Dancing Temps, Moaning Jetts, and Savage Love

HRC: A Harpo Production? The celebrity shuffle continued last month as the local Human Rights Campaign scrambled to find a head-turning headliner for its annual fundraising dinner. Slated for Sept. 26, the big-top event at the Minneapolis Convention Center last year featured Betty Degeneres, mother of Ellen. But local HRCers are rumored to be more intent on catching a real star this year: After hot connections to Bette Midler and Tom Hanks turned up cold, the Minnesota chapter snagged Susan Sarandon (we hoped she'd divulge some kinky behind-the-scenes tales about Catherine Deneuve's fangs and The Hunger). But a snafu in the star's schedule resulted in Sarandon's backing out, and HRC returned to square one. As Q went to press, HRC insiders were twittering about the possibility of luring Oprah Winfrey for the top spot. Mmmm, you go, girls.

The price of a ticket. Judging by the number or exceptionally tall, very cute women who flocked to a promotional event for the Women's National Basketball Association last month, the future of the lesbian dating scene in the Twin Cities may be, quite literally, looking up. WNBA promoters, who must sign 5,000 season-ticket holders by Sept. 1 in order to obtain a franchise, are equally sanguine. As of mid-August, sales had topped 4,300 tickets, and franchise proponents had good reason to believe women would be hanging from the hoops by next May or June. The possibilities for courting court-side never looked better, but for sportswomen who want a good, guaranteed glance at those gams, a word of wisdom: Buy those tickets now--not later.

This show's got legs! Here's one last reason to pay the twelve bucks to see Brian Kelly's The Temp at Bryant-Lake Bowl: the dancing. Shane meets Sugar Babies on the tiny stage every Saturday night. The charming cast, those darlings of the Dilbert-set (especially the luscious and nubile "Swans," Leah Curney and Kari Ann Shiff), shake, shimmy, and samba through their cubicles as if Agnes DeMille had plotted each pirouette. And when was the last time you saw a corporate powersuit flamenco? Casual Day khakis rock! Standing in for Agnes, choreographer Doug Neithercott has cooked up a jiggy jambalaya of gestures to match Kelly's genre-looted script. Paying close attention, we recognized moves from Chicago, Flashdance, Riverdance, Oklahoma!, Titanic, and even the Spice Girls. Neithercott's footloose foolery hasn't gone unnoticed by the crowd at Club LaPhlegm either. He hostesses weekly at the 90's straight-bar drag-lounge as our favorite reigning emcee--the trippy, blonde queerleader Betty Bottoms.

Kiwi fruit. Traveling a path similar to Homo Heights (which went straight from the Twin Cities to Sydney, Australia), the locally produced gay sitcom Paradise Inn aired last month down under in Auckland, New Zealand. A year ago, the pilot show, "Paradise Lost," premiered in the Twin Cities on the Metro Cable Network. "I thought we'd get the chance to have the show seen out in the West," says creator/producer Greg Allen. "I just never imagined how far west we'd go!" The brand-new network (TCTV) that aired the episode made its debut the first week in August. Tired of the lack of positive portrayals of gay and lesbian characters on Auckland's two broadcast stations, a few Aucklanders formed their own company, Triangle Television, Inc., a channel devoted to diverse programming, including a weekly gay-lesbian hour. "Paradise Inn" kicked off the premiere of the new station. Now that's coming out!

Jett stream. Looking every inch the top that we hope she is, Joan Jett ripped through a 75 minute set at First Avenue last month. Of course we went--who wouldn't, what with Ms. Jett sporting a butch new 'do, leather pants, vinyl bra, and bare midriff? And that lady can work a crowd! We haven't pumped our fists in the air and shouted that much since junior high. Ms. Jett certainly proved she could master the dyke-licious crowd, getting the entire audience to moan (yes, you heard right, moan) along to her version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog." Don't even get us started on how we felt when she sang "Do You Wanna Touch?"

Fantastic boyage. After recently renting a video at Rainbow Road entitled The Masters in Amsterdam (which we mistakenly assumed was about a PGA tournament held in Holland) we started musing, What makes a good boy? Is it the wardrobe? Accent? Alpine cheekbones? David McCammon, Minnesota's own Drummer boy (lowercase "b") has some interesting answers. "A boy can be any age," he notes. "As long as he has the right attitude." McCammon is 37, but with his infectious energy, wide-eyed eagerness, and charming smile, he appears to be much younger and, well, boyish. "Boys are submissive and want to take care of someone. But they have their own lives too." Boys, it seems, are definitely not slaves. "A slave wants to be controlled," McCammon explains. "A boy wants to be mentored and taught." Ah, of course. On Aug. 29, the lad's sure to learn a thing or two as he joins the regional Great Lakes Drummer competition in Columbus, Ohio. Among other things, McCammon will be judged on attire and attitude. We know he's got the attitude but the outfit? "It's a surprise," he grins. "Can't give out professional secrets." Our vote is to put the punk in Oscar de la Hoya shorts and red boxing-gloves. They both have that boyish knock-out appeal.

Locker-room talk. If you've failed to discern the homoerotic electricity that permeates the downtown YMCA like sauna steam, it might be time to lay off the bench presses and ab crunches: The muscle has gone to your head. But according to local author John Donald Gustav-Wrathall, that same-sex spark has been a part of Young Men's Christian Association since its founding more than a century ago. While researching a book on the history of the YMCA at the organization's archives, now located in St. Paul, Gustav-Wrathall stumbled across a love letter written by a 19th-century international field secretary to his missionary companion. (No doubt these two were doing more than sowing the seeds of the gospel.) Intrigued, the researcher began documenting the percentage of bachelors involved in the organization's early history--a suspicious 30 percent were "unattached"--and investigating the Y's long-standing reputation as a cruisy scene. Those stories, as well as an account of the early 20th-century purges of single men from the Y's ranks, form the bulk of Take the Young Stranger by the Hand, the result of Gustav-Wrathall's labors, which is published this month. (The author reads at A Brother's Touch at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3.) But don't expect to bump into the author in the showers at the Y anytime soon. "Actually," he admits, "my partner and I are members of US Swim and Fitness."

Savage commentary. Speaking of authors, the gut-churningly frank sexpert Dan Savage, who's write-in advice columns can be found amid the chesty ads in City Pages' nether reaches (as if you didn't know), will alight on the Twin Cities next month. The Hungry Mind Bookstore will sponsor this October surprise, but the gay Ms. Manners of nookie is slated to appear at the Gay 90's (8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13). If Savage, known to fans as "Dear Faggot," is as charmingly crass in person as he is in print, we'll expect a pleased, packed house.

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