NY Mirror

The inevitable first question for BUCK ANGEL, the female-to-male transsexual porn star who's billed as "a real man with a real cunt"—is, "Is it true, dear?" "Yes," Buck told me matter-of-factly last week. "That's my claim to fame. Look it up." I already had, naturally—I was merely seeking cunty confirmation. But I didn't quite understand how much of a real man Buck could be, considering that his crotch taco has not only survived, it's thrived beyond all expectation. Buck explained all that, saying he's gone the male-hormones-and- chest-reduction route, but he's held on to his vagina "because I didn't think that particular procedure was going to work for me. It's not as advanced as male-to-female surgery. And I don't need a piece of meat between my legs that doesn't work." "Like mine?" I smirked. "Let's just keep that silent," Buck said, laughing.

The tattoo-sporting, cigar-chomping stud-with-a-gash makes no secret of the fact that, growing up the ultimate tomboy, he was the proverbial straight guy trapped in a butch woman's body. He ended up dating the ladies, "but it was more as a man, though in female form. I never related to the lesbian community." I guess he was closer to a JODIE FOSTER/JANET RENO type than a PORTIA DE ROSSI or ELTON JOHN.

Actually, he was most like a Brandon Teena, but minus the trickery and the tragedy. After transitioning, Buck became a one-of-a-cunt porn icon, not only making movies with gay men (among others), but making them largely for gay men. You heard me—no, really, kids. Throngs of normally "fish"-hating queers not only refrain from throwing battery acid at this vagina, they actually get aroused by it. Did someone slip them some Cooze-Aid? "Gay men are totally pussyphobic," Buck admitted, "but I'm opening doors to them. Finding me hot doesn't make them not gay because as you can see I'm totally a man—I just happen to have a vagina. A lot of guys want to fuck a pussy; they're just not attracted to a woman. And here comes Buck Angel! Two holes are better than one!" (So true, so true. Hand me the power drill.)

Hetero males, it turns out, are far less willing to give at the orifice, at least in this kooky case. "I'm generally very threatening to straight men," said Buck, not worried. "In my work I'm saying you don't need a penis to be a man. What does that say about them? Straight men are all about their cocks!" Which in far too many cases means they're all about two to four lifeless inches of failed menace.

A couple of open-minded straighties do get off on Buck's freak appeal, but the star has resisted attempts to market himself as an oddity, preferring to be sold as a hot, sexy guy with a serious following (and who never fakes orgasms, by the way). "I'm shaking people up," he told me, excitedly, "saying the world isn't black and white. People want everybody to be in a box and be this or that. I'm not this or that." But of course he has a box—and though I may not necessarily want to fuck it, I definitely want to watch it. But let's just keep that silent.


LEATHER FORECAST
Buck showed up for support when a bunch of dead-cow-wearing queens, tired of the diminishing leather/kink scene in New York, staged a "leather invasion" at MOMA to make a public statement against hiding one's hides. (The informal new group targeted the museum because it's so public and leather gays are collectible art pieces, after all.) I can certainly understand their pain over the current lack of more ritualized pain, but I have a theory as to why new generations may not be picking up on leather/fetish any more than they're doing so with James Dean. It's not only because of the Internet and the sanitization of the New York nocturnal landscape, it's because now that homosex isn't nearly as taboo as before, the gays don't need to use as many visual signifiers to find each other, don't feel as driven to dive into macho types, and don't tend to develop as many kinks around the sex act. Yes, there will always be fetishes, thank God—and Buck Angel is showing how wide the palette can get—but the more acceptable gay love becomes, I can bet you, the fewer whips, chains, tubs, and harnesses you'll find en route to City Hall. Now go ahead and whip me for that. (The event's organizers, by the way, feel the leather dudes are out there, they just need to be better mobilized. Fine—whip them.)

There was no hardcore s&m at the Writers Guild of America awards at the Waldorf, but it was a tad kinky when the sultan of bad taste JOHN WATERS stepped up to the podium to present the plaque for children's television. "It was between me and LARRY FLYNT," the director deadpanned. When the guffaws subsided, Waters lifted his eyebrow even higher to the ceiling and stated, "Choosing me to present this almost offends me. I mean, I like children and they like me, but I know I look like a child molester. It's awkward sometimes." Still, he presented the thing and even revealed why children's TV is important—"It gives kids something to do besides watch porn on their computers, because apparently that's not healthy." Well, I think kids should watch Waters's Pink Flamingos on their computers; it's an official American classic now that AMC's Movies That Shook the World series honored it with a very rich half-hour of the gayest TV since The Paul Lynde Halloween Special.

At producer SCOTT SIEGEL's Nightlife Awards at Town Hall, I expected trophies to be handed out to the creepiest chicken hawk, most available bartender, and club toilet seat that makes the coolest coke rim. But no, they honored sophisticated cabaret duos, slick stand-up comics, and woozy chantoozies. Oh, thatkind of nightlife. Anyway, it was all very elevated, and whatever kind of nightlife it was, thankfully the winners were made to perform rather than give dreary acceptance speeches, none of them getting around that by scat-singing lists of agents and divorce lawyers. Among the performance highlights were funnyman JASON GRAE having a musical breakdown over being dropped as the voice of the Lucky Charms leprechaun and ELAINE STRITCH—you guessed it—giving a speech.

The Grammys, where you're even allowed to cry, pitted the sociologically important rapper against the high-pitched comeback vamp, both of whom stayed glassy-eyed on the sidelines as U2 copped the top thingie. (I guess BONO is considered cutting-edge compared to fellow nominee PAUL MCCARTNEY.) From bony-legged MADONNA smiling with relief at the end of her ABBA-meets-krumping number to KEITH URBAN looking prettier than his date, NICOLE KIDMAN, it was a multigenerational freak show par excellence, one so heavy on the history lessons that CHRISTINA AGUILERA was made to drag herself out of the mud pit and sing jazz. But most memorable of all was DAVE CHAPPELLE introducing another nutjob, SLY STONE, who looked like an electrified chicken as he wisely exited the stage well before his all-star mishmosh medley was over.


SEVENTH AVENUE SOUSED
Having lost all the major trophies, I went to a fashion show and, surveying the victimy, chattering crowd, realized I'm retarded in a much different way than they are. My dimness has some perspective to it. I can joke about my shortcomings and even wear them on my sleeve, which is not at all overpriced. But then I went to another show—the Heatherette one, where I actually tend to belong. These people are my kind of retarded. I'm one of them. At least I used to be. This time, the third most washed up (if still cutest) member of what was once *NSYNC was sitting in my pre-arranged front-row seat and wasn't about to budge, perhaps having read my column items all these years. The flacks—who may have created this situation, for all I know—were halfheartedly (and vainly) trying to find me an alternative placement as the ex-boybander threw me a "Sorry, this seat is all I have left in the world" look. I took it as a godsend to go straight to the after-party at Happy Valley, which was such a fun-filled voyage to outer space that Buck Angel was the only normal one there.

And now I'm off to make some private time with the Vanity Fair cover shot of TOM FORD nuzzling with naked starlets, which has all the sizzling sexuality of ISAAC MIZRAHI grabbing SCARLETT JOHANSSON's boobs. (God, she's getting a lot of action lately.) I should know. I'm totally a man— I just happen to have a vagina.


WEB EXCLUSIVE
Stop everything. Sadly enough, I just heard that Hairspray's Tony winning score collaborators and longtime boyfriends MARC SHAIMAN and SCOTT WITTMAN are splitsville as a couple. But they're still working together on the musical of Catch Me if You Can. You can't stop the beat!


musto@villagevoice.com

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