This post might be better titled Belated Birthday Wood ... or In the Flesh Wood. My friend Jay and I finally worked out a time for my birthday dinner last night and I decided to break tradition and NOT go to one of our beloved chain restaurants. (Sorry, Red Lobster. We'll catch ya next time!) Since it was Gay Pride Eve I thought it might be fun to take in all the boys right here in Chelsea, so opted for the gay-fabulous standby Elmo, which rarely disappoints. After getting promptly seated and a round of drinks (oh, and thoroughly enjoying the view), Bob Pontarelli, an owner of the joint, came by to ask if we might be willing to move to another table as a bigger-than-expected crowd had just come over from "the City Hall event" and they needed to spill over onto our table. Having heard about said event earlier in the day -- the do-nothing New York Senate Democratic Conference was hosting a gala called "Hollywood and Broadway: Salute to Pride," at which Allison Janney, Lance Bass, Angela Lansbury and Patrick Wilson (among others) were being honored for their support of gay rights -- I immediately asked Stephen if Patrick was on his way over. (Jay volunteered that we'd gladly move so long as we could pull up a chair once Patrick got there.) As it would happen, Steve had just spent the earlier part of the evening WITH Patrick at City Hall (something about being "assigned" to him -- nice work if you can get it) and couldn't say enough nice things about him -- oh, in between swooning. Unfortunately, Patrick was not going to be among the late arrivers to the table formerly known as ours, but with the promise of a round of drinks on the house, we gladly relocated anyway.
After dinner, Jay and I popped by our old haunt g lounge, where we had a beer and drooled over Marcello the bartender for old times' sake. Then we headed over to Gym, where I'd heard one of Major Models Management's big stars was said to be working the downstairs bar to great effect. Sure enough, we headed down to the "locker room" and there he was, Mr. Ben Pamies, shirtless and smiling all night, serving up cocktails and fantasies. I hear he's straight and makes a killing every night, and it was a fun way to end a great evening with a dear friend. Thanks, Jay!
2009 vs. 1999: Jay and me last night, and at a party in the Hamptons circa 1999, below (I think I'm wearing the same shirt!)