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Michael C. Hall will be Broadway’s next Hedwig!

Michael C. Hall is going to have some mighty high platform high heels to fill.

It was announced Monday that the after, who played a serial killer for eight seasons on Showtime’s Dexter, will take over the title role in the smash Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch next month.

The character of a transgender rock singer won Neil Patrick Harris a Tony Award before he left the show in August. He was replaced by Andrew Rannells whose run ends next month.

Hall will debut on 16 October and is set to be with the show through early January.

He is not a newcomer to Broadway. He starred in the musicals Chicago and Cabaret and was in the Broadway play The Realistic Joneses for two months this spring.

Before his Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award winning role on Dexter, Hall starred for five seasons as a gay funeral home owner in the HBO drama Six Feet Under.


Ellen DeGeneres shares summer vacation photos as she launches 12th season of daytime show

Ellen is back!

After a summer vacation in Europe with wife Portia de Rossi, funny lady Ellen DeGeneres launches season 12 of her daytime show with a two-part episode that begins airing today.

‘It’s like Coachella except there will be clean bathrooms,’ she says of the multi-day affair.

Of her show turning 12 Ellen says: ‘This year’s going to be awkward and oily and raging with hormones.’

Among her guests over the two days will be Adam Levine and Maroon 5, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and, ugh, Kim Kardashian.

Here is the opening monologue:


Lunch Break Video: Enjoy a trio of episodes of the Joan Rivers web chat show “In Bed With Joan”

Joan Rivers was given an all-star send-off yesterday in Manhattan and I think her many fans – myself included – are beginning to come to terms with the fact that she is gone.

But she’s not really gone because there’s so much of this hard-working comedy legend’s work that is still to be seen.

For example, had seen some episodes of her web chat show In Bed With Joan and even posted some here in the blog. But I by no means had seen most of them. Watched several last night and am sharing a trio of them with you now that I found particularly enjoyable.

Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka married in Italy!

Neil Patrick Harris broke the news himself on Twitter: ‘Guess what? @DavidBurtka and I got married over the weekend. In Italy. Yup, we put the ‘n’ and ‘d’ in ‘husband’.

After 10 years together, the parents of Gideon and Harper have made it official with a destination wedding.

Among the celebrity friends on hand were Elton John and Kelly Ripa.

Ripa said on her show this morning: “I went to a destination wedding — the wedding of Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka, breaking news! It was a very quiet, very private, very family affair … I probably wasn’t even supposed to talk about it, no Neil said I could talk!”

FILE UNDER: Marriage

Serena Williams wins US Open – matches Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova’s 18 grand slam titles

After Serena Williams won the 18th Grand Slam singles title of her career on Sunday at the US Open, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who also have 18 each, were on hand to present her with a special bracelet commemorating the occasion.

Serena turns 33 later this month and is the oldest woman to win the title in the Open era. It is her third straight U.S. Open title and sixth overall. With a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Caroline Wozniacki, she matched Chrissie’s’s total of six championships at the U.S. Open and became the first woman to win three in a row since Evert won four from 1975-78.

“I just never could have imagined that I would be mentioned with Chris Evert or with Martina Navratilova because I was just a kid with a dream and a racket,” Serena said after the match.

In the Open era of tennis, Steffi Graf holds the record with 22 titles. All time — i.e., pre-Open era — Margaret Court is the leader with 24 titles; Graf is at 22; and Helen Wills Moody is at 19.

“I feel she can keep going,” Evert says. “There’s no reason why she can’t reach Steffi. … She can win three or four more for sure, in my mind, if she stays healthy, stays engaged in the sport and stays motivated. And I think she has a real sense of history now, which has changed. I think at the beginning of her career she didn’t.”

Serena has now won six US Open, five Wimbledon, five Australian Open and two French Open titles over the course of 15 years – a record span of years between winning Grand Slams.


Monday Morning Man: Brandon McMillan!

After watching my Roger Federer lose so decisively in the US Open semis on Saturday, I was so stunned and sad that I just sacked out on my dad’s sofa in Huntington Beach (we always watch the final weekend of the US Open together) and watched whatever was on next – could not even be bothered to change the channel.

Well, good thing.

The show that came on next was called Lucky Dog in which this very handsome dog trainer, Brandon McMillan, takes dogs that are about to be euthanized and matches them with a new owner.

Brandon grew up in the circus because his family is animal trainers. He jokes that he’s been “picking up tiger poop” as far back as he can remember.

Since becoming an animal trainer, Brandon has trained lions, bears, tigers, reptiles and even insects for such films as The Hangover, We Bought a Zoo, The Jungle Book II, I Am Sam, Buddy, Soul Plane, Red Dragon and television’s 24, Dharma and Greg, Jackass, Wildboyz and Carnivale, plus hundreds of commercials and ads.

Brandon is well known in Los Angeles for rescuing dogs out of the pound that are just days away from being put to sleep and turn them into movie stars. Many of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities call upon Brandon to help with their out of control pets at home including Ellen and Portia (see video below).

FILE UNDER: Morning Men: 2014

Funeral for Joan Rivers held in NYC – Howard Stern gives eulogy, Audra McDonald sings “Smile”

NEW YORK (AP) — Howard Stern delivered the eulogy, Broadway singer-actress Audra McDonald sang “Smile” and bagpipers played “New York, New York” at Joan Rivers’ funeral Sunday, a star-studded send-off that — like late comedian herself — brought together the worlds of Hollywood, theater, fashion and media.

At a funeral befitting a superstar, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus sang Broadway hits including “Hey Big Spender” before six-time Tony Award-winner McDonald sang her tribute to Rivers, a champion of theater for decades.

Tributes and reminiscences were delivered by TV anchor Deborah Norville, close friend Margie Stern, columnist Cindy Adams and Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, who spoke about how she respected her mother and appreciated everyone’s support.

Hugh Jackman sang “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady On Stage” at the end of the ceremony and bagpipers from the New York City Police Department played on the streets as mourners filed out of Temple Emanu-El, many dabbing their eyes.

“She would love this. We’ve all said this so many times: The one person who would really think this is the greatest thing ever is the lady who it’s all about and she’s not here,” said Norville afterward, amid the throngs of well-wishers and sound of bagpipes.

A legion of notables turned out to remember Rivers, who died Thursday at 81: comedians Kathy Griffin, Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg; colleague and friend Kelly Osbourne; Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick; and celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.

Theater stars Bernadette Peters, Alan Cumming and Tommy Tune were there. Record producer Clive Davis was, too. Fashion designers Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors were in attendance. Stars from TV such as Barbara Walters, Geraldo Rivera, Diane Sawyer, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb and Andy Cohen. Late night band leader Paul Shaffer. And moguls Barry Diller, Donald Trump and Steve Forbes.

“It was uplifting. We were celebrating her life,” said fashion designer Dennis Basso.

Mourners had lined up outside the Fifth Avenue synagogue and waited for their names to be checked against a list before entering. A crowd of media stood watch across the street, and fans from as far away as Australia and England lined the streets.

Actress Susan Claassen, who met Rivers in London in 2008 when both had one-woman shows, came from Tucson, Arizona, to honor her friend. “I always like to say that in a world of knockoffs, Joan was an original,” she said.

The comedian detailed in her 2012 book “I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me” that she hoped for “a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action” and “Hollywood all the way.” Instead of a rabbi talking, Rivers asked for “Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents” and “a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyonce’s.” Indeed, her wishes were so important they were printed in the funeral program.

The funeral program also included a page with three classic Rivers’ lines printed out: “Can we talk?” ”Who are you wearing?” and “Because I’m a funny person.”

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Morning Man Classic: Gil Gerard!

Never saw a single episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in the late 70s and early 80s but was well ware of its handsome leading man, Gil Gerard.

After the show ended in 1981, Gerard was featured in a number of other TV shows and movies, including starring roles in the short-lived series Sidekicks in 1986 and E.A.R.T.H. Force in 1990.

He later hosted the reality TV series Code 3 and made guest appearances on various TV shows, including Fish Police, Brotherly Love, The Big Easy, Days Of Our Lives and Pacific Blue.

Gerard, now 71, has had struggles with obesity and in 2005 underwent mini-gastric bypass surgery at a time when his weight reache past 350 pounds.

Earlier this year, Gerard guest-starred as Admiral Jack Sheehan in “Kitumba” in an episode of the fan web series Star Trek: Phase II.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men: 2014

Joan Rivers recalls when she got fired from her late night show then her husband killed himself

All kinds of fascinating videos of Joan Rivers are popping up on YouTube and some of it is material I have never seen before – and not comedy-oriented.

We all know that comics are very serious people underneath and Joan was no exception. The first clip from from an interview she did for the Television Academy’s TV legends series and it is heartbreaking what she went through when she was fired from her Fox show then her husband committed suicide.

The video below is an in-depth Interview with Dr. Pamela Stephenson and it delves into her body image, her bulimia, her parents, her feelings of being betrayed. We also learn that when she was going through her worst time – post-Fox and husband’s suicide – the psychologist who was helping her began to die of AIDS. This is the one time she really cries in the interview.


Martina Navratilova gets engaged at US Open!

Martina Navratilova has had many memorable moments at the US Open but she may have topped them all earlier today when she proposed marriage to girlfriend Julia Lemigova.

The moment was telecast on the Jumbotron during the day’s play at New York’s Arthur Ashe stadium.
Martina popped the question during a break while she was providing color commentary for the men’s matches.

Martina, 57, was being interviewed by Ken Solomon in the Tennis Channel suite when she turned to Lemigova, 42, and said she would be asking the questions this time. She then got down on one knee and offered her girlfriend a diamond-studded ring.

Lemigova said yes.

Later Martina wrote on Twitter: “Thanks everyone for your good wishes- I am very happy, so is Julia and our whole family:)”

Martina had many memorable tennis playing moments at the US Open as a player including winning the singles titles four times and winning the mixed doubles title in 2006 just before her 50th birthday. That was the same year she and Lemigova began their relationship.

FILE UNDER: Lesbian, Tennis

Steve Grand takes it all off for charity!

Steve Grand, who became a YouTube sensation with his song All-American Boy, released another video on YouTube on Friday.

This time he wasn’t singing and he also wasn’t wearing any clothes.

But his stripping naked was for a good cause – make that three good causes.

Grand accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge but because he didn’t want to waste fresh water, he decided instead to jump into a cold and dark Lake Superior.

He’s hoping his action will inspire others ‘to donate to whatever charity you feel passionate about.

‘It’s amazing what’s happened with the ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) charity,’ he says in the video. ‘they’ve raised so much money.’

Grand is splitting his donation three ways: to The ALS Association, to The Water Project, and to The Night Ministry – The Crib which is a local, Chicago emergency overnight shelter that accepts 20 youth a night.

Many of the youth who need shelter, Grand points out, are LGBT.


Amazing Video: Joan Rivers talked about death with daughter Melissa – on camera – before previous surgery

While most episodes of the reality show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? didn’t seem very real, at least one scene from the show’s four seasons is now really hitting home.

In it, Joan Rivers is going to undergo a plastic surgery procedure and through laughter and tears talks to her daughter about the possibility of her death.

‘I’ve had a great life, I’ve had an amazing life. If I died this morning, nobody would say, “So young!” … If it ended right now, amazing life. You’ve been wonderful and we’ve had a great ride together.

‘If something happens, things are fine and life is fine and life is so much fun. … How lucky we are, every minute.’

Mother and daughter tell each other that they love each other then Rivers ends things with some humor about her only grandchild, Melissa’s son, Cooper.

‘The only thing that makes me a little sad is that Cooper’s not gay. I have nobody to talk to Judy Garland about … If I die, who’s going to want my showtunes collection?’

Rivers died on Thursday (4 September), eight days after going into cardiac arrest during a minor throat procedure at an outpatient clinic in New York City.


Lunch Break Videos: Late night hosts Letterman, Fallon and Kimmel pay tribute to Joan Rivers

These are gems.

Johnny Carson may have gone to his grave never speaking to Joan Rivers but the men who followed him onto late night television welcomed her onto their shows up until the end of her life.

David Letterman’s tribute last night was very classy and Jimmy Fallon, who welcomed her back to The Tonight Show after a nearly 30-year banishment, got emotional during his tribute.

Also here are Jimmy Kimmel’s tribute which includes a very funny clip of her on the show then later he and ex-girlfriend Sarah Silverman talk about the late, great comic.

Joan was not only the first permanent guest host on The Tonight Show, she was also the first woman to host a late night talk show when she was hired away from NBC by Fox – a move which resulted in Carson never speaking to her again.


Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen reflect on why Joan Rivers was so popular with the gay community

Who better to discuss Joan Rivers’ popularity with the gay community than two of the most famous gay men on television: Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.

Anderson had Andy on his CNN show last night to talk about the late, great comedy icon who died yesterday at the age of 81.

Said Cooper: ‘She really did have a big appeal in the gay community. I think she – beyond her acceptance of people – there was something about how she had overcome all of these obstacles: Her husband committed suicide, she had a child to raise, she was cut off by Carson, and yet she persevered.’

Cohen, who had Rivers on his Bravo show over the summer and recently saw her at a wedding, had this to say: ‘I don;’t want to live in a world without Joan Rivers – no one does. she was such a life force. thought she was in her 80s it’s still shocking. … She was someone you thought wold be around forever.’

‘From the beginning she was an underdog,’ he added. ‘She was a female standup comic who made it big. Gay people like uncensored divas and she certainly was – she was just consistently funny and we love a funny lady.’

To see why Anderson Cooper didn’t like Joan as a kid, check out my story over at Gay Star News.


Happy b-day to “Major Crimes” star Phillip P. Keene!

Phillip P. Keene is not only one of the most handsome actors on television, he’s also one of the most steadily employed.

Phillip, who turns 48 today, has just completed his second season playing Buzz Watson on the TNT drama Major Crimes which has been renewed for a third season.

It’s a a role he is quite familiar with since he also played Buzz for all seven seasons on the show’s predecessor The Closer.

Phillip also became a married man last fall when he married James Duff. the couple had already been together for 20 years.

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Snapped! Andy Cohen records audio for latest book … looks quite sexy while doing so

Since Andy Cohen doesn’t wear shorts while hosting Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, I had no idea he had such terrific legs.

He is recording the audio for his latest book The Andy Cohen Diaries which, I am sure, will be shorter than The Andy Warhol Diaries.

Warhol’s was quite the opus as I recall!

What do you think of Cohen’s beard?

FILE UNDER: Snapped!

Leslie Jordan appears on UK chat show to dish about his experiences on “Celebrity Big Brother”

Emmy-Award winning actor Leslie Jordan may have been the second housemate to be booted out of the Celebrity Big Brother house last week but he’s still in the UK talking about the experience.

Here is video of the funny man’s appearance on a show called The Wright Stuff and it includes a few clips of his time in the house which clearly was a nightmare!

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Joan Rivers and her enduring connection to gay community: ‘They were the first ones to laugh at me’

Like a lot of gays, Joan Rivers considered herself an outsider and an underdog.

But she never let that stop her. In fact, it fueled her.

From her rise to stardom in the 1960s through her final episode of Fashion Police which aired just last week, Rivers kept her legions of loyal gay fans entertained and inspired.

She told me during a chat for Gay Star News in 2012: ‘They were the first ones to laugh at me.’

Then she added, jokingly: ‘Kathy [Griffin] got the (gay fans) I don’t want. She got the ones that don’t have chic apartments.’

Rivers told The Advocate in May: ‘My gay fans have been wonderful from day one.’

‘I remember when I was working at the Duplex in Greenwich Village in New York at the beginning of my career and the only ones who would laugh at my jokes were the gay guys. I think if I had started out in straight clubs and bars I never would’ve gotten anywhere.

‘Even today, when I’m on tour I always know if I get eight gay men in the front row it’s going to be a great show. Maybe it’s just me and I know they’re going to laugh at what I’d laugh at, but when my gays are in the audience it’s always a good time.’

The connection was always strong – especially during dark times.

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, Rivers was among the few celebrities who lent their name to raise money for research and care.

In the spring of 1984, at a time when so many were still so afraid of the disease, Rivers appeared on the cover of LA’s Frontiers Magazine promoting an AIDS fundraiser in West Hollywood that raised $45,000 for APLA, L.A. Shanti and Aid for AIDS.

She went on to serve for years on the board of the New York-based God’s Love We Deliver, a grassroots charity that provides thousands of meals to AIDS patients and now others each day. Rivers raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity when she won NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice.

In 2011, Rivers spoke out publicly in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage in her native New York.

During the last summer of her life, Rivers performed two same-sex marriage ceremonies – including an impromptu one that took place at one of her book signings.


Friday Morning Man: Blake Bortles!

The NFL season is now officially underway so let’s shine a spotlight on one of the hot new quarterbacks: Blake Bortles.

Blake is 22 and plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was drafted by the Jaguars third overall in the 2014 NFL Draft and played college football at the University of Central Florida.

He’s currently the team’s number 2 quarterback behind starter Chad Henne.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men: 2014

Roger Federer survives two match points to make US Open semifinals for the ninth time in his career

Was on the porch with the dog this evening thinking about Joan Rivers and how truly remarkable this outpouring of grief has been.

Suddenly I get a text from a tennis-loving friend that Roger Federer is down two sets to love in the quarterfinals of the US Open.

I worship Roger and normally would have been following the match but got very distracted by Joan’s death.

I texted my friend back that I could not get emotionally invested in the match – especially if Federer was going to lose to Frenchman Gael Monfils.

But he didn’t lose.

Instead, the winner of a record 17 grand slam titles staged a dramatic comeback winning the third set then the fourth after facing two match points.

In the end, Fed won 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.

He’s now just two matches away from winning a record sixth US Open title – he currently shares the record of five with Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors.