By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
The lips were plumper than beefsteak tomatoes at the Imperial Court of New York's annual gala at the Marriott Marquisa benefit for God's Love We Deliver, which served the usual head-spinning procession of big "gals" in masochistic heels and chandelier-scraping headdresses. New empress GEFIL TEFISH added a crown to her ensemble, turning her coronation into a Midsummer Night's Dreamthemed spectacle, complete with almost redundant fairy lights scattered through the crowd. You turned gay just watching it. (Well, you did. I already was.)
Bedecked in fairy lights, I went to a special screening of the amiable trifle Kinky Boots, the real story of a drag queen who helped save a dying family business by inspiring shoes that another character calls "porn wear for hermaphrodites." It's Mrs. Henderson Presents for the silicone-down-there crowd. As in the flawedFlawless, the drag character veers between hyperdramatic exclamations ("Burgundy? Burgundy? Red!"), self-pitying revelations ("Dad felt I never fit in"), and unsolicited life lessons ("I didn't want you to know what it was like not to feel respect"). And even if she represents pure sex on a stick, she has no ostensible love life. Butthe only drag in the world who sings liveshe puts on fabulous shows, with backup dancers and hair extensions yet. CHIWETEL EJIOFOR plays the part ferociously, and it's funny to realize he's also in Inside Man, because here he's inside a woman.
MR. BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK
Still fairy-litbut now in burgundy heels for hermaphs I spent Friday at Mr. Black, the downstairs East Village dance club, which has a nicely casual dungeon-cum-speakeasy feel, studded with waiters with their butts exposed (for real crack addicts, I guess). My admirers included a guy who kept gushing, "Guess whose hair I blow-dried today. Mrs. Huxtable from The Cosby Show!" and a gent who glamorously regaled me with tales of his Crohn's disease (which involves bloody diarrhea, what ho). I love the nightlife.
But let's plug up some of the other provocatively puckered parts in clublandnamely the upper lips, especially when clubbies who crave attention with their legs spread try to sell me stuff like "Fame is so hollow. People are so fake friendly just because I was on a silly TV show"; "I'm a hugely successful model, but on the side I wait tables in Hohokus"; and "I had to hire a new publicist just to keep people away!" It's certainly working, dear.
But the talented gays keep soaring. As I told you last year, GSN is launching an updated, wacky I've Got a Secret with a fab all-queer panel. And contrary to an early newspaper article saying the gay record label Twist was a bad idea because no sane person would want to be labeled a gay artist, people have been cartwheeling out of the closet while singing "Dixie" and then landing on their knees to do so. Rather than aim to ghettoize gay musicians, Twist wants to break them out of the ghetto of small labelland and put them on the big stage they deserve. Bravo!
They cartwheeled with burgundy bells on to the Splash party for SANDRA BERNHARD's opening night, where LIZA MINNELLIwho's hot again, thanks to a 34-year-old TV specialwas so swarmed by gushy gays and greeters that she had a panic attack and had to be escorted out the door. (Bye bye, blackbird.) Sandra was feeling no pain, probably thanks to the "no MADONNA" rule that I hear downstairs DJ JOHNNY DYNELL had been given, and CHARLES BUSCH was also percolating, especially when he spotted S. EPATHA MERKERSON in the crowd. "Should I ask her to be in my next play?" he wondered, then thought about it and said, while rolling his eyes, "No. People do that to me all the time. 'I want you to star in Coco!' " All through this, I stood with a glum, defeated look; the last time someone was spotted having fun at Splash, the cops shut it down.
The gays might stay awake over at Tarzan, considering that a reader tells me the title character does somersaults in a loincloth, the monkeys are played by young guys with fur pants and sleeves but no shirts, and the alpha gorilla is more of a bear, with a hairy chest and deep voice. ("Stick a beer in his hand and it's like Friday night at the Dugout," says the source.) Gayest of all is Jane's father's exclamation: "A loincloth-clad Homo erectus could raise my temperature a degree or two!"
NEVER KID A KIDDER
Jane, shmane. Movieland's original Lois Lane, MARGOT KIDDER, was the big draw at the Big Apple Comic Book, Toy & Art Show at Penn Plaza Pavilion, and this homo was there and erectus. The show brought together fame-challenged stars and their diehard fans for some mutual lovin' and cashin' in. As Kidder explained to me, "You sell your autographed pictures and you take the money. If I was working more as an actress, I wouldn't be doing this, but it's fun to meet the fans!"
Margotstill raspy-voiced and sophisticatedwas dressed in a pink tie, pin-striped pants, and what looked like a man's jacket. Has she gone lesbo? "No," she told me, plainly. "It would have made my life easier, but that never happened. And now the hormones are going away, which is good. I don't like falling in love every five seconds." Freed of those awful boyfriends and husbands, she lives with her "snuggly and loving" dogs in small-town Montana, which she says is way more enlightened than everyone thinks. ("People have this image of us as right-wing rednecks. No, that's Wyoming.")
Any snuggly, loving thoughts about her career? "I was OK," she lamented, "but I wish I had more training. I didn't have the chops to get to that next level, like a GENA ROWLANDS or MERYL STREEP. That would have been great." Before I could cry actual tears, Margot reminded me that she's successfully battled manic depression and has gone 10 years without an episode. Was she gonna have one today? "If I do," she said, grinning, "I'll let you know in advance!"
CHARLENE TILTON almost had one when she heard Jessica Simpson might play her old Dallas role, Lucy Ewing, in the movie version. Simpson's too old! But now it may be SCARLETT JOHANSSON in the part, andas I learned at the same wacky conventionTilton's tiltin' toward approval. "The key quality to Lucy," she told me, "is vulnerability, even though she was doing all that bedhopping." Was Charlene herself vulnerable at the time? "Yes!" she shrieked. "I was 17 and didn't know anything!" But she eventually learned so much that she landed a gossip column in the Globe tabloid a few years ago, horning into my line of work, albeit with kid gloves. "I was trying to be a light in a dark place," she explained, though one of her items still has a certain celebrity incensed, despite the fact that Tilton ended the personal revelation with "Our thoughts and prayers are with them." Well, our prayers are with Charlene as she produces and stars in The Tammy Faye Bakker Story. Let's hope there's enough eye makeup (and lower-region lipstick) in the world to do it right.
Before she went for those latest injections, Amanda Lepore may have gotten some needling of a different sort. An insider source says that when DAVID LACHAPELLE couldn't make it to the GLAAD awards to pick up a special honor, his first request was to have his muse Lepore accept on his behalf. His people were supposedly told by GLAAD that Logo (or it's parent company, VH1), which was filming the ceremony, didn't want her. When Heatherette's RICHIE RICH and TRAVER RAINS became the acceptors, theysays the sourceasked to bring Amanda along onstage and were also told not to!
Transophobia? It would seem weird for the network that's featured Lepore in a news report and aired the series Transgeneration (plus CANDIS CAYNE was the award show's trophy girl.) I asked a GLAAD rep about all this, and he responded that after LaChapelle had to cancel, "we were told that PETRA NEMCOVA would be introducing the award and that Richie and Traver were going to accept on his behalf. Amanda walked the red carpet, was seated at the event; and was recognized from the stage as part of the acceptance from David [read by Rich and Rains]." She certainly was. I just hope sheand her vaginaweren't forced into silence mode.
Moving on to dandies, you can't shut me up about JARED PAUL STERN, the Page Six-er accused of extortion, unwittingly giving the rival Daily News their best gossip story in ages. Years ago, Stern did some work for the club kid magazine Project X, not the best place to learn ethics. (I did some freelance there too and am still waiting for payment from the drugged-out editorial board). Later into the '90s, Stern wrote a column for Detour magazine and always dropped in sour, disapproving mentions of me. I took the high road for a change and called him, saying "I'll rise about your bad feelings and invite you to my birthday dinner." He came and gave me nice writeups ever since. Seems all he wanted was a little pat on the back, which we all dothough most of us draw the line at $100,000 plus 10 more K's a month!
The tragedy is that, though his Post columns about his self-indulgent exploits with his equally effete lady friend were laughable, he could be a vivid gossip writer, coming alive during Fashion Week with zingy, indispensible dish. A few years ago, he left the Post for a high-paying but doomed tabloid job, then came crawling back to a diminished role, which may have worked his nerves, along with his obviously not lucrative enough new line of shirts and ties. But while I won't be inviting Jared to my next dinner, I'm not going to join the circle of people ready to burn him alive with materials bought at a RON BURKLE store . More important is to get to the truth, suck out all the other corruption in gossipland, and emerge, still dishing.
PS: By the way, one of the Page Six blind items Burkle was upset about? It was something claiming he has a very young girlfriend.
Late Breaking Paris Hilton Setback!
Exclusive Gossip: Is it hard out here for an heiress? PARIS HILTON had a long-anticipated CD scheduled to come out in June. Out magazine recently sent me to L.A. to interview the multi-media personality about her music, which I heard and thought was perfectly enjoyable dance-pop, as helmed by wunderkind SCOTT STORCH. But a source tells me that Warner Brothers chairman/CEO TOM WHALLEY might not feel the same way. They say he doesn't think it's readyin fact, he doesn't care for it at alland he's putting the project on hold for now. (I'm hearing it'll probably be released in September.) At least this should provide some juicy conflict for The Simple Life. (I'm awaiting a response from a Warner Brothers publicist.)