Open Post: Hosted By Miley Cyrus And Jimmy Fallon Doing Dolly Parton And Kenny Rogers Drag

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Besides the fact that she gets to regularly take in the luminous sight of the delicate sleeping raccoon on Billy Ray Cyrus’ head, the only thing that makes me jealous of Miley Cyrus is that her godmother is Dolly Parton. The only way Miley could have a greater godmother is if GOD herself (yes, I said herself) was her godmother.

Miley has growled out her godmother’s song Jolene so many times that Jolene should press charges against the trick for stalking, and Dolly is featured on the song Rainbowland from her new album Younger Now. Miley decided to take her love and obsession for her godmother to the next level by dressed up as Dolly on The Tonight Show last night.

Jimmy Fallon, who is forever that annoying try-hard little cousin who makes the entire family watch his stupid dance routine at your birthday party, glued a silver polyester beard and wig onto his head to be the Kenny Rogers to Miley’s Dolly Parton. Now, Miley only looks like Dolly if you think that Dolly looks like a gopher dragged up as a 1970s era Mae West. But Jimmy, on the other hand…. I hate saying this, but seeing Jimmy all Donald Sutherlandized has done to things to me.

Ugh, I know, I need to wash away that feeling and the only thing strong enough for that is original recipe Dolly and Kenny:

There, much better.

Pic: YouTube

Dlisted

It’s Time To Stop Disability Drag

This year, Andy Serkis made his directorial debut with Breathe, a biographical drama about Robin Cavendish, a British advocate for the disabled after becoming paralysed following a bout of polio in his 20s. There are a number of red flags raised about the film before you even see it — the producer is Cavendish’s son, who commissioned William Nicholson to write the script, and generally speaking, family involvement in a biopic can lead to a rose-tinted view of events — but it’s the casting of Andrew Garfield in the lead role that rings the most bells.

This is a routine we’ve seen before — talented British actor plays a real-life man who goes through the deterioration of illness to disability, played to every inspirational beat with the road firmly paved for future awards glory. Garfield is already on the promotional trail, emphasising the physical difficulties entailed in playing a man with polio, including making the explicit choice to remain immobile himself during filming. To the Daily Mail, he said, ‘I was in character most of the time and couldn’t move. I had to be bathed, have help to go to the toilet’, a story I’m sure we’ll hear more of in various awards round-tables. So far, reviews have been mixed, although Garfield’s write-ups have been uniformly strong. One review referred to his performance as ‘brave’, and immediately my blood turned to ice. That word is always a loaded one, but to use it to describe an able-bodied actor being paid to very briefly experiencing the life of a disabled person, something he could get up and walk away from once shooting wrapped, felt especially insidious. I wondered what part of the performance was ‘brave’: The choice to go ‘method’ and inconvenience crew members on-set? The short time spent experiencing part of a disabled person’s life? The possibility that he may have, even for the briefest of moments, understood that disability can happen to anyone? I’m sure we’ll hear more from Garfield on how profound the experience of making Breathe was. Perhaps he can borrow some of Eddie Redmayne’s notes.

Redmayne famously won his Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking, but he’s not an isolated case. Daniel Day-Lewis took home his first little gold man for My Left Foot with a performance discussed to this day as the pinnacle of method commitment. It took Al Pacino going blind in Scent of a Woman for him to finally snag the award, same for Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, and Tom Hanks played Forrest Gump to his second win in two years. Sean Penn’s Oscar nominated performance as a man with learning disabilities in I Am Sam felt like such a transparent awards grab that it inspired one of the more memorable jokes in Tropic Thunder. I don’t blame him for thinking it was a sure fire thing: According to a 2012 study from the BBC, a total of 16% of all winners did so playing roles of physical disability or mental illness.

These films, with their glowing reviews and sharply targeted marketing campaigns, tend to have specific preferred narratives of disability. If it’s a biopic, where the actor in question can be compared to real-life footage of the person in question so everyone can watch in awe at their mimicry, that’s ideal. The story should also be inspiring to audiences, allowing them to invest in the overcoming of hopelessness and receive a pat on the back informing them that everything will be okay in the end. Ideally, that should still centre on watching the protagonist’s body diminish in strength and control. The audience has to watch, usually in horror or pity, as the hero can no longer do the things they used to with ease, a sharp contrast from their care-free existence in the first act.

For actors hoping to stretch their skills, these jobs are veritable goldmines. They can contort their bodies, show the discomfort and pain, and still give a dramatic monologue when necessary. The Academy loves these kinds of performances because they love it when actors show their work. Seeing the process is half the battle, and the more obviously difficult the job, the more it will be rewarded. Writing about a theory put forward by disabled playwright John Belluso, Christopher Shinn paraphrased:

‘It is reassuring for the audience to see an actor like Daniel Day Lewis, after so convincingly portraying disability in My Left Foot, get up from his seat in the auditorium and walk to the stage to accept his award. There is a collective «Phew» as people see it was all an illusion. Society’s fear and loathing around disability, it seems, can be magically transcended.’

The actor goes through all the struggle, deliberately emphasizing the difficulty of choosing to emulate the disability on-set for ‘realness’, and then on Oscar night, they can happily bound onto the stage and speak for the disabled community. It’s their own triumphant narrative of having overcome a brief period of mild inconvenience. The spectacle becomes further sanitised, now with the ultimate happy ending.

According to the Ruderman Family Foundation, an advocacy group focused on increased visibility of the disabled community, 98% of disabled roles in film and TV are portrayed by non-disabled actors. Micah Fowler, the star of ABC’s Speechless, notes that this may be ‘because of misconceptions. Many people tend to generalize the functioning levels and capabilities of people with disabilities. There’s a fear of not knowing what to expect. There’s a lack of characters living with disabilities written into scripts, and therefore fewer roles to play.’ The assumption is made that the role will just be too tough or too strenuous for a disabled actor so why bother even auditioning. Sometimes they can’t even audition, not just because they’re not given a chance to do so but because they can’t get into the building due to limited wheelchair access.
Limiting nature of these assumptions cannot be overstated. We don’t see disabled characters just living their lives, it’s always framed as a tragic or inspiring narrative. They remain one of the most under-represented demographics in pop culture despite being one of the largest in America.

These movies and TV shows inadvertently project an extension of our reality — disabled people are shunned, discriminated against, abused, stripped of government care and their right to the welfare state questioned, but they’re still forced into the spotlight to be a glowing beacon of inspiration for able-bodied people who are feeling a bit down. We want the Hollywood sheen of disabled life — the early years of able-bodied so-called ‘normalcy’, the event that leads to disability, the struggle and then the triumphant overcoming of adversity, preferably scored by Hans Zimmer and with the dutiful wife on standby (said stories also tend to skew very white and very male). There’s less glamour in the reality of just getting on with life, even less so when it’s roadblocked with systemic abuse.

Visibility in pop culture is one of the greatest tools of empathy we have. It makes a tangible difference when we see our society, as inclusive and wide-reaching as it is, reflected back at us on film, TV, literature and more. It changes perspectives, subverts expectations, and forces the privileged among us to acknowledge our own biases. Even the most skilled actor playing a disabled role cannot overcome the elephant in the room, nor can those with the best intentions ignore the stereotypes it reinforces. The opportunities need to be there for disabled actors, but they also need more varied stories to tell beyond an archaic notion of their own inspiring status for the able-bodied population. That would be a much braver choice for the entertainment industry to make.

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A Source Close To Brad Pitt Was “Surprised” That Angelina Jolie Would Drag Their Kids Into That Vanity Fair Article

'Allied' UK Premiere - Red Carpet

I hope there’s still room left on Angelina Jolie’s list of people who don’t like her at the moment, because she’s got another name to add. And this name is one that’s no stranger to said list. It’s Brad Pitt, and a source close to him is strongly implying that he wasn’t thrilled that Angelina would get their kids involved in that turning-into-a-giant-mess of an article for Vanity Fair.

During the article, Angelina spoke of her split from Brad. That’s fine, Angelina’s drama, Angelina’s choices. She also grabbed the spotlight and shone it on some of her six kids by talking about how “brave” they’ve all been during the messiness of their parents’ split, and how they’re all “healing.” A family friend tells Entertainment Tonight that they were a little surprised Angelina would talk so publicly about the child army’s personal life.

“It’s surprising that Angelina would use the children to help herself in the story, especially after years where both were dedicated to protecting their privacy,” the family friend told ET on Friday.

So basically we’re still in Brad vs. Angelina limbo here, and it’s still being served with a side of passive-aggression.

The source says that Brad’s first priority has always been the children and their privacy, and that Brad refuses to speak publicly about them. Back in May when Brad was blabbing to GQ Style about his and Angelina’s split, he spoke a little about the child army. He didn’t get into specifics, but it’s not exactly like he pulled a “No comment” on questions about their custody drama.

This is not the first time someone who is clearly on Team Brad has accused Angelina of violating the kids’ privacy for the sake of a quick hit of publicity. And I’m sure it won’t be the last. A big part of Angelina’s brand is the child army, so to take away her ability to gab about her kids would leave her with, what – cheekbones? Kissing her brother? Humanitarian work? Wait, that last one might be on hold at the moment.

Pic: Wenn.com

Dlisted

«It IS RuPaul’s Best Friend Race!» On The Niceness of Season 9 of Drag Race

We are reaching the end of the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and much has changed since the early days of zero budget, questionable music choices and Vaseline on the camera lens. Now, the reality TV series to find America’s Next Drag Superstar is an Emmy winner, with the most recent season changing broadcasters, moving from the LGBTQ cable network Logo to the more mainstream VH1. Ratings are at an all-time high and the show has never been more visible in the wider (straighter) public consciousness: RuPaul just made the cover of Entertainment Weekly and was part of the Hollywood Reporter‘s reality TV Emmys round-table, alongside Leah Remini and Kris Jenner, not to forget the guest judge appearance in the season’s premiere of a certain Lady Gaga.

The season finale will, for the first time, decide between four queens instead of three, as RuPaul could not bring himself to eliminate anyone in the penultimate episode. This moment of generosity felt organic — this year’s top four are uniformly strong and cover a fascinating range in the drag world — but also highlighted a problem many dedicated fans had with this season: For some, season 9 was just too damn nice. Everyone apologized for shade gone wrong, tight friendships were formed and never challenged, and even the reads felt softened. As one queen joked during one of the season’s many emotional moments, «It is RuPaul’s Best Friend Race!» Many fans felt this betrayed the appeal of the show, where shade is thrown left and right and the competitive wit forms a backbone of drag’s style, as featured in Paris is Burning.

The best of Drag Race can be found in its full-throated embrace of theatricality. You can’t make a show about drag with Kardashian challenges and constant references to yanking your dick backwards with duct-tape and not be wholly aware of that. One thing that the show does better than anything else in the reality genre right now is use its own artifice to further its aims. This is a reality TV show that never forgets it’s a reality TV show. The behind the scenes crew are referenced frequently, and in one episode included in a main challenge; RuPaul’s constant name dropping of sponsored content, episode hashtags and his own music (now available on iTunes) offer one of the more daring drinking games in contemporary pop culture; and the interludes to Untucked, the aftershow that shows the behind the scenes gossip between the queens during the main challenges, show the cameras moving and crew prepping for filming. It’s easy to spot the strings pulling the narratives in place, and audiences embrace the facade, because that’s what drag is, as well as reality TV. Susan Sontag’s pioneering essay on the aesthetics of camp noted how it was a way of consuming pop culture «in quotation marks». Here, Drag Race is pop culture in a hashtag.

All of that can create thrilling TV — like the glorious read of Serena Cha Cha in season 5’s Untucked or Alaska’s meltdown in All-Stars season 2. But now, we’re 9 seasons in, and every queen on that show has seen those episodes. They know how the game works and are less willing to let the veil slip. With the inherent performativity of drag in the context of this show comes the weight of expectation. Much of this season has focused on issues affecting the LGBTQ world — Charlie Hides breaking down in tears recounting the loss of a number of friends during the AIDS crisis, Sasha Velour talking about eating disorders, Peppermint’s difficulties while travelling to Russia as a trans woman — and emphasised the show’s standing as a pillar of the community. Alongside that is the show’s awareness of how it can and must appeal to younger viewers as a potential lifeline. The importance of this cannot be downplayed. Representation matters, now more than ever in an America living under the rule of insidious homophobia and transphobia, and that’s a reality that weighs heavily on the bejewelled wig of every queen this season. The necessity to harbour a safe and open discourse has come before some catty jokes.

Reality infringes on the filming of the show in several ways (the queens are mostly cut off from the world during production), but when the material comes to air, there’s a whole new level of the messiness of the real world to deal with. Social media plays a major part in the show, which leverages that online buzz to great effect and brings a potent brand of youthful enthusiasm to the table. Like any fandom, there are good things and bad, but there’s always been something sad about a show that preaches acceptance and community having a fanbase so toxic. Many queens have talked about receiving harassment and death threats from over-zealous fans because of a perceived slight or incident on the show that put them in a bad light. The artifice of the show is evident but the goings-on are still real enough for some to take it very personally. Any queen with the villain narrative, however weak — Phi Phi O’Hara, Darienne Lake, Roxxxy Andrews — has admitted to receiving countless death threats, particularly if they are seen as slighting a fan favourite. This season, both Alexis Michelle and Nina Bonina Brown received such a barrage of abuse that they were forced to briefly lock down their social media accounts. Their crime: Lasting longer on the show than season stand-out Valentina. This is an issue that came up in the season reunion, with both Alexis and Shea Coulee calling Valentina out for her seeming refusal to call her fans off, and it’s a bigger issue the show has tried to deal with. That’s easier said than done, and hardly helped when the site in question is more concerned with the shape of a user’s profile pic than whether or not it contains Nazi material. All a queen can do is play the positive game and hope they don’t cross the one contestant elevated to deity by the fans.

There have been moments that echoed back to the shade of episodes past. Both Alexis Michelle and Eureka had the burgeoning of villain narratives, but Eureka’s was hampered by an early exit, pre-empted by apologies to her fellow queens, while Alexis was too painfully self-aware of her own insecurities to come across as a fun antagonist. Both she and Nina Bonina Brown had evident issues with self-esteem and anxieties, with the latter open in interviews about her struggle with depression. The show, as empathetic and carefully controlled as it is, still stumbled in depicting Nina’s issues in a manner that fully conveyed their seriousness and didn’t just paint her as a Debbie Downer. The other queens tried to tread carefully, but as humans are prone to doing, sometimes patience wears thin, and so the feud story is formed. The natural inclination of the reality TV mould is to push such elements into an easily categorised narrative: Alexis the «bitch», Eureka the Hater, Nina the misery guts. Combine that difficulty with a group of queens who can’t drop the knowledge that they’re being filmed for a million viewers and the tone feels very different from seasons past.

Perhaps that’s why this has felt so calm and friendly and more muted compared to the show in its prime. That’s not to say it’s been a bad season: The queens have been strong, the challenges fun, some of the lip-syncs legendary, and the emotions very real. Any of the four queens in the final would make a worthy winner of the crown (although my money is on Sasha). During the reunion, the tension amongst certain queens was palpable, and it was hard to deny the effect severe public scrutiny and unreachable expectations had on them. For 40 minutes, the veil dropped. There’s no misery or shame in RuPaul’s Drag Race embracing such a practiced form of niceness, but one can’t help but feel that it didn’t have much of a choice either.

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Brad Pitt Returns as a Weatherman to Drag Trump’s Exit From the Paris Climate Agreement

Several people had a feeling the future would be bleak after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, but now, thanks to Brad Pitt, we can see just how bad things are actually going to get. On Tuesday, the actor — who, if you ask us, has been looking pretty good these days — returned to The Jim Jefferies Show as a weatherman to talk about climate change again. «Carbon dioxide is slowing turning our planet into an uninhabitable wasteland and half the population don’t believe it,» Brad said with a smile. Jim then asked Brad for the forecast, which turned out to be even more morbid.

Brad originally made a cameo on the Comedy Central show last week, but he isn’t the first celebrity to speak on climate change in recent weeks. Leonardo DiCaprio led the People’s Climate March in Washington DC back in May, while Barack Obama slyly dragged Trump for his withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

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This Might Make You Wish For ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race: Kids’ Edition

Amid all the shade and make-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race, there’s a big thumping heart of a message about self-love and acceptance. It’s the motto that Ru heralds at the end of every episode: «If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anyone else?» And it’s a message that’s not only been impacting the queens on the show, but also those watching from home, including 8-year-old drag princess Lactatia Werqs, who briefly shared the stage with season six winner Bianca Del Rio at Werq The World in Montreal.

Watch this charming video to see what magic happened when this little queen was invited on stage. Guaranteed to give you life!

«Even though I’m not your favorite,» Del Rio quipped about Lactatia’s preference for Ginger Minj, «You’re my fucking favorite.»

The world-famous queen also gave a shout-out to Lactatia’s supportive mom, who brought her son in full drag to the sold out show. Best of Montreal followed up with this family, revealing Lactatia’s real name is Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden, and detailing that Nemis does drag «with the support of his older sister Kashmyr Luna Higgins (14 years old) as his Senior Drag Consultant, his ‘pillar of safety’ in (drag) mother Jessica Mélançon and father-of-the-year Coriander Golden.»

It’s remarkable to not only see a young queen so confident, but also to see a family warmly embrace Nemis for exactly who he is. His parents told the outlet in a joint statement:

When Nemis is out of character he identifies as a boy and in drag as a girl. Drag for Nemis, is about the performance, the character. When he’s Lactatia, becoming her character, he’s a girl with a penis. As far as gender roles go, we’ve gifted both of our children with the ideal that there’s nothing just for girls and nothing just for boys. He grew up wearing his sisters hand me down princess costumes and fancy shoes while playing with monster trucks and riding a skateboard.

I think his biggest milestone in life or a pivotal moment was when he told us that when he grew up if he wanted to, he could be a girl with a penis (He was three and going through a pretty intense Beyonce phase).

Did we know it would lead to him being passionate about becoming the greatest drag queen the world has ever seen? No, but we were one hundred percent certain that Nemis was a natural performer, had the ability to captivate a crowd and was the most self-aware person we knew.

I recommend reading Jessica Mélançon and Coriander Golden’s full statement, because it’s beautiful, and likely to pry tears from even the chillest queen.

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Could this be the next frontier of RuPaul’s Drag Race? A bevy of talent competition shows boast kid-centered spin-offs. Imagine a RuPaul’s Drag Race that folds in not just the next generation of queens, but also their supportive parents who help them hot glue their runway looks and beat their faces like any good Drag Mother should, with make-up and love. They could even invite on all-stars to play mentors!

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RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Valentina on Latina Excellence in the Trump Era

When Valentina starts broadcasting live on Instagram, fans inevitably ask the Question: First, they want to know if she’s Mexican-American. When they learn she is indeed Mexican, they want to know specifically where in Mexico her parents came from. Mom’s from Aguascalientes; dad’s from Chihuahua.

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Jezebel

Candace Cameron Bure Is Feuding With a Drag Queen, and That’s Perfect

Candace Cameron Bure, star of Fuller House, sister of Kirk, and former token blonde conservative on The View, is currently embroiled in a bitter feud with RuPaul’s Drag Race champion Bianca Del Rio (aka Roy Haylock when out of drag). Like most wars in 2017, this one’s taking place on Instagram, and its fiercest…

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