Bette Midler never had to evolve when it came to accepting gay people into her life.
‘I had been in the theater for a long time, from the time I was a young person, and I’d always known gay people – and they were just, like, gay people!’ the 68-year-old star tells PrideSource.
‘(They were) just ordinary friends. People that you knew, and that you never thought twice about. You didn’t think of them as being different, although looking back on my high school years, I think there were a lot of people in my high school – this is so many years ago; this is 50 years ago – who probably were gay and didn’t ever talk about it.’
There was one classmate in particular who comes to mind.
‘One of the kids that I went to school with, an enormously popular guy – really funny, really wonderful – who was in my Latin class, wrote me before he passed away from AIDS to tell me that he had been gay and that he had contracted AIDS.’
Before she became a Grammy winner and an Emmy winner and a two-time Oscar nominee, Midler made a name for herself performing at a gay bathhouse in New York City.
Her shows at the Continental Baths became legendary and her gay fan base just grew from here.
She lost many people she knew during the worst days of the AIDS crisis and says it never occurred to her not to be there for them.
‘These were friends of mine – people that I had worked with, people that I had danced with, people I had broken bread with my whole life. You do what you do because there’s nothing else to do. There’s no other option.’
Last night I attended a splashy party celebrating the publication of Robbie Rogers’ new memoir, Coming Out to Play, at Pacific Design Center.
I’ll be posting an interview I did with Robbie shortly.
It was quite celebrity-studded event with Jason Collins, Maria Shriver, Lance Bass, Craig Zaden, and Billy Bean, among others, in attendance.
Robbie’s boyfriend is TV producer Greg Berlanti and two of the stars of Greg’s shows were there to show support and your faithful blogger was most excited to see them: Arrow star Stephen Amell and his cousin, Robbie Amell, who is on The Flash.
I had met Robbie years ago when he was on a Nickelodeon show and he could not have been nicer then, or now. Stephen was also very down to Earth and friendly.
Today’s Morning Man James Whiteside is currently featured in OUT 100.
Here is what is written about him in the magazine:
In addition to his work as a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, James Whiteside belts out tunes as his pop star alter-ego, JbDUBS, and he recently released his first EP, titled Hey JB!
His other project: performing with his boyfriend Milk (a.k.a. Dan Donigan; a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 6), under their drag group name the Dairy Queens (he’s Yoohoo).
Whiteside remembers locking himself in his room with a girlfriend at age 15 to watch Showtime’s Queer as Folk.
“I wasn’t out to my parents yet, and it was my first glimpse into the unabashedly fabulous world of the LGBT community,” he says. “Plus, their clothes were hilarious! I saw Emmett Honeycutt wearing pleather pants and crop tops — so I bought pleather pants and crop tops.”
I arrived at Skirball Center last night quite flustered because horrid traffic on the 101 made the journey from Silver Lake to the venue a one hour-plus affair.
But it was a journey well worth it because the The Paley Center for Media 2014 Los Angeles Gala was indeed a special affair.
It celebrated 50 years of television’s impact on LGBT equality and among those who hit the red carpet were Portia de Rossi and mother-in-law Betty DeGeneres, Norman Lear, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Carson Kressley, Jason Collins, Chris Kluwe and the legendary Mitzi Gaynor who I did not get a chance to chat with.
I’ll be sharing some of my red carpet chats in the coming days. For a recap of the program, please see the story I’ve posted over at Gay Star News.
Barry Manilow has a new album out called My Dream Duets. One thing his duet partners have in common is that they are all quite dead. But another thing they have in common is that they will never be forgotten.
Here is Barry dueting with the great Judy Garland on Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart.
These scenes are from earlier this week but are so dreadfully boring I was in no rush to post. Hopefully things will liven up for Sonny once Will gets back so he’ll have better things to do than deal with the Chad-Abigail-Ben triangle.
To get us through the current storyline lull, here’s an encore showing of when Will Horton, then played by Chandler Massey, came out to his parents Sami and Lucas. It’s just so well done – so real.
Skyler Maxon has gotten our attention in his role as a closeted gay athlete named Duke on MTV’s Faking It.
Duke has become romantically involved with Shane (Michael Willett) but is keeping his sexuality under wraps – with his father’s blessing – in order not to lose out on big money athletic endorsements.
Skyler, who appeared in the movie Water For Elephants and guested on Teen Wolf, chatted with The Backlot about his Faking It role.
“I think Duke has seen how comfortable Shane is with himself and being allowed to be who he is around his friends and family and part of that is attractive to Duke. I think that appeals to Duke. It encourages Duke to do the same.”
“People have asked me how is it playing a gay character being a straight uy, but I didn’t look at it that way when I first got the opportunity. I thought of Duke as a person who was going through a lot in his life. It was more of the personal story that drew me to it. Then involving Michael and how he’s really made me feel on set, it’s just great. He’s so easy going. I know we laughed about the first time we had to kiss but he was always making sure that I was comfortable.”
Happy to share the third-season premiere of Old Dogs & New Tricks!
In this episode, Ross confers with a divorce lawyer (special guest star Mo Gaffney); Muscles is attracted to a gym patron (Dan Oliverio); Brad’s accountant delivers bad news; still reeling from Damian’s disappearance, Nathan has a life-changing accident.
Leon Acord (Nathan), Curt Bonnem (Brad), Jeffrey Patrick Olson (Muscles) & David Pevsner (Ross) return for another season of fun, friendship and healthy doses of sex. Amanda Gari also returns as audience favorite “Lydia Lasker” in an expanded role.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the show this season,” says Acord, the series creator/writer/star. “The cast and crew really brought their ‘A game’ and the show looks amazing.”
Future guest stars this season include Rutanya Alda (Mommie Dearest), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Dark Shadows) and Jim J. Bullock (Too Close for Comfort). Bruce L. Hart also returns for three episodes as the resident villain, “Nelson Van Eddy.”
It’s really no surprise that since the end of Will & Grace, Megan Mullally has not yet had a role on TV, in films or on stage that is as magnificent as the great Karen Walker.
Is there such a role?
Karen is one of the most delicious sitcom characters in the history of television and Megan, who turns 56 today, just knocked it out of the park week after week whether she was goofing off with Jack, ripping on Grace’s appearance, calling Will ‘Wilma’ or going at it with housekeeper Rosario.
Zachary Quinto thinks too many people are forgetting the painful legacy of AIDS which was a death sentence for so many gay men in the 80s and 90s.
‘I think there’s a tremendous sense of complacency in the LGBT community,’ the Star Trek actor tells Out Magazine which has named him Artist of the Year.
He is alarmed by the rising number of HIV infections in adolescents and thinks others should be too.
‘AIDS has lost the edge of horror it possessed when it swept through the world in the ’80s,’ says Quinto, 37. ‘Today’s generation sees it more as something to live with and something to be much less fearful of. And that comes with a sense of, dare I say, laziness.’
And he thinks does not think PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) will lead to people becoming more responsible. PrEP is a pill people who do not have HIV – but who are at substantial risk – can prevent becoming infected by taking a pill every day.
‘We need to be really vigilant and open about the fact that these drugs are not to be taken to increase our ability to have recreational sex,’ Quinto says.
‘There’s an incredible underlying irresponsibility to that way of thinking…and we don’t yet know enough about this vein of medication to see where it’ll take us down the line.’
Last night’s Ridiculist segment on Anderson Cooper 360 was supposed to be about annoying things co-workers do.
Anderson Cooper had no idea that it was a segment about him and a candle he keeps in his office that smells like basil.
The CNN anchor giggled as he read the descriptions his co-workers had for the odor: ‘Grandma’s house, ‘a brothel in Tuscany,’ ‘a garden gnome’s underwear drawer, ‘Woodstock vomit,’ and ‘dumpster ravioli.’
Cooper explained to viewers that he began to use the candle on his office to create a ‘serene environment’ and also to overpower the odor of his unwashed jeans.
‘Somebody told me that I smelled – or that my jeans smelled because I don’t wash them.’
He does not plan to douse the flame of his basil candle anytime soon.
‘It’s a fancy basil-scented candle. I think it smells lovely.’
I’ve been mad about Charlie Hunnam ever since seeing him in the original UK version of Queer As Folk.
He’s grown from cute young actor to hunky man as you can see in the new issue of Men’s Health.
The lead on the FX drama Sons of Anarchy was cast as Christian Grey in the highly anticipated film version of Shades of Grey but he pulled out before filming began.
He tells Men’s Health why: “I was going to finish playing a psychopath who’d just lost his wife [in Sons], and five days later I’d be on set playing Christian Grey. I was like, ‘This is going to be a f—ing disaster.’ It was the opposite of how I’ve tried to ground my career, not stretch myself.
‘There’s a tendency in this Hollywood machinery to take on too much. You end up not being able to give everything you want.’
On the The Brady Bunch, the show’s six siblings dealt with such things as getting caught with cigarettes, breaking their mom’s favorite vase, and getting hit in the nose with a football.
Sometimes Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, Cindy – and even housekeeper Alice – also dealt with matters of the heart.
But none of them gave an indication that they might be gay during the show’s original run from 1969-74 or its subsequent incarnations as The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, the sitcom The Brady Brides and the drama The Bradys.
‘At the time that we actually did the show,. they wouldn’t have addressed that,’ Florence Henderson, who played mom Carol Brady on all the shows, told me over the weekend.
She added: ‘But if the show were on today, I think it would definitely be addressed. After all, their father was gay.’
Not the character of Mike Brady, of course, but the late Robert Reed, the actor who played him.
Reed, who died in 1992, was not out publicly but Henderson always knew he was gay and early in the show’s run defended him to a director who she perceived to be a homophobic bully.
Henderson, a longtime staunch supporter of the LGBTI community, thinks a show like The Brady Bunch could have helped families had it included a positive gay storyline.
‘I think so many young people have such a difficult time,’ she said. ‘Most of the gay people I know – and I have so many gay and lesbian friends – so many tell me they were disowned and how tough it was for them growing up.
‘And all of them, they all knew they were gay from the time they were 5 or 6 years old. The kids that have no place to go and the parents don’t get it, don’t understand stand and stop loving them. How can you do that to a child?’
Henderson, who at 80 still very much looks like 1970s Carol Brady, participated in the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 45th anniversary gala on Saturday.
‘I do so many benefits for the LGBT community – always have,’ she says. ‘When AIDS first started, I was one of the first along with Debbie Reynolds to do a benefit – many, many years ago at The Hollywood Bowl. It was not easy to get people.
‘I just think I love people and have great compassion for human beings. Who are we to judge anyone. It always came natural for me to love people.’