Gaywatch: Holiday Queer Cheer

Gaywatch: Holiday Queer Cheer
By Tim Parks


It’s that time of year again, when our attention turns to how homo-worthy some past yuletide specials have been. Well, at least mine does.
Yes, we have been made aware that if Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, and his sidekick Hermie the Elf were super gay. Or that A Year Without a Santa Claus’ two brothers, Heat Miser and Snow Miser, are big ole musical theatre queens. It may come as no surprise that the word for the day on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special should have been expanded to a full sentence, as in “bend over and take all that gay in!” Aaah! Now for the rest of the day whenever anyone says the secret phrase – which you know you will undoubtedly hear at some point this Holiday season – just scream real loud…into a pillow.


Ok, with those known facts that I have taken my own brand of liberties to…may I present to you some ideas for new and wonderful specials, with that Gaywatch touch, that have been kicking around my egg-noggin? Oh really, does creativity frighten you? Put it on your wish list of things to ask Santa for, and quit your griping already!

Variety is the spice of life
Every once in awhile we are, well, I guess “treated” could be the right word to use in conjunction to some of the rather interesting choices that have sprung up as variety specials, like The Star Wars Holiday Special, or A Solid Gold Christmas 1982…let the spandex and Christmas spirit fingers commence.


And just this past Turkey Day there was A Very Gaga Thanksgiving. Yes, when I think of that holiday, my mind naturally turns to Gaga, if only to wonder if she had made a dress out of her leftovers.

Anyhoo, check your local made-up listings for this sure-to-please special, Ricky Martin: The Fortunate Homosexual Man, which takes its inspiration from The Little Drummer Boy, but has the Latin crooner trying to make Christmas miracle believers out of a group of disheartened drag queens.
When he sings “come they told me, shake your bon bon. Shall I sing for him, shake your bon bon bon bon bon” you will believe that a Fortunate Homosexual Man can fly, err, polarize a community with his Holiday spirit. Tear. Sniffle.


The Real Housewives: Holidays on Spite is a first for Bravo, and no, that’s not because they have decided not to rerun the hell out of it, ok? Rather this one-hour special will feature every current R.H. and harkens back to the days of roller derby, but there’s one slight change…they will pull wigs, call names and cackle like hens at each other on the ice. But there is no face smashing, especially for the ladies of Beverly Hills. There’s so much filler and botox in their mugs, perhaps they wouldn’t even feel it, well, they would if one of them gets tackled by Atlanta’s NeNe Leakes.

 

CBS’ Oy Gay may be hosted by its two openly gay actors, Neil Patrick Harris and Jim Parsons, but the real stars of the show are Adam Lambert and Harvey Fierstein who sing Stephen Sondheim tunes that receive musical accompaniment by Dave Koz; while their sketches about those 8 days and nights are written by Bruce Vilanch with directors Todd Haynes and Brian Singer handling the filming. Yes, they are all Jewish, its called reading and it’s fundamental!
Not to be outdone, Fox will be airing A Hanukkah Bush With All The Trimmings starring the sapph-tastic Sandra Bernhard.

Reunited and it feels so good

 

Much like the awe-inspiring A Very Brady Christmas that aired in 1988, a former TV favorite is coming back to the tube for an one-off telepic.
Why its Queer As Folk: Don We Now Our Assless Chaps, which has the boys back for more good times, and explaining the meaning of Christmas, in the back room of their new leather bar hangout, Crisco Dan’s.

Animation Domination

Two of Tinsel Town’s most troubled souls, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, are finding gainful employment with an animated flair.
First up is The Playboy Channel’s first ever cartoon venture, wistfully titled Charlie Sheen’s Winter Wonderland that follows a Christmas day in the life of ole Chuckles, as he and his goddesses do mass amounts of cocaine, and maybe he’ll get into a knife fight with ex Brooke Mueller. Good times.

Over on Public Access Cable, Lindsay will capitalize of her two big 2011 ventures, failure and disappointment, with I’ll Be Under House Arrest For Christmas. The beleaguered “actress” – you have to be in a movie to be that – will be transformed into a claymation version of herself (think Gollum from Lord of the Rings) and will attempt to hawk herself to the highest bidder; like that Beezid.com commercial she did during her earlier house arrest this year. This time around special guests such as her dad and Samantha Ronson, drop by – the latter to serve her with a restraining order. Sponsored in part by Clamato.

I’ll Take CD’s and Songs For $100

Seeing as Justin Bieber is capitalizing on his teen idol popularity with his Xmas album (tick tock, those 15 minutes have got to be almost up, right?), a number of artists who appeal to that particular demographic and gay men alike – sure, those are wholly separate things – are peopling iTunes with their own brand of holiday cheer.

There’s Katy Perry: Back To Bethlehem, on which the “The One That Got Away” singer goes back to her Christian Rock roots and real last name of Hudson, and belts out the album’s biggest hit, her rendition of the Tammy Wynette classic, “Let’s Put Christ Back In Christmas.”

NKOTBBSBNSBNWJT is a boy band extraordinaire venture of combining New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync But Not With Justin Timberlake as they represent, via song, all of the December Holidays with their hit single, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmaskkahzaa.”

The Stockings Were Hung features your favorite well-endowed porn stars of the past and present, from Jeff Stryker to Michael Lucas, as they do their own spoken word poems set to porn music composed by Barry Manilow. This total package deal – really, you didn’t see that one coming – includes a DVD, and a pop up book.

Cut. Print. That’s A Wrap!

Wow, you really can’t take me anywhere, and yes, I’ll probably burn in Hell for putting these visions of sugar plum, uh, fairies in your head. And I am sure that Barbra Streisand’s version of “Jingle Bells” will be playing on an endless loop there, much to my horror. What, is my gay card on fire? Nope, the heat I feel is from the seventh layer reaching out to me. Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s fit to print.

 

Gaywatch: Summer Movie Preview 2011

Hollywood: Summer Movie Preview

By Tim Parks

It’s that time of year again, where heroes don’t fear to tread in their spandex tights. No, I am not talking about Pride season being in full swing, well maybe because of the spandex reference, but it’s the summer movie season y’all. And the era of the superhero blockbuster, sequels up the ying yang without the luxury of lubricants, kiddie fare, R-rated comedies (oh my!) and even the final cinematic adventure for ole Larry Porter are upon us again. Oh, his name is Harry Potter, you say? Not in my world, ok?

The short of the long of it is, it’s mainly a great time to check your brain with the usher tearing your ticket, grab a bucket of popped corn (minus the butter, it is Pride season, after all!), a large drink (no, they don’t sell Diet Water at the concession stand…I checked), and don’t forget to take out that second mortgage on your humble abode, as the Hollywood movie-making machine is self aware and looking to collect your hard-earned dollars.

Let’s see what fare may be deemed tailor-made for audiences of the pink persuasion, including Glee Live! 3D! or as it was known under its covert working title as Exclamation! Point!: The! Movie! on August 12. Trust me, there’s a virtual eye candy smorgasbord and a plentitude for your inner 13-year-old girl to get all in a dither about.

Holding Out For A Hero

X-Men: First Class welcomes Charles Xavier’s mutants to the ’60s, so Hairspray of him, no? Not really, as this is most certainly not a musical, but rather a prequel to the first three based-on-Marvel Comics films. Oh, and I guess I should count Wolverine, too. Moving along, and we’re walking…what, did you think that Hugh Jackman solo X-Men Origin vehicle was really that good? And, we’re walking…

This reboot stars James McAvoy as The Professor and Michael Assbender, err, Fassbender as Magneto, and features a slew of Stan Lee Mutant Babies, including a very young Mystique (Morgan Lily). (June 3).

Green Lantern stars Ryan Reynolds in a very tight green superhero suit as the titular character. Ok, where was I? Ryan Reynolds in a very tight green superhero suit. Damn, I can’t shake that visual, alright my professional writing hat is back on. So, Ryan Reynolds headlines this flick as a cocky test pilot named Hal Jordan, who is bestowed a magical ring by an alien race to defeat a threat to Earth, in the guise of the evil Parallax. Cocky. Ryan Reynolds. Dammit, my hat fell off! (June 17)  

Former Fantastic Four flamer Chris Evans takes on another superhero role as Captain America: The First Avenger, who starts out the film as 90 pound weakling Steve Rogers and is constantly rejected by the military he wants to serve. Don’t ask, don’t tell? That is until he is finally accepted and takes part in a secret experiment “Operation: Rebirth,” which should have been called “Operation: Hot,” as he emerges from his chrysalis of doses of vita-rays and Super-Soldier Serum that must have been high in protein (nudge to the wink) as a bonerfide, um, bonafide stud muffin. Oh yeah, this 1940s-based character takes on the Nazis and stuff…did I mention he looks hot doing it? (July 22)

Hey! There is a remake of Conan The Barbarian coming with Jason Momoa taking over for Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I guess that means he’ll move into Maria Shriver’s former marriage bed? Or the pantry with former household staff, I’m just sayin’. (August 19)

Kid’s Stuff

 

Cars 2 is this summer’s Pixar entry to one of its least popular blockbuster season movies …what, no sequel to Finding Nemo? I’ll admit the original tale of Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson and his jacked up nose) does grow on you with subsequent viewings, and this time out the Radiator Springs gang heads off to compete in the World Grand Prix, as Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) does double duty as a spy. (June 24)

It seems pretty irresponsible to market the story of a “video head cleaner” pioneer to unsuspecting children and parents with Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Oh, it’s a Jim Carrey vehicle about a man who inherits six penguins? That’s good, ’cause we wouldn’t want kids to make the same mistake as me by pouring a bottle of Rush into their VCR…yes, they still make them!  (June 17)

Let’s breakdown The Smurfs, shall we? That’s rhetorical; you’ll read my analysis and like it, got it? The former ’80s Saturday morning cartoon featured a village of little blue gentlemen festooned in a sassy white pant and matching white hat ensemble, minus shirts, while they lived in mushroom houses in a village under the watchful gaze of Papa (Daddy?) Smurf, and only had one female (Smurfette) to serve as a Smurf hag.

Maybe the show and movie should have been re-christened and spelled as capital G to the A and add a Y, ’cause all that’s missing is a rainbow flag.

The big screen adaptation plotline transports them from their ’shroom homes to the wilds of New York City with Gargamel in hot pursuit, and features vocal talents provided by Neil Patrick Harris (gay), Hank Azaria (gay adjacent), Katy Perry (hello, it’s Katy), Jayma Mays(Emma on Glee), Alan Cumming (sssuper gay, my tire’ssss leaking) and Wolfgang Puck (?). Oh yeah, that makes it much less smurfin’ gay, really (August 3).  

I’ve Come Down With A Case Of Sequelitis

As previously mentioned, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Deux, chronicles “the boy who lived” (Daniel Radcliffe) as he encounters his much-anticipated final battle with He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named (Ralph Fiennes), or he’s known in some circles as Donald Trump. It all comes down to a climatic showdown between good and evil, guess if I could read I’d know who wins…sigh. (July 15)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon serves as a cautionary tale for the ages, really. If you’re Megan Fox don’t talk smack about directorMichaelBay, if you do then you won’t be in this third outing for the Autobots and Decepticons with Shia LaBeouf. Sucks to be you, Megan! (July1)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes brings into sharp focus the adage, “Was this trip necessary?” As the 2001 Tim Burton remake was akin to a monkey throwing poop at movie audiences – didn’t Helena Bonham Carter’s make-up look eerily like Michael Jackson? Hold up, this one stars James Franco in an origin story of how the world eventually goes ape, and hopefully he’ll be in a loin cloth! (August 5) 

He’s Bringing Laughter Back

Justin Timberlake has two, count ’em, two new movies out this summer with Bad Teacher and Friends with Benefits. Yeah. That’s better than working on a new CD; it’s only been five years, JT!

Anyhoo, he teams up with former flame Cameron Diaz, as a bad apple teacher for the first comedic flick, and Mila Kunis for the second outing of this remake of her Black Swan co-star, Natalie Portman’s comedy No Strings Attached. C’mon, they are soooo similar in plot! (June 17 and July 22)

Close Encounters of the Cinematic Kind

How awesome does Super 8 look? Uh, pretty awesome, which is my new catchphrase, k? Well, there’s a reason for that, the movie looking good, not my newly worded phrase; it’s from the godfather of the summer movie blockbuster, Steven Spielberg, as its executive producer and J.J. Abrams (Lost) is at its helm doing double time as writer/director. This tale of a group of 1979 era Ohio kids making a Super 8 film (that’s what the title means, hello!) when a train carrying a government car with a mysterious cargo derails has all the ear markings of vintage Spielbergian (what? it’s a real word…see Hitchcockian) elements. (June 10)

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig star as the respective, and singular version, of Cowboys & Aliens (well, isn’t that convenient?), in which the Wild West genre gets a makeover into sci-fi territory, after a queer stranger (nope, not that kind) happens into theArizona town Absolution, circa 1873, and helps to illustrate that we are not alone. (July 29)

Usually I do not like remakes, but I have to say that both Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Fright Night are high up on my must-see list.

My memories of the source material of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark were heightened when I saw the movie’s trailer, which is a redo of the 1973 TV movie, which starred Kim Darby as a woman terrorized by little onion head creatures that lived in her basement and called out to her from the fireplace, “Sally, we want you Sally!” Pretty scary stuff for a then young Timmy Parks (how times change, no one calls me Timmy and I’m young-at-heart!). The update looks equally freaky, if only because Tom Cruise let Katie Holmes out of the house to star as the step-girlfriend of Guy Pearce’s movie daughter Bailee Madison as Sally…they want you Sally!

Colin Farrell terrorizes Anton Yelchin and his single mom, Toni Collette (you’re terrible, Muriel!), in the horror comedy Fright Night, which originally starred Roddy McDowell and that guy from Herman’s Head in the ’80s and now career obscurity, William Ragsdale. The first time around had a plethora of homoerotic moments, and starred a pre-out lesbian Amanda Bearse (Married with Children), so let’s hope this tale of a teenager and his possible vampire neighbor retains those elements, especially since Farrell is waaay hotter than Chris Sarandon was in the ’85 version, ok? (August 12 and August 19)

Cut. Print. That’s A Wrap! 

Phew, we made it through a fraction of what the summer has to offer us in terms of movie-going experiences. Shoot, I didn’t have enough space to discuss Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer…Judy Moody, eh? Sounds like someone got her first visit from Aunt Flo, and let’s hope these flicks aren’t likened to a Bummer Summer, or even the aforementioned unwanted “relative” dropping by. Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s fit to print.

Gaywatch: Stop, Look and Listen

Gaywatch: Stop, Look and Listen 

     

By Tim Parks 

 When Elvis Presley sang the song, Stop, Look and Listen back in the day, I wonder if he had any idea of the multi-media connotations it would hold some 41 years later. It seems like there are always a slew of things to watch on TV (some of those being shows to avoid like the plague), and an earful of new music to make note of every single day.

Please allow me to bring you up to speed on what is what, as far as things to keep an eye and ear out for.

                                                            Stop

Looks like “American Idol’s” slurring sweetheart, Paula Abdul, may be getting her own reality show on Bravo entitled, “Hey Paula.” The show promises to “give viewers an intimate glimpse at the real woman behind the headlines.” So that automatically makes my mind jump to the conclusion that it will be endless shots of Abdul performing plays with an array of empty pill bottles, while sitting in front of  her dressing room mirror at 2 am in tears. Note to Paula, while this may seem like a good idea on paper, the reality of it could do more harm than good. Straight up!

 Ok, the next show I am on the fence about. “Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School” definitely has some entertaining moments, and could be likened to “The Facts of Life Goes Ghetto” (there’s even a Blair look-a-like, prissy and insane “Hottie,” who has the worst blonde weave ever!), and host Mo’Nique fills the Mrs. Garrett role quite nicely. Alas, this is the fourth “Flavor of Love” incarnation, five if you want to count “Strange Love” (a very sure sign of The Apocalypse, if ever there was one). C’mon, VH-1, come up with something original, you know like playing music videos – and please, no third season of “Breaking Bonaduce!”

 Another VH-1 show that needs a makeover is “Celebrity Fit Club.” The latest edition will feature Maureen (Marcia Brady) McCormack, Dustin (Screech) Diamond, ex Mall Queen Tiffany, Ross “The Intern” from “The Tonight Show”, female rapper Da Brat and a few others. Sure, some of the contestants look a little “thicker” for lack of a better word, and it does beg the question is Tiffany now singing “I Think We’re Alone Now” to a can of whipped cream? But the participants don’t appear to be grotesquely overweight (all Da Brat needs to lose is her attitude – for reals), and it really brings into play the whole perception of what is acceptable weight-wise in Hollywood. Perhaps, VH-1 should take the opposite tack and do a show where wafer thin starlets are force fed ham sandwiches! Airs Sundays at 9.

 Tori Spelling’s first attempt at spoofing her celebrity, “So NoTORIous,” was a wee bit of a guilty pleasure. Her new reality show with hubby Dean McDermott, “Tori and Dean: Inn Love” kinda sucks, and not in a good way. Do we really need to hear about Tori’s flatulence while preggers? A show I’d like to see is Tori and her mom, Candy, fighting it out ala Thunderdome over the late Aaron Spelling’s mega millions – two women enter, one woman leaves…loaded!

I really wish that “Inside The Actor’s Studio” would stop scraping the bottom of the acting barrel, as was clearly evident when Diana Ross was the guest on a recent two-hour episode! Granted, she had success as an actress in the 1970’s, but creepy host James Lipton had his head so far up Miss Ross’ ass, it was downright embarrassing. Maybe that could account for his bad hair and beard dye job! Hmm…

                                                 Look    

  Bravo TV continues to out gay other networks, and a case in point has to be their newest competition show, “Shear Genius,” in which creative hairdresser contestants go scissor-to-scissor with each other. The show is hosted by former “Charlie’s Angel” Jaclyn Smith; and I truly hope that somebody on that show gets the exact details of her pact with the devil, as she still looks gorgeous (see, I can be nice). Airs Wednesdays at 10. Speaking of “Charlie’s Angels,” there may be a reunion movie in the works for the three original “Angels,” and I will keep you posted, of course.

Another Bravo show will be entering its third season when “Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List” returns on June 5th. This time around the celebrity bashin’ comedienne will go on a prison comedy tour, attend her high school reunion, and hosts the recent Gay Adult Video Awards, where the competition can get pretty stiff!

Jackie Warner and her pump you up pals are back for another season of “Work Out.” Too bad they aren’t calling the show “Work Out 2: Electric Boogaloo,” as I am thoroughly convinced any type of sequel should be followed by the subtitle “Electric Boogaloo” or “The Quickening.” Airs Tuesdays at 10.

 Over on LOGO, there are two new tres gay shows starting up. “The Big Gay Sketch Show” is being likened to straight counterparts, such as “Saturday Night Live” and “Mad TV.” Well, I hope that means it will be funny, because the other two haven’t been lately. Anyhoo, the show stars a lot of fresh gay and lesbian faces (and even “Gay Pimp” Jonny McGovern), and a few behind-the-scenes ones you may be familiar with like, director Amanda Bearse (“Married With Children”) and executive producer, Rosie O’Donnell. Airs Tuesdays at 10.

 In July, audiences will be treated to the first all gay animated series, “Rick & Steve The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World,” which is based on the 1999 short film that featured LEGO actors spewing very non PC dialogue. I am so there!

  For you insomniacs, if you happen to be channel surfing at four in the morning, try to look for an infomercial about a penis enlargement product called Extenz. It is pure comedy gold, and probably the fakest infomercial ever, especially when a “roving reporter” (AKA some girl that didn’t wow them at a porn audition) hits the streets to ask everyday folks about Extenz; every single guy has (a) heard about it and (b) is currently taking the pill. The best part of the infomercial is its fake talk show segment, “Sex Talk,” where one woman extols the virtues of Extenz by saying, “It’s always Christmas at our house.” Talk about male enhancement! 

                                                            Listen

  By now you may be familiar with Amy Winehouse, the singer who has been described as “a Ronette from Hell,” and has been making the rounds promoting her CD Back To Black. And, if you haven’t heard of her, you should, as she is one of the most refreshingly original chanteuse’s around in the cookie cutter world of pop music.

  What is it about some female singers that make them shed their respectable personas in favor for a Hoochie Mama look? Jewel did it, so did Nelly Furtado, and now its Joss Stone’s turn, as the singer has said bye bye credibility and hello hot pants! Her newest CD, Introducing Joss Stone is a far cry from her hippie incarnation of the past, and I understand an artist’s need to grow – is that why their clothes shrink in the process?

 Ivory tickler Rufus Wainwright will have a new CD out on May 15th. His fifth studio album (yes, I said album) is called Release The Stars, and is executive produced by The Pet Shop Boys.

 Synth poppers Erasure are back with a new CD, entitled Light At The End Of The World, dropping May 22nd. Look for them on tour this summer with Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper as part of The True Colors Tour set to hit SD on June 27th.

 It appears as though Hilary Duff is on the verge of becoming somewhat of a diva-ette with her new dance CD, Dignity, and the first single With Love is so infectious it ought to come with a shot of penicillin. 

 Kelly Clarkson’s latest disc, My December, is slated for a summer release and the song Never Again will be its first single.

 For all you show tune aficionados, four Stephen Sondheim musicals, including Sweeney Todd and Into The Woods have been re-released and digitally remastered.

File this one under something to look forward to…Madonna will have a new CD out later this year (most likely in November), and she will be working some wood on this disc. No, not that kind! She has recruited Timbaland and Justin Timberlake to assist her in the song writing arena.   

                                    Cut.Print.That’s A Wrap!

 So there was your look at some TV trends that need to be stopped, some hows worth a looksie, and music for your listening pleasure. Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s fit to print.

This column was originally publsihed in April 2007