Published Apr 01, 2000I have to finally admit that L.A. is becoming a stale mistress. She’s still a sexpot, oh yes, but not quite the demimondaine she once was. Now she laughs a little too hard at my jokes and slurs her words, always drunk before dinner. God knows I still love her, but it’s hard to carry on a serious relationship with an aging go-go girl. Lately I’ve been more faithful to the wife, New York, even though she’s becoming a middle aged frump.
It’s not me that’s slowing down, judging by my last visit. I’ve been flown down by Index magazine to interview and photograph a couple of celebs, namely Bijou Phillips, Dominique Swain and James Legros, each of whom I’m already friends with so it shouldn’t be too taxing. I’ve also arranged to rendezvous with a rising porn star who goes by the butchy name of Clint Cooper, who hunted me down on the internet through my little web site. I’ll be photographing him for Honcho magazine, including a live shoot in front of an audience at Gimp, Unlimited, the new club of my dear old friends Vaginal Davis and Ron Athey, which is held in a sushi restaurant in Silverlake. It all sounds suitably sordid.
My very first night I end up at some of the usual Silverlake hotspots with St’Eve, who art directed one of my movies. He’s looking a little beefier these days, a more manly man with a protean beer belly, still quite sexy. We get tanked and end up in front of some corny drag bar pulling a Fight Club, with me begging him to punch me in the face. I’m really jonesing for it, but he won’t take a swing at me so I jump on his back and wrassle him to the ground. Alarmed fags passing by are nonplussed, but when they offer to intervene I yell at them to get the hell away. The fight somehow takes us all the way across the street in front of the Astro Family Restaurant until we end up in a scrubby patch of grass and dirt beside the parking lot. When the dust settles, I seem to have lost my camera, my Dudley Do-Right watch, and my cell phone, which have been scattered in the vicinity. Combined with the refuse strewn across the area, it looks like the detritus left over from a small plane crash. Miraculously, this time I retrieve all my missing mechanical devices.
Earlier that evening I had had the pleasure of meeting Clint Cooper, rising porn entrepreneur, who is in the habit of wearing tight military uniforms in public to show off his muscles. Much brighter than your average pornographic product, Mr. Cooper is a Mormon who was raised in Salt Lake City, but left at the age of 18 to escape the homophobia that most great religions worth their salt engender. He spent the next 12 years in France becoming bilingual and homosexual, starting out at the Sorbonne and ending up with a sore bum. I had taken him to a party at Ann Magnuson’s cool Neutra home where the Silverlake Forty, who seem to move en masse like some smart, multi-celled amoeba, had converged for their usual pursuit of ironic show tune crooning and excessive boozing. Local and not-so-local celebrities abounded, but I found myself getting practically weepy over the absence of Mrs. Glass, who first took me to an Ann Magnuson party. Yes, my blaxploitation prince who has been my de facto L.A. guide and mentor over the years, is MIA, having sunk down into a shame spiral of liquor and sloth of his own making. Rumour has it that he might even be homeless, which makes me almost irretrievably sad.
But who has time for cheap sentiment? It’s the following day, and I’m pissed off that I don’t have a black eye. I drop into Midtown, the post-production facility across from the Beverly Center where I almost lost my mind editing Hustler White, to visit Billy, my little transsexual menace who used to be a dyke when she was a P.A. on that same show but who is now a heterosexual young man. She’s editing Texas Bike Pigs 2, a low-grade porno that makes my movies look like Jean Renoir classics by comparison. We have a couple of dirty martinis before I grab a cab over to the Bel Air home of Bijou Phillips, who will soon be gracing the cover of Playboy. She’s all giddy over a budding romance with a famous musician a member of “Corn” or “Hole,” I can’t remember which. Actually, I can remember which, but I’m trying to be discrete for a change.
The next day I have lunch at the French Market with Austin and Matthew, two singer-songwriter friends of mine from Tennessee who are on the verge of the big-time. They tell me an exciting tale about a handsome friend being invited up to some expensive hotel room for a small gay orgy and, after ringing the bell, being confronted with the spectacle of red hot rapper DMX clad only in a towel. Apparently he’s a closeted homosexual who is about to be outed by his jealous peers. DMX is the sexiest and arguably the most hardcore rapper alive. Although married to his childhood sweetheart with two kids, he’s hell bent on self-destruction and lives in a house with 31 pit bulls. Definitely boyfriend material.
(Incidentally, some friends from Berlin visiting Toronto have informed me that Jorg Haider, the extreme right wing Austrian minority coalition leader, is widely assumed in Germany to be a member of our church, just like his counterpart, Zhirinovsky, in Russia. It makes sense homosexuals are always on the cutting edge of all the most extreme neo-fascist organisations.)
Later in the week I return with Vaginal Davis to Hunters, our favourite watering hole, especially when we’re feeling really dirty, and arguably the sleaziest hustler bar in America, the very spot where last time I was in town we bumped into a distressed The Goddess Bunny. She’s still there, but this time we just ignore her. We’re more concerned with trying to figure out if the dour looking young man across the room is Tom Green, the infamous Canadian gonzo MTV host. I don’t think it is until I recognise his husky Ed McMahon-style sidekick sitting right next to him. When they exit the joint I follow them to the parking lot to see if I can confirm the sighting let’s just say I’m pretty sure it was him. Kudos, by the way, to Tom Green and Scott Thompson for burning the Canadian flag on American television. As you know, homosexuals make the best crypto-anarchists.
I’ve put a night aside to visit the Tomkat, my favourite gay male porn theatre, where Clint Cooper’s latest movie, Another Man’s Hand, a rip-off of Idle Hands (itself a rip-off of The Hands of Dr. Orlac) is playing. Nothing like a rip-off of a rip-off. The movie stinks, so I suppose it’s a kind of blessing that I’m distracted by the Caligulan activity going down in the rows in front of me. I mean, there’ve always been a lot of blow jobs in this theatre, but lately it’s a little out of control, like a virus, with bodies being drawn like antibodies toward fellating couples until a cluster fuck cell of masturbation and sucking has formed. It’s a little too retro for me, plus, p.s., it smells, but before I have a chance to leave, a tall drink of black water sits down in the chair next to me, a handsome lad in a fishing hat and baggy clothes, clearly one of the only hotties in the house. Apparently I am his chosen one, despite the fact that I could be twice his age, or at least older by half. Somehow I always register better in the dark.
After some preliminary fumblings and mumblings, he asks me in a whisper if I have a place. I commence to run my hands over his body in earnest, partly to certify that the goods are as spectacular as they seem, and partly to make sure he doesn’t have any concealed weapons. After the ad hoc frisking is over we exchange brief blow jobs just a little extra tire-kicking before heading for the parking lot. I make conversation to ascertain that he isn’t just out to roll some poor faggot. He’s a typically murky L.A. story: sexy, beautiful, nice, lost, scared. He’s totally closeted because when he told his last girlfriend he swung she dumped him. When we get to his car I can’t help but notice that it is crammed full of furniture and clothes and other junk. Although he claims that he collects discarded furniture off the street to refinish and sell, I have a feeling that he may be living out of his car. There’s some sketchy story about living with an older gentleman, textbook L.A. stuff. I can’t wait to get him home.
Home this time is not Scott Thompson’s guest house, which is occupied, but his office, where I’m camped out while he is on the Kids in the Hall reunion tour. No one wants a houseguest to be dragging home trade at all hours, but as I happen to know that Scott’s boyfriend is at Titus, which must go on forever, and his other guests are out on the town, I decide to smuggle in my date anyway. After ascertaining that the coast is clear, I lead him into the office and dim the lights. As he takes off his clothes I am bug-eyed when I discover that his body is even better than I had anticipated, and he has the equipment to match. He’s horrified when I ask if I can take his picture, so there’s no evidence. We make it, even though he keeps getting paranoid that someone’s going to bust us at any moment. In fact, as I’m smuggling him back out, the other guests are just returning home and dealing with a flat tire out front. I’m not sure whether or not he manages to slip past them unnoticed, but I kind of have the feeling he does. After all, he is a bit of a ghost.