Saturday, March 8, 2014

Club Step

Providence is not only humanity's cruel scorekeeper but also a dark chalet on West 57th Street filled with a complex labyrinth of stairs and levels. It's like a Hamburger Hamlet designed by M.C. Escher. Not the kind of dimly lit establishment where drunk and clumsy people can find peace of mind.

If you get lost inside Providence, here's a handy map.
I turned to Donny, still recovering from a broken hip, and issued a dark warning:

"One of us is going to fall down and the other one is going to die from laughter."

Since Donny fell last time, undone by an icy pathway outside his apartment as 2014 began, I decided to tread carefully through the club. Karma, being what it is, I was more than past due for a hard tumble of my own.

We came to Providence for their new Friday night party Berlin. On line for coat check, I met a nice young man visiting from Germany, who sensed providence in the name and came based solely on that.

"Is this one of the big clubs in New York City?" he asked in flawless if heavily accented English.

I just shrugged. This was my first time too. But I was drawn by Brian Gianelli's suggestion and the prompt 11pm show by local drag pathogen Bianca del Rio. I should have known before we arrived that everything would fall apart, this being the endless winter of our discontent and all, but I tried to ignore the warning signs and instead enjoy a night on the town during one of the first moderately decent nights of the year.

This winter has been unrelenting, like trying repeatedly to squeeze a size 14 into a tuna can. Back in December, I mocked my friend Terry Goldman when he wore a short-sleeved shirt to dinner on the single day that month where the temperature threatened to touch sixty. In retrospect, if I had known about the three months of polar vortex ahead I would have appeared in little more than a bathing suit.

So since it was only just in the thirties tonight, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pull myself out of hibernation and drag Donny out on the town for the first time since we skied through the Aspen Social Club as winter began. Ryan Hahn was organizing a mini-reunion from his holiday party with Griffin Parsons and Jennifer Cheng in tow, but for one reason or another, they all dropped out at the last minute, almost literally as Brian’s plane was making its final descent into madness.

How bad could it be? Bianca. Bunny. No cover charge!
In addition to the chance to spend some time with Brian, I was lured to Providence by a flyer Bianca del Rio posted on Facebook promising both no cover charge and Lady Bunny. The evening had neither. But Bianca, a giant black cotton ball perched on her wig, made the most of it with her usual warm blend of racism and anti-Semitism. The crowd ate it up. After the show, the crowd swarmed, temporarily overwhelming Bianca with photo requests. I was only half-joking when I suggested to Donny that I should organize them into a line and charge five dollars. Between the $30 in cover at the door and $12 at the coat check, recouping our losses was high on my list.

"That'll be five dollars, please. Insults cost extra."
The club was filled with lots of young men and some of them weren't bad looking either. While waiting for the coat check, however, we landed behind a man in a striped jumpsuit (Donny kept calling it a "onesie") that had a glittery owl on the back.

Stop staring at me! It's freaking me out!
It was so quaint when Donny expressed shock that anyone would buy such a thing. “You know he rolled out an old McCall’s pattern and made that himself down at F.I.T.!” I screeched before suggesting a variety of potential Tim Gunn critiques. Later when we were upstairs, Donny spotted him again and yelled, "Ugh. It's back!"

"The front sucks too." I offered.

Look, if you are going to be a man in a skin tight jumpsuit, you better have the body of death not a dead body. I don't know anything about fashion but even I know that’s the truth.

Unfortunately in the midst of all of our gay shenanigans, we lost Brian and his cute friend Andrew in the crowd. It was the second time tonight that it happened and with the drunk train pending, I did not have time for the third time to be a charm. I texted him one last time and headed for the exits.

On our way down to the coat check, I bumped into a collection of cute guys on their way in and one of them was a Grant Goodeve-looking mother fucker. All sorts of hipsters were floating around in plaid tonight but he was the only one that made it work.

In this case, eight would be enough for anyone.
I suppose the hipster thing is like any movement in fashion. Many will try it but most will fail. In his case, the red plaid tucked into his jeans effectively transported me back to my adolescence. Others just looked like sloppy messes for whom an unkempt beard and ill-fitting tank top was statement enough.

Life is full of potential pitfalls. If it isn't bad fashion, it’s a treacherous staircase. One minute you're a nice Asian woman looking for the ladies room and the next Bianca del Rio is dragging you on stage and forcing you to play the role of manicurist. I think monsters lead such interesting lives, don’t you? Even in party palaces where the stairs climb on forever to nowhere. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Vast Haze Of Disco

To every generation a dance floor is born.

Matty pointed up at the spray of antlers (painted white and tangled together) that hung overhead. "Remember when they used to have disco balls up there?" I died a little inside. "They don’t have discos anymore." Matty is too young to have studied at Studio 54 or dined out of Danceteria. His baited questions were less about the subtle changes in nightclub decor over the decades and more a naked bid for blog attention. "I haven’t been on a dance floor since before mobile phones had cameras," he lied after a group photo flashed by an iPhone.  But I indulged. "No one calls them mobile phones, either."

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Model Home

"Why are you here so early?" Ryan Hahn's voice rang out across his empty apartment as I dodged three eager waiters desperate to put a drink in my hand before I even had a chance to dispatch my coat. This is what happens when you show up at 9:05 for a very fancy holiday party that started at nine. Apparently, Ryan and our mutual friend Brian Gianelli (aka the only other person I would know at the party) had already decided Brian should come closer to eleven, when the party was in full swing. Information that would have been important to know.

As it was, I happily unloaded my junk at the coat check and grabbed a hot apple cider from the hot tasty bartender. I discovered the big-armed bartender with the heterosexual hair (see below) and equally hot waiters were no mere coincidence, but had been hired from Marc Levine, the owner of Model Bartenders. I came by this juicy secret from Marc himself who had come early to make sure everything was going well, which might explain the aggressive lords-a-leaping as I walked in the door. 

"Would you like to try on that Santa suit? It needs a bottom." - My Best Line of the Night

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Post Natal Trip

Yesterday was my birthday and with my roommate's encouragement, I hastily arranged some happy hour fun at Therapy Bar in midtown. I had a nice turnout, a good cross-section of people I know and mostly never get to see. As any gay party invariably does, it divided quickly into two groups: those asking who my hot friend was and the hot friend in question. Granted, there is always a fair amount of overlap in those situations (hot people asking about other hot people), which is commonly known as a hook-up. Although I don’t think there were any successful hook-ups at my birthday this year. You know me, always keeping the sexual temperature somewhere near a faint simmer.

Me and Adam Sank. Turning up the sexual heat!
Birthday parties are the worst kinds of parties because most of the time you go but the only person you know is the object of the party. And the same is true for everyone else there. So mostly you all spend the evening standing around not talking to the one person you came to talk to and milling around among a cluster of other people with the same mixture of irritation and disappointment on their faces.  Not fun.