Saturday, January 31, 2009


Once upon a time, there was a gay bar in West Hollywood called Revolver. Through it’s signature revolving front door were the matte black walls that became the cave of my nocturnal existence for much of the 1990s. So many nights spent lusting after a now dead bartender with too many cats, watching a drag queen named Diva and hanging out with my best friend Paul. I laughed in a shower of napkins to “Zip” from Pal Joey, got robbed at gunpoint out front, went home with a few regrettable characters, and night after night after night, happily floated down a long river a booze.

I was reminded once again of Revolver tonight as I watched Matty spin happily around in the revolving door of a swank apartment building on Seventh Avenue. The doorman was not amused, but I was. Watching the happy Matty spirit I know so well warmed me on a cold winter night. Earlier, I joined him at a terrific restaurant called Il Bordello down on 23rd at Tenth. He was having dinner with Gray and Greg and two women (code names: Short Stuff and The Quiet One). Matt was supposed to join me at Ronnie's birthday party at Splash, and he asked me to come to the restaurant to scoop him up on my way over. However, once there, Gray treated us to a wonderful meal of appetizers and cool cocktails and the staff plied us with tasty raspberry shots. Suddenly, we were in for the long haul.

After a truly marvelous time at Il Bordello, we all piled into taxis and headed for another party somewhere on Seventh Avenue "on the way." The boys got into one cab and I joined the girls in the second. Not knowing the address of the party, I just told the driver to "Follow that car." Short Stuff was giddy. "Just like in the movies!" She was even more elated moments later when I insisted on paying for the short cab right. "You are ladies. My mother would reach across the continent to kill me if I let you pay." Apparently chivalry as far as they had known was quite dead.

The Seventh Avenue party was in a beautiful apartment filled with gay guys I had never seen before. Aside from Joe who was there and already quite drunk when we arrived, I didn't know a soul. Even Gray seemed not to know anyone, well almost anyone. The party was equipped with two hunky shirtless bartenders, one blond, one brunet (something for everyone!) with true swim bodies (long arms, long torsos, long necks) who were as straight as their perfectly formed spines. The blond one had apparently tended many gay parties over the last year or so and over time Gray had struck up something of a friendship with him.

As nice as the apartment was, the decor didn't make any sense to me at all. The art was impeccable, including two Bruce Weber Chop Suey prints of an Israeli soldier on one wall facing a pretty Nazi soldier on the other (very Pinkie and Blue Boy), but the furniture was awful. It all looked like it had been thrown together over years of moves from one place to another. A leather sofa from his first apartment, a fabric armchair from his parents, an armoire from his last house, a faded oriental rug his grandmother left him and a glass coffee table from the Z Gallerie circa 1993. Gray pointed out a six foot folding table in the corner set up for an abandoned attempt at a second bar. "That is an art installation" I tried to assure him, refusing to believe someone in this nice of an apartment would have so tacky a piece of furniture.

Running short of time, I dragged Matty out of the party and down to Splash. Once there, I expected Ronnie to be in the small VIP room above the DJ booth, but instead they set up a segregated space off the dance floor for him in full view of everyone. I felt like I was an animal in a zoo, with people peering in at me minding my own business inside the monkey house. This was the price of fame I have always been unwilling to pay. It was reality TV, without the TV. Ronnie was dancing and having a good time, and Matty ran into Itay Hod, who I last saw last year briefly in a car ride to a party. At the time I was distracted by Gary and other things, and it was hardly the kind of encounter to build a lifetime of friendship on, so I didn't bother to say anything. In any event, it didn't matter because almost as soon as I was saying hello, I was saying good bye.

Matty accompanied me out onto the street outside Splash, where I hurriedly hailed a cab to take me back to the train station. Just past where I left David in the capable hands of Steven that fateful night so long ago. Matty hates it when I end my blog postings all wistful and looking up at the stars. He would really hate some kind of crappy extended metaphor right here about revolving doors and people coming in and out of lives and things constantly moving in a circle but never changing. So instead I will go back to that moment when we emerged from the revolving door on Seventh Avenue on our way to Ronnie's party. The real point at which this story began. The door was spinning and Matty was struck by inspiration. "Revolve!" Matty declared triumphantly. "That's your blog right there." He rubbed his hands together excitedly in that way that he does, knowing that he had the right answer. And he did.

1 comment:

LWM said...

You know, Derek, we would all be better off if you updated your blog more. I know you're busy trying to achieve Celebrity Jeopardy stardom, but some of us can't listen to the show as much as we'd like...