NY Mirror

As MATTHEW RETTENMUND, who wrote the source novel, told me, "The movie is a classic love story, except everybody has their hard-ons pointed at the wrong people." I hate when that happens! Rettenmund added that he wrote the book to be both sexy fluff and a spanking of gay culture, and "the movie picks up on that vibe like a john at a hustler bar." Ooh, do they still have those? Where? I want to sell my body!

At the very same festival, everyone hustled his way into the hot ticket—United 93—and all the surrounding hoopla. But I heard that at the film's press junket, openly gay CHEYENNE JACKSON—who plays gay hero Mark Bingham—said something like, "If my wife or daughter had been on that plane . . . " No one asked about his sexuality after that.

It's all on the gay table in Saint of 9/11, the loving documentary about Father Mychal Judge, the fire department chaplain whose good works included ignoring the Vatican ban on queer appreciation. (I saw the movie at—everyone now—the Tribeca Film Festival, and didn't go for the delete button.) I learned that Father Mychal urged gays and PWAs to live with openness and pride, and though he himself was publicly closeted, his friends say he did that more to shield the fire department from scandal than to protect himself from it. They also say his sexuality humanized him and actually made him a better minister (not to mention a better drag fairy godmother, which he . . . no, see the film for yourself. Just don't tell the church.)

Meanwhile, the saint of 7-Eleven—yours truly—is in a movie too, and I'm not even a hustler. It's Wetlands Preserved—which played at the Ziegfeld, and on Earth Day yet. Yes, it was the first time a premiere there had no red carpet, celebrities, flashing lights, or people who'd gotten the memo that Jerry Garcia died. But that was perfect for the sweet, homemade documentary about the sweet, homemade Wetlands Preserve, an ecologically conscious activist rock club that was ultimately edged out by realty realities. In the film's most memorable moment, DAVE MATTHEWS reveals that he was once so stoned on the Wetlands stage that he had no idea where the fuck he was in the song. When he paused, looking dumbstruck, in the middle of that soundbite, the audience screamed with laughter.

High on my own dizzying stardom, I went back to the clubs—God, I'm a dancer; a dancer dances—and found out why Splash's basement is now emptier on Wednesday nights than BUSH's brain. Since that recent raid forced the club to close for a few days, they haven't been having their famed underwear contest! (But fortunately, the other night they did allow a half-clad British go-go boy to sloppily make out with virtually anyone who approached. Don't tell him that's not how we do it here.)

At XES, host MIMI IMFURSTforced various guys to strip—I guess that's still allowed there—and made them jiggle around, taunting the most rhythmless one by tastefully screaming, "You dance like a corpse! You're Terri Schiavo!" And that was far from the last esoteric name I heard dropped in a Chelsea dive. Over at Barracuda, while SHASTA COLA had the crowd spellbound for hours on end, the doorman entranced me with remarks like, "A Voice writer once introduced me to Robert Mapplethorpe. He photographed me. Look it up online." Sure thing, doll—after I decide who should get the award for fastest psycho name-dropper, you or the guy at Happy Valley who stepped up to the plate with, "Hi. I'm from Colorado. If you ever see TOPHER GRACE, say hi for me. I know him." Oh yeah? Well, I'm from New York. Please point your hard-on elsewhere!


musto@villagevoice.com

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