Shangela Werqs The World

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When RuPaul’s Drag Queen alum Shangela takes the stage as the hostess of RuPaul’s Werq The World Tour, she is very prepared to bring it! The tour, which has just finished its European leg, will high kick off its North American debut at Spreckels Theatre on October 12 at 8pm.

It brings with it both seasoned vets and one newcomer displaying their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent and they include: Detox, Alyssa Edwards, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Violet Chachki and Valentina. Word of advice to our tour virgin Valentina…girl, no lip syncing behind a mask, ok?

The Rage Monthly spoke with the very affable Shangela to get the tea on what it takes to be the hostess with the mostest, what life lessons she learned from her time with Mama Ru and what audiences can expect from the Werq The World Tour.

Growing up in Paris, Texas was not a deterrent for Shangela – then known as D.J. Pierce – to express her fabulousness at an early age. As a matter of fact, she would dress in drag on creative projects to get A’s in her English class in high school, as she explained.

“Surprisingly the reaction from my teacher went really well; she invited me to come back for different periods, like not even my class to perform again,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t know if it was for her personal enjoyment, but it did lead to me getting A’s in the process.”

At the time, she didn’t see that as an act of bravery, but now looks upon it differently.

“At the time I just saw it as I love to entertain in whatever way I could and give it to them!” Shangela reflected. “Now looking back at it, I do think it was pretty brave. I remember going into the boy’s restroom and getting in my little dress to come back down the hallway to go back to class. At the time I didn’t think about it, but that probably wasn’t the safest move in 8th grade.”

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Fast forward to 2010 and Shangela was the first queen to be told to “sashay away” on the second season of Drag Race, but made a surprise return during the next season and placed 6th. She said that it was “amazing” to be asked to return, as she had only been doing drag for five months during the previous incarnation. During her second time around, she became synonymous with her catchphrases “Halleloo” and “Bitch better have my money.”

“To be able to have the opportunity to come back and do it all over again with what I learned in the year since being on Drag Race,” she said. “I came back into the room, thinking, ‘I’m going to win this, I’m going to do this, I have what it takes.’ And that’s how I approach life.”

And she definitely had a big take away from being on the show and under the watchful eye of RuPaul, as she told us.

“Oh honey, stay resilient, never give up no matter how many times you’re knocked down, it’s all about how you get up and you continue,” Shangela said. “Life’s not about winning one particular race, it’s about continuing in the marathon. You can always watch, learn and grow.”

And she now continues her Drag Race legacy as the Mistress of Ceremonies on the Werq The World Tour and she is adhering to the mantra of “you better work,” as RuPaul told the world to do in her 1993 song Supermodel.

“As the hostess, I like to keep my audience having as much fun as I’m having on the stage,” Shangela explained. “And trust me, I know how to have a good time baby!”

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And one has to wonder if the queens are having a good time traveling the world together. And there has been an unexpected bonus for Shangela in getting to spend time with her fellow queens.

“We did 15 cities in Europe in June and try traveling across the world with a bunch of RuPaul’s Drag Race stars, honey,” she quipped. “You just learn so much about people. I always thought Kim Chi was very quiet. Uh no, that’s not true. Also, you’ve got to watch her with that phone, because she videotaped everything. There are pictures of me on her Snapchat eating, sleeping in the airport. I’m like, ‘Kim! Give it a rest mama!’ She’s sneaky with that phone!”

As for the show, the U.S. version promises more back up dancers and video elements than its across the pond version.

“Baby, trust me, when you come to the Werq The World Tour, all of our fans should expect the unexpected,” Shangela explained. “This is like no other concert tour that’s happened. We amped it up even more! For the U.S. we wanted to make this a bigger and better show. We’re really excited to come to these cities and give the audience what we do best, which is a sickening live show!”

Randy’s Reading Rainbow

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With a song in his heart and a wicked sense of humor up his sleeve, Randy Rainbow has made quite a name for himself in the world of parody songs. And yes, that is his real surname. The New York-based comedian, writer and YouTube sensation has been called “the best thing about the GOP race” by Dan Savage in 2016, and for good reason.

Rainbow has amassed quite a song catalog, thanks in part, to the current administration and their particular brand of unintentional comedy. Whether it’s Kellyanne Conway being convinced that microwaves are watching us –put down the crack pipe, hon – or our illustrious Commander-in-Chief and his penchant for stretching the truth until it snaps back at him. Fortunately for us, Randy’s Reading Rainbow consists of him providing that said snap in such musical odes as “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea,” “Desperate Cheeto” and “Yes! We Have No Steve Bannon!” among other hilarious offerings.

On November 21 and 22, Rainbow will bring his show “Randy Rainbow Live” to Martini’s Above Fourth and The Rage Monthly spoke with him about how he “thinks in show tunes,” what goes into the marriage of those perfect pairings of a political situation with the appropriate song and what his show will feature.

For Rainbow, the need to entertain has always been with him, a constant companion from a young age, as he explained.

“I’ve been on the stage since I was a kid,” he said. “I started as a little ballet boy at age six and from there I was doing community theatre and musical theatre all throughout childhood and then high school. So, it’s always been a part of my life. I come from a very funny family, so that helps, it’s kind of in my genes. Somewhere along the way, I transferred my comedic voice into the hot topics thing. Not really sure where that came into play.”

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Well, you can’t help but suspect that “where” that happened was because of the current circus, err, s**t show, I mean “administration” in the White House. See? There’s something to be grateful for out of all of this. Because somewhere over Randy’s rainbow, he has discovered a P.O.T.U.S. of comedy gold that further highlight the ridiculousness of Orange, The Great and Powerful.

Since he has a wealth of inspiration to draw upon with this current political climate, but how does he go about pairing the situation with the perfect song parody?

“I’m a major show queen, which will come as no surprise,” he quipped. “I think in show tunes, so whenever anything happens, just in my life or the general zeitgeist, I automatically go to the musical theatre parallel of that situation. That part is always easy for me.

“And it’s interesting how I ended up melding the two things together,” Rainbow stated. “For a time, I was doing two things separately. I was doing whatever the hot topic was at the time and do commentary on that. My first video was called ‘Randy Rainbow is dating Mel Gibson,’ which was about six or seven years ago. I got a gig working for Broadway World, a very well-known theatre website and they asked me to put my spin on theatrical headlines. Being that I have a musical theatre background, it was just a natural step to do the Broadway musical parody. I think somewhere along the way, I got confused of what job I had that day and I ended up doing the show tunes to the hot topics.”

And with a dictator, I mean, President who speaks out of both sides of his mouth or with his thumbs via Twitter on the daily, you have to wonder how Rainbow is able to decide which parody will stick.

“That’s one of the most difficult things,” Rainbow explained. “That’s why I haven’t slept since January! In this day and age, there’s the speed of social media and what’s going on with this f***ing administration. If you wait until noon the next day, everything is different. You have to act really fast and have a sense of what might have some staying power.”

As with any good button pusher, there must be some, ahem, blowback from celebrities. Or at the very least,  Mel Gibson asking him out on a proper date.

“Not yet, dammit! Wouldn’t that be fun?” Rainbow joked. “I’ll hear from the CNN people, whose interviews that I use. They love me over at CNN. But as far as the subjects that I am making fun of in the videos, the only person I’ve ever heard from was Jennifer Holliday, back when there was a mini-scandal about her possibly performing at the inauguration. I’ve not yet heard from Kellyanne Conway.”

Speaking of ol’ Kellyanne, we asked Rainbow if Conway had a perfume…what would it be called. My vote is for Meth Lab.

“I don’t even know,” he pondered the hard hitting question and then inspiration hit. “She looks like a sewer rat, so Sewer Rat. Slag, I like Slag or Hag.”

Rainbow had previously written for Kathy Griffin, who has found herself in very hot water with a photo showing her holding the severed head of Trump and subsequently face a firestorm of controversy that saw her losing her slot as co-host on CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast. Rainbow has “a number of different opinions on that,” as he explained.

“First of all, it went too far and I personally thought it was a bad idea. And I don’t know who couldn’t stop her from doing that or have the foresight to see that this wouldn’t be a good PR move, even for an outlandish comedian in this climate,” Rainbow said. “Having said that, the reaction, of course, was blown way out of proportion. I think she got a little too much flak obviously, but she’ll bounce back eventually.”

And piggybacking off of that…Wait that sounds naughty. Let’s try that again. Are there any sacred lambs, be it screaming or silent, that Rainbow wouldn’t really slaughter in a parody?

“Not that I can think of,” he stated. “You have to gauge every situation and it’s very difficult now. People are making a hobby of being offended by things. You have to consider the fact that everyone has a little mini megaphone to let you know what their opinion is and the mass general public is deciding what goes and what doesn’t now. But it also makes it kind of easy to gauge; because you can go on Twitter or on social media and get the general conversation that’s going on and test the waters a little bit that way.”

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As for his show at Martini’s Above Fourth, Rainbow likened it to “a Barbara Walters special with music”

“I know we’re at the show to forget our troubles,” he said. “But I think it’s best that we face them head on. I bring along a collection of some of my most important journalistic moments throughout the years. It’s going on a year since all of this s**t started, so it’s a musical retrospective and I show my interviews and sing my greatest hits. There’s even a Carol Burnett Q & A.”

And as for what we can expect next from Rainbow, he reiterated the problem in keeping up with current events.

“They’re kind of like a last minute thing,” Rainbow explained. “I don’t really plan too far in advance, again, you can’t. I’m glued to my TV like everyone else, waiting for the next s**tstorm to fly out of Kellyanne Conway’s mouth.”

Remember kids, reading is fundamental!

To keep up with his hilarious song parodies, stay tuned at http://www.RandyRainbow.com

 

Sheila E. United We Groove

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It’s a safe bet that musician Sheila E. was born with rhythm in her blood. The 60-year-old singer, whose given name is Sheila Escovedo, followed the beat of her father Pete Escovedo’s drum, as he is also a renowned percussionist. Additionally, four of her uncles are also performers, filling her childhood home with music.

She stepped out from the shadow of that famous last name, and made one for herself in the ’80s with her hits “The Glamorous Life” and “A Love Bizarre,” and was one of late singer Prince’s protégé’s.

Recently, she scrapped doing a dance album, in favor of delivering one with a strong message, on which she has found a way to channel her frustrations regarding our current administration.   ICONIC: Message 4 America, showcases songs from the past, with covers of The Beatles’ “Come Together” and Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove/Mothership Connection” to name a few of the ones that she selected for their timeless significance.

She is ready to bring her message and music to the masses at Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride as a Main Stage performer on Sunday, May 20. She spoke with GED Magazine about the healing power of music, what she misses about Prince and what she will be bringing to Pride.

For Escovedo, growing up in a house where music was a constant and natural thing, like eating breakfast or brushing your teeth. It is a memory that she treasures to this day, as she explained.

“It was a lot of fun, because my dad practicing every single day to LP’s and the music that he loved and was inspired by – Latin jazz, jazz music, salsa music,” she said. “And then he would have jam sessions on the weekends and rehearsals with his band in the living room, so there was music constantly in the house.”

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She has previously stated that “music is the purest form of self-expression” and she let us in on the meaning behind that statement.

“Because you really do have to sometimes dig deep if you want to tell your story and be transparent and honest and truthful,” Escovedo explained. “Sometimes we write about ourselves, sometimes we write about someone else’s experiences; maybe how we see things, the glasses we put on to see something in a different light.

“We’re inspired by different things, it could be our spirit, what we feel or the hurt or the pain or the happiness; all of the emotions that we are able to express. And that’s what music and the arts does.”

As for the decision-making process of selecting songs for her latest album, it was easy for her to dig into her own past love of songs that still resonate with her today.

“I grew up listening to those songs and lyrically, they meant something then back in the ’60s and ’70s. But realizing how appropriate and actually still relevant to what’s happening in our time right now,” she said. “It made sense to do it. And we had this election that was happening and I thought was just embarrassing our country the way that it went down. I just thought there’s no way I’m going to put out any old record.”

And with our country in such a great deal of upheaval and turmoil, there is a very simple – and yet powerful – sentiment behind her own Message 4 America.

“With all that has been happening now, it has awakened our country and now people are standing up and our kids are standing up. It’s like enough is enough!” She exclaimed. “There are things that we have to do and we have to do this together; let’s take away the hate and bigotry and racism that is happening. The message really is us coming together and through love we can change the world; that word love is a powerful word and it saves people’s lives.”

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On the album, she performs a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman” and she included the lyric, “You took Prince.” It begged the question of what she misses the most about her former mentor.

“Him. Just him as a person, who he is, who he was. And that includes everything about him. It’s been very challenging, to say the least, and I don’t want to be sad anymore; I want to have tears of joy, I want to move forward,” Escovedo stated. “If he was here right now, and I was crying for him, he would be so upset. And the way to celebrate him is to celebrate his legacy, which is his music, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

And speaking of celebrations, she is “so excited” about her upcoming performance at Long Beach Pride and said that “it’s going to be one huge party.” However, she does revel in the fact that music can act as a great unifier.

“You know, people are people and music changes people’s lives and brings them together. And I always say it brings gay, straight, black, white – whatever ethnicity, where you come from or who you love – music brings people together.

“And that’s such a gift, and a responsibility, to bring people together and when we come together and we have a great time, just for that moment that continues to tell me that I need to keep doing what I’m doing. So I look forward to performing and know that embracing each other and loving each other, we’re going to have one huge party.”

Hollywood: The Herstory of Wonder Woman

By Tim Parks

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In 1941 when Wonder Woman made her debut in All-Star Comics, the concept of a female superhero must have seemed like something of an unconventional notion. Following in the footsteps of Superman and Batman, the shero proved that she was every bit as capable as The Man of Steel and The Caped Crusader and headlined her own comic book in 1942 through Sensation Comics.

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However, unlike her male counterparts The National Organization for Decent Literature – the One Million Moms of its time – blacklisted the comic citing that “Wonder Woman was not sufficiently dressed.” Um, hello Superman wore red underwear on the outside of his costume!

Princess Diana of Themyscira has had a long and storied career in the pantheon of pop culture and will finally be headlining her very own movie on June 2. This marks only the third time in her 76 year crime fighting career that she has appeared in Cineplex’s, following her appearance in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. 

Gal Gadot stars as the Amazonian Princess in not one, but two movies this year alone. So let’s look at the herstory of Wonder Woman, shall we? That wasn’t a rhetorical question.

The Original Originator

As previously mentioned, Wonder Woman made her comic book debut in the 1940’s and was created by William Moulton Marston, a famed psychologist and the inventor of the lie detector test, who modeled her after both suffragists and erotic pin ups. The man himself fathered children with both his wife and mistress in a polyamorous relationship and had a penchant for bondage, which showed up in his work. But he took her strength very seriously.

“Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world,” he said of his creation.

However, she certainly had her fair share of detractors. In the 1950’s Wonder Woman was accused by anti-comic crusader Fredric Wertham of “being a lesbian with a sadistic hatred of all men.” He makes it sound like it’s a bad thing!

It was during this period that Wonder Woman went from being a war hero and delved into regular gal mode and worked as a movie star, fashion model and even a lonely hearts columnist for a newspaper and during the 1960’s she was rebranded as an Emma Peel from The Avengers-type character.  She fared a bit better during the ’70s, thanks in part to the TV series. But the comic was cancelled in 1985 due to low sales and like the warrior she is came back the following year and has prevailed ever since. She even gained some Greek mythology parentage, courtesy of being Zeus’ daughter
Thank you For Being a Super Friend

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The very first animated version of Wonder Woman was featured on The Brady Kids cartoon in 1972 –  damn, let’s hope she didn’t throw a football at Marcia’s nose! It would have caved her face in! As it was, she and The Bunch get sent back in time to Ancient Greece, courtesy of the kids’ pet magical, talking myna bird. Somehow, I’m sure that Jan was still blamed for it.

During the run of the Saturday morning staple SuperFriends, she sported her Marlo Thomas That Girl flip hairstyle and was the only female in the all-boys Justice League of America. She had all of the traditional Wonder Woman items needed to fight for good: the golden lasso, the tiara, and the bracelets and of course, The Invisible Jet.

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After the show ended in 1986, she went on to be featured in a plethora of animated ventures, including: Wonder Woman and the Star Riders, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, DC Super Hero Girls and even an episode of South Park.

 

You Spin Me Round

In 1967, there was a five minute proposed pilot for Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince? William Dozier, the man behind TV’s Batman, thought it was time to bring Wonder Woman to the small screen. Unfortunately, it was also decided that Diana Prince (Ellie Wood Walker) would live at home with her shrill mother (Maudie Prickett) and transform into her super alter ego (Linda Harrison of The Planet of the Apes films) by going into a revolving wall and being able to fly afterwards. Dub tee eff? The pilot was a poor attempt to capitalize on the success of Batman and thankfully never made it to series. The answer to the title of the show can be answered as everyone should be scured. Very, very scured.

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In 1974, Cathy Lee Crosby starred as the titular hero in a TV movie that was loosely based on the DC Comics character. That’s an understatement. For starters, Crosby is blonde, Swedish looking and sported some sort of track suit/soccer mom ensemble. She was more of a Vunder Vuman who assists government agent Steve Trevor (Kaz Garas) in attempting to recover stolen classified code books from villain Abner Smith (Ricardo Montalban). Um, ok.

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Lynda Carter’s much-celebrated performance on the Wonder Woman series of the 1970’s was literally making dizzy queens out of boys that spun around and around in order to transform into their favorite super heroine. The show followed in the footsteps of the Batman series of the 1960’s, in that it had a dose of camp thrown in for good measure. How could GITs (Gays In Training) resist?

The series began as a two-hour pilot movie in 1975 and explained her origins on Paradise Island, which was thrown into a tizzy when Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) crash landed on said all-female island. Surprisingly, it was not called The Isle of Lesbos. But I digress. She leaves her mother (Cloris Leachman and played by Caroline Jones in the subsequent series) and the other ladies behind to join in the fight for the old red, white and blue.

For the first year of the ABC show in 1976, Wonder Woman battled Nazis during WWII and had her kid sister Drusilla (Debra Winger) join in on the action as Wonder Girl. You go, Wonder Girl!

When the show moved over to CBS as The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, the show was brought into the 1970’s and the only remaining cast member – aside from Carter – was Lyle Waggoner, who played Steve Trevor, Jr.  Those two seasons saw Wonder Woman and Diana Prince doing battle with such scenarios as a telepathic disco dancer using his powers to steal people’s minds in the episode “Disco Devil.” Nope. Couldn’t make that up if I tried. The show went off the air in 1979, but remained forever in the heart of the LGBTQ community.

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Poor Adrianne Palicki didn’t really get a chance to step into the iconic Wonder Woman outfit for long, save for a pilot episode. And said get up in the proposed 2011 update, well, let’s just say was horrible. The first version looked like it was crafted from leggings and a bustier and the second version – after much interweb decrying from fans – just looked like something a college girl would wear for Halloween as slutty Wonder Woman.

Needless to say this David E. Kelley pilot did not live to see the light of day, as was the case for the proposed Amazon for the CW, which was to mainly focus on the origins of the Themyscira Princess. It only made it to the script process, until it was put on pause by the network in 2013.

The Silver Screen

Throughout the past 20 years, a number of efforts have been made to make a big screen adaptation, ranging from versions to star Jennifer Aniston to Sandra Bullock.

But her first celluloid appearance was in The Lego Movie in 2014. Yeah, that sorta counts! However, it is sufficed to say that she was the best part of 2016’s Batman v Superman – really at a runtime of 2 hours and 31 minutes and only 10 minutes of fighting? I call shenanigans!

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Anyhoo, Gadot seems more than capable to step into the foundation laid down by Carter before her. Her solo venture will be set during World War I and co-stars Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Robin Wright as her Amazonian mentor and Connie Nielsen as her mother. Their island is attacked by men and their machines and they retaliate with arrows and other forms of chicks who kick ass badassery. It is decided that Wonder Woman will travel with Steve, posing as his secretary, to aid the Allies.

On November 17, Justice League will hit theaters and tell the story of Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gadot) tracking down metahumans Aquaman (Jason Momoa, hubba hubba), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to form a united front against villainous Steppenwolf.

So there you have it, a brief herstory of the most popular female super hero of our time, who has stood the test of time in remaining an example of being a strong role model for women and gay men alike. You’re a wonder, Wonder Woman!

 

 

 

The Scheme of Things Is Winning Awards!

My debut novel The Scheme of Things recently picked up two awards within a week of each other! I was named Outstanding Writer for the local San Diego “gay Academy Awards” also known as the Nickys.

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The next week I placed as the finalist in the Beverly Hills International Book Awards.

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I am truly humbled and thankful for the recognition.

If you still haven’t picked up your copy, you can purchase it on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com

Hollywood: Make Your Yuletide Gay

By Tim Parks

As I write this, it is 90 degrees in November. But I know from “The Great Orange Hope” that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese; so there’s that. I could really go for a Winter Wonderland right about now, just sayin’. And to help in that endeavor, there are a plethora of time-honored holiday movies and TV shows to view that will surely get us into the winter groove.

Let’s take a look at some fun facts about said time capsules of Christmas’ past and a gander at the TV specials that are far and away the absolute best examples of donning our gay apparel.

Tinsel Tidbits

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When It’s A Wonderful Life debuted in theaters in 1946, it was considered a flop. However, the Frank Capra film starring James Stewart and Donna Reed has gone on to become a perennial favorite. James Stewart, who portrays George Bailey a man that is contemplating suicide –Merry Christmas, movie house! – stated that the role was his favorite to portray onscreen.

He became so immersed in his portrayal that while filming the scene where George prays in the bar, he actually broke down into real sobs. For Donna Reed, one of sitcom TV’s favorite perfect mom/perfect wife, it was her first starring role. Every time you vacuum the house all dolled up and wearing pearls, an angel gets its wings!

Faster than you can say, Merry Christmas and throw in a “Shitter was full,” courtesy of Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid before he went bat shitter cray cray), you have yourself a Griswold-style Christmas.

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Hapless Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) stages a homebound Christmas Vacation for his family (Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki), after they have experienced hellacious trips to both Wally World and Europe and the results are naturally disastrous.

In the five Vacation movies, the characters of Rusty and Audrey Griswold were played by five different sets of actors: Anthony-Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Jason Lively, Dana Hill, Johnny Galecki, Juliette Lewis, Ethan Embry, Marisol Nichols, Ed Helms and Leslie Mann. However, in the 1989 Yuletide comedy, the characters are younger than the ones in the first two and Audrey is suddenly the older of the two. Must be something in the egg nog; I’ll have what they’re drinking! Conversely, Diane Ladd who plays Chevy Chase’s mother Nora is only 8 years older than Chase in real life.

The term “Griswold house” was introduced into the lexicon to describe a house that is overly decorated for the holidays.

Someone that had a successful White Christmas was Bing Crosby in what ended up being the most profitable movie of 1954, and spawned a favorite Christmas tune.

But, the song was actually re-recorded and was first introduced by Crosby in 1942’s Holiday Inn and although White Christmas features both songs by Irving Berlin and stars Crosby, it is not a sequel; Crosby also sang the song in 1946’s Blue Skies. Guess, you could call it his signature tune.

Rosemary Clooney stated that she took the role so she could perform with Crosby and co-star Danny Kaye caused many a retake with his antics that caused cast and crew to laugh when they weren’t supposed to.

After the final shot, the cast was informed that they would film the finale again for the visiting King and Queen of Greece. However, it was shot without film in the camera or Crosby, who skipped out to play golf. Oh Bing!

Somebody that would probably brain you with a golf club is Bad Santa, as portrayed in 2003 by Billy Bob Thornton. Willie T. Stokes (Thornton) and his dwarf assistant Marcus (Tony Cox) – is height challenged the more P.C. term? – pose as a department store Santa and his elf only to rob the mall at night.

Bill Murray was the initial choice to play in the dark comedy, but dropped out to star in Lost in Translation. Actress Lauren Graham, whose character has a Santa fetish, humped a chair during her audition, while Thornton has said he went method actor during the filming, IE, being very drunk during the shoot. In the Czech Republic, the film was released as Santa is a Pervert. Way to put the ho in ho, ho, ho Bad Santa.

Another comedic effort, Elf, stars Will Ferrell as Buddy one of Santa’s elves, who is bound and determined to spread some Holiday cheer while attempting to reconnect with his biological father (James Caan) in New York City. Good luck there, Buddy!

The movie spawned both an animated Holiday special and a Broadway musical. The set for Santa’s workshop and the elf costumes mirror the ones in the animated TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The elf named Ming Ming is played by Peter Billingsley, who starred as Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story.

Speaking of the beloved 1983 tale, in which young Ralphie just wants a Red Ryder Carbine Action BB gun, despite his mother’s warnings that he’ll shoot his eye out.

Actor Scott Schwartz, who infamously got his tongue frozen on a flag pole, later put his tongue to a different use as an adult film star. This wasn’t director Bob Clark’s first foray into yuletide territory, he had previously directed the 1974 horror movie Black Christmas.

Home Alone is another childhood take on Christmas, albeit one where CPS should step in and have a chat with Kevin McCallister’s (Macaulay Culkin) parents, who leave him behind while they go on vacation to Paris. Complicating matters are a pair of burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) who try to rob the McCallister house!

The 1990 comedy – abandonment, ha ha! A child in jeopardy, snicker – was the highest-grossing live action comedy of all-time, until it was dethroned by 2011’s The Hangover Part II. But it remains the highest-grossing Christmas movie ever.

 

Make Your Yuletide Really Gay

Naturally, there are tried and true Christmas specials that will definitely make your yuletide gay!

The roster of guest stars, including Cher, Joan Rivers, Oprah Winfrey, k.d. lang, Grace Jones and Little Richard, makes Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special one of the gayest Holiday offerings ever forced down the chimney and into our living rooms. Perhaps he should have changed his secret word to a safe word!

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If you think about it, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is definitely a gay parable. Rudolph is ostracized for being different and is not able to participate in any reindeer games. He runs away with fellow misfit Hermie the Elf, who just wants to be a dentist, which sounds like 1960’s code for being a homosexual. Eventually, they meet up with Yukon Cornelius who resembles a Bear Daddy. In the end, Rudolph’s flashy red nose and being different save the day. You glow, gurl!

Leave it to Mama Ru to deliver two Christmas specials over the years. First up was 1993’s VH-1 special RuPaul’s Christmas Ball that was graced by the presences of: Elton John, Eartha Kitt, Taylor Dane, Boy George, Nirvana and LaToya Jackson. 5 out of 6 ain’t bad. Then last Christmas I gave you my heart, err, there was RuPaul’s Drag Race: I’m Dreaming of a Green Screen Christmas, which featured some contestants of Drag Race past.

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A Diva’s Christmas Carol stars the incomparable Vanessa Williams as Ebony Scrooge, one of the world’s foremost pop superstars. She is visited by three ghosts, one of which is played by Kathy Griffin. So if that’s not gay enough for you, that smell ain’t chestnuts roasting on an open fire; your gay card is on fire! 

A Charlie Brown Christmas would have been included, but only if it had featured Peppermint Patty and Marcie. Anyhoo, here’s a fun drinking game as the Holidays are notorious for imbibing. If you can stomach it, watch Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas and every time the movie sucks take a swig. Enjoy your alcohol poisoning and Happy Holidays!

Worthy Mention

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I received a mention in Mikey Rox’s article about the “9 New LGBT Books To Keep Your Summer Reading List Lit” for Grab Magazine in Chicago! So honored and I get to be in the same issue as Ross Mathews? Too cool! Check out the layout at: http://www.grabchicago.com
 
The Scheme of Things
by Tim Parks
Henry Dodge does his best to
hide what makes him different from
the other boys – like his
bourgeoning lust for his brother’s
best friend Danny – by escaping
into the TV, movies and music of
the 1980s. As such, his affinity for
nighttime soap operas leads him to
devise a plan to follow Danny to
Los Angeles, unchartered territory
for the teen, which has secrets of
its own.

Hollywood: Breathe and Reboot

 

The mantra in Hollywood certainly must be “Breathe and Reboot,” as there are scads of old new shows coming our way. Yes, while that sounds like an oxymoron – not like Donald Trump, he’s just the latter and not the former of that word, mmmkay – your TV screen is heading into a time warp and will be reheating up some TV dinners that already had their expiration dates.

Not surprisingly, the recent big screen success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t so much a wake-up call that nostalgia can break box-office records; it was more of a reminder that there is still gold in them thar already mined hills!

And with the X-Files revival proving to be a ratings winner for Fox, even though some episodes were better than others – cough, cough I’m talking right to you Were-Lizard. You comin’ at me, bro? Trust me, I ain’t scured – the floodgates are now open for more visits from the Ghosts of TV Shows Past.

So, which ones have the potential to leave us awe-struck and others that will have us screaming “boo” at the screen?  Let’s take a looksee at what’s what to discern which is which.

Gurl Power

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The premise of Netflix’s Fuller House sounds like an absolute laugh riot! After D.J. Tanner-Fuller’s (Candace Cameron-Bure) husband dies, she is left to raise her three sons, one of which is a baby. Oh geez, I think I am starting to hyperventilate from all that comedy potential! So what’s a widow – giggle – supposed to do? Why not invite one of TV’s most infamously annoying characters, Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), to move in with you with her teenage daughter in tow. But seeing as Kimmy, who probably was featured on I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, “may” need some supervision, enter D.J.’s younger sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweeten) to also lend a helping hand.

And no Fuller House – see what they did there? – would be complete without visits from John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, John Stamos, Lori Loughlin and John Stamos. Did I mention that I have a “thing” for John Stamos? And by thing, I mean my junk.

Now, why did the Olsen Twins pass on this one again? Oh yeah, they were “busy.” Busy being billionaires. Hopefully Bure won’t have writers insert her right-wing conservative points-of-view into the show; it ain’t called Fuller Church, hunty.

Another Netflix offering will be Gilmore Girls; have you ever noticed that its theme song and that of The Golden Girls are eerily similar? Anyhoo, speaking of “Where You Lead,” the series will be split up into four 90 minute movies that reunite viewers with the fast-talking/pop culture referencing mother/daughter duo over the course of winter, spring, summer or fall.

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Apparently all original showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino had to do was call the original cast to revisit their characters. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel will be joined by everyone in Star’s Hollow, including all of Rory’s former love interests Jared Padalecki, Matt Czuchry – bless you – and Milo Ventimiglia – see above John Stamos comment. Of course Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) – again, reference Stamos comment – will be on hand to complicate Lorelai’s life. However, someone who has taken a hand’s off approach to the show that made her a household name is Melissa McCarthy. She said recently that she wasn’t “invited” to partake in the reunion. Betch please and check your e-mail! So I guess she won’t be there – perhaps she is filming a movie with the Olsen Twins?

When talk of a reboot of Xena: Warrior Princess began, there was a fan outcry that the powers-that-be behind the show were even thinking of using another actress other than Lucy Lawless as the titular character.

Sadly the proposed NBC show that is still in its infancy stages is looking to do just that, according to Robert Greenblatt, a honcho at the Peacock Network.

He feels that her presence may overshadow the direction of the show and stated, “I’m not sure how she could be part of it if she wasn’t playing Xena, and I don’t know if that’s a direction we’ll ever go.” Wow. Just. Wow.  But with Lawless’ husband Rob Tapert on board, as well as director Sam Raimi involved, perhaps they will leather skirt the controversy.

And there are also a few movies being turned in TV shows, such as The Notebook for CW. It should get a sponsorship deal from Kleenex, because that movie was S.A.F. (Sad As F*&%).

Meanwhile, Cruel Intentions is getting the TV show/sequel treatment for NBC and will follow the son of Ryan Phillipe and Reese Witherspoon’s characters. Say what? Phillipe’s Sebastian died in the movie. Oh, spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched a movie since 1998. Anyhoo, this pre-conceived notion will feature the character of Kathryn, who was played by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the movie and it’s not too far-fetched to think that she may return to the role. It’s not like she’s busy or anything.

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Another getting-the-sequel-as-a-TV-show-treatment is ABC’s proposed My Best Friend’s Wedding, which will continue the misadventures of Julianne Potter and her gay bestie George, as portrayed on celluloid by Julia Roberts and Rupert Everett.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

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In a much simpler time, television was more of escapist fare, especially during the ’70s and ’80s. I mean how many rich couples playing detective do you see nowadays? That was the premise of Hart to Hart, which starred Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers – that’s Mrs. H., she’s gorgeous! And the show is getting a very new life on – take three guesses – NBC with a major change in store. The couple in question will now be gay with its lead characters being attorney Jonathan Hart and investigator Dan Hartman. Umm, wouldn’t that make it Hart to Hartman? The show’s tagline: “When they met, it was murder” will probably be changed to “When they met, it was fabulous!”

Fantasy Island was a place you could visit on Saturday nights for seven seasons, as Ricardo Montalban’s Mr. Roarke and diminutive thespian Hervé Villechaize as Tattoo welcomed such Hollywood stalwarts as Sonny Bono to fulfill their deepest desires, like a paycheck. Well, CBS thinks it’s time to dust off the premise, but…there won’t actually be an island, just a company called Fantasy Island that does the wish-fulfillment and Mr. Roarke will be a woman. Sounds great?

Keep an eye out for two other reboots in talks of making a comeback with both MacGyver and The A-Team looking to get the go-ahead for a series order. I pity the fool that doesn’t know how to disarm a nuclear bomb with a paper clip!

Prison Break is looking to return, not as a reboot, but as a continuation of hot TV inmate brothers Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell’s story. What with Miller’s coming out as gay in 2015 – maybe that can be worked into the Fox revival? If I asked with a pretty please would that help?

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Probably one of TV’s most surreal shows had to be Twin Peaks that delved into the question of “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” Her dad did it! You’re welcome. But, it took Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) to figure that out.

Now director and show creator David Lynch and Showtime have surmised that the time is ripe to bring us old faces, mixed with some new ones. MacLachlan will reprise his role, as will quite a few of the original troupe. However, Lara Flynn Boyle will not return as her character, Donna, as is the case of Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Harry S. Truman.

So, this will be Season 3 of the series and is set to debut in the first part of 2017 and will see Laura Dern, Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Naomi Watts joining the fractured fray. Hopefully, they have brushed up on how to speak dwarf and saved room for cherry pie and some damn fine coffee.

So we shall literally see what can achieve the success that Hawaii Five-O has and what may, ahem, flame out like Heroes: Reborn did.