Billy Masters 12.14.23

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Billy Masters 12.14.23

Every once in a while, I like to enlighten you on notable moments of history that perhaps have slipped through the crevices of American curriculum. I recently came across a story which took place on December 16, 1773. I believe Joy Behar was celebrating her 5th birthday. On that fateful day 250 years ago, the Boston Tea Party took place — and this was long before we gays co-opted the term "tea party". I was taught that the colonists raided a British ship and tossed bales of tea into the Boston Harbor to protest taxation. Here's what nobody ever mentioned — the name of that ship was The Beaver! Yes, The Beaver was pillaged and plundered, and whatever else you can do that begins with a "P". So, for heaven's sake, if you can remember The Maine, please don't forget The Beaver!

I love when I hear good news about a friend, and my pal Darlene Love just got some very good news. In fact, it's very overdue good news. Her perennial holiday classic, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", just went platinum! And she had the platinum album presented to her by none other than Bruce Springsteen! It happened at Love's holiday show at New York's Town Hall on November 30th. The "overdue" part is because the song was released in 1963. This year, the single has had a bit of resuscitation since Cher included it on her Christmas collection — and turned it into a duet with Love. Fun fact — Cher actually sang backup on the original recording 60 years ago! Even more fun — during several of Cher's tours, Darlene sang backup for her! She's featured prominently on Cher's "Live from the Mirage" concert video from 1990.

Not to be outdone, Cher got some good news of her own. Her single, "DJ Play a Christmas Song", just went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. While that might sound impressive, it bears noting she has not had a #1 on that chart since 1989's "If I Could Turn Back Time" ("Believe" topped the Pop chart in 1999).

One person puts them both to shame. Brenda Lee has been singing "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" for 65 years. And last week, the song went five—times platinum and finally hit #1 on the Hot 100! She recorded the song when she was 13 — which, for those of you doing the math, still makes her younger than Darlene Love, but a year older than Cher. While this is the third #1 of Lee's career, it is the first time the song hit the top of the charts. The secret sauce (so to speak) was that this year she released a music video for the song — which featured Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood. You rock, Brenda!

Proving he is more than an ally, Pope Francis has taken decisive action against Cardinal Raymond L. Burke. The Cardinal from Wisconsin has been quite critical of Franny — specifically his efforts to attract more LGBT members to the church. Ray even said, "The sheep depend on the courage of pastors who must protect them from the poison of confusion, error and division." That might explain why Burke was just shorn of his apartment in Vatican say nothing of his salary. You can lead a sheep to water...

What happens to people who don't have a career? They start a podcast. "Amy & T.J." comes from Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, former co-workers on "Good Morning America" who were fired when their secret affair went public. "We're the folks who lost the jobs they love because we love each other," they say. I confess I still don't understand why ABC fired them, since they really didn't do anything wrong. Unless you were married to them.

This leads to one of my favorite stories of the year. According to reports, the former spouses of Robach and Holmes are dating...each other! Allegedly, Andrew Shue (formerly of "Melrose Place") and Marilee Fiebig have been dating for six months. Of course, nobody will confirm the report. Maybe they're trying to keep it a secret!

Time for another installment of "Billy's Holiday Gift Giving Suggestions". And this week's selection ties in with the last two weeks beautifully. Author Eddie Shapiro has been on our list twice before with his Broadway books, "Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater" and "A Wonderful Guy: Conversations with the Great Men of Musical Theater". Third time's a charm with his latest opus: "Here's to the Ladies: Conversations with More of the Great Women of Musical Theater". Yes, we get more Broadway babes — but these all—new interviews include the previously unpublished chapter about Barbara Cook alongside people like Kelli O'Hara, Heather Headley, Judy Kuhn, Adrienne Warren, Marin Mazzie, and even Stephanie J. Block, whose holiday album was last week's suggestion. Come to think of it, Eddie chatted with Chita Rivera in his first book, and she was our first suggestion of the season with her new ornament for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. "Here's to the Ladies" is dishy, juicy, and fun. It'll make the perfect gift for your theater—loving friends. The icing on the cake? Your humble scribe got an acknowledgement in the preface. Thanks, baby!

Our "Ask Billy" question is about some other ladies. Harry in Seattle writes, "Because of you, I watched "Ladies of the '80s: A Divas Christmas". I'm curious about the guys. Who is that British guy who played Alex? WOOF! And the opening credits listed Scott Evans, but I never saw him. Did he get left on the cutting room floor?"

Lifetime's attempt at a holiday flick starring five nighttime soap divas had its moments. But it is definitely not the film they intended to make. Pretty much nothing about the ages or relationships or story makes much sense. Nicollette Sheridan's character talks about going to Limelight in NYC with her "bestie" Donna Mills back in the day. However, Mills is 22 years older than Nic — so it's unlikely that a 21—year—old was clubbing regularly with her 43—year—old co—star. And on the soap, Morgan Fairchild played the mother (well, maybe stepmother) to Sheridan, Mills, Linda Gray, and Loni Anderson. Except Fairchild is younger than all her "children" — with the exception of Sheridan. Turns out Joan Collins was originally cast as "mother", Morgan was going to play the Nicollette role, and Jaclyn Smith was going to play the Linda Gray part. Then the writers and actors' strikes loomed, and Lifetime gave them 13 days to shoot the movie or scrap it. The scheduling didn't work for Joan and Jaclyn, who dropped out, Morgan decided she'd rather play "mother", and Nicollette and Gray joined the cast. One additional detail bears mentioning. When the characters are texting each other, the graphics show the actresses' real names, not their characters' names! Simply put, this movie is a mess...but a fun mess.

Getting back to Harry's question, let's talk about the guys. He didn't mention it, but I thought it was clever to have Christopher Atkins play Gray's love interest...again! As for Scott Evans, he was in there. I know you were expecting Chris Evans' hunky (and gay) brother. Wrong one! This Scott Evans is actually an entertainment reporter on "Access Hollywood". As to Alex, he was played by Travis Burns — who is Australian, thank you very much — although he has some Brit in him. Alas, not in the romantic sense. He is reportedly straight, with a wife and a kid. Still, I found him reminiscent of a young Maxwell Caulfield in "Grease 2" — and I can't think of a better compliment. And the scene when he was writing the soap in his underwear? Let's just say I was mighty distracted. If the writer of this flick looked like that, you'd be calling me little Billy Zimmerman! Still, I'm in debt to Stan for including the scene — which you can see on

When we're bringing you ladies of the '80s and tea of the '70s (the 1770s), we've definitely come to the end of yet another column. We may be closing in on the end of the year, but we still have a couple more weeks of fresh dish for you at — the site which rarely focuses on Beaver! If you need some tea, send a note to [email protected] and I promise to get back to you before Timothée Chalamet gets a job with AAA! So, until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.