By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I got a pierced earful over at Buckingham, the Thursday-night bash at Plaid, where co-promoter Kenny Kenny told me he was plowed by a hot stud in a playground in Cuba and the kids didn't mind at all (nor did Kenny); Michael Cavadias (a/k/a Lily of the Valley) revealed that he had just auditioned for the drag role of Marilyn in the Boy George musical Taboo and came within "boo" of it; and another co-promoter, Erich Conrad, said he'd just been running around telling the powers that be to throw Bobby Trendy out, simply because he's more annoying than dirt. He didn't succeed, but ah, what sick, malicious fun it was trying!
The same night, scene diva Amanda Lepore was only throwing out hints that she has a new trannie trance single. She's the featured artist on Gomi's "Deeper," whispering over a dance beat, "Global warming really is disturbing/And I pray every single night for peace/But even though I find these things disturbing/Tonight what I really need is a piece of meat." If that message isn't fragrant enough for you, Amanda's also coming out with two celebrity scentsHappy Hooker and LeMore. They're for the everyday gal who just changed into something more comfortablelike a female body.
Even the toilet paper is scented over at Fez, where P.J. Mehaffeythe zany, gay one from The It Factorstars as Teen Tawny in Wipe & Go!, a cabaret-style acting experiment in which he's backed by one male dancer ("Blade") and hanging rolls of paper towels. Tawny is a Southeastern regional pop star who plays county fairs, performing '80s aberrations of pop like "Walking on Sunshine" with spins, kicks, and lots of "razz-matazz." A glitzy, delusional gender blender, our little star makes it so big that success leads to a line of Tawny paper products, with sparkles woven into every fold. I can hear all those agents from The It Factor snarling, "Where do you expect to go with this, P.J.?" As Tawny would reply, "I want to be as young, useful, and full of sparkles as a roll of Tawny!"
By the way, at the show, producer Jordan Roth unspooled the fact that he and his mother, Daryl Roth, are backing a stage musical version of The Mambo Kings, "and if Antonio wants to do it, we're here." Honey, if Antonio wants to do it, I'm here.
But in the meantime, oh, where I've been! The HX Awards (presented by the gay-bar magazine) at SBNY gave us a long, Aqua Netted night honoring drag queens, DJs, promoters, and the bartenders who ritualistically ruin all their lives. Performer Jackie Hoffman, accepting an honor for Hairspray,begged the crowd to come see the show again. "It was so great when it was all you," she moaned. "Now it's Christian people with children, and it's my worst fucking nightmare!" Other winners ranged from the deeply grateful (Jonny McGovern) to the extremely absent (Matt, the go-go boy from the Rambles) to the movie Chicago, which can now safely be called "an Oscar and HX winner."
Afterward, John Blair, who copped a plaque for co-owning xl, told me he'll reopen Limelight one mo' time in September, and this time it'll be called Avalon. Looks-wise, it'll be all newagainofficially making it the Susan Lucci of nightclubs. The club's last redesign is being updated because, as Blair's partner Jay Janis told me, "Some things broke, fortunately not when people were there. Pipes froze! And we have to fix the look of the club for straights, who didn't like it. Gay guys like to stand, but straights like little tables." Well, I like to stand on little straights.
(Sidebar: If I can take this discussion back to Plaid, the couches in the main room are gorgeous, but a lot of people find the overabundance of them a little obstructive and the net effect like an airport waiting lounge. And yes, I do mostly mean gay people. The club's live music and danceable rock/neo-punk, however, are admirably future-facing.)
While we were upright, I met Entertainment Weekly's "It Stand-Up," Todd Barry, at the mag's "It List" party at the Roxy, where tons of "shit list" had to wait on line for hours. Barry told me the honor is unbelievably exciting, "but a photographer just took my picture, then said, 'What's your name?' " I'm sure EW will rush to dub it the "It Humbling Experience." But the puppet-wielding folks from the Avenue Qmusical hadn't felt any downside to having been named "It Inanimates." (They must have beaten Jesse Helms.) "We had our first rehearsal today in the new theater," co-star John Tartaglia said. "The show is 95 percent the samethere'll just be some minor tweaks and the set will be a little more Broadway-fied." They've probably added some little tables.
I stood and cheered when the Chelsea Art Museum (which only sounds like a contradiction) housed an event for Live Out Loud, which gives scholarships to queer kids who snap their way to triumph. One of the event's performers, Lea DeLaria, told me about her repertoire, "I range from Broadway to alternative rock. Halfway through a song, you'll go, 'Oh my God, that's Jane's Addiction!' " (No I won't; I never talk during concerts.) The other entertainer was angry Staceyann Chin from Def Poetry Jam, which just won a Tony (if not an HX). The award's impact? "I suspect it'll give me more chance to voice the things I've been saying and be an out person in a lot of straight faces," she said with piercing eyes. In the meantime, does Chinwho waxes poetic about various exotic tastesprefer the flavor of mango or lesbian? "It depends on the day you ask me that," she said. "It depends on the mango. It depends on the lesbian. You don't want me to run with that." I did, actually, but by then she had run from it.
I tasted delicious trash at Star Gossipthe Thursday open-mic celebrity dish event thrown by Gregg Guinta, a/k/a Vinny Dazzle, at the dirt-friendly Remote lounge. "It's a guido bar," says Guinta, "but I can gay-ify it. I come from guido stock myself and gay-ified pretty well." He's been completely gossip-fied too. At the bash, Guinta showed a naked picture of a horse-hung reality host taken by a male prostie whom the star had dress in drag. (For some, this was a little too real.) Another gossip peddler told an interesting tale about Christina Aguilera's misguided attempt to seduce Enrique Iglesias, and Mike Albo chimed in to insist that Demi Moore hasn't had any surgery: "The only youth injection she's been getting is from her young boyfriend."
In more serious outlets, what was the big Gay Pride topic this year? Bug chasing! (The alleged trend of nutty guys actively seeking "the gift" of AIDS.) Doesn't that fill you with pride for both our community and the media? And can't you just wait till next Puerto Rican Day, when I'm sure the main topic for discussion will be the wonders of wilding! (Update: The miraculously sensible Supreme Court decision about consensual gay sex just eclipsed all that. The Supes are getting so edgy, they'll probably even approve bug chasing next time.)
But the most shocking revelation of the week was that Renée Zellweger's diet to gain weight for Bridget Jones 2 is the same one I use to lose weight. At least my apartment looks streamlined without all those little tables. Good tip, Bobby Trendy.