I just got home from Sacramento, where I went to see the FINAL show in the FINAL CITY of the Rent Broadway tour, which is the FINAL time Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal will ever be in the show.
The crowd was electric, filled with many former cast members, and people who flew from all corners of the globe to be there.
When Adam Pascal walked out with his guitar, the crowd erupted. It seemed like it couldn't get much louder. Then Anthony walked out, and I realized I was wrong. The crowd was on its feet before they could even hit their marks, and they stopped and gave the crowd the time to calm down.
Anthony didn't start in with his normal opening line and instead said that this show, like every show, is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Larson. Then it began.
Hey Oasis people in Texas and nearby, you should definitely try and catch the world premiere of Douglas Carter Beane's new pop musical comedy Give It Up! if you can. It is playing from this weekend through February 14 at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas.
Based on Aristophanes' ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, in which a group of women refuse to have sexual relations with their husbands until they end the Peloponnesian War. Beane and Lewis Flinn, who wrote the music and lyrics, bring the classic tale of the battle of the sexes to a contemporary American college (Athens University) where Lysistrata Jones is the head cheerleader at a school where the basketball team is content to lose every game. Determined to inspire them to become winners and care for something more than themselves, the ladies decide to hold out on “giving it up” until their team breaks the 30-year losing curse by winning a game.
By Jeff Walsh
I was interested to see the wildly-popular revival of Hair on Broadway because I think the gay and hippie movements are intertwined, as both really got started in the late 60s. While the history of the gay rights movement links the Stonewall Riots to the death of Judy Garland, as they happened during the week of her funeral, to me it's always seemed like the culture was already shifting sexually, spiritually and culturally in ways that demanded that homosexuality express itself more naturally.
In the 40-odd years that have passed since Hair first played Broadway, hippies have become a bit of a cultural joke, but a lot of their legacy is still with us: the sexual revolution (including LGBT acceptance), health food, drug culture, expanding consciousness in other ways such as eastern religions, and of course, the music.
So, it is interesting to see Hair through that lens in its current revival, as a snapshot of a huge cultural shift. Of course, if you could care less about any of that, you'd still be in luck, since it's just a fun time capsule of a show brought expertly to life with an exuberant young cast.
The Tudors: The Complete Third Season - starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, as a young King Henry VIII, is now available for the first time on DVD this Tuesday, December 15th from Showtime and Paramount Home Entertainment. Set includes every sexy, scandalous episode PLUS royal DVD exclusives you can’t see anywhere else.
By Jeff Walsh
When I put "Newcastle" on, I figured the worst case scenario would be seeing hot surfer guys with not much else going on. And that's exactly what happened.
I don't want to give this much of a review, because this is one of those bait-and-switch gay movies, where it's marketed to gay audiences, on a gay DVD label, there's a bunch of hot guys on the cover, and… nothing much gay happens. If you mistimed a bathroom break, you'd miss the closest thing to a gay scene. And the gay scene there is seems to opt for a much different perspective than the well-lit, prolonged scenes given to the heterosexual sex scenes.
Sure, there's a lot of amazingly hot guys, many of whom run around and swim naked. But, really it isn't enough.
By Jeff Walsh
Mika's recent show at the Fox Theater in Oakland, supporting his new album "The Boy Who Knew Too Much," started on the wrong foot. Well, more accurately, Mika ended his show in Los Angeles the night before on the wrong foot, which had him a bit hobbled in Oakland, where he spent a lot of time on one leg, and using a flourescent-enhanced crutch to stay off his left foot. I've seen enough injured performers on concert already (lead singer of The Kaiser chiefs jumping around in a leg cast, and Pink recently avoided her aerial work due to a shoulder injury) to not think twice about it, but for some reason, it sort of deflated my experience of a Mika concert.
Mika concerts are parties. The music is upbeat. The crowd is ready to dance. And the glue holding it all together is Mika, who sets the tone.
So, watching Mika try his hardest to dance around, with his injured leg actually buckling out from under him at times, it sort of set me off. He was doing his best to make sure we were having fun, but you see that he was pushing himself into that role, as opposed to previous shows where it was completely effortless and natural. It just wasn't fun watching someone in pain trying to create a huge party vibe.
Interestingly, if you closed your eyes, it was a normal Mika show. His leg didn't affect his voice or energy in that regard, and his vocals and band were great.
By Jeff Walsh
The last time Semi Precious Weapons were in town, I was waking up every morning at 4 a.m. to work on my novel, which precluded my from attending night events (like their sold out club show). Thankfully, that was not the case this week, when the band played the historic Fillmore in San Francisco as part of the Perez Hilton Presents tour.
They shared the bill with Natalie Portman's Shaved Head (party nerds), Julian Perretta (Mika meets Jamiroquai), and then, after Semi Precious Weapons, Ladyhawke had the unfortunate chore of trying to follow Justin and the boys. They were probably good, but it's an unenviable slot.
If you're a fan of Semi Precious Weapons (and really, by this point, you should be, what's the hold-up?), then seeing them live just adds to the fun you already get from them. Lead singer Justin Tranter struts around the stage like a glam peacock, wearing panty hose and spike-heeled boots, and constantly ratchets up the party. From my perch at about the second row, I could see Justin offstage before the band took the stage. Ironically (or on purpose?), Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," was playing (read my previous interview with Justin for their love of, and history with Gaga), and he was already amping himself up, singing along, and dancing around.
By Jeff Walsh
I remember the first time I saw The Pet Shop Boys in concert nearly a decade ago, after only knowing their music. I seriously wondered what sort of crazy world I stepped into. Neil Tennant seemed to be walking down a ramp in slow-motion while singing a song with an orange fright wig on his head (Chris Lowe wore the same fright wig on the keyboards), and nearly every other song had some visual element attached to it. I expected a normal concert, and got craftsmanship, so it was a lot to absorb at once. It was all just so thought out and artfully constructed. And none of the elements were just distraction, filler, or nonsense happening on a screen behind him that didn't matter.
It was rare to see a show where the performer seemed humbled to be present, yet made no effort to break a sweat, content to let the words and music create the magic of the live event. Even the most upbeat songs worked up the crowd, but not the band. But this was the band known for ironic detachment, so it all made sense.
Of course, seeing them again tonight in San Francisco (a decade later than my first PSB concert, and 25 years since their first hit single, West End Girls was released) I knew what to expect, and they didn't disappoint.
Oasis and OutProud have always been sister sites, and after 16 years of providing services to LGBT youth, OutProud shut down recently (and is forwarding its web traffic here).
OutProud was the first organization in 1993 to provide outreach to queer youth on a national basis -- first on AOL and then over the Internet.
We will be adding more resources here in the future, but for now, feel free to join Oasis and start making friends with other LGBT* youth from around the world.
By Jeff Walsh
"The New Twenty" is a movie about a group of college friends who live in New York City. When the movie starts, we see them posing for a picture on their graduation day from college. After that we jump ahead a few years and see how they are growing up and apart.
There are two gay guys in the group of friends. One is an overweight guy who continually gets rejected on Internet sex sites. And the other is an Asian guy who starts falling in love with someone HIV positive. Most of the story revolves around the one friend who is starting a business and how that affects things.
For me, the movie just never grabbed me and made me interested in any of the characters, plots, or subplots. So, it wasn't that the movie was bad, inasmuch as it was just… there.
By Jeff Walsh
"Finding Me" is an interesting movie to watch, because most of the time I watched it, my verbtaim thoughts were soon repeated back to me. The main character of the movie, Faybien, starts off as an aimless guy who has no academic interests or a good job. But, we see him phone a friend when he sees Lonnie, a hot guy that often appears at his bus stop. In the call, he is excited to see the guy there again and decides he needs to finally say hi.
It's only after that point that the character keeps going in circles, where he keep deciding what he wants in life. But that's where it got amusing, because when the character would frustrate me and I'd think 'What is this kid's problem?', one of the characters in the movie would say 'What's your problem?' Later, I'd think, he needs to do something already and stop thinking everything through so much. Then a character would say 'You need to just go for it.'
So, on one hand, I guess I really understood how taxing it is to be Faybien's friend, but I don't think that was the point of the movie, which is really about him getting over his homophobic father, his dead mother, and other issues, and finally decide how he wants to live his life. But since you sort of know it's the only clear path, and the one he's likely to take before the credits roll, it takes him a long time getting there.
By Jeff Walsh
As it starts, "A Jihad For Love" has a familiar feeling for anyone who's ever seen movies about issues of sexuality and spirituality. We learn that the only reference to homosexuality in the Qur'an is about Sodom and Gomorrah. And that, though not part of the Qur'an, several Hadith (sayings attributed directly to Muhammad) directly condemn homosexuality. So, we're in familiar ground here, in a debate that continues about how to rectify sexuality and spirituality.
From the beginning, if you interchanged the words Qur'an and Bible, it would seem to make a lot of the same arguments with which many Americans are familiar. But as the film plays on, the familiarity washes away. People are imprisoned. Their backs bearing the marks of 100 bloody lashes. They leave their home and wait as refugees seeking asylum from a country they love, families they miss, and a religion that is still an important and meaningful part of their lives.
Muslim filmmaker Parvez Sharma isn't out to poke holes in Islam, or quote scripture back and forth with scholars (in fact, every scholar in the movie without fail just says homosexuality is wrong). But he is clearly interested in showing the depth of purpose that many gay Muslims feel, and the disconnect that causes with their culture. Sharma is also showing many sides of Islam, but none resembling the Al Qaeda caricature we usually see.
By Jeff Walsh
I'm not an unbiased viewer of "Every Little Step," the new documentary about the Broadway show 'A Chorus Line.' It is my favorite Broadway show ever. It is one of the first Broadway shows I remember having an impact on me. The cast recording has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have never once applied for a job without singing 'Who am I anyway? Am I my resume?' I've been known to sing about getting plastic surgery on my 'tits and ass' in public at karaoke bars.
On top of all that, I am still friends with Jason Tam from the Chorus Line revival cast, who I met (of course) because he was in the show, so just seeing him on screen is delightful. He gets a lot of praise in other articles about this documentary, as his audition is prominently featured and simply amazing. He leaves the producers crying, and is hired on the spot. But I'm way too biased about how talented Jason is to say any more. You'll have to watch this film and find that out yourself.
By Jeff Walsh
"Outrage," a new documentary playing select cities beginning this weekend, is taking on the hypocrisy of anti-gay politicians who are also closeted homosexuals. In each case, there seems to be a direct correlation between the closet and their anti-gay voting records.
Unlike the trailer for the movie (embedded below), the movie names the people in closets of power, interviews their former sexual partners, talks about where they go out to meet people, and makes a strong case for the homosexuality the men, such as Senator Larry Craig, still deny to this day.
I suppose outing has become a generic word in the culture, so we should go back to explore its historic roots. In an age where Perez Hilton "outs" Neil Patrick Harris, it is important to know that outing in the political arena is not about playing a gotcha game for people who merely deny their sexuality but enjoy secret gay lives. It is about people who deny it and actually cause harm to every gay person who has to live with the laws they pass to prove the lies they tell themselves and others are real.
By Jeff Walsh
"The Boys in the Band" is an impressive movie if only for the fact that it exists. The play came out in 1968, the same year as the Stonewall Riots in New York City, which is considered the birth of the modern day gay rights movement. The movie followed two years later, using the off-Broadway cast, and is now celebrating its 40-year anniversary.
I have to say, this movie holds up really well, and there is good reason to watch this to see where we've made progress as a community and possibly where we haven't. But that's for viewers to decide. I'm more interested in the narrative itself.
The movie starts out with Michael preparing to host a birthday party for his friend Harold. While Michael is preparing for the party, his old college roommate Alan calls. Alan is in New York City on business and urgently needs to see Michael. Michael is caught between worlds, with a bunch of loud gay friends set to arrive, and his former roommate (who doesn't know he's gay) needing to talk. Michael also assumes that Alan is gay, and wonders if he's finally going to admit it. They make plans to quickly get together, but then switch to lunch the following day.