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The ubiquitous RuPaul

She’s everywhere — except on a talk show that was rejected

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RuPaul, gay news, Washington Blade

RuPaul (Photo by DVSROSS
via Wikimedia Commons)

“OK, people, time to recalibrate our gaydar. Batwoman is a lesbian? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but talk to me, Gotham – whatever happened to politics staying out of our superheroes?” – Not only did “Batwoman” just out herself, it was discussed in the on-air commentary of Vesper Fairchild – as voiced by Rachel Maddow.

“Some people call it a train wreck. We call it ‘The View.'” Truer words were never spoken than during this “Saturday Night Live” spoof of the talk show’s opening (said by Cheri Oteri as Barbara Walters). Whatever you may think about “The View,” it is appointment television. The show not only reports the news – it makes news. And it opened the new year with a bombshell – the departure of right-of-center Abby Huntsman. A popular co-host’s departure would be news at any time. But a co-host’s departure during an election year is huge – especially for a show the New York Times recently dubbed “The most important political TV show in America.” The first question is why – why is Abby leaving? The immediate answer is that she’s going to help her father, who is running for governor of Utah. But then, more tidbits trickled out. First, who knew that Meghan McCain was pregnant? Hands? Anyone? Apparently, she was pregnant last summer and even wrote a New York Times piece about her miscarriage.  So, bad Billy – I missed this entirely (in my defense, in the summer I am at my most self-involved and promiscuous). According to sources, Meghan considered Abby’s on-air “child-centric chats” during this difficult time “insensitive.” While this isn’t the only reason Abby left, the term “toxic work environment” was brought up more than once.  Abby’s dad running for governor may simply be a good excuse.

This leaves us with the bigger question – who will fill the seat? An election year is not the time for a revolving door of co-hosts. Friday fill-in Ana Navarro would be a perfect fit, but she won’t relocate to NYC. Perpetual also-ran, Rachel Campos, has surely already made herself available. What I believe the show needs is a newswoman. Of course, Meredith Vieira is the obvious answer. Diane Sawyer likely doesn’t want to continue being a Barbara Walters stand-in. But what about ABC’s former golden girl Elizabeth Vargas?  She’d fit in perfectly. Or, if the show wants to be really edgy, why not reach out to Megyn Kelly? Replace one “Bombshell” character with another?

Meanwhile in Hollywood, I was invited to a gathering of the leading ladies of “Knots Landing” at the Hollywood Museum. Michele Lee, Donna Mills, and Joan Van Ark were on hand to unveil an exhibit of costumes that were worn on the nighttime sudser. These events always bring out some luminaries from Hollywood’s bygone days.  At one point, I found myself standing between Kathy Garver from “Family Affair” and Donna Pescow from “Angie.” I think that’s when Anson Williams stopped by to say hi.  The “Knots” ladies were delightful, and I was happy to catch up with each of them. I saw Michele Lee two months ago when she joined the Broadway cast of “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” in a special performance for The Actors Fund. I spent time with Joan Van Ark last year when she participated in an all-star reading of “Valley of the Dolls” to raise money for the LA LGBT Center. And a few months earlier, I saw Donna Mills in “Driving Miss Daisy.” The fact that all three of these ladies recently did high-profile theatre events got me thinking – why not find a project for them to do together? “Why not?” said Van Ark, excitedly. “We could do it as a big benefit. We’d have a ball.”

It’s been a great few years for RuPaul. She’s everywhere. OK, perhaps not on FOX, which took a hard pass on Ru’s daytime talk show. But it certainly isn’t slowing the drag diva down. She’s starring in “AJ and the Queen,” which has a 10-episode commitment from Netflix and producer Michael Patrick King. And she’s got another season of the award-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Then there’s a Las Vegas residency coming up at the Flamingo Hotel (formerly the home of Donny and Marie). And “RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK” was a huge hit. Alas, that also led to some woes. Last weekend, the UK hosted its first-ever DragCon – a popular event for drag queens and their fans. DragCon was a victim of its own success, with too many tickets being sold and people queuing in lines for hours. Photos at the Olympia London (the venue) show hordes both inside and out.  World of Wonder (the producers) issued a statement offering to honor tickets the next day, or offer refunds.

With all this hoopla, more producers are cashing in on the drag craze. TLC has announced a new show – “Dragnificent!”, which will star “Drag Race” alumnae Jujubee, Bebe Zahara Benet, Thorgy Thor and Alexis Michelle as sort of a drag version of “Queer Eye.” The ladies will travel around and try to make people’s lives better. I hope they let them loose on some of those people from “My 600-lb Life!” The show debuts in the spring.

When Jujubees aren’t just for eating, it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  You know what’s never a drag? Checking out BillyMasters.com – the site where you’ll never wait to be serviced.  If you’d like to cut to the front of the line, drop a note to [email protected] and I promise to get back to you before RuPaul replaces Abby Huntsman on “The View.” Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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Wentworth Miller won’t play straight anymore

And Scott Baio wins praise from Trump

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Wentworth Miller, gay news, Washington Blade
Gay actor Wentworth Miller says he only wants to play gay roles.

“You can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Until very recently, that’s what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now it’s considered bigotry.” —Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. So much for impartiality.

Our opening quote could have been, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Melissa McCarthy’s upcoming flick, “Superintelligence” had a carefully thought out promotional plan. During “20 Days of Kindness,” HBO Max would donate $20K a day to a worthy charity. What could go wrong, right? Wrong. One of the recipients was Exodus Cry, an organization that is against reproductive choice and vilifies the LGBTQ community. When Melissa heard about this, she was outraged enough to cry through an apology. “There’s no other way to say it – we blew it. We made a mistake and we backed a charity that, upon proper vetting, stands for everything that we do not. So I want to thank everyone on social media who said, ‘What are you doing? Are you sure you want to back this?’ Because the answer was no, we do not.” How do you rectify that? McCarthy says, “We have pulled it.” So who’s getting that $20K?

I got a laugh when one outlet referred to thespian Scott Baio as a “former actor.” Baio’s good deed was to rearrange the mugs in his local Michael’s to read “Trump Is Still Your President.” “Thank you Scott, and stay tuned. You are terrific!” Tweeted Trump in response to Baio’s photo. I don’t know what’s more shocking – that Trump thinks Scott is terrific, or that Baio is into crafting. Or, perhaps he was working in the mugs section that day.
Wentworth Miller made a revelation on Instagram regarding his future with “Prison Break.” “I just don’t want to play straight characters. Their stories have been told (and told). So. No more Michael. If you were a fan of the show, hoping for additional seasons…I understand this is disappointing. I’m sorry. If you’re hot and bothered bec you fell in love with a fictional straight man played by a real gay one…That’s your work.” Miller’s “Prison Break” brother, Dominic Purcell, was among the first to respond. “It was fun mate. What a ride it was. Fully support and understand your reasoning. Glad you have made this decision for your health and your truth. Keep the posts coming…love ya brother.”

Then there’s Viggo Mortensen – who, by all accounts, is heterosexual. He’s writing, directing, and starring in his next film. My God – he’s like the male Streisand. All he has to do is sing the theme song wearing Lee Press On Nails! Anyway, “Falling” is about a homophobic and racist man suffering from dementia. Viggo plays the man’s son – who happens to be a gay, married man. Mortensen claims that this is not “a gimmick, anchor, or some trigger.” In fact, he didn’t originally write the role to be gay – but felt it made for a more compelling story. He added, “I apologize to all the proctologists for casting David Cronenberg” – who plays a proctologist in the film. I might add that I don’t believe Viggo ever met any hobbits in real life!

FYI, I had already announced I was taking Thanksgiving Week off. But, due to circumstances beyond my control (and you know how I hate that), I’m going to be indisposed for this week as well. Fear not – we’ll be back right with a special series of shows for December. Stay tuned.

Remember Michael Cohen? El Presidente’s former fixer? He appears in a tantalizing video – courtesy of Matthew Camp, who is a former NYC go-go boy. For some reason, Cohen made a Cameo video where he says the following: “I just want to say how amazing Matthew Camp is on OnlyFans. Having a blast enjoying every minute with you guys. Good luck. Love it. Stay safe. Stay Covid-free. And, again, OnlyFans – having a blast with him.” Things that make you go, “Hmm.” I smell an endorsement coming for “Billy Masters LIVE”. In the meantime, you can see both Camp and Cohen on BillyMasters.com.

If Cohen loves Camp, he’ll love our “Ask Billy” question. Danny in San Francisco writes, “Did you hear that the Zakar Twins said they’d release some nude photos if Biden won? Well, where are they?”

Actually, they promised a whole lotta things. Things like this: “Will post nudes if (when?) Trump loses.” They kinda modified the deal when they heard of Biden’s win. “Alright, alright, a deals a deal. Butts out for Biden! You want full-frontal? Wait for AOC to take office.” Of course, you don’t want to wait. You just have to check out BillyMasters.com.

When brothers’ butts are out for Biden (or, I venture to say, anyone else who comes along), it’s time to end yet another column. Sorry to take this week off, but I’m dealing with some sticky situations – none of which concern my penis (at least, not yet). But there are more than enough penii for you on BillyMasters.com – the site that shows full-frontal with or without AOC! Even though I’m tied up, I’m never too busy to answer your questions. Feel free to write me at [email protected], and I promise to get back to you before Scott Baio gets promoted to Manager of Mugs at Michael’s! So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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Ellen hemorrhaging social media followers

String of scandals taking its toll on TV host

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Ellen is hemorrhaging social media followers. The downfall arguably began with this photo going viral of her sharing a laugh with homophobic President George W. Bush.

“We’ve got control of this thing.  If you look at my Instagram, it’s gone to almost nothing.” —Donald Jr. tells Laura Ingraham that people don’t have to worry about quarantine or the coronavirus, and that the deaths are “almost nothing.” Who died and made this guy…well, anything?  Oh, yeah – about 230,000 people.

I’m writing this column a handful of days before the election. And by the time you read it, you may be: a) drunk and happy or 2) drunk and miserable. Either way, I think it’s safe to say liquor will be involved. It’s clear the end is near when Omarosa shows up. For someone who was allegedly privy to lots of inside dirt, what did she disclose? Secrets from the Trump marriage. “I have known this couple since they were dating, they got married a year after ‘The Apprentice’ aired.” After calling it “a very strange marriage”, she made what may possibly be the understatement of the year: “Sometimes they like each other but sometimes she is repulsed by him.” Perhaps Melania has finally joined the majority. I really don’t care – do you?

If Biden takes Wisconsin, most of the credit has to go to WisDems. The group flooded the Internet with special shows, reunions, and other celebrity-laden fundraising events. They pulled out the stops on Halloween with “The Rocky Horror Show.” An all-star cast was assembled but they were eclipsed by some of the classic film’s stars. Barry Bostwick intoned Brad’s songs. Little Nell worked overtime playing both Columbia and, for much of the show, Frank-N-Furter. Yes, Tim Curry was there, but one must remember that he suffered a stroke in 2012. Nonetheless, he valiantly attempted to revisit the role that catapulted him to fame with enormous difficulty. 

Seth Green (Riff Raff), Rosario Dawson (Magenta), and David Arquette (Eddie) gave standout performances. There were also terrific cameos during the floor show from “Hairspray” alums Marissa Jaret Winokur and a sexy, corset-wearing Garrett Clayton. Jason Alexander was a great narrator, but Frankie Grande was a curious Dr. Scott, oozing all of the raw masculinity of a young Tina Louise. Lance Bass rocked out as Rocky…complete with golden Speedo. If you missed this one-time-only event, some notable moments can be found on BillyMasters.com.

People are fleeing Ellen DeGeneres‘ social media platforms en masse. She lost over half a million followers on Twitter and an equal number on Instagram. If those people are looking for someone new, might I suggest “Billy Masters TV”?  The recent show with Lainie Kazan and Michele Lee in their first joint interview has gone viral and quickly became our most popular episode (beating out both Fran Drescher and Anita Pointer). Who would have thought Lainie and Mishy would become the queens of Billy Masters TV – I thought that was moi! Do me a favor and go to Billy Masters TV on YouTube and click “Subscribe”.  It costs you nothing and really helps us out. 

Last week’s shows with Christopher Sieber and Gilles Marini were great fun. This Tuesday, I’ll host an Election Day special where I’ll share gossip, chat with fans, and show some of my favorite moments from the last few months. On Thursday, we focus on the Emerging Artists Theatre, which is hosting a benefit reading of Brian Belovitch’s play “Boys Don’t Wear Lipstick.” We’ll chat with Belovitch, director Everett Quinton, and two of the stars who happen to be pals – Jonny Beauchamp and Tony winner Lena Hall.  See all the shows on our YouTube channel, Billy Masters TV, or on BillyMasters.com/TV.  “Billy Masters LIVE” – where the stars play by day.

Way back in 2012, Reed in Chicago sent in an “Ask Billy” question about Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva. At the time, some nude photos circulated that were allegedly texted to a girl he was trying to hook up with. Fast forward eight years and Danell has come out — on National Coming Out Day: “For a long time I’ve known that I wasn’t straight. But because of some very personal reasons, I always rejected that side of me. Earlier this year I finally understood that I’m bi/pan (still trying to figure that one out).” He adds, “I also realized that, as of now at least, I’m not attracted to cis men.” That’s OK, Danell. And, yes, before you ask, I’ll post the photos again on BillyMasters.com.

In lieu of a new “Ask Billy” question, I want to take a moment to remember my friend Nikki McKibbin. You knew her as the scrappy contestant on season one of “American Idol” who came in third. We did several Pride festivals together, and she was a hoot. She was a gal just waiting for a break. She got a few, but they never quite panned out the way she hoped. After a pretty hard life battling various addictions, she had an aneurysm last week and was brain-dead immediately. In accordance with her wishes, she was kept alive on machines for three days to arrange distribution of her organs. Till the end, she was a very special, giving person.  Rest in peace, Nikk! 

When I’m investigating dual citizenship, it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  Regardless of how the election goes, you should be checking out BillyMasters.com – the site that never disappoints. If you have a question, comment, or concern, drop a note to me at [email protected], and I promise to get back to you before all the votes are counted!  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Ellen DeGeneres (Blade photo by Michael Key)
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What will happen to the Oscars?

Some calling for ceremony to be scrapped amid pandemic

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The Oscars have been bumped to April. (Photo courtesy of AMPAS)

“I’m retired.” — Joe Manganiello, responding to the idea of doing another “Magic Mike” sequel.

I wasn’t following the race for New Mexico’s House of Representatives until I found out one of the candidates did gay porn! Roger Montoya is a Democratic candidate. A conservative blogger reported that Montoya’s “work” was done under the names Joe Savage and Eric Martinez (you can view his work on BillyMasters.com). In another refreshing first for a political porn sex scandal, Montoya is openly gay. He was also recognized as one of 10 “CNN Heroes” in 2019 for his work on anti-violence and HIV education programs. By the by, he is also openly HIV-positive. Roger said that he did two films to support himself as a young modern dancer in Los Angeles. “Those experiences do not reflect who I am, and they are insignificant in the scope of my life’s work, yet they helped inspire my dedication to my community and the work I do to make sure that youth have opportunities, support and confidence.”

Many legends have appeared on “Billy Masters LIVE.” But I don’t think we’ve had anyone as legendary as Ed Asner. I am thrilled to interview him on Thursday, Oct. 15, but I must confess that this plum booking basically fell into my lap. I contacted a publicist of someone who I thought would be a good guest. The publicist is no longer working with that person, but suggested Ed Asner – whose autobiography “Son of a Junkman” is an amazingly revealing read. Before you could say “spunk,” Ed Asner was booked – and I’m frantically researching his fascinating life. You never know what will happen on “Billy Masters LIVE,” 3 p.m. Eastern every Tuesday and Thursday. Check out Billy Masters TV on YouTube, or go to BillyMasters.com/TV.

Meanwhile, the world of entertainment continues limping along. You may be wondering what will happen to all those year-end blockbusters? The folks at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences want to help the studios. The Oscars have been pushed from February to April 25. In the past, films needed to qualify by screening in a Los Angeles cinema three times a day for at least one week. However, the Academy’s new rules allow films that are shown in cinemas OR drive-ins in LA, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta for a week. In addition, films that had scheduled theatrical releases but were seen on a streaming service due to the pandemic also qualify.

Some members of the Academy are asking that the Oscars not take place at all. The awards should still be given out. But due to the pandemic, most believe a live ceremony cannot take place safely. They also believe that doing a virtual event would tarnish the reputation of the Oscars. Stay tuned.
Remember the Tonys? Of course you don’t – Broadway’s biggest night traditionally happens during June (coincidentally, Pride Month). Meanwhile, we haven’t even had nominations from the truncated season. That’s all about to change. The Tony nominations were set to be announced live at 3 p.m. Eastern on YouTube on Oct. 15.

As to the ceremony itself, God only knows. Originally, it was supposed to air on CBS. Here is the latest official statement: “The 74th Annual Tony Awards will take place digitally in fall 2020.” Well, doesn’t that sound vague and unfulfilling. It’s not like I haven’t had memorable moments digitally. Frankly, it depends on the digits.

The latest on Broadway is that theaters will not open any earlier than May 30, 2021 and the phrase “don’t hold your breath” springs to mind. What would this mean for the 2021 Tonys, which would typically take place in June? Perhaps whatever shows can open on one weekend will sweep the awards. In light of these delays, it’s no surprise that the Hugh Jackman/Sutton Foster revival of “The Music Man” will now open on Feb. 10, 2022. And the new musical about Michael Jackson will bow sometime in September 2021.

Our “Ask Billy” question comes from Frank in Baltimore: “I heard about this movie with Dylan Sprouse playing an escort. Where can I find it?”
Last week, the short film “Daddy” was released. It features Ron Rifkin as an 80-year-old celebrating his first wedding anniversary as a widower — with a male prostitute! The hooker is played by the lovely – and actually quite touching – Dylan Sprouse (of the famed Sprouse twins). You’ll recall we previously brought you nude photos of Dylan. Back to “Daddy” – the short was written and directed by Christian Coppola. And before you ask, yes, he is perched on a distant branch of the Coppola family tree. “I’m not close enough to get invited for Thanksgiving dinner,” he quipped. As with the nudes, we’ll post the flick on BillyMasters.com.

When my heart belongs to daddy’s boy, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. There was one curious moment in “Daddy.” A woman standing next to the twosome in an elevator says, “You and your daddy look very handsome tonight.” With a 50-year gap between the two, I might have gone for “Grand Daddy.” But you can decide for yourself when you see it on BillyMasters.com – the site that can fill any gap. Of course, I’m always on hand should you need a hand…or a digit. Drop a note to [email protected], and I promise to get back to you before my autobiography drops. Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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