Are you at your friending max on Facebook? Well, then, drop 10 people—come on, throw them into oncoming traffic—and ask for the following people’s friendship while crossing your little fingers. Maybe it’ll happen. If so, you’ll be privy to a bevy of fascinating figures who have something to say and a memorable way of saying it. And if not, there’s always following—or Twitter/Instagram.
A longtime gay/HIV activist, Staley posts a lot—and it’s thoughtful, opinionated stuff about government and societal happenings, books and movies to look out for, and most recently, his feeling that Kenneth Cole should step down as amfAR head due to the uneasy deal-making he carried on with Harvey Weinstein. Staley doesn’t mince words in his beliefs, and that’s the kind of friend we need.
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Renna is a self-described LGBT media activist and PR/communications expert. As such, she posts important event plugs, surveys, and opinions concerning all manner of LGBT life and well being. Sample post: “If we are serious about tackling the toxic masculinity which persists in our culture, we must look at the images we market to our children.”
The trans singer/activist is prone to eye-catching sayings on colored backgrounds. Among them: “Shoutout to all the men that watch TransPorn and fantasize, but don’t have the guts to love us in the light”; “Empty compliments from men”; “My essence as a woman speaks for itself. It is not defined by physicality. My body a vessel for this eternal presence”; and, simply, “Celine.”
Sometimes fictional characters are the best ones to be friends with—they’ll never let you down. This one—created by a gay male—is a Boca Raton widow who steals, slimes, and is wildly incorrect, but always darkly hilarious. Don’t follow Beryl if you can’t be bothered caring about her constant attempts to subvert her equally fictional neighbor, Mrs. Milfman, or a certain all-too-real Miami drag queen who can’t figure out why being a Republican has made her less popular. But if you like crazy shit like “If I offend anyone, remember it’s the opioids talking” or “No post today due to bone spurs,” then Beryl’s your hag. Not surprisingly, in real life, Beryl is besties with Bianca Del Rio.
Shouldn’t you have some black lesbian poet/artists on your friends list? Yes, and Pamela should definitely be one of them. Sneed posts things about her amazing exploits in the literary field, but she’s also hyper aware about larger issues and is always bracing to check in on. We were pals in the ‘90s and I’m happy to have reconnected with her, plus I enjoy reading her bemused takes on repeatedly being mistaken for a man.
The star of stage, screen, and Vegas is a riot as she skewers Trump as if tossing off one-liners at the Continental Baths. One post: “I hated that Hocus Pocus wig at the time, but after staring at Trump’s hair for 18 months, it honestly looks not that bad.” Also: “Trump has spent 1 out of every 4 days as President playing golf. Boy, that takes a lot of small white balls.” Bette also takes aim at the pharmaceutical industry and other things in ways that make you feel as if Facebook is her personal Harmonia Gardens, and “Bette will never go away again.”
The ex-Warhol star of cult classics like Trash and Heat, Joe has matured into a DeNiro-esque stature, and always posts interesting photos and magazine spreads from the Factory days and beyond. What’s more, he’s a soulful sort who, when he ventures into expressing opinions, is always succinct and on point. The man is eternally hot—but sorry, guys, he’s married to a woman.
Joe My God/Facebook
I’m secure enough to be able to plug a fellow journalist—Joe Jervis, who doesn’t seem to miss a trick when it comes to reporting the horrors and triumphs of being LGBT in the world today. The guy was blocked on Twitter by Trump, so he’s clearly doing something right.
The long-running drag creation of Les Simpson, Linda is wry and dry and veers between being a serious chronicler of the downtown scene and a bouncy Bingo hostess. On Facebook, she details her exploits around the world and also posts observations like, “So may disasters lately—Kim pregnant, Kourtney pregnant, Khloe pregnant.” Best of all was Linda’s recent revelation that, on finding herself up at 2 AM, she’s still quite the rebel!
Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty
The co-host/co-producer of the long running Gay USA (with Ann Northrop) provides a steady stream of useful information and commentary about LGBT news. Recently, he passed along a commentator’s opinion that Al Franken should offer to resign—if Trump will too.
The Breast Years of Our Lives
When Susanne Bartsch announced that she was putting on a revue called Public Follies at the Public Hotel on the Lower East Side, I sensed this wouldn’t be all that similar to Café Carlyle-style jaunts into the American Songbook. Sure enough, Bartsch brought a crowd last Tuesday to a funky venue in the hotel, where corded red curtains form a stage backdrop, and the whole thing started with a male and female gogo dancer having a long (inaudible over the music) tete-a-tete onstage. Was this underweared performance art or just plain ballsiness? I don’t know, but it was certainly different.
A gussied-up Brandon Olson then started the actual show by floating through the crowd with a raunchy rap, and then out came Bartsch, flashing her breasts out of a low-cut red sparkly outfit. “These tits are five years old,” she crowed. “I’m 105, and the tits are five. You paid for this fucking shit,” she added (meaning the show, not her tits), “so you made it possible for me to not lose any money.” Heartwarming, no? “Give it up for my pussy!” she then exclaimed, clearly possessed by her body parts. Like I said, this wasn’t the Carlyle—but it did have an irreverent zing to it, especially when Juilliard-trained Shequida Hall came out and blew the roof off with fancy opera singing and penis-oriented patter.
Other performers included angsty Untitled Queen, zany dance troupe Fou York, sexy Dirty Martini, and Evil Hate Monkey, who danced gingerly to Swan Lake, then flung banana bits at the crowd and stripped. Most of the audience was sitting, while their private parts were standing.
At Club Cumming, the talented Henry Koperski (who’s accompanied me on my duets shows there) and performer Catherine Cohen asked me to join in on their Wednesday night Cabernet Cabaret Party, so I did a raunchy version of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” with new lyrics about glory holes. The packed house greeted it as if it were “Springtime For Hitler,” (meaning they were horrified, but ultimately laughed and even sang along), but they really delighted in Catherine’s funny and well sung numbers, like her opening ditty, “Boys never wanted to kiss me/So now I do comedy…Look at me, look at me, look at me…”
The same night, drag hostess Monica Blewinsky invited me to gallery owner Margot Feiden’s home base—the Stanford White Townhouse in the Village—for a sort of orphans’ Thanksgiving bash. Feiden used to represent the late caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, so it was great to see a crowd of drags and club kids swirling around the house’s many representations of stars like Charlie Chaplin and Carol Channing and seeming to commune with them. But after I left, some of the guests apparently got a little too cheery. My friend heard glass and wood break. Eek—but Channing is still okay.
One interesting bit of gossip I got that day: The headed-for-Broadway musical about the late disco diva Donna Summer has women dressed as men in the ensemble and a lady plays Giorgio Moroder, the producer who discovered Donna. She works hard for the money.