Coming soon out of a Closet near you
Thu, Oct 16, 2008 (midnight)
Sunday, October 12, 12:57 a.m.
Hot girls holding hands is a good sign. So I follow them to the red paneled doors of CatHouse, where Vegas is experiencing its first-ever gay-centric weekly party at a typically straight club. CatHouse’s intimate rooms, small size and suggestive décor seem a natural fit for The Closet Sundays. En route up the stairs I notice—beyond the censored vintage erotica—that sadly, the landing chaise, often populated by sexy CatHouse Coquettes in lingerie, or at least a hot chick on her cell phone, is vacant. The Chandelier room is closed, as is the lounge’s bar. But I still hear familiar sounds within the Loungerie, house music with just of hint of gay pride and … squealing. Not of a man, but rather of a fag hag getting goosed by one among her coterie of gay men. Ah, home.
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Xania Woodman, fag hag par excellence, providing love, support, mascara and Size 11 heels to gay men since 1992. And having been clubbing since only shortly thereafter, I can say that there is almost as much fun for a straight woman at a gay club as there is for the boys. I say almost, because I’ve never ended up in a topless dance train, my white tank top tucked hastily into the waistband of my jeans. Not yet anyway.
The crowd is 95 percent male, about 4 percent female and with just a soupçon of your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine. Dominating the middle of the room are two elevated, oval stages, one ringed with a steel railing, the other bare and awaiting The Closet’s weekly fashion show. As this is Jeffrey Sanker’s official White Party weekend after-after-party, the fabric will be kept to a minimum.
At the center of it all, between the two platforms, is the place to be, where the “Power Gays”— including The Closet’s co-promoter, Eduardo Cordova, GayVegas.com’s Johnny Bacon, Frank Marino (who I’m told will be filling in as emcee for promoter Tiffany Masters, who is out sick) and later Jeffrey Sanker himself—combine forces to plot world domination between sips of Pavé.
From there, it radiates out to what we called in college the “A Gays” and beyond to the fringes, where the shirtless dance trains and tete-à-tetes take place. Behind the bar, rumor has it shirtless bartender Ricky will only doff his uniform for a $50 tip, and by the looks of his tanned, tattooed torso, someone has already ponied up the cash. Bartender Sylvia is already in her lacy underthings, so really there’s nowhere to go from there, though I’m betting at least someone has inquired.
I extend my hand to Frank Marino, the man better known for being Joan Rivers than Joan herself. “So,” I say, throwing him a winning smile, “I hear you’re emceeing tonight!” He releases one of those megawatt Cheshire grins and purrs, “No!”
“Well, okay!” I chirp, reeling my hand back in and turning my attention to the fashion show. To a soundtrack that is part Sunday night in the Parlor at Body English and part best-of-gay-anthems compilation, the six hunky models saunter barefoot from behind DJ Relapse’s rig, hop onto the stage and give us an eyeful. Leaving little to the imagination, the Aussiebum-wear goes from adorable lounge pants and hoodies to briefs with little windows in places you never thought you’d get to peer.
After the strutting comes the dancing. The old, the young, the suits and the androgynous, sexually ambiguous skinny-jeaned crowd all stream together like rivers with the new arrivals, fresh from Sanker’s afterparty at Studio 54. There’s even a six-foot-tall drag queen. Tonight and last night at the official White Party at House of Blues, no one has looked more uncomfortable than the security staff and VIP hosts. Reaching his breaking point, one hulking mass in a black suit lunges at a threesome of slender boys who were up till that moment engaged in a shirtless dance frenzy, growling in their faces until they slip their tanks back on. I can’t hear him, but I can imagine him saying, “That sort of thing won’t happen in a place like this!” But the time for that attitude has passed, if not elsewhere, than certainly in Sin City. That sort of this can only happen in a place like this!