News Round-Up: December 27, 2020

Scarlett sleeps on my head
Me and my sleeping companion, Scarlett

Some news items you might have missed:

Life: In an attempt to escape Brody’s over-the-top puppy energy last night, this (above) was where Scarlett decided she wanted to sleep. #doglife You can check out more photos of the pups first Christmas with us here.

Gr8erDays: The Santa and Rudolph puppets used in the 1964 stop-motion classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the only known survivors), were appraised and sold in 2006 for $10,000. Last month, the pair sold at auction for $368,000, and are now on loan to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.

KIT212: Check out Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the what’s what in LGBTQ publications like Eric Guilmette covering the latest from Wire Magazine.

Eric Guilmette covers Wire Magazine
Eric Guilmette covers the latest issue of Wire Magazine

Deadline: I was excited for, but somewhat disappointed by, the recently released Wonder Woman 1984. Most of the smart folks I follow on social media felt the same way. And yet, the film did well enough ($85 million worldwide so far) that Wonder Woman 3 has been fast-tracked.

Mediaite: During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir said Sunday he’s encouraged by the timeline of the vaccine rollout and expects that “any American who wants a vaccine can be vaccinated by June.”

LA Blade: After months of developing an Instagram following that revolved around their married life together, husbands Matthew Olshefski & Paul Castle woke up on December 20 to find their account had been pulled down. A short message informed them the account was disabled “for pretending to be someone else.” In a post on his own account, Olshefski wrote:

“On December 20, hundreds of LGBTQ+ creators were targeted by trolls. Instagram is ignoring the bug that allows trolls to get an account taken down and is not responding to requests to have accounts reinstalled. Our couple’s account was disabled for ‘pretending to be someone else’ — this is a tactic used by hate groups to disable and erase the presence of LGBTQ+ creators on Instagram.”

Shirtless Violinist Weaves ‘Mary Poppins’ Musical Magic

Matthew Olshefski, “The Shirtless Violinist,” debuts his latest music video inspired by the recent Disney film, Mary Poppins Returns.

Olshefski shares that in his strict childhood household, the television remained off during the day. No movies, no television whatsoever.

Except one time.

During a chicken pox outbreak that got Olshefski and his brother and sister, the trio was so miserable due to the itching, his mother agreed to bring the television set out of the closet (serious metaphor there) and allowed them to watch Mary Poppins as a distraction.

While only a temporary fix, the Disney magic of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke kept the itching at bay for at least an afternoon our shirtless hero never forgot.

Those musical memories and the recent reboot moved him to shoot his new music video complete with hunky pianist, Johnny Walsh.

Johnny Walsh

The video begins with the camera gliding in through the clouds (sans umbrella) to what appears to be an English mansion much like the Banks family occupies in the Poppins films.

Moving from the expansive gardens to inside the house, the Shirtless Violinist delivers his own touch of magic.

All the songs we know so well – “Feed the Birds,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” – are artfully woven in here.

Olshefski even wears red pants in homage to Poppins’ famous red coat as the camera rises back up and into the clouds.

Well done, Shirtless Violinist!

I’ve previously covered several of Olshefski’s videos here.

And you should check out more of his music on his official website here.

Hit the play button below. I promise it’s better than a spoon full of sugar.

The Shirtless Violinist Goes The Distance As ‘Hercules’ This Halloween

Shirtless Violinist Matthew Olshefski and pianist Johnny Walsh

With Halloween just a few days away, Matthew Olshefski, the Shirtless Violinist, shares that he wanted to dress up as a 90s Disney Prince.

After a survey of his fans, the decision was made to go with ‘Hercules,’ which also came with the built-in choice of song for a music video, “Go The Distance.”

Now, the Shirtless Violinist can’t be donning a bulky toga as the muscle-bound Demi-god, so the search was on for a more ‘shirtless’ appropriate costume.

Olshefski found a gladiator costume online that seemed to fit the bill, and they were priced 2-for-1!

Matthew called up handsome pianist Johnny Walsh, who’s collaborated on a few past music videos, and the casting was set.

Pianist Johnny Walsh guests on the new music video

The duo came up with a music video featuring the friendship (or more?) of ‘Big Hercules’ and ‘Little Hercules’ with some male-bonding/mentoring theme going on.

According to Olshefski, the only snag in shooting the video was when it came to teaching ‘Little Hercules’ to skip a rock across water. Apparently, neither Olshefski nor Walsh nor any member of the crew could skip and rock.

“Can you skip a rock?” “I thought YOU could skip a rock…?”

Spoiler: the results you seen in the video represent some ‘movie magic’ shot weeks later at a lake 🙂

In any case, the result is (in the motto of the Shirtless Violinist) “easy on the eyes and the ears.”

Listen and watch the Shirtless Violinist’s take on the Hercules classic, “Go The Distance,” below.

Happy Sunday!

New From The Shirtless Violinist “Bring Him Home”

Perfect for a Sunday afternoon, check out the latest from the “Shirtless Violinist,” Matthew Olshefski.

With a gorgeous take on a classic song from the international musical hit, Les Miserables, Olshefski puts a new spin on “Bring Him Home.”

“Our idea was to expand on the modern-day love story we began to tell last April,” writes Olshefski. “Using a unique framing device, we wanted to show a few of the moments we all experience in relationships. From the first chance encounter, to falling in love, and all the little moments in between.”

Plus, there’s a little surprise in the last seconds of the music video 🙂

Watch below and find more of the “Shirtless Violinist” on YouTube here.

Podcast: My Interview With ‘The Shirtless Violinist’ Matthew Ohlshefski

 On this week's episode of The Randy Report podcast,  I’m chatting with Matthew Ohlshefski - who you may know better as YouTube’s Shirtless Violinist.
Matthew Ohlshefski – The Shirtless Violinist

On this week’s episode of The Randy Report podcast,  I’m chatting with Matthew Ohlshefski – who you may know better as YouTube’s Shirtless Violinist.

Matthew joins me to talk about his wildly popular series of shirtless music videos showcasing his musical artistry.

I’ve written about Matthew and his music many times here

Since 2016, the classically trained musician has combined the violin with sex appeal and a splash of humor channeling his passion for music into his own uber-successful YouTube channel that’s garnered millions of views and has over 22,000 subscribers.

His music videos range from pop songs like Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect,” Adele’s “Someone Like You,” Sia’s “Chandelier” to Gay Disney Fairy Tale remakes including The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast to soundtrack covers like The Greatest Showman, Star Wars, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Stranger Things.

Today, Matthew shares how the ‘shirtless violinist’ came to be, plus some of the obstacles he’s faced along the way not only creating the videos but dodging some dodgy moves by internet trolls.

Make sure you check out his YouTube channel here.

Tom Goss & The Shirtless Violinist Cover “Perfect”

Singer-songwriter Tom Goss met up with The Shirtless Violinist to record a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.”

Matthew Olshefski, ‘The Shirtless Violinist,’ shares:

“Tom is an LA-based singer-songwriter who has been making viral music videos for years. He is an extraordinary guy with a mission to create content that uplifts the LGBTQ community, and he uses his voice (and incredibly songwriting abilities) to tell stories that are unique to the Queer community – with a special emphasis on BEARS!

“I had the pleasure of performing a song live onstage with Tom a few weeks ago while he was touring through Seattle (also when we managed to film this video on a rare sunny day in the Emerald City) – and the theater was packed with bears!! It was amazing! I’ve never had so many great hugs in one night.

“As you know, I recently covered this very song on my violin, but I really wanted to work with a singer so we could alter the lyrics ever-so-slightly. I think the twist on the words give this song a brand new feel, and I loved performing it with Tom.”

Really quite lovely. Beautiful musicality and Tom’s voice suits the arrangement perfectly.

The track is available on iTunes. Watch below.

News Round-Up: November 28, 2017

Some news items you might have missed:

• The weather is definitely getting a bit cooler here in Las Vegas. You might need this (above) to help keep you warm, although I’m torn between the fur hat or the furry hunk 😉

• For #GivingTuesday – Facebook & The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be matching up to $2 million in donations to non-profits including the It Gets Better Project. Click here to donate on the official Facebook page and look for the “Donate” button.

• The Warwick Rowers are back with their 2018 charity calendar! Click here to order and you’ll be helping the hunky student rowers to end homophobia in sports and work for more LGBT inclusion. Watch the teaser video below.

• England, Wales and Scotland have changed blood donation rules for sexually active gay men as of today. The “abstain from sex for a year” waiting period will now be reduced to a shorter three-month pause, which is still ridiculous.

• A federal judge has denied the Trump administration’s request to delay enlistment of new trans troops beyond January 1.

• My longtime friend, Obie Award winner David Drake, has been named the new artistic director of the Provincetown Theater. David is one of the most talented people I’ve worked with in the theater (The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me; Pageant). Period. This is terrific news for the P-Town Theater. Congrats, David.

• The Shirtless Violinist, Matthew Olshefski, gives us the gay Star Wars love story we’ve been waiting for. Watch below.

News Round-Up: October 24, 2017

Kayne Lawton

Some news items you might have missed:

• Fitness coach Kayne Lawton (above) spent the day on Miami Beach; me, at my desk. Lawton wins this one 🙂

• Disgraced/dismissed Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is mad at God for not protecting him from all those sexual harassment allegations.

• Two-time Emmy Award-winner Robert Guillaume, best known as the dry, acerbic title character in the TV sitcom “Benson,” passed away today at the age of 89. The versatile actor was nominated for a Tony Award for his star turn in the 1976 revival of Guys and Dolls, and was the first black actor to play the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera.

• CBS All Access has renewed Star Trek: Discovery after only six episodes. This newest iteration of Star Trek includes the first to feature same-sex couple being played by out actors Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp.

• Out actress Jane Lynch is in talks to develop and host a new daytime variety show. Lynch has proven her chops as a TV host, winning two best reality host Emmy Awards for emceeing NBC’s Hollywood Game Night. And of course, she’s well known for her Emmy Award-winning turn on Glee.

• “The Shirtless Violinist,” Matthew Olshefski, shares his latest – an impressive cover of the Stranger Things theme.

“If you listen closely you can hear at least 12 different layers of sound – each one made with my violin in the recording studio,” says the hunky violinist.

Watch below.

The Shirtless Violinist Covers “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”

The Shirtless Violinist, Matthew Olson

The Shirtless Violinist, Matthew Olson, shares his gorgeous cover of The Wizard of Oz classic, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Soothing, calming (aside from the shirtless part) and beautifully shot on a rainy afternoon in the Pacific Northwest.

Matthew shares:

When we think of home, we often think of family. I happen to have 2 VERY talented siblings – Esther & Isaac – who also play the violin. We grew up playing as a musical trio, but now we live far apart (my sister is all the way in Australia!) The thing about this video that makes it so special, is that I am accompanied by my brother and sister on the audio track. We recorded our parts separately and although you can’t see them in the video, you can certainly hear them. When I close my eyes (and click my heels) it’s almost like the 3 of us are together again!

The irony of this video shoot is that I was hoping for a gorgeous sunny day, but seeing as I live in the Seattle area (known for its perpetual drizzle) I should not have been surprised when it rained. However, what began as a nuisance quickly turned to magic…

Rather than pack things up and reschedule the shoot I said “Hey! There’s no place like home!” and up the mountain we went. Our location was the stunning Mt. Baker filled with bright green trees and lush vegetation. Even on a rainy day the place seemed to glow like The Emerald City.

And speaking of Oz, I even wore a pair of ruby-red pants to symbolize the iconic slippers worn by Judy Garland in the classic 1939 film.

By the time shooting wrapped my feet were numb, my pants were soaked, and my stunt-violin was destroyed by the moisture. But wouldn’t you know it…the sun actually peeked out long enough to give us a real rainbow!

Take a few minutes and enjoy the music video below 🙂

Shirtless Violinist “Game Of Thrones Theme/Light Of The Seven”

Matthew Olson, the Shirtless Violinist, follows up his recent videos ranging from Lady Gaga (“Bad Romance”) and Les Miserables (“I Dreamed A Dream”) with this timely cover of the theme from Game of Thrones which returns on July 16.

The hunky violin player performs a mashup of the Game of Thrones theme song along with “Light of the Seven,” which was featured at the end of season 6.

And that frigid landscape isn’t CGI. Apparently the vid was shot on the snowy peak of Mt. Baker in Washington State.

He considered calling the music video “Gay Hunks of Thrones” until he realized there’s a porn film with the same name. He came up with the alternative “House of Stark Naked.”

Seems appropriate.

Watch the talented Mr. Olson below.