Cher Public

Tout gai!

snagglepussIn honor of the 40th anniversary of Gay Pride (the 40th official anniversary, anyway) coming up this weekend, La Cieca proposes this week’s YouTube contest theme: “Tout gai!”  

Your task is to find and to properly embed a YouTube video exemplifying “Tout gai!”, then append a few sentences explaining why your choice is indeed le plus gai.  Allow La Cieca to demonstrate:

We will pass briefly over the obvious camp value of the dragocious interpretation of 18th century costume and stage demeanor (while admitting that Beverly Sills rocks both) and the ornamentation Roland Gagnon madly bedazzles over Handel’s melody; the point here is the gaiety (in the pre-cocksucking sense of the word) with which the singer sails through the music.  To me, the deepest loss in the Sills package in her last five years of career wasn’t the wobble or the hardening of the top notes, it was the dimming of her sheer giggling joy in singing. And that’s why I like to remember her at her gayest here.

So, go look for a YouTube clip of your favorite “Tout gai!” moment, and post it in the comments section for this posting, along with your commentary, by midnight on Sunday, June 27. The clip and comment La Cieca judges the best (and her whim is final) will receive a copy of the newly-released DVD The Metropolitan Opera Gala 1991: 25th Anniversary at Lincoln Center, documenting this performance. (If the winner resides outside the United States, La Cieca reserves the right to substitute an gift certificate of equivalent value.)

Now, gai it up!

  • Buster

    Men in tights -- a gorgeous, shrill blonde, clumsy choreography, very gay:

    Singer: Sari Barabas

    • That Guy

      Well, this isn’t opera but it’s certainly tout gai!

      • brett

        I actually saw him perform that at Milwaukee’s Pridefest the other week.

    • CruzSF

      When I first saw this section of Powell & Pressburger’s masterpiece in a French history class, my jaw dropped and I looked around the room to see if I was the only one coming inside at the explosion of ideas and the directors’ unabashed love of the source material. The colors, the frills, the magic glasses: and these are just the men! THIS was my introduction to Contes d’Hoffmann.

      After class ended, I sashayed over to the Castro, installed myself at Starbears (nickname of the local Starbucks, for reasons you can guess) and bathed in the vapors of the proud mixture of masculinity and queendom.

      • it does not get gayer than the plum coat and the over sized sleeves.

    • i’ve always thought sari could cut glass with that voice…damn was it bright!

    • ilpenedelmiocor

      And execrable German to top it all off….

    • louannd

      fantastic —-- incredibly gay and fun!

  • Harold

    The aria, the costume, the swing. Gay, gay, gay.

    • Not fair. This is gay enough for ten entries.

    • Ok yeah, this is about as gay as it gets.

    • Big Q

      The pantaloon flash at 1:34 puts this way, way over the top.

      • any good costumier will tell you the undergarments are the most important thing.

        This costume looks like something that eventually showed up in her Traviatas

    • HAAAHAHAHA!!!!! OH MY GOD I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! *Involuntarily shrieking with hysterical delight.* Is she wider than tall here? Don’t you half expect little gingerbread ballerina children to come out from underneath her skirt?!!?! Why don’t singers make these kinds of videos anymore?? It’s gets so jaded and Vegas and low budget MTV now -- like Anna Netrebko (though, make no mistake, I loooove her) on the floating donut! We need to GET BACK TO THE GAY OLD DAYS when our most celebrated singers could just be happy to be happy, heart on the sleeve, and vocally FLAWLESS!!

    • callasorphan

      Why does that song from “Mame” keep going through my mind when I watch this little clip of Joan? I keep hearing “The man in the Moon is a lady.”

  • Gianni B


    • CruzSF

      For Gianni B.

      • omg…perfection. i want this kinda simple love (ie: intoxicating park walks, hours of eye-gazing, gazebo embraces)!!! is it possible for a gay? ;-)

      • Jack Jikes

        Touchingly wholesome. I adore the primness of Cathy’s blouse.
        Gay? No.

  • tannengrin

    I’ll nominate this

    hair! eyeliner for days! the nails!

    • This my entry for the “In questa reggia” sub-category. I don’t know if it’s gay, but it’s something!

      • PirateJenny

        you beat me to that one Kashania! I was just looking for it when I saw you already posted it. I love it.

      • OMG it’s so Star Trek TOS!

      • Donna Carlo

        Magnificent. And so very brave: stepping into the sets and costumes of an abruptly cancelled production of Lakmé or L’Africaine or whatever it is to give her fans this sparkling treat. Courage under fire is what I call it.

        Speaking of which, her courage reaches a do-or-die peak when she makes her entrance and discovers that the sets are going up in flames. Ignoring the smoke and all its dangers to Life, but even more to the Voice, she behaves like the trooper she is and totally ignores it. Princess indeed! Queen of our hearts!

        It’s Bette Midler, right?

        • Actually, the cancelled production was an Ariadne where the setting was updated to a tropical resort island. Mme Schröder-Feinen’s bravery in the name of Art knew no bounds. (And of course, the same can be said of Mme Midler).

      • ilpenedelmiocor

        Cue the industrial fans!
        Cue the smoke machine!
        Cue the pirate ship!

        I trust the set designer (oddly enough, “Oberon”) got the German equivalent of an Emmy for this.

  • chaka
    • chaka

      I can’t figure out this embedding thing!

      But, this is the most gai!

      • E-news

        you just put a “v” after the “http”

        so instead of


        http v ://

        (except without the spaces.)

        there you go:

        • Wow, not even the little picture our doyenne has placed in the reply box can help people?

          I mean, it is a picture, complete with highligheed area and everything!

          Cieca carissima, could we request a whole threat of practice, with the pretty image that you have above the box really big, for people to see?

  • E-news

    This production has always seemed really gay to me, but I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I think it might have something to do with the overall design aesthetic; the clean lines of the stairs presented in contrast to the broken columns, the uses of color, etc. To be honest, the gay sensibility is pretty subtle, but I think ultimately pervasive.

    • I think you’re very sage for not trying to put your finger on it.

      • I have to confess i would put more than a finger, i would put an entire hand on it; BOTH.

    • Donna Carlo

      It might be less subtle if they’d hired a backstage fluffer. I know, I know, cost containment. But were there no volunteers in the audience? Really!

  • quoth the maven

    Not operatic, but gay as all get-out:

    I love all the men in their powder blue suits. They’re all so happy to see Rita Hayworth! But even though she’s gorgeous, none of them, strangely, seem to want to fuck her—just dance around her. Go figure!

  • Florence Quartavodka

    Not only is June Gay Pride Month, June 24 is also International Fairy Day. Tout gai!

  • PirateJenny

    This clip conjures up memories of being a child in the seventies, back when the Village People were starring in blockbuster movies and people believed Liberace when he said he just hadn’t found the right woman to marry. Now, of course, a clip featuring leather daddies go-go dancing to Sigmund Romberg would be deemed unsuitable for impressionable minds -- back then it was apparently perfectly suited for a variety show with George Burns and Ann-Margret.

    I suppose opportunities for subversive gay-themed pranks on mainstream audiences represent a very small price to pay in exchange for the equal rights and acceptance that can only come with refusing to hide or allow people to remain in ignorance, but still… when I see things like this I long for just a few more gay pranks. Be sure to note the headlights shining at crotch level.

  • CruzSF

    OT: right now (1:14pm Eastern Time): Keenlyside interview on BBC Radio 3.

  • Valmont

    Gay and NOT filmed in a tv studio!

    • Valmont

      Filmed gay

      Crossover/creepy gay

      • Jack Jikes

        Dimitri trumps Joan on the swing -- who would have thought!

        • bob villa

          i have to agree with this one

        • Donna Carlo

          AND he gives great French.

    • tosca_fairy

      Valmont, you beat me to it -- I shall have to find another!

    • I was actually going to submit this in the spirit of Gay Ambivalence Weekend as an example of gay in the sense of “that is so gay.” I sort of like Chenoweth better than I used to but this for me is like big gay nails on a big gay blackboard and no, I don’t know what would make a blackboard gay.

  • It starts with the smiles that they share. Then come the little ejaculations of “Ah”, each one a mini geyser — sometimes coming together in perfect harmoney. Then one notices the outfits, the red silk draped across Vangelis’s consul, the images projected on the big screen. And finally, the greek (ahem) columns, proudly erect. Oh, and did I mention the orchestration?

    • tannengrin

      I always feel that this was the perfect piece of music for La Battle.

      • even with all the jaw distortions, she can teach Danielle Denisse a thing or 2 about Handel.

  • Definitely the perfect drag-a-trois number of all time:

    but again, here’s an opportunity of watching those girls when they were fresh at it, 10 years beforehand, in this AMAZING clip

    confession : I LOVE Pamela Myers. I guess this makes me VERY gay indeed.

    • Donna Anna

      Pam Myers is alive and well and living in Cincinnati. A while back, Sondheim came here to accept an award, and she sang for him. It was a night to remember.

  • tannengrin

    tres gai!

  • Valmont

    Can’t believe I didn’t think of this one first actually.

    • Big Q

      La Cieca’s praise of Sills’ “sheer giggling joy in singing” is amply matched here by Caballe.

      • Valmont

        Plus it was produced by “The Torpedo Twins.”

  • No Expert

    Are we going for gai or gay? I was a little confused so I picked one that is kind of both.

    It’s like a baroque operatic advice column on how to land a man. But what really seals the deal here is how Piau kicks off those slippers. And her parasol twirling is nonpareil!

    Dear La Cieca, you picked a fabulous clip to start with!

  • SF Guy

    I haven’t seen anything tout gai-er than this; It’s got camp, kink, and there’s even an Armida tie-in:

    • Far superior to the early 1960s remake!

    • Donna Carlo

      Indeed. Before the ravages of drink ripped his voice to shreds, Richard Burton was once hailed as the next Rufus Wainwright.

  • E-news
  • tosca_fairy

    I’m simply torn between the Japanese Sopranista Tomotaka Okamoto

    and the little boy in liederhosen, Robin Schlotz:

    In the first, all one need do is look at his outfit (and that’s just one of many), and the second reminds me of my childhood (or as I like to delude myself to believe it was).

  • tosca_fairy

    Oops…let’s try that again:


    • OpinionatedNeophyte

      I’ve always loved that little kid. How long before he trades this version of Queen of the Night for a Whitney Houston drag, complete with microphone headset.