After a Fashion
Stephen hobnobs with Cyndi Lauper, but not with Cher.
THE CHER AFFAIR Wednesday's Cher Look-a-Like Contest was put on by Mega 93 at Charlie's Austin, with the winner receiving tickets to the concert and going backstage to meet Cher. Not being a major aficionado of drag, I had never been to Charlie's before -- but I had a great time there. The contest was a scream. There were so many good Chers, it gave the real Cher a hard act to follow. Miss Kitty, Mega's hostess with the mostest, emceed and there was a distinguished panel of judges: the handsome and gracious Doug Shupe from News8, Mega's Forrest Bueller (what a cutie he is), and event coordinator Mia Culpa (of Mia Culpa Productions). I tell you what, this Mia babe is hell on wheels. Her energy is almost palpable, and she comes fully equipped with accessories for every occasion. There wound up being a three-way tie for first place, but since there could only be one winner, the audience decided by applause. The popular impersonator Erica Andrews won the coveted prize. In second place was my personal favorite, Virginia Lake, wife of Ocean's 11 owner Mr. Fabulous, aka Dino Lee. With amazing make-up, her facial resemblance to Cher was incredible -- even if she did have the bustline of Dolly Parton. I gave her a 10 in every category. I found the crowd at Charlie's Austin to be an interesting and enjoyably diverse assortment, and wondered why I'd waited so long to go. Bartender Travis Phenix was especially hospitable and charming and is a major asset to the bar. Saturday's concert was fabulous. To make a long story short (see review of show on p.56), I brought my good friend, hairdresser extraordinaire David Campos, and through the generosity of our Music Editor Raoul Hernandez and my illustrious sister Margaret Moser, we wound up with front row center seats. David opted for a smart ensemble featuring leopard-print velvet pants. Choosing all black, I wore what David called my "Ari Onassis look" of a beret and big dark glasses. Schmoozing out in the hall, I visited with the Mega crew and met the terrific Warner Bros. rep Melissa Hatcher. She offered to allow me to accompany the Mega crew backstage to meet Cher. I don't know what came over me ... I told her I had a friend with me, and since she only had room for one, I declined. I know ... I must have been possessed. I should have ditched David in the dirt and gone back there. I heard that when they went backstage, Cher put her hand out and shook Miss Kitty's ... and Miss Kitty burst into tears. Cher was very touched and gave Miss Kitty a big hug and they bonded for a fleeting moment. I was pea-green with envy. It turned out that Cyndi Lauper's replacement was a comedian, so we hung out gossiping in the hall during the opener. It seemed like every hairdresser in town was there. I ran into Ambush editor Eric Crabtree, and we also bonded for a fleeting moment. Cher was absolutely fabulous -- a queen's dream! Afterwards we retired to the Boyz Cellar to celebrate our good fortune.
The account of my exploits would not be complete without giving special mention to two Yellow Cab drivers, who provided not only transportation, but personality and humor as well. Mike Dudley gave me a button he was wearing on his hat that said, "Your dress simply screams 'Crack Whore.'" I also rode with Jeff Adams who was kind, sweet, and charming ... and who revealed mortifying details of an embarrassing incident involving me that I should probably bribe him to keep secret. I wish all cabdrivers were like these guys, offering such great Austin style.
THE LAUPER LOOP I started last week by interviewing Cyndi Lauper on the phone -- she was so fun to talk to, so direct and sincere. I've always loved her and I told her how I'd met her in 1995 at an amfAR Halloween Benefit in New York. I was wearing my lovely Jackie Kennedy-on-That-Fateful-Day-in-Dallas outfit -- a pink Chanel-style suit drenched in blood. Cyndi thought it was fabulous, poking me in the chest and screaming, "You look great!" We bonded for a fleeting moment. She, of course, did not remember the incident, but was able to describe everything about her outfit and hair that night. So was I. Our interview was lovely -- she gave me lots of good quotes that I didn't (and still don't) have room to use, especially about her enormous gay following, and we wound up chatting for about 45 minutes. Her new EP Shine is wonderful, and I was very much looking forward to seeing her. Then, at her performance in Oklahoma City the same night we spoke, she fell onstage and injured her ankle.