By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The New York Women in Film & Television's Muse Awards luncheon at the Waldorf brought out a roomful of so much estrogen I almost started sprouting breasts, though I settled for a chicken's, with home fries.
One of the winning femmes, Cynthia Nixon, admitted she was stunned when the smash Sex and the City movie was attacked by critics (mostly male). "They sounded more like they were getting back at an ex-girlfriend than evaluating a movie," Nixon moaned. I'm glad the creeps weren't gay, at least! Nixon added that it partly took so long to get the movie made because dim-witted male execs weren't sure it would make money. Well, it's her Miranda right to say so—ba-dum-pum—but wasn't there also that female co-star holding up production because she wanted as much money as the other female co-star, yadda-ya? I'm such a guy to bring that up.
In a fuzzier gender zone, Cherry Jubilee's Glammy Awards for drag excellence, held at the eternal Splash, had downtown divas like Adam Joseph and Acid Betty reaping awards for their rebel yelps and Lady Bunny being triumphantly crowned Best Blogger/Writer. "This is like Pia Zadora beating Meryl Streep for the Golden Globe!" I shrieked onstage when told I'd lost. But I didn't mean it. Bun-Bun's hilarious—even when adorably pushing me into a wall and almost breaking my arm, as she had done earlier that evening!
By the way, drag star Mimi Imfurst is planning the Spazzy Awards, honoring the worst of New York nightlife, including a trophy for the person who's been around the longest and not gotten anywhere. I'd better start lobbying now because there's even more competition for that one than for Most Uplifting Nazi Film at the Oscars.
Party throwers Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny have been around, but at their Vandam Sunday night at Greenhouse, they continue to draw a bracing mix of chicks with dicks and military men—not mutually exclusive groups, by the way. But stay away from the fake-foliage-covered basement—it looks like an outtake from an M. Night Shyamalan film.
One night there, human spark plug Ladyfag—an omnipresent promoter/partyer—told me she's not overly fond of lesbians, "but I love pussy!" Why the distaste for the dykes, dear? Well, it turns out Ladyfag recently went into a club brandishing a condom and was told, "This is a lesbian bar. You don't need that." Replied Ladyfag: "One dildo. Two women. Four holes. You need a condom!" Agreed—though I always thought it would be six holes.
Orifice-filling drag star Epiphany told me she discussed her paid fisting job (performed at a little get-together called Oktoberfist) over Thanksgiving dinner with her ma, who's a lesbian gynecologist and feels weird charging for vaginal exams. Ah, the problems of the modern American family.
At XES, one of Epiphany's exes, Logan Hardcore, lip-synched a Dreamgirls song interspersed with horrifying gunshots and sad news reports of the Jennifer Hudson family tragedy. I'm still hoarse from simultaneously cheering and blowing chunks.
A woman playing a man or something, Murray Hill emceed a fundraiser for the Ali Forney Center, which helps homeless gay teens, at pianist David Raleigh's fancy house. On an impromptu stage, Murray—who stopped drinking "because I had to"—remembered way back to his birth. Said the hard-working entertainer: "A cab driver asked my father, 'Is it a boy or a girl?' He replied, 'No.' "
In another corner of the event, a male was interviewing people for a pilot for a Logo show, which refreshingly quelled the insider buzz I was hearing that the channel is in some sort of gay trouble.
Survival of the fitted was celebrated when Paper magazine had a sumptuous Broadway East dinner for the 30th anniversary of the Screaming Mimi boutique, where every day is Halloween. I asked owner Laura Wills what her secret for longevity is, and she said, "I can't do anything else, so I've had to keep this rolling." I know the feeling! Just then, Joey Arias—who's similarly unstoppable—mock-blew producer Perry Moore while singing "Love for Sale." Dessert proved totally unnecessary (but delicious).
For uptown girls, the new Beekman Bar & Books comes from the same owner as Hudson Bar & Books, the best-kept secret in the Village, where you smoke cigars and order swanky drinks amid rows of musty memoirs. The Beekman place operates on the same principle, but it's larger and brighter, with a soothing fireplace, kooky monkey motifs, and even more shelves of books. As someone who doesn't drink, smoke, or read, I go there feeling like a eunuch at an orgy, but I still adore the place!
I was back in my element at the F Word, the sprawling, sexy Michael Formika Jones and Mark Nelson Saturday-night bash, where there are 10 go-go boys per eight and a half square inches. The bash has bested Mr. Black—and it's at the old Mr. Black space yet! Poetic!
I was uninvited from going to the Valkyrie premiere—I guess Tom combed through the list—so I was denied the sight of the cutie with bangs heiling Hitler. Did I—much like the Führer himself—dodge a bullet?
On Broadway, Shrek is a schizo show that's the result of highbrow Pulitzer types adapting a movie with fart jokes. What you end up with is sort of Into the Woods–meets–Spamalot, with a splash of Rent, and it turns out to be even gayer than The Little Mermaid. Lord Farquaad has flapping wrists, the donkey sports limp hooves, and the wolf is a "hot trannie mess" who joins the other fractured fairy-tale characters in a chorus of "Wave your freak flag!" Even gayer, Pinocchio was "outed by his nose" and paraphrases Queer Nation's old motto by whinnying, "I'm wood. I'm good. Get used to it." Billy Elliot would love this show.
The revival of the super-straight Pal Joey is entertainingly dark and caddish, and as one online poster said about the star, "I completely believed him as a hustler—not that if you do Broadway Bares, you are a hustler." As for the ex-star, who left after a convenient foot injury (or was it mercury poisoning?), he has to suffer the extra indignity of being profiled in the current Playbill, boasting about the "sweetness of the success" and how "to be able to do this is a true blessing." Whoopsy!
I'm going to skip the inevitable foot-injury segue and move on to the Atlantic Theater Company revival of The Cripple of Inishmaan, which brings us playwright Martin McDonagh in a cute mode, though the laughs come out of darkness as it explores the disabilities we all carry, whether visible or not. The gorgeously acted production is such a marvel that I won't throw eggs at the actors, even if they compulsively squash them on each other.
Selling salami with a face that looks like sourdough pizza, Mickey Rourke's The Wrestler character has given the actor the chance to make his weird surgery work for him for a change. Rourke's comeback performance is amazing, so the next move is extremely obvious: Meg Ryan should play a wrestler!
And Michael Phelps should keep playing a swimmer, but he shouldn't have called his book Beneath the Surface—since there aren't any crotch shots in it! A reader wrote me, "So I looked at the book, and there is not one photo of him in his Speedo—all above-waist. This is so phallic-phobic. Are these people out of their minds?" Honey, they ain't got no minds! You know how dumb men are!