Celebrity Watch

Posted on 06 Apr 2006 at 7:49pm

Duke keeps it on the down low



The “down low” is about to come up further above ground.
The not-so-new phenomenon referring mainly to the practice of African-American men engaging in secret same-sex encounters has jumped from the best-seller list (with books like JL King’s “Coming Up from the Down Low”) to “Oprah,” and will soon be in a theater near you.

The much-talked-about topic is the subject of the upcoming feature film “Cover.” Directed by veteran character actor Bill Duke (“The Limey,” “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”), it’s the story of a married man leading a double life and experiencing the consequences of the closet.

Penned by first-time screenwriter Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, the drama looks to cause as much controversy as the books that preceded it. Hopefully, under Duke’s hand, a less sensationalistic approach will prevail when the movie opens this July.

Lifetime launches McCormack’s “‘Lovespring’
Everyone wants in on the sitcom game, it seems. And now Lifetime, usually associated with serious-minded “issue” movies for women (and gay men) is taking comedy to that demographic with “Lovespring,” from creator Guy Shalem and producers Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”) and Michael Forman.

The series will focus on a matchmaking agency located in Tarzana, Calif., that markets itself as a Beverly Hills service for the lovelorn elite. Among the cast of relationship counselors are plenty of faces gay comedy fans will recognize: Jennifer Elise Cox (Jan in “The Brady Bunch Movie”), “Reno 911″ star Wendy McClendon Covey, lesbian actor Jane Lynch (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), and openly gay comic character actors Jack Plotnick (“Girls Will Be Girls”) and Sam Pancake (“Arrested Development”) are part of the ensemble.
“Lovespring” makes its debut this summer on the cable channel.

Reubens takes
on “‘Tripper’
For gay fans of veteran funny man Paul Reubens, the wait between projects can seem interminable the man who was Pee-Wee Herman takes work at his own pace.

So it’s news when something fresh is on the horizon, and that would be “The Tripper,” a horror film directed and co-written by David Arquette.
The plot is standard issue friends at a weekend music festival are stalked by a killer but the cast is anything but. Joining Reubens will be Courteney Cox, Tommy Chong, Balthazar Getty, Lukas Haas, Thomas Jane, Jaime King and Jason Mewes.

So expect plenty of “Scream”-style laughs to find their way into the film (husband and wife Arquette and Cox are veterans of that film franchise, after all), as well as a slicker approach than low-budget slasher pictures.
Also expect this date with death sometime in 2007.

Porn star Mattox takes the stage
Lots of gay porn stars have dreams of crossing over to mainstream entertainment, but the Traci Lords phenomenon seems to strike less often than lightning in the same place twice.

But what if a porn star left mainstream acting for the adult-film biz only to decide later to return?

That’s what Tom Judson known to gay porn fans as Gus Mattox is about to do. He’s retiring from the medium that made him a household name well, in certain households and taking his less well-known moniker back to the stage where he got his start.

The former New York performer will appear in the Terrence McNally production “Some Men” in a small role as a piano player, and, according to Judson, the subject matter occasionally touches on porn (though his role will have nothing to do with that).

Welcome back, Tom even if Gus will be missed.

Delta takes a dive
Delta Burke took the old break-a-leg adage to heart.
The 49-year-old actress broke her left ankle just days before she was to take the stage in “Southern Baptist Sissies” on March 29.

The show will now open April 5 at the Zephyr Theatre on Melrose Avenue. Burke plans to wear her cast onstage.

Burke fell from a riser on March 26 during a rehearsal.
“I wish I could blame it on the choreography, but it’s not a musical,” said Burke, who plays the mother of sons who are questioning their faith and sexuality. “I just had a clumsy moment.”

“Southern Baptist Sissies” explores the lives of four gay men raised as Baptists.

Burke starred in the ’80s TV series “Designing Women.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 07, 2006.

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