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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chicago Theater: 10 Attractive Reasons to See 'F**king Men'



Isn't the title alone enough reason to go see this show? It certainly sparked my interest since "fucking" and "men" are two of my favorite words - and playwright Joe DiPietro successfully puts them together to create an entertaining and enlightening evening of theater. I must confess that I wasn't sure what to expect from DiPietro, who is best known for writing "the straightest musical of all time" (according to his program bio), I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, as well as the Broadway musicals, All Shook Up, and the Tony Award-winning Memphis. But after seeing Bailiwick Chicago's current production of Fucking Men, I'm happy to report that the talented guy knows his way around a delicious gay comedy-drama.

Dish of the Day #433: I Love a Parade


This week I'm featuring a few photos I took at Chicago's Pride Parade. Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

DVD Dish: Mad About TV's 'Mad About You'


Back in February I was thrilled to learn that the fourth season of the 1992-99 sitcom, Mad About You, was finally going to be released on DVD by the fabulous folks at Shout! Factory, who acquired the rights to the series. I think my partner and I watched all 164 episodes of this show - even after the baby showed up at the end of the fifth season. We just loved the on-screen chemistry between Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, who always made us laugh and see ourselves in their characters, Paul and Jamie Buchman. They were a great comedic duo. However, during the sitcom's fourth season - which is available on DVD today - the happy couple went through a brief period of trouble in their marriage as the pressure to conceive a child as well as their separate jobs caused them to slowly drift apart. The 24 episodes are still filled with plenty of laughs, but there is definitely a darker edge to the show - especially as the season comes to an end. Below I've selected 10 of my favorite episodes on the DVD, which, of course, I highly recommend for any fan of the series.

1) "New Sleep Walking Plus" (Original Air Date: September 24, 1995)
How can you not like a show that begins with Jamie singing Barry Manilow's 1978 song, "Copacabana", in the bathroom? It's that kind of pop culture kitsch that makes Mad About You so much fun. Also, this episode sets up the season-long theme of the Buchmans trying to have a baby.

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman




Every Tuesday I post five trivia questions relating to television or film, and the first person who sends me the correct answers wins the highly coveted Auntie Mame Award.

Please send your answers for this week's questions to deepdishdrama@aol.com or via a private Facebook message at www.facebook.com/marcharshbarger (DO NOT post your answers on here where everyone can see them or they will be deleted).

Today's trivia is all about the 1976-77 syndicated soap opera parody, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman:

1) What were the names of Mary's husband and daughter?

2) Who played Mary's best friend and neighbor, Loretta? And on what HBO series does she now have a supporting role?

3) In what town and state did the series take place?

4) Who was the "Fernwood Flasher"?

5) On whose daytime talk show did Loretta make a memorable appearance?

Last week Robb C. Sewell-Wolff answered the following questions correctly about the TV soap opera, Dark Shadows:

1) Who released Barnabas Collins from his coffin in 1967, believing that it contained the lost jewels of the Collins family? Willie Loomis

2) What did Maggie Evans originally do for a living? She was a waitress.

3) What were the names of the male and female Frankenstein-like monsters? Adam and Eve

4) What Tony Award-winning actress played Amanda Harris/Olivia Corey? And for what Broadway musical did she win a Tony? Donna McKechnie, A Chorus Line

5) What "TV angel" played Daphne Harridge? Kate Jackson

Dish of the Day #432: I Love a Parade


This week I'm featuring a few photos I took at Chicago's Pride Parade. Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Daytime Emmy Awards + Las Vegas = A Horrible Mess


Last night's 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS was the absolutely worst awards show that I can ever remember watching. Viewers tuning in might have been persuaded to take a trip to Las Vegas to see The Lion King or Jersey Boys, but I seriously doubt the telecast made anyone want to watch a daytime soap opera. The entire show was a commercial for Vegas with a few awards and very brief tributes (except for one) awkwardly inserted into the proceedings. It was a bad embarrassment of an evening - and if the awards are back in Vegas next year, I certainly won't be back to report on them. Daytime soap operas continue to struggle in the ratings, and last night did nothing to help them. Now here are a few more thoughts on the telecast in chronological order:

Susan Lucci looked fabulous. If only she had hosted the show.

Cher? David Letterman? Tony Orlando? Don Rickles? Donny and Marie? Good golly, I was impressed by the diverse line-up of stars announced at the beginning (little did I know that almost all of them would be appearing on video).

I thought host Regis Philbin's "Sin City" connection to soap operas was funny. It rapidly went downhill from there as he asked a surprised Lucci if she had "picked up a pound" in California, where All My Children is now filmed. Nice, Regis, real nice.

I then cringed as Mr. Philbin asked The Bold and the Beautiful's Ronn Moss to take off his shirt in order to help the ratings. Where's Vanessa Williams when you need her?

Battle of the Beefcake: The Final Round


And then there were two. You have until this Thursday (July 1) at midnight to vote for your favorite Playgirl hunk in this final round of Battle of the Beefcake.




Dish of the Day #431: I Love a Parade


This week I'm featuring a few photos I took at Chicago's Pride Parade. Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Don't Rain On My Gay Pride Parade . . .


. . . and it didn't. The stormy morning weather gave way to sunshine in the afternoon, so my partner and I were able to enjoy Chicago's 41st Annual Pride Parade on Sunday. We also discovered a new restaurant, crisp (2940 North Broadway), that was handing out free samples of their delicious Korean Fried Chicken (our spot to watch the festivities was conveniently right outside the place). I will be sharing a few photos I took as Dishes of the Day this week, but here are some other pics.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Top 100 Groovy Gay Movies: 2010 Edition



Last June I posted my list of the Top 100 Groovy Gay Movies (in chronological order). So I decided to revisit the list a year later, adding 13 new films (in bold) that I either completely forgot about last time, that were recommended by readers or that I just saw and enjoyed. Many of the movies are guilty pleasures, a few just have a memorable gay character or scene, and some simply give off a very queer vibe. If I've left off one of your favorites, let me know and maybe you'll see it on next year's list. And in case you're wondering, the photo is of Matthew Goode and Colin Firth in A Single Man, which I highly recommend.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Web Series of the Week: Very Mary-Kate




This week's web series is the wickedly hilarious Very Mary-Kate, "the unofficial biography of Mary-Kate Olsen" starring Elaine Carroll as the self-absorbed former Full House actress (as well as her sister, Ashley). This show makes me laugh out loud, so I'm featuring the four most recent episodes below for your viewing pleasure:

"Nightmare", in which Mary-Kate shows up at the apartment of her bodyguard (played by the incredibly hunky Luke Sholl), who has a surprising secret.

"Zac Efron", in which Mary-Kate has a date with the young actor (Paul Downs).

And the Daytime Emmy Award goes to . . .


The 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be held this Sunday (June 27) at 9 pm (ET) on CBS, broadcasting live from Las Vegas for the first time with Regis Philbin as the host - and the lovely and legendary Agnes Nixon will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Below is a list of the major categories with my predictions in pink, and I'll be posting a review after the telecast.

OUTSTANDING DAYTIME DRAMA SERIES
All My Children
The Bold and the Beautiful
General Hospital
The Young and the Restless (I have to go with the twisted tales of Patty Williams and Adam Newman, both of whom I adore)

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES WRITING TEAM
All My Children
As the World Turns
The Bold and the Beautiful
The Young and the Restless

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES DIRECTING TEAM
All My Children
The Bold and the Beautiful
General Hospital
One Life to Live

Battle of the Beefcake: The Final Four - vote for your favorite hunk!



In order to make Deep Dish even more gay in honor of Gay Pride Month, I thought it would be fun to feature a Battle of the Beefcake contest with 32 Playgirl models competing in 4 Divisions (1970s, 80s, 90s and 00s). The first three rounds narrowed down the list to the final four guys. You have until this Sunday (June 27) at midnight to vote in this round.

Dish of the Day #430: Vote for your Favorite


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day will be featured, and beginning today you can vote for your favorite Dish this week in the sidebar poll.



Last week's contest was won by #425 with 37.4% of the 115 votes cast. Coming in second was #424 with 21.7%, followed by #423 (20%), #421 (14.8%) and #422 with 6.1%.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DVD Dish: More 'Designing Women' and that 'Gorgeous Hussy'


This month I'm dishing about 10 more recently released and future DVDs that I find interesting - including burn-on-demand DVD-Rs. So if you're looking for something gay or diva-licious or just a favorite classic TV series, check out my recommendations below. Hopefully I've selected at least one that's to your liking (click on a title for ordering information).

Groovy Gay Flick Pick: Leslie Jordan: My Trip Down the Pink Carpet

I loved him as Beverley Leslie (Will & Grace) and Brother Boy (Sordid Lives) - and his book was a hilarious hoot - so I'm sure I will enjoy this DVD of the Emmy Award-winning actor's one-man show about his fabulous life, which will be released on August 10. And it's directed by Amanda Bearse, whom I still fondly remember as Amanda on All My Children.

Dish of the Day #429: It's In His Kiss Week


In honor of Gay Pride Month, I'm featuring a few kissing Dishes this week. Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Helen Mirren runs the Best Little Whorehouse in Nevada




Helen Mirren ranks right up there with Meryl Streep as one of our most brilliant actresses. She was amazing in her Academy Award-winning performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film, The Queen - and she's just as wonderful in her latest role as brothel owner Grace Botempo. Instead of reigning over a country as a ceremonial monarch, Mirren is now the madam of "25 psychotic whores" in Love Ranch, an effective drama directed by her husband, Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, Ray). The film was inspired by a New York magazine article (written by Mark Jacobson, who also wrote the screenplay) about Joe and Sally Conforte, who owned the first legal brothel in the United States back in the 1970s - the notorious Mustang Ranch in Nevada.

Groovy Movie Screening: 'Dazed and Confused' in Chicago




I love the 1993 cult coming-of-age comedy, Dazed and Confused, written and directed by Richard Linklater (who has since directed School of Rock, Fast Food Nation and last year's Me and Orson Welles), so I was happy to hear that it has been selected as the next film in the popular Sound Opinions at the Movies series. Co-hosted by acclaimed music critics Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune and Jim DeRogatis of Vocalo.org, Chicago Public Radio's Sound Opinions is the world's only rock 'n' roll talk show, which airs on 94 radio stations around the country. Both men will be on hand to introduce the movie and provide some pre-show commentary when it screens at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport) on Wednesday, July 21, at 7:30 pm.

Dish of the Day #428: It's In His Kiss Week


In honor of Gay Pride Month, I'm featuring a few kissing Dishes this week. Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Battle of the Beefcake, Round 3: Vote for your favorite hunk!




In order to make Deep Dish even more gay in honor of Gay Pride Month, I thought it would be fun to feature a Battle of the Beefcake contest with 32 Playgirl models competing in 4 Divisions (1970s, 80s, 90s and 00s). The first two rounds narrowed down the list to 8 guys, so now it's on to Round 3. You have until this Thursday (June 24) at midnight to vote in the third round.

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Barnabas Collins




Every Tuesday I post five trivia questions relating to television or film, and the first person who sends me the correct answers wins the highly coveted Auntie Mame Award.

Please send your answers for this week's questions to deepdishdrama@aol.com or via a private Facebook message at www.facebook.com/marcharshbarger (DO NOT post your answers on here where everyone can see them or they will be deleted).

Today's trivia is all about the gothic TV soap opera, Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. I can't wait to see the new movie version starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas, which is scheduled to begin filming this fall:

1) Who released Barnabas Collins from his coffin in 1967, believing that it contained the lost jewels of the Collins family?

2) What did Maggie Evans originally do for a living?

3) What were the names of the male and female Frankenstein-like monsters?

4) What Tony Award-winning actress played Amanda Harris/Olivia Corey? And for what Broadway musical did she win a Tony?

5) What "TV angel" played Daphne Harridge?

Last week Fred Sawyers answered the following questions correctly about the TV western, Big Valley:

1) Who played Audra Barkley? And what 1980s prime time TV soap opera did she later star in?  Linda Evans, Dynasty

2) Who played Heath Barkley? And what 1970s science fiction TV series did he later star in?  Lee Majors, The Six Million Dollar Man

3) Who was the illegitimate child of Victoria's late husband - Nick, Heath or Audra?  Heath

4) Did Barbara Stanwyck win an Emmy for her performance as Victoria Barkley?  Yes (in 1966)

5) What state was the show set in?  California

Dish of the Day #427: It's In His Kiss Week


In honor of Gay Pride Month, I'm featuring a few kissing Dishes this week. Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Today's Dishes are Dean Coulter and Mike Roberts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John!




To celebrate the first day of summer, here's one of my favorite seasonal tunes, "Summer Nights", from the musical, Grease. Written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, the song was recorded by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for the 1978 film adaptation. It became a big hit that summer when it was released as a single, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Below you can enjoy the scene from the movie as well as an amusing Lego version.


'The Gates': Desperate Vampires



Yes, ABC's The Gates is yet another vampire drama - but it does have its own original twist that sets it apart from HBO's True Blood and The CW's The Vampire Diaries. Think Desperate Housewives if the Wisteria Lane women had a craving for blood and witchcraft. Actually that show could use a vampire or two after its last dismal season - but I'm not here to discuss that mess of a series. Instead I'm happy to report that I enjoyed The Gates, which debuted last night along with Scoundrels, a comedy-drama starring the lovely Virginia Madsen. However, despite her talented presence and her handsome TV husband, David James Elliott, the show just didn't make me care enough about its characters to tune in again next week. The Gates, on the other hand, captured my attention with its bizarre tale of vampires, werewolves and witches all living together in the same exclusive community - and at the end of the episode, I was curious to find out what happens next, which is always a good sign for a show.

Dish of the Day #426: It's In His Kiss Week


In honor of Gay Pride Month, I'm featuring a few kissing Dishes this week. Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Today's Dishes are Damien Crosse and Eddie Diaz.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Deeper Dish with Nurse Jackie's Stephen Wallem


Actor Stephen Wallem, who plays Nurse Thor on the Showtime series, Nurse Jackie, is living proof of "what a difference a year makes." I've known this groovy and talented guy since his Forever Plaid days in Chicago, so I was thrilled for him when he was cast as Thor. And when he contacted me last July to help spread the word about the show, which was then in its first season, I was, of course, more than happy to oblige. However, I had been kicking around an idea for a new feature called "Deeper Dish", in which I would interview fascinating people about their careers and ask them a few pop culture questions. So I asked Steve if he would be my first interviewee, and being the sweetheart that he is, he immediately agreed (you can read my interview with him by clicking here). One question that I asked him was, "Have you been recognized out in public by any fans?", to which he replied, "I've noticed a few people staring on the street or the subway with that 'How do I know that guy' look, but no one has come up to me yet."

And this brings me back to "what a difference a year makes." Since last July, Steve has been featured in The Advocate, The Chicago Tribune, and on AfterElton.com - and he even got to meet Rosie O'Donnell at a charity event (she later talked about him on her radio show, which you can listen to below). And with the second season of Nurse Jackie having recently aired, Steve is now getting recognized all the time.

Battle of the Beefcake, Round 2: Vote for your favorite hunk!



In order to make Deep Dish even more gay in honor of Gay Pride Month, I thought it would be fun to feature a Battle of the Beefcake contest with 32 Playgirl models competing in 4 Divisions (1970s, 80s, 90s and 00s). Round 1 narrowed down the list to 16 guys, so now it's on to Round 2. You have until this Monday (June 21) at midnight to vote in the second round.


1970s Division









1980s Division









1990s Division









2000s Division







Dish of the Day #425: Vote for your Favorite


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day will be featured, and beginning today you can vote for your favorite Dish this week in the sidebar poll. Today's Dish is Colton Ford.



Last week's contest was won by #418 with 30% of the 130 votes cast. Coming in second was #420 with 23.1%, followed by #417 (20%), #419 (16.9%) and #416 with 10%.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

101 Groovy Movies #4: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls



"This is my happening and it freaks me out!" - Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell

The first time I saw the 1970 cult classic, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, I was totally freaked out by it. "What the hell is this?" I wondered more than once while watching the film, which I thought was supposed to be a sequel to the 1967 movie, Valley of the Dolls - and originally it was intended to be just that. A few years later when the special edition DVD of BVD was released, I decided to give the film a second chance, and this time I absolutely loved it. I guess my taste in movies had become much more eclectic and now I could fully appreciate BVD's "everything and the kitchen sink" spirit. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which was released in theaters 40 years ago today, is definitely a bizarre cinematic experience, but I highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for something entirely different to watch. Upon its initial release, posters for the X-rated film read: "This is not a sequel - there has never been anything like it." Truer words have never been written.

Below you can check out some BVD trivia and photos as well as the three-part DVD documentary, Above, Beneath & Beyond the Valley: The Making of a Musical - Horror - Sex - Comedy.


I still find it hard to believe that film critic Roger Ebert wrote the screenplay for BVD. He also wrote a few others with director Russ Meyer, including 1976's Up! and 1979's Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens.

After two drafts of the screenplay were rejected by 20th Century Fox, Ebert and Meyer revised the story into a spoof of the original 1967 movie with something for everyone - a unique combination of cheesy melodrama, groovy musical and horrific violence with a fair share of sex and nudity thrown in for good measure.


I won't attempt to explain the twisted plot of BVD, but here's the basic premise: Three young women - Kelly, Casey and Petronella (Pet) - arrive in Los Angeles and meet flamboyant producer, Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell, who likes their rock band, The Kelly Affair, so much that he becomes their manager and changes their name to The Carrie Nations. The rest of the movie follows the rocky romances of each of the girls.

Budgeted at a modest $900,000, the film grossed ten times that amount in the U.S. market.

Former actress and current princess, Grace Kelly, who was a member of the board of directors of 20th Century Fox, was outraged when the studio allowed a "pornographer" (Meyer) to make a Hollywood film, and she lobbied to have his contract with Fox terminated. After his next movie flopped at the box office, Fox finally ended its relationship with the director.

The character of Kelly's Aunt Susan was originally conceived as Anne Welles (a character in Valley of the Dolls), but after Jacqueline Susann (the author of Dolls) objected to BVD being presented as a sequel to her original work, this connection was dropped.


Actress Dolly Read (Kelly) later married comedian Dick Martin (Laugh-In) and became a frequent panelist on the game show, Match Game, while Phyllis Davis (Aunt Susan) played Robert Urich's assistant, Beatrice, on TV's Vegas (1978-81).


According to Roger Ebert's DVD commentary, the Z-Man's pad was a set originally to be used in another 20th Century Fox film - Myra Breckinridge.


The violent ending of the film was not in the original script. Ebert and Meyer came up with the idea on the day of shooting, inspired by the recent Manson Family murders.


One of my favorite scenes in the film is an odd "WTF?" moment that makes no sense whatsoever. It's when Kelly and her boyfriend, Harris, go hiking together and have to cross over a creek on a log. If it wasn't for the fact that Harris, who's recovering from paralysis, is on crutches, it would be a perfectly normal scene - but not as strange and funny.


"Don't bogart the joint!" - Petronella Danforth


"You're a groovy boy. I'd like to strap you on sometime" - Ashley St. Ives