Harvey Fierstein on the History of Blowjobs

Fashion Week proves wearing, even to us model citizens

At the sumptuous J. Mendel show at the Plaza, I was lucky enough to sit next to Paper magazine's know-it-all, Mickey Boardman, who gave me a running commentary without even charging. "That model's a lesbian," he graciously volunteered. "Her partner supposedly just had a baby . . . This one's name is Chanel Iman. She's the new big black thing . . . Oh, this girl is Tanya D. She's from Kazakhstan. Someone asked her about Borat and she said, 'Everyone in Kazakhstan loved it!' " I guess they're either that dumb or that nice. For no extra fee, Boardman threw in some commentary on the crowd too, cooing: "That's Cory Kennedy. She's an L.A. style phenomenon, and she hangs out with Vincent Gallo. And the woman talking to Tinsley is Elizabeth Loomis. She once tried to get into something at Crobar and was told to ask for [doorperson] Kenny Kenny. So she went to the door and said, 'Is Henny Penny here?' " And there probably was someone named Henny Penny! (A lesbian from Kazakhstan, no doubt.)

That night at Beige, Chicken Little—I mean Richie Rich—told me about the Heatherette duo's gig as the faces of MAC in an upcoming campaign that will surely make them the new k.d. lang. "Boy George shot it," he said. "It's like a paint-by-numbers idea, with our faces sort of like the Mona Lisa." Well, not to wipe away my own half smile, but why no Heatherette show this season, dear? "We got stuck in a bad time slot," he said, "and we want to do what we want to do!"

In a good time slot, the Love Muscle bash at Happy Ending drew a festively fab crowd doing what they wanted to do—watch the Garo Sparo fashion display—as host Chi Chi Valenti presided in a pert Victorian chapeau. "My Russian cab driver was confused," Valenti told me. " 'Why am I bringing Mrs. Lovett to a Chinese restaurant?' "

Harvey Fierstein and Matthew Scott in a catered affair for A Catered Affair
photo: Cary Conover
Harvey Fierstein and Matthew Scott in a catered affair for A Catered Affair

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Everyone was confused when the W Lounge backstage at the tents had to be frantically cleared out by the handlers of a certain African-American friend of Hillary—the big black thing, as it were—because "she messed herself." And they didn't mean smudged her MAC.

Fashion Week ended with the opening of a big brown thing called Mansion, hosted by designer Jeremy Scott and enhanced by much free boozing. "People want a big, mega-Palladium, Club MTV experience, even if just for one night," Scott told me. "The MisShapes moment is kind of closing, and people are getting excited for epic size again." Lord knows, my boyfriends are. And the place looks good, with hanging balls of teardrop crystals twinkling over the Jerseyites eveywhere you look. That night, they added a go-go girl who mercifully came off more Broadway than Scores, some aerialist babes floating in fabric, and a gospel choir praising Jesus as the crowd looked stupefied. But none of this could convince me this didn't used to be Crobar! Where was Henny Penny?

The sky is falling over at the cineplex, where In Bruges is thinnish, almost cute stuff for Martin McDonagh, though it gets darker and bloodier as it progresses and it's way better than Woody Allen's Cassandra's Crossing, another film in which my boyfriend Colin Farrell and a sidekick are up to some shady business abroad. But Colin wasn't shady on the set. At the premiere, Clemence Poesy—who plays a broad—told me, "He was actually very quiet. After a scene, he would just go to his room and read." Probably about all the unreformed party boys.

The Oscar-nominated The Counterfeiters has unrepentant foreign people—Nazis, to be precise—up to no good as they make Jews produce counterfeit bills to fuck with the economy. At a special screening, I asked director Stefan Ruzowitzky if the Holocaust always wins the Oscar. "No," he said, "but in picking a foreign-language film, it helps if it's an issue people can relate to. Maybe their grandparents were fighting in the war or their parents were persecuted by the Nazis." I wanted to screech, "Are you suggesting I can't relate to the movie about 12 Russian jurors deciding the fate of a young Chechen accused of murdering his adoptive father?" but I wisely stayed quiet.

Still, I got the chance to vent at Gawker.com's dashing Nick Denton when he told me he was enjoying my blog. Remembering Denton's recent half-snarky item about me, I told him, "Oh, yeah? Well, you got my age wrong and I happen to look like an owl, not a frog!" That felt good. I should have added, "And it's not gentlemanly to call a paper irrelevant mere days after the Times said you were sliding," but again, I kept my amazing class.

I had bigger fish to fry anyway. At a lunch for the charming Juno, I got to ask director Jason Reitman, "Isn't your movie actually the Jamie Lynn Spears story?" "Yes!" he said, agreeably. "I impregnated her and I wanted to document that." And now he's probably wanted in parts of Louisiana. More urgently, isn't Juno the only feel-good Best Picture nominee? "It depends on whether you think There Will Be Blood is feel-good," Reitman replied. "Well, I don't," I sputtered in shock. "Everybody takes what they want from it," Reitman said. "No Country for Old Men is feel-good in that it's a lot of fun. But as a director, I don't really have a shot at the award. I think the winner will be either the Coens or Schnabel. Still, I'm 30 and I'm going to the Oscars!" And you're doing just fine, kid. But wait, you have an Asian wife. Are you gay, perchance? "No," he declared. "No one's ever asked that before!" Reitman looked pleasantly mystified, so I explained that the stereotypical feeling is that gay guys marry Asians because they don't complain when the guy can't get it up. "Believe me," Reitman said, playing along, "if I had that problem, I would have heard about it." Yeah—from Jamie Lynn Spears!

Marriage was also center stage when the Broadway musical A Catered Affair launched its online family wedding album at Sky360 by Delta, where they have several rows of airplane seats that sit on the tarmac forever, just like at JFK. Harvey Fierstein—the show's writer/co-star and "the original original"—was there to greet fans ("Thanks, cookie," he told one super-nerd who's still excited by Independence Day) and gab it up with press like me while patiently sitting in a Delta seat.

"I didn't just take the movie and put it on the stage," said Harvey the adapter. "Why bother? That's not what I do. I'm an artist. It's like finding something on the street and making a sculpture out of it." As opposed to a paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa. This little sculpture has Harvey as a gay uncle with a special friend, "and everybody knows, but nobody talks about it." That's not too outrageous—my family's still like that. "I wanted to make it inevitable that by now we'd want gay marriage," explained Harvey. "We live in families. We're all in this together. I wanted that undercurrent."

Some critics feel that such comfortable gays didn't exist in the 1950s, when the kitchen-sink musical is set. "No, they were invented by Susan Sarandon on Sheridan Square in 1964," deadpanned Harvey in his intoxicating rasp. "One day she said, 'I need a friend.' A fairy godmother came down and said, 'You need fairies!' And that's when gays were invented!" "Really? Is that, perchance, when Susan started going out with David Bowie?" I wondered. "I'm not getting into that," he evaded, sagely.

"But really," Harvey continued, loving this, "nobody sucked cock until 1964. There's a plaque on a truck on West Street saying, 'The first dick ever was sucked here'—and that's when homosexuality was born! I'm sure Leonardo DaVinci was just confused. Plato was going through a phase. Oscar Wilde was just trying to be different." And Liberace was just using penises as a colonic.

Anyway, see ya on Broadway, cookie. Now I'm off to get a new big black thing.

musto@villagevoice.com

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