“90210 has been my favorite show for more than half my life,” is the best first line of anything I have ever read EVER. It comes from an Amazon review for Jason Priestley: A Memoir and the poet who penned it is my favorite Amazon reviewer of all time: Miss Hater, from “Kentucky, USA.”
Miss Hater’s Amazon review. Image via Lauren Maul
All I know about her is that she has 833 “Helpful Votes” on Amazon, 1,201 items on her Wish List, and chooses to follow NO ONE. Her hundreds of book reviews cover some of my favorite things: ghosts, dinosaurs, the afterlife, and “SBTB.” Her first review was in 2002 but she’s been silent since her last review of The Devil's Mistress: The Diary of Eva Braun, the Woman Who Lived and Died With Hitler (Hardcover) in 2015. What happened, Miss Hater?
Forgive me for being attached to someone I’ve never met. I read a LOT of reviews while making Amazon Reviews: The Musica!, but I must say that Miss Hater is the one reviewer who stuck with me and is definitely the one I would most like to smoke a bowl with. Casting this mysterious and opinionated reviewer proved to be difficult. Who could I find to fill these Hater-size shoes?
I knew I wanted the cast of the Amazon musical to look like the Time-Warp Dancers from The Rocky Horror Picture Show—all different shapes and shades and sizes. Rocky Horror is one of my favorite musical soundtracks (right after Grease 2….) maybe because it’s in my genes. Before I was born, my parents would go to midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show—which is still surprising to me because they have a total Brad and Janet vibe. But their love of the soundtrack kept them coming back to the theater to throw popcorn at the screen with an audience full of weirdos. Perhaps it was this preconception exposure to Rocky Horror that inspired my love of all things kooky.
Actors Bay Bryan and Larry Owens. Image via Lauren Maul
So, I cast a little summoning spell and waited for my Miss Hater to appear—and appear she DID. ’Twas the night I was set to judge the live game show the Cabaret Showdown. I was sad to hear that the regular stage assistant was out of town and couldn’t be there. But it was OK—the producers had found a replacement, some fellow they knew named Bay Bryan. (In a weird twist of fate, the creator of the Cabaret Showdown ended up directing and choreographing 90210: The Musical! later that same year, in which Jason Priestley: A Memoir was used as a prop. #fullcircle)
Actor Bay Bryan and a callback to the burning sensation lube. Image via Lauren Maul
As I sat in the audience waiting for the show to start, the stage lights came up and out onto the stage waltzed a ginger fairy king in the tallest stiletto heels I have ever seen. He had sass, he had swagger, and he simply oozed Miss Hater. If Bay hadn’t filled in for the regular gal last minute we wouldn’t have met each other in time and he would not have played “Miss Haterade,” the musical version of my beloved Miss Hater. Magic!
The cast doing their song and dance. Image via Lauren Maul
We filmed this episode on day one of filming, mainly in Prospect Park (a great place to make films AND trip on mushrooms) and at some Brooklyn bus stops. At one bus stop an older lady stood glaring at us and scolding us under her breath…until we played the music from our little boombox and the performers began to dance and sing. She started smiling and laughed out loud, and then let her face settle into what I call the “happy baby face,” which is an open mouth smile with wide glassy eyes. My goal in life is to conjure as many “happy baby faces” as I can, and I hope this video—as well as the old man tech problems and burning lube vids—makes you have one, too.
Bay Bryan and so much Jason Priestley. Image via Jason White
PS: I still have all the Jason Priestley pics up on the wall despite my husband asking me to take them down every few days. JASON 4EVER!
Up next is a tale of a stay-at-home mother raging against her daughter’s tiny piano. Until then, Happy New Year!