Liz Smith: Chaz Bono Loses the “Dance” But Wins the Fight

And more from our Gossip Girl: Lindsay strips down for Playboy (no, no!) … Beyonce — the wise mother-to-be … Judy Garland, celebrated in concert and on CD

“WHEN YOU get the personality, you don’t need nudity,” said the eternally covered up and corseted Mae West.

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LINDSAY LOHAN’s mother, the lovely Dina, is saying to something called X17Online that her daughter has posed for Playboy.

The magazine will not confirm. Aside from every other consideration, we’ve already seen just about all of Lindsay there is to be seen. Perhaps nobody remembers LL’s ill-advised semi-nude session with Bert Stern a few years back, when she attempted to recreate Stern’s fabled “last sitting,” with Marilyn Monroe, with Lohan in a bad blonde wig. This appeared in New York magazine of all places. The pictures were not attractive. Lohan’s body looked surprisingly mature for a girl who was then 22.

Well, maybe Lindsay will break with tradition and do a fashion shoot for Playboy? Or perhaps it’s just an interview?

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WELL, Chaz Bono did his best on “Dancing With the Stars” and lasted longer than many thought he would. Despite a lot of vicious commenting when he joined the show, Chaz stayed strong and ignored the haters. However, at the end, he couldn’t ignore the critiques of one of the judges who felt compelled over the weeks, to compare Chaz’s efforts to those of a ‘cuddly penguin” or an Ewok. (One of those odd “Star Wars” creatures.)

Chaz didn’t appreciate this, and neither did his furious mother, the one and only Cher, who tweeted her disapproval when Chaz was finally eliminated.

In any case, this has to have been a great ride for Chaz, winner or not, leading to more open discussions and understanding about transgendered people. And I hope Chaz continues dancing or otherwise exercising — it does a body good. And, this high-profile act of bravery has probably done his relationship with Cher a lot of good, too.

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CONGRATS to one of my favorite guys, Bruce Willis. He and his wife Emma Heming are expecting their first child later this year. This will be Bruce’s fourth child. He has three daughters with ex, Demi MooreRumer, Scout and Tallulah. Bruce seems very happy with his girls, but surely our big tough action hero wouldn’t mind a boy.

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WELL, JUST because I don’t care for the rotting, slow-motion zombies of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” doesn’t mean anybody has to agree with me. In fact, after only two episodes of the second season, AMC has picked the show up for a third season. There’s life in the zombie genre yet!

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I FEEL for the parents of Amy Winehouse, who were so convinced that their talented, tragic daughter died perhaps from attempting to detox herself too quickly.

As it turns out, though no illegal drugs were found in her system, the coroner now says, Amy had consumed a very large quantity of alcohol — five times over the legal drunk driving limit. She died as a result.

This is a cautionary tale every college kid and spring-breaker should take to heart: Getting really, really drunk can give you more than a killer hangover. It can actually kill you.

* * *

SINGER/DANCER/Fashion icon Beyonce looks ravishingly autumnal on the front of November’s Harper’s Bazaar. Her skin is gleaming bronze, her hair is gleaming bronze, her dress is gleaming bronze. It’s quite an eye-catching cover, photographed by Terry Richardson.

Richardson also does the fabulous photos inside, which accompany Elisa Lipsky-Karasz’s profile of the star. Beyonce explains why she revealed her pregnancy on the red-carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards, rather than simply release a statement.

“It was the toughest red-carpet I ever did. I didn’t want a crazy picture or gossip story to break the news. So I decided to say nothing, and proudly show my bump. I felt it was more powerful to see the love and enthusiasm as opposed to saying anything.” (If you recall, Beyonce just stood there with a little Mona Lisa smile and rubbed her tummy. The Internet went mad!)

One of Beyonce’s best friends, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, contributes this: “B. is wise beyond her years. She has taught me the value of speaking your mind. She is clear and honest and true to herself while being so respectful. She will be an incredible mother because she is full of love and knows who she is.”

And as to motherhood, the wise Beyonce sums up her decision to have a baby now. “It was important to me that I gave myself time to focus on becoming a woman before I became a mother.”

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JUDY! JUDY! JUDY! Tomorrow night at Manhattan’s Town Hall, the Seventh Annual Broadway Cabaret Festival presents “A Tribute to Judy Garland and the Art of American Dance.” Although Judy wasn’t known as a dancer per se, she was damn good, and was famous for watching a complicated dance routine once and then just going out and doing it — one take! Carole J. Bufford and Elizabeth Stanley will perform many famous Garland song and dance routines. Her daughter, Lorna Luft, will be interviewed onstage. Call 212-840-2824 for ticket information.

And still more: Coming soon — a lush two-CD set “Judy Garland: The London Studio Recordings. 1957-1964.” This includes not just Judy singing at her absolute peak, but some marvelous outtakes which feature Miss G. breaking up, chatting with her conductors, and generally displaying the humor that was so at odds with her “tragic” persona. (Most of the songs here were recorded in 1960, just prior to her great comeback, which culminated at Carnegie Hall. The voice is flawless.) Judy historian John Fricke provides a wonderful summary of these British recordings.

This is a must for all fans of “The World’s Greatest Entertainer.”

49 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    I really cannot force myself to watch Dancing With The Stars after becoming addicted to So You Think You Can Dance because the dancing is so bad on DWS.  But, I am glad Chaz lasted as long as he did.  I have to think his weight issues are related to his former disconnection from his former female body.  Hope for his health’s sake he can take some pounds off but whether he does or not, he seems happy and I’m happy for him. 

    He has always been pretty brave about his life experiences and this was no exception.  I would much prefer to watch him dance than Kate Gosselin! 

    • avatar D C says:

      SYTYCD is my favorite — and really the only “reality” show I watch.  The competitors are true athletes and artists, and it is a joy to watch.  I don’t watch DWTS — and I don’t think it’s a concidence that the MC of the show was formerly with America’s Funniest Videos. 

      I did notice during the news coverage about Chaz being dropped from the competition that he looks like he’s lost a little weight — Good for Him!  Dancing is really good exercise as long as you can keep from hurting yourself. 

    • avatar TheTexasMom says:

      I  have to admit I watch both shows and also take ballroom and latin dancing lessons.   SYTYCD is what I aspire to be but never will and DWTS is closer to what I will ever be.   One makes me smile while the other makes me laugh!

  2. avatar B.eadle says:

    Good for Chaz! The judges are there to critique the dancing. The personal comments were over the line and uncalled for.

    Oh Lindsey. Stop the madness! Reports are that she is going “full frontal.” Does this woman have no trusted advisers!? This is the way she plans on getting her movie career back on track? I feel so sad for her. She did show talent at one time.

  3. avatar chipgiii says:

    Chaz, Chaz, Chaz… calling is as old as mankind.  Do not react, do not appear to whine.  Ignore the comments!  People who attempt to belittle others do not need you or anyone else to make an arse out of them – they are doing a fine job all by themselves.  There dumb remarks speak volumes about their insecurities….

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Dancing with the Stars. And all the other “gladiator shows.” If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Others have been equally insulted. And will continue to be. We are a nation of haters. And you don’t need to do much but turn on the boob tube to realize it. 

    Lindsay Lohan seems intent on destroying herself. Maybe everyone should just let her. She’s no different than the rest of them. This new “brat pack” as some call it. Not all of us live in a sewer and not all of us are interested in those who do.  Must be awful to be a gossip columnist these days. You must have to grab the Febreeze every time you pick up a media release. 

  5. avatar JCF4612 says:

    Lindsay Lohan must be chewing her nails with jealousy over Michelle Williams landing the MM role in My Week with Marilyn. With opportunities like this passing her by, maybe that reality will help her clean up.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      The only thing that will help her is to throw her in a jail cell and keep her there for six months or so. Instead of the usual six minutes.

      • avatar Mr. Wow says:

        Dear Baby…

        Actually, she needs a year in the country.  No TV (well maybe the History Channel), no cell phones, no Twitter.  Jail would only harden her ingrained sense of victimization. 

        But to get her to the county, one would have to force her–and so, she’d feel victimized.  Basically, she’s cooked. 

        • avatar Baby Snooks says:

          A year in the country. With whom?  A couple of LA County sheriffs to make sure she didn’t manage to call for “delivery?” Please. Throw her in a cell and keep her there. Worked wonders for Robert Downey, Jr. Who so far seems to be the only one who survived hiimself.

  6. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    I was in the camp that believed Chastity Bono did not belong on Dancing With the Stars, so it was welcome news to hear she was voted off. That was a huge case of bad casting.

    On a lighter note, Beyonce looks simply stunning. She is such a beautiful and talented woman.  

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      It’s Chaz Bono. Not Chastity Bono. But your attempt to add some fuel to the fire in the kitchen is duly noted.

      Beyonce may be beautiful. May be talented. But lacks class. As she proved when she slammed Etta James. Don’t mess with Etta. Ever. End of subject. Another indication of how the Obamas also lack class. So we are clear, that moment really should have been Etta’s. Not just for the song. But for the doors she opened for so many. I hope Beyonce doesn’t end up in a glass house. Because a lot of people will be throwing huge bricks rather than little stones.

      • avatar Belinda Joy says:

        I apologize, you’re correct. Her name is Chaz.

        As for Beyonce’ lacking class and the Obama’s lacking class, you have a right to your opinion and if that is what you believe, who am I to argue with that.  God bless you.  

        • avatar Baby Snooks says:

          It really has nothing to do with opinion but rather respect for a woman who despite some really bad problems with drugs along the way nonetheless always managed to ger herself out of the gutter and pack ’em in. Particularly at Monterrey. I’d like to see Beyonce, or Madonna for that matter, hit the stage at Monterrey with just a microphone and a backup group without all the “sound studio enhancements” and see how long everyone stuck around. Probably not very long.  You can take an alley cat these days and put them in a sound studio and turn them into the greatest singer that ever lived. Until you take them out of the sound studio. Which is why so many are more “performance artists” than actual “musical artists.” Helps hide the “lip-synching.”

        • avatar Irreverent says:

          Her name is Chaz.”
          Her”, purposefully written in bold font…Really, Belinda?
          Chaz has identified himself as a transgendered male. His mother (the woman who carried him for nine months in her womb, gave birth to him, and raised him) has accepted him as a son, and fully supports him as a son. Belinda, you do not control or have any kind of influence over Chaz Bono. Why, then, do you insist on disrespecting him by calling him Her, when he identifies himself as a man? Do you have any stake in how Chaz Bono sees himself? I would guess that the answer is “no”.
          So unless I am very much mistaken, and you do exert control and influence over Chaz Bono, and you do have a stake in how he sees himself, I kindly request, in the name of Humanity, that you let the man be. If you choose to judge his participation on Dancing with the Stars, then let it be on the merits of his dancing ability (or lack thereof). After all, the show is supposed to be all about dancing (since it is a dancing competition), not about your views on transgendered individuals.

          • avatar LandofLove says:


          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            The “accepted” criteria for gender seems to be the genitalia and so until she becomes he she is still she.  Chaz “jumped the gun” and can see herself/himself any way she/he wants. What others see is another matter.  Transgender is really with regard to the transition for those who “accept it” which most don’t – the person becomes a man or woman at the point they have the surgery and “become” their genitalia.  Most men shouldn’t have a problem with that since their brain is usually located in their genitalia. Although their heads are usually on the other side. Stuck up something.  so to speak. Same with many women to be honest. A friend used to refer to her “magic patch.” “The key to a man’s heart is through a woman’s crotch” as she liked to always say. Usually as she announced the next husband. She always married well and divorced better. I have another friend who just celebrated her 50th anniversary. Her secret? Frederick’s of Hollywood.  Sex is all. The problem is most in this country aren’t really getting much of the all. So they have nothing to do but stick their noses in other people’s bedrooms. Out of envy. Chaz of course seems to be getting some. Which drives quite a few up the wall. Particularly those who only believe in heterosexual missionary position with the curtains drawn and the lights off sex.  In any case, well, untl Chaz can tell us “how it’s hanging” there’s a little problem with the he and she. so Cher needs to find the right surgeon and give Chaz a Christmas present.  Maybe he can hang an ornament on it so everyone can see that he is indeed a man. Until then…

          • avatar Irreverent says:

            One of the definitions for the term “gender” that the Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia provides is:
            “The behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex.”
            Physically speaking, Chaz Bono’s transition from female to male might still be incomplete, but psychologically speaking, he sees himself, and carries himself, and refers to himself, and behaves, like a man. What right do the rest of us have to tell him how he “oughtta” see himself, based solely on what is physically present or lacking between his legs?
            BabySnooks, I find the following funny and I agree with you:
            “The problem is most in this country aren’t really getting much of the all. So they have nothing to do but stick their noses in other people’s bedrooms. Out of envy. Chaz of course seems to be getting some. Which drives quite a few up the wall. Particularly those who only believe in heterosexual missionary position with the curtains drawn and the lights off sex.”
            As for this:
            “untl Chaz can tell us “how it’s hanging” there’s a little problem with the he and she.”
            There really shouldn’t be an “Until then…”
            The man has stated his case. Unless he’s some deranged lunatic out to destroy the entire world and kill every living organism on this planet, I don’t see why there should be a problem with “the he and she”.

          • avatar LandofLove says:

            Absolutely, Irreverent. Chaz’s genitalia is his business and none of ours. If he presents himself as a man and wishes to be addressed as such, that’s his decision, which we should respect.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            Landoflove: I believe that a person’s sexual habits, orientation, quirks, kinks, organs and preferences are all personal and private…and adults, and consenting adults, have a complete right to absolute privacy in these matters without government, media or dogmatic religious intrusion. This would include genitalia, of course.

            The difficulty ensues when an individual such as Chaz Bono decides to make these matters entirely public. He has been extremely outspoken regarding all decisions regarding his sexual reassignment, including his recent choice not to opt for genital reconstruction. His reasoning for this decision was clearly stated…and for those who are informed…is dubious. This IS important, because it sends a mixed message to people who are gauging their own options by the actions that this celebrity is taking (willing or not, when a person such as Chaz Bono makes the conscious decision to make such a drastic, life-altering and socially challenging change in full, media enhanced view of the public eye, he is automatically granted notoriety, stardom and status as role-model). Chaz has, in a sense, become public property through his own very obvious, open actions. “Dancing With The Stars” is a sort of family TV event. Millions of Americans follow the show (I do not. I find it pathetic, and always have. Kate Gosselin? Bristol Palin? Urgh…no thank you), and he couldn’t have chosen a better venue to get complete national exposure to the mainstream American. Most of my 14 year old son’s friends and families watch it. And Cher is a media icon. The combination is like a Times Square Neon and running lights display. You never here Chaz without simultaneously hearing Cher. He is eliminated from DWTS, and mummy is immediately publicly denouncing the show because her baby didn’t win and was abused by the judges. From what I have heard, he was nothing special, and the judges are a group of dysfunctional has-beens who no longer can, so they spend their time in their current positions being disrespectful low-rent Simons to the contestants.

            But there is no such thing as bad attention, is there? So, back to Chaz and his genitals. Which are still “her” genitals. Which sends a terrible mixed message to those who think that sexual reassignment is an easy answer to hating themselves. Wow, this says, I can be Sue and Stan. At the same time. Like Thomas Beatty, the Pregnant Man. I empathize with those with gender confusion…but Thomas Beatty is a miserable, disgusting attention whore. A beard, no breasts…but a uterus and a vagina, artificially inseminated to get pregnant…and then “his” WIFE breast-feeds the baby so that “she” can be a “he” again…until that second pregnancy. That, my dear, is a travesty.

            Sexual reassignment is not a frivolous thing. Being partly female, and partly male indicates a difficulty in the decision making process, ambivalence and a reluctance to commit. Which are all primary indicators that the individual is NOT truly suffering from a gender identity crisis. I will refer to Chaz as “he” or “him” out of respect…but he needs help desperately…and I say that with all due compassion and understanding. This is not a judgment and has nothing to do with morals, or ethics. It does have to do with setting a terrible example for those looking to him for guidance, by his own actions…and with his own mental health and peace of mind.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            I should have clarified the “accepted”  criteria by sayiing the “accepted” legal criteria. As in changing the birth certificate and drivers’ licenses to refflect the change in gender. The legal change in gender. 

            I do get everyone’s point.  My point simply is until she has the genitalia changed, she is still a she. Legally anyway.  

          • avatar TheTexasMom says:

            Irreverent – your post was very reverent.  Thank you for saying what I was thinking.

          • avatar Belinda Joy says:

            I referred to Chastity as HER because SHE is a HER, SHE is not a HIM IMO.  In your opinion you see her as a him. Good for you.

            She was born female and is still female. The only thing that has changed is the genitalia. And in my world, what makes a man a man and a woman a woman is far more than what is between their legs. Funny how if a man were to tell a woman she is nothing more than her vagina, women would be up in arms and angry. “How dare he say that to me! What makes me a woman is far more than my vagina!”

            Yet for some reason, Chastity Bono can have her vagina altered, breasts removed and call herself a man and everyone agrees. “Well of course she’s a man, she no longer has breasts and a vagina! She is calling herself a man so that’s good enough for me.”  No, actually it doesn’t work that way. If a woman loses are breasts due to cancer is she then a man? No.

            Ms. Bono is not a hermaphrodite, she was born female. She will die female. She feels like a man emotionally and had surgery so the outside matched how she feels inside. Masculine. Right now she merely looks masculine yet still sounds female. Did she have her appearance changed to better fit into society? Her comments from her show on OWN point to that.  Hmmm…curious the Gay & Lesbian community aren’t coming down on her for that.

            It is neither here nor there Irreverent because I doubt if SHE is losing any sleep over mine or your opinion on who SHE is as a person. And THAT is what is really important. As long as I can respect her and those like her for human beings, that is all that matters. No more. No less.  I for one don’t have to go along with the lie she is telling herself to respect her existence.  

            So, does she look like a man? Yes, to be sure. However, is she a man? No. Because a man is more than his genitals. And SHE (even thought she feels like a man) doesn’t have what a real man has.

          • avatar Irreverent says:

            Dear Belinda,
            Your argument that “a man is more than his genitals” is precisely the reason why Chaz Bono’s view of himself as a man should be respected.
            Chaz Bono isn’t calling himself a man because he had his breasts removed and his vagina altered. He’s calling himself a man because that’s the identity he feels is right for him (it’s how he feels emotionally). The fact he has to change his physical appearance to “better fit society” really says more about the kind of society we live in, than about him as a person. Why should the Gay and Lesbian community “come down on him” for changing his appearance? A gay man is still a man, physically and emotionally speaking. A lesbian woman is still a woman, physically and emotionally speaking. Neither gays nor lesbians feel a need to alter their physical appearance to “better fit society”. Transgendered people feel a need to change their physical appearance, because despite protestations that “a man [or a woman] is more than his [or her] genitals”, there are still plenty of people objecting to their statements that “I am a woman because I feel like a woman” or “I am a man because I feel like a man” when said statement is not physically congruent with their current genitals.
            As for Chaz Bono “telling himself a lie”, what lie, exactly is that? Who are you to judge that he is, indeed, telling himself a lie? Are you a close, personal friend of his? Can you read his mind and his emotions?
            And forgive me, but I honestly don’t see how you are respecting transgendered people when you make statements such as, “telling himself a lie”; insisting on calling him HER when he has said he is a HE, not a SHE; and (worse, in my opinion), declaring that he “doesn’t have what a REAL man has.” (My emphasis)
            Incidentally, when you are not a man yourself, how do you know what it is that a REAL man has, especially when you agree that “a man is more than his genitals”?

          • avatar Belinda Joy says:

            Wow! You and I are really not understanding one another, because your response to my last post is baffling.

            What lie? The lie (once again in my opinion) is that she is telling herself that she is now a man because she had her genitalia changed. That is a life. She is an emotionally disturbed woman that believes emotionally she is a man. That is a mental illness. It is why she sought therapy before having her surgery. Believe it or not Irreverent, it is not a “sane” or “normal” thought process to think you were born in the wrong body. That points to emotional issues. So no, I would not go along with that lie, but I would respect her or those that think as she does, her rights.

            Chastity Bono is a lesbian. And as you said, millions of gay and lesbian individuals go through life never going through surgery to change their appearance. They accept, as I do, that being gay or a lesbian is not a choice but how they are born. It is no different than being born straight, its in the DNA. Just as being born a woman or man is in the DNA.

            Where you and I differ is in this. I am the most feminine woman you have ever met. You will never connect with anyone that is more in touch with her femininty than me. Yet lets say I decided I wanted to be a man. So I go and have my breast removed and clitoris altered into a penis. I now define myself as a man because I had my body altered to look like one. In your mind because I have done this and because I say I am one, I am a man.

            In my world and opinion, that was nothing more than cosmetic, I am still a woman. All of my DNA, hormonal makeup and brain activity makes me female. I may “feel” like a man, want to be a man, but I am still at the core a woman. Would I love the support of people going along with my desire to be viewed and treated as a man? Sure. And I am sure Chastity Bono does as well. But in the final analysis she is not a he.

            What you are missing in this thread of discussion is we can disagree on this and just because we don’t agree doesn’t make me wrong and you right. You may wish I believed differently for whatever reasons you are telling yourself, but I don’t have to agree with you on this. As long as I don’t discriminate in my day to day life with people that we are discussing, that is all that matters. 


          • avatar Irreverent says:

            “She is an emotionally disturbed woman that believes emotionally she is a man. That is a mental illness. It is why she sought therapy before having her surgery. Believe it or not Irreverent, it is not a “sane” or “normal” thought process to think you were born in the wrong body. That points to emotional issues.” — Belinda Joy
            Wow…just…wow. I must confess that I teared up a little when I read this. How to describe this type of thinking? Intolerance? Bigotry? For sure it is lack of empathy for our fellow human beings. I am not transgendered; in fact, I am absolutely comfortable in my sexual identity (the one I was born with) and have always been, but your statements above sure felt like a slap in the face. If I were transgendered and read those words, I can’t even begin to imagine how hurt (and insulted) I’d feel.
            I have two children. Everyday I teach them to be accepting of all human beings, that no one is better than anyone else, that as long as individuals are not abusing others, th