God, I love a good blurb. Just check out the ab-fab blurbs in the opening pages of famed Village Voice gossip columnist Michael Musto’s just-published anthology of star-studded anecdotes and essays, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back.
The last time I saw Musto was at a party to celebrate his 25th anniversary with The Village Voice, hosted by living legend Joan Rivers. Rivers contributed a blurb for the front cover of his book. “Michael Musto is a genius!” it reads. But Musto says Rivers’ blurb was cut in half. “The rest of her quote, which was said sardonically, went, ‘Why don’t people know who he is?’”
Of course, lots of people know Musto from his gossip column, La Dolce Musto, which debuted in 1984, and his blog, La Daily Musto.
Musto says he would out every gay and lesbian politician and celebrity if he could. His best work, he says – including four new essays in Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back – isn’t dishing NYC nightlife but probing issues like AIDS or the showbiz closet.
“When Rosie O’Donnell wasn’t out, I was writing week after week that she needed to more-than announce herself as Lebanese,” says Musto. “She needed to say the real L word…. She hosted the Tonys one year, and during the commercial break, just for the live audience, she made a remark about how she was allowed to costume Raquel Welch for Victor/Victoria. That was a saphically tinged remark, and later, at the afterparty, Rosie came up to me and said, ‘Well, that remark was for you. Maybe now you’ll stop writing about my private life.’ Obviously I’d gotten her goat, and it was a step in her explosion like a cannonball out of the closet. We’re all friends now. Today she’s even gayer than I am.”
CNN anchor and daytime talk-show host Anderson Cooper has long been the subject of Musto’s musings.
“At first I thought Anderson isn’t coming out because the network won’t let him,” Musto says. “But CNN’s Don Lemon has proven that’s not the case. CNN will allow an out anchor. So I think this makes Anderson look sillier.
“I think everyone on Earth should come out, even if they’re not gay! The reality is, ‘Be proud, be happy and be honest about who you are.’ The cowering, the lies and the evasions create so much unhappiness. And the actors who have come out have never expressed any regrets about it, except for Rupert Everett. In general, they’re so much happier living free, open lives. And we now have the example of Neil Patrick Harris, who has made it huge on TV and now has a hit movie franchise. People used to say this could never happen to an out gay actor. Well, it happened.”