NY Mirror

As for old screen legends, author VICTORIA WILSON has been working on a bio of the late, great Barbara Stanwyck for eight years now. Well, one insider claims the long haul is partly because no woman has yet come forward to say, "Yep, I slept with the old broad." Maybe that's because there is no such woman? After all, butch doesn't always equal dyke (though Stanwyck used to spend the night at neighbor Joan Crawford's house whenever she and her hubby had a fight. And ARNOLD SCAASI says that when naked, Crawford looked remarkably like a man. Please, she even looked like a man when gowned. Maybe she went to David Barton. But I digress. Throw dirt on me—now.)

No, wait, here it is: It turns out that datalounge.com, my favorite saucy gay gossip site, has gotten in even more steamy water through the years than my own outspoken ass. At an Out Professionals event at the LGBT Center, the site's creators told me they got a lovely call not long ago from the Secret Service (who followed up with a subpoena) when LYNNE CHENEY felt there'd been something potentially life-threatening posted about her beloved lesbian daughter MARY. (That must be why they kept Mary from the stage of the convention.) But gaffes sometimes lead to laughs, like when the dataloungers heard from '70s TV star ERIK ESTRADA's wife after one of their ranks wrongly wrote, "Erik Estrada outed in the Philippines." It was actually President JOSEPH ESTRADAwho was ousted in the Philippines. At least they didn't write "Richard Nixon is a lesbian" when they meant CYNTHIA!


Litter Box

DE BIG DEBATE

Last week's debate was part game show, part verbal slam, and all ironic fashion presentation. (KERRY wore a red tie; BUSH a blue one.) Kerry did well with the two-minute limit—in fact, he should always have one—while Bush couldn't always manage to fill that much time with his thoughts. Furthermore, Kerry was decent and/or crafty enough to start with sympathetic remarks about Florida's woes, while Bush couldn't help adding his usual inspirational touch with talk of our "prayers." Kerry scored with terms like "colossal error of judgment," while Bush triumphed with "never waver," though he should never simper in cutaway shots. Kerry dropped the names of too many of his who-cares endorsers, whereas Bush rattled off way too many questionable statistics.

But Kerry dripped with authority, especially when he invoked Bush Sr.'s own prophetic words to discredit the Iraq mess. Bush Jr. did well with "What kind of message does it say to our troops?" but what kind of message is he giving the troops by sending them to risk their lives in an unjustified war? His best stab was accusing Kerry of changing positions, but isn't that what we want him to do? It all ended with the wives gabbing onstage, obviously about how they wore the same outfit. Without flip-flops!


Web Extra

The vice presidential debate really came alive during the gay marriage segment, when all the conflicting agendas on parade came to a homo-disquieting head. Both candidates seemed to push their usual let-freedom-ring-but-not-necessarily-for-gays agenda, couching it in talk about how approving gay marriage should be up to the states, while making sure to add—in the words of EDWARDS—"We both believe that marriage is between a man and a woman." But the twangy Democrat twink generously added there should be benefits for gay couples—namely that they should be able to visit their lovers in hospitals or be able to bury them when they drop! (Yes, I know those are serious concerns, but there must be more to marital rights than that.)

More mixed messages came when Edwards gushed about the CHENEYS, "You can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing." It was such a sweet sentiment—though it made it sound as if MARY were some disfigured circus freak that the Cheneys were so brave to acknowledge, even if just under pressure, and intermittently.

At least Edwards rocked when he talked about how the proposed constitutional amendment against gay marriage is unnecessary and is being hideously used as a political dividing tool. That shut Cheney right the fuck up. He had no answer. He suddenly couldn't rationalize all his conflicting feelings and statements. Painted into a corner, he simply thanked Edwards for the kind words about his family and just sat there dumbfounded. As I hope he'll stay through eternity.

PS: Afterward, Mary and her lover, HEATHER POE, were allowed onstage, as if they were actually human. Gee, thanks, Dick. Mighty brave.


musto@villagevoice.com

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