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GUILTY PLEASURE: Dynasty

The 1980s were the “Greed is Good” decade, when big money and the rich people that spent it fabulously were the national obsession. In 1981, when television network ABC gave tv writer/ producers Esther and Richard Shapiro the green light to create a primetime soap opera, the duo wanted to bravely go where soaps had never gone before. What the duo created was DYNASTY, a glitzy (and often campy) hit that would go on to top the ratings for much of its 1981-1989 run. The saga of the Carrington and Colby families, two wealthy, Denver-based oil magnates came to epitomize this over-the-top era. During those nine seasons, not only was the usual betrayal, murder and scheming that soaps are known for front and center. What really set DYNASTY apart from the pack were storylines dealing with themes that included homosexuality, incest and interracial siblings. Not to forget that this was still a soap opera about rich people, all the drama was served up in diamonds, gigantic shoulder pads and lots and lots of sequins! Dynasty demonstrated that no matter how much mud slinging went on in the lives of the rich and unscrupulous, the rich always do it while wearing impeccable fashion. The clothes were so opulent that the show’s costume designer, Nolan Miller, became a household name in his own right. Veteran actor John Forsythe played oilman Blake Carrington and blonde beauty Linda Evans his beloved (and perpetually beleaguered) second wife, Krystle.

 

Though DYNASTY started off as somewhat of an inferior clone to DALLAS (the CBS network’s hit predecessor) what gave this show a major jolt of adrenaline was the second season arrival of Joan Collins, as Blake’s scheming ex-wife Alexis. It is fair to say that Collins, a sultry British brunette once dubbed “the poor man’s Elizabeth Taylor,” at the ripe age of 48, became the prototype of what we now call a “MILF”. Never before had an “older” woman been portrayed as both voraciously sexual AND cunning. Alexis would go on to seduce countless men, marry (a considerably younger) one, engage in countless legendary cat-fights with Krystle and give Blake a serious run for his money in the boardroom by assuming control of rival oil company ColbyCo. Basically, Collins stole the whole damn show!

 

The show’s creators originally planned to push the envelope with the character of Steven Carrington, Blake’s hunky gay son, portrayed first by actor Al Corley and then by Jack Coleman. Corley allegedly departed the series after the second season because he felt he had been promised his character’s homosexuality would be more pivotal to storylines and that the writers ultimately failed to deliver.

The CW Network bravely/foolishly decided to give this show a reboot in 2017 with a new cast of actors taking over the same characters depicted in the original. Try as they might, they won’t be able to perfectly capture the zeitgeist of the times quite like the iconic original.

GUYS WE LOVE: NICK ADAMS

Name: Nick Adams.

Backstory: NYC-based Adams is a classically trained singer, dancer and actor known primarily for his theater work on Broadway.

Where You Have Seen Him: Originating the starring role of Adam/Felicia on Broadway in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; as Fiyero in the National touring production of Wicked; as Jimmy Fowlie’s love interest in the LGBT-themed comedy web series Go-Go Boy Interrupted (which recently won Queerty’s “Best Web Series” Award).

His Big Break: Back in 2008, he co-starred with Mario Lopez as Larry in the Broadway revival of A Chorus LineWhen Lopez joined the cast, he was reportedly so intimidated by the younger, more muscular Adams’ physique that he requested Adams’ costume be changed to a bulky sweater. New York tabloids loved the alleged “feud” between the two hunks. “Although I wasn’t a principle in that show, it made the theater community take note like, ‘Who is this guy?’”, he says.

But Don’t Get Carried Away: Adams insists the rift between him and Lopez was all hype. “They made it seem like we were at each other’s throats backstage” he laughs. “I was hanging out with him after the show. We had a friendship develop” he insists. Adams actually introduced his good friend Courtney Mazza to Lopez and the two would eventually go on to become husband and wife. Lopez and Adams remain friends to this day.

Sure, he makes it look easy…BUT: “I’ve been really fortunate. I don’t take that for granted. I started out really focused on a dance career and I had to really fight to make the transition from ensemble work to playing roles” he says thoughtfully. “It’s a tough business, there’s not a day where you don’t have to hustle and it doesn’t ever really get easier. But what I get out of it completely justifies the means.”

On Originating A Starring Role On Broadway In Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: “That’s the dream… I think that’s the ideal for any actor. You don’t have to fill anybody else’s shoes, you create it from the ground up. That show was so over the top and ridiculous….the things I got to do…. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top that,” he says.

Hands Off: Sorry guys, he’s taken. Adams has been in a relationship for several years with fellow actor Kyle Brown.

Why We Love Him: In addition to his talent, Adams has tirelessly given his time to several LGBT and AIDS related charities, hosting NYC’s AIDS Walk kickoff, singing with the NYC and Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, and performing in the annual fundraisers Broadway Bares and Broadway Backwards.

You can follow Adams on his Twitter @TheNickAdams or Instagram @thenickadams

Basking in the glow of Moonlight

An independent movie about poor, gay, black boys has won Best Picture. Let that sink in for a minute. Don’t let the whole mix up of envelopes and La La Land kefuffle take away from the shine surrounding this victory. “Moonlight” isn’t the first gay-themed film to ever be nominated. Critically-acclaimed movies like “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Philadelphia,” “Brokeback Mountain,” and “Milk” all told stories of LGBTQ characters — some based on real individuals, others entirely fictional — as they encounter discrimination and fight against it. But its the first time an LGBTQ film has taken home the top prize.

It is a largely autobiographical story adapted from the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” written by Tarell Alvin McCraney. The film chronicles the life of a black child, from his boyhood in a rough Miami neighborhood, through adulthood.

The film comes at a pivotal time for both the black and LGBTQ communities. The last few years have been ones in which Americans were inundated with images of violence and police brutality against the black community. So much furor from these incidents arose that it sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

Blacks within the LGBTQ community have not fared much better. Incidents of violence against trans women of color have risen at an alarming rate. The newly elected President of the United States has made it one of his first priorities to rescind the rights of transgender students to use gender neutral bathrooms in schools. There is a palpable dread that further efforts to rescind the rights of LGBTQ Americans is next.

Perhaps the film’s success proves that it is not merely a film about blacks or gays. It encompasses a number of themes including poverty, family, drug addiction, identity, love, isolation and acceptance.

But now that “Moonlight” has that claimed the distinction of being “Best Picture”, what next?

Winning the Best Picture Oscar has given “Moonlight” a distinction which will enable it to be included in college curriculum. It now occupies a foot place in history.

As gut-wrenching as the events in the film itself are, the story still ends on an uplifting note. Perhaps that is what we need to focus on most in these trying times . As much as certain people try to silence our voices from telling our stories, they have only been proven to be all the more worth hearing.