By Albert Samaha
By Darwin BondGraham
By Keegan Hamilton
By Anna Merlan
By Anna Merlan
By Tessa Stuart
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
In my quest for Fire Island fulfillment, I've stopped favoring the honky-tonky Cherry Grove over the more nose-job-upturned Pines. It turns out the Grovewhile it refreshingly welcomes the fatties, dykes, and survivorsteems with people who'll either hug you to death on drugs or wave you over to give you a left-handed compliment that'll leave you chowing down on a shotgun. What's more, the last song a lot of these people ever heard was "I Will Survive," and not even the '90s remix. Over in the Pines, people actually seem more upbeat and future facing, and the drag queens are way better put together. But I'm generalizingwhich is very Manhattan.
Back home, with "whore" stamped on my wrist from having been to Boysroom, I made the annual trek to Marie's Crisis, the West Village piano bar where Broadway-philes group-sing to Chicago, A Chorus Line, and "Popular." (Yeah, that's one of the few recent tunes in the repertoire, but at least they don't do "I Will Survive.") The night I went, everyone in the place was drowned out by a talented guy with a booming tenor that could shatter melon ball glasses. Surely he's been on Broadway, I assumed. "No," he told me, all deadpan. "I work for the health department and I'm just relieving the stress."
Conversely, my elfin doll-face pal ELIJAH WOOD went rather mute as I stood outside his last premiere, my stress as painfully unrelieved as my low-grade gastritis. I'd been promised time with Elijah by a publicist for the event, only to have his personal flack seem to dodge me like an errant maxi pad at every turn. Am I not "Popular"? Could it be because last time around, I lightheartedly asked Elijah if he keeps up with various Internet rumors? Can I now go back to my people?
IVANA KNOW WHAT LOVE IS
IVANA TRUMP is the kind of freewheeling fun-meister I like to hitch my party wagon onto. At something called the "Voice of the Streets" Brazil benefit at Churrascaria Plataforma, serious people discussed the fate of the favelas while Ivana and I focused on an even more populous region. "Is AMANDA LEPORE a man or a woman?" the glam divorcée asked me, having just observed the transsexual diva up close. "Well, she chopped it off," I exclaimed pertly as a couple of people gathered 'round. "So is she a man or a woman?" repeated Ivana, pupils widening. "Absolutely a woman!" I shrieked, by now practically drawing a crowd. "But have you seen it?" asked Ivana, mischievously, as an undercover tabloid reporter craned his noggin. "NoI mean yes!" I boomed to the whole room. "Everyone has! She's always naked at parties! Sure, it could be a manginathough she'd still be a womanbut she says she cut it off and she's never lied before." "She says she cut it off?" said Ivana, grinning. "So is she a woman?" This went on for five or so more minutes and Ivana never seemed completely convinced, but there's no confusion as to what's between herlegs. In fact, at Heathrow recently, a security person checked her over, then asked, "Can I pull your zipper?" "No," laughed Ivana. "I have no underwear on!" Ever a good citizen, she allowed the inspection anyway.
Another accessible blonde with a vagina, '50s starlet MAMIE VAN DOREN, was the guest of honor at the Mao Mag launch party for fashion week at Glo, and she fit right in with the zanies and fashion students. I approached the fabulous vampwho's a womanto ask what's up in her career, praying for something wildly original. "I'm doing a pilot for a reality show," she predictably exclaimed, as hearts sank all through the room and across America.
Then came the original Tsunami Sue, model PETRA NEMCOVA, whose real-life reality show had her famously clinging to a Thai tree with the kind of tenacity most people I know use to clutch onto a gift bag. She was co-hosting the opening of JAMISON ERNEST's Yellow Fever store on Stanton Street, where I was crass enough to smirk and point out the big tree outside. Did it give her weird feelings? "No!" Nemcova (whom I call Petra von Can) told me, beaming. "I love trees! One saved my life!" A balanced Czech like Ivana, she said her tsunami experience ended up dramatically changing her values, but fortunately those still include going to kooky parties like this. "It's about enjoying every moment, because the next moment it could be gone," she said wisely as I dug so hard into the gift bag my fingers bled.
ALL GOD'S CHILLUN DON'T GOT WINGS
If I can continue to reduce tragedies to my level, our own weather disaster, Katrina, apparently had something to do with a Wigstock no-show. CHUCK KNIPP was booked to be flown in from Mississippi by the drag fest to perform as Betty Butterfield, his white church lady character, but Knipp didn't make it and Wigstock empress LADY BUNNYsays she never got any cancellation notice. Of course Bunny knew Katrina and the waves were about to hit Mississippi, but she later found out Knipp had told someone he actually didn't come because "I couldn't think of anything to do there that wouldn't bomb." Knipp (who also does the controversial blackface character Shirley Q. Liquor) responded to me that he thinks Betty would have been a hit, it's just that when he was about to fly to New York, they told him the returning flights had been canceled, for obvious reasons, so Knipp stayed put. His house and belongings are now tragically gone, but he's happy to be alive. I'm sure Bunny would have been more thrilled about that if she'd gotten a cancellation.