Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Sept 15, 1998

Surefire bets for fall. (humor - gays in entertainment)
Author/s: Bruce Vilanch

Autumn! The nip in the air! Glamorous women clutching fur collars about their swanlike necks, sipping martinis, flicking ashes from bejeweled cigarette holders in gloved hands... Wait a minute/Nobody wears fur anymore. If you've actually got a swanlike neck, you do nothing ever to cover it up.

Martinis are only for people who haven't bottomed out yet, gotten their 30-day chip, and realized they can act just as crazy sober and not have to slouch around like mastodons the next morning. Ashes happen only if you smoke, and nobody smokes anymore, and if by some chance you do, ashes must be whisked away instantly because they are heinously nonrecyclable.

Cigarette holders and bejeweled gloves are worn only by the stylishly transgendered, which is almost the definition of the term niche market, so you don't see them a lot. In fact, the only glamorous women of the old school still with us are all men. And the nip in the air is temporary and will be replaced within nanoseconds by El Nino's searing blast.

Nevertheless, the new fall season is here, and even though the old gods have withered and died and nothing is what it used to be, there are a few things that you can bet your original cast album collection will happen whether we want them to or not:

* A straight movie actor will play a gay part and get nominated for an award. A gay actor will play a gay part and get completely overlooked. A closeted gay actor will play a straight part and get great reviews. An openly gay actor will play a straight part and get vilified by gay critics who will find him unconvincing, forgetting that he's doing something called Acting. Straight critics will go out of their way not to mention the actor's sexuality at all.

* Alexis Arquette will play so many gay roles that people will start thinking he's straight.

* Now that Anne Heche has established herself with a hit, the tabloids will ceaselessly hector her to have a baby so they'll still have something shocking to write about her. Rumors of pregnancy are now more titillating than rumors of homosexuality, which is one of the unexpected benefits of being out. It's almost Victorian.

* Several tender coming-of-age movies will open in New York and Los Angeles and no place else, but they will get a lot of press and be big video-shelf items. There is now a five-plex in West Hollywood where you can entertain yourself all day going from one gay coming-of-age movie to another. If you don't have a place like this in your town, it might behoove all of us if you introduce yourself to the manager of one of the mall mega-plexes and propose he set aside one of his 48 screens to show "specialized" movies, which cost next to nothing to market (a couple of handbills in the right bars, if you know what I mean). Unless you have the bad luck to live in a nest of fundamentalist bigots--and you might; we realize they're out there--you may find a sympathetic ear. Perhaps more sympathetic than you think. I've been to those theater-owner conventions in Vegas.

* When NBC premieres its new sit a straight girl-gay room-mate deal, the gay guy will be criticized as being too gay and also not gay enough. Once writers have used the revelation of a character's sexuality as a stow point, they will have a hard time figuring out how to use that character's sexuality without getting into trouble from both sides. This will be mitigated somewhat by Fringe TV, channels like Comedy Central and VH1, who will be happy to shock with outrageous gayness because it will get them noticed.

* Somebody will do a Broadway musical about Andrew Cunanan. It's all that's left after Siamese twins and Leo Frank (the lynched accused murderer-hero of Hal Prince's new show, Parade). Think of it: supermodels, boys in Speedos, Madoima, Miami, serial killing, the American dream. A straight actor will play the lead and win the Tony. And then it will be summer again.