"filth disgustingly offensive dirt, garbage, anything viewed as grossly indecent or obscene."Webster's Dictionary
When this column debuted in late August 1995, we opened with that definition from Mr. Webster (and we apologize to him and the two Mr. Merriams). Back then, the bulk of my stories were things I picked up from various busboys and waiters during post-coital pillow talk. Nowadays, the most you might pick up is a case of monkeypox! Gossip isn't in tawdry ragsit's on the national news! I don't know if it is a credit to me or a terrible sign of things to come. But I'm still here!
I wrapped up my summer in Provincetown with two extraordinary shows (to say nothing of one of the greatest sexual experiences of my life … but that's another story). Marilyn Maye celebrated her 12th year at the Provincetown Art House with "94: Of Course There's More." To say that Maye is not approaching 100 gingerly is an understatement. She continues to conquer audiences with vocal abilities that transcend age. The run included her traditional mantra of "It's Today"complete with high kickswhich you can see on our website.
Following Maye was a veritable youngster making his Ptown debut. Max von Essen has wowed audiences on Broadway and beyond. The delightful, dashing and debonair crooner chose a selection of (primarily) standards that fit his pristine vocals like a glove. He truly is a throwback to a time where technique and talent ruledand his encore without assistance of amplification proved just that. A clip can be found on BillyMasters.com .
Our beloved Varla Jean Merman has been wowing crowds at The Crown & Anchor with her new show, "Ready To Blow." Last week, she was in the middle of a particularly intricate dance break during "Anything Goes" when she slipped either on water, a Tic Tac or a pill with a dolphin on it. Down she went with a thud. Of course, the audience laughedthey thought it was a bit! Meanwhile, Varla couldn't get off the floorbecause that's a whole lotta Varla! We hear details about big, burly bartenders, EMTs, a gurney, an ambulance and an ER. And an emergency surgery, because she detached her whozeewhatzit and fractured her whatchamacallit. As of this writing, Varla is resting comfortably and is already talking about returning to the show … in a wheelchair!
Then there's a diva smackdown that started when Mariah Carey decided to trademark the title "Queen of Christmas" due to her hit "All I Want For Christmas" (which someone else claims to have written). This has enraged Darlene Love, who recorded "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" back in 1963. Since 1986, Love sang her song every year for David Letterman, who termed her the "Queen of Christmas"although I don't believe anyone filled out that pesky paperwork. When Darlene heard of Carey's intentions, she made a statement of her own: "Is it true that Mariah trademarked Queen of Christmas? What does that meanthat I can't use the title? David Letterman officially declared me the Queen of Christmas 29 years ago, a year before she released 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' and, at 81 years of age, I'm NOT changing anything. I've been in the business for 52 years, have earned it and can still hit those notes! If Mariah has a problem, call David Letterman or my lawyer!"
Didya know Jenifer Lewis has a new memoir about to drop? Walking in My Joy comes out this week, and there will also be an audio version availablecomplete with a ditty or two! You might have heard she was gonna appear on a very special "Billy Masters LIVE." That's truewe scheduled it months ago. However, Jenifer has suddenly gotten quite busy. She was still willing to do my showbut it was at the same day and time she would be at Celebrity Wheel of Fortune. All I needed was to be blamed for Lewis losing a puzzle because I asked what Vanna was wearing instead of letting her buy a vowel! Fear not: We are rescheduling, and she'll be with us soon!
Could it be that Susan Lucci is sharpening her claws? Not without cause. I'm told La Lucci has been frequenting For Five Coffee Roasters' new location in Garden City, New York (on Long Island, naturally). Last week, she went to pick up an orderand waited, and waited and waited. It was over an hour before her food appeared … which she clearly was buying for someone who actually eats! Lucci made her ire well known as she brandished her phone that documented the promised pickup time. While the words, "Don't you know who I am" were never uttered, it was clear they had no clue. Oh, the humanity!
When Susan Lucci is waiting for food almost as long as she waited for that goddamn Daytime Emmy, it's time to end yet another column. Typically at this time of year, I thank the people who helped me get started. But a friend pointed out that I'm the one writing these columns every week for 27 years. So, happy anniversary to me. And to youbecause without readers, writing is pretty irrelevant. For other insights, check out www.BillyMasters.comthe site that ain't going anywhere. Should you require my services (or simply wish to service me), drop a note to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Varla appears in a production of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? … AGAIN! So, until next time, remember: One man's filth is another man's bible.