By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com January 03 2014 5:07 PM ET
10. MUSIC: Aiden James in Concert
Out singer-songerwriter Aiden James is back in Washington for one night only. James brings his sincere and hopeful blend of pop to Town Danceboutique January 10. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Check out the bear-favorite's 2013 remake of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" for a taste in the video below. Anyone want to be his dance partner? — Lucas Grindley
9. THEATER: Look Who's Here with Michael Kearns
Author, actor, and activist Michael Kearns will reprise his solo cabaret act Look Who's Here Sunday at 5 p.m. at Spirit Studio in Los Angeles. Kearns created this new autobiographical work initially as a one-night-only special event, funded in part by a grant from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, to commemorate World AIDS Day. When that performance sold out, this reprise was quickly booked, allowing Angelenos another chance to catch the provocative, engaging artist in his element. Kearns was among the first openly gay and openly HIV-positive actors in Hollywood; he reflected on his colorful life, and lessons learned, to The Advocate last year upon the release of his dishy memoir The Truth Is Bad Enough. Expect more of the same — but set to music — in this show. Reserve your tickets here, and watch a preview below. — Benjamin Scuglia
8. COMEDY: Homo Comicus
The lineup for this month's edition of Homo Comicus at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City is going to draw a crowd. Comedian Judy Gold, of HBO and Comedy Central fame, won't let you leave without laughing. And fans of The Jenny McCarthy Show or VH1's Best Week Ever will remember Michelle Buteau. Poppy Champlin charmed us on Logo and in other queer venues. Plus there's a disco theme going on for this edition — "Wednesday Night Fever" — so we're hoping that means someone does the Hustle. Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. — Lucas Grindley
7. THEATER: The Children’s Hour
Lillian Hellman’s 1934 play The Children’s Hour, about the effects of the rumor of a lesbian relationship between teachers at a girls’ boarding school, was groundbreaking for its subject matter but has been criticized as less than progressive in its approach. But Derek Bertelsen, who is directing a new production for Chicago’s Pride Films and Plays, makes a case for its continued relevance: “In an era when a simple phrase on social media can have immediate and sometimes tragic consequences, the danger of a rumor has never been more present. Pride Films and Plays is a champion of new LGBT scripts and screenplays, but as a company we have to know where we come from to move forward. The Children’s Hour, to me, is the original ‘gay play.’” The show opens Thursday at Collaboraction’s Pentagon Theater and runs through February 9. Tickets and info here. — Trudy Ring
6. MUSIC: Silversun Pickups, "Cannonball"
The latest single from this Los Angeles–based rock quartet is an electronica-infused slow burn that has Brian Aubert's sexy, lustrous, and androgynous voice purring over pounding synths. The song, "Cannonball," is streaming now and leads off the group's upcoming greatest hits album, The Singles Collection, out in February. — Neal Broverman
5. THEATER: Prototype Festival
Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now, a joint effort of Beth Morrison Projects and New York City arts center Here (no relation to The Advocate’s parent company), offers new musical plays and operas that are bound to have much of interest to LGBT audiences. Running from Wednesday through January 19, the festival features Thumbprint, a fact-based world premiere work about a Pakistani woman seeking justice after she is gang-raped; Paul’s Case (pictured above), in which a young “dandy” flees his gritty Pittsburgh neighborhood for the high life of Gilded Age New York; Angel’s Bone, portraying two fallen angels adjusting to life on earth and falling victim to exploitation; Have a Good Day, exploring the inner lives of cashiers in a shopping center; the double bill Visitations: “Thedokia” and “The War Reporter,” the first dealing with auditory hallucinations, the second with a real-life war correspondent haunted by a dead soldier; plus musical performances and post-show discussions. Performance venues include Here and other New York theaters; click here for more information. — Trudy Ring
4. TELEVISION: Thomas Roberts in the Morning
The out anchor who has helmed a midday broadcast on MSNBC is getting a more prominent role on the network — but there's a catch. His new show is called Way Too Early for a reason. It starts at 5:30 a.m., and then, in the style of his cable morning show predecessors, Roberts sticks around after the sun comes up and chitchats with the panel of Morning Joe. We'll DVR just to watch Roberts politely disagree with conservative Joe Scarborough every morning. The big switch was announced today and takes effect the week of January 13. — Lucas Grindley
3. TELEVISION: TV Returns in January
Sean Hayes is hoping for a slow climb in the ratings for his sitcom about a single gay dad, Sean Saves the World, which airs Thursdays on NBC. The Big Bang Theory is back too, with the oddly lovable Jim Parsons playing Sheldon on CBS. Modern Family returns from break starting next week on ABC. And next week you can keep up with newly out personal trainer Bob Harper on NBC's The Biggest Loser. But perhaps nothing compares to the anticipation for ...
2. TELEVISION: Downton Abbey, Fourth Season Premiere
The third season of Downton Abbey, Masterpiece Theater's elaborate period soap opera on the last golden days of the British aristocracy, was heavy with tragedy. The fourth series — as the Brits put it — looks a bit lighter; call it "Sex and the Manor." Ladies Mary and Edith, sisters and rivals, are finding themselves through work and suitors, including one played byTom Cullen, who brought to life the passionate, thoughtful, and sexy Russell in the now-classic gay film Weekend. I guess his character getting together with Downton's perpetually miserable footman Thomas is too much to hope for, but we'll still be glued to the screen when the season begins Sunday night on PBS. — Neal Broverman
1. FILM: Interior. Leather Bar.
If you didn’t already love James Franco — the actor, director, art student, and LGBT advocate — this would be the movie that would change that. Codirected by Franco and Travis Mathews, Interior. Leather Bar. has a compelling setup: The director of the 1980 film Cruising, in which Al Pacino starred as an undercover cop investigating a murder in New York's gay leather scene, was forced by the MPAA to cut 40 minutes of sexually explicit material in order to avoid an X rating. It was long rumored that this footage included graphic gay sex scenes, including one in which Pacino himself was at least a watcher, if not a doer. Those 40 minutes have never been seen, so Franco and Mathews set out to reimagine what might have happened in those lost scenes. But this movie is not 40 minutes of porn. Instead, it’s an hour-long film about the making of a film, with a mix of straight and gay actors and crew exploring the dynamics of what it means to perform in a sexually explicit gay film about BDSM. Listening to lead Val Lauren (the Pacino character) talk on the phone about Franco’s theory about challenging social sexual norms we all grew up with, and hearing his friend ask how Lauren, who is straight, will feel when Franco’s experimentation leads to anal sex, is real, raw, and provocative. It’s an immensely watchable hybrid film that’s both radically transgressive and enjoyable to ponder for hours afterward. Interior. Leather Bar. (alongside a screening of CruisingFriday and Saturday) opens at the Cinefamily’s Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles this weekend. Watch the trailer below. —Daniel Reynolds