Hot Sheet: Waiting for Spartacus

The top 10 entertainment and events highlights on our gaydar this week: From the swords and sandals of Spartacus, to the wigs and spandex of Divine.



8.) BOOK: Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind
Today, River Phoenix would be 43 years old. October 31 will mark the 20th anniversary of the death of the actor whose iconic role as a troubled gay hustler in Gus Van Sant's 1991 film My Own Private Idaho helped bring the New Queer Cinema movement into a wider, mainstream audience. Phoenix, whose famous siblings Joaquin and Rain are still Hollywood fixtures today, is documented thoughtfully in this new minute-by-minute account of how he died, from bestselling author Gavin Edwards. But Last Night at the Viper Room also looks at Phoenix’s childhood, growing up in the Children of God religious cult, his star turns in classics like Stand By Me and Running on Empty, and explores some of the film roles that went to other actors after he died (including that of gay activist Cleve Jones in Milk, which went to Emile Hirsch), and films that died with him (like Gus Van Sant’s Andy Warhol biopic). Even more importantly, Edwards examines why Phoenix, once considered the vegan James Dean, has faded from memory, despite his extraordinary impact on Hollywood. — Diane Anderson-Minshall

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