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Mark your calendar: Michael Kearns’ new full-length play “Bloodbound” opens January 13 at Highways Performance Space

I don’t know about you but my calendar for January is already starting to fill up.

That’s why I want to give you a heads up about a new full-length play by theater luminary and legendary artist-activistMichael Kearns called Bloodbound which opens on January 13th at Highways Performance Space.

I recently watched Kearns give a deeply powerful performance in the four-man show Michael Kearns and Other OUTIES and he was stupendous.

His play Bloodbound has such themes as the freedom to love against overpowering and unreasonable odds, familial implosion, interminable and unjustified incarceration, distorted sexual childhood boundaries, and roller coaster rides of mental illnesses involving a mother, father, older brother and younger brother.

The play tracks the lives of the two misfit brothers who are destined to love in spite of the gnarled realities they cannot avoid sharing. The remember their past and relive critical, contradictory, and conflicting moments. The horrific fear of their mutual deaths (whether in a shitty hospital bed or a sweaty prison cell) will lessen as they approach the final curtain.

Directed by Mark Bringelson, Bloodbound opens January 13, 2018 at Highways Performance Space, produced there by Leo Garcia, and produced by Ryland Shelton for Moon Mile Run.

Tickets: $25 general and $20 members/ students/ seniors at www.highwaysperformance.org
Highways Performance Space
@ 18th St. Arts Center
1651 18th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

A little more about Michael: In June during the city of Los Angeles’ seventh annual Heritage Month, he was among those presented with a Trailblazer Award. (He is pictured, right, with Mayor Eric Garcetti and fellow honoree Sara Ramirez). His was recognized for more than four decades of combining art and activism in a number of theatrical presentations he was attached to and a number of organizations he founded.

Kearns’ trailblazing reputation includes many firsts: He came out in the mid-Seventies, officially making him “Hollywood’s first openly gay actor” with one foot in the mainstream industry and one foot in the alternative art world. In 1991, he revealed his HIV-positive status on Entertainment Tonight . He was also the first HIV-positive, single, gay man to adopt a child.

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Out comedian Tig Notaro says it’s a ‘huge relief’ Louis CK was ‘removed’ from comedy industry

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Today’s Holiday Tunes: Ronnie Spector and Darlene Love do “Sleigh Ride” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

http://www.bigozine2.com/MP309/DLRSxmas/DLRSxmasFrs.jpgThis is just a most delicious pairing.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darlene Love goes back a very long way with Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the 60s girl group The Ronettes.

Both of these spectacular women have been immensely popular during the holiday season in recent years and have even teamed up for some live shows and television performances.

These performances of Sleigh Ride and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree are just terrific.

Enjoy!


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Monday Morning Man: Sam Burgess!

Last week was studly English rugby pro Sam Burgess’s 29th birthday.

That seems like a darn good excuse to post a bunch of shirtless photos of him!

Sam He is one of four rugby league-playing brothers who include younger brothers Tom and George and older brother Luke.

Their late father, Mark Burgess, was also a rugby league footballer.

Sam plays for the South Sydney Rabbitohs of the National Rugby League and has also played for the English National Team.

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WATCH: Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black are so cute as they get their home ready for Christmas

The newlyweds have two Christmas trees to decorate and it’s all documented in this new video from Tom Daley. He and Dustin Lance Black are an adorable pair.

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Late Night Video: Find out how well Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper really know each other

The Andy Cohen-Anderson Cooper friendship will be on full display on CNN when Andy takes over for Kathy Griffin on the New Year’s Eve telecast from Times Square. It’s going to be Cohen who will be the troublemaker and a giggling Cooper the straightman. We got a little taste of it on last night’s Watch What Happens Live.

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Celeb Instagram: Anderson Cooper & Kelly Ripa! Rosie O’Donnell! Colton Haynes! Russell Tovey!

Getting ready for @cnnheroes tonight with the amazing @kellyripa! Hope you join us at 8pm #cnnheroes

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tutu gets a make over #frankieshaw #SMILF TONIGHT AT 10 @showtime @sho_smilf

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Have yourself a very @gucci Christmas

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So this is london

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The first and last time Darlene Love performed Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) on Letterman

For 28 years in a row, the great Darlene Love paid a visit to David Letterman to perform Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

It was a fabulous tradition that ended with Letterman retiring from the show. What a run it had been.

The 2011 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said she retired the song from television after Letterman retired. In the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, Love credited Letterman and this holiday tradition for helping to restart her singing career.

She told Billboard last year: “This would be my 28th year in a row. They never told me not to, but it was an unspoken thing. They couldn’t ask me not to sing ‘Christmas (Baby)’ on another show, but after 10 years, then 15 years, of doing this one song on this one show, I felt I had an obligation to be true to them.”


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Morning Man Classic: Jon-Erik Hexum!

I still remember the first time I ever laid eyes on the dreamy Jon-Erik Hexum.

It was in the 1983 television movie The Making of a Male Model opposite Joan Collins. The Dynasty diva played a successful modeling agent who meets the young and handsome ranch hand Tyler Burnett (Hexum) in Nevada while attending an outdoor shoot. She notices his good looks and invites him to move to New York and start working as a male model.

Hexum had already starred in the TV series Voyagers! which lasted one season. But I had never watched it so this movie was my introduction to him. By 1984, he had landed the lead in another series: CBS’s Cover Up opposite Jennifer O’Neill. Hexum played a former Marine Special Forces Operative working undercover as a male model.

Sadly, the young actor was killed on the set of the show after completing just seven episodes. He was playing with a gun loaded with blanks and shot himself in the right temple. He was declared dead six days after the accident.

But he’s never been forgotten.
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Celeb Instagram: Anderson Cooper & Don Lemon! Tom Daley & Dustin Lance Black! Drew Droege & Randy Rainbow!

It’s a wonderful life. #MerryChristmas

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WELCOME TO THE DIVE LONDON CHRISTMAS DINNER #christmas #christmasdinner #christmasparty

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Late Night Video: SNL’s cold opening features Baldwin as Trump tree trimming at The White House

This is all very clever parody only it’s not really parody which makes it more scary than funny. Donald (Alec Baldwin), Melania (Cecily Strong), Ivanka (Scarlett Johansson), Donald Jr. (Mikey Day) and Eric Trump (Alex Moffat) trim the tree with help from Kellyanne Conway (Kate McKinnon), Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant), Mike Pence (Beck Bennett) and more. The funniest stuff is the Omarosa bits.

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Hillary Clinton stopped by ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ this week – here are some highlights

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Today’s Holiday Tune: Judy Garland singing a gorgeous “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

The great Judy Garland introduced Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in this scene from the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis.

Miss Garland sings the song to Margaret O’Brien who plays her little sister in this scene from the classic film.

It’s all just so gorgeous.

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Neil Patrick Harris talks about his new book “The Magic Misfits” his new movie “Downsizing” on BUILD series

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WATCH: Jodie Foster visits Stephen Colbert to chat up ‘Black Mirror’ and reminisces about ‘Silence of the Lambs’

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Snapped! Stephen Amell plants a kiss on his lucky ‘Arrow’ castmate Colton Haynes!

This is what happens when the JAR gets together. We are reuniting this wknd & I couldn't be happier. Yes we named our friend group lol. #JAR

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Happy 78th birthday to Cindy Birdsong of The Supremes and Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells

Cindy Birdsong had long been a member of the girl group Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells when in 1967 she was stolen away to join the biggest girl group of them all: The Supremes.

The opportunity to replace Flo Ballard and join Diana Ross and Mary Wilson was an offer she could not refuse. She spent three years with Wilson and Ross then remained a Supreme for part of the 1970s after Ross left the group and was replaced by Jean Terrell.

Today, Cindy turns 78.

She retired from showbiz years ago but I got to interview her back in 2009 when I was a columnist and blogger for the LA Daily News.

Below is our interview in its entirety:

If you want to hear dirt about Diana Ross, don’t bother asking Cindy Birdsong for any. She is a class act and has nothing bad to say about her former singing partner who she remains friends with to this day.

“i saw her on TV recently,” Birdsong said during our chat this week. “I just happened to turn it on and there she was and I thought, ‘Wow!’ She’s in great shape and sounded good. She’s a queen of her art.”

Ross had called Birdsong, who lives in Los Angeles, when she did a two-day stint at Hollywood Bowl last year and the former Supreme who replaced Florence Ballard in the biggest girl group of all time still tries to catch Ross in concert when she can.

But their professional reunions have been fraught with difficulty because of the famously strained relationship between Ross and fellow original Supreme Mary Wilson. In 1983, there was a disastrous performance at the 1983 Motown 25 concert special. The trio, together for the first time since 1970, were just a few verses into “Someday We’ll Be Together” when there was an altercation, onstage, between Ross and Wilson. It was edited out of the televised special but was widely publicized and was recounted in the first chapter of Wilson’s best selling memoir “Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme” released three years later.

Birdsong was overshadowed in the ruckus.

“It came out so bad and there were hard feelings,” she remembered. “It wasn’t that we didn’t love each other, we always did. You get angry and there are no answers.”

That night, Wilson came strutting out in a stunning and sparkling red gown despite plans for all the girls to wear black or white (Ross was in a black outfit). Birdsong, smiling from ear-to-ear, had already joined Ross onstage looking lovely in a white gown.

But she confessed that she also felt self-conscious because she had not been performing for several years.

“I had gained quite a bit of weight and I couldn’t get a gown right away,” she remembered. “I didn’t have the money! But I was still socializing with both. Diana would call and say, ‘Come up for the weekend!’ “They both (pause), both the girls, they still love each other. Like sisters, they fight. But they are sisters.”

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Seventeen years passed before another Supremes reunion was broached. Ross wanted to do a 2000 summer concert tour performing the group’s many hits incluidng “Reflections,” “Love Child,” “Someday We’ll Be Together,” “I Hear a Symphony,” “Where Did Our Love go,” “Baby Love,” and “You Keep Me Hanging On.” Her desire was to have Mary and Cindy join her on the tour.

The “Return to Love” tour, however, went on with Ross being joined by Linda Laurence and Scherrie Payne – two women who had been members of The Supremes after Ross’ departure and continued to perform in recent years as Former Ladies of the Supremes (FLOs).

So what happened?

“It was over money basically,” Birdsong said. I was still really close with Diana and I said I’d like to do it. I called Mary and she was overseas on a tour. I was excited.”

But there was haggling over money – Wilson felt her $4 million salary did not reflect her contributions to the group and its legacy. It was reported that Birdsong was to have received about the same amount while Ross’ take was five times what either of the other women would be making.

“I was excited about it but I waited too long,” Birdsong said. “Diana had a certain time period and she got annoyed because (the money haggling) was stopping the tour. A person from Diana’s camp called and said, ‘Miss Birdsong, we’re not going to go with you and Mary.’ I was devastated. I could have said yes from the beginning and I couldn’t believe (Mary) said no.”

But Birdsong has no hard feelings toward Ross who endured one of the biggest failures of her stunningly successful career when the “Return to Love” tour suffered from such poor attendance that it was cancelled shortly into its run.

“It was very, very hurtful to her,” Birdsong said.

And so, nine years later, the question remains: Will there ever be another Supremes reunion? Like Wilson, Birdsong says the decision lies with Ross.

“Mary would probably do it now,” she said. “There’s still a fanbase out there who say: ‘We still want it!’”

Cindy also told me about the competition with The Supremes while she was a member of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells whose lead singer was Patti LaBelle (pictured, left).

“We were hot and they were hot,” she says. “We were so competitive – all this catty stuff with girl groups – and my girls didn’t want to have anything to do with them. But I was fascinated by them.”

One day, Birdsong just couldn’t resist knocking on the dressing room door of the Supremes:

“I went across the hall. Florence answered the door and she was like, ‘Come on in Cindy!’ Mary and Diana were like, ‘What’s she doing in here?’”

But soon enough, Ross had warmed up to Birdsong and they began chatting. While the Supremes were flashy with wigs and gowns and false eyelashes, the Bluebells had a more simple style and were only allowed to wear lipstick at that time.

“We looked like fresh little girls from the (housing) projects,” she says. “I was i awe of (The Supremes’) glitter and gowns. They were just so sophisticated.”
Cindy remembers Diana saying: “You’ve never had a wig or anything? You want to try one on?’ Then I put on rouge and earings that were almost down to my shoulders. I was like a kid in a candy store. I went back across the hall and (Bluebell members) were like, ‘Look at Cindy! She’s been to enemy camp!’”

But the experience had a deep impact on her: “That day, I felt I came back a Supreme. It was like Cinderella.”

Flash-forward to 1966 and a series of number one hits for the Supremes who were now superstars. Ballard (pictured above performing with Ross and Wilson) grew increasingly troubled and missed some performances until finally things came to a head during an engagement in Las Vegas. Ballard performed the first week of a two-week engagement then Birdsong – between Bluebell gigs at the time – was brought in to do the second week and quietly became a member of the biggest girl group of all time.

“I really didn’t expect that I was going to be a part of it,” she says now. “It was such a dramatic thing and it was all so fast. I had to stay up all night in Mary’s (hotel) room to learn the whole show.”

She made her debut as an official member of the Supremes at a concert at Hollywood Bowl: “They got me in (Florence’s) dress. I wore the same shoe size and the same dress size. When I was (first) onstage, nobody knew that I wasn’t Florence. From a distance, she looked just like me.”

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Charlie Carver has joined all-star cast of Broadway revival of ‘Boys in the Band’

A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that The Boys in the Band would be coming to Broadway in 2018 with an amazing group of actors, with one role still not cast… Well, looks like I got it! So damn excited to making my Broadway debut next year in this legendary play with this unbelievable cast. You can follow @BoysBandBway on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more updates, and check out the website at www.boysintheband.com (link in bio) See you on the Great White Way

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See when Anderson Cooper dropped by “Live With Kelly & Ryan” and danced with Madonna

This happened last week but somehow I didn’t post about it. Madonna was the guest on Live with Kelly and Ryan and Anderson Cooper dropped by and even did a little dance with the Material Girl. Happy Friday!

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Days of Our Lives: Will drops bombshell on Sonny: ‘I want to experience being gay and single’

My head is spinning with how fast things are moving in the Will-Sonny-Paul storyline.

Here is Thursday’s episode where Sonny puts it all on the line and makes clear to Will that he has not plans to give up on their marriage.

Will seems more interested in being single and footloose in Salem.

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