By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
At the premiere dinner for Six Days, Seven Nights--whose problems are completely unrelated to Anne Heche's sex life--Heche generously thanked me for defending her and Ellen DeGeneres from the endless media attempts to break them up. Floating on air, I returned to my table, where a guy murmured, "Did you hear that Anne and Ellen broke up?" Heeelp!
There were at least six gays and seven knights in the gay film fest's presentation Sons of Hercules (by William Comstock and John Kirk), and they only broke us up laughing. The evening brought out the giggles behind the nipples in all those cheesily appealing muscle movies, with a procession of dubbed heroes stroking biceps (sometimes even their own) as cheapo temples crumbled before their festively braceleted ankles. The guest of honor was former Mr. Universe and Mr. Jayne Mansfield Mickey Hargitay--now in real estate--who was utterly delightful, especially when an audience member asked whether he had ever slept with his early employer Mae West. "I'm gonna let Ken Starr handle that!" Hargitay responded. Alas, some self-appointed prosecutor in the crowd then insisted on bringing up Mansfield's car wreck, and the muscle man started crying, a massivetempest dissolving before our very eyes.
Even more shocking, it was I who dragged things back on track, asking about the not quite as tragic 1980 TV movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Loni Anderson as Mickey and Jayne--the most mammary-laden classic since Victor Mature out-titted Hedy Lamarr. "I wanted 260 changes in the script," revealed Hargitay, "but my agent said, 'Just take the money and run.'" From Loni's performance? "She was JFO.," said Hargitay. What--jet flying overhead? No, "just fair only. I think she mimicked too much." And talked too much. According to Hargitay's wife Ellen, Loni told Hargitay's and Jayne's daughter Mariska, "I'll never turn out like your mother." Yeah--Jayne's legendary.
The subtext was a little less sub and the jugs a little more jugular at the Tonys, which were terrific, the opening four-divas number an especially fab piece of drag-queen heaven (I'm still gasping from Jennifer Holliday's seven-syllable pronunciation of you). Backstage, Ragtime's Audra McDonald revealed what was on her mind when she won her third Tony: "Holy shit!" Anthony LaPaglia said he'd just gotten eight stitches on his nose because Allison Janney bit him in a stage fight--holy fucking shit! And Sean Connery--who'd been cut off on the telecast--finally got in a sound bite when The Lion King won Best Musical. I heard the bloke mutter, "Oh, good! We've all got shares in Disney!"
At the after-ball, I was still in shock that the baboon had lost, but was cheered by the fact that I was seated, naturally, at the Freak table. Someone was feeding John Leguizamo that old "It's an honor to be nominated" shtick, but John wasn't buying it. "Fuck honor!"; he said. "I want the award!" Well, "life sucks," as John had said on the program while making a distinct cock-sucking gesture. Oh, how did he get that past the feckin'; CBS censors, anyway? "I lied to them," he told me, grinning.
Secrets-and-lies queen Rosie O'Donnell was sassy and smashing as the Tony host, but if her talk show has lost any bloom, it's probably because at times even Jerry Springer seems less staged. Rosie, while still fitfully funny, has reinvented herself for daytime as a cuddly, middlebrow single mom who banters with her sexless musical director about all those things single people care about. She's a neuter (except for all that Tom Cruise crap) who values privacy (except for the endless talk about her kids)--and no, I wasn't going to bring this stuff up again, except that, as LGNY reported, openly lesbian comic and ex-Rosie writer Kate Clinton was just on the show, and the sexuality that infuses her life and work didn't come up once (Clinton's people never called me back for comment). This is like booking that other Clinton and refusing to mention Gennifer, Paula, or Monica (who's wearing too much lipstick in Vanity Fair, by the way--it'll only get mussed). So guests on Rosie can't be out either?
Back on the superhero circuit, Christopher Reeve's book Still Me freely addresses his roles in Fifth of July and Deathtrap, but somehow neglects to mention that both were gay. So characters can't be out either?
A real character, Michael Alig is in--jail, that is--but he's reaching out. Last week, I participated in about 80 screenings, panels, and parties for Cinemax's Alig documentary Party Monster (which I'm in) and got to reflect again on my history with the club kid turned killer. I met Alig when I judged an '86 club talent contest and he ground his butt into my crotch, offering sex in exchange for a vote. He lost. After that, I was both captivated and repelled, as I judged his hilarious Filthy Mouth contests; reveled in his flamboyant fringe fest at McDonald's; chastised him for blowing a fit over a $5 AIDS benefit admission charge; saw him rip open the seams of people's pants or point at someone's zit and scream "AIDS!"; and did Geraldo with him and his adoring mother, who spoke well of Ecstasy.