Witches, b*tches and switches: The Lavender Tube on gay reality dish, a new Anne Rice series, and the congressional sh*t-show

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday January 10, 2023
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Alexandra Daddario in AMC's 'Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches'
Alexandra Daddario in AMC's 'Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches'

Can lightning strike twice by bringing Anne Rice to the small screen? AMC hopes so as it debuted "Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches" on January 8. Though not nearly as steaming-hot queer as "Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire," (previous coverage) "Mayfair Witches" is destined to be queer and hot.

The series begins in San Francisco where the main character, Dr. Rowan Fielding (Alexandra Daddario, last seen in "The White Lotus"), is a neurosurgeon. It is there that she learns she's heiress to the Mayfair dynasty in New Orleans, Anne Rice's hometown. After a series of complicated and confusing events, Rowan goes to New Orleans to find out who she is and things get dramatic.

Series co-creator Esta Spalding talked about the long history of women in the medical arts, "midwives and healers in the Middle Ages being massacred and put to death because of their healing abilities," and being targeted as witches.

At the Television Critics Association press tour in August, (www.ctam.com) Spalding said that the series, which she created with Michelle Ashford ("Masters of Sex") is definitely queer. Spalding said, "It was a complete and total priority for us, and we want our audience to look at this show and look at all of the characters in the show and feel that they see themselves, whoever they are; that the show is inviting and inclusive of every point of view and everybody who watches it."

Ashford agreed, asserting, "We do feel that that's the best way to honor Anne and how she felt about the world and people and life. We really feel we do it both because it makes for great television but also it's the best way we can pay tribute to her."

There are several queer characters in the series, but since two are a spoiler alert, we'll leave it for you to discover. But it's a compelling witch/thriller/gothic series and beautifully shot in San Francisco and New Orleans, with Harry Hamlin, Tongayi Chirisa. Jack Huston, Annabeth Gish, Beth Grant, Erica Gimpel and others. In addition to Ashford and Spalding, writers on "Mayfair Witches" include out gay screenwriter and director Sean Reycraft. Rice's gay son, writer Christopher Rice, executive-produced the series.

"The Real Friends of WeHo" cast  

Oh, WeHo, woah!
"It's hard being a public person and being a good example," says stylist to the stars Brad Goreski in what is sure to be the dishiest show of the New Year.

"The Real Friends of WeHo" premieres on MTV on January 20 following an all-new episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race." The series highlights a different group of queens as it follows some of "Hollywood's most influential and successful LGBTQ+ celebrities, personalities and entrepreneurs": Goreski, choreographer and singer Todrick Hall, actor Curtis Hamilton, CEO of Buttah Skincare Dorión Renaud, TV host and business owner Jaymes Vaughan, and digital entrepreneur Joey Zauzig.

MTV says "The Real Friends of WeHo" (RFOWH) promises to be "an unfiltered and honest look at a select group of friends living, loving and pursuing their passions in the West Hollywood community." Calling "RFOWH" a "revealing and witty new ensemble docuseries" that promises to provide "an up close and personal glimpse into their lives" as they perform in front of crowds of thousands, make high stakes business deals, celebrate important life milestones, work the red carpet, and —most important for a reality series— "reveal their most intimate truths to family and friends."

Chris Salvatore  

One "intimate truth" got spilled on Twitter by actor Chris Salvatore. Salvatore was allegedly contracted for "RFOWH," but other gays on the series who apparently are higher up the red carpet food chain than Salvatore refused to continue if he was included. The reason given is that Salvatore has an OnlyFans account (nudes, but no porn). He said he was fired after one week in a post that got 2.1 million views.

In a subsequent post with 123,600 views, Salvatore said, "Karma's gonna get em'."

"RFOWH" is racially and ethnically diverse, it's queer AF and it's gonna be lit. Tune in for the tea!

"Accused" is a new crime/thriller series debuting January 22 on Fox from the executive producers of "Homeland" and "24." Based on the BBC's BAFTA-winning crime anthology, each episode begins in a courtroom on the accused without knowing their crime or how they ended up on trial. So Kafkaesque! Told from the defendant's point of view, Fox says "Accused" "allows viewers to discover how an ordinary person got caught up in an extraordinary situation, ultimately revealing how one wrong turn leads to another, until it's too late to turn back."

'Accused' main cast  

"Accused" proffers some amazing Oscar- and Emmy-winning actors and directors. The cast includes some real heavyweights in the crime/thriller genre: Michael Chiklis, Abigail Breslin, Whitney Cummings, Margo Martindale, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Wendell Pierce, Rachel Bilson, Jack Davenport and Molly Parker. Among the directors are out gay Emmy-winner Billy Porter, Deaf actress and Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin, Tazbah Chavez, Sameh Zoabi and GLAAD media award-winner and out lesbian Lee Rose.

If it sounds like a must-see, it is. Set the DVR, as all the best shows are on Sunday nights on divergent networks.

House of Cards
The first limited series of the New Year wasn't "The White Lotus," but it sure was high drama. The "15 ballots is the charm" quest by the boy from Bakersfield, Kevin McCarthy, to be Speaker of the House finally happened after four days and 15 ballots at 1:04am on Saturday morning. At 1:44 A.M., the new Speaker swore-in the 118th Congress and then everyone went home to sleep.

As we tweeted at the time, "We're all watching C-SPAN at 1 A.M. on a Friday night and cheering." Our former club kid self just sighed.

The most dramatic part of the final night was when Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) did what we all wanted to do and lunged for the leader of the insurrectionist pack, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who many believe should be in prison. Gaetz had just failed to vote for McCarthy for the 14th time, while still trying to manipulate McCarthy into giving him control of a committee. Rogers got put in a headlock by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) stopped McCarthy from intervening. It was a moment.

In the end, none of the six rogue alt-right GOP voted for McCarthy, instead voting "present," allowing McCarthy to win. It was shambolic and embarrassing and a clue to how the next two years will go: from Nancy Pelosi, the most consequential Speaker in U.S. history, to McCarthy, who gave an impassioned thank you to Donald Trump —on the second anniversary of the January 6th insurrection— after he was finally elected.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries proved he would do Pelosi proud when he gave a speech thanking her and enumerating her successes, and thanking House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Minority Whip Jim Clyburn, who had both agreed not to seek the Democratic leadership so that a new generation of Democrats could ascend. Jeffries also introduced McCarthy, but not before giving an ABCs of Democratic accomplishments and how Democrats are better than GOP. Our fave: "Maturity over Mar-a-Lago."

The cheers from the floor must have been daunting for McCarthy. Not only did Jeffries keep McCarthy standing for 15 minutes waiting to take his place at the podium, but it was a total takedown of the GOP and McCarthy himself.

But none of that stopped McCarthy from giving a paean to Lincoln, even as he asserted he would put an end to schools being hijacked by "woke" teaching. In reality, Lincoln was far too "woke" to be allowed anywhere near today's GOP. It's going to be all "Southern border!" and "prosecute Fauci!" and Hunter Biden's dick pics for the foreseeable future.

To paraphrase Bette Davis in 'All About Eve,' "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride."

So for the scandalous, the scary and the all-too-true crime, as well as a soupcon of all things queer, you really must stay tuned.

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