"I have never had a better time than being Liberace's date. We all knew he was homosexual. That was a friend: you know what they love and the people that they love, and what they are."Debbie Reynolds discusses her friendship with Liberace, whose mother she plays in HBO's Behind the Candelabra.
June may be Gay Pride Month, but Long Beach, Calif., got the jump on the Pride celebrations last week, and I had a great time hosting the festivities for the first time. Our climactic line-up included a host of former contestants from American Idol and The Voice. Since I've worked with many of these singers before, it was a fun reunion for everyone. Frenchie Davis (an alum of both shows) not only showcased her magnificent instrument with high-energy dance songs (like her hit "Love's Got a Hold on Me") but also by opting for guitar accompaniment on a stripped-down version of Katy Perry's "Firework." Likewise, Kimberly Caldwell showed both sides of her rangefrom rocker chick to pop princess. Paris Bennett is a third-generation divaher grandmother is Ann Nesby (from "Sounds of Blackness") and her mom is Jamecia Bennett. I worked with all three of them a few years ago at Sheryl Lee Ralph's "Divas Simply Singing." For Long Beach, mom joined Paris for "It's Raining Men."
Although I've met hunky David Hernandez before, this was our first time working together. His pop sound is as appealing and smooth as his good looks. Jamar Rogers strikes me as a genuine and unique artist who wants to not only entertain but also help others by sharing his own story of crystal-meth addiction and his HIV-positive status. Then there was Beverly McClellan, who blew me away with both her spirit and her voice. She's the real deal and was a joy to work with. At the end of the show, I couldn't help but note that it was great for Long Beach Pride to feature some truly beautiful women who are not only talented but also proud to say they love the ladies. Bravo!
Speaking of pop singers, Nick Carter is writing his memoirsif for no other reason than to prove that he can actually write! Facing the Music and Living to Talk About It is slated to be released Sept. 24. Allegedly, he'll be covering the ups and downs of being a member of the Backstreet Boys, his personal relationships, and his substance and alcohol abuse. I'm curious to see how much detail he'll go into about Lou Pearlman. The imprisoned impresario behind (so to speak) BSB and 'NSync is rumored to have made certain advances on several of his clients. Phoenix Stone (who was very briefly a BSB) said, "This was not something Nick was comfortable talking about. What happened? Well, I just think that he finally, you know, Lou was definitely inappropriate with him, and he just felt that he didn't want anything to do with that anymore." What was "that?" Nick's mom was also cagey on the subject but said, "Certain things happened and it almost destroyed our family. I tried to warn everyone. I tried to warn all the mothers. ... I tried to expose him for what he was years ago." Juicy stuff.
A summer show we can look forward to is ABC Family's Baby Daddy coming back for its second season, although I never heard of it. In fact, if it weren't for the recurring role snagged by Matt Dallas, I wouldn't know about it now. Matt will be reunited with his former Kyle XY co-star Jean-Luc Bilodeau. (The boys showed a bit of skin for some photos, which I'll post on BillyMasters.com .) At the GLAAD Awards, Dallas spoke for the first time about his upcoming nuptials to singer Blue Hamilton: "We talked about it a lot and we've been doing lots of planning, but there's no official date set yet. We're both like the most easygoing guys. For us, it's more about just having a celebration and throwing a party. Yeah, so no stressing out and getting crazy about wedding plans."
ABC Family is also launching a new show. The Fosters comes from Jennifer Lopez and Peter Paige, and follows the exploits of a lesbian biracial couple and their kids. The show debuts June 3.
Our "Ask Billy" question this week comes from David in Boston: "I just saw the new Star Trek movie and am in love with Benedict Cumberbatch. I heard there was a nude scene with him that was cut. Can you track it down?"
You may have seen Cumberbatch in The Hobbit, War Horse, or any number of BBC projects or plays in London. (I saw him in the National Theatre's "Frankenstein", which was also screened in U.S. cinemas in 2011.) If it's nudity you're interested in, you should check him out in "To the Ends of the Earth," where you get quite a view indeed. As to this fabled Star Trek nude scene, we learned about it after certain groups complained about the gratuitous shot of Dr. Carol Marcus in her bra and panties. Director J.J. Abrams pointed out that there was also a shirtless scene with Kirk (although I must say Alice Eve is in far better shape than Chris Pine). Abrams revealed to Conan O'Brien that they also filmed a shower scene with Cumberbatch, but it was cut from the film. You can see this clip and others at BillyMasters.com .
When I'm posting nude aliens, it's definitely time to end yet another column. Before closing, I want to congratulate openly gay soccer player Robbie Roberts. His coming-out in February was tethered to his retiring from the sport at the ripe old age of 25 (which I believe is the square root of David Beckham's). However, he's come out againthis time out of retirement. Upon signing with the LA Galaxy, he talked about coming out: "I don't know what I was so afraid of. It's been such a positive experience for me. The one thing I've learned from all of this is being gay is not that big a deal to people." If there's any message to share during Gay Pride Month, that's it. You can get more stories like this at www.BillyMasters.com, the site that's proud 365 days a year. For your more personal needs, drop a note to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Jodie Foster makes a cameo on The Fosters. So, until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.