By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
There was much happy hoopla recently about Ben Whishaw (the British actor from Bright Star and the play The Pride) being coy about his private life and even going along with one magazine's contention that he's straight. But a theater source in the U.K. tells me, "Whishaw never tried to hide his sexuality here. He's been with his partner since RADA and it's not an issue at all. But sadly, perhaps that's all about to change." Not if I can help it, honey!
Completely unaltered, a fun CSI actor turned up at my recent anniversary bash and was overheard blithely asking a twink to go home with him. When the staunch twinkette replied, "No," the aggressor amped things up with "But I'm on TV!" I've tried that. Doesn't work.
Jeremy Renner is in the movies—and he's single—but what does that say about his sexuality? I don't know, but when the Hurt Locker actor brought his mother to the Oscars, that raised my waxed eyebrows even higher than when Ellen Page came with her lesbian publicist. I promptly did some research and found out that Renner used to work in theater, he was a makeup artist, he claims he's too busy for a relationship, and he had a male "co-investor" on a house that just sold. Alarms were ringing louder than they do in dance songs at the Black Party. But before I get chided like Meredith Viera did for wondering if she should "worry" because Renner and Anthony Mackie were hugging really emphatically on the Today show, let me just say that Renner still doesn't ping that hard for me. It's possible he's actually straight, in which case he just detonated about five stereotypes. But wait, The Enquirer just came up with an outing quote from someone in his past—and they were right about John Edwards's love child! Alas, the tab's conclusion is as weak as mine: "Renner sends mixed messages." No Pulitzer there.
Clichés are also kicked in the scrotum in Geoffrey Nauffts's Next Fall, which is a wonderful biscuit sandwich of a play—brittle and flippant in the first half, meditative and moving in the second—as it probes a spiritually discordant relationship between a guy who feels praying after sex will save his soul, and his atheistic partner, who would rather just have more sex. The lead characters are named Luke and Adam, but everything else about this work is so subtly ingratiating that any serious theatergoer who misses it will surely burn in hell.
Or maybe they'll just find themselves at A Behanding in Spokane—a loopy but labored comedy about people doing extreme, barbaric things as the audience roars with laughter. The play is supposedly written by Martin McDonagh, but it's more like Mamet meets Ionesco, with racist and homophobic language tossed around to score a rise out of the customers, all in the extended-comedy-sketch vein of God of Carnage via SNL. But at a certain point, things got so comically absurd that I started laughing along, especially since Christopher Walken has just the right deadpan weirdness and drolly emphasizes all the wrong syl-LA-bles. He always has!
From loopy we go to Looped, the female drag show in which Valerie Harper gives a committed performance as Tallulah Bankhead, though, oddly, someone's written a play around her in which the soothsaying mess of a diva taunts a self-loathing, emotionally sterile sound editor. (Yes, he's the season's 100th or so anguished gay. We've come a long way, baby.) It's all an excuse for Tallu to guzzle, snort, emit her one-liners, act out a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire, and guzzle some more.
The lines were fresher at the ECNY Awards for comics at Comix, which host Jon Friedman described as "the show that keeps recognizing the same 40 people." To add to the incestuousness, Friedman also happens to be a producer of the event—and he turned out to be one of the winners, too, wouldn't you know. But there was no real favoritism going on, I assure you. In fact, when Friedman's speech went over the 30-second limit, they drowned him out with "Me So Horny" just like they did with everyone else.
PS: Here's a sample joke from the host/producer/trophy holder: "I find the line 'I can't wait to see the red carpet' works better on Oscar night than on a first date."
I traversed a spotless carpet to enter the Tastemakers event at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where I sampled bits of prosciutto and slices of exotic tangerines, only to hear an announcement blaring, "There will be a butchery demonstration on a whole pig in five minutes!" Finally, something at my level!
Oinky behavior recently happened on the roof deck of the Boom Boom Room when an unanguished gay proceeded to brazenly fellate another such person. I know this because—and I'm hardly ashamed, mind you—one of them happens to be a close personal friend.
Total gay raunch is promised for the Saint-at-Large's aforementioned Black Party this Saturday at Roseland, where faux-vomit spewing Rose Wood will charm the tastemakers and trannie dominatrix Danni Daniels (whom I knew as Ludwig) will fuck a bunch of pretend soldiers and cum on their faces in her own butchery demonstration. Don't ask, don't smell.
This should top Danni's performance last year, when she shot rubber eggs out of her butt as the crowd got the yolk. On the phone last week, Danni told me that while she may not have her own eggs, she did recently have breast augmentation, while decidedly keeping her penis. "I live as a transsexual," Danni said. "I like to say 'transsexual' more than 'woman.' I'm very comfortable being in the middle."
With schlong in tow, Danni stars as an s/m top in various trannie porn films, a way bigger niche market than my vanilla mind ever imagined. "This year," Danni informed me, "transsexual porn has outsold lesbian porn three to one. Ninety percent of it is dominant transsexuals that fuck a big straight guy. The audience is straight married men and women as well."
But wait—how straight are these people? As Danni wryly replied, "When they're getting a close-to-nine-inch cock up their ass, you have to wonder. But I'm the very last person to be labeling people, let alone gender and sexual orientation!"
Meanwhile, I've been popping extra bon mots out of my butt at anyone who'll read them on Twitter, which is supposed to be about both sending messages to your followers and receiving them from folks that you follow. But I've noticed that some celebs are way more interested in getting out their ideas than fielding others'. For example, while Paris Hilton has 1,609,837 followers (and tweets to them all day about adopting animals and loving Zoolander), she's only following 262! That ratio ain't right!
Even more distinctively, Rufus Wainwright is followed by 19,334 people and he's following zero! Zilch! Not even Paris Hilton! I've always loved his individualistic resolve.
By the way, if you want to be my Facebook friend, you have to either comment "I love your work" or look incredibly cute and/or creative. Otherwise, I can't be bothered.
A new friend—in real life—is Cuban singer Margarita Pracatan, who served me paella and personality in her Upper West Side apartment last week. Margarita's malapropisms are delightful (She says "Juilliard" when she means Club Juliet, and "Larry Delafonte" for the singer of "Day-O") and so are her personal pronouncements. "I haven't had anyone downtown in 25 years," Margarita exclaimed, referring to her private area. "I had a boyfriend, but he died, thank God."
Jeremy Renner, what's your excuse?