I don't know what I am anymore. I've fought it, I've tried to make sense. But it's all just you. Always you. All summer long>"/>
I don't know what I am anymore. I've fought it, I've tried to make sense. But it's all just you. Always you. All summer long and here still. Watching you. Looking at you naked. Seeing the incredible things that go on in your eyes when you look at me. Oh, Christ. I love you, goddamn you."
No, it isn't Danielle Steel or the bleating of a hetero heroine: It's Gordon Merrick, and it's gayer than Richard Simmons at a Barbie convention. It's for the kind of gay who no gay speaks of anymore (with the possible exception of Sean P. Hayes' Jack on Will & Grace): the kind of gay who has no use for baseball caps or basketball games or pretending that he doesn't feel just a little bit sorry for Liza Minnelli—my kind of gay. Oh, sure, I like a beer and a Planet of the Apes movie as much as the next guy, but I also know I'm one of that select, priceless group of people who bought the Xanadu soundtrack without smirking. We're still out there, and we need a little Christmas, right this very minute. (If you need to be told that I just made a reference to a Broadway musical—it's Mame, by the way—then read on: You need help finding a great gift for that certain very gay someone.)
Way back in 1970, when homo ecstasies still had that outlaw fascination about them, Gordon Merrick started churning out a series of deliriously beefed-up, boy-boy romances, featuring an athletically epic sex scene about every 20 pages or so and resplendent with avowals of undying love. The best of them, such as the above-quoted The Lord Won't Mind ($11.95), are amusingly erotic and make unparalleled gifts of guilty pleasure. Head on over to Beyond the Closet Bookstore (518 E Pike, 322-4609) and take your pick.
The Pink Zone (211 Broadway E, 325-0050)is literally on fire with queer merchandise. Yes, some of it may make you wince, but deal with it because there's some fun to be had. You'll find rewards for your fairiest friend in the form of oversized "Dress Me" magnets ($24.95), which allow for paper doll-like fun with boys ranging from the butch Octavio to the boyish Cory, or miniature "Mighty Magnets" ($13.95), which feature black-and-white images of Carole Lombard, Josephine Baker, and Myrna Loy (all the names that make the baseball cap boys say "huh?").
He may not have the chutzpah to get it for himself, so you can also get your fellow the ultimate queer commercial kitsch at Pink Zone: Billy, the World's First Out and Proud Gay Doll ($50). Billy ain't no Ken, in case you haven't seen him. His box proudly states that he is "anatomically complete," which, I hope, is meant to be amused understatement—Billy, my friends, is hung like a walrus. He's also a little squatty and granite-faced, so I recommend his Latino friend, Carlos (also $50), who is much cuter.
Let's make this clear, people: There's no need to feel guilt about an affinity for Judy Garland, who's undoubtedly one of the greatest singers of the last century. OK, it makes you the walking punch line to every jokey stereotype, but the laugh's on anyone who shuns the heartbreaking magnificence of that peerless voice. Any self-respecting old-school homo already has Judy's iconic stuff (Judy at Carnegie Hall, the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz, et al.), so surprise someone with Judy Duets ($22.99) available at Tower Records (500 Mercer, 283-4456). The underpromoted two-disc compilation features the legend's performances with guest stars from her short-lived television show, including, of course, the famous pairing with Barbra (if you have to ask which Barbra, you may now turn the page and leave the rest of us in peace). The second disc is an uneven backstage recording of Judy's closing night show at the Palace in 1952 that, nevertheless, features an astonishing, bone-rattling, career-best performance of "Over the Rainbow." People just don't sing like this anymore.
You're not going to find me trumpeting the Material Girl's squeaky vocal technique here, but can we just admit that something has been working for Madonna the past 15 years or so? For information—or affirmation, as the case may be—on just what it is that has made Her Highness such an indomitable phenomenon, no fan could resist Matthew Rettenmund's cheekily addictive Encyclopedia Madonnica (Barnes & Noble, $16.95). The author champions her music and savvy imagination, and still manages to roll his eyes when the need arises ("No word on whether Madonna was fellating a crucifix when she said this," he writes of her disparaging comments about Sinead O'Connor's infamous Pope-ripping gesture). Though this reference guide was produced prior to her Evita and Ray of Light triumphs, Rettenmund's pitch- perfect tone of worshipful irreverence—the entries go from "Abdul, Paula" to "zits"—makes it a must.
Whether he's off to see the wizard or more like a virgin, any adventurous, well-adjusted homo will likely slip into drag at some point. Give him a nudge, why don't you, with a wig from RetroViva (215 Broadway E, 328-7451; $28.95 to $38.95). They come in various shades and styles, and anyone with any sense of fun will discover an occasion for them. As the colors tend toward fluorescent blues and reds, these are finds for feeling fabulous and not dos for looking "real." Trust me and let this be a lesson in life that extends beyond the holidays: Go for fabulous every time.
Steve Wiecking is a contributing writer at Seattle Weekly.