In case you haven't heard, Michael Musto, the longtime Village Voice nightlife reporter and gossip-with-a-purpose, was fired by the paper in a recent "bloodbath" of employees. What the bottom-liners at The Voice don't seem to realize is that in firing Michael Musto, they've voted to kill the paper off entirely. As the editor of a teen magazine I founded, I was often told, "You are that magazine." I always knew that wasn't entirely true, but I do think that proclamation applies to Michael Musto—he truly was the voice of The Village Voice.
More proof that the Internet makes dumb people dumber, mean people meaner, and suspicious people into paranoid conspiracy theorists: When Michael Musto first Facebooked Angelina Jolie's preventative double mastectomy news, the first comment was from a woman who theorized that Jolie was just using the specter of cancer as a smokescreen for replacing her saggy boobs. And she meant it.
I mean, Jesus...the woman did something radical to help herself and her family. I don't think I'd have the courage to do something similar. Good for her. I would think if she felt the need to have plastic surgery, she would be able to do that without coming up with any sort of cover story at all.
Last night, we attended Michael Musto's Disco Extravaganza at 54 Below, a heart-filled effort to revive the disco era decades after its death under mysterious circumstances. (Did it die out naturally like the dinosaurs, or did those "disco sucks" schmucks commit foul play?) It was a lot of fun, even if the prominent stage in such an intimate space confused some attendees about whether they should be dannnncing, yeah!, or watching the performers. Holding it on the site of the original studio 54 was as good a way as any to conjure up the ghost of Disco Sally.
The evening began on point, with the bow-tied doorman bluntly but amusingly informing those who'd arrived with extra plus ones—even the esteemed photographer Patrick McMullan—that there was no way they were getting in. He was a one-man velvet rope!
Inside, McMullan and others were snapping photos of those attendees who'd arrived in '70s wear. For anyone keeping score, the main drawback to polyester boogie shirts that haven't been worn since 1978 would be the smell.
Nobody was giving blowjobs in the corner, coke dust wasn't raining from the roof and we didn't find any money hidden in the walls, but the 90-minute set list was satisfying, featuring the cruise-ship-ready stylings of Elektrik Company (great singers, great at shaming us for not dancing), the incomparable Orfeh (who blew us all away with her "Come to Me" and "Don't Leave Me This Way") and a rockin' and ramblin' "Y.M.C.A." by original Village People person Randy Jones.
Musto himself, did a carbs-in-cheek, fatphobic (wait, that's an anachronism if we're back in the '70s) send-up of "I Will Survive" but was singing, seriously singing, on "Macho Man" and "Last Dance" (he noted he'd be a disco queen like Donna Summer, except gay-friendly, then asked, "Too soon?"). I'm not saying his vocals were a revelation, but he sounded better than Ethel Merman on her disco album.
It was cool enough hearing those songs performed live, and then Tish & Snooky—original backing singers from Blondie and Downtown legends who were in the Drop-Outs and the Sic F*cks before opening Manic Panic—really lit a fire under us with their "Freak Out."
Steve Rubell would've been proud. And horny. And in need of some blow. After the fold, check out some of the musical highlights...
Paul Iacono, known for a part in Fame and as the titular star of MTV's big-dick comedy The Hard Times of R.J. Berger, has come out in an interview with Michael Musto. Good for him! I remember seeing him at Michael's last bash, so perhaps he's been grooming Iacono for this interview for a while!
This past Monday, I was thrilled to attend The 6th Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant, a hilarious and ribald event staged at Symphony Space (before a sold-out crowd) to raise money for The Ali Forney Center.
As a member of the Host Committee, I'd pledged to sell $500 worth of tickets, which I absolutely did—mostly to myself! I took José, brought my pal Jason along (VIP tickets including the afterparty) and the rest went to a Boy Culture reader who later informed me he'd been a homeless gay youth just a couple of years ago and to a lucky, last-minute couple.
As much work as it was trying to interest people in tickets, the show would go on to sell out, raising a record-breaking $75,000.
Arrived early to cover the junior red carpet, but it was kind of a bust for me because as a hobbyist blogger, I don't have pro lighting and it was in a 100-degree antechamber that might as well have been a cave.
I grabbed a few quick tidbits from the contestants but skipped everyone else, including judges Jackie Hoffman, Michael Musto and Tonya Pinkins, feeling bad about taking up anyone's time when they were impossible to see. Speaking of which,I didn't see expected guests Paul McGill, Rachel Dratch or John Glover, but I did at least make the acquaintance of Broadway expert Richie Ridge, one of whose helpers turned out to be Alex, a Boy Culture reader who kept my spirits up in the stifling heat.
Sat down just in time to see the show open, featuring hysterical emcee Tovah Feldshuh who, as she pointed out, starred in Broadway's longest running one-woman show—take that, Lena Horne. She cracked wise about Grindr, Boy Butter and her many unconsummated Tony nominations. She was, without a doubt, 10 times funnier than last year.
KEEP READING FOR TONS OF PICTURES & VIDEO, SOME OF IT RATHER REVEALING...
Here's Michael Musto's year-end wrap-up column, complete with images of Musto as some of the year's biggest newsmakers. He kinda reminds me of Richard Benjamin as Donald Trump!
As of midnight last night, it was exactly six years since my first post. It's been a tough thing to keep up with a dayjob and outside activities, and just when I think I might walk away, a valuable connection or interesting opportunity or a kind word comes my way. Thank you all for reading me.
Of whom are you more jealous?
Here are my favorite 100+ posts out of nearly 11,000. Please take some time to read (or re-read!) a couple and tweet or Facebook any you like.
FROM BOY TO MAN: BC B.C. (2007): The entire history of my novell and novel Boy Culture as well as the movie version; might be my ultimate post.
BOY ON FILM (2006): An account of the NYC launch party for Boy Culture as it played the TriBeCa Film Fest.
FRIENDS AND "FAMILY" (2006): The movie version of Boy Culture hits Chicago.
RAPT PUPIL (2006): The final night of Outfest with Boy Culture; I was fat but on the other hand got to meet Bryan Singer.
"Your pictures suck" (2008): An art critic attacks me, but not without sustaining some hits in return.
DRAWN TOGETHER (2008): How my desire to draw related to my secret desire. One of my absolute favorite posts.
LOST ANGELES (2009): My favorite photographic travelogue of L.A.
ART IMITATES LIFE (2006): My 9/11 and my distaste for grief tourism.
BURNING MAN (2007): Tribute to my late high school friend and first romance.
LOST BOY FOUND (2011): There is a book in here somewhere.
CIAO HOUNDS: OUR TRIP TO ITALY (2011): Finally got José to Europe.
ILLINOIS DEATH TRIP (2007): Ruminations on death while revisiting a past home, and the past.
PASSING BY (2008): Mourning the loss of a person I only met once.
Participating in a recent forum on how to effectively market at-home HIV testing, I got a $200 gift card. Not wanting to spend it on a hustler, I instead gave $150 of that to The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead's Planned Parenthood, I Am Here for You fundraiser that happened here in NYC last night—and it was not only a good investment but also a good investment.
I showed up at 6:30PM at the Gramercy for the VIP reception to find a handful of non-famous women spiked with the evening's famous females—Winstead, Salon editor Joan Walsh, Sandra Bernhard and Lisa Lampanelli. I was the only dude for the longest time in a room filled with women and several womyn.
Talking to a few attendees about the art of the photo op, I figured out we were supposed to meet and greet the stars on our own—there was no formal line happening. This makes it a bit awkward because you don't really want to shoehorn yourself between Winstead and Bernhard when they're engrossed in a conversation about their bodies/their selves. Especially when you're announcing that you blog at something called Boy Culture.
But it was totally fine and the women were absolutely gracious and eager to pose for photos and chat. Winstead is the ultimate feminist to me—unswerving on principle, unbothered by political correctness, utterly hilarious. She was in boots and a dress that looked macramaed from a distance. She reminds me of Laurie Metcalf and Barrie Longfellow.
Had a blast with my buddy Jason last night at the party for Michael Musto's new book Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back (Vantage Point). I guess as I get to know more people and they get to know me, I'm less of a fly on the wall than one of the happy maggots feasting on the fame, quasi-fame and frivolity.
Michael's a New York institution, like the Empire State Building or that weird smell you keep telling tourists you don't notice. He's also a fabulously funny writer, and his new book has fresh stuff in it, making it a must-buy. (No, really, I must buy it—it wasn't given away for free at his party unlike the Bacardi.)
I'd never been to the Copacabana on W. 47th, but I loved it. It felt like a throwback to the disco era—like 54, or maybe 47—and was oozing with cheesetastic outfits, semi-boldface names and genuine merriment. The love Musto engenders from certain circles is shocking considering his ability to cut a bitch with his words. He's embraced because he's unafraid to cut deserving bitches but is generous to those who haven't earned the scythe yet. He's authentic, and if his book is anywhere near as fun as this party was, you should check it out. (And not ...of the library.)
We arrived and ran into my friend Kenneth, who was waiting for artist and designer Scooter LaForge. They'd both turned on Madonna during (actually, before) HydrangeaGate but I have to stick with my gays even over my diva, so I was looking forward to chatting with them more later on. When I caught up with Scooter, he confessed that Madonna's response to HydrangeaGate had won him back. He met Madonna during the American Life era and said she'd been really nice, which is saying a lot since that was the era of, "I'm hot!"
Inside, the low lighting and kitschy decor helped to distract from the fact that most of us were dreaming we were 40 again, and the alcohol made quite a few of the attendees act like 20-year-olds. Mike Diamond, who doesn't need to have lighting on his side in order to make a splash, was interviewing as well as dancing with the kinda-stars.
My first celebrisighting was Geri Reischl, who dubs herself "Fake Jan"—she replaced Eve Plumb when Plumb refused to return for those godawful/gotta-love-'em Brady specials. She was decked out in the fishnets she'd worn at Chiller Theatre, when I first met her, and was traveling with her personal publicist/photographer. Nice chick! She'd apparently originally met Musto bar-hopping one night.
I met up with Joe of Joe.My.God. and also one of his most vitriolic commenters, World of Wonder's Wayne, who I hadn't realized was the dude sitting two down from me at yesterday's screening of The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Wayne was in Versace delecto and like me was roving about looking for good photo ops. He found some.
It was also a pleasure seeing Eddie Rabon, one of (one of???) Broadway's finest dancers. (And he dances well, too.) He was there with a friend, enjoying his last month or so as Mr. Gay U.S.A. I then spotted Paul Iacono from (the new) Fame and The Hard Times of R.J. Berger (on which he played a horse-hung nerd), but he was chowing down on the amazing food so I didn't want to give him indigestion by introducing myself over a meat course.
Then things got nuts when hostesses Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Lisa Lampanelli arrived. The clusterfuck around these women and guest Jerry Springer was a nightmare! I mean, Downtown groupies with cameras were unselfconsciously elbowing me to get their shots. But it was unnecessary as all of the stars were beyond accessible and gracious, posing for like an hour, even when they got frighteningly cornered on the second floor.