Last weekend, right after hightailing it out of Phyllis Diller's home/art gallery, my starfucker pack and I drove over to CBS Studios, where Brian had gotten us in for a taping of Hot in Cleveland. (Here's how Valerie Bertinelli describes such an outing. Here's a photo album.) This is a show that has steadily grown on me; I think it's got sharp barbs and superb talent, enough to make it a pleasure to watch even when it's having an off episode.
We arrived on time (somehow) and quickly discovered Brian's photo op with Betty White (which he'd earned by virtue of an encounter with Ms. White at a signing and a subsequent correspondence with her assistant, one that generously included a donation to her foundation) was going to mean he'd sit apart from us so he could be escorted to a meet-and-greet with Betty after. I wasn't too crushed as I've met her twice and already have an astoundingly great pic-with co-starring Ms. White, but Rich and especially Don were hoping Brian would be able to spread some of his down home fairydust on the situation.
I hired my sweet pal Brad as my videographer and met him at the Westin Bonaventure just in time to check in and take our places. I kind of hate how the carpet was set up—the guests were allowed to congregate behind us to stargaze, which was distracting. But it was nothing compared to the women two spots down from me whose entire goal was to flash a huge "FREE GAY HUGS!" sign and video themselves receiving said hugs from roughly two-thirds of the celebrities who walked. (And I thought I was lame with my aggressive pic-with requests!) They were so damn loud! Luckily, they didn't ruin any of my interviews, but only by sheer luck.
Brad's mic needed batteries (he's blond; sorry, Brad) so I wound up videoing my own first chat, with Jennifer Tyrrell. She's the lesbian mom recently booted as a den mother by the virulently homophobic Boy Scouts of America. Smart woman and immediately likable. Unreal that they're getting away with that crap. I was a cub scout (I bailed on Webelos mainly because...what the fuck is a Webelo???) and fondly remember my Pinewood Derby racing days as well as the hillbilly band we assembled for a talent night. Not to mention the father/son cook-off, in which my father and I had a well-appreciated coconut cream pie. But still, fuck the Scouts.
My first stars were Angela Featherstone (STUH-nning, but my campadre confessed she had been an ice queen on a recent shoot) and Michelle Paradise of Exes & Ohs. No Megan Cavanagh, but they were delightful.
Next, I snagged Grant Gustin of Glee. I don't really follow the show, but no one that cute is getting past me without a third degree. He's adorable and quite articulate, even if he refers to gay people as "homosexuals," which totally didn't offend me because he was totally doing it to sound smart, not homophobic. I had a homosexual crush on various parts of him.
Max Adler from the same show was equally adorable and charming. He's passionate about his role, even though it came as a total shocker that his bullying character would be written as a late-blooming man-lover.
It's been a crazy week filled with the stress of packing up and moving my office of 12.5 years from Times Square to the southernmost tip of Manhattan, so I've had zero time to write about my most star-soaked weekend ever.
Meeting up, just for laughs
The trip started Friday with a visit to the home of Phyllis Diller. At 94, Phyllis no longer paints, but she still helps sell her inventory of original works, which includes everything from massive $10,000 canvasses to sketches on newspaper to prints. I met up with my starfucker buddies Brian, Don and Rich and we were welcomed into Ms. Diller's lovely Brentwood home by her caretaker and assistants.
Creations of a pretty lady
First up, we were shown her Bob Hope sitting room, complete with a bust of the man. It looked like the room children wouldn't be allowed into. The rest of her crib is homey and tasteful, with scads of Diller originals hanging all over the place, complete with price tags.
After having posted about my Madonna meeting and pic-with, I thought I'd put some distance between that and this post—my wrap-up of the entire Truth or Dare fragrance event—to spare those Boy Culture readers who aren't Madonnaphiles.
I arrived around 5:45PM armed with my wristband but knowing I may not have to use it—I'd been cleared for the press line, and all media would be checking in at the same time as the party guests.
Attendees (including many friends, like Anthony, Angel, Jeannie and more) were lined up facing east at the side of Macy's and press and photographers were clotted around the entrance to the tent area right out front. Photographers are a motley crew (not the band).
"Who's gonna be here?"
Some girls...the mostly helpful PR brigade
I had one skanky woman turn and say, "Are you press? Yes? Oh, if you weren't I was going to say to back up." Then, a minute later, she turned to say, "No, seriously—back up." (We were all jammed together and I was in no way on top of her.)
As I state below, tomorrow I'll have a full report on the outside and inside of Madonna's Truth or Dare fragrance launch at Macy's. But first things first—here is THE picture! I could not be happier with it.
I have asked Madonna's publicist—the wonderful Liz Rosenberg—for a photo op on a few occasions. She's known about me since Encyclopedia Madonnica, has kindly referred MTV and others to me when they were in need of a "Madonna expert" and has been an all-around doll. But it's never been the right moment. Feeling this could be my last chance for a long time (rehearsals, touring), I tried again and she "promised to try" (and it didn't "feel like a lie"). All I had to do was hang out on the carpet.
I love this shot—Liz looks like my guardian angel
When it came time, Madonna approached and I shook her hand and said it was nice to see her again. The photographer was directing her to stand on my left. Remember that I was behind the barricade up to my waist with bright lights behind me. Madonna didn't skip a beat, saying, "Not in that light." My heart sank—I thought she might be about to nix the whole thing, which would have been crushing since I could see how happy she'd been during all her previous carpet interviews. The photographer tried to say it was good light (he could flash it out) but she said playfully (but seriously), "I'm not stupid."
Then she said the words any Madonna fan longs to hear: "No, you come to me."
Went with my friend Jason to see Gore Vidal's The Best Man last night ($74 is half off?) and sat in the front row. It's a really solid, smart, droll play about Machiavellian politics at a hotly contested nominating convention that's stuck between a boring, possibly mentally imbalanced, liberal statesman (John Larroquette) and a slick, populist, conservative operator (Eric McCormack).
The argument for and against each is alive today with President Obama's "evolution" on marriage equality heating up the blogs and with McCormack's uncanny John Edwards impersonation.