"Looking back on the things I've done, I was only trying to be someone," wisp the Backstreet Boys on their current breadwinner, "Shape of My Heart," dubiously harmonizing with the exploitative overlap of silly head voices ringing their corresponding Auld Lange Synes within me.
Time for a bit of retrospect, then: a wee chance at recapturing the spirit that took the B-List from a bad idea that was initially intended to satirize my own Orlando sexploits (and plot revenge against those suitors who at once dropped their suits only to reclaim them and swear that I didn't know what I was talking about ... really!) and turned it into this mess of externalized commentary on Orlando as a popped-out marketplace in the throes of its own nervous public appearances, all with myself -- my humble, fey self -- dizzily spinning in the middle and, well, effusing. Think Mary Tyler Moore. Or better yet, don't think at all.
I didn't. Mostly, I got too involved, which in some ways explains why I always seem to write like my tongue is caught between my two front teeth, aching for some sort of consonant speed bump that might knock it, and my sanity, loose. Through it all, there's been an air of Hunter S. Thompson fermenting underneath (insert illicit substances here), especially with the introduction of a photo-friendly co-conspirator who could be switched to his corresponding role of friend or foil with a simple turn of phrase. That's helpful, especially when your own shame is in the balance. Projection can be the sweetest revenge. And when you're stuck in choreographed situations at your Planet Hollywoods and Rosie O'Gradys involving so ripe a second tier as to include Marilu Henner, Destiny's Child, Creed and any number of teen heartthrobs in Wal-Mart Sharpie purgatory, projection -- vomit, verbal or fluid -- is all you have to hold on to. So that's what it's all been about. Wait, did you ask?
See me, feel me
Accordingly, I played my part, sometimes in the dark, now let me show you the shape of my year 2000.
Appropriately enough, the B-List kicked off with a series of ponytailed vendettas against one Howie Durough, whose self-celebration betwixt BSB releases could be matched only by his inexplicable promotion of his grossly untalented, unfortunately monikered sister, Pollyanna. I can recall my first exposure to her keyless whinny, back when Durough's adventurous Zuma redux, Tabu, first opened its doors in July. It was a soundtrack to futility in syncopated double-time, and an assurance that there would be plenty more fodder to flip up, even if only into my own face, in the weeks to come.
Then there was the time when Howie, in his overhyped Lupus pitch period (which in fairness was a sort of personal memorial quest in the name of his departed other sister -- but doesn't Lupus produce a heart-shaped scar on its victim's skin? Is that what "Shape of My Heart" is about? Gross!), auctioned himself to the Windermere housewife circuit, while such luminaries as TV's Greg Brady (Barry Williams) and Deborah Gibson (career-be-gone) struggled to stir up some sentimentality in a moneyed sea of spaghetti straps -- the former with a "Phantom"-style reading of the seminal (?) anthem "We Are the Champions" and the latter sadly forgoing the genius of "Electric Youth" for the more tepid "Lost in Your Eyes." We were all lost, really. Manufactured band O-Town was there, too, back before anyone took them seriously. Oh, wait. Maybe nothing has changed.
Well I have. The real clincher was the most ambitious of my and my lens' prank propositions: the Fairvilla Adult Film tryouts. The column that appeared that week detailed a fairly salacious encounter with a couple of renowned bimbettes, a prosthetic vagina and a little bit of misguided ingenuity. What wasn't printed was that we actually did try out for the luscious ladies in a secret room next door, dropping trou and raising nothing, following an inspired bit of instruction -- "There's a lube underneath your chair, and don't get anything on the carpet" -- and a little too much chemical involvement. You do what you must to get the scoop, but I and my partner were in no condition to get anything but humiliated. In the end, we became judges for the actually adept contestants (although I swear the woman who came eight times was faking; in fact, she told me this in the magazine aisle an hour later), holding up signs that said "10" or "7," basically chronicling the succession of orgasms. What I didn't count on was that all of this would come back to bite me. Seems that the Playboy Channel really was filming. ... everything. ... and during one recent weekend mimosa run at Dexter's, a surly baseball cap of a man approached to let me know that he had, er, seen more of me than maybe he wanted to. On cable. Ouch.
Put on, put out
There were other nasty bits of unintended influence, too. Like the time that I had a makeup party with RCA Records hopefuls Wild Orchid, who cleverly and cattily rued the industry climate and dissed one Christina Aguilera, naming here as some prima-donna catalyst to a controversial A&R overthrow. To me, it was all slumber party hoo-haa, and ripe for gossipy publish in the highest. Problem is that my roommate does their hair and works for their manager, which meant that when wind was duly caught, a whole slew of queens were diatribing my voice mail with calls for retraction and plastic fingernails of professional hatred. Even worse, when the girls got it -- as the circuit of queenly overreaction would mandate -- they reportedly shed a few tears (or is it pounds?). Anyway, I apparently lost out on a "real job" because of it.
So here I sit, waiting for the next drive-by celebrity roasting and counting blessings and the quarters to get by. It's a good thing that this town loves its squalor as much as it does its false sense of entertainment-industry importance. Otherwise, I might HAVE to have a real job. For now I'm content with the whispered promise of a future print companion to appear in the ACTUAL paper, and the little journeys this whole experience has so far afforded me, already. Oh, the places I've gone. And I'm still only trying to be someone.
Happy New Year.