10. TV: Hair Battle Spectacular
The flamboyantly blunt Derek J, who was unbeweavable in Good Hair and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, is back as a judge on Bravo’s fantasy hairstyling competition, which returns August 15 for a second season. Derek is joined by The Rachel Zoe Project alum Taylor Jacobson as a new judge and America’s Next Top Model winner Eva Marcille as the new host. We like watching contestants named GQ and Queen B bring it.
9. BOOK: Wilde Stories 2011: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction
Edited by Steve Berman, this discomfiting anthology of sci-fi and fantasy short fiction features LGBT protagonists in a variety of strange and macabre situations involving undead lovers, stranded astronauts, phantom reflections, deceptively handsome fiends, and more. This year’s edition includes the offbeat talents of Laird Barron, Chris Barzak, Richard Bowes, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Joel Lane, Nick Poniatowski, and Jeffrey Ricker.
8. DVD: Del Shores’ My Sordid Life
If you’re familiar with Sordid Lives, you already know that creator Del Shores is one helluva storyteller, but you might not know that he’s an impressive raconteur without the mask of his colorful Southern characters. This recording of his hilarious 30-city U.S. tour features politically incorrect observations, dishy Hollywood anecdotes, and dressing room high jinks with pals like Leslie Jordan. To order visit SordidLivesTheSeries.com.
7. MUSIC: Chanteur, Lee Lessack
On his seventh recording and first since 2005’s In Good Company, the gay MAC and Bistro Award–winning cabaret singer imbues a mellow collection of French and French-flavored tunes — Edith Piaf’s “Hymne à l’amour,” “If We Only Have Love” from Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, “I Will Wait For You” from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and more — with his signature joie de vivre and je ne sais quoi.
6. BOOK: Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America, James Schwartz
Ever wonder what it’s like to pull up to a gay nightclub in a horse-drawn buggy? Young poet and slam performer James Schwartz combines smart, passionate, refreshingly unpretentious poetry and short stories in this staggering illustration of his family problems, love, heartbreak, gay nightlife, gay politics, and the lasting effects of his famously intolerant religion and culture. For more info visit LiteraryParty.blogspot.com.
5. MUSIC: Diesel, B. Slade
Formerly known as Grammy-nominated gospel artist Tonex, gay R&B artist B. Slade bares his soul on his new album, which blends funky Motown beats with Sylvester’s sass and the frank sexuality of Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope. Highlights include “Papi Figure,” a self-empowerment anthem for those coming out or in transition, and “Accept Me,” a serious slow jam about living your truth. For more info visit BSlade.bandcamp.com.
4. FILM: Glee: The 3D Concert Movie
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen of the 2009 Fame remake, the film version of Glee’s U.S. summer tour opens August 12. Jane Lynch is relegated to the DVD extras, but you’ll be center stage with gay-fan favorites like Chris Colfer, Ashley Fink, Naya Rivera, and Heather Morris, who maximizes the 3D potential of her boobs. Between numbers we meet teens whose lives are impacted by Glee, including a gay kid forced out of the closet.
3. BOOK: The Junket, Mike Albo
Available exclusively on Kindle, gay novelist and freelance writer Mike Albo’s satirical new novella is a “totally fictional” account of a freelancer named Mike Albo who loses his job as a store-reviewer for a major New York publication after he accepts a free trip to Jamaica. The real Albo, who may have gone through a similar situation in 2009, exercises his pop-cultural wit as he exposes a literary underworld of secrets and swag.
2. TV: Behind the Music: Ricky Martin
In the August 14 episode of VH1’s Behind the Music series, Martin opens up about his first boyfriend, his current partner, fatherhood, and his choice to come out as gay. “I was trying to believe so hard from the bottom of my heart that I was not gay because what I was presenting on stage was not that,” he says. The exposé also features interviews with Enrique Iglesias, ex-members of Menudo, and former GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios.
1. THEATER: New York International Fringe Festival
The 15th annual FringeNYC, North America’s largest multi-arts festival, runs August 12–28 with LGBT highlights such as (pictured, clockwise from top left) student-professor drama 2 Burn;Elysian Fields, Chris Phillips’s play about the gay characters whose deaths spark three Tennessee Williams plots; Molly “Equality” Dykeman in The F*cking World of Molly; and druggy musical Hello, My Name Is Billy. For more info visit FringeNYC.org.