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New interview with Liza in The Advocate

The interviewer kinda goes for the jugular.%0D %0D ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~%0D This article, like almost every celebrity profile, records a transaction. In return for the chance to discuss her work, a performer subjects herself to personal questions%E2%80%94which, in this case, will concentrate on Minnelli%E2%80%99s relationships with gay men. It%E2%80%99s a difficult topic, fraught with clich%C3%A9s. The air of Sisyphean struggle with tragedy and suffering that hangs over both Garland%E2%80%99s and Minnelli%E2%80%99s reputations has to do in no small part with their connection with gay audiences%E2%80%94and their romantic relationships with gay men.%0D %0D At first, seeming taken aback by this line of questions, Minnelli deflects: %E2%80%9CI don%E2%80%99t know what gay people see in my music. I really haven%E2%80%99t thought about it. I think they see what everyone else sees in my music.%E2%80%9D In interviews sometimes the best way to cut through dissembling is to go straight to the hardest question, so I try that. But after I ask why Minnelli thinks she and her mother both married gay men, she stares at me, blinking, for a long moment, and then pulls the emergency brake: %E2%80%9CI have to go to the john.%E2%80%9D%0D %0D When she returns I shift to what seems like an easier question. Thinking about those parties around the piano she described, where some of the guests, like MGM%E2%80%99s musical director Roger Edens, were gay, it strikes me that Minnelli was surrounded by gay people from a very early age. Yet when I ask how she first became aware of the fact of homosexuality, she says, %E2%80%9CI didn%E2%80%99t really know about it until I was 18, until I lived here,%E2%80%9D in New York. She tells a story about Fred Ebb (the lyricist who, with composer John Kander, wrote %E2%80%9CCabaret,%E2%80%9D %E2%80%9CLiza With a Z,%E2%80%9D and many of the other songs that have become her signatures), who once mentioned that he was going to see a group of lesbians whom he called %E2%80%9Cthe Demonic Eight.%E2%80%9D Minnelli gasps: %E2%80%9CAnd I said, %E2%80%98There are eight of them?%E2%80%99 I could not believe there were eight lesbians! In the world!%E2%80%9D%0D %0D Really? This hardly seems plausible. When she was 15, Minnelli attended her mother%E2%80%99s legendary 1961 concerts at Carnegie Hall, where there were so many gay men in the audience that major publications like Time took note%E2%80%94in an era when many newspapers and magazines kept a strict silence about gay people%E2%80%99s existence. But Minnelli stands by her claim. %E2%80%9CHonestly and truly, I swear to you!%E2%80%9D%0D

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