NY Mirror

Almost as gay as the Tonys, the HX Awards—hosted by the long-running bar mag—brought some of the most exuberant lowbrow cavorting to Lincoln Center's plaza since Bialystock and Bloom krumped around the fountain. As one of the esteemed presenters handing out plaques to promoters, trannies, and SANDRA BERNHARD, I got to witness the zhooshing egos and whooshing fabrics up close. Backstage, I asked ZULEMA GRIFFIN—another presenter—why she failed to be the big Project Runway winner. "That show has nothing to do with anyone's work," she responded. What does it have to do with? "No comment," Griffin replied, with a welcome hint of bitterness. Is it because she's not a gay man? "Well, I'm a lesbian," she said, "but they didn't want me to talk about that on the show. It became a side issue. An article came out on the show's 'gay seven.' It was actually eight!" Or 80 if you tally up the new season.

An out TV personality, radio host, clinical nurse, and HX presenter, WILL WIKLEtold me that his pal CYNDI LAUPER is trying to set up her son, Declyan, with Madonna's daughter, LOURDES. Did you ever imagine rival chantoozies Cyndi and Maddy becoming in-laws one day? I couldn't have predicted that in my deepest '80s K-hole. Wikle himself was preparing to get comfortably set up with Logo's JASON BELLINI. "We're moving in together tomorrow," he told me, as I seethed with jealousy. Have they smoothed out any potential rough edges? "Let's hope so," he said, warily. "The therapist bill says so!"

In another corner, a lot of peoples' imaginary boyfriend, porn guy MICHAEL LUCAS, was showing off his accessories and elegantly crowing, "I sucked so many dicks to get these." Later on, he more pensively confided, "I want to be whatever people want me to be." Except for a fuck bottom? "People don't want that," he related, educationally. "My ass is too skinny." That's better than the usual reason: "My ass is bigger than the Lincoln Center fountain."

HX's Best Drag Queen winner Peppermint Gummibear
photo: Jeff Eason
HX's Best Drag Queen winner Peppermint Gummibear

Cheeky Sandra Bernhard and I hadn't seen each other since we both graciously agreed to participate in a reading of J.T. Leroy's work a few years ago. As her publicist squawked, I grabbed Sandra— HX's Entertainer of the Year—to ask if she feels as burned by the skanky scam as I do. "I never had anything to do with Leroy except that reading," she fulminated. "I thought, 'This person is full of shit.' I had a throw-up feeling. What a fucked-up mess." Otherwise, he/she/they/it was an utterly delightful piece of literary excrement and whoever is really writing this column agrees with that too.

Come showtime, Sandra glanced around the cultural center and told the crowd that she was once refused admission to an opera school. ("They called me 'nigger lips' and said I was a skinny, ugly bitch!") And PEPPERMINT GUMMIBEAR—the Best Drag Queen winner—did a peppy dance number, complete with spinning male backups, that was gleefully Britney-esque except for the large tucked penis. But the biggest balls belonged to HEDDA LETTUCE, who, when asked to stretch, addressed KEVIN AVIANCE's gay bashing, but not in the chest-thumping manner expected. "Kevin gave a speech at the anti-violence rally," deadpanned Hedda, "and he said [unintelligible mumble]." Pause. "His jaw was wired!" The crowd of queens and other slumming royalty started to boo. "Shut up," said Hedda. "I'm stretching, you stupid faggots!" That prompted co-host Kiki ( JUSTIN BOND) to lift her cocktail glass from the sidelines and murmur, "Hedda, I just want to thank you for making Herb and I look so classy."

In other mumblings, I hear ERIC MCCORMACK had been asked to accept the HX award for Will & Grace, but his people said he doesn't want to do W&G-related publicity. Unfortunately, the mag didn't seem to want to give him a plaque for Some Girl(s).


IN A PRADA-DA-VIDA

Let's move on to next year's certain winner, The Devil Wears Prada, which turns out not to be about ANNA WINTOUR at all. Meryl Streep's character has gray hair and an American accent and she sometimes doesn't wear sunglasses, so how the fuck can it be Anna Wintour, OK? Anyway, at the post-premiere bash, the insidery guests were either murmuring, "They should have shot some real fashion events for authenticity's sake" or "Thank God they didn't shoot any real fashion events. That would have been so cheesy!" Either way, the movie romps along with zingy lines and fun fashion insight—I'm stretching, you stupid faggots—but the result is thinner than a model with damaged gums.

ANNE HATHAWAY is supposed to be a total chubbette—Wintour must have cast this thing too—and much more weirdly, her after-office life is duller than a plaid jumper. Whenever she's sitting around conversing with the boyfriend about integrity, you're inwardly screaming, "Go back to the office, honey!" There, Meryl's a scream (if vaguely Manchurian Candidate–esque) and STANLEY TUCCI—as one of those snappy but wise gays—plays it down, I guess so as not to come off like the kind of stereotype that really works there. Overall, we're talking a mixed (Prada) bag, but fortunately, the scene in the Parisian limo, with Hathaway and Streep trying on some pathos, makes it all come together as if adding the right clutch. Disclosure: I had to take a quick bathroom break in the middle of the flick, but at least it helped me lose a few ounces.

More cinema du couture comes with Waist Deep, which features KIMORA LEE SIMMONSas "Fencing House Lady (as Kimora Lee Simmons)." Kimora's not exactly stretching; she plays a smartass who runs a designer-fashion resale shop, hawking used Versaces and shit. As Kimora Lee Simmons.

The ultimate symbol of the impact of fashion, Superman has always been a nervous Nellie emerging out of his closet, I mean phone booth, with a fabulous cape and kicking lots of ass. A gay metaphor? Yeah, why not, but as hungry media outlets look for subtexts in Superman Returns, the public has pretended to react with horror and the terrified gay director has responded by assuring them that the Man of Steel couldn't possibly be an inspector of manholes. I know how the rumors probably started; TERI HATCHER—who'll always be Lois Lane to me—was seen kissing RYAN SEACREST. Case closed. (Sidebar: Maybe to further ward off gay-male attention, I hear the company that digitally youthened some of X-Men 3's characters for the opening sequence was also assigned to de-bulge BRANDON ROUTH because his crotch was so distracting, it looked able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Sort of like when King Kong's snaggletooth took attention away from NAOMI WATTS and JACK BLACK.) Anyway, I saw the movie and Superman might not be gay, but he's definitely Jesus. Discuss.

As for the queen of soul, ARETHA FRANKLIN played the Apollo last week and according to a source, she ended with "The Greatest Love of All" and repeatedly urged the audience to "pray for WHITNEY." Yes, let's give her a sense of pride to make it easier.

Pray for ANGELINA too. She was wild and fun and reckless, then she became immensely well-meaning and boring, and then she got interesting again when she stole BRAD PITT away from whatshername. But now she's simply made him boring too. She needs to loosen up and fuck her brother again or something.


BUBBLE BUBBLE, BOIL AND TROUBLE

But gird your loins, world; Hedda Lettuce and Michael Lucas recently made even more gay waves. Drag favorite SWEETIE went to the aforementioned rally and didn't like the sight of those two dolled up and hogging much of the attention. "Hedda is a boil on the ass of the gay community," wrote Sweetie on motherboardsnyc.com. "What a shameless, tactless, tacky, publicity-hungry asshole. Today should have been a day where we leave work at the 'office' and come together as a community." As for Lucas, "He looks like he is a cosmetically altered Down's syndrome person." Ouch, eeek, wow, ooh, slobber, hotcha. Hedda's reply on her own site? "I am a proud drag queen who does not want to hide in the shadows. . . . You come across as bitter and misguided. Look in the mirror and see who the boil is." And Lucas's response was to forward the venomous postings to everyone on his list, absolutely adoring the mentions!

If I can 'ho myself into this mess, let me reveal that I still have stiletto marks from Hedda running me over to get to an ET camera crew and scratches from Lucas pushing me away to pounce on a daily columnist—at my own tribute. But while these people are so whorish it's a wonder CHARLIE SHEEN hasn't romanced them—and so are some of Aviance's friends who angled to get quoted while the singer was still wired—I like 'em, and I guess it's helpful, big-picture-wise, to be able to channel their boundless energy for good causes. At least they'll never be boring like Angelina. (Update on the update: Sweetie sweetly apologized and Hedda accepted. Aww. No more throw-up feeling.)


musto@villagevoice.com

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