Toronto
4 min

2006: The weirdness that was

Lineup the Cocktail Confessions

'SPELLBOUND.'Johnny Hazzard got his start in music lip-synching to a James Collins-penned song. Shaun Proulx

The sturm und drang that was 2006 on the social and gossip beat is much like the sheer ridiculousness to be found in that snapshot of the incredible shrinking Nicole Richie. To wit: Since very publicly fir-ing her stylist, Rachel Zoe, Richie has been caught often wearing a brown blanket — over her head. Lionel’s little Princess Incognito is also this close to a spell in jail on DUI charges; Richie’s alleged to have been high on pot and Vicodin while behind the wheel of a car in California. If you find her recent insistence that her anorexic frame is a medical mystery, Richie audaciously asserts that she takes Vicodin only to control monthly menstrual cramps — and smoking crystal meth calms the mind.

Like Richie’s world, 2006 has been not-so-simple — one fucking bizarre and highly entertaining year — whetting my appetite for ’07. The tone set, enjoy the following highlights, unanswered questions and sweet little mysteries of the last 525,600 minutes, as well as all those that lie in wait.

It was this year that saw rocker Sass Jordan make the sexy choice to do a bloody gingivitis TV commercial. It was this year that had Enza Supermodel in bus shelters everywhere shilling fruity booze. Meanwhile, a tranny named Tulsi won the country’s biggest drag queen competition. 2006 was also a year that saw the tran-tastic Nina Arsenault dupe Tommy Lee, if only long enough to cop the kind of feel some of us only dream of. This was the year former Xtra DVD reviewer Lisa Lambert took Broadway by storm with The Drowsy Chaperone, arm-in-arm with Liza Minnelli all the while, nabbing a Tony Award with Greg Morrison for best music and lyrics somewhere along the way. Meanwhile, from a reality TV show in the Australian outback, Minnelli’s ex, David Gest, insisted he’s not gay. And crystal meth calms the mind.

AIDS 2006 in the midst of a long, hot, Inconvenient Truth kind of summer brought a double-Bill to town, Clinton and Gates, along with a smarmy dick, one Richard Gere. This of course was just weeks after grande dame AIDS fundraiser Fashion Cares reached the end of what will likely be known henceforward as the Phillip Ing era. Stephen Harper, continuing his role as the Ugliest Man Ever To Lead Canada, snubbed the international AIDS conference (of course) and Madonna snubbed Toronto, while Beyoncé played Yonge-Dundas Square for free. Meanwhile, queens Latifa and Travolta both shot Hairspray here: Travolta wears the dress and there’s absolutely no reason why I put the two of them in the same sentence. None.

Alas, despite such flamboyant players and their myriad colourful plotlines, we still exit 2006 with more questions than answers (life is a mystery; everyone must stand alone), not the least of which is this: Does Clay Aiken bareback or not? International headlines were made when Manhuntgate erupted earlier this year starring several suggestive instant messages exchanged between the singer and some Green Beret opportunist whose name I can’t be bothered to look up. Then the story took a nosedive, not unlike some of the less fortunate air shows in the history of the CNE. But some of us haven’t forgotten and we wonder: Raw or wrapped, Clay? Raw or wrapped?

Then there’s Clay’s fellow ‘mo, Rosie “Inadvertent” O’Donnell, who did Aiken no favours when she debated with Kelly Ripa the homophobia behind a remark Ripa had made when suddenly (ew!) finding herself with Aiken’s hand over her mouth on national television. Now that O’Donnell has also inadvertently insulted all Asians with that ching-chong China bit on The View, whom will she target next, we ask? Remember, Rosie: Keith “Canada’s Worst Handyman” Cole channelling Pepper Highway took care of aboriginals back in January at Sashimi; perhaps you would be wise to steer toward mocking a major religion instead, keeping in mind a Pope in Prada shoes already took care of Islam this year.

More mysteries: Now that the soon-to-be ex-Mr Britney Spears, K-Hole, is writing a book on his two years with the redneck pop tart and her sheared beaver, will we finally learn exactly what the hell happened to her vagina to make it look like that? I am not an expert on hoo-has, but hers isn’t even nice. Another question: Will K-Hole’s tell-all sell more than the Kitty Kelley bio the cutthroat writer is planning about Oprah Winfrey? Those tomes are, without doubt, the two hottest properties in the publishing world right now, especially now that OJ Simpson’s “hypothetical” has been cancelled. Stay tuned, and if you’re reading this Ms Kelley, just remember two words: James Frey.

I could go on, so I will: About Xtra fashionista Maha: Will he be able to keep from killing himself now that you can decorate your Crocs with Jibbitz? What will Pride ’07’s party scene look like now that certain disgraced Prism people have left the High Holiday open for the taking? And this blind item: Who — tell me who — are the two TV local personalities that a hot cosmetic surgeon refers to as a “fucking pain in the ass?” Just a lil’ somethin’ I heard, is all.

One thing is for sure: Jeanne Beker is going to snap next year. The Fashion Television host has been tapped as honorary chair of SNAP, the late-winter fundraiser for the AIDS Committee Of Toronto that continues to grow in scope. Now that James Collins conquered the porn world by writing catchy pop songs for ambitious sex stars like hottie Johnny Hazzard — possessing talented pipes of more than one variety — which industry is next? Speaking of industry, don’t you long for those days in clubland, the Industry years? Gairy Brown sure does, pining for the return to the “legendary party” as he put it to me over lunch recently. He’s trying his darndest with Open at Sonic (270 Spadina Ave) on Friday nights, despite the grand opening setback of liquor licence issues and then a stranded-in-snow Victor Calderone the week after (Calderone returns Fri, Jan 12; previously purchased tix will be honoured at the door). Brown is undeterred, telling me he thinks that one of the biggest hurdles our nightlife scene faces is the toxic backstabbing between promoters, from the karmic kind to the oral kind (“The ‘N’ word has been used,” Brown recounted, on the record. “And I never play that card”). So, on that lite Michael Richards kinda note, happy holidays, everyone.

See y’all at Dreamgirls.