“Unsanitized” for your protection: an interview with Bianca Del Rio

Could there possibly be a better way to spend one’s birthday than interviewing RuPaul’s Drag Race’s season six champion Bianca Del Rio? I’ll have to get back to you. But that’s precisely what I did in June 2021. We talked about her writing career, her success as a podcaster, how she passed the time while isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, of course, about her new live show Unsanitized. Coming to a major metro area beginning in September and continuing through November, Bianca Del Rio promises her devotees a night of no-hold-barred barbs and laughs.   Gregg Shapiro: It’s nice to speak with […]

Here, there, and everywhere: an interview with Dar Williams

First of all, if you haven’t seen Antje Duvekot’s stop-motion animation music video for “Today and Every Day,” from Dar Williams’ amazing new album I’ll Meet You Here (Renew Records/BMG), what are you waiting for? It’s the kind of perfect pairing of audio and visual that will remind viewers of the magic of that craft, and make you nostalgic for the heyday of MTV. Of course, “Today and Everyday” is merely one of the 10 incredible songs on what is best described as Williams’ best and most consistently enjoyable album since My Better Self. From the brilliant opener “Time Be My Friend,” featuring guest […]

The Way of the Force: an interview with Q-Force’s Gabe Liedman

Do you love to hear cartoon characters swearing and talking dirty? What about seeing them naked, muscular, and anatomically correct? Oh, and can you dig a story involving brainwashing, world domination and LGBTQ+ folks saving the planet? If so, the hot new Netflix series Q-Force is meant for you! Featuring the voices of a stellar cast of queer and queer-friendly actors including Sean Hayes (voicing Steve Maryweather aka Agent Mary), Wanda Sykes (voicing Deb), Patti Harrison (voicing Stat), Matt Rogers (voicing Twink), Laurie Metcalf (voicing V) and Gabe Liedman (voicing Benji) in lead roles, as well as several other guest stars, Q-Force takes animation […]

Rufus still rules!: an interview with Rufus Wainwright

It’s been said that timing is everything, and in the case of gay singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, the saying holds true. In July of 2020, at least seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, he released his eighth pop music studio album Unfollow the Rules. It was significant because it was his first in 12 years. Full of drama, hopefulness, and humor, it was among his best work, and even earned a Grammy nomination. In the past, Wainwright would have embarked on a multi-city (and continent) concert tour, but that was not possible now. As inventive as ever, Wainwright began presenting a regular series […]

Artist Scott Ponemone On His “2 by 2” Series

Scott Ponemone began capturing portraits of pairs in 2017 for his “2 by 2” watercolor series. Evidently, some would go on to feature masks. He discusses capturing America, choosing subjects, and why he’s really an ethnographer. You typically approach strangers in public at the start of your portraits. What are your best ice breakers? Scott: I’m very straight forward. I approach people with “can I ask you a favor? I’m an artist and I do watercolor portraits of couples.” I show them a finished painting on my phone or an 8 by 11 glossy if I have one with me. […]

Just Say Yeston!: an interview with Maury Yeston

Theater queens know their leading ladies and leading men. True theater queens know their librettists and composers. From Rogers & Hammerstein and Lerner & Loewe to Bernstein, Sondheim, Herman, Schwartz and Miranda. The name Maury Yeston also belongs on that list. Yeston, the man behind Tony Award-winners Nine and Titanic, as well as Grand Hotel, Death Takes A Holiday, and what has come to be known as the “other” Phantom of the Opera, has had a fantastic career in the theater. As if to drive home that point, we have two recently released albums; Maury Sings Yeston and Anything Can […]

Making the yuletide gay: an interview with actress Mary Steenburgen

Happiest Season (Hulu), written and directed by out actor Clea Duvall, is one of the queer Christmas movies that are especially popular this holiday season. Lesbian couple Abby (out actor Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) are on their way to spend Christmas with Harper’s family. But there’s a twist, not revealed to Abby until they are almost there; Harper’s not out to her parents, Tipper (Mary Steenburgen) and politician Ted (out actor Victor Garber), or her sisters Jane (Mary Holland) and Sloane, with whom she is extremely competitive. This closeted fact leads to all sorts of wacky shenanigans and a […]

Good as Golding: an interview with actor Henry Golding

In a relatively short period of time, actor and straight ally Henry Golding’s star has ascended, making him one of the most recognizable names and faces on film. Beginning with the double whammy of 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians and A Simple Favor, and continuing with 2019’s Last Christmas and The Gentlemen, Golding is a hot commodity. In addition to these high-profile movies, Golding also ventured into the world of independent features with Monsoon (Strand Releasing), written and directed by gay filmmaker Hong Khaou (2014’s Lilting). In Monsoon, Golding plays Kit, a gay man who left Vietnam for the UK with his parents when he was a young boy. He returns, […]

Capital idea: an interview with Kim Roberts, editor of By Broad Potomac’s Shore

As compared to New York, San Francisco or Chicago, Washington DC might not be among the first places the average person thinks of when it comes to poetry. But thanks to queer poet/historian/educator Kim Roberts that is changing. Beginning with her groundbreaking 2018 book A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston, Roberts wisely turned our attention to the city’s rich literary history. For her new book, By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poets from the Early Days of the Nation’s Capital (University of Virginia Press, 2020), narrows her expansive focus from all writers to […]

The Aggie and the ecstasy: an interview with filmmaker Catherine Gund

Lesbian documentary filmmaker Catherine Gund has an exceptional eye for subject matter when it comes to her movie projects. Of course, it helps that she was already familiar with the people, including gay performance artist Ron Athey, the late lesbian Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, and choreographer Elizabeth Streb, who is also a lesbian. However, she probably wasn’t as well acquainted with them as she is with the subject of her new doc Aggie (Strand Releasing/Aubin Pictures), which is about her mother; art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund. Agnes’ name may be familiar to some readers from her tenure as president […]