Arts & Entertainment

In the Arts & Entertainment section, The Advocate brings readers all the latest news on Hollywood, Broadway, and beyond. From New York to Los Angeles, The Advocate shines a spotlight on the stars of the screen who are lending their voices to support the LGBT community, as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals who are moving the cultural needle. Discover A-list interviews, the best gay movies and reviews of theater, music, books and television. Learn how Arts & Entertainment can shape national dialogue and can work to advance equality.

Gay singer Sir Ari Gold has released “My Favorite Religion,” the third single and video from his album Between the Spirit & the Flesh.

The video, a collaboration between Gold, director Alessandro Calza, and videographer David Graham, portrays the musician searching for his religious identity and reconciling it with his sexuality.

February 04 2012 4:45 PM

 NBC's musical drama Smash, about the behind-the scenes efforts to stage a lavish Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, achieves a small miracle. It's that rare series with actually lives up to the accompanying fanfare and hype. Part of the reason is surely the prestigious cast (Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing, Broadway star Christian Borle, Wicked's Megan Hilty, and American Idol's Katharine McPhee) and its pedigreed production team (among them are producer Steven Spielberg, Hairspray songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, renowned writer-producer Theresa Rebeck, and Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer). Also instrumental to the authenticity of Smash is the multi award-winning team of Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who've produced the Oscar-winning Chicago, Hairspray, and the current hit Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Meron and Zadan tell The Advocate why the backstage drama of creating a
musical about Monroe has mass appeal and why big stars like
Anjelica Huston, Uma Thurman, Bernadette Peters, and Nick Jonas were eager to appear in it.

The Advocate: Smash is certain to be a big hit with people who love musical theater, but how do you anticipate it will play to people outside of urban areas?
Neil Meron: Our point of view is that we do think in all the areas outside of New York there’s experience in musical theater because of the tours of Cats, Les Miz, and Phantom during the past 10-15 years. Theater has really infiltrated America like never before, so we consider theater popular and right up there with going to the movies and watching television as far as being accessible. We believe that audiences are ready for a show about theater because they’ve been nurtured by all the tours in their hometowns.

That makes sense. Did you take any steps to make the show accessible to as broad an audience as possible?

Craig Zadan: We were very cautious to make sure each script has universal characters so it’s not a show for a niche audience like Entourage. For instance, in the pilot you have Anjelica Huston’s character going through a divorce, Debra Messing and her husband are adopting a child, Katharine McPhee’s family is visiting from the Midwest and expressing their fear about what she’s going to do and how the likelihood of her success is minimal. We think the show is actually universal. If you look at the show like A Chorus Line — it’s about a bunch of dancers but it played all over the world and was an international hit because everyone related to the characters.

Although they're very different, I imagine the success of Glee made it easier to get Smash on the air.
Meron: One hundred percent. I think Glee opened the door for us to come in and be our own show and exist in the same universe as Glee but be different.

February 04 2012 11:21 AM

Every week, The Advocate's Jami Smith brings you the top 10 tweets from LGBT comedians — and our favorite gay jokes from straight comedians, or just whatever made us laugh. For previous editions of this series, check out the Comedy section. Or please join the more than 3,800 people who follow @gaysayer on Twitter now for
daily updates.

A post from your host:


February 04 2012 6:00 AM

 Depending on your age, you might be seeing many of these images for the first time. If you were alive and terrified during the '80s, these images may have transformed your fear into activism.

Spawned in ACT UP meetings, the AIDS activist art collective Gran Fury took its name from the model of Plymouth automobile used by the New York City Police Department. The work was produced with the intent of raising public awareness of AIDS and to encourage pressure on politicians, doctors, and religious leaders to address their own lack of response.

Although the work was produced in a collective, it has a singular voice. Their work reflects the political and collective art practices that flourished in downtown New York during the '80s and '90s.

"Gran Fury: Read My Lips" opened January 31 at New York University 's 80WSE Galleries and continues until March 17. Gran Fury has reconstituted all but two of the works from archival documentation for this survey with the assistance of the 80WSE staff.

Reproductions of all the major works are included as well as documentation of ACT UP demonstrations and shots of Gran Fury's works installed site-specifically. In addition, the exhibit includes images of the site-specific works' defacement by those responding to them and rare archival images from high points in the collective's career such as the 1991 Venice Biennial controversy.

For more information: 

February 04 2012 4:00 AM

The varied issues of Africans and African-Americans is the point of "AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange," an innovative series that airs on the documentary channel WORLD and is hosted by The Daily Show's Wyatt Cenak. Each episode is really a full-length documentary telling a different story, from the effort to get Africans hooked on solar energy to a profile on the queen of Calypso music.

February 03 2012 7:25 PM

February 03 2012 4:00 AM

"My parents usually bought most Broadway cast albums of the bigger shows as soon as they came out. When the cast album of My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews came, I was a star-struck 4-year-old. I was not allowed to touch the record player at that age, so I had to ask my mother to play it for me. Over and over and over again. I became obsessed with both the music and with Julie Andrews. I would dance around the living room for hours on end to all the songs, making up my own interpretations of what they were about, as George Bernard Shaw was a little out of  my reach at that point." —Christopher Harrity, Manager Online Production 

February 03 2012 4:00 AM


 10. DVD: What Happens Next
Two men — a closeted 50-something billionaire (As The World Turns’s Jon Lindstrom) and an openly gay 20-something (newcomer Chris Murrah) — meet cute-ish while walking their dogs, then embark on a friendship and eventually a romance following daily conversations on a park bench. Punchy supporting turns from Hot in Cleveland’s Wendy Malick, Smash’s Megan Hilty, and charismatic James Duke Mason, named one of The Advocate’s “40 Under 40” in 2010, help make director Jay Arnold’s gentle rom-com, now on DVD, worth watching.


 9. TV: Who Do You Think You Are?
Executive-produced by out All Over the Guy writer-star (and Advocate contributor) Dan Bucatinsky — partner of filmmaker Don Roos — with longtime pal and producing partner Lisa Kudrow, the third season of NBC’s celebrity genealogy documentary series starts February 3 on NBC. We can’t wait to bark up the old family trees of Rashida Jones, Jason Sudeikis, Marisa Tomei, Rob Lowe, Edie Falco, Rita Wilson, Blair Underwood, Helen Hunt, Paula Deen, Reba McEntire, and more.


 8. MUSIC: Brandon Anderson, Guitars & Grievances
As "Wake Up," the lead single from his new album Guitars & Grievances, demonstrates, the urgent wail of talented out singer-songwriter Brandon Anderson should make him a hit with fans of other folk-alt musicians such as Tracy Chapman and Tori Amos. The award-winning Anderson's thoughtful lyrics cover topics ranging from social injustice to romance.  

February 03 2012 4:00 AM

When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher would mark the end of every test by bellowing out, “Time waits for no one and neither does Mrs. Daruba!” Well, Mrs. Daruba was right again. As much as I would have loved to dress in the equivalent of a black leather slingshot and dance around on a boat overflowing with horny sailors, neither Cher nor I could turn back time. January 22, the closing date of Follies, had finally arrived.

I woke up that morning thinking things would feel different. It was going to be the last day we did this production, with this cast, in this Broadway theater. It was the end of a whirlwind, magical era.

When I walked through the stage door for the last time I thought, Take it all in. Every second. I was trying to force myself to feel something. To feel nostalgic, to feel sad or emotional. Yet that morning, I felt like Diana Morales in A Chorus Line. I felt nothing. (That’s not entirely true. I did feel a little gassy.)

At the top of the show, when I was waiting in line with the other cast members for my entrance, I looked around to get a sense of things. Sure, some people were sad and even a little emotional but, for a lot of us, it seemed like a normal Sunday. Elaine Paige said she was fine. Jan Maxwell was behind me wishing everyone a good show and being her usual witty self. I figured, maybe you get to a certain point where it is just another closing of another show. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Business as usual. That is, until we heard the audience.

It was like a rock concert. Every time someone walked through the door and onto the stage, the audience went crazy. When it came time for Elaine and me to enter, I grabbed her hand and off we went. The crowd went wild. Normally, as we walk downstage toward the audience, I talk to her and keep my focus on her. But for some reason I looked out over the crowd and took it all in. Actually, I know very well what the reason was ... for the audience to see me!

It was unbelievable. To hear that kind of response and feel that kind of energy is literally breathtaking. However, it wasn’t until Elaine turned to look at me and I saw those huge tears in her eyes that it hit me like a ton of bricks. Finally, I felt something!

I looked around and noticed the majority of people on stage were teary-eyed, myself included. I started thinking of all the things I was going to miss. I’ll miss Elaine telling a joke every night onstage to get everyone in a good mood. I’ll miss Elaine’s character Carlotta introducing me to the other party guests and my saying, “My name is Peter. Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater,” while gesturing toward Elaine and saying, “Have you met my date ‘Pumpkin’?”

February 02 2012 11:43 AM

No one is more resourceful than a drag queen. Or the costume designers who dress them. Tim Chappel and Lizzie Gardiner were the Academy Award-winning duo who pooled their resources on a shoestring budget to create the bright, fun, and flashy costumes in the 1994 cult classic, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Twelve years later, the pair came back for the stage version of the show that ran all across their native Australia, London, Toronto, and New York, earning them another armful of awards, including a Tony.

Chappel shares sketches of his work from the show with The Advocate and gives the behind-the-scenes scoop on that flip-flop dress.

The Advocate:Where do you start when you're faced with the process of having to design costumes from scratch?
Tim Chappel: It’s always different because, as a designer, I’m getting a brief from the director or some idea that the actor has, or research into the characters. With Priscilla, we started with the music. I was allowed to just do free association to the songs, and come up with ideas from that point. It was a truly creative experience. I was allowed to abstract ideas. My favorite thing to do is to take elements that people recognize and reform them in abstract ways so that they’re both unique and familiar at the same time.

February 02 2012 4:00 AM