3 min

Anti-diva antics

Whose swimming pool am I in now?

Hey from LA. I’m staring at the inviting aqua marine ripples of my swimming pool while putting the finishing touches on Anti-Diva, my autobiography published by Random House and due out in October.

Besides slaving away on my memoirs for the past year and a half, I contributed a song to a new Dusty Springfield tribute album entitled Forever Dusty. Other artists on the compilation include The Indigo Girls and Jill Sobule.

You can order it on my website

So far my summer has been all over the map.

It started at a party with Rufus Wainright and hundreds of others in his rented Hollywood Hills house. He was celebrating the completion of his new album produced by Daniel Lanois.

I participated in the California AIDS Ride, a week long bike ride from San Francisco to LA. There were 2,700 riders and a crew of 1,300. It was an exhilarating experience to exist in a microcosmic society where sexuality was not an issue. Straights and gays supported and cared for each other during the sometimes grueling ride. The event raised US$11.4-million for AIDS services. Vancouverites are talking about doing the ride BC in 2002. How about the east coast of Canada getting on board? (Over in the middle, the Toronto People With AIDS Society is sponsoring its second fundraising ride to Montreal – the group leaves at the end of July for a six-day trip; call 416-506-1400 for details.)

On Gay Pride weekend, I performed at the Dyke March in San Francisco, then marched through the streets of the city with 60,000 self-empowered women.

And this past week I’ve been schmoozing at Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay And Lesbian Film Festival, where Hollywood types mingle with up and coming filmmakers and established directors. The fest opened in downtown Los Angeles at the historic Orpheum Theatre with a screening of The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (opening in Toronto next month). Very camp and cool. Lily Tomlin presented the Outfest achievement award to two Oscar-winning filmmakers, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, whose much lauded films include The Times Of Harvey Milk and the Celluloid Closet. At the gala after-party, guests included KD Lang and Rupaul in boy drag.

That weekend I watched a panel of filmmakers, including my pal East Of A director Amy Goldstein, as they discussed pushing the parameters of positive gay film. While reeling off their favourite films, they failed to mention the gay-positive South Park – a glaring oversight. Later I went with Amy and friends to a party at the home of American Beauty producer Bruce Cohen. Poolside, the patio was packed with wall to wall man hunks. Several stunning naked nymphs frolicked in the water. Two days before Bruce had entertained Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday I hooked up with Toronto director Jeremy Podeswa at a screening of The Five Senses. He was on a press junket promoting his film, which opens across the USA at the end of the month.

At the Directors Guild, I ran into Canadians Clint Alberta, star of Deep Inside Clint Star, and Gail Maurice of Johnny Greyeyes, whose films were screening at the fest.

Later that night at the Ford Amphitheater sitting under the stars, we checked out a screening of What’s Cooking?, which I can only describe as a culturally and culinary diversified Big Chill. It has an impressive female cast featuring Alfre Woodard, Joan Chen and Mercedes Ruehl. Julianna Margulies and Kyra Sedgwick play a lesbian couple. Cast member Lainie Kazan, was on hand to welcome the audience. After the flick we went for drinks and nibbly bits at Akbar in Silverlake, the edgy gay part of LA. We chatted up the film’s director, Gurinder Chadha.

The next day I caught Woman On Top starring the yummy Penelope Cruz as a sexy Brazilian chef. It is a straight film except for the prerequisite gay sidekick who in this case is a black drag queen.

I tried to sit through Swimming, a lesbo coming of age film, but walked out near the end. I just didn’t care if the geeky baby dyke got laid. Next it was Intimates with Amy and company. A compelling Chinese film about female love. Unfortunately it had English subtitles which did nothing to give the viewers any indication of the plot line.

Then there was a screening of East Of A. Scott Kraft was on hand. He and wife Toronto native Nadine Van Der Velde starred in, conceived and co-wrote this film along with Patrick Breen,

who was alienatingly funny in Galaxy Quest. This witty

film explores what constitutes a family. Then home to eye drops and bed.

Sunday I went to one screening, Queer As Folk 2. I’d seen the first part in England. It was slick, funny, sexy and gay-positive. The US version is shooting in Toronto. It’ll be aired on Showtime in the US.

I was movied out. The late afternoon and evening was spent with gal pals at the Hollywood Bowl. The bowl is a beautiful venue. You can picnic and drink cocktails while you catch the show. The concert was entitled International Divas. The audience proved to be more interesting than what was on stage. We spotted sexy Canadian actress Lolita Davidovich and her baby. We made plans to come back for a concert featuring Debbie Reynolds and Pink Martini.