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  NIGHTSPOTS

Billy Masters
by Billy Masters
2016-07-13

This article shared 1134 times since Wed Jul 13, 2016
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"OK, Sheryl, don't sing unless you have to."—Loretta Devine onstage with co-stars Sheryl Lee Ralph and Jennifer Holliday at the special 35th-anniversary reunion of Dreamgirls. But she said it with love, as old friends often do.

While I was frolicking at the Filth2Go Beach House in Provincetown on Independence Day, a gay man was being arrested at the beach in Queens, New York. Apparently, Jacob Riis Park is a popular place for gays who can't make it to Ptown or Fire Island. According to reports, Krys Fox was wearing only a towel while taking photos of a friend. ( Allegedly, his bathing suit was drying in the sun. ) At one point, his towel accidentally dropped. Fox said, "I just didn't wrap my towel around my waist tight enough and it suddenly slipped down and I literally got sent to jail for it."

However Sgt. David Somma of the U.S. Park Police says that Fox was "standing there fully nude taking pictures of his friend—officers observed him for a minute or two standing there. They walked over to him, asked him to put his towel back around his waist or get dressed, and he refused. They asked him again. They asked if he would walk with officers to another group of gentlemen getting tickets for urinating in public. He refused." The police were going to issue him a ticket, but Fox failed to produce any ID ( he lost it at NYC Pride ). Somma continued, "He refused to sit down on the beach and put a towel on himself. The most he would have received was a summons for public nudity, but he refused to cooperate, became combative, making a nuisance of himself, drawing attention to himself. So he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct."

But Fox wasn't just arrested—he was physically carried off the beach by a phalanx of no fewer than 11 policemen. Once they got to the edge of the beach, they laid him on the sand, cuffed him, hoisted him up, and put him in the back of the squad car while Fox cried, "Help me!" Although I'm sure laws were broken, did it really require 11 cops? It seems, dare I say, like overkill. Judge for yourself on BillyMasters.com .

The night this column went out, the original Dreamgirls—Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine and Jennifer Holliday—reunited at the Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles for a special celebration of the musical's 35th anniversary. The evening, produced by Chris Isaacson, started with a bang as each lady entered to thunderous applause and immediately launched into the title song—earning the first of many standing ovations. This special moment was, alas, a highlight that was rarely matched in a night that provided numerous great solo performances but precious few opportunities for the trio to interact. In fact, aside from the opening, they only sang together on "Family," which closed the show.

On the positive side, Holliday sang all three of Effie's solos, while Devine sang Lorelle's "Ain't No Party" and "Listen" from the film. Since Deena doesn't really have a song in the musical, Sheryl Lee sang "Gonna Be My Time"—which was replaced on Broadway by "One Night Only." Later, Holliday sang the slow version of "One Night Only," which was followed by the disco version sung by Ralph, Devine and Sharon Brown ( who was a replacement Effie on Broadway and on tour ). One of the highlights came when Kenny Lattimore explained how seeing the show made him realize that his ambition of being a singer was not a dream: "When I first saw you, I said, 'Oh my, that's a dream,'" Kenny sang to Sheryl, which led to a performance of the full scene. It was one of the few times the audience got an idea of the magic this musical delivered 35 years ago.

One of the most egregious omissions was the famous dressing room scene before "And I Am Telling You." If the original trio sang "Heavy" and continued through the end of the first act, the night would have gone down in history. Quibbles aside, it should be noted that this sold-out event raised money for Ralph's DIVA Foundation and The Actors Fund. As a benefit, performers were paid little more than an honorarium and, therefore, had limited rehearsal time—particularly damaging to the core trio since Miss Holliday doesn't live in LA. Kudos to some special friends who also performed, including Wilson Cruz, Matt Zarley and the incomparable Frenchie Davis, who kicked ass with "I Love You, I Do," from the film. It should go without saying that highlights from this special concert can be found on BillyMasters.com .

Someone who wasn't there was Jenifer Lewis, who played Effie during one of the pre-Broadway workshops of Dreamgirls. Since the Black-ish star is on safari in Africa, she couldn't sing "The New Girl"—a song originally sung by Michelle in the dressing room scene when she's confronted by Effie. Before Jenifer became the African Queen, she recorded the song, and we are thrilled to bring you her rendition exclusively on BillyMasters.com .

Barry in Las Vegas asks our brief "Ask Billy" question: "Ben Affleck shot a nude scene as Batman? Is that true?"

Well, not so much a nude scene as an ass scene. In the cut footage, Affleck is seen from the back in the shower. This seems to be the perfect bookend to Gone Girl, where he was seen from the front in the shower. Both scenes can be found on BillyMasters.com .

When we're bringing you Ben Affleck from both angles, it's time to end yet another column. You know what might be fun? To compare Affleck's ass today to its 1995 appearance in Glory Daze. And I'll give you a hint—it's held up quite well. In fact, I think it may be better today than it was more than 20 years ago. And that's just a taste of the in-depth reporting you'll find on www.BillyMasters.com—the site that leaves no ass unturned. If you have something you'd like me to look into, drop a note to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before the 40th anniversary of Dreamgirls! Until next time, remember: One man's filth is another man's bible.


This article shared 1134 times since Wed Jul 13, 2016
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