Indulgence, Chocolate, and Devils in America
Calling all [HBO] Angels! Director Mike Nichols introduced “Angels in America’s” astounding second part, “Perestroika,” at the Upper East Side cast and crew premiere screening, where we also spotted star Ben Shenkman, GLAAD’s Cathy Renna, Larry Kramer, and Wallace Shawn. “I’m very glad you were curious how it would turn out,” Nichols remarked, and then quoted Lenny Bruce: “A flamenco dancer is a guy applauding his own ass.” With that Nichols added, “so I’m gonna sit down!”
“Angels” writer Tony Kushner has a brand spankin’ new work on stage, “Caroline, Or Change,” at the Public Theater. We hear that at a recent performance the mostly gay audience gave a standing ovation while they also drooled over Brendan Fraser, who was taking in the play.
In between his frantic duties we spoke with Kushner, who discussed “Angels” and his attitudes towards the 80s and today’s Republican Party (they need to sit down, apparently). On Dubya: “This man is, as he was, utterly unfit to hold his office, not competent, and the front man for really dangerous and scary right wing ideologues.”
Of course, potential presidential challenger Democrat Howard Dean made himself a flamenco applause recipient for those ill-informed comments about courting Confederate Flag lovers. “That was really awful,” Kushner sighed. “I’m from the deep South and people who drive around with a Confederate flag are interested in one thing, which is white supremacy. You don’t really get to pretend that it doesn’t. It’s a surprising ineptitude from a guy I thought really had it under control.”
That said, Kushner enthuses that he would vote for “anybody over Bush.” Even Roy Cohn or Hitler? “Um… well… “ he blanched, “I won’t say which party Hitler would belong to if he was alive today, but it wouldn’t be the Democratic Party.”
From what we hear, even our worst enemy would’ve clamored for the Copacabana’s Out Magazine 100 Party goodie bags. We had to miss the shindig, which saw some 1,200 fabulous guests including Ben Shenkman, David Drake, Patricia Field, Anthony Rapp, Maer Roshan (has his Radar blipped for the last time? Call us, Maer!), The Fab 5, and Charles Busch.
Regarding the bag brouhaha, the event’s Eric Chandler reports that “we gave out what could be called ‘the coveted red ticket,’ which guaranteed you a gift bag on the way out. The problem? The coat check and gift bag dispersal were at the same place. Imagine all those [drunk] queens fighting to get their Out Magazine gift bags. People were literally fighting. I had to break one up, in fact.” At least one guest left the party with a ripped garment, allegedly from a scuffle.
The bag frenzy got so insane that eventually any ol’ pouch would do: the Copa lost Chrissy Gephardt’s luggage and Jai Rodriguez’s sack. “It’s black with stitches,” Jai told Chandler, who noted, “OK, do you know how many homos have black bags with stitches?” Happy ending: after a search and rescue, Jai’s article was recovered.
We embarked on a search and consume mission within The 6th Annual Chocolate Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Chocolate makers from around the world were on hand to hawk all manner of chocolate items. Holiday gift buyers take note!
UK-based Green & Black’s (greenandblacks.com) organic chocolate is not only delicious, especially their Maya Gold bar, but a fair trade product. Danish artisan chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt (knipschlidt.com) was voted 2nd best chocolatier in the world by Gourmet Mag. His gayest offering? The Tangerine Red Chile – a conical dark chocolate outside with edible copper dust accent and tangerine red chile filling (Dare we say it looks like a suppository of joy?).
Patrick Coston’s “The Art of Chocolate” (theartofchocolate.com) also features impressive visual/flavor aesthetic and an even gayer hand-painted piece: the Honey Lavender Pansy. Almost redundantly, we asked what’s gay about Coston’s chocolate: he and his operation are based in Chelsea, “and I dress very nice” he quipped.
Jacque Torres (MrChocolat.com), a Brooklyn-based Frenchman (visit their DUMBO shop!), is all about amor. We spoke to his partner in business and life, Kris Kruid. Kruid suggested that “Wicked Hot Chocolate will help you fall in love.” Perhaps with the cuties at their table? Apparently, Kruid has to fend off some gay boys keen on heterosexual Jacques – alas, he wasn’t around for us to ogle. As for the Passion Potion sauce, “we hope you have another use for it other than ice cream topping,” she smirked. And what would she suggest we do with their Body Butter? “Don’t make us give you directions.” Come February, we’ll be clamoring for their champagne Valentine selection.
Parisian chocolatier Patrice Chapon is harder getting a taste out of than a paper napkin from a Parisian street vendor, but we finally convinced him to hand over a small bag of goods and it was good as gold (chocolate.chapon.free.fr/). Fellow French company Boissier’s – established in 1827 on the avenue Victor Hugo (he mentions the shop in his letters) – gayest offering entailed sublime, sensual chocolate petals in fragrant flower scents. Ooh la la, how’d you like to sprinkle these on your bed? Talk about rolling in it (www.maison-boissier.com)!
From Japan, Mary’s Chocolates – super-hip in Paris right now – were good as kogane (www.mary.co.jp), especially green tea, brown sugar, and wasabi varieties. More locally, Hell’s Kitchen’s Ruby et Violette’s (rubyetviolette.com) 52 varieties of chocolate chunk cookies, all scrumptious, had us wanting more. Barflies take note: they also come in cocktail flavors like Mai Tai and Tequila Margarita. A carb is a carb is a carb! Ethel M. (ethelm.com), meanwhile, makes a wonderful, chewy American caramel and Burbery-esque gift box, and all their products are kosher.
After endless samples (not to mention Elvis Moos and Love Bites—“they may show in the morning!”—from SweetBliss, and grapefruit caramels from Chocolat Moderne), chocolate became a drag… queen. Martin Howard, pastry chef at Brasserie 8 1/2, gave a campy drag baking demo as Chocolatina: Queen of the Dessert.
What’s gay about chocolate? “What isn’t gay about chocolate? It does make you hard,” s/he opined. Is that a medical fact? “Allegedly it’s an aphrodisiac, and it’s good for your heart. It’s so all-purpose—wear it, eat it, roll around in bed in it.”
Make sure to roll around at the MIX Festival (Nov. 19-22, mixnyc.org), especially their closing night party, The Thousand Dreams of Desire 2003. Come 10 p.m. this Saturday night, all three floors of the The Ann Street Bookstore (21 Ann Street between Broadway and Nassau) become a mind-blowing multimedia “mixed gender psychedelic porno happening” featuring visuals by perverse sweetie Stephen Kent Jusick and James Lyons.
The visuals are pretty astounding at Firebird (firebirdrestaurant.com) too – and not just the stunningly sexy, agreeable maitre’d Juan and impeccable waiter Mohammad. Decorated with the Russian art collection (paintings, porcelains, samovars, costumes) of the financier owner’s deceased Russian baroness wife, this 46th Street restaurant is an old world elegant love letter to her memory. A romantic destination sure to impress your trick… ahem, date, before going home for Body Butter flamenco action. Oh – and they’re planning a big Thanksgiving dinner set-up, imperial St. Petersburg style. Leave simplicity to the Pilgrims!
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