Anchors a-Gay

Straight talk from CNN's Roberts about his molester—but not a word about his boyfriend

So designer MARC JACOBS, whom I've long loved, went into rehab, announcing that he had just had a relapse (interestingly enough, the second he finished his Paris show)? But it was a while ago that his then-boyfriend the ex-hustler was telling people he only broke up with Marc so the designer would get clean. Then again, take it all with a grain of whatever. Get well, Marc!

CNN's THOMAS ROBERTS, whom I also adore, was interviewed by the same channel's ANDERSON COOPER last week about having been abused by a priest as a teen. The terribly brave piece was not the least bit incestuous. (Well, maybe just a wee bit, but I shouldn't talk, having recently interviewed myself in these pages.) More problematic was the fact that I didn't hear it mentioned that Roberts is now out and proud and can be publicly seen with his supportive boyfriend. I guess when it comes to serving up your own talent as news, tortured molesting victim plays better than devoted gay lover.

Possible rationales for the exclusion: "We don't want to equate having been molested with becoming gay." Well, they could have stated the distinction. Besides, by 14, Thomas was surely already gay—look at the photos. "We don't think his sexuality is relevant." But for the less-famous victim who also spoke out on the show, it sure was; he was presented as gay gay gay. "But our anchors shouldn't become the story. That's why they don't talk about their personal lives." No, they just do prime-time specials about being molested.

Maggie Wirth (singing waitress)
photo: Shizuka Minami/ Veras
Maggie Wirth (singing waitress)

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Maybe they thought it was only the molestation that was newsworthy because Roberts had finally come forward and the priest went to jail (albeit a year ago). That's fine, but if there was a story about a straight female anchor who was molested, you can bet there'd be a shot of her with her loving husband today. In any case, knowing that Cooper—who aggressively went after the interview, even though he thinks sexuality revelations alter an anchor's ability to be professional—adds to the intrigue.

On a lighter note, TCM will run a series of classic gay and gay-related films in the pride month of June, spanning Hollywood's hinting, homophobia, breakthroughs, bitchery, and prison dykes.

Back to a heavier note, I joined ACT UP in protesting the U.S. military recruiting office, demanding that the Pentagon fire the odiously honest GENERAL PETER PACE for saying he feels gays are "immoral" and must be prosecuted. "Pace is immoral! Gays are fabulous!" was the afternoon’s loudest cry, along with the less-catchy "Down with the royalist junta of Bush II." The turnout may not have been as good as in the old days—back then, we had protests, honey!—but it was solid, studded with all sorts of lavender legends like LARRY KRAMER (who ignited the action with a speech a few nights earlier), PETER STALEY, ANN NORTHROP, and MATT FOREMAN. In fact, it was exactly the same people who were at the old ACT UP actions! (All the survivors, anyway.) Well, there was one new kid: JIM McGREEVEY! Oh well, I guess we're all on the same level playing field now. And with wussy HILLARY announcing it's up to others to decide if gays—not to mention philandering presidents—are immoral, McGreevey’s all we’ve got.

To remind myself that it's immoral not to be gay, I went back to relentless bar hopping, diving into the pool of sparkly people who do tell even if you don't ask. The BARTSCH/KENNY KENNY Thursday night Kino 41 bash is so fabulously hot-guy-and-freak studded I'll forgive being ejected from a banquette to make way for bottle-service people. Vlada Lounge was also on fire last Saturday—and though I'm not terribly fond of the next-door lady who likes to snarl at the crowd outside and scream, "Die of AIDS, fags!" she is amusingly high-camp, so check her out; she generally appears at around one and three a.m. (And if she ever takes it on the road, General Pace would make a dazzling opening act.)

But mainly I've gone to Pieces—the long-running Christopher Street bar that's so wrong it's right, especially since some of the more fabulous weekly parties in town seem to be crumbling into pixie dust. At Pieces, you meet people with a past (check out TOBY at the end of the bar) and some fascinating drunks, like a guy on the prowl who, when I started to lift up his shirt, blurted, "I can explain some things." (I put it right down again.) Last week, on karaoke Tuesday, I mentally undressed a guy who turned out to be a girl and a girl who turned out to be a top. And then there's drag DJ/VJ VODKA STINGER, who on Wednesday nights plays diva chestnuts and challenges the crowd to figure out "Who's singing this?" " MARGARET WHITING," I screamed about "I'll Plant My Own Tree," feeling so clever to know that Whiting dubbed Susan Hayward's singing in Valley of the Dolls. But it turned out to be Eileen Wilson, who sang it on the soundtrack album when Whiting wasn't available! Pieces the last frontier also turns out to be Pieces the learning experience.

If you want to create your own diva legend, head a gay skip away to Marie's Crisis, the unkillable piano bar where people have long gathered 'round the keys to shriek "I'm still here!" At peak moments, singing waitress MAGGIE WIRTH will winningly belt out a number to add to the kick the booze she just served you already started. Between show tunes last week, Wirth gave me some verbal liner notes on her career, which has been a mixture of "Pack up the luggage, tra-la-la " and "You'll be swell, you'll be great." Her credits? "A tour of Oliver!," she said. "A tour of The Sound of Music," she added, making a wretching noise. Her favorite obscure musical? " Henry, Sweet Henry." Her fave number to perform? " 'Ring Them Bells' and also what we call 'the drunk medley': 'Melancholy Baby 'Bye Bye Blackbird and 'Show Me the Way to Go Home'." Why does no one at Marie's ever want to be shown the way to go home? "There's no agenda, no microphone, no lights," she said. "Just singing. And it doesn't matter if you're good, bad, or indifferent." Oh good, because I'm really bad. One more question: Who sang "I'll Plant My Own Tree"? Nah, too easy.

On actual Broadway, Talk Radio is about a media person who mercilessly ridicules everyone he comes in contact with because of a deep-seated uneasiness and self-loathing. Couldn't relate to that at all.

Up my poofter alley, Curtains reminds us that, as with everything from A Chorus Line to The Producers to The Drowsy Chaperone, Broadway loves nothing more than a show about a show (if not me interviewing moi). This one adds some murderous intrigue, but you don't really care much whodunit. The plot is just an excuse to hang CAROL BURNETT–style sketch material (with hints of MEL BROOKS) onto the backstage frame, along with witty choreography and pizzazzy performing. Like the show within the show, Curtains seems written in 1959 (despite the dick jokes) and there are definite leaden stretches and droopy moments, but you look back on it all rather fondly because it aims so hard to please. (Try getting the song that rhymes "thataway" and "Piscataway" out of your head.) Its best asset, DEBRA MONK, hits it out of the park as the brassy producer with a distaste for high art. She'd love Curtains.

Less of a mystery is the fact that LINDSAY LOHAN's people asked for extra security when she DJ'd at the Plumm last week because Lindsay heard her father might be coming. More scarily, now that he's free, that makes two Lohan parents currently piggybacking on her fame by trying to push their own TV shows. And you wonder why the poor thing had to go to rehab at 20! And even miss Marc Jacobs's show!

But enough about them. Come see me this Saturday the 24th at the GLBT Expo at the Javits Center, from two to four p.m. I can explain some things.


Web Extra: Wait, there's yet another chance to catch my radiant beauty in person! Do you live in Chicago? Or can you get there rather quickly and on the cheap? Then hie thy literary ass over to my book event at Sidetrack (3349 N. Halsted) on Wednesday March 28 at 6:30PM. The highbrow chatter and the smell of Poppers will make for a bracing combination.


musto@villagevoice.com

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