Rivers at Fez; Out at Lotus
by Matt Kalkhoff

Filthy Rivers
As a gay man, I felt it was my obligation to see Joan Rivers live on stage at least once in my lifetime. And since she's not getting any younger, I figured I better move fast. So on a recent Friday night, I ventured downtown to Fez (under the Time Café on Lafayette) to catch the comedic legend's raunchy stage show.

Not for the easily offended, the grand dame of couture critiques kept us laughing for well over an hour as she tore through a rapid fire barrage of snappy one-liners and amusing anecdotes that didn't spare a single minority, ethnic group or stereotype. In fact, the deceased weren't even safe from Joan's often-brutal tirade.

Perhaps easing our guilt for laughing at such jokes (at least a little bit) was the fact that her foul mouth was actually helping to raise money for two worthy charities: God's Love We Deliver and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Michael Jackson, not surprisingly, was one of her favorite targets ("He's been in the closet so long I'm going to donate him to Goodwill"). Cher and Madonna also garnered a fair amount of attention.

But that's not to say Joan was unfairly judgmental. She poked fun at her own elective procedures as well. And in this most intimate space, we all got a pretty good view of her surgeon's handiwork.
So make sure you catch the old broad's show next time she's in town. For just $25 (and a 2-drink minimum), you'll enjoy a riveting night of comedy you won't soon forget while raising money to help the needy.

Out @ Lotus
Out magazine "kicked off summer in style" on April 23rd at the über-glam hetero hotspot Lotus with the first of six parties it's throwing in conjunction with Tanqueray. Peter Rauhofer manned the turntables fresh from his stint with Madonna at her Tower Records in-store appearance earlier that day. Of course, functions like these aren't really about the music — Lotus doesn't even have a dance floor.

Rather, they're about seeing and being seen. I was a bit surprised (yet relieved) by how casually most people were dressed, but a few fashionistas were sprinkled throughout the club's three levels, including the impossibly handsome Carlson Twins — former Out cover models and the evening's alleged hosts. The boys posed for a few pictures and then hid themselves in a secluded booth surrounded by other Very Important People for the remainder of the evening. Tough work, huh?
Subsequent parties take place throughout the summer. An invite and RSVP, however, appear to be required for entry.

Random Tidbits
According to the JuniorVasquezMusic.com website, the infamous DJ will broadcast a live radio mix show on Friday nights beginning May 9. No further details were available at press time, but this seems like a fantastic idea whose time is long overdue. Check out the "JR's World" section of his website for more info.

Speaking of the divine diva of drama, Ms. Vasquez will be taking some time off from his weekly Sunday morning residency at Exit this month. But that doesn't mean you should skip Earth on those weekends to catch up on sleep, because on May 11, special guest That Kid Chris is slated to serve up his very own unique blend of after-hours tunes for the "chronically under-stimulated" (I wish I could take credit for that gem, but another writer beat me to it.)

If you don't already feel like a criminal when you go out dancing, the RAVE Act (a/k/a the "Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2003"), should help change that. Thanks to its absurd attachment to an unrelated child abduction bill (the "Amber Alert Bill" (S151)), the ridiculously high-handed legislation breezed through Congress and is set to be signed into law by the president without so much as a public hearing, debate or vote. Visit DrugPolicy.org for more information on this latest assault on your civil liberties.

Until next month -- Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Yourself.

© 2003 Matt Kalkhoff

These articles appeared in NY Blade on May 9, 2003