Exclusive Interviews http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviewsen-USCopyright 2014, Frontiers_PublishingThu, 10 Jul 2014 08:00:00 GMTThu, 10 Jul 2014 08:00:00 GMThttp://emmisinteractive.comhttp://www.frontiersla.com/EI/sharedobjects/handlers/ir.ashx?p=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&w=144&mw=400Exclusive Interviewshttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviewsJack Plotnick Takes Command of Outfest with Cosmic Vehicle 'Space Station 76'<p><span class="micro">Photography by Gabriel Goldberg</span><br /><br /><em>I’ve always been amazed that asteroids can fly in groups for millions of years and never touch each other and connect. They are dead rock, so they find their perfect orbit and stick to it. We also want to find that place of perfection, but we're not asteroids. We change, and that's the problem. The more you try to create a paradise, the more you will resent the prison. And all you're left with is dreams of a future that never happened. —Prologue, </em>Space Station 76</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/JackPlotnick_02.jpg" alt="" width="420" /></p> <p class="p1">Jack Plotnick can’t seem to escape the ‘70s. And maybe he doesn’t want to. Here he is, sitting on a floor-hugging lounge chair, grounded in the thick yarn shag carpet of The Standard’s lobby on Sunset.</p> <p class="p2">“I’m so glad we’re doing this here, because as soon as I came back here I remembered why I love this so much,” he says. “I feel like we’re on the moon–slash–in the basement recreation room of a ‘70s house. These couches are the same ones I use in my movie.”</p> <p class="p2"><em>Space Station 76</em> is “his movie,” Plotnick’s first feature film as a director. After debuting in March at Austin’s South by Southwest to enthusiastic audiences, the “intergalactic deadpan farce” (as <em>Variety</em> termed it) has been selected as the closing night feature of Outfest 2014, in advance of a worldwide Sony release this fall. Impressively for any film, and especially for an initial outing, Plotnick commands an enviable roster of marquee talent: Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer, Marisa Coughlan (of <em>Super Troopers</em> fame) and preternaturally aware child actor Kylie Rogers.</p> <p class="p2">“The script was unlike anything I’d ever read. It reminded me of a John Cheever short story. It had a keen understanding of the duality of suburbia,” Bomer says. “Underneath that was a wickedly dark sense of humor and pathos about it all. I related to it immediately.”</p> <p class="p2">And, like the movie’s title implies, it’s filled with Me Decade hairstyles (and mustaches), polyester-fabulous period costumes and phantasmagorically futuristic furnishings like these classic Ligne Roset “Togo” modules that are camped out around the lobby, with the familiar ergomatic curves first introduced in 1973.</p> <p class="p2">“It’s awesome because you just <em>have to</em> lounge if you sit in them,” he adds. “You don’t have a choice; you can’t be uptight.”</p> <p class="p2">That’s what he says, but the whippet-thin Plotnick doesn’t exactly sprawl, either. He pretty much sits up straight for the duration of the interview, occasionally glancing around. You wonder if he’s got the right idea. For all the languor, the seating isn’t exactly cozy, and you have to shift around to find a way to settle in. Maybe, you think, Plotnick doesn’t want you to get too comfortable.</p> <p class="p2"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p3"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/JackPlotnick_01.jpg" alt="" width="600" /> </p> <p class="p2"> “I love dark comedies, and I have two memories in my life that I’ll never forget,” Plotnick says. “One of them is <em>Heathers</em>, and I remember feeling like this movie was written just for me. I remember just cackling and most of the audience not laughing at all. And then again when I saw <em>Happiness</em>—again, you’re cackling, but you see people glancing back at you, like, ‘How dare you laugh at something this dark or this painful?”</p> <p class="p2">Plotnick is relating how <em>Space Station 76</em> came to be. As an actor, he’s long been a recognizable face in movies and on television, especially to gay audiences. He landed in Los Angeles in the late ‘90s for an HBO pilot after creating the oddball character Slim Organbody on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show in New York. The pilot went nowhere, but Plotnick was at home.</p> <p class="p2">“It woke me up and made me realize I could do TV and film, which I had never considered because I grew up in Ohio and there was only theater,” he says. “I think the reason I became an actor was because of things like <em>The Carol Burnett Show</em>, but I never thought that was something I could do. Then I came out here and realized this is what I always wanted.”</p> <p class="p2">Plotnick did a season of Ellen DeGeneres’ sit-com <em>Ellen</em> as the boyfriend of her gay bestie, midway in the run before her precedent-setting coming out led to the show’s demise. He also had a notable role in out director Bill Condon’s <em>Gods and Monsters</em> as the collegiate interviewer of Ian McKellen’s lecherous James Whale, eventually turning the tables and ending up as the creepy one, a too-ardent busybody.</p> <p class="p2">Other roles followed, but the next watershed was 2003’s Plotnick-produced movie comedy <em>Girls Will Be Girls</em>, the “saga” of three actresses who find themselves Hollywood roommates, <span class="s1">based on the characters of Evie Harris (Plotnick) and Coco Peru (Clinton Leupp), joined by “ingenue” Varla Simonds (Jeffery Roberson). As a send-up of showbiz yarns from <em>All About Eve </em>to <em>Valley of the Dolls</em> as well as career-girl classics like <em>The Best of Everything</em>, it plays fast and loose and outrageous, and Plotnick’s Evie—in a Florence Henderson-style blonde wig—steals the show, chain-smoking throughout and, with a world-weary pained catch in her voice, spewing one-liners like, “I know cocktail hour starts at 5.” (Ba-dump) “I’ve already had 3.”</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">“For me it was so deeply satisfying—maybe a little more satisfying than the work I was getting because it was my creation,” Plotnick says. “I mean, it was Richard Day, the writer and director of the film’s words, but it was a character I had created. We did that movie for nothing, and I was making the sets and doing the costumes. It was our baby, and that was so incredibly fulfilling, and just the next step in my growth as somebody who could create things.”</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">The trio shared the Best Actor Grand Jury Award at Outfest 2003. It’s also impossible not to see some foreshadowing of Plotnick’s most recent work in <em>Girls</em>’ side plotline—a disaster movie about an asteroid hurtling from space, and the ‘70s gloss, though fractured, of the sets and costumes.</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1"><!-- pagebreak --></span></p> <p class="p3"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/JackPlotnick_03.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p4"><span class="s1">“I </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">thought, I want to do something new, and I had this concept that we would do it in the ‘retro future’—the future as we had imagined it in the ‘70s,” Plotnick says, explaining the origins of his film. “But, on top of that, I also wanted to find a different tone than I had been used to performing with—sort of ‘uncomfortably real,’ like we’re never really trying to get the laugh. All the laughs are coming from absolutely uncomfortable, real human behavior. So, the whole first rehearsal was me really trying to describe a kind of comedy that’s very dark, that isn’t coming at you but instead asks that the audience comes to us.”</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1"><em>Space Station 76 </em>started out as a stage play. Early in the aughts, Plotnick started mounting a production each summer with a band of fellow actor/writers, his “favorite, most-talented, funniest friends”—Jennifer Elise Cox, Sam Pancake, Kali Rocha and Michael Stoyanov.</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">“We had done a show called <em>‘80s After School Special</em>, and I just gathered all my favorite people around me and we did this show that took place in one day in a high school in the ‘80s, and it was an amazing, incredible experience.</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">“The next summer, I thought, ‘I’ve done the ‘80s. I want to look back on my childhood and my elementary school days in the ‘70s and growing up in the suburbs,” Plotnick remembers, and he brought the gang together again. “Everybody loved the idea. We spent three months improvising, and they created these indelible characters.”</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">The Plotnick-directed play that emerged had a good run at the HBO workspace and the Comedy Central stage, and a TV pilot was broached. But he always knew the story was meant to be a film.</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">“Because it’s so cinematic,” he says. ”The movie is an homage to my absolute favorite obsessions of my childhood, which were sci-fi films and growing up in the suburbs. I mean <em>2001: A Space Odyssey</em>, <em>Space 1999</em>,<em> Logan’s Run</em>—I wanted to live on that mall from outer space in<em> Logan’s Run</em>.”</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">After ducking into the restroom, Plotnick returns, tickled because he hadn’t remembered that The Standard’s wallpaper has an outer space motif, and picks up the thought again.</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">“One of my favorite memories as a kid was that we would always go to Disney World. We went to the Contemporary Hotel, and the monorail goes though it,” he says. “It was the ultimate futuristic place in the world, and the future was going to be perfect and amazing. And then the ‘80s come, and everything in the future got to be used and gritty—<em>Blade Runner</em>—and that was never my thing. My thing was the beautiful, perfect future of those earlier movies.”</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">Of course, childhood memories went deeper than the look of the period. Plotnick says when his brother saw an early screening, he said, “That was our family, right?” Plotnick says both the pain and the laughter of his childhood is bound up in the characters, even though they weren’t directly based on exact details.</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">“It’s a movie about the ‘70s vision of the future, and it comes with all the neuroses of that time, specifically what happens when you go out to the suburbs. My parents were children of the ‘50s expecting, ‘OK, this is what I was supposed to want. This is it.’ And then you realize, ‘This is it?’ Not everybody’s dreams work out the way they thought they would,” he says. “We’re not gonna have moon colonies.”</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">Still, if only for a little while, Plotnick got to reside in his imaginary version of the future that lives forever in the film, and on set every day as well. (Even if, in real life, the single Plotnick, 45, resides in West Hollywood.)</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">“When we built that ship, I couldn’t leave it. The day they had to tear it down, Billy Brooks—my effects supervisor—and I walked through each set and just cried because we had built our dream home,” he says. “The funny thing is that Billy Brooks took part of the set home and rebuilt it in his bedroom, so he’s still living on the set, and I hate him for that.”</span></p> <p class="p3"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p3"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/JackPlotnick_04.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p4">“T<span style="line-height: 1.5;">here’s going to be something really fun about seeing the movie at the Ford Theatre under the stars and looking up at the sky and imagining the space station floating out there somewhere above us,” says Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Outfest, talking about the upcoming closing night festivities. “There’s something magical about that, especially for a gay audience. Even some of the darker moments—and of course all the black comedy—is going to play very well.”</span></p> <p class="p2">Or as Plotnick says, “To see it with a mostly queer audience? Just pinch me!”</p> <p class="p2">From the opening shot when the Omega 76 looms into view to the strains of Todd Rungren’s “Utopia,” that audience will be treated to Plotnick’s spaceship of fools. Bomer, in a turnabout, plays sweet, hapless Ted, the ship’s mechanic trying to keep up with his workload as well as his valium-popping, perpetually undermining wife, Misty, played by Coughlan. Tyler’s character, Jessica, asserts her women’s-lib values but continually trips herself up along the way. The child lost in space, aptly-named Sunshine and played by Rogers, learns the ropes in a place where the atmosphere and often the motions are hermetically sealed. Jerry O’Connell is the philandering ‘70s-style spouse and henpecked husband to Donna, played by co-writer Kali Rocha, with a withering indifference to her new baby, while fellow co-writer Stoyanov animates the robotically affirming analyst Dr. Bot. And as a speeding threat lurks in the cosmos, Wilson, in dissipated but rollicking daddy mode, barely holds his ship together while harboring his own secrets.</p> <p class="p2">In fact, Wilson was a reliably reassuring hand for Plotnick on the production.</p> <p class="p2">“When Patrick was at his costume fitting for the film, the one concern he had was when he said, ‘You’re gonna make sure everyone’s in the same movie, right?’” Plotnick says. “I understood how important that was. It’s such a delicate balance when you’re doing a film like this.”</p> <p class="p2">Critics at SXSW thought Plotnick got it right. “It’s really hard to balance zany retro weirdness with intense emotional darkness, and this film does swing back and forth between light comedy and carefully observed drama,” wrote Gawker’s <em>io9.com</em>. “Luckily, <em>Space Station 76</em> does pull off this weird blend of comedy and darkness, and if you can get into a movie with such a uniquely mixed tone, then you’re in for something really unique here.”</p> <p class="p2">And as producer Jim Burba—who along with fellow first-time producer and partner Bob Hayes are in thrall to their “Pied Piper” of a director—says, “In the end, everybody kind of gets what they were hoping for, except for maybe poor Misty.”</p> <p class="p2">Plotnick’s next pivot may be from movie director to Broadway impresario. Co-authored with longtime writing partner Seth Rudetsky, <em>Disaster!</em>, their parody of ‘70s epics like <em>Hotel</em> and <em>Airport</em> with hit songs of the decade—from “I am Woman” to “Torn Between Two Lovers”—closed its off-Broadway run in April, getting rave reviews from the likes of <em>The New York Times</em>, <em>Daily News</em> and <em>Time Out</em>, and now, with producer Robert Ahrens (of the musical hit <em>Xanadu</em>) on board, the project is signing on backers and headed for the Great White Way.</p> <p class="p2">So the ‘70s are still with Plotnick, but this time around perhaps with a slightly removed perspective.</p> <p class="p2">“I’ve been obsessed with the vision of the future from the ‘70s always, and doing the play was sort of the first step to get it out. When people would visit my apartment, they would go, ‘It looks like you live in a futuristic space lodge.’ And if I ever saw that kind of ‘70s architecture, I would have to stop and take a picture. It was like Richard Dreyfuss in <em>Close Encounters</em>, and he would build that mountain out of potatoes.</p> <p class="p2">“Looking back, that’s what I was doing, because the movie went through some periods where it was just dead in the water. And I was just obsessed. And the amazing thing was, when we finished the movie, I just got rid of so much of that stuff. Now I’ve settled into a nice mid-century feel. It’s a little more tasteful. So I feel like I have exorcized that demon.” </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/07/10/jack-plotnick-takes-command-of-outfest-with-cosmic-vehicle-space-station-76http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/07/10/jack-plotnick-takes-command-of-outfest-with-cosmic-vehicle-space-station-76Thu, 10 Jul 2014 08:00:00 GMTVincent BoucherLisa Vanderpump, Reality TV's Classiest Act, Celebrates a Renewed Bravo Deal and Her New WeHo Hotspot<p class="p1"><em>Emerging from an </em>annus horriblus<em>—which saw her fellow Housewives turn on her and a slough of lawsuits—reality TV’s classiest act celebrates a new deal with Bravo and the WeHo lounge she hopes will be an upscale HQ for gays </em></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/vanderpump1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><br />Photography by Ryan Forbes, <a href="http://instagram.com/ryanforbesphotography" target="_blank">@ryanforbesphotography</a>; Photo Assistant: Rollence Patugan<br /><br />Once upon a time there was a woman named Lisa who lived in a crystal palace nestled in the hills above Rodeo Drive. In her kingdom, called Villa Rosa, no one argued, all was peaceful and idyllic, and she spent her days surrounded by animals, eating pink chocolates, in a sea of pink flowers. </span></span></p> <p class="p2">“This is Hanky,” Lisa Vanderpump says as she greets me, leaning over to stroke the neck of one of her pet swans floating in the pond in front of her house. She is dressed casually in jeans and a white, see-through shirt, revealing a bright orange tank top beneath. Her bare feet are adorned with pink polish. Her hair is blown-out and she’s wearing false eyelashes, but as if that’s how she’d woken up this and every morning. She rubs the swan’s neck and kisses him lovingly on the head, leaving a ring of lipstick—her signature color, pink—stamped on his crown. </p> <p class="p2">“And this is Panky.” She crosses the glass-topped bridge that divides the pond to the other side, dropping more brown pellets into the water. Is it dog food? Do they make swan food? For Lisa Vanderpump—the restaurant magnate, <em>Dancing with the Stars</em> contestant, and star of two Bravo shows,<em> Vanderpump Rules</em> and <em>The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills</em>—I think they would. “You see, I can pet them, and it’s very rare to be able to do that,” she says. “It’s because I raised them since they were little.” </p> <p class="p2">The swans are there to greet you as you enter the house, which has no front door but instead a wall of glass with a polished metal handle, like a chic Robertson Boulevard boutique. It’s all part of the fantasy—the magical experience Lisa has set up for you, like the huge wooden gates with “Villa Blanca” written in pink across them as you enter her drive, or the same logo custom-printed into a rich entry carpet. </p> <p class="p2">She starts me on a tour of her house before she sits down to tell me about her troubles on the set of <em>Real Housewives</em>, her new West Hollywood restaurant PUMP and her work to help increase acceptance of the gay community. A veritable greatest hits of classical music is playing from her Pandora account on invisible speakers throughout. The main sitting room greets the house’s guests with an enormous urn filled with what is no doubt thousands of dollars of flowers, reaching up over a story in height. On our way through the kitchen we pass through an anteroom, closed off by glass doors, where Lisa keeps her six dogs. </p> <p class="p2">“This is Daddio,” Lisa coos in a baby voice to a small Pomeranian panting at her feet. “He is Giggy’s father, and we adopted him recently, but he has bad legs so he’s on medication. Aren’t you, my handsome man?” She scoops the dog into her arms, flips him on his back and shoves her face into him, showering him with kisses. “You hate this, don’t you, but I just love you so much.” </p> <p class="p2">The now-infamous Giggy, Lisa’s alopecia-stricken, permanent accessory, who has his own Twitter account and makes regular appearances at events like the GLAAD Awards, looks on unimpressed from his bed, clad in blue pajamas. We settle in the main sitting room where Lisa lounges informally on a giant white sofa. The house has a museum-like quality, somehow both austere and opulent. Clean, white walls and glass dominate, juxtaposed with dramatic moments of pink and purple, oversized furniture and accessories. She moves around a lot during our time together, running her fingers through her hair like a school girl, switching from all manner of cross-legged positions, and by the end of our talk, laying flat on her back as if I were her analyst. </p> <p class="p2">“I had a nice childhood,” she tells me of life with her parents in Kent, just outside of London. “My father’s side of the family was wealthy. They were the main importers of Fyffes Bananas, which is a huge company in England. It was a nice upbringing. Nice house. We went to nice schools. But we weren’t spoiled in terms of material things. And I left home at 18 without a penny from my parents.”  </p> <p class="p2"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/vanderpump4.jpg" alt="" width="350" /></p> <p class="p1">L<span style="line-height: 1.5;">isa’s independent streak began at a young age when she was enrolled at 9 years of age at the Corona Stage Academy in London. She began to book commercials and make her own money, earning her Equity Card by the age of 12. She tells me she worked more than nearly anyone at the time because she was reliable and showed up on time. At 18 she had her own apartment, which she paid for, and subsisted occasionally on “cauliflower cheese,” which is cauliflower with a cheese sauce, because it was so cheap. Even this tale of “hardship” was difficult for her to muster. Hard-knock stories don’t seem to be in her repertoire, until I hear about her parents.</span></p> <p class="p2"> “I never really understood my mother,” she tells me. “I don’t ever remember either of them ever saying they loved me.” Not once in your whole life, I ask? “Never,” she says, like a fact of life that, at 53 years of age, had long since been analyzed and put to bed.</p> <p class="p2">Throughout the conversation she is distracted by a turtle in the pond outside who is trying, unsuccessfully, to get out and sun himself on the stone edge. “Oh, how upsetting. I want this turtle to get out,” she says maternally. “I want him to win.”</p> <p class="p2">Lisa continued to book commercials and reoccurring roles on one-season British shows like <em>Something In Disguise</em> and <em>Kids</em>—where in one scene she gave a young Naomi Campbell a bath. She was also featured in the music video for the new wave band ABC’s hit single “Poison Arrow,” but was not a staple of British media, merely a young actress getting her feet wet. Then she met Ken Todd, a burgeoning nightclub impresario and playboy 16 years her senior, and all her plans went out the window.</p> <p class="p2">“Ken was the craziest, wildest person I had ever met,” she tells me with a sense of pride. “He would sleep with anyone he was introduced to—girls, of course, but he just wasn’t selective. So there were a few broken hearts once I came around.” </p> <p class="p2">The couple dated for six weeks before getting engaged, and then three months later were married with all the pomp and circumstance of royalty. “We had a big wedding with a horse and carriage and 250 people, and every newspaper covered it because I was on television at the time.”</p> <p class="p2">Todd had gotten his career started in fashion, selling kids T-shirts when he was very young, and according to Lisa, was self-made, working two jobs, even “digging ditches” at one point before his foray into nightlife. Her prince had a equal interest in creating their fantasy world. “People would ask me ‘why do you want to settle down so young?’” she continues about Ken. “I would say, ‘I don’t. I just found someone I want to play with.’” So they began buying houses, fixing them up with Lisa’s emerging, signature style, and selling them. </p> <p class="p2">They also created, ran and sold over 20 restaurants and nightclubs, including a stint owning the legendary gay bar Shadow Lounge in Chelsea. </p> <p class="p2">The place was louche, according to Cliff Joannou, editor of gay London nightlife magazine <em>QX</em>. “It was a rough diamond in a gay scene that partied all night and carried on all day,” he says. “Those were the days when you could easily get two or three boys into a single toilet cubicle for all sorts of ‘fun.’ And the waiter sold more than just a smile with your cocktail or cola. It really was a hedonistic time. Not quite Studio 54 legendary but maybe its distant cousin from across the pond.”</p> <p class="p2">The couple also met Cedric Martinez there—the freeloading ”house guest” on early <em>RHOBH</em> episodes who would go on to threaten to sell stories about them once they’d given him the boot.</p> <p class="p2">Meanwhile, the two had two settled down in an estate in Kensington, which she describes as “an idyllic Cotswald house” where she crafted a world for her children straight out of a fairy tale. </p> <p class="p2">“I would have, like, baby ducks in the bed with them, and we had a moat and a lake and a little pony,” Lisa remembers wistfully. “I would ride the pony in my pajamas with the kids into the village, and I would bring it into the kitchen for breakfast.” </p> <p class="p2"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p2"><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/vanderpump3.jpg" alt="" width="350" />Daughter Pandora took after her mother’s desire for glamour and romance. Her “not million-dollar” wedding was broadcast as the Season 2 finale to <em>The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills</em>. She has since gone into business with Lisa, launching Vanderpump Wines & Spirits with her husband, Jason Sabo. The company is theirs, while her mother retains asthetic and creative control. They have launched their first product, LVP Sangria, made from Lisa’s family sangria recipie. (The business hasn’t yet kicked off with the kind of bang that <em>Real Housewives of New York</em> star Bethany Frankel’s spirits company, Skinny Girl, did when it sold for $100 million to Seagram’s in 2012, but the sangria is available at Gelson’s.)</p> <p class="p2">Lisa’s adopted son Max, however, had a harder time—struggling in school, truancy—eventually being sent to a disciplinary academy. At the time he placed blame on the high bar that Lisa had set. </p> <p class="p2">“I remember him yelling at me once, saying, ‘You don’t realize because you have never had any problems and every day, everything is perfect for you and I have never seen you upset.’” This is the first time I see the brutally honest side Lisa is known for on her shows. “And I said, ‘Are you kidding me? We have had all kinds of problems that life has thrown at us. But was it my job as a mother to let you feel any tension or stress or strain?’ I realized then I had brought them up in this kind of faux-reality, this idealistic existence. On the one hand it did them a great favor, but on the flipside they maybe felt, ‘Is this just fantasy?’”</p> <p class="p2">They moved to West Hollywood around 1990 on a whim, because they loved the climate and because Lisa wanted to pursue acting, which led to a couple of racy performances on <em>Baywatch Nights</em> and in an episode of the CBS late-night crime drama <em>Silk Stalkings</em>, where she performs in a bikini before wading topless into a pool. “They tape your nipples, though, so you aren’t completely naked,” she tells me, “though being from Europe, I could care less about being naked.”</p> <p class="p2">(Sample line: “Look, Tim hadn’t touched me for years, which suited me fine. His idea of sex was causing pain. Not really my thing.”)</p> <p class="p2">Still, either by necessity or choice she had largely left acting behind to pursue the role of mother.</p> <p class="p2">“I just had the best time being a mother,” she says. “I did get offers for things, but they always involved being away.” She maintains that she doesn’t regret leaving the business. </p> <p class="p2">In the mid-90s Lisa and Ken bounced back to England, and then to France and Monte Carlo, where Lisa kept herself occupied designing and building their yacht from scratch. When Pandora decided to go to Pepperdine in 2004, the family packed itself up again and came back to Los Angeles.</p> <p class="p2">To secure work visas, they invested in the WeHo restaurant SUR. The restaurant had been owned by Nathalie and Guillermo Zapata for 15 years when Lisa and Ken stopped in for lunch one day, and by that evening had a handshake deal for 51% of the business. They were now a part of the L.A. restaurant scene. </p> <p class="p2">Villa Blanca in the heart of the Beverly Hills shopping district followed, along with the expansion of SUR, which started as one small space and then, as Nathalie Zapata has said, “Lisa took it to the next level.” It took over the space next door, and then the next one, and then the next one, until it became what it is today. The <em>Vanderpump Rules</em> audience watched her latest expansion of SUR Lounge built on the show.</p> <p class="p2">The restaurants weathered the economic downturn, and now Lisa’s been busy promoting her latest creation, PUMP, a restaurant and bar in the heart of West Hollywood’s “Boystown” on the corner of Robertson and Santa Monica Boulevards.</p> <p class="p2">Throughout our conversation, Lisa has kept a silent watch over the clumsy turtle’s progress. Finally, she takes a Tupperware container lid and positions it as a tiny ramp for him to crawl up, but it is of no use—he continues to struggle for the rest of our meeting until, as our session is coming to a close, he finally manages to make his way up and out. </p> <p class="p2">“Oh, good little man,” she cheers. “Clever boy! Oh, I love that. Isn’t it wonderful to see that?”</p> <p class="p2">So all was right once again in Lisa’s kingdom, and she continued to live in her crystal palace in the hills, surrounded by her animal friends and loving prince, where she lived happily ever after.</p> <p class="p2">Until last season.</p> <p class="p6"> <!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p3"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/vanderpump2.jpg" alt="" width="350" />K</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">yle Richards told Lisa, “Being friends with you is like playing chess with Bobby Fischer,” during the Season 2 reunion of </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Kyle and Lisa were the only two who had been friends before the show, and it was the first time the group of women “ganged up” on Lisa, but not the last. The accusation was that Lisa is the most “strategic”— meaning manipulative—of the women. </span></p> <p class="p2">Lisa was defended, at the time, by her new friend, cast member Brandi Glanville, who revealed an off-camera setup by the other women to ambush her. More recently, though,  Brandi has joined the other women in their on screen attacks on Lisa. Most everyone in the cast sharing history with Lisa now sees her as cold and calculating, and Lisa cannot understand why. </p> <p class="p2">Well, she can, but she doesn’t want to say. </p> <p class="p2">“I don’t ever want to say,” she tells me coyly, “but the audience knows what it is about. Sometimes you are afforded more opportunities.” </p> <p class="p2">Lisa prefers to wait for the press to call the other women “jealous,” then reluctantly agree with them. She has a way of wanting to say something but not wanting to say it herself, both on and off the show. Several times through the course of our interview she starts to tell something that paints her in a better light—dare I say, might be considered bragging?—as well as things that could be considered derogatory about her other Housewives, then quickly backtracks. But she insists she’s not strategic—or, as Brandi has called her, “a puppet master.”</p> <p class="p2">“Look, you cannot be strategic with a group of women when you have no idea what is coming at you,” she asserts. “You have to react to every situation as it comes to you. You can film me 365 days a year. There are no stories of me out and about, falling over and getting wasted and then pretending to be sober on-camera. I drink on-camera what I drink off-camera. Now maybe my gut reaction, my intuition, lands me in the right place. If they feel that is strategic, then maybe they should be more like that.”</p> <p class="p2">It wasn’t always like this. Lisa was an uncontentious cast member when <em>RHOBH</em> premiered in 2010. Kyle Richards quickly took center stage as the most explosive, yet still most likable of the women. It was her ongoing battles with Kelsey Grammer’s then-estranged wife Camille, and her sister Kim Richards (child star of such films as <em>Escape from Witch Mountain</em>), whose secretive drinking and occasional deluge of long-hidden family secrets kept audiences glued to the screen.</p> <p class="p2">Throughout all this, Lisa maintained an air of dignity about her, staying always above the fray and in many ways serving as the show’s referee. </p> <p class="p2">Many a cast member sought council at Lisa’s tea table in those days while she talked them through both sides of the story, representing the audience’s objective view of the footage in real time. This neutrality earned her the respect of not only the women, but an increasingly larger number of fans. </p> <p class="p2">Her flamboyant style and brutal honesty also garnered her a growing gay following. As HereTV was fading into obscurity, and Logo was abandoning its gay-specific content, series creator Andy Cohen’s genius for putting the right group of people together to create the maximum amount of drama was already making Bravo the go-to gay network.</p> <p class="p2">The Housewives became gay sports teams. Are you Team Lisa or Team Brandi? Every gay man I knew had arguments, such as the one taking place weekly in my own living room, about who was right and who was wrong. There is an inevitable <em>Lord of the Flies</em> mentality that takes place when these women are corralled together, so Lisa, who says she never watched the franchise before she went on and doesn’t watch any TV now, was unprepared. </p> <p class="p2">In 2013, Lisa was cast on one of TV’s most popular shows, <em>Dancing with the Stars</em>, opposite newly added, pro-cast member Gleb Savchenko, bringing her into over 14 million homes. That same year Bravo premiered her own spin-off, <em>Vanderpump Rules</em>, following the working—but mostly personal—lives of her staff at SUR. It was an instant hit, eventually garnering 2.2 million viewers, and, according to <em>Examiner.com</em>, beating even the ratings of <em>RHOBH</em> at 1.9 million. <em>Time</em> called it “TV’s tastiest reality trash,” and Lisa served as the show’s producer. In the span of one year she’d become Bravo royalty.</p> <p class="p2">The women turned on her, accusing her of faking a fainting spell to get out of <em>DWTS</em> early, and of selling stories to the tabloids. Then castmate Taylor Armstrong accused Lisa of revealing to <em>US Weekly</em> that Armstrong and her husband were separated. Then castmate Adrianne Maloof claimed that Lisa regularly sold stories to Radar Online. </p> <p class="p2">(David Perel, managing editor for Radar later came out publicly to say that Lisa had never sold a story to them, and Lisa says that Taylor later admitted the story-selling was a setup for the women to go after her.)</p> <p class="p2">While <em>Vanderpump Rules</em> kept her squarely in the role of the tough love den mother she had once occupied on <em>Real Housewives</em>, Season 4 of <em>RHOBH</em> found her very much in the fray. The cast had decided that Lisa was a problem, and their elaborate and specific stories slowly began to paint a portrait of Lisa as a Machiavellian figure. </p> <p class="p2">“I think they’re projecting because they’re trying to ‘catch you’ in something,” she says. “If I were strategic, why would I ever become friends with Brandi Glanville? Oh my god.”</p> <p class="p2">She’d quickly gone from being a fairytale princess to a fairytale villain. Her fading popularity with the women took center stage, becoming the narrative arc that tied the whole season together, much to Lisa’s surprise.</p> <p class="p2">“She reminds me of when I was first in ‘N Sync,” her friend Lance Bass tells me paternally. The two met when Bass briefly dated the notorious Cedric. “You want everyone to like you, and if you hear anything negative, you are so upset. She wants to please everybody. This last season when the girls turned on her, it really hurt her.”</p> <p class="p2">“When it’s all-on-one and there is nothing to back it up, the audience gets very frustrated,” Lisa points out. She’s denied every accusation made of her, finding support among the  876,000 fans who flock to her on Twitter.  Lagging ratings may force the issue, and some retooling of the show was quickly set in motion—new cast members Carlton and Joyce were fired.There was also talk of Lisa quitting.</p> <p class="p2">“The meanness and the bitchiness is not something I would ever want to repeat,” she told me. “I have never had it in my life before, and will hopefully never see it again. I am not that person. I think the producers have made a statement in saying they want it to be different.”  </p> <p class="p2"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p2"><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/vanderpump5.jpg" alt="" width="350" />In a televised interview with Giuliana Rancic, Lisa said, “I’m not in this business or on this show to put down my castmates or get into a bitchfest. That’s not who I am, and I think if that day comes I should leave.”</p> <p class="p2"><em>Life & Style</em> cited an inside source stating that Lisa gave an ultimatum to Bravo that it was “her or Brandi,” something she’s been repeatedly coy about in interviews, and as I press her, is reluctant to answer. </p> <p class="p2">“Its not Brandi,” she says. “No one component is important enough to deter me.”</p> <p class="p2">All spring, rumors flew that she might not come back. TMZ ran a breathless story about an emergency dinner meeting at PUMP where Cohen and Bass doubleteamed her to find a solution that would keep her on the show. Though witnesses to this dinner said it looked convivial enough, Cohen declined to discuss the matter through reps at Bravo.</p> <p class="p2">They might have milked the drama longer, but finally on June 23 Lisa tweeted a slightly ambivalent, “Well OK…Five has always been my lucky number….so we will see. #rhobh. Let the games begin”</p> <p class="p2">The “bitchiness” has followed Lisa off-screen as well. She’s currently named in a $4 million lawsuit by reality star Ryan Allen Carrillo and The Abbey’s former general manager, Andrew Gruver, which claims Lisa and Ken “unfairly snatched the West Hollywood venue” for PUMP where Carrillo and Gruver intended to open a gay sports bar. </p> <p class="p2">PUMP’s corner lot two doors down from the world-famous gay bar The Abbey, right next to the long-standing, successful Here Lounge, makes the location perhaps the most visible and coveted of any gay establishment in West Hollywood. </p> <p class="p2">The space, formerly a coffee shop called Java Detour with an adjoining parking lot, was vacant for some time, and Lisa and Ken have said publicly they “had no prior knowledge of Carrillo and Gruver, or their claim.” </p> <p class="p2">Photos later surfaced of the group at White Party in 2012, where Lisa was crowned queen. Ken is currently being sued by former PUMP construction workers who say that he verbally assaulted and eventually pushed one of them in a dispute over a concrete chipper, a counter claim to the year before when Ken sued them, for a similar incident but failed to appear in court. If that wasn’t enough, a former Villa Blanca employee, Karina Bustillos, was just awarded $100,000 in punitive damages after a Los Angeles superior court found the restaurant liable in a sexual harassment suit against its general manager, Michael Govia. Lisa and Ken are appealing the measure now, since Govia was actually acquitted of any wrongdoing, and they call the ruling counterintuitive. </p> <p class="p2">Lisa spent much of the last weeks on the phone with lawyers. “Anyone who can use my name to get into TMZ seems to be backed by a lawyer these days,” she tells me. “We are taking all of these claims very seriously and taking them all the way.”</p> <p class="p2">As Lisa’s popularity and success continue to grow, so do the number of people in line to take her down. </p> <p class="p2"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p1"><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/vanderpump6.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p class="p3"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">L</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">isa asks, “OK, what are we doing here?” Three staff members of </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Frontiers</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> have sat down at pre-arranged places at a table at PUMP. I wait nearby. The meeting is an abridged one, as is the interview I am about to have with her; an on-camera version of my developing article. Like almost everything, it’s potential footage for </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Vanderpump Rules</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, currently shooting its third season. It’s the week before our sit-down at her home, and the first time I am meeting her. </span></p> <p class="p2">Lisa is positioned at the head of the table wearing a grey blazer adorned with an enormous crystal broach over a tight and uplifting white blouse, making focusing on anything but her breasts almost impossible.</p> <p class="p2">It cannot be overstated how beautiful Lisa is. She’s wearing slightly too much makeup, her hair is slightly too blown out; she is all together slightly too much but manages to wear it instead of it wearing her. She’s probably had some work done, but it is flawless. Her fake eyelashes and completely smooth porcelain skin still manage to look natural and professional. </p> <p class="p2">The same can be said of the ambiance of PUMP. While Lisa’s tastes can veer to the extreme—enormous, almost oppressive chandeliers hang over the main bar, the VIP cabana sports overstuffed pillows and walls with Lisa’s TV catchphrases—they’re offset by tastefully neutral surfaces like burlap and reclaimed lumber. </p> <p class="p2">The food is hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fare and is served in ample portions. (Lisa’s famous potato salad is light and airy but spiked with, I discover, Oscar Meyer Turkey Bacon for that smoky flavor). Like the nine olive trees she imported from Italy—each 120 years old— to turn the former Java Detour parking lot into a magical grove, adorned with floating votives filled with pink rose petals, there’s heavy-handed presentation here, but it’s convincing. The place looks like it’s always been here.</p> <p class="p2">Of course Lisa knows we’re gathered here. The question is meant to prompt an on-camera discussion about a party she is hosting with <em>Frontiers</em>. All the details have been pre-arranged with her husband beforehand. </p> <p class="p2">There is a bottle of champagne from one of the party’s sponsors on the table, and Lisa debates whether or not they should discuss this on-air. “Jeremiah,” she calls to the producer sitting one table away, glued to a small portable monitor showing him the camera angles. “I am not sure if we should have this on the table as it is so hard to clear this.” It is meant to sound like a question, but it really isn’t. </p> <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Throughout the 30-minute meeting, Lisa breaks the fourth wall repeatedly to tell Jeremiah what she would rather say, how she would rather it appear, and generally how she wants this scene to end up. When the meeting comes to a close, Jeremiah comes in to announce that he still doesn’t know what the point of this party is—by which he means the audience won’t. They don’t “have it” on camera.</span></p> <p class="p2">Without waiting to be prompted (the cameras are always rolling), Lisa sums the situation up in two sentences, so succinctly you can almost hear the interstitial music before the commercial over her final words begins to roll. </p> <p class="p2">Unfortunately, Jeremiah notices there was some distracting business in the bar behind her during the small speech, so he asks her if she can do it again. Lisa repeats her line, the one she just made up, with the same words and inflection of her previous delivery. She knows she got it right the first time. She knows exactly what she is doing.</p> <p class="p2">Then I’m up, but before I can sit down to “interview” her, Lisa notices a hook is off its runner on one of the grey curtains that bank her hostess booth 10 feet away. She calls out loud a few different names of her staff until someone finally comes to her. Was it hung wrong? What to do? Lisa talks it through with him, unsubtly implying that he—or someone, everyone—needs to find a way to make it right. </p> <p class="p2">Our scene begins with me walking on-camera and sitting down. Lisa is present and focused. She stares directly at me with an intensity that I find intimidating. She wanted to do this interview to promote her restaurant, obviously, and court a high-end gay clientele, but she also wants to sharpen the picture of herself as an advocate for the gay community. </p> <p class="p2">“I was here the other night and this guy comes up to me and says, ‘I really want to talk to you, because you have changed my relationship with my mother.’ And I said, ‘OK,’ and I’m thinking, is this a good thing or a bad thing? And he said, ‘My mother is such a supporter of yours and watched you and the things you’ve accomplished and that you are married for 32 years. And she said,  “If this woman, who is heterosexual and with children, can support the gay community, why can’t I?”’”</p> <p class="p2">One cannot deny she’s been the most supportive Housewife of the LGBT community. She recently appeared in the PSA <em>Any Given Tuesday</em> for the Los Angeles LGBT Center to raise awareness for homeless youth.</p> <p class="p2">“One in four gay teenagers will be thrown out of their house for being gay,” she tells me, along with many other talking points during our interview. Lisa was the only reality star asked to participate in the PSA, joinging the likes of Jamie Foxx, Elton John and James Woods. </p> <p class="p2">While she somewhat clumsily states she “speaks for GLAAD”—in a tone of such self-importance I could almost hear the other Housewives taking issue with its perceived grandiosity—it feels like she’s trying to describe it as best she knows how.</p> <p class="p2">“She definitely goes beyond the typical support,” GLAAD’s Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro tells me. “She’s up on the issues on her own accord and vocal not just on acceptance but on problems that really affect the community.” </p> <p class="p2"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s2"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/vanderpump7.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><br />Lisa has spoken out on a variety of current issues, such as the exclusionary policy of the Boy Scouts and the boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel (her home away from home for years, where she used to dine three days a week). She has hosted a fundraiser for GLAAD at SUR and participated in a celebrity yard sale with the proceeds benefiting the organization. She’s an avid supporter of The Trevor Project, and SUR has had its own float at L.A Pride. Still, Lisa’s biggest asset is her media draw and the ability to speak to her generation of women watching her shows.</span></p> <p class="p2">“Look,” she tells me, “this is what’s important to remember. It has become so much easier for kids to come out these days, but the parents from my generation still struggle with it. I speak on behalf of the gay community to those people.” When I ask if it goes without saying that her “Beverly Hills set” is accepting of gay people, she stops me quickly. </p> <p class="p2">“Oh, no, not in any shape or form,” she says. “You know, even racially it is a bit uphill.” </p> <p class="p2">I tell her people might be surprised to hear her world is not as liberal as it seems. “Well, there’s tolerance, but, you know, it is not about tolerance. I hate that word,” she says. “It is about acceptance.“</p> <p class="p2">She points out that she’s taken this stance at some personal risk to her brand, as she has no personal stake in the movement, and with her show airing in over 100 countries, she is bound to alienate some fans. She feels, though, that you are born gay, so to her it is a question of basic human rights. </p> <p class="p2">“I remember my nephew when he was 4 begging me to buy him My Little Ponies,” she tells me. “You see, it was the closest thing to a doll he could have and still get away with. And I knew then. But he waited for years to come out, until after Ken’s mother died, because he was afraid of her knowing.”</p> <p class="p2">It’s perhaps too convenient to say that Lisa’s not hearing “I love you” as a child has now led her to the role of mother figure to the gay community, to Brandi Glanville on <em>Housewives</em>, and the band of misfits that make up the cast of <em>Vanderpump Rules</em>. </p> <p class="p2"><span class="s2">“I suppose they come to me for advice,” she concedes reluctantly, “but I’m not their mother. I can’t be responsible for them, otherwise I would be in jail.” </span></p> <p class="p2">Still, I feel there is wounded girl somewhere in that tough exterior. She presents herself sometimes as caregiver, sometimes as a sly fox, sometimes unable to hide her delight that she is the most popular of the Housewives, holding perhaps a bit more cards and getting the last laugh. </p> <p class="p2">It doesn’t come across as strategic, however. Lisa can’t help being decidedly real, and like her fans across America, the more I learn, the more I can’t help becoming decidedly Team Lisa myself. </p> <p class="p2">“You might see me on the red carpet at the opening of my restaurant in an Herve Lerger dress, but I went out and bought that dress, and I created that restaurant, and you see me working my ass off ‘til the day it was open,” she says. “So I think it’s a bit more relatable than being a woman who really does do bugger all. The audience thinks, if she’s done it, that inspires me to do it.”</p> <p class="p2">Whatever went into the deal she struck with Cohen to re-sign for one more year of <em>RHOBH</em>, she knows she can’t make what has been called “The Dark Season” just go away. </p> <p class="p2">“You do have a responsibility to the viewers to show how the dynamics change and evolve,” she tells me. “You can’t suddenly be like, ‘I called her, and now we are friends!’ You have a responsibility to work that out on-camera, otherwise how do they follow your story?”</p> <p class="p2">I point out that, whatever happens, it will only be a matter of time before the tide turns on her again.</p> <p class="p2">Lisa looks me dead in the eye. “I suppose they’ll give it their best shot, won’t they?” </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/26/lisa-vanderpump-reality-tvs-classiest-act-celebrates-a-renewed-bravo-deal-and-her-new-weho-hotspothttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/26/lisa-vanderpump-reality-tvs-classiest-act-celebrates-a-renewed-bravo-deal-and-her-new-weho-hotspotThu, 26 Jun 2014 06:00:00 GMTCorey ScholiboIan Ziering Has a Body by Chippendales (And You Can, Too)<p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/chippendales4.png" alt="" width="300" /></p> <p class="p1"><span class="micro">Photo by Gabriel Goldberg</span><br /><br />Move over, Steve Sanders.<strong> Ian Ziering</strong> is officially sexier today—at 50 years old, no less—than he was in the ‘90s. Last year, the <em>Beverly Hills 90210</em> alum metamorphosed his physique when he joined the Chippendales show at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas as the production’s guest host. As of this month, Ziering is back in the all-male revue with a body that’s fitter than ever. </p> <p class="p3">Of course, fans of camp-tastic sci-fi films will also know Ziering from his Twitter-trending work in the made-for-TV instant cult classic <em>Sharknado</em>, the sequel for which is on its way to viewers. But to get a glimpse of Ziering’s statuesque bod, you’ll have to travel to Vegas for the real thing. The actor’s chiseled torso will be disappointingly absent from <em>Sharknado 2</em>.</p> <p class="p3">“It’s funny, there’s no swimsuit and there’s no abs shot in <em>Sharknado 2</em>,” he says. “It’s pretty much me running around New York City in the middle of winter. Not much in the way of bathing suits there.”</p> <p class="p3">In the off chance you find yourself saving innocents from shark-spewing tornados—or baring the goods onstage for a crowd of rowdy ladies—Ziering shares with us his secrets to sculpting a body worthy of the Chippendales bow tie and shirt cuffs.<br /> </p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/chippendales3.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>Go to the next page for Ian Ziering's secrets for sculpting a Chippendales body</p> <p class="p3"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p5"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/chippendales2.png" alt="" width="600" /><br />1. Visualize Victory</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Ziering recommends you start by knowing your goal. “I’d suggest writing down your current weight, and write down the weight you’d like to be at,” he says. “Make a vision board. Include a magazine cutout of the physique you’d like to have. Then determine the time you’re going to take to make it happen.”</span></p> <p class="p5"><strong>2. Be Accountable</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“Once you have a goal and you have a time frame, set a plan to achieve that. What’s most important is doing what you say you’re gonna do,” says Ziering. “Tell everybody you’re gonna lose weight. It’s so easy to cheat on yourself, but if you make everyone aware of what you’re doing, you’re gonna feel you need to be accountable to them.”</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></p> <p class="p5"><strong>3. Just Do It</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“Workout,” Zeiring states bluntly. “Because I had a short amount of time, I had to increase the time I would spend in the gym. I would workout in the morning doing CrossFit for an hour and then later in the day, early afternoon, I’d go back and work resistance training and target muscle groups. Upper body for show, lower body for go,” he says.</span></p> <p class="p5"><strong>4. Fuel Up</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“Eighty percent of fitness, maybe more, is diet,” he says. “You are what you eat. It’s very important to eat within a half-hour of waking up. Your body—your metabolism as a steam engine—you’ve gotta start throwing coal into the fire immediately just to get that engine pumping. Look at food as fuel rather than enjoyment.” <br /><br />Go to the next page for Ian's fitness faves.</span></p> <p class="p5"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><!-- pagebreak --><br /><br /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/chippendales1.png" alt="" width="400" />IAN'S FITNESS FAVES</strong></p> <p class="p5"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong>Crunches</strong><br /></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Lay on your back with your knees bent and your hands at your ears. Lift your shoulders to the ceiling using your abdominals and pause for a second at the peak. Slowly return to the original position and repeat until you complete your goal amount of reps."</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Bench Press</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Lay on the bench and unrack the bar, lowering it towards your sternum. Exhale as you forcefully press the weight upwards. Slowly lower back to starting position."</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Squats</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Lower your glutes towards the floor until they form a 90-degree angle. Squeeze glutes as your raise to starting position."</span></p> <p class="p5"><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Pull Up<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Place hands shoulder-width apart and pull your body upwards until your chin is above the bar. Slowly lower yourself to starting position."</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/26/ian-ziering-has-a-body-by-chippendales-and-you-can-toohttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/26/ian-ziering-has-a-body-by-chippendales-and-you-can-tooThu, 26 Jun 2014 11:50:00 GMTMike CiriacoDixie Longate Brings Her Off-Broadway Tupperware Party to the Geffen<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://thelongcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/dixie2-640x420.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>You can never have too much Tupperware, so luckily for us, fast-talking Southern saleswoman <strong>Dixie Longate</strong> will be peddling her “fantastic plastic crap” here in Los Angeles. Starting July 8, the belle of off-Broadway will be bringing her hit show <a href="http://www.dixiestupperwareparty.com/" target="_blank"><em>Dixie’s Tupperware Party</em></a> to the Geffen Theater. To promote SoCal’s run of the hilarious production, the Alabama trailer park princess dialed us up and gave us a holler.</p> <p>“A lot of times people will say, ‘Hey, I don’t wanna go to a Tupperware party. That sounds boring,’” explains Dixie. “Trust me, you’re gonna be laughing and giggling and having a good time. And I do games and prizes and raffles, and you can get up onstage and have some fun with that. Oh, it’s worth it. It’s gonna be a night you’re never gonna forget.”</p> <p>If it’s anything like some of Dixie’s past Tupperware parties, ‘forgettable’ is the last word you’d use to describe it. She has a nagging tendency to attract drama wherever she goes, which she has no problem admitting.</p> <p>“I did a nudist Tupperware party one time where everybody was naked,” says Dixie, “and I tell you what, they got to talking about storing their cucumber and it took a whole different turn. Then, one time, it was so funny, I was talking about a brand-new product that I had, and this old lady, she started chokin’ and coughin’ and we all rushed over to her. I said, ‘Oh my Lord, is she OK?’ I thought she was havin’ a heart attack. I was so concerned. It turns out she had been laughin’ so hard she coughed her teeth into her hand.”</p> <p>“You never know what’s gonna happen,” Dixie continues. “I almost had a lady give birth one time. She was real, real close to givin’ birth, and I said, ‘Well, I got a big old bowl that we could store the baby in if it comes to that.’ But towards the end of the party, she actually did have to leave and rush to the hospital because she was givin’ birth.”</p> <p>L.A. audiences can surely expect this caliber of crazy at the Geffen (something that doesn’t happen with every show, most likely), along with a hearty helping of Dixie’s signature fashion sense. She proudly creates all of her eccentric ensembles from scratch.</p> <p>“Most of the stuff that I have, I’ve made myself,” she says. “I have this gingham dress that I wear a lot that I made from an old 4th of July tablecloth. I like to recycle, you know. I had to cut around some of the gravy stains that look so un-Christian, but it’s perfect. It’s so damn cute, I wear it sometimes to church. And I wear panties in that case, ‘cause Jesus is watching’, but every time else it’s so breezy, I just go with nothing.”</p> <p>The Geffen has no clue the storm of Tupperware-sellin’ crazy that’s coming its way.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Dixie’s Tupperware Party</span><br /></strong>Geffen Playhouse<br />July 8 - Aug. 3<br /><a href="http://www.geffenplayhouse.com" target="_blank"><em>geffenplayhouse.com</em></a></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/26/dixie-longate-brings-her-off-broadway-tupperware-party-to-the-geffenhttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/26/dixie-longate-brings-her-off-broadway-tupperware-party-to-the-geffenThu, 26 Jun 2014 06:00:00 GMTMike CiriacoHorse Meat Disco's New Album Will Leave You Hungry for More<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.magneticmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/horse-meat-disco.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>It’s more than a beloved, all-inclusive queer nightclub event in London’s Vauxhall district—<strong>Horse Meat Disco</strong> is a movement, a scene and a revival of sorts. Founded by a cadre of DJs and music lovers (<strong>James Hillard, Jim Stanton, Severino</strong> and “<strong>Filthy” Luke Howard</strong>), the male collective spins the sounds of classic and rare disco, Italo funk and happy synth pop on dance floors all over the globe. They also <a href="https://soundcloud.com/horse-meat-disco" target="_blank">curate and mix these gems</a> for mass consumption, as they’ve done with the release of the two-disc <a href="http://www.horsemeatdisco-thealbum.com/" target="_blank">Horse Meat Disco Vol. IV.</a> I spoke with Howard about what makes horse meat taste so good.</p> <p>x</p> <p><strong>FRONTIERS:</strong> How did you first get into collecting music and the DJ thing?</p> <p><strong>LUKE HOWARD:</strong> I started DJing around 1990 at the Queer Nation club in London, which I still continue weekly. Right before HMD started, I was about ready to give up DJing, as music was going through a weird patch. But then the opportunity to play at HMD came along, and I’m so happy that I carried on. The past few years have definitely been the highlight of my DJ career.</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> Where the hell do you find all these obscure 12” singles or vinyl gems?</p> <p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">LH:</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Every city we visit we hunt them down, and just ask the local promoters and DJs to recommend record shops to us. I also buy a lot of stuff from Discogs.com as well.</span></p> <p><strong>F:</strong> Do you exclusively spin vinyl, or do you work in digital as well?</p> <p><strong>LH:</strong> We use vinyl, CDs and USB sticks. It depends how far we have to travel, really. I prefer playing vinyl, though, as nothing beats the sound quality of a well-mastered 12” single.</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> Why do you think classic disco—and even the most obscure stuff—still has such a lasting resonance with clubbers today?</p> <p><strong>LH:</strong> I think people really connect with the fluidity of the beats per minute, the live musicianship and orchestration and all the lovely analogue sounds. I guess that’s why it still works. Some modern dance music can be quite monotonous and exhausting to listen to!</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> Do you feel a responsibility to “school the children” about the roots and beginnings of club music?</p> <p><strong>LH:</strong> Not necessarily. But we’re always really happy when younger people are into what we’re doing. At some of our gigs I’ll look out at the dance floor and I’m probably older than most of the patrons’ parents! So it’s great to see a younger crowd enjoying the music that we love.</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> Name the go-to records you can always count on when the crowd’s being pissy, or the ones that guarantee to get people moving.</p> <p><strong>LH:</strong> There are so many! “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2q2bis6eLE&feature=kp" target="_blank">I Feel Love</a>” (Donna Summer), “Was That All It Was” (Jean Carn) or “In the Evening” by Sheryl Lee Ralph. The list goes on!</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> Who designs all your iconic artwork and imagery?</p> <p><strong>LH:</strong> Adrian Fillary is the man behind our logo and branding. People always want to buy our T-shirts when we tour, so the look must be working.</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> And I guess I have to ask, how did you come up with the name “Horse Meat Disco”? You realize Morrissey probably bristles at that, right?</p> <p><strong>LH:</strong> About 10 years ago there was a British newspaper headline that read “Horse Meat Discovered in Salami.” But half of the headline was covered up, and Jim and James thought it would be a great name for a club. And the rest is herstory!</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> Do you have any favorite tracks on the new Horse Meat Disco Vol. IV?</p> <p><strong>LH:</strong> I really love “I Love Your Beat” by Rena. It was produced by Billy Nichols, who had a smash on West End Records in the early ‘80s. Billy’s son lives in London and often comes to HMD, so it’s really nice that he can still hear his dad’s records when he goes out.</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> You just recently played in L.A., but when can we expect you guys again?</p> <p><strong>LH:</strong> We absolutely love coming to play in L.A. People there are so friendly, they get us, and they have really good taste in music. We’ve got some really good friends in L.A. now, too, so it’s always a pleasure for us to come and spin. We hope to come back very soon!</p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/14/horse-meat-discos-new-album-will-leave-you-hungry-for-morehttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/14/horse-meat-discos-new-album-will-leave-you-hungry-for-moreSat, 14 Jun 2014 11:00:00 GMTPaul V.Lynda Kay to Headline Trevor Project Gala in Palm Springs<p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/lyndakay.jpg" alt="" width="300" /></p> <p>In Dallas, Texas, one thing is common knowledge: “The higher the hair, the closer to god,” and <strong>Lynda Kay</strong> tries her hardest to prove that old adage true. Her fabulous bouffant and enrapturing four-octave vocal range return to Palm Springs to take part in Night Out for Trevor, a fundraiser for the LGBT community’s life-saving mission to prevent suicide, The Trevor Project. The elegant songstress—known as much for her elegant, vintage style as her sultry voice—took a moment to dish with <em>Frontiers</em> about the upcoming performance. </p> <p><strong>FRONTIERS:</strong> How did you first get involved with The Trevor Project?</p> <p><strong>LYNDA KAY:</strong> I met Chaz Stevens, the Chairman of the Event, when I was performing in Hollywood, where he approached me about the Palm Springs Trevor event. I wanted to learn more about the organization, so Chaz took me to meet [Trevor Project CEO] Abbe Land, and she gave me a tour of the offices and I met the volunteers. I was so deeply moved by their mission, I proudly accepted the invitation to perform.</p> <p><strong>F: </strong>What are you most looking forward to with this performance?</p> <p><strong>LK:</strong> I’m really excited about connecting with new people and seeing dear friends while performing under the stars at the Escena Golf Resort. I’ve never performed with my entire seven-piece band in this type of setting, so I just hope the desert wind cooperates. But I’m prepared with my traveling hairdresser, many wardrobe changes and plenty of cocktails to keep me from being dry!</p> <p><strong>F:</strong> Why do you feel your act resonates so strongly with gay audiences?</p> <p><strong>LK:</strong> Gay men and women really seem to appreciate the type of music I perform, which you rarely hear live anymore. My friend Bruce Vilanch says it best: “If you were wondering if they’d ever make a fabulous, sexy, powerful, funny and lusciously talented chick singer that grownups could love, stop wondering. She’s here.” And is there a gay person out there who doesn’t appreciate drag? I mean, honey, I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where big hair, sparkles and beads are what we put on to go to the supermarket!</p> <p><strong>F: </strong>What’s the best advice you can give to any girl who wants to bouffant their own hair?</p> <p><strong>LK:</strong> Well, I’m preaching to the choir, but here goes: Aqua Net Extra Super Hold or L’Oreal Elnett for a softer hold, and tease it up ‘til you can’t get it any bigger, because we all need a lot of humor in our lives!<br /> <br /> <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Night Out for Trevor<br /></strong></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">June 21<br /></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Escena Country Club<br /></span><a href="http://www.thetrevorproject.org" target="_blank"><em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">thetrevorproject.org</span></em></a></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/16/lynda-kay-to-headline-trevor-project-gala-in-palm-springshttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/06/16/lynda-kay-to-headline-trevor-project-gala-in-palm-springsMon, 16 Jun 2014 12:31:00 GMTNemo McCayBig Freedia Just Wants to Make You Bounce<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/bigfreedia1.png" alt="" width="600" /><br /><em>With the release of his brand-new album, diva supreme Big Freedia is primed for bounce music’s world domination, but first he has some twerking tips for a certain tongue-wagging pop star </em><br /><br /></p> <p class="p1"><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/bigfreedia4.png" alt="" width="400" /><span class="micro">Photos by Koury Angelo Photography</span><br /><br />When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the New Orleans shore in 2005, America looked on with heads bowed as one of the country’s liveliest communities was reduced to a harrowing wasteland. Residents who had called New Orleans home for a lifetime were forced to flee the Gulf Coast, dispersing throughout the Southern states in an attempt to restore a semblance of balance to daily life. Among those displaced were musicians—the lifeblood of Louisiana culture—including the founders of a New Orleans-based genre of hip-hop called bounce music.</p> <p class="p2">If there is a silver lining to be found inside Katrina’s widespread devastation, perhaps it is the fact that following New Orleans residents vacating their homes, that lively and dynamic culture was allowed to permeate other areas of the United States. Bounce music—characterized by provocative lyrics, quick beats and hypersexual female dancers—infiltrated hip-hop circles around the country, from Houston to Atlanta, bringing its New Orleans flavor to the forefront of local hip-hop scenes. </p> <p class="p2">One artist who spread the gospel of bounce music, himself a founder of the genre, was Big Freedia, an openly gay, flamboyant force of nature who never appeared to struggle while working in an industry that told him he was ‘less than.’ Freedia settled and performed in Texas for several months, hawking the brand of music as only he could. Despite moving back to New Orleans the first chance he had—starting a regular night at local haunt Caesar’s called FEMA Fridays—the trigger had been pulled, and Freedia’s was the name on that bullet; he quickly became the face of bounce music’s widespread appeal.</p> <p class="p2">In the near-decade since Katrina’s attempted destruction of the New Orleans spirit, Big Freedia is well on his way to becoming a household name. With three studio albums under his belt, another—this month’s <em>Let’s Get Free</em>—on the way and a second season of the hit reality series <em>Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce</em> (a massive success for the Fuse TV network) currently in the works, it’s your home he’ll be barging into next.</p> <p>We sat down with Freedia the day before a show at L.A.’s Echoplex to push the new album, delving into his newfound national appeal and what he has in store for us on his path to achieveing mainstream success once and for all.<br /><br /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Let’s start out by talking about bounce music, which is something you know a thing or two about. How do you describe bounce music to people who aren’t familiar with it?</strong></p> <p class="p1">I usually say it’s uptempo, heavy bass, ‘call and response’-type music. It’s definitely party music, and it makes people happy. But it has created its own culture as well, within New Orleans especially.</p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>I’ve seen the term ‘sissy bounce’ used to represent some gay artists working in bounce music, but I understand that’s not necessarily a term that you embrace.</strong></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></p> <p class="p1">No, and we don’t embrace it because we’ve never separated bounce music in New Orleans—it’s always just been called ‘bounce music.’ There are gay artists in bounce, but [the term can cause offense] to other artists. People be like, “Oh, you do sissy bounce” when they really don’t know if that artist is gay or not. It’s a controversy for us gay bounce artists, because some feel like we’re encouraging this word—in the media or whatever—when we never made it up. There’s just no such thing in New Orleans. We don’t separate artists. We don’t want to be categorized. We just want to be artists. We’re all artists no matter what our sexual preference may be.</p> <p class="p1"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s2"><strong><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/bigfreedia6.png" alt="" width="400" /></strong><span class="micro">Photos by Koury Angelo</span><strong><br /><br />I think a lot of people are surprised to hear that hip-hop, which has this reputation of homophobia, has at the same time someone like you—an openly gay artist who is the superstar of this entire genre of hip-hop music. How do you think those two things are reconciled?</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s3">You know, I just keep working really hard, and I try to keep breakin’ barriers. The world is changing, and things are opening up. Gay people are in a lot of powerful positions, which gives me a better platform to stand on to represent and to keep on breaking barriers. That’s important. I just work really hard, and I keep pushing. People see the consistency, and people see the power I have, and just the energy in my show.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s3"><strong>Let’s talk about women, because bounce music has caught some flack for being misogynistic, mostly due to the live shows, the booty bouncing, the twerking—the visual aspect. How do you respond to that?</strong></span></p> <p class="p1">It’s come up, and I feel it’s not an issue. Every style of music and every culture of music has a style of dance. Ours refers back to the West Indies and Africa. It’s a style of Mapouka—how tribal women used to dance, and it reminds me exactly of how New Orleans women dance. We just have a new and creative way of doing things. It’s something people have to adjust to. You may not like it at the beginning, but by the time the show is over—or maybe song two or three—you definitely dig it.</p> <p class="p3">I definitely get ‘em amped. Some say, “Oh, it’s so sexual.” It’s not just sexual, because none of my music is really sexual. My music makes you feel the way you feel, and it makes people happy. I have a good response from the music I create. A lot of artists in New Orleans, we just have fun with the music and go inside a zone. It’s not about creating something that’s gonna terrify people or have ‘em depressed. We want you to have energy. <em>Release your wiggle</em>, you know? <em>Explode</em>!</p> <p class="p1"><span class="s4"><strong>With the claims of misogyny, do you think it’s different for you as a gay artist? You have female backup dancers shaking their ass behind you, but is that different than, say, a straight male hip-hop artist doing the same thing?</strong></span></p> <p class="p1">I think it definitely is. I give women a whole lot more security—they know I don’t want them, and my backup dancers know I’m there to help them, protect them, empower them to be able to express themselves through dancing any way they feel. I am an empowering spirit onstage with them, and that’s why they’re my backup dancers. Then when I turn and go with them, there’s nothing more phenomenal than this gay man who just shook his ass with these women.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>The show<em> Queen of Bounce</em> has followed your struggle with breaking into the mainstream music world, but let’s talk about your struggles making it in the bounce music scene. What kind of struggle was there as a gay artist?</strong></p> <p class="p1">It wasn’t all peaches and cream. [<em>Laughs</em>] In the beginning we had tons of fights, tons of jealousy, and we still have that—not the fights and all of that, but people, when they see you elevated and they see that you’re creating, they wanna try to mess up your situation. We kinda have that ‘crab in a barrel’ mentality in New Orleans, and a lot of people need to grow out of it—all the crabs are tryin’ to get to the top, and each time one gets to the top, another one is trying to pull him down. That’s New Orleans a lot of times with artists. <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/bigfreedia7.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Let’s talk about concessions. I assume that it’s something you’ve taken into consideration—what kind of concessions you’re willing to make. What kind of concessions have you already made in an effort to break into the mainstream music world?</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></p> <p class="p1">Just the actual logistics of my business—my branding, and just making sure that my music gets around worldwide. All of the social stuff. The music is gonna do what it does on its own. It’s more a following up of all of the things that need to go behind that to make bounce music a worldwide scene.  It’s my business to operate. I’m an independent artist, and I’m still controllin’ everything.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>So that’s the ultimate goal? The worldwide domination of bounce music?</strong></p> <p class="p1">Yes.</p> <p class="p1"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p1"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/bigfreedia2.png" alt="" width="600" /><br /></strong><span class="micro">Photos by Koury Angelo</span><strong><br /><br />I want to talk about the upcoming album, which you have to be super excited about.</strong></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s2">Yes, <em>Just Be Free</em>. I think my fans will be surprised at some of the sounds that I’ve brought into the music. And I’m expressing myself a whole lot more than just keeping it on that full bounce level. Fans can definitely expect some new and exciting things from me—some creativity—and hopefully people will feel what I was feelin.’</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/bigfreedia5.png" alt="" width="400" />You made a conscious decision not to feature guest artists on the album. Tell me about that.</strong></p> <p class="p1">This is my first actual bounce music album. I wanted it to be free, and I wanted it to be me. On the second album, of course, I will do some collaborations, and some of the remixes for this album, I’ll pull some people in. But for this initial album, yes, I decided not to have contributors, though I have some awesome collaborations lined up.<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>It’s not that you couldn’t find 12 amazing artists to guest on this album. I guess my immediate question would be, since we’re talking about breaking bounce music into the mainstream, would it not have been a lot easier to have someone like RuPaul, who you’ve worked with before, guest on this album? Would that not have helped?</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></p> <p class="p1">Well, I’ll say this. RuPaul already contributed and helped me by me doing the track on his album [“Peanut Butter,” 2012]. So we already put a fire out there to spark up my album and for people to see what’s going to be on it. And Ru will probably be on one of the remixes from something off the album. </p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">It’s also been a timing thing for me. All of the things I was going through with my mom, ‘cause I just recently lost my mom [to spinal and lung cancer in April]. I was just being me, and I was trying to be free from a lot of things and really focus on taking care of my mom, but I was also trying to create music at the same time. </span></p> <p class="p3">It was really a hard time to get with a lot of different artists—collaborate with them, fly here, fly there, make things happen. I was trying to spend as much time as possible at home and complete my album on my own.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Let’s talk about family. As a southern man, I know that family is an important part of everything. You recently lost your mother, and I know you’re an extremely busy performer. Have you been able to decompress? Have you been allowed that time?</strong></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">I have not really been allowed that time. It’s touching me in a lot of different ways. My mom would have wanted me to keep pushing, but I still need that time for me, ya know? I just need it. And it’s gonna have to come soon, or there’s no tellin’ what will happen. I’m very overwhelmed. I’m overexcited, ‘cause I have a lot that was happening before my mom passed. It’s just that, all of the ducks were lined up, and they still have to follow through. But just like she would tell me, the show must go on.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><!-- pagebreak --></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/bigfreedia3.png" alt="" width="400" /></strong><span class="micro">Photos by Koury Angelo</span><strong> <br /><br />What were some of the feelings that went into this new album?</strong></p> <p class="p1">Well, for starters, moments when I was upset—when I really wanted to explode. And that’s the first single, “Explode.” I literally wanted to explode. That’s the way I felt, and that’s why it came out that way. I was just like <em>Whoa</em>! It has to do with what I was going through with my mom, with my lover, with my immediate family—with my second family, which is my dancers and my managers. It was a lot of different things that I was going through, creating music all in between.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>One last thing—I want to talk about twerking.</strong></p> <p class="p1">Uh oh.<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>This <em>Guinness Book of World Records</em> thing in New York.</strong></p> <p class="p1">Oh, OK. I thought you were about to say Miley Cyrus. </p> <p class="p1"><strong>How many people bring up Miley in interviews?</strong></p> <p class="p1">Too many. Let’s just keep it at that. Too many. [<em>Laughs</em>] The network that I’m on—Fuse TV—decided as kind of a launch for the show’s first season that we should break the world record for twerking, and we broke that record in New York. We had 364 dancers or something like that, and everybody had to twerk for about two minutes strong.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>And Miley wasn’t in the audience? Do you know that for a fact? She didn’t sneak her way in there?</strong></p> <p class="p1">No, but she shoulda. She woulda got a lesson.<br /><br /></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong><em>Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce</em> returns to Fuse TV for a second season <br /> on June 11.</strong></span></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/30/big-freedia-just-wants-to-make-you-bouncehttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/30/big-freedia-just-wants-to-make-you-bounceFri, 30 May 2014 16:00:00 GMTStephan HorbeltTyler Glenn, Frontman of Neon Trees, is Looking for Love in the 21st Century<p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/tylerglenn5.png" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p class="p1"><em>Pop music’s only gay Mormon, the flamboyant frontman of Neon Trees, talks faith, glamour and finding the bear of his dreams<br /><br /></em></p> <p class="p1"><span class="micro">Photos by Jam Sutton</span><br /><br />It was in August 2012 that pop musician and singer Tyler Glenn shared ‘25 Things You Don’t Know About Me’ with <em>Us Weekly</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. At that point, Glenn’s Utah-based pop band Neon Trees had two well-received pop albums under its belt—2010’s </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Habits</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, which featured the ubiquitous lead single “Animal,” and a second, </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Picture Show</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, that had just been released a few months prior on the back of double-platinum single “Everybody Talks.” But while “everybody” might have been talking, there was one thing Glenn failed to mention in that magazine piece—that he was a gay man, had known since he was 6 years old and had been living a closeted life personally and professionally. </span></p> <p class="p3">Some might have deduced as much from a few items on his list—“I have seen the entire series of <em>Sex and the City </em>a total of nine times” is a particular standout—but Glenn’s foray out of the closet didn’t see ink until last month’s issue of <em>Rolling Stone</em>, when, now with a third, also well-received album under his belt, <em>Pop Psychology</em>, Glenn admitted to the world that not only is he sexually attracted to men, he has no intention of renouncing the Mormon faith under which he was raised.</p> <p class="p3">Modern day American culture seems to be reaching a point where gay musicians on the radio are no longer a controversial or even novel concept. The mainstream success of pop artists like Adam Lambert, Frank Ocean, Mika and Sia—in addition to lesser-known but critically acclaimed artists like Sam Sparro, Stephin Merritt and Edward Droste of Grizzly Bear—have proven that in the music industry, well-crafted tracks and powerhouse performances are still barometers for success. To be openly gay in the recording industry will never cease to be important, of course, because music is a universal language—a process of sharing experience, from songwriter to artist, but also among listeners. While the road ahead of Glenn is most definitely not the easiest to travel, he is a welcome addition to a rapidly expanding roster of LGBT artists.</p> <p class="p3">But how are fans to reconcile Glenn’s homosexuality with his ingrained sense of personal faith?</p> <p class="p3">Glenn spoke with me by phone the morning after Neon Trees began its latest tour in Nashville—a tour in support of the band’s very first album to debut at number one on the rock charts.</p> <p class="p3">“It was kind of a typical first show, but it was awesome,” he says.</p> <p class="p3">The band’s performances are known to be both raucous and colorful, enhanced by Glenn’s peacock-inspired persona. He’s a lead singer who understands that pop music is as much about visual elements as what exits the speakers, citing bands like Erasure, Depeche Mode and Cyndi Lauper as his childhood pop music idols, all of whom balanced strong songcraft with their dynamic personae. </p> <p class="p3">“I’ve never understood <em>not</em> trying to be a star when you’re onstage, ‘cause it’s like, you’re on a stage. People have come to see you play. I don’t know if it’s just being a fan of over-the-top pop music when I was growing up, but for me, that’s just what I know, so I put that into the band.”<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/tylerglenn1.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p3">The prior night’s performance had been one of the band’s first since Glenn’s <em>Rolling Stone</em> revelation, and I was curious whether he felt his live show or his onstage persona had changed since coming out. </p> <p class="p3">“It’s funny—we’ve always been a pretty gay band. I’ve never not danced the way I feel. I’ve always worn flamboyant stuff since we started. So, to me, I don’t want people to think all of the sudden it’s a gay show because I’m a gay man. I think it’s still the same energy, and I think if anything is different, it’s a little more celebratory and it’s a little more confident because I’m a little more confident.”</p> <p class="p3">Confidence is a selling point for pop musicians, particularly those who grace stages the world over. Glenn has found that if anything, his coming out has created a stronger bond between him and his fans, remarking that fans who had been following Neon Trees for long time “feel even more connected, so they get some of the nuances in the songs more, and they get some of the comments that I make onstage that maybe before were a little vague and coded.”</p> <p class="p3"><!-- pagebreak --><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/tylerglenn4.png" alt="" width="350" /><br />The Mormon Church’s stance on same-sex attraction reads as such: “The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”</p> <p class="p3">It’s a statement that comes off a bit more innocuous than the Church’s battle in support of California’s Prop. 8 would suggest. In reality, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints considers gay sex to be a “serious transgression,” alongside theft, rape and murder. </p> <p class="p3">The church’s struggle with the LGBT community is no secret, and it’s an embittered one that has been played out in the media. </p> <p class="p3">Glenn isn’t the first Mormon lead singer in pop or rock music, as Brandon Flowers, head of the Nevada-based band The Killers has also been vocal about his lifelong membership in the Church. In a 2011 video for the Mormon Church, Flowers said, “There are a lot of connotations that come along with popular music and rock music. It’s usually very sex-driven or money-driven, and I realized very early on that wasn’t the road for me. A lot of people love to come up to me and tell me they were raised in the church, and they expect there to be this camaraderie about ‘Oh, we’ve outgrown it now and we’re smart enough to not be in it. It started happening so often that it really made me take a look at myself, and I realized I was raised in it, and there’s still a fire burning in there.”</p> <p class="p3">It was actually The Killers who gave Neon Trees the band’s first big break, bringing them along for a string of North American tour dates in 2008. Flowers told<em> The Guardian</em> in 2012, “Nothing … has changed the gospel I believe in.” </p> <p class="p3">As rare as it is for faith to be a topic of discussion for pop artists, it’s even more rare that it would come from a gay musician, so Glenn’s declaration that he still considers himself a practicing member of the Mormon Church has garnered an interesting reaction.</p> <p class="p3"><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/tylerglenn3.png" alt="" width="350" />“I think people are interested that I’m still claiming to be Mormon, and a lot of people who associate the Mormon church and homosexuality together—usually there’s a rift, and rightfully so,” he says. “I mean, there’s been a very public negative look from the church on homosexuality in the past few years. But for me it’s hard to reconcile now wanting to be my whole self and wanting to live my entire truth, because part of that does include my faith. I wasn’t wanting to be so quick to just throw away things that I believe in that I still find are true. I do have my issues with the Church, and I’m sure there are plenty of religious people who don’t necessarily fully agree with things. I think we’re all trying. But for me, I still really have a belief. It’s an interesting thing to balance right now, but I’m figuring it out, I guess.”</p> <p class="p3">Glenn’s family growing up was completely normal by all accounts, though perhaps more transgressive than the typical Mormon household. Glenn, who happily refers to himself as a “momma’s boy,” says they watched MTV together—nights that presumably sparked his obsession as a young child with rock stars and the splashy pop music of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Glenn’s mother took him to concerts, and upon noticing that he wasn’t interested in sports and the typical masculine activities, enrolled him in ballet classes at a young age.</p> <p class="p3">“We were definitely active members of the Mormon Church,” says Glenn, as he remembers going to church every Sunday and attending church activities during the week, but he considers his family different because as a teen he was afforded “a nice balance” between faith and other aspects of his life. He considers himself lucky.</p> <p class="p3">“I know now there are a lot of LGBT youth in Utah that are still getting kicked out of their homes because their Mormon families don’t know how to deal with it. That’s really saddening to me. I guess my story has helped some of those families locally. I’ve heard from them, and I think that’s cool. I don’t know how impressive my story is to everyone, but I appreciate those people who have been woken up—that being gay isn’t something you should look down on someone for.”</p> <p class="p4"> <!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p5"><span class="s1"><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/tylerglenn2.png" alt="" width="400" />A</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">t the end of the day, the success of Glenn and Neon Trees is a result of the group’s musical output, specifically Glenn’s adeptness at writing an ear worm with his bandmates. The band’s current single, “Sleeping with a Friend,” has spent three months on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and while we now know the song’s lyrics are referencing the tricky situation of sleeping with a straight friend, it seems not everyone has read the </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Rolling Stone</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> story, and Glenn is fine with that.</span></p> <p class="p3">“We played in St. Louis the other day, and one of the songs is called ‘Love in the 21st Century,’ and I talk about dating apps and how hard it is to find love. At the end of the story, I said, ‘If you guys find him, let me know, ‘cause I’m looking for him.’ I could tell some people were a little like, ‘Uhhh,’ which I think is refreshing, because it’s great that the story hasn’t overpowered the music. That’s cool.”</p> <p class="p3">Speaking of dating apps, on a recent <em>Chelsea Lately</em> appearance Glenn let it slip that he’s not so much a fan of the gay hookup app Grindr. It turns out Glenn is more a fan of the gay community’s hirsute variety, evidenced by his profile on one of the leading smartphone apps for bears, Growlr. When I ask about his luck meeting guys through the app, he seems flustered.</p> <p class="p3">“Yeah, I’m on and off on it. I think I’m back on it now. Well, I <em>am</em>. I don’t <em>think</em>, I am. But yeah,” he stutters. “I don’t put it out there, that I’m a singer in Neon Trees. I have a photo that I took on a cell phone, and I use my name. I’m definitely more aware that I probably shouldn’t put certain photos out. I don’t need any of that floating around.” </p> <p class="p3">After sharing a laugh, it’s apparent that despite being played on the radio repeatedly and touring stages around the world, Glenn struggles with many of the same issues all gay men face, most notably “the cliquey nature of the gay community” and looking for love in an era of digital dating and easy one-night stands.</p> <p class="p3">“It’s interesting—after the shows, I actually get some messages on Growlr like, ‘Good show tonight, man.’ So it’s sort of a new way that the fans are talking. And if I happen to find the love of my life, that’s cool, too.”</p> <p class="p3">As the public learns more and more about Tyler Glenn—his MTV-influenced childhood, the need for faith in his busy life and a quest to uncover the bear of his dreams—one thing becomes quite apparent: it may just be time to give <em>Us Weekly</em> another 25 things.<br /><br /><strong>Neon Trees performs in L.A. at the Wiltern Theatre on June 14. </strong></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/29/tyler-glenn-frontman-of-neon-trees-is-looking-for-love-in-the-21st-centuryhttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/29/tyler-glenn-frontman-of-neon-trees-is-looking-for-love-in-the-21st-centuryThu, 29 May 2014 13:30:00 GMTStephan HorbeltMeet Crown Prince Manvendra, the World's Only Out Royal<p class="Calendarbody7585" align="center"><em>After coming out to his 650-year-old family dynasty, <br /> Crown Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India was disowned and burned <br /> in effigy, but now he marches proudly and works to save others in <br /> a country that has newly criminalized homosexuality </em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/prince4.png" alt="" width="400" /><br /><a class="micro" href="http://www.astudillo-photo.com" target="_blank">Photos by Godofredo & Rodelio Astudillo</a></p> <p style="text-align: left;">"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me,” writes <strong>F. Scott Fitzgerald</strong> in his short story <em>The Rich Boy</em>. And if they are royalty, like <strong>Manvendra Singh Gohil</strong>, Crown Prince of Rajpipla, India, that difference is heightened, underscored and exaggerated. Manvendra was born and raised to assume the custodianship of the crown, with all the discipline, expectations and circumspection his catered life allowed. He was always surrounded by servants, so protected that he didn’t even cross the street alone until he was 16. “Quite a nightmare,” he says, especially on Indian roads.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">But on May 3, Manvendra, now 48, strode across the stage at The Globe Theatre in Universal City to accept the Humanitarian Award from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles during the organization’s 2014 Voice Awards. For almost a minute, the mostly gay audience gave the regally attired Manvendra a standing ovation—not necessarily because they knew him or what he had done to merit the honor, but because the prince was one of them, one member of the grand tribe of LGBT souls.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">Riches, class, status, even two appearances on Oprah and international notoriety—all faded away as gays from across the globe recognized themselves in each other. Though Manvendra was, in fact, different from the tuxedoed crowd, having bucked a 650-year-old dynasty to come out, an understanding of shared inner agony quietly reverberated behind the applause. And here, on this stage, Prince Manvendra presented a portrait of fighting for self-empowerment while armed with empathy and humor.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">“I am still enjoying the monopoly position as the world’s only openly gay royal. I hope I find a competitor soon,” Manvendra said to much laughter. Other royals, he added, have “confided in me. But they are still feeling shy about coming out of the closet. So I remain the only one as of now. Sometimes it makes me wonder whether I’m really the prince or a queen.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent"> Manvendra spoke without notes or a teleprompter, making his humor in the face of a dire situation all the more compelling. In 2009, a Delhi High Court struck down Section 377, a colonial British law criminalizing sodomy. “In our view, Indian constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs are,” the court ruled on July 2, 2009.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">But on Dec. 11, 2013, the Indian Supreme Court set aside the 2009 ruling and reinstituted the 153-year-old British law that allows arrests for “unnatural offenses” and 10 years imprisonment for “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman or animal.” With that, India became the 77th country to criminalize LGBT people.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent"> The prince was among the protesters that demonstrated against the court’s ruling. But at The Globe Theatre he turned anger into an insightful quip. “Ours is a secular country, so we have the Hindus, Muslims, Christians—and they all fight like cats and dogs. But I think this was the first time they all came together on a platform to be anti-gay. I think they should thank us for that,” Manvendra said. “Anyway, that hasn’t discouraged me from fighting. I’m a warrior. I will fight.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed8953lindropcap">Manvendra has been fighting his whole life to be free. “I always used to wonder, ‘Why am I being imprisoned?’” he says of his sheltered life in <em>Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil ― Mission Film</em>, a video produced by his Ekta Transglobal Foundation. He was born on Sept. 23, 1965, the day the Indo-Pakistani War ended. His surroundings have been described as lavish, stifling. “Being born into the royal family,” he has said, “is like being born into a cocoon.” He knew he was gay at age 10, though he had no word for his feelings. He struggled internally throughout his years at the Bombay Scottish School, and at the Amrutben Jivanlal College of Commerce and Economics in Bombay, he studied agriculture and law—the latter because royals are always getting sued, he told <em>Frontiers</em> the day of the Voice Awards.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed8953lindropcap"><!-- pagebreak --><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/prince2.png" alt="" width="600" /> </p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">“Growing up in a royal family with no communication and not able to tell anyone what I am undergoing has been different than others. I mean, not knowing what I am but still being different, getting married by choice and then having a disastrous marriage and having my wife tell me not to spoil the life of another woman,” Manvendra said of his marriage in his early 20s. “I was kind of trying to find out, rediscover myself—why all this is happening to me. Something is wrong somewhere, so I need to find out.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">Manvendra came to terms with his sexuality with the help of gay activist <strong>Ashok Row Kavi</strong>, who, in 1986, became the first person to come out openly in India. “He brought me out of this whole guilt feeling,” the prince said. Ravi also encouraged him to start his own HIV/AIDS education foundation, Lakshya Trust, which he did in the year 2000, well before he came out. “It’s important because of what sufferings I have undergone as a child, growing up in a very conservative family. I think it’s my duty to help out my other gay friends so that they don’t go through a similar suffering, which I have gone through, and I can help them in that.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">“Interference” from his mother prompted him to finally come out. “In the royal family there is always a pressure to see the next heir to the throne, for the dynasty. So the fact that my ex-wife got married again and I was not married gave my family all the more reason to force me to get married again,” Manvendra said. “And that’s when I realized that as a child growing up, I wasn’t attracted towards the opposite sex.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">When Manvendra realized he was gay and told his parents after a nervous breakdown in 2002, “they were quite shocked and they tried to change me—make me straight—by going through a lot of therapies or taking me to religious leaders. And when that didn’t work out, they started threatening me that if you don’t change yourself, we will out you to people whom we are very close to.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">Music has been Manvendra’s passion since childhood. (He performed his harmonium for a VIP party at the home of <strong>Brian Pendleton</strong> and<strong> Chad Goldman</strong> the night before the Voice Awards and says he practices every night before bed.) His mother threatened to out him to his music teacher if he didn’t change. “That gave me more encouragement to come out,” he said. “I said, ‘Well, if you’re just going to inform him, I am going to come out and tell the whole world that I am gay and then see what happens. I will bear the consequences.’ So I think I should thank my mother for pushing me towards this whole coming out.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">He publicly came out on the front page of the local newspaper, <em>Divya Bhaskar,</em> on March 14, 2006, in an interview that has been described as “sensitively handled.” At that point he was disowned by his family, burned in effigy by people in his hometown of Rajpipla and withstood calls to strip him of his title and make him an outcaste.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent"><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/prince1.png" alt="" width="300" />There are an estimated 1.4 billion people in India. A conservative extrapolation of four percent (the amount of gays the Williams Institute estimates lives in the U.S.) suggests that roughly 60 million are gay, but the majority of gays in India live a closeted life.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">“There’s always a guilt feeling that they are doing something wrong,” Manvendra said. A survey conducted by his AIDS education organization revealed that almost 75 to 80 percent of gay men are married to women. “They are not leading an honest life. And this marriage is also not their choice, because the parents—they emotionally blackmail the children and force them to get married. They know that they are not able to satisfy a woman sexually, so it’s quite difficult for them to lead a gay life.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">The dark gay bars that exist in India are by invitation only, so gay men meet in public parks, railway stations, bus stations and public toilets, as well as through the internet on such sites as Planet Romeo and “something called Grindr,” Manvendra said. But leading double lives creates a great concern for HIV transmission since condoms are used for contraception, not HIV prevention.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">Manvendra says the initial mission of his Lakshya Trust was to work with gays and India’s transgender population. The organization now operates in three cities, has reached more than 25,000 gay men and has partnered with the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation. <strong>Terri Ford</strong>, AHF’s Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy, says simply, “He’s our ambassador there.” The Trust also works on issues such as mental health, aging and women married to gay men. “We are the first organization to actually do a study on the issues of the female partners of the gay population.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">HIV is also very prevalent in India’s transgender community, which was recently recognized as a “third gender” by the courts. Manvendra believes “the landmark judgment” by the Supreme Court was merely a political ruling to appease the religious right in advance of the May 12 elections.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">“Transgenders in India are not seen as a behavior, but they are seen as a cult,” Manvendra said, referring to something we would probably deem a “lobby” in the West. “There have been families of transgenders who have been existing in our culture for centuries now. My own dynasty is 650 years old, but I know of transgender families that are even 800 years old.  So they have been in existence much before even the Muslims or the Christians have influenced our country. And there is mention about transgenders in our religious texts, in our Hindu mythology. So I think it is more to do with our culture than any other thing.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">Still, he believes the new ruling will help the gay community. “There is a very thin line between a community amongst the gays in India, which are called kotis, because the koti population identify themselves as gay but they like to cross dress, they like to drag, they are effeminate and they are passive partners. So if given the slightest chance, they would not mind joining the transgender cult.  So in a way, even though the Supreme Court has empowered the transgenders, they are also indirectly empowering the koti population in the gay community in India.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent"><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/prince3.png" alt="" width="300" />The Trust is also educating the community that gay relationships can be about love as well as sex. “Gay rights have not been recognized, so there is no question of gay unions. So that gives a lot of chance to people to indulge in multiple partner sex,” Manvendra said. “But actually things are changing now. There are a lot of gay men in our country who are realizing the importance of having a partner, a single partner, in one’s life rather than having a lot of them.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">And for himself? “I would say it’s very difficult for me to fall in love with the right person because it has happened with me that when I’ve kind of fallen for a guy, that guy has pretended to fall in love with me but they always have, most of them have [an agenda]. I’m not sure if that guy is really in love with me or if he is in love with my status or my reputation or my fame or my wealth. So it’s very difficult to find the right kind of guy.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">The prince said he’s “single and ready to mingle. … I don’t go much on the physical appearances because, according to me, the physical appearances are very temporary. It’s the mental tuning which you can have with a person, the mutual understanding, which is of permanent nature and which helps you in the long run.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed8953lindropcap">Today, Manvendra is accepted by his family, though his mother is still a holdout, and he publishes two magazines—one on gay life called<em> Fun and Fantasy</em>, a kind of Indian version of <em>Playboy</em>.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">While he doesn’t fear for his own safety, he knows there’s political concern. Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party—who hail from Manvendra’s region—are expected to win the May 12 elections, which have already been marred by anti-Muslim violence. “We have to strengthen our advocacy and develop strategies once the government is formed,” Manvendra said about the elections. </p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">But—eyes on the prize—Manvendra is on a mission. “Going through a series of nervous breakdowns and living the closeted life and going into the extreme, marching in the Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride Parade was a real sense of freedom,” Manvendra said of the 5,000-strong march in Mumbai in February. “When I’m marching with hundreds of like-minded people who are facing the same issues, it gives a sense of pride, and that’s why it’s called Pride. I am proud of myself, but I am also proud of a lot of other people who are walking with me. And I think that’s the spirit that also motivates me. It keeps the fire within me burning.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">The Pride parade route itself also has a special meaning. Starting at a large public sports oval of red dirt, it traces the steps of Gandhi when he marched to issue his call for freedom from the British in 1942. “Our LGBT movement, our gay rights movement, is quite similar to the Indian Freedom Movement and the types of sacrifices that were made,” Manvendra said. “<strong>Gandhi</strong> gives me a lot of inspiration, because if he can get India’s freedom based on truth and honesty, then that’s what you and I are doing. I am also true to myself. I am honest in what I am saying and what I am doing. So if I can go on his path and fight for the gay rights on the basis of truth and honesty, then I am sure we will also one day get our freedom in this country.” <br /><br /><strong>Photography:</strong> Godofredo & Rodelio Astudillo, <a href="http://www.astudillo-photo.com" target="_blank"><em>astudillo-photo.com</em></a><br /><strong>Styling:</strong> Jack Austin,<a href="http://www.jackaustinstyling.com" target="_blank"><em> jackaustinstyling.com</em></a><br /><strong>Grooming:</strong> Florah Fleischli, <a href="http://www.florahtheartist.foliohd.com" target="_blank"><em>florahtheartist.foliohd.com</em></a><br /><strong>Location:</strong> Andaz West Hollywood, <a href="http://www.westhollywood.andaz.com" target="_blank"><em>westhollywood.andaz.com</em> </a></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/15/meet-crown-prince-manvendra-the-worlds-only-out-royalhttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/15/meet-crown-prince-manvendra-the-worlds-only-out-royalThu, 15 May 2014 06:00:00 GMTKaren OcambJohn Waters Gets Carsick, Hitchhikes Across America for New Book<p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/carsick6.png" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p><em>John Waters is out to shock again, this time with Carsick, a book chronicling his eight-day hitchhiking trek along Route 70, from Baltimore to San Francisco</em><br /><br /><span class="micro">Photo by Shauta Marsh</span></p> <p>When I was young, I hitchhiked a lot,” says <strong>John Waters</strong>. “But never that far. I drove cross-country five times. I thought that might be a good book, but what would that be like? So I fantasized about the good, the bad and what I was going to do.”</p> <p>In a Skype session from his home in Baltimore (Spoiler alert: he doesn’t get kidnapped or killed on his hitchhiking travels), Waters spoke with Frontiers about how he came to write <em>Carsick</em>. He often hitchhikes in Provincetown, and “got into it, even inviting dates to go hitchhiking.” He adds with a laugh, “Those were my training wheels.”</p> <p>His real experiences, recounted in the book, were “all good,” he says. “It was an optimistic journey. There was not one bad person. They were all kind and helpful. One woman wouldn’t leave until she gave me money. She thought I was a homeless man!</p> <p>While many people Waters encountered on the road did not recognize the filmmaker behind <em>Pink Flamingos</em> and <em>Hairspray</em>—though some folks, like the band <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqaMEMIBPIw" target="_blank"><strong>Here We Go Magic</strong></a>, did—Waters was amused that some drivers knew him only from his appearance in the D-grade horror film <em>Seed of Chucky</em>.</p> <p>Waters says, “The celebrity I have, the only ones who recognize you are the ones you want to.” Still, Waters had several moments where he hoped using his celebrity would help him get a ride.</p> <p>“As soon as I was out there not getting a ride, I was flashing my mustache,” he admits. “You’ll do anything to get a ride. You’ll get in a car with anybody.”</p> <p>What irks him, however, are people who treat him poorly but then act nice when they realize who he is. “That pisses me off. If celebrity changes it, I distrust that person.”</p> <p>Yet <em>Carsick</em> includes an interesting episode where Waters’ own value system collapsed while hitchhiking. The author had an encounter at a rest stop where he met a woman who treated him, he says, “like a beggar and with contempt, and then changed into a groupie.”</p> <p>He misjudged her, too, noting, “A middle-aged woman with no teeth, doing road service. I thought she was on work release. She was a regular employee. She was the least likely fan.”</p> <p>The woman ultimately helped Waters get a ride with the “Renegade Builders,” a couple traveling to build housing for frackers. “You do what you have to do to get to the next place,” he says.<br /><br /><strong>Read <em>Frontiers</em>' first look excerpt of <em>Carsick</em> <a href="http://www.frontiersla.com/frontiers-blog/2014/06/03/john-waters-carsick-a-first-look-excerpt" target="_blank">here</a>.  </strong></p> <p><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/Waters3.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p><em><span class="micro">Photo by Greg Gorman<br /><br /></span></em><strong>Read <em>Frontiers</em>' first look excerpt of <em>Carsick</em> <a href="http://www.frontiersla.com/frontiers-blog/2014/06/03/john-waters-carsick-a-first-look-excerpt" target="_blank">here</a>.  </strong><em><br /><br />Carsick</em> is full of such fascinating encounters. Waters bonds most and best with a 20-year-old, sandy-haired straight young Republican driver he calls “the Corvette Kid,” whom he recalls fondly.</p> <p>“He was just on an adventure,” Waters says. “He didn’t know who I was. We had fun. It was a bromance, and we understood what it looked like. Friends texted him: ‘Way to go! You’re in a hotel with a gay man in Reno when you were on your way to lunch at Subway!’ We stayed [together] for three days in San Francisco. It really looked…” he lets that thought dangle as if daring to finish it.</p> <p>Before the author even gets to the day-to-day of his life “on the road” in <em>Carsick</em>, he offers readers two novellas, one aptly titled <em>The Best That Could Happen</em>, the other <em>The Worst That Could Happen</em>. And, boy, is the worst that could happen bad! Nauseatingly so, with disgusting bodily fluids and functions that remind folks why Waters has been dubbed the "Prince of Puke."</p> <p>While the stories of the real rides are fun, Waters’ <em>Best</em> and <em>Worst</em> novellas are equally entertaining. They play like extended riffs on the Waters essays “Puff Piece (101 Things I Love)” and “Hatchet Piece (101 Things I Hate)” from another book of his, <em>Crackpot</em>.</p> <p>The novellas read like short stories that could be made into films. One episode, set at a carnival, was a movie idea for Waters at one point, he explains. “All the good/bad chapters were like my movies. I could picture them as movies. I could be extreme, and hopefully I wrote it like I’m just telling you the story when I got out of the car.”</p> <p>Some of the tales include sexual episodes, and the writer treats sex with humor. “You can’t write a hitchhiking book without sex. I tried to have humorous fantasies about what would happen,” he says. “No one will jerk off reading <em>Carsick</em>.”</p> <p>But for all the book’s pleasures, there are some very nasty episodes. “I take the worst that can happen seriously,” Waters says, “but I think the gross stuff is so ridiculous. The tapeworm thing—I heard that as a child. I used to tell that at summer camp. And with hitchhiking, the paranoia is: Where am I going to eliminate? You can’t say ‘pull over.’ All those things I wrote about were my fears. And hopefully they can be funny, too.”</p> <p>Funny and shocking, <em>Carsick</em> includes a scene with a goiter that is pretty gross. Yet fans of the filmmaker’s work will likely be more amused than shocked.</p> <p>Still, Waters is himself surprised that <em>Carsick</em> happened at all. “Even when I read the book in proofing, when I read the real parts, I’m shocked I did them,” he says, “and waking up in hotels only to have to go out and thumb another ride that day was daunting.”</p> <p>“Usually when I stay at a hotel there’s a car picking me up, a limo,” he says. But writing <em>Carsick</em>, “I felt guilty that I got a cab on my night off to go to a movie. I felt like a pussy when I took a bus.” </p> <p><em>John Waters will be reading from </em>Carsick<em> at West Hollywood's Book Soup on June 5. More info at </em><a href="http://www.BookSoup.com" target="_blank">BookSoup.com</a>.<br /><br /><strong>Read <em>Frontiers</em>' first look excerpt of <em>Carsick</em> <a href="http://www.frontiersla.com/frontiers-blog/2014/06/03/john-waters-carsick-a-first-look-excerpt" target="_blank">here</a>.  </strong><br /><br /> </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/30/john-waters-gets-carsick-hitchhikes-across-america-for-new-bookhttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/30/john-waters-gets-carsick-hitchhikes-across-america-for-new-bookFri, 30 May 2014 14:00:00 GMTGary M. KramerSteven Krueger's Openly Gay Vampire on 'The Originals' is TV’s New Supernatural ‘It Boy’<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://static.wetpaint.me/the-originals/ROOT/photos/630/or3-1382745975.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>Can someone politely inform Edward Cullen that his reign as the tall, dark and handsome star of the supernatural genre is over? As anyone who has seen new CW series <em>The Originals</em> can attest, there’s a new undead poster boy on the block—and this time he’s gay (the character and the actor)! We caught up with the man behind the fan-favorite “Josh Rosza” character, <strong>Steven Krueger</strong> (soon to be seen in the big screen’s inevitable mega-hit adaptation of <em>Goosebumps</em>), to talk vampire pop culture, typecasting and what it is that makes a gay vampire tick. </p> <p><strong>After a lot of smouldering guest star gigs <em>(Pretty Little Liars</em>, anyone?), <em>The Originals</em> is your most significant role yet. Is it what you had in mind for your first big break?</strong> I don’t think anyone thinks they’re gonna end up playing a gay vampire, or on a supernatural show or anything like that. I always skewed towards legal and medical procedurals, so this was a new thing for me. </p> <p><strong>What were your feelings about the supernatural genre? Were you a fan of it before? Are you now?</strong> Oh, I definitely am a fan now. I wouldn’t say I was a fan before; I was more naive. When I got the audition, I watched the pilot they had done for<em> The Originals</em>. I knew <em>The Vampire Diaries</em> was very popular, and as soon as I saw the pilot I was completely sold. The level of talent, the cast, the sophistication of the writing, the storyline and everything completely sold me on it.</p> <p><strong>What do you consider the mass appeal of vampires?</strong> I’m not sure it’s particular to vampires as much as it is to this whole supernatural world that’s extremely popular right now, and I think it’s that fantasy realm that people can watch and lose themselves in. Of course, shows like [<em>The Originals</em>] and movies in this genre always rely on the audience’s suspension of disbelief, so it’s that fantasy element that allows people to escape their lives a little bit.</p> <p>If you look at it, it’s not like it’s a new genre. I mean, back in the ‘80s there was all kinds of vampire and supernatural stuff. For whatever reason, this generation has just really latched onto it. I think with the evolution of technology and television we’re able to make it look a lot more realistic, whereas back in the day, it looked a little campy. These days, you watch stuff on television and it looks real. On our show, the visual effects, the stunts—they’re pretty amazing. </p> <p><strong>The fact that your character is gay is probably the most normal thing about him, and it’s great that we’re in an age where that can be the case—and the show is on a major network in primetime—but visibility is still very important for the LGBT community, wouldn’t you say?</strong> Oh, absolutely, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Josh’s sexuality is a footnote to his character. The cool thing about Josh is that he’s a character, and when people identify and talk about him they talk about him as a character, as a fully developed person, and being gay happens to be a part of that. It’s not a coming out story—as soon as Josh was introduced to us, it was very well established that he was gay. </p> <p><strong>That said, I do think it’s important, especially to the LGBT community, that at some point we get a look at that part of Josh’s life. ... I’m hoping Josh stays alive long enough!</strong> I don’t  think he should be gay in name only, if you know what I mean. I think it’s important to explore that part of his life, that part of his personality and that part of his character. All in good time... </p> <p><strong>How would you say being gay informs Josh’s impulses as a vampire?</strong> That’s interesting. One of the things I try to avoid—and one of the things the writers have done a good job at avoiding—is playing that stereotypical gay character where he’s kind of sassy. I think it’s always important to have your sexuality in mind. I mean, let’s be honest, when we’re interacting with somebody else, one of the first and foremost things we’re doing is evaluating whether or not we’re attracted to that person. </p> <p>I have a lot of interaction on the show with Marcel [Charles Michael David], with Klaus [Joseph Morgan], and I’ve tried to kind of infuse my feelings as far as romance goes into the scenes and conversations with them, and it’s all very subtle and nuanced. But I absolutely think that your sexuality as a character has to inform the choices you’re making as an actor. </p> <p><strong>What can you tell me about homophobia in Hollywood?</strong> <strong>We’re being led to believe it’s gotten better. From your estimation, has it gotten any less hostile to openly LGBT actors?</strong> I’d like to believe that it has, and like you said, some of it is posturing—us being led to believe that it’s the case, when if you’re on the ground and you’re out there, it might not be as much of a non-factor as people want you to believe that it is. I think it’s important to fight against that.</p> <p><strong>Do you find Internet celebrity culture menacing, in that your privacy is evaporating the more successful you get?</strong> Yeah. It’s this idea that celebrity and fame for maybe the first few weeks or months can be cool, but once the novelty wears off, all you’re really left with is that you’re a very public person who is constantly having his privacy invaded. And I get it, and people always respond saying, “Look, this is what you signed up for,” and that’s true to a certain extent. </p> <p>I think everyone that gets into this field knows the risk; they know what they’re getting into, but at the same time, I think the actors and the people who are interested in the actors—there has to be a certain level of human decency with regards to privacy, with regards to letting people do their thing. I will say that I haven’t experienced a lot of it yet, but I can absolutely see it evolving. </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/26/steven-kruegers-openly-gay-vampire-on-the-originals-is-tvs-new-supernatural-it-boyhttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/26/steven-kruegers-openly-gay-vampire-on-the-originals-is-tvs-new-supernatural-it-boyMon, 26 May 2014 09:32:00 GMTAndrew JohnstonTori Amos Redefines What it Means to Be ‘Age-Appropriate’ on New Album<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.glidemagazine.com/glide/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/tori-UG_crop.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>Long an unrepentant songwriter herself, <strong>Tori Amos</strong> has recently released her 14th record, aptly titled <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/unrepentant-geraldines/id859832135" target="_blank"><em>Unrepentant Geraldines</em></a>, a glorious exercise in aging gracefully. (The eight-time Grammy-nominated artist is now 50 years old.) On the eve of the album’s release, <em>Frontiers</em> sat down for a brief chat with the iconoclastic, influential performer.</p> <p><strong>Dan Loughry:</strong> What were the touchstones for <em>Unrepentant Geraldines</em>?</p> <p><strong>Tori Amos: </strong> Wanting to be a good partner, a good listener. Wanting to give back to the people that you love. Wanting to give something back on days feeling that there wasn’t anything vital to give back. Trying to get rid of programs and ideas and thoughts of aging. Trying to discipline the mind and refuse to become a cliché of what an age is, and then creating an energy—a space—for myself to find what that was. It was quite a process, because 50 was looming and I didn’t want to take on board some of the ideas of what that is, culturally, particularly for women in the music industry.</p> <p><strong>DL: </strong> That’s very clear on the record, especially in the song “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysbuo4Ktr84" target="_blank">16 Shades of Blue</a>.”</p> <p><strong>TA:</strong>  There was a certain point where songs wanted to be very much about what I was going through, and not try and walk on eggshells about certain things, whether it’s about a longterm relationship in “Wedding Day” and “Wild Way,” or whether it’s about aging in “16 Shades.” Trying to look at all these different emotions that were coming up. It took a few years, to be honest. It’s not as if I sat down and said, ‘I’m going to write a record.’ I was under contract for other projects—two for <a href="http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/artist/amos/" target="_blank">Deutsche Grammophon</a> and a commission from the British National Theatre for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3JlmPLG26k" target="_blank"><em>The Light Princess</em></a> [the musical by Amos and Samuel Adamson]. I was more than inundated with projects and collaborations, which were making me feel refreshed and challenged creatively. And yet personally I had to deal with ‘How do I feel about getting older?’ I didn’t always feel a vitality about it. I do now. I do today. But part of that’s because of all these songs on the new record. In order to get where I am, I had to go on pilgrimage and find these songs and integrate them into my blood and my bone in order to talk to you today and say, 50 is exciting; 50 feels vital.</p> <p><strong>DL:</strong> I understand that. I turned 52 this year, and you do feel time bearing down and the way society views you as a less vital part of the social contract.</p> <p><strong>TA:</strong> I’m glad you brought that up—how society views age. In the music business and the entertainment business, men at 50 can be seen as still at the height of their magical powers. Some of the leading men in film are around their late 40s/early 50s, and we still find them attractive. So we have to find that wisdom can be attractive, that creativity is attractive—for yourself, not looking to see what other people think of you and how they view you, but how you view yourself. Because that is the monster right there.</p> <p><strong>DL:</strong>  It’s reassuring hearing those words from someone who, over the course of her career, has seemed as iconoclastic as yourself, and to hear about the struggle of age against the language of youth culture in pop music.</p> <p><strong>TA:</strong> We can value youth culture, but we have to value the wisdom that can come with age if you’re willing to do the work.  And that means to redefine concepts for yourself. You might be alone in the room with yourself, but until you get your head around embracing where you are and saying, ‘I am mid-life, or I’m past mid-life unless I live to be 100!’—that mortality is real. We’re not immortal. Things feel different, but that doesn’t have to be a pejorative. There were times during this record I’d be circling around the drain and a song would just come and say, ‘Come here. You’re not going down the stream yet.’ They’d say, ‘Look, sit on the side of the drain and I’m going to sing a song for you.’</p> <p><strong>DL:</strong>  Was there a particular song out of these 14 where you thought, Yes, here’s my vitality; these are the things I was looking for.</p> <p><strong>TA:</strong> I think “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pBysg3SZg8" target="_blank">Weatherman</a>” brought something to the table, because nature is the only thing that has the power—not a young girl, nature—to give this man who’s lost his wife, his bride, strength. And nature’s ancient. She carries old, ancient magic. The one element—entity—that could bring him something was the ancient old crone nature, and I began to think, ‘Ah, yes! I have to learn from her, that clever old girl.’</p> <p><strong>DL: </strong> You sound renewed on some levels.</p> <p><strong>TA:</strong> There needed to be a change. A realization of ‘OK, are you going to succumb to a cliché or are you going to take control of your destiny?’ My daughter, Tash, 12 at the time, said, ‘You’ve got to get your head around this 50 thing. If you don’t, what do I have to look forward to? You’re telling me it’s just downhill from there?’ Although Helen Mirren has cracked it in her industry—and Meryl Streep and some other women—it’s different in the music industry. We don’t have roles of singing “grandma music.” We have to be any age, all ages, to tell a story about anything, not play an “age appropriate” role.</p> <p><strong>Mike Minanian:</strong> Tash first appeared on <em>Midwinter Graces</em> and then <em>Night of Hunters.</em> Was there anything different in your collaboration with her that was unique to this record?</p> <p><strong>TA:</strong> She’s been growing a lot since <em>Night of Hunters</em> with her own inspirations and styles. She’s gone more to the soul world, so she works with different muses. I’ve been watching her do this and seeing her develop. We started talking about all kinds of things, as we do. One was about mother-daughter relationships. And we were trying to figure out—the two of us together—why does it get complicated sometimes? What are the walls that get built up, and why? And how can you work around it? How can you find a place, the two of you, to share before the walls get built up so fast? That was some of the beginnings of the song “Promise.”</p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> There’s an element in the song where you are passing your wisdom and support to her, but also that, as you get older, she will in turn be there for you.</p> <p><strong>TA:</strong> You’re correct. And she already is. She was saying, ‘This isn’t granny rock yet. You’re not a granny. This is time for Powerful Mom. You’re my Mom, and it’s about being cool. And part of being cool is accepting who you are and not trying to compete with, possibly, things you might have done in your 20s and your 30s.’</p> <p><strong>DL:</strong> Given your large LGBT fan base, what do you think of the ongoing political conversation in the U.S., particularly regarding marriage equality?</p> <p><strong>TA:</strong> There’s a moment now in time where there’s a maturity in the community. Now you’re not just holding the shadow—the sexual shadow—for the masses. You’re handing it back and saying, ‘You know what? We’ve held this shadow, but everybody has to now hold it themselves, because we are entering a place of our own spiritual journey. We’re going to lovingly hand this back to you, and you all need to deal with your own feelings and emotions and desires.’ That is a real maturity, when you say, ‘OK, we can hold a space for unconditional love, but we won’t hold the shadow anymore.’ That’s a very powerful place to be.</p> <p>Unrepentant Geraldines<em> is available now. Tori Amos plays <a href="http://www.greektheatrela.com/events/event_details.asp?id=2769" target="_blank">L.A.’s Greek Theatre</a> on July 23.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/20/tori-amos-redefines-what-it-means-to-be-age-appropriate-on-new-albumhttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/20/tori-amos-redefines-what-it-means-to-be-age-appropriate-on-new-albumTue, 20 May 2014 14:30:00 GMTDan LoughryThe Irrepressibles Craft Something Beautiful from the Struggle<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/irrepressibles.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>After captivating audiences throughout Europe, theatrical art-rock ensemble <strong>The Irrepressibles</strong> have plans to come stateside for the band’s very first tour—that is, once a visa is secured. (It’s been almost comical, the hoops the band has had to jump through to play for its American fans!) We briefly chatted with the group’s composer, <strong>Jamie McDermott</strong>, about his recent series of EPs, making music as a gay man and what he most looks forward to upon reaching American soil.</p> <p><strong>Your sophomore release, <em>Nude</em>, has been called “an act of bravery in a cowardly world” by <em>The Independent</em>. Now a series of EPs further explores the themes of that parent album. Can you elaborate?</strong> The whole work of Nude has been about taking songs I’ve written at various times in my growing up and orchestrating them to make a world of sound that holds a snapshot of the emotion of that time. There are so many other stories in the songs, all of them taken from my life. It was important for me to make a clearly honest homosexual record.</p> <p><strong>As a gay man who’s spoken of his struggle with self-acceptance, can you discuss what your journey has meant in a world of ongoing persecution?</strong> To be homosexual is to be beautiful, strong and unique. We have lived in the shadow of religious guilt and the feeling that we are somehow inferior within societies that have been focused on the heterosexual ‘norm,’ with the lyrical and visual language of pop music often reflecting this, even from openly gay artists.</p> <p>However, societies and the media are now waking up to the beauty of different sexualities and perspectives. No more are people seeing ‘gay music’ or ‘gay art’ as a subgenre. It’s communicating to all people. This is an exciting time. But, yes, I was bullied, I was beaten up, I nearly took my own life, but then I had music in which to manifest something with my experiences of life, to make something beautiful with the struggle.</p> <p><strong>Your voice has been compared to Antony Hegarty, Rufus Wainwright—I hear Jeff Buckley as well. How did you discover your instrument?</strong> Originally I was trained in soul, rock and jazz. I took the techniques and explored trying to connect my voice to my catharsis, my raw feelings. Jeff Buckley was a huge inspiration to me—the beautiful male voice of the countertenor, the sensitivity of it. I was in love with him and at the same time I wanted to be him—a common theme of male gay love, funnily enough.</p> <p><strong>What are you most looking forward to during your eventual trip to the U.S.?</strong> Meeting our fans in these cities who have been asking us to come for years. It’s going to be beautiful to meet them. </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/21/the-irrepressibles-craft-something-beautiful-from-the-strugglehttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/21/the-irrepressibles-craft-something-beautiful-from-the-struggleWed, 21 May 2014 15:03:00 GMTDan LoughryIggy Azalea is Ready for the Rap Game<p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/iggy1.jpg" alt="" width="300" /></p> <p>Some would nonchalantly remark that a successful white rapper selling records and packing venues in 2014 is expected, but the notion that hip-hop’s latest craze is a package wrapped in milky white skin, long blonde hair and an Australian accent is most definitely against the odds.</p> <p>There wasn’t a place carved out for <strong>Iggy Azalea</strong>, born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, in the music world a decade ago—some would even say a few years back—but with perseverance and a few high-profile industry connections, this Aussie expat from <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mullumbimby+NSW+2482/@-28.5484049,153.4987604,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x6b908c08f22a7f05:0x40609b49043f9f0" target="_blank">Mullumbimby, New South Wales</a>, has proven she’s here for the long haul, suited up to continue playing the hip-hop game.</p> <p>The game is something Azalea undertakes with aplomb, treating listeners to songs that fluctuate between twerk-worthy party jams and accounts of rags-to-riches struggle. On her recently released debut album, <em><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/new-classic-deluxe-version/id834595329" target="_blank">The New Classic</a></em>, she utilizes a now-tried-and-true blend of rap verses and pop hooks—a formula she’s put to work on five successful singles in the last year—to cement her place alongside other of-the-moment artists currently rocking the radio.</p> <p>We sat down with Iggy Azalea the day <em>The New Classic</em> saw release, ready to discuss her very first headlining tour, which stops into L.A.’s <a href="http://www.stubhub.com/iggy-azalea-tickets/iggy-azalea-los-angeles-wiltern-theatre-16-5-2014-8994004/" target="_blank">Wiltern Theatre on May 16</a>. As an added bonus she opened up about her last on-the-road gigs (sharing the stage with <strong>Queen B</strong> herself), the differences she’s found between her gay and lesbian fans and why the hell she’s so obsessed with shopping at Target.</p> <p><strong>Let’s talk about the new record, your debut album. Does it feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders now that it’s finally been released?</strong> <br />Yeah, definitely. I think it feels like I can move forward now. Before it was sorta like circling the plane and waiting to land. It definitely feels good to say ‘onwards and upwards.’ You know what I mean? Before it was—I dunno, putting singles out is cool, but it’s the same thing over and over again. You do the same promo runs. It’s a bit like <em><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSVeDx9fk60" target="_blank">Groundhog Day</a></em>. I’m really happy that now I get to put out a proper body of work and do different things.</p> <p><strong>Well, you’ve had a great string of singles stretching back more than a year, right?</strong> <br />Yeah, stretching back a year. “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zR6ROjoOX0" target="_blank">Work</a>” came out about a year ago.</p> <p><strong>The latest single, “Fancy,” with Charli XCX, has a video that parodies the ‘90s film <em>Clueless</em>. You must have at least partly tailored that to the gays, right?</strong> <br />Basically, yeah. [<em>Laughs</em>]</p> <p><iframe style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/O-zpOMYRi0w?wmode=transparent" frameborder="0" width="600" height="338"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Whose idea was the video?</strong> <br />All my videos are my idea. I always storyboard them and oversee the process from start to finish. Me and my friends would sit around and wonder why no one had remade <em>Clueless</em> properly. That’s where it came from—me seeing sloppy versions of it, in photo shoots or what not, thinking, That doesn’t capture it at all. I felt like “Fancy” is such a West Coast beat that I wanted to do something unexpected but still very L.A.</p> <p><strong>The last time we spoke you were about to go on tour with Beyoncé. What was that like?</strong> <br />It was crazy! She’s just—her team is so well organized. I was intimidated before I left, because it was so many shows, night after night, and my experience with touring until then had been chaotic. I was scared I’d get tired, and I didn’t know how I would hang in there, but once I got there things were just made so easy for me. We’d show up at 3, have a beautiful catered lunch, I’d go onstage and perform for an hour. Then my job was done and I got to watch a Beyoncé concert every night! I had an amazing time.</p> <p><strong>What did you think of Beyoncé dropping her latest album so unexpectedly?<br /></strong>I think it’s a brilliant idea. I think the album was a side of Beyoncé we all wanted to see, and I’m glad she showed that to us. I’m sure it’s difficult when you have a child to balance or decide how edgy you can be and still be a mother and a wife. I think she did such a great job maintaining that and giving the world the Beyoncé we all want to see. It’s always good to see a ballad, but sometimes you want something raw. I wanna see a dance routine, I wanna see a freakum dress, I wanna see sassy Beyoncé—and she did that! I was like, Woohoo! Hell yeah!</p> <p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%208/iggy3.jpg" alt="" width="300" /></p> <p><strong>You’re about to embark on your very first headlining tour. How does that feel? Exciting? Nerve-racking?</strong> <br />It’s exciting, yeah. For me the most nerve-racking thing was <em>Can I sell this many tickets? I’ve never had to sell this many tickets myself!</em> [<em>Laughs</em>]</p> <p><strong>You recently performed for the ladies out in Palm Springs for <a href="http://www.frontiersla.com/frontiers-blog/2014/04/11/dinah-shore-brings-big-names-poolside-shenanigans-to-palm-springs-update" target="_blank">Dinah Shore Weekend</a>.</strong> <strong>How was that?</strong> <br />It was so much fun! It’s always me and the boys, so it was cool to get to see the girls. I didn’t know what to expect the vibe to be, but I think I basically have the same fan in a bunch of different bodies. It was a crazy fun energy, and they were all just there to have a great time. It was also the first time I’d gone to Palm Springs. I have friends who go to the desert a lot, and I’m always like, <em>Why the fuck do you keep driving to Palm Springs every weekend?</em> Now I get it. I totally get it.</p> <p><strong>What would you say is the biggest difference you noticed between your gay fans and your lesbian fans?</strong> <br />Hmm. Not much, I think, except that I know my gay fans don’t want to have sex with me. There might have been some potential wishful girlfriends in the crowd. [<em>Laughs</em>] They’re the same! To be honest, I didn’t know if it would be different or not, but people who like my music have the same mentality, and I don’t think it matters if you’re lesbian, gay, straight, whatever.</p> <p><strong>I recently listened to a radio interview where you mentioned that your first date with <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=nick+young+iggy+azalea&es_sm=91&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=XiBpU-z7OtHsoATBpILwCg&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1021&bih=815" target="_blank">Nick Young</a> [of L.A. Lakers fame] was at Target. You said something totally spot-on—that you can learn a lot about someone while shopping at Target. So what would we learn about you if we went to Target?</strong> <br />You’d probably learn that I secretly wish I was a 65-year-old woman in linen pants. [<em>Laughs</em>] That’s my Target style! [<em>Laughs</em>] I go straight to home wares. I want to buy rugs, pillows, things I don’t need—I always want to buy knick-knacks. I can’t leave Target without a picture frame and a candle. I like to buy little ornamental things, and I always seem to find one in Target. I can’t seem to help myself. And the kitchenwares! New coffee cups, new plates. Oh, I need this container—it’s for cookies?! There’s a blender, and a spatula! I need a pink spatula!<br /><br /> <em>Iggy Azalea’s </em>The New Classic Tour<em> comes to L.A.'s Wiltern Theatre on <a href="http://www.stubhub.com/iggy-azalea-tickets/iggy-azalea-los-angeles-wiltern-theatre-16-5-2014-8994004/" target="_blank">May 16</a>.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/16/iggy-azalea-is-ready-for-the-rap-gamehttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/16/iggy-azalea-is-ready-for-the-rap-gameFri, 16 May 2014 11:12:00 GMTStephan HorbeltLaverne Cox of 'Orange is the New Black' Spills the T<p style="text-align: right;"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/laverne1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><span class="micro">Photo set by Nino Muñoz for Netflix</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;">This past April, actress Laverne Cox stepped onto the stage of the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards to receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, an honor given to one LGBT media professional who has done significant work in moving equality forward. After the year that we’ve witnessed, Cox’s award was a surprise to no one. The newly out Ellen Page took her time listing just a few of Cox’s groundbreaking credentials—the first trans woman of color to appear in a leading role in a mainstream scripted television show, the first trans woman of color to appear on a reality television show, the first trans woman to produce and star in her own television show.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">Thanks to the runaway success of the Netflix original series <em>Orange Is the New Black</em> (<a href="http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70242311?awdevice=c&mqso=81070424&awmatchtype=e&awcreative=43110810059&awposition=1t1&awkeyword=orange+is+the+new+black&awnetwork=g" target="_blank">Season 2 premieres in full on June 6</a>)—in which she plays Sophia, a trans woman serving time for committing credit card fraud to fund her transition—Cox has become an instantly recognizable face. And thanks to tireless advocacy for the trans community, her name has remained on the tongues of political correspondents and entertainment bloggers alike.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">It wasn’t always like this. In her own words, Cox was working as a waitress just last year and has turned things entirely around thanks in part to a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of 2013. Now not only is she a star, she’s a celebrated activist and advocate who is unabashed about her identity and her existence. Cox is the kind of celebrity we can’t seem to get enough of because she keeps bringing us more, and it keeps getting better. We’re excited because she represents herself in a way that trans women rarely are represented—as proud, as whole and, above all, as finally seen.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong><em>Frontiers</em>: So you have been very busy these last couple of days, these last couple of weeks, arguably this last year...</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent"><strong>Cox:</strong> The last eight months.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>What have you been up to the last eight months?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">Oh, gosh. Well, this week I shot a little bit of <em>Free CeCe</em>, <a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/free-cece-documentary" target="_blank">the documentary I’m working on about CeCe McDonald</a> [the transgender activist sentenced to prison in 2012 for stabbing a man who attacked her in Minneapolis], directed by Jac Gares. CeCe was in town; she did a panel at Barnard College with Janet Mock and Reina Gossett and Brittney Cooper and Mey Rude, and it was a reaction to Janet’s book, <em>Redefining Realness</em>, and, yeah, I love that girl.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">What else? The funny thing is I’m redoing my apartment. I’m trying to sort of find balance between work and self-care. And self-care can be hanging out with friends or having a karaoke night. So I’m decorating my apartment really for the first time as an adult, and saying to myself that I deserve to have a space that reflects who I am—that’s huge. And this morning—actually, the past couple of days—I’ve been saying to myself, “This black trans body is worth it.” A lot of that is just asking for what I want out of my life and just being really honest about how I feel with love, with the people in my life. Luckily I’ve chosen people who can hear me, and um… [a group of attractive men walks by] I’m into that. Do you get spring fever?</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>It’s, like, all I’ve been talking to my roommates about. I have spring fever so hard.</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">How does your spring fever manifest itself?</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent"><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Oh, I don’t know. I think I’ve just been overworking myself. Just feeling super excited about projects and renewal.</span></strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">When I get spring fever, I get boy-crazy, actually.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>And just also wanting to go out and be out and have a body and have fun ...</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">Have a body ...</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>Have a body, you know? It’s a much harder thing …</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">It’s real! It’s like <em>Bodies That Matter,</em> I think about that Judith Butler book. Yeah, it’s spring and our bodies matter.<br /><br /><!-- pagebreak --> </p> <p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/laverne2.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>I think that there can be a lot of queer anxiety around summer because suddenly everyone is taking their clothes off, and now you have to have a body.</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">Yeah! It’s spring, and people are more exposed now, and I’m probably going to be wearing fewer clothes because it’s gonna be too hot to cover up, and that’s when I’ve found that I’ve gotten the most street harassment is in the spring when people can really see my body, realizing that I’m trans and all of a sudden, you know, stuff goes down. So it’s anxiety inducing, but it’s also, I’m sick of winter...</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>It was awful.</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">… and I’ve been dating someone.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>How’s that been going?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">It’s very ... it’s—everything is sort of in flux right now, but life is good, and well, just the apartment thing is so huge. I have a decorator—that sounds so bourgeois, but I have to acknowledge that I have some resources to hire a decorator now, really for the first time in my life, so that’s new, but also it’s about asking for help. I think that I’m a stylish chick, but I have no concept about interior design and space. That’s making me really happy—we replaced the ceiling fan, and the new one has this little crystal chandelier, and it’s actually cheaper than you think it would be!</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>You know, I walk through Chinatown all the time and think about that. I live in an apartment in Brooklyn, and I always think, “Let’s get a chandelier!”</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">Well, basically it’s a ceiling fan with a crystal light fixture, and it’s just going to make me really happy. It’s still hard for me to fully step into that, because I have this sort of guilt about taking care of myself—especially because so many trans women of color don’t have these things, so it’s like, Who do I think I am with a ceiling fan with a crystal light fixture?</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>How do you reconcile that?<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></strong></p> <p class="BODYQUESTION">By being gentle with myself. By saying, <em>Laverne, it’s OK to have a space that is reflective of yourself.</em> I think it’s a battle, because I’m talking to you and you’re probably going to print this, and people are going to be like, Oh my God! Laverne Cox has a ceiling fan…</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I’m making more money now than I ever have, and I’m still not rich or anything, but the first of the month comes, and I have the rent. That’s a really big deal. And now it’s the whole thing with privilege and guilt. But at the same time, there’s this space of deserving, and me thinking for many, many, many years that I did not deserve to get paid for my gifts. Actually, at the beginning of 2013, I said I want to monetize my gifts. That was one of my New Year’s resolutions—that what I have to bring to the table is worth being paid for, and I took actions to do that.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>I’m curious if the activism and advocacy that you do now has always been a part of you and how you relate to it in your career as an actress.</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">It has evolved for me since I’ve sort of been a public persona for the last six years. The funny thing is, in college I was very aware, I came to critical conscience reading bell hooks’ work, reading Judith Butler, etc.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>You went to school in New York, right?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">Yes. I actually did two semesters at Indiana University in Bloomington, and then I transferred to Marymount Manhattan College. So for many, many years I talked about race and class and gender and using what bell hooks calls “imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy” and all those structures. And I thought six years ago that once I decided I wanted to act. I thought, “I really want to go for it” and attempt to have a mainstream career, and when I did that show on VH1 six years ago [the very first season of <em>TRANSform Me</em>], I wanted to reach as many people as possible, so having these conversations about race, class and gende—the mainstream isn’t really gonna get any of this, so it was like, “Let’s not have this conversation.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I feel like I would dumb myself down a little bit and try to be palatable. Basically I said to myself, “I’m already a black transsexual,” so it’s like, let’s not be too challenging for people. It kind of makes sense, right? And I’ve gotten the courage over the past year to just go for it. So I’ve been doing it in colleges and universities, and it’s really given me the strength and the courage to start doing it when I do interviews and other speeches.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>Have you been meeting a lot of fans at the schools?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">It’s been amazing. It was nice being at Barnard a few nights ago and being in the audience. Afterwards I talked to some students, and this young trans woman was speaking at Smith the next day about a protest, and she was really nervous, and I gave her advice about that. And she asked me about internalized transphobia and how I combat that, and it was really, really deep.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I’ve met students who have told me that my character on <em>Orange Is the New Black</em> is allowing people to have conversations about who they are with their peers with some sort of reference point, and their ideas have become destigmatized because of the show. I even met a woman in Canada who was able to transition and come out to her wife because of <em>Orange</em>, so that’s amazing. I’ve always been about people’s lived experiences, always about how people are resilient, how people are resisting, and looking at that as storytelling.<br /><br /><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/laverne3.jpg" alt="" width="400" />So we’re at a time where people are actually discussing trans women of color and black trans women in a way that isn’t derogatory or afraid, in a way that is uplifting and empowering. How do you feel like we got here, and how can we move forward?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">I think it’s always important to acknowledge that we have a long way to go, but I think what’s changed is that more and more trans people are coming forward and having a voice, and when we come forward and tell our stories, we take the stigma away from our identities. And because of sites like We Happy Trans, because of I Am: Trans People Speak, because of Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, these voices can be amplified.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">Having a few high-profile trans folks who are trying to push the conversation is really helping, too. Carmen Carrera having a moment of resistance on national television was pivotal. Janet Mock doing that, me doing that. And I think it’s giving other folks permission to speak up more, which is kind of cool.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>Obviously there’s been more and more presence of trans people in Hollywood, but there are still moments where Jared Leto gets cast to play a trans woman.</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">Representation I think is about more trans bodies in trans roles. There is something very powerful I think for audiences in general to see someone actually trans. I think people are really surprised that they’re not only connecting with this trans character but that they’re connecting with the actress who plays her. I really think that’s shifting the ways people think about themselves and each other, and that is happening because there’s a trans body there.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I did a film called <em>Musical Chairs</em> about wheelchair ballroom dancing that came out in 2012, and I played a transgender woman who uses a wheelchair. I met some queer folks with disabilities on Wednesday who had seen it, and one was like, “I don’t think you shouldn’t have played that character because you don’t have a disability.”</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">Now, there was a really powerful moment when we were rehearsing near Times Square for that movie—Audie Angel, an actress and dancer in the movie who uses a wheelchair, took me and one of the actors out into Times Square in our wheelchairs to get a sense of what it’s like to be out in the real world in a wheelchair and how people treat you, and it was really powerful. It’s really touchy, but I think I did OK. I hope I did OK.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I do wanna see more trans actors playing trans roles because trans people need jobs [<em>laughs</em>], you know? And also because the industry is not ready to hire trans people to play cisgendered characters, and that’s where I’d like to see us get to—to where being trans doesn’t matter. You know, I’ve always thought, OK, there could be a trans person on<em> Grey’s Anatomy</em> playing a nurse or a doctor. I know trans people who are doctors and nurses; I know tons of people who are lawyers, and they can be trans, but it doesn’t have to be the central thing. Some people are trans and it doesn’t envelop their entire lives.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent"><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I’m wondering how you relate to your character on <em>Orange</em>, because the only commonality I can perceive is that you are both trans.</span></strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">And we’re both black.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>And you’re both black.</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">[<em>Laughs</em>] It would be genius if Sophia were white. That would be acting!</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>So you’re playing a white transwoman…</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">Wow, that would be deep. Yeah, it’s funny—I appreciate that, because a lot of folks think, you know, “You seem very much like Sophia,” and as actors we always bring a little bit of ourselves to a role but, knock on wood, I’ve never been incarcerated, I’ve never dated a woman or been in a relationship with a woman, and Sophia is married to a woman. I don’t have kids, I wasn’t a firefighter and before I transitioned I didn’t assume any sort of butch posture. I’m not a hair stylist, although I have styled some of my own weaves in the past and I can pull myself together. So there’s a lot of things on the surface that are very different between me and Sophia.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">People ask me this all the time, and I often say that we both decided that when we transitioned, we did what we had to do to make that happen. Sophia’s transition went a lot faster than mine did, though, because she stole credit cards to make it happen. It’s a really expensive prospect, and it took a long time for me to get there by legal means. Not that I’m disparaging anybody from doing what they need to do to get where they’re going.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">But I also think that we both have a sense of morality. I was just thinking about it because my friend, Dr. Kortney Ryan Zigler, and I—we were doing an interview for Huff Post Live last year and he pointed out that one revolutionary moment for Sophia is the moment when Pornstash basically suggests that she should perform sexual favors on him to get access to her hormones. And Dr. Kortney said we get to see a black transwoman not choosing sex work on television. And this is not to disparage trans people who do choose sex work, but that was a really powerful moment. So there’s a sense in Sophia of morality—that she does not want to do something that is untrue to who she is. That’s something I think she and I have in common.<br /><br /><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>Can I ask what we might expect on Season 2 of <em>Orange</em>?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">I think Season 2 is gonna be about a lot of things, because our show is about a lot of things, but I think the central narrative is around Lorraine Toussaint’s character Vee and how she comes to Richfield [Prison] and really shakes things up and challenges a lot of alliances and coalitions and friendships. And Lorraine is fantastic.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/laverne5.jpg" alt="" width="600" /> </p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I’ve actually been a fan of her work as an actor for years. I was really excited when I heard she was joining us, and she’s just a wonderful woman. She’s hilarious and whip-smart and deep. But Sophia ... I can’t say too much about Sophia in Season 2 without giving vital information away. I’m excited for people to see it so we can talk. I was actually really surprised by how good  the show was [<em>laughs</em>] because you just never know. We were shooting this women’s prison comedy, and I knew the script was amazing, I knew we were having a blast, but I was like, <em>Is anybody gonna go for a women’s prison dramedy? Like, honestly?</em> [<em>Laughs</em>]</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>I think you have your answer.</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">I know, and that’s fantastic. It’s really, really fantastic. I think I had a fantasy as a kid that I would get one acting job and it would change my life. And, you know, 12 movies later and several TV shows, my life wasn’t changed. So I’d kind of given up on the idea that my life would be changed from one show. And <em>Orange</em> came along and completely changed my life. I’m so grateful for that.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>So you put this on the table earlier—you’re seeing someone? Would you like to talk about that at all?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">No. [<em>Laughs</em>] I’m not sure if I am anymore. I don’t know what’s going on, I really don’t. And that’s OK. What I will say is that dating as a trans woman has been very challenging, difficult and painful. I think that dating for most people is difficult, challenging and painful. Adding the trans element to it has been very daunting. But I’ve been lucky that I’ve met some people lately—since <em>Orange</em>, actually—who are able to see me as a whole person and not as their sexual fantasy. So that’s been really wonderful and empowering. The funny thing is, though, even before this show, I was still Laverne, I was still me. You know, when I show up, I show up as myself. I’ve been doing that for a really long time. And thinking about the inability of so many men to actually engage with all of me makes me really sad.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I think being kind of famous or whatever makes it easier for some guys, and then actually makes it harder—I mean, a lot of guys would run the other way. So many guys who are into trans women don’t want anyone to know about it. It scares away a lot of guys, having a public persona. I’m like, Well, you should google me [laughs] before we go out, just so you know.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">And then there are people who are gonna be into me just because I’m on a TV show. So adding some fame—a little fame, very little fame—to the equation is another challenge. But what’s—I’m gonna cry about this now—what’s changed for me is I believe I deserve to be loved, and I think it’s because I’m learning how to love myself more. It’s very cliché ...</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>But it’s true.</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">... but It’s true. And clichés are clichés for a reason. I’m saying I deserve love in my life, and I’m practicing that. Oprah used to say we teach people how to treat us, and I was like, What does she mean? I think what she was talking about is that the care we have for ourselves is what people see when they interact with us.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I mean, saying negative things to myself about myself, it’s hard. I caught myself big time two days ago, and I had to have a major intervention with myself, like, <em>Laverne, stop saying that</em>.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">And my acting coach, Brad Calcaterra—he’s changed my life—he has this great exercise where I externalize my shaming voice. So a few days ago, on my own, I started saying all the negative stuff. I made all the negative things I was saying to myself subconsciously conscious. So I externalized them, and then I reality checked them.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I was like, <em>Are you really ugly, Laverne?</em> I mean, I was saying that to myself. I’m like, <em>No, girl. You’re not ugly. Stop it.</em></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">So then if I’m in a relationship with someone and they say it to me—cause I was in a relationship with a guy, like, eight or nine years ago, and he would say awful things to me. You know, “You’re nothing without me. I’m smarter than you. You need to listen to me, and I’m gonna save you.” So I stayed for four years with this person who was saying all this awful stuff to me about who I was because it confirmed what I was already saying to myself.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">So then now, when I’m in relationships with people and they say lovely things to me, I’m able to actually hear it. I’m actually able to be like, <em>You’re right.</em> Not in an arrogant way, but I’m like, <em>Yeah, you’re right.</em></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">By contrast, if a man is mean to me, I’m like, <em>No no no.</em> Because I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit. I like to be challenged by people in my life, but in a loving way.<br /><br /><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p><img class="image_align_top_right" title="Cox with Carmen Carrera (left) and Our Lady J at the GLAAD Media Awards Los Angeles" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/laverne4.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>You’re definitely a hero to a lot of people, so who were your heroes growing up, and who are they now?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">Hmm, my hero of all time is Leontyne Price. Leontyne Price is a black opera singer who rose to international prominence in the late ‘50s. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut to a 42-minute standing ovation—one of the longest standing ovations in the Metropolitan Opera’s history. I became acquainted with her through this black history book my mother gave me as a kid. She was this black woman who had big, full lips and high cheekbones and dark skin, and she reminded me of me, honestly. But she was so regal and so elegant and so dignified. And she made it better for the singers who came after her. </p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I mean, Marian Anderson was the first international female opera singer. She was the first black person to sing at the Met in 1955. I say that Marian Anderson opened the door and Leontyne Price blew it off the hinges.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">And it’s cliché, but my mother—she’s just a wonderful example of womanhood, of black womanhood. I think I’m gonna cry. I’m writing a book now, and I’m going in deep with my mom—the good, the bad and the ugly, because it’s complicated.</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>Can you tell more about your book?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">It’s a memoir. Harlequin is publishing it. It’s coming out in fall of 2015, god willing. A lot of it is going to be about my Southern family history—my grandfather was born on a plantation, and I think that very much influenced my upbringing. It’s about trauma, but it’s also about the things that I loved to do as a kid that I think saved my life and how I found ways to cope and in some ways thrive. It was hard. Every single part of my childhood, my gender was being policed—everywhere. So I’m going in, I’m going in.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I’m writing about people like Boy George, and Madonna, and I was thinking about the relationship between this black kid in Alabama connecting to these white pop stars and what that’s about. Boy George represented this gender nonconformity that was very important to me as a kid. I don’t think I fully saw myself, but it gave me a little something to say, OK. It was a little permission.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">And I’m writing about that show <em>Solid Gold</em>. It was an ‘80s show, and they had the “Solid Gold countdown,” like the top songs of the week, and it was cheesy. Dionne Warwick was the host, but it was all about the <em>Solid Gold</em> dancers—and I danced as a kid, too—and their lead dancer was this black woman named <a href="http://www.oocities.org/sgdancers/Darcel/darcel.jpg" target="_blank">Darcel</a>, and she just went by one name, and she had this impossibly long hair weave, and she was just really sexy. I’m writing about her in the book, too. I was thinking about, like, Beyoncé and people who are giving you all this unbridled sexuality. Darcel was giving you all that in the ‘80s in these really high-cut leotards and stuff, and Darcel was a huge influence on me as a kid! [<em>laughs</em>]</p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>So my last question is something that I’ve been really wanting to ask since the beginning of our conversation. What’s your karaoke song?</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">My friends and I, we get together and we rent a room, and we’re usually there for at least two hours, sometimes three, sometimes four, singing everything. You know, just three of us, sometimes four, sometimes five, and we’re singing constantly.</p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895Indent">I usually always end with “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker. It’s my official ‘ending karaoke’ song. Mila ends with “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé, and I do Jay-Z’s rap, and I always miss words in it and stuff, but I do it anyway.  </p> <p class="BODYQUESTION"><strong>It’s not always about that though!</strong></p> <p class="BodyWhitneyMed895NoIndent">That’s why I love karaoke, because it’s not about getting it right, it’s not about singing well—it’s about feeling it. <br /><br /><em>Orange is the New Black</em> returns to Netflix on June 6. Watch it online <a href="http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70242311?trkid=439131" target="_blank">here</a>. </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/01/laverne-cox-of-orange-is-the-new-black-spills-the-thttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/01/laverne-cox-of-orange-is-the-new-black-spills-the-tThu, 01 May 2014 12:08:00 GMTKatrina CasinoGeorge Takei Fights Ignorance and Bigotry One Country at a Time<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/tobetakei1.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>Behind every great man is an even greater partner. Much of <em>Star Trek</em> alum <strong>George Takei</strong>'s success—as an actor and more recently as a hilarious internet presence—was accomplished with the support of his husband <strong>Brad Takei</strong>. Their relationship is chronicled in the new documentary <em>To Be Takei</em>, which screens as part of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on May 1. <br /><br />The near future also sees the couple touring Japan and Korea, where George will discuss his life and career as an openly gay Asian-American as well as his experience growing up in a Japanese internment camp. The Takeis—along with the documentary's director Jennifer Kroot—took a moment out of their hectic schedule to chat with us about the documentary, George’s speaking tour and which of this summer’s blockbusters the couple is most excited to see.<br /> <br /><strong>How would you best describe <em>To Be Takei</em>?<br /></strong><br /><strong>GEORGE:</strong> I see it as a galactic story. Our mission in life has been to address issues of social justice. It began with my childhood. In an egregious violation of the constitution, we were imprisoned with no charges, trial or due process. My mission was to get the U.S. government to redress the Japanese-American community for that unconstitutional incarceration. We’ve also been involved with the 20th century civil rights movement, equality for African-Americans and the 21st century civil rights movement—equality for the LGBT community. <br /><br /><strong>BRAD:</strong> It’s densely packed with three years of George’s and my life together that Jennifer caught, including when we got married at the Democracy Forum at the Japanese-American Museum in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s a Los Angeles story.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>JENNIFER:</strong> One thing that's great is how many themes there are in George's life, and therefore there are a lot in the documentary. The doc explores the wide range of obstacles—with humor at times—in actor and activist George Takei's life. One of the main threads is his functional/dysfunctional relationship with his husband, Brad, who he's been with for about 30 years. </p> <p><strong>Are there any aspects of your relationship that aren’t covered in the film?<br /></strong><br /><strong>G:</strong> Jennifer was pretty comprehensive. We have both a personal and professional relationship. Brad is my manager as well as my husband.<br /><br /><strong>B:</strong> One of the phenomenas that happened during the filming process that no one could predict is George’s success on social media. <br /><br /><strong>G:</strong> Another thing she captured—we started developing a musical on the internment of Japanese-Americans, <em>Allegiance</em>. She captured the developmental process, from its inception to its world premiere at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego.<br /><br /><strong>B:</strong> <em>Frontiers</em> has been an important publication in George’s life. In 2005, the magazine ran the first in-depth interview with George about being openly gay. There’s a brief moment in <em>To Be Takei</em> where you see the cover of <em>Frontiers</em> with the headline “George Takei Comes Out.” Its neat that <em>Frontiers</em> is in the documentary ...<br /><br /><strong>G:</strong> ... because <em>Frontiers</em> is a part of my life.<br /><br /><strong>J:</strong> Yes, <span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Frontiers</em> is important because it's the magazine that George came out in. It's that special moment when George comes out, and all the excitement and terror around that. </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br /></span></p> <p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/tobetakei2.png" alt="" width="300" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Jennifer, how did you first come to meet George and Brad?</strong></p> <p class="p1"><strong>J:</strong> Well, I sought them out. [<em>Laughs</em>] I didn't know them—I was an aggressive <em>Star Trek</em> fan who became a bigger fan of George when he came out. I admired his eloquence and humor. In 2005 when he came out, he didn't <em>have to</em> come out, but he decided to do it and became a really important spokesperson for LGBT civil rights.</p> <p><strong>George, what is the biggest parallel between the Asian-American and LGBT communities?<br /></strong><br /><strong>G:</strong> I talk about my childhood imprisonment behind American barbed wire fences, and I use that as a metaphor for the LGBT community. [Gays and lesbians] are confined by legalistic barbed wire fences, laws that have hard, sharp barbs of bigotry and ignorance. We’re starting to cut open those fences.</p> <p><strong>In your experience, how does the treatment of gays in Asian cultures differ from that of American culture?<br /></strong><br /><strong>G:</strong> I was awarded a recognition from the Japanese government, presented to me at the imperial palace in Tokyo by the emperor of Japan. We went together as a couple. There were other people from around the world that were being honored. When we entered the palace grounds, the honorees and their spouses got off the bus. But when Brad tried to get off, they said, “You can’t go. You’re not a spouse.” We were not legally married then, and he was male, so Brad had to stay on the bus. All the others being honored had their spouses with them when they were presented with the honor. I had to receive mine without my spouse.</p> <p><strong>As someone who has experienced living in an internment camp, to what extent do you feel a responsibility to share your story with the Japanese?<br /></strong><br /><strong>G:</strong> Where I am today and where I was as a child is an example of the dynamism of our democracy. I use that to illustrate how the Asian nations need to get over their history. Japan and Korea still have issues from WWII—understandably so. Japan was an imperial power, and it colonized Korea around 1912. It was harsh. That history still bedevils the relationship between the two countries. They have to realize they have more to gain from a friendly diplomatic relationship than the tense, dysfunctional relationship they have.</p> <p><strong>Last, what movie are you guys most excited to see this summer?<br /></strong><br /><strong>B:</strong> <em>Godzilla</em>!<br /><br /><strong>G:</strong> I have a personal connection to <em>Godzilla</em>. I was part of the vocal team that dubbed the original.<br /><br /><strong>B:</strong> We’re curious to see how they redid it. See if it’s as good.</p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/02/george-takei-fights-ignorance-and-bigotry-one-country-at-a-timehttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/05/02/george-takei-fights-ignorance-and-bigotry-one-country-at-a-timeFri, 02 May 2014 14:30:00 GMTMike CiriacoCheyenne Jackson Sings the Songs of an Older Era<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%207/Cheyenne1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>Few would argue that Cheyenne Jackson was destined for the stage. The openly gay 38-year-old actor, singer and songwriter’s first leading role on The Great White Way in <em>All Shook Up</em> earned him a 2005 award for Outstanding Broadway Debut. Since then, he has cemented his theater-star status with acclaimed stage performances (<em>Finian’s Rainbow, 8, Xanadu</em>) while also making a name for himself on the small screen (<em>30 Rock, Glee, Behind the Candelabra</em>) and in film (<em>United 93, The Green</em>). For his latest project, <em>Music of the Mad Men Era</em>, he’ll be singing standards from the ’50s and ’60s—with contemporary tracks thrown in for good measure—at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on April 26.<br /><br /> Growing up in a small, rural town in northern Idaho with a population of 1,200, the one constant in Cheyenne’s home was a steady stream of music. His mother had a beautiful voice of her own and would play her favorites all the time—Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Elvis. There are even tapes of her teaching him how to sing harmony when he was only 3 or 4 years old.</p> <p>Cheyenne sang in his local choir until he was 15, but it wasn’t until he took part in a performance of <em>Bye Bye Birdie</em> in high school that he became attached to the stage.</p> <p>“It’s very cliché, but I did my first line, it got a laugh and it was like slipping into a warm pool full of puppies. It was so delicious. I thought, ‘Oh, this is what I want to do,’” he tells us via phone right before taking the stage to perform in <em>The Most Happy Fella in NYC</em>, a show that ran for five nights at New York City Center.</p> <p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%207/Cheyenne2.jpg" alt="" width="300" /></p> <p>“Music was always a part of who I was—a part of my makeup. And to this day, I fill my days with it. The styles I like are constantly evolving and changing.”</p> <p>Cheyenne has always been drawn to songs of the ’50s and ’60s. “They’re just so absolutely timeless,” he says. “That’s why we all watch <em>The Wizard of Oz</em> every year and it’s still exciting—because it still resonates.” In fact, people have always told Cheyenne that, vocally speaking, he was born in the wrong era. <em>Music of the Mad Men Era</em>, which Cheyenne put together himself, is sure to showcase his natural strengths.</p> <p>“About two and a half years ago, I developed a great friendship and rapport with Michael Feinstein,” Cheyenne says. “He became my mentor and friend and showed me the ropes of doing concerts and one-man shows. I put together this show because I wanted to create something that was unique to my style and something I could make my own. The music of the <em>Mad Men</em> era really has a pretty broad spectrum of what you could put under that umbrella.”</p> <p>L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall audience won’t be the first to witness Cheyenne’s throwback show. <em>Music of the Mad Men Era</em> sold out Carnegie Hall back in late 2011, and sold out The Kennedy Center on New Year’s Eve 2012. Both shows met with rave reviews from critics, <em>The New York Daily News</em> commenting, “Cheyenne Jackson has got it all, and he showed it all—the voice, the moves, the quirky self-effacing humor. He gleamed like Don Draper’s Brylcreemed hair.”</p> <p>Bringing the show to Los Angeles was a natural next step, seeing as how Cheyenne is now an Angeleno. “I moved out to L.A. about 10 months ago,” he says, “and I thought, ‘Let’s do it out here.’”</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%207/Cheyenne3.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>Along with classics such as “Bésame Mucho” and “I Who Have Nothing,” Cheyenne, musical director Ben Toth and their 13-piece band will be throwing out some unexpected tunes from the likes of Amy Winehouse and Joni Mitchell. Plus, you can expect performances from special guests Jane Lynch (who Cheyenne became friends with on the set of Glee) and Rebecca Romjin.</p> <p>“I love Jane,” he says. “She’s hysterical. She rarely sings on Glee, but she’s very musical. We definitely clicked. For a special occasion one time, she bought me a tool belt, which could not be more cliché and more perfect. I actually use it all the time. And Rebecca also has a secret voice that not a lot of people have heard. I require all of my guests to be women over six feet tall, apparently.”</p> <p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%207/Cheyenne4.jpg" alt="" width="300" /></p> <p>Cheyenne continues to make a name for himself on the silver screen, with no less than seven films seeing release this year, including Love Is Strange with Marisa Tomei, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina. Following a couple trying years in the press surrounding his personal life, Cheyenne is happy to be focusing on work—and plenty of it. The CliffsNotes version reads thus: He went through a divorce, moved from New York to L.A., got engaged and is newly sober. The press had a field day with it all—particularly with a certain lurid video—something Cheyenne was not at all ready for.</p> <p>“I don’t think you can ever really prepare yourself for that,” he says. “All you can do is deal with it. I always live by the adage ‘Your opinion of me is none of my business.’ That’s how I’ve looked at the whole situation the last couple of years. The hardest thing about getting bad press or people writing things that are not true is you can’t do anything to rectify it. You can scream from the mountaintops that it’s not true, but it doesn’t matter. The people it hurts are your family. But all that stuff is in the past, and it’s part of the deal. It taught me some lessons and gave me <span style="line-height: 1.5;">a fraction of what it’s like for those folks whose every move is on the cover of a magazine. It’s not so fun, but it’s life.”</span></p> <p>What Cheyenne currently enjoys are the seemingly simple aspects that living in L.A. affords—a car, a driveway to park it in, a house with a washer and dryer. “These are the things you can’t have in New York unless you’re a gazillionaire.” But the main reason he moved out here is to be close to his family. It’s the first time his mother,</p> <p>father, brother and sister have all been in the same state. They’ll all be in attendance at the <em>Music of the Mad Men Era</em> show, which Cheyenne admits will make the experience both exciting and scary.</p> <p>“What I love about concerts is that you don’t have to be strapped to a character,” he says. “As much as I love being an actor, I love to just be my weird self up there singing songs, telling stories and sharing my heart and my music my way. I’m always yapping up there. Sometimes it gets a little stand-up-y. I can’t help it. I’m really free, and I love to be spontaneous. If someone shouts out something from the audience, you better believe I’m going to shout back. There are no rules.”<br /><br /> <br /> <strong>A PREVIEW OF CHEYENNE'S SETLIST FOR <em>MUSIC OF THE MAD MEN ERA</em>:<em><br /></em></strong><br /> <strong>“Bésame Mucho”</strong><br /><em style="line-height: 1.5;">This Dean Martin track is classic, cool and always in style.</em></p> <p><iframe style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/NQYLUDSa9tM?wmode=transparent" frameborder="0" width="420" height="315"></iframe></p> <p><strong>“You Know I’m No Good”</strong> <br /> <em>I’m a big Amy Winehouse fan. This song has a sexy, edgy melody. It’s new but fits within this milieu perfectly.</em></p> <p><iframe style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/b-I2s5zRbHg?wmode=transparent" frameborder="0" width="420" height="236"></iframe></p> <p><strong>“A Case of You”</strong><br /><em style="line-height: 1.5;">This Joni Mitchell track is introspective, with a highly personal arrangement by the impeccable Diana Krall. </em></p> <p><iframe style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/IAsXMlkwXgs?wmode=transparent" frameborder="0" width="420" height="315"></iframe></p> <p><strong>“Red Wine (is Good for My Heart)”</strong><br /><em style="line-height: 1.5;">This one’s an original by me.</em></p> <p><br /> <a href="http://www.laphil.com/tickets/cheyenne-jackson-music-of-mad-men-era/2014-04-26" target="_blank">Music of the Mad Men Era</a> <em>takes place April 26 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/04/23/cheyenne-jackson-sings-the-songs-of-an-older-erahttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/04/23/cheyenne-jackson-sings-the-songs-of-an-older-eraWed, 23 Apr 2014 09:26:00 GMTMichelle McCarthyLove Always, Rufus<p style="text-align: right;"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/rufus2.png" alt="" width="600" /><span class="micro">Photo by Sean James</span></p> <p>We caught up with the lauded ‘baroque pop’ singer-songwriter before beginning his latest tour, which heads into L.A. on April 18. Wainwright chats with us from London about his growing family, turning 40 and <em>Vibrate</em>, his brand-new collection of songs. Just don’t call it a ‘greatest hits’ album. </p> <p class="p1"><strong>How’s London?</strong> <br />London’s cool. I’m finally over the jetlag and ready to watch a lot of television and eat a lot of chocolate. [<em>Laughs</em>] I’m getting ready to start my tour. I’m doing a lot of gigs in Eastern Europe, so that should be interesting, especially with what’s going on in Kiev right now. I’m kinda heading into the fire. This should be interesting.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>To say the least. How’s the family?</strong> <br />The family’s great. My husband is fantastic, and my daughter is in L.A. with her mother, where she lives. <strong>Martha [Wainwright,</strong> his sister] just had another baby, so I have a new nephew. These are the good times.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>The family’s getting bigger and bigger. That’s exciting! Also exciting—how does it feel to have a greatest hits album?</strong> <br />Well, I have to correct you, because it’s not quite a ‘greatest hits.’ It’s more of a ‘best of.’ People keep saying ‘greatest hits,’ but there would only be two tracks. [<em>Laughs</em>] In terms of not having any massive radio hits, I’ve managed to maintain a level of integrity and a level of privacy and still get well-paid for what I do, so I’m fine with the ‘best of.’</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Tell me about the process of choosing which tracks would appear.</strong> <br />There are a couple people who were very helpful, most notably <strong>Neil Tennant</strong>, who was really great, and also my publicist, <strong>Barbara Charone</strong>, in England. I felt it was necessary to open up the decision-making. I didn’t want it to necessarily be my opinion, because I tend to go for the more esoteric. </p> <p class="p1"><strong>In the liner notes, your aunt Anna says about you, “He’s stronger and surer of what he’s doing with only a slightly more mature outlook.” Do you agree? Are you stronger and more sure?</strong> <br />I’m sure with certain things I am. Artistically I have somewhat of a firm footing in what I want to accomplish. When you have a child, though, your entire world is completely flipped over. Spending time with my daughter, I’m in wonderment over the knowledge and wisdom of a child, and how arguably you get stupider as you get older! [<em>Laughs</em>]</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Do you have a maternal feeling over your songs? Is the old cliché true—are they all your babies, and you could never pick a favorite?</strong> <br />I’m very egalitarian. Each song is really imbued with a memory or an experience or some kind of trauma or celebration. I’ve always been a very personal and revealing artist, so they’re all from moments of my life. Without every moment in your life, you wouldn’t have a full one. </p> <p class="p1"><!-- pagebreak --></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: right;"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/rufus1.png" alt="" width="600" /><br /><span class="micro">Photo by Sean James</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">You recently turned 40, but you say that the bark is far worse than the bite. That’s refreshing to hear.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Yes, the bark is far worse than the bite, but the bite might have a bit of poison in it. [</span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Laughs</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">] I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but you have to reassess your perspective of what the world has to offer and your place in it. It’s fantastic if you’re able to appreciate what you’ve learned over the years. There are still very gay moments when I wish I was 19 and totally, blissfully ignorant—a slut. A big, gay ol’ slut. [</span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Laughs</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">]</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>So what can we expect from this latest round of tour dates?<br /></strong> You know, they’re solo shows, which I haven’t done in L.A. for a very long time. I’ve done them in the area—in San Diego and Long Beach—but in L.A. proper I haven’t done a solo jaunt, so I think that’ll be a nice homecoming. L.A. is where I began, and that’s where I cut my teeth—on Santa Monica Boulevard. I’m looking forward to coming back. My sister <strong>Lucy Wainwright Roach</strong> will be with me, so there will be some family time as well.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>You’re known for your splashy style.</strong> <br />Any hints as to what you might be wearing onstage? I have no idea at this point, but we’ll see after I get back from Eastern Europe. I might come back with a mullet or something! <br /><br /></p> <p><em>Rufus Wainwright plays the Orpheum Theatre on April 18.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/04/11/love-always-rufushttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/04/11/love-always-rufusFri, 11 Apr 2014 11:03:00 GMTStephan HorbeltAngelyne Bares Her Pink Parts<p style="text-align: right;"><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%207/Angelyne1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><span class="micro">(Photos by Hans Eric Olson)</span></p> <p>“Oh, thank God you’re here! I’m parched!” </p> <p>Angelyne pushes past me in a mini-dress amplifying her notorious cleavage as she announces to the entire French Market Place—one of her favorite West Hollywood hangouts—that she needs the “pink drink” right away.</p> <p>“The blackberry lemonade, perhaps?” the waiter asks, appearing from nowhere.</p> <p>“Yes, the pink one!” Angelyne demands.</p> <p>People standing around inside the French Market Place complex, which happens to sell Angelyne merchandise, immediately gawk at us. You could have heard a pin drop. Who is that? She must be famous!<br /> There’s a mystique surrounding Angelyne, a Hollywood fixture known for billboards of her décolletage decorating the Sunset Strip and Hollywood of the 1980s—as well as New York, Las Vegas, England and Japan—and branded for her famous pink Corvette that can be spied throughout the city. Angelyne’s manager Scott Hennig once told the New York Times that more than 2,000 billboards had gone up in L.A. since 1984, and that 5,000 had appeared around the world. Right now you’ll find her high in the sky at Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilcox.</p> <p>Upon being granted the opportunity to sit down and speak with Angelyne about her life, I confess I had already made up my mind about her. She was a woman overly focused on her looks who lived for the male gaze and was content doing nothing to accelerate the feminism of this day and age. In fact, she was setting us women back.</p> <p>Sure, Angelyne has appeared in movies like Earth Girls Are Easy, and her billboards have been featured in a litany of movies (Swingers, Volcano, Get Shorty, The Day After Tomorrow and Behind the Candelabra to name a few), but really, what has she done to earn her hype besides being the original Paris Hilton?</p> <p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%207/Angelyne2.jpg" alt="" width="300" /></p> <p>Today we are bombarded by reality television programming and its fame hunters—those who have gained notoriety for doing nothing of worth. My initial expectations aside, I hoped there was more to her than that.</p> <p>When I met Angelyne, I myself was a mess, having mistakenly parked two miles away from the French Market Place. I had just run to meet her in uncomfortable shoes.</p> <p>“There’s a parking lot right here,” Angelyne remarks dryly as I massage my feet under the table. “Next time, do your research.” She flashes me a fuchsia-lipped grin before announcing that dinner would be my treat. I nervously laughed, assuming she was kidding.</p> <p>“And if you buy my keychain for 20 bucks, you can have a ride back in the pink Corvette,” she says, suddenly smacked with inspiration.</p> <p>“Why not?” I shrug, hiding that I’d secretly been dying to ride in her notorious chariot.<br /> “I inspire everyone, from the presidents to the residents,” Angelyne throws out into conversation.</p> <p>At this point I start to acclimate to the stares of onlookers. Angelyne is overtly showing off her assets, and she’s doing it without shame and without excuse. It’s as if she’s entitled, because don’t you know who she is?</p> <p>Over our blackberry lemonades, Angelyne shares with me a story from years past in which she arrives at a famous hotel wearing her uniform—a shrunken Barbie doll outfit and four-inch spike heels. She walks through the lobby and—not unlike a gangly nerd in a high school cafeteria—has people glaring at her, whispering loudly as if she were on display for their amusement. Remarks were peppered with insults, scathing and unforgiving, filled with contempt and judgment along with jealousy at the sheer audacity of someone so ‘out there’ with who she is.</p> <p>If you think Angelyne rushed to cover up or ran out of the hotel’s back entrance, never to show her face again, you’d be wrong.</p> <p>Instead she went to the restroom and stuffed some tissue in each one of her ears. Then, head held high, she proceeded to walk through the lobby. All she could hear this time were muffled gasps along with the cacophony of her name—“Angelyne, Angelyne….” It was a waterfall of admirers instead of haters, or at least that’s what Angelyne told herself.</p> <p>I ask if she still relies on tissue to get by in life. She says that it’s symbolically in her ears still, but she doesn’t need the real thing anymore.</p> <p>As it turns out, Angelyne is an amazing saleswoman. During our meal she called an onlooker over and sold her an Angelyne fan club T-shirt, an Angelyne keychain and a photo in front of her infamous ride. The girl looked shellshocked when the transaction was over.</p> <p>Once we wrapped up dinner, true to Angelyne’s word, I wound up with the tab.</p> <p>“Oh my gosh!” says Angelyne, feigning shock. “How did it get to be that expensive?”</p> <p>At this point Angleyne saw that I was hard up for cash, so she graciously throws in a magazine of herself that she insists is worth over $30, along with a blank notecard of the Eiffel Tower.</p> <p>While crammed in the front seat of her amazing pink Corvette, staring through the windshield, I peel my sock away to reveal two blisters on my ankles. Angelyne cringes, and much like a mother with her child, starts digging around for her Barbie bandages. Instead Angelyne finds a Band-Aid decorated with cartoon chickens, swearing it’s good luck.</p> <p>“Ask me anything!” she practically demands, turning on the stereo.</p> <p>I chose the obvious question. “What made you want to become famous?” I didn’t expect what she confessed next.</p> <p>“I lost my parents at an early age. I think I’m always looking for that love,” she says, before we sit in silence for a beat.</p> <p>Angelyne goes on to tell me that at 12 years old she went to a psychic, hoping  to channel her deceased mother. Imagine her surprise when the spirit of Marilyn Monroe came through to speak to her instead.</p> <p>“Marilyn Monroe told me I was going to become famous.”</p> <p>Angelyne looks at me with wide eyes. “I asked her when, but Marilyn couldn’t tell me that,” she recounts. “Then Marilyn said through the psychic, ‘Don’t tell people I am your mother. Tell them I’m your big sister.”</p> <p>I continued to listen, entranced. Meanwhile, on the stereo, one of my favorite bad girl rockers, Courtney Love, sang her 1998 hit single, the title track from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3dWBLoU--E&feature=kp" target="_blank">Hole’s <em>Celebrity Skin</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Oh, look at my face</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>My name is might have been</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>My name is never was</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>My name's forgotten</em></p> </blockquote> <p>This L.A. billboard icon is no different from the rest of us. She feels the same fears we all do, but she doesn’t let them stop her. And she doesn’t ask for permission.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Blog%20Images%207/Angelyne3.jpg" alt="" width="500" /></p> <p>Angelyne dislikes the word permission, by the way. She offhandedly remarks that she’s about to release her very own dictionary, where some words will be favored over others. After all, she knows the power of words can affect one’s outlook on the world and how someone self-identifies.</p> <p>While she may come across like a lost little girl, Angelyne is not completely unlike Marilyn Monroe. But don’t let her fool you—there’s also a rebel of a woman underneath that who emanates a ‘don’t screw with me’ attitude. “I’m a soft kitten, but I’ve got claws,” as she likes to say. That attitude is also present in her heavily lined, Egyptian-style eyes. (One should only use black eyeliner, she insists.) </p> <p>Underneath the Marilyn Monroe persona is a very astute businesswoman. Angelyne ushered into L.A. the idea of putting oneself on a billboard for no good reason. If you drive down the Sunset Strip today, you’ll see buildings stacked up to the heavens with advertisements. Perhaps Angelyne was ahead of her time. Her billboards, often featuring scantily clad images of herself and her name—nothing more—require more than sheer audacity. They require guts, and they require a dreamer.</p> <p>We don’t all have billboards of our faces splashed across town, because we don’t feel we deserve them. But what separates dreamers from the rest of us is the ability and desire to shoot for the stars, acting without hesitation. Everyone is here on Earth for one reason—to shine—and Angelyne understands that. If nothing else, Angelyne stands for the notion that we are who we are, we are our own universe, and we are perfect. It’s a notion that more who drive past Angelyne’s billboards should take to heart.</p> <p>The next time I go out, I may just show a little cleavage and wear my glitter fedora. After all, this is Hollywood, baby.  </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/04/17/angelyne-bares-her-pink-partshttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/04/17/angelyne-bares-her-pink-partsThu, 17 Apr 2014 06:00:00 GMTMara ShaneThrough Art's Eye<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/artgray1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>Space really is the final frontier for architectural photographer Art Gray, recipient of the 2014 Stars of Design Award in the Field of Photography from the Pacific Design Center during WestWeek 2014. He joins what the PDC calls the “best-in-class representation of creative iconoclasts” across a range of artistic disciplines—a class that includes the late famed photographer Herb Ritts, for whom Gray once worked.</p> <p class="p2">Gray is honored by the award but seems unabashedly humble, more interested in talking about art, photography and architecture than puffing himself up with any blip of bluster. Sitting in the second floor common room of West Hollywood’s latest affordable housing project, The Courtyard at La Brea, Gray, with the curious artistic look of a sophisticated yet scruffy surfer, boasts about his friend, architect Patrick Tighe, for whom he photographed the housing structure. Gray has a penchant for giving back and has documented several nonprofit and environmentally innovative projects, often pro bono.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/artgray5.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p2">The 49-year-old, single longtime resident of Venice has traveled the world on assignment, producing many award-winning photographs and two breathtaking books. He remains loyal to<em> Interior Design</em> magazine, where his career was launched in 1996. He also shoots for <em>Sunset</em> and <em>Architectural Digest</em>, among other publications, and has started using digital videos as a new way of walking through and looking at space.</p> <p class="p2">And it is space that keeps him enthralled—how people use and move through space, how light bounces off objects in space, how architecture defines space. As an avid surfer and a former gymnast-turned-stuntman, Gray is also keenly aware of how his own body moves through space. They are sensibilities borne of an imaginative childhood and a delight in light and nature intertwined with fortuitous circumstances. </p> <p class="p2">“I grew up in a really small town in rural Western Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh. My mom didn’t drive. We lived really far out, and I had two older sisters—much older than me. So I kind of spent my childhood by myself, running around, mostly in nature,” Gray tells <em>Frontiers</em>. </p> <p class="p2">Around 1975, Gray was smitten with some photographs his sisters brought back from a field trip to the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater house. “I was just fascinated that a river went underneath a house,” says Gray. “I think that was my first connection with architecture and nature. I was just this kid who spent all day running around in the apple orchard across the street playing in the woods. From that point on, architecture was a strong draw. Anything architectural was interesting to me. And also a ticket to somewhere else, somewhere different from what I was used to seeing. And I wanted to see more. <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/artgray3.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p2">“We didn’t travel much at all. My family didn’t have a lot of money,” Gray continues. “But from early on, architecture was in my head. I think it was junior high. It’s kind of funny that I take pictures for magazines now, because if you sold a bunch of magazines in those magazine competitions, you won prizes. I won a camera—a Polaroid Land camera, which was amazing. You could take photos and they instantly came out. I’d never seen that before. So I used up a lot of Polaroid film taking a lot of pictures. However, architecture was still the draw, so I continued my education geared to architecture. At 14, I designed a house for my parents, which we had built—that was probably the best experience that I had with my dad before he passed away.” </p> <p class="p2">The family moved to Michigan when Gray was 12, and he ended up going to architectural school at the University of Michigan. Halfway through, he took an elective photography class and had an epiphany. “You know when you see—you put the paper in the chemicals and the image comes up—to me I was hooked. I was like, wow! There was something about having it be so instant that was very appealing to me,” Gray says.</p> <p class="p2">Three years into the College of Architecture—a goal for which his father had saved his whole life—Gray’s mother bought him a Nikon camera. “That was the start of it. At that point, I didn’t know there was a career in architectural photography. But because of all those magazines I sold in high school—I was always pouring through them, looking for the ultimate dream house for my parents—I discovered there was.”<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/artgray7.jpg" alt="" width="600" /> </p> <p class="p2">Today, Gray looks for the intersection of art and technicality. “There’s always something interesting in how light hits things. I don’t know if it’s from all those years running around in the woods as a kid,” Gray says. “And the idea of how architecture works as a machine for living—how it affects every aspect of everyone’s life. Most people don’t really think about it, but to me it’s fascinating how people use a space. That’s one of the most interesting things when I’m working on a project. It’s interesting how people use spaces.”</p> <p class="p2"><strong><em>Check out Art Gray’s Facebook page <a href="http://www.facebook.com/ArtGrayPhotography" target="_blank">here</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. <br /></span></em></strong></p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/artgray2.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p2"> </p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/artgray4.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p2"> </p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/artgray6.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p2"><strong><em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span></em></strong></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/18/through-arts-eye2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/18/through-arts-eye2Wed, 19 Mar 2014 06:00:00 GMTKaren OcambPeaches Christ and Jinkx Monsoon Return to Grey Gardens<p class="p1">“I’ll talk about the premise, because it’s brilliant,” a singsong voice casually remarks over my recent Skype conversation. I can tell he genuinely believes that. He then pauses briefly and continues. </p> <p class="p1">“The idea with Peaches Christ shows is always that it’s not us playing the characters in the movie—it’s adapted to be paralleled with the drag performers playing the roles. It’s not that we’re playing Big Edie and Little Edie—we’re playing Big Peachy and Little Jinkxy, and we met 40 years ago to do this show. The premise is that she’s my adopted drag mother and we’ve been living in this theatre as it crumbles around us, doing our <em>Grey Gardens</em> show even though audiences have stopped coming. It’s as if we’re not even aware there’s an audience in front of us. We’re just telling a documentary crew about our experience.” </p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/grey3.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: right;"><span class="micro">Photos by Jose Guzman Colon</span></p> <p class="p1">Thus goes a description of <em>Return to Grey Gardens,</em> as told to me by Jinkx Monsoon. I’m speaking to the now-world-renowned Seattle-based drag performer, the celebrated winner of <em>RuPaul’s Drag Race</em> Season 5, because he’s one of this fully realized stage production’s two lead performers. Many familiar with his art would say Jinkx was born to play “Little Jinkxy.”</p> <p><img class="image_align_top_left" title="Peaches Christ" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/grey2.png" alt="" width="250" /></p> <p class="p1">Also on the call—the instigator of this technological <em>ménage à trois</em>—is Peaches Christ, a drag performer who needs no introduction among homosexuals and film lovers of the perpetually overcast Bay Area. Peaches’ eponymous brand of drag-driven musical stage shows—parodies of gay culture’s most cherished cult films—are consistently sold-out affairs at the Castro Theatre. But while San Francisco gays recognize her as a goddess—an idol of the city’s storied drag culture and a brand—the name Peaches Christ is heard only within conversations among Los Angeles’ most savvy gays. </p> <p class="p1"><em>Return to Grey Gardens</em>—the brainchild of Peaches Christ, a fulfillment of the writer/director/performer’s creative energy—could be the production that finally reconstructs that dynamic. </p> <p class="p1">“Los Angeles has always been someplace where I’ve loved coming and doing shows,” says Peaches, “and I’ve done events at [Silver Lake’s] Vista Theatre, but this really is an attempt to do what we do in San Francisco, and quite literally. We’re bringing the whole show to L.A.”</p> <p class="p1">The “whole show” is a one-night-only 90-minute performance featuring a cast of Peaches Christ and Jinkx Monsoon, local drag favorites Squeaky Blonde and Lady Bear, the hunky Thomas Dekker (star of Gregg Araki’s <em>Kaboom</em> and Peaches Christ’s own <em>All About Evil</em>) and “a chorus of dancing cats and raccoons”—lest you thought for a second the show would be lacking humor.  </p> <p class="p1">Immediately following the show, audience members will be invited onto the stage for self-submission in the “Either Edie Costume Contest,” wherein a few audience members are sure to be praised for spirited and detail-specific impersonations of the famed Big Edie and Little Edie <em>Grey Gardens</em> personas.</p> <p class="p1">Those personas, the female protagonists of the 1975 Maysles brothers documentary being parodied in<em> Return to Grey Gardens</em>, hold much significance for Peaches Christ and Jinkx Monsoon, whose initial meeting and friendship is incidentally centered around the film.</p> <p class="p1">“We had a lot of mutual friends, and I’m a huge, huge fan of Peaches’ work,” says Jinkx. “I went to San Francisco for a couple gigs that I was doing, and I set up a lunch date for us to meet. We instantly connected, and we have so much shared aesthetic and so much shared love of the art form. Actually, the first time we met, we discussed doing <em>Grey Gardens</em>, and it wasn’t too long after that we had the whole plan booked and started working on it. It seemed like in a flash we were doing a show together.”</p> <p class="p1">“That lunch that we had was actually the afternoon of the ‘Snatch Game’ <em>Drag Race</em> episode [the Logo show’s famed episode in which Jinkx Monsoon impersonated Little Edie]—it aired later that night,” Peaches remembers. “I had seen her as Little Edie in the advertisement, but the actual episode hadn’t aired. Jinkx was in town to host a screening of it. </p> <p><img class="image_align_top_right" title="Jinkx Monsoon" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/grey1.png" alt="" width="250" /></p> <p class="p1">“We talked about it at lunch because <em>Grey Gardens</em> was always on my list to celebrate. You know, I’m in the business of creating events that celebrate cult movies. I was always very reluctant to do <em>Grey Gardens</em> because it’s so precious to me and so special, and the women in that movie are so special. I wanted it to be an homage and really good. So when we talked about it that afternoon, it just felt right.” </p> <p class="p1">That prescient feeling was validated last October during a run of <span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Return to Grey Gardens</em> through San Francisco and Seattle, both performers’ hometowns, in which the show received rave reviews to sold-out crowds. In the annals of Peaches Christ Productions—with an archive spanning 16 years and including productions of <em>Trannie Dearest</em>, <em>Showgirls</em> and, most recently, <em>Clueless</em>—<em>Return to Grey Gardens</em> is one for the history books.</span></p> <p class="p1">“I know it’s gonna sound really convenient, but <em>Return to Grey Gardens</em> is really special,” remarks Peaches. “I think the tone of it is so different, because it isn’t just outrageous, hilarious camp. There’s sort of a pathos to it that’s a little bit darker and maybe a little more thoughtful. Jinkx in this role is so dazzling. It might sound like lip service, but this is definitely at the top of my list of favorite productions.”</p> <p class="p1">For those who aren’t familiar with the 1975 <em>Grey Gardens</em> documentary, the theatrical production’s previous run up the West Coast has shown that a posthaste screening is recommended though not required for L.A. attendees. </p> <p class="p1">“I didn’t know how anyone would be able to get into the stage show without seeing the movie beforehand,” says Jinkx Monsoon, “but quite a few people say they simply came to see a wonderful show. They loved it with no context.” </p> <p class="p1">“Which is so surreal to me,” Peaches Christ adds. “I’m so married to the content that we’re celebrating that I can’t imagine what it would be like to see any show of mine without an understanding of the film. But I guess it works!”  </p> <p><strong>Return to Grey Gardens Los Angeles</strong><em><strong> plays one night only, April 5, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre.</strong></em><strong> Purchase tickets <a href="http://store.peacheschrist.com/category/9-show-tickets.aspx" target="_blank">here</a>.<br /><br /> </strong></p> <p><iframe style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0R2tjXDSqIg?wmode=transparent" frameborder="0" width="600" height="350"></iframe></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/18/peaches-christ-and-jinkx-monsoon-return-to-gr2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/18/peaches-christ-and-jinkx-monsoon-return-to-gr2Tue, 18 Mar 2014 22:32:00 GMTStephan Horbelt'Hedwig' Mastermind Stephen Trask Tells Us Why Neil Patrick Harris is the Best Woman for the Job<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/stephentrask1.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p><em>Hedwig and the Angry Inch</em> premiered off-Broadway at the Jane Street Theatre in 1998, spawning a film version in 2001 that has since reached cult status reminiscent of <em>The Rocky Horror Picture Show</em>. Next month the production heads to the Great White Way with a bigger budget and a huge star under that famous feathered wig. <em>Frontiers</em> spoke with Hedwig’s original composer/lyricist <strong>Stephen Trask</strong>about the show—its genesis in a rock ‘n’ roll gay bar, bringing the show to a Broadway audience and how he really feels about Doogie Howser in drag.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Trask on ‘90s gay rock bar Squeezebox, birthplace of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and its influence on the show’s creation...</strong></p> <p class="p1">In the beginning, [<strong>John Cameron Mitchell</strong>, <em>Hedwig</em> co-writer and star] and I had been working on a show about a rock star. ... I was the music director at Squeezebox, and we were stuck for material. I took out my pen and said to John, “Tell me some interesting stories about your life, and we’ll try to find some material here.”  </p> <p class="p1">John told me about this babysitter woman who lived on the Army base—John’s father being a general, he spent lots of time on the base in Germany—and I said, “Let’s make her a rock singer who sang with the rock star, and now she’s singing in dives and he is successful.” The whole idea of <em>Hedwig</em> sprang from there. <em>Hedwig</em> didn’t so much change at Squeezebox as much as <em>Hedwig</em> only exists because of Squeezebox. Since this was a rock bar with a live band that performed with drag queen singers, if I didn’t work there, it would have never occurred to me to suggest that John do this as a drag character.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>On the casting of Neil Patrick Harris as the show’s new lead on Broadway...</strong></p> <p class="p1">I’ve wanted Neil to do this role since 2003, maybe earlier. I had met him at the Jane Street Theatre in 1998 when he came to see the show, and I was very taken with him—really into him as a performer.  I liked the way he talked and the way he carried himself. In the discussions after we knew John wasn’t going to play the role again, Neil’s name came up very early.  He always seemed to be ‘the guy.’</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/trask3.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>On the importance of Hedwig being played by a gay actor...</strong></p> <p class="p1">I guess very and not at all. If you pull it off ... it’s just important to me that it be pulled off. The ‘gayness’ that Neil brings to it is informed by that conflict that exists inside gay people—the butchness and femme-ness that you can’t escape if you’re gay, and the top-ness and bottom-ness and all that crap. I think that a lot of the straight actors who play gay can get most of the outward symbols or gestures, but there is more to it. <strong>Michael Cerveris</strong> replaced [Hedwig] in the original production, and he was great. We’ve had many, many straight actors play the role, and they’ve all been great.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>On bringing the show to a Broadway audience...</strong></p> <p class="p1">I have a couple of trepidations, but none of them are about the changing of the audience, because in general I think Broadway audiences have changed. If we were ahead of our time in ’98, we’ve caught up with our time now—we’re in sync. People are used to hearing rock music onstage. When we did our show, there had been some pop musicals, but nothing that sounded like rock music and followed the rules of rock music. People are now ready for drag queens, obviously. When we did it before, theatres turned us down—empty theatres that had been long empty turned us down.  The drag queen factor, rock ‘n’ roll music, the sex change operation, the intergenerational love story, the whole fucking thing—it was a whole package that people didn’t want. But now I think people are ready for it.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/stephentrask2.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>If you could have any pop singer perform one of the songs from <em>Hedwig</em>, who would it be?</strong></p> <p class="p1">I love the way <strong>Spoon</strong> did “Tear Me Down,” and I’d love to hear it live. I bet <strong>Madonna</strong> could do a great job with “Wicked Little Town.” There’s a song on the movie soundtrack called “In Your Arms Tonight” that I always wanted to hear <strong>Michael Stipe</strong> sing.</p> <p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/trask2.png" alt="" width="250" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>On finding a dream replacement for Neil Patrick Harris come August...</strong></p> <p class="p1">I would genuinely like to see <strong>Justin Timberlake</strong> do it.  The person who does it has to be a real entertainer, and he seems to be an all-around entertainer.  Did <strong>River Phoenix</strong> sing? If he did, he would’ve been good. Honestly, I can’t think past Neil. He is spectacular.</p> <p class="p2"> </p> <p class="p1">Hedwig and the Angry Inch <em>has begun previews and opens April 22 at NYC’s Belasco Theatre. For tickets and more info, visit</em> <a href="http://www.hedwigbroadway.com" target="_blank">hedwigbroadway.com</a>.</p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/04/11/hedwig-mastermind-stephen-trask-tells-us-why-neil-patrick-harris-is-the-best-woman-for-the-jobhttp://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/04/11/hedwig-mastermind-stephen-trask-tells-us-why-neil-patrick-harris-is-the-best-woman-for-the-jobFri, 11 Apr 2014 15:11:00 GMTRyan RafteryIt's Tune Up Time<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/pitcrew1.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1">Chances are that every Monday night when you’re not living for the queens, you’re gagging over the Pit Crew. Whether serving up celebratory cocktails after challenges or serving up body during them, RuPaul’s own equivalent of Barker’s Beauties work long and hard for their money. But there’s more than meets the eye candy with this handsome quartet, comprised of Shawn Morales, Miles Davis Moody, Jason J. Carter and Simon Sherry-Wood. They are the unsung and well-hung heroes of <em>RuPaul’s Drag Race</em>—the Pit Crew! <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/pitcrew5.png" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><strong>Shawn Morales</strong><br /><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">@brightside009</span></strong></p> <p class="p1"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Tied with Jason for most senior Pit Crew member, Shawn has arguably become as iconic for scruff-lovers as Farrah Fawcett was for blondes. <em>Drag Race</em> fans know him for his signature mustache and tattoos, but they might be surprised to discover their significance. The mustache is pure homage to Tom of Finland, and the tattoos are a callback to an anime series called<em> Full Metal Alchemist</em>—more specifically a character named Greed. You’ve gotta love a hunk who </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">isn’t afraid to geek out! In addition to his work on the show, Shawn is popular in L.A. for his nightlife promoting—he throws a party called Big Bad Wolf at Silver Lake haunt Faultline and a weekly <em>Drag Race</em> screening party at Eagle L.A. </span></p> <p class="p2"> <img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/pitcrew3.png" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><strong>Miles Davis Moody</strong><br /><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">@milesdavismoody</span></strong></p> <p class="p1"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Miles came into our hearts and homes last season as part of the show’s “Whatcha Packin’” mini-challenge—along with 20 other Andrew Christian models, who were apparently tossed back by producers after they got one look at this beefcake. With wit as big as the moose muzzle he keeps in his pants, Miles describes the Pit Crew’s downtime on the <em>Drag Race</em> set thusly: “Shawn does push-ups, Jason does mock interviews with himself in the mirror, Simon pretends to be Courtney Act. I just sit back, sip my drink and perfect my side-eye.” Watch your back, Bianco Del Rio, because Miles may give you a run for your money.</span></p> <p class="p2"> <span style="line-height: 1.5;"> <img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/pitcrew4.png" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><strong>Jason J. Carter</strong><br /><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">@jjcforever</span></strong></p> <p class="p1"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Devoted <em>Drag Race</em> fans will remember Jason as the heart-stopping “Aha! moment” from Season 3’s Pit Crew open call. This multi-talented actor/model/host wandered onto the <em>Drag Race</em> track almost by accident. “I was actually off from work that day and a producer emailed me. Something told me to just do it. I guess trusting your gut really does pay off!” Not that there’s much gut to trust—have you seen his body? Jason insists that he used to be skeletal. “I was like the male version of Kate Moss!”—but consistently working out, eating right (a weakness for In-N-Out Burger notwithstanding) and not drinking or smoking is his secret. </span></p> <p class="p2"> <img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/pitcrew2.png" alt="" width="400" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><strong>Simon Sherry-Wood</strong><br /><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">@simonsherrywood</span></strong></p> <p class="p1"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">One of two new additions to this season’s Pit Crew, reality TV junkies might remember Simon from <em>The Real World: Paris</em>. So how did his smiling Irish eyes get the gig? “I went into the World of Wonder offices thinking it was a callback and actually met with Ru! He asked me to tell him a joke [which is far too obscene to print]. RuPaul laughed and said, ‘Consider that stolen!’” Simon is a world-class model who has shared the frame with Hollywood bad girls like Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan, but did that prepare him for dealing with the queens of Season 6? Who was the bigger diva, Lindsay Lohan or Darienne Lake? “Darienne Lake, just because she’s six divas in one!”<br /><br /><em><strong>Catch</strong></em><strong> RuPaul's Drag Race</strong><em><strong> on Logo, Monday nights at 9 p.m. </strong></em></span></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/19/its-tune-up-time2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/19/its-tune-up-time2Wed, 19 Mar 2014 16:02:00 GMTAndrew JohnstonFashion Outlaw<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/alexnewell6.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"><span class="micro">Photos by Ricky Middlesworth Photography</span><br /><br />Alex Newell is a perfect example of how to be prepared when opportunity comes knocking. A contestant on <em>The Glee Project</em>—in which 12 hopefuls vied for a seven-episode arc on <em>Glee</em>—Newell came in as a runner-up. But that didn’t stop him. </p> <p class="p1">The producers were so taken with Alex that they brought him on <em>Glee</em> for two episodes, which turned into two more, which turned into a recurring permanent role on the show. Alex plays Wade “Unique” Adams, a transgender teenager—a first for American television. We spoke to the fashion trendsetter about his love of shopping, the creation of his personal style and his love of André Leon Talley.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>How did you get involved with <em>The Glee Project</em>?</strong> <br />I actually didn’t [initially] know about <em>The Glee Project</em>. I put my submission online to be on <em>Glee</em>. They had an open casting call on Myspace to be on <em>Glee</em> for this new role. They got so many submissions that they had the idea to take the submissions and turn it into a reality show. </p> <p class="p1"><strong>Now you’re on <em>Glee</em>. How has the role changed your life?</strong> <br />I was a high school student just a few years ago, and now to be on a national television show—it’s a total 360. I was doing theater, singing, dancing and acting since I was 13. It’s my passion. I would have never thought everything I’ve been training for and working for my entire life would finally come true. It’s just an entirely different life.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Did you feel pressure to play TV’s first trans teen character?</strong> <br />You don’t really have that pressure when it’s kind of an everyday portrayal. I mean, there’s still the struggle at the heart of it, but it was kind of like, this is another student coming in that has this journey they’re going down. You don’t really have pressure when it’s like that.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/alexnewell4.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>How has the feedback been from the trans community?</strong> <br />It’s always positive and grateful, and in a powerful light. I’ve never heard anything negative from the community.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>When did you first start to get into fashion?</strong> <br />Oh my goodness, I love clothes. I love shoes. I love everything. I think my mother did the overkill. I remember when I was in the second grade, and we had to write books about what our life was. I had a whole chapter of how we went shopping and I would be in the mall for hours and hours. We had to draw pictures of our houses, and I drew a detailed map of the mall, where every store was, what the name of it was, even what their logo was. It was absolutely ridiculous. I loved my name brands and feeling the rush of putting on a new pair of jeans. I think that’s where my love of clothes and fashion comes from. I just love trying new and exciting things to see what to do. I love playing with androgyny. It’s fun, and you don’t see too much of it. I’m always trying to think outside the box and do it with a traditional high-fashion sense.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>When did you start integrating what would traditionally be considered women’s items into your look?</strong> <br />I don’t know. One day it just started happening and I was like, OK, let’s go with it.  <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/alexnewell7.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Have you had any backlash about it?</strong> <br />Oh, no, never. Even on my manly days, people still walk up to me in a restaurant and say, “How can I help you, ma’am?” I’m like, Wow, I still look like a woman even if I’m wearing all kinds of male clothes. You can’t let people bother you about stuff like that.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Which fashion icons influence your style?</strong> <br />André Leon Talley is probably number one right now. And I’m in love with all of Michael Costello’s work. His new gowns are just to die for. And Anthony Williams—the designer for Single Ladies—his way of doing things outside the box is so appealing to the eye and amazing and effortless at the same time.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/alexnewell1.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/alexnewell2.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/alexnewell3.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/alexnewell5.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"> </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/04/fashion-outlaw2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/04/fashion-outlaw2Tue, 04 Mar 2014 13:02:00 GMTMichelle McCarthyThe Whimsical World of Marco Marco<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/marcomarco8.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1">Marco Morante’s roster of clients is pretty impressive. The L.A.-based designer, working under the name Marco Marco, has outfitted everyone from Katy Perry and Lady Gaga to The Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez and Nicki Minaj, for videos, tours and appearances, and he made headlines last year when he held a runway show featuring drag queens from <em>RuPaul’s Drag Race</em>. After 14 years in the business, Morante is now used to dealing with high-profile celebs, but his first experience with an A-lister left him a little shaken—to the point where he was thrown off by a fist bump.</p> <p class="p1">When we visited Morante at his studio on Las Palmas, in the heart of Hollywood, he greeted us wearing a simple gray T-shirt with rolled-up sleeves and black jeans—a stark contrast to the bright and whimsical patterns adorning the mannequins throughout his space. “I’m not much of a dresser. I like T-shirts and button-downs and jeans,” he said. The studio spans three storefronts—a progression made over time—and is highlighted by Morante’s paintings, spools of thread, rows of sewing machines and a collection of client photos rivaling names on the Walk of Fame, just steps away.</p> <p class="p1">Morante is warm, laidback and quick to make a joke, followed by an infectious laugh. We sat at a picnic table in the outside smoking area surrounded by planters and mannequin heads to discuss how he went from designing wardrobe in a friend’s garage to creating the cupcake bikinis for Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” music video.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/marcomarco7.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Were you into fashion as a child?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Both of my grandmothers were seamstresses in factories, so I guess I was around it, but I don’t really remember having any interest in it. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Did you draw as a kid?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I was in art class since I was 5. The first class I took was oil paining. When I got older, I liked to draw comic book characters, which says a lot about the style of clothing I design.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>What was the first piece you designed?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In high school, I was doing a lot of scenery for theater. Then I made some corsets for one of the plays. I had no idea what a corset was. I just saw them in movies, so I took pieces of cardboard and glued them together and laid the fabric on top.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Did you notice you <span style="line-height: 1.5;">had a natural talent for it?<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">No, I think I thought I was really bad at it! [<em>Laughs</em>]<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/marcomarco5.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>But you kept on?</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Well, I’m stubborn.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>What made you want to become a designer?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I went to CalArts. I basically applied to every program, because I decided that was the only university I would go to. I made a flipbook for animation, sent a demo tape to the music school and designed the set and costumes for <em>A Midsummer Night’s Dream</em>. Costume design was the first to call. It didn’t really matter to me. I just didn’t want to go to real school. [<em>Laughs</em>] </span></p> <p class="p1">I started making clothes at school in the cafeteria. I would bring a sewing machine, and me and my friend would lay out a bunch of fabric. You would pick a series of colors and we would make you whatever you wanted in front of you in 20 minutes. It was like a little circus act. We made tank tops and skirts. We’d sell them for five bucks in the cafeteria to the other students—and even teachers—and that basically became our business. </p> <p class="p1">We’d go to an art opening at school and people would be wearing the stuff we made. It was weird stuff. It was really raw. But people felt a visceral connection to it because they were there when it was put together. People still tell me they keep them and wear them. </p> <p class="p1">We started doing that every day for probably a year and a half. When I graduated I just kept doing that. I moved into my friends’ house in the hills and they let me use their garage as my studio. I worked out of there and would book myself at parties like a tarot card reader and make dresses. Here’s the fabric, now you pick what you want. I’d be there for, like, six hours.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/marcomarco6.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Who influenced <span style="line-height: 1.5;">your design style?<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When I was in school, I spent a lot of time learning about futurism and cubism. That influenced my style of painting, and I was always trying to replicate the painting in the clothes. That’s where the patching together of weird fabrics and the more graphic elements come from.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>How did you begin working <span style="line-height: 1.5;">with big-name pop stars? <br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I didn’t have anything else to do, so I spent a lot of time making as many things as I could and trying to meet people. I met a lot of people at parties who ended up putting me on as a wardrobe person on TV shows and commercials. I started to get work like that. I did all the branded content for <em>American Idol</em> for years. I did a lot of Hot Pockets and Ford Expedition commercials. Hot Pockets, where you’re dressing one boy in a blue T-shirt. There’s, like, two weeks of deliberation from the creative team about exactly what color shirt, and if it’s V-neck or crewneck, and then you come with the one single shirt. [<em>Laughs</em>]</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Who was the first <span style="line-height: 1.5;">big name you worked with?<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This was originally a boutique. That’s how I attempted to run it. I would make things in the back and then put them on clothespins on ropes in the front. We would get stylists in every now and then, and they would pull stuff. One of the girls who would come regularly was Lori, who styles for The Black Eyed Peas. I would do my paintings on ties and button-downs. will.i.am started to buy those. He’d buy button-downs, and I would paint whatever on them. Then I started working with the other Black Eyed Peas stylist, who worked with Fergie. She was the first person to ask us to make a dress. We made her a little gold vintage dress for a video. <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/marcomarco3.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Do clients typically <span style="line-height: 1.5;">come to you with an idea?<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It depends on my relationship with the artist or how familiar they are with my work. There are certain clients I work with that basically give me carte blanche to do whatever I think would be cool. Others are very specific. Katy Perry has been working with Johnny Wujek [her stylist] since the beginning, and they have a very synergistic relationship. They’re both very active in creating what her style is going to be. I come in at the end of that process. I’m the one who has to make it real. We want cupcakes or we want her hands to be made of wings. Whatever it is, I have to come up with the solutions. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>You also work a <span style="line-height: 1.5;">lot with drag queens.<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Drag queens are little embryos of pop stars that just haven’t hatched yet. I’ve always loved drag queens. I always thought if I was brave enough to just commit to this community, this would be a really fucking cool store, because then I could forget about all the necessities women have that drag queens don’t. <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/marcomarco2.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Like what?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For one, if a woman doesn’t fit in a garment, she doesn’t fit in a garment. It’s either too big or too small. And either she has to get bigger or smaller or the garment has to get bigger or smaller. With a drag queen, they create their bodies, so if it’s too tight, they don’t wear tits. [<em>Laughs</em>] If it’s too loose, they just put a little more padding in there. There’s this sort of inevitability that it will work. Women have this struggle, which is totally valid—they struggle with how to peacock and how to be respected as well. Drag queens don’t have that problem. They can glue a Barbie doll to their head and look fantastic. There’s this realm of endless possibilities when there’s a fearlessness. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Is there an interaction with <span style="line-height: 1.5;">a celebrity that stands out?<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When I met will.i.am, it was my first real meeting with someone. I had to go to this house in Malibu they were renting to record in. Macy Gray was there eating Chinese food. I was totally intimidated by everybody around me. We’re sitting on the stairs in this huge stairwell—like, we couldn’t go to one of the many rooms with chairs. We just lounged on the stairs, and I was showing him something. He was like, “Nice to meet you,” and he went to give me his fist to pound and I just shook it—like, grabbed the whole fist and shook it. [Laughs] <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/marcomarco4.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Did he play it off?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">No, he was like, “What is going on?”</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Are you prepping </strong><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">for L.A. Fashion Week?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We might be. We’re in the middle of designing some stuff. I don’t tend to follow the seasons as well as other people because I work as a costume designer. This business isn’t really held to the seasons as much as it might be if I was attempting to sell at stores. I’m always designing pieces, and I’m always working on a collection, but when and where it gets finished and presented is not as much of a concern to me. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>What’s the next thing for you? <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Right now, we’re working on launching the men’s underwear line and the men’s site. We’ve always sold piece by piece, in person, so this will be our first foray into that side of the business. We’ve had a lot of interest from stores all over the world, but I’m not ready for all that. I like to crawl. <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/marcomarco1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><a href="http://www.marcomarco.net" target="_blank">marcomarco.net</a></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/04/the-whimsical-world-of-marco-marco2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/03/04/the-whimsical-world-of-marco-marco2Tue, 04 Mar 2014 12:53:00 GMTMichelle McCarthyHanky Panky with Elaine Stritch<p>Elaine Stritch is the subject of the new documentary <em style="line-height: 1.5;">Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. The film is a warts-and-all chronicle of her career performing, as well as her personal struggles with alcoholism and diabetes. On the phone from her home in Michigan, Stritch began talking before the first question was even asked. Someone had arrived at the door just as she got on the line. <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/stritch4.png" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1">“You came in with a great explosion of great joy! It was my present from the liquor store! Turned out to be not a sleazy glass of wine but Grey Goose! I almost called Sondheim to say I got my fix!”</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Like you discuss in the film, I enjoy a glass of Fernet Branca. I get a cocktail at my local bar called a “Hanky Panky,” which is made with gin, vermouth and Fernet Branca.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">How divine! You must send me the recipe!</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Let’s talk about the film. Why did you agree to make this documentary, and how did you come to trust Chiemi Karasawa to do justice to your portrait? <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I didn’t agree to make it. I love Chiemi—she’s the best! I wanted to work with her. She was so sweet and warm and such a brand-new friend to have at my age! </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>What impresses me most about you is how you interpret a song and/or a lyric. In the film, George C. Wolfe eloquently describes your skill as “a pursuit that gets at the thing underneath the thing that illuminates a moment.” You even ask, rhetorically, “How does Sondheim know?” regarding his finding the emotional truth in a lyric. Can you discuss that aspect of your craft?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I don’t know. When people ask me how did you do, I say, “Wait until the moment!” I tell you that honestly. I don’t know where it comes from. One night on the stage, I said, “God knows at least I was there. [Stritch bursts into song]  And I’m Heeeere!” When I got to that point in the song, I jumped up and down like a child. My emotion was almost heartbreaking. It was like, “Fuck you, and fuck life and fuck everything!” But I’m here! You know what I mean?<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/stritch3.png" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>You come onstage at the Carlyle’s Razz Room and say, “I’m right where I should be,” and it clicks. Your career has encompassed theater and cabaret, films (<em>September</em>) and TV (<em>30 Rock</em>). What were the moments or performances that you most appreciated? <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Because I’m not the best looking broad in town—that’s why! I have done most all things! I think when I jumped up and down singing “I’m Still Here,” that was the best. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>How much were you involved in the selection of clips and photographs and even interviews that were used in the film? <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I had no control. I take it like it is. I didn’t provide them. They came to my suite at the Carlyle and took ‘em. When I give myself over, it’s <em>Take me, I’m yours</em>. It’s a thrill to have anybody interested in me. It’s magic. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>You talk in the film about dating JFK, loving Ben Gazzara and befriending Alec Baldwin and the late James Gandolfini. What can you say about your relationships with these men?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I love Alec and would stand up in court for him. When my husband died, the world fucking stopped. I just absolutely loved my guy. I loved him. And after 10 years, after not even knowing, the time goes by—it passed, and all of a sudden he was gone. I said, <em>My God, where did he go?</em> This person who kept me quiet and calm was gone! But that’s life, isn’t it? It goes by so fast. We had what we had of it. It’s the best [thing] that we had what we had.  </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>You speak openly about your drinking and your diabetes. What prompts your candor? <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">My sense of honesty. I think it’s a great quality. Don’t you? Don’t you? Who is going to turn their nose up at honesty?</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Is there anything in your life that you chose not to reveal in the film?<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">No. Do you want to meet for drinks for New Year’s Eve? <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/stritch2.png" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1">Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me <em>comes to L.A. theatres March 7.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/02/20/hanky-panky-with-elaine-stritch2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/02/20/hanky-panky-with-elaine-stritch2Thu, 20 Feb 2014 13:33:00 GMTGary M. KramerDouble the Diva, Double the Love<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/Pepper2.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1">Pepper MaShay is a legendary dance music diva. Sista Jean is a soulful blues songstress. Despite their differences, these women share one important common denominator—they are both personas of the artist formerly known as Jean McClain. </p> <p class="p1">Best known for her club hit “Dive Into the Pool,” a <em>Queer as Folk</em> theme song released under her MaShay nom de plume, McClain will be showcasing both of her personalities on Feb. 23 for the one-woman show <em>Both Sides Now</em>. The performance benefits The Life Group L.A., a coalition of people dedicated to the education, empowerment and emotional support of persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Located at Barnsdall Art Park, the show will feature the best of both Pepper’s dance and Sista Jean’s blues oeuvres. According to McClain, it’s easy to differentiate between the two alter egos.</p> <p class="p1">“With Pepper MaShay, I pretty much glam it up,” the singer explained during a recent interview. “My red wigs set the tone for me to be this character who’s almost like Wonder Woman. Now, Sista Jean I envision being a super cool character who’s trying to bring what was so great in music from the past up to today’s standards.”</p> <p class="p1">The idea to have both these character in the same show originated with Pepper’s wife, Ellen Osborne. To the couple, this concert holds double importance.</p> <p class="p1">“Ellen said I needed to show both of my personas, because it’s so hard in explaining to folks what makes you tick. Being Pepper MaShay—singing dance music songs with a groove-based attitude—is totally different from the Sista Jean persona, who is this blues singer-songwriter who wants to sing and write about her stories from the past to the present.” She adds, “Ellen wanted to help Life Group L.A. because the organization brought us together. We met when I would volunteer by performing at the Saddle Up event. I’ve always loved horses, and the event let me go on their horse rides. Since 2008, a lot of groups have seen a reduction in donations, and now it’s our turn to ‘pay it forward.’” </p> <p class="p1"><em>Both Sides Now</em> isn’t the first gift McClain has given the LGBT community. At the time she sang <em>Queer as Folk</em>’s unofficial theme song, she struck a chord with that brand-new generation of gay youths.</p> <p class="p1">“Everyone has told me that ‘Dive in the Pool’ gave folks the courage to declare who they were, and when they met me, I held out my hand to them instead of withdrawing my hand. I knew that if I was going to sing to the LGBT community, I just couldn’t sing, get paid and walk away. That’s not how my mother taught me. It’s hard to have young men crying and saying to me after a performance that if it wasn’t for me showing them love, they would have ended their lives. That’s when I had to recognize the song for what it is. The song unites people, [and doesn’t] divide.”</p> <p class="p1">Just as McLain positively affected a generation of young gays and lesbians, she also benefitted from the influence of established musicians. Before breaking out on her own, she had the privilege of working in the studio with the likes of Tina Turner, Cher and Jennifer Holiday, just to name a few. But the biggest impact came from the venerated disco siren Thelma Houston.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/Pepper.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1">"I noticed that she could sing anything, with anybody, and still take care of her family! The woman is huge in my world. Not only have I admired her from afar, I had the pleasure of doing some shows with her. She's a real person, and you better come correct with her." McLain also acknowledged the direct wisdom she gleaned from Tina Turner.</p> <p class="p1">"I would have to say she gave me the strength to know what I’m capable of, and just do my job! And my job is singing at the top of my ability."</p> <p class="p1">That vocal ability is not only raising funds for the crusade against the AIDS epidemic, but it's <span style="line-height: 1.5;">also raising awareness.</span></p> <p class="p1">"A person must protect themselves when it comes to searching for that one love. Everybody will have sex, and it’s up to you to protect yourself and also expect folks to protect you. But when shit happens, we all must form a circle of hope and love around each other. We can't turn a blind eye anymore. It’s up to all of us to help each other."</p> <p class="p1">Fortunately, our community has the help of Pepper MaShay <em>and </em>Sista Jean.<br /><br />Photo: Alan Mercer<br />Makeup: Rudy Calvo</p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/02/07/double-the-diva-double-the-love2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/02/07/double-the-diva-double-the-love2Mon, 17 Feb 2014 06:00:00 GMTMike CiriacoTommy Defendi is Mr. Los Angeles, the City's Top Male Escort<p>We all know the world of entertainment loves to honor itself. The movie industry does it with the Oscars. Television, the Emmys. Music, the Grammys. Not to be outdone, the male escorting industry began honoring its stars in 2006 with The Hookies, its own unique awards show that takes place annually in New York City over Black Party Weekend.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Produced by <em>Rentboy.com</em>, the people's choice awards are given in 16 categories covering varying aspects of the oldest profession, from Best Top to Best Bottom, Best Fetish and Best Newcomer. It all leads to the crowning of the evening’s top prize, Mr. International 2014.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>For that, Rentboy has been scouring the globe for sexy male escorts, hosting regional Miss Universe-style pageant contests in major cities. The Los Angeles contest took place last month at Revolver Bar with escort/porn star Tommy Defendi winning the city title. As Mr. Los Angeles, Defendi will fly to New York City on March 21 to compete against other regional winners, all vying to be named the top male escort in all the world.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/defendi1.png" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Congratulations on winning Mr. Los Angeles! What was the first thing that ran through your mind when you won?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />"They love me, they really love me!" Honestly, I did have a wave of happiness wash over me, and I was very happy to know fans appreciated me enough to give me their votes. It was a great honor.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>You had some pretty tough competition. Among them, Trenton Ducati, Ty Roderick, Derek Parker. Who was your biggest competitor?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I don't believe in competition. You make your own luck, and you’re only going to succeed if you tell yourself you’re going to succeed. I walked in manifesting that I would win because I knew that if I just gave everyone the real me and didn't try to be some showboating fool, I would have the edge on anyone else that was up for Mr. Los Angeles. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What did you do to edge them out?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I smiled, looked pretty and spoke from my heart.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How will you represent Los Angeles at The Hookies Awards in NYC?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I will put on a good show, whatever it takes.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Would winning the international title be a boost to your career?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />Sure. It would give me a lot more promotional value, and it would put my face in more places. <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/defendi2.png" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Have you reached out to last year’s winner, Christopher Daniels, for advice?  </strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I’m very close with Christopher, but no, I have not reached out to him for advice. I think I know what needs to be done to come home with the prize.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For those who don’t know your story, how did you get involved in escorting?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I went out to Los Angeles to shoot a few porn scenes and ran into some complications when my scenes were unexpectedly canceled. I needed to make up for the lost money. I was staying with Brandon Baker and mingling with other Rentboys who helped me to see that escorting might be the best option for me to recoup what I had lost.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What should people know about escorting?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />Although it may be frowned upon by some people, I believe people should know that escorting offers a very valuable service in today's society. There is such a wide spectrum of uses for rentboys—from companionship to sexual satisfaction and everything in between. I believe that living out your fantasies is a vital part of life.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Is it fun or is it a job?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />Everybody has his or her good and bad days at work. Some days I want to quit my job forever. Other days I have a blast and make a lot of money and realize that I can’t ask for life to be any better. It’s like if you're bagging groceries at the supermarket in Hollywood. You’re going to hate life some days, but then one day you may have the chance to bag Channing Tatum’s organic milk and cereal and all of a sudden, life is grand again.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/defendi3.png" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What’s been your most memorable escorting adventure?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />Blindly walking into an undercover sting in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand and being arrested for solicitation. Then fighting it and having all my charges dropped. I win again.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>It seems most rentboys have a shelf life. Is escorting taxing on the body or on a guy’s life?  </strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I believe that everything is what you make it. If you allow things to bother you, they will. So you need to ask yourself if you’re happy and doing this for the right reasons. It only becomes taxing once you allow it to take control of your life and well-being. If you keep a handle on everything and manage your life properly, there shouldn't be a problem. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Where will you go after escorting?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I hope to take my experience as a businessman to build my own business some day. I would also enjoy working for the Rentboy brand as a full-time employee. I have a very positive and deep connection with escorting.<br /></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/defendi4.png" alt="" width="600" /><br />There are rumors that rapper Macklemore may have paid for his recording studio sessions by being a male escort. Whether or not it's true, do you find it offensive that media reports the news as if escorting is a terrible way to have made a living?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I do not take offense to anyone's ignorance, especially the media’s. I think that it is really funny that the media would have anything negative to say about Macklemore seeing that he is so off-the-charts right now with an amazing career. He has singlehandedly changed hip-hop and the gay culture in America. And because of that, nobody can say anything bad about him as a person, so they have to dig up something from his past that society says is wrong. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How will you ensure that you win the international title at The Hookies?</strong><span><br class="kix-line-break" />I'm going to go in and do the same thing I did at regionals—just be me and let my personality and experience take me to victory.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">For more information, visit <a href="http://www.TheHookies.com" target="_blank">TheHookies.com</a>.</p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/02/05/tommy-defendi-is-mr-los-angeles-the-citys-top2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/02/05/tommy-defendi-is-mr-los-angeles-the-citys-top2Mon, 17 Feb 2014 06:00:00 GMTLawrence OlsenWelcome to Sandyland<p>Pop culture anthropologist that she is, Sandra Bernhard isn’t stingy with her opinions on what’s transpiring in the world, and that’s exactly why we love her. Veteran of stage and screen—both silver and plasma—the quick-witted performer returns to the L.A. area for what is at this point her yearly stage show sojourn. To get you geared up for her mix of political insight, comedy and rock ‘n’ roll, we sat down with the “living, breathing bonfire” (thanks, <em style="line-height: 1.5;">New York Times</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">) and discussed everything—her return to television, this year’s Academy Awards prognostications, her status as a fashion maven and her desperate attempt to keep warm amidst the East Coast’s polar vortices. Here are 25 things you didn’t know about Sandra Bernhard.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/Sandra-Bernhard-1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>1. She doesn’t think Angelenos can fathom the “polar vortex” up north.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Today it was not warm enough. I’m glad today is winding down and I don’t have to go back out, because it’s really, really cold. [Angelenos] can’t comprehend this kind of cold, and whenever I’m in L.A.—which is at least once every four to six weeks—I can’t imagine being home myself. But yeah, it’s definitely cold.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>2. She doesn’t have a new year’s resolution for 2014.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I always tell people I don’t make new year’s resolutions, because they’re just made to be broken. I think, really, everyday it’s sort of a new set of resolutions—you’ve gotta get up, you’ve gotta hit the ground running and just adjust to whatever’s going on in your life. If you can do that, that’s the best way to approach it.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>3. She was excited to return to television this year with her three-episode guest spot on ABC Family’s <em>Switched at Birth</em>, playing a local college art professor.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I started filming all this stuff last year, and it’s airing this year, and it’s just good to have new, fresh tape on myself. Heading into pilot season, my managers are happy to have that. It’s nice when someone writes a fun, interesting role for you instead of just the cookie-cutter kind of thing that people usually throw me into.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>4. And she’s looking for more TV work.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I have been for a while, but I have a whole new team of people working for me this year who are in the trenches. I’ve already had a lot of auditions since they’ve been on-board, and they’re really into it, so I feel good about it.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>5. Speaking of TV, she definitely has her favorites.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There are a few things that we watch consistently. It’s the new season of <em>Downton Abbey</em>—I’d say that’s on top of my list. I’m a big tennis fanatic, so I’ve been watching the Australian Open, although I’m devastated that Serena got knocked out early on because I’m a huge Venus and Serena Williams fan. Those are two things we’re watching right now, along with some screeners of the upcoming Oscar-nominated films. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>6. The name of her new show, <em>Sandyland</em> (at UCLA’s Royce Hall for one night), is a reference to the ‘kitchen sink’ format of her famous live performances.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It’s just sort of a funny idea, but it’s my take on the world. Since it’s all weird and disparate and all over the place, I thought Sandyland sort of brings it all together through my filter. It’s the usual and the unusual through my eyes, from pop culture to political to personal, sort of my travelogue through the world of the crazy and mundane, all wrapped together with great music with my band, the Flawless Zircons, who will be in residence with me. People can expect new, fresh, over-the-top fun—all the stuff people have come to expect from me. </span></p> <p class="p1">Royce Hall is not a multiple-night kinda situation. It’s kind of a one-night, big, splashy thing. You know, I’ve been in L.A. [performing] twice in the past two years—doing, you know, two weeks at REDCAT. It’s kinda nice to just do one big, fun, great show. I’ve done Royce Hall a couple times—it’s such a beautiful venue. It’s a classy, fun night, and it’s fun for people to come see me there because it’s just different—it’s a big stage and it’s glamorous and cool.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>7. In the past she’s been notorious for not leaking which songs she’ll be performing.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">You’re definitely not gonna get that this time, either. [<em>Laughs</em>]</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>8. Her free time in L.A. will be spent laying low.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I’m in L.A. quite a bit, so I’ll be catching up with friends, and I imagine I’ll be doing a lot of press leading up to the shows. I know there are some great new restaurants, though sometimes I just end up grabbing something at Real Food Daily when I’m on the run. That’s one place I really miss when I’m on the East Coast. I’m not vegetarian, but I tend to eat a lot of vegetarian/vegan food, and of course I try to eat everything that’s farm-to-table and sustainable and seasonal and definitely organic. I try to keep it healthy. I’ve been doing that for a long time, and it seems to be working. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>9. Sometimes she says hello to celebs she passes on the street, and sometimes she doesn’t.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It really depends on the circumstance. I pass people all the time and the people I’m with will recognize them and I’m just in my own world, so I don’t even know I’ve encountered somebody. But if it’s the right setting and you can say hello without disrupting someone’s lunch or meeting, you might say hello. But I don’t always say hello to people, because if someone’s alone and they’re reading a book or they’re eating, you need to let people have their space—I understand that. But if it’s the right setting, of course I want to say hello to certain people. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>10. She gets recognized more often in New York than in L.A. <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It kinda happens when you least expect it—I mean, definitely in New York because you’re on the street and you pass people. People are a little more relaxed about it [in New York] and they’ll say hello. Yesterday this really groovy brother stopped me on the street and called me “Boo Boo,” and I thought that was just the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done. You know what I mean? It just depends on where you’re at and how fast you’re moving.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/Sandra-Bernhard-2.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>11. She has her own cadre of people she looks to for intelligent takes on current events. <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For years, the generation that preceded me had Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem. Now it’s Sandra Fluke—who I think is brilliant—and Rachel Maddow, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. All the guys and gals who are social commentators, who are really well-read and who know what’s going on and have an interesting take on what’s happening. Those are some of the people I look to. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>12. Her musical tastes these days are all thanks to Los Angeles and her daughter.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I’ve been listening to that Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings—that new song, I really like. There’s a group called Tired Pony. I hear all these songs when I’m in L.A. I love the new station out of Northridge—the guy that used to be at KCRW, the <em>Morning Becomes Eclectic</em> guy, the British guy—that’s what I listen to when I’m in L.A., and it always catches me up on what’s new. Living in New York, you don’t really listen to the radio, so you miss out on newer music. My daughter keeps me in the loop, although she listens to everything on her headphones, so I don’t really know what she’s listening to most of the time. [<em>Laughs</em>]</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>13. Her fashion hasn’t really changed throughout her career, and that’s how she likes it.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It really hasn’t! I mean, it’s kind of stayed the same since I was in high school. You know, when I’m just around New York, it’s a pair of cute, straight-leg jeans, a groovy flannel shirt, a sweater and an Ugg boot, especially when it’s cold. I mean, I always try to keep it cute and sexy—I think that’s kinda my best day look anyway. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination a ‘dykey’ look, but I do my own twist on it. I think it’s sexy and fun, and it’s always worked for me. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>14. She revels in the fact that fashion designers love her. <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Over the years, I’ve really gotten a lot of clothes from people—from Karl Lagerfeld to Azzedine Alaïa to .... you know, I’ve kinda lost track of all the great clothes I’ve had. Thom Browne has given me stuff recently, Rag & Bone. In the day I wore a lot of Isaac Mizrahi when he first started designing—I was kinda his signature person. Pam and Gela, who started Juicy Couture, have always given me great clothes over the years. I mean, it’s been very eclectic, and I guess people like to dress me because I’m tall and thin and I guess a good representation for a variety of designers. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>15. She won’t be watching the Sochi Olympics.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I just don’t like the Winter Olympics. They don’t interest me [<em>Laughs</em>], which dovetails beautifully with the fact that it’s a boycott for obvious reasons. It’s an easy one for me. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>16. She hasn’t been to Russia and has no plans to visit.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">My family left there at the turn of the last century. They fled—as quickly as possible—and we haven’t been back since. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>17. While she didn’t follow Lena Dunham’s <em>Vogue</em> cover controversy, she’s definitely a fan.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I kinda caught up with it past-tense, but I think Lena has been an amazing representative for women’s body image and the change in the way women can look at themselves. I think she’s been amazing. I really applaud her for that. I watch<em> Girls</em>—there’s a lot of stuff I love about it, there are some things I think could be done better, but I think it’s an important, seminal game-changer in television in the way it reflects women. I think it could open up a little bit. I like the relationships between the girls. To me that’s the most interesting thing, and I don’t there’s enough focus on that. I’d like to see more of that.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>18. She’s not, however, a fan of <span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Looking</em>.<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I watched a couple minutes and it did not appeal to me. It looked really flatline. All the energy and glamour and fun is out of a lot of television on cable. It kinda came on with a bang—shows like <em>The Sopranos</em> and shows that, to me, were dynamic and sexy. We’re missing that, and I’d like to see a little more of that back on cable, because that’s what it’s there for. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>19. Her opinion of Miley Cyrus may <span style="line-height: 1.5;">surprise you.<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">You know, every generation we just start slipping and sliding further down the rabbit hole, and it’s no surprise. I think Miley comes from a situation that is kinda untenable. Her parents manipulated her into the business, at this point she’s in it, she likes being it, she likes having the attention and now all bets are off. You can do anything you want to get the attention. What’s stopping anybody from doing the craziest shit imaginable?</span></p> <p class="p1">I think Miley has barely been in the business long enough to make decisions for herself. She really doesn’t bother me, though. I find her strangely compelling. I feel like there’s this strange subtext going on, whether it’s conscious or unconscious. I don’t know, I find her oddly intriguing, and oddly sweet in a certain way. She has saved a bunch of abandoned dogs—that happened before this quote-unquote implosion—and that was sort of touching. I always see her at my favorite Japanese restaurant in The Valley, Kiwami, and I don’t know, she seems like a nice kid. She seized the moment. She seized an opportunity. She did something that was shocking, and it sold her album. I personally don’t find her offensive, and I don’t feel the need to, like, take her to task for it. I think she’ll find her way. I mean, she’s doing it on her own terms. I guess you’ve got to applaud her for that. </p> <p class="p1"><strong>20. She doesn’t think there's a lot of talent in popular music these days.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I don’t think any of these young girls, with the excpetion of a couple of them who have surprised us, are supremely talented. There’s a lot of production values in a lot of this stuff that kinda masks whether someone has talent or not. But I don’t sit in judgment of them. <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Exclusive%20Interviews%203/Sandra-Bernhard-3.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>21. She thinks the <em>Duck Dynasty</em> debacle was ‘business as usual.’<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">They’re a money-making proposition, all these shows. I guess if there’s a demand for it, they’re gonna continue to do it. I don’t think it’s really about politics or having any sort of real introspective take on anything. All bets are off. I mean, television has become a vast wasteland, and there are these little gems you can pick out. That’s what you have to do. I guess that’s just the way it is now.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>22. She wasn’t as obsessed with <em>American Horror Story</em> as gay men were.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It doesn’t appeal to me in the least. It seems cheap and just kinda like, whatever. It takes one from Column A, one from Column B, the things we’ve seen over the years in the horror genre and just throws it out there. I don’t think it really has an impact or a point of view. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>23. But she did watch an episode for Stevie Nicks.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I saw her sing at the very end, and it’s a song that I love [“Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You?”]. It’s always good to see Stevie singing that song. I let Stevie off the hook, no matter what she does.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>24. She’ll watch the Oscars but doesn’t have a film pegged to win.<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I think the thing that’s difficult about it is that they’ve expanded the [Best Picture category] to nine or 10 selections, and I think it really had more impact when there were five films. Narrow it down and say, <em>Hey, yeah, that film had some aspects that were interesting, but is it award-worthy?</em> I think a  lot of the films aren’t. I haven’t watched <em>12 Years A Slave</em> yet, but I have it and I need to watch that. I’m sure it’s an award-worthy film. And <em>American Hustle</em> is on the top of my list. I really enjoyed it. I thought the acting was great, and I thought it was a great film. But I’m not like, wah, getting all excited about the Oscars. We just watch it ‘cause it’s something to comment on.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>25. Unfortunately she doesn’t have any big plans for next year’s 25th anniversary of <em>Without You I’m Nothing</em>. <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Well, I already did something at 20 years, so probably not, you know? I’m just planning on forging ahead. I think that’s a seminal piece of work, and people always talk about it. It was just screened at BAM [Brooklyn Academy of Music] a couple months ago, and I did a big Q&A afterwards. It was really cool—they had an actual print of the movie and screened it and it was sold-out and really fun. It’s the kind of stuff that’s always gonna have its own life. It’s hard to go back and do old material. I like to move forward.</span></p> <p class="p1"><em>Sandra Bernhard brings</em> Sandyland <em>to the Lancaster Performing Arts Center <span style="line-height: 1.5;">on Feb. 14 and Royce Hall on Feb. 15. </span></em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Follow her on Twitter</em> @SandraBernhard. </span><a href="http://www.sandrabernhard.com" target="_blank"><em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">sandrabernhard.com</span></em></a></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/01/31/welcome-to-sandyland2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/01/31/welcome-to-sandyland2Mon, 03 Feb 2014 06:00:00 GMTStephan HorbeltMatchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Match<p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Features%204/Cruz5.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p>David Cruz is a yente for the 21st century gay man. For years he has provided insight and empathy to aid SoCal’s LGBT singles in finding romance. Now, the same-sex love guru will be sharing his expertise on the new season of Bravo's <em style="line-height: 1.5;">The Millionaire Matchmake</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">r, a reality series where host Patti Stanger matches wealthy singles with compatible potential partners. As Stanger’s first-ever gay assistant, Cruz adds a unique perspective to the show.</span></p> <p class="p1">“The Millionaires Club has always had gay clients, but this is the first time you will see an openly gay man on the show assisting Patti and her clients find love,” says Cruz. “For me to be bringing my knowledge of the LGBTQ community to the matchmaking team is important and very exciting! I am also one of the only new assistants to be in a long-term relationship.”</p> <p class="p1">Cruz’s personal romantic success lends an air of credibility to the advice he dispenses, buttressed by his years of hands-on experience in relationship-aiding projects.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Features%204/Cruz3.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1">“I am mostly known for my gay blog about dating called Finding Cupid. It’s an honest look at dating in Los Angeles and how it’s hard to find anyone that still believes in love. The blog eventually became a full-fledged website addressing all relationships—gay and straight—and then was developed into a weekly talk show, which is now in its fourth season on UBNRadio.com. My expertise comes from all the people I have interviewed about relationships on my show and all the different things I have been through and experienced along with my followers.”</p> <p class="p1">Of the many lessons Cruz has learned over the years, of paramount importance is finding personal fulfillment before adding a partner into the mix.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Features%204/Cruz2.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p class="p1">“The first thing I try to educate people on is the importance of happiness in one’s life and career. If you are not happy with where you are in those departments, you will not be happy in love. I was like that for a while, and I couldn’t figure out what my challenge in dating was. Once I addressed that, I met my boyfriend of two years. It opened up my focus to relationships and not ‘what I still needed to work on’ in my life.”</p> <p class="p1">Of course, just because one has found a partner doesn’t mean the work is over. Maintaining a healthy relationship requires patience and communication, as well as the ability to give and take.</p> <p class="p1">“One piece of wisdom I use daily is compromise. I think my boyfriend and I have pretty strong points of view sometimes. When we want to do a group project, like painting a wall or buying furniture, I make sure to respect his opinion and hear him out.”</p> <p class="p1">Gay men who have yet to find Mr. Right often tend to act jaded and discouraged. Cruz has a few pearls of wisdom for these men as well.</p> <p class="p1">“My advice is to forget about everything you knew—throw it all away and start fresh. Don’t be jaded by the bad dates, bad people and lost time. Pick up the pieces and keep going. Love is still out there. I am living proof of someone who sees it happen everyday.“</p> <p class="p2"><em>Catch David Cruz on</em> The Millionaire Matchmaker<em style="line-height: 1.5;">, airing Thursdays, 9 p.m. on Bravo</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.<br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Features%204/Cruz1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /> </span></p> <p class="p1"><br /><strong>10 Tips for Keeping Love Alive in Modern Times</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><br /><strong>1. Be a Warrior of Chivalry</strong><br /></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There is much to be said about being a gentleman. Not only should you marry one but you should also be one! Open doors and treat the love of your life like a king. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>2. Write Handwritten Love Notes<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Whether it’s a handwritten letter, card or even a Post-it, surprise the one you love with a short and sweet declaration of your love. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>3. Do Something Your <span style="line-height: 1.5;">Partner Enjoys <br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It’s easy to get caught up with what you like in a relationship. Switch things up and make your partner feel special. Maybe tonight’s the night you watch a documentary instead of <em>The Carrie Diaries</em>! <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Features%204/Cruz4.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>4. Create Traditions <span style="line-height: 1.5;">with Good Friends<br /></span></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Whether it’s planning a monthly dinner party or a karaoke night, fostering your relationships with friends creates a strong support system. Become the ambassador of good times while catching up with the people you care most about. Remember that friends need love, too, and traditions like these keep everyone feeling special. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>5. Make a Phone Call</strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When was the last time you actually talked to someone? Connect on a human level and call someone you care about. The general rule should be to replace one text a day with a phone call. Go ahead, I dare you—dial. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>6. Plan Date Nights<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Whether you’ve been together for a year or 10 years, remember to keep that flame burning bright. Plan nights out like you did when you first met, and make them fun and sexy. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>7. Embrace “Guys Night Out”<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Sometimes it’s good to let guys be guys. Spend time away from your relationship and let loose with the old gang. At the end of the night you will still get to cuddle with your little spoon! <br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Features%204/Cruz6.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>8. Unplug from Technology </strong><br /><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It’s so important to take a day and simply unplug—no tablets, phones, laptops or Twitter, just human communication. Take this time to make dinner, go for a hike or go to the beach together. Disconnect to reconnect! </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>9. Play<br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Life can be too serious sometimes. People often get so caught up in being grown ups that they forget what it’s like to just play. Take time in your day to read the comics, run in the sprinklers, wander the toy aisle, watch cartoons and just relax. This will help your relationship “breathe” and not be taken too seriously. A relationship can be a lot of things, but it should also be fun. </span></p> <p class="p1"><strong>10. Be Thoughtful <br /></strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Go the extra mile for the one you love. When your significant other is sick, make him soup and put together a special “get well” care kit. When you see his favorite candy, buy it for him. Do something without obligation and surprise him with it. Thoughtfulness is a one-way ticket to a long and happy relationship. </span></p> <p class="p2"> </p> <p class="p1">Find David’s column, Finding Cupid, <a href="http://www.frontiersla.com/findingcupid/blog" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> <p class="p1"> </p>http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/01/31/matchmaker-matchmaker-make-me-a-match2http://www.frontiersla.com/exclusive-interviews/2014/01/31/matchmaker-matchmaker-make-me-a-match2Mon, 03 Feb 2014 06:00:00 GMTMike Ciriaco