Life is good

Friday 30 Apr 10

I've been reading a lot today about the awful oil spill that is going to ravage the Gulf Coast.  It's really catastrophic, but the only silver lining is that these disasters are how regulations and restrictions are implemented on greedy and corrupt organisations.  The sad thing watching the TV coverage when I was at the gym was seeing the blame being flung around especially by the local politicians in Louisiana. Surely the most important thing to occupy our energy right now is getting the clean up operation together and then ensuring that this doesn't happen again instead of bickering about how fast someone's response was. 

I am also fascinated by the political landscape of the UK right now and how radically different it has become in the last few weeks.  The Liberal democrat leader Nick Clegg has become an overnight sensation since the Presidential-style TV debates, which, bizarrely in a country where debate is so much more prevalent and part of the political culture, have never happened before.  Suddenly the Liberal Democrats are a viable alternative to Labour and the Conservatives, and it is only a question of who Mr Clegg is going to get into bed with in a hung parliament.  (Doesn't that sound a bit dirty?)  Poor old Gordon Brown got into terrible trouble for calling a woman a bigot because, er, she is.  It's so sad to see someone blow it, especially when they're right.  But you just can't do that when you're the PM, in an election that you're probably going to lose and you have a microphone on.

I've also been lamenting my imminent departure to South Africa a bit today.  New York is so beautiful right now, I am loving performing my show and seeing friends afterwards who drop by, and the idea that in 48 hours I will be on a different continent and in the middle of a whole new existence is a little discombobulating.  Sometimes the things you really love about your life are also the things you dread most.  But I am also thinking that I will have a marvellous new adventure with a whole group of new people in a beautiful place.  And also I will see my nearest and dearest in a couple of weeks when I go to Cannes to host the Amfar Cinema Against Aids gala. Not too shabby to have your next night with your man at the Hotel du Cap.  Life is good.

This picture is of Mitzi Gaynor who is following me into Feinstein's next week. Don't you think we look alike? And here is a video sent by Jan from Seattle that is Werner Herzog's interpretation of Curious George. Sort of.

these old bones

Thursday 29 Apr 10

Well, it's a bit of a good day for my self-esteem as the reviews for my show are really great. Hooray for that!  i am really enjpoying my week at Feinstein's. Tomorrow I do the first 2 show night, so fingers crossed that my voice holds out.  Ma ma ma ma!  I am actually doing my Cyndi Lauper holding my tongue with a paper towel and saying ghee ghee ghee thing.  It does wonders for a croaky old throat.

I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought of flying to South Africa on Sunday morning! It seems to have crept up so fast. I am going to shoot a Tv series  called Runaway in which I play a transvestite names Desrae.  So in a week's time I will have no hair on my legs or arms and will be wearing chicken cutlet 34C boobs! What a weird and wacky world it is.

Here is an amazing link to a real hummingbird nest!!!


Monica asks: have you ever been in a wedding movie were your fiancee turns into a lesbian????? cuz i swear i saw a trailer with you playing in the movie that had that in it what is the movie called  I think you must mean Gray Matters, in which Heather Graham is the object of my afection but she turns out to be a lesbian.

This cracked me up from Claire: Tonight after 200+ miles (to surviving granny's for remainder of spring holidays) and another round of "who I wanna be..." in the car, Erwan, 5 1/2:
"Alan, c'est mieux [que les autres CDs], parce que c'est un peu drôle !"
Moi: "ha ha, ça me plaît, je crois que je vais lui écrire ça."
Moi: "mais chéri, je n'écoute pas que des chanteurs morts !! Et puis, il est à peine plus âgé que ton papa et moi. "Talk about old bones!!!
  This, roughly translated that Erwan said that my CD was better than other CDs because it's a bit funny.  Mum then says haha, I'm going to write and tell him that, to which Erwan replies 'He's still alive?!' and Mum says 'I don't just listen to dead singers, and he is much older than your dad and me!!'  Thanks for that!!

I understand that you seem to do a lot of work on the east coast, such as New York and around that area. But have you ever visited the west coast, or north west parts of the US, and if so, what do you think about these parts of the country?  I have traveled across country several times on road trips, and of course have spent a lot of time in California working.  I used to go to Seattle quite a bit and I loved Portland, Oregon, where I went  on my book tour.  I am looking forward to exploring and traveling more, but I have to say nothing beats NYC in my book!

Are u thee Alan Cumming that is saying married Keanu Reeves? and is this rumor true??  Yes, that is me but no that rumour is not true.  It was an April Fool's joke a few years  ago.

And finally here's a little teaser about the new series of Masterpiece Mystery!

Another opening, another award!!

Wednesday 28 Apr 10

Last night I opened my show at Feinstein's at the Regency. It was a hoot!  I really enjoyed playing in such an intimate space, and I think the combo of Lance on piano and Yair on cello and guitar worked really well for the space too.  I was really nervous, as I always am in a new venue and especially because I was going to be singing new material.  But it all went well and people weemed to love it.  Liza came!!  I didn't know she was there and I think I would have been even more nervous if I had considering I opened the show with Mein Herr.  Balls of steel, baby. 

Also in the audience was my friend David Mixner, who is a total inspiration to me and who I saw recieve the Legend award  from the Point Foundation last week. He is an amazing activist and blogs at  Check him out!

Today I woke up feeling terrible and my nose ran like a tap throughout the breakfast meeting I had.  That's the thing about singing -  your whole day is spent looking after your voice: steaming and neti potting and resting and then warming up and all sorts.  I think allergies and maybe the beginnings of a cold aren't helping, but the drugs have kicked in and I am feeling pretty good now.  I am going to go and work out and sweat a bit. Sweating is the cure for all ails, I believe.

Before tonight's show I am dropping by a fundraiser for, Cynthia Nixon's new venture which aims to get rid of the senators who voted against marriage equality in New York state.  See the little box to the right to find out more.

Also last night I received an award in Boston from Theatre Offensive, a queer theatre group that is right up my alley.  They honoured me with the Keep the Faith award  for my impact on LGBT culture through my bold artistry and leadership.  Oh yeah!  Alas, because my filming schedule changed and my first Feinstein's week was moved up, I wasn't able to go and receive it so I asked the lovely Chrstian Serriano to go in my stead.  He apparently had a grand old time and even raise 8 grand in the auction for seats to his next fashion show.  Thanks Christian and thanks so much Theatre Offensive for the award.  Here is a picture of Christian and our publicist Bianca enjoying themsleves at the bash.  And below is the video I made last week when I was shooting in the Hamptons which was played at the ceremony last night.

Nerves, stovies and Montgomery Clift

Tuesday 27 Apr 10

I am just starting to get really nervous about opening my show at Feinstein's at the Regency in an hour and a half.  I'm at the stage of 'Why the hell did I agree to this?  Why am I putting myself though this?'.  I am doing some new songs, a lot of new chat, and that's always terrifying, though Lance Horne my musical director and I have decided we always need to have a song in the show that we have never performed before when we start a new run.  So tonight it is a medley of Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharch's I Still Have The Other Girl In My Head and Stephen Sondheim's Losing My Mind. I'll let you know how it goes.

Feinstein's is the tiniest venue I have played, but ironically, and maybe because, it is the most expensive.  I really love it though.  If the reason I have come to love performing a cabaret like this is to connect with people in an intimate and personal way, then it doesn't get much better than this.

To take my mind off my nerves I am listening to a podcast of my friend Craig Chester telling a hilarious story about the ghost of Montgomery Clift.  You can hear it here

Also here is a video of me cooking stovies on the Tony Danza show a couple of years ago.  Several of you have asked me for the recipe for stovies which, for those of you who don't know, is a hearty and delicious Scottish dish. I make a vegetarian version. Originally I was going to cook it on the Martha Stewart show but when I spoke to the researchers they were a little alarmed that I didn't have the exact measurements and weights as they said that 'a couple of slooshes of tamari' would not go down well with Martha.  So instead Martha taught me howe to cook quesadillas and I went on Tony's show and he didn't mind at all about my idiosyncratic cooking methods!

Ask Alan!!

Monday 26 Apr 10

Read about you being ex-communicated by your church.  Would have thought they would contact you rather than your mum.  Do you think the fact you are openly gay played any part in their decision??  No, I don't.  This happened a long time ago when I was married to a woman so it was purely my being loud about being atheist that prompted it. Though I don't imagine they'd be big on same-sex love either.

From Tony in Chicago: Do you think that attitudes towards gays/lesbians, and gay/leabian legal unions in the US will ever be as similar as what exists in Canada and most of the EU?  My partner + I of 16 years are both European-Americans, professionals with European attitudes in the ever-so-Puritan and homo-fearful US.  I really do believe that there will be true equality relatively soon.  Some states are paving the way, but of course I think it has to be a federal issue ultimately.  What really excites me is the states like Iowa having marriage now, and that is really significant because when people get used to something that they were wary or fearful of and then they realise there was indeed nothing to be scared of, then they accept and we have equality.  So in a way, states that are leading the charge right now are sort of America in microcosm and I think that even in the more reactionary and bigoted states there is a tide flowing our way.

From Gemma: I would like to start by saying I really admire you in how expressive and dynamic you are in your work; I am extremly introverted and so to see you put so much of yourself into all your roles and charities really resonates with me.  I would first like to ask about Glitch from Tin Man, as that is where I first really saw you. Did you do much adlib or improv. during scenes? What were the major differences you took with portraying Glitch and Ambrose (being essentially the same person)? Did you ever have issues with the dog that played Toto?  Next is Reefer Madness, which I am currently watching on a daily basis. Were you nervous when playing Moloch about having the chain attached to your chest? Where did the accent for FDR come from? Would you ever re-visit these characters in a proffessional stage production if asked?  There have been rumours that you are to play a role in a movie called "Hatter"; is this true, and if so, may I ask what it is about. I think you would make a marvelous 'Wonderland' character if it is based off of Lewis Caroll's novels as you seem to have the comedy and quirky-ness that would fit in well with it. OK, here goes...Glitch and Ambrose wasn't a difficult switch because I only actually played Ambrose for one day of the shoot. But I thought of him as almost a completely different person, but with some of Glitch's qualities like loyalty and a sense of justice. The dog playing Toto was very nice and professional so no bother to me at all! In Reefer Madness, there were many things I was wary of whilst playing Moloch, like walking down the steps from my volcano in hoofs, not tripping into the strippers who played my attendants and not burning Christian Campbell's bum etc! The FDR accent came from watching tapes of FDR! And no, I don't think I'd like to do the stage version of Reefer Madness, but hey, never say never!!  I would say that on most films there are some scenes where you perhaps make up or change a line but in general you should have really sorted out any changes before you come to shoot.  Occasionally you do a film, like the one I have just wrapped, Almost in Love, where you are required to ad-lib, but it's generally around an agreed structure and characterisation.   And finally Hatter was a great script, a sort of adaptation of Lewis Carroll but set in a contemporary, adult, fashion world. Alas the project has fallen apart, at least with my involvement in it.

Someone rather cryptically asks...Why still doesn't exist real twitter?  If you mean why don't I tweet, then it's because I think there is a danger of not actually living and experiencing life but commenting on it as it happens and so you are sort of editorialising your life instead of just being in the moment and then forming an opinion about what happened and how you feel about it.  So I won't be twittering.  I think this blog is a good way for me to rant, rave and hopefully amuse, and a much better indiciation of who I am instead of a constant stream of tweets about the inanities of my life or obscure thoughts I may be having.

Jimmy asks: Have you ever thought about writing an autobiography? Yes I have, but more like a series of stories than one of those 'I was born in...' sort of things.  A series of stories about things that have happened to me. Watch this space.

Richard: Hi Alan. I'm a huge fan (and have been since I was pretty young, circa Goldeneye). Anyway, I was wondering, as a pretty big follower of Manchester United, I am pretty conflicted about wearing my jersey with it's huge AIG logo out front, especially in Cleveland, Ohio. What do I do, Alan? Wear it and tell people to get fucked, or shelve it until AIG isn't such a albatross around this country's neck?  I think you can't be blamed for AIG's corruption. Maybe wearing it will be a reminder to people of how vigilant we need to be and how important it is to have financial reform.  So wear it as a poltical call to arms is my suggestion!!

From Larry Hi, Alan.  At the end of the filming of Spy Kids, I was given a nice check and was told by the Art Department that you had wanted my TV Aquarium that I'd created for the movie. That was certainly very flattering news for me, and it's been a bragging right ever since.  My questions would be, what made you decide you wanted it, and also did it serve you well?  Larry! I LOVED my TV aquarium.  I saw it on the set and just thought it was beautful and so I asked if I could get it after the film was done. It was one of my most prized possessions but then it got damaged in a flood and sort of fell apart.  BUt I loved it and so did everyone who saw it. I still have a sofa from Spy Kids so at least I have some palpable memories of that film. Thanks so much for selling

This week I had to be mute for two days to get my voice back for an audition; no singing. :( 
How would you feel if you were told that you couldn‚t sing? 
Right now, whilst I am rehearsing for my Feinsteins show which opens tomorrow, I would be sooo relieved!!

nb asks Who wrote "Beautiful" on your album? I think it's fucking great!  My friend Barnaby's dad wrote it!

These two emails after my religous rant last week made my day.  Thanks for all your encouragement and good wishes. I really appreciate it and it is nice to get your feedback, especially on contentious issues such as this one:                         I'm sorry that this is only a comment and not a question, but I thought I should let you know this. I've been raised Roman Catholic since I can remember, and now I am in eighth grade going into high school in the fall. Usually I would make my Confirmation at this time. I thank you a million times for your influence on me in making my Confirmation. I'm not bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgender, but your words have inspired me to discontinue my faith. What good is it in putting faith into a religion that is hypocritical, saying it accepts everyone yet is discriminate towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders? So again, Mister Cumming, I thank you a hundred times over for helping me in this difficult decision that would impact the rest of my life.

and  I wanted to give you a round of applause and a big thank you for the posting on your site "Calling all Bible readers" i was raised in a "Christian family" and had my own issues to come to terms with which to the Christians out there even today is considered heresy! :-/ as you say such bigotry is not acceptable, in my case it had nothing to do with sexuality but the stigma is the same, believe me, so I take my hat off to you Alan, I do not write to folks very often and don't believe in bugging the hell out of folks like yourself who are just doing their day job, so please accept my accolades on this occasion. P.S. keep up the great work ˆ Regards, Tristan.

I think your dogs are the cutest!  Are they shelter dogs? Honey came from the pound and Leon was born in Trump Tower and then given to the person who lived there's interior designer who then gave him to Grant, my husband.  So technically Leon is a rescue, but a rather swishy one. Honey came to me all skinny and crazy and with yellow paint down her side. 

Kiri asks: I am doing my GCSEs in a few weeks time and have to learn speaking topics, which I am hopeless at. You must have learn lines and other similar things so I was wondering if you had any really good tips for remembering stuff...  Write them down, that's what I do.  If you write things down it sort of takes it out of your mind and you have a visual reference. Gove it a try!

Claire in France writes: I've installed a few more wee apps on my Android phone, including "Quotes by Jean Cocteau" (whom I was weaned on, naturally).
Q#1: One quote reads: "What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you."  A penny for your thoughts?

I totally agree.  Stick to your guns! Go Jean, go!!  Also I think that if you believe the good press you have to believe the bad so it's more important for you to make your mind up what you think.
Q#2: It displays a thumbnail version of this portrait:
I bet you can already guess where my thoughts went! How would you feel about impersonating him, supposing an English-speaking biopic were made?  I would love to!  I think Cocteau is a fascinating artist, and I would love to inhabit him.
And I forgot to include another question last time I wrote... Was Poetry and the Creative Mind by any chance recorded, for the radio or something? I'd really love to try and catch a podcast for my friend Carole's enjoyment and mine.  I don't think so, Claire, but maybe you could google the American Poetry Academy and see if they have anything on their site. But I don't know.

Jade asks: i guess what i'd love to know is about X-men 2, more about the make-up and the stunts you had to do, how long did the make-up take to get on and how technical were th stunts, like in the first scene where you tried to kill the president and also i don't really understand what all the markings were about on his body, can you please explain what they're about?  I am answering in an audio-visual way via this interview from Youtube...

The Power of One

Sunday 25 Apr 10

A guid new year tae one and a

Saturday 24 Apr 10

Well it's 3.15 and I am just waking up. My body clock is truly wacked.  But I do quite like the life of a vampire.  I once did a film where we did night shoots for weeks on end and I couldn't have been happier.  You sort of have an excuse to check out of your normal life.  Cos you're asleep all day and when you get up you're woozy, and just when you'd think about getting it together and calling people back and doing the thngs you have to do, well, you have to go back to work again and into this weird subterranean, back to front existence.

I am about to drive back into Manhattan though, and go to a dinner.  Then I'll be driven back here for the final attempt at Almost In Love.  I think last night's take was really good.  We all seemd to be in our groove. But who knows.  That's what I quite like about it. It's not one of those things where you can think that you were ok and not  really engage with the rest of the experience, cos nobody is ok if the whole thing isn't in this instance.

Anyway, here's a clever public service announcement and then, for you fans of the blast from the past depatrment, a step back in time to 1987, on New year's Eve to be precise, when I was but a slip of a lad and Victor and Barry ruled the world:  The Scottish Televison New Year Show, broadcast LIVE from Cowcaddens to a drunken nation.  That's the lingering memory of it for me: finishing the show and being all up and excited from the buzz of having done it and realising that everyone else was completely smashed. It has been my life's work to never experience that feeling again.

From the archives past and present....

Friday 23 Apr 10

I just woke up in the Hamptons. Doesn't that sound like the first line of a Candace Bushnell novel?  In the early hours of this morning I drove here after wrapping on the frst season of The Good Wife and went straight into another run of the 45 minute take for Almost in Love.  Then we all had a laugh and went to bed.  We are on a funny schedule:  Dinner at 5.30pm and then back to bed again and up at 1am and then we get ready for another go.  Ah, showbiz.

Anyway, here are a couple of gems: the first one is a little film of bits I found on my flip video from recent shenanigans, including me and Al Roaker mugging for the lens in kilts, and then a blast from the past: the Caroline Rhea show in 2003 in which Honey comes on in the second segment and does some of her impressions.  This is what really sent her career into orbit.  See how it all began below...


Thursday 22 Apr 10

In addition to my shows at Fenstein's in New york City (next week and again in June -see the box on the right for tickets) I am going to be playing two dates of my cabaret show in California in July. They are.....

Friday July 9th Broad Stages in Santa Monica.  Get tickets here

Saturday 10th July Castro Theatre in San Franciso. 

Today my allergies are really, really bad, so I am going to go and do my neti pot and see if I can my eyes less puffy before I go to do my last day on this season of The Good Wife. It's a very exciting climax, people! Yesterday I shot a scene with the lovely Mary Beth Peil who plays Peter's mum in the show.  We were in a tea room with about thirty posh old ladies who were all horrified to see me in their midst. It was a very funny experience to feel their silent wrath.

Tonight I will return to the Hamptons for more shooting on my friend Sam Neave's film Almost In Love, which we'll be doing another version of at about 5am tomorrow morning. It's one shot that lasts 45 minutes and ends with two unfortunate actors running into the sea as the sun rises.  I hope my tubes have not entirley clammed up with pollen-induced gunk.

Boogie Woogie is out tomorrow at the IFC cinema in New york City, and on VOD (which I thought stood for Voice of Doom, but actually is Video on Demand, though judging by the reviews the film is getting the former may be more applicable)

Poems and Questions and Sex, oh my!

Wednesday 21 Apr 10

Last night I performed some poems at the Alice Tully Hall in NYC  for the American Academy of Poets annual Poetry and The Creative Mind event. It was really an amazing night, for I certainly haven't listened to (or read) that much poetry in years.  I read poems by Robert Burns, Yeats, Tennessee Williams, Jayne Cortez and Liz Lochead.  I also did a duet of a Robert frost poem with the gorgeous Meryl Streep.  Other readers included Sting, Julian Schanbel, Gabriel Byrne, Matt Dillon and Roseanne Cash. Here's the Yeats poem I read. It's one of my favourites. I even read it at my wedding. It's called He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
 Enwrought with golden and silver light,
 The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
 Of night and light and the half-light,
 I would spread the cloths under your feet:
 But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
 I have spread my dreams under your feet;
 Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.

At the after-party I was approached by a fresh faced young man who said he was from New York magazine.  I told him that because of the fact that I was called on my personal cell phone and emailed on my personal email address and then lied to by a New York magazine reporter last week, I wouldn't want to be giving him a comment.  He couldn't understand why.  I tried to explain to him the whole situation, he still didn't get it, still thought he might get a comment. I told him that maybe one day he would get a bit older and be in the public eye and would experience how much of your privacy is invaded and how careful you are to retain what remains of it, and when that is abused or infinged as in this case, and when the person who did it is a journalist who then admits they were lying to you about how they got your personal details, maybe he would understand a little more.  Still not much of a flicker.  He actually made the inane non-sequitor 'But Goldman Sachs are your enemy!'

Then another crazy thing happened.  A young woman came up to me and said SHE was from New York magazine!!!  They breed, I thought!! I told her that I would not be speaking to her and indeed had told the previous NY mag reporter the same thing ten minutes before.  She looked shocked and said 'But I've been sent here by NY mag'.  So I took here over to the fresh-faced loon and let them duke it out. It was very enjoyable. Apparently the loon hadn't been assigned this gig but was just atending anyway and so thought he might try for a scoop with the smattering of celebs present.  The girl was not best pleased he was poaching on her offical turf.  The young man blushed, shamefacedly.  He still didn't get it though.

Ask Alan

Sidney asks: You currently live in America, if I'm correct? I'm from Cleveland and have wondered what really inspired you to become a citizen. How have you liked America? What state are you residing in?  I became a citizen in order to vote for Obama.  I felt that having a green card was great, but I spout off a lot about my feelings both socially and politically in America and so I wanted to really take part on the political process and vote. I have lived in New York for twelve years and this is my home.

Erin in Virginia: just curious, but what is your favorite cure for a hangover?  Whatever makes you think I get hangovers, Erin?!!  I find that drinking water throughout the evening, one for every alcoholic beverage, does the trick.  I therefore always have two drinks in my hand and everyone always says 'Oh, you're double-fisting'.  I should really say, a la Oscar Wilde, 'Yes, but I will be clear-headed in the morning'.  In the rare cases that I wake up the very worse for wear, I usually crave Chinese or Indian food, and that helps, and a lie down, and a Berocca.

Hi My name is Ranee and i am a Wiccian, and i am what people call "adoptive family." By the way i am a big fan and would love to meet you in person one day. My sons father died of AIDS in 2005 and he was Bi-sexual. My question for you, Do you think there is enough progress in the search for a cure for AIDS?  Thanks for your email Ranee.  Obviously there has not been enough progres in the search for a cure because we don't actually have one yet, but there are positive signs, and strides are being made in prevention and also there is now the so called 'morning-after' pill which has had great success in eradicating the virus within the first day or so of infection.  But there is a long way to go.  I work a lot with the American Foundation for AIDS research (Amfar) and they do great work.  Go to their site and have a look and see how you can help too.

Have you ever had a panic attack before going on stage, or when you‚re filming?  If so what happened?
  I get really, really nervous when I perform something for the first time. But not really a panic attack. I have had panic attacks in my real life and they usually involve shortness of breath.  The stage nerves usually involves shaking  and wanting to be sick or pee, and just a general feeling of 'Why the hell am I putting myself through this'. But in a strange way I think they are a neccesary part of performing.  They are usually worse at an opening or doing something I've never done before, but they can come back at the most random moments, and I don't think there is ever a time I walk on stage without a little flicker of nerves.

Lindsey from WI: I read recently somewhere that the "Smurfs" movie will be coming out in 2011 and you will be the voice of "Gutsy Smurf." Is this true? And can you give us any information on the movie? There isn't much to be found right now.  I will indeed be giving my Gutsy when the movie comes out next year. I am not really allowed to say much about the story other than the Smurfs come to New York City.  Watch this space!!

Aside from vodka martinis and Lena Zavaroni, what obsessions do you have?   Are there things that you don't like that make you crazy (such as if someone leaves the cap off the toothpaste tube, etc.?) My other obsessions on are flip videos, gay rights, Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries and luxury travel. I just shot a commercial for the site with my other two obsessions, my dogs honey and Leon.  The one thing that really bugs me is when you say 'Thank you' to someone in America and they go 'Hmm hmm' back to you.  Just say nothing, I say, if you can't be bothered to move your lips into 'you're welcome'.  I just can't stand 'Hmm hmmm'.  It makes me think that people don't really want to respond and it's almost a little resentful. But maybe that's just me.

Joey says:You are one of my favorite actors of all time. I am obsessed with your work. Its been my dream to meet you in person. My question is: what was it like playing Rooster (my dream role for the show) in Disney's Annie? And why did they not have you do the rooster crow?  I loved being Rooster. I didn't know Annie at all.  Well, I knew it was about an orphan with red hair and a dog but that was it. So the whole thing was a surprise to me. I loved being so skeevy and having a gold tooth.  But I don't remember why I didn't crow. Does he usually?  I suppose I think he was called that cos he was so cocky and proud.

Jane from the UK: Is it strange making films as an actor, and not directing as well, after you have directed films yourself? Do you find yourself thinking 'Well, if I were the director here, I would do this a different way'?  I know it makes sense to think that someone who had directed would always be thinking in that way, but I really don't. Or at least if I do have an opinion about how to shoot something that I am just acting in, it's not because I have previously directed. I think it's quite easy to separate and just focus on what you have to do.

I have recently adopted a vegan lifestyle and know you are a vegetarian. I'm just curious why you haven't gone full on vegan(or have you?) and also wondering what some of your favie dishes are! Love you! (as much as a person can love someone they've never met!) Well, I really like eggs and I am partial to a bit of cheese from time to time. I try not to, especially right now because of allergies and the way dairy products make them worse, but as I've said before for me the reason to eat meat is more about the fact that I just don't like the texture or taste of it, and the feeling of it rotting inside your body (sorry, carnivores). I think my favourite dishes are veggie or tofu curry, anything spicy really.


My friend Anne told me about a great film that has been made by photographer James Houston called Let's Talk About Sex.  Its goals are to promote healthy discussion about sex in America and therefore avoid the insane figures of teen pregnancy and STD or even HIV infection going on.  James want you to vote for the film in a competition sponsored by Pepsi which would help towards his other goal of getting the DVD distributed free to as many young people and community organisations acros the country as possible. Take a look.  It's really galling and at the same time inspiring.  And then vote here.  Hurry, it's currently #130 and only the top 10 get 50K from Pepsi!

Spiderman! Not!

Monday 19 Apr 10


I am no longer going to be playing The Green Goblin in the forthcoming Broadway production of Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark.
The Spiderman team could not resolve conflicts with my dates on The Good Wife - the CBS TV drama that shoots in New York and which I have recently joined as a series regular.
Obviously, having waited over a year for Spiderman to be greenlit, I am very disappointed that I will not have the chance to collaborate with Bono and the Edge, and to work with Julie Taymor on the stage.
I wish everyone involved the very best.

rivers, oceans

Sunday 18 Apr 10

First some horrible news: Last Wednesday the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center staff in NYC arrived for work to find a torched rainbow flag draped on the front of their building. This is a horrible act of hatred that cannot be tolerated in any way. There has been a rightful outcry and also an outpouring of support for the Center and its staff, and on Wednesday Gilbert Baker, the Rainbow Flag's creator, as well as many elected officials and other organizations will gather at the Center and unfurl a new 20 foot long flag that will drape the building (please visit for the most up to date information).

Please come along one and all and show your support for the Center, an amazing resource for the LGBT community, and also stand up for freedom and peace and justice, and speak out against such menacing acts of homophobia and violence.

When: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm
Where: In front of The LGBT Community Center, 208 W 13th Street, Manhattan
For questions or how to help, please contact Jeffrey Klein at

Today I am in Long island, or I suppose I should say I am on Long Island. I am in a beautiful house on the ocean, rehearsing for my friend Sam's film which he is going to shoot entirely in one shot. Yep that's right, no cuts, nothing, no pressure!!  It is going to be shot early tomorrow morning (the first attempt at least) so that the end of the film coincides with the sun coming up.  Fingers crossed.

Also tonight I am on TV in Riverworld, a miniseries I have a cameo in, on the Syfy Channel at 7pm ET. They have decided to show the whole thing in one night, even though it was originally in two parts, so go ahead and geek out, scifi fans!!  Below there is a little video about me getting into character, or caricature!

I don't think I mentioned it (as last week was pretty eventful) but I went along to the Bistro awards last week to pick up my award for Best Recording for my debut abum I Bought A Blue Car Today.  I also sang American, with Lance Horne at the piano playing his own beautiful song. It was a really amazing night. I was very honoured to be recognised amongst such crazy big stars (and crazy old ones, let's be honest) as Elaine Stritch and Mitzi Gaynor!!  Oh yes.

Finally look out tomorrow for a big announcement about Spiderman. Watch this space.

Out There!

Saturday 17 Apr 10

This is me on the cover of a new UK magazine called Out There.  I really like the pictures by Minh Ngo, and indeed the whole magazine is pretty fascinating too. Check it out, UK peeps.

In all the GS brouhaha yesterday I forgot to say how delighted I am about Obama's ruling to the Department of Health and Human Services that prevents hospitals from denying visitation privileges to gay and lesbian partners.  That is really huge. It is also one of the most heinous and emotionally charged parts of the fight for equality, and a good one to sort out on the long road to justice, I think.  Can you imagine that someone you had lived with all your life was dying and you had no legal right to visit them in hospital?  Well, thankfully, now, neither can I.


The president's Thursday memo said, "There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. ... Yet every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides."

Bless you, Obamica.

I am always delighted when my homeland provides a piece of biting social commentary, and this clip is a stunning condensation of the views being expressed about the Icelandic volcano eruption across Europe.

And here in the blast from the past department is a documentary I made for BBC Scotland in 2001. Scary!

That Sinking Feeling

Friday 16 Apr 10

Well, well, well. It's hard not to feel a little justified if not smug because after the last couple of days of hoo ha about Goldman Sachs and me having moved my money and getting some flack from them for encouraging others to do so, I open up my laptop this morning and discover that the Securities and Exchange commission is suing Goldman Sachs in a civil suit for fraud!! Talk about good timing.

In other news, last night I went to see a movie called Housekeeping, which was released in 1987 and directed by Bill Forsyth.  Bill is a fellow Scot and a hero of mine.  He is the king of film in Scotland, having made such classics as Gregory's Girl, Comfort and Joy and Local Hero.  Last night's movie was shot in America but it still retained the qualities we all love in a Bill film - an ousider trying to live within others' rules, subtle situational humour and so on.  There was a talk afterwards and Bill was his usual modest, dry self.  I once nearly made a film with him but the dates didn't work out, and I sincerely I hope I get to be in his next one, which he has alluded to the last couple of times I have seen him.

Today Honey and Leon are exhausted after a hectic day yesterday in front of the cameras. Yes, they were being shot for a little film for the website, where they will be appearing as the object of my obsession before too long.  Honey has long been a mugger for the camera, and just loves the attention of people looking at her and cooing as she moves her head a little into the light. Leon's favourite part of the shoot was being fed on camera. Once, when he and Honey were my co-hosts on Sundance Channel's Midnight Snack, there would be a part of the craft service table that was purely for them, all doggie treats and chewy things, and they were bribed with these goodies all day to make them stay in shot. I had a pile of kibble in every outfit's pocket.  Leon was in heaven.

Talking of itsasickness, we have had an amazing response since the Jimmy Fallon and Joy Behar appearances this week so please keep coming and updating and adding content and geeking out.  We are all so excited that people are starting to use the site and making it hum. Here is a little clip of me on the Joy Behar show.


Thursday 15 Apr 10

Here is a video that is truly a collaboration between three friends.  Lance Horne, my friend and musical director of my cabaret show, and co-composer and composer and arranger and goodness knows what else wrote a beautiful song called American which I now sing at the start of my show.  We recorded it one time in the studio for a demo and I sing it, for reasons too varied to go into here, with an American(ish) accent, not my normal Scottish one.  Ned Stresen-Reuter, with whom I have made several little films and commercials and all sorts heard the song and went off and raided his archive of family super8 films and made this amazing montage to go along with the song. I think it's pretty amazing, don't you?

The Move Your Money furore continues today.  I got an email and a call from New York magazine (who originally ran the article in which I mentioned it) to ask if I would forward them the email I received from Goldman Sachs, to, in the words of the young lady who contacted me, 'print their grovelling'. She offered to remove any personal stuff from it, but I decided it was not appropriate to give it to them. Also it did indeed have personal stuff in it, like details about my finances, and I was not entirely prone to believing they would remove that stuff considering they had contacted me on my personal cell phone number and email, despite the fact that they have regular contact wth my publicist (the normal, professional route to contact me) and only yesterday they published something that had been forwarded to them from her office.

I called the woman and asked her how she had managed to get my personal details and she emailed back an email entitled I Cannot Reveal My Sources but said that we had a mutual friend.  This incensed me. It is not cool for anyone to hand out personal details without asking first, and I don't know anyone who would do that without consulting me first.  All my friends are very considerate about my security and privacy.  This woman eventually called back and said she was sorry but that she hadn't thought it would be a big deal! I asked her who the mutual friend was and she admitted that she had lied about that and in fact New York magazine has a spread sheet with lots of celebrities' personal details on it.  When I expressed how angry I was about all this she remonstrated that lots of celebrities don't mind being contacted in this way!  I wanted to ask her who, but instead I told her that this celebrity did.  She finished off the conversation by saying that she was 'not a celebrity stalker', a poor choice of phrase considering when talking to anyone who is in the public eye especially considering she had just lied about having personal details of mine, had contacted me without warning and without explanation of how she had found my number or address.

I hope Jessica Pressler of New York magazine will think twice before dipping into New York magazine's stash of celebrities' private details again, and I hope she will remove my details from that list as she has promised me. In fact I would ask New York magazine to destroy the entire list and to have a bit of respect for the people they want to cooperate with for their publication.



Move Your Money

Wednesday 14 Apr 10

I did an interview for New York magazine's website which came out today and it has caused a bit of a storm because in it I said that I had moved my money from Goldman Sachs and advised people to do the same and to visit

I found out above the Move Your Money campaign via the Huffington Post and indeed they too have covered the story

But what I find really interesting and a good indiciator that the campaign is working is that a couple of hours after the NY mag piece went online I received and email from Goldman Sachs saying they had read the piece and reminding me of the amount of cash I had made whilst my money was with them, despite the financial crash.  This of course just reminds me of why I moved my money in the first place. It was not so much the fact that I lost a lot of money when the financial crash happened. I did, so did a lot of people. And of course, before then and since, I made money with Goldman Sachs.  But the reason I moved my money was that I felt it was the only way I could demonstrate to them that I did not approve of them, that I felt they were out of touch and indeed today they just proved that again.

Continuing to give huge bonuses to their employees who had contributed to the system that ultimately lost so much money for their investors and brought us to the brink of finanical ruin is not acceptable to me.  The fact that the only time they ever communicated with me about the existence of the crash and the loss of my investments was as a response to me telling them I was moving my money is not acceptable to me.

Arrogance and greed is not acceptable to me, but combined with a lack of remorse and an utter disregard for the sentiments of the outside world it transcends even that and needs to be dealt with in the only way that could possibly have any real effect, practically as well as metaphorically: I moved my money.

and PS, this from a reader via Ask Alan:

Regarding Goldman Sachs, the only reason they have made money over the past 18 months, is because they received payouts on all their AIG claims.  And guess who bailed out AIG and paid those claims?  US tax payers. 

Now Goldman Sachs has reclassified bank license, so it can borrow money from the Fed at zero percent, and buy treasury bonds at 4.5%, and pocket the profits.  And who is lending at zero percent?  Only the Fed  / US Tax payers.

GS would be bankrupt without the US Taxpayers!!!

and PPS, why doesn't someone go to and start a Move Your Money group?

From The Elliptical Machine to Your Eyes

Tuesday 13 Apr 10

I just taped The Joy Behar Show and it airs tonight at 9pm EST. I love Joy and we had a lovely chat, talking about a range of things including Sarah Palin, Mike Hucakabee,, The Good Wife and coming out.

Last night at the benefit I performed at, the little stage manager was shocked at the fact that I didn't know the lyrics to Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. He said he didn't know them but that was more understandable.  I asked them what he meant and he said 'Well, I'm young'. Oh yes he did.  When I feigned outrage and everyone laughed, he tried to make amends by saying 'Oh, but you're famous!'.  So being famous is a cushion for ageing, ladies and gentlemen. Remember where you heard it first.  Forget potions, exercise or cosmetic surgery, just get famous and the clock will turn backwards.

Sorry for the radio silence yesterday everybody. I had a crazy day and wasn’t able to get to a computer to blog. I did try to do so via my BlackBerry but couldn't and even though an iPhone could do it for me I still didn’t want to go back.

Yesterday began at the crack of dawn for me, filming some really great scenes for The Good Wife at Eli’s Chicago office, which naturally is in midtown Manhattan. My favorite part of the office design was a Photoshopped picture of me and Obama, which Eli has displayed very prominently behind his desk . I knew he was a Democrat!

Then I went to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where much fun was had. Jimmy is one of the nicest people ever and I always have a laugh with him. We first met 10 years ago when I hosted Saturday Night Live and one of my favorite sketches was of us doing Lennon and McCartney, or what would have happened to Lennon and McCartney if they had opened a chain of fast food restaurants together. In my segment I talked about The Good Wife and also talked about, my obsession-based website. Thanks to all of you that went to the site and joined up. There was a really marked spike in our traffic after the Jimmy appearance so hurrah for the power of television!

Last time I was on the show The Roots, Jimmy’s band, played the theme song to my old UK sitcom The High Life as I entered. It's so noisy with the audience clapping that you don’t hear what they're playing--or at least I didn't--until I saw the appearance on a disk much later. So last night I had a chance to say hello to The Roots and thank them for delving into my musical past.

I left Jimmy’s and headed downtown to the Highline Ballroom, where I performed in Lea Delaria’s Burt Bacharach benefit for breast cancer. I sang "I Still Have That Other Girl In My Head," which Burt wrote with Elvis Costello. It was a really great night and so good to see so many friends coming out for a good cause. After that I had the most delicious macaroni and cheese. Guess what with?! Truffle oil. I am sick!

I am dictating this whilst on the elliptical machine in the gym! How showbiz am I?! I’m trying to sweat a bit before I go on to the next crazy day. Joy Behar’s show followed by a performance at The Bistro Awards, where I am receiving an award for my album I Bought a Blue Car Today.

Finally here is a dog and a killer whale. Isn't it crazy?

Ask Alan!

Sunday 11 Apr 10

Pam writes: How can I get a copy of your hosted SNL show? I used to have one on VHS, but I have lost the video. Is there a downloadable one or a DVD somewhere? Please tell me as your show is immensely funny. Thanks! You know I have no idea, Pam! You would have thunk that some clever person would have put all the SNLs on pay per view or streaming or something like that.  I know that you can't put them on youtube or anything because of NBC copyright issues so it will have to remain in your head for now.  It's probably funnier and better there. (These pics are of me with Jimmy Fallon, playing Lennon and Macartney, and with Chris Kattan as Siegfried and Roy!)  I'll be reuniting with Jimmy tomorrow night on his show!

Hi I am Mary from Virginia. I am so sorry for being so curious, but websites say that your athius. In some of your movies, you act and say things that are catholic or some other religious belief. Sorry, my curiosity gets the best of me, but I am very confused at that matter. Well, Mary, no wonder you're confused if you think 'atheist' is spelled that way!! I have not believed in God for most of my life. As a child I was taken to church and I even joined the Church of Scotland when I was 16 but, like many people who are members of the church, I didn't see the fact that I didn't believe in something that I was becoming a part of as much of a problem. It was more about tradition, habit, the thing to do. Then I began to realise that my being a part of it was only condoning and validating lots of things I heartily dissaprove of: opression, guilt, shame etc.  So I began to talk about my lack of belief in the press, because, just like gay rights, I think more people need to speak out and keep talking in order to encourage discussion and highlight hypocrisy and  fear.  Then the Church of Scotland wrote my mum and said they had read something about me being an atheist and would I like to leave the church, and I did. So I was ex-communicated!  As for me playing religous characters, well, I do sometimes.  But I also play murderers and I have never (thus far) killed anyone.  I just imagine.

if you could be in ANY musical...what would it be and what part would you play?? I would be Mama Rose in Gypsy. And Honey my dog would be Gypsy Rose Lee.

From Katie: My question is if you could meet any one of your heroes who would it be and why. I don't really have any big desire to meet my heroes.  I always think that it's a perilous thing to do actually.  Because of my work I have met a lot of people that I have worshipped from afar and mostly they have all been great and I have been thrilled to get to know them on a personal level. But I have met a couple of people that I had really admired and they have turned out to be assholes.  But I think I would really like to meet Nelson Mandela. He is truly a hero of mine.

From Annika in Finland: Any song recommendations for a broken heart?  I think you should listen to Grace Kelly by Mika.  I have never known spritis not to be lifted by that song.

Carolyn: Did you really pull a Tunnocks caramel wafer out from under your kilt?  That is brilliant. Caramel wafers rank alongside Highland toffee as two of the best things about being Scottish. Oh yes, I did.  As I was waiting to go on I realised that everyone was doing something with props or a little bit of schtick (in the Dressed to Kilt event in NYC last week). I didn't know what to do and then Matthew Modine opened up his bag and he had loads of Tunnock's Caramel Logs in it and so I took one and put it up my kilt, wedged under my sporran.  Then when I got to the bottom of the runway I took it out and threw it into the crowd. It was a spur of the moment thing. I often shove fancy biscuits into my clothing for a laugh.

From a reader in Chicago: Does it bother you that straight women find you incredibly hot? Absolutely not.  Why on earth would it? Why have you made the decision to not become a father? I think for people in same-sex relationships it is a much more considered decision, so it wasn't any one thing that made me decide.  It changed over a number of years. I am really happy in my relationship and don't feel we need a child to complete it or anything. I think it's important to help children who need homes (for I would definitely have adopted) and so I try to do that in other ways.  Could we perhaps have a glimpse into one of your homes?  That will never happen.  I have a rule that I don't let photographers or journalists come into my home. I think that, especially when so much is available for public perusal, it's important to have a part of your life that is really just yours.  At what point in your life did you decide to become an atheist? See above. The actual age that I think I definitely made the decision was around 16.

From Melinda Catherine: The question: You pour yourself into your roles, and they into you. I notice this more with the darker more complex characters, it‚s almost as if you lose yourself in your art, just as when you‚re singing, you lose yourself to the song, the music. Is this craft, or chameleon? And if it is in any small part the latter, how do you undress or step out of character?  I think part of the craft is being prepared to make yourself vulnerable so that you can lose yourself in a part or a song, so it's sort of a combination.  I defintley choose songs that I can relate to on some emotional level, and I suppose that happens with parts too.  And I think the older and more comfortable you get, the easier it is for you to take the leap and lose yourself in a character.  It's exciting to just jump off a cliff.  And as for undressing, I find a date with friends and a martini afterwards does the trick.

the hills are alive......

Saturday 10 Apr 10

I am very excited.  On Monday I am going on the Jimmy Fallon Show, and I am going to be officially launching to the world.  It should be a fun show. I have just been contributing a piece to my 'luxury travel' group on the site about flying Cathay Pacific.  That truly is sick.

Anyway, on Tuesday I am going on Joy Behar's show to do more plugging. I am promoting the release of Boogie Woogie as well as The Good Wife and Check me out!!

Today I took a couple of friends to see a waterfall that is near my house in upstate New York. It's on the way to the local town and I love going to it and seeing how it changes throughout the year. Sometimes (like now, when the snows have melted) it is ferocious and other times it's more benign and pretty. But it's always beautiful and a lovely surprise, especially for townies. Today, however, the experience was soured by  a man in his pick up truck stopping to shout at us, as we were descending through the trees towards the water, about the placement of our car, the fact that we were walking on private land and how he was going to call the owner and yadda yadda yadda. His vitriol was softened by a cocker spaniel leaning out the window of his truck between him and us, looking like the antithesis of his or her owner's meanness. It made me think that this horrible man - who was probably just having a really bad day and saw a car badly parked and thought he would have a go at the weekenders who owned it and thus make himself feel a little better about whatever was going on in his life - wasn't as horrible as he was persuading me to assume he was, and so, based on that dog's panting little face, I decided to thank the man for alerting me to my bad parking and apologosed to him for our trespass.

I am having a martini, delicious guacamole and about to have spanish rice made by the two, count them, two Puerto Ricans, in the house! I am going to make some veggie chilli and then we'll have dinner. And THEN mr Lance Horne, my musical director and composer is here and we are going to have a big sing-song and during which we will practise the song I am going to sing on Monday at the benefit for Breast Cancer at the Highline Ballroom. Get tickets on the right....


Lost (not the TV show)

Friday 9 Apr 10

Today I lost my way.

But it was actually okay.

We were driving upstate and we passed our turn off from the freeway. Actually we went two exits too far. And now we were lost and late and other friends were driving up and I was worried they'd get there before us.

But guess what? I had a map in the back seat of the car.  It turned out that near the exit we came off at there was a road that led directly to a village that we knew and wasn't very far from our house. It wasn't that much longer a jounrney than the one we normally take, and we got to see a whole new part of the Catskills that was really beautiful.

And even if our friends had arrived before us (which they didn't), they would  have amused themselves, maybe chatted in the car, or gone for a walk. Who knows?

And best of all, I got to remember that sometimes it's good to lose your way and to realise that everything will work out just fine.  I want to love my life enjoying the detour.

Zorgamazoo and Gordananrufus

Thursday 8 Apr 10

Rufus Wainwright and the artist Douglas Gordon have collaborated. Hmm, maybe God does exist. Click here for the stunningly beautiful result.


I spent most of day in a little booth in midtown Manhattan reading an entire book aloud. Sometimes I was on the moon, sometimes in the tunnel of hush, sometimes battling Mrs Krabone, but always there with me was Morty the Zorgle and Katrina Kattrell.  It was a wonderful book entirely in verse called Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston and I was reading it for Penhuin Audiobooks.  As a consequence I haven't much time to blog today. Just been to the gym and now friends have started to arrive for a wee Scotland week drinky party.  Heeuch! See yez re morra

Blog envy

Wednesday 7 Apr 10

Today I am shooting on The Good Wife and it is very exciting because someone I referred to in an earlier episode, Ben Smith from Politico, is actually really here in the flesh! It's very exciting to be sitting next to a live blogger thinking about the fact that you're going to blog about him. I feel a bit like those people I meet in bars who rush into the loo and tweet about me.

Today I am filming in a courtroom, and, during one of the many bouts of downtime I realised I have never been to a real court.  I have never even been arrested. Only on TV.  Like rehab, sex tapes and bad cosmetic surgery, being arrested is yet another celebrity accoutrement that has evaded me (thus far). 

A long time ago I had a short-lived column in a magazine called Contents. (The column was short-lived because the magazine was). I actually only did two columns before it went belly up.  But the first column I wrote was about the fact that I always wanted to be part of a revolution, but I was never in the right place at the right time.  I love hearing about the passion and the excitement of life in Bolshevik Russia after the first world war (the executions of the bourgeousie are taking it a bit too far though). I would have totally been on a train to Spain in the thirties to fight Franco.  But when the poll-tax riots happened in Trafalgar Square in London in the early nineties, where was I? In the bowels of the Barbican Centre (less than a mile away, sooo close) performing a matinee of As You Like It. I know,how lame. I keep missing revolutions.

And then I realised: I am living in America in 2010. There has been a revolution and we are continuing to live through one.  Hooray! At last!

To celebrate, here is a documentary I did for the BBC last year about films that were made in Scotland. Freedom!



Dressed to Kilt

Tuesday 6 Apr 10

  Last night I modeled in Dressed to Kilt, the yearly event which showcases Scottish fashion, the kilt, Scottishness in general and also raises money, this year for war veterans. It was a hoot.  The King of Scotland, Sean Connery, was there and I reminded him that the last time I had seen him, in Edinburgh last summer at a dinner thrown by Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, he had said he would never vote Labour as long as he had a hole in his arse!!  Yes, he totally did.  I love Sean, and I love that he has lines like that up his sleeve.  

I also saw my friend Howie Nicholsby from 21st Century Kilts, who made the kilt I wore. (It's the same one I donned to go to Buckingham Palace to receive my OBE).  I also met a lovely boy called Thom was was playing rugby for Scotland six weeks ago and broke his neck!  But he is making an amazing recovery, able to work the runway as though nothing had happened. And finally I had the distinct honour of making the accquaintance of the face of Scottish beef.  I know, welcome to my world. Here are a couple of little clips about it...

Sean and I are going to be in a film together later this year.  We both provide voices for Sir Billi the Vet, an animated film made entirely in Scotland! He is the eponymous Sir Billi and I am his faithful goat, Gordon. That's me on the left, covering myself with the flag.

RIP, Corin Redgrave

Tuesday 6 Apr 10

If artists, actors, musicians and writers just felt they ought to be celebrities and shut up, then the world would be a pretty awful place

Corin Redgrave.

Automatically Transmitted Ask Alan!

Monday 5 Apr 10

Did you have a good good friday?  I hope so!  I want to give a shout out to Mary Lou in Binghampton, who I haven't seen for ages but who, I hear via her lovely son Rob, reads my blog every day.  Thanks Mary Lou!! That makes me very happy!

Here in the 'blast from the past' category is Automatic Transmission, or Auto TX, a pilot I did in the guise of Barry, the latter half of Victor and Barry, in 1988. It is a sort of talk show in a car, hosted by Ross King - who recently interviewed me on the red carpet at the Elton John AIDS foundation Oscar party - yes, he's still at it - and the guests are a band called The Boys, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Pia Zadora.  I know! You couldn't make this up!! Bizarrely the pilot never got picked up and the UK was spared!



I am EXTREMELY jelly of you for being able to have more than 5 obsessions at When can people who are not the amazing Alan Cumming going to be able to have more than 5 obsessions as well? Also, I loved your performance on The Good Wife a while ago where Eli was "threatening" Becca. It was the first time I ever felt intimidated or scared by one of your characters(other than Nightcrawler, cause I was little). Have you considered having children? After seeing that scene with Eli and Becca I could totally see you the perfect dad: always fun but stern when you need to. Maybe you could adopt or something. =)  First of all we are still tweaking the website and if you feel you need more than five obsessions, and also you are not me, then you should leave a message on the site and our boffins will discuss it. Secondly, over the years I have thought a lot about having children, but have decided not to. However, I find the fact that you think I'd make a good Dad based on me threatening that poor girl on The Good Wife absolutely hilarious!!

Marina from Moscow: Dear Alan, may I ask you about the great rock band Queen? It's very important for me to know your opinion about their music' cause I love you and them most of all!!! Wish you all the best, dear Alan!!!  I adore Queen!! In fact I just recently bought the album of Elaine Paige singing Queen hits! And all the best to you too!

Hi Mr. Cumming. I was wondering how hard it must be to be a vegetarian. I have tried it before, but I couldn't get past one day. How do you do it?  I don't really see it as something I have to try, or struggle with. I actually prefer to eat veggie things. I never really liked the taste of meat, and certainly not the texture of it, so it's not hard for me at all, and never has been. Sorry!

Ashley from Tennessee says: You were in RHI's reimanging of wizard of oz, and They have releahed a morden reamanging of ALice in wonderland. What do you think of them retelling all of these older tales with a new flare? I think that there are certain stories that resonate with every generation because of their themes and characters, and so it's a good idea for each generation to interpret and put their own stamp on them.  But mostly I think it's a great homage to the original story, and to how it continues to affect audiences throughout history.

It's Tina again! do you get stage fright? And if so, how do calm down? (Other than the martinis)  Because ive almost gotten past the stage fright thing when i act, but sometimes i feel as if my heart is going to explode!  I get huge stage fright. I get the shakes and want to be sick and have the desire to run right out of the building.  I'm afraid it doesn't get any easier, it just gets more normal and manageable. I actually think it's good to be nervous, it keeps you on edge and makes you more alive, but it feels absolutely horrid. And of course it's one of those things where you forget about it till the next time it happens to you and you can't imagine why you've let yourself go through it again!!

Kim asks? hm, what do you think of the show Glee?? Are you a fan? and would you ever want to be on the show?!  Hmmm, well, Kim, I LOVE Glee. I think it's brilliantly done and I love how mean it is.  It's so great that biting satire is popular again! I think it's very healthy. They did ask me to be on it once, but alas I was in Europe. But I hope they ask me again.

Alice responds to a blog post last week: I agree, Sarah Palin is a moron... I'm Australian, but I fear for the world if that woman manages to get elected.

Olga from the Ukraine writes:
I first saw you in 'Reefer Madness' about a month ago and since then I'm trying to watch all the movies with you that I can find. I must say that I think your  talent is simply incredible and I admire the charity work you do and the ideas you fight for! My question is how did you become a vegetarian? Beacause I am kind of at the crossroads myself now. Oh, and I wonder if FDR's speech about an orphan girl in 'Reefer Madness' is an 'Annie' reference? Thanks so much, Olga!  I just sort of gradually became a vegetarian. It wasn't like I decided one day and that was that.  And also I had a few lapses (normally when I was working in places where chicken was considered a vegetable).  I agree politcially with so much of why people are veggie, but I don't have any unfulfilled urges about what I eat. I like my way better.  And as for the FDR speech, absolutely it's a nod to Annie! I just love that he says 'Since her father was an important billionaire I supressed the urge to laugh in her face'! Or something.  I think that is a hoot.

Someone from Poland says: I wanted to ask will we see you at Cannes Festival this year with the cast and crew of Burlesque? Does Sony plan to promote the movie there with a trailer or a preview? I don't know about Sony's plans for Burlesque but I will be in Cannes this May, for a few days anyway.  I am going to be jetting in and singing a song and chattin' the chat.

And finally Randi from The Bay Area of SF writes: What's your favorite hairstyle you've ever had in a role?  Well Randi,  here are some pictures of my favourite haircuts. Which is your favourite?

Blood and foam

Sunday 4 Apr 10

Today I met with friends for an Easter brunch and the waitress opened a bottle of champagne near me and it exploded all over my face. Luckily the cork had popped out and banged against a wall and it was only lashings of bubbly foam that hit me!  It could have been a lot worse.

I was trying to ascertain the symbolism of easter bunnies today. The eggs thing I presume is something to do with rebirth and the eggs symbolise the stone that Jesus pushed away, but the bunnies?  I have to say I find the whole thing very weird.  It's always strange to me when we all celebrate something and we don't really understand why, or else we've been duped into believing something other than it is.  Like Thanksgiving, for instance.  That really is the celebration of the genocide of an indigenous culture, not a day to commemorate the natives and the puritans all sitting down and breaking bread together.  I always remember seeing a picture of the white people bringing a blanket for the natives, and of course in reality that blanket was filled with smallpox in the hope of killing them all.  Anyway, happy Easter everyone!

I forgot to say that the winner of the competition about which film the image of me and Karl Marx was from the other day was Wendy from Sussex in England.  The correct answer was Passing Glory.

And here, in keeping with the gory message of Easter, is a short film I made in Canada a few years ago called Bad Blood. It's based on a chapter of the novel Trainspotting that wasn't included in the movie. Kyle Leydier adapted and directed it and a very good job he did of it too. Kyle used to be my assistant sometimes when I worked in Vancouver, and was with me through the endless shooting of X:2 and also Reefer Madness.  Here is his first film.  Beware, it's a bit spooky.


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Saturday 3 Apr 10

Spring has truly sprung.  I have just got home from a long walk with the dogs. I lunched at an outdoor cafe. Honey and Leon got some lettuce.  Leon will eat absolutely anything, even olives, and so lettuce is an easy, non-fattening snack to keep him quiet. Honey has become a lettuce convert purely because Leon likes it and whatever he gets she wants too.  I did an interview for Playbill about my upcoming cabaret shows at Feinstein's at the Regency in NYC (incidentally I will be doing shows in Los Angeles and San Fransisco in early July - watch this space) and as I was talking to the interviewer I realised that over the past year I have opened up and asked the universe for things and I have received them.

Now, before you think I have gone all Burning Man and airy fairy on you, let me just explain that I have always believed that it's possible to encourage things to happen in your life if you think about them, and sort of allow those thoughts and energy to go into the world and, maybe it's your subconcious, maybe it's an attitude that you adopt that changes yours or others' behaviour, but sometimes it works and you find yourself doing something or going somewhere or in a situation that not so long before you asked for.

I realise that doing my show I Bought A Blue Car Today last year was an example of that. I had always thought I would like to do a show in which I'd sing songs I felt passionate about and could act, as well as tell stories, but I was utterly terrified to do so. I hoped that I would be able to find some new and exciting way to connect with an audience by performing in this way, bare, not hiding behind a character, but being me.  It had fascinated me but also it terrified me because it was the unknown, and the more known I got for being an actor, the less confident I felt about moving so far out of my comfort zone.  A couple of times it nearly happened, but I didn't have the know-how or the bottle or the energy to follow though, and it wasn't till the Lincoln Center American Songbook asked me to make a show for last year's season that I bit the bullet.  And I am so glad I did. It truly has been life-changing for me. It was everything I hoped and more. I travelled the world last year and worked with amazing musicians and people I would never have encountered had I not done it. I have a whole new side to my performing life and how to connect with people and even to make a living.  It's been quite radical.  Infact, totally rad. Dude.

And the other day at lunch my friend Marjan reminded me that I'd told her that I really wanted to be a regular on a good TV series that shoots in New York. That very night I was offered a couple of episodes of a show called The Good Wife.  Now a couple of months later I have signed on as a series regular. Ha! You see!

Now before this starts sounding like an infomercial and I start to ask you to give my your credit card numbers so I can send you my book with detailed instructions on how to send your messages out to the universe, I will stop.  I think the spring, the blossums and the buds and the talking about my last year or so have all combined to this uncharacteristic burst of new aginess. But it's true. 

These two pictures were taken last summer by my friend Ned, and they make me very much look forward to summer and swimming and barbeques and running around barefoot.

Driving Miss Honey

Friday 2 Apr 10

Today I did that rare thing of driving in Manhattan. I have a car that stays in a parking garage, sometimes for months on end, and the only time I use it is to go upstate to my house in the Catskills or to take the dogs to the vet.  Therefore Honey and Leon have a love/hate relationship with the car.  Today Honey went to the vet and had her stitches taken out and her eye looks perfect.  The little lump they removed was benign and she merely looks as if, like a lot of fellow actresses of a certain age, she has succumbed to the knife and had a little bit of cosmetic surgery. Leon whimpered throughout thinking that he was going to be examined or prodded.

As I was driving home, the sun was shining, people were lunching alfresco at every cafe, the blossoms were budding and life felt good.  At a stop sign, a van drew up next to me and a man in it said to me through his open window, 'D'you wanna home theatre system, buddy?'  This I thought was a bit of a non-sequitor and so I said 'What do you mean?' to which he replied 'When I got out of work this morning they gave me two home theatre systems and I gotta get rid of them' (Translation: I stole these and need to sell them as quickly as possible to someone dopey and rich like you).  I said I wasn't interested and off he sped, two large cardboard boxes of home theatre systems in his back seat.

Earlier today I was also asked if I had tried receptive anal sex recently. It was in a doctor's office admittedly but all the same it came out of left field.  It has been quite  a day of non-sequitors.  Indeed I have been having more than my fair share of odd interactions recently.

The other day at the end of a yoga class, when we were all putting away our mats and bricks and straps, the instructor said to me, very loudly, 'I know you're a part of my childhood, but I can't remember how'.  Oh yes, he did.  I just said 'I'm your father'.  I mean, really.  He didn't laugh. I've noticed a dearth of humour amongst his profession's ranks actually. He simply said 'No, you're not.  What is it that I know you from?'  This is my least favourite part of any interaction with Joe public. Being asked to recite your resume until they can remember which film or whatever they know you from is both humiliating and, after twenty-five or so years in the business, time-consuming.  I used to try and gauge the person according to their age, look, sensibility and make a split-second decision about which part of my demographic they fitted into, but now I merely ask them politely to google me when they get home.

Last night I went to the opening of the play Red on Broadway.  I really liked it. It's about Rothko painting murals for the Four Seasons restaurant, and his relationship with his young assistant.  Fred Molina was brilliant as ever as Rothko, as was Eddie Redmayne as his sidekick. Earlier in the day a friend of mine described Eddie as having a layer of skin missing, in that you could see right into his soul when he performed, and I would concur. It was a fun party afterwards too. My favourite part was trying out my recently-learned magic trick on various people, including...David Blaine!!! I know, balls of steel, huh?  He then did loads of tricks for me, including one where I had to think of a card and then write my name on said card with a Sharpie, and as I was writing he pointed out that the Sharpie had 'You are thinking of the four of clubs' printed on it, which of course was my card.  Oh, it later appeared in David's mouth too. I love him.

And to avoid an avalanche of Ask alan enquiries, the answer to the doctor's question was yes. Duh.



Thursday 1 Apr 10

Today the National Trust for Scotland opens it doors again for the visitor season.  I became an ambassador last year for them (oh, yes) and here's what I have to say today in their press release for the new season...

Every year when the National Trust for Scotland opens its doors for the season, a whole new world of possibility and magic becomes ours. It's our country, our heritage, our past, and thanks to the Trust we get to live it, breathe it, walk round it, and even sleep in it. And it's all right there on our doorstep - don't miss it.

So there you go!  Please go to the NTS website and explore. It's a really amazing organisation that is ensuring that Scotland's treasures and heritage are kept safe and sparkly forever.  Many of the Trust’s properties were the scene of dramatic events in the past. The battles fought at Bannockburn and Culloden are some of Scotland’s most significant historical events, which helped shape the nation and continue to resonate today. Glencoe and Glenfinnan have close links with the Jacobite cause, while Alloa Tower and Falkland Palace have strong connections to Mary, Queen of Scots.
The National Trust for Scotland cares for more than 100 places for the benefit of the nation, including  28 castles, palaces and great houses; 12 social and industrial heritage sites; 3 historic burghs; 76,000 hectares of countryside; 7 national nature reserves; 46 Munros; 1 Dual World Heritage Site. The Trust relies on the financial support of its members to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy.  You can join the National Trust for Scotland for as little as £5 per month for a family. To become a member click here.

Honey gets her stitches out tomorrow, everybody! I actually think she is going to miss her lampshade.  Someone said it looks like she is doing a homage to Alexander McQueen.  And someone else said it is so Lady Gaga. We are calling her Lady Hun Hun. 

Last night I saw American Idiot, the Greenday musical on Broadway. It totally rocks, dude! My friend Stephen Hoggett is the choreographer and his work is amazing. He choreographed The Bacchae that I did for the National Theatre of Scotland (it's all about Scotland today!!), and I just love the way he tells the story through movement.  Stark Sands is in the show, and I think of him every time I eat soup because in the film Die, Mommie, Die! there is a hilarious scene where he blows his soup to cool it and it all falls out of the spoon and then he spoons some more, blows on it, it falls off, etc etc.  It's a hoot. But it was a bit distracting to keep thinking about him drinking soup when he was rocking out last night. After the show we went to the top of the Marriot Marquis hotel to the spinning restaurant to have a drink and look at the views of New York City. Sometimes it's nice to remind yourself of where you live, and why.  I have been talking a lot in the last couple of days about why I live here, and how much I prefer it to Los Angeles and London.  I have a visual aid that demonstrates the difference between London and New York which is hard to recreate now but it basically demonstrates that London is on the back foot and a little closed off, and New York is in your face and open.  And I like the latter attitude much better.

 I am off now to have an adventure in New York City.