By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by Rebecca SchoenkopfA glittering gala with half the attendees handsome gay men and half half-rich old ladies? All the free booze you can slurp? A chance to wear shoes so slutty even the good women of Sex and the City would approve? Here at Commie Girl HQ, we have a name for that: hog heaven.
Although I usually try to leave the really disgusting soirees to Orange Coast's inimitable dame Gloria Zigner (she of the "Zignatures" people-watch column) and Times society hack Ann Conway (last time I attended a really obscene shindig at the St. Regis, the gossip was that Miz Conway threw down like she was disgraced Hollywood Reporter extortionist George Christy, demanding room be made for her husband or else she would not run her big ol' wet kiss to the event; a big stinky scene was averted only when she was given the Weekly's extra ticket), well, really, must I repeat myself? Gay men and rich old ladies.
And this, Art for AIDS II, would feature the ne plus ultra of gay men and rich old ladies anywhere: Dame Elizabeth Taylor!!!
La Liz, who meandered slowly through a nice speech before the live art auction, was in a wheelchair, having broken her foot (no doubt while tangoing on some Paris rooftop, or else by putting unaccustomed pressure on it by getting off her Sealy Posturepedic and walking). Penny Marshall—who was brought onstage with "Where's Laverne?"—was co-auctioneer in a fanciful getup of black pants and sneakers. She didn't co-auctioneer all that much, though when Laguna Canyon painter Jorg Dubin's small, lovely oil Commie Girlwas brought to the block, she did interject, "Oh, that's a lovely piece!"
If we may say so: Yes.
Horrifyingly, the really terribly beautiful portrait went for $2,000—or $7,000 less than the spa package. "But the spa package lasts a year," Riviera Magazine's playboy editor Kedric Francis tried to comfort me. Hmmmph. May I remind you that a thing of beauty is a joy forever?
Still, it was better than the couple of pieces that did not meet their minimum bids, as the sound of crickets chirping filled the audible-pin-drop ballroom. Really: they were very ugly works. But a signed book of Liz's jewelry went for more than $40,000. Forty grand. Come on, gay men! What happened to your vaunted good taste? I'd wager someone awoke with an Iraq blitzkrieg of a hangover Sunday morning. "Oh, God. I bought what?"
In fact, Saturday's massive event was expected to raise at least $200,000 (split evenly between the AIDS Services Foundation and Laguna Art Museum) even without Michael Jackson there. (He was supposed to be escorting the extremely blonded Taylor but is reportedly very upsetabout last week's terrifyingly fabulous ABC program. I, for one, think having his children wear Mardi Gras masks is a very creative way of achieving some privacy later on, but apparently I am insane, as even Queen of Nice Liz Smith thinks it a heart-rending travesty.) But Tom Petty came! And, more important, so did OC's Scariest Person No. 17, Pearl Jemison-Smith!
Also there and looking natty were the museum's director, Bolton Colburn, and the newly returned curator Tyler Stallings, who's lauded all over the Southland as Mr. Brilliant. (It must be the glasses.) To take a page from Zigner and Conway (and don't they sound like a Catskills comedy troupe?), the twinkling lights from the chandeliers were only outshone by the glittering of the crowd, including such luminaries as Joelfrom Woody's at the Beach, Riviera's tall enchantress Lisa Calderon, Art for AIDS founder Dr. Arnold Klein (currently facing a suit along with Allergan, the makers of Botox, from Hollywood power couple Mike and Irena Medavoy; titillatingly, Irena claims the Botox was for "migraines." If I snicker, will they sue me?). And Zigner herself was there, glitteringly of course, with a handsome young man I hope was her son. On second thought, I hope he wasn't. You get 'em, Gloria!
* * *
Friday, things were more fun than Michael Jackson on a spending spree, as tall drink of water Cher Greenleaf and hot (P.T.A.) mama Cyndi Moses double-fistedly paid the rent for Fullerton's Heroes. Okay, so it wasn't as bad as all that. But it was bad enough! Weekly theater critic Joel Beers popped into Heroes for a moment as I nattered drunkenly on the patio. "Heroes is where the Fullerton normal people go," he sneered on his way out, so we took a walk on the wild side to the porn studio down the street, just to say "Hey!" (It was Cher's idea.) But no one was home!
And I know why! Any porn star worth his salt would have been mere yards away—at the appropriately named Back Alley—for a performance by Bridget the Midget.
We saw Bridget in the front of the SRO crowd, watching the bad punk band that was to precede her. She was really pretty—Cher called her "Gwen Stefani with attitude"—and very, very wee.
What she and her wee-ness did at Back Alley remains a mystery, as the bad punk band that preceded her was so fershluggineh loud (and bad) and played so very long that we old folk were forced to beat a sloppy retreat.