"I thank you for the wonderful life you've given me and my family. Oh my goodness, what a time we've had. Who knew you could get so rich by telling a few dirty jokes and saying fuck a couple of times!" - Bette Midler muses on the secret of her long, successful career. Trust me, Bette - if that's all it took, Bob Saget would be a national treasure!
I don't believe there's a more perfect marriage between performer and city than Bette Midler and Las Vegas. She is, without a doubt, one of our greatest living entertainers. I finally paid homage to the "Divine Miss M" in Las Vegas, where she's finishing up a two-year run at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Sure, she has all the trappings of a great Vegas show - leggy showgirls, a fabulous band, back-up singers, sets, costumes and videos. But, ultimately, it all comes down to one obscenely talented little wisp of a woman who takes the audience hostage for 90 minutes with barely any off-stage time - aside from some of the quickest costume changes this side of the Mississippi. Dancing, acting, running, and singing - LIVE! Yes, all live. Remember when people did that? Bette does. "The Showgirl Must Go On" is extraordinary, and anyone who hasn't seen it better plan a trip to Nevada before she pulls up stakes at the end of January.
My weekend in Sin City was an embarrassment of riches. Not only was I with Bette, I was with Lily Tomlin. Certainly the opposite end of the spectrum as an entertainer, but not any less compelling. Lily is in fine form with "Not Playing With A Full Deck", which is actually a "greatest hits" show touring the country (I caught it at the MGM Grand). All of her memorable characters are there, favorite skits and jokes, and a healthy dose of new material expertly crafted and shaped by longtime partner Jane Wagner. What makes this show special is that it's not solely presentational. Tomlin has broken down the fourth wall and brings us in to not only admire her skill, but also see the inner workings of a genius - and share in the fun. With a bit of expansion, this show could easily bring Lily back to Broadway where she belongs. Until then, catch her when she comes to a city near you.
UK pop star Matt Goss has his own show at the Palms that is nothing short of sensational. You might know him as "the voice" behind the theme for "So You Think You Can Dance", but he's so talented, it's ridiculous. And gorgeous. He's the total package - so to speak. Think of a sexier John Mayer, a cooler Harry Connick Jr, and a hipper Justin Timberlake, and you have an idea of Matt Goss. Robin Antin (founder of "The Pussycat Dolls", and sister to Steve) has conceived a show that makes every girl swoon, every boy envious, and everyone else smile. If there's one criticism, it's that the stage and room may not be big enough for such a talent. Here's hoping for a huge success, mate.
You'd think with all those shows, I'd have no time to play. You'd be wrong. I cavorted with Roman Heart and Benjamin Bradley at Piranha on Friday. Saturday, Brandon Baker and RentBoy.com held a fabulous party at Krave, which was attended by oodles of cheap boys for the taking - including my little pocket-sized porn pup Tory Mason and sexy Cameron Adams (happy birthday baby). A good time was had by all - or at least, by most.
While I was cavorting with the seamier side of Vegas, a pair of straight boys had their own same-sex encounters. John Mayer and Prince Harry! No, not together. Mayer was in Palm Springs when he decided to spend his Saturday night at Toucan's Tiki Lounge - a gay bar. We're told that not only did Mayer drink and dance with the patrons, he was caught in a liplock with another guy. This led to him issuing a statement: "If you are a man in life and you haven't gone to a gay bar, you haven't really danced.....you can actually just go and have a great time. We did have such a great time, to hear that somebody had written a story that I was getting kisses planted on me, it just sort of reduces it to that real stereotypical...you know that's why I wrote, after that I was like nobody's more aggressive than drunk white chicks. They're terrible." Doesn't he have a way with words? Feel free to switch teams any time, John Boy.
Across the pond, Prince Harry was out at a local pub when a gay guy went up to him and offered to buy him a bottle of Stella Artois lager in exchange for a kiss. Believe it or not, Harry laughed, gave the guy a big hug, and a kiss...albeit on the cheek. But, I have a question - if my grandmother owned England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and God knows what else, would I be pimping myself in a bar for free drinks? At least the Queen Mum had the good sense to stay home and drink with the help!
In case anyone cares, after leaving the pub at 3AM, Harry trotted across the street to McDonald's for a quarter pounder with a Coke. See? He's just like you and me.
Our very own Leslie Jordan has a new one-man show which I'm recommending sight unseen - because all of his shows are fabulous. This one is called "Full of Gin and Regret: An Evening with Leslie Jordan". Get yourself to the Renberg Theater at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Two weeks only - December 10th through 20th.
If you know anything about Leslie, you know he lives to help out lost boys - those messes who have lost their way. And that describes Levi Johnston to a T. The more he shows up on TV, the more I wonder if there's something wrong with him - developmentally. Am I the only one who thinks that when Sarah Palin asked to spend time with the little retard, maybe she meant Levi? He's about to become even more hated than Jon Gosselin - if that's possible. Why? Because he's promised us dick, and he ain't delivering. That's not a smart move if you wanna keep your gay fans happy. We've gotten a few steamy pics from Johnston's recent "Playgirl" photo shoot (which we'll post on BillyMasters.com), and nary a dick in sight. Insiders say you get a "little peek" of his Johnston poking out from behind a hockey stick. Look, I'm from Boston - if it can't be seen past a hockey stick, forget it.
Isn't it interesting that Levi is appearing in "Playgirl", which appeals to gay men, at the same time Neil Patrick Harris is in "Playboy", which appeals to straight men.
Could it be that Beyoncé is considering taking up residency in Las Vegas? So say sources in Sin City who tell me Mrs. B has taken several meetings with Steve Wynn about possibly alternating with the new in-house talent at The Wynn - Tim McGraw.
When the most interesting stick Levi has is the one he plays hockey with, it's definitely time to end yet another column. The holidays are upon us, so that's brought Billy back to the East Coast. I will be filling in as co-host for several weeks on "One in Ten", Boston's weekly GLBT radio show on WFNX. And that means I'll be forcing some of my fabulous friends to fess up. I'll post the dates and times I'll be on at www.BillyMasters.com, where you can also listen via my podcasts. If you've got a question, feel free to write me at Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Prince Harry and John Mayer go out on a date! Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible