10. BOOK: Nixon’s Darkest Secrets
Did disgraced former president Richard M. Nixon have a secret gay affair? It’s a visual image you probably don’t want in your head, but with this already controversial biography (Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99), writer Don Fulsom delves into the life of “Tricky Dick” and speculates on the nature of the relationship between the 37th president of the United States and his best friend, Charles “Bebe” Rebozo.
9. DVD: Limelight
Get a wicked contact high from Billy Corben’s fascinating documentary, which is now available on DVD, about the rise and fall of nightlife king Peter Gatien, owner of legendary gay-inclusive Manhattan hot spots like Limelight, Tunnel, and Palladium — until Mayor Giuliani’s mid-’90s drug crackdowns led to Gatien’s deportation. The film includes interviews with famous club scene denizens and key informants in Gatien’s trial.
8. TV: Spartacus: Vengeance
Yes, we like movies and TV shows about gladiators, especially when they’re laced with liberal amounts of nudity and explicit sex. In this highly anticipated third season, which premieres on Starz tonight, that picks up where Spartacus: Blood and Sand left off, Liam McIntyre has replaced the late Andy Whitfield as the rebellious title character, but Lucy Lawless returns as Lucretia, who has survived the bloody gladiator revolt.
7. TV: Love Etc.
Filmed over the course of one year, Jill Andresevic’s engaging documentary — premiering February 2 on OWN — depicts the various stages of modern romance. Ranging in age from 18 to 89, the subjects include high school sweethearts, Indian newlyweds, and Scott Ellis (pictured), a gay TV and theater director who, eager to start a family of his own, goes the surrogacy route alone and becomes a single father of twins.
6. MUSIC: W.E.: Music from the Motion Picture
One of the most exquisite elements of the lush Madonna-directed film (out February 3) about a historic royal romance seen through the filter of a contemporary love story is the score by Abel Korzeniowski. Propelling the dual story along in a way similar to Phillip Glass’s acclaimed music for The Hours, the W.E. soundtrack (available January 31) also features “Masterpiece,” the singer's Golden Globe–winning ballad.
5. CONCERT: The Tom Judson Show
Celebrate Valentine’s Day early this year when versatile performer Tom Judson brings his popular direct-from-P-Town cabaret act to the Big Apple. The Broadway vet, known to many for as lust object Gus Mattox, will croon an eclectic array of love songs from the piano while regaling patrons with tantalizing show business anecdotes. February 1 at The Metropolitan Room.
4. DVD: Beautiful Darling
Just released on DVD, James Rasin’s stylishly sentimental documentary spotlights late trans starlet Candy Darling, a fixture of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene. We hear about Lou Reed’s muse through interviews with folks like Fran Lebowitz and John Waters, but we really get to know her through telling anecdotes from Jeremiah Newton, Darling’s close friend and roommate, and from hearing Darling’s diaries read by Chloë Sevigny.
3. MUSIC: Imperial Teen, Feel the Sound
One of the most acclaimed indie rock bands from the ’90s returns perhaps more dynamic than ever with its fifth album, a rowdy collection of 11 new songs. The album’s buoyant lead single, “Runaway,” sets the mood and features the entire band (Roddy Bottum, Lynn Perko Truell, Will Schwartz, and Jone Stebbins) on vocals.
2. RuPaul’s Drag Race
Wigs will undoubtedly fly and drama will likely run high when the drag competition that has taken America by storm returns. Season 4 promises to be RuPaul’s most outrageous yet. A brand-new baker’s dozen of contestants will vie for the crown, the coveted title of America’s Next Drag Superstar, plus the $100,000 in prize money. Premieres Monday on Logo.
1. FILM: Albert Nobbs
As an oppressed 19th-century Irishwoman who passes as a male hotel butler in order to survive, iconic actress Glenn Close adds yet another unforgettable portrait (which just garnered her a Best Actress Oscar nod) to her lengthy résumé. Janet McTeer is a boisterous scene-stealer (and also scored a Supporting Actress nomination) as another cross-dresser who becomes the envy of Close’s title character. This passion project for Close, who after starring in the stage version 30 years ago also cowrote the film’s screenplay and theme song, is a quiet and often profound chronicle of people trapped by unfortunate circumstance.