Anyone who lives in LA knows that it takes an artist’s eye, exhaustive scouting, and precise editing to make the city look as good as it does on Entourage. It’s not pretty. Except those times when it surprises you, the way it did last night when a bunch of us WOW staffers got together to celebrate James St. James’s 40th birthday in the best of all possible worlds for him – LA’s Boys Town. Strolling down Santa Monica Boulevard, it was as if we were in our own trashy-glam HBO series, the fabsolute flip-side of Entourage that we’d have to call Chorus. We doubt Vince and the gang ever ate dinner (or ass) at Numbers or thrilled to Tuesday night’s Dreamgirls Revue at Rage, two venerable old-school gay haunts. Nor, probably, would they want to.
(Photos, above: James and WOW contributor and actor Dylan Vox on the street; the Rage marquee; WOW producer Mona Card waits for the boys inside Rage; James with custom birthday cake; opening gifts; James’s “bladder problem” keeps him close to the men’s room.)
At Rage, nicely liquored up, we crammed into the little showroom to watch the drag show, Chad Michaels‘ Dreamgirls Revue, a two-act masterpiece of illusion and delusion, which, we must say, was unbelievably exciting. Who knew? It’s four gals, Kiwi, Delta Works, Dolly Levi, and Chad Michaels, performing in your face and LOUD. Like a pocket-size off-off-Broadway musical gone awry, it was alternately hilarious, eye-popping, and perplexing, with more costume changes in one night than Cher’s had in a lifetime (and, not coincidentally, Chad Michaels IS Cher), and numerous appearances by a busboy, with broom, blocking our views of the stage. But, surprisingly, it was more terrifying than one might have expected from a quartet of women with their male genitals tucked away. We had fearsome nightmares early this morning remembering Dolly Levi’s overwrought, psychotic interpretation of Natalie Cole’s interpretation of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” all angles, fierce eye-contact, anger, and erratic movement outside the realm of human thought, though it defies a written description and has to be seen. And through the whole show, not one speck of glitter. (Sorry, no flash photography.)
(Photos, above: top row, James takes advantage of his birthday; bottom row, exhausted Dylan, James, and Steven; Thairin Smothers; at night’s end, James uses the ATM while a taxi waits)
All photos by Randy Barbato