’t think anything grabbed my interest more than the battle between Billie Lourd and her entire family.  For those of you who don’t know (and, frankly, why should you), Billie is the only child of Carrie Fisher and Bryan Lourd – who is gay, but that’s another story.  Carrie’s brother, Todd Fisher, had applied for Carrie to get a long-overdue star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was told there’s a three-year waiting period for a posthumous star.  Years go by, and one day Todd gets a call from a friend saying, “I’ll see you at Carrie’s ceremony on May the 4th” (as in “May the force be with you”).  This was news to Todd, so he called the people at the Walk of Fame.  They say the guest list is being handled by Disney.  He calls Disney and they tell him he’s not on the family’s guest list – run by Billie.  Turns out Carrie’s half-sisters Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher were also not invited – which begs the question, is Billie talking to any members of her family?  She didn’t respond to any of their calls, so Todd went public with his frustration.  Then Billie issued a statement: “The truth is I did not invite them to this ceremony.  They know why.”  Billie is upset that Todd wrote a book about his sister and mother (Debbie Reynolds), and she’s upset that Joely talked about them in her memoir.  Todd considered just showing up at the ceremony, but was told that Billie would not come out if any of the Fishers were there.  As a writer, I love this story.  As someone who knew Carrie and Debbie, I think Billie needs to grow the fuck up.

Senate Slut Surfaces

Our Ask Billy question came in just under the wire.  Aaron in Texas writes, “Did you hear about that twink who filmed himself getting fucked in the Senate Chamber?  What’s the story with that?”

This story is ripped from the headlines, and I hope I can squeeze it in (that’s what he said).  The incident took place in Hart Senate Office Building Room 216, also known as the Senate Judiciary Hearing Room.  It shows a lad wearing only a black jockstrap bent over a desk and being penetrated from behind.  It was clearly shot by the top.  While the public video has been edited to protect the participants’ identities, we’ve been sent the unedited version.  The twink in question is allegedly Aidan Maese-Czeropski, a legislative aide to Maryland Senator Ben Cardin.  It’s said that he posted a private Instagram story, saying he got some “thick German sausage” in the same room where “Sonia Sotomayor had her confirmation hearing”.  And they say kids don’t care about history!  While Aidan hasn’t confirmed this publicly, Senator Cardin’s office released a brief statement: “Aidan Maese-Czeropski is no longer employed by the U.S. Senate.”  Capitol Police is “aware and looking into this”.  As to the top in question, it is rumored to be Georg Gauger, a German who is studying International Affairs – I bet he is!  If you’re interested in checking out the video, as well as some of Aidan’s other adult material, go to BillyMasters.com.  

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When we’re slipping you the ol’ bratwurst, we’ve definitely come to the end of yet another column.  I smell an OnlyFans page in the making!  As if it weren’t bad enough that Aidan worked for a Democratic Senator, he also appeared in a TV ad for Joe Biden.  Well, anything to tie up the youth vote – and I suspect Aidan wouldn’t be opposed to that!  For more scintillating political coverage, check out www.BillyMasters.com – the site that never holds back.  If you have a question, write to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Barry Manilow looks at another Playboy.  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

 

Kylie’s Proposal

I must be in a crabby mood, because I’m gonna complain about another beautiful moment.  Kylie Minogue recently did a television special in London called An Audience with Kylie.  Many performers do these shows – the star comes out, sings some songs, answers some audience questions, and shares some fun stories.  During the telecast, a guy got up to ask Kylie a question.  Except he wasn’t alone.  Standing next to him were two young children and another guy.  So we all know it’s a gay family.  Fine.  After all, it is a Kylie Minogue show.  “This question isn’t for you.  It’s to your superfan, Martin.”  The guy turned to his partner and said, “Martin, will you marry me?”  Martin asks Kylie what she would say – ‘cause that’s obviously what really matters.  Kylie approves, and Martin says yes.  Minogue puts on her most “What a shocker” face and squeals, “Has that just actually happened?”  She asks the couple where they met, and they say, “At your concert.”  Of course they did.

Barry, Babs and Busch

I was in NYC to see Charles Busch and his troupe perform their annual Times Square Angel.  And, like all good theatre, it only started 6 minutes late.  For the past 24 years, this semi-staged epic has brought out faithful fans of Busch and his motley crew.  The play is kinda like a cross between It’s a Wonderful Life and I Want To Live and is based on an idea by Busch and Andy Halliday.  That the talented Halliday flew in from his new home in Palm Springs shows the devotion of the cast and the audience – many of whom come back year after year.  This one-night-only event sells out in a matter of minutes, and I made it my mission to finally attend.  I’m so glad I did.

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While I was in the Big Apple, I checked out the Broadway musical Harmony.  The story of six talented men singing their way through Weimar Germany is ripe for theatricality.  It’s also a story that has universality.  The Comedian Harmonists were basically a boy band.  The sextet was put together by someone who took out an ad in the paper looking for hot young men who could sing – and you thought Lou Pearlman came up with that on his own (that Backstreet Boys first hit in Germany is no coincidence).  Kudos to the outstanding cast…to single out any of them would be ungallant.  Alas, the culprit of the night was not the Nazis; it was Bruce Sussman, who wrote the book.  This story is clumsily told through a hodgepodge of badly conceived scenes that only hint at what is probably a fascinating story.  Musically, it’s impossible to judge Barry Manilow’s score, which is presented in truly awful orchestrations.  I know it takes place in Germany, but less timpani and tuba, please.  Amidst the cacophony, there are striking harmonies and some lovely moments.  Young Rabbi has a song that would make a terrific 11 o’clock number.  Alas, it happens 20 minutes in.  Instead, the show culminates with poor Chip Zien’s overwrought mad scene, which drew more titters than tears.  However, I was intrigued enough to look up the group’s history, so there’s a silver lining.  And, as I always say, it’s hard to dislike any show where someone is wearing a monocle!

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Manilow gets a second mention in this column due to a revelation he made to Kelly Clarkson.  Back in his early days, Playboy played a pivotal part in his career.  “I was a desperate young guy.  I didn’t know what to do with my musical life.  So I saw this thing in Playboy magazine.  My stepfather used to buy it, I think.  So I wrote to them saying, ‘I have an offer to go on the road with a girl singer.  In order to do that, I needed to leave my job at CBS as the mailboy.  Which one should I do?’  And they wrote back and they printed it.  They said take the job outside and follow your musical notes.  And I did it.  I left CBS.”

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It was just announced that Barbra Streisand will be given the SAG Life Achievement Award at the 2024 Screen Actors Guild Awards.  And certainly she deserves it.  But, you know, it’s not exactly the same as winning an award in competition.  This is something being “bestowed” onto her.  To the best of my knowledge, Streisand has never actually won a SAG Award, and this honorary stuff doesn’t really fly with me.  Like that Tony Award for “Star of the Millennium” or whatever they called it.  It’s not a real Tony.  It’s a “Let’s give Streisand a reason to show up on our telecast” award.  You know what an EGOT is without a Tony?  It’s just EGO.

Cher and Madonna

“I wouldn’t be in it now if they gave me a million dollars. 
I’m never going to change my mind. 
They can just go you-know-what themselves.” 

Cher tells Kelly Clarkson her thoughts on being snubbed by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
especially in light of having #1 hits in seven decades.  She pointed out that only The Rolling Stones
can also boast that achievement.  “It took four of them to be one of me!”

There’s nothing like being in New York City for the holidays.  Everyone’s filled with good cheer…unless they’re in Brooklyn to see Madonna.  Then they had to be filled with a whole lotta patience.  The sold-out show was scheduled to start at 8PM.  Since it’s Madonna, you know you’re gonna wait.  Maybe till 9PM, or even 9:30PM.  By 10:30PM, there was still no sign of Madonna – and no announcement of alleged technical difficulties.  So large segments of the audience began leaving and booing.  Here’s my question – why didn’t everyone just band together and demand a refund?  This show needed someone like Sally Field holding up a sign!  For Christ’s sake, it was a weeknight.  People have to work in the morning to pay for the thousand-dollar tickets.  And Madge wants to play games?  It’s just so disrespectful.

By the way, this is not an attack solely on Madonna.  This is an attack on rudeness and bad behavior.  A few months ago, Lauryn Hill got bad press with her perpetually late appearances.  Her response?  “Yo, y‘all lucky I make it on this blood rase stage every night.”  No, Lauryn, YOU’RE lucky people are paying to see your tardy ass!

Guys of the ’80s

Our Ask Billy question is about some other ladies.  Harry in Seattle writes, “Because of you, I watched Ladies of the ‘80s: A Divas Christmas.  I’m curious about the guys.  Who is that British guy who played Alex?  WOOF!  And the opening credits listed Scott Evans, but I never saw him.  Did he get left on the cutting room floor?”

Lifetime’s attempt at a holiday flick starring five nighttime soap divas had its moments.  But it is definitely not the film they intended to make.  Pretty much nothing about the ages or relationships or story makes much sense.  Nicollette Sheridan’s character talks about going to Limelight in NYC with her “bestie” Donna Mills back in the day.  However, Mills is 22 years older than Nic – so it’s unlikely that a 21-year-old was clubbing regularly with her 43-year-old co-star.  And on the soap, Morgan Fairchild played the mother (well, maybe stepmother) to Sheridan, Mills, Linda Gray, and Loni Anderson.  Except Fairchild is younger than all her “children” – with the exception of Sheridan.  Turns out Joan Collins was originally cast as “mother”, Morgan was going to play the Nicollette role, and Jaclyn Smith was going to play the Linda Gray part.  Then the writers and actors strikes loomed, and Lifetime gave them 13 days to shoot the movie or scrap it.  The scheduling didn’t work for Joan and Jaclyn, who dropped out, Morgan decided she’d rather play “mother”, and Nicollette and Gray joined the cast.  One additional detail bears mentioning.  When the characters are texting each other, the graphics show the actresses’ real names, not their characters’ names!  Simply put, this movie is a mess…but a fun mess.

Getting back to Harry’s question, let’s talk about the guys.  He didn’t mention it, but I thought it was clever to have Christopher Atkins play Gray’s love interest…again!  As for Scott Evans, he was in there.  I know you were expecting Chris Evans’ hunky (and gay) brother.  Wrong one!  This Scott Evans is actually the African-American entertainment reporter on Access Hollywood.  As to Alex, he was played by Travis Burns – who is Australian, thank you very much – although he has some Brit in him.  Alas, not in the romantic sense.  He is reportedly straight, with a wife and a kid.  Still, I found him reminiscent of a young Maxwell Caulfield in Grease 2 – and I can’t think of a better compliment.  And the scene when he was writing the soap in his underwear?  Let’s just say I was mighty distracted.  If the writer of this flick looked like that, you’d be calling me little Billy Zimmerman!  Still, I’m in debt to Stan for including the scene – which you can see on BillyMasters.com.  

 

Amy & TJ Shake-Up

What happens to people who don’t have a career?  They start a podcast.  Amy & T.J. comes from Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, former co-workers on Good Morning America who were fired when their secret affair went public.  “We’re the folks who lost the jobs they love because we love each other,” they say.  I confess I still don’t understand why ABC fired them, since they really didn’t do anything wrong.  Unless you were married to them.

This leads to one of my favorite stories of the year.  According to reports, the former spouses of Robach and Holmes are dating…each other!  Allegedly, Andrew Shue (formerly of Melrose Place) and Marilee Fiebig have been dating for six months.  Of course, nobody will confirm the report.  Maybe they’re trying to keep it a secret!

 

Rockin’ Around #1

One person puts them both to shame.  Brenda Lee has been singing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” for 65 years.  And last week, the song went five-times platinum and finally hit #1 on the Hot 100!  She recorded the song when she was 13 – which, for those of you doing the math, still makes her younger than Darlene Love, but a year older than Cher.  While this is the third #1 of Lee’s career, it is the first time the song hit the top of the charts.  The secret sauce (so to speak) was that this year she released a music video for the song – which featured Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood.  You rock, Brenda!

Love Christmas

I love when I hear good news about a friend, and my pal Darlene Love just got some very good news.  In fact, it’s very overdue good news.  Her perennial holiday classic, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, just went platinum!  And she had the platinum album presented to her by none other than Bruce Springsteen!  It happened at Love’s holiday show at New York’s Town Hall on November 30th.  The “overdue” part is because the song was released in 1963.  This year, the single has had a bit of resusitation since Cher included it on her Christmas collection – and turned it into a duet with Love.  Fun fact – Cher actually sang backup on the original recording 60 years ago!  Even more fun – during several of Cher’s tours, Darlene sang backup for her!  She’s featured prominently on Cher’s Live from the Mirage concert video from 1990.

Not to be outdone, Cher got some good news of her own.  Her single, “DJ Play a Christmas Song”, just went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  While that might sound impressive, it bears noting she has not had a #1 on that chart since 1989’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” (“Believe” topped the Pop chart in 1999).

Luke Evans Shows Off

Rather than an Ask Billy question, I have a viewer comment.  Jesse in Baltimore writes: “You have to look at Luke Evans’ backstage video.  He’s looking mighty fine.”

He always does – I say without a trace of sarcasm or envy…OK, maybe a bit of envy.  The sexy, openly gay actor is currently appearing in London’s West End in Backstairs Billy – a play about Billy Tallon, an openly gay butler to the Queen Mum.  Evans, who is active on social media, posted a video sporting his impressive physique backstage with the caption: “Wanna burn body fat fast?  DO A WEST END SHOW!!!!  Dropped 8kg in 10 weeks!!  Only down side…it’s BLOODY WINTER.”  If you need to warm up, check out the video on BillyMasters.com.  

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When I’m considering auditioning for a West End show, we’ve definitely come to the end of yet another column.  Since we’ve run longer than usual, I’ll simply remind you to check out www.BillyMasters.com – the site that’s always golden.  If you have a question or a comment, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before George Santos applies for a job with Qatar Airways!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Broadway Buddies

The hit of the Broadway season is the off-Broadway transfer of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, with a talented trio at the center.  And therein could lie a problem.  You have one woman (Lindsay Mendez) and two men (Daniel Radcliffe and Jonathan Groff).  In a straight porn, that might be a great situation – especially if you throw in a cup!  But when it comes to the Tony Awards, it’s awkward.  Two guys competing against each other?  In a gay porn, that might be a great situation – cup or no cup!  In the film industry, producers determine what category they want people nominated in.  But on Broadway, the Tony Committee makes those decisions.  Being a revival, you’d think there might be a precedent.  However, the original production of Merrily only got one Tony nomination (for Sondheim’s score).  So this was new territory.  The Tony Committee has ruled that Radcliffe and Groff will not be competing against each other.  While both men are ostensibly leads, tradition dictates that the show is more about Groff’s character (Franklin Shepard) than Radcliffe’s (Charley Kringas).  As a result, Radcliffe will be submitted in the “featured” category – think “supporting actor”.  Tragedy averted.

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This leads beautifully into our latest installment of Billy’s Holiday Gift Giving Suggestions.  This week’s suggestion comes as a surprise not only to you, but to me, too.  This package was delivered to my home!  Yes, my actual home.  And NOBODY gets that address without a recent nude selfie!  In the box was Stephanie J. Block’s holiday collection, Merry Christmas, Darling.  It also included an allegedly “hand-signed” note, an ornament, a mini candy cane, and lots of that filling that everybody hates because once it’s out of the box, it’s all over your house!  I’m a fan of the lovely multi-award-winning Miss Block (and her hunky hubby, Sebastian Arcelus), so I promptly listened.  The collection has the expected traditional songs, a few holy selections, some unfamiliar tunes, all arranged with great style and taste.  And if she re-releases it next year, she could include her own rendition of Cher’s “DJ Play a Christmas Song”!  What might sound like a curious compliment about a singer is how impressed I am at how Block uses words.  She seems to always think as an actress first – creating a mood, an atmosphere, a connection with the story she’s trying to tell.  In a world of disposable holiday ditties, I consider Merry Christmas, Darling indispensable.

 

Not So Golden Bachelor

I preface my next story by saying I have not followed The Bachelor since Chris Harrison’s departure.  So, no, I have not watched a single episode of The Golden Bachelor.  But I have seen Gerry (curiously pronounced “Gary”) on talk shows, and I’ve had a feeling there’s something…well, “fishy” about him.  Last week, The Hollywood Reporter did a deep dive on his background, and all was not rosy.  Despite statements like “I haven’t dated in 45 years”, he actually began a three-year relationship with a woman…a month after his wife’s death in 2017!  The woman in question presented a text from Gerry which caught my eye: “Damn, I go to bed at night thinking of you and wake up in the morning thinking of you.”  Not the most scintillating prose, but it was sent less than three months after his wife’s death.  Please understand, I’m not one to cast stones.  I’ve been known to hit on the bereaved during memorial services!  It should also be noted that Gerry allegedly dumped this woman after she gained about ten pounds before his high school reunion.  “I’m not taking you to the reunion looking like that.”  Proving, once again, all that glitters is not gold.

No Rights in Qatar

I recently went to a gender reveal party.  Being gay (and a guy), I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  But I was hoping the hot daddy was going to reveal his gender.  I was slightly confused when the bride said, “We all have to take a bite and see what color the frosting is.”  I’ll play your silly game, you crazy straight people.  Imagine my surprise when she brought out a tray of cupcakes!  Suddenly bored, I went into the other room to play with the children – because, contrary to popular belief, I love kids.  In short order, they were dancing and squealing with delight.  Suddenly one mother popped her head in and yelled, “Calm down, Queenie!”  And I don’t even know this woman!  Then I found out she was actually saying “Calm down, Quincy!”  I’m looking around for some Jack Klugman look-alike, only to find out that Quincy is a girl.  And you wonder why boys are wearing dresses to school and girls are becoming cutters?

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Even with all our issues, we’re all lucky to be American.  This was driven home by the story of Gilbert Ignatius, who is a citizen of Indonesia and a flight attendant on Qatar Airways for 7 years.  He was celebrating his 32nd birthday at the Mondrian Hotel in Doha (Qatar) this past spring with a friend when they were detained by security.  They were taken to the private office of the Criminal Investigation Department – which sounds like a show even I wouldn’t watch!  One of the officers ran a moist towelette across Ignatius’ face to prove that he had on some tinted “moisturizer” – they’re very scientific in Qatar!  The officers demanded the guys’ passports, which they refused.  So they were escorted to the local police station and asked if they were prostitutes or if they ever engaged in homosexual activities.  Why?  Because of the tinted “moisturizer” and Gil’s Hermes belt.  It didn’t help when police found a photo of Ignatius shirtless at Bangkok Pride!  Ignatius proclaimed, “I am not a prostitute,” and asked to speak to the Indonesian Embassy.  He was told, “You have no rights.  This is Qatar” – which the tourist bureau might consider using as a national slogan!  Eventually they were released – without their passports.  Qatar Airways said Gilbert was grounded and couldn’t leave the country for several days.  Over a week later, a representative from the airlines drove the men to the Saudi Arabian border and told them they had been deported.  And fired – naturally!

 

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