The third annual Tom of Finland Foundation Erotic Art Fair was a three-day phallic celebration, from a barbecue at the Eagle, where hot dogs were gleefully grilled, to an LGBT Center symposium on “Does It Have To Be Big to Be Sexy?” (That must have been a quickie: “Yes! Good night.”) But the weekend’s centerpiece was a benefit art sale, where you reached into your pocket to push back your business and pull out some dough for dildos. Consumers ogled their way through paintings of lickable penis stamps, très-gay holiday cards that said “I’m creaming of a white Christmas,” and a stud handing out flyers for a new lube called Boy Butter (“Try spreading some into your tight agenda today!”). In a far corner, nude models were available to be drawn (if not quartered), but instead I went home happy with all my new products—and honey, I can’t believe it’s not butter!
Buttering up a girl, Metrosource magazine’s gay pride issue has an interesting if vague interview with butch comic Paula Poundstone, pretty much wondering “Does it have to be out to be sexy?” Asked if she’s a gay single parent, Paula says, “I’m a happy single parent. The last time I even experimented with sex with anyone was probably 15 years ago.” Was one of her experiments with a woman, perchance? “Yes,” she replies. “But I have to say so far, neither team has claimed me.” How interesting if vague—and adding to that, the child abuse issues are still off-limits!
Moving on to people who wear the “opposite” sex’s clothes with more commitment, the same mag has a more specific editorial by Drew Limsky arguing that the transgendered should not be attached to the queer community because transsexuality “is not about orientation, but about gender.” (Maybe someone at Stonewall should have shooed them away.) On reading this, three performers from Lips—which is mentioned in the piece—brought their Metrosources back to the mag’s office and protested so hard their titties swelled.
My ego puffed up at the Meatpacking District store Jeffrey, where I became fixated on an interesting woman—yes, woman—only to have her lower her designer sunglasses and peer right back at me. She recognized me from her E! True Hollywood Story. I recognized her because she’s Lisa Marie Presley! Astoundingly accessible (as opposed to most stars, who run from the press unless there are nipple clamps around), Lisa Marie actually stopped and had a conversation. “TV’s weird,” she said about her VH1 Divas Duets appearance—then she raised up the shades and went back to her unique lifestyle.
As for my own unique lifestyle (you know, journalism), the weeding out of Jayson Blair—which the media loved so much because he got caught, but they didn’t—has done much good for the world’s tight agenda. In fact, it’s spawned a healthy housecleaning movement in fine publications everywhere—and you can fact-check that. In the post-Blair era, columns by committee suddenly acknowledge more than one author, and when writers’ mistakes come to light, they seem way more genteel about it. (You know, “Thank you, readers, for so thoughtfully pointing out my error.”) Unless I’m mistaken.
But I’m quite sure my lifestyle got me into last week’s tasting at Rocco DiSpirito‘s new place, Rocco’s, which—since it was filmed for an NBC reality show called The Restaurant—became much more about sound bites than food bites. Everyone was chewing with their mouths closed, then coming alive for the cameras, hoping to become as famous for ordering spaghetti carbonara as other reality show stars have for being force-fed worms and buffalo testicles.
Sitting by me, avant-rock poseur René Risqué looked around at the spectacle of media types seeking each other’s glare and said, “And I thought I had a big ego. Kidding.” Rocco swung by the table, saw that Risqué was in a honey-blond wig, and bizarrely commented, “What are you, a fag?” Kidding? The super-chef then noticed that the cameras were on him, so he did a complete turnaround, jumping on Risqué and kissing him smack on the mouth. (That was more like it. I love a chef serving tongue.) In between all the close-ups and chomp-downs—by the way, I’ll never be able to eat again unless I’m being filmed—everyone else’s conversations veered from Richard Chamberlain (too late, baby) to Hillary (liar, liar, village on fire).
But all I could think of was how much I love Broadway, where a Billy Joel modern dance show is considered wildly innovative (and crazily, it sort of is), but also where the gays and fatties are the normal people and skinny straights have to pay to get in! The whole Tony awards setup, though, needs even more experimentation than Paula Poundstone. This year there should have really only been two Best Play nominees and two Best Musicals, and—on the flip side—there could easily have been seven dramatic actresses and 11 featured actresses in a musical. (But who’s counting?) Alas, because of the set number of nominees in each category, some caca got put in and some genius got left out. Change it!
But the Tony show was slick, glorious fun—a bouncy tribute to Hairspray, which is gay camp for straight people, straight camp for gay people, and a living ad for both interracial love and full-bodied hair. You have to worship any musical that makes a star of a 4-11 chubby Jewish girl—and I mean Harvey Fierstein!
On the telecast, Marc Shaiman declaring his eternal love to partner Scott Wittman was as gorgeous as Hairspray itself, setting the evening’s giddy gay-prom tone. (Later, Take Me Out winner Denis O’Hare gushed, “It’s gay night! Even Frog and Toad—what’s that about?” By the way, Take Me Out is about America’s open-mouthed reaction to out gays. So were the Tonys.) The most poignant moment had the frenetic dance number from Hairspray giving way to Christopher Reeve wheeling on. (“I wouldn’t be much good directing a musical,” Reeve told us afterward.) And I loved Bernadette Peters pulling a jaw-droppingly brilliant performance out of her ass like she apparently did when Ben Brantley came. (The next night, I bet, she coughed.)
Backstage, all the people who came back to theater when their more mainstream projects flopped carried on about how thrilled they are to be part of the Broadway community. But our hero, Fierstein, was there, cracking about Hairspray‘s creation, “What do you get when you put seven gay men in a room? A musical!” (On that, I swear, he slipped co-star Marissa Jaret Winokur a chocolate. She looked even more excited than when she got the trophy.) Billy Joel’s advice to up-and-comers? “Go to rehab. It spices up your life a lot.” “I’m a schmuck,” moaned Best Actor Brian Dennehy. “I forgot to thank Vanessa Redgrave!” But featured actress Michele Pawk remembered to thank someone “for lifting my face,” so a reporter said, “I’ve never heard a thank-you for a surgeon.” “I meant my makeup!” squawked Pawk.
Wait, before you shower me with bravos, one more thing: Spa just reopened as Plaid—joining other tinty clubs like Red and Beige—and though plaid is my favorite color, I was glad to see none of it there. (I adore irony.) The place—a sort of patterned rock-and-rollish parlor—looked good, and so did the crowd, but then again I liked the Limelight renovation. And now I’m off to do some much needed powder—I meant my makeup!
SPECIAL TO THE WEB: Those Tony-winning Hairspray boys, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, have just announced their next project. They’re working with Steven Spielberg on a musical stage version of Catch Me If You Can! Leonardo‘s probably taking singing lessons as we speak.