The Pose “Reading Is Fundamental” Library is open. This week: “Love’s in Need of Love Today”
Previously: What Would Candy Do?
When Pray Tell falls ill from his AZT medication on the eve of his AIDS cabaret, we’re treated to a musical episode tucked neatly inside a hallucinatory sickbed episode. Let’s kick things off with Pray’s technicolor dream train:
Pray hallucinates visits from Miss Candy, who promises to haunt him to his dying day—which hopefully means more Angelica Ross—and his late lover Costas (Johnny Sibilly), thus giving us a heavy dose of The Feels.
All the while, Billy Porter gets to show you why he’s coming to snatch that historic Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy, belting out not one but two numbers. Though his best acting came right after Blanca asked him to join her at the mic and he pretended that he couldn’t possibly.
“Me? Sing? Tony Award winner Billy Porter? Of all the harebrained ideas… I mean, if you insist…”
“I was just on my deathbed and all but—5,6,7,8!”
Now, I love me some Patti LuPone, noted non-homophobe. Anyone who yells at a stranger in a theater for using a cell phone and publicly stunts on Madonna is all right by me. But I haven’t groaned as loudly outside the presence of a gentleman caller as when she says that “maybe” she’ll sing a song.
There’s stunt casting, and then there’s just pulling stunts. Next thing you know, LuPone’s Frederica Norman, the landlady from Upper East Hell, is drop-kicking the living shit out of an early-’70s Sondheim, wearing what can only be described as Mom Glam Drag.
Blanca thinks Frederica has turned over a new leaf, that maybe she misjudged her all along. Wrong. Frederica’s just biding time while her son boards up Blanca’s nail salon.
On that note, Frederica is also the winner of this week’s Reading Is Fundamental Excellence in Shade Award for this gay-ass meta shade.
I was half-expecting her to bludgeon Blanca with the playbill from Gypsy.
But really, everyone gets their chance to shine in this episode, especially Nurse Judy. Though Countess Luann may have ruined the word cabaret for an entire generation, Sandy Bernhard is the real deal. And this sequined emerald slay and gorgeous upswept bob of a ’do truly helped bring Pray back from the brink.
Even Elektra, who can mummify a man but couldn’t find a note if her life depended on it, does a little number.
To paraphrase the late Aretha Franklin, “Great gown… beautiful gown.”
One word: LOOKS.
Every episode is like a Vogue spread—or a subway ride (because all of this is back, henny)—come to life.
Pray singing quintessential gay icon Judy Garland’s classic “The Man That Got Away” (from the 1954 A Star Is Born) to a room full of dying AIDS patients is both poignant and devastating.
And, as always, Lil Papi.
Such a caring son, even though he doesn’t know what dyslexia is.
The Library is now closed… except for Lil Papi. We need to get this boy some books.