Monday, January 02, 2006

Another year gone by and it’s time to crown a new ‘Drag Queen of America.’

Damn, these past two weeks have been schedule hell. Yeah, it’s my own fault for booking things this way, but in hindsight, the adventure always does lay in getting from point a to point b. December brought time in Santa Fe, NYC (twice), Crested Butte, Hong Kong, Las Vegas and Memphis. It was more than enough travel to keep things interesting, but when you finally have a chance to sit down (on your own couch) and just veg a little, you realize how exhausting it all has been.

Faralitos, aka 'Luminaries'

Christmastime this year was in Santa Fe, enjoying what I would consider one of the most quaint and relaxing experiences I’ve had in awhile. Up early for breakfast at Pasquales, tooling around galleries and fun shit-shops for most of the day, lunch at The Shed and Dinner at Geronimo’s on Canyon Road for Christmas Eve. It’s an incredibly romantic location, with most of Santa Fe done up in their holiday best (ie, faralitos) which really casts this beautiful golden glow on most of downtown at night. I honestly felt like I had stepped into a movie.

The tubs of Ten Thousand Waves

The following day was spent bumming out at Ten Thousand Waves, where they rent these private Japanese-style tubs and give one helluva deep-tissue massage. The whole complex is amazingly designed around nature and really allows you to relax, detoxify your thoughts and put things into perspective. I left Waves feeling much more centered. The thing that really set it apart from other spas I’ve been to is that it’s not overly-designed and sterile feeling. Most spas these days take the ‘style factor’ overboard and totally make a space void of any character or warmth. Not really a good thing considering people go there to relax and renew. Ten Thousand Waves was the perfect balance of earthy ethic and natural design, all with an overall professional feel.

This past week in-particular was spent mostly in NYC, one of my newfound favorite cities and a place I admire more and more each time I’m there. Getting off the plane at LaGuradia can seem like stepping into a whole other world, but it’s that very insanity that gives it charm: The smell of jet fuel (and smog), cabbies who tell you to ‘move da’ fuck ova,’ the fact that almost everyone was speaking anything BUT English, a gruff pat on the back and suddenly you realize the adage that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

I'm only smiling until you tell me you're going across the bridge...

Had to make a quick stop at H&M to snag some cargo pants, as the ones I had before were wearing out due to my sick fascination with liquid fabric softener. I tend to double-fist the laundry with both Oxyclean and Downy’s Simple Pleasures (lavender/vanilla), so my clothes don’t exactly last long. Thankfully, I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, so I’m also not spending much when I do have to suffer at a mall.

So... H&M was packed. As usual. When you’re selling cheap clothing with real style and a good cut, it’s a given the lines for the checkout are going to be longer than the running time of Titanic. I decided to play dirty, fake a disability and get to the head of the line. Luckily for me it worked and I was out of there lickety-split. Unluckily for me, I was recruited and I’m now playing soccer for the upcoming Special Olympics...

I headed to see the new cast of Hairspray, which is being headed up by comic John Pinette, as well as singing legend Darlene Love. Pinette was fantastic as Edna Turnblad, giving the character the right amount of sass, vulnerability and voice. His timing was perfect and he really did a nice job of making the role his own. Different, yet better, than the original Harvey Firestein (who’s headed back into the show when it opens in February in Las Vegas). Darlene Love blew the roof off the Neil Simon Theatre with her songs, while adding some much needed soul into the show overall. She’s a stunning singer. 12 bars into her gospel-laden second act torchsong (‘I Know Where I’ve Been’), she was given a rousing applause. Love was THAT good. She’s got the kind of voice that sends chills down your spine in the same way that someone like Jennifer Holiday or Lilias White does. A fine show overall and getting a chance to sneak backstage after the show was a real trip.

John Pinette, as Edna Turnblad

Pinette was gracious. He’s heading out of the show in February to get back onto the standup circuit, so catch this guy while you can. He’s a knockout.

Dinner at Rao’s. Treated like family. The food suddenly made gluttony my favorite sin and the owners were as nice as they come. No wonder it’s standing-room-only every night.

I headed home to San Antonio for about 12 hours to get some laundry done (see, I’m obsessed), but then did the turnaround back to NYC for New Years Eve. I knew it would be tough to be right in the middle of things when the ball dropped, so I stayed on the outskirts, not really wanting to fight my way into the crowd of 1.5 million. Had a chance to see both Mariah Carey and Mary J Blige perform. Carey was wearing little more than a embroidered napkin, so I’m sure she was freezing her ass off in that 30 degree weather. Blige intelligently bundled up and delivered the goods, singing an awesome medley of her greatest hits. Dick Clark returned to the festivities, albeit possibly a little too soon, seeing as he struggled through the broadcast, both on and off camera. Ryan Seacrest looked as gay as ever, with nary a flat-ironed hair out of place. Shockingly, the crew at Fox News was actually a little drunk, with them swigging from White Star champagne bottles during the commercial breaks and hiccuping through their live broadcast. MTV stayed nice and warm in their above-Times-Square studio... That, however, was not so shocking.

They let me out of the Tupperware container just long enough to embarass myself...

I finally had a chance to see the Rockettes! Yes, it was a messy show of cheesetastical proportions, but as dancers, they are some impressive gals. Getting to see a show at Radio City is akin to the feeling of riding a train for the first time. You can feel the history envelop you from the second you sit down in your seat. To think that this amazing theatre was on the brink of being torn down at one point is insanity. Also saw the New Years matinee of Avenue Q. With Vegas having it’s own company of the show, I wasn’t sure how to compare the two, but I walked out of the performance knowing the NYC cast had the edge. The show was hilarious, irreverent, smart and a perfect way to kick-start the evening’s festivities...

Getting back into San Antonio, I was dragged again to see the movie-version of Rent with some friends who hadn’t yet seen it. Seeing it a second time actually made me like it more. I still don’t see any part of the film (or Broadway counterpart for that matter) as reality, but had more fun watching it this time. I could actually focus on other things, which made for a much more enjoyable experience. Those things being (Warning: Spoilers ahead)...

Most of the film’s main characters are young folk living in Manhattan’s East Village in 1989, and they’re all righteously angry about being asked to pay rent on the sumptuously art-directed, football-field-sized lofts they’re basically squatting in. None of them show much interest in getting jobs, probably because they’re too busy gazing moodily out their walls of windows, or singing and leaping through the streets as atmospheric fireworks explode. It’s sort of like a Bolshevik version of Fame, in which the proletariat demands record deals for everyone.

One of the characters, played by the stunningly luscious Rosario Dawson, is a stripper who’s also a heroin addict with AIDS: She’s basically an entire season of Law & Order: SVU. Every time Rosario needs a fix, she instantly finds the exact same handsomely-Latino-looking drug dealer; he’s like her personal shopper. Rosario makes being a heroin addict with AIDS look like a beauty treatment; I don’t know why anyone would want to use Botox when they could just move to Avenue A.

There are two major gay romances in Rent, and because it’s a musical, the same-sex lovers cavort through the subways and playgrounds of downtown holding hands and smooching. I consulted my friend who’s currently dancing in Chita Rivera’s new show on Broadway and asked him if he and his boyfriend ever skip through the East Village, swinging on lamp posts and tossing their hair. He replied, ‘Of course... Whenever we’re reenacting the opening credits of Bye Bye Birdie.’

In one exuberant sequence, the entire cast bounds onto a restaurant table and bursts into a jubilant anthem celebrating the bohemian life, like the von Trapp family at an IHOP. While this number is supposed to depict the seize-the-day energy of youth, all I kept thinking was, don’t dance near my food thanks.

The villains in the movie are greedy yuppie pigs who plot to gentrify the neighborhood, filling it with people who can afford to see acclaimed Broadway musicals, or buy the CDs from the movie version.

In the movie’s finale, Rosario has been living on the streets and is deathly ill; her buddies decide that rather than taking her to a hospital, they’ll carry her upstairs. Then they debate whether to place her on a couch or a more visually appealing table, and they select coordinated throw pillows to nestle under her head. As Rosario dies, her boyfriend sings a power ballad right in her face, shaking his cascading blond shag, and this actually turns out to be a form of CPR. After seeming to expire, Rosario suddenly pops back to life, with one of her amigos feeling her forehead and announcing ‘Her fever’s breaking.’ From now on, I suggest that instead of using those electric paddles or antibiotics, paramedics should just stock their ambulances with Journey CDs.

Oh crap, before I forget it... Saw The Producers: It was great! Uma Thurman was the weakest link, but hey, I knew this going into the theater. Will Ferrell was alright, but he’s definitely no singer and had a tough time selling his main song. Director Susan Stroman did a nice job with the musical on film and it was fun to pick out the many legendary Broadway performers she cast as extras throughout the movie. Catch this if you can. Definitely worth it.

So, I know this is old news to some, but I’ve just got to run this rather telling series of pictures:

I scooped about Ricky Martin over a year ago with personal pictures taken by his then-boyfriend (see archives) and now we have Martin luxuriating in nothing but a Chanel speedo? If this isn’t gayer than Judy Garland popping pep pills than I’m not sure what is. Admittedly, the guy’s in pretty good shape and his choice of... ahem... ‘trainer’ is friggin hot. Sources say that the guy with Martin is actually his half-brother.

I bid Ricky a warm welcome to the ‘family.’ He bangs, he bangs, indeed.

Note to Gossiplist: If you're going to continually try to swipe my scoops, then please have the professional courtesy to attribute this site to the images you pull from my servers. It's appreciated. Hope you liked the latest direct from Richard Simmons's balls...

Okay, let’s wrap up this first edition of 2006 in style, meaning the Eye Candy is headed your way. Enjoy and as always, the unedited stuff is always free and featured on my
yahoo groups site.

... And on a more serious note, i wanted to take some time here to apologize to mouseplate for missing a very, very important event of his. You know what's cooking, but i wanted to say congrats and what the carrier pigeon brought to me was beautiful. May it last a lifetime and the leather restraints never break...

Was the registry at Mr. S? *grin*


'Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.' -- George Carlin

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