Bil Browning

Weekly Reader: GLAAD, Stonewall, & No Gay Pride

Filed By Bil Browning | June 11, 2011 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Weekly Reader
Tags: best of Bilerico, gay pride, GLAAD, Stonewall, Weekly Reader

Thumbnail image for weeklyreaderblock.pngYou weren't able to read every post on Bilerico Project last week? Don't worry! Every weekend I round up the best Bilerico posts from the past seven days to help you stay up to date on the latest queer news and analysis.

Saturday

CT Passes Trans Rights Law Filed by Dr. Jillian T. Weiss
Bobbi Campbell in 1984 at Dem Convention: AIDS at 30 Filed by Karen Ocamb

Sunday

Too Big To Tell: An Epic Without Heroes Filed by Terrance Heath
The Genocidal Legacy Of Ronald Reagan Filed by Guest Blogger Will Kohler

Monday

Vital Ventura County LGBT Center Closes Filed by Patricia Nell Warren
Why the Pride Flag on the Space Needle Matters Filed by Joe Mirabella

Tuesday

Proposed Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis in DSM-5 Filed by Kelley Winters
Stonewall at 42: 'Why Don't You Guys Do Something?' Filed by Rev. Emily C. Heath

Wednesday

Interview: GLAAD President Addresses Recent Controversies Filed by Adam Polaski
My Surprising Lack of Gay Pride Filed by Mark S. King

Thursday

End of an Era: Thanks for the Good Times Filed by Alex Blaze
Is He Stupid? Yep! Filed by Mike Rogers

Friday

Tracy Morgan Comes Under Fire for Homophobic Stand-Up Routine Filed by Adam Polaski
GLAAD President Admits Knowledge of Mystery FCC Letter Filed by Bil Browning

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May I use this as an open thread? ... I hope so.

The Unofficial Gay Pride Anthem!

I don't think there's a Gay Pride Parade in the country that can run its course without having someone play Gloria Gaynor's I Am What I Am ... Surprisingly, I do find gay men who don't know who the singer is (mostly bears and leathermen). And once upon a time I didn't know, either -- until thru the years the song soaked into my brain so deep that I can't now picture a Gay Pride Parade in my mind without hearing Gloria do the soundtrack.

Many of you do know ... yet many of you don't ... that I Am What I Am was originally, and still is, a Broadway show tune. It is sung by the drag performer Albin at the end of the first act of La Cage aux Folle and was written by the famous Broadway composer Jerry Herman. Most of the first actors playing the role were straight, non-drag-performing males, the role being originated by the great George Hearn. Another famous Albin was John Barrowman, and there have been many others, including the just-closed 2011 NYC production featuring Harvey Fierstein as Albin -- believe it or not, Harvey gets his low, gravelly voice to work wonderfully for the song!

There are many videos of I Am What I Am on YouTube, including one performed by George Hearn himself -- but dressed as a man in a fine tuxedo, not in his La Cage drag. The best of the actual stage performances, I have decided, is the one by David Engel, because of the emotional interpretation that is so well done.

I can't post the video in this comment, but here's the link -- this is a version of I Am What I Am that you probably won't hear playing along with the parade floats and cavorting drag queens down the gay streets of June.

[=I Am What I Am performed by David Engel=]

P.S. Happy Gay Pride Weekend, Indianapolis!

Another Honorable Mention performance as Albin was Douglas Hodge, who won a Tony for the role in 2010.