By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Cute guy alert! Geronimo Frias mans some of the games at Amanda Lepore's Big Top—the Wednesday-night party at Bowlmor's Carnival floor where you try to reel in plush prizes, a good time, and maybe even a life partner.
His half-naked barking adds to the surreal feeling that this delightfully lunatic bash is pieced together from the final sequence of a lost Orson Welles film as edited by Gus Van Sant.
In the old days of columnists like Earl Wilson, that would have been enough to get someone interviewed (usually a lady, admittedly), but I happen to demand a personality, too, and Geronimo delivers, putting the go back in go-go.
The New York–born son of Dominican parents, he got into half-clad dancing in 2008 when he went to the East Village pit the Cock to hawk a charity calendar he'd done and they shrewdly advised him to sell it on the bar in his underwear. "The music started to take me," Geronimo remembered in an interview last week, "and I thought I'd take this and see what happens."
It took him a lot of places, actually. Nowadays, he dances at the Monster, G Lounge, Club 57, Hiro, Hudson Terrace, Splash, and Hangar Bar, in between working the Big Top bash, lifeguarding in Harlem, doing real estate appraisals, and hawking a Geronimo doll. "Hence not much sleep," he explained to me, "and I'm getting these horrible migraines. When you see me hyper at the club, I don't know where I get it from!"
Not from drugs? "No. I'm so straight-edged," he insisted. "I don't even like Red Bull or coffee. The only time I consider drugs is when I have a migraine and anything that can get rid of that, I welcome. Though I don't do it!"
Me: Well, other clubbies tend to be three dirty sheets to the wind, as I've noticed. What's the rudest thing one of them ever did to you?
Geronimo: On Halloween, some guy dressed like a pirate tried to stab me in the butt with his sword.
Me: As it were.
Geronimo: I understand that some-times people are just drunk and they don't know what they're doing. I did push him off, though.
Me: But in general, do customers show you all sorts of respect?
Geronimo: Some do, some don't. A lot of them get angry that I'm straight. They get disappointed—or they look at me like, "Yeah, you're straight now" or "You're gay for pay."
Me: [Pause.] Wait—you're not only straight-edged, you're actually straight? Isn't it highly unusual to have a hetero working in a gay bar? Or actually dozens of gay bars?
Geronimo: I thought so, but I found out there's a lot of straight guys dancing. They say straight, but other people say they're confused or they might turn over. I'm not gonna turn over.
Me: Neither am I. But are you sure?
Geronimo: I don't see it happening, but you can never say no. I've heard of people going their whole lives and then changing—like the guy from New Jersey [Jim McGreevey]—but I don't see it happening.
Me: So, do you have a girlfriend?
Geronimo: No. Just a Chihuahua.
Me: So you must go to straight bars all the time to meet people, right?
Geronimo: I try to, but I'm too booked.
Me: So how in tarnation are you going to get a girlfriend?
Geronimo: That's a good question. I've been trying to figure that out for a while.
Me: In the meantime, ahem, are you gay for pay?
Geronimo: No! Dance for pay, yes!
As we reached the poignant end of our chat, which led me to a psychosexual brick wall, I realized that when word gets out that this guy isn't available for hookups, even for money, he's going to be hotter than ever on the gay scene.
But wait! I'm hearing another personality alert, and this time it's gay. In between carnival games, I've discovered Jordan Fox, a Montreal-born creation who hosts at the Box on Tuesdays and Vandam on Sundays, while wearing a pert mix of fetish gear, designer one-offs, and secondhand gems, all complementing a pirate sword that's apparently quite large.
How does he identify? "Gay male," Fox told me last week. "Bottom," he added. "Power bottom. Bossy bottom." Charmed, I'm sure. Is Fox—who by day is a host/server at Boutique Eat Shop—one of those people who becomes a totally separate creature come nightfall? "No," he said. "I'm the same, day and night. I don't have a drag name or persona. I'm the same in tennis shorts as I am in a sequined bodysuit and an ostrich egg in my mouth.
"People are very intrigued by my choice of wardrobe and makeup," he continued, not shyly. "I'm not a very standard drag queen or club kid. I'm very innovative and progressive.
"I became very famous in Montreal and came to New York for my birthday four years ago. My opportunities have been magical. I've hosted every single major party." Like he said—bossy bottom. The guy can even take the stress of wearing painfully high heels, if it's for events that are worth it. "You just drink more," he advised.
I'm hearing that another high-heeled scene personality from Canada, Ladyfag, just got approved for her paperwork to stay in the States—and she didn't shy away from telling them she goes by the name Ladyfag! Immigration is getting very innovative and progressive these days.
In other Lady talk, I recently observed a very young brother and sister carrying on in front of their mother at a discount store, so I plugged up my mouth with an ostrich egg and stopped to take notes. When the boy spotted a rack of fashion sunglasses, he shriekingly grabbed a glitzy pair of them and tried them on. "Lady Gaga wears dark glasses," he gushed. "Look, I'm Lady Gaga!" "She's a girl," snarled the sister, looking ready to choke his neck. See what kind of sickness has swept the country, thanks to this heathen woman and her outfits? It's fabulous!
In the theater, trends come in twos these days, which must explain why I just encountered a pair of Off-Broadway musicals with Biblical characters, both trying to juggle sardonic humor with a serious story about the quest for human connection. Alas, smartass jokes don't mix with sentiment any easier when you throw in the good book. At the York, Falling for Eve has dull patches that suggest Eve is right when she says this is far from paradise, though it comes at you with confidence, and a couple of nice songs put some shine on the apple. But over at the Vineyard, the soul-selling tuner I'll Be Damned looked like it couldn't hold a novena candle to Damn Yankees. I tempted fate by leaving at intermission.
Here's some dish for devout Broadway worshippers: Though Patti LuPone did a reading of the musical version of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown earlier this year, she supposedly turned the actual show down, but now I'm hearing she's having second thoughts about that. Is Patti on the verge of doing an original musical?
As has been reported, Catherine Zeta-Jones dropped out of another role in that very show when she was asked to audition. "It was weird," director Bartlett Sher just told Playbill's Harry Haun. "All we wanted to do was hear her sing—make sure that everything suited her voice—and she canceled at the last moment." Bossy bottom alert!