Hollywood Inside and Out August 19,2014
“Betty White’s a doll – as long as you’re not on the same show as her!” – Carol Channing.
I just spent a magical weekend in Provincetown that certainly didn’t start out so promising. Just before I arrived, I got a call from the hunky proprietor of the Crown & Anchor, Rick Murray, informing me that Liza Minnelli had cancelled her appearance in a joint concert with Alan Cumming due to a back injury. However, Alan would soldier on and do a solo concert, with a portion of his fee going to The Trevor Project. Although many of the people in attendance hadn’t seen Alan Cumming live before, he won them over within minutes of hitting the stage with a subversive rendition of “Mein Herr”. Cumming is not simply a singer – he’s an actor who sings. Each song is approached as a mini acting scene, which makes him connect with his audience as if they were watching a play. Rarely have I seen an audience so rapt in attention. You could hear a pin drop. Given the audience demographic, it definitely didn’t hurt that Cumming’s penis was hanging to the right and clearly visible in his leather pants. I don’t believe anyone left that evening feeling shortchanged.
The next night, I was off to the Ptown Art House for the incomparable Marilyn Maye – more than ably assisted by the dashing Billy Stritch. Celebrating her fourth consecutive year performing in Ptown, Marilyn pulled out all the stops and magically transported the audience to a different time – a time when singers knew how to make a song their own and make an audience feel honored to be in their presence. And what a swell audience Maye attracts. On opening night, there was Bob Mackie (who made Marilyn’s ensemble). Closing night, Billie Jean King. And in between, Carol Channing and Tommy Tune. You can find pics of everyone on BillyMasters.com. Needless to say, if you ever get the chance to see Marilyn Maye, go – she’s one of a kind.
Carol Channing and Tommy Tune were in Provincetown to appear at Town Hall (presented by the Crown & Anchor). The way Tommy had devised the show, he’d welcome the capacity crowd, warm us up, set the stage, and then bring on Carol to answer questions about her storied career. Two moments stand out. First, you will find very few people who will say anything against the beloved Betty White. Channing talked about doing a show with Betty which also featured Max the baboon. Apparently, Carol was told to sit in the cage with Max for a while so that he could get used to her scent. This went OK initially, but once Max got agitated, Carol dashed out, was chased by Max, and ended up panting in the production room with the cast. Betty White looked at Carol and laconically said, “Oh, Carol, we all had to get used to you at first!”
The highlight of the show was when Tommy asked Carol to recite the famous “Ephraim” speech from “Hello, Dolly” – where she talks about wanting to rejoin the human race. She fumbled a bit with the opening and said, “Let me start over.” Carol went back to the beginning and did the entire speech flawlessly with enormous warmth and conviction, and then immediately launched into the first verse of “Before the Parade Passes By”. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I’ll run some photos from this incredible night on BillyMasters.com.
You know that lawsuit against Bryan Singer and others about sexually abusing male youths in the ’90s? In the weeks since Michael Egan brought his allegations against the director and several other Hollywood hotshots, his recollections have proven to be far less reliable than initially thought. In the midst of his mounting credibility issue, Singer’s lawyers swooped in and made an offer to settle the matter out of court without the admission of any guilt in exchange for $100,000. It would appear that Egan’s lawyers favored such an arrangement, and Singer’s people drew up the agreement. Singer even signed it. But when push came to shove, Egan nixed it. “This exact kind of take-it-and-shut-up deal is why I decided to stand up in the first place. Being silenced goes completely against what I believe in and offers no protection for other vulnerable children.” Ah, there it is – he’s not holding out for more money…he’s doing this for the children! While these platitudes might sound convincing, apparently his lawyers feel differently: “We are in the process of withdrawing from representing Mr. Egan in all his cases and have no further comment concerning his matters at this time.” And that, dear readers, says it all.
Last year, Michelle Rodriguez finally opened up about her own dalliances with women. She now presents herself as a bisexual, although I must admit I’ve never been able to picture her in a sexual relationship with a man. Nothing has swayed this belief, including the many photos and videos of her cavorting with Zac Efron. Please – as if sleeping with Zac Efron proves you like men. If anything, I suppose it only proves that Michelle is a top!
When Michelle Rodriguez is topping Zac Efron, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. Phew – that was a lot of work for me…especially for the summer. But I’ve gotta keep things fresh on www.BillyMasters.com – the site that never sleeps. We didn’t have room to answer a question publicly, but I’m always available for your queries. Just send ’em along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before the parade passes by! Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.