Bar d’O was a gay-drenched downtown restaurant which lit up the ’90s with a live, intimate cabaret show that was racy, soulful, and right up on your plate.
The place closed, but fortunately it never really went away. For eight years, Indochine has been hosting Bar d’O reunion shows, and the one last night was so hot it put the “oh” back in Bar d’O.
I saw two of the three sets and can report that Sherry Vine belted “Burlesque” (even doing a taste of Cher), and offered hilarious satirical songs about water sports, Grindr, and Joe Manganiello.
Flotilla DeBarge seemed to be channeling a cross between Nell Carter and Eartha Kitt as she gaily improvised through Motown classics and Christmas chestnuts. When the lights accidentally went out at one point, Flo yelled, “Is this because I’m black? Start the song again! I’ve got Al Sharpton on speed dial!”
And Joey Arias performed his incredible song stylings, really topping himself on “Love For Sale”.
He introduced the song by sardonically saying that Cole Porter would often go to the gay trucks and meet all kinds of servicemen, then would limp home to his ritzy digs, having been beaten up by them (though Porter always claimed he was in a horse accident).
Joey then dove into the sultry number, bringing up a stud from the audience who gladly stripped down to his underwear as Joey inserted his microphone, head faced down, into the guy’s undies. Joey then knelt and boldly sang the rest of “Love For Sale” into the guy’s crotch. It was magical. The stud’s love pipe looked capable of a whole new horse accident.
Joey even offered me gossip onstage:
“Michael,” he stage-whispered, “I was at Westgay the other night and Kirsten Dunst was dancing with her tits out!” I know. I was there too!
By the way, two other legends need to be noted:
The whole show was a tribute to Sade Pendarvis, one of the fab Bar d’O stars who died this year.
And in the crowd was Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes, who came over to my table and said hello. I almost plotzed! I adore her! Having worked with Diana Ross (who played Billie Holiday), could Mary duet with the real Billie Holiday–a/k/a Joey Arias?
If that love was for sale, I’d pay top prices.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 24, 2012