June 9th, 2005

Is New York back on the map yet?

By Glenn Belverio

Photos by Bruce Benderson

As much as I would love to play Blackie to Angelo’s Sissy Goforth on some Mediterranean Island or get my Nosferatu jiggy on with Robb and Sharon in London, I’m stuck here in tired old New York. It seems I’ve been assigned the task of convincing people that NY might be fun again. Not sure if I can promise that, dolls – but between this blog and my upcoming book on NY nightlife/fashion/celebrity which will be published by St. Martin’s Press next year, I hope I can at least do my part for the cause.


This past Tuesday night I ventured out to the Hideaway Room at Helen’s Cabaret in Chelsea to see my illustrious friend, Jimmy James, perform her show "Voices" before a packed house of VIPs. The one-hour extravaganza features the divine Miss James channeling the ghosts of Marilyn, Cher, Bette Davis, Judy, Eartha, Mae West, Liza….and, to throw us off, Jimmy channeling Liza channeling Mary J. Blige. Yes, gentle readers – it was that avant-garde. Her music video, "Feliz Navidad", which featured a hilarious montage of Bette Davis films, brought the house down. There wasn’t a dry eye, nostril or crotch in the room by the time Baby Jane was bitch-slapping Joan Crawford. Even if you’ve seen that scene 3,467,899 times – and everyone in the room had – it never fails to shock and titillate. During the show I was lucky enough to be seated next to Derek, the charming doorman who works at The Roxy and Beige. We had an in-depth conversation that included Inuit art, Edward Albee, old Times Square and the oeuvre of Kathleen Turner.

On_stage Jimmy Jimmy_glenn

Here is a photo of me with Jimmy James. Jimmy and I go waaaay back – before you were born, darling. I believe Jimmy’s headdress once belonged to the Marchesa Luisa Casati, during her Venice period. I’m not sure if La Casati actually wore it or just used it to dust the Medici credenzas in her decrepit palazzo. After the show, my friend Bruce Benderson and I stopped in Beige – where there also wasn’t a dry eye, nostril or crotch in the house – before heading over to the Slide, a bar that purports to replicate a NY gay bar from the 1880s. It was $10 All You Can Drink night, so well….you can just imagine. We hadn’t seen that many soused and desperate homos since Paul Lynde’s after-party for Glass Bottom Boat at the Peroxided Poodle. There were women there too, the poor things.

Boob_lady Womwn Bruce

I took a photo of Bruce Benderson at the Slide but the censor board wouldn’t let me post it. And frankly, what is going on in that photo is so raunchy, so disturbing, you should be happy you can’t see it. Instead, here is a photo of a rather languid Benderson at his Lana Turner-esque pad in Miami. Bruce is my Times Square guru and one of my best friends. He recently won the prestigious Prix de Flore award in Paris for his intriguing book The Romanian. Bruce is very, very famous in France….or at least that’s what he keeps telling me. Sometimes he will call me at 4am just to tell me "Did I happen to mention how famous I am in France now, darling?" I often have visions of Bruce driving an old Russian jalopey, swerving around dirt roads in Eastern Europe, wielding a bottle of absinthe with his Prix de Flore award on the dashboard ala Bette Davis in The Star.


Here is a photo of one of my new friends. I think his name is Cyrprus or Cyrus or Sirius Cloud….when I can’t remember, I just refer to him as the Frosty Bitch. At one point during the evening I think we started making out. From what I can recall, his make-out technique reminded me of something out of Ken Russell’s Lair of the White Worm. Isn’t he a cute frosty bitch?


This is a bootylicious go-go whore who was shaking his groove thang at The Slide. His booty was so bootylicious in fact, that everyone in the entire bar had their lunch hooks on it as some point. (Except for me – I have a semi-reputation for going home with go-go boys from The Slide and this evening I decided to refrain.) Dollar bills were being stuffed into his booty hole with giddy abandon, as if it were a coin machine at a Laundromat. Soon, all manner of foreign objects were being shoved up there: beer bottles, shot glasses, a wax replica of Truman Capote’s fist and a hardcover copy of The Romanian.

Go_go Arm_pit

Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio is a writer and New Yorker. He has been reporting for ASVOF since 2005 and currently works at The Museum of Modern Art as the Content Manager for MoMA Design Store.