Friday, August 21, 2009



Where to start with my first official Kenneth in the (212) Project Runway recap? Hmmm…

So some friends of mine (and Craig and our housemate, Dan) have been gathering at our place in Park Slope for a good year now to watch Wednesday night Bravo TV. I believe we started with Top Chef Chicago, then moved on to Project Runway season 5, with some Kathy Griffin thrown in on the off-season nights. (Shear Genius fell in there somewhere, but I think we’ve blocked it out.)

Tonight’s group included: Jay, a lawyer-turned-playwright, Tim, an ecologist, Jason, a pharmacology writer/photographer, housemate Dan, an actor/graphic designer, partner Craig, an actor/spokesperson, and me, a playwright/novelist.

After 8-10 months (or however long it’s been) of waiting for the return of Runway, we moved the party to Thursday, and changed the channel to Lifetime—that is, once we found it. What’s up with Time Warner mixing things up on “the day of the show, y’all?” Admittedly, Lifetime is “TV for Women,” but Craig and Dan and I have been known to watch the occasional Will & Grace rerun, and I also love Nicole Sullivan’s sitcom, Rita Rocks, which is set in mine and Kenneth’s native Detroit. The show is super-funny, and features the awesome Tisha Campbell-Martin, and a very cute Richard Ruccolo as Rita’s hubby Jay.

But the question on everygay’s mind was undoubtedly: “How is Lifetime going to handle the return of the Runway?”

Admittedly, I do not like change. Never have, never will. From the moment I heard Heidi Klum utter the words, “Visit to learn more about the fashions you’ve seen on tonight’s show” (or whatever her exact catch phrase is), I knew I was going to be in trouble. Maybe it’s just me, but one of my favorite parts of the whole Runway experience was hearing the way Heidi said, “Bravo Teh-Vee,” in her slight German accent. (Which has come a long way since the days when I first met her while working as a PA on the set of the Michael J. Fox sitcom, Spin City. “Heidi Who?” I asked. “And she’s playing herself, why?” Like I would know a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model when I saw one!)

For the most part, the show is the pretty much the same. That’s what they’ve been promising us all along—only it isn’t. L.A., not New York. Garnier, not Tresemme. Macy’s not Blue Fly. At least we’ve still got Heidi and Tim Gunn. And Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. Though she’s now affiliated with Marie Claire, not Elle magazine. What can you do? Just enjoy!

To start off, we’re briefly introduced to our 16 contestants. I won’t elaborate on all, but you can check out the bios here. Stand outs include: Christopher Straub, 30, a Capricorn from MN. He’s cute, with dark hair and both ears pierced. He also likes to wear hats. And cry. (Can we say, “Ricky?”)
Johnny Sakalis, 30, a Taurus from West Hollywood. He’s cute with his stocky build and buzzed head. But what’s up with admitting that the reason you didn’t make it on the show in past years was due to your crystal meth addiction? I know, who am I to judge? Althea Harper, 24, a blonde bombshell Libra from Dayton, OH, to which Jay asked, “Doesn’t Althea mean ‘without nipples’?” Mitchell Hall, 26, a Scorpio from Savannah. The minute Mitchell hit the screen, daddy Dan’s eyes lit up. You could say Mitchell is “cute,” though Jason described him as being “wall-eyed… Like when one eye looks at you, and the other looks at the wall.” Jay seems to think that Mitchell and Christopher are going to fuck… We’ll see!

Due to contestant overload, we didn’t get to know too much about the designers in this particular episode. We did learn that Logan Neitzel, the 26-year-old Taurus (why we need to know their signs, I’m not sure! But it’s on their Lifetime bios) from Seattle is a “man’s man.” I took this as his way of saying, “I’m not gay.” He mentioned something about changing a tire or fan belt or some other car-related macho mechanical thing. But I’m thinking, “The Lady doth protest too much.” Maybe Logan will be the one to get it on with Mitchell!
Qristyl (with a Q, and y) Frazier, 42, Capricorn from New York, is the second oldest of the bunch, behind Epperson (whose first name is Rodney, according to, but he goes by “Epperson”) at age 50. Epperson is another Taurus. (What’s with all the bull running around Runway?) And Ari Fish (yes, “Fish!”), 26, Gemini, Kansas City, MO. I can’t say much about Ari other than she’s the “kooky” one… And she doesn’t sketch. Nor does she design well, it seems, from what she whips up.

Tonight’s challenge was to create a look for a red carpet event. The designer could choose which particular red carpet (Emmy’s, Oscars, MTV Music Awards), and who might be likely to wear their design. Guest judge was none other than Lindsay Lohan (apparently she’s added “designer” to her list of credentials, behind actor/singer/lesbian), which seemed to excite the Runway designers—particularly 31-year-old Cancer from Chicago, Ra’mon Lawrence Coleman, who did his best to kiss Ms. Lohan’s butt from atop the runway.

Not sure what else to say without giving too much away. For the most part, all of the designs were good. Irina Shabayeva, 27, from NYC (an Aquarius) was a fave amongst the Park Slope party-goers. To sum up: Dan liked the use of color on the sets and in the background. His big complaint about Bravo’s Runway rip-off The Fashion Show (which we thoroughly enjoyed) was too much gray. Tim pointed out Tim Gunn’s new hair color, which he described as “tartar yellow,” Craig thought Qristyl’s gown looked like “something the Pointer Sisters would wear circa 1985,” and I noticed that Heidi looked a little like Christie Brinkley, circa “Uptown Girl.” (Maybe the Pointer Sisters remark made me think of the “I’m So Excited” scene from Vacation?)

Project Runway airs on Lifetime TV, Thursday nights at 10pm ET.

*FRANK ANTHONY POLITO is a Brooklyn-based actor, playwright, and author of the novels Band Fags! and Drama Queers!


Randy said...

Whew, this Frank dude is HOT! I mean, thanks for the nice article, Frank. :)

Kap said...

Loved Christoper's design! Hate Lohan.

BrookeDisAstor said...

I like it better on Lifetime. On Bravo there were too many recaps coming back from commercials. It was way too much "one step back two steps forward" television like almost all cable reality shows are. I cannot believe you didn't mention Michael Kors foundation base line - he looked like he was competing for Miss Waffle House. And you're right - I don't know who is going to do it, but Mitchell is gonna get fucked (in a good way).