Vodka Stinger and Tallulah De Bayous
Like a bar beamed in from another city—anywhere, USA—Pieces (8 Christopher Street) is my favorite, most reliably unreliable hangout in the world. With its cutely homespun decor (large crepe butterflies are currently stapled to the stage for spring) and utterly casual feel, the place is comfortably free of pretensions or aspirations, yet it has a slight edge that suggests something might happen, even when only five people are there and the bartender is joking that “We’re filled to capacity!” Eric Einstein, the manager, is a cute Elijah Wood’s daddy type, presiding over the battery of weird events with a bemused half-smile. And the events? On the third Monday of every month, fabulously sexy drag stars Vodka Stinger and Tallulah De Bayous put on an informal show called Too Ugly For TV, which last time around climaxed with them making Black Russians for the crowd (and, naturally, for themselves). On other nights, you’ll find Broadway know-it-all Vodka playing diehard theater-queen videos (the favorites are the ones with scarily talented Linda Eder and Julia Murney and of course the last number from Star!–the one that makes the last three turgid hours worthwhile). And on Thursdays you sticker a number to your chest and deflect notes written to you from all the other numbers. (Last time, my friend and I were targeted by a very weird man with a roving hand and a face I seem to remember from a post office poster. Still, we considered it.)
Is it Studio 54? No, but it’s a place where you can stir up some fun if you’ve got the energy—and even the karaoke nights aren’t that repellent, star quality radiating from every skinny boy and fat fag hag. And they even still have a pay phone! Some of the old regulars are gone—Delano seems to be hanging more at the Gym Bar these days—but you’ll still run into the house geezer (“Cryptie”) and the local dork (“Ed Grimley”), among other pieces of stray human furniture. Do I go to Pieces too much? Hey, that’s between me and my therapist.