”I didn’t think we were going to have to battle with and learn from all these older people,” says Christian Taboada. ”I didn’t know it was spring break with senior citizens.”
That is essentially the basis for the new reality TV series Forever…
- Metro Weekly (Newspaper Magazine of Gay and Lesbian DC)
- April 2, 2013 7:25 pm
The homestretch of RuPaul’s Drag Race is giving a massive edge to Jinkx Monsoon, who won her second challenge on Monday with her hilarious, tear-streaked, deeply crazy telenovela performance. Even if guest actor Wilmer Valderrama looked perplexed by the whole exercise, Jinkx was an obvious and polished standout.
The less-than-polished queens this week included season-long nemeses Coco Montrese, who lip-synced for her life yet again last night, and Alyssa Edwards (a.k.a. Justin Johnson of Mesquite, TX), who has made a habit of redeeming herself with stellar lip-syncing work. After perhaps the greatest, most dynamic lip-sync battle in the history of the show (set to Paula Abdul‘s still fabulous “Cold Hearted”), Coco stayed and Alyssa was ordered to sashay away.
We caught up with Alyssa to discuss her battle with Coco, Jinkx’s streak of great performances, and his secret shyness.
AfterElton: Alyssa! You were engaged in some intense verbal drama this season. Is it exhausting to watch it back on TV?
Alyssa Edwards: It definitely is. My life isn’t really centered much around it, because I’m around children 90% of my life. Being in that intense situation, [drama] comes along with the territory of being a queen and entertainer. Watching it from the watch parties, I’m like, “Oh my gosh! I need me a Tylenol PM! I need to take me a nap!” But it’s a competition and the opportunity to be the next drag superstar. There are 14 talented entertainers — some of the finest in the industry of female impersonation.
AfterElton: You won the RuPaul ballet challenge, but struggled in the more acting-based, dialogue-heavy challenges. Was there a dream challenge you were waiting for?
Alyssa Edwards: I won’t say that acting wasn’t my favorite because I enjoyed those experiences. I gave my all, but there were five or six people who were better. I went into this experience with the mentality, “Just be your best in every situation you’re placed in.” Leaving the competition, I found my most rewarding challenges were the ones where I stepped outside my comfort zone, the things I probably would’ve never done. Those have inspired me to refresh and revamp my gig. This is an opportunity for me to travel state to state, stage to stage and let fans see a different sides of Alyssa Edwards. As for a dream challenge? Anything athletic, I probably would’ve won! [Laughs.] I’m being funny with you. And I’m not that funny. I probably would’ve been good at this next challenge coming up, the drag transformation. I was doing my best with the whole acting thing, and the crazy thing is, I was little boy growing up who was a geeky theater nerd — like theater tech. I was begging to be onstage! I didn’t care if I was just in the chorus because I really couldn’t sing. Maybe I could just dance! So for me, I was really honestly, I was trying in the acting challenges, but I was getting beat down a little bit because I’m very competitive and I wasn’t excelling as much as the other girls.
AfterElton: I didn’t realize until I looked at the stats, but Jinkx has ranked in the top for every challenge since episode three. Lately you’d been ranking near the bottom. Does it wear on you, trying to reverse a streak of bad weeks?
Alyssa Edwards: Not really. I’m in a competition every day of my life. That’s the name of the game. I think Jinkx is phenomenal. She embodies what a drag superstar should be. She is someone that has mastered the act of being onstage. I appreciate and applaud that. I’ve seen her as a frontrunner since the beginning. Maybe not day one, but from the very first challenge. She’s broken down all the barriers, all the walls. Maybe I still have walls up. What people kind of don’t know about me is — and this sounds kind of silly — I’m shy! Justin is shy! There are some things I haven’t gotten in tune with. With being a great actor, you have got to be able to embody a character and allow those walls to be broken down. And laugh at yourself! And have fun with it. I started to taking [myself] seriously after the perfume commercial challenge. I needed to laugh with it! Have fun with it! That’s something I’ve learned from the Drag Race experience.
AfterElton: In the ongoing war between you and Coco, you were definitely the more likable half. Is it validating to know that?
Alyssa Edwards: I mean, Miss Gay America was a dream of mine. But really, I just didn’t really work out. I wasn’t a good fit. I felt like at some point I thought, “I’ve already moved on.” Six months later, I’d won another pageant. It was kind of like, “Let’s get away from this situation. We’re both here competing. I’m done with it” I think he was holding onto some things because he felt like it’d affected his reign. But there are some things I look back on that situation and say, “Why did you say that, Justin? That was kind of ridiculous.” There are things I would’ve redone differently, but I don’t think it’s more validating to feel like I came out on top because it was a win-win situation for the both of us. I might not have won that night, but he was a good representative. I didn’t even put too much thought into it afterward, to be honest with you.
AfterElton: That final lip-sync was downright incredible. You and Coco were both astounding. On Untucked, we saw that Detox might be in the bottom with you. In retrospect, do you wish you’d competed in that lip-sync against her?
Alyssa Edwards: No. If I’m going to go home — I mean, at this point, all the girls are good. I was very OK with it in the end. I was a little surprised because backstage, Detox went through a lot getting ready for the runway look. We all assumed or thought — well, we all thought I’d be in the bottom [laughs] — but we assumed Detox was too. They’re both fierce entertainers. I was never disappointed that I was in the bottom. I did make that comment and I hold true to it; I wanted America to see what I can do and what I’m good at. And all they’re seeing is that I was sucking at everything! I was giving my all, but they were better! So when “Cold Hearted Snake” happened, I gave it my best, but I knew that I would come up short next to Jinkx, who’s brilliant, and Alaska, who’s hysterical. I knew that. So between Roxxy, Coco, Detox, and I — two of us are going to be there. I wanted to be strategic. That’s my competitive side. But I was OK that it was Coco, and I applaud her for coming out on top. Do I wish I’d [won]? Absolutely.
AfterElton: Do you think you would’ve fared better in, say, season two when someone like Tyra Sanchez won the competition thanks to her stage presence, looks, and ability to endear the judges?
Alyssa Edwards: I want to say this first: I don’t believe in stereotypes. I think it’s just drag, it’s not personal. And art is subjective. I don’t want to be placed into just a pageant queen stereotype because demographically here in Texas, that’s all I knew! If I wanted to get onstage and grab the spotlight, I had to do pageants. It was what I was born and bred to do here. I’ll tell you this, I said in the elimination lunch today that when I’m on the show, but my jokes are funny to me! I don’t want to be just a pageant queen, because I’m also a performer. I was born to be onstage. The “pageant” thing, a lot of that comes with having to be poised. But looks? That’s kind of not me at all. But if the shoe fits, wear it. And my shoe is sparkly and rhinestoned. That said, I am the definition of a Texas beauty queen, but at heart, I’m a comedy queen. I am the actress. But the judges didn’t see it that way.
As for the seasons, I would rather lose or be a runner-up to a bunch of sickening, fabulous entertainers and drag queens than take the easy route. I think every season has been relevant to its time. If anything, drag has evolved.
AfterElton: Finally, if you could only throw your support behind one remaining queen, who would you choose?
Alyssa Edwards: Jinkx Monsoon. I think he’s mastered the art. His craft is so wide-ranged. And the b*tch is funny. I would pay to go watch him on Saturday night, and I would sit in my cocktail dress, hold my clutch, and beat the wall. I would get tipsy and have a good time. That’s how I’m looking at it. I think Alaska is a very sweet person and I really enjoy him. Roxxy is a friend of mine. Detox is hysterical. Coco is actually a very good performer. But Jinkx Monsoon is leading the pack for being so wide-ranged. I can give credit where it’s due. I can give my curtsy, my little bow. I hope it’s him. He’s so deserving.
- April 2, 2013 3:05 pm
Crowd Rallies in D.C. for Transgender Health: Activists call for competent, culturally sensitive care for transgender people, equal coverage for medical procedures
A crowd of more than 100 people rallied at the Columbia Heights Plaza Saturday, March 30, to demonstrate support for equal treatment in health care for transgender individuals, with many local activists sharing personal stories of medical discri…
- Metro Weekly (Newspaper Magazine of Gay and Lesbian DC)
- April 2, 2013 3:11 pm
Nicole Scherzinger has worked her ass off for international recognition. She fronted a girl group. She released tons of solo singles, including the underrated “Don’t Hold Your Breath.” She literally jived for our votes on Dancing With the Stars (and won them).
And now, she gives perhaps our generation’s definitive performance of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” right in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber himself.
The occasion was a UK special entitled Andrew Lloyd Webber: 40 Musical Years, and Scherzinger rose to the occasion in what looks like a Marchesa(-esque) gown. The performance has to be seen to be believed, as Scherzinger’s crystal-clear vocal soars like a glittery javelin. Oh, man. Argentina, you thought you peaked with Francis I, but here’s a sight and sound worthy of endless white smoke plumes.
Astounding, right? LuPone, watch out. Madonna, I’m not sure, but I think this girl might have the stuff to tackle “Holiday.”
For the hell of it, what’s your favorite PCD song? Mine is “I Hate This Part.”
- April 2, 2013 12:32 pm
- Birthday shoutouts go to Christopher Meloni (above), who is 52, Michael Fassbender is 36, and Emmylou Harris is 66.
- Italian Scientist: Vaccinations Cause Homosexuality .
- Remember the video I posted yesterday of the child street preacher? Here’s more info on his indoctrination.
- Michael Reagan on marriage-equality: “There is also a very slippery slope leading to other alternative relationships and the unconstitutionality of any law based on morality. Think about polygamy, bestiality, and perhaps even murder.”
- In ratings news, The Following scored a season low
- Ellen announces the Finding Nemo sequel.
- Anderson, Julianne Moore and a sloth.
- EW.com has the details on Chris Colfer and the second Land Of Stories book, The Enchantress Returns, which will be out August 6th.
- The Top Ten hottest Doctor Who companions.
- 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 … Russell Tovey. After The History Boys, Russell had a memorable turn in the Doctor Who episode Voyage Of The Damned, opposite Kylie (a role he would reprise in David Tennant‘s final episode). He so impressed Russell Davies that his name was bandied about as a possible future Doctor. Below you can see him having fun with himself. Tomorrow – Russell gets naked … a lot.
- Continuing the Top 50 Movie Songs Of The 80′s! At #12 is … “Making Love” by Roberta Flack
- Gorgeous ballad from one of the most important gay films of the 80′s, it’s one of Roberta’s finest moments. It debuted on the chart on March 06, 1982 and peaked at #13 on June 26th.. Tomorrow’s clue – “It’s the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance.”
- Congrats to
- 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 2, 2013 1:36 pm
Bates Motel let us in on a surprise last night: Norman Bates is a psycho. Ohhhhhh.
A pretty committed one, at that. I worried last week that we wouldn’t be acquainted with the true weirdness of Norman Bates until, say, the end of the first season, but on Monday we learned that Norman’s mommy issues, brother issues, motel issues, mysterious sketchbook issues, spooky asthma tremors, love of old-timey sweaters, and murky backstory are joining forces to make him a creep. It remains to be seen how much of Norman’s psychosis will develop or is already developed, but at least Freddie Highmore is exhibiting a fit-for-cable level of insanity at the moment. Is it hammy too? Yes, but I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t.
Episode three plunged us into the catacombs of Norman’s wackiness and also into actual catacombs. It was like Alfred Hitchcock Presents Tomb Raider, y’all.
As usual, the original Norman Bates, Anthony Perkins, is here to weigh in with his review of the episode. Mr. Perkins’ response to episode three is…
…Pure jubilation! He loves the hideous psychotic baggage! Tony, you sick f*ck!
And now, here are my picks for the five most noteworthy moments of the episode.
1. Wow, that’s a helluva breakdown, Norm.
Like the protagonist in a Goosebumps book who is turning into a werewolf or a killer bee or an adolescent, Norman found himself shaking and crying in his room, wondering aloud, “What’s happening to me?” He’s seeing hallucinations of the Chinese sex slaves from the MYSTERIOUS SKETCHBOOK at his school, suffering scary fainting spells, resenting every woman who isn’t his mother, and losing touch with reality. He has reason to be upset about that, I feel. I found myself sympathizing with the maniac as he sputtered and whined in his bedroom. Sure, his mania was more than a little Mary Katherine Gallagher-esque, but that just means he’s fulla feelings. And perhaps TV Movie monologues too! My kind of sociopath.
Furthermore, Highmore’s blatant tremors are the most physically compelling moment in the episode. Maybe it’s a forced bit of acting, but that’s still more interesting than anything else going on, and I’m including Norma’s scenes too. Vera Farmiga continues to sell Norma’s oddly on-the-nose dialogue (“Norman, I was sexually assaulted and I killed a man. Why would you want to keep a memento of that?”), but her character’s intentions and actions remain a bit too opaque to earn our curiosity. Even if she IS getting busy with the town’s sexiest man in uniform.
2. Norma’s sensual tricks: Too much, too soon?
Norma comes to find out that after she and Norman disposed of her rapist’s body, Norman kept his belt as a memento (hence the above quote). Oh, Norman! That’s a creepy thing to do. Also: moronic. When Norma learns about the keepsake, she vows to get it back from the police — who acquired a warrant and searched the Bates residence — using trickery, I guess. Luckily, Deputy Shelby, the blond dude who aids Nestor Carbonell, is almost forthcoming with assistance to the whackjob matriarch. “Of course I’ll give you the belt back!” he (practically) says, “Except we better have dinner first at my house.” That’s sort of weird! Also: moronic.
Lo and behold, Norma visits the corrupt guy’s house. She enjoys a cryptic conversation about a mutually beneficial relationship and then makes out with him to seal the deal. Well, that settles that! Or something! We’re not sure how shady this cop is yet, or even really what’s going on here, but Norma’s straightfaced bizarreness isn’t getting any easier to read. Is she psychotic? Or dumb? Or what? Why does she treat every problem with the groan and annoyance that usually accompanies a minor sinus headache? And how does she keep accruing sensible Anthropologie gear in such an isolated area? God!
3. Women of Bates Motel who aren’t Vera Farmiga: It’s time to lip-sync for your life.
Norman stays in the hospital after his spazz at school, and Bradley comes to visit him. Remember when her dad was on fire and driving a car last week? He’s in a coma now, which is sad news to no one. Bradley, the time is now to be interesting. Do or die, girl. Try a new haircut or something, because everyone thinks of you as a frowning Unisom caplet right now. Norman’s pal Emma, the one with CF, admitted she had a crush on Norman and only wanted to solve sketchbook mysteries last week so she could be near him. That is, until THIS week, when she announced she LOVES sketchbook mysteries because this one might be about sex crimes. Emma, you’re old-fashioned crazy and I appreciate that, but you need to commit some murders, sweetheart, because this pubescent angst isn’t cutting it in Hitchcock Town. Try killing Norman! That will make him like you.
4. Brotherly Love!
Ugh, Norman’s attractive brother Dylan spent most of the episode hanging out with that crying dude from the strip club whose boss is Bradley’s torched dad. Not that interesting. But in one weird moment, Dylan confronted Norman about trying to chop off his face with a kitchen utensil last week. Norman not only shrugged off the incident, but didn’t seem to remember it happened. THAT is interesting. What else does Norman not remember? This takes me back to the first images of episode one when Norman woozily discovered his father’s dead body in the living room. Could Norman himself have clubbed his pops? Oh, probably! Up until now I’d assumed Norma was the culprit, but Norman and his tiny torso are probably the real devils. Could Norman lapse into another homicidal incident with a meat tenderizer soon? Judging by his prolonged trance state at the end of the episode, I’m guessing yes! Woohoo! Why is this sexy to me!
5. Norman’s breaks, enters, hallucinates, and thrills us — for the first time.
The chills of Bates Motel have been subdued up until this point, but now we’re having some fun. Norman laid awake in bed following Norma’s big date with Shelby, and he dreamt up a conversation with her where she asked him to retrieve the belt from Shelby’s house using any means possible. Norman, dead-eyed and focused, staggered out of his house in the middle of the night, marched over to Shelby’s empty house, and broke in with almost no trouble. This child is fo’ real.
After fending off an idiotic dog that wanted to kill Norman but settled for chewing on a baseball bat, Norman somnambulated into Shelby’s basement to look for the belt — which, by the way, was nowhere in sight. Instead, Norman seemed to find the one horrifying image that wasn’t bothering him at the moment: a Chinese sex slave tied up in the cellar! At Shelby’s house! SHELBY. Bad Shelby! Bad! The slave-ette begged Norman to set her free, but the episode ended as Shelby himself reappeared at the front door of his place. Freaky-deeky! Norman, you murder-loving, mom-crushing detective, get the hell out of there!
This was fun. And unexpected. Norman’s staccato moments of psychosis gave way to this extended period of sociopathic intent, and it was pretty awesome. A preview for next week’s episode hints that Norman may have imagined the woman he saw in the basement, but I bet that’s not the case. This cop is baaaaad. And maybe Norman is worse, but something is definitely, absolutely, not-hallucinating weird about Shelby. Besides his hotness. Which is murder-worthy too, for sure.
What’d you think of this episode? The best yet? This show has glaringly ridiculous moments but subtle, trippier moments of weirdness tucked within, and I’m enjoying that contrast.
But it’s your turn. Are you going a little mad for Bates Motel?
- April 2, 2013 11:01 am