HED: Pro Bono
By Tricia Romano
The Silicone People invaded last Friday’s 13th Annual MusiCares benefit honoring Bono. Girls with unnatural skin tones sashayed through the lobby of the Marriott Marquis wearing sparkly, beaded gowns and sporting terrible, mismatched hair extensions. Stars flooded the hotel, most of them gussied up like school kids in their Sunday best. But as I discovered, if you’re Jay-Z, “formal attire required” doesn’t apply; the rapper casually strolled in sporting hip-hop’s requisite baggy jeans. P. Diddy, a/k/a Puffy, a/k/a Mr. Daddy—whatever you wanna call him—wore his usual outlandish furs and got a shout-out from the man of the evening during the proceedings.
It’s not everyday that someone in the room is smaller than me who is not, you know, a three-year-old, so Dr. Ruth‘s presence was immediately noted. Mayor Mike Bloomberg, shorter and tanner in person, held court nearby. Spin gossip Marc “I’m a novelist now” Spitz threatened to light up in front of the anti-smoking fanatic. I offered money.
Bono, who veers from endearing to irritating in the span of a sentence, was introduced by former President Bill Clinton—who inexplicably gave David Bowie a hug before jumping onstage. Clinton received so many standing ovations I lost count. He’s such a naturally gifted speaker that he spoke without notes, telling funny tales of U2 trying to piggyback the Secret Service motorcade to get out of bad Chicago traffic. And he spoke highly of Bono, who despite his propensity to annoy the hell out of me is truly a humanitarian, working to eliminate third-world debt and fighting AIDS in Africa. A Nobel Peace Prize nomination says it all. Said Clinton of the honoree: “He did something I couldn’t do. He got Jesse Helms to support his cause.”
Amen to that.
After Bono accepted his award, the star-studded crowd milled about. Boxer Evander Holyfield posed for pictures with Sopranos star Steve Van Zandt, and Sheryl Crow cozied up with Dixie Chick Martie Seidel. There were so many celebrities that by the end of the night I was numb to their presence: Elvis Costello, Melissa Etheridge, Fred Durst, and The Edge were all in attendance. Yawn.
Of course it ain’t a real party unless Moby‘s there, right? Friends joked that we should throw several parties in wayward locations just to see if the professional party favor would show up. Bets were made that the techno star would be present, and of course, there he was, first damn row, front-and-center. Guess who won $10?
There’s nothing scarier than a pissed-off drag queen. Especially when the queen in question clears six feet in heels and happens to be Jackie Beat. Ms. Beat, the drag Queen of Mean, was back in town Sunday, February 16, to reprise her show Caught in the Act at Marion’s new cabaret space, the Marquee.
Before the main event, which was hosted by Murray Hill, Ms. Beat fretted over whether anyone would trudge through the blizzard (they did) and kvetched about the sound system, which was not up to her very high standards.
By show time she was like a dragon in its lair. “You didn’t come to see a diva freak-out, did you!?” she yelled at the audience, which included Fischerspooner‘s Casey Spooner, local performer extraordinaire Adam Dugas, and the lesbian punk rockers from Candy Ass.
Personally, I think they came hoping for a diva freak-out.
Ms. Beat gave up on the sound after a few songs, and began what she called the “Carol Burnett” portion of the program. She took questions about her weight—she has shed 160 pounds since she left New York for L.A. last year. “There is a rumor going around that I lost the weight sensibly, by eating right, and that is very damaging if you’re an underground artist like me.” She then implied that she lost it on the supermodel’s diet of caffeine, cocaine, and nicotine.
Later, Ms. Beat serenaded the audience with tongue-in-cheek ditties like “Bomb Iraq” and “From a Distance.” The former was set to A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran,” and contained lines like, “Bomb Iraq/There is no other way . . . ” (Try singing it—it’s really catchy.) She redid the sappy Bette Midler tune as a paean to overly-made-up drag queens, who only look good “from a distance.” Not like Ms. Beat, oh no. She looks fabulous from every angle.