QE2 Unmasked

Sun. January 16, 2005 12:00 AM
by Jason Paul

The night is teetering on the break of a new year. You’re downtown all dressed up in your evening's “look at me” finest with a bedazzled masquerade mask coiled into the grip of your white silk gloves. You’ve got a carnal craving to celebrate that won’t be contented with plastic noise makers and pop can confetti. With an atmosphere of contemporary urban elegance, a feast fit for only the most refined of palettes and a sensationally sinful selection to satisfy any gluttonous fetish of the flesh, this is Queer Eyes Wide Shut . And it’s the only place you need to be.

It seems like only yesterday good friend and fellow columnist Susanna Homan , writer of the Chicago Sun Times' Susanna’s Night Out, and I were hob knobbing at the QE2 pre-mixer back in early December. Joined by Chef to the Stars Art Smith and Novelist Catherine Lanagin , we shared a light hearted evening exchanging ideas, making coffee dates, discussing whose designer Bad Religion jeans were the tightest and what the night’s signature drink, pre-titled the QE-tini, should be.

After much drinking and slurred debate, we chose a lovely orange cream concoction created by Janice Tannenbaum that was amply intoxicating, adding large amounts of alcohol masked with just enough sweet. It seemed appropriate.

Sponsored by All Terrain Productions, party captains Brook Jay , Sarah Eck and Liam Bruno promised to produce a high caliber affair that could only be rendered that of L,G, B or T for the second year in a row.

Yet all the talking, eye brow plucking, and outfit choosing can’t even come close to the awesome experience of this premier event. The party is what it’s all about.

For any QE newbie, arriving on the third floor of the lavish Sofitel Hotel can be somewhat intimidating. The place is huge! Gays like it large. No worries though. The tall sexy blonde with the neckline to her navel and the gleaming white smile was there to assist. Maven Superstar (and fellow ChicagoPride.com Columnist) Jessika Sterling herself greeted the attendees and happily directed them to any of the four premium open bars, the intense and dimly lit main ballroom, the smoking lounge, the food station vestibule or the cabaret room where star of stage and screen Honey West preformed till countdown.

She’s a randy chick, that Jessika. And if she asks if you want to be a bumper boy, don’t question it. Just say yes.

It’s probably best to get some food in you before you get going. You don’t want to be all nauseous after only eight QE-tinis when the hipsters start asking for your autograph. Just don’t be looking for piggies in a blanket or baby knishes. This is a classy joint.

For starters there was seared ahi, caviar, and the cutest little crab cakes. Later for the main course, party goers indulged themselves with a dim sum assortment, herb encrusted tenderloin, made to order risotto and salmon en croute.

However if you’re anything like me, you’d probably prefer something simple when eating in public. Since it’s considered uncouth to hit on the staff before midnight, I opted for the white wine, garlic, nutmeg and fresh lemon Wisconsin trio cheese fondue instead.

The hosts for the evening were the devilish duo from Fox News, producer David Viggiano and morning meteorologist Michelle Leigh . And when Michelle tells you to dance -- while DJs Matt Wells and Chris Eterno kept the floor full with taut torsos and tailored tuxedos -- you better dance. If not, bare the consequence of being renal prodded by Michelle’s three pronged Satan scepter. She had no self conscious issues admitting that David’s was bigger, but she knew how to use it.

Everybody loves a weather girl.

The last time I was in Crystal Lake, I had a full discussion regarding QE2 gear with star of indie flick Eating Out and American Idol finalist Jim Verraros . It was complete with design schematics, colors and e-mailed URLs and yet somehow we still both ended up wearing the exact same thing. He claimed he was so busy working on his debut CD due out in March, he simply forgot. Unacceptable! Someone was going to have to remove their derby and inner shirt.

I was hot anyway, and Jim’s beautiful friend Becky was so sweet, I got cavities.

Dessert wouldn’t be served for another hour, and I was starting to get the munchies. I slithered my way into the dressing room to see what treats could be found. Go-Go Boys abounding, they asked if they should remove their shirts for photographs. Um? Yes please.

Ah, the power of media.

Go-Go Nick was happy to pose with me if only for the sake of good photo journalism, yet affixed his hot sweaty svelte sexiness all up into my grill there was no room left for the Holy Ghost. Certainly not complaining I still had to ask, “Baby could you back off a bit? We need to see what you got?” He obliged with a smile.

But what’s he pointing at?

After the clock struck twelve, and the ballroom crowd thinned out after the hot midnight performance by Circuit Mom , I looked about me wondering where my kiss was. I swear there was a twenty foot circumference surrounding me, and crickets could be heard.

Lucky for me, Honey West took pity and planted one on me to satisfy my New Year’s need.

Hand a homo a mike and a martini and suddenly it’s all about Madonna, Cher and, if you’re a columnist who thinks he’s eclectic cool, Pat Benetar. Kara-f---ing-oke.

The picture says enough.

The end is always sad, but unless you were fortunate enough to be invited to an after party in one the hotel’s signature suites, all good things must. The time came to take off the heals and hit the road.

So it was a good night. We may have overdone it a bit. However, it’s a new year and we resolve for 2005 to never over spoil ourselves in such baser dalliances again --except for maybe Fireball. And the White party, and the Black party, the Aubergine party, PRIDE, Market Days, QE3, Sundays at Y bar or any other event or venue that serves alcohol and has a private bathroom.

The Best of Happiness and Health to You and Yours in this New Year!