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 know what your refined palates are craving: more fucking items about Queer Eye for the Straight Guy! You haven't heard about the show in at least two gay minutes, and it's making your new-potato casserole turn sour and your facial primer burn your skin off. Your Manolos are suddenly too tight and your sash doesn't go with your potpourri, and you're in a gay-friendly panic that screams for some shelving and aioli oil! Well, relax, kids. I had an actual in-your-gay-face encounter with the guys, who are either tasteful minstrels or daring trailblazers, but are definitely fun at a party.
See, Out magazine (which I write for) had a Copacabana bash for its "Out 100" list of super-successful gays, and the Queeries were the well-appointed co-hosts, full of vim and raspberry red wine vinegar. The other host was Charles Busch, who was thrilled to have just won the case accusing him of plagiarizing a playwright's work for Die Mommie Die! For his defense, Busch said, "I did a 30-page report, citing Chekhov and Aeschylus. The lawyer was very impressed with my clarity of vision. I thought, 'Wow, I was such a failure at school!' "
Fabulashbut those were pretty big names to digest when my aftershave was clashing with my knee socks, so I sought out the Queer Eye honey pies and asked them to give at the orifice. Like, how's culture-gay Jai Rodriguez's love life these days? "It's bull!" he said. "I can't get a date. I meet people who are too concerned with the show. I don't want to talk about work all the time! I'm looking for a really tall, in-shape . . . " Bottom? Uncomfortable pause. "Bottom!" Jai agreed. "Watch out for Puerto Rican or Italian boys who are skinny and tall." Point taken.
Not on the marketeven at Gristede'sthe food guy, Ted Allen, told me, "I've had a boyfriend for 10 years. I'm deeply in love and in financial entanglement with my man." How darling, darling! But are you a top or bottom, my dear cuisine queen? "What do you mean or?" Allen said with versatility, then cracked, "That's usually an Us Weekly question." So anyway, a bottom? "Most people are!" he shrieked.
Finally, to be as consistent as a really good flan, I asked the show's design dude, Thom Filicia, about his sexual résumé. "It's almost nonexistent," he admitted, as I rejoiced that I didn't get on the show, "but we're working so hard." Awww. Top or . . . ? No, wait a gay minute. I suddenly noticed that at the coat check, they were giving out gift bags full of beautifying products, so I grabbed one, ran home, and did my own freakin' makeover. And now? I'm pretty, mamaa pretty desperate top.
Moving on to sugarplum fairies, my hip tip of the month is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the usual lavish mix of flashy production numbers and solemn religiosity, and a comforting constant in my life, though the show's been moderately updated so Santa gets e-mails and Mrs. Santa has a cell phone!
I'm sort of an Old-yorican, but I updated my social life at the Nuyorican Poets Café's Town Hall benefit, where honoree Rosie Perez told me she recently braved a 50 Cent-hosted party. Rosie said George C. Wolfe convinced her that since 50 now has a shoe line, he must have gone from gangsta to ghetto fabulous, but when she got to the bash, it wasn't safe at all. "I got fucking pinched way too much!" she shrieked.
I pinched every bitch imaginable at the dog-laden street fair celebrating gossip guru Cindy Adams's doggie boutique at Saks Fifth Avenue, which was highlighted by Cindy blurting to Robin Byrd, "I didn't recognize you with clothes on!" But I now fully recognize the need for a gossip break inspired by Chekhov and Hedda Hopper, so let's get on with it: Thanks to various ego fights, scene-queen trannies Amanda Lepore and Sophia Lamar are no longer a team, and one of them is crowing that if anyone missed the Time Out article naming the other gal one of the scariest people in New York, she has copies . . . But there's a new gay duo on the scene: I hear Rufus Wainwright was just approached by Armistead Maupin to musicalize Tales of the City. Maybe it can be done in all madrigals.
In another queer career happening, I ran into Topher Goodman, the gay waiter from The Restaurant, at a VH1 taping, and he gushed that he was anxious to meet execs in the building and get an on-camera job. Or perhaps Bravo can expand to the fab six or at least hire him as a waiter? . . . I hear DJ Jonathan Peters is also calling around for work after storming out of Sound Factory when they started dropping Junior Vasquez's name too much. But back to realityor at least reality showsyou know that nerdy accountant Dennis on NBC's Average Joe? Me neither. But Dataloungers found out he's actually an actor who plays geeks. Something smells skank here . . . Playing a freak, Camilla Parker Bowles has her tampons in a twist over those supposedly indecent Prince Charles rumors. So the vixen who slutted around with the world's most famous married man (and she was married, too) is suddenly on a high moral ground? This is almost as wacky as the Hiltons' outrage over the exploitation of their daughter, who jockeys for camera position when unflinchingly taking on a horse-hung sex fiend! (By the way, she's so into doggie-style that she should immediately go to Saks.)
To avoid getting totally screwed, I left Fame on 42nd Street midway, after lines like "Don't you know drugs are bad? And I don't mean good bad, I mean bad bad." (The show should know; it's bad bad.) A better idea: Let's get all of this theater season's casualtiesJenna Elfman, Jasmine Guy, Farrah Fawcetttogether in a big, one-night-only show called What's My Line?
In lieu of that, the Taboo opening night was so major that a pop star jumped out of his limo near the theater and bowed as the gathering throng cheered. Alas, it wasn't Boy George, it was 50 Cent (who didn't pinch me). But though Taboo itself occasionally teeters on bad bad, I increasingly gave in to its Rocky Horror meets American Idol via Lifetime TV movie ass. Yes, the "Give me a freak" opening number is too Annie meets Oliver! and the explanations of nightlife ("Clubs need cool people . . . ") are as icky as the narrations ("Get out of my story! Now back to George"). Plus the two main plotlines barely intersect; Peter AllenI mean Georgekeeping his gayness cloaked, as Peter AllenI mean Leigh Bowerydevelops AIDS. While the performance artist dies, his wife (no, not Liza) belts a Cristy Lane-type anthem that seriously goes, "Silence equals death, that is what they say."
But when George (as Bowery) croons a vaudeville-style hymn to sex in bathrooms, it's pure dirty fun, and so is the guy playing George (the haunting Euan Morton) singing "Karma Chameleon" as the real George snarls, "What a dreadful song!" The whole mess is such a gay celebration of freaks, it's a versatile top, and once Peter AllenI mean George and Bowerydrive away the people who love them, I submitted to the tidy wrap-ups and lessons learned, club culture colliding with Broadway to make a fascinating hybrid meant only for me.
Afterward, the real Philip Sallon told me, "Act II is better than Act I because you care about the people." Well, is the ex-club impresario really like his stage characterization? "Oh, really!" he huffed. "My whole life's a show? PleaseI'm normal!" He was wearing head-to-toe plastic trash bags. I adore my life.