BY DANIEL KUSNER
Keeping up with Carson Kressley is exhausting.
The man has the energy of a 10-year-old jacked up on Ritalin and Diet Coke. He’s a fashion tornado of observations and hilarious quips.
When “Queer Eye’s” fashion savant breezed into Dallas last Saturday to host the Turtle Creek Chorale’s annual Antiques to Zebras auction, he agreed to a quickie interview.
During our brief interlude, Carson hugged me, pinched my nipples and then accused me of pumping him for information.
Here’s what I got before he raced over to NorthPark Mall for a spree at Neiman’s.
You’re in Dallas — ever been here before? Many times. I used to work for Ralph Lauren. And we had a showroom in the Apparel Mart. So this isn’t my first time at the gay rodeo.
Can you characterize Dallas’ fashion taste? Everything is bigger in Texas, which is an epidemic everywhere. People don’t know what size they are, so they wear gigantic clothes. I haven’t run into any really big-and-hot cowboys in Dallas yet, but I’m hoping.
Are you scouting locations during your visit? We’re coming to Dallas in September to do three “Queer Eye” episodes. My life is scouting, because I shop for a living. But I’m really just having fun. I wanted to help the Turtle Creek Chorale. And when they called me, I thought it was a corral — like a petting zoo. I thought there would be goats and sheep, and maybe some little piggies, if you know what I mean.
Has “Queer Eye” ever visited other cities? No. We’ve only shot in New York — except for the pilot, which was shot in Boston.
Why Dallas? Because I love hot men in Wranglers. It was going to be either Texas or Chicago. And quite frankly, I like Texas better. Plus, Dallas has fabulous resources — like amazing shopping. It’s the home of Neiman Marcus, JC Penney and almost all things in between. Don’t even get me started on Frito-Lay.
In your grand vision, what’s the purpose of fashion? The purpose of clothing is to cover your body. Fashion is the total other extreme. Being “in fashion” means “of the moment” and what’s current. I’m not a big fashion person. And upon hearing that, you can audibly gasp.
[Carson grips my lower jaw and pulls it down while I gasp. Then he does it again.]
I’m more about personal style, which is finding the things you look great in and building an enduring wardrobe. Looking good is the whole point of dressing. Otherwise we’d all be in Spandex unitards.
Any chance fashion could somehow bridge the gap between Iraq and the United States? In fashion? Gauchos have been known to bring peace to the world, but I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry there right now. That Taliban chic is so two years ago.
You exhibit such an outgoing gay identity. During high school, did you purposefully restrain yourself in order to fit in? Never. No, I’ll tell you what happened, but we’ll have a serious moment in the interview. This is where I hold you, and we cradle each other. [Carson wraps his arms around me, and we hold each other for an uncomfortably long embrace.]
Ever since I had a crush on Lee Majors on the cover of Dynamite magazine in the spring of 1974, I thought, "Hmmmm … I think I’m different than the other boys." I would get on the school bus, and everyone would say, “Good morning, Lovey Howell,” Because I would dress nice. I was blonde and quite striking — always a fashion pioneer.
What did you wear back then? I never didn’t dress the way I wanted to. I had the Coca-Cola clothes, the Swatch watch, the parachute pants, the keyboard tie.
I developed a really strong sense of humor. Because if they would laugh at me, they wouldn’t beat me up. Nobody would actually beat you up. But they’d give you [which Carson gladly demonstrates] a really hard nuggie or pinch your ear, and the titty-twister, which I now find quite enjoyable. Now I beg people to give me titty-twisters.
So I developed a sense of humor. And that was such a blessing because that was my defense mechanism. I didn’t recoil. I didn’t do poorly in school. I didn’t hide. I wasn’t ashamed. I just took the other way out and was like, “Oh, I’m going to be loud.”
Did you used to date women? If going to Benetton to look for prom dresses is dating, then yes I’ve done it.
Did you go to prom? I didn’t go to my prom. But I’m designing the prom for my high school this year. Of course, I’m arranging buckets of blood to get back at everyone. No, just joking.
What’s the theme? It’s “Stairway to Heaven” — the prom is going to be held at Lehigh University’s planetarium. I made a video for them. I say, “Hey, guys. Sorry I can’t be at your prom. First of all, let’s drink responsibly. And let’s think out of the box, people. For this year, how about prom king.” And then I grab this hot hunk and say, “And a prom king!”
Can you explain a fashion phenomenon: Why do kids wear their pants off their asses? Where did that come from? I don’t know. But we’re trying to find out who caused it and kick their asses. I wonder why people are still wearing pleated pants. That’s the real question.
Why do you hate pleats so much? Because they’re just so not cute.
Were they cute in your Coca-Cola clotheshorse days? No. They were always the wrong answer. Pleats make everyone look fat. They’re unflattering.
So you’re not going to contradict yourself in seven years, if all the sudden everything is all about pleats? I doubt that it will be all about pleats. And if it is, I will still say they’re wrong. I stand hard and fast on this one. God, I’m not John Kerry! Why in the hell are you grilling me?
Are you dating? No. I’m totally, painfully alone and single.
Are you on the market? Yes. And I’m always looking.
Are you not in a relationship because you are too famous to trust someone? No, please! If Britney and Madonna can manage it, so can I.
Is there a Carson Kressley fashion line in the works? No. But maybe — some day.
If clothes say a lot about a person, can you draw any general conclusions about a guy wearing Abercrombie & Fitch? You mean, when it’s a real logo-thon? No, not really. Except that you know they didn’t buy it on sale. They paid retail. They’re mall shoppers.
New episodes of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” begin airing June 1 on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
TOP GUNN: Our favorite sartorial dictator Tim Gunn undergoes interrogation about dressing to get laid
BY DANIEL KUSNER
For a gay dude, Tim Gunn is basically a ladies man.
From the impeccable suit-coated style he always exhibits on “Project Runway,” it's hard to imagine him in anything more relaxed than business casual.
And so far, all of his advice has been designed for women’s fashion — like his to-die-for book “A Guide to Quality Taste & Style” (Abrams Image, $17.95).
His new eight-episode series, “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” is no different.
The makeover reality show, which he co-hosts with Veronica Webb, premieres Thursday on Bravo. It’s like “Queer Eye” — but for women.
And with his Thurston Howell III-like inflection, Gunn is nothing like Carson Kressley. He’s always so dang proper.
If gay dudes dress to be noticed by their queer brothers, how does Tim Gunn impress a gentleman caller?
There's a melancholy footnote about his personal history. In previous interviews, Gunn has explained that he’s on sabbatical from husband hunting.
Decades ago, a suitor apparently dumped him like a pair of second-hand Birkenstocks. That's hard to swallow, because Gunn is more adorable than a pair of Manolo satin mules.
Earlier this week, Gunn was doing a conference call about his upcoming show. That’s when I bombarded him his “quality, taste and style” wisdom for gay dudes who dress for a night of flirting and tavern hopping in hopes of not going to bed alone.
Howdy, Tim. Hi, how are you?
I hear that you occasionally visit Dallas. Is that true and why? I was in Dallas last fall. And, actually, it was the first time I’d been there in a long time. But I love Dallas.
Gay men in the 21st century are bereft. They need you to cough up an appendix to your book that’s specifically tailored for them. I’m working on it.
Seriously? I really am.
Do you have a title yet? No and, you know, I have to tell you, Veronica and I just finished our taping. We’ve been like sequestered jurors. We’ve been just bound and hand-tied to “Guide to Style.” So now I can start working on the book again. It’s been in hiatus.
It all sounds so S&M. But anyway … It has been kind of S&M.
One of the last times you checked out a hottie, what was he wearing? Well, I have to tell you I’m always turned on by a good fitting pair of jeans.
Does “good fit” mean flaunting the package, or are you totally disgusted when you notice that? I’m not a fan of that. I’m not a fan of that at all.
Okay. No, I’m talking about a fashion fit, not a sexual foray fit.
Let’s say it’s one guy checking out another guy in a good fitting pair of jeans. What are the elements of a good pair jeans? Well, it goes back to a theme that Veronica and I have. It’s all about fit. It’s all about form fitting. It’s all about flattering your figure. It’s all about helping make you look long and lean, because men want to do that just as much as women.
And I have to add, it’s also about what state of repair are those jeans in. I’m all for neat, dark washes. None of this excessive fading and rips and tears. I find that that’s really a turn-off — I mean, unless you’re a 12-year-old boy, and I’m not interested in them.
What about underwear: jock straps, comfy and ribbed cotton tighty-whities, on the occasion you ever go commando. Any thoughts on that? Oh, God. I mean you’re taking my memory cells back so far I can’t even recall. It’s enough to dress the outside. While I’m all in favor of good quality undergarment foundations, it’s all about support and helping the clothing on top and not necessarily about how you pack the package.
Do you recoil when you see the ubiquitous Abercrombie and Fitch logo? I don’t recoil. I mean I have a certain respect for the brand and what it does. I just don’t think it should be worn by anyone over 21.
GLAM SLAM: Big D gets first peek at Simon Doonan’s new book; Barney’s New York creative honcho unveils ‘Eccentric Glamour’ at Fashion at the Park
BY DANIEL KUSNER
At last year’s inaugural season of Fashion at the Park, people were falling out of their chairs while listening to Simon Doonan’s runway commentary for the Barney’s New York show.
As an austere male model made his entrance, Doonan announced, "This is Adolf. He has a compost toilet and is wearing a calfskin-belted waistcoat. I met him this morning at the Westin Center City omelet bar."
And for every garment, Doonan invented hilarious anecdotes and provided the models with wacky fictitious names: One of my favorites was Drusilla.
Doonan’s work is always fun and funny — whether it’s overseeing Barneys’ creative fancy, appearing as a pop-up commentator for VH1 specials or writing books.
His fourth literary endeavor, "Eccentric Glamour: Creating a More Insanely Fabulous You," is scheduled to be released on April 8. And for this year’s Fashion at the Park, Doonan promises he’ll give his first public reading, and the Barney’s show will emulate his new vision.
"At the beginning of the 21st Century, I suddenly woke up and wondered why women were all dressing like pole dancers. If you’re a pole dancer, that’s fine. But if you aren’t, why would you give the impression that you are?" Doonan asks during a recent phone interview.
His problem wasn’t that women looked like whores. It was their slavish dedication to cloning themselves in the tradition of "The Real Housewives of Orange County."
What happened to original style?
"I want to return to a period where women try to distinguish themselves and develop a more idiosyncratic personal style. Celebrities are overly concerned with landing up on the ‘What Were They Thinking?’ page. Their personal style is more about being hypersexual and attractive rather than being interesting," he explains.
So Doonan breaks down his eccentric glam into three archetypes, which can be mixed, matched and changed out — a look for daytime; another for night …
There’s The Socialite:
"Which is a more turned-out look and the most conventional component of eccentric glam. She’s the Palm Beach socialite — very Jackie O. She has a heavy emphasis on designer clothing, but she doesn’t dress like a slut. She’ll carry a vintage Pucci bag and embrace color with a purple Prada coat."
Then there’s The Gypsy:
"Think Stevie Nicks, Isadora Duncan or Mary Kate and Ashley. She’s tempestuous and bohemian.
"The gypsy is firmly rooted in hippie culture. It’s a great look for larger girls. Lots of ethnic fabric. It’s not about looking sexy, but interesting."
Doonan says the smallest but most influential group is The Existentialists.
"Very avant-garde — this would be Nancy Cunard, Siouxsie Sioux, Nina Hagan and let’s not forget Simone de Bouvier. She’s a more hardcore woman who starts trends. This look takes guts. Many musician gals opt for the existentialist look. The existentialists gave birth to the beatniks who gave birth to the punks who gave birth to new wave fashion."
Can the eccentric glam philosophy be applied to Doonan’s gay brothers?
"Being a man is much simpler. The main clothing identities for gay men are preppy or trampy-hustler. They’re either tying to give a WASPy vibe or going for a Dolce & Gabbana southern Italian gigolo look," Doonan says. "But at this point nothing is really in or out anymore. The only faux pas is conformity."
Can guys get away with the slutty look more than women?
"Anyone can get away with it. My question is: Why do you want people to think you shag everything that moves? I’d want people to think I was interesting and attractive — not that I’m on my knees in every alleyway giving blow jobs," Doonan explains. "Being a ho isn’t so great — hanging out in a parking lot and huffing glue … It’s not great."
DON’T HATE HER ’CUZ SHE’S BEAUTIFUL: ‘World’s first supermodel,’ bitchy fault-finder Janice Dickinson exposes the ugly side of looking glamorous
BY DANIEL KUSNER
When Tyra Banks was putting together the reality show “America’s Next Top Model,” she needed a Simon Cowell of the beauty biz.
In her judge’s chair, Janice Dickinson stared down waifish wannabes and hurled stinging criticisms like Chinese stars.
As a glamour gal who’s been striking poses since the ’70s, Dickinson has earned the right to be an arrogant expert.
She takes credit for advising Calvin Klein to sell underwear, and she constantly reminds everyone that she’s the “world’s first supermodel.”
“I’ve walked more runways than Delta and United combined. I was Gianni Versace’s, Valentino’s and Azzedine Alaia’s muse. And I've been in more rehabs than any other model, bar none,” she says while having her hair triple-processed in a Manhattan salon.
When she’s not smiling for the camera or ripping apart reality contestants, Dickinson is a busy author. In her 2002 tell-all autobiography, “No Lifeguard on Duty,” she traced her drugged out, star-fucking trail to success.
Her many exploits included Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Sylvester Stallone, John Cusak and Jack Nicholson. But she had to fight men off, too — like her own pedophilac father, who regularly abused Janice’s older sister.
"No Lifeguard" ends with Janice tossing her dad’s angina pills out of a car window while he was suffering a heart attack. Before admitting him to a nearby hospital, Janice got in his face and yelled, “Die, motherfucker!”
“I killed the rat bastard. And if I had to do it again, I would. Because he deserved to die,” Dickinson says. “His abuse led me to 47 years of trying to damage myself, and I never felt good enough. He kept telling me I should have been a boy.”
Dickinson had a lot of issues to work out to become America’s beauty queen. And she’s not finished.
Her new book, “Everything About Me is Fake … And I’m Perfect” is a cautionary tale that yanks back the curtain of achieving unattainable perfection: the nasty side of Botox, bulimia and boob jobs.
“I saw 14-year-old girls on ‘Rikki Lake’ saying they wanted plastic surgery to look like the girls in the Victoria Secrets catalog. And I just said, ‘No way!’” she recalls. “I never looked like that when I was posing for Vogue. It was two-and-a-half hours of hair and makeup and a bevy of gay men who’d put me together. And from there, it’s all retouching and Photoshop airbrushing.”
But that’s no excuse to be ugly or flabby. Dickinson devotes at least half the book to dieting, beauty tips and fierce exercising.
She recalls meeting Barbra Streisand while pigging out on corn chips at a party. Streisand asked Dickinson how she managed to stay so thin.
“Swiss Kriss, honey. It’s a laxative. Once a week — boom — flat stomach. Just stick close to the john, or things could get ugly,” she warned Babs.
“I’m a gay man in a supermodel’s body. I guess that’s why they love me so much,” she laughs.
Both her books are refreshingly candid displays of Dickinson’s screwed-up-ness. Her stories would be goldmines if any of the “America’s Next Top Model” contestants wanted to use Dickinson’s own words against her.
“I handed my crown to Cindy Crawford. And if a contestant has the unmitigated gall to sass me, I’ll vote her fucking ass off the show,” Dickinson says.
You can bet that Dickinson always gets in the last word.
In her books, she rails on Eileen Ford and dishes on the “Next Top Model” contestants.
Are the books all about settling old scores?
“Duh! Of course,” she says. “And I’m already working on my third.”
WHAT’S THE DIFF? Isaac Mizrahi deciphers whether Prejean and Obama share same beliefs on gay marriage
By DANIEL KUSNER
During a recent conference call with the judges of "The Fashion Show" — designer Isaac Mizrahi, singer Kelly Rowland and fashion-biz exec Fern Mallis — the trio addressed the "Project Runway" comparisons.
There’s no getting around it. Both reality-competition shows feature designers who are put through the paces until contestants are whittled down to a winner. And both are produced by Bravo.
But remember: After a bitter courtroom battle, Bravo lost "Project Runway" to the Lifetime network.
Can there be more than one?
Crime dramas — like "NYPD Blue" "CSI" and "Perry Mason" — are constantly churned out. And oftentimes, the genre improves.
"The Fashion Show," which premiered this week, definitely adds some stronger features to the formula. One is audience interaction: At the end of the season, viewers will get to vote for the winner, who will have their designs sold by an unspecified retailer. But the biggest difference is Mizrahi.
When it comes to praise or disproval, he’s issues precise judgements.
"It’s really not a blazer. It’s more of a bolero," he corrects one designer. "I am really offended by you’re your choice in fabrics," he tells another.
Place Mizrahi inside an insurance convention and he’d unfurl endlessly hilarious observations. But when it comes to fashion, spotting a counterfeit is an art form.
Which brings us to Carrie Prejean.
Since the Miss California contestant came out against same-sex marriage rights, the Miss USA Pageant runner-up compares her beliefs to our promising black president's. Both do not favor same-sex marriage and define the union as between "a man and a woman."
I decided to take this matter to a criticism expert.
But first, I wanted to tell the judges about one of this season’s contestants — Andrew Christian, the gay underwear designer who is a contestant on "The Fashion Show." In the first episode, Christoian introduces himself as "The Panty Christ" — which rang a familiar bell...
Howdy, y’all. I wanted to tell you — I’m the guy who coined Andrew Christian’s nickname. "The Panty Christ" was my headline from an interview last year. It was a phrase that had never before been attributed to Andrew. And I was beyond hilariously flattered when I heard him drop that on the show.
Mizrahi: That’s crazy. You know, that’s the name of his company, darling. It’s The Panty Christ.
Wait, Andrew Christian is now naming a clothing line called The Panty Christ?
No way. I'd better get a free jockstrap out of it.
Mizrahi: I’m sure you could arrange that, darling.
See? That’s why Bravo is such a groundbreaking network. The producers don’t shy away from fully representing a gay demographic. But what makes "The Fashion Show" remarkably different from "Project Runway" is you, Isaac. Your critiques are scalpel sharp. You’re nothing like nice-guy mentor Tim Gunn. And frankly, I don’t think Michael Kors holds a candle to your ability to pinpoint your criticism so exactingly. Your critiques really get to specifics, which is so constructive. So, Isaac — can I put your acumen to the test?
Right now, fashion beauty Miss California Carrie Prejean says her beliefs about same-sex marriage are exactly like Barack Obama’s. Curious — can you spot the difference?
Mizrahi: Wait a minute. Can I spot the difference? Of course, I can spot the difference. Because it’s a lie. Isn’t it? It’s a total lie. I don’t know enough about it, really. You’re putting me … a little bit … I don’t agree with Miss California. And I don’t think Barack Obama is against same-sex marriage. Is he?
He’s not for it.
Mizrahi: He’s not?
And Prejean says, "What’s wrong, gay liberals? I’m exactly like Barack Obama."
Mallis: Barack Obama has the whole country to navigate. And she’s in California — a state where she should be a little more in tune.
Mizrahi: Well that, too. And Barack Obama isn’t running for Miss America. I, I, I … I can’t even comment on Barack Obama or his position on gay marriage. I can’t because I don’t know enough about it. I just think he’s way too smart to be against gay marriage. There has to be a loophole in the way he’s putting it. He’s just way too smart for that. I know that if I was marrying my boyfriend, Arnold, and I invited the Obamas, they would show up. And they would probably get me exactly what I wanted from my registry at Tiffany.
Are you getting ready to pop the question?
Mizrahi: I just know that [Obama] must be playing some kind of political card at the moment.
Mallis: Like the biggest political card in the world.
Mizrahi: Where she is just — I don’t know what she’s playing. She’s playing that "dumb blonde" card.
Mallis: Beauty queen! Beauty queen!
Kelly Rowland: I think she should take responsibility for what she said.
Mizrahi: Well, wait a minute, Kelly. She did. She’s actually out now crusading against gay marriage, if you can believe that. Maybe that’s the difference: I think Barack Obama is not crusading against gay marriage, and she is. And she’s also using God — as, like, you know, her spokesperson, which Barack Obama is not.
I tried to get in one more question, but my line to the conference call was instantly disconnected as a PR rep said, "We’re moving onto the next person in the queue."
I could hear Mizrahi groan with relief.
NOTORIOUS B.O.Y. The unstoppable Boy George rants about George Michael, Sinéad, Madonna and Eminem ... but refuses cough up the goods about his own sex life
BY DANIEL KUSNER
Boy George has come a long way.
Armed with an unaccredited doctorate in Sass, he began as a scrappy club-kid dropout and emerged into an undeniable pop legend.
But he hasn’t abandoned his roots.
The former Culture Club vocalist stays busy manning the turntables as a celebrated DJ, simultaneously releasing two new discs: “A Night Out with Boy George” and “Chill-Out Mix.“
As a gender-fluid superstar, his path to fame has always been an amorphous route.
Now with Rosie O’Donnell’s help as a producer, he might globally conquer another genre: showtune-laced rock-opera.
O’Donnell promises to import Boy George’s autobiographical London stage-musical, “Taboo” and mount a multimillion-dollar Broadway version.
Boy George recently added another ingredient to his recipe for success — shifting from soul-infused music to soul food. Last year, he published a cookbook titled “Karma Macrobiotic” (Carroll & Brown).
Earlier this week, he answered his London phone in a bubbly mood, speaking in a clipped British accent that raced by faster than a rocket-fueled Astin Martin.
A master conversationalist, Boy George does most of the heavy lifting in interviews.
Just toss him any question. He catches your drift and flings back clever remarks.
Sept. 29 is an auspicious anniversary. That marks the day you were kicked out of high school.
Wasn’t that a great day?
What was your offense?
Being born. And being disobedient.
For a year, I tried to get expelled. Then they finally kicked me out.
My headmaster’s last words to me were, “You’ll never amount to anything.’
I turned around and said, “Watch me.”
You regularly keep an eye on George Michael, who’s now openly gay. What did you think about his recent politically charged single “Shoot the Dog?”
I thought it was really bad. It was his “War Song.”
When a celebrity officially comes out, they usually go through an evangelical period. And they always overdo it.
I’ve seen that with George. He’s appeared at every kind of gay benefit —standing up there like he’s Harvey Milk or something.
I think he lives in a cultural bubble. I don’t think he realizes that “Shoot the Dog” was just bad timing. People had been fucking killed. You can’t do that.
I was watching the American news. And people were just freaking out over that song.
I cringed watching George try to argue his case.
I was like, “Honey, stay out of politics. And while you’re at it, stay out of the public toilet.”
You recently said that you’d fuck Eminem just to hurt him.
And I’d take him by surprise — with no lube.
I have a new song called “Intimacy” that’s just like his “Without Me.” But mine’s funnier. Do you want to hear it?
See, you were poor.
And you were trailer trash.
Now you’re living like Elvis,
Rolled in cash.
Bet your house is real palatial.
Hey, pretty boy. Did you enjoy your facial?
And that shit’s supposed to calm you down?
Why are you so angry?
Because you ain’t brown.”
Last Wednesday, I designed 500 T-shirts for Moby that said, “Moby for President” on the front and “Eminem for Intern” on the back.
Sinéad O’Connor has a new album out — full of traditional Irish folk songs. This weekend marks the 10-year anniversary of when she ripped up the Pope’s picture on “Saturday Night Live.” What did you make of Sinead’s brief affair with lesbianism during the publicity blitz from her last album?
I love Sinéad. I think she’s a brilliant singer. But she’s as mad as a box of frogs.
And the whole “I’m a lesbian, now I’m a priest.” I love all that because it’s just like Joan Crawford or something.
I love the fact that there are mad people in the world. They make the world a more interesting place. But I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says.
My mother is Irish. A few years ago, Sinéad was ranting on about the famine in Ireland and getting mixed up with Rastafarians. My mom was watching the telly, and she goes, “Jesus, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. God love her. She’s got all her history mixed right up there.”
Speaking of Irish lasses, I hear you are in cahoots with Rosie O’Donnell to bring “Taboo” to Broadway.
I like lesbians. And they like me. What’s wrong with that?
Is this really going to happen? And do you sanction Rosie’s new lopsided hairdo?
I think Rosie is the coolest. She is so fantastic. Such a laugh. She’s just my kind of person. She says how it is. And I love that about her.
Rosie complained that you never graced her talkshow.
That’s because I was never in America during that time. She asked me to go on. She tried to get me on for years. When she met me, she said, “You bastard! Why didn’t you ever come on my show?”
So will this friendship with Rosie bring you and Madonna together at last?
Honey, even Bianca Jagger standing naked on the top of the White House couldn’t do that. But we can work on it. I mean, I’m forgiving.
Rosie knows I don’t like Madonna. I’ve told her that straight out. I said, “I don’t like her. But if you can convince me otherwise, I’d love to have my opinion changed.”
Because there is a part of me that begrudgingly respects Madonna and admires what she’s done. But at the same time, I’ve heard stories about how she’s treated people.
I think if you’re beautiful and rich — not that Madonna’s a great beauty.... But if you’re born beautiful or make a lot of money, you have an obligation to be nice to the rest of us.
Who are you nice to? Do you have a boyfriend?
What’s his name?
Mind your own business.
What does he do for a living?
He’s an information technologies expert.
How long has this been going on?
Oh, you’re being very freaky today. Mind your own business!
You’d rather have a cup of tea than talk about sex?
Cups of tea are more reliable than men, that’s for sure. You don’t have to argue to get it in your mouth, do you? You just put the kettle on ... and pour.
STRAIGHT PEOPLE WE LOVE: Kooky culinary goddess Karen Duffy cooks up the gay dude’s ultimate backyard wingding
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” may be a cliché, but talented cooks and hosts usually have lots of friends. Sharing a meal is the foundation of social intercourse — everyone loves to eat, drink and have fun.
“But who wants to be in a lonely, dirty, stinking-hot kitchen? When I’m entertaining, I want to be in the living room, hanging out with my friends,” says Karen “Duff” Duffy, former MTV tomato, film actress and author of “A Slob in the Kitchen: Entertaining Advice and Recipes from a Housewife Superstar,” (Clarkson Potter, $23).
Duff’s objective is to sift out culinary fear by suggesting foolproof recipes and hilarious crackpot activities to keep guests happily occupied. (The recipes are coded by degree of difficulty with monkeys wearing a dunce hat, a mortarboard or a chef’s hat.)
She didn’t grow up wearing a Betty Crocker apron.
“I was more like Betty’s white-trash cousin, Betsy Cracker,” Duff says.
The kitchen was one of her childhood playgrounds.
“I took those Peeps marshmallow chicks from my Easter basket and threw them in the microwave,” she remembers. “In 15 seconds, they’d inflate to the size of a full-grown hen.”
Duff doesn’t pass herself off as an expert gourmet.
Prior to embarking on a cookbook, she attended cooking school and worked with a few professional chefs.
But “Slob in the Kitchen” is a remedial guide filled with culinary cheat sheets and confidence boosters.
“So many people are afraid to invite friends over for dinner. And it’s not due to lack of skill — it’s a lack of nerve,” she says. “Your friends are not health department hard-ons looking for code violations. They’re coming to hang.”
A good host doesn’t need to master fancy courses like, “’mushroom foam with parmesan.’ That’s why we have restaurants,” Duff says.
She aims a little lower: basics, with a dash of scrappy ingenuity for dishes like "Tastes-Like-Chicken Stir-Fry," "Cap’n Crunch Chili" and "Dr Pepper Ham."
Being a bona fide kitchen klutz, Yours Truly test-drove a couple of dishes.
The "Slob Salsa" (chopped cilantro, onions and a dash of lime juice mixed with a jar of regular store-bought salsa) and "Duff’s Cool Summer Soup" (plain yogurt, tomato juice, grated orange zest and fresh mint leaves) were tasty, ridiculously easy and devoured by the roommate and me.
To put the culinary goddess to the test, Duff came up with the ideal party plan if she was entertaining a group of gay men in Texas.
She recommends getting your guests out of their chairs and into the backyard.
Jumpstart the evening with an explosive batch of "God Bless American Cheese Rockets" — skewer cubes of inexpensive cheese on the stick end of a bottle rocket, light the fuse, and watch your guests pursue their hors d’oeuvres around the yard.
For a super-macho cocktail, try "Duff’s 3 Wise Men" — 1 shot of Jack Daniel’s, 1 shot of Jim Beam, 1 shot of Johnnie Walker.
Then fire up the grill and make "Beer-Butt Chicken" — Take a 5-pound chicken, open a can of beer and drink a quarter of it. Throw a clove of garlic in beer can. Insert north end of beer can into the southern end of the chicken. Coat with "Duff’s Roadkill Helper" — fresh garlic, rosemary, lemon peel, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stand chicken up on beer can and roast for 70 minutes.
An easy veggie side-dish is “Corn Al Roker” — the NBC weatherman taught Duff to strip the ears of corn from the husks and silk, wrap each naked ear in foil and grill for 20-30 minutes. To compliment the corn, slice ripe tomatoes, splash with olive oil and parmesan, and broil for three minutes.
For dessert, make "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Cake" — inspired by Barbie-doll cakes. Use packaged cake mix and pour into Bundt cake pan. Bake mix and cool. Place a G.I. Joe Doll in center hole and ice the cake. Put an American-flag cocktail pick in Joe’s kung-fu-grip hand.
NOUVEAU-RICHE BEEYOTCH: Sandra Bernhard lets ’em rip — on DL black men, crazy Christians and how the financial crisis is the best thing to happen to America
While the economy collapses, many of us are desperately seeking lightning rods of wisdom.
Whether it’s tearing Sarah Palin or the Bush twins a new one, Sandra Bernhard doesn’t pull punches. And after 9/11, the funny-gal Jewish intellectual says she got “Dixie Chicked” — and was essentially blacklisted in Texas.
Now as we dive deeper into recession, Dallas is in for a bargain.
On Saturday, Bernhard returns to Big D for a surprisingly intimate and affordable chance to experience her brand of standup, monologue and bomb-throwing as La Bernhard plays the Rose Room.
With her pal Dallas radio-jock Jack E. Jett as emcee, Bernhard promises to deliver an improv act and songs.
I recently caught up with Bernhard, who was at her New York home.
Are you preparing any rants about the financial crisis — and whom we should throw stones at? Everyone should just throw stones at themselves.
So everyone must get stoned? [Laughs] Yeah. And everyone needs to stop blaming others and take on more responsibility.
Can we rant about our current financial situation? It’s the same thing I’ve been saying for eight years. First, George Bush stole the election. And because of 9/11, everyone just stood there with their thumbs up their asses. To me, 9/11 was a total manipulation. And to this day, I don’t fully buy it.
We knew 9/11 was going to happen — we had the intelligence, and nobody heeded the warning. But everybody just brushed that under the rug. Then we got into Iraq. Then George Bush wins again, narrowly….
It’s the nature of politics. People are finally realizing that they have a voice. I don’t understand why they had to be kicked in the teeth for eight years to get the point.
Are you afraid to criticize Obama? Why would I criticize him?
For starters, Obama’s against gay marriage. Plus, that inauguration crap with Rick Warren while Bishop Robinson got shafted. I don’t think that’s the issue.
The gay community needs do what they did since Prop 8 passed. They need to start organizing. Everybody who has fought any battles — whether it’s the black community or whomever— has had to fight. Now we have to fight. Marriage is a state-to-state thing, and it will evolve. And I don’t think Obama will ever stand in the way of that.
Obama is a black man. I mean, most black men are in the closet. They are on the DL, honey. It’s a cultural and religious thing — a Jesus thing. And everybody needs to wake up to that shit.
Should gays hand Obama’s ass back to him and say, “What’s your beef with gay marriage?” It’s fine if people want to tell Obama, “We’re going to effect these changes — and don’t stand in our way.”
But until everyone gets past this religion thing, nobody is going to be on board.
Do fundamental Jews ever irritate you? No. They don’t bother me. Anybody who takes the Torah literally is out of their minds. It’s written by man — it’s man’s definition of morality. God wasn’t sitting up there with a big chisel and hammer.
So it’s just the Christians? Yes. They’re fucking crazy. [Laughs.] Everybody is nuts, Jesus Christ.
What’s the truth that you’re speaking to power right now? This is the message: Get up every day, and do what you can to change your life — change your consciousness. Power up on an emotional and spiritual level. Take responsibility for your actions. Enjoy your life by embracing what you already have.
Has the financial crisis impacted your world? It’s affected everyone. I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to this county. People have to stop looking to material things to find happiness. We need to stop making movies about women who have traded their intellect for shopping — women who have spent the last 10 years resculpting their bodies by injecting chemicals and having surgeries. The whole consciousness has been wrong.
When it comes to fashion, Dallas could benefit from a sensible bitchslap. I pick from a wide variety. Friends give me stuff to wear. I like things I just buy off the rack. There have been so many great things on sale. I’ve bought fabulous dresses.
And great shoes. I bought two pair of Manolo Blahniks on sale for $450. This is a time to buy stuff and capitalize on great sales. I can’t tell people in Dallas how to dress. They’ve got their own weird — kind of like, big, big hair and big things happening. It’s a big place.
Mix it up — go high and low. It’s about good taste. Like Michelle Obama — she mixes J. Crew with new cool designers. She knows how to mix it up.
Did having to tighten your belt surprise you? Honey, I’ve always lived below my means. Since I was 18 and making my own money, I’ve never — ever — owed one dollar in my life. That’s my whole point. Live at the level you can live, and be comfortable. If that means not being grand and cooking at home every night and doing what you go to do, then that’s what you got to do.
And don’t have 10 kids. Have one or two kids. That’s enough. Be a great parent to one kid instead of a lousy parent to 10 kids.
Besides listening to Suze Orman, are you looking for lightning rods of wisdom? Yeah, myself. If I already haven’t given you enough stems of wisdom…..
I don’t need to look to anybody else. I look at my girlfriend and my daughter — we’ve never lived ostentatiously. That’s the best advice I can give — live below your means. If that doesn’t resonate, I don’t know what does. That’s what Suze Orman tells everybody. But I’ve been saying it for 20 years — when we were in the middle of having these, like, big, fabulous extravagant moments. I kept saying to everybody, “You know what? Don’t go there — you don’t need a $5,000 purse.”
You were ghetto fabulous before it was fabulous. You know it.
Your Dallas gig will be dramatically intimate. And for die-hard fans, it’s only $20. Over the holidays. I just did a week at Joe’s Pub in New York. And it’s only 155 seats. I did some of my best shows in those settings. People like to be up close.
I just have one request: That people aren’t completely drunk or high on drugs. Can you just wait until I’m done performing?
Sometimes these late-night gigs bite you on the ass because everyone’s so fucked up. If you want to hear what I have to say, don’t talk while I’m talking. And don’t be falling all over the place while I’m trying to be the star.
When I’m done, do what you want. When I’m onstage, please, shut up and listen to me. And don’t make me have to say this when I’m onstage.
SATURDAY WITH SANDRA
On Feb. 21, 2008 Bernhard peforms a midnight “Carnivale” show at The Rose Room Theatre at Station 4,
3911 Cedar Springs Rd.
Tickets, $20 (includes $10 cover to S4).
Rose Room cast performs at 11 p.m.
Proceeds benefit AIDS Arms and Resource Center of Dallas.
World’s funniest comedian wants Dallas’ Pride parade to stop in front of George and Laura’s new home. And she says Obama needs to get with the program on same-sex marriage.
By Daniel A. Kusner | Friday Sep 26, 2008
This week has been an embarrassment of gay riches.
On Sunday, Dallas celebrated 25 years of Pride. On Monday night, Lindsay Lohan confirmed that she's dating Samantha Ronson. And on Tuesday afternoon, Clay Aiken announced he's a proud gay dad.
Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, comedian Wanda Sykes called my office to herald her Friday night gig at Southern Methodist University's McFarlin Auditorium.
Earlier this summer, Sykes stopped in Dallas during the True Colors tour. Joan Jett was on the same tour. Jett has never revealed whether or not she's lesbian. In fact, I recently had to print a retraction because I once described Jett as "queer."
But what about Wanda Sykes?
Although the comedian makes gaydar needles bounce, Sykes has never made an official “coming out” announcement.
Before our interview, I listened to Sykes'' hilarious “Crank Yankers” prank calls: Sykes’ best one is when informs an unsuspecting housewife about her husband's butt-plug order.
And there was my hook. Sykes couldn't possibly get angry over a few funny and intrusive questions about her sexual identity.
Did you hear? Last night, Lindsay Lohan came out of the closet. She acknowledged that she's dating Samantha Ronson.
She did? Awww, they're so cute.
We should send her a toaster.
Yeah, like when Ellen finally came out on TV, Melissa Etheridge ...
Oh, yeah. She gave Ellen a toaster.
When can we send Wanda Sykes a toaster?
I got my own toaster.
What kind is it?
It can do four slices at one time. I love toast.
Do you burn the raisin bread?
You have to keep an eye on that. Because if you let the toast in too long, the raisins burn on you.
Real butter or margarine?
Oh, come on. Real butter.
On the Ellen show, you talked about going snowboarding with your girlfriend. By “girlfriend,” do you mean your sexual, romantic partner?
Why are you all up in my business like that?
Because your Dallas concert is on the same campus where George W. Bush will build his presidential library. And after this interview, I want your loyal gay fans knifing each other in the back to get tickets to your Dallas show.
His presidential library?
Are you guys going to allow that?
I was going to ask you for advice: When George and Laura move to here, how should gay Dallasites recognize the auspicious event?
It should be gay Pride every day in Dallas. Have a parade every day. And make sure the route stops in front of his new house.
Maybe Heather and Mary Cheney could lead the parade, and they could get George to join in?
There you go. It should be gay Pride every day in Dallas. Have a parade every day.
Wanda, when was the last time you went out on a romantic date with a dude?
Sweet Jesus ... when was that? Maybe the Nixon administration? Actually, I cannot remember. Even when I was married, I don't think I went on a romantic date.
You were married?
I didn't catch that yet. I must have gotten distracted because you claim to have graduated from college with a science major and a marketing major.
No. I got a bachelor of science degree in marketing.
Oh, ok. Well, how was the divorce?
It worked out for me.
What year did you get liberated?
Oh, lord. Jesus, that was 1998-99? I didn't want to carry any baggage into the new millennium. So no baggage — I needed to be able to run because of that scary Y2K thing.
What's the funniest thing you've ever seen while standing in your closet?
Maybe you've seen R. Kelly brandishing a beretta writing hip-hop-opera lyrics in your closet?
[Laughs] Oh, lord. My closet is very dark. I should call my contractor and have him put a light in there or something. I need to get one of those touch lamps that you seen advertised on late-night TV.
When the True Colors tour stopped in Dallas this summer, you left everyone in stitches. Gay people think that song is about coming out. What do you think "Let your true colors shine through" means?
It's being yourself — being who are and being very comfortable with who you are.
One of your best routines from your 2006 show "Sick and Tired" is about same-sex marriage. Let's say you got face time with Obama about expanding his definition of marriage, what would you tell Barack?
I would say that all people have the right to marry whomever they want, be it male or female. It's part of our civil liberties. I would tell him, "Come on, man. Get with the program."
Would I be coloring him wrong if I said he was a president who wanted to make sure gays don't drink out of the straight marriage water fountain.
You can't color him any more because he's already been colored. And I think you will be wrong to say that. I think if you got Obama off the record, he would say, "Yeah, I'm for gay marriage." But he can't say that because he's got to get some votes.
So it's about having equal privilege — and they have a problem with calling it "marriage." But look in California: Everybody is getting married. We all getting married in California.
I love that you just used the collective "we" when referencing gay people.
As an editor of a gay paper, I've been told that black people don't really like the word "queer" — that “queer” is a white person's word.
Yeah, it is kinda white.
Black people use cool terms, like and "in the life" and "same gender lovin'."
“In the life” sounds like something you'd hear in prison, like ex-convict talk. Like, "I was in the life for armed robbery." What was the other one?
“Same gender lovin’," which I think sounds like the name of a sitcom on Logo.
It does. It'd go on right after "Noah's Arc."
Do you know if the word "wigga" is offensive?
Like an Eminem type of person?
Yeah, it is offensive. It's basically white people trying to be sneaky and say the N word. I'm not buying it.
Would you take — not the hard R — but "nigga" away from Snoop Dog?
I'm gonna hang up on you just for saying it. See, we're allowed to say it. Not you.
So there's no way someone like Eminem could be an out-and-proud wigga and celebrate the fact?
Not buying it.
I love that you are holding my feet to the fire over that word. Now what if someone described you as an out-and-proud lesbian, would you be offended?
Why would I?
WANDA IN BIG D
TITAS brings in Wanda Sykes to Dallas on Friday.
SMU McFarlin Auditorium,
Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. $25-$75.