10. CABARET: All I Know
After the sold-out success of his Carnegie Hall concert with Michael Feinstein, Cheyenne Jackson premieres his new solo show December 31 and January 1 at Prelude by Barton G — located within Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts — a swanky new venue that will also feature solo concerts by out performers Gavin Creel and Bryan Batt in coming weeks. All we know is that we wouldn’t miss it if we were in Miami.
9. TV: My Fair Wedding With David Tutera
Celebrity event and wedding planner David Tutera — who has, in fact, worked with The Wedding Planner’s Jennifer Lopez — returns January 2 for the fourth season of WE TV’s hit wedding transformation series. No same-sex ceremonies this season, but the out host’s trashy-to-classy Los Angeles overhauls will include a Phantom of the Opera wedding, an Alice in Wonderland wedding, and a Wizard of Oz wedding with glittery ruby slippers.
8. DVD: Howl
Recent Advocate cover boy James Franco plays gay again as beat poet Allen Ginsberg in this acclaimed film by Celluloid Closet duo Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. It interweaves the landmark 1957 obscenity trial over Ginsberg’s Howl, an imaginative animated journey through the epic poem, and a portrait of a gay man who galvanized a generation through self-expression. Aaron Tveit also stars as Ginsberg’s lover, Peter Orlovsky.
7. TV: Southland
This intensely gritty TNT cop drama stars O.C. cutie Benjamin McKenzie and 227’s Regina King, but we’ve been completely arrested by Michael Cudlitz, who has turned stereotypes on their head as semicloseted gay LAPD patrol officer John Cooper. So far we’ve only seen him flirt and score some pain meds in a gay bar, so we think it’s high time we learned more about his dating life when the third season premieres January 4.
6. CD: Twelve Nights in Hollywood, Ella Fitzgerald
An essential collection for hard-core and casual fans of the late “first lady of song,” this two-disc set has culled the best live performances from her legendary 10-night 1961 engagement at the Crescendo Club and her two-night return to the L.A. venue the following year. Swinging and sentimental, these thrilling debuts of classics and fresh renditions of chestnuts are widely considered the strongest versions of her standards.
5. TV: Watch What Happens Live: Andy’s New Year’s Party; Anderson Cooper 360° New Year’s Eve Live
Why deal with crowds, cover charges, and inclement weather on New Year’s Eve when you could be home switching channels between two of our favorite Advocate cover subjects? While Andy Cohen has a midnight wig-drop at his Bravo clubhouse with Meghan McCain, Sandra Bernhard, and hoards of Housewives, Kathy Griffin is back on CNN — ban be damned! — to make Anderson Cooper sweat. Don’t be tardy for these parties!
4. TV: Pretty Little Liars
Part Gossip Girl and part I Know What You Did Last Summer, this wickedly addictive teen drama — based on Sara Shepard’s young adult novels — returns for a second season January 3 on ABC Family. So, like, blackmail and secrets abound, but it’s no mystery why we love Shay Mitchell as Emily, who’s learning to embrace her lesbian leanings with her sexy new neighbor. If the show sticks to the books, Emily’s folks are about to flip.
3. DVD: United States of Tara: The Second Season; Big Love: The Complete Fourth Season
It was a very big season for gay characters on two of our favorite high-concept cable comedy-dramas. In Showtime’s Tara, Keir Gilchrist’s teen Marshall experimented with a girl but was ultimately more drawn to a militant gay classmate and a friendly gay neighbor couple. In HBO’s Big Love, Matt Ross’s Mormon fundamentalist Alby got an unlikely boyfriend in Ben Koldyke’s Dale, a relationship that had an exquisitely unhappy ending.
2. TV: Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On
With all her hits — “Wind Beneath My Wings,” “Friends,” “The Rose” — and lots of glitz, Bathhouse Betty is back with her fifth HBO special and first since Diva Las Vegas in 1997. This celebrated concert event ran for two years at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace until January 2010, but if Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to catch its New Year’s Eve TV debut, the Divine Miss M will be on HBO and HBO on Demand all month long.
1. TV: OWN
Like Oprah Winfrey’s love for Gayle King, we’re pretty sure that our strictly platonic relationship with the media mogul’s new network will reduce us to tears of joy. No shock that OWN, which officially replaces the Discovery Health Channel as of noon January 1, will be very gay-inclusive: Queer Eye’s Carson Kressley, Iron Chef’s Cat Cora, financial guru Suze Orman, and Rosie O’Donnell will all host or cohost shows. Stay tuned!