"I have to say tonight is a dream come true for me. But I feel very, very well prepared because I have been singing for queens my entire life. At last, I'm in front of a real one!" - Bette Midler kicks off her performance in front of Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Show in Blackpool, England.
Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than my annual trip to the UK for a week of theatre. To kick things off, my first story is about Pamela Anderson. Huh? It's true - when the annals (or anals) of British theatre are compiled, a tiny footnote will be about the "Baywatch" beauty's debut on the legitimate stage in a production of "Aladdin". And Billy was there. I was scheduled to attend Anderson's third day, but some curious cancellations meant I was there for what became her debut. Pam's role as the genie was brief but memorable. Her entrance was precipitated by "Aladdin" rubbing his lamp. At least, I think it was his lamp. He was rubbing something, then he had a HUGE smile on his face. And then Pamela made her entrance - descending as if from the heavens aboard a silver sequined surfboard in a costume reminiscent of her iconic red swimsuit. She then knelt before "Aladdin" and intoned, "I am here to serve you." Excuse me? Did I stumble into a stage adaptation of the Monica Lewinsky story? At least the script played to Pam's strengths, and it must be noted that she most definitely did NOT make a fool of herself - even when she sang Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle". In the second half, she had more to do - a group song, some more dialogue, and a number of in-jokes that I think went over the Brits' heads. She sang, she danced, she recycled some lines from "Barb Wire". She seemed to be having a blast, and so did the audience.
I eschewed the opening of "Sherlock Holmes" which took place a scant block from my hotel (which meant I almost tripped a late-arriving Jude Law. That'll teach him to scurry in via a back alley - that's my turf!). I opted instead to witness Keira Knightley's stage debut in Moliere's "The Misanthrope". OK, I really went because I figured her beau, the dashing Rupert Friend, would be in attendance (he was - in jeans, sweater and knit cap. Is that was passes for opening night attire in London?). Keira was "terrified" about attempting the stage, but philosophical: "If my best isn't good enough, then so be it." As it turned out, her best is somewhat lacking by theatrical standards. She's not bad. But she lacks significant vocal range and doesn't seem able to command your attention without the benefit of cinematic trickery - in fact; many times she completely got lost on the stage. The rest of the cast, lead by Damian Lewis, is quite good - in particular Tara FitzGerald who all but steals the show in her confrontation with Keira.
A planned highlight of my trip was seeing Belinda Carlisle in "Hairspray". But did I? You see, the week before I arrived, Carlisle had laryngitis and missed a couple of shows. She expected to be back to work this week, so I breathed a sigh of relief. When I landed, Belinda welcomed me with an e-mail that also informed me that her voice was still missing in action. She remained out sick the beginning of the week. Fortuitously, I was busy with Pam and Keira and planned to see Belinda on my last night in town. This column is being filed the day before I'm slated to see the show - and she's still out sick. She's hoping to be back tomorrow. Will she? Check out BillyMasters.com for the answer.
Recently George Michael gave one of those long, rambling interviews that usually gets him into trouble. There were not many Earth-shattering revelations. After all, as he says, "It's just who I am." He admits to still smoking pot (and actually enjoys two joints during the course of the interview). Talks openly about cruising for anonymous sex. When reminded that he could get any man he wanted, Michael retorts, "I do get anyone I want." And one of the things he wants is to invite men over the house for some "shagging". When asked if he was referring to spousal-equivalent Kenny Goss, he laughed, "If it was shagging with Kenny, I wouldn't have to invite him round, would I?" Lest you worry about Ken, George is quick to allay your fears. "Kenny gets his, believe me." I believe you.
Rupert Everett claims that Madonna has not forgiven him for some things he wrote about her in his autobiography. "Elephants don't forget. She doesn't trust me any more." It might have something to do with that elephant crack. Or it could have to do with that God-awful film "The Next Best Thing" that the pair starred in. Rupert has choice words about that flick. "It blew my new career out of the water and turned my pubic hair white overnight." OUCH!
We leave Merry Ole England for our last round of "Billy's Holiday Gift Giving Suggestions". Since you have to act fast, the first two are online and you can get them instantaneously. No, not a subscription to BillyMasters.com - although I've been known to be quite a stocking stuffer! We're talking about Kylie Minogue, who has released her "Live in New York" concert directly to the internet. You can get it on Kylie.com - and she's letting you listen to the first half of the concert for free. Next up is my buddy Jeff Timmons. The former "98 Degrees" hottie is more than a gorgeous face and perfect body. He's also a helluva singer. Jeff's second album will be hitting his website of JeffTimmons.com, and you can sign up to get the music for free! BTW, I recently interviewed Jeff and it's available to you as a podcast on BillyMasters.com.
Our last suggestion is filled with hot naked men, so we're giving it its own paragraph. You all probably saw "Eating Out", the flick by Allan Brocka which brought us loads of laughs, not to mention the penis of sexy Ryan Carnes (who we enjoyed on "Desperate Housewives"). I was somewhat underwhelmed by "Eating Out 2", which had hottie Marco Drapper but really didn't grab me. However, "Eating Out 3 - All You Can Eat" was another story entirely. The creative team churned out a fun story, well-made film and, best of all, oodles of hot naked men! Chris Salvatore, Maximiliano Torandell, Michael Walker - they're all there, they're all hot, and they're all naked. So, why not order the DVD for someone you love? In the interim, you can just go to BillyMasters.com, where we'll bring you every inch of them....happy holidays!
Lastly, he's not British, but hottie Kellan Lutz has just been signed to model for Calvin Klein underwear - and allegedly, the campaign will be reminiscent of the Mark Wahlberg shots we remember oh-so-fondly. Of course, this is not such a departure for Kellan, who got started as an A&F boy. Well, who didn't? Returning to modeling may be a good move for the buff Lutz...after all, he only had about three lines in the latest "Twilight" flick.
When I'm giving Pamela a better review than Keira, it's definitely time to end yet another column. No time to chat, but we can once again remind you to check out www.BillyMasters.com for the freshest (and filthiest) gossip around. If you want to know who's been naughty or nice, drop a note to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Rupert buys buckets of Grecian Formula for his pubes! Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.