By Pete Kotz
By Michael Musto
By Michael Musto
By Capt. James Van Thach told to Jonathan Wei
By Kera Bolonik
By Michael Musto
By Nick Pinto
By Steve Weinstein
For its 25th anniversary issue, Paper magazine is shooting 25 fabulous people who are 25 years old. I just missed the cutoff! . . . Speaking of age limits, my friends over at Pieces gay bar swear they threw former daytime host and lovebug Ricki Lake out when she wandered in with a group of kids last week, hoping to sing karaoke. . . . If girls just wanna have fun, there's some good news: Cathay Che (who wrote Deborah Harry: Platinum Blonde) is helping pen Cyndi Lauper's inspirational autobiography, coming out next year on Simon & Schuster.
Another vintage act, Francis Ford Coppola, cast the unruly Vincent Gallo in his new film Tetro, but a reporter I know just asked the director if it might have been a good part for Nicolas Cage (Coppola's nephew, whom he's worked with before). "I can't afford him!" Coppola blurted. . . . He's not the only one. Whispers say the economically rocked Interview magazine owes scads of money to Elaine's and to Art + Commerce, to name just two examples.
It was more commerce than art when Poison singer Bret Michaels appeared on the Tony Awards, especially when he was hit on the head by a descending piece of the set as he exited—a horrid sight, even if you don't believe a hard rocker belongs on the same stage as Angela Lansbury. Well, my source says that on the red carpet before the telecast, Michaels was acting a wee bit tipsy. Perhaps he was feeling no pain until he felt some pain—though I'm sure he was just living the image of a big-haired fallen angel. Michaels's reps swear he's a total pro and that the incident happened as a result of a "lack of communication." He'll surely provide more lip about his mistreatment once his lip heals.
Poison takes a whole other form in your local supermarket, as I learned at the premiere of the documentary Food, Inc., where we were served organic popcorn and pomegranate drinks while watching cows covered in their own feces get turned into burger deluxes. "And then there's the wine industry," murmured celebrity chef Drew Nieporent on the way out. . . . Let's organically toast Out scribe and indie film presence Jesse Archer, whose script tentatively titled Bye Bye, Fruit Fly is currently filming, with The Facts of Life's Natalie, Mindy Cohn, as the title character. No sign of Jo, though. . . . I just had a horrid idea for a sequel that I pray never happens: Ben Stiller in Night at the Holocaust Museum. Oy!!! . . . Flamboyant style guru Robert Verdi has a new show coming to Logo, one episode of which honors Gotham's 10 most fashionable females.
There are two fewer women on the scene now that David Carradine died in drag (according to the Post), and Chastity Bono has become Chaz as the beat goes on. One more, and it's a trend. . . . Fashion, showbiz, and charity collided at amfAR's Honoring With Pride benefit, where they toasted activist Cleve Jones, stylist Patricia Field, and drag DJ Lady Bunny for being cultural characters with cojones. "But what have you done for AIDS aside from spreading it?" I cracked to Bunny at the event. "Isn't that enough?" she replied, chortling. "These organizations wouldn't be able to exist without all I've done! By the way, I used to be a flight attendant, and I went to Africa under the name Patient Zero."
And that was the end of the tasteful material. Bunny's acceptance speech had her remembering all the cocksucking and orgies through the years (one with four Cuban guys in Field's Miami residence), and later, scrumptious Cheyenne Jackson auctioned off tickets to Finian's Rainbow, specifying, "There may be chorus boys there, and they may have no gag reflex—that's what I hear." Come showtime, platinum blonde Debbie Harry took the stage to sing, "Once I had a love, and it was a gas," as Bunny let out a deafening farting noise from the audience. Now I know how Bret Michaels feels—it hurt my nose.
At NewFest, I caught a rough cut of David Sigal's Florent: Queen of the Meat Market, about the gender-nonspecific Meat Market restaurant that helped create the neighborhood, only to be priced right out of it. (Last year, "Florent" sadly became "For Rent.") The doc takes you back to all the freewheeling boîte's legendary characters, from the man who came out of the bathroom in his undies, all covered with jelly, to the guy who ran into the place yelling, "Help! She's going to kill me! And she's not a woman!" Just then, a black drag queen followed the screaming wuss in, announcing, "I sucked his dick, and I want the money!" (And she deserved extra for having no gag reflex.)
After the screening, Florent had a perfectly civilized dinner party at his apartment, which looked so swanky that I wondered why he couldn't afford to keep the restaurant open. "This belongs to my family!" he explained, laughing. In any case, does Florent miss Florent? "Not one day," he said. "For the last five weeks [before closing], we knew it, and we had so much fun. I was free!"
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