Like A Virgin
Hallowe'en is not my holiday. You could over analyze the reasons why until you are blue in the face. Maybe I don't like the element of hiding behind a costume or a mask because I spent a great deal of my young life hiding (growing up gay in the seventies and eighties involved a lot of hiding). Perhaps I don't like coming up with costume ideas or executing them because I live in fear of being judged (and the judgement factor of good or bad costumes is a big part of the holiday). Could be I am just too serious a person for the frivolity. The truth is: I don't know. The other truth is: I just don't care enough to analyze why. I only know this: Hallowe'en is not my holiday.
As a child I liked it. Of course. Hallowe'en meant fun stuff like trick or treating (going out after dark, in costume, asking for candy? perfect!), nighttime spelunking games, the excitement of scary stuff, leave us not forget all that candy, the decorations, the costumes...it is a child's holiday. I never had thrilling costumes as a child, though; but the candy was always plentiful. it was the seventies and it was still safe to trick or treat, to play hide and seek in the dark and to eat the candy given to you by strangers. Once in the grades above sixth, my interest in the holiday waned. I knew where to get the candy: out of the big bowl of treats my mom had for the trick or treaters who would come to our door. Why should I put on a costume that itched or was uncomfortable, only to be told it was only ok, just to get candy when I could swipe it from the bowl at home? Once out of high school, I just went to the store and bought the candy I wanted and stayed home on Hallowe'en and watched television. I was an actor, I wore costumes for work, not for play. During my 20 years with Pat, we have never dressed for Hallowe'en (though one year we went out on the holiday and people asked what we were dressed as and we replied "homos").
My friends love this holiday, especially Tom. It is his favourite, though, we have never been together on the holiday. He is always with his friends from Brooklyn, who party hard on Hallowe'en, while we go to the Roxy and dance and watch the pageantry. Last year, while going to the gym on All Hallow's Eve, I saw many people in costumes heading for the parade; my favourite was the girl dressed as Carrie Bradshaw---marvelous! I always exude enthusiasm over THEIR enjoyment of the event because it is what a friend does; whatever their enjoyment, support it.
This year, though, Pat had an idea regarding Hallowe'en. If was clear that we were going out because the weekend of the holiday, at the Roxy, one of our favourite dj's was spinning. Tom would be there, William and Joey would be there, Team Howard would be there. We were going dancing on Hallowe'en; the only question was, would we dress up? Pat wanted to go as a pair. He said to me "What if Clark Kent and Lex Luthor were a couple?"
What if Superman and Lex Luthor lived in Chelsea? There IS a lot of homo eroticism in various episodes of SMALLVILLE... The adversary yet jovial nature of the hero and the villain in the ongoing evolution of the serial over the years, from comic book to little screen to big screen... This would be just another evolution, a variation on a theme.
Ok. I said. Let's do it. For the first time in over two decades I was going to wear a Hallowe'en costume.
Good Hallowe'en costumes are not easy to come by. If you get them at the store, they look store bought and don't fit. Amateurs. If you want a really good costume you either build it yourself or hire someone to do that. Me? Making a Hallowe'en costume? First of all there is the matter of my schedule--uh uh. Then there is the matter of skills required to make a Hallowe'en costume--uh uh. So we would hire someone to do a sexy set of costumes that would work on the "theme" of Superman and Lex Luthor as a couple. That, though, takes money. And I had a root canal this year and bought an ad for a few thousand dollars, to promote the re opening of my studio; we had spent much of our year's income on a personal trainer and on, well, food and a roof. There was no money left to pay one of the BROADWAY BARES costumers to make us outfits. So that kind of put the kaibash on that idea. And then, two weeks ago, at the gym (and having just seen HOLLYWOODLAND) I said to Pat; the image of Superman and Lex Luthor has had many incarnations over the years--we just need to find the RIGHT variation on the theme. If Lex and Clark were Chelsea Boys, they wouldn't wear what we see in the comic book or the movies or the tv show. They would wear CHELSEA BOY clothes.
That did it.
We bought Pat a Superman t shirt, ripped off the sleeves and cut it off at the belly, to expose his hipcuts and flat stomach. We got him some dark DIESEL jeans and black work boots, a piece of chain link to make into a necklace and attaced to the necklace these green light up ice cubes that looked like Kryptonite. We learned to style that big ass curl in the middle of his forehead and we designed a big green Kryptonite tattoo that said LEX. Instant costume. For me, as Lex Luthor, I was half-way there. Shaved head. That left much research to be done, online, for Lex Luthor has no set outfit. After looking at all the Lex's over the years, I decided it had to be something gnatty; a suit, that would do it. An Armani suit, no shirt, a LUTHOR AND CLARK tattoo and sunglasses. Done, costumes ready, for the first time in my adult life, two weeks before Hallowe'en .
The week before our trip to the Roxy, Jason Woods was throwing a Hallowe'en party and we were invited. We decided to use this chance to dress rehearsal the stumes and see if they worked. Kaitlin O'Neal helped me find the right tools to create temp tattoos and Jen Houston came over to create them. We looked good but decided the curl wasn't prominent enough and the LEX tattoo needed to be bigger. But the crowd liked the concept--especially when we added a dog leash to Pat's Kryptonite necklace. During the week between to two parties we worked out and dieted and got our bodies to where we wanted and on Friday Annalisa came over to do the tattoo duty. Together, the three of us collaborated on new tattoos that were FABULOUS and by Saturday night, we were hittin on all sixes...
Kaitlin arrived dressed as an Indian Goddess (she told me the name but I will be damned if I can remember it--even if I coulc, I wouldn't be able to spell it), in a most amazing confection of purple chiffon and a makeup job that had taken three hours! Annalisa was made up as the glamour demon with firey red hair and horns and eye makeup that made her look as alluring as Theda Bara. Tommy and Wesley were another famous gay couple from Chelsea: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. Tom was set to go as The Devil Wears Prada (no he was not dressing as Streep but, instead, in fierce demon makeup and a Prada outfit). Much to everyone's dismay, Tom fell ill five days before Hallowe'en and had to stay home in bed. Jen was going to come as Wonder Woman or some other diva goddess but, to our deep regret, had to work in the PMS Kookie Kompany kitchen, baking all the huge holiday orders she has been getting--and when you are the boss of the company, you have to be there to do the work. So our gang was complete, hanging at 2-A on Saturday night, heading to the Roxy by midnight, and ready to have some fun.
And fun it was. The stumes we saw! The Rauhoffer music! The lights, the pageantry, the laughs. Men on the dance floor stopped their gyrating to watch Kaitlin; Tommy had the costume everyone wanted (because every gay guy wants a cape); Wesley's HP glasses made him the object of desire for every man who likes an intellectual type in a tank top. Young boys with either a Superman or Daddy fetish sidled up to Pat, while people with a sense of humour and a sense of style engaged Annalisa and I in stimulating conversation. Our friends that we ran into on the dance floor were happy and adventurous and enjoying that adventure; and we even had a surprise visit from Jason (who took time out from a two day drama tournament to be with us!), who arrived as the hottest Superhero that people talk about--the Green Lantern. I couldn't believe how much fun I was having--on a holiday I have shunned my entire adult life. I will admit that some of the costumes we saw were lame; some of the costumes didn't matter cause the men WEARING the costumes were so easy on the eye; and then there were the costumes that made you STOP in the name of love. Madonna Pompadour, The 69ers, Dorothy, about a dozen Wonder Women, Supergirl, Robin Hood (my favourite--he could really dance and he had a really big arrow), and any variety of FIERCE diva goddesses. There was no drama. No one got drunk and sick. No one fell down on the dance floor (though someone did trip on a stair). No emotional drama...it was just a fun night with fun people that live inside my heart. I was so glad to get to go, to get to have this adventure, to get to spend an entire weekend with people I love (because, don't you know, on Sunday a bunch of us met for brunch and then went to Queens to see our ailing Tom). It was fun and, believe you me, we don't get enough fun in this life. We spend it working and worrying about the mortgage. We go to bed early, exhausted and stressed and we go to work early, hoping to git r done. To take time out, every so often to have an adventure is something we forget to do and something we SHOULD do.
I'm glad I did. I don't know if I will do it again. I did it. I enjoyed it. I had my good Hallowe'en experience. And I was so happy with the way I looked in my stume.
I ran into a great friend and a great guy, Danny Parks, whom I see seldom because he is in school and THAT is a time consuming effort; but when he saw me in my Lex Luthor costume he said no more than three words to me before disappearing into the crowds:
I feel that I did.
please note: the photo of our dress rehearsal was shot by AJ Triano; the photos of the actual Hallowe'en gang were done by all of us taking turns behind the camera--to try to give full photo credit would be insane.