Always in the market for new nightlife frontiers, I journeyed down—yes, down—to Heaven, a restaurant-dance club in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, that looks like a high-tech airport lounge of the future as envisioned by a very kooky tycoon from the recent past. The sleek hangout—smack-dab in a neighborhood mainly known for fishy aromas and joints like For goodness steak and Loehman’s—positively swarms with clean-scrubbed Russian youth who drink fig-flavored vodkas and party on, even if they’ve been seated in Siberia. Everyone raises his glasnost to heaven as the trio of house entertainers—who come off like the Russian Sinéad O’Connor, Nelly Furtado, and Nick Carter—gamely belt out numbers till the yaks come home. These divas take turns delivering original dance tunes and ’80s classics, never dabbling in the stereotypical anthems and/or cossack dances I foolishly expected. Between sets, you enjoy the fascinating “fusion” food, duck the seizure-inducing strobe lights, and marvel at the fact that a touch of Russia—the land of flashy new nightlife and overnight millionaires—has been effectively brought to the boroughs. Honey, Moscow does not believe in tears—it believes in fierce.
On the mainland, things seem to be getting friskier, obviously in tongue-wagging anticipation of Premier Giuliani‘s departure (though state officials are having the last sick laugh by crunching down on Peter Gatien‘s clubs). The Knock-Off bash that happens Fridays at the Slipper Room serves up a racy, multigender revue of kitsch, though I’m still smarting from the performer dressed like a giant vagina who enfolded me with her labia while singing “Lick Me in My Wet Spot” to the tune of Pat Benatar‘s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Help!
They dressed like they had giant vaginas at the Miss All That Contest, a demented drag pageant that I helped judge at Cheez Whiz (Sundays at the Parkside Lounge) in exchange for two Diet Cokes. After four hours of jury deliberation, the crown went to Pastiche Mélange, a flat-chested beauty with a penchant for jaunty berets and Lou Reed songs. The prize? According to organizer Sweetie, it was “a Jeep Cherokee, sexual reassignment via Puket, Thailand, and a year’s worth of Percocet.” Hopefully not in that order.
“Fusion” drugs were advisable for the HX Awards at Limelight last week—the club was even allowed to serve booze back then—especially since the set list contained the very surreal sentence, “Rue McClanahan will present a special award to Junior Vasquez.” This actually wasn’t all that shocking, considering Rue has been hosting something called Faggot Feud at a Chelsea bar named Blu. (What next—Estelle Getty at the Manhole?) Alas, Rue didn’t make it to Limelight—she’d never confirmed—but Junior did, announcing that, with Twilo shuttered, he’ll next spin at Exit rather than enter unemployment. (The girl who plays the lesbian on All My Children showed too, but she got carved up by the drag hosts, who deadpanned, “Wow, she’s thin and can read a prompter.”)
The city’s high-cultural landscape might not be providing tons of work these days—it’s off-season—but it’s hitting with its best shot. Off Broadway, tick . . . tick . . . BOOM! proves that Jonathan Larson was a cranky, self-possessed nightmare, but one whose angsty talent makes this minor bauble brim with poignancy. What a sweet little flat-chested beauty of a show! And the late legends keep on coming. At a gala screening for the gushy Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, I asked the director’s widow, Christiane Kubrick, about the nuclear bomb known as Eyes Wide Shut. “It was hugely successful in southern Europe and Japan,” she insisted. So am I—but why did the film fail in America, pray tell? “It was badly advertised,” said Christiane, “but Stanley couldn’t stop it. He was dead already.” I hate when that happens.
In the land of more upbeat promotional possibilities, I hear that author Tama Janowitz will be on the cover of Modern Ferret magazine with her pets, as photographed by Todd Oldham. Anyone for the back cover of Contemporary Gerbil?
Monkey talk dominated Paper‘s Tribeca Grand party for sultry Planet of the Apes costar Lisa Marie. The model-turned-actress told me that the movie’s simian costumes transformed the cast so dramatically that “when I looked at Tim Roth, I couldn’t see Tim in there.” (Maybe if you handed him a banana?) Interestingly, Randy Harrison, who plays the lovestruck twinkie in search of Brian’s banana on Queer as Folk, was standing nearby, talking about how peeling off his costume in the show’s King of Babylon contest episode utterly unnerved him. “The sex scenes are fine,” he told me, “but to get up there and strip for 40 extras was humiliating. It was so hard for me to fake that kind of confidence.” Honey, try dressing up like a giant vagina.
I stripped down to my real fake personality for the American Fashion Awards, where the apex—not just of this event, but of the history of mankind—was Diana Ross presenting an award to Bob Mackie by flicking back her extensions, spinning around like a sequined dreidel, and cooing, “Fashion and glamour have been my life.” We know, dear, we know.
Those other disco survivors, the Village People, may be a tad unfashionable these days, but they’re still carrying on like macho men. The sextet’s Native American character, Felipe Rose, got his feathers ruffled when cable host Barry Z asked him why the group calls itself the Village People. Prickly Rose seemed half bemused and half horrified, snarling, “I’m not going to tell you. . . . Don’t ask me these questions again!” Fine, as long as you don’t sing “Y.M.C.A.” again!
Fuming, but not to a dance beat, the Ramseys are suing Court TV for implying that their son is a suspect in the murder of little JonBenet. They certainly have an airtight case: “How the fuck dare you! We did it!” (Kidding, of course—oh so kidding.)
And what of the hazardous Phil Bronstein, Sharon Stone‘s hubby, who was recently bitten by a Komodo dragon at the zoo? Why did he have to get shots? He already got them when he married Sharon Stone!
And who is divorcé Tom Cruise zoo-hopping with these days? He was recently reported to have been seen with Patricia Arquette, only to have various publicists insist it was a case of mistaken identity. But the person who first spotted them insists to me that it was indeed Tom and Patricia, not their lookalikes (which would be who—Kyle Bradford and Alexis Arquette?).
Finally, Jackie Collins swept into town to chomp on some photo ops and tell me about things penile (“Hillary should have done a Lorena Bobbitt, then shredded it”) and otherwise (“I turned down the chance to be in The Vagina Monologues. I didn’t think I could climax in 20 different languages”). I can—so please pardon me while I down a Black Russian. Named Sergei.