- Birthday shoutouts go to Marc Jacobs (above), who is 50, Dennis Quaid is 59, and Cynthia Nixon is 47.
- The Trans 100 List was released today.
- Mark Adnum is not a fan of The Celluloid Closet.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber Adapting School of Rock for Broadway
- 10 Scoopy Tidbits From This Week’s Harrowing ‘Shooting Star’ Episode of Glee. Warning – MAJOR SPOILERS.
- Brendon Ayanbadejo has released his workout regimen. It appears to be working.
- Here’s the first pic from Captain America: Winter’s Soldier.
- Via Towleroad comes Sam Peters singing, “I’m In Love With A Man.” But not that way.
- Jon Stewart takes on the sudden marriage-equality political “evolution.”
- Introducing our new feature – The Weekly ShoutOUT™. Each week we’re going to focus on one out athlete/performer and feature a daily pic and career timeline. We’ll be showcasing the big names, but also the lesser-known gay celebs who deserve more recognition. This week we give a ShoutOUT to … Zachary Quinto. After 24., Zach spent a season as Tori Spelling‘s gay BFF Sasan on So noTORIous (below you can see him with Sasan’s real life inspiration, Mehran). Tomorrow – Zach plays a classic baddie.
- Here’s your Tasty Two For Tuesday With Matt Bomer™. First up, here’s Matt with Nick Zano at the “Meditation In Education” Global Outreach Campaign Event. I think I have the vapors. And you can look, lady on the right, but don’t touch.
- And here he is solo at the same event.
- Continuing the Top 50 Movie Songs Of The 80’s!. we’ve now come to THE TOP TEN MOVIE SONGS OF THE 80’S! At #7 is “Call Me” by Blondie, from American Gigolo
- Blondie had the biggest hit of their career (and one of the biggest soundtrack hits ever) with this Giorgio Moroder-produced classic. It debuted on the chart on February 16, 1980 and spent six weeks at #1 beginning on April 19th. Here’s the clue for #6 – “This Bloody Road Remains A Mystery”
- Congrats to No One! Nobody guessed that yesterday’s Pixuzzle™ © ® was Snakes On A Plane
- Here’s today’s Pixuzzle™ © ®. Below you can see a character from a famous movie. Can you name it?
And today’s Briefs are brought to you by…
- April 9, 2013 3:08 pm
Below you can see a teaser for TOM, a biopic of iconic gay artist Touko Laaksonen, who was better known by the pseudonym Tom Of Finland. If you’re not familiar with his work, here’s some info, but suffice it to say, he was one of the most important fi…
- April 9, 2013 12:52 pm
RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s fifth season is finally boiled down to its fiercest four — obvious frontrunner Jinkx Monsoon (who has ranked among the top performers in eight of the season’s ten challenges), deadpan comic Alyssa Thunderf*ck, the scrappy Roxxxy Andrews, and the fabulous side-eye empress Detox. Following last night’s challenge in which the queens paired up with gay marines to perform a flag routine as a “family,” the queen asked to sashay away was Coco Montrese, a.k.a. 37-year-old Martin Cooper of Las Vegas, the shade-hurling, happily melodramatic queen who proved on four specific occasions (including last night) that she is a marvelous lip-syncer. Detox outperformed her in a performance of Seduction‘s “(It Takes) Two to Make It Right” (which features Michelle Visage, of course), but her legacy in diva-mimicking showwomanship is already cemented.
We caught up with Coco to discuss her feud with Alyssa, her lip-sync preparations, and what she wishes she could’ve done to stay in the competition.
AfterElton: You had a stressful season. I asked Alyssa this when I spoke to her, but is it stressful to relive and watch that drama unfold on TV?
Coco Montrese: It is. It’s very hard to watch. So many people get the wrong perception of what you are and what you’re feeling at that moment in the competition because it is so stressful. Sometimes they think you can’t take criticism well, and that’s not the case! Until you’re in that situation, you can’t judge me and say that. It’s really stressful and very hard to watch.
AE: You’ve said that the judges’ critiques don’t bother you, but were there any that ended up sticking with you?
CM: Like I said in Untucked, when it’s myself, OK, yeah, [criticism] is fine. I’m fine with that. But in this last challenge when I was with someone else and I was given the task to do something with him, I got very protective of the other person. It was my job to do it. I felt responsible and very bad that he had to stand there and hear that, and not only did he have to hear it during his first time in drag, he had to hear in front of the whole world that, basically, Coco made him look busted. So that stung more than anything else. I go into protection mode! I am one of the older contestants in the competition, so I have a motherly type of defense for other people. That was hard. That was really hard. ‘
AE: All four of your lip-sync performances were flawless, including this last one against Detox. How did you strategize and plan for each lip-sync?
Coco Montrese: I’m an entertainer at heart, so for me, when it comes to lip-syncing, it has to look real. In order for it to look real, you have to know what you’re singing about. If the song is happy — “(It Takes) to Make It Right” — that’s kind of bubbly and kind of fun, you have to know what you’re talking about to make it out of sight! You know, that type of thing. Every song that I lip-synced, I put myself into the words. I don’t just lip-sync because, “Oh, I know the words.” I have to know what it’s about. With “Cold Hearted,” I had to pull the emotion of, “I’ve been wronged by this guy, and it’s awful!” to make it look real and believable. That’s something I use to perform to the best of my ability, and so that it looks real to the audience, you know? If they can feel it, I think I’ve done my job.
AE: I’m going out on a limb and suggesting that your “Cold Hearted” lip-sync is the best in the history of the show. I really figured your huge costume would be a hindrance for you, and you worked it out. The sleeve spinning? Amazing.
CM: You never go in thinking you’re going to end up lip-syncing, but with the dress, that was luck of the draw. I like to actually use to make it work all the time, and as far as the costume goes, I love to perform and I always use every inch of my body to perform. Luckily for me, the costume I had at the time was able to do that. You can’t plan for that though. You don’t want to be in the bottom!
AE: Your feud with Alyssa was a major plot point this season, but editing can often distort how much these personal dramas matter. Did this matter preoccupy you more or less than what we saw on TV?
CM: I mean, I think it was a little bit less of an issue than you saw. But I’ll be honest, it was an issue. People say, “Oh, you’re in a competition! Get over it.” It’s not that simple when friendships are real. When you haven’t talked to someone in two years, then you walk into a room and they’re there? The only difference is there were cameras there! People say, “Oh, I’m so over the feud between you two!” And I’m saying to myself, “You’re with your brothers and sisters every day!” People have those relationships and go through that all the time, and ours was just different because it was on film. People got to see it on TV. We do care about each other a lot, and we’re really good friends. That did play a role and it did throw me off in the beginning of the competition, yes.
AE: Was it really satisfying to beat her in the “Cold Hearted” lip-sync?
CM: Alyssa is a great entertainer. You cannot take that from her. She’s an amazing performer, and we’ve gone head to head many times. She’s pulled out on top sometimes, and I’ve pulled out on top sometimes. We’re both competitive and love what we do. I had no idea how it was going to go or what it was going to come down to, but I knew I had to give it my all. Giving it my all, I knew I’d be happy either way. There was a passion behind it, yes. The most passion I had in the competition was the ballet we did together and the lip-sync we did with each other. Once again here you have two entertainers who have a passion for what they do, and in the ballet, I was just trying to keep up with her because she’s such an amazing dancer. I was just happy I could keep up with her at that point in the competition. When it came to the lip-sync, I gave it my all. I was happy about that.
AE: Sometimes I can’t predict which challenges will bring out the best in the contestants, and that was definitely the case for the RuPaul roast challenge. Did you know that would be a triumph for you from the start?
CM: Not at all! I’d been down so much in the competition and still letting my friendships and feelings get the best of me. I just knew at that point, “OK, Coco. Shut everything out. Make this great.” I’ll be honest with you, when I told Ru the other night, “I feel like I was letting you down,” I’d realized Ru put me there for a reason and I really didn’t want to let him down. I didn’t want him to feel like, “Coco, what’s going on? What’s going on here?” When the roast came around, I thought, “I’ve got to remove myself from myself. I’ve got to put myself into a character.” When I put myself into a character, that’s when I do my best drag. Like when I lip-sync, if I put myself in that girl’s shoes — who ever is singing the song — I’m more of a character and I pull it off. So, I have to give a character performance. I have to get into character to pull it off. Maybe if I thought about it more during the competition, maybe I’d still be in the competition, you know?If I’d really put myself into character during the “Can I Get An Amen?” challenge, or if I put myself into a character in any of the other challenges, I might’ve excelled higher. But you live and you learn.
AE: Your Janet drag during the “Snatch Game” challenge was pretty powerful. What’s your favorite Janet song to perform?
CM: Oh my God, I love “Rhythm Nation.” It’s just such a powerful nation about unity. And that one I get to perform every night, so it’s really one of my favorite songs.
AE: And lastly: Which of the remaining queens would you throw your support behind, if you could only choose one?
CM: Oh, God! OK — I know you said only one. Based on friendship and loving and adoring her, Roxxxy. I’ve loved her since day one, we’ve known each other for years, and she’s amazing. Looking at the competition and who’s excelled so much in everything and who I’ve gotten to know and love, just everything about her, I’d have to say Jinkx. The comedy is hilarious, and being with her on set and after the competition, she’s just amazing.
- April 9, 2013 2:38 pm
Divine in the cult classic “Pink Flamingos”
The documentary I Am Divine made its world premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival and as the title suggests, it documents the life and times of the iconic Divine, the mother of all drag performers. Divine worshippers and newbies will be happy to know that this movie has all the crazy and outlandish antics expected from the late great performer, but it’s also surprisingly intimate, heartfelt, and a bit somber.
All of us remember our first encounter with the lovely Divine (born Harris Glenn Milstead). More than likely, you know her from John Waters’ Pink Flamingos (a.k.a. The movie where she eats dog poo). It wasn’t any different for Jeffrey Schwarz, director of the film. He was in his teenage years when he started worshipping at the altar of Divine.
“I had read about Pink Flamingos before actually seeing it, in Danny Peary‘s Cult Movies and John Waters’ book Shock Value,”says Schwarz. “At the time I had no tangible connections to gay culture, so John and Divine’s sensibility certainly helped lead me down a creative path and was an inspiration. And then finally getting to see Divine in those movies was just mind blowing.”
Jeffrey Schwarz, director of “I Am Divine”
Sure, Pink Flamingos may be known as the movie where Divine eats dog poo, but as Schwarz points out, “watching him on screen was thrilling. He was so fully committed to the characters he played.”
One of the main things Schwarz wanted to accomplish with making this film was that, although Divine was John Waters’ muse, that was just one thing on a long list of accomplishments. He aimed to make a documentary that preserved the counterculture legacy that Divine left behind. More than that, he wanted to explore her life fully, including his life as Harris Glenn Milstead – which many people tend to overlook.
“It’s been 25 years since his death, and I realized the icons that we take for granted aren’t necessarily part of the conversation with the next generation,” says Schwarz. “There had not been a proper documentary about Divine’s life so I attempted to fill that cultural void. Divine is an inspiration to misfits, outsiders, rebels, and freaks. He’s a poster child for misfit youth and proves that anything is possible.”
We had the chance to talk to Jeffery Schwarz more about his career as a filmmaker, interviewing Divine’s mom, sorting through tons of Divine footage, and the possibility of a Divine biopic.
What made you want to become a filmmaker and who are some of your influences?
I started making films to celebrate iconic, larger than life individuals with a great story to tell. The people I choose to make movies about all created a finely tuned persona that helped cover up any insecurities they may have had. People like horror movie maestro William Castle, ’70s porn icon Jack Wrangler, and of course Divine fit into that category. That’s the main motivation – helping to secure the legacy of people. I feel have been somewhat neglected or unappreciated by the mainstream culture – and they’re all rebels and outsiders. My documentary heroes are Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Errol Morris, the Maysles Brothers and also narrative filmmakers that make docs like Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese and Werner Herzog.
How easy/difficult was it to get all of these great people to participate in the film? Was there anyone you wanted that you didn’t get?
I would not have made I Am Divine without the blessing and support of John Waters. He knew my work and trusted that Divine’s story would be in good hands. John personally called many of the people I wanted to interview to let them know they should participate. That was huge for us. He’s been nothing but supportive of this project and I worship this man. After getting John’s blessing I got in touch with Frances Milstead, Divine’s mom who was still alive at the time. She wanted to see this movie get made and sent me some incredible rare photos and movies of Divine when he was growing up. She had a great life in Florida, surrounded by all these gay guys who adored her and made every day special. I’m so glad we were able to interview her before she passed away so she could talk about her boy. She was a lovely person. There is a lovely man in New York who was close with Divine and was his roommate in New York in the ’70s who told me some hilarious stories and provided us with photos but didn’t want to go on camera. He was camera shy. He probably would have added more about Divine’s private life, but I’m very happy with our colorful cast of characters.
The Pope of Trash, John Waters with Harris Glenn Milstead (Divine) at the premiere of “Hairspray”
How long did it take you make this film? Where did you get all footage and was it hard to find?
The film took about five years. The first phase was research & development, initial fundraising, (and) shooting all the interviews. The footage came from many sources. Various archives around the country, footage taken on the set of Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble by Steve Yeager, home movies from Divine’s mom, and many, many photographs by various friends and professional photographers. Divine loved being photographed so we had plenty to choose from.
What was the most difficult part in making this documentary?
Fundraising is always difficult especially in today’s economy, so we turned to Divine’s fans to help us get this movie made. We spent a couple of years cultivating a very lively community on our Facebook page. At this point we’ve got over 20,000 fans even before most people have seen the film. We decided to use crowd funding through Indie-Go-Go and Kickstarter and we made our goals. We wanted the fans to feel they had a stake in making sure the film was completed. It was a way for people to give back to Divine, to feel personally connected to something really special, and to show that Divine still has a thriving fan base. There really wasn’t a plan B. Between our online campaigns and the big donor angels that made larger contributions, we were able to complete the film.
Why do you think now is a good time for this documentary to come out?
When he was growing up, Divine was picked on, teased and abused mercilessly. After meeting John Waters and the Dreamland crew he found a group that accepted him, loved him, and encouraged him. He was able to take all his teenage rage and channel it into the Divine character. He threw everything that people made fun of him for back in their faces and empowered himself. He became an internationally recognized recording artist and screen icon. He gives courage to anyone who’s ever been mocked, ridiculed, or ostracized. With all the talk about bullying today, I feel his story shows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you love yourself. I Am Divine is kind of the ultimate “it gets better” story and he’s a poster child for misfit youth. He can inspire people, whether they’re queer or not, to find inspiration to fulfill their own creative destiny.
How did you decide what to include in the film and what to edit out?
There are so many hilarious and legendary stories about Divine, but if it didn’t relate to his journey of empowerment, we had to let it go. The original cut was about two hours, but it becomes clear the more you work on it what’s really important. The movie is 90 minutes, the perfect length. You’ll have to wait for the DVD to find out about Divine being a suspect in a murder case, his adventures in Provincetown with Holly Woodlawn, and how his high school girlfriend came to terms with Divine’s new identity.
A shot of Divine in one of her many performances
How do you think the allure of Divine has changed over the years? Specifically today with the gay – and even the hetero – community?
An entire new generation has come of age without Divine in their lives and I hope this film reminds us that he is the Queen Mother of us all. John has said he made movies for gay people who didn’t get along with other gay people. John and Divine were outsiders even within the gay scene. The appealed to other outsiders and freaks and reveled in shocking people who were humor impaired. Divine did play all the gay clubs when he did his disco act, but his appeal wasn’t limited to a gay audience. Even though the gay community loves drag, there’s always been a tension there. Sometimes they’re not looked upon as the “politically correct” image for straight society to accept us. Divine wasn’t outwardly political and didn’t get involved in any gay causes, but just by being who he was I’m sure empowered people to accept themselves. Today’s queers need to remember people like Divine and the people on the fringes who made it easier for the rest of us.
You’ve directed many documentaries – and I am sure you have been asked this MANY times before, but I am going to ask anyway. Do you plan on making a feature narrative film and what would it be about?
Yes, I would love to direct a narrative when the right project comes along and it would likely be along the lines of the docs I’ve made. If the stars align, making a Divine biopic would be a dream come true. I’ve been developing a feature about the legendary underground gay filmmakers George Kuchar and his twin brother Mike. We’re also developing a feature about the relationship of Jack Wrangler and Margaret Whiting, based on my previous doc Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon. The casting possibilities are delicious.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
My next project is called Tab Hunter Confidential. It’s the story of matinée idol Tab Hunter and how he went from being a teenage stable boy to one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the 1950s. He was gay (of course) and the movie is about the tension between being presented as the boy next door and every girl’s dream date, but in reality keeping a very big secret. I met him when we interviewed him for I Am Divine about co-starring in John Waters’ Polyester. We have started production so if there are any sugar daddies reading this that want to help us get this movie made, send them my way!
For more information on filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz and I Am Divine, visit the documentary’s official website.
- Rhuaridh Marr
- April 9, 2013 12:25 pm
The internet seems to be undecided about Freddie Highmore‘s performance as Norman Bates, Hitchcock‘s most famous villain to grow up addicted to hand-me-down sweaters, apparently. But you can’t really argue the fact that Highmore really sells on the crazy. During his best moments, Highmore hyperventilates, unhinges, and surges with weird rage, outperforming even Vera Farmiga‘s best scenes (though, to be fair, she hasn’t been given any powerful personal moments yet). At the opening of Monday’s show, Highmore escaped from Det. Shelby’s basement, where he stumbled upon one of those famous Chinese sex slaves we keep hearing about. Last week’s episode made it seem like Norman was trapped in that cellar as Shelby arrived home, but luckily Norman’s brother Dylan had followed Norman to the house and saw him break in. Flummoxed, Dylan decided to distract Shelby so Norman could sneak out of the house. His tactic was successful, though his ensuing interrogation of Norman was not. What a cagey little psycho! No fun, Normzy.
2. A river of tension runs through it.
After Detective Shelby runs into Norman on the street, tells him he “really likes” his mother and wants to get to know him better, we knew we were in for a bizarre bonding experience. Norman was understandably edgy about Shelby’s proposed fishing excursion because, y’know, Shelby is shady as hell. His blondness is too mysterious! Too handsome and yet too evil-seeming. Worse, we don’t know what he knows, or if he intuited that Norman had broken into his house, or what. I wasn’t quite prepared for their strange fishing trip in which Shelby looked Norman in the eye and said, “I need to know I can trust you. You need to know you can trust me.”
It’s hard to trust people who speak in cryptograms, I think. And even harder to trust people who care about fishing. What is their endgame? Catch a fish and eat it? That’s stupid.
3. Norma’s interrogation skills? Disappointing.
The one thing I have a hard time digesting about Bates Motel is the fact that Norma ever thought it was a good idea to hide the fact that she killed her psychotic rapist — and that she’s still hiding it. Her reason? She doesn’t want to scare away business from her motel! Norma, that’s dumb.
So we sat and watched Norma deflect a list of questions posed by sexy Nestor Carbonell, and the fact that he seems to know everything about the victim’s craziness should lead Norma to fessing up. How can she hide anything at this point? The victim’s severed hand has been located in The Scary Lake (how very Winter’s Bone!), and the carpet fibers under his wrist match the motel’s carpet. Ugh, Norma. Your Ann Taylor Loft flair does not extend to your interrogation room presentation. She looked ridiculous and quavery deflecting those questions in the classic “I do not recall” format, and as the episode’s ending proved, it clearly didn’t work for her. Norma, I want you to be a glorious heroine, but I can’t root for you when you insist on being a mall-brand moron!
4. Is Dylan secretly the most effed-up member of this family?
Consider this: After Norman exploded into freakish tears in front of Dylan and confessed the entire rape-kill-and-body-disposal story to him, Dylan sat stonefaced, chuckled, and encouraged Norman to go “get laid” by dull Bradley. Let me repeat that: Dylan learned that his mother was raped and almost killed, then told Norman to enjoy some sex. Uh? Couple this with the fact that Dylan followed Norman to Shelby’s house, and I think we’re keying into the biggest mystery of all here: What is Dylan’s deal, what does he know, and what has he done? Because Norma seems abjectly crazy and Norman is a delirious mess, it’s easy to forget that Dylan — in his sensible leather jacket from The Buckle — is probably a dicey guy. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that Shelby and Dylan look a LOT alike. I’m not sure that Bates Motel will ever get seriously incestuous, but I bet we’ll hit a really disturbing moment like at the end of The Grifters. In fact, I might just start calling Vera Farmiga “Blonde Anjelica Huston II.”
5. What. Was With. That Sex Scene.
Heeding Dylan’s advice, Norman visits his boring trick Bradley’s house, and the two of them have pleasant, ambient, linen-tussling sex that lasts a long time, involves both parties flashing vacant and sexless grins at the camera, and summons a laughable amount of moody music. Dear Bates Motel: Stop trying to make Bradley happen. She’s not going to happen. Let handsome sociopath Norman kill her next time, because it’s more fun for us. Do we think Emma Decody is going to find out about this tryst and go crazy? I like that Bates Motel makes me wonder how crazy every single character is. It’s like Facebook that way.
At episode’s end, Norma was arrested for the murder of her rapist. How’ll she get out of this one, folks?
And how are you digging Bates Motel?
- April 9, 2013 10:06 am
Mad Men‘s two-hour sixth-season debut fell right in line with past years’ of the AMC series premieres: a slow, studied episode that updates Don Draper‘s world with charming nuance (Megan‘s a recognizable soap star! Ginsberg has a horrifying mustache!) without vaulting us into any Earth-shattering plot developments. It was a bit dull, but we were given enough bait to ponder the rest of the year. What does Peggy’s dazzling confidence at work mean for her? Is Betty seriously rummaging through flophouses and deadpanning to her husband about rape fantasies? (Of course she is.) Here are my five predictions (or hopes?) for the season ahead.
1. Someone else close to Roger dies.
Roger spent the episode waxing about life’s myriad, yet boring opportunities (complete with a monologue to his psychologist about doors only revealing other doors), and he reacted blankly when he heard the news that his mother died. After a disastrous memorial where Don threw up and Roger shooed away his guests, he finally broke down after he learned about another death. The greatest punishment for the endlessly dense Roger is that he keep on living and not learning; therefore, I’m predicting he’ll lose someone else close to him. Jane? She’s my guess for now, mostly because she looked unbelievably stunning last episode.
2. Peggy and Abe part ways.
Peggy and her squeeze Abe have a harmonious relationship at the moment, but Peggy’s utter workplace excellence (loved her grilling that guy about a Viet Cong-referencing “ear” monologue on The Tonight Show that could damage her headphones campaign) makes me think she’s doomed to alienate him.
3. Henry Francis wises up.
We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop with Henry Francis, right? He loves Betty unconditionally, smirks at her (along with us) on the right occasions, and always offers what seems like a rational counterbalance to her immaturity. I’m sick of that being all he represents. This season, I hope Henry reads Betty the riot act and threatens to divorce her. He’s already embarrassing himself with that sweater, so he’s got some ground to make up.
4. Don’s affair ends disastrously
Oh, look: Don’s cheating on Megan with the wife of his doctor friend. In bed, Don tells the woman (played by Linda Cardellini): “I want to stop doing this.” I hope he’ll be forced to; I’m waiting for one of Don’s mistresses to die or kill herself or expose him in a big way. Don’s gotten off easy with past ladies like Faye; I hope he’s subject to a Lindsay Weir freakout this time around.
5. We haven’t seen the last of that gorgeous photographer’s assistant.
Is this a purely selfish prediction? Maybe, but it felt like the camera wanted to linger on this clean-cut cutie. He stood in the background of several scenes with his wide eyes and, basically, it was hard to keep my eyes off him. Don’t deny the star-power, Matthew Weiner!
What do you think we can expect from season six? Here’s a good question: Where can Joan go from here?
- April 9, 2013 9:27 am