They Will Rock You

First things first, for all of those concerned about the way that Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality is depicted in the Bryan Singer’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, you can relax. From the minute you first see Mercury, played brilliantly by Rami Malek (complete with prosthetic teeth), there is no doubt that the king of Queen was, in fact, a queen. Yes, his relationship with “fiancée” Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) gets a fair amount of screen time. But, so do his same-sex attractions, from being cruised by a trucker outside of a men’s room to his relationships with manager Paul (Allen Leech) and […]

Putting the Spice in Advice An interview with Bianca Del Rio

When I first heard that Bianca Del Rio had written a book, in true Bianca Del Rio fashion I thought, “Wrote a book? I didn’t even know she could read a book!” Cue the laughs. Undoubtedly the greatest success story that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” ever launched out of the starting gate, Del Rio consistently sells out concert venues for her live shows, has graced the silver screen in Hurricane Bianca and its new sequel Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With Hate (Hurricanebianca.com), and now has a new book of advice, Blame it on Bianca Del Rio (Dey Street, 2018) to her […]

A Celebration of Love & Life at Sundance

The celebration of the year is happening at Rehoboth Beach this weekend. Join CAMP (“Create A More Positive”) Rehoboth at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center on September 1st and 2nd as they celebrate love and life at Sundance 2018 – Rainbow XXXI: In the Name of Love. This annual fundraising event is one you won’t want to miss. Sundance began in 1988. Founders Steve Elkins and Murray Archibald were celebrating their tenth anniversary and wanted to do something special. “It was the height of the AIDS epidemic, and our friends were dying,” says Archibald. “We lived in New York, and […]

The Disco Diva’s Diva An interview with the legendary Linda Clifford

As disco divas go, few are as down-to-earth, warm, and genuine as Linda Clifford. Forty years after the release of her breakout album If My Friends Could See Me Now was released, featuring the chart-topping dance club hit title track, Clifford is still hard at work, regularly touring as one of the First Ladies of Disco (along with Martha Wash, Evelyn “Champagne” King, and Norma Jean Wright) and performing at various festivals and fairs. Four of Clifford’s most cherished albums, the aforementioned If My Friends Could See Me Now, as well as 1979’s Let Me Be Your Woman and Here’s […]

One of the Great Believers-An interview with writer Rebecca Makkai

If you’ve been waiting for the arrival of the best book of 2018, look no further than The Great Believers (Viking, 2018), the new novel by Rebecca Makkai. Starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, as well as an A- review in Entertainment Weekly, are not exaggerations. Makkai’s dazzling epic about the AIDS epidemic and its impact on a group of friends in Chicago during the 1980s is insightful, sensitive, revelatory and nothing short of a tearjerker. I had the privilege of speaking with Rebecca on June 19th, the publication date of The Great Believers. Gregg Shapiro: Rebecca, I’d […]

Addiction & His Muse

When it comes to album titles, gay singer / songwriter Steve Grand came up with a good one for his second album. Not the End of Me (Stevegrand.com), on which Grand deals with his pre-sobriety downward spiral, is definitely fitting. Facing his demons head on, Grand has written some of his most visceral songs for this album (check out “Disciple”). Nevertheless, Grand knows his fan-base well enough to also include the kinds of songs his devoted followers will appreciate, as in the case of “You or the Music.” We spoke about the new album and his newfound clarity in July […]

Kinsey Reports An interview with gay hip-hop artist Roy Kinsey

It’s no exaggeration to say that 2018 looks to be Roy Kinsey’s year. The release of his brilliant new album Blackie: A Story by Roy Kinsey (Roykinsey.com) in February was followed by well-deserved positive attention from NPR and Billboard magazine. And rightfully so. The gay Chicago-based rapper (and librarian) has crafted an album that is representative of the way that queer rap artists are evolving as rapidly as their straight counterparts. Roy was kind enough to answer a few questions about the album and his career in April. Gregg Shapiro: You first crossed my radar in 2013, when you were […]

‘American’ Legend An interview with Don McLean, singer/songwriter honored by the Library of Congress

“American Pie,” written and recorded by Don McLean, is one of the most enduring songs of the last 50 years. Described by McLean as simply being about America, it’s as famous for its irresistible chorus as it is for its many references to pop music icons. McLean also wrote several other tunes that have become a part of the American songbook, including “And I Love You So” and “Vincent.” I spoke with McLean about his career in advance of his concert tour. Gregg Shapiro: I’d like to begin by congratulating you on the addition of your 1971 hit “American Pie” […]

Betty Hoopla An interview with Betty Who

Betty Who’s gay fans love her and she loves them right back. With a voice as big as Australia (that’s where she was born Jessica Anne Newham), Betty Who is someone who knows the value of an anthem. After all, she packed both her 2014 debut Take Me When You Go and 2017 follow-up The Valley with memorable ones. One such tune, “Somebody Loves You,” figured prominently into a viral Youtube video, featuring a dancing flash mob, in which a gay man proposed to his boyfriend in a Home Depot in Utah. Known for including LGBTQ Pride festivals as part […]

New World Record An interview with Tracey Thorn

  It’s not too soon to say that Record (Merge), the new album by Tracey Thorn (of Everything Bhe Girl fame), bowing in early March, is one of the best records of 2018. The nine songs are the perfect combination of thought provoking lyrics and emotions, most of which are set to irresistible dance beats. The only complaint listeners could possibly have is that at just 36 minutes, it all ends too soon. The solution is to listen to it again and again. I had the privilege of speaking with Tracey shortly before the album was released. Gregg Shapiro: Tracey, […]