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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Billy Masters
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Billy Masters
2014-11-24

This article shared 3697 times since Mon Nov 24, 2014
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"I'm the only artist who needs a leash! I'm King Kong's mother!"—Susan Boyle reveals her struggle with Asperger's syndrome. I've known many people who have been on a leash, but that's another story.

One of my best friends is constantly enraged when Barbra Streisand is referred to as an EGOT winner—winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Why? Because she never really won a Tony, at least not in competition. She was only in two Broadway shows—I Can Get It For You Wholesale and Funny Girl. She got a Tony nomination for both, and lost both times ( to Phyllis Newman for Subways are for Sleeping and Carol Channing for Hello, Dolly!, respectively ). In 1970, she was given an honorary Tony award for "Star of the Decade"—whatever the hell that means. It's a distinction I believe they never honored before or since.

I bring this up because last week I went to see The Trip to Bountiful in Boston, starring Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood and the incandescent Cicely Tyson ( playing at the Cutler Majestic Theatre until Dec. 7 ). No one can question Tyson's extraordinary talent—this show is a must-see, should this national tour come to a city near you. But my interest was piqued when I read in Tyson's bio that she won a "rare double Emmy" for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" What is a double Emmy? I thought perhaps she designed some costumes, or sang a song, or maybe was a producer. Turns out Tyson won "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie" and also "Actress of the Year—Special"—a distinction given for no good reason. The Emmys added this category for 1974, and then dropped it.

Two people from the world of country music have joined our ranks. First, Ty Herndon came out. The 52-year-old country star said he wondered about his sexuality from the time he was 10, and started coming out to family members when he was 20. He reveals that both of his ex-wives knew he was gay and that he's in a long-term relationship with his partner, Matt. The reason he's finally coming out now is to help others—particularly young people: "Maybe they wouldn't have to go through as much pain and suffering. It's time to tell the truth." It should be added that way back in 2002, I applauded Ty for participating in a fundraiser for the Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24/7 LGBT suicide-prevention line.

In 2008, I took notice of a dashing, articulate and talented young man on the Jerry Lewis Telethon. That was Billy Gilman. Although I had a vague recollection of him as a child star, this was him all grown up—well, 20 years old. By that time, he had already released five albums. ( Curiously, his last studio CD came out in 2006. ) On the same day Herndon came out, Gilman posted his own coming-out video on YouTube ( similar to that other tyke, Tom Daley ). He says Herndon's announcement made it easier, although his video had been a few weeks in the making: "It's difficult for me to make this video, not because I'm ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist, or a gay person. But it's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that....because I'm in a genre, in an industry, that is ashamed of me for being me." Billy also reveals he's been with a boyfriend for five months—presumably not Dustin Lance Black.

When coming out is the new normal, we've definitely come to the end of yet another column. In this time of giving thanks, I want to once again thank you, my readers. Without you, I'd be nothing but a crazy person scribbling on the Web—and there's enough of those out there! I also must thank the proofers, lawyers and everyone that contributes to the family at www.BillyMasters.com—they keep me out of jail and make sure I never have a dangling participle. If you want me to look into anything else dangling, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com . Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.


This article shared 3697 times since Mon Nov 24, 2014
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