February 2011April 2011 


5 posts from March 2011

Mar 27 2011
On The Drag: The 25th Annual Night Of A Thousand Gowns Comments (4)

IMG_9829Dina Manzo and this Black Swan queen: "Perfect!"

IMG_9803 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.

IMG_9815Ru the day: Alexis Mateo, Delta Work, Manila Luzon & Sahara Davenport

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.

IMG_9801 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.

IMG_9790Bill Cunningham (and Matthew Rettenmund) New York

I was most excited to meet and chat briefly with Bill Cunningham, the legendary IMG_9795 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.)

IMG_9809 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!

IMG_9817Don't ask—we won't tell

I grabbed Dan Choi—with a new friend, as in, a drag queen he met at the elevator, IMG_9796 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.

IMG_9818Ari Gold knows how to make an entrance...

IMG_9830...but his slaveboys know a thing or two about making an exit!

IMG_9831 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.

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Mar 23 2011
Reflections In A Violet Eye: Elizabeth Taylor Dies At 79 Comments (15)

1000509261001_1980417814001_Liz-Taylor-LegacyElizabeth in her prime

Images I feel like I could have legitimately called in sick today in honor of Dame Elizabeth Taylor's death at age 79. I've written about her a lot already, and gave up some of my thoughts when it first became apparent she was nearing the end, but there are always more things to say about her.

SafariScreenSnapz005 I grew up respecting her as the epitome of what a star was. I think this could be grew of lots of little gay boys, but I basically took my cues from my mother—if she thought someone was a star, they were a star, a benchmark against whom everyone who came after had to be measured. (And my dad had been a Pat Boone/Mickey Mouse Club fan, something my mom would rib him about even 30 years after the fact, so stardom was not always defined by "I was famous in the '50s.")

I came to associate Taylor with my mom closely because she would talk about her own beauty as being relative to the superstar's.

Fascinated by the trajectories of Hollywood careers, I was particularly interested in how Taylor had been the ultimate beauty, then became the butt of fat jokes (when SafariScreenSnapz004 Joan Rivers said her blood type was Ragu, it was an early opportunity for me to think about what considerations public figures deserved or didn't deserve) and then, out of nowhere, made her '80s comeback—she did some movies (including my cherished The Mirror Crack'd, which was pre-Skinny Girl Liz), big-event Normal_Ad4 episodic television, TV movies, slimmed down and had a round of the best plastic surgery EV-ER. She looked absolutely stunning again, which at the time seemed like a deal with the devil...and yet, Elizabeth Taylor was a mere 52 years old when she appeared on Hotel!

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There He Is: A Review of The Fifth Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant Comments (10)

IMG_9771I hope my vote put Cusumano over the top! (Shoot, now I'm picturing him over a top...)

Last night, my buddy Jason arm-twisted me into going to the Fifth Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant, a benefit for the Ali Forney Center. The Center does excellent work with homeless LGBT kids and the pageant features five gorgeous chorus boys from some of Broadway's biggest, hottest and/or most controversial shows...why I wasn't first in line to begin with, I'll never know.

IMG_9713Here come the judges!

Held Uptown at Peter Norton Symphony Space, the show was directed by Ryan J. Davis with choreography by Erin Porvaznika. It was gamely hosted by 58-year-old acting icon Tovah Feldshuh, who looked terrific and was not above milking every double-entendre for all it was worth—and then some. She began by saying she'd just come from a Texas production of Arsenic & Old Lace and had been dying to get out of there. We were lucky to have her (and her 99-year-old mother!), and to have one of the wittiest men alive, James Franco's opinion notwithstanding—Bruce Vilanch—as head judge. (I imagine he'd feel qualified to judge head as well.)

New mommy Rachel Dratch was the next judge, and an expert at pretending to be a fish out of water around all the gay menz. I don't think she'd object to the word "fish" considering she barely flinched when Vilanch used "cooze"; it took him calling her a "straight cunt" to get her already giant blue eyes to widen, but that's what she got for making fun of one of his only lazy jokes. Finally, Carson Kressley rounded things out and was hysterical, I tell ya—if you've found him annoying in the past, give him another try; he seems to have polished his act and was definitely every bit as funny as Queen of Comedy Vilanch.

IMG_9728Anctil brought skin early on

The boys competing were Matt Anctil of La Cage aux Folles (stop draggin' my heart around, Matt), Michael Cusumano of Chicago (whose leotard revealed that even if we both reached for the gun, neither would come away empty-handed), Raymond J. Lee of Anything Goes (I only wish it did), Brandon Rubendall of Spider-Man (a dark turn-on) and James Tabeek of Mary Poppins (it wouldn't take a spoonful of sugar to get anything he offered to go down).

QuickTime PlayerScreenSnapz001Tabeek did a funny "WTF?" face during the opening

I got a kiss on the lips at the last Broadway Bares from Tabeek (as did anyone with a buck—anything for charity!), so I went in predisposed to him. But I have to say that despite it being an impossibly close contest (Imagine if the title had been Most Fuckable? We'd all still be there trying to decide.), the right winner was selected—Mr. Chicago triumphed in the end. (And Vilanch made a special note of Cusumano's end when the show had just started. Agreed.)

QuickTime PlayerScreenSnapz003They don't call him Mr. Reams for nothin'

The show began with a feisty production number starring Lee Roy Reams of The Producers fame and backed up by all five chorus boys cum pageant princes, the guys then introduced themselves and it was on to the talent portion of the evening.

QuickTime PlayerScreenSnapz002I fell hard for Cusumano, who looked impressive even soft

S Rubendall did a balls-out (not literally), Broadwayized version of Cee Lo's "Fuck You," Lee did a YouTube-ready medley of showtunes that was beautifully sung (I hate that I only taped the "Tomorrow" segment), Tabeek did a stunning modern-dance piece that showcased his own status as a stunning piece and Anctil shook things up with a most unexpected routine set to Sammy Davis Jr.'s "Bye Bye Brownbird."

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Mar 21 2011
So Totally Gay: The 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards Comments (11)

QuickTime PlayerScreenSnapz001The hombre that got away

Last night was the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards; it's always a fun event, if you PreviewScreenSnapz002 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 IMG_1713 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.)

IMG_9553Joe rocks (every time someone said "rock" or "Rokk," Rokk Vodka donated $100 to GLAAD)

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.

IMG_9686We made the evening our belated anniversary celebration

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.

IMG_9562Dapper Mike Ruiz, from The Gray List

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.

1Boys of the red carpet Zac Young (Top Chef: Just Desserts) & Wilson Cruz

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. 

IMG_9571Gail Simmons of Top Chef: Just Desserts—I don't think it was a boob query

IMG_9564 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!

Laverne Cox of TRANSform Me is as stunning as you'd expect, about eight feel tall and not shy with her "girls" or her opinions—her desire to transform Charlie Sheen was genuine and fierce.

IMG_9688I'll have a dash of ki ki on my sandwich, please

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Mar 02 2011
Gotta Hand It To Zac Comments (26)


National Enquirer (March 14, 2011) claims Zac Efron has been spotted hand-holding with a dude at an NBA party at the W in L.A. on February 18:

"'I was shocked at how relaxed and open Zac was with this guy,' continued the fellow partygoer. 'He walked around talking to him, smiling and holding his hand right in front of everyone, including Vanessa. People were wondering if maybe it was a stunt to make Vanessa jealous. But truthfully, Zac really seemed into the guy.'"

The article claims that "Zanessa" are clearly not together, but are clearly still friendly.

Tons more Zac pictures here. Full article after the jump...

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