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LGBT History Month – The Life and Death of Rock Hudson and His Impact on the AIDS Epidemic (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985)

In the 1985 Rock Hudson, a leading Hollywood actor, became the first major hollywood celebrity to die of AIDS-related complications.

While his career developed in 1950’s Hollywood, Rock Hudson and his agent Henry Willson kept the actor’s personal life out of the headlines. In 1955, Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson’s secret homosexual life. Willson stalled the article by disclosing information about two of his other clients. Willson provided information about Rory Calhoun‘s years in prison and the arrest of Tab Hunter at a gay party in 1950. According to some colleagues, Hudson’s homosexual life was well known in Hollywood throughout his career, and former co-stars Elizabeth Taylor and Susan Saint James claimed that they knew of his homosexuality, as did Carol Burnett.

Soon after the Confidential incident, Hudson married Willson’s secretary Phyllis Gates. Gates filed for divorce after three years in April 1958, citing mental cruelty. Hudson did not contest the divorce and Gates received alimony of $250 a week for 10 years. Gates never remarried.

An urban legend states that Hudson “married” Jim Nabors in the early 1970s. Not only was same-sex marriage not recognized under the laws of any American state at the time, but, at least publicly, Hudson and Nabors were nothing more than friends. According to Hudson, the legend originated with a group of “middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach” sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together. One year the group invited its members to witness “the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors”, at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors’ most famous character, Gomer Pyle, becoming Rock Pyle.

The “joke” was evidently already in the mainstream by the very early 1970s. In the October 1972 edition of MAD magazine (issue no. 154), an article entitled “When Watching Television, You Can be Sure of Seeing…”, gossip columnist ‘Rona Boring” (a take on then gossip columnist Rona Barrett) states: “And there isn’t a grain of truth to the vicious rumor that movie and TV star Rock Heman and singer Jim Nelly were secretly married! Rock and Jim are just good buddies! I repeat, they are not married! They are not even going steady!”  Those who failed to get the joke spread the rumor and as a result, Hudson and Nabors never spoke to each other again.

Shortly after Hudson’s press release disclosing his illness, William M. Hoffman, the author of As Is, a play about AIDS that appeared on Broadway in 1985, stated: “If Rock Hudson can have it, nice people can have it. It’s just a disease, not a moral affliction.”

At the same time, Joan Rivers was quoted as saying: “Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn’t get one major star to turn out. … Rock’s admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage. Morgan Fairchild said that “Rock Hudson’s death gave AIDS a face. In a telegram Hudson sent to a September 1985 Hollywood AIDS benefit, Commitment to Life, which he was too ill to attend in person, Hudson said: “I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.”

Hudson, a friend of Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, made a simple plea to the White House for help to get him transferred to a hospital in France in his greatest hour of need. 

“Only one hospital in the world can offer necessary medical treatment to save life of Rock Hudson or at least alleviate his illness,” Dale Olson, Hudson’s longtime friend and publicist wrote. Although the commanding officer had denied Hudson admission to the French military hospital initially, Olson wrote that they believed “a request from the White House … would change his mind.”

First Lady Nancy Reagan denied Hudson’s the request.

On the morning of October 2, 1985, Hudson died in his sleep from AIDS-related complications at his home in Beverly Hills at age 59, less than two months before what would have been his 60th birthday. Hudson requested that no funeral be held. His body was cremated hours after his death and a cenotaph was later established at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.

Hudson’s revelation had an immediate impact on the visibility of AIDS, and on the funding of medical research related to the disease. Among activists who were seeking to de-stigmatize AIDS and its victims, Hudson’s revelation of his own infection with the disease was viewed as an event that could transform the public’s perception of AIDS.

Rest in Peace Rock.

LOST FOOTAGE – Linzi Hateley Performs The Title Song from CARRIE: The Musical – 1988 Broadway Production – [VIDEO]

Perhaps the most misunderstood musical theater piece of the 20th century Carrie: The Musical started previews on April 28, 1988, at the Virginia Theatre on Broadway.

Ken Mandelbaum is quoted by Wollman, MacDermot, and Trask:

“Ken Mandelbaum writes of an audience divided during early previews, the curtain calls of which were greeted with a raucous mix of cheers and boos.  However, in an instant, when Linzi Hateley and Betty Buckley rose to take their bows, the entire theatre turned to a standing ovation.”

The show was sold out weeks in advance and did indeed receive standing ovations at some previews, as well as on opening night but that couldn’t save it.

Carrie: The Musical officially opened on May 12, 1988.  Hampered by scathing reviews by professional critics, the financial backers pulled their money out of the show, and it closed on May 15 after only 16 previews and 5 performances, guaranteeing its place in theatre history as one of the most expensive disasters of all time.

It wasn’t that Carrie:The Musical was a bad show.  It was just badly directed, over produced and horribly choreographed (Thank you Debbie Allen.) 

But Carrie: The Musical  wasn’t dead and she would be resurrected and produced Off-Broadway as a limited run show at the Lucille Lortel Theatre by MCC Theater. Marin Mazzie starred as Margaret White and Molly Ranson as Carrie.   Previews on January 31, 2012, and officially opened on March 1, 2012, and closed a month later to good solid reviews.  The MCC directors said: “MCC, the authors, and the director achieved what we all set out to do – to rescue Carrie from oblivion and to give her new life.

Below is “lost footage” of the original Carrie, Linzi Hateley singing the title song from the 1988 Broadway production from an old press video reel with the audio and video cleaned up.

#FlashbackFriday Crisco Disco Edition: “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart (1979) – Video

“Knock on Woodis a 1966 hit song written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper and originally performed by Eddie Floyd. The Eddie Floyd version peaked at #28 on the Hot 100 and spent one week at #1 on the Soul Singles chart.

Amii Stewart’s disco version of the song, served as her debut single which reached number one in the U.S. charts in April 1979, as well as charting on the soul singles and disco charts, becoming the best-known version of the song. The song was co-produced by Simon May. It also reached the Top 10 twice in the UK, first in 1979 (#6) and a remixed version reached #7 in 1985. Amii’s version was featured in the 1998 film The Last Days of Disco and 54

Stewart followed up with another cover of The Doors’ classic, “Light My Fire”, which reached #5 in the UK, although only managed a lowly #69 in the US. She recorded it as a medley, incorporating “Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven”.

In the 1998 movie 54, actress/singer Mary Griffin portrayed Stewart, performing the song Knock on Wood, at the famed discothèque. While performing, Griffin wore a similarly extravagant outfit to that which Stewart wore in the video to “Knock On Wood” in 1979. Although it was obvious that Griffin was portraying Stewart, the credits at the end of the movie have Griffin’s character listed as Disco Star.

Since 2001 Stewart has been working as a goodwill ambassador for Italian Unicef and has been involved in a large number of projects such as “Uniti per i bambini, Uniti contro l’AIDS” (translated as “United for the children, united against AIDS”). In 2006, she recorded the charity single “Love Song” for UNICEF in four different languages, once again returning to work with Ennio Morricone. The following year saw her return to duet with Mike Francis on the track “Nothing Can Come Between Us”. In 2006 Stewart and long-time friend and collaborator Ennio Morricone released 5 track single “Love Song”, sung in English, Italian, French, Spanish as well as a multilingual version. All proceeds from the single went to Unicef’s campaign “Check Out For Children”

Gay History – July 25, 1979: “Cruising” Movie Shoot Protested By NYC’s Gay Community

For those of you too young to remember the movie Cruising it is a 1980 psychological thriller film directed by William Friedkin of The Exorcist fame and starring Al Pacino. The film is loosely based on the novel of the same name, by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker. It’s about a rookie NYPD cop that goes undercover to bait a homophobic serial killer in the leather and  S&M world of New York’s Greenwich Village.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force ( back when they actually had a task and did something ) in a letter to the New York Times wrote that “in the context of an anti-homosexual society, a film about violent, sex-obsessed gay men would be seen as a film about all gay people.  The psychosexual dynamic of Cruising is certainly questionable—deliberately so, to some extent—though in chalking up violent homoerotic impulses to unresolved daddy issues, the movie may be a greater insult to the intelligence of psychoanalysts than to the sensibilities of gays.”

The movie suffered a huge backlash from the LGBT community which did everything  it could to disrupt the movies filming in Greenwich Village and promotion in NYC.

Village Voice writer Arthur Bell was the person who raised a call for full out sabotage on the movie writing that Friedkin’s film “promises to be the most oppressive, ugly, bigoted look at homosexuality ever presented on the screen,” he wrote, “the worst possible nightmare of the most uptight straight. I implore readers . . . to give Friedkin and his production crew a terrible time if you spot them in your neighborhoods.”

Gay-owned businesses on Christopher Street barred the filmmakers from their premises. People attempted to interfere with shooting by pointing mirrors from rooftops to ruin lighting for scenes, blasting whistles and air horns near locations, and playing loud music. One thousand protesters marched through the East Village demanding the city withdraw support for the film to which Mayor (and famous closet case) Ed Koch responded, “Whether it is a group that seeks to make the gay life exciting or to make it negative, it’s not our job to look into that.”

Al Pacino who starred in the movie said that he understood the protests but insisted that upon reading the screenplay he never at any point felt that the film was anti-gay. He said that the leather bars were “just a fragment of the gay community, the same way the Mafia is a fragment of Italian-American life,” referring to The Godfather, and that he would “never want to do anything to harm the gay community”.

Friedkin asked noted gay author John Rechy, to screen Cruising just before its release. Rechy had written an essay defending Friedkin’s right to make the film, although not defending the film itself.  At Rechy’s suggestion, Friedkin deleted a scene showing the Gay Liberation Front slogan “We Are Everywhere” as graffiti on a wall just before the first body part is pulled from the river, and added a disclaimer:

“This film is not intended as an indictment of the homosexual world. It is set in one small segment of that world, which is not meant to be representative of the whole.”

Friedkin later claimed that it was the MPAA and United Artists that required the disclaimer, calling it “part of the dark bargain that was made to get the film released at all ” and  “a sop to organized gay rights groups”.   Friedkin also said that no one involved in making the film thought it would be considered as representative of the entire gay community, but the late great gay film historian Vito Russo disputed Fredkin claims citing the disclaimer as “an admission of guilt” writing  “What director would make such a statement if he truly believed that his film would not be taken to be representative of the whole?”

Now over 40 years later despite the movies content which by today’s standards seem schlocky and mediocre at best.  Snippets of Cruising are easily one the most graphic and true depiction of the NYC underground gay leather scene ever seen in a mainstream movie and is also in a way, a documentary of a time and places lost in history with background shots of the West Village and West Side highway that capture that period in time.

Locations like The Ramrod, The Anvil, Mineshaft, and the Eagle’s Nest (the latter two eventually barred Friedkin from the premises) have been gone for decades, but Cruising is a flashback to a time of  poppers, color-coded pocket hankies, hardcore discos, bathhouses, backrooms, park cruising and yes even Crisco.  It is a visual time capsule back to a part of our history that has been overshadowed by by the plague known as AIDS that would soon wreck havoc on the gay community in the years after the movie was released.

Like it or not the movie Crusing is a part of our history and reflects an era of images and memories that is slowly being lost forever.

Note: The exterior entrance of the club that Al Pacino enters into is actually the door to the infamous Mineshaft in NYC. (CLICK HERE to learn more about The Mineshaft.)  But as stated above Friedkin was barred from filming within the establishment.  The next shot of Pacino walking down the stairs was actually filmed at the Hellfire Club Sex Club in the triangle building  at 14th street which later would house J’s Hangout and home of the New York Jacks on 14th and  Hudson Street.

What now stands in its spot is the gentrified 675 Bar which is described as a “subdued lounge attempts to bring back some dignity to the Meatpacking District with pedigreed cocktails, and uncomplicated entertainment”  

If only the patrons of the 675 Bar ever knew.

 

 

 

Gay History – June 20, 1980: “Can’t Stop The Music” Opens Starring Bruce Jenner and The Village People! (And it was baaaaaad.)

Forty two years ago on June 20, 1980 the absolutely GAYEST, non-gay movie musical comedy ever made, a movie so bad it may have single-handedly actually killed disco.  Can’t Stop the Music opened in theaters  across America starring the then he/him Bruce Jenner (now transitioned to the she/her Caityln), Steve Gutenberg Valarie Perrine, and the Village People.

Directed by Rhoda’s television mother, Nancy Walker and written by Allan Carr & Bronté Woodard, CSTM is a VERY VERY loosely based-biography of disco’s Village People which bears absolutely no resemblance to the actual story of the group’s formation done in spectacular campy gaudy technicolor!

The story is about Jack Morell (Steve Guttenberg)-a reference to Village People creator Jacques Morali- who gets a break DJing at local disco Saddle Tramps. His roommate Sam Simpson (Valerie Perrine), a supermodel newly retired at the peak of her success, sees the response to a song he wrote for her (“Samantha“) and agrees to use her connections to get him a record deal. Her connection, ex-boyfriend Steve Waits (Paul Sand), president of Marrakech Records (a reference to Village People record label Casablanca Records), is more interested in getting back with her than in Jack’s music (and more interested in taking business calls than in wooing Samantha), but agrees to listen to a demo.

Sam decides Jack’s vocals won’t do, and recruits neighbor and Saddle Tramps waiter/go-go boy Felipe Rose (the Indian), fellow model David “Scar” Hodo (the construction worker, who daydreams of stardom in the solo number “I Love You to Death“), and finds Randy Jones (the cowboy) on the streets of Greenwich Village, offering dinner in return for their participation. Meanwhile, Sam’s former agent Sydney Channing (Tammy Grimes) orders Girl Friday Lulu Brecht (Marilyn Sokol) to attend, hoping to lure the star back. Ron White (Bruce Jenner), a lawyer from St. Louis, is mugged by an elderly woman on his way to deliver a cake Sam’s sister sent, and shows up on edge. Brecht gets Jack high, which unnerves him when her friend Alicia Edwards brings singing cop Ray Simpson, but Jack records the quartet on “Magic Night”. Ron, pawed all night by the man-hungry Brecht, is overwhelmed by the culture shock of it all and walks out.

The next day, Sam runs into Ron, who apologizes, proffers the excuse that he’s a Gemini, and follows her home. Spilling leftover lasagna on himself, Sam and Jack help him off with his trousers before Jack leaves and Sam and Ron spend the night. Newly interested in helping, Ron offers his Wall Street office to hold auditions. There Glenn M. Hughes, the Leatherman climbs atop a piano for a rendition of “Danny Boy”, and he and Alex Briley, the G.I. join up. Now a sextet, they get their name from an offhand remark by Ron’s socialite mother Norma. Ron’s boss, Richard Montgomery (Russell Nype).  Overwhelmed by the carnival atmosphere, insists the firm not represent the group, and Ron quits.

Ron’s new idea for rehearsal space is the YMCA (the ensuing production number “YMCA” features its athletic denizens in various states of undress—along with The Simpsons Movie, the film is one of the few non R-rated offerings to feature full-frontal male nudity). The group cut a demo (“Liberation“) for Marrakech, but Steve sees limited appeal and Sam refuses his paltry contract. Reluctant to use her savings, they decide to self-finance by throwing a pay-party.

To bankroll the party, Sam acquiesces to Channing’s plea to return for a TV ad campaign for milk, on the condition the Village People are featured. The lavish number “Milkshake” begins as Sam pours milk for six little boys in the archetypal costumes with the promise they’ll grow up to be the Village People. The advertisers want nothing to do with such a concept, and refuse to air the spot. Norma then steps in to invite the group to debut at her charity fundraiser in San Francisco. Sam lures Steve by promising a romantic weekend but Ron is taken aback by the inference that she’d go through with the seduction, and Sam breaks up with him. On his private jet, Steve prepares for a tryst, but it’s Jack and his former chorine mother Helen (June Havoc) who show up, to hash out a contract. Initially reluctant, Helen seduces Steve with her kreplach and before long they’re negotiating the T-shirt merchandising for the Japanese market.

In the dressing room before the show, Ron, relieved to learn Sam didn’t travel with Steve, proposes to her. At one point, Montgomery shows up to rehire Ron as a junior partner representing the group. Following a set by The Ritchie Family (“Give Me a Break“), the Village People make a triumphant debut (“Can’t Stop the Music“).

Can’t Stop the Music would later that year to go on to have the dubious honor of becoming the first winner of the Worst Picture Golden Raspberry Award.

So everyone raise a toast. With a milkshake of course to Can’t Stop The Music!

They don’t make em’ like that anymore. Thank Goddess.

TRIVIA: Can’t Stop the Music would later that year to go on to have the dubious honor of becoming the first winner of the Worst Picture Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Award

Above the Village People’s late, great Glenn Hughes singing “Danny Boy” in the film “Can’t Stop the Music

#PRIDE – Gay History – June 18, 1992: Daytime Soap Opera “One Life To Live” Introduces First Gay Teen Character Played by Ryan Phillippe

ABC’s One Life to Live, which debuted in 1968 had many a storylines tackling women’s issues and race, so it seemed the obvious next choice was to run a new storyline exploring homophobia and the difficulties of being a gay teen.

That was only 30 years ago.

Billy Douglas (played by Ryan Phillippe), a newcomer to the town of Lianview was reluctant to tell anyone about his homosexuality, especially his parents. He did, however, confide in the town’s compassionate pastor, Rev. Andrew Carpenter. But a scheming woman named Marty who Carpenter rejected began circulating rumors around town that the pastor had been molesting Billy. In a dramatic scene, the entire town, led by Billy’s parents, confronted Carpenter and demanded that he resign, the pastor delivered a riveting sermon against the evils of prejudice and homophobia. This led Billy to take a public stand in support of Carpenter — and to come out to his parents.

But this was not the first gay character that was introduced on an ABC soap.

Almost 10 years earlier in 1983, All My Children became the first soap opera to tackle homosexuality. Tricia Pursley portrayed the divorced Devon McFadden. After a failed, unhappy marriage, a series of destructive decisions and an affair which led to alcoholism, Devon returned to the show in 1983, after getting help for her drinking problem, as a single mother struggling to make ends meet.

She took a job at Pine Valley Hospital where she met and started dating a fellow single parent, Dr. Cliff Warner. Their happiness did not last long when Cliff found out his ex-wife, Nina Cortlandt, was single again. Cliff tried to let Devon down gently, but she took the break up hard. She was about to take a drink when she met psychologist Lynn Carson.

Lynn (played by Donna Pescow) became Devon’s pillar. When Devon found out that Lynn was gay, Devon was sure the affection she was feeling for her was love. Devon was especially jealous of Lynn’s ex-girlfriend. Devon confessed her feelings to Lynn, but Lynn did not reciprocate. In the end, the storyline concluded with Devon still in love with Cliff, having just displaced those feelings on Lynn.

Watch the videos below:

PRIDE: Gay History – June 13, 1926: Happy Birthday Paul Lynde – His Funny and Not-So-Funny Life

JUNE 13, 1926

Comedian Paul Lynde is born. Lynde best known for his roles as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and Harry MacAfee, the befuddled father in Bye Bye Birdie both on Broadway and in the hit movie version. His quick gay wit and sarcasm made him a television star unlike no other.

Lynn born in Mt. Vernon, Ohio on June 13, 1926 despite his initial efforts to be taken seriously as an actor, Lynde realized early on that his exaggerated vocal inflections and stinging way of delivering a line got him easy laughs, so he accepted comedy as his future and made his Broadway debut in the hit revue New Faces of 1952 in which he co-starred with fellow newcomers Eartha Kitt, Robert Clary, Alice Ghostley, and Carol Lawrence. His monologue from that revue, the “Trip of the Month Club,”, Lynde portrayed a man on crutches recounting his misadventures on the African safari he took with his late wife. The show was filmed and released as New Faces in 1954.

After the revue’s run, Lynde co-starred in the short-lived 1956 sitcom Stanley opposite Buddy Hackett and Carol Burnett, both of whom were also starting their careers in show business. 

Lynde returned to Broadway in 1960 when he was cast as Harry MacAfee, the father in Bye Bye Birdie. he was a huge hit and re-created the role when the musical was turned into a movie starring Ann Margeret. 

Lynde was in great demand in the 1960s. During the 1961-62 television season he was a regular on NBC’s The Perry Como Show as part of the Kraft Music Hall players with Don Adams, Kaye Ballard and Sandy Stewart. He was a familiar face on many sitcoms, including The Phil Silvers ShowThe Patty Duke ShowThe MunstersThe Flying NunGidgetI Dream of JeannieF Troop, and variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dean Martin Show. He also was featured in a number of 1960s films, including Send Me No Flowers and The Glass Bottom Boat, both starring Doris Day.

Paul Lynde will always be best known sitcom role was on Bewitched, where he made his debut appearance in the first-season episode “Driving Is the Only Way to Fly.” His role as Samantha Stephens’ nervous driving instructor Harold Harold was so well received by viewers, as well as series star Elizabeth Montgomery and her husband, director/producer William Asher, with whom Lynde became good friends. Asher then created the recurring role of Endora’s practical-joking brother Uncle Arthur.

Then 1966, Lynde debuted on the fledgling game show Hollywood Squares and quickly became its iconic guest star. Eventually he assumed a permanent spot as the “center square,” a move which ensured that he would be called upon by contestants at least once in almost every round. Despite an urban legend to the contrary, Paul Lynde remained in the center at the producer’s’ discretion. Many NBC tour guides have claimed that Lynde was afraid of earthquakes and the center square proved to be the safest square of the show’s set. An anecdote related during the A&E Biography on Lynde described an earthquake that occurred during the Hollywood Squares taping that frightened and alarmed many of the guests. Lynde remained in his seat, tapping his fingers, asking if they were going to finish the show.

On Hollywood Squares Lynde was best able to showcase his comedic talents with short, salty one-liners, delivered in his trademark sniggering delivery. Many of these gags were thinly veiled allusions to his homosexuality. Asked, “You’re the world’s most popular fruit. What are you?” Lynde replied, “Humble.”  Asked how many men are on a hockey team, Lynde said, “Oh, about half.” Asked whether it was against the law in Texas to call a Marine a “sissy,” Lynde quipped, “I guess I’ll have to take the law into my own hands.”

Other jokes relied on double entendre, an alleged fondness for deviant behaviors, or dealt with touchy subject matter for 1970s television. Examples include:

Q: “What unusual thing do you do, if you have something called ‘the gift of tongues’?”
Lynde: “I wouldn’t tell the grand jury; why should I tell you?”
Q: “The great writer George Bernard Shaw once wrote, ‘It’s such a wonderful thing, what a crime to waste it on children.’ What is it?”
Lynde: “A whipping.”
Q: “Paul, any good boat enthusiast should know that when a man falls out of your boat and into the water, you should yell ‘Man overboard!’ Now what should you yell if a woman falls overboard?”
Lynde: “Full speed ahead!”

But despite his campy (and obviously gay) television persona, Lynde never publicly came out as being gay and the press generally went along with the deception. In a People magazine article the magazine featured Lynde and Stan Finesmith who was dubbed Lynde’s “suite mate” and “chauffeur-bodyguard.” Lynde also struggled with alcoholism HS host  Peter Marshall and Lynde’s longtime friend Kaye Ballard confirmed when inebriated, was quite cruel and would sometimes ridicule his friends.

And then there was his run-ins with the law. He had been arrested a few times for drunk driving and, while under the influence of alcohol

Earlier in In July of 1965, Lynde was involved in an incident in which a “friend”, 24-year-old James “Bing” Davidson, accidentally fell to his death from the window of their hotel room in San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The two had been drinking for hours and “horsing around”, when Bing slipped and fell eight stories.

In 1977, Lynde was involved in an incident at his alma mater, Northwestern University (NU), when he was the Grand Marshal for homecoming. At a fast food restaurant after the homecoming parade, he made racist remarks and gestures to African-American NU professor James Pitts. Lynde later blamed his behavior on fatigue and alcohol.

But in 1978, though Paul Lynde’s an incident occured that permanently damaged  Paul Lynde’s career after he was arrested for public intoxication outside of The Sun Tavern, a gay bar in Salt Lake City.  As a result he lost his guest starring role on The Donny and Marie Show and acting jobs became harder and harder for him to find, although it is unclear if this was because of anti-gay prejudice or his substance abuse problems and noted erratic behavior which often made him difficult to work with.

Paul Lynde finally became sober and drug free in the early 1980’s, shortly before his death.

Paul Lynde was found dead of a heart attack in his Beverly Hills home by his friend and ex-porn star, male escort, and now turned Private Detective Paul Barresi..  His remains were cremated and are interred at Amity Cemetery, in Amity, Knox County, Ohio with his family.

 

#PRIDE2022 – “Oh Connie Casserole!” WATCH: “The Boys In The Band” (1970) HD Remastered

Love it or hate it.  Mart Crowley’s play, “The Boys in the Band” opened in New York on April 14, 1968, at the off-Broadway Theater Four and ran for 1002 performances before being adapted to a successful motion picture.  This at a time when gay characters were seldom seen in commercial media except as crude stereotypes.  (Although some would argue later in history that is indeed what Crowley’s play presented.)

In the early 1990’s a revival production by San Francisco’s Theater Rhino company some became fearful of the characters images and some LGBT advocates denounced it as Uncle Tomism because they were worried about the LGBT organizations attempts to assimilate the community into straight society and were willing ignoring what a groundbreaking piece of LGBT history the play was for the 1968.

The Boys in the Band  is among the first major American motion pictures to revolve around gay characters and is often cited as a milestone in the history of LGBT cinema.

Loved by some, hated by others the plot is a simple one:  The film is set in an Upper East Side apartment in New York City in the late 1960s. Michael, a Roman Catholic and recovering alcoholic, is preparing to host a birthday party for his friend Harold. Another of his friends, Donald, a self-described underachiever who has moved from the city, arrives and helps Michael prepare. Alan, Michael’s (presumably straight) old college roommate from Georgetown, calls with an urgent need to see Michael. Michael reluctantly agrees and invites him to come over.

Michael, who believes Alan is a closeted homosexual, begins a telephone game in which the objective is for each guest to call the one person whom he truly believes he has loved. With each call, past scars and present anxieties are revealed. Bernard reluctantly attempts to call the son of his mother’s employer, with whom he’d had a sexual encounter as a teenager, while Emory calls a dentist on whom he’d had a crush while in high school; both Bernard and Emory immediately regret having made the phone calls. Hank and Larry attempt to call one-another (via two separate phone lines in Michael’s apartment). Michael’s plan to “out” Alan with the game appears to backfire when Alan calls his wife, not the male college friend Justin Stewart whom Michael had presumed to be Alan’s lover. As the party ends and the guests depart, Michael collapses into Donald’s arms, sobbing. When he pulls himself together, it appears his life will remain very much the same.

While the movie adaptation originally received less than stellar and even sometimes hostile reviews compared to it’s widely acclaimed play counterpart because of the paradigm shift that happened with the Stonewall riots. Today it is seen as a classic of gay cinema.  Both the play and the movie were  groundbreaking.  Despite the cries of stereotyping. No one had ever seen gay people portrayed so boldly.  In The Boys in the Band, the characters dealt with homophobia whether it was internalized or came from the “straight world”. The Stonewall riots pushed gays to fight back against homophobia and not to be complacent. While the play opened in 1968, one year before the Stonewall Riots, by the time the movie adaptation was released in 1970, the gay liberation movement had moved past complacency and wanted more than what The Boys in the Band had to offer.

Bill Weber from Slant Magazine wrote “The party-goers are caught in the tragedy of the pre-liberation closet, a more crippling and unforgiving one than the closets that remain.”

The Boys in the Band showed how we, as gay men, queers, fairies, faggots and homosexuals were not alone and while compelling  and at times brutally grim, it is a view into the dark night of the per-Stonewall gay soul.

The Boys in the Band is the essential gay drama and an essential piece of our history that every gay person should experience.

Watch the FULL 1970 movie below.

*Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

Patti LuPone Puts Anti-Masker Karen Audience Member In Her Place "Get the fuck out!"

Patti LuPone Puts Anti-Masker Karen Audience Member In Her Place “Get the fuck out!”

Patti LuPone who has never been one for mincing words and calling out theatergoers who fail to follow proper theater etiquette, did it again on Tuesday when she exchanged blue words with an anti-mask attendee during a production of “Company” on Broadway.

The reading extraordinaire occurred after the show, when LuPone — appeared with the rest of her cast in a post-show Q&A hosted and filmed by the American Theater Wing no less. 

During the Q&A, LaDiva rightfully called out the audience member who wasn’t wearing a mask properly. Currently, the Broadway League’s COVID safety protocols requires all audience members to wear a mask inside theaters.

Via Variety:

“Put your mask on over your nose, that is the rule,” LuPone says in a viral Twitter video. “That’s why you are in the theater, that is the rule. If you don’t want to follow the rule, get the fuck out!” I’m serious. Who do you think you are, if you do not respect the people that are sitting around you?” After a woman in the audience told LuPone “I pay your salary,” LuPone responded by telling her “You pay my salary? Bullshit. Chris Harper pays my salary,” referring to the producer of “Company.” “Who do you think you are? Just put your mask over your nose.”

The woman in the audience had the nerve to talk back to our Broadway Legend Supreme?

Bitch please.

Homophobic Russian MP Launches “I’m Not Gay” Reality Show

Homophobic Russian MP Launches “I’m Not Gay” Reality Show

Via The UK Metro:

Homophobic Russian MP Vitaly Milonov is presenting a reality show where contestants have to guess which person is gay in order to win a cash prize. I’m Not Gay is a series that sees eight men move into a country house together. At the end of each episode, they vote to eliminate a contestant they suspect of being gay. If they correctly guess, then they share two million rubles (£21,000), but if the homosexual man dodges detection he wins the prize. In the first episode, which has been shared on YouTube, Milonov tells the contestants: “I hope that you will quickly figure out the gay.”

In 2013, Milonov declared that gay men “deserve to be punched and kicked” after a gay man was blinded in a hate crime assault. That came days after he led a police raid on a gay Halloween party.

In 2014, he attempt to ban Eurovision from being shown in Russia due to that year’s win by “pervert” Conchita Wurst. and in 2017, he attempted to ban Disney’s live-action version of Beauty And The Beast as “gay propaganda.”

So we’re the first “tributes” for the Russian Hunger Games.

Coming soon to Fox I am sure.