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Tiffany Trump does Pride, the Go-Go’s return and everyone’s in P-Town

It must be summer

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Where does Los Angeles go for the 4th of July? Those in the know wind up in Provincetown. Among them (front row, left to right) Tony Corey, Rob Williams, Louis Manna, Alexis Hadjopulos, Seth Chertoff and Trey Alligood. (Photo courtesy Rob Williams)

“Hands down, Justin Timberlake.  ‘Cause if we wanna talk about big…” – Patricia Clarkson when asked, “Who had your biggest chance of being your friend with benefits on the set of ‘Friends with Benefits’?”  Needless to say, Andy Cohen‘s follow-up question was, “He’s gifted below the waist?”  Clarkson said, “Oh, yes!”

As we gather things to report on, almost 600 women were arrested at a sit-in at the Senate building protesting the government’s immigration policy.  Among those charged with “unlawfully demonstrating” was actress Susan Sarandon – something I find quite ironic.  Not that I think she swung the election, but she was vocally against Hillary Clinton.  I agree that we shouldn’t have to vote for “the lesser of two evils,” but here’s what happens when you don’t.

The first daughters marked Pride month in very different ways.  Tiffany Trump shared videos of herself attending the NYC Pride Parade with her best friend, fashion designer Andrew Warren.  She even donned a Pride-themed ensemble, complete with glitter.  On the flip side, Ivanka donated $50,000 to an anti-gay megachurch.  The Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas is headed by Pastor Jack Graham, who is a member of Trump’s Religious Advisory Council.  He also has a history of anti-LGBT activism.  His arguments come down to a single statement he has made repeatedly: “The biblical design of marriage is clear: a man and a woman living and loving together in a monogamous relationship in the image of God.”  Yet somehow he supports Trump, that paragon of monogamy!

It’s been two years since The Go-Go’s said farewell to touring at LA’s Greek Theatre.  But they never said they wouldn’t get together for something special.  So they played Oakland and San Diego to warm up for three nights at the legendary Hollywood Bowl.  As a purist, I wasn’t interested in seeing The Go-Go’s augmented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic – as fabulous as they are.  I wanted a real show, so I trekked to Oakland’s glamorous Fox Theatre, which was filled to capacity – prompting Belinda Carlisle to quip, “Wow, there sure are a lot of you out there!”  What made these shows noteworthy was the return of bassist Kathy Valentine, who unwillingly left the group in 2012.  I was excited at the prospect of seeing the classic Go-Go’s lineup reunited.  Alas, my plans were thwarted.  Drummer Gina Schock had surgery on her arm, so she had to sit these shows out.  But she still showed up to introduce the band, joined by temporary replacement drummer, Chris Arredondo.  The Go-Go’s shook things up by doing several songs they haven’t done for years – if ever.  “Here You Are” is a highlight of the Broadway musical based on The Go-Go’s catalogue, “Head Over Heels.” Charlotte mentioned they’ve never performed it live and hoped for the best, while Jane cautioned the band, “Don’t fuck it up.”  Check it out on BillyMasters.com.

Speaking of the Hollywood Bowl, the season opened with a concert by the Supreme Lady, Miss Ross. Due to the presence of an orchestra, Diana eschewed her typical live show repertoire and, instead, dug deep into her extensive back catalogue.  Although she tinkered with the set, the medley of the “Theme from Mahogany” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was still intact – complete with ever-present “Do you know, do you know, DO YOU KNOOOOOW!”  So, here’s something you may not know – the Bowl seats more than 17,000 people, so most of the audience is watching the giant monitors. Curiously, Ross specifically instructed the Bowl personnel to not get any close-ups on her face.  Thank heavens one of our fans filmed the whole show, which you can see on our website.

While all that merriment is happening on the West Coast, your beloved Billy has touched down in Boston and is heading to Provincetown for July 4th. People always ask me what shows they should see each summer in Ptown, so here are my picks.  My favorite venues are The Ptown Art House and The Crown & Anchor.  I would definitely suggest starting there and working your way down.  Eventually, you’ll bump into me!

“The Cher Show” just opened at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago and essays the career of Cher through use of her songs.  Because Cher invented reinvention, three actresses play the diva.  However, special kudos must go to Emily Skinner, who plays Cher’s mom.  Her performance was the one thing Cher liked most when she slipped in to see the musical.  What did she think of the rest of the show?  “Some parts of it are really fabulous.  We’re going to work on the other parts.  In many parts, it was much, much better than I thought it would be.  And there were no parts where I wanted to gouge my eyes out.  It needs work. Hoping everything is ironed out by the Broadway opening on Dec. 3.

Our “Ask Billy” question comes from Mark in Miami: “First, we REALLY miss having you in print in Florida!  Could you work on that?  Second, have you seen that alleged dick video of Chris Hemsworth?  Is it real?”

First, thank you – write to Hot Spots. I’d also love if that video is really Chris Hemsworth.  Alas, my brain tells me it isn’t him.  I just don’t know why he would film this slow reveal of an erect penis. But it’s such a hot video, I’ll post it on BillyMasters.com and you can decide for yourself.

When we’re asking the real Hemsworth to please stand up (’cause after having him, you won’t be able to sit down), it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  If you can’t get to the fireworks outside, I’m sure something will erupt when you check out www.BillyMasters.com.  If you have a question, send it to [email protected] and I promise to get back to you before I bump into Tiffany Trump in Ptown! So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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Movies

Celebrate Judy Garland’s centennial by watching her movies

The dazzling force of nature made 34 films

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‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ is one of Judy Garland’s iconic film roles.

When the world ends, aficionados will still be watching their favorite Judy Garland movies.

Queer icon Garland was born 100 years ago this year (on June 10, 1922).

Everyone knows how tragic much of Garland’s life was. MGM feeding her uppers and downers when she was a child. Bad luck with husbands. Getting fired from movies because of her addiction issues. Her death at age 47.

You can’t deny that Garland’s life was often a mess. Yet, it’s too easy to encase Garland into a box of victimhood.

Contrary to the misperception of her as a sad figure, Garland wasn’t a morbid person. She was a fabulous comedian and clown, John Fricke, author of “The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic,” told the Blade in 2019. Lucille Ball said Garland was the funniest woman in Hollywood, Fricke said. “‘She made me look like a mortician,’ Lucy said,” he added.

In the midst of the sentimentality and morbidity shrouding her legacy, you can readily forget Garland’s prodigious talent and productivity.

Garland was a consummate, multi-faceted, out-of-this-world talented performer. She (deservedly) received more awards than most performers would even dream of: two Grammy Awards for her album “Judy at Carnegie Hall,” a special Tony for her long-running concert at the Palace Theatre and a special Academy Juvenile Award. Garland was nominated for an Emmy for her TV series “The Judy Garland Show” and for Best Supporting Oscar for her performance in “Judgment at Nuremberg.”

Garland, a dazzling, force of nature on screen, made 34 films. There’s no better way to celebrate Garland’s centennial than to watch her movies.

Garland was renowned for connecting so intimately with audiences when she sang. She’s remembered for her legendary musicals — from “The Wizard of Oz” to “Meet Me in St. Louis” to “A Star is Born.”

But if you watch, or re-watch, her movies, you’ll see that Garland wasn’t just a singer who sang songs, and sometimes danced, in production numbers in movie musicals.

Garland was a talented actor. She wasn’t appearing on screen as herself – Judy Garland singing to her fans.

Whether she’s tearing at your heartstrings as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” performing brilliant physical comedy with Gene Kelly in the “The Pirate,” breaking your heart with “The Man that Got Away” in “A Star is Born” or unrecognizable as Irene Hoffmann in “Judgment at Nuremberg,” Garland is acting. Her performance etches these characters onto your DNA.

Picking Garland’s best movies is like deciding which five of your 20 puppies should go on an outing. But, if you’re cast away on a desert island, take these Garland movies with you:

“Meet Me in St. Louis”: This luminous 1944 musical, directed by Vincente Minnelli, has it all: Garland in top form, the Trolley song, Margaret O’Brien, along with a stellar cast, and the best Christmas song ever.

“The Clock”: This 1945 movie, also directed by Minnelli, showcases Garland as a gifted dramatic actress. Shot in stunning black-and-white near the end of World-War II, the movie is the story, set in New York City, of a young woman (Garland) and a soldier on leave (Robert Walker) who fall in love.

“Easter Parade”: Sure, this 1948 picture, directed by Charles Walters, is thought of as a light musical by some. But, who cares? It’s in Technicolor, and Judy’s in peak form – dancing with Fred Astaire.

“A Star is Born”: If you don’t know the story of this 1954 film, directed by George Cukor, starring Garland and James Mason, you’re not a member of queer nation. There have been other versions of “A Star is Born,” some quite good, but this is still the best. Garland should have gotten an Oscar for this one.

“Judgment at Nuremberg”: This 1961 film, directed by Stanley Kramer, will never be a date night movie. It’s long (3 hours, 6 minutes), grim (about Nazi crimes) and Garland is only in it for about seven minutes. But the story is gripping and Garland’s performance is mesmerizing. When you watch her as Irene, you won’t be thinking that’s Judy Garland.

Happy centennial, Judy! 

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Books

New ACT UP book is part history, part memoir

‘Boy with the Bullhorn’ chronicles hard work, grief, anger

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(Book cover image courtesy of Fordham University Press)

‘Boy with the Bullhorn: A Memoir and History of ACT UP New York’ 
By Ron Goldberg
c.2022/ Fordham University Press
$36.95/512 pages

The sign above your head shows what’s going on inside.

Last night, you made the sign with a slogan, firm words, a poke to authority – and now you carry it high, yelling, marching, demanding that someone pay attention. Now. Urgently. As in the new book, “Boy with the Bullhorn” by Ron Goldberg, change is a-coming.

He’d never done anything like it before.

But how could he not get involved? Ron Goldberg had read something about ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, and he heard they were holding a rally near his workplace. It was 1987, he’d never participated in anything like that before, but whispers were everywhere. He and his friends were “living under a pervasive cloud of dread.”

He “was twenty-eight years old… scared, angry, and more than a little freaked out” about AIDS, he says.

Couldn’t he at least go down and hold a sign?

That first rally led Goldberg to attend a meeting, which, like most, as he came to realize, were raucous and loud and “electric.” Because he was “living fully ‘out and proud’,” and because he realized that this was an issue “worth fighting for,” he became even more involved with ACT UP by attending larger rallies and helping with organizing and getting his fellow activists fired up. He observed as women became involved in ACT UP, too. Monday night meetings became, for Goldberg, “the most exciting place in town.”

There, he learned how politics mixed with activism, and why ACT UP tangled with the Reagan administration’s leaders. He puffed with more than just a little ownership, as other branches of ACT UP began spreading around the country. He learned from ACT UP’s founding members and he “discovered hidden talents” of his own by helping.

On his years in ACT UP, Goldberg says, “There was hard work, grief, and anger, surely, but there was also great joy.” He was “a witness. And so, I began to write.”

Let’s be honest: “Boy with the Bullhorn” is basically a history book, with a little memoir inside. Accent on the former, not so much on the latter.

Author Ron Goldberg says in his preface that Larry Kramer, who was one of ACT UP’s earliest leaders encouraged him to pull together a timeline for the organization and this book is the result of the task. It’s very detailed, in sequential order and, as one reads on, it’s quite repetitive, differing basically in location. It’s not exactly a curl-up-by-the-fire read.

Readers, however – and especially older ones who remember the AIDS crisis – won’t be able to stop scanning for Goldberg’s memories and tales of being a young man at a time when life was cautiously care-free. The memories – which also act as somewhat of a gut-wrenching collection of death-notices – are sweet, but also bittersweet.

This book is nowhere near a vacation kinda book but if you have patience, it’s worth looking twice. Take your time and you’ll get a lot from “Boy with the Bullhorn.” Rush, and it might just go over your head.

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Sports

Trailblazing Scots pro soccer athlete comes Out and inspires others

Murray, 30, came out during an interview posted on the website of his club, saying “the weight of the world is now off my shoulders”

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Screenshot/YouTube

EDINBURGH – Two weeks after making headlines as the first-ever senior Scottish pro soccer player to come out as gay, Zander Murray is revealing the impact his courageous decision has had on at least one closeted player. Murray tweeted a message he received that shows the difference an athlete coming out can make. 

“I just wanted to tell you that you’ve been a massive inspiration for me to come out to teammates and family,” the anonymous player told Murray, according to the tweet. 

“As a young footballer I find it difficult to be myself as it is but being gay and keeping it secret was so challenging. It felt amazing when I told my teammates, they were super supportive.” 

Murray shared the message with a heart emoji and the words: “Makes it all worthwhile young man.”

Murray, 30, came out during an interview posted on the website of his club, the Gala Fairydean Rovers, on September 16, explaining “the weight of the world is now off my shoulders.”

Screenshot/YouTube

As the Los Angeles Blade has reported, Jake Daniels of Blackpool came out as gay in May, the first U.K. male pro soccer player to come out in more than 30 years. Justin Fashanu was the first in Britain men’s soccer to come out back in 1990. Homophobic and racist media reports drove Fashanu to suicide eight years later. 

Reaction to Murray’s coming out last month has been “incredible,” he’s told reporters. One of those reaching out to congratulate him was Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley. The U.K. diver sent him a DM, Murray told a British interviewer. 

“He messaged me while I was on my way back from football training in a car with four boys. I had tears in my eyes seeing his direct message, and I messaged him back.

“I said, ‘Look I am in a car on the way back from football with four boys and I’ve got tears in my eyes and I don’t even care.’”

Prior to coming out, Murray had been “living in fear 24/7,” he told Sky Sports. “I can’t explain it. You’re hiding your phone in case you get messages from friends, constantly double-checking if you have a team night out, you’re cautious with what you’re saying.

“It’s very hard, especially for myself, I’m a character in that dressing room. I’m not quiet in that dressing room, I like to have the banter and to get stuck in, so very challenging.”

But Murray said he couldn’t have decided to come out “at a better time, at a better club.” So why now? He posted the answer on Instagram with several bullet points, including:

  • “Gay male footballers in the UK need role models. 
  • Majority are terrified to come out to friends/family/teammates (trust me a few have reached out already!).”

STV Weekend News Sunday, September 18, 2022 Zander Murray

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