Filth: disgustingly offensive dirt, garbage, anything viewed as grossly indecent or obscene.
That's how Mr. Webster defines "filth," and who would argue with him? With that definition and those words, this column was launched 20 years ago. Back then, it was called "Filth" and it was supposed to be a temporary gig. But here I am, two decades later, wondering what I did right ... or wrong!
When I look at the very first story I tackled, it gives a very clear view of things to come. I researched the rumor that David Geffen had married Keanu Reevesand whatever happened to his career? Anyhoo, I squelched that rumor with what would become my customary wit: "Do you think the man who guided Cher's singing career can't spot talent? Well, do you?" I was off and running.
When I started this column, it was a different world, kiddies. There was no Will & Grace. Ellen had a sitcom. Rosie wasn't out. Elton was bisexual. Chastity had a vagina. Admittedly, nobody wanted to see it. And that's the pointpeople didn't talk about gay things. I'd like to think I helped make a change. The Internet was in its infancy, and many people who weren't in big cities didn't know any gay peoplewell, they didn't think they knew any gay people. I can't tell you how many emails came in from folks who were just coming out and wanted to connect with anyone who was gay. For better or worse, I was itand I was there. And I'm still there. So there.
I hate to make this all about me. But, you know, the column is called "Billy Masters," and I am Billy Masters. For the time being, let's put that aside. You'd think, after all these years, I would have tackled every conceivable topic. In fact, that's what I thought while reading the old columns ( which are on BillyMasters.com ). And yet, I don't believe I've ever written a story about somebody being "fingered." Oh, yes"fingered." Dare I say, we're going to rectify that right now with not one, but two stories about fingering. The first story comes from Big Brother. Apparently, this guy named Austin "fingered" his girlfriend, Liz, during the live feed. I checked out the footage and it does appear that Austin played a little hide-and-seek with a few digitsperhaps up to the elbow!
Fingering Story #2 ( and that's certainly the right name for it ) comes from singer Morrissey. Last week, he told Larry King that he was fingered by the TSA. I'm shockedand somewhat hurt. I travel more than anyone I know. And nobody has ever come close to my anuswell, not until we've left the ground and I've slid the word "ocupado" into place. Morrissey said, "I had been through the full scanner and the second bit, but then he went straight for my private bits and then put his finger down my rear cleavage." Welcome to the friendly skies, indeed.
Twenty years ago, I met Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick during an intermission of Death Defying Acts off-Broadway. Matthew was quiet and reserved. SJP was bouncing from person to person. The duo's joint show in Provincetown mirrored that dynamic. ( The two sold-out shows were produced by the Provincetown Art House as a benefit for the Tyler Clementi Foundation. ) Since both are friends of host Seth Rudetsky, they were in good hands. They each sang ditties, told some stories and even joined forces for a song from the only show they did togetherand since I was the only one who yelled out How to Succeed in Business, I guess I was the only one who knew that bit of trivia. I found one thing peculiar. How does one do an evening with Matthew Broderick in Provincetown and not utter the words "Torch Song Trilogy?" Maybe they discussed it in the early show.
There was even a bit of dish. While discussing Sex and the City, Seth asked Sarah about her favorite storyline. Curiously, Parker chose the last few episodes of the series where Carrie moved to Paris with Mikhail Baryshnikov. So, in other words, from what I always considered an ensemble show, SJP's favorite memory was the one that didn't involve the other three ladies. Interesting. When asked about the possibility of a third movie, Parker was coy, saying that they do have a story to tell and that sometime in the future, when the time is right, and if everyone wants to do it, it will happen. To that, her friend John yelled up from the audience, "You already confirmed it to me on your steps a month ago." Parker took this in stride, saying nothing was definite, adding, "That was a private conversation between you and me, John." So, who do you believe? Sarah or John?
For years, Bette Midler has bemoaned the fact that Disney hasn't made a sequel to Hocus Pocus. Whenever asked about it, she said, "Inundate the Disney Company, because I have canvassed the girls and they are willing to do it, but we have no say in it, so if you want a Hocus Pocus 2, ask the Walt Disney Company." Because the film is so popular at Halloween, Disney World is staging a live show featuring the Sanderson Sisters alongside other Disney villains. The "Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular" will run Sept. 15-Nov. 1.
Of course, this is not exactly what Midler had in mind. To show the studio what she envisioned, she's staged her own mini "Hocus Pocus: Live" as part of her latest tour. While chorus girls are filling in for Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette is in full Winifred drag and belts out "I Put a Spell On You." We'll run a video of it on our website, just so you can see how divine it is.
When Morrissey is getting more action than me, it's definitely time to end yet another column. Because celebrity nudes have been a big part of our success, we're going to play a little game with youName That Penis. If you can correctly identify 20 celebrity penises featured over the past two decades, you'll win a prize. So get yourself over to www.BillyMasters.com, the site that's barely legal. If you need a bit of personal attention, email Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Geffen pays Keanu 20 years back alimony. Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.