By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Of the new batch of coming-out-is-torture- but-worth-it flicks, Edge of Seventeen is the most detailed and charming, especially the rimming scene, but I wish someone would make a movie in which a young guy simply comes to New York, bursts out of the closet, and has an unmitigated blastwhich is pretty much the way it happened for everyone I know. Still, Edge is simply lovable, though the premiere party at Starlight was uncomfortably crowded enough to make me come outinto the street. There I caught the arriving Lea DeLaria, who plays the closet buster's mentor, and was high off a smash appearance at a benefit a few nights ago. "I fucking brought the house down," the dynamo boasted, cutely. "Everybody knows it. I was like Elvis!" (I always thought he was a lesbian.)
The triumph clearly helped ease the pain of Lea's Tony nomination snub for On the Townthough she insists she's not bitter and still feels incredibly enchanted. Does she think homophobia was involved in the omission? "Yes!" she said. "I don't like to say it out loud, but I can't think of any other reason. It's show business, not show playit's a business, and some people in the business think maybe I don't project the image of a proper diva. But if your worst problem is not getting the Tony nomination you should have gotten, you're probably living a really charmed life." And besides, she'll have another shot when George C. Wolfe brings her acclaimed cabaret show to Broadway next year, as Lea told me he will.
Far from the edge of 17th Streetif we can continue on the townMaxim's is bracing for a turnaround, and ya mo be there. I just came out again to visit the once passé uptown bistro and found jaw-droppingly fancy food for your money (or in my case, your comp) and pleasingly baroque decorand chocolate trufflesfor dessert. There's even a Friday night swingles party upstairs, which is so well lit that, unlike at all those gay pickup places, you can actually see what the fuck you're getting.
On Sunday, I went to a gay pickup placeDrama at Limelightfor promoterHX honcho Marc Berkley's birthday, and though it was darkish, I managed to plainly see the dozens of Rudy's police-state signs that blared, "It is against the law to use or distribute illegal drugs..." Gee, that made for a really festive atmosphere. Most clubbies preferred the old signs, which I'm pretty sure said, "Get your red-hot drugs here!"
Stone-cold sober, Willi Ninja, Hector Xtravaganza,and I judged Emanuel Xavier's House of Xavier ball at Escuelita, rating contestants by holding up pictures of a bomb (for "they're the bomb") or a gas mask (i.e., they stink). The event was unwieldy, unruly, and totally the bomb. Even the fights were kind of fun, like house drag Karen Covergirl getting in a screaming match with a contestant she dissed, and some idiot being escorted out after throwing a judging card at a failed entrant. Bravely enough, the same human target came back to vogue, Xena-like, with a swordand some of the pre-op trannies were actually happy about that. All night, verbal daggers were thrown by the hilarious MCs, who yelled epithets like, "This category is about your face, not your booty. Now ride your broomstick out of here, baby gorilla." Best of all was the Dramatic Cunt Performance category, which was won paws-down by a large, surly diva named Kool-Aid, who flogged her rival with her human-hair wig, only to be doused in Evian and get the trophy. Kool-Aid is the scariest, most fabulous creature I've seen since Leona Helmsley. Long may she flog.
Whereas that little lady shimmies like a Jell-O mold, the stars at Jackie 60's Night of a Thousand Steviesas in Nickswere more interested in compulsive twirling and spinning like a Rotato (that device that rotates your potato so you can...oh, I don't know). The bigger-than-ever Nicks athon trotted out its annual procession of preciously witchy white-winged visionsthe kind that make you think, in the words of her highness Stevie, "Stand back! Stand back!" There were no less than four sets of performers, making you realize that there are way more closet Stevie Nicks impersonators in this town than Rudy's police force must know about. Among the divas, Chi Chi Valenti admitted she's a genetic woman (rare for a Stevie impressionist); the ever-reliable Sharon Peters got the hair and dark-spirited moxie just right; and Nicole Nicks caught belladonna's manic edge. Best of all was Nickie Six,a drag queen who drives in every year from Des Moines to twirl and spin her tuchis off. She's the bomb.
I stopped dragging my heart around and spun right over to the Star Wars screeningthink Starship Troopers crossed with Antzwhich turned into Star Jones wars when I heard The View's diva intoning that she couldn't fully see the screen from the back and informing the publicist, "I told them I wouldn't come if it wasn't a reserved seat." She was moved to a better location. Well, you know, she is a lawyer.