Queer as crabcakes

Fine Folk and a Coppola

The fourth season of Showtime’s “Queer as Folk” kicks off with all the sex, gay drama, and lesbians-with-babies we’ve come to love, plus a dose of radical faeries and rehab.

Last season, Ted (Lowell) and Emmett (Paige) went from being best friends to lovers and then bitter exes after Ted got gonzo on circuit parties, crystal meth, and barebacking orgies. For his performance, Lowell was recently nominated for a Prism Award, which honors realistic depictions of chemical abuse/addiction in media.

Hmm. Isn’t it kind of ironic to receive an award made of crystal for playing a guy hooked on crystal?

“The big ‘Tina&Mac226; pyramid,’” Lowell laughed. “I’ll try not to snort it!”

More seriously, Lowell assured us that crystal meth and barebacking are a “great danger” to the gay community. “People like Ted have problems. It’s an easy way out, and since having done that [that season] I’ve met more people getting sober.”

“It’s real,” added Paige. “Ted’s story is as real and raw as we’ve told. I walk the streets of L.A. and see it every day. People screaming at nobody.”

As for that other danger to the community, PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH and his anti-gay marriage ilk, Lowell opined, “It’s absurd, so discriminatory. It’s a no-brainer that [everyone] should be allowed to have the same rights. But this is exciting––something’s going to happen.”

Paige wouldn’t reveal much about what sorts of specific plot twists await Emmett and Ted (hint: cranky arguments during the first episodes), but did tell us to expect “a major event that rocks the world” for his character. “A very hot event. I’ve never been so naked.” That’s a big statement, considering just how naked Paige has been over the seasons. After all, Emmett became an Internet porn star famous for his hot solo action. “That was the only time I ever hated going into work,” Paige bristled. “I was a boner away from being a real porn star. I had to tell the producers that I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Paige is finding much more pleasure in the gay marriage fight. “A civil uprising has begun.” How about wedding plans of his own? “Yeah, I think I do [want to get married]. I am seeing someone wonderful.”

Paige is also up to wonderfulness with JENNIFER JASON LEIGH in the upcoming film “Child Star” and KATHY NAJIMY in “Donut Hole,” his directorial debut (which we dropped a blind item on a year ago!).

While we’re plugging extracurricular “QAF” activities, Harold appears as a detective in the bizarro feature “Rhinoceros Eyes,” which co-stars MICHAEL PITT. Pitt doesn’t reveal the same, er, talented endowments he did in “The Dreamers,” but those after more sordid exploits will delight in “Jailbait,” which features Pitt being turned out as a prison bitch.

In fact, we left all the way to Baltimore for a weekend of relaxation and a case of crabs. Crabcakes, that is. We shacked up in the gay Mount Vernon neighborhood’s 4 East Madison Inn (www.4eastmadisoninn.com), a former medical treatment center that Kate Hepburn and Joe DiMaggio spent time in. Lovely hosts Betty and Sandra dished up amazing breakfasts and we had in-room high speed Internet access to “research” the area, which was jumping with gay clubs (The Hippo, Central Station) and restaurants. You’ve got to hit Ixia (518 N. Charles St)––the lounge’s cocktails were yum, the Mediterranean fusion dishes yum-yum, and the surroundings theatrical and hip. Loved the Jackie O. painting! And be sure to hit the Hampden neighborhood’s 36th Street (aka The Avenue) for its JOHN WATERS kitsch and great shops: we loved In Watermelon Sugar for its bath products (caramel shower gel!) and the funky alternative/ comics/fanzine shop Atomic Books.

As for getting’ crabs? Faidleys in loud, busy Lexington Market, and Phillips are amongst the top of the line for jumbo lump crabcakes. We’re, er, itching for more!

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