Get Out! GAY Magazine – Issue 412 April 3, 2019

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Featuring content from the hottest gay and gay-friendly spots in New York, each (free!) issue of Get Out! highlights the bars, nightclubs, restaurants, spas and other businesses throughout NYC’s metropolitan area that the city’s gay population is interested in.

BY EILEEN SHAPIRO

CELEBRITY CORRESPONDENT

EMPRESS XXXII GAYE BANTER EMPEROR XVII &

REGENT EMPEROR XXVII ROB HUNTER DE WOOFS:

“Night of A Thousand Gowns”

The celebration and spectacular

extravaganza of 2019, the 33rd

Annual Night of a Thousand

Gowns, will be presented on

Saturday, April 6, 2019, at Marriott

Marquis in New York. Hosted

by the Imperial Court of New

York, the event will be bursting

with color, sparkle and majestic

royalty, and will include dazzling

entertainment, gourmet food and

flowing drinks.

The Imperial Court of New York

has provided service to the

LGBTQ community for 32 years

and will benefit Trinity Place

Shelter this year. The coronation

will include the red carpet, cocktail

reception and silent auction. The

entertainment includes Debby

Holiday and Skyla Versai.

Get Out! shared questions and

answers with monarchs Empress

XXXII Gayle Banter and Emperor

and Regent Emperor XXVII Rob

Hunter de Woofs.


When will Night of a

Thousand Gowns take

place, and what charity

will it be considering

this year?

Empress: Night of a

Thousand Gowns will

be happening at the

marvelous Marriott

Marquis Hotel in the

heart of Times Square on

Saturday, April 6, 2019.

The festivities kick off at

6 p.m. This year, we’re

supporting Trinity Place

Shelter, a wonderful

organization that we have

a long relationship with.

Their mission is to help

homeless lesbian, gay,

bisexual, transgender and

queer youth and young

adults to safely transition

out of the shelter

system and grow into

independent, positive

and productive adults.

They’re amazing!

What guests will be

featured?

Empress: Well, we’re still

finalizing our guest list,

so there will certainly be

some surprises. But I’m

very excited to share that

we have as a headline

entertainer Billboard

Top Ten international

recording artist Debby

Holiday! We’ll also have

veteran drag performer

Skyla Versai, as well

as special command

performances by some

of the superstars of the

Imperial Court System.

Tell me a little about

yourself.

Empress: I started with

the Imperial Court of New

York about eight years

ago, but attended my

first Night of a Thousand

Gowns long before I

joined the court. I’ve

served on the Court’s

Board for a number of

terms, three years of them

as treasurer. In my secret

identity, I work for an

arts philanthropy service

organization, and I’m very

active with HRC, both in

New York and nationally.

What else would you like

to know?

Emperor: I am Emperor

XVII and Regent Emperor

XXVII Rob Hunter de

Woofs.

I joined The Imperial

Court of New York in 2003

and was Emperor XVII

during the years of 2008-

09 with Empress Charlene

Chivoe and now Regent

Emperor with Empress

Gaye Banter.

I have been a resident

of Asbury Park, New

Jersey, since 1996 and

consider this city my

home. I was introduced

to The Imperial Court

of New York while I was

the general manager

at Club Paradise, also

in Asbury Park, by

one of our customers

and court members,

former Empress Twinkle

Montgomery.

For many years involved

in the New Jersey bar

business, I have also

volunteered my time

and efforts to many local

New Jersey charities, and

since being introduced

to The Imperial Court of

New York, I have found

many good friends that

are like-minded and

hard-working people for

different charities in the

NYC and surrounding

areas that need special

funding that The Imperial

Court of New York can

help provide.

When I reigned as

emperor the first time 10

years ago, I had a blast

representing the court

and said I would not do

it again, simply because

I didn’t think I could do

better. However, last

year we did not have

an emperor candidate

running for that position,

so I was appointed by

our College of Monarchs

and Board of Directors

to fill the vacancy, thus

giving me the regent

emperor title. Being

this is my second time

around and 10 years

later, I’ve come into the

regent emperor role with

a lot more confidence

and experience of what

my job is as emperor

and maximizing our

fundraising efforts for

our chosen charities

to support with new,

larger events as well

as maintaining our

traditional events.

I’ve served on the

Imperial Court of New

York’s Board of Directors

for many years, traveled

extensively supporting

other courts and helped

in the effort to raise tens

of thousands of dollars for

a lot of charities over the

years, because I believe in

the work and fundraising

our organization can

uniquely provide. The

Imperial Court of New

York, although sovereign

in our fundraising for the

New York area, is one

Imperial Court among 70

that are spread across the

U.S, Canada and Mexico.

United, all courts are

under the International

Court System’s umbrella.


Is there anything new to

expect this year at the

event?

Empress: There always

is! But I’ll tell you what

will stay the same… it will

be the same glamorous,

glittering evening, with

more sparkles and

rhinestones than you can

shake a stick at! We’ve

added more dancing this

year, so that everyone

can join the party. And

we’re working on a special

something that I’m not at

liberty to talk about, but

that will generate a lot of

heat, I can tell you that

much!

Emperor: The Imperial

Court of New York is

always evolving to make

Night of a Thousand

Gowns bigger and better

each year to try and

maximize our fundraising

efforts for our chosen

charities—this year’s

beneficiary, Trinity Place

Shelter for homeless

gay youth, as well as

making our event highly

entertaining for our

guests. We encourage

our guests to go way

over the top with their

formal outfits like our

membership does. Our

entertainment is always

top notch, an extensive

silent auction, the threecourse

dinner is always

delicious and we offer a

five-hour open bar in the

gorgeous Marriott Marquis

Grand Ballroom. A feast

for the eyes and a place to

be seen!

For those who aren’t

aware, can you explain

why Night of a Thousand

Gowns takes place every

year?

Empress: The Imperial

Court of New York is

governed by a Board

of Directors, but is also

led by monarchs, an

emperor and an empress,

who are elected by the

membership and serve for

a year as the figureheads

and spokespersons of

the organization. New

monarchs are crowned at

the annual coronation ball,

which we call Night of a

Thousand Gowns. It’s also

a great opportunity for us

to showcase the important

outreach and fundraising

work that the court does

throughout the year, and

to highlight a particular

cause or charity near and

dear to our hearts, as

we’re doing this year with

Trinity Place Shelter.

Emperor: Night of a

Thousand Gowns is The

Imperial Court of New

York’s largest fundraising

event of the year. Each

year the court membership

elects an emperor and

empress to be the

court’s ambassadors for

the year. So, this ball

is a celebration of the

reigning monarchs and

membership’s year of

fundraising, and at the

climax of the night, there

are the coronation walks

and swearing in of the

next year’s emperor and

empress, and the year

begins anew!

How can people

purchase tickets?

Empress: Tickets are

available through our

website, www.icny.tix.com.

Is there anything that

I didn’t mention that

you would like to make

people aware of?

Empress: I’m not sure

there is, but I’m probably

forgetting something!

Emperor: Although Night

of a Thousand Gowns is

our biggest event of the

year, we are fundraising for

different charities almost

every week of the year.

Some of the charities over

the past year, besides

Trinity Place Shelter, were

for Hudson Pride Center,

Tyler Clementi Foundation,

Thursday’s Child, The

Asbury Park Police Local

6 PBA, Save-a-Pet USA

in Port Jefferson with the

outreach program Gays for

Strays, MCCNY Homeless

Youth Services, CitiLeaf,

Coco LaChine Scholarship

Fund, God’s Love We

Deliver and so many more.

We hold many of our

events at Stonewall Inn,

Industry Bar and Pieces.

The Imperial Court of

New York also provides

outreach programs like

Hearts and Voices that

visit and perform at HIV/

AIDS shelters throughout

the boroughs and potluck

dinners at homeless

youth centers like Trinity

Place Shelter. Refer to

our website for upcoming

events at www.icny.org.

The ICNY is a very

diverse and welcoming

organization inclusive of

our GLBTQ and straight

allies. We are always

looking for new members

to join the Imperial Court

of New York! We invite

everyone to come join in

the fun, network and find

a place where you can

make friends, perform or

help in the background

and be part of an amazing

organization!


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Cover: The Night of a Thousand Gowns

Photo by Steven Menendez

ISSUE 412 - APRIL 4 2019

PUBLISHER

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MIKE@GETOUTMAG.COM

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CONTRIBUTORS

CELEBRITY CORRESPONDENT

EILEEN SHAPIRO

IAN-MICHAEL BERGERON

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GETOUTMAG.COM

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stories / GET OUT! MAGAZINE >> GETOUTMAG.COM

BY IAN-MICHAEL BERGERON

@ianmichaelinwonderland

For my birthday

in February, my

photographer Steve

Brennan gave me a gift

card to Coach.

Anyone who knows me

knows that I love Coach,

and that I’ve always

loved Coach. My first

designer bag was Coach

(a black C-monogrammed

messenger bag that my

Mom bought me when

I was accepted into

college), and one of my

first boyfriends bought

me a brown and beige

C-monogrammed tote

bag that I used all through

college (and still have,

somewhere in the back of

my closet).

I took my gift card

to 5th and 54th, my

favorite Coach store. It’s

my favorite for several

reasons: 1, the revolving

display window; 2, the

leather monkeys on the

staircase; and 3, most

importantly, the giant

t-rex made entirely out of

leather Coach bags.

I didn’t know why I loved

the t-rex so much, but ever

since Coach introduced

their 3D t-rex bag charms,

I’ve been obsessed with

them.

My boyfriend in tow, we

looked around the store.

“Do you like this?” James

asked, holding up a quilted

crossbody.

“Eh, a little feminine,” I

said, scanning the room

for a bag I’d had my eye

on: a little blue crossbody

covered with leather

flowers. When I finally

found it, I flagged down an

associate to bag it up.

“That’s not too feminine,

but the other bag is?”

James asked, perplexed.

I shrugged: I’ve always

had an odd idea of what

I thought looked good

on me and what didn’t,

and what I consider

“too feminine” and “too

masculine” alike.

Waiting to be rung up,

looking at a gold necklace

charm of a t-rex, a memory

of me at five years old

flashed before my eyes:

My dad left me alone to

play, and when he came

downstairs from working,

I’d taken all of Barbie’s

clothes (cocktail dresses in

obnoxious shades of ‘90s

primary colors) and

put them onto my

plastic dinosaurs.

It appeared they

were having the

time of their lives

at a cocktail party.

My dad grabbed

his camera:

Somewhere, we

have dozens of

photos of my

dinosaurs at their

first dance.

I’d been mixing

feminine and

masculine roles

since I was a kid,

and I hadn’t even

realized it. In my

mind, it was always

clear that I was gay

because of all the

Barbies. But there

were the dinosaurs,

the Batman action

figures and the Hot

Wheels (and, again,

my favorite Hot

Wheels were hot

pink and sparkly

purple).

I smiled at the

memory, not just of

Cocktail

PARTY

myself playing with

dinosaurs in Barbie

cocktail dresses, but of my

dad. He loved that I put

the dinosaurs in dresses so

much that he made sure to

photograph it, made sure

to have a memory of it

forever. Both of my parents

made sure to let me be

whoever I wanted to be,

even then.

“I’m so sorry,” I told the

employee as she brought

me the receipt, “could I

get this necklace too?”

PHOTO: STEVE BRENNAN WEARING: COACH BAG


The average length of

a marriage nationally

is 8.2 years, but for

New York City alone,

it’s 12.2 years. I

wonder how much of

that extra four years

has to do with not

wanting to give up the

great apartment.

THOMAS

TALKS

I’m getting married

this summer, and

my sister just told

me that she isn’t

bringing her kids,

because her and her

husband don’t think

it’s “appropriate” for

them. Part of me had

been anticipating

this from them,

because they’re so

religious, but I didn’t

think they’d actually

keep my niece and

nephews away.

They’ve all met my

fiancé, and the kids

love her. They also

know we’re together,

so I don’t see what

the problem is. I’m

considering just

telling my sister to

ABOUT: MARRIAGE

not come at all. I’m

really hurt and very

angry. - Female, Gay,

27

One of the pros of

being queer is that

you can pick who

your family is; they

don’t have to be the

ones you were born

into. You don’t have

to just accept her

bigoted views. If you

tell your sister that you

don’t want her there

without the kids, it

could potentially put

a wedge between

the two of you that

can’t be undone. I

don’t know if this is a

single incident, or if

there are other times

where she’s told you

she objects to your

life, but tell her to

knock it off or she’s

not going to be a part

of your life at all. Tell

her how you feel, that

it hurts your feelings

and you want the

kids there. Ultimately,

they’re her kids, and

you can’t force her to

bring them. However,

you can also be the

best aunt ever and

make sure they love

you no matter what

their mom says about

you, which is great

revenge!

I don’t live in NY,

but I had to write

you, because I can’t

tell anyone around

here or risk them

seeing it. I love my

boyfriend very much,

but I don’t want to

marry him. A month

ago he made a huge,

grand gesture—all

of our friends and

families were there,

and he asked me.

I couldn’t say no. I

panicked. I said yes.

Now we’re making

plans, getting

invitations ready, and

I don’t know what to

do. I’m freaking out,

and there’s literally

no one I can talk to.

I’m afraid this is a

huge mistake. - Male,

Gay, age-?

Do not go through

with this wedding. I

know you’re afraid of

hurting him or letting

everyone down, but

if you keep this inside

it’s eventually going

to come out and do

much worse damage.

This is not something

you can just sit by and

let play out. If you’re

not ready to get

married, that’s fine,

tell him. If you never

want to get married,

tell him that too. You

might lose him, but he

deserves to be with

someone who wants

the same things as

him. Good luck.

Sex/Love/Relationship advice? Send your questions to: ThomasTalksAbout@gmail.com

@ThomasWhitfield84


KEEP ON WALKIN’

FINALLY

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APRIL 11

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Tell everyone that CeCe says: “I

can’t wait for everyone to come out to

Joe’s Pub to see me, and remember to

always give back. The organization that

is putting on this event is always giving

back to the community. Make sure you

come out—it’s important!”

Celebrated R&B/dance powerhouse

CeCe Peniston opens the prestigious

17th Annual Downtown Urban Arts

Festival with a one-night-only, orgasmic

performance at Joe’s Pub on Thursday,

April 11, at 9:30 p.m.. The festival,

directed by Reg E. Gaines and Creative

Ammo Inc., showcases music, poetry, live

theater and film and runs from April 11 to

May 18.

Billboard sensation CeCe Peniston,

recognized for one of the most anthemic

hits on the planet, “Finally”, has enjoyed

a titanic career, at times turning the music

industry inside out. Dazzling fans with

her animated live showcases, CeCe has

performed in front of the pope, President

Clinton and at the late and legendary

Aretha Franklin’s birthday party.

After being commissioned to sing

backup vocals for a rapper set to release

an album on A&M Records, she was

discovered by record executive Manny

Lehman, and her earth-shattering single

“Finally” was conceived. She quickly

became a vibrant, international superstar

and was considered to be one of the

most successful dance club artists in the

history of the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance

Music/Club Play Charts.

The Downtown Urban Arts Festival

was originally conceived as a theater

series in 2001. It was curated by artistic

director Reg E. Gaines, a Tony-nominated

playwright and Grammy Awardnominated

lyricist. Later on, the addition

of poetry and music and international film

was added.

I had the supreme joy of speaking to

CeCe Peniston, and from the second the

conversation began I found her vivacious,

high-spirited and effervescent, and that’s

an understatement. Aside from her

artistry, she shines as a person, and was a

regular blast.


INTERVIEW

BY EILEEN SHAPIRO

CELEBRITY CORRESPONDENT

I understand you just got back to the

States.

Actually, I just got back from the

Bahamas, and I’m getting ready to go

out again to Atlanta. I have Europe

coming up, including Baltic Sea Pride.

I have Ibiza coming up. So I’ve got a

couple of different things.

You are really busy. That’s exciting.

Thank you. I thank God for that, too.

He didn’t have to give me all those

blessings. I’ve been doing it for 29 years

now, so I keep moving and doing what I

love.

You are being featured at the

Downtown Urban Arts Festival.

Yes, I can’t wait. It’s April 11 in New York

City. I like that it’s a charity-based event. I

always like that, because I have a charity

of my own. Just the fact that I’m able to

give back to the community with what I

can do, and I give out scholarships for

the kids—being a part of it is great. Then

I get to perform and do what I love, and

then, hey, who doesn’t love New York

City, right?

For sure. It’s going to take place at

Joe’s Pub, and you’re actually opening

up the entire festival.

Yes. You know what, I’m thankful to be

doing that. I did that at Woodstock a

while ago. Just being able to open up

everything—the opening ceremony

means to me that I trust you, you’ll be

good for the crowd. I’m going to have

two background vocalists, a DJ and

make it fun for everybody. I’m going to

try and have a live vibe without it actually

being live. I like that feel.

You said you’ve been doing this for

29 years. Have you had your ultimate

stage fantasy?

Oh man, I’ve had several. After

CeCe Peniston Opens

the Downtown

Urban Arts Festival

at Joe’s Pub April 11

Apartheid, I was the first artist, even

before Whitney, to go to South Africa.

So that was great. I performed for the

pope in a private audience, and Andrea

Bocelli was there. We had a private

audience with the pope, and he gave us

rosaries. It was great. Woodstock, I had

the opportunity to be there with Thelma

Houston. President Clinton, I performed

for him several times, and Hillary

Clinton at the inauguration. I’ve had a

lot of blessed events. Aretha Franklin’s

birthday party… I said, “Aretha wants me

to perform, hello, yeah!”

Wow, that is such an honor. I was

going to ask you what your favorite

experience performing was, but I bet

you can’t even answer that.

I really can’t. When you get to this period

of time, the thing that makes you epic

is the crowd and the people that you

get to perform with. As a child there are

people that you admire, who you’d love

to share the stage with. I don’t know how

much more epic you can get performing

for Aretha Franklin. She wanted CeCe

Peniston to perform at a birthday party!

I love her too. I admired her work and

loved her!

That’s the best when you’ve

connected with one of your iconic

heroes in that way. So do you think

music can change the world?

I do. I do feel that music can be healing.

I feel like music can be comfort. Last year

around October I was going through

dealing with the death of my mom. I

would say definitely not my own music

but other people’s music really helped

me get through that time, and still does.

I remember that I didn’t have the

strength to deal, I remember thinking, “I

can’t do this,” but “you can help me do

it.”


I remember feeling the comfort by

hearing certain songs, and there

are still certain songs that I will

hear that throws me a curve and I

have to turn it off. But at the same

time there is something beautiful

about hearing them, because it

brings you back to a time and

place that you otherwise may

forget. We should never forget

loved ones or home memories,

because there are very few that

you can cherish.

So tell me, are you doing any

new projects musically?

Oh, absolutely. I just put out a new

song called “Are You Ready.” It’s

out now on Amazon, TuneCore,

all of the digital platforms and

being played on satellite. I also

did a song called “Hot” that I did

with Antonio Dixon. We are doing

some movie licensing. There’s a lot

of new things that I’m doing as an

artist.

I’m also doing some stuff with

fitness as well. I’m back on my

fitness journey for women who are

over 40 and looking to be 50 and

fab. People have to know it’s never

too late to get on that journey and

be healthy and to change your

lifestyle. How about that? Even

with my mom, I had gained weight,

because of grief and just different

stuff. You think, “I don’t care

what I eat right now.” I think the

redemption is working back into

that place when you go, “Ahhh… I

want to be healthy.” I think people

like that redemption, especially

after being heavy: “That big coat

was just keeping me warm.”

I need to come down and see

you, because you are just a blast!

Oh, thank you. I’m like this on

stage too. I’m like real out of the

box—my God, here we go again.

You know how I am now, come on.

I was at this show with this guy who

wouldn’t sing with me.

The whole crowd was yelling, “Sing,

sing!”

Well, did he finally sing?

Yes, he did.

You are a huge gay icon.

I love the LGBT community.

Visit DUAFNYC.COM to

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takes place Thursday, April

11, at 9:30 p.m.


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Michael

Musto

BY EILEEN SHAPIRO

CELEBRITY CORRESPONDENT

THE ORIGINAL GAY STEPS INTO THE SHOES

OF PAUL LYNDE IN ‘TIMES SQUARES’ AT THE

LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER

Famous celebrity journalist, TV and nightlife personality Michael Musto will

be starring in a hysterical spoof on the game show “Hollywood Squares,”

which will be called “Times Squares.” Seems as though he will become the

new Paul Lynde as he will be enjoying the center square. The show will

be presented at the Laurie Beechman Theater beginning Friday, April 12,

at 10 p.m., and will continue to run every other Friday after that for six

shows. Each week he will be joined by different guests, including Everett

Quinton, Flotilla Debarge, Julian Fleisher and Ben Rimalower. The guests

will perform in between the actual game, making it a night of comedy and

cabaret.

Aside from that, Musto will also be helping in the promotion of Saks Fifth

Avenue’s and Stonewall’s collaboration on sales for the LGBT charity. He as

well as other queer personalities will be photographed for the publicity.

I spoke with Musto regarding both events, and as usual, it was a blast.


INTERVIEW

So, are you going to sit in levels as

though it was the real “Hollywood

Squares”?

Well, I think it’s only going to be three

people, instead of nine people. So we

don’t have to worry about different

levels, and worry about it collapsing.

It’s basically me as “center square,”

and then two guest stars, which will be

different every week. It could be Flotilla

Debarge, Ben Rimalower and so on.

Then in between the rounds of playing

the actual game the two guest stars will

get up and do their numbers. So you get

a full variety show-type entertainment.

It’s not just a game show. I always

wanted to be

center square;

I wanted to be

Paul Lynde.

Only I’m out of

the closet.

I think you

are the

reincarnation

of Paul Lynde.

Paul Lynde

was hilarious

and very

groundbreaking

for his time, and

he made a lot of

innuendos. Even

on “Hollywood

Squares” he was

making a lot of innuendos about being

gay. For example, the one about, “Why

do Hell’s Angels wear leather?” His

answer was, “because chiffon wrinkles.”

That’s a pretty gay answer. But he never

came out on the record and said that

he was gay. It was a different time; there

really weren’t out celebrities. Still, he

paved the way, and he was hilarious.

Years later Whoopi Goldberg was a

center square, Joan Rivers was a center

square, and these are all my idols.

MICHAEL MUSTO & HOST TIM CUSACK

So that’s so cool for you.

So I’m stepping into those shoes… on a

smaller scale, I would say. I always lived

for that show. You always lived for seeing

how those kooky celebrities are going

to come up with a one-liner to answer

the question, and then they had to give

a serious answer. Then you would see

if they had any actual knowledge, and

usually they were pretty smart.

They have that TV channel where they

just play those old game shows now.

Yeah, “Buzzers.”

Charles Nelson Reilly on the “Match

Game” was pretty gay.

He was the flip side of Paul Lynde.

He wore polyester and would flap his

arms around—it was hilarious. Those

were my gay

role models

growing up,

even though

they never

said they were

gay. Then you

always have

these fag-hag

types like

Brett Somers

on “Match

Game.” I loved

her.

It’s the only

channel I

watch aside

from weather.

I watch Carol

Burnett. It’s like a new show. I call my

friends to tell them who is on, and they

ask me if I’m aware that it’s a rerun. I

say, “Oh, it is?” I’m still living in the

60s. Well, we will see how witty I am on

the spot. I hope I can pull it off.

So how did the idea originate?

This guy named Tim Cusack is the one

who contacted me. He’s promoting the

show. He’s promoted shows for Bionca

Lee and Linda Simpson. He asked me

if I’d want to be the center square, and

I told him it was one of my dreams on

my bucket list.

PHOTOS BY JAMES EDEN


I actually thought it was gonna be a

whole “Brady Bunch”-type situation with

the nine people. Then it turned out it’s

me and two guest stars.

Who are the contestants going to be?

The contestants are going to be from the

audience. Tim Cusack is also the host.

Just for clarity, it’s going to take place

at the Laurie Beechman Theater—

when?

It’s every other Friday at 10 p.m. starting

April 12. So there will be six of them,

unless it gets held over. I’m going more

for the feeling of the early “Hollywood

Squares” with Peter Marshall. That’s

when it was really fun. It wasn’t as fun

with John Davidson. I’m scared for myself

that I even know

that John Davidson

eventually took over.

I shouldn’t know

things like that. It

will be called “Times

Squares” instead of

“Hollywood Squares.”

I love that you do,

though.

You do too. At least I

know whether these

people were gay or

not.

Well, I know now.

You just got the memo. Brace yourself,

Eileen, Liberace was gay too.

Also, you are doing something

regarding Stonewall that seems quite

exciting.

Yes. It’s World Pride and the 50th

anniversary of Stonewall. Stonewall

of course was the legendary revolt in

1969 when the queer community said,

“We’re not going to take the oppression

anymore,” and we fought back. That

changed everything. It was the beginning

of the modern Queer Movement where

our community organized even more and

fought back and became recognized and

proud. We weren’t afraid to hold hands in

the street anymore. So Saks Fifth Avenue

is doing “Windows for Pride,” and they

were also doing a line where different

designers are contributing, like Marc

Jacobs. They are designing clothing that

they will sell and raise money for the

Stonewall initiative. They have people

like me and other queer personalities

to be photographed, and they will use

that to promote. They will have digital

promotion of this sale and raise money

for queer charities.

That is so cool.

Yeah, it took a while for retail to come on

our side. Half a century.

I always say to artists, anyone

that doesn’t strive to get the gay

community on their side is crazy.

Yeah. There are going

to be two parades this

year, the regular one

and an activist march.

There is going to be

the regular Heritage

and Pride Parade, which

is very corporate, and

then this other thing

called “Reclaim Pride.”

That’s going to be a

march at the same time.

I’ll be running backand-forth

all day like a

lunatic. Twenty-five years

ago it was the same

situation for the 25th

anniversary of Stonewall. There were

two marches, but this year the alternate

march is much more angry in a reaction

to the main parade, because they think

it’s too cooperate. They feel that only

businesses get plugged because of the

way it’s televised and promoted. It will be

interesting. I’ll be covering both. June is

going to be off the hook; I feel it in the

air.

I’m sure you will be asked to get

involved in everything.

I’ve earned the right… I’m the original

“gay.” I’m the original club kid. My birth

certificate is in hieroglyphics, and my

Social Security number is 3.


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BY JOHN STEIN

GREG SCARNICI

THE QUEEN

OF THE ISLAND OF

MISFIT

BOYS

In his second collection of humorous

essays, Greg Scarnici recounts some

of his most shocking and scandalous

experiences over 25 years of

summering on New York’s Fire Island.

From tea dances in Fire Island Pines

to drag competitions in Cherry

Grove, nothing is sugar-coated in

his new book, “Dungeons and Drag

Queens.”

“If I were to explain Fire Island to

someone who’s never been there, I

would describe it as a bathhouse on

the beach,” Scarnici explains. “Or

Provincetown with more meth.”

He spills all the hot tea from riding

aboard a ferry of drag queens for

the annual Fourth of July Invasion

to getting innocently lured into

a sex dungeon. He discusses his

adventures in the notorious Meat

Rack and dancing until the sun

comes up at the island’s annual

beach celebration, Pines Party.

PHOTOS BY IAN SKLARSKY

We spoke with him from his

Manhattan home.


Does any place on earth compare

with Fire Island?

Hmm. Fire Island really is its own

unique, gay paradise. The closest

towns to compare it are obviously

Provincetown or Key West, but

they’re more of real towns with actual

streets and cars, unlike the secluded

hamlets of Fire Island, which makes it

so special.

Where do you stand on Pines

versus Cherry Grove?

Both towns have their merits and

detractions, and to be honest I feel

like the two towns are starting to

seem a lot more alike. While I love

the housing stock and the finely-built

men in The Pines, there is something

to be said for the carefree, fun-loving

vibe of The Grove, which is why I’ve

made it my home the past 10 years.

As a full season share renter,

what are the rules for being a

houseguest on Fire Island?

Don’t show up with a half-drunk

plastic bottle of Georgi vodka.

Can you recall your best and worst

summers?

I actually loved the summer of 2018,

because we finally got an inflatable

hot tub, which has changed my life!

As for the worst summer, I’d have to

say that summer I didn’t place in Drag

Attack!

drag that just makes people laugh,

which is why Drag Attack!—which

has crowned me the “Worst Drag

Queen” four times—is so important

to me. It’s more about wit and fun and

having a good time.

Of all the colorful characters

we meet in “Dungeons and

Drag Queens,” who is the most

memorable?

I’d have to say China. What’s not to

love about an 80-something drag

queen who can still werk, serve and

turn it?

Why did you feel the need to

dedicate the book to every drag

queen who has ever graced the

boardwalks of Fire Island?

I did that to honor all of the drag

queens who have come before me,

because I don’t want people think,

“Who’s THIS bitch showing up late to

the gig?!”

How would you like the island to

remember you?

As the prettiest, most convincing

female impersonator to ever grace

the boards of Cherry Grove.

“Dungeons and Drag Queens”

is available on Amazon and at

select bookstore retailers. Visit

GREGSCARNICI.COM.

You’ve been named

the island’s WORST

drag queen four

times, yet you

seem to wear the

title like a badge of

honor.

So many drag

queens—especially

pageant queens—

try so hard to be

perfect and browncow

stunning, and

I think there’s a lot

to be said for fun

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