Published May 01, 2002After venal Vancouver I'm hardly in any shape to be visiting nasty New York, but as I've already used up all my hard-earned air miles on a non-refundable ticket, I guess I don't have much choice, do I? I only have a one day bug-splattered windshield of opportunity in Toronto to prepare myself for the trip, and it doesn't help much when upon my return I discover that the fiscally desperate friend who offered to clean my apartment for a modest sum while I was on the left coast has rearranged all my belongings so that I can't find anything, has somehow managed to break my computer mouse, has thrown out both my New York plane ticket and all the take-out menus that I've been collecting for the past four years, and has disastrously redecorated without my consent. A cat burglar would have left me in better shape. I crumple into a heaving heap of tears on my $2500 bed, unable even to order Chinese to ease the pain.
Swish-pan to me swishing up Tenth Avenue on a Friday night with my hotter than hot Russian friend Yaroslav Mogutin, current cover boy of Index magazine, and his crumpet du moment, a French Canadian male model named Marc who has posed for many of the most famous and lecherous fag fashion fotogs in the world. We've just each dropped half an E I'm on a diet and are headed for the solo opening of Kembra Pfahler at the American Fine Arts gallery in Soho, which is owned by her boyfriend Colin. The fact that Kembra is using eight of my photographs of her in the show blown up real big is one of my excuses for coming to New York, but I'm really just here to spend time with Slava, whom I haven't seen since Buenos Aires about a year ago. He's been spending a lot of time in Prague, St. Petersburg and San Francisco, and I haven't. He looks as handsome and sexy as ever, except now he's more manly, which might explain why everyone of all sexes and species is always staring at him and swooning.
We arrive at the packed show just in time to witness Kembra and her entourage pull up in a half ton truck and jump out as the paparazzi pop. K and the girls are all dressed in her trademark body paint and black fright wigs, the same get-offs that I shot her in last August in Los Angeles to document her "Wall of Vagina" performance, my representations of which now hang in the gallery. The crowd parts as the frightening females flounce inside and then swells back around them so that I have no chance in hell of getting inside to watch their performance. Shut out of my own opening, I mope outside and talk to fellow Canuck Gavin McInnes, one of the editors of Vice magazine, to which I have been contributing of late, and whom I will be interviewing while I'm here, for the Canadian art magazine called Mix.
I'm not going to tell you about the rest of the evening, or the subsequent weekend during which I end up three nights in a row in Williamsburg at the trendiest alternative club in New York, called Lux, whose promoter is my friendly acquaintance Larry Tee, who launched RuPaul, and who is now the promotional wizard behind the new electronica movement, and who is apparently a member of some new EST-like cult that allows you to operate at your maximum capacity, but gives you a kind of blank, robot-like demeanour, which his boyfriend Spencer also has, but which obviously works considering his impressive comeback, so don't knock it. And I'm not going to tell you about seeing the hot new band A.R.E. Weapons and running into my friends Dash and Gargantuan Dan and ending up doing coke all night with them and getting into a friendly parlour version of "Fight Club" in which we take turns slapping each other across the face until the wee hours of the morning. And I'm not going to tell you about Tuesday night, when I end up at the Hell's Kitchen apartment of a black opera singer I met on the internet with a thick nine inch dick doing crack and playing out some bizarre domination fantasy wherein I am the Master and he is the Slave even though he is the one getting his cock sucked all night in his tiny shoebox apartment which depresses me because it looks like the abode of a once successful artiste who has allowed himself to get sucked down into a spiral of drug and sex addiction.
But I will tell you another Kembra story. So one night Kembra and Colin invite me out to dinner with a couple of rich right wing middle aged broads from Texas who are art patrons and who like to hang out with sleazy, low-life artists like me so they can pick their brains about sex and pornography. We end up meeting them at Balthusar in Soho, an expensive restaurant known for its ritzy clientele. While we're waiting for a table, Kembra and I squeeze into the bar to order a pint of Guinness for me and an orange juice for her, because she doesn't drink or do drugs at all. Finally the rich broads arrive and as we sit down Colin happens to notice that Richard Avedon and Doon Arbus are sitting in an adjacent booth. Dick looks pretty old, but he still has that big shock of white hair and those over-sized glasses. Kembra is turning heads because she's wearing brown leg warmers that extend from her ankles to the bottom of her micro mini skirt, a New York Fire Department cut-off baby T-shirt, black high heels, and of course her trademark Divine-inspired high-arching eyebrows drawn in with a thin-tipped black magic marker over her shaved over real ones.
Once installed in our booth, we are ready to order, but all the females are being neurotic about food so they all just ask for french fries, well-done, which are served in nice shiny metal cups along with globs of ketchup and mayonnaise. I'm the only one who orders real food, like mussel chowder and an amazing shrimp risotto, which all the females have to sample and ooh and ah and wish they'd ordered that. One of the rich broads is named Sunny even though her disposition might indicate the opposite; apparently she's the daughter of a former Senator and was once married to the son of one of the most famous journalists in America whose story may have been told in The Insider. Both of the art patrons are very keen to hear all about the world of pornography, wolfing down their fries while they take in every lurid detail. Kembra and I remark about how happy we've both been over the past couple of years even though we both just hit 40, and when Sunny asks K's advice about how to be happy, K suggests that she make an embroidered pillow or something with a slogan of her own invention written on it.
After dinner we all pile into a black stretch limousine and head to the Chelsea Hotel where I am supposed to meet this fellow named Greenberg who contacted me on the internet possibly to interview me for some esoteric art magazine. I guess he lived with Allen Ginsburg for the last three years of his life, and he tells me that Ginsburg had a copy of my first movie No Skin Off My Ass and used to watch it over and over again. Greenberg seems to associate with a lot of rich and/or famous older fags who always have young hustlers staying with them who eventually end up jumping out of one of the windows and killing themselves. Greenberg and I break out into the night and go to some of the trendier bars going, like the one called Sway on the LES. Leo Fitzpatrick is there, and so is Dash, who has gotten into some bad dust and can hardly stand up. Later I end up with Dash's wife Agathe and my friend Ryan McGinley the photographer whom I recently interviewed for Butt magazine at Ryan's apartment snorting heroin all night. Agathe leaves and I end up passing out in Ryan's bed and waking up at four o'clock in the afternoon, which is why I never made it to the Whitney Bienalle, and which is why I know nothing about art.