Thursday, June 25, 2009

Five Second Rule

Standing outside Katwalk on a not particularly windy summer night in Manhattan, Listerine breath strips flutter out of their green plastic coffin onto the sidewalk. A spritely young gay leaps after them declaring the tried but not so true rule about putting things in your mouth that have hit the ground. My mind races to the gallons of urine, vomit and dog shit that have washed over 35th Street in the last century and I stop him in his tracks. After all, as important as fresh breath is, it doesn’t supersede the need to not place your tongue on a NYC sidewalk.

It was going to be that kind of night, where bad ideas seemed promising, as I stepped into the joint birthday bash for Matt Kugelman and the Roy boy known as Bianca del Rio. Kugie is well known to my blog and Bianca is widely known as a foul-mouth insult queen from New Orleans whose love of offensive racial humor and abortion jokes is well documented, mostly by the Kuge himself. For Roy’s birthday, Matt put together a “tribute” video featuring other notable drag queens, personalities and me. Never one to pass up the opportunity to be seen publicly or insult someone I hardly know, I jumped at the chance. And if you can do both and eat cake and drink, well it might as well be Christmas!

Generally I don’t like going anywhere that I don’t know people. I do know Matt but it was his birthday, so I knew he was going to be the center of attention and therefore hard to monopolize. But I did see Terron, drunk and clicking away with Matt’s camera. And TJ, who I remembered from our last encounter some weeks ago at Rockit when I scooped his drunk ass over to the Stage Deli in the wee hours of the morning and when I say we ate a side of bacon together, I mean in all literal butcher terms a side of bacon. Matt’s co-worker Chip was there and I chatted with him for a while along with a 22 year old CBS page, who as innocently as Kenneth of 30 Rock, assumed we were roughly the same age. God bless the child.

The video was a big hit with the crowd, perhaps because of the content, or maybe because it temporarily wiped the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue video and a baseball game off the large screens. The place was awash in gays and aside from the very straight manager, no one seemed to notice the scantily clad women on display or the latest run score for the Yankees. Then again, with young gays around, all they notice are each other, and notice they did. My friend Shaun McCarron was in town and he came by with his friend William though they missed my scathing video appearance.

Shaun looked as hot as always and he was in town for another big gay party night of some kind. It is pride weekend after all. He will drop by the show on Friday and I have no doubt havoc will be wrought with guest host Erik Rhodes, after their last adventure in which Erik ate out some woman who wasn’t wearing panties at the gay bar. We talked for a bit and then settled close to the birthday cakes. Against my better judgment, I had two slices of the one with the blue frosting, while Shaun went to talk to Bianca who as he confided to me was his favorite drag queen when he was a kid. Naturally I didn’t miss my opportunity to repeat that to her face and here in the blog.

After they left, I chatted a bit with Chris an aspiring musical theater star and spent more time with classically trained actor TJ. Chris and I discussed musicals which I confess is my worst subject. As a gay man I can talk a reasonably good game with the average Musical Mondays bar homo but when it is a theater queen, I am definitely out of my element. In all though, we had fun, including pointing out to Matt’s roommate that despite the wax number candles on top of his cake, Roy and Matt do not have a combined age of 52. Next time, I told him, just put a one in front of whatever number you come up with and it will be twice as funny. His inability to do quick math infuriated him and he stormed away in frustration much to my amusement.

The party would down rapidly. Roy and Kugie decided to head to The Ritz for JUST ONE DRINK but I decided to end the evening there. With a mouth full of the cake Matt’s roommate made and numbers swirling around in my head, I made my impolite good byes and headed uptown to my car. I suppose I could have joined them at a second location for five seconds, but as a rule, it’s never that short and usually not healthy either.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fashion Victim

My inability to dress myself is well known. Look. I know I am not a fashion plate. No one is ever going to hire me again as a model. (Editor’s note: my one modeling assignment in Genre Magazine in the early 90s was not a fashion spread but instead a background shot for an article on gays on college campuses). When I try to wear fashionable clothes, I look ridiculous. It just isn’t who I am. Yes I can pass off a suit at a wedding, but as every homo with an online profile can tell you, that doesn’t make you special.

So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when my outfit got me into trouble last night at Rockit. It was a rainy night and everyone looked a bit bedraggled. I was in my usual cargo shorts and t-shirt with a damp hoodie thrown over my head. Yes, I looked somewhere between a homeless man and a pile of discarded dishrags, but still, it wasn’t any worse than usual, or even the last time I ran into Derek the doorman. The difference of course was that this time I was alone.

Derek is a reasonably famous doorman in NYC and I believe I mentioned him in yesterday’s blog entry. (You don’t suppose he read it do you? Impossible!) I don’t really understand the need to have a who’s in/who’s out doorman in gay clubs. The power is in the mailing list. If you know enough hot and well known people, the right mix makes a successful party. The notion of a selective doorman worked for Studio 54 because it was world famous and all sorts of nobodies were trying to get in. This is not the case with Rockit Fridays. Studio 54 welcomed royalty (Princess Grace!) and children (Drew Barrymore! Anderson Cooper) and every sexy thing in between. In today’s NYC a nightclub that let a nine year old drink wouldn’t be celebrated, it would be razed to the ground.

“Is this how we dress to go to a nightclub in midtown Manhattan?” Derek queried me, rhetorically.

“This is how I dress.” I shot back.

His gaze narrowed in irritation. “Well, step it up for me next week, will you?”

Next week?! I thought to myself, as I descended (in every sense of the word) into the club. There won’t be a next week. For me, or maybe even for your party. You are running a Friday night party in the summertime in a town where everyone is away on Fridays at much better weekend places. The only people who are going to be at your party this summer are people like me, who don’t go to Fire Island or the Hamptons or Paris. You know, the unfabulous people you are so desperate to keep out.

Besides, next Friday, I will be the main attraction somewhere off the map. And the next Friday too. The Friday after that is Pride weekend and you can bet no one will be coming to your party when there are 100s of better places to be, no offense to your turpentine-laden open bar from 10-11pm. And then after that, it’s July 4th, guaranteed to empty gay Manhattan faster than fluorescent lighting. Suddenly it is more than a month later and before you can say “What’s Rockit?” the tastemakers will have moved on to greener, fresher pastures.

But most importantly Derek, you might think letting in weird drag queens and curious characters in pajamas makes you hip and interesting, but the one most essential thing that you don’t understand that separates your midtown Manhattan party from Studio 54 is publicity. Rona Barrett may have been a 100 year old midget, even in the 1970s, but they knew then that good publicity is important. The doorman knew who was whom and could separate out the Jersey trash washing up on our teeming shores from the badly dressed radio show host with the blog all of your friends read. So how about you step it up for me next week, will you?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Key To The Shitty

Life in Manhattan is just a series of overlapping circles, looping around and around, giving the illusion of movement and change. But in the end, you always end up back at the same place you started. Every once in a while a new circle begins and everyone rushes to twirl in its path in the hope that it will finally take them somewhere new. Well, more to the point, they hope it will take them to someone new. Because at a certain point, if you are a man of any age with arms of any notoriety, you quickly discover that there is no one new left to meet. And then you are forced to choose between a repeat visit or moving to Los Angeles.

There is a new party in town called Key Klub. Brandon Voss is one of the promoters. You know, the other Brandon Voss who isn’t the former editor of HX and doesn’t have wild party boys crashing his apartment in the middle of the night. Or maybe he does, but that doesn’t mean he invited them. In any event, he has already launched the successful, if instantly familiar Rockit on Fridays and is now branching out. New Night! New Faces! The second claim can not be backed up as readily as the first, though in retrospect how new is Thursday?

Derek is the doorman and though we share a name and I have met him hundreds of times he doesn’t know me. All he knows is what he sees, which is new each time, and based on my appearance he knows I am neither famous, nor important, nor hot, and therefore, I can wait in line and not get comped at the door. It always bothers my roommate that I don’t assert a “don’t you know who I think I am!” in these situations, but I prefer the honest realism of his assessment. If he floated me in past everyone else like a star, I might for a second think my arms are big enough or my soul worthy. And we can’t have that can we? After all, feeling self-conscious and unworthy is the cornerstone of any successful nightclub, alcohol problem, or mid-week sexual hook up. And fair is fair. If he wasn’t working the door, he would be standing in line too. Don’t kid yourself. The bullied becomes the bully.

Matt Kugelman was there, my faithful bar standby. I honestly don’t know what I or my blog would do without him at this point. When did I come to depend on him so utterly for nights out on the town? We were both there to meet Danny’s new boyfriend also named Matt. (For the love of Christ, can we please have an end to all gays named after apostles? I’m over it.) New Matt is tall and thin and on his way to being a doctor. He should be comped at the door, instead of that 23 year old steroid monkey, the over processed bottle blond, with two-tone tan and last year’s faux hawk. You know who you are, so there is no point in searching for your Facebook profile. Everyone knows who you are. But this is the world we live in. And as much as I bitch about the steroid monkey, he was kind of adorable in a use and lose kind of way. If only there was a gay recycling center where all of the boys you fucked could go to be sorted, washed and reused. Oh wait there is. Fire Island.

I told Danny that the troubled looks on most of the faces were just them thinking about which tank tops to pack for this weekend. After all, it is Thursday night. And after the well vodka settles and the lube is washed off, they will all be carefully folding their tiniest outfits into their cutest satchel , and hoping they don’t forget to shave their feet and asshole before departing their PR job and boarding the Long Island Railroad at the crack of noon. And magically a short two hours later, there they will be. Surrounded by all the same men in all the same tank tops who were just wandering past them at the Key Klub while they dreamt of waves crashing at the Pines and the promise of true love in the Meat Rack.

Ben Andrews was there, tall and angular in a hoodie. Kugie’s roommate was there, almost unrecognizable under new hair, which I suppose is a good way to keep things fresh (though I did think he looked much hotter with his old wavy hair). The hot real estate agent who used to be Tag Ericsson the porn star was also wandering around. That was almost new. Haven’t seen him in a year or so. As I was waiting to leave, the guy who didn’t sleep with Michael Lucas walked in and the circle was complete. I hadn’t seen him since the In The Life pride party last year. Well, enough is enough. Time to head home.

I piled into a cab only to have it stalled in traffic a block later, stymied by the filming of a crappy new Nicholas Cage thriller “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” They were filming it all of last month right next to my office, which was annoying enough. But now, I had a train to catch and the entirety of Sixth Avenue was blocked. Finally it cleared and we slowly made our way down 21st Street toward Eighth Avenue. And just ahead of us, the camera car with a station wagon mounted on it, two dim figures (male and female) in the front seats. Probably Nicholas Cage, I shrugged, annoyed yet devoid of any real feeling at the same time. The camera car was circling around the block to film again, and I was circling up and around to get back to my office and the train. And back at the Key Klub, the circling continued, around and around, massive arms and tiny shirts, go-go boys and drag queens, porn stars and nobodies, and always the same sameness swirling around in the bowl waiting to be flushed away. See you next week!