Sue Sylvester launches ‘Stop Believing’ campaign, urges boycott of upcoming ‘Glee’ movie

OK, I know it’s a cheesy publicity stunt, but it’s also a pretty funny one. A 3D concert movie of the hit show Glee is set to make it to theaters next month, and not everyone is happy — including, it turns out, Sue Sylvester. Sue is the character played by out actress Jane Lynch on the series, who’s always trying to destroy the glee club. So the studio has initiated Sue’s “Stop Believing” campaign to “boycott” the film. Below is the release. Note especially some of the details, like the “dictated but not read” warning. Clever stuff.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Constant craving

Constantine Maroulis is another kind of idol in ‘Rock of Ages’

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

rock-of-ages-Constantine-DanLippitt
HAIR APPARENT | Like Jennifer Hudson, Constantine Maroulis turned ‘American Idol’ also-ran status into acting cred. (Photo courtesy Dan Lippitt)

Save for Charlie Sheen, sometimes it’s not all about winning — but placing in the top 10 never hurts.

Coming in sixth on season 4 of American Idol has only been a boon for Constantine Maroulis. Without the scrutiny of a No. 1 finish but with plenty of national exposure, he landed high profile stage work (snagging a Tony nomination) and an upcoming album. And he’s far from done.

“I’m looking forward to what’s next and I want to continue new roles and projects,” he says. “I plan to tour and get the material out there. I’m a live performer and I wanna get my band out on the road. I wanna gig.”

If he sounds antsy, perhaps that’s because he recently announced an end to his three-year gig as Drew Bowie, the wannabe rocker in the jukebox musical Rock of Ages, which opens at the Winspear this week. His last performance isn’t until July, but in the meantime, he’s still ready to rock it.

“It’s been huge for me on many levels as an actor and being acknowledged by my community,” he says. “I was a rock star wannabe growing up with these songs from Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and other songs in my wheelhouse. This is a true artistic achievement and for it to all work out in this time when so many shows come and go, we’re kicking a lot of ass.”

Confident much? Oh yes. At times, Maroulis doles out a precious combination of swagger and thespic brazenness. He takes his work seriously, but his language can be as blown out as his luxurious mane.

“I feel like I’ve accomplished what I need,” he says. “With the five Tony nominations and now we’re a worldwide brand, I ask myself, ‘How the fuck did this kid do this every day for this many years?’ I mean, it’s pretty freaking impossible to do.”

But in a moment, he softens when he talks about his daughter. The rock star is gone and the doting dad appears.

“Malena was born this past December and I’m just so very thrilled,” he says. “And she’s growing up so fast, it’s amazing! I only get to see [her and her mother] every few weeks so that’s why I am looking forward to the end of this tour.”

With a family and budding career, American Idol doesn’t linger as much. While he’ll always be associated with it, Maroulis has proven to be a hot commodity on his own.

“I am a competitive person and I try to be No. 1,” he says, “but I think it was fate for me to go home early as it was fate for Carrie [Underwood] to win. She is the American idol. I like to fly a little more under the radar and have a nice flow of steady work.”

Heavy metal may not seem like the biggest gay draw, but lest people forget, it’s really just one step removed from drag: With the long hair, eyeliner and glitzy outfits, Rock of Ages tells Drew Bowie’s story of busboy-turned-rock-god with both comedy and ‘80s throwback tunes. Think of it as a swirl of the films Footloose and Rock Star with a heavy dash of Glee and glam metal — and it’s just as fabulous as Mamma Mia. As for Maroulis, whatever the medium, it’s about the art.

Just don’t ask him if he’s ever forgotten the words to a song.

“Well no, but now you jinxed me,” he says.
My bad.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 13, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Celebrity apprentice: Gay assistant-to-the-stars Michael Fazio dishes in ‘Concierge Confidential’

NICE WORK IF YOU GET IT  |  Michael Fazio wrote the tell-all memoir ‘Concierge Confidential.’

Some people you’d do anything for: The sweet older lady next door calls for a favor and you go running. Your nephew bats those baby blues and you’d buy out the toy store for him. If she asked, you’d dig ditches for a beloved former boss, and all your mom has to do is crook her finger for you to be at her service.

Is serving what you do best? Could you do it for a living?

Read Concierge Confidential and you’ll think twice before answering.

When Charlie Sheen called and asked if the boss was in, Michael Fazio was barely fazed. Fazio figured it would be a small step from agency assistant to “the next big Hollywood movie mogul,” and a good mogul isn’t impressed with fame. But Fazio’s job at The Liberty Agency didn’t so much include hob-nobbing with the stars as it did taking care of his boss, Glennis. He soon learned that keeping her happy meant plugging in her curlers and making coffee before she got to work. Caring for her was, oddly, something Fazio enjoyed.

After another brief assistant’s job and a gig playing piano on a cruise ship, Fazio and his partner, Jeffrey, moved to Manhattan. Though Fazio was initially unemployed, he quickly found a job at the InterContinental Hotel on 48th Street, where he learned that his unique strengths would best be put to use as a concierge.

A good concierge, like a good business person, has lots of contacts to call upon for favors. He excels at making the impossible possible. Though celebrities and millionaires are the concierge’s typical clients, anyone staying at a hotel with a concierge can use the service.

Fazio writes about finding tickets to sold-out concerts, reservations to jam-packed restaurants and night clubs, and yes, even the unconventional, like yachts for his clients. He writes about good tippers, bad eateries, ugly situations and how he survived them all.

Going on vacation this summer? Check this book out before you leave.

Concierge Confidential includes the dishiest stories of wealth and celebrity, as well as a wealth of tips on star treatment and getting the best results from your hotel stay. But Fazio doesn’t stop there. He explains what a concierge does, where you’ll find one and how to get what you need (hint: being a jerk won’t impress anybody). In between lessons, you’ll be regaled by tales of Hollywood and Broadway, challenges and chefs, businessmen and bubbleheads, hissy-fitting stars and hustling scammers, and the rich and famous. And then, if your hotel doesn’t have a devoted concierge, you’ll learn how to schmooze tickets, reservations and admission on your own.

It’s hard not to love something that so effortlessly entertains, and Concierge Confidential does just that. If you’re heading for holiday, or if you’re just up for a light, fun, privy look at leisure and luxury, you should do anything to get this book.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2011.

—  John Wright

Bill Maher at the Winspear on Sunday night: ‘Your new theater isn’t gonna be clean for long’

Bill Maher

I’ve seen Kathy Griffin perform live, and Joan Rivers and Lisa Lampanelli and Chris Rock — and they are all hilarious and edgy and daring comics who say outrageous things and go places that scare a lot of other comedians — but none of them can hold a candle to Bill Maher. Bill Maher is a shock comic who doesn’t say things just to shock: He says them because they are true.

Last night, at the Winspear Opera House, Maher spoke the truth for a nearly two-hour set, and, in my mind, established himself as the pre-eminent political commentator of a generation. He’s a comedian, too, of course. But really, he’s a voice.

The concert played out more like a rally than a comedian’s concert. “Your new theater isn’t gonna be clean for long,” Maher joked early in the set, before letting loose a parade of F-bombs and angry rants that touched on some easy pop targets (Justin Beiber, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen), but were most concerned with weighty issues including gay marriage (Maher said people in the military and the clergy have managed to scare people into thinking that just the sight of gay people will make you gay — in other words, “cock is like dessert at a restaurant — it’s what they’re known for, maybe I should try it”); Democrats’ wishy-washy leadership (when 75 percent of the American public supported repealing the ban on gays in the military, it “was still not enough political cover for these pussies”); his avowed atheism and even Lee Harvey Oswald (“Oh, yes, I went there — even in this town,” said the former North Texas resident).

It’s that fearlessness — he acknowledged that some people would probably be uncomfortable with some of his remarks about religion, not to mention calling Sarah Palin a “cunt” (“there’s just no other word for her”) — that makes Maher the most dangerous person in comedy. He’s painfully well-informed, which means he takes no bullshit from anyone. President Barack Obama took it on the chin almost as much as Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. How dare the President say he would not settle for America being No. 2 — America is already out of the top 10 in most international lifestyle and human rights categories (health care, education, social mobility, women in high political positions). “I’d be thrilled if we were No. 2,” he ranted, noting it’s nice to be behind Bosnia in life expectancy (where the chief cause of death is wolfman attacks, he joked).

Every single Republican in the U.S. Senate, he noted, refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of global warming. One of the reasons for this, he said, is that oil is very macho: “You’ve got to drill and take it. Wind is a very gay way to get our energy. It’s drill baby drill, not blow baby blow.”

Maher kicked off the evening, though, in defense of the gays, before a largely gay (and certainly gay-friendly) audience, and came back to it time and again. “Tea-baggers have taken a gay sex act — one man dragging his balls across another man’s face — and somehow turned it into something tawdry and disgusting.” Obama was criticized for demanding additional “readiness studies” before repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” (“How do they conduct those studies?” he wondered. “Johnson, get in here and blow me while I fire this rifle at a target and we’ll compare my scores to before”). His assaults on George W. Bush, the oil industry and all religion (especially the Mormons, though), was particularly pointed in Bible Belt Texas, where even flamers go to church every week. But that’s exactly what I loved about him. You don’t have to agree with everything he says to respect the way he says it — not just to be humorous but to make you think. If our politicians were so brave, we might not be in such deep shit. (Thanks to John Wright for writing down some of the jokes!)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Lady Gaga debuts ‘Born this Way’ video

Lady Gaga released her video finally for the single “Born this Way” and in true Gaga form, it’s a mini-epic of a vid. She starts with a spaced-out monologue that’s laid over imagery recalling Xanadu, a lot of The Jacksons’ “Can You Feel It,” Dante’s Inferno, some Jem and probably many of the trips Charlie Sheen has in his head lately. With skeleton people, singing mannequin heads, kaleidoscopic images and the birth of a big ball of light, Gaga grabs all the attention she can in this seven-minute vid. The dancing is a bit rough and all over the place, but she knows how to keep your eye on the screen.

—  Rich Lopez

Hey, Judy

For the 40th anniversary of the Cathedral of Hope, wacky comedienne
Judy Tenuta will perform a human sacrifice. Hey! It could happen

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

COH 40TH ANNIVERSARY
Infomart, 1950 Stemmons
Freeway.  July 24 at 7 p.m.
$40.  CathedralofHope.com.

Earlier this month, Judy Tenuta judged a celebrity chef challenge at the Giant Orange Festival in California. The comedian likely had some A-list nibbles that day, but that won’t compare to what she expects to put her mouth on when she comes to Dallas. Tenuta, in fact, has some big expectations:

“I’m coming out there to punish you pigs and I want to strap a saddle around a beefy burrito of manhood!”

A clearer picture couldn’t be painted. The accordion-playing comedian/actress isn’t heading this way for a night at the Improv. No, she and her love slaves will partake in the Cathedral of Hope’s 40th anniversary celebration — which clearly notes this isn’t your mother’s church event. And despite her sexually charged act, Tenuta might be right at home playing for the church crowd.

“I’m the Love Goddess,” she proclaims. “I bless my gay men and women. Oh, and this isn’t gonna be boring like church, it’s gonna be a sassy, fun sermon.”

Tenuta may seem a product of the ’80s, where you expect her to pop on any VH1 special about the decade or as an answer in Trivial Pursuit’s Totally ’80s edition. But the funny lady famous for her bevy of musclestuds and her signature slogan “It could happen!” hasn’t disappeared. Instead, she’s figuring out her place in today’s entertainment world dominated by the likes of her comic successors like Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin.

“Celebrity is about scandal,” she says. “You have to be on TV shows. I need to get on America’s Most Wanted, but I’m not like Charlie Sheen — I’m a law-abiding citizen. Who are these housewives of so-and-so getting these shows? If you throw tables at each other and start fights, you get a show. I was supposed to be on Dancing with the Stars but it seems like a beating. But if Clitoris Leachman can do it…”

Judy Tenuta
THE MANY FACES OF THE LOVE GODDESS | Whether she’s dissing on Sarah Palin or looking like a housewife of Orange County, Tenuta is still a goddess with ‘beefy burritos of manhood’ never far off.

Tenuta is still in the game even without a reality show. She’s been on the road with her Full Frontal Tenudity tour and played a nun in the indie film Sister Mary last year with gay pal Bruce Villanch. (She calls the movie “campy fun for the gays.”) If the comic career path doesn’t work out for her though, she does have a fall-back perfect for her Dallas gig: Tenuta is an ordained minister.

“In my religion, Judyism, gays have the right to be married,” she says. “I’m an ordained minister and the Goddess performs same-sex marriages. I wanna know why the gays are only allowed to be married in the most rustic places like Vermont. What’s there other than syrup and moose? Or Iowa? That’s nice if you need sheep.”

She was shocked that California, the most liberal state — and her home — passed Prop 8. With that, “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and other headlines, she wanted to return the favor to her gay fans that stood by her through even the lean years.

“I want to stand up for them for their rights and give them joy and fun,” she says. “They do the same for me. There is this great sense of fun and love in the community. It’s so much larger than life — like me!”

She hasn’t made plans to preside over nuptials in Dallas, but she is on the hunt. She’ll be recruiting her beefy burritos from the audience at the Saturday celebration. After collecting her hunky entourage, she’ll take on the likes of BP, Lindsay Lohan and border patrol.

“We’ve been talking for years about keeping out illegals — they should send those bitches back to England! That oil is so nasty,” she says. “What’s the point of that ankle SCRAM on Lohan? She just uses it to hold her liquor. Do not let her out in the open.”

Tenuta will be happy to know that Lohan is behind bars. But two celebrities she’s curious about are Dallas residents. When she found out the Bushes lived in Big D, she was fascinated.

You could almost hear the jokes working themselves out. Tenuta took particular interest in the Facebook page campaigning for Laura Bush to be part of this year’s Pride parade after she came out in support of same-sex marriage.

“No kidding! I have to give her a lot of credit,” she says. “Laura Bush, the ex-First Lady. I’d hope she’d stop by, but she strikes me more as going to a Julie Andrews concert. She should do the parade but she’d certainly do it without George Bush. We hate that pig.”

Hmm — that can’t be Judyo orthodoxy.

“Well, the religion is mostly there to forget about your problems by thinking about mine for a change.”

Sounds like religion we could get behind.

………………………….

COH Celebration continues with Sam Harris

Sam Harris
Sam Harris

Don’t underestimate the church’s ability to throw a party. While Judy Tenuta headlines Cathedral of Hope’s Saturday celebration, the festivities don’t end there. The night will also include dancing, live music, cocktails and food.

Sunday worship service won’t be anything to balk at, either. Accompanying the Rev. Jo Hudson’s sermon will be members of the Turtle Creek Chorale, Resounding Harmony, the Women’s Chorus of Dallas and special guest Sam Harris, pictured.

Yes, that Sam Harris. Winning the first Star Search in 1983 during the show’s first season, Harris has grown from reality show celeb to a major player in music, television and stage.  (Think of him as the Adam Lambert of the ’80s.) His signature song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” is a favorite, but Harris has continued recording — his last album came was released in 2008. He’s also developing both a television show and a play about Al Jolson that’s not The Jazz Singer.

“This is so near and dear to my heart, but this is a psychological investigation of this incredibly powerful entertainer,” Harris says. “He was this megalomaniac, but also incredibly giving.”

Harris relates to that last virtue, mostly because he’s now a family man. He married his partner Danny Jacobsen in November 2008, months after adopting their son Cooper Atticus Harris-Jacobson, now 2. The family life hasn’t necessarily slowed Harris down, but it is a juggling act.

“When you have a kid, the day starts out at 100 miles per hour,” he says. “It is a bit of juggling but it’s such a huge blessing and my family is the core of my reason.”

Harris will be performing two songs at both worship services at the Meyerson, but he’ll also sit in during each as a guest. The church’s philosophies coincide with his own and he hopes he’s a good fit for the congregation.

“It’s a place of action and calls us to be our best selves,” he says. “Those are elements I try to make of my life. I recognize when I’m most fulfilled is that when I’m of service. The whole point is human connection; that’s why were here — to connect to find similarities and leave it better than when we found it.”

He should feel reassured he’s the perfect fit for the celebration.
— R.L.
Cathedral of Hope 40th Anniversary Worship at the Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 9 and 11 a.m. Free. CathedralofHope.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 23, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas