Graham Chapman came out while working on the sketch comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus. He discusses his activism to support gay rights, as well as the many times the television program lampooned conventional masculinity.
Charles Busch's off-Broadway send-up of classic beach movies features men in drag playing female roles. Critic-at-large Laurie Stone says the play offers a unique but problematic commentary on gender roles.
The drag artist, also known as Lipsynka, has a new one-person show in which he mimes the lyrics to women pop stars and fame-obsessed divas. Critic-at-large Laurie Stone calls the performance lovely and purposefully crude.
Dame Edna Everage. Dame Edna describes herself as a housewife, megastar, investigative journalist, chanteuse, swami and polymath. She's become a media star in England and Australia, and has just written her memoir, called "My Gorgeous Life: The Life, The Loves, The Legend" (published by Simon and Schuster). Dame Edna, in case you didn't know, is a fictitious creation, the alter-ego of Australian comic Barry Humphries.
Playwright, female impersonator, and now novelist Charles Busch. His play, the camp classic, "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom," was the longest-running play in Off-Broadway history. His other plays include, "Psycho Beach Party," and "Red Scare on Sunset." He has a new show which parodies the variety shows of the 60s, "The Charles Busch Revue," in which he makes seven costume changes in an hour and 15 minutes. One reviewer writes, "Among New York's drag performers, he is certainly the most congenial.
Emily Wortis Leider has written a new biography of Mae West, "Becoming Mae West" (Farrar, Straus, Giroux). Leider’s book examines the early, formative years of West who was famous for witty one-liners, promiscuity, and being censored. Mae West started out as a vaudeville performer before launching a successful career in film. In the 1930’s she starred in "She Done Him Wrong," based on her play "Diamond Lil" and "I'm No Angel," two of her biggest films.
Actor, singer and drag queen Ru Paul. The six-foot seven entertainer is even taller in heels and has fashioned for himself a supermodel persona. He attributes his mainstream appeal to his non-threatening sexuality and his “non-bitchy” drag queen personality. Ru Paul is appearing out of drag in the new comedy “But I’m A Cheerleader.” He plays an ex-gay rehab counselor. Ru Paul’s other films include “Crooklyn,” “The Brady Bunch Movie,” and “Wigstock the Movie.” (THIS INTERVIEW CONTINUES INTO THE SECOND HALF OF THE SHOW).
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a martial arts instructor in the new David Mamet film, Redbelt. Before starring in movies, Ejiofor was a prominent stage actor in England. Since then, he's appeared in Dirty Pretty Things, Children of Men and American Gangster.