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  • September, 2023

Uncommon Pairings: Chilled Red Wines for Early Autumn

Chilled reds are the perfect companion this time of year. They feel like leaves changing and light sweaters and playfully sticking your toes under someone’s butt to warm up.

The post Uncommon Pairings: Chilled Red Wines for Early Autumn appeared first on Autostraddle.

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Homophobe Matt Gaetz Seeks Democratic Alliance to Oust McCarthy Amid Shutdown Drama: Report

Matt Gaetz and Kevin McCarthyAmidst the shadow of an impending government shutdown, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is quietly rallying support among some House Democrats to unseat Speaker Kevin McCarthy. This cross-party maneuver unfolds as the Congress faces a ticking clock, heightening the existing partisan tensions.

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This gigolo drama united queer legends David Bowie & Marlene Dietrich on screen—so why isn’t it any good?

Image Credit: ‘Just A Gigolo,’ Shout! Factory

Welcome back to our queer film retrospective, “A Gay Old Time.” In this week’s column, we revisit 1978’s Just A Gigolo, a drama that brought together two of the biggest queer stars of their respective generations.

As queer representation on screen has continued to grow over the years, so has the conversation revolving around the value of having queer roles being played by queer performers. This can exist more easily now, and not just because there are more queer stories being told, but also more openly gay actors to embody them.

And while this discussion is ever-evolving—and controversial—it really only began recently. It was barely a conversation at the beginning of the century, and practically nonexistent beforehand. For the first two thirds of cinema history, queer narratives and openly gay actors were so few and far between, there was no place to question or interrogate who got to tell them.

However, there were a handful of celebrities that were widely understood to be queer during that time; by the persona they build for themselves on stage or on screen, or by loud-enough rumors, anecdotes, and hearsay. Two of the bigger ones of their respective generations were David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich. 

Although there were decades in between them, these two performers became known for their gender-bending, androgynous aesthetic; Bowie with his music and performance style, and Dietrich with the characters she hand-picked, costumes she wore on screen, and the way she carried herself off it. The way they chose to express their gender and sexuality became intrinsically linked with their personas, and the work they chose to do.

The Set-Up

1978’s Just A Gigolo is a film that put these two icons of queer history together. A great idea in practice, but—surprisingly and frustratingly—it not only underuses them with a bland and derivative story, but misunderstands the star persona and charisma that made them both superstars.

Just a Gigolo follows Paul Ambrosius Von Przygodski (try saying that three times fast!), a World War I veteran soldier, played by Bowie, who returns to Berlin after being presumed dead by his family for several months. He discovers a completely changed and transforming city, where his formerly decadent family estate is now being rented as a board house, and the aristocracy is slowly losing power and influence.

Paul tries to go back to work to help his family make ends meet, but is unable to find a stable job because of his war trauma and growing prejudices. So, he becomes a gigolo that caters to wealthy women in a brothel run by the mysterious Baroness Von Semering (Dietrich). However, as Berlin slowly gives in to the rise of Nazism, it becomes harder for Paul to survive the threat that steps from out of the shadows.

A Cabaret Encore?

Image Credit: ‘Just A Gigolo,’ Shout! Factory

If the plot and setting of the movie sound a bit familiar, it’s because it is. The film is heavily inspired, both cinematically and aesthetically, by Bob Fosse’s Cabaret (which had been released just six years earlier) and thus also by Christopher Isherwood’s accounts of life in Berlin during the rise of the Weimar Republic. However, Just a Gigolo pales in comparison to the stories it takes inspiration from in every single way.

On paper, a movie set in post-World War I Berlin that stars David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich seems like a perfect match. What we know about that time period, both from historical accounts and from pop culture depictions of it, line up perfectly with the personas that these two icons built for themselves: their extravagant decadence, their artistic freedom, their sexual fluidity. Hell, Marlene Dietrich became a star in Berlin during this time period. She may be the biggest embodiment of its spirit—she lived through it!

Star Potential

Image Credit: ‘Just A Gigolo,’ Shout! Factory

But the movie never capitalizes, or even seems to understand, the meta textual potential of having these two performers in this particular story. Bowie’s Paul is reduced to a generic sketch of a traumatized soldier unable to find his place back home, with no real depth or enjoyment in the performance. The movie seemed to wash over him, and the character could have been played by anyone.

Marlene Dietrich’s role is nothing more than a two-scene glorified cameo. She does get an instantly iconic title card billing her as “And With Pride: Marlene Dietrich”, she gets to exercise her vocal chops during a song, and her scenes are the closest the movie gets to capturing the essence (or an essence) of the time. However, she is given very little to work with, and although she gives it her best, her best can only go so far. This was Marlene Dietrich’s final on-screen role. She was persuaded to come out of retirement for it, reportedly being paid half a million dollars for two days on set. Hey, at least she made a pretty penny.

Missed Connections

Unsurprisingly, after a harsh critical and audience pan, David Bowie practically disavowed himself from this film completely, saying he took the role as a favor to director David Hemmings, and he called it his “32 Elvis Presley movies rolled into one.”

Bowie also said he took the film for a chance to work with Dietrich. But in what is perhaps the movie’s biggest and most confounding decision, the two never actually shared the screen. They shot their segments separately and then those were stitched together in post-production. 

The film’s intention was most likely to tell a straightforward historical drama, and it is unfortunately a failure at that. However, it’s hard not to see the potential that this particular combination of story, time period and star power had to become so much more than that.

Had Just a Gigolo really understood and utilized what David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich both embodied, the cultural tides that they turned, it could have become a treasured gem; a meta-textual embodiment of queer history, and the ways it informs and feeds on itself. But alas, all we have is the could-have-beens. We’ll always have Sally Bowles.

Just A Gigolo is now streaming on Crackle, Freevee, Kanopy, Peacock, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Shout! TV, and Tubi.

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Lady Gaga Makes “Sweet Sounds of Heaven” With Mick Jagger; ‘Mick wants to see you.’ I only know one Mick, so I walked down to a studio -LISTEN

gaga mick jagger

wrtmrmg David LaChapelle photograph of Lady Gaga finding Mick J 09327ea3 0f0d 4b97 b368 db3ba1d85f02

, , and Rolling Stones Let You Hear “Sweet Sounds of Heaven”; ‘“Mick wants to see you.” I only know one Mick, so I walked …the hallway, opened the door. It was a portal to the 70’s. — LISTEN

have teamed up with Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder to release a new single, “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” a gospel-infused track that is part of their upcoming album, “Hackney Diamonds.” The album, set to release on October 20, marks the Stones’ first LP of original material in 18 years.

Mick Jagger, in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, described the collaboration as a “great experience,” noting that he had “never heard [Lady Gaga] sing quite that style before.” The recording process was live, with Gaga “just coming in the room and her just opening up and seeing her bits and feeling her way and then getting more confident” 

The Song’s Composition

The song opens with a rolling piano riff and features Jagger in classic barroom crooner form. Lady Gaga joins in on the second verse, her voice rising to match Jagger’s in a “high and sweet churchy register.” The track eventually builds to a crescendo of guitar, drums, saxophone, and keyboards, culminating in a “growly soul shout-off” between Jagger and Gaga.

Stevie Wonder contributes to the track with soulful Fender Rhodes, piano, and Moog. The song was recorded live in the same room, a rarity in an era of digitally stitched A-list collaborations. 

Someone said “Mick wants to see you.” I only know one Mick, so I walked down to a studio at the other end of the hall and opened the door. It was a portal to the 70’s.

–Lady Gaga

Gaga described how it came about on

“I was in the studio at Henson preparing for Joker, leaving to go home for the night and someone said “Mick wants to see you.” I only know one Mick, so I walked down to a studio at the other end of the hall and opened the door. It was a portal to the 70’s. I saw Mick, Keith, Ronnie. Stevie Wonder was there along with all the musicians they were collaborating with. Steve Jordan on the drums. Family & friends hanging out listening on big speakers while Andrew Watt smiled marveling at their unreleased album. We hung out for a bit listening to music and catching up. Mick then asked if I’d hang in the live room while they cut another record. I sat down on the floor, my back against a Rhodes-someone handed me some headphones and eventually a mic. Mick was towering over me smiling saying “go on and do your thing then.” I listened to the music and scribbled furiously trying to learn the tune and then freestyled and sang along..trying not to step on everyone’s toes cuz Andrew had the whole room mic’d the way they did back in the day, and I didn’t want my vocals to bleed into any of the magic they’d been making. The Rhodes was vibrating furiously through my back-Stevie was playing and my whole body was shaking with every note. We played for a few hours and everyone was so excited having me there (this felt so exciting if not slightly insane). I went home not thinking much of it, I loved the song and all the musicians but I thought we were just hangin. Andrew texted me the next day saying Mick wanted to cut the vocals WITH me that night-the way he’d cut them back in the day. Same room, two mics. Single takes. I thought about Mary Clayton…Gimme Shelter…gospel and soul. I thought about my favorite old Stones tunes and all the great vocalists who had sung with Mick, making what we know now as a “sound” unique to a band that defined a huge piece of rock’n’roll. Then we cut it live. Making the “Sweet Sounds of Heaven.” I sang in a way I never really sang before except for with Mick. And Andrew and I both cried-there’s something about witnessing music history and when you get to be a part of it I think that’s exactly what our heaven feels like. It’s just a sweet sound.”

Lady Gaga

The new album also features contributions from Paul McCartney, Elton John, former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, and the band’s late drummer Charlie Watts. The previous single from the album, “Angry,” debuted with a video starring Sydney Sweeney (Pitchfork).

The song is part of the gand’s first original album in 18 years.

Related Towleroad articles:

Read More

Lady Gaga Makes “Sweet Sounds of Heaven” With Mick Jagger; ‘Mick wants to see you.’ I only know one Mick, so I walked down to a studio -LISTEN

gaga mick jagger

wrtmrmg David LaChapelle photograph of Lady Gaga finding Mick J 09327ea3 0f0d 4b97 b368 db3ba1d85f02

, , and Rolling Stones Let You Hear “Sweet Sounds of Heaven”; ‘“Mick wants to see you.” I only know one Mick, so I walked …the hallway, opened the door. It was a portal to the 70’s. — LISTEN

have teamed up with Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder to release a new single, “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” a gospel-infused track that is part of their upcoming album, “Hackney Diamonds.” The album, set to release on October 20, marks the Stones’ first LP of original material in 18 years.

Mick Jagger, in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, described the collaboration as a “great experience,” noting that he had “never heard [Lady Gaga] sing quite that style before.” The recording process was live, with Gaga “just coming in the room and her just opening up and seeing her bits and feeling her way and then getting more confident” 

The Song’s Composition

The song opens with a rolling piano riff and features Jagger in classic barroom crooner form. Lady Gaga joins in on the second verse, her voice rising to match Jagger’s in a “high and sweet churchy register.” The track eventually builds to a crescendo of guitar, drums, saxophone, and keyboards, culminating in a “growly soul shout-off” between Jagger and Gaga.

Stevie Wonder contributes to the track with soulful Fender Rhodes, piano, and Moog. The song was recorded live in the same room, a rarity in an era of digitally stitched A-list collaborations. 

Someone said “Mick wants to see you.” I only know one Mick, so I walked down to a studio at the other end of the hall and opened the door. It was a portal to the 70’s.

–Lady Gaga

Gaga described how it came about on

“I was in the studio at Henson preparing for Joker, leaving to go home for the night and someone said “Mick wants to see you.” I only know one Mick, so I walked down to a studio at the other end of the hall and opened the door. It was a portal to the 70’s. I saw Mick, Keith, Ronnie. Stevie Wonder was there along with all the musicians they were collaborating with. Steve Jordan on the drums. Family & friends hanging out listening on big speakers while Andrew Watt smiled marveling at their unreleased album. We hung out for a bit listening to music and catching up. Mick then asked if I’d hang in the live room while they cut another record. I sat down on the floor, my back against a Rhodes-someone handed me some headphones and eventually a mic. Mick was towering over me smiling saying “go on and do your thing then.” I listened to the music and scribbled furiously trying to learn the tune and then freestyled and sang along..trying not to step on everyone’s toes cuz Andrew had the whole room mic’d the way they did back in the day, and I didn’t want my vocals to bleed into any of the magic they’d been making. The Rhodes was vibrating furiously through my back-Stevie was playing and my whole body was shaking with every note. We played for a few hours and everyone was so excited having me there (this felt so exciting if not slightly insane). I went home not thinking much of it, I loved the song and all the musicians but I thought we were just hangin. Andrew texted me the next day saying Mick wanted to cut the vocals WITH me that night-the way he’d cut them back in the day. Same room, two mics. Single takes. I thought about Mary Clayton…Gimme Shelter…gospel and soul. I thought about my favorite old Stones tunes and all the great vocalists who had sung with Mick, making what we know now as a “sound” unique to a band that defined a huge piece of rock’n’roll. Then we cut it live. Making the “Sweet Sounds of Heaven.” I sang in a way I never really sang before except for with Mick. And Andrew and I both cried-there’s something about witnessing music history and when you get to be a part of it I think that’s exactly what our heaven feels like. It’s just a sweet sound.”

Lady Gaga

The new album also features contributions from Paul McCartney, Elton John, former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, and the band’s late drummer Charlie Watts. The previous single from the album, “Angry,” debuted with a video starring Sydney Sweeney (Pitchfork).

The song is part of the gand’s first original album in 18 years.

Related Towleroad articles:

Read More

Pete Buttigieg Has to Keep Explaining to Republicans That Seasons Aren't Climate Change

Pete ButtigiegU.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has found himself having to explain to Republicans the difference between seasons and the phenomenon of global climate change. The issue came to the forefront during a recent congressional hearing when Buttigieg was asked about the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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Grifter George Santos hard-launched his husband in the wildest way possible & the internet is baffled

Image Credit: Getty Images

Leave it to stunt queen George Santos to use Senator Dianne Feinstein’s death as an opportunity to finally hard launch his husband.

Last night, Feinstein—who had been serving on the U.S. Senate since 1992—passed away in her Washington, D.C. home at the age of 90.

In the wake of the announcement, social media has been flooded with eulogies for the trailblazing politician from her friends and family, supporters, colleagues, and even the Grim Reaper himself.

But Santos—the embattled, scandal-ridden Congressman from New York’s 3rd district—couldn’t let the moment go by without making it about himself, taking to Twitter/X to post, “My husband Matt and I are heart broken by the news of the passing of Senator Feinstein.”

Excuse us. Girl…. husband?

So far as we can tell, this is the first time Santos has ever made direct mention of a husband on the social platform, and folks are baffled why he chose now to bring up this mystery man.

But one thing we do know? It was the gayest possible way to share the news with the world.

As with basically anything the artist formerly known as Kitara Ravache has said or done, this marriage thing is a head-scratcher. Who is this guy exactly? Is he real?

All signs point to it being one Matheus Gerard, a pharmacist who—as far back as November 2020—was referred to as Santos’ “partner.” It’s said that, at the time, the couple lived together in a Queens, NY apartment along with four rescued Golden Retrievers.

According to Brazilian news outlet Folha De São Paulo, the pair had plans to wed in April of ’20, but it was then postponed until the following year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in a New York Times piece from earlier this year, it’s reported that Santos and Gerard were married back in November 2021 on Long Island. So… a belated Mazel to the happy couple?

Of course, Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Physics does state that, for every action that George Santos makes, there is an equal and opposite reaction contradicting it. (We’re paraphrasing, but you get the point.)

As Twitter user and Entertainment Tonight producer Anthony Dominic clocks, the Congressman actually referenced being a “married gay Republican” back in February ’21, only to call Gerard his “fiancé” in an Instagram caption a few months later. (We believe the fact that Dominic’s post mentions 2022 was a typo.)

In other words, the timeline here is more muddled and inconsistent than the Saw movie franchise.

Because, don’t forget: This isn’t even Santos’ first time tying the knot! As has been reported, the openly gay politician was previously married to a Brazilian woman from 2012-19. It’s been alleged that their union was purely for immigration purposes, but—surprise, surprise—Santos denies it. According to court records, their divorce was finalized before he launched his first congressional campaign.

Naturally, Gay Twitter™ (or, sure, Gay X™—whatever!) is eating it all up. The jokes are flying fast and furious, with many calling the legitimacy of the marriage—and Gerard’s existence—into question. Others are still just trying to wrap their head’s around the fact that this is the first time they’re hearing about the guy.

Scroll down below for some of our favorite reactions to Santos’ big “husband reveal”:

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Chrishell Stause Will Star As Gay Mommi-To-Be in Lifetime Thriller

Listen, coming out isn’t a competition buuuuut Chrishell might be winning coming out?

The post Chrishell Stause Will Star As Gay Mommi-To-Be in Lifetime Thriller appeared first on Autostraddle.

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Dianne Feinstein: An LGBTQ+ Rights Champion

Dianne FeinsteinU.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who died Friday at age 90, is being remembered as a champion of LGBTQ+ equality — with a few exceptions.

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