Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Christina Aguilera: Can't hold her down
by Chris Azzopardi

This article shared 3296 times since Wed Dec 1, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Singer makes big-screen debut in one of the gayest movies of the year: Burlesque

Christina Aguilera's career is made of bold moves—be it the "Beautiful" video, with its tight shots of men making out, or musically moving from shameless pop to futuristic mode, as she did on this year's album, Bionic.

The powerhouse vocalist, who turns 30 in December, takes the plunge again with her first film, Burlesque, playing not some rinky-dink character, but the lead—so not what was supposed to happen.

"My goal wasn't to star in a leading position but be part of a great film and have a couple of lines and get my feet wet—boy, that didn't happen!" said Aguilera, who plays Ali, a girl with dreams too big for her small town.

After shooting down many scripts, Aguilera felt a special connection to Burlesque, writer-director Steven Antin's first major movie that he describes as "a call-back to the old, fabulous MGM musicals." She already knew the art form well, too: "I have a collection of burlesque books at home that I've had for years," she said. "I've just always been intrigued and fascinated with the topic, and the beauty and heart and comedic value of it. It's a beautiful, empowering thing for women."

Promoting the film at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., with her dog, Stinky, in tow, Aguilera slurped some chicken-noodle soup—breaking at one point to scold her assistant because it wasn't up to snuff.

"Soup drama," she quipped with a delicate smile. However edgy and distracted Aguilera is, you can't blame her; she's dealing with a divorce ( she and Jordan Bratman filed in October ) and finding her place in the pop landscape again after Bionic bombed. Now there's Aguilera's first film—one that was admittedly more than she bargained for.

"I was wearing so many different hats—more than anybody else on the film," she said, about writing and recording three songs, learning a different dance form and then, of course, actually acting for the first time.

It helped that Aguilera related to Ali, who leaves behind a troubled past in Iowa and stumbles into a swanky Sunset Strip burlesque club owned by Tess ( Cher ) . "Her background story came from a place inspired by pain," Aguilera said. "Lots of people talk about their situations and complain, but they never do anything about it. The thing about Ali that I love is that she makes the decision to leave, and that's really hard. It really spoke to me."

But that's not all that lured Aguilera. Antin and Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper, partners on Burlesque and in life, eventually nabbed one of the biggest superstars ever: Cher. Aguilera wasn't about to miss out on this little-diva, big-diva moment.

"It's so weird to say this about the icon and the legend that is Cher, but she's like an old girlfriend," Aguilera said. "She's an incredible person personally and professionally, offering amazing advice, stories, 'been there done there.' She's one of a kind."

Antin thought highly of Aguilera, too, calling her "the voice of a generation" as he spoke about Burlesque in Beverly Hills. From the get-go, the Grammy-winning singer was his first choice to fill the underdog role.

Throughout the 71-day shoot, Antin and the cast worked out huge set ideas and infinitely smaller touches, like the flower Aguilera wears in her hair during the "Bound to You" number—something Antin opposed, but Aguilera and Culpepper wanted. "Little things like that, to very big things, were a constant conversation and collaboration," she said.

A wide, sneaky smile cut across Aguilera's face as she burst into a wicked snicker. "And guess who still had the flower in her hair?"

Another dialogue emerged over a Cher-Christina duet, which was discussed but never recorded. "We already had so much music involved—even Cher's ballad [ "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," written by Diane Warren ] came late in the game—and it was hard for everyone to agree on a song [ for the movie ] , I think," Aguilera said.

While shooting, Antin invited both actresses—and undoubtedly two of the world's biggest gay icons—to watch their scenes after they wrapped. Cher wouldn't because she doesn't watch herself, but Aguilera referenced them for future takes, according to the director.

"When she would really nail a take and have a wonderful moment I would want to celebrate it with her," Antin said. "Sometimes I'd want her to see it so she knew, when I was shooting other angles, what I wanted her to go for."

One scene caught many angles—not of Aguilera, but rather Twilight cutie Cam Gigandet, her crush in the film. "I hope they love this guy just as much," he said of his evil onscreen persona, James, in the vampire saga.

What's not to love? In almost every one of his Burlesque scenes, he's nearly naked.

"It's always kind of tricky," Gigandet said, demonstrating with a table cloth the sliver of fabric hiding his bits from everyone on set. "I had to take it out of my mind that it was actually Christina Aguilera, because she's ... Christina Aguilera! But after a while, she's even bored by it all."

In the scene, he strategically shields his junk with a box of Famous Amos cookies. Surely that won't bore the millions of gay men watching—not that Gigandet, who isn't one of them, cares how many guys gawk. In fact, "I hope there's more!" he said.

And there very well might be, considering how gay Burlesque actually is: diva-duo Cher and Christina Aguilera aside, there are Alan Cumming and the gay-for-pay Stanley Tucci. There's splashy fashion and fun, throwback music. And there's eyeliner, which Gigandet rocks during his lounge scenes. That, and the fact that he's not part of some emo punk-pop band, leads Aguilera's character to believe that he's, ahem, gay.

Nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution, especially if you've been duped before. And Aguilera, biting her straw and laughing, has: "I did have an ex-boyfriend that left me for a gay man at one point in my life."

Acting, Cher, gay boyfriends—there's a first time for everything.

This article shared 3296 times since Wed Dec 1, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

THEATER When growth is paramount: Jim Corti helps fuel Aurora theater expansion 2024-03-01
- Out actor/director/choreographer Jim Corti made his Broadway debut in 1974, in the ensemble of Leonard Bernstein's musical Candide. Director Harold Prince's acclaimed Tony Award-winning revival is often cited as a ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer actors, icons duet, Hunter Schafer, Oscars, Elizabeth Taylor 2024-03-01
- Queer actor Kal Penn is set to star in Trust Me, I'm a Doctor—a film that chronicles the final days of actress/model Anna Nicole Smith, whose overdose death in 2007 at age 39 sparked a tabloid ...

Gay News

'Always Olivia' celebrates Olivia Newton-John at Raue Center 2024-02-26
- From a press release: Always Olivia, a tribute to one of the most celebrated and beloved pop culture icons of all time, the late Olivia Newton-John comes to Raue Center in Crystal Lake on Saturday, May ...

Gay News

Samuel Savoir-Faire Williams's violin stylings help COH mark Black History Month 2024-02-23
- As part of its celebration of Black History Month, Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., presented a solo jazz performance by violinist Samuel Savoir-Faire Williams on Feb. 21. The two-hour long performance presented a showcase ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kristen Stewart, Rock Hudson, Talia Keys, 'True Detective,' Marvel comic 2024-02-23
- At the Berlin Film Festival, Kristen Stewart defended her photo shoot for a Rolling Stone magazine cover that went viral and divided audiences on social-media platforms, per The Hollywood Reporter. "The existence of a female body ...

Gay News

Theater Review: Billy Elliot, The Musical 2024-02-19
- Book and Lyrics: Lee Hall; Music: Elton John. At: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora Tickets: 630-896-6666 or; $28-$79. Runs through March 24 Billy Elliot: The Musical may nearly be two decades old, but ...

Gay News

REFLECTIONS: An Evening of original music with the Jeannie Tanner Quartet 2024-02-19
--From a press release - REFLECTIONS will be a night of feel-good, upbeat original music written by Jeannie Tanner. Songs range from jazz, to pop, to soulful R&B. Jeannie's music can be heard in many television shows and movies, with recordings ...

Gay News

Lakeside Pride Wilde Cabaret Valentine's Day Feb. 17 2024-02-16
--From a press release - Lakeside Pride Wilde Cabaret puts their own spin on Valentine's Day with a show celebrating things done and sacrificed for love - not just romantic love, but love for pets, friends, family and art. Join the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elton John, Hannah Gadsby, video game, Jennifer Lopez, queer thriller 2024-02-16
Video below - Sir Elton John has sold his Atlanta home and is now auctioning off more than 900 of his personal items that were kept in the 13,500-square-foot condo, The Daily Mail noted. The massive collection includes rare ...

Gay News

Wic Whitney spills the Afternoon Tea 2024-02-15
- Born in Arkansas and now based in Chicago, queer performer Wic Whitney is a storyteller with a great deal to say, preaching his Southern soul message through unique vocal stylings as a rapper and singer. This ...

Gay News

CGMC presents Lipstick & Lyrics: Forty & Foxy, A Glamorous Feast for the Senses 2024-02-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO, February 13, 2024 — The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus proudly presents Lipstick & Lyrics: Forty & Foxy, a dazzling, live-singing drag show that celebrates the sensuality and empowerment of middle age. Get ready to unleash ...

Gay News

Cher, Mariah Carey among Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees 2024-02-11
- Cher, Mariah Carey among Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees On Feb. 10, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for its 2024 class. According to NPR, two-thirds of the artists on the list for "rock's highest ...

Gay News

Dr. Lady J explains how opera can be a drag 2024-02-10
- On Feb. 8, Center on Halsted, in partnership with Lyric Opera of Chicago, presented a lecture by historian, drag activist, podcaster and curator Dr. Lady J. The event, titled "Castrated Superstars, Cross Dressed Divas, and Queer ...

Gay News

Asians and Friends Chicago to host LGBTQ Lunar New Year Dinner Feb. 24 2024-02-09
--From a press release - CHICAGO—Taking a cross-dressing twist for the Year of the Dragon, members of Asians and Friends Chicago (AFC) will host a dinner-and-drag musical revue, celebrating the Year of the "Drag-on" and bringing together members of the lesbian, ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Raven-Symone, women's sports, Wayne Brady, Jinkx Monsoon, British Vogue 2024-02-09
- In celebration of Black History Month, the LA LGBT Center announced that lesbian entertainer Raven-Symone will be presented with the Center's Bayard Rustin Award at its new event, Highly Favored, per a press release. She joins ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.