4 min

What’s Winona giving for Christmas?

Hopefully not a dose of Ya Ba

Credit: Xtra files

This season’s hottest Christmas card features Winona Ryder carrying bags with the tagline, “Let Winona shop for Christmas.” The inside message states, “Nothing says the holidays like a bargain,” with a $4,850 price tag crossed out and the word “Free” written in.

Kevin Aviance, last seen here for Fashion Cares, recently dropped by Black Cat’s happening Stylin’, Saturdays at Manhattan Club (19 Balmuto, behind the Varsity Cinemas). The world’s number one gay dance/club artist did a free performance and seemed to be happily surprised that Toronto has a gay black scene.

Many gay black men and other queers and straights will be at this Friday’s (Dec 13) Garage 416 party at Roxy Blu (19 Brant St; $20 advance tix almost sold out). If you’re a fan of deep house with a dash of Latin, this party is not-to-be-missed as it features DJ/remixer François K, who originally hails from Paris along with Brazilian singing sensation Barbara Mendes. This event is a CD release party for Bossa Mundo, a double CD from Paris of jazz and house laced with Afro-Brazilian flavours. François K is one of my all-time favourite remixers and DJs. His first remix was back in 1978 for Musique’s “(Push, Push) In the Bush.” He then went on to remix Yazoo (FYI: Alison Moyet has a terrific new CD now out) along with the Eurythmics, Diana Ross, Depeche Mode, Erasure and the #1 Kevin Aviance hit called “Din Da Da.” He also played at the famed Studio 54 and co-founded the world’s top deep house club Body And Soul in New York. The scene? Sexy, mature, mixed and sure to be one of the best parties of the year.

The Queen has honoured another queen for the first time ever. Seventy-five-year-old drag queen Danny La Rue was named a member of the Order of the British Empire in a ceremony at Fucking-him Palace.

The Ethel Merman disco album, which proudly sits in my vast record collection, is being re-issued next month. Apparently the 1979 flop that contained a remix of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” has become a huge cult hit. Hey, I could be rich!

Despite the season’s first blizzard, several hundred people came out to the opening night of Grapefruit, a new monthly gay retro dance night at the Tequila Lounge (Bathurst and Bloor; $5 cover). It just proves that fags and dykes will endure any harsh weather in order to get their fix of Abba and Madonna. The next edition is on Fri, Dec 20.

Angelina Jolie is in talks to star in a film based on porno star Linda “Deep Throat” Lovelace who tragically died in a car crash. This sounds like the role that Big Lips needs to prove that Gia wasn’t a fluke.

Jing Ju: The Secrets Unveiled was a spectacular Peking Opera I recently attended in the gaybourhood at the National Ballet School, which was organized by William Lau’s The Little Pear Garden Collective. Lau brought over from China his teacher, Song Chang-Rong who, at the age of 70, is considered one of the best and one of the last generation of male performers trained to play female roles in classical Peking opera. The Chinese government banned cross-gender training back in the ’50s, therefore this ancient style could soon be lost forever if it wasn’t for people like Song and Lau. They bring cross- gendering or drag to the ultimate art form.

ABC TV and Steve Martin are developing a gay version of the ’70s hit Hart To Hart, in which a pair of interior decorators stumble upon a murder each week. Unfortunately The Designer Guys aren’t in the running to star in Mr And Mr Nash, but actor Alan Cumming has just signed on to play one of the leads. Cumming, who was just in Vancouver shooting X-Men 2, is also an author with a hilarious book out called Tommy’s Tale. It seems that half my friends swear it’s one of the best books of the year.

My favourite album of the year is without a doubt by the new singer Lamya. Her debut CD was released through the prestigious J Records label that is renowned for discovering some of the best new talent including Alicia Keys, Angie Stone and our girl Deborah Cox. Lamya’s CD has a bit of everything including house, R & B, rock and some Indian influences. She’s smart, sassy and gorgeous and will be huge. Her first single called “Empires (Bring Me Men)” was remixed by Junior Vasquez and went straight to #1. She recently performed in a swank club in Toronto’s Little Italy and dropped by Fly with her gay manager. She recently told a gay magazine in New York that she heard Junior’s remix for the very first time in Toronto at Fly. Apparently Lamya is already showing signs of being the next diva as she was spotted pulling a Whitney at the club.

I first reported on Ya Ba about two years ago, for it’s sweet, it’s pretty, and it packs a deadly punch. Ya Ba, a form of methamphetamine, is Asia’s hottest drug and its taking West Hollywood and San Francisco by storm as health officials are worried it may spread across the continent. It began in Thailand, where it was once legal and used by truckers and taxi drivers to stay awake during long stints, but the Thai government banned it as the death toll mounted. The chemical is replacing ecstasy on the west coast as it’s far more powerful than E – it keeps users awake for days and has hallucinogenic effects, sometimes causing users to think they have bugs crawling under their skin. Ya, but this is fuckin’ tragic and what’s wrong with good ole fashion booze?

Have a great drunken holiday!