Saturday, 20 June 2015

HOLLYWOOD HEARTTHROB TAB HUNTER SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT


Tab Hunter's bestselling 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential has been transformed into a documentary film directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, and will screen at L.A.’s Outfest on Hunter’s 84th birthday, July 11, 2015


This interview with Tab Hunter originally ran in Three Dollar Bill on November 24, 2005

When I learned a couple years ago that 1950s matinee idol Tab Hunter was going to come out in his forthcoming memoirs, I told my friend, author Felice Picano, who’d had lunch with the onetime Hollywood heartthrob. 

"He’s a wonderful man," Felice told me, which only made me want to interview Tab Hunter even more. 

Well, I finally got to blab with Hunter last week, the day after he returned home to Santa Barbara after a cross-country U.S. book tour to promote his bestselling memoirs, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (Algonquin Books). I can’t even begin to tell you how terrific Hunter’s autobiography is, an immensely frank and entertaining read that, Hunter proudly tells me, has just been ranked Amazon’s number two pick for best books of 2005. 

"I thought about writing my memoirs a long time ago but didn’t have the guts," Hunter explains. "Then when I heard someone else was going to write a book, I said what the hell. I hate talking about my private life but I had to do it [come out]. I had to be fair." 

Tab Hunter Confidential tells the quintessential Hollywood fairytale of a gorgeous young kid – in this case a young Art Gelien – who was named Tab Hunter by Henry Willson, the (in)famous Hollywood agent who also created Rock Hudson and Rory Calhoun, sex symbols who became known as Harry Willson’s boys. Along the way, Hunter publicly dated the likes of Debbie Reynolds and, by the age of 25, he was a number one box office draw who’d even had a number one hit single with the song Young Love

Thursday, 18 June 2015

DISHING WITH IRISH DRAG SUPERSTAR PANTI BLISS

Panti Bliss is the guest of honour at Toronto’s Green Space Festival’s all-drag Starry Night, co-presented by Pride Toronto on June 25


This is an expanded version of Bugs’ interview with Panti Bliss originally published in Daily Xtra

Irish drag queen and “accidental activist” Miss Panti Bliss became a YouTube sensation in January 2014 when she walked on the stage at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and gave a touching and memorable speech on homophobia.

“Have you ever been standing at a pedestrian crossing when a car drives by and in it are a bunch of lads, and they lean out the window and they shout “Fag!” and throw a milk carton at you?” Miss Panti asked the Abbey Theatre audience rhetorically. “Now it doesn’t really hurt. It’s just a wet carton and anyway they’re right – I am a fag. But it feels oppressive.

“When it really does hurt, is afterwards. Afterwards I wonder and worry and obsess over what was it about me, what was it they saw in me? What was it that gave me away? And I hate myself for wondering that. It feels oppressive and the next time I’m at a pedestrian crossing I check myself to see what is it about me that ‘gives the gay away’ and I check myself to make sure I’m not doing it this time.”

I can relate: I live in the McGill Ghetto in downtown Montreal and I can’t tell you how many times over the years folks in drive-by cars have screamed “Faggot!” at me at the corner of Parc Avenue and Milton.

The video of Panti's speech went viral — it has been seen more than 700,000 times on YouTube — and landed her a North American lecture tour.

Upon her return to Dublin, publishing house Hachette Books Ireland asked Panti (aka Rory O’Neill) to write her memoirs, Woman in the Making.

“The turnaround on the book was less than six months,” Panti says. “But saying I cashed in suggests I was given loads of money, and I wasn’t. It is part memoir, part rant. And I have two chapters about the aftermath of my lecture at the Abbey Theatre. It was an insane period in my life, exciting and exhilarating.”