Thursday, 15 October 2015


New York City porn mogul Michael Lucas, 43, isn't thinking about retirement any time soon (All photos courtesy Lucas Entertainment)

Bugs' interview with Michael Lucas originally ran in POP TART on the Montreal Gazette website on September 11, 2015.

Famed gay-porn director and adult-film actor Michael Lucas —born Andrei Lvovich Treivas in Communist Russia in 1972— emigrated to Germany after graduating from the Moscow Law Academy in 1994. He began working as an adult performer before founding his own porn production company, Lucas Entertainment, in New York in 1998. Today Lucas has become one of the most successful producers of porn, and has used his success and notoriety to —as a media columnist and university speaker— speak out against drugs, unsafe sex and the oppression of gays, as well as support the state of Israel. Lucas was in Montreal earlier this summer and Pop Tart caught up with the opinionated entrepreneur for a fun and frank Q&A about all things porn, PrEP, LGBT civil rights, and the raid by U.S. federal investigators on the New York headquarters of popular gay-male escort site Plus, Lucas talks about his love affair with Montreal.

Three Dollar Bill: When you started out in the porn business, did you anticipate that you’d have this incredible career and longevity?

Michael Lucas: I was definitely hoping for a long career, because I was young and ambitious. I don’t think I anticipated such a big success.  But I usually do achieve my goals, because I am very focused and hard-working.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Bugs’ interview with Idina Menzel originally ran in the Montreal Gazette on August 31, 2015

Idina Menzel remembers the day she fell through a trap door onstage during her Broadway run as the “wicked” witch Elphaba in the blockbuster musical Wicked like it was yesterday.

The accident happened during the Jan. 8, 2005 matinée at the Gershwin Theatre, and stunned the cast, crew and sellout crowd.

“I thought I had punctured my lungs or something,” Menzel told me in a recent and rare one-on-one sit-down interview. “It was crazy and I was surrounded backstage by all the crew, who were my friends. They were trying to get me to breathe and were afraid to move me because they wanted to make sure my spine was OK. It was scary.”

Menzel fractured a rib. But the next day, without makeup and dressed simply in a tracksuit and sneakers, she made a surprise entrance at the very end of the matinée to sing a few bars in the finale, and received a five-minute standing ovation.

Friday, 25 September 2015


Bugs’ interview with Melissa Etheridge originally ran in the October 2015 issue of Fugues magazine.
Three Dollar Bill: Your new album This Is M.E. is a departure for you. What did you want to do with this latest album?

Melissa Etheridge: The change started in 2013 when I changed management, agencies and lawyers. I changed my whole scaffolding. I needed fresh ideas. The music business was changing. I knew there was a place for me and a lot had to do with own creative independence. So we decided to release an independent record. That means I’m in total control. It’s all up to me. At that point I decided I wanted to go so far outside the box that people would say ‘Whoa, what’s this?’ Yet at the same time stay in the centre, so as to always be me. When you hear these songs, when you hear these great productions around them, you still hear my guitar, my harmonica, the words are mine. It’s me in a kind of new and different car.

Sunday, 20 September 2015


This interview originally ran in the May 2015 issue of Fugues magazine

I met literary legend Felice Picano at a Montreal brunch hosted some 15 years ago by my friend Louis Godbout. That day I interviewed Felice for the first time and we became fast friends. I interviewed him for my annual Felice Picano column in my syndicated column Three Dollar Bill for a decade, a tradition I am continuing here in my Fugues column.

It never matters if Felice has product to sell – the world-class name-dropper and memoirist always is a great interview and has met just about everybody. Rudolf Nureyev once grabbed his bum, Felice had lunch in Fire Island one afternoon with Elizabeth Taylor, his cock was photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, and when he outed the late Anthony Perkins years after their affair, critics screamed, “Picano is a name-dropping slut!”

In other words, I adore Felice, the trailblazing writer whom I call the Godfather of Gay Lit.

“I really did know everybody, but it was all happenstance,” says Felice, currently promoting his latest memoirs, the highly entertaining Nights at Rizzoli (OR Books) about the famed original New York City Rizzoli bookshop located at 712 Fifth Avenue.

Friday, 11 September 2015


This interview with Sandra Bernhard originally ran in Three Dollar Bill on June 5, 2008
Sandra Bernhard, a Jewish girl in a land of whiny WASPs, knows what it’s like to hurt. That’s why she’s always told those who’ve mocked her to fuck right off.
In fact, she’s made a career of telling assholes to fuck off.
"Fish Lips!" Jerry Lewis used to call Bernhard on the set of The King of Comedy, the 1983 Hollywood blockbuster that made Bernhard a household name.
But like Bernhard once told Arsenio Hall, "I’m the only actress in Hollywood who didn’t pay to have these lips!"
Today the author and star of stage and screen, from the Great White Way to Tinseltown, named one of the 100 greatest stand-up comics of all time by Comedy Central, brings her new loudmouth act, Plan B From Outer Space, and her rock band, The Rebellious Jezebel, to Toronto’s Massey Hall to kick off that city’s Pride celebrations on June 22.
"Going through customs in Canada is one of the most loathful things in the world," NYC-based Bernhard told me this week. "They harass the shit out of you if you’re a single parent [travelling with your child]. They ask you, ‘Do you have a letter from the father?’ And I say, ‘There is no father!’ I want to say, ‘Fuck you, you fuck!’ They drive me nuts. So now I come up without [my daughter]. The bureaucracy in Canada is pathetic."

Thursday, 10 September 2015


I sat down with legendary stand-up comic Wanda Sykes –who came out publicly in 2008 at a Proposition 8 rally In Las Vegas– on the eve of her 2015 Just For Laughs Gala in Montreal, to talk about her voice, LGBT civil rights and her white family. 
I’ve interviewed some very unique sounding voices over the years – James Brown, Cher, Joan Rivers. It is surreal to listen to your voice now. Have you always known you have a special voice? Do you deliberately try to use this to your advantage onstage?
Wanda Sykes:  I don’t deliberately try to use it in my stage act. I didn’t know I had a unique voice (for many years), but I did know it (sounded) different when I was a kid. My mother wanted me to change my voice. She’d say, ‘You have to do something about your voice! It doesn’t sound pretty! Listen to all the other kids, they sound nice, and then there’s you!’ I had no idea how I could change my voice. So I was always worried I had an ugly voice. I was an adult before I found out people liked my voice when I did stand-up or animated roles. I’m glad I never had any work done on my vocal chords. It’s kind of paying off for me. People love my voice and that’s cool.

Friday, 4 September 2015


Coming out as a lesbian on stage is still a very political act – if it weren’t, more women would do it.”

This interview with Kate Clinton originally ran in the August 2015 issue of Fugues magazine.

I was checking out trailblazing queer stand-up comic Kate Clinton’s website the other day and came across some fabulous blurbs on her media page, by such LGBT icons as Lily Tomlin and Tony Kushner.

“Kate, you’re not showbiz – you’re show art!” Tomlin said, while Kushner observed, “Kate Clinton cuts through ten thousand miles of badness with a single brilliant insight, complete with punchline.” 

Then, tucked neatly between Tomlin and Kushner, I was surprised and delighted to read one of my own Three Dollar Bill column quotes about Kate: “The woman is a goddess.”