Talking About Sexuality: Domi Dollz’ Nina Payne & Boxer Manny Pacquiao

There was a time when the artistic types that ran clubs saw pushing boundaries as their reason to be cheerful. Sure, everyone wanted to make loot and art. Being able to make money while being creative and thinking outside the box was what made that era great. Now few care about anything but the bottom line, and only a few Manhattan-based clubs embrace "the new,” DJs dumb down their sets to please bottle buyers with black cards, and door people let the mundane spenders in as VIPs. There was a time when designers like Galliano and Gaultier took inspiration from clubland. Fashion innovators like Lee Bowery, Kabuki Starshine, and, yes, Michael Alig influenced collections as their own fashion sense pushed toward the edge. Michael famously went over that edge and with it came a retreat from it.

Tonight, at Santos’ Party House, is the House of Diehl’s “Style Wars: The Style Battle Championships,” 7:30pm. It’s going to be a blast. There will be a live competition which will include some friends of mine the amazing Domi Dollz. I will be there cheering them on as they whip the audience into a frenzy. There will be DJs and cocktails and even Vice Magazine giveaways. This is an invite-only affair so RSVP here and hope for the best.

The Domi Dollz are out there exploring the edge of sexuality. As they push that edge, they are also teaching mainstream America to embrace it by meeting it halfway. They hold fabulous parties and regular educational soirees at the Museum of Sex. I caught up with the beautiful Nina Payne and asked her all about it.

You are competing in this style wars thingy at Santos. Do teams make clothes and dress up and whoever has the best outfit wins or is it more than that?…. Tell me all about it.
It’s much more intense than that! Teams have to create head-to-toe looks from the most random items like an umbrella, a garbage bag, or a shower curtain. The more "out there" and crazy, the better! It is the truest test of creativity- all done live, in four minutes, in front of a rowdy screaming audience and blaring club music. It’s fierce!

Style Wars was created by House of Diehl, and this event is a throw-back to the ‘80s when MCs or break dancers from different crews used to battle each other for respect and recognition. Style Wars takes that concept and uses fashion instead. Fusing the intensity and spontaneity of a rap battle with the glamour of a fashion show – and even the excitement of extreme sports – House of Diehl invented "style battling" as the newest opportunity for rising fashion designers to make their name in the competitive arena of design. And tonight, Monday, June 11th, Domi Dollz will be ready to rumble at Santos Party House (96 Lafayette St). As we battle other teams, we’ll show audiences that we can create edgy and beautiful looks in about four minutes – right on the spot!

Domi Dollz fans get in for FREE. Just RSVP. But be sure to get there early as it’s expected to sell out fast. Doors open at 7:30pm and the battle begins at 8:45. 

Tell me about Domi Dollz today. Of course we have been following your events for a minute now. What’s coming up? What is evolving in your events?
Domi Dollz has been busier than ever! We were recently featured on ABC’s 20/20, and after this Style Wars event, we will be touring the US this summer. LA, San Francisco, Chicago and Vegas, baby! With the recent success of Fifty Shades of Grey, Domi Dollz’ mainstream style of kink is in demand. In fact, we will be coming out with our own book as well. It’s called Kinky Amour and it is an introduction to kink for the woman who’s looking to enhance her love and sex life. As in our workshops, we always bring our knowledge of kink to the public in a very accessible and fun way.

Sharon Needles won the Ru Paul’s Drag Race competition. She was certainly the edgiest of the contestants. Is the edge becoming more important to us as a society and, if so, why? Is the world ready for Domi Dollz on a big scale?
 We are big Sharon Needle fans and love what she has brought to the main stage. Edge is great as it keeps the audiences on their toes. But with that being said there is also a very genuine energy that Sharon Needles projects that people can identify with and I think that’s the true root to her success. Some think that we are quite edgy too. However, Domi Dollz’ objective is to bring kink into the mainstream in order to create a safe environment for people to explore their sexualities. Whether Domi Dollz is engaging in fashion, music, or education, at the end of the day we are just doing what we love and trying to make this world a happier place!

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What to wear? While we’re talking about sex and sexuality I can’t help but mention the defeat of boxer Manny Pacquiao to Timothy Bradley on Saturday night and his statements about gay people recently. Pacquiao has won titles in eight different weight divisions. I don’t follow sports much but was aware of Mr. Pacquiao’s dominance of his world. He reportedly "told the National Conservative Examiner that he doesn’t agree with President Barack Obama’s support for same sex marriage” and was quoted as reciting Bible verse Leviticus 20:13, which says “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

Manny is a congressman in his native Philippines and reported to be a devout Catholic. He denied he made this statement with his version of the "some of my best friends are gay” defense. I read that he said
“I didn’t say that, that’s a lie…I didn’t know that quote from Leviticus because I haven’t read the Book of Leviticus yet,” and “I’m not against gay people… I have a relative who is also gay. We can’t help it if they were born that way. What I’m critical of are actions that violate the word of God. I only gave out my opinion that same-sex marriage is against the law of God.”

Since Pacquiao’s defeat, Bob Arum, the events promoter, has been screaming for an investigation. Millions seem to agree and are demanding the truth. It was a split decision, with two judges saying Bradley won. Many knowledgeable boxing folk, including former pugilistic judges, had Pacquiao winning by a wide margin. In an article published in The Wall Street Journal, the writer called it "THE WORLD-WIDE MANNY PACQUIAO FREAKOUT.” From paragraph one: "The reaction was universally apologetic, with promoter Bob Arum calling the decision a ‘death knell’ for boxing and plenty of other spectators suggesting a more sinister motivation behind the surprising decision."

Did the uproar over his alleged homophobic remarks distract Manny? Could the "gay mafia" have gotten to those refs? Did God get involved and punish Manny for using his message of love incorrectly? I pray for Manny. I hope he grows from this and overcomes his reported hatred. I read he is headed to the Holy Land while his next fight is figured out.

I have read my Bible and offer him this : “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.“ Philippians, 2.12. When he finally does get around to Leviticus he might note: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Leviticus 19:18.

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Michael Alig: 16 Years Later

After a week of bad news about my pal Michael Alig, a bit of good has finally happened. He seems to be leaving the un-comfy confines of Southport Correctional Facility and is on his way to greener pastures. They probably won’t be too green, but when you refer to Southport, the grass is always greener on the other side. For those who care, Southport and Michael are a bad fit. He recently received yet another ticket. This latest setback was a positive test for THC. Friends and family were scrambling to raise money to challenge this ticket as he swears he is innocent…or at least not guilty of this latest infraction. A homophobic guard with a history of bad blood and other factors were cited, and a letter campaign to prison officials ensued. The result was a transfer to a not-yet-disclosed new facility. The logical choices are Attica, Marcy Hospital, and Five Point. Southport is a nine-hour drive to us respect-the-speed-limit types. Then, you have to stay over in a motel and have all your papers in order and hope that no other friend of his gets in before you and the trip is in vain. Hopefully the new ticket will be squashed with the transfer and hopefully Michael will be freed sometime soon.

It’s been over 14 years since he walked among us. He has never used a computer or cell phone. Last night, we rushed home from "Tranny" BINGO at the Bowery Poetry Club, where my pals and I won an insane five games, including two in the "naked round.”  I came home with a puppy dog doormat! We had recorded RuPaul’s Drag Race and were dying to see who had won. I bet on Sharon Needles and was spot on.  Back in the day when Michael Alig and I were partners, we opened up a joint in Union Square called the Palace de Beaute’. It was supposed to be called Yeah, Yeah, Yeah – but our other partner Larry Tee hated the name and went to Michael Musto unilaterally and gave him the Palace. It was in print and that was that. Larry brought in a few of his pals from Atlanta to host and DJ and do assorted club work. Larry’s band of merry "women" included LaHoma Van Zandt, Lady Bunny, and RuPaul. RuPaul stopped the music nightly and took to the mic on Tuesday Nights for Larry Tee’s Love Machine and asked the audience to say “love” with that multi-million viewer smile. She was a star in the making and everyone knew it, except in those days, drag queens didn’t become stars. Gay didn’t often break out to the world at large, and to all involved it seemed nightlife stardom was all any of that crew could hope for.

Michael Alig didn’t buy into this. He believed that those who surrounded us were ready to break out into mainstream America. He saw them as the future fashion designers, photographers, artists, stylists, etc. Appearances on Geraldo and a half a dozen shows and in hip magazines announced the Club Kid Movement as a force. Michael, with help from thousands of friends, led the way. RuPaul is huge, and somewhere in that success Michael must be credited. Ru worked in the clubs that Michael had hustled the owners of to support his vision. The Sharon Needles look and shtick was born in the clubs and the movement that Michael created was cultivated. RuPaul has taken things to heights that I never thought possible in the late ’90’s, but Michael knew it was.

I’m never going to sit here and feel sorry for Michael’s fate. I don’t sugarcoat it when I am with him either. He killed Angel and chopped him up and discarded him in a river, and he won’t get sympathy here for that devilish act… that cowardly act. It’s been a decade and a half in hellish places and Michael is a man now, not a Club Kid. He is remorseful and aware of his terrible actions. I can’t see him dressing up like…Sharon Needles or his old self when he hits the streets again. He is a middle-aged man. He has no delusions and no hopes to get a second chance from many quarters. I remain his friend and will be there when it counts. I loved Sharon Needles’ look, and rooted for her and screamed when she won, but to quote the great Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, "It’s déjà vu … all over again".

City of Pittsburgh Declares ‘Sharon Needles Day’

Like Oklahoma City Thunder fans and E.L. James, heavy-metal Pittsburgh-based drag queen Sharon Needles is having one hell of a summer. After winning the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and performing at Capital Pride in Washington D.C., Needles was honored in her hometown, as the Pittsburgh City Council declared June 12th, 2012 as Sharon Needles Day. Needles performed at the ceremony, reworking “Sweet Transvestite” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to reflect Pittsburgh parlance (“Yinz guys look like you’re both pretty groovy.”).

Councilman Patrick Dowd praised Needles as a trailblazer and for her outspokenness over the bullying of LGBT youth. But perhaps the most touching response comes at the top of the comment thread of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story on Sharon Needles Day. Needles’ mother, Joan Coady, left the first comment: “…your family is so proud of everything you’ve accomplished! We can’t wait to see what the future holds. Thank you for being a voice for those who are following in your footsteps! Love you, Mom.” Even if you’re not a fan of RPDR or of Needles’ work, you’ve got to love a mother who supports her kid in pursuit of the dream.

Not to overshadow this very special occasion for Ms. Needles, but the city has awarded a number of days to cultural entities, from ‘Google Day’(March 26th, 2010, as part of a strategy to lure the high-speed network), U2 360 World Tour Day (July 26th, 2011) and, back in 2010, through an initiative from councilman Bill Peduto, the city declared December 7th, 2010 Gregg Gillis Day, honoring one of its most popular musical native sons, party monster Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk. All we need now is for the ‘burgh to declare Wiz Khalifa Day.

Watch some highlights from this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Roll clips:

Sharon Needles Ticketed for Peeing on Manhattan Police Station

After leaving a party hosted by Lady Bunny at Manhattan’s XL nightclub this week, RuPaul’s Drag Race season four winner Sharon Needles realized she had to pee. Badly! So, she went into what she thought was a graffiti-laden alleyway and relieved herself. But this was no ordinary alleyway…

You see, Needles had actually been urinating on a police station, as she found out when she was subsequently tapped on the shoulder by a member of the NYPD. Needles tells Out she tried to reason with the officer, but he wasn’t having any of it, and was all "Shante, you stay right there!" before escorting her into the station.

Contrary to the assertions of one Phical Matter, Count of Snagula, however, Needles was not arrested–but she did receive a citation for public urination.

Needles is also attempting to turn her accidental police station pee non-protest into an intentional police station pee protest, for some reason:

Looking back on the incident, America’s Drag Sweetheart can see the humor in the situation.

“It wasn’t on purpose, but I think it was funny that it was a police station,” she says. “Because I find there’s so much unnecessary angst and brutality from American police officers.”

All in all, Needles says the ordeal wasn’t nearly as bad as has been reported.

“It wasn’t the worst thing America’s top drag queen could do,” she says, “it really sent home a message.”

A message, yes: figure out where you are before you whip it out and start peeing. Now… sashay away.