I wish I knew how to quit me. Tonight I've agreed to another bout with my flagrant redneck homosexual tendencies, signing on for what appears to be an Orlando Weekly film promotion involving secret butt-lovers with small vocabularies. Brokeback Mountain is here, queer and I'm far more than used to it. But, short of the fact that I regularly rodeo (for about eight seconds) my own slab of moonshine charm, Alan, I hardly think that I'm qualified for this hick-fag hogtie at the Enzian. Or am I?

"We could totally dress up like gay cowboy lovers, or maybe both squeeze into the one promotional T-shirt they sent us," the Weekly's ad director, Graham, high-kick giggles over the phone unconvincingly. "You know, it might just be the chance for you to finally do something serious!"

Unfortunately, I'm seriously late. I've only allotted two minutes for my crosstown sojourn, throughout which I receive many a gay call about how much I need to hurry my wet ass up.

Predictably, Brokeback Mountain is exactly the sheepherding gay pilgrimage its Oscar buzz threatened it to be, and, also predictably, I'm growing a prickly cynicism in my bloodshot mind's eye. I've already placed myself intellectually "above it," even though it's totally richer and cuter than me.

In order to assuage my self-indulgent gloom, I reach out to the two things that make me smile without cracking a molar: Jeannie C. Riley's "Harper Valley P.T.A." and my eternally happy, recently purple-haired gal-pal, Sexy Savannah. Jeannie's on the Gigabeat, while Savannah, she's waiting for me on the side of the road like a joy dealer, one who doesn't cut her joy with irony.

her joy with irony.

"Omigod, you're just in time for the third verse about a ‘nip of gin,'" I nip gin.

"I know." She doesn't.

When Savannah, her guy Mike and I arrive, parking is scarce and the queer conga line is nigh on a mile long, so I drive into a bush(like a straight person might) and call it a parking place. Inside, the event is in full, nervous swing, to the point that I can almost drown out Graham's disapproving glances of "Tardy!" with my own flourishes of looking like I'm doing something. Shortly thereafter, I am — drinking beer and mingling through the line with raffle tickets, peddling the promise of prizes like a den mother; OK, a gay den mother drinking beer.

"We've got posters, a night out at the Enzian and," and … and … "a Kenneth Cole fleece situation!"

Y'know, in case it gets cold in the prairie when the paparazzi spot you taking it up the butt. Anyway, it's fun and I'm a little pre-show gin-tipsy, so selling myself with outerwear doesn't chafe like it normally might.

normally might.

Eventually, Alan arrives with our friend Tim, and all of the pieces are falling into place. The pieces that can get in, anyway. A mini-riot ensues when more than half the hopefuls are turned away. Orlando city commissioner Patty Sheehan squeaks by, looking concerned and not the least bit interested in talking to me, which means that I lean in for a kiss. What follows is more of an awkward bite on the ear, and I'm sure my political future is dead. Later we'll have a proper greeting, but for now I'm simply a toothy lesbian with blacklist issues.

And no real script to go on. As it happens, I'm supposed to play host into a microphone tonight and not simply fellate an imaginary cock in the name of sponsorship. And while I manage an "Omigod!" or two at the beginning (plus the obligatory "bareback mountain" canned comedy) before begging for more raffle tickets, things are off to a shaky start. Fortunately, I'm not the substance here. Shannon from the Enzian gives a warm speech about the theater and its cultural outreaches, the Weekly's Steve Schneider (who I'll flatulently introduce as "the best movie critic EVAH!") carries the torch with more serious-speak of some cinematographic importance, and me, well, I'm Jerry Lewis.


Somewhere in my stage-fright blur I beckon Savannah to the stage to help out in a Vanna capacity, and we disburse the prizes with our standard nasal bleat of "Yaaaaaaaaaaay." There are occasional zingers popping out of my mouth, most notably an insensitive (but very gay) one involving Dick Clark's stroke. By the time I'm supposed to throw out 20 or so cowboy-themed mouse pads, I'm hurling them over my shoulder, ass out, screaming things like "Because I'm a bottom!" and "Because I'm not a top!" Truly on form, here. Truly.

Too bad that when it's all over, it still hasn't even begun. At the risk of the revocation of my gay card, not to mention the deflation of my tires, I hate Brokeback Mountain. So does Savannah. We hate it out loud, scoffing audibly at each crap redneck line that falls off the screen. Maybe it's because we've heard them all before: jumpin' through a hole with a coyote on your tail, traveling around a coffee kettle to get to the handle, taping love notes to fishing lures, whatever. Or maybe it's because we're assholes. Even though I do require an uncomfortable leg-cross during the teepee spit-fuck, it's no better than uncrossing them at home with my own "fishin' buddy." Then again, I am no movie critic. Or am I?

"This was a really important film," a humorless attendee approaches me post-show, somewhat heavily. "I just hope the Academy notices."

And I just wish that I knew how to quit me.

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