There is an entire generation of queer and straight people that grew up watching actress Charlotte Rae on television. First as Molly the Mail Lady on “Sesame Street” and later as Mrs. Edna Garrett, the beloved housemother on the popular 80s primetime sitcom “The Facts of Life.” But there is so much more to Rae, including the many years she spent as a stage actress and singer, as well as all the TV commercials she did in the early days of her career. Rae’s aptly-titled memoir The Facts of My Life (Bearmanor Media, 2016) tells you everything you could every possibly want to know about her, including what occurred when her husband came out to her as bisexual. I had the pleasure of speaking with Rae, who turned 90 earlier in 2016, about the book.
When all is said and done, 2016 may be remembered as a year of some of the best independent films in recent memory. Movies such as Indignation, Captain Fantastic, The Lobster and Love & Friendship are garnering rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. The same holds true for Little Men (Magnolia), the latest from gay filmmaker Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange, Keep the Lights On). The third installment in Sachs’ New York trilogy, the titular Little Men are Jake (Theo Taplitz) and Tony (Michael Barbieri), a pair of pre-high-schoolers who become close friends under stressful circumstances in Brooklyn. As the strained relationship between Theo’s parents Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) and Tony’s mother Leonor (Paulina Garcia) edges closer to the brink we observe the impact that it has on the boys. I spoke with Sachs about the film and more in early August.
Wise beyond his 18 years, with talent to boot, James T.W.’s aptly titled debut EP First Impressions (Island) make a good first impression indeed. From his respectful cover of the Natalie Imbruglia hit “Torn” (released the year T.W. was born), to empowering originals such as “Different” and “When You Love Someone,” he is an artist who definitely knows how to reach his audience and uplift them when necessary. Discovered, if you will, by label-mate Shawn Mendes (of “Stitches” and “Something Big” fame) with whom he is currently on tour, James T.W. is off to a strong start. I spoke with James in July.
Ta’von Vinson, an African-American gay playwright and Baltimore native, decides to take a break from writing and hops over to The Drinkery for a much needed stress reliever. One can find him frequently at the Bun Shop or in passing with a friendly demeanor and colorful locks in the community. An outreach specialist with Johns Hopkins, he has many accomplishments, including his book Positively Me (about his experiences with HIV/AIDS) and being producer / director of the play What We’re Taught at the Arena Players under his company, Theater Coven Productions. He personifies through his writing the celebration of diversity with black gay characters in real life. Baltimore OUTloud caught up with Ta’von briefly to ask him some questions about his character choices, works in the future and the imagery of black gay men on television.
There’s no denying that Cheyenne Jackson has it all. He can sing, he can write songs, he can dance, he can act (comedy and drama), and he’s a fine specimen of male beauty. He’s also an exceptionally nice and funny and smart guy. On his new album, Renaissance (PS Classics), some of which is drawn from his one-man show “Music of the Mad Men Era,” Jackson performs stellar renditions of classic tunes such as “I (Who Have Nothing),” “A Change is Gonna Come,” “Feeling Good,” and “Besame Mucho,” as well as the original “Red Wine is Good for My Heart,” to name a few. I spoke to him about the disc and more in June 2016.
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