I first saw Shortbus, John Cameron Mitchell's ode to the complexities of sex, sexuality, love, and life in NYC, in an almost empty downtown D.C. theater that was filled with just me, my friends, and two men sitting suspiciously close to each other (but not close enough to be together) in the back row. Perhaps inspired by the not-so-subtle sex scenes (including an opening so unbelievable that it so totally shocks your system you're no longer surprised by anything that you might encounter thereafter thereby freeing you to concentrate on the characters, plot, and themes for the rest of the film) I am almost certain that those two guys ended up hooking up by the time the film was half over.
Still, as much as I love catching two (or more) people engaged in a bout of public sex, I couldn't tear my eyes off of Jay Brannan up on the big screen. Yes, he's beautiful (and participates in one of the most pitch perfectly awkwardly authentic threesomes ever captured on film) but there's just something captivatingly (and relatably) damaged about him that holds my attention -- even when he's not naked.
It's been three years since Shortbus was released and Jay -- whose song "Soda Shop" is the number one downloaded song from the film's soundtrack -- has turned his attention to singing and songwriting fulltime. Last summer he put out his first album, Goddamned, and the follow up, In Living Color, which hits store shelves today, features renditions of some of his favorite songs by everyone from Ani Difranco to Bob Dylan, as well as two Brannan originals -- the first song he ever wrote and the newest song he's written.
I recently chatted with Jay about the new album, his raging Facebook popularity, his addiction to horror movies (he prefers scary to campy), and why he'll never be the gay community's poster boy. To read the interview, head over to Out.com.