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The first Sunday gay night at Estate a few weeks ago was a monster hit, the queens taking to the renovated space like rats to Ecstasy. Honey, if business keeps up like this, with coat check alone costing $3, the Estate owners are going to become serious estate owners. Looking down from one of the V.I.P. boxes at the sea of shirtless bodies (with my coat in my hand) was the night’s prime entertainment, especially since the circular grid of hydraulically rising and lowering lights twirled around like a gay Christmas tree. Sometimes the whole place looked strobed and dotted, other times a handful of lucky people were spotlighted and the rest of the room was sexily dark, all as Victor Calderone‘s trancey music pounded you into a trancey dancey. If it was all a little déjà vu, it wasn’t because of the old Limelight echoes, it was because the crowd had done the very same thing the night before at Roxy.
But here’s a saucy sidebar: As you know, insiders claim that Exit’s David Marvisi is the real Estate owner, not John Blair. Well, clarifying things, Blair just told HX magazine, “David Marvisi is our landlord, but he’s not a partner [of mine]. . . . I have full control.” But Marvisi’s the landlord!
Anyway—calm down—the older, sit-down bunch thrives on nostalgia that’s more than a day old, so upstairs at Supper Club they’ve created the King Kong Room, a more softly lit throwback to the ’30s era of simians and skyscrapers. But we went apeshit on opening night when blues singer Sandra Reeves-Phillips belted lyrics like “My King Kong rocks me with a steady roll” as cable host Barry Z asked a guy in a gorilla suit, “How big’s your banana?” Gigantic, it turned out, but still not quite big enough.
Primates and my mates filled the eighth anniversary bash for those legendary Wednesday “Pork” nights at the Lure, the event promising a “carnal carnival of sideshow sleaze” and a really big fruit bowl. The place revels in a wonderful sort of reverse body fascism whereby you’re apparently not welcome unless you’re really out of shape. Paunchy posers in harnesses abound, along with every other type of human form (including some real cuties), the result being refreshingly un-ageist and diverse, though even the trolls stare you down defiantly as if to say, “Lick my shoes or get out!” A living testament to the other white meat, Pork provides a wonderland of one-stop slopping. Dragging my saggy ass around the place, I passed the penis-art-studded “Freak Alley,” the in-house s&m boutique, which sells stocking stuffers like anal douches and ben-wa balls, and the tarot card reader in the corner, who’ll tell you whether you deserve a hand—up your ass. No, spank you!
But back to swanking, nostalgia’s hit the live stages too, as a punishment to anyone looking for new material. Our Town is a mixed-bag production of that misty-eyed old slice of American pie, and Paul Newman‘s wonderful presence in it reminds us that in 40 years, Ryan Phillippe, Brad Pitt, and Vin Diesel will all be doing productions of Our Town.
Another weepy warhorse, Man of La Mancha, is back—again—and it’s not as painful as I’d remembered, the 17 times they do “The Impossible Dream” surprisingly effective (though I still pictured the tune being picked up for a toothpaste commercial—”This is my Crest . . . “). The plot has Cervantes pretending to be an old coot who pretends to be Don Quixote, who’s in love with a whore, played by a fellow prison inmate, who he thinks is a lady, and who says stuff like “The world is a dung heap and we are the maggots that crawl on it.” Got it? It’s a regular soap opera, which makes sense because, in the audience, Sylvia Miles and Ilene Kristen told me they’re playing mother and daughter on One Life to Live. “And I walk to work!” Sylvia added.
And now, we interrupt this column for a random harvest of giddy gossip news, and if you don’t listen, I’ll throw ketchup on your harness. Noted portrait photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders—who shot Monica Lewinsky‘s memoir cover—is working on Porn Stars, a book featuring 50 top adult entertainers, spanning male and female, straight and gay, clothed and nude. It’ll look great on my coffee table, in lieu of an actual porn star . . . Fashionista Lauren Ezersky‘s heading to the altar, in a fabulous gown . . . Another connubial broad, J.Lo, is really moving things forward by playing a Hispanic maid. Gee, come see my next movie, Florist in Manhattan . . . An editor in Manhattan—ex-New York and Talk whiz Maer Roshan—just gave me an idea of what his eagerly awaited magazine, Radar, will be like. Said Roshan, “It’ll be Spy meets Vanity Fair meets Harper’s—with a pinch of the Enquirer thrown in for good taste!”
My own radar noted that the same New York Observer issue that pointed out a gaffe in the cover logo of The New Yorker (they left out the “The” in some of the print run) had a two-weeks-old pull quote from producer Christine Vachon in the middle of a story about Al Gore. I lerve it!
I also adored seeing Liza Minnelli and David Gest trying to rehabilitate their image, among other things, by serving food at the Rescue Mission, replete with a press advisory for camera crews. But I sort of wish their homeless victims had said, “We can feed ourselves, lady. Get your cynical ass out of here!” Then they could have said something to Liza!
A more fascinating genderpalooza is the one being forged by trannie-prostie-turned-acclaimed-writer J.T. Leroy. As Page Six reported, XXX co-star Asia Argento is preggers with Leroy’s baby, prompting me to ask the scribe how Speedy (Leroy’s girlfriend) and Astor (their mutual boyfriend) are taking this development. “They’re fine with the news,” Leroy said. “In fact, Speedy, Astor, and my son [Thor] are staying in Asia’s home in L.A. when they go check out Billy Corgan‘s new band, Zwan. Billy and Stephan Jenkins will be the baby’s godfathers and Tatum O’Neal will be the godmother on my side of the family.” And afterward they’ll all marry Lisa Marie Presley!
Alone and harnessed, I caught the Chicago screening last week—you’d have to be a maggot crawling on a dung heap not to love it—and afterward, Illeana Douglas told me Richard Gere should get the honorary Don Ameche “Did he do his own tap dancing?” Oscar. I hear he did, he did—and he should, he should!
I even went to the Lord of the Rings II premiere—it’s a hard Hobbit to break—and asked Sean Astin if his character’s as madly in love with Frodo (Elijah Wood) as he seems. “He is in love,” Sean said, “but it’s a love bond between two males without the injection of eros.” Sort of like me and my boyfriend, I suggested. “You have to get him drunker,” said Sean.
After cutely noting that he “gleaned that homosexuality and cinema interest you,” the actor introduced me to some guy who’d made a movie about a gay hustler. I craftily brushed him away and steered the talk back to Sean’s mom, Patty Duke, who’s going into Oklahoma!, making me desperate to tell her, “So you come crawling back to Broadway!” (a line from her camp classic Valley of the Dolls—the ultimate in gay cinema). “That would give her a laugh,” admitted Sean. And then I took off the harness and headed back to the highway. I can walk to work!
SPECIAL TO THE WEB: Spider-Man‘s Kirsten Dunst has attracted a whole new man into her wanton web—Jake Gyllenhaal. The two were seen making nice at Bubby’s the other night!
ONE MORE THING: Derek Jacobi has never publicly come out, but his fellow British thesp, Sir Ian McKellen, just took care of that. On Inside the Actors Studio, Sir Ian revealed that he once had a massive crush on Derek, who later told Ian he’d been hot for him too. They were certainly the right age for each other—young!