Holiday Playlist To Keep Your Christmas Day Merry & Bright

Bringing you 10 holiday songs for your uber-gay Christmas Day.

All of these artists are proudly LGBTQ and celebrated for their artistry in their respective genres.

1. George Michael (back in his Wham! days) delivered unto us this now-required listening holiday pop gem, “Last Christmas,” in 1986.

2. Out country hunk Ty Herndon takes the iconic “O Come All Ye Faithful” into African rhythm territory here, and it totes works.

3. It doesn’t get any more camp than this: the first true bear band, Bearforce1, with their holiday mashup, “Christmas is here!”

4. Two-time Out Music Award winner Matt Zarley covered Mariah Carey’s “Miss You Most At Christmastime” to spectacular result as part of his ‘UnCOVERED’ cover song series.

5. Award-winning cabaret star Ann Hampton Callaway offers this uber-jazzy “Jingle Bells.”

6. Before winning an Emmy Award as an insane murderer on American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Darren Criss’ “Blaine” was singing and dancing the holiday classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in high style with out actor Chris Colfer’s “Kurt” on GLEE.

7. Tony Award winner Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet) gives you a little bit gospel, a little bit rockabilly on his new cover of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

8. Elton John released his “Step Into Christmas” in 1973 and it raced all the way to #1 on the Billboard Christmas Singles chart that year.

9. Handsome out smooth jazz saxophonist Dave Koz shared this cover of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” on his 1997 release, December Makes Me Feel This Way.

10. Bright Light Bright Light gifted us with this synth-pop version of the classic “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”


News Round-Up: November 29, 2019

Instahunks Justin and Nick

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Often, holidays don’t go quite as you planned. Justin and Nick (above) share that their Thanksgiving is starting a day late after Nick was called into work unexpectedly. Sometimes, couples have to rock and roll a bit.

KIT212: Kenneth has the low-down on the what’s what in local LGBTQ publications across the country.

The Gaily Grind: Kid Rock was dragged off-stage at his own Tennesee bar after a racist tirade about Oprah.

Instinct: The internet goes ga-ga over viral video of two gay men finding out they’re about to become da-das.

AskGayBros: A thread on Reddit inquires about advice or issues to discuss in exploring a couple’s possible first three-some.

Washington Blade: Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening says she’s ‘very, very proud’ of her transgender son.

NewNowNext: Jonathan James offers his insights into becoming a gay pup: “I always compare being a pup to being a drag queen: No two queens are the same.”

Cover Song: I admit to giving a side-eye to the idea of covering The Boss, but I have to say Darren Criss’ funk cover of “Dancing in the Dark” lands for me. Take a listen and let me know what you think. Happy Friday, everyone!

Darren Criss Doesn’t Want To Take Any More Gay Roles From Gay Actors

Darren Criss (image via Facebook)

Darren Criss first burst onto the national stage playing openly gay ‘Blaine Anderson’ on the hit TV series, GLEE.

He followed that with an acclaimed turn on Broadway in the decidedly queer title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

And now, after his star-making performance as ‘Andrew Cunanan’ in the TV mini-series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, he’s not only won a Prime-time Emmy Award but is nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award.

But Criss has decided to no longer take on gay roles – and for the very best reason.

“There are certain [queer] roles that I’ll see that are just wonderful,” Criss recently shared in an interview with Bustle. “But I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”

Calling the creative experiences of playing these varied queer roles “a real joy,” Criss says he isn’t comfortable taking those roles, which he describes as “unfortunate.”

“The reason I say that is because getting to play those characters is inherently a wonderful dramatic experience,” the 31-year-old told Bustle. “It has made for very, very compelling and interesting people.”

As we’ve reported several times on Instinct, there’s an important, ongoing discussion about straight people playing gay roles, cisgender actors taking on transgender characters

GLAAD noted in its 2018 “Where We Are On TV” report that of 857 series regular characters on the five broadcast networks (ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, The CW) in primetime in the upcoming TV year, only 75 were identified as LGBTQ. And, at 8.8 percent, this is the highest representation of LGBTQ characters the “Where We Are On TV” report has ever seen.

Criss acknowledges the issue of representation in film and television has been on his mind more lately having played ‘Cunanan,’ a Filipino-American. Criss’s mother hails from the Philippines and the bombastic role was the first time he was playing a character with which he shared that commonality.

He’s also aware that Asian-American roles only make up about 1% of leading roles in television and film.

Looking forward, as television series from the past are getting the reboot treatment – like the recent Queer As Folk announcement – Criss is pretty confident he’s not all that interested in returning to the world of GLEE.

When asked if he’d consider revisiting GLEE’s ‘Blaine Anderson,’ Criss is of a ‘never say never’ mindset, but also doesn’t think that would happen anytime soon anyway.

“It’s not because I don’t love GLEE, or didn’t love my time on GLEE, it’s just GLEE was a new thing,” he told Bustle. “The thing that made it special was its freshness. That’s hard to recreate.”

“I like what it celebrated,” adds Criss. “New faces and new voices and I’d want to see that incarnated but with somebody new.”

Big Night At The 2018 Emmy Awards For LGBTs

It was a great night for LGBT-themed entertainment last night at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards as RuPaul's Drag Race and the FX series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story took home top honors in their categories.
RuPaul accepts the Emmy Award for “Best Reality Competition Series”

It was a great night for LGBT-themed entertainment last night at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards as RuPaul’s Drag Race and the FX series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story took home top honors in their categories.

Making Emmy Award history, RuPaul’s Drag Race won for “Best Reality Competition Series” and RuPaul took home his own Emmy for “Best Host of a Reality Competition Series.” This is the first time one series has won both awards in the reality category in the same year.

Accepting the honor for the series, RuPaul thanked all those who have supported and contributed to the success of the show, as well as, “all of the dreamers out there.”

The ‘Supermodel of the World’ closed his thanks by reminding folks, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else.”

In the “Best Limited Series” category, The Assassination of Gianni Versace garnered three Emmys last night, adding to the two won last week at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

In addition to the “Best Limited Series” trophy, Darren Criss, who turned in a star turn as gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan, won for “Best Actor in a Limited Series.”

And uber-gay creator and producer of the show, Ryan Murphy, won the award for Directing for the Gianni Versace episode, “The Man Who Would Be Vogue.”

In accepting the award for “Best Limited Series,” he dedicated the moment to the LGBTQ community.

Here’s the full list of 2018 Emmy Award winners:

Drama Series

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Comedy Series

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Limited Series

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)

Lead actress in a drama series

Claire Foy in The Crown

Lead actor in a drama series

Matthew Rhys in The Americans

Lead actress in a limited series or movie

Regina King in Seven Seconds

Lead actor in a limited series or movie

Darren Criss in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Lead actress in a comedy series

Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Lead actor in a comedy series

Bill Hader in Barry

Supporting actor in a drama series

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones

Supporting actress in a drama series

Thandie Newton in Westworld

Supporting actor in a comedy series

Henry Winkler in Barry

Supporting actress in a comedy series

Alex Borstein in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Supporting actor in a limited series or movie

Jeff Daniels in Godless

Supporting actress in a limited series or movie

Merritt Wever in Godless

Reality-competition program

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Variety talk series

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Variety sketch series

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Directing for a comedy series

Amy Sherman-Palladino for: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (‘Pilot’)

Directing for a drama series

Stephen Daldry for: The Crown (‘Paterfamilias’)

Directing for a limited series, TV movie or dramatic special

Ryan Murphy for: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (‘The Man Who Would Be Vogue’)

Writing for a comedy series

Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (“Pilot”)

Writing for a drama series

Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg for: The Americans (‘Start’)

Writing for a limited series, TV movie or dramatic special

William Bridges and Charlie Brooker for: USS Callister: Black Mirror

Writing for a variety series

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)

Ricky Martin & Darren Criss Teaser Promos For Upcoming “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace”

FX is ramping up the promotion for the second season of Ryan Murphy’s true crime anthology, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

The second season of ACS will focus on the vicious shooting death of designer Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion.

The cast couldn’t get much more A-List: Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace,  Ricky Martin as Antonio D’Amico, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, and Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace.

The first season of the series, The People v. O. J. Simpson, racked up 22 Emmy nominations and celebrated 9 wins including “Outstanding Limited Series.”

The network recently dropped two short promo videos.

The first features Ramirez relaxing poolside as Criss emerges from the water behind him. The cinematography is gorgeous.

And in a clip titled “Partner Preview,” Ricky Martin (who stars as Versace’s lover Antonio D’Amico) hears guns shots outside their fabulous Miami mansion and runs to investigate.

The home, which now operates as a boutique hotel, was the location for the entire series shoot.

Watch for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace to debut on FX January 17.

Darren Criss Offers Acoustic “I Dreamed A Dream” From Les Miz

Intersecting Broadway, folk and pop, GLEE star Darren Criss released this stripped down, acoustic version of “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables as he announced Elsie Fest 2017.

This third iteration of the popular music fest will again bring together “stars and songs from the stage and screen” on Oct. 8 at City Park’s SummerStage in New York City’s Central Park.

It took me a few phrases to buy into what Criss is doing here, but he proves again that a great song, coupled with authentic story-telling, is always a winning combination.

Watch below.

First Look: “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace”

Entertainment Weekly has the first look at the followup to last year’s wildly successful mini-series by Ryan Murphy, The People v. O.J. Simpson.

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace will star Edgar Ramírez as the murdered designer, Ricky Martin as Versace’s lover, GLEE’s Darren Criss as murderer Andrew Cunanan, and Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace.

Due in early 2018.

Taye Diggs To Star In Broadway’s “Hedwig And The Angry Inch”

Playbill is reporting that Taye Diggs, best known for his roles in Rent, “The Good Wife” and “Murder in the First,” will take over the title role in the Tony-winning revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on July 22nd, succeeding GLEE’s Darren Criss. Diggs will star in the hit musical for a limited 12 week run.

Currently starring in the TV show “Murder in the First,” Diggs has previously appeared on the Great White Way in Carousel, Rent, Chicago and Wicked.

He has appeared on the TV shows “Ally McBeal,” “Will & Grace,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice” and “The Good Wife” as well as in the musical movies “Chicago” and “Rent.”

Previous Hedwigs on Broadway include Darren Criss, John Cameron Mitchell, Michael C Hall, Andrew Rannells and Neil Patrick Harris.

Hedwig marks Diggs’ return to Broadway after a 12 year absence.

Darren Criss Is Ready For His ‘Hedwig’ Close-Up

Former GLEE star tweeted out the first look at his “Hedwig” for his upcoming three month run on the Great White Way in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH.

Criss follows John Cameron Mitchell, the Tony Award-winning Neil Patrick Harris, Michael Patrick Hall and Andrew Rannells in the role.

Criss made his Broadway debut during a vacation run in the recent revival of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS…

He appears in the hit musical from April 29 – July 19.

GLEE Weddings – “I Am A Work In Progress”

GLEE heads toward it’s series finale, I am reminded that at one time I was a big Gleek and loved how fresh the show was.

I haven’t watched GLEE regularly in years, but every now and then I catch an episode and remember how much the series has done to bring LGBT lives into America’s living rooms.

This past week was no exception as Kurt & Blaine and Santana & Brittany exchanged wedding vows in a surprise double ceremony.

And look – Gloria Estefan made it to the weddings!