“I was the ‘Hannah Montana’ of the 80s and I have a lot of experience and knowledge to offer today’s aspiring performers.” – Deborah Gibson explains why she’s started “Camp Electric Youth.” A step in the right direction might be allowing the kids to call her Debbie.
Say you sleep with someone and neglect to mention that you are HIV-positive or have a contagious STD. You can go to http://www.inSPOTLA.org and send this person an anonymous e-card that lets him know what he’s been exposed to. When I first heard about this, I thought it was a good thing. But then I thought of the downside. Say I hate someone and start sending them anonymous warnings. “That wasn’t a cold sore – it was a very contagious case of herpes.” Or “You just rimmed someone with Hepatitis B.” inSpotLA says “it’s free” and “it’s fast.” I’m just not sure “it’s smart.”
I have no such skepticism about the Gay American Heroes Foundation. This organization is building a traveling exhibition which will pay tribute to victims of hate crimes and educate people about the need for stronger legislation. This group is being championed by Chip “Amazing Race” Arndt. Since I am on the honorary board, I attended fundraisers in both L.A. and SoBe this past week (there was also one in N.Y.C. and an upcoming one in DC). The L.A. event held at East/West Lounge drew a huge number of community leaders and luminaries. All eyes were on the interaction between Chip and his ex, Reichen Lehmkuhl. What most people don’t know is that Reichen and Chip are both very supportive of each other. Reichen is also on the honorary board and posed between Chip and his present paramour, model Ryan Barry. During his remarks, Chip thanked Reichen and Ryan for “all they do in the L.A. community” – a phrase which gained more than a few snickers. But, ya know, posing naked is hard work! We’ll post photos from the event on our Web site.
I was happy to spend some time catching up with Robert Gant, who is also on the board. Bobby told me that Logo is still developing his idea for “The Gayonic Man” series. He also enjoyed his recent stint on “Nip/Tuck.” “I don’t want to get too preachy with my projects. I really like making people laugh – and if there’s a message along with that, great!” He added that when he went to http://www.BillyMasters.com, he was surprised to see an old video of him on a beach. What shocked me is this gorgeous Adonis of a man saying, “I looked at myself back then and thought, ‘Wow! How ripped was I?'” I always like hearing that someone like Gant can still feel a bit envious of others – even if the other is a younger version of himself!
Down at the SoBe fundraiser at Halo, the crowd was slighter but just as enthusiastic. I was thrilled to meet another member of the honorary board – Judge David Young. Our very first gay TV judge sent me a fan letter shortly after getting his show. We’ve corresponded and tried to get together in various cities, but our schedules never seemed to mesh – until now. He’s quick, funny and smart as a whip. And his lover is also a judge – they’re kinda like a gay version of Judges Judy and Jerry! Needless to say, we know all of the same people and we do like to dish. We’re having lunch later this week, so everyone should be very nervous!
The delectable Channing Tatum has been cast as “Duke” in the theatrical film “G.I. Joe” (you can see nude photos of Channing on our Web site). The cast also includes Sienna Miller, who has made more of a name for herself as the other woman in various marriages on either side of the pond. She does that so well, you’d expect her to be a better actress than she is.
Rumors swirl that Oprah’s next film project will be a big-screen adaptation of the musical version of “The Color Purple.” Fantasia Barrino is being wooed to return to the role that earned her acclaim on Broadway. But there’s a minor glitch – she could be pregnant…again! While on Broadway, she missed a quite a few performances because of “illness,” and rumor had it that she’s expecting. When the possibility of renewing her contract for three more months came up, she abruptly left the show. Since then, she’s been laying low – even blowing off a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute at a hometown church. Something smells fishy…well, fishier than usual!
Speaking of “The Color Purple,” the Broadway production has posted its closing notice for Feb. 24. When Fantasia was in the show, the houses were routinely around 80-percent capacity. Since her departure, attendance is down to about 45 percent – despite the presence of Chaka Kahn and BeBe Winans.
Diana Ross has no trouble getting an audience – it’s keeping them happy that’s the hard part. Take her recent performance at the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival last Saturday. The stadium held 40,000 and they were ready for a great show. Earlier acts included Mary Mary, Billy Ocean and KoKo Taylor. Before Miss Ross walked on stage, the jumbotrons went black. The audience booed when a voice informed them “to honor Miss Ross’ wishes, she will not be shown on the monitors.” Security was also on high alert to confiscate any cameras or cell phones taping footage from the show. Diana did a one-hour set which everyone could hear, but only a small fraction could see. The booing continued through the show and many simply left in disgust.
My favorite “Grease: You’re The One That I Want” contestant was hunky Derek Keeling. He will be channeling his inner Elvis in the musical “All Shook Up” at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts in Orange County from Feb. 22 to March 9.
Joan Rivers new play “A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress,” which she workshopped in San Francisco last summer, will officially premiere at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. Opening night is, ironically enough, my birthday – Feb. 13. If someone throws in the Tony Romas onion loaf, I could be in heaven.
Last week’s column was filled with obituaries and I had hoped this week death would take a holiday. But I must acknowledge the passing of Jahna Steele. Jahna was a trailblazer for transsexuals – having been a Vegas showgirl and an outspoken advocate for accepting transgendered people. She always conducted herself with grace, compassion and humor. She was a helluva gal! Rest in peace.
We can slip in a quick “Ask Billy” question from Will in North Dakota: “My favorite film of last year was ‘Eastern Promises.’ Did you get any nude photos of Viggo Mortensen? He had a hot fight scene where you could see his dick.”
And you can see it in all its HD glory on http://BillyMasters.com. And, we agree – he is hot!
When we’re providing HD dick, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. You know you’re doing something right your web server crashes. Record numbers logged in to watch our exclusive video of Daniel Radcliffe nude in “Equus,” and our site went down four times in 24 hours – which is more than I’ve gone down in 2008! But, have no fear – the site and “Equus” are back up and running…well, at least until you people log in to view Viggo! What the hell, check out http://www.BillyMasters.comto your heart’s content. If you have a question, send a note to [email protected] and I promise to get back to you before Miss Ross doesn’t want to be seen or heard! So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.