Exclusive Gossip: Is it hard out here for an heiress? PARIS HILTON had a long-anticipated CD scheduled to come out in June. Out magazine recently sent me to L.A. to interview the multi-media personality about her music, which I heard and thought was perfectly enjoyable dance-pop, as helmed by wunderkind SCOTT STORCH. But a source tells me that Warner Brothers chairman/CEO TOM WHALLEY might not feel the same way. They say he doesn’t think it’s ready—in fact, he doesn’t care for it at all—and he’s putting the project on hold for now. (I’m hearing it’ll probably be released in September.) At least this should provide some juicy conflict for The Simple Life. (I’m awaiting a response from a Warner Brothers publicist.)
I’ve avoided anything resembling plastic surgery for ages, mainly because I’m cheap, I hate pain, journalism isn’t a beauty contest, and I feel there’s only so much that can be done anyway. My only foray into the cosmetic enhancement arena came in the ’90s, when I had a doctor inject collagen in my lips so I could write about it, though I was only able to do so after I was revived with smelling salts. (The anesthetic was mixed in with the collagen, so you were numbed as you were being terrorized. It hurt like the devil!)
But recently, my facial moles were getting so prominent that on TV I was beginning to look like an aging Italian fishwife (which I am), and this seemed to require immediate action. Concerned, I descended on a Tribeca dermatologist for help, and he promptly told me there were two options: Either remove the moles entirely and then stitch up the holes, which would leave scarring (which he said sometimes looks even worse than the moles ever did) or simply flatten them with a small device that’s the facial equivalent of a floor sander. The moles would probably grow back eventually, but at least for some time I’d just have flat brown spots, not bulbous orbs (which I somehow never wore with the elan of, let’s say, Cindy Crawford).
I went for the latter procedure, which took all of five minutes and cost a sizable but not life-threatening $200 per mole. The process? First he pricked me with the anesthetic (painless—my skin is thicker than my lips), then sanded the things down with something that looked like a scaled-down WaterPik as if my face were a SoHo loft being renovated for resale. I felt nothing, but I did smell the stench of burning flesh, which was lovely; it meant the moles were literally being razed into thin air. The only problem was that for about 10 days afterwards, I had two reddish crevices where there used to be orbs, and they looked so borderline-icky I wanted my money back. What’s more, I wanted my moles back!
Fortunately, the spots ended up sort of healing to the point where I may look BETTER than Cindy Crawford (if not as lovely as Enrique Iglesias, who—ever the trendsetter—de-moled himself before I did). This could become addicting. Next stop: Butt stapling!
In addition to some touching support, I’ve gotten a steaming heap of flack for my current Out magazine article in which I examine why CNN’s fabulous Anderson Cooper hasn’t come out or been at least asked about his sexuality in the lengthy but guarded profiles written about him. A lot of the people attacking me haven’t even read the piece, which references my Voice writings and which is not a screed at all—it’s just a questioning look at why Cooper’s open-secret life hasn’t gotten ink, a practice he obviously goes along with.
Still, I’m getting all the same old arguments from the early ’90s and have to drag up all those hoary, old defenses in response. You know: “How do you know he’s gay?” Gee, well, I’m a reporter.
“His off-camera life is private and I don’t care about it.” Good, then I presume you’ll scream the same sentiments at anyone who dares to write about Brad and Jen, Ben and Jen, Katie Couric’s fling, Diane Sawyer’s marriage, Lindsay Lohan’s gropefests, and so on and so on. And don’t let me catch you reading any of those items, by the way. You’re not interested, remember?
“But some of those people have been spotted doing stuff in public.” Well, Anderson’s been seen at gay spots.
“No one’s forced to come out.” I never said anyone was (though they certainly should). In fact, I gently examine the reasons why he won’t.
“But he IS out.” Sort of, but not on the record. And if he IS out, why are you so upset about the article?
“But he never said he was straight.” Yeah, that’s in the article. And I never said he was straight either. I said he was gay.
“Outing is disgusting.” But you didn’t think so with David Gest, Al Reynolds, Fabien Basabe, Mario Vasquez, or even the false rumors about Marcia Cross coming out or all the Jacko jokes (which started way before his public travails). Not one person complained to me about any of those reports. So producers, party boys, singers, “freaks,” and women are OK to report about, just not newsmen (and former Mole hosts)?
“I thought it was disgusting with them too. Outing is just gross.” But what’s gross about saying someone’s gay? It’s OK to be gay, remember? Project much, dear?
“But my cousin was outed and . . . ” Wait, your cousin is not a public figure. There are different rules for celebrities.
“We should only out our enemies and hypocrites.” So I should only reveal when HORRIBLE people are gay? That would really advance the gay cause, wouldn’t it? In my book, outing isn’t only trotted out as a revenge tactic—it’s a statement of equalizing and truth.
“You’re just outing someone to get your activist credentials.” Please—I was doing this before it was cool. I outed Methuselah.
“You’re just jealous of Anderson.” No, I’m actually very proud of Anderson and in fact the article is wildly appreciative of his talent and charm. It’s just saying he’s smart, successful, and happens to be gay too.
“You’re out of line!” But I write about celebrities’ personal lives for a living. To leave out anything gay because it might seem distasteful to someone would be extremely hypocritical. And the media certainly didn’t omit mention of Anderson’s brother’s tragic suicide. Nor do they avoid covering all kinds of celebrities’ adulterous affairs, out-of-wedlock babies, narcotics problems, bad movies, or gross misbehavior.
“But after your writeup, someone on Don Imus’s radio show made homophobic remarks about Anderson.” So I should never say anyone’s gay because someone else might make a dumb comment about it? In that case—you heard it here first—Jamie Foxx is white.
“This will ruin his career.” One 800-word article in a gay magazine? And a pretty gushy one at that? Besides, I’m not making him gay, I’m just saying he is.
“If he came out himself, it could hurt his career.” But the article addresses that. The article, in fact, covers practically all the bases. You should read it.
“You didn’t ask him for comment.” I asked CNN for a comment from Anderson and/or themselves. They apparently didn’t even forward it to him, they just responded by sending me a blanket no comment. Besides, in the past, Anderson’s turned down the chance to be labeled “gay.” And when New York Daily News columnist Ben Widdicombe asked him if he had any comment about the Out piece, he said “No.”
“This is sick!” Oh, really? And you’re on that website all day where the fake Marcia Cross thing started and where they relentlessly out celebrities, including a lot of people who aren’t even gay? I’d say you’re conflicted. Oh, and probably gay too!
I’m on Broadway! Well, OFF Broadway. But at least it’s at the legendary Studio 54. Well, UPSTAIRS at the legendary Studio 54. And it’s not really me, it’s an actor playing me. But still, I’m immortalized, kind of, in a topical revue called Newsical by satirical songwriter/comic Rick Crom. Along with director Donna Drake, he sends a quartet of performers through a batch of kooky tunes about Hooters airlines, Brad Pitt’s availability, and the sexual thrill old ladies get from being wanded down at airports.
And now, Newsical has a “Michael Musto song” and I’d be shocked about it, except I cooperated with them on the whole thing. The result? At the performance I saw, a performer named Jamison Stern emerged as moi in picture-perfect loud shirt and dark-framed glasses and sang about being prettier and wittier than some of the female columnists. (Lies!) Crooning on, he claimed to have been hurt in the past and therefore determined to colorfully wreck lives with his prose. (Getting warmer.) And then he actually sang from my current column, though the items (racy tidbits about RuPaul, John Travolta, and the Olsen twins) were reconstructed into neatly rhyming lyrics by Crom, who even gave them punchlines.
Jamison got my mannerisms down, nabbing both the hideous shyness and the rampant megalomania. In fact, he’s so good as me that, as I told theatermania.com, I’d love him to write the column from now on! Will the song stay in the show? It had damned well better—and then the whole thing can become The Michael Musto Revue and then it’ll move to Broadway and then it’ll be a movie and I’ll be played by Josh Hartnett. All right, I’ll settle for Hilary Swank.
Meanwhile, can I blow myself one more time and say that at Quo the other night, Miami-based artist Romero Britto unveiled portraits of me and celeb shutterbug Patrick McMullan before a crowd of happy drunks? My Britto portrait has me in a picture-perfect loud shirt and dark glasses and truly gets the hideous shyness and rampant megalomania, etc. etc. (I must be very easy to read, even if my work isn’t.)
Want to be enlightened, ennobled, and filled in on the latest steaming piles of dish? Well, here are some web destinations that aim to make all your orifices feel complete.
1. queerday.com: This relatively straightforward, ultra informative site draws your attention to all the joyous and/or horrifying gay stories of the day, ranging from serious (“Vote in Topeka hangs on gay rights today”) to medium serious (“Robin Williams gay cartoon protest at Academy Awards”) to downright scandalicious (“Swedish lesbian couples to get right to insemination”). This site can turn you queer, or if you already are “that way,” it can make you even queerer—and what could make for a higher recommendation, honey?
2. pagesixsixsix.blogspot.com: The brainchild of Perez Hilton, you-know-who’s “trashtastic Cuban cousin,” it reflects Perez’s life-appreciating motto, “I love animals, enemas, and animus.” The site gleefully mixes up celeb gossip, interviews with downtown divas, and heartwarming appreciations of one of their “favoritest” couples, Mischa Barton and Brandon Davis. (“May your union be as smooth as some finely chopped grade A cocaine.”) Snort this site immediately.
3. wonkette.com: Snark goddess Ana Marie Cox serves up political news, wisdom, and bitchery, while making me interested in politics all over again for the first time. Sample item: “Okay, we knew God was powerful, but we weren’t aware until today that God had Bob Novak working for him. Theologically, it makes sense. You’ve seen Constantine, right?” The item goes on to call Novak “the douche bag of liberty” before quoting his righteous idiocy and making merciless fun of the guy. But I bet even the Lord clicks on wonkette between miracle-doing.
4. defamer.com: This questioning quagmire of Hollywood’s dirty doings is dense yet fast-paced, impossibly witty yet blithely accessible. Reports include well lubricated tidbits like “FCC on Arrested Development: Corn-holing isn’t just for sodomites anymore.” By the way, defamer and wonkette are part of the gawker empire that may be making columnists like me obsolete, but at least are keeping us wildly entertained in the process.
Oh, and by the way, villagevoice.com—which you’re on right now—is the bestest, funnest, favoritest of the bunch (and quite literate too). Make this your second home or GO TO HELL!
The silliest press release of the week claimed that Hooters has enjoyed a 300% boost in sales of chicken wings because people have been streaming in thanks to the hype around the orange-colored Christo/Jeanne-Claude gates in Central Park. Supposedly, the customers are so dumb they thought Hooters was somehow involved in the art project, since the joint’s big-titted waitresses wear bright orange hot pants. Next up, they’ll probably be lining up outside Tropicana factories.
My worst misconception of the week was that 1966, the “resurrection concert” that plays Saturdays at the Flamingo, would be some kind of elaborate theater piece. Instead, it’s a concert by a slavishly faithful Doors cover band, flanked by some hard-working gogo girls. The show had some people in the opening night crowd at “Hello, I Love You,” but it failed to light my fire, except to propel me to invoke obvious references like that.
Perhaps more up my retro alley will be Gabba Gabba Hey!, a musical using old Ramones songs to form what’s described as both “a Lower East Side love story” and “Grease on speed!” The latest tuner to spin a plotline out of a jukebox, it’ll be playing this May in Berlin, where the legendary Jayne County is guest starring as a cheap whore/girlfriend, a complete stretch.
Oh, but back to the worsts. Sticking with the musical nostalgia theme, the biggest recent tragedy is that, though ’80s teen idol Deborah Gibson has a spread in Playboy, she lost out on the main cover to a certain overexposed socialite I won’t mention anymore! (Poor Debs only got the cover pullout.) Why, dear God? “I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t show enough,” Gibson told me, “or if it’s because they want a double publicity bang.” Well, in case it’s the former reason, I’d say just show more next time. Take off the orange hot pants!
Finally, I’d be the worst if I left out that at Mickey Boardman’s B Bar dinner for Turkish hotshot designer Atil Kutoglu, I learned that Heatherette’s Richie Rich almost got deluged with crank calls like everyone else on earth when the cell phone of that socialite I won’t mention was hacked into. Fortunately, she had the wrong number for Richie, the ditz!
As the Oscar race heats up, alliances are shifting and feelings are
changing to the point where Ray‘s Jamie Foxx—who’s had the award in the
gift bag for months—may reportedly get edged out by Clint Eastwood, who
could be riding a Million Dollar Baby sweep. As you’ve heard, Jamie may
be the victim of having peaked too soon; people have heard he’s a
shoo-in for so long that they feel he’s already won and may want to
throw their votes to old-timer Clint. But screw it—I’m still betting on
Foxx by a (Nicole Kidman) nose.
For Best Actress, Baby‘s Hilary Swank seems to be the favorite to
once again clobber poor Annette Bening. (The deserved winner, Vera
Drake‘s Imelda Staunton—is considered too obscure, though I’d love it
if she pulled a Glenda Jackson/Emma Thompson and creamed the glamour
Best Supporting Actor seems to belong to Baby‘s Morgan Freeman, who
gives a wry performance, and even if he didn’t, it’d be a lifetime
achievement sort of thing that’d make everyone feel good, except the
other four nominees.
Best Supporting Actress is more complicated. Natalie Portman has a
strong chance because the Academy loves a starlet (Mira Sorvino,
Juliette Binoche, Kim Basinger) who turns out to actually have
something. And Cate Blanchett can’t be ruled out; she’s universally
admired for her willingness to do almost anything for a role. But I’m
still counting on Virginia Madsen because she was transcendant and they
have to give SOMETHING to Sideways!
Finally, it looks like Baby will sideswipe The Aviator for Best
Picture, but in a reversal of the Golden Globes, Scorsese might cop Best
Director as a way for the academy to say, “Thank you for Taxi Driver,
Raging Bull, and Goodfellas, if not Bringing Out The Dead.” Of course
there’s a chance Clint might nab that one out of the poor old guy’s
hands too, especially since the Oscar hasn’t dabbled much in sentiment
for about a decade now. (Lauren Bacall, Burt Reynolds, and the Titanic
lady all got kicked to the curb. Hey wait a minute, maybe my Morgan
Freeman prediction is way off base. Nah, I’m sticking with it.)
Anyway, who will we never listen to again? The pundits who swore
that Johnny Depp couldn’t possibly be nominated because he didn’t
campaign for it, and the freaks who similarly insisted Bening and
Staunton were out of the running because their movies weren’t big enough
moneymakers. Pshaw! And what WILL we be watching? The Oscars on February
27! See you onstage!
There’s a little tidbit that’s been lost in the hoopla over last week’s
State Supreme Court decision (which Mayor Bloomberg is appealing) that
the New York city clerk must start issuing marriage licenses to gay
couples. The gay-marriage-phobic clerk (and the defendant in the State
Supreme Court case)
happens to be Victor Robles, the ex-councilman who, it turns out, is no
stranger to gay controversy. Nothing came of it, but there was a probe into
Robles in ’96. Here are some excerpts from a 1996 Village Voice
article about it by Edward Borges:
“Brooklyn councilman Victor Robles is the subject of an ethics probe,
sources say. The City Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee is
investigating whether Robles, chairman of the council’s Youth Services
Committee, sexually harassed a male employee, according to several
councilmembers and staffers who asked not to be identified. . . The councilman refused to discuss the substance of the charges filed against him. ‘If there is an investigation, then in fairness, I don’t believe I should be discussing it,’ said Robles. But when
specifically asked whether he had had a relationship with a male
employee that might be perceived as sexual harassment, Robles answered,
“Robles’s wife, Daisy Parilla Robles, who works for the Housing
Authority, said she did not know about the charges against her husband.
The councilman and his wife have been separated for nearly a year.”
I guess that marriage definitely shouldn’t have been OK’d.
A rep at the City Council had no information as to the upshot of the probe.
It’s time to face it—the family values folks are right and SpongeBob Squarepants is even more of a gay sponge than my last boyfriend. But though the Catholic church would surely condemn SpongeBob to invertebrate hell (unless he confessed), the United Church of Christ has decided—in my favorite recent press release—that “Jesus’s message of extravagant welcome extends to all” and that totally includes the light-in-the-loafers cartoon creature. The release states that they’d also “warmly receive Barney, Big Bird, Tinky Winky, and Clifford the Big Red Dog.” Wow—I’ve certainly fucked the first three, but I didn’t know Clifford was gay!
Moving on to my favorite real life cartoon character, gay icon Barbra Streisand has been on a new career high thanks to the massive success of Meet The Fockers, and the church of second-wind Jews is extendng an extravagant welcome. I’M thrilled too! Babs had languished for way too many years, turning down offers because they weren’t “important” enough, dawdling around on never-launched projects like her Normal Heart flick, and stewing over not getting enough recognition as the female Kurosawa. I always thought she should seize any available light, zany role (like her old ones in What’s Up Doc? and For Peter’s Sake) and just have a romp with it, to remind people she’s around and can poke fun at herself, rather than treat her every filmed utterance as a monumental life changer. Astonishingly enough, she listened to me (though I hear she put up a fight) and even got her old perm back—and her old career too. Hello again, gorgeous!
My favorite web site, of course, is villagevoice.com, a loving receptacle for all of our hopes, dreams, and snarky information. But there are other cyber places out there that ring my gay chimes and make it worth pulling up an imaginary stool for, as it were. Herewith, my fave sites to visit for tawdry gossip and spiritual enlightenment:
1. datalounge.com A raunchy, celeb-obsessed, gayola party where only bitter hags are on the list. Their wit and wisdom (and depressions) make for riveting reading. Typical posting: “Jonnny Carson ignored his black grandchild!”
2. talkinbroadway.com This site’s “All That Chat” message board attracts absolute loonies who can debate “Kristin vs. Idina” for hours on end—and insist on doing so every single day. Weed through the flacks and nutjobs on the down low who rave about Brooklyn the musical and find the gems worth singing out about, Louise. Typical posting: “YAY!!!! Rachel York has her own solo album!!”
3. gawker.com I’ve gotten carpal tunnel just from clicking on this wry classic every five seconds to catch the newest unbotoxed observations and snaggle-toothed truths. Typical posting: “Donald Trump Fires Fiancee’s Errant Nipple.”
4. ronmwangaguhunga.blogspot.com Ron M’s “the Corsair” blog is like gawker‘s only slightly more polite cousin as he links and lassos all kinds of bold-faced realities. Typical post: The Donald Trump burger “should remain in your colon longer than his new marriage to the Eastern European trophy lasts.”
5. out.com (Disclosure: I write for Out magazine.) The site’s “Daily Gossip!” section guides you to spicy, friend-of-Dorothy-friendly headline happenings. Typical post: “Group action for Elijah!”
6. worldofwonder.net Stephen Saban’s blog, “the WOW Report,” manages to be gi-normously funny and incisive, while dutfully plugging World of Wonder’s multitude of projects from “Gay Republicans” to “Inside Deep Throat.” Special features include “The St. James Version” (via ageless party boy James St. James), “Recently Dead” (fun obits of your favorite corpses), and the new “Inside Inside Deep Throat” blog-within-a-blog. Typical posting: There IS no typical posting. That’s the genius of it. Now go back to the rest of villagevoice.com, please.