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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Billy Masters
by Billy Masters
2019-09-04

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"Maybe at a show you can have a moment of knowing that you're not alone. I'm aware that as a white male, I don't go through the same things as a lot of the people that come to the shows. I can't claim that I know what it's like, because I don't. So I'm not trying to say, 'I understand what it's like'. I'm just trying to make people feel included and seen."—Harry Styles on why he brandishes the rainbow flag at his concerts.

You know the summer is over when hurricanes start hitting Florida. As we go to press, we're bracing to see what Dorian will do to the East Coast. When flying out of Fort Lauderdale Airport days earlier, I read the account of a transgender woman who had gone through the same airport two years ago. According to the 36-year-old, she required a pat-down because TSA's full-body scanner detected an issue around her groin. A female officer took her to a private room, gave her the pat-down, and seemed surprised at what she found. "If the issue is what you are feeling, let me tell you what this is—it is my penis," said the woman. This apparently caused quite a stir and required two more officers and a supervisor.

They determined the trans woman would need a second pat-down by a male officer—which I would have thought made sense since a penis was detected. But I'm wrong. Apparently policy dictates pat-downs must be done by an officer of the same gender as that which is presented by the traveler. So, penis or no penis, since this person presented as female, the pat-down by a female officer was correct. When the traveler in question refused to be patted-down by a male officer, TSA refused to let her through security. "Can I just show you?" she asked. Although this too is against policy, nobody objected. The penis was presented, and the lady made her flight. While I find this story informative, I also find it insulting. With all the flying I do, not once has anyone patted me down—and I've never been shy about whipping out my dick in public!

I kept hearing about the musical Six, which has been taking England by storm. It's now invaded the States and is currently at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge following a sold-out eight-week run in Chicago. A hot new musical? About the wives of Henry VIII? Done in a single 80-minute act? I'm in! The show is staged as a concert featuring Henry's six wives as members of a female empowering girl group. These ladies are competing to determine which wife got the short end of the stick ( and, according to one of the wives, Henry possessed a mighty short stick ). They also want to rehabilitate how history has portrayed them and come out of the shadows of a misogynistic male. The songs are of the Beyonce/Adele/Kelly Clarkson ilk, and the lyrics—while taking some liberties with history—are clever and educational. It's kinda like a #MeToo version of Schoolhouse Rock. The queens are each splendid, and the kick-ass band ( Ladies in Waiting ) provides ample oomph. The atmosphere is electric from start till the inevitable encore. If you wanna see the next big thing on Broadway, get thee to the ART. It closes Sept. 29 and what few tickets remaining can be found at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org .

The next day, I zipped down to Provincetown to hang out with some more contemporary queens and pay homage to the incredible Marilyn Maye—91 and still going strong. She's in outstanding voice and has more energy than ever. The crowd loves her, I love her, and she loves us all. She really is our Queen Mum. This lovefest took place at the Ptown Art House, where she has held court for the past nine years, so it's truly one big happy family. As usual, the show was expertly led by the spectacular Billy Stritch, who never disappoints.

Boston got the dubious distinction of hosting the first-ever Straight Pride Parade. But the organization was somewhat lacking. Not only did most people not know that the grand marshal was Milo Yiannopoulos—most people had no idea WHO he is. I'm not saying it was a poor turnout, but the parade kicked off at high noon and was over by 12:13 p.m. Officially, we are told that about 1,000 people showed up—or, to put it in perspective, roughly the same number of people I slept with in February of 2013 ( one of my slower months ). If you ask me, the whole thing was kinda on the down low. Maybe it should have been called Boston's Down Low Pride. But good for you, guys, and better luck next year. You're straight. You hate. You don't have a good jingle.

When Maye's played Ptown, it's definitely the end of summer and end of yet another column. When I grow up, I want to be Marilyn Maye. Of course, I realize that will lead to endless pat-downs ... but I'm OK with that. I'm far less OK with the passing of Valerie Harper—one of the loveliest people I've ever met. As nice as you thought she was, she was exponentially more so in person. She had time for everyone—until her time simply ran out. But, remember, she was given six months to live in 2013 and got six years! She made sure to fill that time with as much living as one can. "Don't go to the funeral until the day of the funeral," she was fond of saying. She will be missed. Should this hurricane miss Fort Lauderdale, I'll be there next week. But no matter where I end up, you can always keep up with me at BillyMasters.com—the site that delivers through rain, snow and, particularly, dark of night. For your questions, send them along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before you blink and the parade passes by. So, until next time, remember: One man's filth is another man's bible.


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