Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fable For Two

Once Upon A Time… I woke up two days ago to find Reichen had sent me a text message while I was sleeping. For some reason, when my phone is next to the bed, I sleep through everything, but when it is across the room, even on vibrate, any activity wakes me. In this case, the phone was on the nightstand and I pleasantly slumbered through his message. He wanted to invite me to another viewing party of his VH-1 show “Couples Therapy” at a bar I had never heard of before called Fairy Tale Lounge. Even though I instantly assumed it was on the other side of the world (read: Brooklyn), I knew I had to go after the sign off moniker he used was “The Irish Setter.”

You see, the last time I went to a viewing party Reichen invited me to, I described him here as being like “an Irish Setter whose only interest is in setting.” This gave me great pause. It is rare that I hesitate before I hit the old PUBLISH button, as evidenced by the invariable typos and spelling errors I spend the next two days correcting. But as accurate a description of his personality as that may be, I was still comparing one of the more handsome members of our community to a dog. So I wasn’t sure how he would accept that. Naturally, he took it with his usual equanimity and it turns out I am not the first person to see a personality resemblance between him and this particular breed.

 Since I met Ryan at Reichen’s fragrance launch party lastsummer, I now feel obligated to invite him to everything related to Reichen, the way the Duggar’s use the same first initial for the names of all of their children. So Ryan was coming and planned to bring his friend James as well. I already planned to see Erik and Brian Thursday night since Brian is in town for a few days but since it wasn’t too late, they decided to drop by too.

It turns out that the Fairy Tale Lounge is right down the street from my office, so a quick trot down 48th Street after the show and like magic I was there. Inside, Reichen was huddled in the corner with Tashera Simmons from the show and other friends so I decided to leave him be as he watched his show on a TV over the bar. For some reason, there was an audio problem with the sound system and occasionally there would be a sudden spark of feedback that sounded for a moment like a truck was crashing through a window. But otherwise, the place was charming.

Naturally, I felt like Cinderella in the last act. Surrounded by all of my handsome friends, the guest of a celebrity, it was all too good to be true. Plus, I had sent Brian the TV pilot I wrote on a whim last fall, and I got to live every writer’s dream of having someone gush to their face about something they wrote. Apparently, Brian really liked it and I couldn’t have been more flattered. Well maybe if he was an executive at NBC but otherwise, yes it was pretty awesome.

I even ran into Blair there, dressed in one of those shawl collar sweaters the gays love so much over an apparently unruly white button down shirt. "My shirt keeps coming untucked!" he told me as he thrust his hand down the front of his pants. "Maybe it just wants to fly right off your body!" I suggested to which I got a quick side eye and a flat no in response, despite his decidedly hunky undercarriage that is the envy of Chelsea. I wanted to shout my incredibly offensive Geri Jewel "I love you Blair" impression but I feared he wouldn't get it and just think I was a weirdo, which I am. 

The show ended and the music cranked up in the bar. Reichen started circulating on his way out to Therapy. “How long have you been here?” he asked when he happened upon us in the middle of the bar. “Why didn’t you come over and say hi?!” He seemed a little disappointed, but he was surrounded by people and it always feels weird pushing your way through a crowd to say hi to the reason the crowd is standing there. After all, even if you actually know them personally, aren’t you there for exactly the same reason as everyone else?

Erik and Brian were ready to call it a night, and Reichen and company were headed off to Therapy, but Ryan’s friend sounded the alarm bells about a singing competition at Therapy and suggested we check out Stash instead.  A short cab right later and there we were on busy 14th Street being whisked quickly behind a velvet rope through an unmarked wooden door and down a long narrow hallway. At the end of the hall, we made a sharp U-turn and plunged into a steep darkened stairwell. Already clumsy, I envisioned myself a tangled broken mess at the murky end of the steps if I wasn’t careful.

Stash is a speakeasy space, the type of which that has been all the rage in the last few years. As the city expands, the popular places get tinier and tinier. Former speakeasies are coveted because they are already tiny and mysterious and generally are in very cool spaces featuring secret doors and impossible stairs. Wednesday nights at the miniscule club with the gorgeous interior is called Stache (Get it? Stache at Stash, classic word play beloved by gays), although facial hair was at a minimum.

I was wary at first. The crowd was young and the drinks pricy, but the DJ won me over with a down the rabbit hole collection of 20th century classics remixed for a modern era. Backstreet Boys flowed into Twist and Shout into Baby, One More Time into Hand Jive from Grease. It was kind of glorious. When the Spice Girls came on, I was able to tell Ryan my delightful story of going to the Cineramadome in Hollywood to see Spice World and running into Kathy Griffin. I sat next to her in the hopes of enjoying two hours of good natured ribbing, but she quickly grew tired of my humor interrupting the movie and without a word, got up and moved to another part of the theater.

But that was so many awkward moments ago. Since then I have moved in and out and in and out of New York City and hosted a radio show and even had Kathy as a guest on the show to disastrous (although not Amy Sedaris level) results. But for the time being, what mattered was partying down at Stash, and party we did. Ryan and I did all sixteen dances, enjoyed the spontaneous bottle service that appeared before us as if summoned by a genie and in all manner had a great time. But, as Billy Wilder pointed out, every Cinderella has her midnight and I was no exception. As Thriller thrilled us by the stairs, I bade Ryan a good evening and scurried back up the rabbit hole. And then, as the old saying goes, they all lived happily ever after.


Read more of Derek's adventures in When Nightlife Falls and Colonnade: A Life In Columns. Both are available now On, and in digital form for The KindleThe Nook, and in the iBookstore.


Jason B said...

I am probably behind but I want to know the Amy Sedaris story!

Kenneth Walsh said...

Me, too. I want Amy and need to hear the Kathy story told in the flesh ...