Frank DeCaro's Gay 101: A Primer
By Noah Michelson
Not only were many of us gay boys bullied in school, but we were also forced to suffer through courses with no relevance to our soon-to-be fabulous lives: algebra, auto mechanics, and (the mind-numbingly dull straight version of) sex ed. Luckily, Gay 101: A Primer, written and performed by Sirius OutQ’s Frank DeCaro, gives those of us who weren’t homo-schooled a chance to earn our G.E.D. (Gay Equivalency Diploma).
Earlier this week, as part of the 19th Annual Dixon Place Hot! Festival NYC, the flamboyant former film critic for The Daily Show shed some lavender light on seminal moments in queer TV, film and pop music from the past century.
“Young gay men think fabulosity started with Lady Gaga!” Frank chided. “She’s not doing anything Grace Jones didn’t do with Jean Paul Goude a generation ago.” To educate the young, DeCaro created this crash course, which could be called: Everything you need to know to be a well-ripened fruit.
Our teacher requested everyone rise for the national anthem. What rolled out of the speakers wasn’t an extended dance version of the “Star Spangled Banner,” but a booty-shaker more appropriate for our tribe: Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Class then commenced with a pop quiz, with DeCaro firing questions to the crowd such as:
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” is brilliantly sung by Jennifer _____________.
“Hudson!” a dark-haired hottie cried out.
“No, I asked who sung it brilliantly, therefore the only correct answer is Holliday,” DeCaro corrected. “Go sit in the corner!”
Using a sharp wit that kept us holding our sides in laughter, DeCaro lectured on the importance of the Three Graces (Jones, Kelly and Adler), why Bewitched is one of the gayest TV shows in history (a gay husband, a flaming uncle Arthur and a mother-in-law played by an actress who’s surname was “Moorehead”), and why Charles Nelson Reilly should be a national hero. He continued with topics that included Wayland Flowers and Madam (“a puppet who looks like Joan Rivers does now”), a retelling of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane (“two sisters who torture each other and then go for ice cream”) and why The Lucy Show was a lesbian favorite long before the The L Word (the premise of Lucy and Vivian living and raising three kids together had the show’s writers calling it The Dyke Van Dick Show.)
DeCaro concluded class with a Q&A from the audience and a promise of more ‘mo classes to come.
See more of Frank DeCaro in the St. Olaf Glee Club’s video “Betty White Lines.”
For more info on DeCaro, visit his official website.
-- COURT STROUD
Previously > Rachel Maddow Before She Was Rachel Maddow