Life has a funny way of putting things into perspective. Last weekend I was down in South Florida attending the Winter Party, an annual fundraiser for the LGTBQ Task Force. While going through my extensive wardrobe, I was bemoaning the fact that I did not lose the 10 pounds of weight gained while recuperating from surgery (and indulging in my holiday addiction of peppermint bark). In the midst of my pity party, I got a call telling me that my friend Dirk Shafer had passed away. Talk about a reality check! Dirk – who looked better in and out of clothes than most people who have ever walked the planet – was dead. I suppose I’m a terrible gossip columnist. My first thought was not to share a scoop with my readers; it was to mourn a friend. The next day, a sanitized account of his passing hit the web. While there’s more to the story, that’s ultimately unimportant. He was a man who had success in his field, was blessed with beauty inside and out, and yet he faced the same issues, insecurities, and demons we all do. Rest in peace, my dear friend.
In the coming weeks, South Florida will play host to a couple of Tony winners. And as it turns out, both of the producers have ties to Provincetown. I told you how much I enjoyed Cheyenne Jackson’s concert at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, which was presented by Mark Cortale of the Ptown Art House. On March 20th, Sutton Foster will be appearing alongside Seth Rudetsky. Tickets are still available at ParkerPlayhouse.com.
On the same night, another Tony winner will be in the area. Down in South Beach, the fabulous Billy Porter will be at the Colony Theatre on March 20 and 21 under the aegis of the hunky proprietor of Ptown’s Crown & Anchor, Rick Murray. Earlier this year, Rick presented Linda Eder and Betty Buckley in concert, so this is a great close to their South Beach Broadway Series. You can get tix and deets at ColonyTheatreMiamiBeach.com.
One of my guilty pleasures is “Empire”. While people are comparing this show with nighttime soaps of yesteryear like “Dynasty”, it’s clearly Shakespearean – borrowing more than just a bit from “King Lear”, with hints of “The Merchant of Venice” thrown in. While everyone in the cast pulls their weight, the delicious Taraji P. Henson gets the lion’s share of attention. But didya know that the role of Cookie could have gone in a whole different direction? According to Mo’Nique, she was offered the part first. “Mr. Daniels offered me the part of Cookie, and I have the emails and the sides to go along with it.” She claims to have been waiting for information on where the screen test was supposed to be, but no details were forthcoming. However, the executive producer and co-creator of the show Tweeted, “Monique is so talented she’d be great in almost anything. But Cookie was always @TheRealTaraji”. I’m sure it was simply one big misunderstanding. Maybe someone simply offered Mo’Nique a cookie!
I had reservations when HBO’s “Looking” started. While I still think it’s somewhat plodding and cringe-worthy, the winning cast has kept me engaged – and that includes sexy Russell Tovey. But in a recent interview, the openly gay actor earned some ire after making the following comment: “I feel like I could have been really effeminate, if I hadn’t gone to the school I went to. Where I felt like I had to toughen up. If I’d have been able to relax, prance around, sing in the street, I might be a different person now. I thank my dad for that, for not allowing me to go down that path. Because it’s probably given me the unique quality that people think I have.”
His depiction of gay stereotypes has not gone down well with some. Tovey took to Twitter to apologize: “I surrender. You got me. I’m sat baffled and saddened that a misfired inarticulate quote of mine has branded me worst gay ever. If you feel I have personally let you down, I’m sorry, that was never my intention. I’m proud to be who I am and proud for others. We’re in this together. I want you to know whatever you think I meant, I didn’t. I’m gonna ride this out, and one day we will all look back on this moment with a half smile of fascination and amusement. Until that day, I’m gonna carry on being me.”
Our “Ask Billy” question has someone turning the tables on me. Rick in Virginia writes, “I was going through your old columns on BillyMasters.com and I saw you talking about Ryan Daharsh when he appeared in “DNA” magazine in 2007. You said he’s probably not gay, but you’d still like to see him nude. I don’t know if he’s gay, but he does gay p-rn so you can see him nude.”
I remember Ryan Daharsh with ENORMOUS fondness. When he launched as a model, he was touted as the living and breathing embodiment of Michelangelo’s David – not a bad comparison. Sure, he’s done some nude modeling, who hasn’t? Digging deeper, I came into possession of a handful of close-up penis shots in various stages of, well, shooting. I suppose they could be legit. Then I got a j-rk-off video that seems to be real – you see both a penis and a face (what a novelty that is). So, it seems that he is doing some kind of p-rn. You can check out his body of work at BillyMasters.com.
When I’m running a racy video that doesn’t belong to a Tony winner, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. Like Daharsh’s d–k, we ran VERY long (and thick). Feel free to check out www.BillyMasters.com, the site which houses a super-sized version of this very column. If you have a question (or an answer) for me, send it to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Dominique Deveraux turns up on a very special episode of “Empire”. So, until next time, remember one man’s filth is another man’s bible.