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HX Awards 2006
Lincoln Center, New York City
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
June 19, 2006   photo-album Bookmark and Share

Fifteen years ago, Homo Xtra was but a lavender and black pocket map you picked up at the bars and passed off to out-of-town guests before sending them off in the other direction in search of that all-night diner where drag queens and hustlers sang along to Abba.   

Oh, what a long, strange journey it’s been, these past fifteen years,  While perhaps not universally lauded for its journalism – the Pulitzers have yet to call – HX has nonetheless made itself into a glossy-paged, must-look weekly – and not just for its horoscopes.  If you’ve craved to know which celebrity got trashed where, and what club got raided, and who’s the latest go-go boy, and where to eat in what nabe, then HX (and yes, its rival NEXT, as well) has given you fifteen years of poop that’s unfit for the Old Gray Lady Times.  In short, HX is the gay New Yorker’s New York. 

And given that we had fifteen years of trash to celebrate, Matthew Bank and Marc Berkley emptied their wallets and set up an open bar on Monday night in the center of Josie Robertson Plaza, complete with hottie and gracious bartenders.  The plaza was pleasantly packed with every last cutie who’s ever interned at HX, as well as all the bartenders from Fire Island Pines, every last one of them wearing a t-shirt advertising Ascension Pines, the latest addition to FIP’s circuit calendar. 

All day long there’d been predictions of thunderstorms, and as Kiki so eloquently put it, there we were, under a threatening sky, milling around and sipping cocktails, just waiting to be electrocuted.  Kiki and Herb were the festivities’ hosts, back from their retirement – apparently the nursing home didn’t work out – and right from the start, Kiki controlled the proceedings with an iron fist – or rather a fist around Jack Daniels.  Nothing diluted about her, or Jack, as more than a few of the presenters and winners quickly found out.  Kiki was a woman unleashed, which was exactly the tone needed – and her irreverence and caustic wit paved the way for the likes of Hedda Lettuce, fresh from her Boston Pride debacle, and Michael Lucas, ever the dapper and gentle man – so much so that after Hedda’s impromptu and somewhat scandalizing stretching sketch, Kiki thanked Hedda for making Kiki and Herb look downright classy in comparison.

Kiss, kiss – now get off the stage.  That’s how it went.  And mercifully, the winners were brief, thereby enabling the performers to complete their entire routines – even if, as in the case of Kiki and Herb, completely unrehearsed. 

Peppermint Gummibear and her entourage, however, had the spit polish of a music video, something along the lines of Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard (For the Money),” complete with set and background video, and with Cazwell as short-order cook and a corps of dancers, Peppermint tore into “Servin’ It Up” (written by the multi-talented and irrepressible Jonny McGovern with such engaging ferocity, she was a virtual shoo-in for Best Drag Diva at night’s end. 

And then just as Sandra Bernhard made her entrance as Entertainer of the Year, the raindrops started to fall – but those two mad queens, Marc and Matt were already on it with umbrellas for everyone – whereupon the rain ceased, so that Sandra could wail her song with Kiki as back-up.  And caterwaul and testify, and skat and represent, the two of them did, werking a rendition of something that sounded vaguely familiar but was completely unrecognizable by the time they were finished.  Sui generis indeed – the both of them, without a doubt.

And in between awards, Kiki riffed on matters of public interest, such as why it is so many gay places serve brunch, because, after all, who doesn’t love “cheap eggs with a smile.”

And Junior was there, to accept his Best Deejay of the Year award, and in thanking the crowd, he yanked the latest, fattest issue of HX from his back pocket and pointing to the cover photo of a particularly glama Kevin, he said, “She’ll be there.  This Sunday at Spirit.  She’ll be there.”  And so will we.  Which is fitting, of course, that we all end up back again at what was once the original Sound Factory, later to become Twilo, and now, Spirit.  Fitting that it was here that Kevin’s New York run started, so many years ago, back when Homo Xtra was still a paper map and not the well-respected and so very popular read it is today. 

And fitting, too, of course, that all of us are still around – to remember it all, and still know how to have a good time, even when the world threatens us with rain.

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