31 posts categorized "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY, THE"
Eighteen-year-old Kevin Michael Barba is a reality show waiting to happen. He was introduced to the culture via a deliciously catty Gawker item lampooning a letter written on his behalf seeking help in securing a publicist. His goal? To be an out gay role model to teens, a human It Gets Better—even if his privileged upbringing makes him one of those rare It Was Never That Bad To Begin Withs.
Like any good member of the proletariat, I figured he might be a male Paris Hilton and scoffed at his naked desire to be famous. But I was curious, and after some Facebooking, I met with him for lunch at Blue Fin in Times Square. And lo and behold, I found him way more likable than his assistant's letter betrayed—yes, in spite of the fact that he's less than half my age and has an assistant in the first place. In person, he comes across as downright earnest, hoping to do good and at the same time wondering aloud how so many Gawker squawkers could liken his haircut to Justin Bieber's. ("Old people only have one point of reference for 18-year-olds?" I offered.)
He's also self-aware enough to note that while he hopes to inspire others, he'd also like to earn a Mazel of the Week nod from Andy Cohen someday. His role models sound like ingredients in the image he hopes to convey—Cohen, Jackie O, Bethenny Frankel.
Lest you think I'm just cozying up to him on the off chance he could be persuaded to pay for my first tummy tuck, I paid for lunch over his strident objections. I wanted to preserve my journalistic integrity. So keep an open mind and have a look at how he responded to all my questions—if you watch to the end, you might even get a chic Countess LuAnn de Lesseps reference...
"Countess" Luann de Lesseps is disgusting and useless, so this song/video for "Chic C'est La Vie" are a good match. How grotesque is it that it reminds me of Madonna's "Celebration" (and makes that fun, forgettable track sound like Lennon/McCartney)?
This isn't even giggly camp, it's just cynically bad. If you like this, you're an idiot and be gone with you...!
Submitted without comment: Hollywood Houseboys. No, I do have a comment—I can't make the time to watch this because I will become addicted.
I just returned, with my at-gunpoint cameraman José, from the 25th annual Night of a Thousand Gowns, a benefit thrown by the Imperial Court of New York to honor LGBT activist David Mixner and Princess Boy author Cheryl Kilodavis that raises cash for the Trevor Project and the Ali Forney Center.
As you know, I have done drag—I made a right camp Sam Fox. However, the Imperial Court is not bullshitting around when it comes to drag. They're a serious (and seriously regimented) org; camp was in short supply even if half the sequins on the East Coast were in the Marriott with me.
We arrived to find a larger-than-expected area for the press line. However, as guests began arriving—I'm not sure why some queens did the photo call and others didn't—it was apparent that NO print press showed up and very few online outlets, leaving me as the first person on the line. It was awkward, so we just began grabbing interviews where we could, either as attendees arrived or after they'd posed for the photographers. I was especially interested in (my new pal) Ally Sheedy, Honeymooners legend Joyce Randolph (who later received an award for which she was asked to kneel—not cool to ask of someone cruising toward 90, girls) and Carson Kressley...so of course not one of them did the carpet. Still, the people who did were quite diverse and easy to grab and I was able to chat with Joe of Joe.My.God. and more formally meet Mr. Broadway, Michael Cusumano.
I was most excited to meet and chat briefly with Bill Cunningham, the legendary octogenarian fashion shooter for The New York Times. A new documentary on him (Bill Cunningham New York) is getting lots of good press, something he seemed a bit shy about when I mentioned it. "I haven't seen it," he told me, "but I understand the filmmakers deserve a lot of praise." He remembered my name when thanking me. It was fascinating to watch him work the line; so many of the queens had no idea who he was and seemed bemused when he would hand them a pad to write down their names. (This old-school method is fail-safe, though, if you want to avoid being Miss Identified.)
Mike Ruiz of The A-List: New York and his partner Martin Berusch are supernice and supersexy each time I meet them. Ruiz noted that two more A-Listers are on the way for season two—and that the show was seeking supervillains. Super!
I grabbed Dan Choi—with a new friend, as in, a drag queen he met at the elevator, on his arm—and asked him a bit about marriage equality. He's a nice guy to talk to always. I feel like he has his regular personality—a little shy, nervously joking around—and then when he speaks about serious subjects he kicks into his activist persona. It's nice that he has a sense of humor; he needs one considering the schism in the community over whether he is our new Harvey Milk or is just milking every opportunity for attention. I don't think he's a messiah (and I don't think he thinks he is, either), and I occasionally disagree with him, but I like him and there's no denying he's had a major, grassroots impact on DADT and other gay issues. And he's hot in a suit.
As a bonus, I finally got to meet LGBT activist David Mixner, a gracious dude with a righteous sense of conviction about getting 'er done, rights-wise.
Amanda LePore walked right past me as I asked to take her picture. It felt like there was no way she didn't hear me, but she was as methodical as a glacier if a bit faster about it. It was...odd.
Ari Gold—who released his new single as "Sir Ari Gold" thanks to being knighted by this group last year—made an entrance that would have had Lady Gaga gagging with jealousy: He waltzed in clad in a gold Arabian number with two boyslaves on leashes. I hope he curbed them. I wish I'd seen the reaction of the gorgeous hospice dog that was in the house! (Dude brought his parents. He's one of the lucky ones who could do such a thing.)
He looked sexy in his version of drag, but it was soon back to the more traditional, can-I-pass-as-a-flamboyant-chick style of drag.
Last night was the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards; it's always a fun event, if you remember my coverage from last year.
This year was really fun, with one major exception—I was red-carpet robbed by this jerk who was with Ricky Martin. More on that later.
GLAAD was happy with my past coverage, so they granted me an extra body on the carpet—my partner José attended as my cameraman. We were placed just after a large column and between an adorable guy working for AfterElton (Tim O'Leary) with his pretty friend and someone's tripod. I liked our positioning in that we were at the very front of the online media and the column meant no pushing.
But the first star we encountered had been before we even got to our spots—we'd run into Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God. checking in. Joe was a nominee for his blog (the first time GLAAD has nominated blogs...about time!) and was convinced Pam of Pam's House Blend would win. "I'd bet the Powerball on it," he'd confided. (Later, he totally won, as I expected, but he had no idea until some attendees informed him since the category wasn't deemed worthy of inclusion in the actual program.)
Considering some of the stars scheduled, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the carpet—Tina Fey was a nominee but didn't walk (come the fuck on, Tina), Patrick Wilson was a presenter but also was a no-show (perhaps wisely fearing being devoured and eaten a la Sebastien Venable) and the Rev. Al Sharpton was on hand to give an award to Russell Simmons but did not do press. Vinny Guadagnino from Jersey Shore? Fuhgeddaboudit.
But on the other hand, the stars who actually did the carpet were nice and fun, and even Ricky Martin himself did lots and lots of press. Just not me. We're getting to it.
My first carpet catch was 17-year-old Bianca "Nikki" Peet, a dynamic girl who was initially denied the opportunity to form a gay-straight alliance at her Corpus Christi high school but whose perseverance against Principal James Crenshaw paid off—she now has her GSA club! She was the picture of intestinal fortitude in her wheelchair, her eyeshadow as sparkling as her personality.
Next up was Jarrett Barrios, who explained to me how GLAAD decides what's offensive and what isn't; a hard task, I can agree, considering the varied opinions my own occasionally outraged posts sometimes elicit. You think something is duh-obviously offensive—like that Vanity Fair piece casually calling the Glee boys "fags," GLAAD (among many others) points it out, then you read AfterElton sniping that it was no big deal. (In context, the writer was gay and felt it was an ironic or "cheeky" usage...which to me was not as readily apparent as, say, during a viewing Wet Hot American Summer.) I asked him about this more in reference to Ron Howard's "so gay" joke, which I think is a lot more in those troubled waters of nuance where a large part—if not the majority—of the public would not go along with calling it offensive.
Mike Ruiz was warm and quite dashing up close—no poodle hair! He was happy to talk about why The A-List: New York seems to have at least as many haters as lovers and to introduce his boyf to anyone who asked.
I'm not a regular The Fabulous Beekman Boys watcher, but José is, and he warned me not to ask about "the pig." I knew it referred to them killing a pig they'd raised, but I imagine, "Don't ask them about the pig!" could be good advice before interviewing just about any reality TV stars.
Of course I dirty-love and clean-admire Wilson Cruz—who doesn't, and why don't they? I asked him about the Glee kiss, his recent excursion into shirtlessness in bars and his pet cause (and it's much deeper than that phrase), LGBT teen homelessness.
Jane Velez-Mitchell—with her bombshell girlfriend, who she meet at last year's GLAAD Media Awards—was the picture of poise and confidence, picking the Westboro clan as the gay story of the year when I asked her to choose something. The carpet had gotten a bit clogged up, so I almost missed her while jockeying to get some time with the event's host, Andy Cohen.
I'd never met Andy, so wasn't sure what to expect. I think I thought he'd be bubblier or more flirtatious but he definitely wasn't a stick in the mud. I stumped him with a question, but he recovered and was game to talk Housewives a bit. As he departed, he muttered, "My breath is atrocious!" and got some kind of oral relief from his PR walker, but it really wasn't...maybe it was mine!
Above, Bethenny Frankel's delicious hubby Jason Hoppy shows off why she doesn't trust gays around him (see my interview with her), from Us (March 14, 2011). Below, adorable Zac Efron watches his back in In Touch (March 14, 2011):
Bethenny Frankel may have GLAAD-handed the press at GLAAD Manhattan, but as I pointed out, she left without ever going up to the party in spite of being signed on to host. The New York Post now makes note of her faux pas.
I still like her better than Jill, and I will boycott any GLAAD event that glorifies these slimy Tareq & Michaele Salahi characters!
Bethenny Frankel was at the bottom of my list of fave housewives back during Season 1. After all, she wasn't even a housewife! Who needed this ringer? But over time, I've come to respect her for her sense of humor and for her principled positions against the sincerity of Jill and the mental fitness of Kelly.
At GLAAD Manhattan last night, I asked her how she feels about "gay" being used as an insult ("it's just ignorance"), if she's always been as pro-gay as she is now ("I was the one with the mother with the friends who were men with muumuus on, like the long caftans on. and I was the one who was eating sushi in sixth grade and was made fun of for it...I don't judge anyone") and the whereabouts of her absent cute husband ("I definitely—by the way, my cute husband is at a work dinner—but I definitely don't trust you guys around him. No way!")
I spoke twice as long with her Real Housewives of New York City co-stars Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen, who told me they'd be fine with any of their children coming out as gay when they get older, they're pissed off when people try to imply Simon is secretly gay as if that would be something to be ashamed of and that Alex may or may not want her own spin-off series.
Full videos after the jump...