No, not the three times I was with my boo.
I’ve never had a boyfriend for more than two and a half weeks.
I’m talking about the incidents–seared inexorably into my memory–when an audience turned on me and started jeering me off the stage.
Let me relive the horror by recounting them for you in detail:
*A 1990s revival of The Bad Seed in that conflicted home of political correctness, San Francisco.
A crowd had come to see the movie about a demonic killer child, all dressed up in drag and thrilling to the film’s twisted turns and sick bits of campy dialogue. But when I interviewed the film’s ex child star Patty McCormack onstage, they got anxious. At one point, I asked McCormack how JonBenet Ramsey‘s awful situation reflected on her own experiences, and how Patty had managed to avoid the dark side of kiddie stardom. It was something we had discussed over dinner the night before, and Patty had approved it as a topic! But the audience started booing, feeling it exploitive, cheap, and dreadfully incorrect. At a Bad Seed revival where they were cheering the character’s hilarious killings! Ugh. I’m staying in New York.
*The Lambda Literary Awards, sometime in the aughts.
I sat through the long awards dinner, waiting literally three hours to get up and present an award, as I’d promised to do. I nobly sat through speech after speech, and finally got up and do my thing, anxious to sparkle already. By then, the audience was about 20% sparser than it had been, because some of them simply couldn’t take one more speechifying moment. But those who were left apparently still had some fire in them. When I approached the mic, I innocently started with, “Hey, guys.” Well, as if hit in the groin by a crowbar, the crowd impulsively started yelling “boo” and drowned out the rest of my remarks! I was stunned, not realizing that you’re not supposed to say “guys” because it’s patriarchy-centered and demeaning to women, etc, etc. Gee, sorry, guys…I mean folks. I didn’t realize that one slip of the tongue negated my entire career.
*The Miss Lez contest at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, earlier this year.
My first remarks into the mic had to do with how my fellow judges were a retarded bunch. I meant it in the post-modern, word-deflating, ironic tone that I thought had become popular among hipsters. Wrong. “Boo! Boo!” they yelled. “Shut up,” I screeched. “All right, mentally challenged.”
Actually, I just remembered a fourth time: The Miss Lez pageant before that! I asked a contestant a question about “consensual incest,” as described in a celebrity memoir. “Boo! Boo!” Oh, fuck you, retards, I mean guys, I mean….
Ugh. Crawling under a rock now.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 18, 2012