Beyoncé: ‘4’ the gays

Below is Q Syndicate writer and Dallas Voice contributor Chris Azzopardi’s piece on his exclusive talk with the Queen Bey: About gay fans, loving Lady Gaga and remaking A Star Is Born.

If there’s any girl who runs the world, it’s Beyoncé. The reigning diva — she’s called Queen Bey for a reason, people — is one of the biggest and best voices behind a long run of hits dating back to the late ‘90s, when she was part of supreme girl-group Destiny’s Child.

Now, years later, Beyoncé still demonstrates just how irreplaceable she is as a solo artist, having released four albums (the latest called, appropriately, 4 — reviewed here) with some of the most memorable and gay-celebrated singles in pop music history. Not every artist can say they’ve had a gay boy lead a football team to glory by performing “Single Ladies,” as seen on Glee. And not every artist can say they have 16 Grammy Awards, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history.

But that’s Queen Bey, who has also assembled a gaggle of gay fans who are crazy in love with her.

Here’s our exclusive chat with the singer/actress/glamour-girl, her first gay press interview since 2006.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

My take on ‘Burlesque’

There’s a review in the print edition this week (and online) of Burlesque, but I didn’t write it because I didn’t screen the film in time. But as the film opens today I wanted to weigh in. Not because I disagree with our reviewer, but because I agree with her … and wonder how many other gay men out there do, too.

I’ve often grouped gay men not into traditional categories like top/bottom, twink/bear, daddy/boy, but rather by their favorite diva. Judy queens. Liza queens. Bette queens. Barbra queens. Celine queens. Mariah queens. Patti queens. Of late, Gaga queens.

And, of course, Cher.

Often, this is a generational thing (I may be Gaga’s oldest living fan); some youngsters don’t even know who Judy is. But Cher seems to cross ages. Maybe it’s her long career (her 2000 single “Believe” made her the oldest soloist ever to have a No. 1 pop hit). Maybe it’s her massively bad career choices (her Oscar follow-up is Mermaids?) or her trans child, Chaz. But for some reason, gay men have always given Cher a pass when it comes to reviews of her work. You can never trust how good she really is, because her fans seem to want to prevent the truth from coming out. They protect her. And sometimes she needs it.

Cher hasn’t made a feature (other than a cameo in Stuck on You) since 1999′s Tea with Mussolini, and she chooses to return to film with a Showgirls-vibed musical from a first-time director? Just how badly does she need money?

But here’s the thing: The movie succeeds. This is not to say it is a good film; it is most definitely not. But it is exactly what it sets out to be. It’s the McDonald’s french fry of cinema: Addictively enjoyable if objectively trashy. Hooray for Cher — she gave us just what we wanted.

So did the writer-director, Steve Antin. He doesn’t miss one cliche. Not the farm-girl (Christina Aguilera) from, of course, Iowa; not the creditors beating at the door, wanting to shut down the Burlesque Lounge, which seems to emerge like a ghostly haunted house from the Sunset Strip. (Here’s my notion for why the club doesn’t turn a profit: 20 dancing girls who get free drinks and big enough salaries to drive BMWs, a six-man live band and staff of bartenders big enough to man a cruise ship.)

But there’s an energy to the movie — it succeeds despite itself. Antin has fun with the musical numbers, and he lingers on the body of hot young boytoy Cam Gigandet, dressing him in a Fosse-inspired bowler with sleeveless shirt and guyliner. It’s gayrific, but straight-friendly. (Eric Dane is in it too, but not the playing the beefcake this time.) Even gayer is Stanley Tucci, perfection as the bitchy old queen with the smart-ass wisecrack, who plays off of Cher expertly. He gives her sometimes wooden acting credibility.

Acting’s one thing, but Cher’s big number — which makes no logical sense in the movie; few scenes do — is a marvel of passion and pride and survival. It makes up for all the nonsense.

Aguilera acquits herself well both as a singer (no surprise there) and as an actress. Is she this year’s Mo’Nique? Not even close. But she could become Cher. And that’s not such a bad thing.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Hipster DJ/Producer Team Duck Sauce’s Cameo-Filled Video ‘Barbra Streisand’ Is Good, Goes Viral

 

Screen shot 2010-09-28 at 4.34.01 PM

I spent just a little extra time among the music blogs this very hot afternoon in LA because of the always very hot hot links the guys at Modern Tonic find to fill our weeky music column. So i ran right into this — going viral literally in the course of maybe 20 minutes. 

Screen shot 2010-09-28 at 4.34.50 PMThis "Non-stop, uber cool party diary including cameo appearances from the likes of Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Vampire Weekend …" (Pop Dash) If you don't listen now, you will be getting more opportunities.   

Duck Sauce is producer A-Trak and DJ Armand Van Helden and the song will be released Oct.10. I'm clearly not hip enough to be a huge Barbra fan, but certainly my dad knows some and as there are a number in the Towleroad reader base. i'm pleased to bring you news of just how cool you are.

Perhaps, again. 

No seriously. Following on Beyonce's performance in her honor a few years ago at the Kennedy Center, it's quite clear that this generation has sufficient respect, knowledge, talent, and wit to match Ms. Streisand as well as to pay homage. 

Give a hand identifying other cameos, mainly NYC-based music folks with hipster tendencies,  in the comments 

Watch Duck Sauce, "Barbra Streisand" and Beyonce for a bonus…after the Jump:

 


Duck Sauce "Barbra Streisand" from Mr Goldbar on Vimeo.

 

And here is Beyonce at Kennedy Center Honors. You may remember it as the evening she politely hugged then President Bush.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Larry Kramer: Barbra Streisand a Hypocrite on Gay Rights

Following Wednesday's ruling striking down Proposition 8, Barbra Streisand released this statement of support:

Streisand "With this judge's decision, we are closer to the day that all people will have access to the same fundamental rights. Hopefully, this remaining civil rights violation will soon be a part of our past and we can look to a future where all people will be treated equally under the law."

Streisand's statement really rubbed playwright and activist Larry Kramer the wrong way, enough so for him to post this searing response on the ACT UP forum:

"Barbra Streisand is a hypocrite. If she had made my play about AIDS, The Normal Heart, in 1986, when she first acquired the rights, only to sit on them for a full ten years without filming it, she could have done something for gay rights when we were really in the sewer of death. But no, she chose to go off and make such vitally important and classic movies as Nuts and The Mirror Has Two Faces. Barbra Streisand cares about gay rights as much as i care about spending a zillion dollars decorating a colony of houses in Malibu. As the mother of a son who is not only gay but HIV positive, she should be ashamed of herself.

Fortunately and at last, an exciting movie version is now being prepared by openly gay director-producer Ryan Murphy to star Mark Ruffalo. i hope it will prove that the best thing that happened for The Normal Heart is that Barbra Streisand didn't make it.

I think it is important for all her many gay fans around the world, which certainly had once included me, to know the above.

Note: Kramer sent a correction regarding the earlier, incorrect date.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright