COLUMNS / BILLY MASTERS

Uma Takes a Pie, Cher Gets the Shaft, Plus the Gayest Event in History Comes to L.A.
Billy Masters
4/9/2014

A TRAGEDY OF SEQUINS

I recently spent some time with legendary designer Bob Mackie, so I just had to ask him about Cher. I had seen photos of her in a really hideous multi-colored catsuit and had to ask if he had designed it. Bob was shocked—how did I not hear about the whole Cher-Mackie breakup? Just before the opening night of the tour, Cher tweeted the following (I’m removing her ‘caps lock’ to spare you the annoyance): 

“Telling you something that has broken my heart. The man who made all my costumes since 1972 decided he couldn’t do my last tour. No matter how disappointed any of u are, you don’t know my grief. I’m sure Bob can’t know how much I miss him. Felt I had to tell u I’m crying. I tried to convince him to end with me, but he had many reasons as 2 why he couldn’t do it. 2 many obligations. Not enough time even 2 do 1.” 

Needless to say, a designer of Mackie’s stature has quite a bit on his plate, including a line of furniture, linens and clothing on QVC. But even with all of that, he was excited about doing this project. Although the tour was announced last September, many of the specific details weren’t coming together in enough time for him to design a wardrobe worthy of both the Mackie and Cher name, especially for a tour called Dressed to Kill! But have no fear—there is no breakup. The two are still good friends, and I hear that Cher will once again don Mackie, and sooner rather than later. Bob did say one thing that made me laugh: “When Cher tried to convince me to end with her, I said, ‘End? I’m not going anywhere!’” While discussing this situation on Today, Hoda Kotb gave Cher a philosophical way to look at it: “He’ll do the next one. He’ll do the next final tour!”

A BIOPIC WITH PIE

It’s just been announced that Uma Thurman will take on the starring role in Anita, a biopic about anti-gay activist Anita Bryant. I know many of you will find it ridiculous that I have to explain who Anita Bryant is, but I have a very young fan base. Bryant was a singer and former Miss Oklahoma who had a hit with the song “Paper Roses” long before Marie Osmond. She also was a popular television personality who was a spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Commission throughout the ‘70s. But that all came to a crashing halt in 1977 when she spearheaded a movement to repeal an ordinance making it illegal to discriminate against gay people in Florida. 

Bryant’s group was called “Save Our Children,” which perpetuated the myth that gay people are also pedophiles. Bryant was successful in having the anti-discrimination ordinance repealed. What I discovered while researching this story is that gay bars around the country started boycotting orange juice and began marketing a new drink—the “Anita Bryant,” which was vodka and apple juice (which sounds positively dreadful). She traveled around the country helping other cities strike down anti-gay discrimination laws. That led to an infamous episode in Des Moines when someone threw a pie in her face on live TV. Her response? “At least it’s a fruit pie.” Oh, there’s that famous Bryant wit! Say what you will about the crazy old girl, but I bet her life will make one helluva movie! Plus, who hasn’t wanted to throw a pie in Uma Thurman’s face?

ONE NIGHT ONLY

One of the few events I routinely revolve my calendar around is the annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event, otherwise known as STAGE. This annual event, one of the oldest continuous AIDS benefits in the country, will celebrate the golden age of movie musicals. Performers will include James Darren, Betty Buckley, Richard Chamberlain, Carole Cook, Mitzi Gaynor, Jason Gould, Cheyenne Jackson, Lainie Kazan, Donna McKechnie, Patricia Morison, Rex Reed and many more. It is without a doubt the best showbiz night of the year. And it takes place on Saturday, May 10, at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. You can get tickets by checking out StageLA.com.

FRANCO FOLLIES

If you’re a fan of this column, you know that I have taken many gay people to task for having partners who are significantly younger. So it’s only fair that I write about James Franco with just as much zeal. It’s a story as old as time—actor takes Instagram video with cute girl at stage door, chats with her online, finds out she’s not yet 18, offers to get them a hotel room and share some iced tea. But here’s the fascinating part: At the same time, it was announced that Franco would star in a film produced by Gus Van Sant about Michael Glatze. 

Who is Michael Glatze? As a young man, he was a vocal and public gay activist. However, he later went through conversion therapy and became a poster child for the “ex-gay movement.” And in a rather ironic twist given the timing of this announcement, he was also editor of XY, a magazine for gay men that featured erotic photos of twinks of questionable age. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. 

THE GAYEST GALA OF ALL TIME

The suddenly nomadic Celebration Theatre of West Hollywood has something special lined up for its annual gala—the reading of a classic Golden Girls episode by the cast of Hot in Cleveland. The event will also feature a raffle for a walk-on role in a future Hot in Cleveland episode. This gala event will take place on the soundstage of the TVLand sitcom. Tickets range from $100 to $500, and I’m sure this will sell out fast, so get your tix quick at  CelebrationTheatre.com.

You don’t need the tabloids to keep tabs on your favorite celebs. Simply check out BillyMasters.com, the site that delivers 24/7. If you have a question for me, just send a note to [email protected]. I promise to get back to you before Cher asks Mackie to help her turn back time. Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.


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