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Gay Iconography: Pee-Wee's Big Holiday Adventure

Peeweechristmas

If there’s a case to be made for nurture versus nature, I’d have to cop to Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special playing at least a small role in my personal little gay development. The primetime special, initially aired December 1988, is some of the greatest — and gayest — holiday TV of all time. Now, as of this week, the special (along with the rest of the Pee-Wee’s Playhouse series) is available on Netflix to delight a whole new generation.

For a children’s program, it was an incredibly unique world, blending retrofuturist glitz with absurdist humor, a richly diverse cast, and a touch of morality. “I’m just trying to illustrate that it's okay to be different — not that it's good, not that it's bad, but that it's all right,” Reubens told Rolling Stone about the series. “I’m trying to tell kids to have a good time and to encourage them to be creative and to question things.”

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, written by Paul Reubens and John Paragon, follows Pee-Wee (Reubens) as he preps the playhouse for the holidays. The special doesn’t find Pee-Wee visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present or future, but it does feature more gay icons than the last three New Now Next Awards combined. There are appearances from Annette Funicello, Grace Jones, k.d. lang, Dinah Shore, Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg, Cher, and many more alongside playhouse regulars like Laurence Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis) and S. Epatha Merkerson as Reba.

Don your gay apparel and relax with some of our favorite clips, AFTER THE JUMP

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Gay Iconography: 'Constant' Praise For k.d. lang

Lang

Before Melissa Etheridge, before Ellen, before Rosie, there was k.d. lang. The Canadian singer-songwriter with one of the most moving voices on the planet kicked open the closet door in 1992 when she appeared on the cover of The Advocate.

“I am very proud to be part of the evolution of the integration of gays in society. It is certainly something I didn’t do alone but I am proud to be a part of it,” she told Gay Calgary Magazine in 2008. “This woman in Toronto, Debbie Pearson, came up with the term ‘dykon’ which I think is hilarious. If I helped people have a more open, healthy relationship with their parents or friends, or more importantly themselves that makes me really happy. Anything I can do to help people feel more comfortable and confidant in who they are, that is great.”

Her coming out kicked off a lot of media exposure in the early ‘90s, including the now iconic Vanity Fair cover featuring lang in a barbershop chair receiving a straight-razor shave from Cindy Crawford. The shot, by photographer Herb Ritts, as well as a rumored fling with Madonna, helped turn lang into a household name and launch her album Ingénue’s commercial success.

Check out some of our favorite ‘dykonic’ k.d. lang performances, AFTER THE JUMP

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What To Watch This Week on TV: MacLaine Guests On 'Glee;' 'Drag Race' Hilarity - VIDEO

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Check out our weekly guide to make sure you're catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won't admit you watch when no one's looking.

— That's Jason Sudeikis underneath that wig (with the chest hair poking out) on this Thursday's season finale of Portlandia, 10 p.m. Eastern on IFC. Out musician k.d. lang also shows up for the feminist getaway, hosted by Toni (Carrie Brownstein) and Candace (Fred Armisen), proprietors of Women and Women First bookstore.

More picks and clips, including one of the most hilarious Drag Race mini-challenges in herstory, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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kd lang to make Broadway Debut Next Year in Jazz Musical 'After Midnight'

Kd langGrammy Award-winning artist kd lang has announced she will be making her Broadway debut next year in the jazz musical After Midnight. Lang will be replacing American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino as the second guest headliner for the show, which centers around Duke Ellington's years at the famous Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem. Lang's limited engagement performance will begin February 11th and continue through March 9th.

Here's the Playbill summary for After Midnight

"Jazz is a state of mind. It's a structure for innovation, forward momentum and freedom. The evocative new musical After Midnight will take the sexy, smoke glamour of the original Jazz Age and catapult it into a whole new era of heart-pounding, mind-blowing entertainment for modern Broadway audiences. Refracted through a contemporary lens, After Midnight will celebrate Duke Ellington's years at the Cotton Club using his original arrangements and performed by a world-class big band of 17 musicians hand-picked by living jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis. The timeless tunes set against a narrative of Langston Hughes poetry will provide an authentic backdrop for an array of cutting-edge performances by 25 sensational vocalists and dancers, including special guest stars, whose interpretations will shatter everything you think you know about music, nightlife and Broadway. Welcome to the new Jazz Age."

With pop, folk, country, and torch songs under her belt, its no surprise that the talented lang is now cutting her teeth on jazz. Tickets for lang's engagement will go on sale November 4th and can be purchased here.

You can also join us AFTER THE JUMP for additional footage of lang's great performances and songs of the past.

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kd lang Inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Tells Crowd 'Let Your Freak Flags Fly': VIDEO

Kdlang

At last night's Juno Awards, kd lang received a standing ovation from a screaming audience as she was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame with a tribute bestowed on her by her childhood idol Anne Murray.

Said kd after a lengthy video highlighting her tremendous career:

“Thank you so much for all your support over the years.I think the fact that I’m standing here receiving this award actually says more about Canada than it does about me. Because only in Canada could there be such a freak as k.d. lang receiving this award...I am here to tell you my friends and my countrymen that it is OK to be you. It is OK to let your freak flags fly and embrace the quirkmeister that's inside of all of us. And I'm not even just talking artists, I'm talking every single person in this nation has the right to be themselves, live life. Go team go. I love you Canada, thank you so much."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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kd lang Thinks Justin Bieber's Lesbian Looks are 'Hot as Sh*t': VIDEO

Kdlang

kd lang appeared this week on the Australian talk show ROVE LA where she was asked whether fellow Canadian singer Justin Bieber is 'hot or not'.

Replied kd: "Justin Bieber looks just like a lesbian, so I'm gonna say, hot as sh*t!

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, kd turned 50 this week and she's still hot as sh*t so happy birthday!

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