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Billy Masters: All the retrospective you'll need to show 2022 the door
by Billy Masters
2022-12-26

This article shared 1790 times since Mon Dec 26, 2022
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"He doesn't like gay people. Doesn't want them in Russia. And then he's got the wonderful basketball player and he won't let her out. Make up your mind! He's always acting so butch and strutting around. You know what that means, don't ya, uh-huh? The lady doth protest too much!"

—Leslie Jordan's two cents on Vladimir Putin.

Around now, everyone will be doing their 2022 retrospectives. And far be it from me not to jump on a bandwagon. I think we can all agree that the most scandalous moment of the year happened at the Academy Awards. Why, it was the most outrageous thing to happen on live TV since that incident with Jack Ruby! In case you were under a rock, Chris Rock made an innocuous joke, and Will Smith went crazy, strode onto the stage, and slapped Rock. Oh, yes. Not a punch—a slap! How metrosexual of him! What I found most shocking is that this obvious assault happened in front of thousands of people, and there were absolutely no ramifications. Strike that—the assailant was later given an award...and a standing ovation! Since then, the Academy has banned Will from the festivities for the next 10 years. Which I'm sure thrills the producers of his most recent oeuvre.

It takes lots of drama to make the world pay attention to Broadway. From the beginning, the Funny Girl revival seemed ill-conceived. Based on a flawed and forgettable UK revival, it lacked the show-stopping glamour required to evoke the Ziegfeld Follies. And Beanie Feldstein seemed to lack the vocal chops to play Fanny Brice. Along came Lea Michele (and a rabid group of Gleeks), who felt that she was being robbed of some kind of birthright. She didn't openly campaign against Beanie, but she let the powers that be know she was available if they needed her. And need her they did. Feldstein's notices were unremarkable, while Lea was giving concerts around the country...singing songs from Funny Girl to acclaim. Something had to give, and negotiations were made for Michele to replace Beanie. Feldstein caught wind of the skullduggery and left the show prematurely. This allowed her standby, Julie Benko, a moment to shine while Michele got up to speed. The end of this story was like every Hallmark movie. Lea went into the show, got great notices and re-recorded the soundtrack in time for the holidays.

In primetime (admittedly, on a streaming service), Shangela made history as the first drag performer to compete on Dancing with the Stars. The real-life DJ Pierce tackled each challenge with aplomb and knocked everybody's socks off. And took third place. We haven't heard the last of Shangela—she's poised to mount a nationwide tour starting in my native Boston in January.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, another drag diva was felled. The vivacious Varla Jean Merman was performing Varla Jean Merman's Ready to Blow at Provincetown's Crown & Anchor. At one point in the show, she downed numerous pills—for stage purposes, the pills were Tic Tacs. One errant edible was underfoot as Varla launched into her big dance number from Anything Goes. Her shoe landed on the candy and she tumbled with a thud! Patrons thought this was part of the show, when in fact Merman suffered a complete detachment of her quads at the tendon and fractured her kneecap (I keep copious notes). Always the trooper, she returned to the stage several days later in a wheelchair with her newly-adapted show, Varla Jean Merman's Ready to Blow...On Wheels! Alas, most of her engagements for the remainder of 2022 had to be cancelled. While you can make Varla go down, you can't keep her down. She's rescheduled those dates and has emerged triumphant.

Less triumphant was Billy Eichner's assault of the big screen. Much of the damage was done during the advance publicity—which included Eichner mocking the successful streaming film Fire Island. When Bros was released, it was met with mostly positive reviews, but largely ignored by the ticket-buying public. That said, the film is entertaining and is doing well...ironically via streaming! While Eichner is undeniably funny, he's also unlikeable. But in the right role—the caustic best friend, the catty neighbor—he'd steal the show. I'm told that the limp response to this maiden endeavor puts many of his future plans in flux.

Far more notable for many in our community was the passing of Leslie Jordan. While the coroner has yet to determine a cause of death, it is assumed he had a cardiac episode during rush hour while driving to film his sitcom, Call Me Kat. Leslie made an indelible impression on everyone he met, and many whom he didn't. He was a pint-sized dynamo who packed a whole lotta living in his brief 67 years. He left the world a bit better by being in it.

I know my audience—you love the hot guys. Most recently, people have been lusting over Big Daddy on American Horror Story (played by bodybuilder Matthew William Bishop). But it was Jesse Williams in the Broadway revival of "Take Me Out" that made the biggest stir. And, without a doubt, that brief clip that leaked shows Jesse's stirrer is sizeable. And he's in good company. You should check out the entire cast of the show in some exclusive shower footage that can only be seen on BillyMasters.com .

When we're wrapping up with a gaggle of nude guys, we've definitely come to the end of yet another column. Trust me, if you were gonna gag, you could do worse than the boys on www.BillyMasters.com—the site that has no gag reflex! If you'd like to sample our wares, reach out to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before my balls drop! Until next year, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.


This article shared 1790 times since Mon Dec 26, 2022
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