The RAGE Monthly magazine

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A NON-STOP DANCE PARTY SET TO THE MUSIC OF THE GO-GO'S! “An exuberant celebration of queer identities and pride.” –THE DAILY BEAST



Songs by THE GO-GO’S Based on The Arcadia by SIR PHILIP SIDNEY

Conceived and Original Book by JEFF WHITTY Adapted by JAMES MAGRUDER


Production Directed, Choreographed and Conceived by JENNY KOONS and SAM PINKLETON


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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Bill Biss, Chris Carpenter, Brad Hart, Steven Ing, Scott Leonard, Lisa Lipsey, Tim Parks, Kevin Perry, Tony Reverditto, Cutter Slagle, Andrew J. Stillman Cover Photo by Jacob Ritts SUBSCRIPTIONS – One year (12 issues): $40.00 Direct all editorial and subscription orders to our office or website. Rage Magazine dba The Rage Monthly. The Rage Monthly is a registered trademark. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers or staff. Reproduction of any article, photo, listing or advertisement without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. The people, businesses and organizations appearing in The Rage Monthly are supportive of the gay community. Mentions or photographs of any person, business, or organization are not a reflection of their sexual orientation. The Rage Monthly is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. PRINTED IN THE USA

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community spotlight by brad hart




elebrate the season on Saturday, November 27 at insideOUT restaurant and lounge in Hillcrest. The RAGE Monthly caught up with Festival of Trees San Diego chair and co-host Bobby Gordon to learn more about this new holiday fundraising soiree. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved with Festival of Trees San Diego? I am a longtime LGBTQ community fundraiser and organizer. I personally love the holiday season, and after living here a few years in San Diego, I realized I could launch an annual Festival of Trees event to help Hillcrest and our LGBTQ community kick off the holidays in style while raising funds to support a local nonprofit organization. To me, it was a no-brainer to combine a “few of my favorite things” into one event — supporting the local nonprofit community, hosting an event with music and cocktails. I’m so very happy and overwhelmed with how supportive and involved our local community has been for this new event idea and for our community! Plus, planning an event like this takes the better part of the year to organize, and you must absolutely love the holidays, even in July, to make this happen. Any one of my friends would easily tell you I’m the self-proclaimed “king of Christmas.” Who else has been a part of the process? I’ve been lucky enough to pull together who I call “local heroes” to help make this event a reality in its first year. The event will be co-hosted by Moe Girton (Mo’s Universe/insideOUT/Gossip Grill), the fabulous Miriam T and me. Our core committee members include Benny Cartwright (former Nicky Award winner/Man of the Year), Jarrod Clever (silent auction chair), Mark Schmidt (space designer), Joshua Simmons (The Eagle/volunteer coordinator), and Joshua Yeagley (design coordinator/Yeagley’s Designs). insideOUT, where the event will be held, their manager Paris, and all of MO’s Universe have been so very generous in supporting this event. Where did the concept originate? While I can’t take personal credit for the concept of auctioning off trees for charity, it was my personal idea and has become my personal passion and goal to establish and plan an annual event for our local LGBTQ community. I’ve attended other cities’ Festival of Trees (FOT) events, and even chaired Phoenix’s FOT one year. As the first Festival of Trees San Diego, we’ll be live auctioning artificial trees and delivering them to the winners’ homes following the event. The event will also feature a robust silent auction and a travel raffle. insideOUT was the natural and logical place to host, as we will display the trees the week leading up to the event, so potential bidders can

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get an idea of which trees they may want to take home with them. What else do you have planned for the event? Festival of Trees is a cocktail-and-mingle event with no assigned seating, featuring signature- and holiday-themed drinks, charcuterie-style hors d’oeuvres and a unique soundtrack of remixed holiday music favorites provided by your very own DJ and event co-host, Bobby Gordon. All our expertly decorated and designed trees will be on display with signage explaining their titles, themes and sponsors. The robust silent auction will also be happening throughout the event. The travel raffle will be limited to 100 tickets sold at $100 each and will have the grand prize drawn at the end of the event. Our special guests include San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, City Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn (District 3), RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars winner Chad Michaels, Santa, Mx. Claus and a few of Santa’s naughty elves. We’ll also have a few other surprises planned. Being Alive was chosen as the beneficiary? Yes, Being Alive was chosen unanimously by the planning committee as our beneficiary this year. We all agreed that their comprehensive, end-toend HIV/AIDS-related services in our community was the right fit for our first Festival of Trees, and a rallying point of pride for our LGBTQ community. The HIV/AIDS epidemic still affects our community every day, and it’s my personal hope that this event can help support those locally in our community in need through Being Alive’s various initiatives, programs and services. Anything else you’d like our readers to know? There are so many reasons to not miss Festival of Trees this year. This is the first one, and it’s intended to be the biggest holiday kick-off party for Hillcrest and the LGBTQ community. With everyone dressed in their best holiday flair, everyone has the chance to support an amazing cause. Tickets are set at a lower price ($25 general admission/$50 VIP), so the event is accessible to everyone’s budget, while giving others an opportunity to support the silent auction, travel raffle and tree auctions. We all know that Miriam T is San Diego’s crankiest drag queen, but Moe and I will be there to spar with her while raising as much as we can to support Being Alive. Finally, without giving away any tree themes until the week of the festival, the themes picked by our generous tree sponsors are super creative, engaging, unique and over-the-top. You won’t want to miss seeing them in person. After dealing with a worldwide pandemic for nearly two years, it’s time for our community to come together to celebrate the holidays, celebrate each other and support a worthy cause. With so many local businesses being involved as sponsors, volunteers, donors, tree decorators and special guests, this will be the who’s-who holiday party to not miss. pictured above are co-hosts moe girton, miriam t and bobby gordon photo by kristofer reynolds


$219 + $100 RCERSEODRTI T *




by tim parks



When I was younger, I was on a specific diet. No, I wasn’t an obese kid, just one with a voracious appetite for all things entertainment-related, devouring morsels of upcoming movie, TV and music offerings; the latter provided with trips to Licorice Pizza to see what cassette would draw my eye. Feasting my peepers on things to come on the big and small screens came courtesy of the LA Times Calendar section and TV Guide’s annual Fall TV Preview issue, its pages earmarked to denote shows that whet my whistle. Back when Mary Hart’s legs were insured for a million bucks by Lloyd’s of London and she wasn’t yet allegedly throwing down white supremacist signs at Trump rallies, I hung on every word she spoke on Entertainment Tonight, envious of her vocation. And since everyone’s favorite gluttonous holiday, Thanksgiving, is upon us, I thought it apropos to share some entertainment news to be thankful for, with tasty tidbits of things to come to sop up with some gravy. It’s gluten-free, of course, so let’s dig in!

MUSIC MAKES THE PEOPLE COME TOGETHER It’s nice to see someone being productive during quarantine rather than trying to see if, oh I don’t know, they can eat their body weight in snacks. As Shaggy sang, “It Wasn’t Me,” well it probably was. OK, you’ve broken me, it was! There are you happy now? Are you?! Anyhoo, Elton John utilized his sequestered time and the end result is the out now The Lockdown Sessions, which sees him enlist musicians like Dua Lipa, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, Years & Years, and Lil Nas X. For those of you that have been living under a gay rock, you might not know that ABBA has ended the world’s longest example of “we were on a break” by reuniting for a new project scheduled for a November 5 release date. This marks the first time that the Swedish quartet has made music together since 1981! They dropped two songs, “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down,” from the upcoming album Voyage. Both singles show that they haven’t lost that Midas touch by charting in the Top 10 in their first week. Additionally, they have enlisted Industrial Light and Music, performing as holograms for their scheduled 2022 London-based tour. And, as if that weren’t enough to make your “Dancing Queen” heart beat harder, there will be an accompanying documentary that will detail their reunion! Someone else who has been musically MIA is Adele, but she’s going to change that with her newest effort, 30, set to drop on November 19. Speaking of a drop, much is being written about Adele’s weight loss and new look that makes her resemble Emily Blunt. But that’s not the only change in her life since her last album 25, as she became a mum — that’s the English word for mom — and later divorced her husband of two years. The eponymous singer has said the musical effort came about from “the most turbulent period of my life,” which is reflected on the first cut “Easy on Me.”

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TELEVISION Peacock’s Queer as Folk reboot will explore the lives and loves of a diverse group of friends living in New Orleans on the heels of a tragedy. My suspicions are that may be more hurricane-related than they missed a BOGO sale on poppers at their local adult store. Anyhoo, the new version will star Jesse James Keitel, the first nonbinary thespian to portray a nonbinary character in primetime on Big Sky, as wait for it, a nonbinary character. Another nonbinary actor from Acts of Crime, Candace Grace, will play a professor who’s grappling with adulting. Grey’s Anatomy cast member Devin Way sounds like Brian Kinney (Gale Harold) in his non-commitment ways, while Clouds star Fin Argus plays, ahem, a “cocky high schooler.” Rounding out the cast are Pose’s Johnny Sibilly’s successful lawyer who hides behind the façade of all is well in his world; while Special star Ryan O’Connell is a pop-culture nerd with cerebral palsy (the actor is serving as executive producer and writer on the in-production series). If you aren’t watching HBO Max’s The Other Two, then you should be immediately, if not sooner. I’ll wait! The comedy focuses on the Dubek family with Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke as a gay brother and put-upon sister to Justin Bieber-type younger brother Case Walker, who goes by the pseudonym ChaseDreams, throwing his siblings into a tailspin of living in the shadows of his fame. Simply add Molly Shannon as Mom and you have the comedy replacement for Schitt’s Creek. The show has been renewed for a third season, and series creators Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider are creating a new show about a gay teen for HBO Max. Naturally, there are a few entries in the world of drag. Season 4 of Shudder’s The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula takes a decidedly spookier approach in the search for America’s next drag superstar, with monster-inspired contestants such as Sigourney Beaver and Formelda Hyde putting their best heels forward in snatching that crown. RuPaul’s Drag Race alum, Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka are back to change minds and melt hearts of small-town America with the second season of HBO Max’s We’re Here. The trio set about transforming regular folks into drag queens, serving as drag godmothers armed with a sprinkle of glitter and, well, to kick it old school, a bit of fairy dust in their endeavors. (Read our exclusive interview with Bob the Drag Queen starting on Page 14.) In gay adjacent news, there are two shows that the gays “might” be tuning into. HBO Max’s Sex and the City follow-up, And Just Like That, looks at Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis) as they navigate love and friendship in their 50s. The revival, set to debut in December, will also feature new faces Sara Ramirez, Cree Cicchino, Nicole Ari Parker, Karen Pittman and Sarita Choudhury to add some diversity to the cast.

Naturally, familiar faces like Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Mario Cantone and the late Willie Garson will also populate the Big Apple, with Bridget Moynahan reprising her role as Mr. Big’s ex, Natasha, and a rumored appearance by John Corbett as Aidan. Scandalosa! The Amazon Prime movie Being the Ricardos chronicles the marriage of Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem), and will get a theatrical release on December 10 and then air on Prime 11 days later. That’s December 21 for the counting challenged. Over on Peacock, look for The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip to make its debut on November 18 with franchise cast members Kyle Richards, Cynthia Bailey, Teresa Giudice, Melissa Gorga, Kenya Moore, Luann de Lesseps, Ramona Singer and Kenya Moore on the titular trip to Turks and Caicos. What could possibly go wrong? Here’s the deal with Netflix, or rather, Dan Levy’s Netflix deal. The Schitt’s Creek creator, writer and actor — that’s what you call a triple threat right there — signed on the dotted line with the streaming giant to create both shows and movies, beginning with the latter on an untitled romantic comedy. Speaking of rom-coms, the Christmas-themed Single All the Way has some gay street cred going for it. The project stars Michael Uriel (Ugly Betty), Luke MacFarlane (Brothers & Sisters) and relative newcomer Philemon Chambers (Of Hearts and Castles), in which Urie’s character enlists Chambers’ by having his bestie pretend to be his boyfriend. Along for the “slay” ride —see what I did there? — are Kathy Najimy, Jennifer Robertson, Barry Bostwick and the incomparable Jennifer Coolidge, look for it to drop on Netflix in December, duh! On the other end of the feel-good spectrum is Ryan Murphy’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, a 10-part limited Netflix series that stars Evan Peters as the notorious serial killer with an, um, appetite for murder. The show — slated for a spring 2022 release — will also feature Niecy Nash, Richard Jenkins and Penelope Ann Miller. Since it was “Agatha All Along,” in terms of Kathryn Hahn being a fan favorite on WandaVision, it’s not surprising that she’s poised to headline her own show for Disney+. However, Marvel Studios is remaining tight-lipped as to what the show will be about. Rude, as inqueering minds wanna know! So, file this news under “S” for stay tuned. Michaela Jaé (MJ) Rodriguez formerly of Pose is featured in the trips-off-the-tongue currently in production endeavor known as Untitled Alan Young and Matt Hubbard Apple TV+ Project, in which a woman’s life is turned upside down after her husband leaves her $87 million. Get that munty, hunty! Another Pose alum, Billy Porter, has plenty on his professional plate lending his voice to the Amazon TV show Fairfax and The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder for Disney+ that will air in 2022, plus he will also provide vocals for the movie remake of Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey II and …

NOVEMBER 2021 | @theragemonthly


READING IS FUNDAMENTAL Billy Porter has taken pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard more likely, with his recently published autobiography Unprotected: A Memoir, which tackles the issues of sexuality and race that has been described as “powerful” and “revealing.” Armistead Maupin is currently working on Mona of the Manor that is not a continuation of the Tales of the City series, according to the author. Rather, it focuses on Mona Ramsey’s time at the manor house that she moved into at the end of the fourth Tales installment Babycakes. The biggest revelation in Cassandra Peterson’s Yours Cruelly, Elvira is that the now 70-year-old Mistress of the Dark has kept her 19-year relationship with a female personal trainer, well, in the dark. Peterson has stated that she was worried that the LGBTQ community would have a problem with her declaration of her sexuality at this point in her life. Girl, welcome! John Waters will unleash a new novel, Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance, on May 3 of next year. It covers themes familiar to “The Pope of Trash” with a decidedly filthy storyline that encompasses sex, crime and family dysfunction — oh my!

THE SILVER SCREEN Out actor and writer Billy Eichner is set to make Hollywood history with his movie Bros, which makes him the first openly gay actor to co-write and star in a major studio release. Plus, it features a gaggle of out LGBTQ actors in the rom-com, including recent RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Symone and Weeds alum Guillermo Diaz. Get ready to bend and snap again as Legally Blonde 3 is poised to hit theatres in May 2022. The screenplay being co-written by Mindy Kaling is being kept under wraps, but the actress/writer/producer did let it slip that it will look at how Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods navigates life as a 40-something. And reprising roles her role from the first two is Jennifer Coolidge, which makes me want a hot dog real bad! By the time that Hocus Pocus 2 airs on Disney+ in fall 2022, it will be nearly 30 years since we’ve seen the Sanderson Sisters. The witchy trio of Bette

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Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are currently running “amok, amok, amok” in Rhode Island filming the follow-up that sees three young women resurrect the sistaaaahs in modern-day Salem. That’s in Rhode Island, right? Geography is hard. Pose star Indya Moore has cut her curly locks for a bald head for her villainous role of Karshon, a shark that develops intelligence and telepathic powers after being introduced to radiation in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Who hasn’t been there, am I riiiiiiight? Jason Momoa reprises his role as the King of the Seven Seas in the December 2022 superhero flick. CUT. PRINT. THAT’S A WRAP! Additionally, there is always the chance for unintentional camp in the forecast. Case in point is Netflix’s Diana: The Musical, which highlights Princess Diana’s life through aw-ful songs! It makes Cats look like a masterpiece by comparison! You’re welcome! Until next time, that’s all the news that’s fit to print.

Tim Parks has been a freelance writer for 21 years, a columnist for 16 years, and part of Team Rage since 2009. He is the award-winning author of The Scheme of Things, available on

cover feature

by lisa lipsey



BO’s Emmy-nominated unscripted series, We’re Here, returned for a second season on October 11. If you have not watched the first season, binge it now. This show has everything: glitz, glamour, gays and gorgeous stories from across small-town America. We’re Here gives visibility and elevates queer voices in the most unlikely of places. Season 2 follows renowned female impersonators Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley as they spread love and connection. The queens recruit residents from Spartanburg, South Carolina; Temecula, California; Del Rio, Texas; Selma, Alabama; Evansville, Indiana; Watertown, South Dakota; Kona, Hawaii; and Grand Junction, Colorado, to participate in one-night-only drag shows. They teach the art of drag and inspire their “drag daughters” to express their genuine selves in front of their families, friends and community. In celebration of last month’s National Coming Out Day, Bob the Drag Queen chatted with The RAGE Monthly about We’re Here and much more. In case you didn’t know it already, Bob’s confidence, beauty and humor won her the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar in Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Having just wrapped up filming and serving as a consulting producer, Bob has settled into Hollywood. “I’m currently in sunny Los Angeles,” Bob said. “You know, Season 2 kicks off in Temecula; I’m not sure how far your readers are from Temecula? We filmed there first. It was actually back in 2020, in December 2020. I remember during my drag kid’s story; he had some Hanukkah decorations up. Temecula was one of the hardest places to film because it was still pretty early in the pandemic and the restrictions were really, really tough. So then, we actually shut down for about three months.” In thinking about this new season of We’re Here and all the behind-

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the-scenes stuff, Bob said, “You know we actually just finished filming like a week ago, so I haven’t seen like the last two episodes myself. But I will say this year was a lot tamer than the previous season. We went out a lot in the first season and we could not go out very much this time. To be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot of behindthe-scenes stuff because we were being much more cautious with COVID precautions. We wore our masks; I mean, on set we had these shields that we wore, and took them off when we were on camera. But the rest of the time, we wore a mask, for sure.” Reflecting on the stories shared in Season 1, Bob said, “Nate out of Shiprock, New Mexico, really meant a lot to me. And Tanner, from Branson, Missouri, his story and the history hit very close to home.” (Tanner, a young actor, questioned whether he can be both Christian and gay.) When asked about advice for budding drag kids, Bob said, “Oh geez, I mean you have to really love it to do it ‘cause for a lot of people, not everyone, but for a lot of people, you really won’t make any money or anything for a very long time. So it really is a labor of love, and you’ll know, pretty soon, if it’s for you or not. You know what I mean? Just getting dressed now after 13 years of doing this, if I’m not rushing, it takes like two-and-a-half to three hours to do the full fantasy.” If it’s just totally selfishly Bob’s choice and not a request or an audience favorite, Bob prefers to perform the scat jazz song Air Mail Special by Ella Fitzgerald. “I really love the song. It is a really fun, exciting song and is probably my favorite performance song, for sure.” The drag community has enormous hearts and they have always given back to the LGBTQ community. Bob is no exception. “I was doing a lot of work with True Colors, Cyndi Lauper’s foundation, which is always a great one to support. There’s also a great one

“We really opened up our inclusivity with our casting this year. We did pretty well in the first season, but we’re pushing even further this season.”

NOVEMBER 2021 | @theragemonthly


here in LA called ‘For the Gworls’ — G-W-O-R-L-S, gworls, which is supporting trans people with housing and getting gender surgeries and stuff like that.” When considering other up-and-coming drag stars, Bob said, “Oh my God, that makes it sound like I’m the old hag. But I do really enjoy Jasmine Rice LaBeija, out of New York City, and I’m a big fan of Ocean Kelly, based out of Atlanta. Ocean Kelly is a remarkable queer artist and musician, who I’m like obsessed with right now.” To blow off steam, Bob plays a lot of video games. “Me and my partner Jacob are almost always playing video games. I play Super Smash Bros. all the time. Jacob and I met on Grindr like four years ago. I also have a partner named Ezra. We met on Instagram. It’s a true millennial love story. Polyamory and the lack of labels, it’s kind of fierce.” When asked about four-legged children, Bob said, “Well, I don’t like cats as a rule. I think they’re shady little creatures. I love dogs, but I personally do not have a dog. I don’t like the idea of having to keep something alive. Keeping something alive is stressful to me, so whenever someone else has a dog, I really love them. But, for real, I do not have any plants, I don’t have any animals. I mean, I am doing my

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best to keep myself alive. And so far, I’ve done it for 35 years. I’ve kept myself alive the whole time. I haven’t even died one time,” Bob said, laughing. Fashion-wise, Bob has been posting some of the We’re Here drag costumes to Instagram. “This season, the outfit that made the biggest splash on the Internet when I posted it was me in a blue-andgold dress. I have my boobs out with this blonde ponytail. It’s the third photo down on the left of my page.” Bob is proud to be a part of We’re Here. “We really opened up our inclusivity with our casting this year. We did pretty well in the first season, but we’re pushing even further this season. I’m grateful to all the people who become our ‘drag kids.’ They have told all these amazing stories. The first season was great; Season 2 is even better.” To all of Bob’s fans, she sends her love and invites you to check out her second comedy special, “Bob The Drag Queen Live at Caroline’s” available on iTunes, as well as the podcast “Sibling Rivalry,” that she co-hosts with her drag sister Monét X Change. We’re Here runs on HBO and HBO MAX with new episodes Monday nights through November 29.

photos courtesy warner media and HBO

rage recommends

by bill biss


No, thank you, Ms. Ross. There is an understanding of love, joy and true grace to be found within the heart and voice of Diana Ross. The word “icon” is snapped around like a rubber band but in the case of Diana Ross . . . Icon fits like a glove. “This is really about me and the people I sing for. I think positively and it’s very powerful.” Those two sentences from Ross sum up a career now in its seventh decade, one that has been supreme, filled with love songs and happily brought to the dance floors of disco and club music. Recorded in her home studio, this collection of new songs is a bouquet of “thanks” to her loyal audience and fans throughout the world. Working from home, she also co-wrote almost all of the songs, and this gratitude shines through in the lyrics. This 77-yearold entertainer still has the glow and that special quality found succinctly within her voice. If you ask, “Where did our love go?” It’s found within the positive feelings and good energy found within Diana Ross. Available November 5



The “wild boys” of New Wave are still conjuring up stylish and scintillating music that cascades with their unmistakable sounds on what is their 25th album, Future Past, released in 2021. With 40 years of music under their belts, these esteemed gentlemen — who could have flatlined years ago — are still as captivating to hear. Call it longevity with a succinct synth style, blasting beats and tough guitars along with the ultra-sonic vocals of Simon Le Bon, and it’s a formula that has carried them brilliantly through it all. “More Joy” featuring CHAI is just one slick escapade as “Anniversary” is a celebration of their classic style. Available now

“A big hand for the little lady” and the band called Shybaby. Not so little and more than able, lead singer Grace Eire slams down a renegade expose after a drunken night’s escapade with the song “Pizza.” Let’s just put it this way. Not since Deborah Harry of Blondie let it rip vocally on “Victor” from 1979’s Eat to the Beat has there been such a wildly fun spin with Shybaby’s new song. Just had to serve up some “Pizza” while it’s hot. Oh, and if Sharon Stone ever had a daughter? Note the resemblance, will ya? Available now

NOVEMBER 2021 | @theragemonthly


theatre spotlight

by brad hart



HEAD OVER HEELS IS THE EXPERIENTIAL PRODUCTION UNLIKE YOU’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE The laugh-out-loud musical comedy set to the music of the iconic LAbased female band The Go-Go’s is ready to rock Pasadena Playhouse this fall. Performances will take place from Tuesday, November 9 through Sunday, December 12. Head Over Heels follows a royal family in search of a purpose, lovers in search of each other, and a whole kingdom in search of a beat. The show features the hit songs “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You,” among others. The audience will be whisked away through a world of exuberance and wit from the first notes of “We Got the Beat” to the final celebratory curtain call. Initially produced for a traditional proscenium stage on Broadway in 2018, the Pasadena Playhouse’s 90-minute, intermission-free production will put the audience in the middle of a non-stop, dancefilled joyride through magic, merriment and mischief. With the actors

performing all over the converted theatre, every seat, or spot on the dance floor, will have a unique vantage point and an experience to remember. “We return to the stage with a party for all,” said Danny Feldman, Pasadena Playhouse producing artistic director. “There’s been nothing like it in our 100+ year history. Our historic theatre will be turned on its head as the audience joins in on the exuberant celebration. This is a live musical experience created just for this moment, this theatre and this community.” Head Over Heels is being directed, choreographed and conceived by Jenny Koons and Sam Pinkleton and features an all-star cast including Alaska 5000 (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Lea DeLaria (Orange is the New Black) and George Salazar (Little Shop of Horrors).

626.356.7529 or

HOW DOES IT FEEL GETTING BACK TO LIVE THEATRE? Lea DeLaria: “I fucking LOVE it! I have been on stage my entire life. It is like my home, a place where I feel safe and welcome. Don’t get me wrong, doing film and television is amazing . . . especially the paycheck, but anyone who knows me knows I belong downstage center belting a D-flat.” Alaska 5000: “There is nothing that can compare to real people in a real room seeing real things happen onstage. Working with this cast and this team has been so amazing, and we’re building something really cool and special with this show. We each get to bring ourselves and our own unique perspectives to our roles and that’s very exciting.”

George Salazar: “My last time on stage in a musical was Pasadena Playhouse’s production of Little Shop and so to come back to the Playhouse, this time with Head Over Heels, it’s the best feeling. Already, just over a week into rehearsals, this company feels like a family and I really missed the collaborative energy it requires to put a musical together. I’m feeling full, artistically and spiritually, and can’t wait to share this with audiences!”

Jenny Koons: “It is a gift to be creating, in-person, with amazing artists at this moment in time. While many of us made stuff throughout the past year plus, being back in person and creating something rooted in joy and community is incredible. Being at the Pasadena Playhouse, an institution invested in re-imagining how theatre is made and who it’s for, fills me with gratitude.”

Sam Pinkleton: “Bananas. Every day I am surrounded by brilliant, strange, giant-hearted humans who are finding new ways to remind me of the life-giving forces of gathering in a room together. It’s epic, it’s emotional, it’s hilarious, and there’s a lot of confetti. They are reminding me of the best parts of what I love about making theatre and inviting me to leave behind some of the less fun parts.”

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WHAT ENTICED YOU TO THIS PROJECT? Lea Delaria “That’s easy, Belinda fucking Carlisle. Woo!”

Alaska 5000: “Theatre was my gateway drug to drag. Years and years ago I got cast as the madam of a brothel in a Shakespeare play, and I kept getting reprimanded for making my makeup more and more draggy and exaggerated with each performance. But I really love everything about the theatre — the sounds and smells and the feeling of a show becoming this living, breathing thing that lives for a set amount of time and then vanishes. Plus, Jenny and Sam are absolutely incredible so when the opportunity came to be a part of this production, I said hell yes.” George Salazar: “A number of things drew me into signing on: I love the Pasadena Playhouse (the staff, the vibe, the audiences), I’ve been such a fan of Alaska’s and getting the opportunity to build a fresh retelling of Head Over Heels with her was a no-brainer, and our fearless leaders: Jenny Koons and Sam Pinkleton and I have circled each other for years in New York City and I’ve always wanted to create with them. The pieces came together and I’m so grateful to be a part of this company!” Jenny Koons: “I’ve been inspired by the work Danny and his team have been doing at the Playhouse for a while now. This project felt like the perfect invitation back to in-person gathering, a project that asks us each to show up in our fullest selves and to maybe listen to the tiny voices inside that we’ve ignored in the past. So much has changed as we’re moving through this moment in time, and just like the characters in the show, we’ve discovered things about ourselves we could never have imagined. What does it mean to mark this moment in this journey with others? To celebrate those changes and be in community as we move forward together?”

Sam Pinkleton: “Making Head Over Heels was an opportunity to make something here at home in LA that is a living, breathing invitation to an enormous amount of folks — an invitation to gather once again with unapologetic joy. The combination of Go-Go’s music, the singular brain of my longtime collaborator Jenny Koons, the game and ambitious Pasadena Playhouse, and this incredible company of performers — Lea, Alaska, Tiffany, Emily, Shanice, Yurel, Freddie, and George — who would pass that up?”

NOVEMBER 2021 | @theragemonthly


theatre spotlight

by tony reverditto



he first Broadway musical to hit the Segerstrom Center for the Arts stage in Costa Mesa since the pandemic hiatus will be a fresh update of Jesus Christ Superstar. This mesmerizing musical phenomenon with a worldwide fan base is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This national touring company will embark on nearly a yearlong performance schedule across North America. The rock opera features music by Andrew Lloyd Weber and lyrics by Tim Rice. When the creative team struggled to get backing for a production, they decided to release a 1970 concept album, which proved to be popular. A follow-up album released in 1971 would be named 1971 Billboard Album of the Year. Jesus Christ Superstar debuted on Broadway in October 1971. The spirited production would become a global hit. A revival in the West End in London would win the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival in 2017. The musical is loosely based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, depicting the last seven days of Jesus Christ’s life. From the onset, apostle Judas Iscariot and many priests grow

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concerned that Jesus’ followers will be perceived as a threat to the occupying Roman Empire. An exalted Jesus arrives in Jerusalem only to find the temple filled with unsavory merchants and money lenders. Overrun by a flood of people needing his help, he tells them to heal themselves, and his confidante Mary Magdalene has to calm him down. Jesus is betrayed and arrested and sent to Caiaphas, then Pontius Pilate and finally King Herod, who condemns him to death on the cross. Paul Louis Lessard plays the iniquitous role of Herod as well as a member of the ensemble, marking his national-tour debut. Lessard was raised in Okemos, Michigan, and remembers listening to his parents’ original brown album vinyl of Jesus Christ Superstar. Life has now come full circle for him. He was trained at Interlochen Arts Academy, University of Michigan and the London Dramatic Academy. His performance in Lincoln Center’s production of “I Am Harvey Milk” made him a New York Musical Festival individual award winner.


What originally inspired you to get involved in theatre? I’m the youngest of four children, and I distinctly remember watching my sisters in their dance recital when I was about 5 years old thinking, “I could do that.” It was very A Chorus Line. I’m also fortunate to have grown up in a very musical household — my parents were always playing music including their copy of the original JCS brown album vinyl from college that we would listen to around Easter. I always loved to sing, and theatre was a logical place for me to express that. This is your first national tour, and it looks like you will be on the road for almost a year. What do you foresee being the pros and cons of this endeavor? The No. 1 pro of this endeavor is being able to share my true queerness on such a large platform to the country at large. Representation of the queer experience is an honor for me to carry in this production. King Herod is beautifully queer in my interpretation (and with the wonderful support of our creative team) and people need to be constantly reminded that queer people have existed, exist, and will exist, until the end. We’ve always been here and we always will be. We have

Paul Louis Lessard

been kings, queens, rulers, citizens and artists, and our experience on this Earth is just as valid as anyone else’s. 
 The No. 1 one con is packing! I am such a creature of comfort, so it’s a challenge to constantly be traveling, and setting up and then closing up shop every couple weeks. You are portraying a historical biblical character; how do you personally make the transformation from Paul to Herod? I believe Herod is an extension of myself and not someone or something different than my real persona. We are asked in this production to bring 100% of ourselves to our roles, and for Herod, I simply put myself in those circumstances of the story and how I would react in that environment. It’s heightened, of course, because it’s presentational, but I believe personal authenticity is the most crucial element in bringing any “character” to life. Audiences want to see someone relatable — no matter their contribution to the story. I call myself “the funny bad guy” (and there are arguably many “bad guys” leading up to Jesus’ ultimate demise) but the moment you present a caricature or someone not grounded in reality, I believe you

lose an audience. You want them on your side so you should strive to make as many aspects of your performance relatable. Because there are no spoken words, only singing, in the production, what is the biggest challenge for the cast in making sure the story is understood? I believe it’s ultimately about simplicity and honesty. Every story can be broken down into simple elements and truths — just like life. We feel, we react, and then we emote whether that’s through spoken word, writing, singing, dancing or expression in another form. And this cycle continues and continues. The story is straightforward I believe — the complexities come from the characters’ inner emotional world and that’s what I believe makes interesting art. What ultimate message continues to resonate from this classic musical tale? That we’re all just people when you break it all down. We are searching for friendship, love, meaning and inspiration. Every character, whether an archetype or historical figure (or Biblical) is a person with the same desires, fears, joys and melancholy that are challenged and changed as they navigate their human

experience just like we are. And in this navigation one finds that life is more often than not a gray area — not simply binary and either black or white, right or wrong, good or evil. I believe it also questions us to look at figures and deities and elected officials and spokespeople and the consequences of holding them in such a public and high regard. How do you hope the audience feels when they leave a performance? I just hope they feel something! I hope they feel moved in some way. I hope they are tapping their toes, humming the music, feeling inspired, feeling perplexed, feeling challenged. I hope they feel the theatre is a safe space to gather again and an important space. The relationship between performer and audience has existed for millennia and to participate in that sacred ritual and leave feeling different than how they entered the space is my ultimate wish.

Jesus Christ Superstar runs Tuesday, November 9 through Sunday, November 14 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. 714.556.2787 or

NOVEMBER 2021 | @theragemonthly


on stage

by brad hart

A DRAG QUEEN CHRISTMAS: THE NAUGHTY TOUR What would the holiday season be without a visit from some of your favorite queens from the award-winning reality television franchise? Break out the sequins and glitter for a new production and a magical night of fun with holiday classics and naughty shenanigans. Hosts are Trinity The Tuck and Monet X Change, featuring Brooke Lynn Hytes, Kylie Sonique Love, Crystal Methyd, Heidi N Closet, Jan Sport and Alyssa Edwards. The tour includes three Southern California stops. First will be at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego on Friday, December 3. Then, the queens will visit the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside on Sunday, December 5, and The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Tuesday, December 7. All ages are welcome to attend A Drag Queen Christmas, but remember henny, this is The Naughty Tour.

DR. SEUSS’S HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale as it comes to life on stage. This wonderful, whimsical musical will return to The Old Globe theatre in Balboa Park in San Diego, Wednesday, November 10 through Friday, December 3. Featuring the songs “Santa for a Day,”“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze),” the delightful carol from the popular animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Celebrate the holidays as The Old Globe is once again transformed into the snow-covered Who-ville, right down to the last can of Who-hash.

RANDY RAINBOW America’s favorite musical satirist will hit the road with his new Pink Glasses Tour coming to the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday and Sunday, November 13 and 14, and Balboa Theatre in San Diego on Thursday, November 18. Following the recent rave reviews for Rainbow’s last tour, the twotime Emmy-nominated producer, actor, singer and show-stopping performer will take on the hottest topics and skewer politicos of the day as only he can, as he brings his most viral video song parodies to life on stage. Featuring live accompaniment, the show will include personal stories, an audience Q&A, and new original songs written by Rainbow.

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TO THE YELLOW HOUSE Kimber Lee’s riveting new work explores the early career of revolutionary artist Vincent van Gogh. “Kimber Lee populates her riveting new play with characters every bit as vibrant and lively as one of van Gogh’s masterpieces. This fantastically talented cast is perfectly suited to tell her story of a revolutionary artist on the cusp of finding his brilliance,” La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley said. This world premiere will be staged in the Mandell Weiss Theatre from Tuesday, November 16 through Sunday, December 12.

photos courtesy broadway san diego

HAIRSPRAY Broadway San Diego will kick off its 44th season with the Tony Award-winning musical comedy phenomenon, Hairspray, launching its new North American tour in San Diego from Tuesday, November 16 through Sunday, November 21. The cast will be led by Andrew Levitt, aka Nina West from RuPaul’s Drag Race, as Edna Turnblad. “It’s a brand-new world we find ourselves in today, and Hairspray is meeting this challenge full-on with even more joy and purpose. Our fable of ‘The Little Dancing Engine That Could’ is even more relevant than 20 years ago when it first burst onto the scene. With the renewed, refreshed energy of the unforgettable Nina West as Edna and a whole new generation of wildly talented kids across the board, we cannot wait to raise the various roofs once more with dance, joy, music and that glorious, famous, energy-packed score! Come feel great and grateful once more,” director Jack O’Brien said. Choreographer Jerry Mitchell added, “Hairspray has always been about all of us dancing together. I am thrilled to welcome this new company of amazing talents to lead the way as we dance across America with a message of inclusion and hope because ‘You really Can’t Stop the Beat!’” Hairspray is the story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore as she sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular show. Can a girl with big dreams (and even bigger hair) change the world? Featuring the beloved score of hit songs including “Welcome to the ‘60s,” “Good Morning Baltimore” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts welcomes audiences into the newly renovated theatre. Find yourself singing along to the electric and exhilarating smash hit, an ultimate feel-good musical. Set on a Greek island paradise, a story of love, friendship and identity is cleverly told through the timeless songs of ABBA including the hits “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me.” This fresh new look at the worldwide sensation that is Mamma Mia! runs through Sunday, November 21.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH “My sex change operation got botched; my guardian angel fell asleep on the watch; now all I got is a Barbie doll crotch; I’ve got an angry inch!” Desert Rose Playhouse in Palm Springs will stage this genre-bending musical sensation from Thursday, November 4 through Sunday, November 21. With a pulsing score and electrifying performances, Hedwig and The Angry Inch tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage.

Get ready for musical nights of magic and inspiration as MenAlive: Orange County Gay Men’s Chorus presents its 20th anniversary concert season. Since March 2020, the chorus was limited to the production of virtual events. Now they are back live for an exciting concert lineup beginning on Saturday, December 4 with their holiday tradition, Merry & Bright: Family Reunion. Two performances will take place at Irvine Barclay Theatre. Join the chorus members as they share some of their most wonderful musical memories of the past 20 years in their most joyous concert of the year. Merry & Bright promises to be a delightful mix of big laughs, big holiday spirit and a few surprises. Make the yuletide gay and celebrate together with MenAlive.

NOVEMBER 2021 | @theragemonthly


millennial matters

by cutter slagle

MONOGAMY IS IT STILL ALIVE IN THE GAY COMMUNITY? C hances are, you’ve heard from someone, somewhere that monogamy is monotonous. It’s interesting to consider how many people find this statement to be true. And if so, what do they do about it? Stay single? Cheat on their partner? Pursue an open relationship? In my experience with the gay community, monogamy is a lot like trying to locate an Oscar-worthy acting performance in a porno: next to impossible. And while I can acknowledge that my tone on the topic has recently turned dark, sour, even downright negative, I want to explore it today with less judgment and anger. Simply put, I can’t help but wonder . . . Is monogamy still alive in the gay community. If it is, where do you find it and why is the task so difficult? In previous articles I’ve written for both RAGE and my personal blog, I’ve blamed everything from social media to porn to hookup apps for the lack of loyalty, commitment and honesty in our community. I now know that my target has been misplaced. Yes, I can admit when I’m wrong, and I’ve been wrong. Well, to be fair, I’ve been hurt, which in turn, led to me being jaded and perhaps less open-minded than before. But all of that is changing. I think. I’m evolving. I hope. After all, isn’t that what we’re supposed to constantly do throughout life? Learn, form an opinion, learn some more, change our perspective — lather, rinse, repeat. Nothing is permanent. Some things shouldn’t be permanent. Additionally, if you’re not learning, not evolving, not growing in any way, then what the fuck are you doing with yourself and whose time are you wasting? Oops! Apparently that anger seeps deep and is a little harder to get rid of than I originally thought. I’ll keep trying, though, and remind myself that I’m human. Patience, darling. Anyway, there was a time, not too long ago, when I thought having the ability to make our own rules regarding relationships was amazing. To each his own, no right or wrong, just be honest and upfront, and anything goes. Of course, honesty is a big component to sustaining a healthy

relationship, a factor that many seem to forget. Therein lies the reason for my disdain with social media, porn, hookup apps, open relationships and the Kardashians. (Well, most likely not that last one.) And while it’s great that we do have the ability to make our own rules and do whatever we want, I do believe that there are myriad obstacles — more than ever before — standing in the way of those who want a monogamous relationship. Of course, if someone wants to lie or cheat, they’re going to do it. We may live in an era where it’s easier to lie and cheat, even promoted (fuck you, Ashley Madison), but people have been cheating since the beginning of time. As such, I can recognize that it’s not really fair to put blame on the obstacles listed above. A piece of shit scumbag will always find a way to be a piece of shit scumbag. I guess it’s imperative to locate the person strong enough not to be pulled down by the massive current of temptation that plagues our community. Does he exist? And if he does, where in the hell is he? Yes, we’ve come full circle. Yes, we’re back to discussing monogamy. Does it leave a bad taste in your mouth? I want to know why. Seriously, I want to know why having one partner — just the one — to love, have sex with, go on adventures with and grow old with seems so awful for so many people. I mean, we’re not talking about a prison sentence here. Who doesn’t want to have one special person in their life? Who doesn’t want to be that one special person? Maybe the world is too greedy. This whole “I want everything, and I want it now” attitude doesn’t necessarily work. Is that the issue? Has the need for instant gratification ruined monogamy? Or at least hindered the chance of obtaining it? Again, I’m aware that my narrative has been skewed, possibly even wrong or just plain ugly. We have the right to do whatever we want with our bodies, our time, our lives. If we’re being honest, that is. Still, why is monogamy such an antiquated concept in the gay community? Does it exist anymore? And if so, where can it be found? Cutter Slagle is the author of suspense, horror and crime-fiction works. Discover more at

NOVEMBER 2021 | @theragemonthly



by rage staff


How long have you lived in Palm Springs? Three years this past May. I moved here after living in Las Vegas for 13 years. I was visiting about 10 to 20 times a year, always with an eye on living here. How long have you been bartending? I had dabbled on and off at private events for a few years but never gave it much thought as a “job” until the pandemic. I started bartending at Tool Shed in March of 2021. When can we find you working there? I’m behind the bar Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stop in and say hi! Do you have a favorite night or event at Tool Shed? I’m fortunate to host two of the bar’s biggest events. Underwear Night on Thursday, I host an Underwear/Hot Jock Contest, where I get to wear my gear and ask guys about their sex lives. I’ve been told it’s a cross between The Wendy Williams Show and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. What’s not to like? The other is a music trivia bingo game on Tuesday, called Tool Shed Tunes. It’s basically a big gay sing-along with fun prizes and energy that takes my breath away each week. It’s great fun! What do you enjoy most about working there? I’m surrounded by my three favorite things: men, booze and music!

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photo by Jay Jones

Tool Shed has been voted the best dive/ gay bar in Palm Springs, and for nearly three decades it been one of the city’s most popular watering holes for both locals and tourists, alike. Located in the Warm Sands district, this “original leather and Levi bar” welcomes all open-minded people ready for a good time. The RAGE Monthly recently stopped by to get to know one of Tool Shed’s newest bartenders, Larry Atello, and here’s what we discovered. Tell us the most used pickup line you hear at Tool Shed? To me: “You’re a very sexy man . . . love your eyes.” That never gets old. To others: “You’re hot. Can you host?” When you’re not bartending, how do you like to spend your time? If I’m not continuing my favorite three-way with my couch and Roku, I’ll be at a live music event either performing with one of my bands or as a spectator. I also love a kick-ass happy hour somewhere. What’s your birth sign and does it match with your personality? Aries . . . textbook! Tell us something most people do not know about you. If I’m not on stage or behind the bar, I’m painfully shy. What’s something you could eat for a week straight? (Blushing . . .) I’m a BIG Italian food fan. Fish: raw, cooked, both or no thanks! Both. Bring it on! What is one of the things you would put on your bucket list? I’d like to take a flight on a private jet to NYC, drink good champagne all the way, have dinner, see a show and be back in time to sleep in my own bed. I’ve pretty much crossed everything else off my list.