Ariana DeBose explodes, Billy Porter has a new club, and that naughty hotspot returns!

Photo from The Cock by Wilsonmodels
Photo from The Cock by Wilsonmodels

The long-running, sexy gay bar the Cock was hoping to move to a bigger space at 112 Rivington Street, but the community board obviously was in need of some lube and said “Nyuh-uh.”

So now the club is planning to reopen in its Second Avenue location (for the vaccinated only) on the Thursday of Pride week. And that’s just fine because familiarity breeds cruising, and besides, co-owner Allan Mannarelli tells me that in the fall, they will spruce up an unused space and open it as the Celebration Room, in honor of Nashom Wooden (a/k/a drag star Mona Foot). Nashom was a favorite Cock employee/personality and one of the first New Yorkers to die of covid last year.

Meanwhile, I’ve told you about the upcoming queer club called the Q (in Hell’s Kitchen). Well, guess who the celebrity backers are? As promoter Frankie Sharp told Tym Moss and Wendy Stuart on the live chatfest If These Walls Could Talk, they are Billy Porter, Jake Shears, Zach Quinto, and Charlie Carver.

Sisters in the Band? Boys in the Pose? Whatever—that’s quite a bunch of Q cuties.

Photo from The Cock by Wilsonmodels
Photo from The Cock by Wilsonmodels

Long-running promoter Ladyfag has revived her Battle Hymn party for this Sunday (at Rumi even space) and tickets went so fast that she quickly added a second Battle Hymn, next Sunday, June 6th…O.G. party diva Susanne Bartsch has not only launched a weekly Thursday night “New York, New York” bash at Sony Hall, but she’s doing a Pride weekend at Nemacolin, a luxury resort in Pennsylvania, with Joey Arias, Amanda Lepore, and some other creatures of the night. I was invited to the weekend, but they weirdly never followed up, which is fine; I’m a little scared to go that close to Pittsburgh.

I was perfectly happy to go with Mickey Boardman to a fancy dinner at Veronika, the restaurant at Fotografiska New York photo museum, for a new Tom of Finland book and the accompanying exhibit there. At the family-style feast, Paulina Poriskova was a delightful photo come to life. She and I agreed that the Oscars were a bore, and I joked to her that she deserved an award for enduring it in person.

“I will gladly accept it,” Paulina laughed. “And what you may not know is it was so cold. They had the windows open. The men were in suits and were OK, but not us women. Zendaya was practically in a bikini!”

We shared a knowing look and I thought, “At least the bursts of cold air might have helped keep the celebs awake.”

Before we parted, Mickey asked Paulina [who’s currently contesting Ric Ocasek’s will] how beau Aaron Sorkin is treating her.

“I’m happy,” she smiled.

Speaking of awards, I hear Cynthia Erivo probably won’t be able to become an EGOT based on one project (The Color Purple). Apparently, the folks doing the movie version of the musical she won a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy for are looking for a “discovery” to star.

I guess that wouldn’t be Ariana DeBose, since she’s already been discovered. (She was Tony-nominated for Broadway’s Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, played the central lesbian character’s girlfriend in the movie of The Prom and is Anita in the highly-anticipated West Side Story movie revamp.)

But I’m glad I caught DeBose at Broadway at Tavern, a swanky live concert series held in a sparkly outdoor area of the New York institution Tavern on the Green. The openly queer star commanded the stage with great pipes and a relaxed personality that ranges from snappy to sincere. She did a contemplative version of Sondheim’s “Another Hundred People” and interestingly mashed up his “Ladies Who Lunch” with another tsk-tsk ditty, “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” She also juxtaposed Donna Summer with Ariana Grande, did tributes to the late Broadway costar Nick Cordero and dance legend Jacques d’Amboise, and belted her big lament from The Prom, adding “Spoiler: They break up.” (Her musical director then chimed in, “Spoiler: Happy ending!”)

DeBose said that during the lockdown, she communed with nature, watched old episodes of The Newsroom, and immersed herself in “the Mamma Mia! cycle, which means two movies.” Well, she didn’t lose any aptitude for performing, and naturally gave us a taste of West Side Story in her version of “Somewhere,” backed by rock guitar riffs.

And with that, I finished my yummy meal in utter glee that NYC is back!