This is the first of an occasional Queerty column, READ NOW, CRY LATER, by New York author and nightlife guru Michael Musto, chiming in about all things gossip and New York City.
Pity the NYC drag star (I won’t name her, but contrary to some buzz, it is not the popular Jasmine Rice LaBeija) who went all the way to L.A. to shoot RuPaul’s Drag Race’s season 13 and was sent right back home, wigs in tow, before filming even began. Challenge lost! I hear the producers found out that in her club act, the queen asks audience members for their phones and then does some comical tinkering, and as a result, everyone there on AirDrop gets to see that person’s nudies. Eek!
The show no doubt didn’t want another Sherry Pie, though this particular stunt seems more mischievous than evil. I like the gal and am sure she will rise again—but strictly with her own phone.
In other TV news to text home about, FX is working on a six-part series about queer rights starting in the 1950s and going forward, decade by decade. I will be on the ‘80s episode that discusses videographer Nelson Sullivan (who blithely captured the exploits of flamboyant characters like Ru, John Sex, and Christina), as well as lesbian activist Ann Northrop, known for her informed anger on the Gay USA show with Andy Humm. Other episodes will include one on the culture wars, and…well, just sit tight and be patient. This should put the “ride” back in Pride.
I might also pop up on Club Cumming’s digital Halloween show, even though when I did their recent variety revue, three of my Suzanne Somers poetry readings were cut for time! The humanity! This time, stars will include Sharon Needles, Amber Martin, Judy Gold, and Uta Lemper, so it looks to be more treat than trick. (Club Cumming should have the ticket link up before you can say “Boo.”)
And there’s another all-star event in the works, courtesy of Adam Weinstock/Red Spear Productions and actor/author/activist Brian Belovitch, whose transitioning to party girl Tish Gervais and detransitioning back to Brian has now been the subject of a play, a book, and a documentary. Brian is reviving the play Boys Don’t Wear Lipstick for a 20th anniversary reading on November 9th, and the stellar cast includes Stonewall‘s Jonny Beauchamp (as “teenage runaway Tish”), Margaret Cho (as “Tish the army wife”), Drag Race star Yuhua Hamasaki (Tish the housewife), Lena Hall (“Tish in Central Park”), Daphne Rubin-Vega (“Tish the nightclub diva and addict on the street”) and Jacob Tobia (diva on the bus). That’s a whole lot of Tish, written by a whole bunch of Brian. It all benefits Callen-Lorde Center and Emerging Artists Theatre (the latter will sell the tickets), and it’s directed by Ridiculous Theatrical Company’s Everett Quinton, so gloss up!
Meanwhile, Hollywood is going through a massive evolution, but some things never change, seeing as the folks at the awards prediction site Gold Derby are already pitching in with what films and actors they feel will be Oscar-nominated next year. Yes, even in our current devastated landscape, movies are coming out—some digitally, some in theaters, and some both—and there will eventually be honors for them, so pop your own kernels and deal with it. The predictions, while arriving as prematurely as an AARP card, give me hope that culture and even life might actually continue in full force someday. And the good news is that judging from these early guesses, this will be far from an #OscarsSoWhite kind of year. Among the choices being bandied about for possible trophies are Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, about black Viet Nam War vets, which premiered in June on Netflix; Respect, with Jennifer Hudson as the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin; The Trial of the Chicago 7, an Aaron Sorkin docudrama with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Panther activist Bobby Seale; One Night in Miami, the Regina King-directed film involving legends Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke; and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the George C. Wolfe directed version of the August Wilson play starring Viola Davis as the feisty lesbian blues singer and the late Chadwick Boesman as an enterprising trumpeter. For a change, I’m not just looking forward to the Oscars, I’m chomping at the bit for all these movies!
And finally, I started with a blind item, so let me end with one: What truly terrific Oscar winner forgot to sign her longtime personal assistant to an NDA, so when the gal Friday threatened to write a tell-all book, the star simply paid her off big time with newly earned real estate money and let it rest? She hopes. Oh, wait. A happier transaction has me congratulating gay-party promoter Ladyfag, who got secretly engaged to her girlfriend Skin (the British rocker from the group Skunk Anansie) in February and has now gone public with it. Even with distancing, that’ll be some wedding.
And with that, I’m AirDropping out of here, fully clothed.
Michael Musto is known for having written the long-running “La Dolce Musto” column in the Village Voice, for having written four books (including the nonfiction guide “Downtown” and the roman-a-clef “Manhattan on the Rocks”), and for having appeared as a TV commentator on topics both pop-cultural and political. He’s at @mikeymusto on Twitter.