Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Nearest Thing To Heaven

(This is an unfinished blog entry. Explanation at the end. But, as fate would have it, I was about to write about my adventures tonight inside an existing document I write in on my laptop before I post it all online and I didn't think I had put it up. Turns out that I hadn't. And it seemed too good to me to just throw away, even if it is half-thought, unedited, and incomplete. See what you think.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009 2:31am

Sure, I had heard of gay billionaires before. After all, I used to live in Los Angeles. There were always stories of someone or other throwing an amazing party with hot guys twirling around a swimming pool in the highest altitudes of the “swish alps,” the gentle mountain range that separates West Hollywood from the dreaded Valley. I was even invited to one such party in the late 1990s and sure enough boys in tiny bathing suits danced around a kidney pool, swilling cocktails and enjoying the largesse of an unseen benefactor. I am pretty sure a certain MTV personality dragged a friend of mine into the bathroom with him, did an enormous amount of coke next to the sink and then whisked him off to a wild night out in Hollywood which ended with them getting thrown out of the after-hours party at the Coconut Teaser on Sunset for sneaking in a beer. I thought I had left such shenanigans behind on the left coast. But then I was invited to a party in the sky in the apartment of a gay billionaire in Manhattan and my life was changed forever.

At the risk of lobbing another cannon shot into the battle of class warfare in America, I will just say this: rich people live better than you. Much, much better. Years ago in the Egyptian Theatre at the OutFest premiere of “Get Bruce” the terrific documentary on Bruce Vilanch, a much vaunted and moneyed Hollywood figure with an equal love of hot young men and plastic surgery occupied the row right behind me. He had not one but two insanely beautiful men with him, flanking him on either side, one of them infused with such fragile, farm-fresh dewiness that I wanted to slip him a bus ticket back to Kansas before it was all too late and the L.A. machine consumed him. Maybe I was fueled by jealousy or the inherent wastefulness of having two whores when clearly one would have been more then sufficient.

But as reclusive billionaire John Hurt assured us in “Contact,” why have one when you can have two at twice the price? I suppose at a certain point, “money is no object” isn’t just a casual expression it represents an actual mental omission. Price tags and receipts fall into a gentle grey area of the wealthy brain inaccessible at all times, rendering them a financial amensiac with no interest in remembering what reality is for other people. And thus the billionaire journeys through life unfettered by what things cost, buying jets in every color they come in. Laughing annoyingly, as Louise Brooks once wrote of her own mother, like one with a happily corrected blind spot.

This is conjecture on my part. I don’t know what kind of lives billionaires really have. After all, I live like a squatter in an abandoned downtown warehouse. If it wasn’t for my roommate Mike’s constant stares of blank disapproval, I would devolve into full-tilt Grey Gardens in a matter of hours. From the outside looking in (like Stella Dallas longing for a life filled with problems never to be had) there seem to be two kinds of billionaires. I suppose if you are someone like, say, Oprah, who grew up desperately poor with an outhouse and earned your billions the hard way, you know where every penny is at all times. But if you invest Daddy’s money and it hits like the lottery, you may not have the same sense about dollars and cents that someone else might have.

The billionaire apartment I went to seemed to fall more in the category of the latter. Famous works of art abounded askew from a thousand drunken love taps from the partygoers, a tiny Cartier clock sat helpless and unprotected in a shelf in the guest bathroom. The library was filled with boxes of the same book, no doubt a favorite, soon-to-be thoughtful gift to everyone from the doorman to a liked, though not well-liked uncle. The paroramic views from every window, including the bathroom, seemed merely to be a natural extension of the already lavish embarassment of riches strewn careful amount the penthouse.

It was pride weekend. The 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Naturally, I was at the IMAX Theater near Lincoln Center watching the Transformers sequel with my friend Clayton. I knew that my other friend Clay was in town for the weekend, in from Texas, and Jeff and Bond had driven down from Boston. That’s the nice thing about pride weekend. Everyone is there. The only real question is where to go to party. Plenty of people have parties but you want to go to THE party. I only know a handful of important and/or connected people so for me, this time of year is a delicate dance.

Clay told me that he had been invited to a party on the East side, in the Bloomberg building. The sexy party promoter Michael Warner had invited him and he offered that Clayton and I could join him on the list. Once I heard that Warner was working that party, I knew that Jeff and Bond would be there too. And I suspected some of the rest of my usual NYC people would be there too, like Matty Kelleher.

(This is the end of the unfinished entry, and there it stayed forgotten for nearly six months, although I explained why it was unfinished in an entry titled "The End" back in August, which includes more details about the party for the deeply curious.)