BLISTER 


If there are indeed two sides to every story, then why am I always stuck underneath a mound of pubic hair on the dark one like a bed penny on a fat trick?

I've just met my friend-couple, Drew and Kevin, at Savoy when the pinched synapse of nature's duality slaps me across the face like a porn star's cock. On one flat-screen there are mounds of pubic plumage clearly symbolizing '70s follicular liberation, and on the other the manscaped model trims of Bruce Weber-y black-and-white, wet-sheet-barely-covering-wet-penis tastefulness.

"I want one," I squeak.

Needless to say, I'm feeling dirty.

"We should probably go," Drew two-drink-glances at his watch.

We should, but probably not where we're going. By some freak of cruel nature, tonight marks the premiere of Electric Youth, the much-ballyhooed Debbie (or -ah) Gibson musical reportedly "ignited by the songs of Deborah Gibson." When I first heard about it a couple of months ago — noting that she would be here for the premiere — I left a little wet spot of dark amusement in my otherwise pristine panties. When our friend Mickey heard about it, he signed up to be in it, mostly because he remembered all of the dance steps from the "Electric Youth" video. Now we're all trapped.

Initially proposed as the record industry's answer to a latchkey baby-sitter with unspeakable precociousness and a Blossom hat to match, Gibson ignited a storm of anti-controversy in the late '80s by naming Billy Joel as her inspiration and looking like a dowdy dreamer on a gifted-class field trip who WRITES HER OWN SONGS! By the time she came around, I was already swigging Boone's Farm in the bushes, coloring my hair with markers and holding on to my 1985 Star Hits magazines like they were the Magna Carta. Surely Sigue Sigue Sputnik would kill her, and that would happen right after Duran Duran became relevant again. I didn't like Debbie Gibson. I sat next to her in gifted class.

Then she posed for Playboy. Gay irony would be hers forever.

"This is going to be awful," Drew tries to level the playing field as we approach the sweaty waterfall windows of the refurbished Starlight Theater. "The dress rehearsal alone lasted three hours."

"Longer than her career," I unfunny. Whatever.

Fortunately, because there are two sides to every story, it won't be that bad. After tearing through a drink round in the un-air conditioned lobby, we've already assembled a ga(y)ggle — every other homosexual of dubious repute in Orlando is here — and are heading out high-school style for an around-the-corner smoke session.

"Guess what!" is all it takes, and a chorus of meaningless banter involving television's Mayim Bialik, eightballs stored under spare tires in rental cars, Paris Hilton's vagina, DUI arrests, Britney Spears' bald head, meet-'n'-greets, television's Jodie Sweetin and suspended licenses ("Who hasn't!") erupts without noticeable pauses for breath.

"Omigod," Drew pauses for a breath. "We are a Debbie Gibson musical!"

If only it were the gay version.

Back inside, the anemic key-reaches of Gibson's pubescent anthemry are not aging well when caught in a constant torture loop, while a crowd of equal parts gay men and fat women (or fat men and gay women) mills around the merch table pondering whether it's really worth $20 to buy a CD or a crap T-shirt ("Electric Youth Lives," seriously) just to make the acquaintance of the royal Deb after the show. Clue: It isn't. But in the lead-up to tonight's performance, most of the tin-can-and-string gossip chain has become convinced that alternate former child stars Joey Fatone (D.W.T.S.!) and Lance Bass (G.A.Y.!) are to be here as well, causing a spending conundrum for most and almost prompting an "I'm likened to Reichen" T-shirt overstep on my part. What to do? Buy buy buy?

No, naturally. Wait wait wait is more like it. For a good half-hour after the show time passes, our assembled posse has been posting false sightings of the un-famous post-teen trio (Bass and Fatone will be no-shows, naturally), and looking at our watches for a clue as to whether the show will ever begin. Perhaps it shouldn't. Somebody mentions that Gibson might be "refinancing" this musical for Broadway.

"Sub-prime?" I abacus, cheaply, to the sound of nothing registering and interest rates dying.

By 8:45, writer/director/potential psycho fan Dean Parker takes the stage to tell us how lucky we are to even be here, glibly introducing Gibson to make a perfunctory nude mini-dress statement on how fabulous it all is that she is still so fabulous and that this fabulous show would be written to her fabulous songbook, before licking her lips once exactly like the fabulous Cher. She thanks her "mom-ager," which is gross, and the proceedings begin with an unforeseeable overture montage of instrumental disposability.

"Without you, without you, I always thought that ev'rything was fine …" comes "Out of the Blue" for the first scene, and the rest painfully follow suit.

Nothing is fine. Nothing will be ever again.

A story of small-town resuscitation by way of teen exploitation trudges along, crossing the camp line between an unintentional Waiting for Guffman and a more likely Growing Pains take on Our Town. It really is enough to make Kirk Cameron throw down the cross and kill babies, or for me to pick up one and kill them with it myself. And that's just the first act.

"Um, I'm leaving," I shoulder-touch my post-teen queer crew during their intermission recovery. I like my side of the story better.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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