Lord knows that if you're a lover of scantily clad muscle men sporting suggestive, sexy wares while giving good face, you no doubt have more than one of a certain photographer’s coffee table books in your home. Yes, while many aspiring photogs are penny-pinching to make ends meet, this behind-the-camera artist is snapping shots of WeHo’s hottest hunks and raking in the big bucks. I found this to be true the night of the Oscars, when I was invited (through a friend of a friend of a friend’s soon-to-be ex-boyfriend) to the photographer’s Hollywood Hills home for little Tinseltown celebratory soirée. A 4,000-square-foot cliffside mansion with a little cottage out back surely screams success, does it not?
Everybody who is—or, more appropriately, was—anybody in the world of queer fashion photography was there. It was truly a “Who the hell is that?!” event. Needless to say, the night was intoxicating—and by that I mean no one ate and everyone mainlined vodka with a Vicodin chaser.
The night was typical and predicatable, but what’s the gossip?
Well, as the night was winding down, things got real dramatic, real fast. You see, while 12 Years a Slave was taking home the trophy, I was preparing to schlep back to my hellish life in the ‘Hollywood Flats.’ Too many Smirnoffs in to drive, I was stumbling to the front door to wait for my cab when one of the most eyeroll-inducing RuPaul’s Drag Race queens stopped me dead in my drunken tracks. About six inches away from my eardrum, she let out a sibilant shriek, deafening everyone within earshot: “Someone stole the Tina!”
The room fell silent, followed by a few dramatic gasps, followed by more silence, followed by a rentboy asking his sugar daddy, “Who’s Tina?”
At first, I thought the Tina this babbling queen was kvetching about was the drug, but I was wrong! You see, it turns out the homeowner owns a three-foot canvas print of his favorite snapshot—a still of Ms. Tina Turner mid-’rolling down the river’ during a particularly manic rendition of “Proud Mary.” In fact, I had noticed the piece when I first walked in, and I remember thinking, “That’s hot!”
But it was gone! Somewhere between Ellen’s awkward pizza delivery and McConaughey’s questionable acceptance speech, someone had lifted the extra-large pic and sauntered out the front door. It goes without saying that drama ensued. Accusations were hurled and tears were shed. The abovementioned mess of a drag queen even dumped the contents of her purse out onto the shag carpet, screaming, “I didn’t take it! I didn’t take it!” (Uh, honey, no one thought you crammed a three-foot canvas into your faux-leather Hot Topic messenger bag, m’kay?!)
I offered to allow a pat-down from the poolboy, who not-so-politely declined—and by ‘not-so politely’ I mean he gave me a once-over, cringed and said, “Old men are so gross.” Then I was asked to leave. In fact, we were all asked to leave. Only “the closest of the photographer’s friends” were invited to stay, presumably to mourn the loss of their dearly departed Tina.
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And don’t worry, I never give up my deep throat!