Linda Simpson’s My Comrade magazine benefit at the Ukrainian National Home was a rivetingly kitschy nutfest, especially if you wandered into the Petit Versailles tent, where two guys dressed as Jesus were blowing the steaming pierogies, as it were, of anyone who unzipped. “I don’t get it,” I blurted, awestruck yet confused as to what kind of party this was. “They’re exhibitionists,” responded someone with a “duh” expression on his face.
I ran, crying, off to Splash to present an honor at Cherry Jubilee‘s Glammy awards for drag excellence, where they were all intellectually immersed in the art of the blowjob, as it turned out. Sweetie, who won best lip-synch artist, touchingly told the crowd, “When I’m sucking cock, I’m also practicing my lip-synching!” Lady Bunny won something, but didn’t show, so presenter Ariel Sinclair cracked, “She’s stuck in a 14-year-old.” And Sherry Vine—who co-hosted with Shasta Cola—was stuck on the fact that the GLAAD awards seemed to honor gay-friendly straight stars, “but this show is for fags, dykes, trannies, and cross-dressers!” They’re exhibitionists! (PS: They’re also complete cunts. While I was onstage, someone in the dressing room poured about a pound of sugar into my bag. At least it tasted like sugar.)
On Fridays at Mr. Black, the gays start getting aroused merely on entering; it’s a Pavlovian response to recognizing the doorgirl, wacky Irene, from all those years at the Cock. And there are other offbeat arousals there. My last time around, a guy approached me to ask if Alexis Arquette should get his dick chopped off. “No way—it’s so big,” I shrieked, joking. “I know,” he replied. “I dated him!” Well, it must have been celebrity fallout night, because another young gentleman later approached me to say he dated [famous person], “and he liked to lick ass. He always had bad breath.” Dramatic pause. “Maybe because he liked to lick ass.”
But let’s stop kissing ass and start wondering why Kinky Boots‘ (admittedly minimal) advertising campaign has played down the gender angle as squeamishly as the Transamerica DVD cover. It reminds me of the Brokeback Mountain spots that almost made it look like the straightest love story ever told. And speaking of straight love stories, I do adore the campaign for Silent Hill, mainly because it’s allowed so many pervs to change the bus shelter posters into wanky commentaries about Katie Holmes‘s “silent birth.” (By the way, Katie might not have screamed when Suri with the fringe on top was born, but I know I did.)
Another crash-landing epic, United 93, is silent about the heroic Mark Bingham being gay, but I’ll wait to see it before I decide if that’s a willful omission or a lousy mistake.
My life on the Bee list
That flick’s more uplifting box office competitor, the spelling movie Akeelah and the Bee, is produced by people named Sid and Nancy Ganis, but they’re so not punk and suicidal. In fact, at a special screening, the perfectly coherent and well-groomed couple assured us that Akeelah is a terrific “family film,” as I started getting a tiny bit n-e-r-v-o-u-s and wetting my pants. Well, sure enough, it’s formulaic and corny, complete with the Billy Elliot–style parent who has to be won over by the kid’s talent, but by time they were spelling pulchritude, I was a sobbing mess.
And it’s pulchritudinous to see Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne reunited a million years after What’s Love Got to Do With It? The Ganises told me that was no coincidence; Fishburne requested Bassett, having loved working with her, and that’s super-sweet, though I kept expecting him to bash her face in.
At my table, omnipresent celebrity lawyer Mickey Sherman refrained from punching me out when I asked for his secrets to TV-commentator glory. “The key,” he said, “is being able to start and finish a thought in 14 seconds, before being interrupted by a screaming female prosecutor. Look straight at the camera, don’t drool, and know that the moment you’re sitting there, your mic is hot. Once, during O.J., I was on a show with Mike Walker from the Enquirer, and we argued. They cut to a commercial and I said, ‘Is he a fucking asshole or what?’ Walker [who was being beamed in from elsewhere] heard it and said, ‘I don’t appreciate that.’ ” How do you spell tense moment?
That kind of conflict is always welcome in reality shows and even more so in speculation about them. Like: Now that Ivana Trump‘s doing Ivana Young Man, should Melania Trump launch the inevitable answer show, Ivana Old Man?
A cut above (though she had a cut below), Amanda Lepore is striving to launch her own reality series, and at one of those crazed Tuesday nights at Happy Valley, I asked her if it will be similar to Anna Nicole Smith‘s. “No,” she cooed. “I’m already thin.”
It’s Weill all right
On Broadway, reality has filtered in, but in a deeply artifical way that adds excess poundage to the proceedings. At first, I was excited by the Threepenny Opera revival because it seemed almost like a drag awards show at Splash. But like this column, the production anxiously tries on anything for size: bisexuality, coke, subtitles, modern dress, sing-alongs, house lights going on in the middle of a song, a gay marriage joke, New Yawk accents, belching, and everything but getting stuck in a 14-year-old. It’s the Spamalot approach to Weill, and it’s also the Pajama Game approach in that loud weirdies (normally my favorite type of people, but not all at once) make up most of the cast. And things are even more spelled out than usual. Lucy, for example, is played by a man in drag, and if you don’t get that, he lifts up his skirt and flashes his pierogi. Ana Gasteyer puts the ill in shrill—though she’s talented, she sledgehammers every syllable—but Nellie McKay is sweetly affecting, Jim Dale is an old pro with the right vaudeville moves, and Alan Cumming works his haunting heinie off. By the end, the piece’s power can’t help but surface through the gimmicks.
Another anti-capitalist tract getting a pricey revival, Awake and Sing reads like a Jewish Raisin in the Sun, and the new production treats it as such, with a loving if not always transcendent result. Some of the actors shine, while others seem to have stepped right out of Turner Movie Classics—but at least the open ing-night audience was awake and singing its praises. “I’m enjoying it so much!” gushed Light in the Piazza‘s Victoria Clark , who’s apparently never had a dark moment. (By the way, while Threepenny breaks through the fourth wall to slam you over the head, the Awake set has no walls by the end. This trend has to stop, or Wal-Mart will go out of business.)
A wet set is the basis for Three Days of Rain, which the kids on the message boards call Three Hours of Pain, one noting that Julia Roberts can’t even get the Southern accent right—”and she’s from Georgia!” But of course they—and the critics—are indulging in a bit of that insider snobbery that automatically derides slumming movie stars. My Julia does fairly well in Act I, and she probably comes off remote and glacial because her character is remote and glacial, OK? But in Act II, where she gets to do more capital-A Acting, she sadly fails to convince, leaving you with the overwhelming sense that she’s a great movie star. At intermission, I heard people talking about the really important things: “She’s huge! She’s even taller than Cate Blanchett!” “She’s actually not that tall,” Tatum O’Neal assured me in another row. “She just looks tall. She’s so pretty!”
Hugh Panaro is awfully sweet looking as the lead in Aida, I mean I Bite Her, I mean Lestatic, I mean Lestat—the Elton John musical that’s way gayer than the Tom Cruise version and is generally not as rotten as some had hoped. It has some style and soaring melodies, though admittedly too many of them are showstoppers that stop the show for the wrong reason, and the lyrics tend to be overly explanatory (“The thirst—I feel it coming on”) or downright absurd (“See me, wolf killer!”) It’s brave that they show Lestat escaping a disaster in New Orleans. But a friend summed up the main problem with Lestat: “It spans 300 years, but it still seems slow!”
Well, I’m 301, but like Lestat, I adore fresh blood, so I’ll leave with a shout-out to the new kids on the club scene—Tre, Travis T, Kayvon, J.A.Y.Z.E.N., Miranda Moondust, and Eddie Sparks. (I’m starting to sound like the teacher on Romper Room.) I have no idea who they are or what they do—usually it’s promote, sometimes just themselves—but they always look flawless and carry on famously. Anyone have a breath mint?