The gay man who spearheaded the March on Washington, Celie and Shug’s romance fully revealed

And a viral-sensation comic in pink cat-eye glasses

BIG TO LITTLE SCREEN The 1963 March on Washington — revered for Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” — likely wouldn’t have happened without the work of a master strategist: Bayard Rustin, a gay Black socialist and pacifist-activist.

I left the theater in tears after watching “Rustin” before it began streaming, at The Broadway, Salt Lake’s paramount home of independent film, and a home for we who disfavor formulaic corporate-created catastrophes.

Always unapologetic and confident in his identity, Rustin proclaims, “On the day that I was born Black, I was also born a homosexual.” The film also explores romantic attachments, including an affair with a married preacher and a relationship with a younger activist Rustin is reluctant to embrace fully.

“Rustin” is one of the most important and illuminating movies of the year, a thrilling film celebrating an ignored gay civil rights activist.
►On Netflix now.

BIG SCREEN Is there a more universally embraced gay-inclusive book-to-movie than “The Color Purple”? What appears to be a lovely film adaption of the musical stage version has been produced. With the song “What About Love?,” the eventual flowering of Celie and Shug’s relationship won’t be nearly obscured as in the “Spielberg-ification” picture-postcard film.
►Wide movie-theater release, beginning Dec. 25.

TOUR THEATER “Here you go again / My, my, how much I’ve missed you.” If you’ve missed the 1975 song, Broadway Across America brings back ABBA’s catalog-filled “Mamma Mia” to Salt Lake, allowing us to compare the nonunion production to Pioneer Theater Company’s excellent Actors’ Equity union-sanctioned 2008 staging.
►Eccles Theater, Dec. 19–24.

THEATER Pioneer opens a new musical staging of “Christmas in Connecticut.” The movie famously featured Barbara Stanwyck as an unmarried city-living magazine columnist pretending to be a farm housewife and mother. Word is there are two gay characters in the revised storyline. After recent productions with queer lead characters, including “La Cage aux Folles” and “The Prom,” can we (please!) enjoy “Angels in America” or “The Boy from Oz”? Or “Love! Valor! Compassion!” or “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert ”? Or… I’ve a long list.
►Pioneer Theatre Company, Dec. 1-16.

COMEDY TOUR The mischievous, charming musical comedian brings his electrifying extravaganza “Randy Rainbow for President” tour to Salt Lake. Randy was launched into the stratosphere with help from the “Mary Poppins” patter song, rewritten as “Super Callous Fragile Egocentric Braggadocious.” Sondheim called his lyrics “brilliant.”
►Kingsbury Hall, Feb. 24, 2024, tickets now available, including $398 VIP seats, with a may-sell-out advisory.

LOCAL DIRECTORY If you’re unfamiliar with its posts, the independently run Gay Utah is an informative guide to the city’s drag, nightclub, and other events specifically for us.
►On Facebook as Gay Utah and Gay.Utah on Instagram.

In his youth, Blair was routinely chastised for being overly obsessed with pop culture. The attachment has grown significantly.

I can’t help myself. Here are a few favorite of Randy’s Trump-skewering ditties:

“If Donald Got Fired,” from “Gypsy”; “Don’t Arraign on His Parade,” “Funny Girl”; “Donald in the John with Boxes,” the Beatles hit; “Ya Got Trump Trouble,” “The Music Man”; “Border Lies,” Madonna; “Tweets, Tweets and Nothing But Tweets,” “Into the Woods”; “You’re Making Things Up Again, Donald,” “Book of Mormon” (the musical, not the unhistorical doorstopper opus); “A Spoonful of Clorox,” “Mary Poppins”; “Sedition!,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” ad infinitum, with infinitive possibilities.

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