I went to Philadelphia to see Elton John's version of an Independence Day celebration, and wax nostalgic about a city I dearly miss. Though I immensely enjoyed Elton John's performance, the rest of the show could have been scrapped. Someone, somewhere thought there was natural interplay between AIDS Awareness and the Spirit of '76. (More likely that Elton John was lured to Philly by feeding the Elton John AIDS Foundation vis a vis a public concert... but that might be too cynical)
The concept was awkward at best... The limitations of an AIDS-Independence Day Concert became rather apparent when the only tangible connection between the two subjects made was Bruce Vilanch cross-dressing as Betsy Ross. What an innovative way to stir both patriotism and increase AIDS awareness... a fat, gay man in a corsette. Most people were annoyed when varied celebrities kept talking about death counts on a night traditionally set aside for joy and revelry, but Vilanch elicted universal disgust. Not only did the fat slob reinforce the stereotype of AIDS as a gay disease by sporting his favorite bra before a crowd of 500,000, but his witless humor... CHRIST!
By the time Elton John came on stage, Vilanch had been booed by an increasingly hostile audience: his one opportunity to resurrect his career beyond Hollywood Squares on TNT was stillborn in the Cradle of Liberty. Hopefully this event will stand as a reminder to those hoping to co-opt an event people care about to advocate for an issue less beloved. But in failing that, hopefully it buries Vilanch's career for good.