- Health, Wellness & Sports
- Equality Directory
As 2011 fades into a memory and the champagne has been uncorked, welcoming in the new year, we thought it would be a good time to revisit some of the interviews that graced the pages of The BottomLine in the past calendar year and let our interviewees do the talking.
Many thanks to the multitude of celebrities, interviewers and writers who shared their work with us these past 12 months to bring some of the most fascinating people of 2011 to TBL.
A tip of the hat to Scott Brassart, Margie M. Palmer, Hunter Bucholtz, Steven Michaels, Steven M. Housman, Eric Ornelas and our production crew who make our magazine look so good. Art director Maya Kalabic and graphic designer J.P. LaPlagne have been burning the midnight oil revamping our look, and we hope you like it as much as we do.
Have a Happy New Year – and a prosperous 2012!
What is the biggest Achilles heel for modern Hollywood filmmaking?
“The ignorance of youth. Kids today think they know everything, but the first movie they ever saw is Star Wars. They have energy but they’ve lost their most appealing characteristic – vulnerability. They know nothing about movies, they have no life experience, they don’t know Clark Gable from Betty Grable, and they won’t even look at anything in black and white. Just look at the sophomoric junk they turn out and you know they are perfectly off self-destructing all by themselves without any help from me.”
Were you surprised that playing Sue Ellen made you such a household name in so many different countries?
“Yes! [laughs] I wasn’t actually a role model by any means. My character was psychotic, neurotic, alcoholic and crazy. [laughs] But for me that was the fun part because I got to be someone so different from who I was. Sue Ellen had three lines, literally three lines in the beginning. And they had no intention of making her a regular. But looking back, I think it was the chemistry between Larry and I.”
Now getting back to "Real Housewives of Atlanta," your involvement with it. Has it been a blessing or a curse?
“It’s a double-edged sword. When you are in the public eye of course you’re going to have people who want to pick you apart. People come up to you and say the craziest and worst possible things they can say to you to get under your skin.
But, overall, I think it’s a good thing, or has been a good thing for me. Cause even though I don’t necessarily need the show to be a songwriter – I can write songs for the rest of my life and not be on a TV show. But it was good for the fans – a lot of people didn’t know what I was doing behind the scenes after the group Xscape. So the show really gave me the chance to show people for one, what I actually do.
Especially, by doing the song for Kim. Even though, you know, I didn’t make a lot of money off of the song for Kim [“Tardy For The Party”] or whatever but it was a positive thing for me because people got to see actually how I could take something that everybody could say was not hot and make it hot. That was a positive thing for me as a songwriter and a producer.”
So you’ve been sober for almost 16 years, yet it took until 2007 for you to publicly come out at age 39? What was the biggest fear for you in revealing your orientation at such a late time?
“Well, I think that I was fighting it, as so many people do. There’s this constant drumbeat in society that steers you towards heterosexuality. So whether it’s movies or television or your friends – everything seems geared to the heterosexual lifestyle. So I didn’t really acknowledge to myself that I was gay. And once you get on the straight train it’s harder to jump off.
I feel really happy for these kids today who can figure it out when they’re in their adolescence and come out then they don’t have to sort of switch teams in the middle of their life.
Because I think once you establish yourself as somebody who has a heterosexual lifestyle it’s a little more difficult to say, “Wait a second, the guys I dated, that that really wasn’t me.” I wasn’t really being true to myself and it can feel hurtful to somebody else. It can be messy. Let’s be real, it can be messy.”
What is one thing each and every one of us in the LGBT community can do for marriage equality?
“Support organizations who are advancing us politically like Equality California. And also to stay on top of your congressman – our votes, they do count. The more elected officials that we get into office – Republican or Democrat – but those that believe in true equality. It’s the best thing for us. It’s the best thing for our country.
And also to be open and talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends – unless they have a big Confederate flag hanging out, then you just might want to move on and call that one a push!
We need to be as open as possible. It’s funny, I know personally, with my whole family the more open and comfortable that I became with my life and who I am – the more accepting they were.
Because when they see any little chink in your armor where there’s lack of confidence, doubt, or any weakness you have – they build on it, they feed on it.
If you are open and proud, stand your ground, people can’t help but to respect you and move forward.”
Is there an ounce of latent heterosexuality in you, and if so, what would it be? Any guilty straight girl pleasures for you?
“I will just say that I’m sure that I have some – I don’t know if I’m 100 percent, ah, you know. Well, I am gay – but I like a pretty man, sure.”
In recent years there has been a lot of collaboration between dance music producers and Hip Hop artists. How do you feel about that?
“You know, I think Hip Hop is dead. Urban is what they are calling it now because Hip Hop just got really played out. I think all those Hip Hop artists were looking for something new to do and I think it is great that they have embraced this crazy scene we have had for 20 years, this electronic music scene. Whether it is Britney Spears, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Usher, or Kanye West, there are so many artists that are infusing Dance music…in Pop music. I think it’s a good thing, but I would love to see more Dance artists hit the mainstream. That really has not happened yet. You know, as much as most people think that Lady Gaga is a Dance artist, she really is not. She is a Pop artist who works well with the Dance community. She is not making Dance tracks and then having them cross over to Pop radio. She is making Pop music, you know?”
How did Jessie and the Toy Boys come about? Who are the Toy Boys?
“The Toy Boys are my band mates, my posse. I like to say that they are an ever-rotating collection of perfection at my disposal (laughter). It came about because I like the idea of being in a band, however, I’m such a control freak, that every time I formed a band it ended tragically because I needed to have all the creative control. So I wanted to start a band with some hot boys that would not talk back. I came up with the idea of Jessie and the Toy Boys because Toy Boys don’t talk back.
I guess they just do what they are told.
That’s right. They are my bitches (laughing).”
Tell me more about shooting with Bea Arthur. Loved her! Miss her.
“Well, she taught me so much about working with celebrities. Her home is divided into three separate houses and there a lot of outside area. My ideas were thrown out the window because I decided with her dogs and the natural sunlight and outside it was perfect. She had no one doing her hair and makeup for the photo shoot and wore her own clothes. I followed her and she went along and when it was over she commented, ‘That was painless.’ I loved that and had never heard it put in such a way.”
-Photographer Tim Courtney
Now switching gears somewhat from your music Keith to some LGBT topics. I caught Pat Benatar on Oprah the other day and she said the music industry in the late 70s and 80s was very sexist. Was it homophobic as well?
“You know, for whatever reason – we just could be in our own bubble – but we never experienced that. Not overtly. If it was anything it was sort of behind our backs, I was oblivious to it. We never experienced homophobia directly.
When we first started we weren’t out publicly. We were certainly out in Athens with our friends and family, but we never really came out in the press so to speak and no one really asked. We just never had to talk about it.
But I remember in 1992 – I came out in a magazine, a New York publication. We just had just released Good Stuff and I remember thinking that I had wanted to come out publicly. I knew at that point it was inevitable; it was going to happen anyways because it was really on the radar then. Madonna was being very outspoken and supportive of gay rights – things were just opening up. More people were coming out publicly and I wanted to do that for myself – more than anything.
And so I did and it was a complete non-event [laughs]. It was good for me. It was nice to have it out there but it didn’t make headlines [laughs harder]. I don’t think anyone was really surprised.”
The B-52s’ Keith Strickland
“Do You Know The Way To San Jose” was actually the first song lyrics I could ever memorize off the radio. Take us back to winning your first Grammy. Did you ever think that song would be such a worldwide smash hit?
“Ah no, because I hated it. [Laughs]. But it caught the ear of the general public and they seemed to love it.
I still get when I’m going to the airport or in a grocery store and be – ‘Do you know the way to San Jose, Dionne?’”
Can you take us back to what your reaction was when Prop 8 passed – were you stunned?
“I was matter of fact. I talked to different people, I talked to Matt’s husband and both Matt and Greg are very involved, and political. I remember talking to Greg [before it went to vote] and he was sort of doubtful it was going to be defeated because the community sort of dropped the ball on that. People did suspect that something was going to go terribly wrong – that the campaign against it wasn’t as good as it could have been. It kind of unraveled at the end. And it was also a bit confusing to tell people to vote no on it.
And I also feel they were just kind of strange in the way the films that they chose to put on their site – they just got very weird with the campaign. Instead of embracing everyone who wanted to help they got very particular and said, ‘no we have to do the campaign like this.’ It was like a train wreck.
That being said, I do feel it was like we lost the battle but not the war. Eventually it will be as strange to people [not allowing gay marriage] as slavery is to us now. People will look back upon it and think ‘How was that possible? How did these laws discriminate against gay marriage?’ It’ll be really strange to people one day when they look back upon it.”
You became such a beloved, generation defining icon because of your roles in The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, and Sixteen Candles: was that a burden or a blessing for you and your career?
“I think it’s both, really. I feel that those films as you’ve pointed out are very special and I’d be crazy to say it’s not an honor to be in something that has lasted over the generations – they’ve passed the test of time and are still around today. And they really mean a lot to a lot of people so I’m definitely honored that I was the girl who inspired John Hughes who put me in these movies.
But yes, on the other hand I think it is a burden because they are just so well known and I’ve always been known as that teenage girl. For the longest of time it was hard for people to see that I was grown up. For years people thought I was the age of these characters that I played.
But now that I’m a mother and playing a lot of mother roles I’m just in a different stage of life that people are starting to view me in a different life. But I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything again that will have the same impact of those films. So yeah, the short answer is both.”
I have to ask, because you really do have a reputation – for lack of a better term – as being a shit starter. You really like to stir the pot on the show. Is that fair or do you think people just misunderstand you? Or is that just how the show is edited?
"Well in my mind I think that I’m the one doing what everyone else should be doing. Everybody else is an ass kiss and they say different things when different people are in the room. I stick to the truth. That’s the best way to go.
I think it’s the other six people on the television show who totally behave that way so I think they are crazy for acting the way they are. I think it’s entertaining to have a row with somebody, but it’s all harmless fun. Nothing is done maliciously. Nothing is done out of spite – it’s just really harmless fun. People take life too seriously. People take other people’s opinions too seriously as well.
I’m a very happy go lucky, easy flying guy. It’s pretty easy to get along with me. Underneath it all, underneath all the madness – I’m not much of a shit stirrer.”
-A-List’s Austin Armacost
Now, if I’m not mistaken you didn’t publicly come out until 2010. Was that a business decision or out of respect to Fran?
“I was out for years before that! What happened was I was out going to bars, being me, dating like everyone else when I moved to New York, which was 2001 I think. But nobody cared. [Laughs].
So, I mean, I wasn’t going to make a big statement about it because honestly I didn’t think anybody cared. The show was off the air. I was behind the scenes. And I just lived my life. I think a few people might of written little things about it but the press didn’t pick up on it.
Then about a year ago, I got a call from a man about a tabloid, and they’d said, ‘We’re going to out Peter.’ And I said but I’ve been out for eleven years! And they said, ‘We don’t care – America doesn’t know.’ I told him flat out that I didn’t think America even cares. But if you want to – they had asked for an interview and I told them no, because it would look like I was looking for publicity.
I said listen here’s the deal. Fran and I had been spending time together working on a movie, which developed into Happily, Divorced the series. We were beginning to take meetings with TV Land and I told them if this series goes, you can interview me then, because then you’ll have a story. Their reply was they were going with the story next week, and if you want to say something you can.
So I said to Fran, ‘Do you want to make a statement so they don’t make up lies about this?’
So she basically said I had been out for ten years. We love each other. We are best friends, we wish each other the best and we are blessed to have each other in our lives.
Which they turned into ‘Fran Drescher has a gay husband!’”
Peter Marc Jacobson
Is Pam a member of the Mile High Club?
“I think she founded it back in 1975 with Bob Marley. Yeah, no woman, no cry. She encourages that behavior on board. I think she even has dark rooms – like the fuck clubs for the gays – on her flights.”
On a more serious note, what would you say to someone who treats their pet as a fashion accessory instead of the loving companions they truly are – I’m looking at you Paris Hilton ...
“She isn’t on my radar but the idea of a living accessory is odd to me. I can’t say for certain that Paris doesn’t like her pets but I can say that I don’t like her. In her book, she advised girls to act like they are rich even if they aren’t. She explained this with something to the effect of (I’m paraphrasing) “Even if you’re pretty, you might as well act rich. Any guy would rather have a girl who is both.” This is a morally bankrupt attitude, which sends the horrible message to impressionable young fans of hers that they’ll never be good enough and that if you aren’t attractive and a liar, you won’t catch a hot guy. Sorry, but I consider her to be a miserable skank with or without a pet.”
Where did the title of your album, The Night The Sun Came Up, come from?
“That’s so funny. Well, I wanted a title that sort of reflected my little transformation from where I was in my hometown to being a traveling musician with a debut album coming out. The album is my fairytale storybook and I felt that the title very much reflected that. It’s very personal, but I also think that people can relate to it in a sense that a lot can happen in the night before the sun comes up, and I think they can hopefully fit all their own little personal stories to it.”
I know when I hear your song; it always brings up great feelings of growing up at that time. It was really a great era of music and a carefree culture.
“And it was such a fun time. We also protested against the Vietnam War, we were active, and we fought for civil rights and woman’s rights. We were concerned about poor people. People just cared about other people and it was a good time.
It really was a time about love and that. And then, unfortunately we came to the era of ‘Me, Me, Me & I.’ It was a totally different thing. Another time. I don’t know if young people today are having as much fun as we did.”
So has success in the last five years changed you? Are you the same Cazwell I spoke to five years ago?
“Ummm, my apartment is bigger – and I have heat now. [Laughs]. I think that I’m able to make a little bit more money, but I don’t think I’ve changed as an artist. For me, still, the biggest pay off is making people happy.. I don’t want to go on stage and perform anything serious. I want to have fun. I want people to have fun when they listen to my music. That’s how I love to touch people.”
This article was originally published HERE.