"Let's face it, Ronif the campaign was going well, you wouldn't be on this show." Bill Maher to Ron DeSantis on Real Time with Bill Maher
I don't know what to make of this story about Cher, so prepare yourself for a healthy dose of "allegedlys."
One rarely hears about Cher's son, Elijah Blue (and you thought crazy names started with Apple). Elijah has allegedly had a troubled relationship with his mom for decades. In 2013, he eloped with Marie Angela Kingknown to her friends as Queenie. Elijah claims Cher never acknowledged the union. What did he hear from her? "Crickets," says Elijah. "I wasn't going to wait for anyone's approval and congratulations just like I've never waited for any of that my whole life." More pressing is that Elijah has had a drug problem for decades. Well, he is an Allman. He's admitted to starting to take drugs at 11, and has been addicted to numerous substances, including heroin.
Although Elijah filed for divorce from Queenie in 2021, the couple's on-again/off-again relationship continued. Queenie claims that on November 30, 2022, they were in a hotel room in NYC celebrating their anniversary when four men burst in to abduct ElijahI hate when that happens. Queenie claims one of the abductors told her they were hired by Cher!
This is sounding a whole lot like Jussie Smollett and those bodybuildersor maybe I just want to be alone in a hotel room with two bodybuilders.
Queenie filed court papers on December 5, 2022, stating, "I am currently unaware of my husband's wellbeing or whereabouts...I was told by one of the four men who took him that they were hired by [Elijah's] mother." She adds that Elijah is "currently in lockdown at a treatment facility that is undisclosed to me." So, why is this story only going public a year later? It was part of the couple's divorce case, and the next court date is October 27th. Presumably, both Elijah and Queenie will be there.
The one person I don't expect to see in the courtroom is Cher. She's releasing a holiday collection on October 20thso she'll be busy. The collection features a number of duets, including one with her good friend (and former backup singer) Darlene Lovethey'll sing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." Other partners include Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bublé, Stevie Wonder and Tyga. As Cher said, "It's not your mother's Christmas album. It's a Cher Christmas album, whatever that brings along with the new. It's definitely my idea of a Christmas album. I had to do what I felt. There's no 'Silent Night'." We can only hope there's an "O Holy Night"for Paul Shaffer.
Not to be outdone, Barbra Streisand will be releasing TWO collections of music on October 27th. One is called Evergreens: Celebrating Six Decades on Columbia Recordsand it will include Streisand's favorite songs from her extensive catalogue (in many cases, album cuts instead of singles). The second will be Yentl: 40th Anniversary Edition, which is a 2-disc set which includes demos and alternate takes. These are just the opening acts for Babs' autobio, which drops on November 7th. If I were a betting man, I'd expect absolutely nothing juicy in the book.
Continuing our theme of "singers" (and I am using that term loosely), we turn to Britney Spears. Look, I've never been a Britney basher. She's fun, she's kicky, she's kooky, she's krazy. But unless she's auditioning to become a chef at Bisuteki, I don't understand the dance of the seven knives.
OK, there were only two knivesbut what do you think the chances are that one of those dogs is no longer with us? And why in that outfit? Unless she's also auditioning for Hooters. Spears was quick to allay our fears: "I started playing in the kitchen with knives today. Don't worry they are NOT real knives !!! Halloween is soon." The question remainswhy?
Last weekend, someone came up to me on Commercial Street in Provincetown and said, "I thought you left." What can I say? I can't quit Ptown. I zipped down to the Provincetown Theater to see the return engagement of Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina. Readers of a certain age will recall that in the '70s, many TV shows had an episode about a guy who was what they'd call a "cross-dresser." He was typically straight and just wanted to express his feminine side in women's clothing. Hell, Dorothy's brother Phil did itand he was married with kids. I dunno whatever happened to these straight men who dressed up in drag.
And that's what Fierstein's Casa Valentina is aboutstraight men who would go to a resort in the Catskills to live life as a woman (based on a true storythere's a great PBS documentary about it called Casa Susanna).
Since it's by Fierstein, you know it's going to be well-written, touching, and funny. It's all of the above. It's also troublesome because, like all good plays, it leaves you with more questions than answers. The direction by artistic director David Drake is effective, fluid, unfussy and straightforward.
The special sauce in this production is the cast. There is nary a weak linkand, as a testament to the Provincetown Theater, everyone who appeared in the sold-out spring run came back for this reprise (well, there is one recast extremely minor role). I don't like to single people out...so I'll mention two. Scott Cunningham (of Ptown's Scottcakes) takes on the role of the resort proprietor and is so effective at conveying pathos and conflictwhile looking extremely fetching as both a boy and a girl.
Then there's Dustin Ross, who has the most difficult journey as the new girl of the bunchand the catalyst for an explosive encounter. The show will have closed by the time you read this, but I'd urge you to keep the Provincetown Theater in mind when you are on Cape Cod. You can find them online at ProvincetownTheater.org .
The other reason I returned to the Cape was to see my pal John Hill's solo show. You may recall that I reviewed his show in August. And if you didn't know, Hill made sure the audience at the Post Office Café and Cabaret knewbecause he announced that the show's first review came courtesy of Billy Masters. After acknowledging me from the stage, he pointed out that after he performed for about an hour, my takeaway was you get to see his testicles (both in the show and on BillyMasters.com ). What can I say? First rule of showbizknow your audience!
I am delighted to say that the show has progressed exponentially. While I thought the August show had lots of good material and ideas, I told Hill privately that I thought he needed a director to whip it into shape (my whipping skills are solely reserved for recreational purposes). I didn't know he'd enlist the aid of Marissa Jaret Winokur! Her guidance in the show (now aptly titled "Wellness Check") has made a world of difference. Previously, it meandered along in a disjointed fashion. It still retains some of that spontaneity, but it now has a spine to wrap around. Hill is still as winning as ever, and I'm curious to see where this all leads.
Speaking of shows, I'm thrilled to announce the return of "Billy Masters LIVE." You know, I got busy. And then I got Charles Busch's new memoir"Leading Lady: A Memoir of a Most Unusual Boy." While I was reading it, I heard that the film he shot during the pandemic, "The Sixth Reel," was getting a limited theatrical release. So, why not celebrate the Divine Charles, alongside some of his most notorious collaborators?
In addition to Charles, we'll have his frequent muse and co-star (including in the film), Julie Halston, and his frequent director (including of the film), Carl Andress. This special episode will take place on Monday, October 2nd at 4PM Eastern, so grab a cocktail and watch us live. Or replay at your leisure on Facebook, YouTube, or at BillyMasters.tv .
Could it be that Pauly Shore is poised for a comeback? So hopes the comic, who has gotten tongues wagging after he announced his new ideahe'd like to play fitness guru Richard Simmons in a biopic! He posted a photo of the two side-by-side and, son of a bitch, they really do look alike! OK, the hair isn't right, but I know a groomer in West Hollywood who did wonders with my friend's poodle.
Pauly wrote, "I've noticed all the reactions to me playing Richard Simmons in a new biopic. So I reached out to him. I heard he's living deep in Big Bear. We've been play phone tag (yes, he still has a phone)." Let me stop here for a secondif Richard Simmons is living in Big Bear, why the hell can't he answer his phone? It's not like I think he's at the local Walmart! Continuing: "I'm trying to make it happen for you guys. Be optimistic. In the meantime, hit up Hulu, Amazon, Disney, HBO and all the big producers. I definitely can morph into this guy. I'll see you at the Academy Awards 2025."
When Pauly Shore could be up for an Oscar, we've definitely come to the end of yet another column. I hate to burst his bubble, but films that debut on streaming services don't typically qualify for an Academy Award. But that's the least of his problems! This week, I'm in Las Vegas seeing Varla Jean Merman at the Westgate October 3-5 (I'll be there the 5th) and Kathy Griffin at the Mirage on October 6th. No matter where I am, I'm never too busy to update www.BillyMasters.com the site that's a sure thing. If you have a question for me, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Cher sends some bodybuilders to abduct me! So, until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.