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RuPaul’s Drag Race star Peppermint on her hopes, fears and feeling fierce

A year ago, I was invited to drag star Peppermint’s London hotel room to chat to her about her music, her live shows, and her short stay in the city. It was a meeting that happened before the whirlwind of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9.

I first met Peppermint almost a decade ago when I worked for LGBT dance radio station GaydarRadio. She came to the studios in Twickenham with her entourage of male dancers to chat about her album, Hardcore Glamour, and the work that she’d so tirelessly been concentrating on since she started performing in bars and clubs such as Tunnel on the New York City nightlife scene.

It was a brilliantly joyous, outrageous first encounter, and I hit it off with her from the start. It was obvious to me, and I am sure others, that Peppermint’s life was on the cusp of even greater, more thrilling adventures. Soon after our radio interview (and her surprise visit to see me DJ at London’s Profile), we enjoyed her Gaga/Beyonce ‘Telephone’ parody (‘Make Me Moan’) with fellow queen Sherry Vine, and her appearances in Ugly Betty and America’s Next Top Model.

What a decade it has been for Peppermint. I for one could not be happier for her.

with Peppermint / Profile, London 2009

I wasn’t surprised when I found out that Peppermint had landed a part as a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race – an American reality competition TV series where fierce (and sometimes not-so-fierce) queens ‘lip-sync for their life’ and battle it out to be America’s next drag superstar.

In my mind, Peppermint was already that, but I was intrigued to see how this warm personality was going to compete in the mini challenges, let alone the library! After all, the library is usually open if you can be playful, have fun and not look down on others.

A few days ago, Peppermint returned to London to take on some promo dates in the city, including the Queens Werq The World tour date at Troxy. Once more, I met up with her at her hotel. And yes, I sprawled on her bed again. It’s purely professional you do understand.

During our chat we touched on the importance of her opening up as trans on one of the Drag Race Season 9 episodes, as well as the challenges of truly being herself on the show.

“To some people, it’s so boring if you’re not bitchy,” Peppermint said.

It’s clear that the Drag Race experience so far has been an enjoyable one, but also testing.

“You’re in this fish tank, and it’s closed, and there is no oxygen. And there is no food! And there is no sleep! So your reactions are going to be even more heightened. I might have said some things even more quickly than I would have done normally.

“One of the fears that I had taking on the show was that I would be rejected by all these other queens. I was scared that I wouldn’t get along with these queens, that it would be so catty, and so petty. But it hasn’t been like that.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 – produced by World of Wonder for Logo TV – continues on Netflix and VH1. Watch my 2016 interview with Peppermint below.

Cover Girl


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LGBT

BFI Flare 2017 – Review Round-Up

bfi flare 2017 header

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival celebrated its 31st edition at the British Film Institute on Southbank last month.

Once again, this yearly selection of films and documentaries of LGBTQ fiction and non-fiction works pushed the boundaries and expressed emotion and talent.

One of the most significant and long standing film events in the world’s LGBT calendar, BFI Flare presented over 50 features, more than 100 shorts and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops, club nights and much more.

With the help of singer-songwriter Katherine Ellis, electro pop music blogger Raj Rudolph and actor Kris Webb, I saw and reviewed many of the films on show. Watch our vlogs of the launch party below:

Against The Law – dir. Fergus O’Brien

The festival opened with the World Premiere of Against the Law (directed by Fergus O’Brien and starring Daniel Mays, Mark Gatiss and Charlie Creed-Miles), a sensitive adaptation of Peter Wildeblood’s bestselling memoir, telling the story of his affair with a handsome serviceman and the subsequent court case which led to his imprisonment.

Special Presentations at BFI Flare this year included Vincent Gagliostro’s passionate and inspirational After Louie where Alan Cumming gives a stand-out performance as a troubled survivor of the AIDS epidemic.

Watch our review video below:

The HEARTS programme included films about love, romance and friendship. Handsome Devil, directed by John Butler and starring Andrew Scott, is a witty Irish charmer which charts the unlikely friendship between an isolated gay teen and his hunky rugby playing roommate. Read Raj Rudolph’s review over on his excellent EQ Music website.

Dante Alencastre’s documentary Raising Zoey follows a strong family who demonstrate how open mindedness and love can pave the way for a joyful transition for their 13-year-old Zoey.

Watch our video review of Raising Zoey below:

Waiting for B (dir. Paulo Cesar Toldeo) is a kitschy, light-hearted and thoroughly camp portrayal of pop culture, mega fandom and the adoration of Beyoncé. I was joined by actor/singer Kris Webb to watch and review this documentary, which you can watch below.

The Handmaiden [Blu-ray]


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This title will be released on August 7, 2017.

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LGBTPodcast Updates

MOVIE REVIEW: Raising Zoey | BFI Flare 2017

In this video, Phil and Katherine review Raising Zoey at the BFI Flare 2017 London LGBT Film Festival.

Raising Zoey is a documentary capturing the uplifting story of a strong family demonstrating how open-mindedness and love can pave the way for a joyful transition.

PMKETV is an entertainment explosion of entertainment news, reviews, gossip & celebrity guests, presented by Phil Marriott, Katherine Ellis and Max Ellis. Listen to the PMKEpodcast here.

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FILMLGBTNEWS

The Naked Civil Servant gets brand new restoration

The Naked Civil Servant Header

Originally broadcast on British TV in 1976, The Naked Civil Servant was the compelling drama that won John Hurt his first Best Actor BAFTA.

It tells the remarkable true story of Quentin Crisp, self-proclaimed England’s Stately Homo, who lived an openly homosexual lifestyle from the 1930s in London at a time when it was a criminal offence.

Following his openly flamboyant life through the haunts of Belgravia, Chelsea and Soho, it brings us into the 1970s. His best-selling autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant forms the basis for Philip Mackie’s script for this highly acclaimed drama.

BAFTA-nominated for best Single TV Drama and winning the prestigious Prix Italia Award, The Naked Civil Servant provides John Hurt with a career-defining performance and it gave Quentin a celebrity status that saw him perform one-man shows and take small acting roles including Sally Potter’s Orlando (1992). He died in 1999.

Executive produced by Verity Lambert (Doctor Who) and directed by Jack Gold, there are cameo early roles for Roger Lloyd-Pack (Only Fools and Horses), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Patricia Hodge (Rumpole of the Bailey, Miranda).

Voted fourth in BFI’s Top 100 TV programmes of 20th Century, the film has been fully restored in high-definition from the original film elements and still retains its power and social relevance, particularly in the year that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.

It remains one of the most significant LGBT dramas of all time as well as a fitting tribute to John Hurt, a much loved actor, who died in January.

● The Naked Civil Servant is released by Network and available on BluRay/ DVD on 5th June. DVD extras include: Commentary with John Hurt, Verity Lambert and Jack Gold; ‘Making Of’ documentary; ‘Seven men – Quentin Crisp’ documentary. To pre-order, click on the link below.

The Naked Civil Servant [Blu-ray]


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Release date June 5, 2017.

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FILMLGBT

BFI FLARE 2017 REVIEW: Against The Law / After Louie

Against The Law is a timely and sensitive biopic based on Peter Wildeblood’s bestseller which tells the story of his affair with a serviceman he met in Piccadilly and the devastating consequences of their relationship.

Wildeblood had been a celebrated and well-connected journalist with a range of acquaintances that included Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. He is played by Daniel Mays, in a performance that charts his journey from Fleet Street via public vilification to his imprisonment under the same legislation that sent Oscar Wilde to Reading Gaol.

2017 sees the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act which decriminalised homosexual acts in England and Wales between adult males, in private. While it would take several decades before homosexuals would reach anything like full equality in this country, this legislation marks the beginning of this journey. The BFI is marking the 50th anniversary with a new season of screenings and events.

The importance of Peter Wildeblood’s case (jointly brought against him, Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers) is that it brought the debate about homosexuality into the public domain. It led the way to the creation of the Wolfenden Committee on sexual law reform that eventually resulted in the passing of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which changed the lives of thousands of gay men with its partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts.

After Louie stars Alan Cumming as a New York artist whose life is turned upside down by an encounter with a much younger man.

● Against The Law will be shown on BBC Two later this year. BFI Flare runs 16th March – 26th March 2017.  

Out at the Movies: A History of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual and Queer Cinema


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LGBT

START YOUR ENGINES…

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Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs next month with thirteen queens competing for the title of ‘America’s Next Drag Superstar’.

Two of my friends (Peppermint and Charlie Hides) will be appearing, so it’s quite possibly going to be the most exciting one yet. But which queen do I root for? That’s a tough one.

With Drag Race on everyone’s lacquered lips right now, it might be a good time to remind you of a remix I produced with my studio partner Rich B, and an interview from last summer. Back in 2015 we celebrated the massive success of Ru’s show by remixing a cut from her CoverGurlz2 album, and last year I met up with Peppermint during her short stay in London.

‘New York City Beat’, featuring regular Drag Race judge Michelle Visage, is a reworking of Armand van Helden’s second single from his 2007 album, Ghettoblaster.

Sickening.

Summer of Love (Rich B & Phil Marriott Club Mix)


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LGBTNEWS

BFI FLARE 2017

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival unveiled its 31st edition’s full programme last night. BFI Flare opens on the 16th March with the World Premiere of Fergus O’Brien’s BBC Production Against the Law at BFI Southbank.

The Festival closes with the International Premiere of Jennifer Reeder’s Signature Move at BFI Southbank.

One of the most significant and long standing film events in the world’s LGBT calendar, BFI Flare will present over 50 features, more than 100 shorts and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops, club nights and much more.

The Centrepiece Screening of the 2017 Festival is the European Premiere of Torrey Pines, a psychedelic stop-motion animation about a child grappling with gender identity and a schizophrenic mother. The film will be accompanied by a live score from director Clyde Petersen’s Queercore band, Your Heart Breaks.

The year’s Special Presentations are both World Premieres: the new UK web series, Different for Girls, a smart, sassy, sexy multi-layered lesbian drama, directed by award-winning Festival alumni Campbell X and After Louie in which Alan Cumming plays a New York artist whose life is turned upside down by an encounter with a much younger man.

2017 sees the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act which decriminalised private homosexual acts in England and Wales. The Festival marks this anniversary in a number of ways:

Fifty Years of Queer History through the Moving Image and Beyond a unique afternoon of illustrated talks, screenings and storytelling with a wide range of historians, archivists and individuals who lived through the period.

Against The Law – dir. Fergus O’Brien

The aforementioned Against the Law is the profoundly moving true story of Peter Wildeblood and the events that led to the creation of the Wolfenden Committee on sexual law reform.

BFI Flare will host the World Premiere of the politically charged Pride? (dir. Ashley Joiner), a provocative and intelligent documentary which details the history of the Pride celebrations.

As previously announced, the BFI is also marking the 50th anniversary with a new season of screenings and events in July and August. Gross Indecency will explore the pioneering – and sometimes problematic – depictions of LGBT life in British film and TV in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

In a global climate which sees many LGBT people struggle for basic human rights, BFI Flare also presents a selection of films and events which explore LGBT culture around the world. Highlights:

Out of Iraq (dirs. Eva Orner and Chris McKim) is an outstanding documentary about the forbidden relationship of two Iraqi young soldiers at the height of the Iraq war.

The Pearl of Africa (dir. Jonny von Wallström) follows the story of Cleopatra Kambugu, the first out transgender woman in Uganda.

Sridhar Rangayan, the Director of Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival will attend BFI Flare and take part in an event exploring LGBT film and television culture in India, as part of UK/India 2017.

BFI FLARE: LONDON LGBT FILM FESTIVAL, 2017 FULL PROGRAMME

From 16-26th March at BFI Southbank, the Festival will showcase the best in contemporary global LGBT features and short films, talks, events and archive screenings.

The Festival opens with the World Premiere of Against the Law (directed by Fergus O’Brien and starring Daniel Mays, Mark Gatiss and Charlie Creed-Miles), a sensitive adaptation of Peter Wildeblood’s bestselling memoir, telling the story of his affair with a handsome serviceman and the subsequent court case which led to his imprisonment.

The Festival’s Closing Gala on Sunday 26th March is Signature Move, directed by BFI London Film Festival alumni Jennifer Reeder. The comedy drama stars Pakistani-Canadian actress, Fawzia Mirza, Bollywood star Shabana Azmi and Mexican-American Sari Sanchez, and is a cross-cultural romance about a lesbian living in Chicago with her recently widowed mother.

Special Presentations include Clyde Petersen’s return to the festival for the third time with a captivating semi-autobiographical animated musical Torrey Pines, which will feature a live score on the night. Alan Cumming gives a stand-out performance as a troubled survivor of the AIDS epidemic in Vincent Gagliostro’s passionate and inspirational After Louie.

BFI Flare also screens the World Premiere of Different for Girls (dir. Campbell X), a sassy, sexy lesbian web series set in West London, starring Rachel Shelley (The L Word) and Guinevere Turner (American Psycho, Go Fish).

The Festival is further divided into sections: HEARTS, BODIES and MINDS. Highlights in the programme include:

HEARTS includes films about love, romance and friendship. Handsome Devil, directed by John Butler and starring Andrew Scott, is a witty Irish charmer which charts the unlikely friendship between an isolated gay teen and his hunky rugby playing roommate. Maura Anderson’s elegant and assured debut Heartland is a powerful examination of love and loss and tells the tale of Lauren, who is forced to return to live in rural Oklahoma following the death of her girlfriend.

Dear Dad (dir. Tanuj Bhramar) is an India-set bittersweet father and son road movie. André Techine’s powerful and affecting Being 17 is the story two young boys in their last year of high school, co-written by Celine Sciamma (Tomboy, Girlhood). The pain and heartache of young love is laid bare in Monja Art’s hugely accomplished second feature Seventeen.

BODIES features stories of sex, identity and transformation. The diverse selection of films includes the Interbank LGBT Forum Special Screening of Nathan Adloff’s winning gay teen movie Miles. Park Chan Wook’s ravishing The Handmaiden, inspired by Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, sees a woman hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, secretly involved in a plot to defraud her. Marcelo Caetano’s Body Electric follows a handsome young man enjoying casual encounters in contemporary Brazil.

Created by an entirely female crew, Below Her Mouth (dir. April Mullen) is a no holds-barred depiction of what happens in the first few days of two women falling in love. Dante Alencastre’s documentary Raising Zoey follows a strong family who demonstrate how open mindedness and love can pave the way for a joyful transition for their 13-year-old Zoey.

In FTWTF: Female to What the Fuck (dirs. Katharina Lampert, Cordula Thym), several trans-identified people openly discuss the intricacies of transitioning. Timothy Greenfield Sanders returns to BFI Flare with The Trans List, in which some of the world’s most prominent transpeople, including Caitlin Jenner and Laverne Cox, tell their stories.

Free Cece! dir. Jacqueline Gares

MINDS features reflections on art, politics and community. Morgan White chronicles the world’s most recognisable pair of shoes with The Slippers, a documentary about Dorothy’s iconic ruby footwear in The Wizard of Oz, which features appearances from the late Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.

Waiting for B (dir. Paulo Cesar Toldeo) is a kitschy, light-hearted and thoroughly camp portrayal of pop culture, mega fandom and the adoration of Beyoncé. Mark Kenneth Woods’ Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things sensitively observes the complexities of LGBT life in Canada’s remote Arctic Inuit population. Last Man Standing (dir. Erin Brethauer) is a beautifully made documentary charting the life of eight long-term survivors who live with AIDS. Led by Laverne Cox, Jaqueline Gares’ Free Cece documents the case of Cece McDonald, a transwoman imprisoned in a male facility.

BFI Flare also includes a wide range of events, talks and debates. For full details check out the BFI website.

Subscribe to the my YouTube channel for video report updates on BFI Flare 2017 

Tune in to the Phil Marriott show on Gaydio every Sunday from 11am to hear coverage of the BFI Flare 2017 festival.

Tickets for BFI Flare go on sale via bfi.org.uk/flare to BFI Patrons, Champions and Members from Monday 20 Feb and General Public on Monday 27 February.

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LGBTNEWS

Erasure’s Andy Bell To Perform at London Club Night In February

Andy Bell PA 800×500

London DJ/Producer duo Rich B and Phil Marriott are thrilled to announce that singer-songwriter Andy Bell will be exclusively performing at their monthly club night Enriched – presented by Gaydio and Enriched Records – at The Two Brewers in London on Friday 10th February.

In the mid 1980s, Andy formed the hugely successful synth pop duo Erasure with Vince Clarke. To date the pair have sold over 25 million albums worldwide, and scored hits with tracks such as ‘A Little Respect’, ‘Sometimes’, ‘Victim Of Love’, ‘Chorus’, ‘Drama’ and ‘Always’.

At the end of 2005, Andy released Electric Blue, his first solo album, which saw him collaborate with Claudia Brücken of Propaganda and Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters. In 2010 he released his second solo album, Non-Stop. The following year he appeared on the second season of ITV series Popstar to Operastar and finished in fifth place.

Last year, Erasure released an anthology boxset entitled From Moscow To Mars to mark their 30th anniversary. This June the band will be very special guests on Robbie Williams’ 2017 tour.

Andy Bell performs at The Two Brewers in London on Friday 10th February. For details on door entry prices check out the flyer below and #AndyBellEnriched

 

 

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