I found a great way to get the inside story on Logo’s new show, Cocktails and Classics. I got myself on it!
Not long ago, I was asked if I’d be available to participate in the show, which is sort of a combined party, kitschfest, and learning experience, whereby host Michael Urie and some panelists watch a classic film, give the back story on it, play around with its wackier moments, and occasionally even talk seriously about topics the movies dabble in.
Well, this was right up my gay alley. This is what I would normally be doing anyway, even without cameras in the room! There’s nothing I like more than soaking in cinema gems, blabbing about them, and playing party games related to them. And this show combined all those things in a way that shot me right to LGBT Cineplex heaven with 3-D goggles on.
Urie (Ugly Betty and Partners on TV, Buyer & Cellar onstage) is a charming and funny host, guiding us through the proceedings with elan, until he—and only he—decides the party’s over and boots us back to the real world. On the four shows I was on, I also shared screen time with comic Drew Droege, EW’s Jessica Shaw, and DJ Pierce (a.k.a. Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race out of drag, who’s way younger than me and cutely wide eyed). The movies chosen all have tremendous gay appeal, and even the kitsch ones that some cynics might deem of questionable quality (Barbarella, Valley of the Dolls) are among my favorites of all time because they reek of conviction, camp appeal, and nonstop entertainment value. Then there’s Auntie Mame, the Oscar-nominated adaptation of a play about a woman who collects wonderful outcasts into a sort of family and who no one thinks can be a proper guardian for a young boy, but who proves she's fairly capable, despite the usual human frailties. (It’s basically about gay marriage and adoption! Think about it!)
Another classic, Sunset Boulevard, spotlights people on different ends of the fame spectrum hustling each other, while dealing with the transient nature of stardom and the poignancy of believing your own press (or your own manservant slash ex husband and the stacks of alleged fan mail he brings you). Norma Desmond is the ultimate drama queen — no wonder men in drag have had a field day with the character since she sprung to life in 1950. And Breakfast at Tiffany's also has to do with hooking and manipulating, the boy toy character finally breaking free of that game and trying to get high-class escort Holly Golightly to do the same en route to finding her true self, while maintaining her gloves and tiara.
The shows start with us arriving at Urie’s “apartment,” which is done up for the movie, down to the extremely clever beverages being served. We each say what we’re looking forward to in the film, and then we comment throughout, giving thumbs up (or down the throat) to key moments. On the Valley show, I almost choked on all the "dolls" (i.e. Good and Plenty candies) I inhaled, but it was worth it for the hilarious comic effect, lol. So pull out your gay popcorn and enjoy. And remember: I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.
Cocktails & Classics airs Sundays at 7pm ET/PT on Logo.