Musto on Bruce Vilanch's Cher Dish, Lady Bunny's Sex Life, and a Gay Club In Crisis
By Michael Musto
“I worked with Sonny and Cher, Sonny without Cher, Cher without Sonny, Chastity with a dick, Chastity without a dick….” said funny man Bruce Vilanch at the top of his 54 Below show. “For years, Cher thought I was Chastity.
“The last time I saw Cher,” he went on, “she said, ‘Vilanch, you fat fuck. You still in the business?’ I looked at her and said, ‘I like this face. Keep this one!’”
Vilanch—who’s written 23 Oscar shows and is also remembered for filling Hollywood Squares with rimshots—was wearing hot pink glasses over his own amazing features while also sporting a T-shirt that said “I Dumped Adele.” The fat fuck admitted that he was writer number seven (out of nine hard-working scribes) on the immortal film epic Burlesque, the one that gave poles a bad name. “Can you imagine it took nine of us to put that piece of shit together?” he intoned. And nine more people to see it, I guess!
But the roly-poly riot was more interested in making light of other people’s degradations. He related a story he’d heard about how Joan Crawford once peed on David Niven from above, while waving just to make sure he knew who she was. (I had no idea so many Oscar winners went to the Mine Shaft, lol!)
And Bruce also shared some horrors he’d witnessed personally, like:
*Bea Arthur accidentally slapping a wookie in the genital-looking face during the filming of the Star Wars Holiday Special and ad libbing, “I’ve never hit a man in the cunt before!”
*George Burns watching Pia Zadora in concert and moaning, “This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” “And he was 100,” reminded Vilanch.
*Mario Lopez being ditzy at a teen pageant Vilanch wrote. (“I’d dimple fuck him, but he’s not terribly bright up there.”)
*And when one of the beauty contestants messed up that night, cracked Vilanch, “Whitney Houston—who was alive at the time—called me and said, ‘I no longer believe the children are our future.’” With that, I almost got whiplash spinning my head around to look at Clive Davis’s reaction in the next booth, but his face didn’t move! Maybe it couldn’t. Still, I like it. He should keep this one.
A genital wookie unto herself, Lady Bunny is the big-haired legend who created the fabled drag fest Wigstock and taught the gender bending basics on RuPaul's Drag U. On the release of her rollicking new dance song called "Take Me Up The Highway"—I mean “Take Me Up High”--I asked the Lady a low question about her sex life. Has her TV exposure given her more access to pinga—or at the very least an occasional dimple fuck? "RuPaul's Drag U's main audience was women," responded Bun-Bun, "and I'm not trying to hook up with them." [Let's pause here while my jaws drop. Kidding.] "So while the show gave me national exposure, it wasn't so intense that I couldn't still put out an ad on Craigslist without being recognized." Thank God—no one wants some ravenous oral action to remind a trick of an old lipsynch routine.
But even with relative anonymity, an out-of-drag queen doesn't always get to call the sexual shots, it turns out. Bunny relates that "in a particularly slutty moment, I had two guys over recently. One said he had a foot fetish and asked me to put on some high heels. I explained that my broken toe was still healing and suggested low-heeled, beige, Church Lady pumps the size of shrimp boats. Both guys went limp and simultaneously said 'Not those heels!' " Yikes. They should have remembered the old adage, “You know what they say about guys with large pumps….”
As for her high-stepping song, Bunny said she released it because the music biz is in a tailspin and desperately needs the help right now. Bunny’s over “the formulaic pop crap as America's taste sinks lower and lower, 'Gangnam Style' and 'Harlem Shake' being particularly offensive. But I finally decided to stop bitching and create some music of my own." And if people say “Take Me Up High” sounds like '90s house, Bunny's thrilled because that happened to be a more open, experimental era when people didn’t just trot out their dancing shoes for Top 40. "Bring back the underground!" she exults. And oversized beige pumps!
Clubbed To Death
But don’t take me up to New York’s high-tech dance club xl, which has been going through some not very gay changes lately. Competing events at clubs like Stage 48--promoted by people they fired, like John Blair--have been whooping their ass. The remaining operating partner, Brandon Voss, stepped off the ship in early May, amidst lawsuit threats. (Insiders say the club’s tried to force him to move his new events to xl. Voss refused to comment, but did say his only contract was with Blair and that was terminated.) And Voss took xl’s twink night promoters with him, all of them co-launching a party at Marquee.
Meanwhile, they redid the front area and opened it to a mixed crowd as the Rosebud Lounge, which hasn’t quite bloomed, IMHO. (The rented brown furniture!) And while the weekly “Hot Mess” drag revue is always entertaining—even if the bachelorette-type groupon crowd was not the initially targeted demographic--cohost Bianca Del Rio is away, and I hear Voss plans to move the revue elsewhere when the time is right.
There have been other fun events, like the wonderfully faux-sleazy spoof of Showgirls! that plays there, but the producer has been threatening to pull the show for nonpayment, the club promising to rectify the situation. (Actors have also noticed that some previously used lights are now gone. Repossessed?) Things seem to be spiraling so badly that it’s the club that might need an identity check more than the patrons!
Well, guess who they’re turning to in order to reboot the place? Musto, the Musical! But they’ve been so half-assed about it, I feel like an abused wookie. I was told that the CEO was desperate to meet me to “come aboard,” but then I never heard back from them! That’s OK. I can just go to Stage 48. In Church Lady shoes.
Update: I just got a response from the XL management to the exodus of promoters. Gary Schweikert, CEO of 42nd Street Holdings LLC, says:
"Brandon decided to take advantage of other opportunities which presented themselves and we wish him continued success. We continue to work with a roster of international DJs and promoters for various events. Also, we have brought on a strong GM, Juan Vasquez, who has decades of experience at Bungalow8, Soho House, 60 Thompson, and more." XL-ente.