You can’t judge a book by its cover but this one is a winner!
Broadway legend Patti LuPone’s autobiography, being published by Harmony Books, won’t be released until September but the cover was unveiled this week.
Patti, who turns 61 next week, looks fabulous and the book should be a real treat for theater fans. She has had a brilliant career on the stage winning Tonys for Evita and Gypsy and starring in successful revivals of Anything Goes and Sweeney Todd.
I’m most interested in what Patti writes about her experience on the London stage with Sunset Boulevard where she was the original Norma Desmond. She was contracted to take the role to Broadway but Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to go with Glenn Close instead.
Lucy is chronically late but the last straw comes when she makes Ricky an hour late for a dinner party at his bosses’ house.
So Ricky comes up with the bright idea of putting our favorite redhead on a schedule!
Lucy, of course, gets her revenge when the boss and his wife come to dinner and she speeds the dinner up so fast that the guests can’t even manage to get a spoonful of soup or a forkful of salad. Then the steak is served frozen because the schedule did not allow enough time to thaw it.
But my favorite part is when the girls serve the dinner rolls by pitching them from the kitchen into a catcher’s mit.
Long before there was Oliver Fish and Kyle Lewis, Ryan Phillippe played gay teenager Billy Douglas on ABC’s One Life to Live.
The 34-year-old actor had not yet starred in such films as Cruel Intentions, Gosford Park, Igby Goes Down, Crash and Stop-Loss when he was on the soap and his character the first gay teenager on a daytime soap opera paving the way years later for Luke Snyder on As the World Turns.
In a Men’s Health cover story featuring a now very studly Ryan, the actor said of his 1992-93 soap stint: “I would worry, ‘What will the people at school think?’ And they shunned me in a lot of ways. But it ended up being an incredible experience and such a time of growth for me.”
Here are some clips of Ryan as Billy all those years ago:
When Justin Gaston performed on American Idol on Wednesday night, I wondered who the heck he was.
He looked so adorable strumming his acoustic guitar as he sang the Elvis Presley ballad If I Can Dream with former finalist Brooke White.
He’s 21 years old and was a finalist on the TV talent competition Nashville Star and also made quite a splash as an underwear model. Oh yeah, and he dated Miley Cyrus for awhile.
Justin is currently a participation in the Web series “If I Can Dream,” The show follows him and four other cast members – Amanda Phillips, Giglianne Braga, Benjamin Elliot and Kara Kilmore – and chronicles their attempts to make it in Hollywood.
The dance between Dr. Reid Oliver and Mr. Luke Snyder continues on As the World Turns. They are in Texas to fight the complaint against Reid and the sexual tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Highlight is when Luke answers the door in nothing but towel.
My favorite line is when Luke gives Reid a mantra to keep saying to himself: “Don’t be an ass.”
Of course Noah calls and interrupts the back-and-forth and Reid seems eager to let him know that he’s not going through his ordeal alone – that Luke is with him.
I’ve gone on and on about how terrific Eric Sheffer Stevens is as Reid so here’s some kudos for Van Hansis who, when given a meaty storyline, is one of the best actors in daytime today. He has the ability to make his character seem real – when his character is given something real to do.
I was so happy to read Brent Hartinger’sAfterElton.com article today on the original director’s cut of the 1998 film 54.
Brent recently viewed the original cut by writer-director Mark Christopher which included a scene of Ryan Phillippe’s character briefly kissing co-star Breckin Meyer.
Brett writes: It was yet another in a long line of Hollywood “de-gayings,” where gay content is removed from a movie’s source material or edited out of a film before its theatrical release, and it’s still one of the most notorious examples.
And it’s not just the kiss between Shane and Meyer’s character (who doesn’t reciprocate) that was cut from the theatrical release: the heart of the original version is a touching love triangle between Shane and the characters played by Hayek and Meyer — three more-or-less doomed souls.
In 1999, a DVD was released, which included some alternate takes and additional footage not seen in the theatrical release. But this was not the director’s original cut.
He mentions the 2008 screening of the film at the Outfest film festival. I was in the audience that night at the Fairfax Theatre and it was stunning to see how different – and far superior – the director’s original version was from the mess the studio ordered which included additional scenes ordered by the studio beefing up a relationship between Phillippe’s character and a soap actress played by Neve Campbell.
The film was released in 1998 ago and also starred Salma Hayak, Mike Myer, and Sela Ward, among others. It chronicled the rise and fall of the famed NYC hotspot of the 1970s. Phillippe’s character is bisexual in the director’s version and Meyer’s character also seems ready to dabble in some man-on-man action.
We also get to see a bit more of a then-unknown actor named Cameron Mathison (All My Children) who was only seen briefly in the studio version. And his character is gay! We did not know this from before. But in the director’s cut, he’s in a relationship with one of the other bartenders and they even share a passionate kiss.
When I ran into Cameron a few years ago, I mentioned to him that he’s in the recut version a lot more than the one that was in theaters where he is only seen fleetingly.
“Am I? I’ve gotta check that out!” he said. “The scene in the restaurant where we’re throwing around all the drug paraphenalia?”
Yes. And I reminded him of the “lip on lip man on man action he was involved with.
“Oh yeah! That was my first on-screen kiss!” he said. “Was it with Ryan or was it with somebody else?”
I remind him that he had a boyfriend in the movie. Sounding disappointed that it wasn’t Phillippe, Cameron said: “Oh. Did I?”
Cameron was unaware of the secret screening last summer and unaware that another version even existed! He is supportive of the original seeing the light of day: “Absolutely. That’s the story that Mark Christopher wanted to tell and it sounds like he did it. Good for him.”
I think this film would have grossed far more than $16.6 million at the domestic box office if it had felt more complete and been more satisfying.
As far as I know, there is no deal to re-release the movie in its original form theatrically or on DVD. Disney, which owns the rights the Miramax library, should take advantage of this opportunity and make the money off this title that they could have a decade ago. They have a really good film on their hands with terriffic performaces by big stars.
Ellen DeGeneres once again leads Out Magazine’s fourth annual top 50 power list of America’s most influential gay men and women.
Although Ellen finds herself back in pole position, many names have fallen or dropped out altogether (au revoir Rosie O’Donnell, for now), while others have rocketed up (Rich Ross, Tom Ford) as their successes warrant. And then there are those we never saw coming, such as one Adam Lambert, whose attention-grabbing run on American Idol was largely interpreted as a referendum on tolerance.
Not everyone, the editors say, has to be a Lambert fan to appreciate the power of his position to influence our cultural and social attitudes for the better—one of several factors taken into consideration when compiling this list. The others are political clout, individual wealth, and a person’s media profile.
POWERFUL LIST: Here are some of the other names on the list: Barney Frank (2), Anderson Cooper (3), Rachel Maddow (4), Adam Lambert (5), Neil Patrick Harris (7), Tom Ford (13), Lee Daniels (25) Perez Hilton (26), Suze Orman (27), Dan Choi (28), Chad Griffin (29), Dustin Lance Black (30), Wanda Sykes (36), Jodie Foster (41), Gus Van Sant (43), Tim Gunn (47).
Go to OUT.com to see the complete list and to see the bios. When you read Neil Patrick Harris, it states he hosted the Emmys, Tonys and the Oscars. NPH performed at the Academy Awards but the hosts were Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.
Just a week ago, Designing Women Thursday featured one of Julia Sugarbaker’s greatest rants: “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.”
I had no idea then that the actress who immortalized her, Dixie Carter, was so ill with the cancer which took her life on Saturday. It’s such a loss because not only was she one of the classiest ladies in showbiz, she was still so vibrant and doing wonderful work.
But we do have all of those fabulous Designing Women episodes to remember her by and that outspoken, elegant, liberal and intellectual television alter-ego who she made so memorable.
Here are some of Julia’s big speeches which would typically start to come out of her mouth when she just could not take it any more. She really does seem to want to control herself but in most cases, a tongue-lashing from The Terminator is deserved!
(I’ve included the text of some of them so you can really see how brilliant the writing was and how the collaboration between Dixie and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.)
Julia’s home is made a part of a tour of historical houses in Atlanta. But when the tour guide begins to wildly embellish its history to spice up the proceedings, Julia explodes at having “a bunch of bored housewives turning historical homes into theme parks. Not to mention ill-mannered tourists with their Big Gulps, Slurpees, Mysties and Frosties. Their dirty feet overflowing rubber thongs and babies who sneeze fudgesicle juice! OUT! OUT! Out of my HOUSE! As God is my witness, I will burn it down myself before I will let you in again!”
The ladies are hired by a man to decorate both his wife’s home and a townhome where his mistress lives. Naturally, the ladies end up siding with the wife and Julia is pushed over the edge when the mistress, named Gabby, keeps them waiting 35 minutes, doesn’t want to know their names and starts fawning over their assistant Anthony who she refers to as “a big, black beautiful buck.”
Julia tells her off and ends with this great line: “Quite frankly, I find you rude, lazy, horny and dumb.”
This isn’t a tirade, but it’s memorable because it’s Julia explaining things as only a Southern woman can. Her friend Bernice’s niece is trying to have her aunt committed saying she’s crazy. Julia does not see why even if it were true, why it would be a problem: “This is the South and we’re proud of our crazy people. We don’t hide them up in the attic, we bring them right down to the living room to show them off. No one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family, they just ask what side they’re on.”
Julia has a dinner with Jimmy and Roslyn Carter to attend but she risks missing it because she is on jury duty and sequestered with a group that seems to be in no rush to reach a verdict. She finally loses it in a way that I had not seen Julia lose it before. She explodes at the old lady she’s been sharing a room with who said she did not appreciate Julia’s tone: “Oh, really? Well. I don’t appreciate you leavin’ your big ole box of June Alyson bladder pads on MY night stand for all the maids and bell-boys to see. Of course you don’t care if you ever get out of here. You don’t even have to get up to go to the bathroom!
Here is an encore of “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” speech and here is the complete text for you to memorize and perhaps perform at a gay bar: “I gather from your comments there are a couple of other things you don’t know, Marjorie. For example, you probably didn’t know that Suzanne was the only contestant in Georgia pageant history to sweep every category except congeniality, and that is not something the women in my family aspire to anyway. Or that when she walked down the runway in her swimsuit, five contestants quit on the spot. Or that when she emerged from the isolation booth to answer the question, “What would you do to prevent war?” she spoke so eloquently of patriotism, battlefields and diamond tiaras, grown men wept. And you probably didn’t know, Marjorie, that Suzanne was not just any Miss Georgia, she was the Miss Georgia. She didn’t twirl just a baton, that baton was on fire. And when she threw that baton into the air, it flew higher, further, faster than any baton has ever flown before, hitting a transformer and showering the darkened arena with sparks! And when it finally did come down, Marjorie, my sister caught that baton, and 12,000 people jumped to their feet for sixteen and one-half minutes of uninterrupted thunderous ovation, as flames illuminated her tear-stained face! And that, Marjorie – just so you will know – and your children will someday know – is the night – the lights – went out in Georgia!
And finally, from season 2 is this gem from a moving episode called “Killing All the Right People.” The ladies agree to decorate a room in a funeral home for a young gay man dying from AIDS. When a client overhears them talking about it, she said the man “got what’s coming to him” and the one thing good about AIDS was that “it’s killing all the right people.
Julia lets her have it: “Imogene, get serious! Who do you think you’re talking to?! I’ve known you for 27 years, and all I can say is, if God was giving out sexually transmitted diseases to people as a punishment for sinning, then YOU would be at the free clinic all the time! And so would the rest of us!”
PARTING THOUGHTS: You may wonder how many Emmys Dixie Carter had at home after watching those clips. The answer would be: zero. She was never even nominated which goes to show you just how unfair awards really are and how they often do not represent what is truly great and certainly are not an indication of which shows and performances will stand the test of time.
Granted, it was a pretty crowded field during the 1986-93 run of Designing Women with Betty White nominated for every single season of Golden Girls and co-stars Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan nominated five times each. Then there was Kirstie Alley always nominated for Cheers and the queen of the Emmys herself, Candice Bergen, who finally took herself out of the running after winning five of them for Murphy Brown.
Only Delta Burke was ever nominated for an Emmy for Designing Women scoring nods for the show’s fourth and fifth seasons. Jean Smart has won three Emmys so far in her career but those were for Samantha Who? and Frasier. Miss Carter got her only nomination in 2007 for her recurring role as Gloria Hodge on Desperate Housewives.
The highlight of last night’s American Idol results show was the performance of this week’s mentor, Adam Lambert. The 2009 runner-up did his hit single Whataya Want From Me complete with green light lasers and smoke and, of course, lots of eyeliner.
He was sensational and is very deserving of his stardom.
After he sang, host Ryan Seacrest – far better behaved tonight after Tuesday’s bizarro moments – chatted up Adam who said his experience on Idol was the perfect training ground for a musical career.
“We worked so hard on this show to give everybody a surprise every week,” he said. “Thanks to ‘American Idol,’ because it prepared me to make it in the real world. I owe ‘American Idol’ everything.”
Okay, now for the results.
It was easy to make the call that Andrew Garcia would be sent home by voters tonight on American Idol after his lackluster Hound Dog last night.
I think he has a terrific voice but good grief, he made so many bad choices in terms of songs and arrangements that it is stunning that he did not get the boot sooner.
Katie Stevens was not a huge surprise since she’s been in the bottom three several times already but I felt a little bad for her because she gave it all she had, tried to grow each week, and really should be proud of finishing in eighth place.
Both will perform on your this summer so it’s not over for them.
So you know what this means don’t you? Tim Urban has made it to the top seven and not only that, he has managed to stay out of the bottom three for two weeks running.
If you watch the TV movie Secrets of the Mountain on NBC tomorrow night, you will get to see Shawn Christian in action.
The 44-year-old actor has not stopped working steadily since his days on As the World Turns with regular or recurring roles on such series as Summerland, Las Vegas, Boston Legal, Beverly Hills 90210, Birds of Prey and One Life to Live, among many others.
He currently plays Dr. Daniel Jonas on Days of Our Lives where his character recently found out he has a daughter he never knew about from a one-night fling with fellow doc Carly Manning, played by Crystal Chappell.
According to Soapside: The Advocate’s Guide to Daytime: In the meantime he has been the beau of another LGBT fave, Venice and Days star Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe).
Shawn says there is some major material coming to the airwaves soon. “You know it’s going to be a crazy day when the producers send you a Crazy Day Alert. This happened a few weeks ago when we taped. It was quite an eventful day, because I think I did work with four different women, and I think it required four different outfits … one my shirt off, one my pants off, one my shoes off, and … ”
Shawn says a romantic pairing with Chappell may not be out of the question, as you just never know in the hot town of Salem.
This is a pity: Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels have ended their nearly nine-year relationship, PEOPLE reports.
The Grammy and Oscar winning singer and the actress who was one of the stars of the cult fave Popular exchanged vows in a Malibu ceremony in 2003. Tammy gave birth to their children – son Miller and daughter Johnnie Rose – in 2006.
They also endured illness when Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.
The former couple said in a statement: “We ask for consideration and respect for our family as we go through this difficult period.”
Melissa is also mom to two older children, Bailey, 13, and Beckett, 11, with former partner Julie Cypher.
After a four-month hiatus from the airwaves, Glee returned to the Fox schedule last night amid a flood of publicity and attracted 13.6 million viewers, according to preliminary returns.
“Everybody thought Fox was crazy to have the Sectionals in December and then pull it off the air for four months,” show creator Ryan Murphy told Entertainment Weekly. “They got a lot of criticism for it, but (the ratings) prove that it was a great plan. It really worked. In those four months we won the Golden Globe and a Peabody, and with the Oprah/White House effect, it became a perfect storm to get people really excited about the show.”
The ratings were 50 percent higher than the show’s one-episode preview last May and managed to hold on to an impressive 77 percent of its AmericanIdollead in.
GREAT IDEA: LA Times pop music writer Ann Powers has come up with a suggestion that I fully endorse: sign Adam Lambert as an American Idol judge next season to replace Simon Cowell!
Writes Powers: It’s so clear that it’s Windex. It — he — sat there in the front row on Tuesday night, hair piled extra high in honor of the Elvis theme, a trouper’s grin affixed to his face even when the hopefuls he’d mentored ignored his obviously helpful suggestions. Yes, dear readers, I’m saying it: Adam Lambert should replace Simon Cowell as a judge on “American Idol.”
On hand for Elvis week, Adam was the first former Idol to return as a mentor, an honor-cum-duty (remember, he’s represented by the show’s ancillary organization, 19 Management) that turns out to suit him well. It could have gone to a more established unit-mover like Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson. Yet from the minute he stood at that familiar piano, persuading Crystal Bowersox to put down the folkie strum one time and strap on a sequined electric guitar, he filled the role with complete self-assurance, compassion and sincerity, tempered by an ironic edge that could easily translate to the judges’ table.
Frankly, I’m really worried for the show without Simon. His opinion seems to be the only one that really matters and a big personality with some credibility is needed to fill his shoes and to create some hot buzz.
Ellen DeGeneres is a nice addition but she doesn’t actually bring that much to the table other than her sunny personality and Kara and Randy are fine but don’t have near the clout or confidence of Simon.
So Adam as the new judge. Now who are we gonna get as the new host?
But her former co-stars Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman, and Eva Longoria are speaking out in Cherry’s defense and have released this joint statement:
“It would be irresponsible of us to let the public believe that being a part of this show from its inception has been anything but a blessing.
We have no first-hand knowledge of what Nicollette may or may not have experienced, but we would never characterize our set as a hostile environment. It is, in fact, the opposite. The friendships and support that Marc Cherry, the cast, the crew and the producers have shared for the past six years have made this a wonderful job that we are grateful for every day.”
Teri Hatcher, who Sheridan alleged in court papers had also complained about Cherry to ABC, released her own statement: “While my adoration and respect for the classic and dynamic chemistry of the characters of Susan and Edie is indelible, I’m honored to stand with Eva, Felicity and Marcia, as a group and clarify that our set environment is nothing less than an amazingly positive experience. I have never felt discriminated against. In fact, I have felt heard and respected by Marc and other executives in regards to both my professional and personal needs.”
I’m quite sure we have not heard the last of this!
Ryan Seacrest may the hardest working man in showbiz but maybe he’s been too overworked to do justice to his American Idol hosting job.
Last night during an exchange with this week’s mentor Adam Lambert, Ryan remarked that “my tongue is not nearly as talented as yours.”
Ryan has been responsible for most of this season’s cringe-worthy moments and to make what clearly seemed to be a reference to oral sex was a new low point. Yes, Adam is gay and yes, he gave a risque performance on the American Music Awards but as host, Ryan is expected to set a tone and be respectful to guests.
Then Ryan went too far again when he distracted from contestant Tim Urban’s performance of Can’t Help Falling In Love by slow dancing off camera with who AfterElton.com identifies as last year’s 10th place finisher Michael Sarver.
I caught a glimpse of the dance and could not believe it.
And all of this as Ryan’s mother was in the audience. If his Idol bosses don’t read him the riot act, maybe she will!
It was better than anything we saw on the first new episode of Glee to air in several months. The brilliant Jane Lynch – as Sue Sylvester – does Madonna even better than Madonna in this performance of Vogue.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John at their sexiest in the 1978 musical Grease, a true classic that does indeed stand the test of time.
There are many highlights in the film with two of my faves being the opening Summer Lovers, Stockard Channing’s wickedly funny Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee, and the terrific little number near the end: You’re the One That I Want.
Never get tired of seeing these!
Bonus Video: Here is Olivia Newton John’s big solo number Hopelessly Devoted to You. I’ve been humming this tune ever since last Friday night when I met an old pal, Kathie Bozanich, for drinks at a Mexican cantina in Huntington Beach. We had no idea it was karaoke night so we were in for quite an entertaining evening as we caught up and sipped margaritas. The most memorable performance came from a man who had to be about 80 who took the stage and belted out this very tune. Since I didn’t video it, you’ll have to settle for Olivia’s version. Enjoy!
During the first few seasons of Ugly Betty when the show was still filmed in Los Angeles, I attended several events featuring the cast and chatted up just about everybody at least a few times about this wonderful show that came along like a breath of fresh air.
Mark Indelicato was just 12 the first time we talked and he was so smart and articulate and it was so terrific to watch his character of Justin Suarez come out last week on his own terms.
“I think the writers have really done this whole transition, this whole discovery, with such grace and in not a cliche way,” said Indelicato, 15. “I definitely thought there was going to be a cliche dramatic breakdown crying moment. And I don’t think it should be like that because that’s not the message we wanted to put across. We don’t want people to be afraid to tell their family and friends who they are. In the episode, you’re going to see how the family deals with everything and how Justin deals with everything and it’s an eye-opener for people that need some clarity.”
“This show told people that it’s OK to be different,” he added. “And even though that sounds like an easy concept and an easy thing to do, it’s not. It’s very hard to be OK with who you are and not care what other people think of you. Believe me, I know.”
GOODBYE: As it winds down its four-year run tonight, Ugly Betty is as good as it ever was.
Last week featured the sweetest coming out ever on network prime time as Justin Suarez (Mark Indelicato) danced with his boyfriend at his mom’s wedding as his loving family looked on. The show has always been unapologetically gay as we’ve seen Betty’s fashion-loving nephew grow up before our eyes.
Then there was Marc St. James (Michael Urie) who was Wilhelmina’s scheming assistant who endured the rejection of his homophobic mother and in last week’s show, realized that he wanted to try and succeed in a romantic relationship.
I’ll really miss the Suaraz family which also included Tony Plana as father Ignacio and Ana Ortiz as sister Hilda. In the series finale, we see how strong the family bond is as both Betty (America Ferrera) ponders whether to take a job at a magazine in London and Hilda and her new husband look for apartments in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) has been shot and that results in Daniel (Eric Mabius) being put back in charge of Mode magazine. He does not want Betty to take the London job and apparently not just for professional reasons.
Maybe we’ll be able to catch up with the Suarez and Meade families in a reunion movie down the road. That would be most welcome.
COMING SOON: Here is the first promo pic for the upcoming film Role/Play which will star real-life couple Matthew Montgomery and Steve Callahan (pictured).
The film is about a recently outed soap opera actor (Callahan) who crosses paths with a recently divorced gay marriage activist (Montgomery). Their relationship forces them to confront the price of fame and the fickle nature of celebrity within the gay community.
The Guest House Films production is being written and directed Rob Williams whose most recent hit was Make the Yuletide Gay. Role/Play is scheduled to begin production in May and has already been booked at multiple gay film festivals across the country; screenings will be announced soon.
“In my mind, there were no actors more perfectly suited to play these roles than Matthew and Steve,” says Williams, co-founder of Guest House Films. “Not only do they each have a track record of putting out quality performances time and time again, but their off-screen chemistry will certainly translate into on-screen fireworks.”