"I always go back to Divine. Also I was always a big fan of Varla. There's such a wink and a poke."
Melissa McCarthy, who plays Ursula in the live-action film "The Little Mermaid", talks about her inspiration. It's all fine, until you say it in Floridawhere La Varla lives...and winks...and pokes.
When it comes to political predictions, I am always wrong! The exception is the ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who I called "Camilla" on national TV. Potato/Potahto. Way back when, I was sure that America would vote for Michael Dukakis! Then in 2008, LA Pride asked me to go onstage and remind people to vote against Prop 8. I did so, but added, "Eh, nobody's taking away our legal right to marry. So vote, don't votewhatever."
My instinct tells me to not worry about Ron DeSantisso worry! Because when you fuck with Gay Pride, that's going too far. DeSantis is not banning Pride, but he's banning drag queens from participating. How the hell do you commemorate the Stonewall riots without drag queens? This all stems from his edict that drag performers fall under "adult entertainment," and anyone in drag in front of a minor could be fined...or worse. That means we should ban most Shakespeare plays, plus musicals like Hairspray, Mrs. Doubtfire, La Cage, and Chicago.
But DeSantis is standing firm. "We are going to remain a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy." In Florida? The land known for gators, giant bugs, and Goofy? Alas, most local municipalities fear taking on DeSantis. Wilton Manorsarguably the largest gay city in the countryhas reluctantly agreed to enforce a "no drag" policy at their Stonewall Pride Parade, for fear that not complying will result in council members and even the mayor being replaced by DeSantis' cronies. Isn't this how Hitler started? Or was it Mussolini? I always get my dictators mixed up.
Then there's Hamburger Mary's in Orlando. They've filed a suit against the governor and the State of Florida for infringing on their First Amendment rightsand since Citizens United, businesses have First Amendment rights, just like people. Hamburger Mary's is known for drag servers and performersespecially during Sunday brunch. The suit claims that the eatery is losing customers due to the law. There are even calls for other venues to join forces in a class action suit.
I'm on the road for the next month. My first stop was Las Vegas, and I went directly to see Barry Manilow at the Westgate Resort. Here's something I don't say lightlyI can't think of a better show than Barry ManilowThe Hits Come Home. You know what the show is? The hits! And he's doing it at his longtime Vegas home, the Westgate Resort (which has previously been the International and the Las Vegas Hilton).
Barry has so many hits, he could do a completely different show with the rest. I'm pleased to report that time has not diminished his vocal or physical abilities. He's in enviable form, and gives everything he's got. This is not someone who works to pay the billshe works because he loves it. That love is a two-way street. His fans come out in droves, and many talk about seeing this show multiple times. I can understand why. Check him out in Vegas or in a town near you. This week, he has a 5-night run at Radio City Music Hall! His schedule is available on BarryManilow.com .
Then I went to the South Point Casino and Resort to see Sheena Easton. She looks as exquisite as ever, if not slightly more voluptuous in a gown somewhat stretched to the brink. Her patter with the audience is charmingly self-deprecating, while her speech inflections have taken on the cadence of a 1930s gun mollnot particularly authentic for our Scottish lass, but used to great comedic effect. Given how rarely she performs, it's not surprising that her voice took some time to warm up. But halfway through the show, the vibrant Sheena sound emerged. She delivered a tight 90-minute set of hits (not all hers, she quickly admits). Personally, I'd rather she did some of her deep album cuts over covers, but she's playing to tourists in between hands of Pai Gow, so I can't blame her.
We have time for a quickie "Ask Billy" question. Jeff in Chicago asked, "I read somewhere that Daniel Craig is playing gay in a movie. What do you know about it?"
The film in question is Queer, based on William S. Burroughs' novella of the same name. The director is Luca Guadagninothe guy who brought us Call Me By Your Name. Filming began last month in Italy. The story follows an older American (the curiously cast Brit Daniel Craig) who lives in Mexico and becomes infatuated with a young man. That youngster will be played by Drew Starkey, who you may recall from Love, Simon (the movie, not the series). Well, we saw Craig's penis in Love is the Devil and Drew showed off his ass in Hellraiser. Looks like a perfect fit to me, as you can see on BillyMasters.com .
When we're promoting a gay film without gay actors, it's time to end another column. My next stop is London, where I'll see 6 shows in 3 days. You can read all about them next week on www.BillyMasters.comthe site that gets the important things right! Even on the road, I'm here for you. Drop a note to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Sheena gets out of her Spanx! So, until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.