Tuesday, July 31, 2012
All this talk about the 1% and the 99% percent has finally piqued my curiosity. It is time to see how the other half lives. Unfortunately, I haven’t been invited into the home of a billionaire since that pride weekend party where Lance Bass’ boyfriend mistook me for a bartender and the highlight of my adventure was buttoning the front of Michael Holtz’s denim shorts. Those were the days. But in that spirit I journeyed a few blocks away from my radio studio to the penthouse birthday party of Penthouse pet Krista Ayne.
Krista has been a frequent guest on our show over the years. Romaine might be so captivated that a photo of her hangs in Romaine’s dressing area so she can gaze upon her naked form while naked herself. That’s devotion. I like Krista, but as a friend, who wears clothes. And has birthday parties in fancy bars in midtown.
I don’t spend a lot of time around straight people at straight places. This is something that becomes abundantly clear when you leave your comfort zone of sassy into the very serious world of heterosexual nightlife. I suppose since nightlife is the only life many gay people have, the process is so much more democratic. Yes, there are lists and VIP areas and bottle service but really that is the exception, not the rule. Gay clubs try to emulate the reverence and dedication to hierarchy and rules that guide straight clubs but the gays are too fickle and unruly. Only Studio 54 managed to walk the line and succeeded because it was more of a straight bar that gay people populated than the other way around. Also everyone was fucking high.
Krista’s party was in the penthouse of the Copacabana. I don’t know if this is the original location of the Copa or simply a reimagining and it didn’t matter. Despite only having one name on the list and six people standing there, the doorman politely but reluctantly let us all in. We were dressed like homeless runaways compared to the crowd inside but I think my declining the offer of a drink ticket when I arrived and the late hour of our appearance built all the good will we needed.
Once inside, the party was filled with sexy ladies and the men who love standing in a solemn circle around them watching. It seemed a bit like having a birthday orgy in a bathhouse, where the birthday boy takes on sexy comers in the middle of the room and everyone else lingers on the edges. My mind works overtime trying to find ways to draw comparisons between gay and straight life.
That isn’t to say there weren’t gay people there; including (naturally) someone that one of the guys in our group had hooked up with years ago. That’s the one degree of separation the gays know well. You are never more than one free clinic visit away from every man in the room. Naturally I was less interested in the dancing, the overpriced drinks and the sexy ladies in sparkling dresses than I was in the barely touched cheese platters and array of miniature cupcakes that dotted the snack table.
I thought the DJ was kinda hot and apparently so did he because as I walked by his booth, he lifted his shirt front to mop his brow revealing intense cum gutter abs. “Why doesn’t he take his shirt off?” I demanded before being reminded that we were in a straight club not a gay one. Even still, I think Krista would have enjoyed a sexy shirtless DJ on her birthday. I know I would!
It turns out that life in the penthouse is not one that I have long had an appetite for. As things were winding down, I decamped with the gays to Vlada, passing Matt Kugelman and his outrageous female friend along the way. They had just gone to see some show and she was visiting from out of town. Every time now that I accidentally run into Kugie, it reminds me how little time we spend together these days. And then I look at my posts online and realize I am the recluse, not the other way around.
After a quick drink at Vlada, I abandoned the gays I brought there and headed for Grand Central for the journey home. On the train, I discovered that Gore Vidal died. This was a heartbreaking turn of events. When Marilyn Monroe died fifty years ago this week, it was tragic, yes, but the genie was forever trapped in the bottle, timeless for all time. But with Gore, we have lost a voice, which doesn’t diminish with age, it only is eventually silenced.
In our long friendship, Michael Duggan imagined himself Gore Vidal to my Tennessee Williams. He was probably right. I am ridiculous and as a writer all of my characters were set long ago. And similarly, our close friendship grew distant over nonsense. But Tennessee is gone, Michael too, and now Gore himself. Born into a world of penthouses, Gore never cared about that life but he did love the beautiful people and a good party. And now the world has lost both.