Because the old school gay is fast becoming the new modern man, AKA William theater contributor Ben Rimalower will, every Thursday, document exactly how, when, and where everything old becomes new again.
Straddling the line between old school showbiz cheesiness and contemporary short attention span whateverness, Ben is the New Old Gay. He loves Patti LuPone.
Perhaps a better question is whether Michael Jackson might be “queer.” One needn’t look too hard at any picture of Michael Jackson (particularly since the early 90s when he added the heavily made-up female face to an already uber-flamboyant appearance) to acknowledge him as at least “Gender Fuck.”
I don’t wish to address the questions of Michael Jackson’s alleged pedophilia or the sexual molestation charges made against him. I am interested in Michael Jackson as a “queer” artist and in what his work means to me as a New Old Gay.
As a very young child, I identified Michael Jackson as a kindred spirit. At the top of the “Beat It” video, Michael wears a girly t-shirt and pajama bottoms, looking like a teenage girl crying in her room over a broken heart. Pouting as he sings about the dangers of an impending brawl, even his courageous venture out onto the streets begins with drama queen mugging. He preens up off the bed, shoulders back, jazz hands out, and then, with limp wrists, minces into the first chorus.
But what a chorus – his voice soars over Eddie Van Halen’s legendary guitar part as he changes into a red fetching leather jacket and struts his formidable stuff through the dangerous gang fight. The thugs are instantly transfixed and transformed. Everyone falls in line dancing behind Michael and then, he is the definition of fierce. Singing and dancing with a virtuosic soulfulness, Michael doesn’t have to look over his shoulder to know that he has triumphed and they are all following him. So is the rest of the world.