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Gayest
Runway Ever!

Gayest
Runway Ever!

Run01

As Bravo launches the queerest season of Project Runway--is that redundant?--we launch a brand-new weekly recap column that captures the wholesome camaraderie and chivalry of the show. (Kidding!)

Before we talk about Project Runway, you should know that I didn't watch the final cut on actual TV on Wednesday. I'm a totally important cultural critic now, and I got an advance rough cut DVD, so if I mention stuff that you didn't see, then it's because of that. It probably got cut.

I also think it's really important that you know how much actual fashion credibility I have. That would be none. I am currently wearing the following items:

  • 1 pair of seven-year-old Doc Martens, paint splattered and nearly destroyed. Two holes in the sides of the right boot.
  • 1 pair of Levi's shrink-to-fit 501s. Shredded hem on the left leg.
  • 1 pair of gray Fruit-of-the-Loom boxer briefs.
  • 1 black T-shirt repping the metal band High on Fire. The logo is of a Viking guy with a giant ax. Soon he will chop off your head.

But I have opinions about clothes. Most menswear is boring, so women's is where it's at if you're talking about things being rad to look at. Here are some things that are rad:

1. Viktor & Rolf's pink-and-orange ribbon-patterned silk scarves that I saw online this morning at Papermag.com. If I were a fancy lady instead of a 265-pound man, I'd wrap one around my head. I might still wrap one around my head.

2. My friend Aaron's new wallet from Assume Vivid Astro Focus for LeSportsac because it's crazy shiny and retarded.

3. The midnight-blue-satin vinyl rose sandals from Roger Vivier on the back page of July's Vogue because they have giant red plastic flowers on them. And because they're $1,495, a silly, silly amount of money for a pair of shoes.

As it stands now, Project Runway is the most gay-intensive program on TV in terms of actual homosexuals featured per square inch of screen, not counting the Isaac Mizrahi show. There's only one of him there, even if he counts as four. You still get more practical faggotry on Runway. And unlike American Idol, which is really all about packaging a star, Runway is about grown-ups with a talent for creating something. So let's talk shit about the new contestants from the first half of the two-hour season opener.

The auditions, much like those for American Idol, are seam-busting with out-of-control lunatics and drama queens. They bring back season 2 people like boring Chloe, who somehow won that shit, the extravagantly obnoxious and yet still awesome Santino, who's seen throat-groaning like a Gyuto monk and wearing a T-shirt with his own face on it (I want one of those too. My face is sculptural and would look great silk-screened), and Jay McCarroll, the season 1 winner who's lost weight. He still looks OK, though. Then there's Austin Scarlett, flouncier than ever with his YSL-babies glasses, designing wedding gowns for Kenneth Cole.

The ones that got picked:

Bradley Baumkirchner--he's got the best sketches. They remind me of Amy Davis's (see her stuff at www.amydavis.com because I like her a lot) and his clothes look at least as cool as the guitar straps from Built by Wendy, and that's really the standard, I think. If your shit can't look as awesome as the BBW guitar straps, then you can get out of my face with your dumb clothes.

Robert Best--makes outfits for Barbie, so I automatically dislike him. That shit's boring. And he's got Gay Arm. Two of them.

Laura Bennett--automatically makes you think of Wendy Pepper from season 1, except she seems not stupid. But then again, check out the new improved Wendy Pepper. Divorced, new hair, slimmed down, and unfrumped. Probably still a pain in the ass, though. As for Laura, she seems like the kind of glamour-mom who reads D.V. for inspiration on the toilet.

Malan Breton (above)--a bitch. Full of himself. Possibly fake British accent. The kind of homo--well, I mean, if he's not a fag, then we're all living in Crazy Backwards Land--who won't even go to Beige a lot because he thinks he's A+ list instead of just plain old A, you can just tell. Snooty, awful, and mean-faced. So he should stick around for a long time because I like my gays to be evil.

Bonnie Dominguez--best quote: "I got to work with Serena Williams designing her tennis outfits, which was always an interesting experience."

Now see if you can fill in the blank with what she says next:

(a) Because she fancies herself a bit of a designer, so I always had to make it seem like my ideas were her ideas.

(b) Because Venus paid me to make Serena's clothes look ridiculous.

(c) Because she had a penis.

The true answer is (a), but...

Stacey Estrella--seems too nice and normal to make an impression. Her design philosophy is like Al Gore's global warming Powerpoint presentation. She says her four c's are "courage, creativity, cash and celebrity." And she just met Michael Kors, who has always struck me as the fifth. Malan is the sixth.

Katherine Gerdes--snowboarding shortie with junk in the trunk. Likes things with hoods and boots and stuff that's shredded. I like things that are shredded too, so I'm glad they let her in.

Kayne Gillaspie--hails from Norman, Okla., home of the Flaming Lips. He makes beauty-pageant and prom gowns and, I just bet you, those gross dresses for JonBenet contests too, even though he didn't cop to it. He's the Flaming Lisp.

Uli Herzner--Heidi Klum practically pees on the floor when she finds out this chick is from Germany. Also she's less pretty than Heidi, so that means Heidi can be friends with her. It's like the time I ran into Britney Spears in Fred Segal back before she'd lost control of her life. She was with this less-cute friend. That's how it always goes.

Alison Kelly--Michael Kors says, "She's supercute." Tim Gunn says, "She's also supernice." Kors responds, "She's cute and nice?" No, Kors, supercute and supernice. Pay attention to the gayjectives, fag.

Angela Keslar--"I make clothes that people mistake for Yves Saint Laurent." and she says "Laurent" like the way actual French people say it, but that still sounds pretentious when anyone from this country tries it. She also makes sure to say it a couple of times for the camera. She thinks because the dress is black that that means it's just like an Yves Saint Laurent. By the way, have you watched the documentary called Yves Saint Laurent 5 avenue Marceau 75116 Paris? You should because it's pretty awesome, and it pops up on Sundance Channel from time to time. Anyway, then Angela goes, "I make clothes like other women make babies." Does that mean she makes babies that look like Yves Saint Laurent too?

Michael Knight--the first African-American male contestant. You could tell the judges weren't 100% into his dresses because they look like every other party girl outfit you see on useless pop singers like Ashanti. But then you know the producers were like, "Uh...we've never had a black guy on the show. Send him through." He comes off like a down-low thug, all hip-hop but still vague in the boom-boom department. And no talking car, which is a bummer.

Vincent Libretti--seems certifiably insane. Cashed in his 401k to live his dream. I can't respect people who do things like that. What about your retirement, doofus? You're going to be one of the cat-food people if you don't watch it. Was in fashion for a while, got burned out, now he's back, sort of like season 1 and 2's Daniel Franco. This time it's going to work!

Keith Michael (above)--gave Michael Kors a boner the second he walked in the door. Gave Elle fashion editor Joann Pailey a chance to do her Anna Wintour impersonation. But back to Michael Kors. You couldn't tell he had the boner because he was sitting down behind a table. Yet my fondest hope is that if anyone's going to get any action with the contestants, it's Tim Gunn because I think he's the coolest dude on television after Lauren Graham. Keith says "me and him" as the subject of a sentence. Get out, dope!

Jeffery Sebelia--his clothes remind me of Rick Owens but not as sophisticated. My partner hates his neck tattoos. He looks like he might smell. Michael Kors thinks so too. Michael Kors is good at giving that expression, the "I smell B.O." mug. It's also often simply called Gay Face and is frequently, but not always, accompanied by Gay Arms.

OK, that was just the preshow to the first episode. Now comes the work.

This season's winners get a spread in Elle, a mentorship with I-N-C, or International Concepts, whatever the hell that is, some new car, and a $100,000 prize to start their own line. Thank God they don't have to work for stupid boring Banana Republic anymore.

We see everyone moving into their fancy apartments. Malan kicks it off by talking that feng shui shit about the fake flowers in the apartment. Look, man, if fake flowers are good enough for my favorite taco place, Los Tacos, located between the Laundromat and the 7-11 in my neighborhood, then it's good enough for everyone, including your bitch ass. I haven't seen your designs yet, but they have to be as good as the carnitas from that place, starting now.

Michael Knight comes from the "ATL," which is what white people in Georgia--a state that still sports a little Confederate flag-junior symbol on their big state flag--love for Atlanta to be called. Unless they're Bubba Sparxxx. He's antislang.

Kayne the Flaming Lisp with the pageant business says that he's here to prove that anyone from anywhere can make it in fashion. He walks into the apartment and says, "This rocks," in what may be the least-rocking pronunciation of the word ever uttered on national television. I'd write it the way he said it, but there is no way to spell out a grasping yet failing desire for dudeness.

Jeffrey the Tattooed Neckster has designed clothes for Marilyn Manson, but in his own life prefers hoodies that make it look like a big bird took a sweats-gray dump on his head. Then he joy-buzzers his roommates. I hate that on principle, but he just did it to Vincent, so I don't mind this time.

Bonnie Dominguez talks about Serena Williams again. So far the women are just sitting around making nicey-nice, somewhat awkwardly polite smiles at each other. Then it's time for Heidi Mail. They're all instructed to go up to the roof, where they meet Heidi and Tim Gunn. Heidi says that they are all on top of Atlas New York, Gotham City's luxury apartment building. I just emphasize that because it's product placement. So far we've just seen the sponsors on the audition wall behind everyone's heads. But if the boringification of America's Next Top Model taught us anything it's that no sponsor, no matter how lame, can't be wedged into the dialogue of the show. Please-please-please don't let Cover Girl anywhere near this program, is all I'm saying. Then she makes them drink Moet champagne.

Vincent the Second-chance Guy lays down his rap about his tormented fashion history and how it almost killed him. He loves to talk and to laugh and laugh and laugh. He's gung ho with a possibly suicidal edge. He is Corky from Waiting for Guffman.

Robert Gay Arms used to work for Isaac Mizrahi and says it was the best and worst experience of his life. Then his comments, whatever they were, are cut. No dirt on Isaac.

Everyone gathers around for the first challenge. They are to use materials found in their apartment, to rip that shit up, tear the place to pieces finding things to make a dress. Cut to Jeffrey the Tattooed Neck. I pause my laptop to see what it says on his neck: I can read the word Detroit.

Who gets Detroit tattooed on their neck?

But at least he seems enthusiastic about the prospect of ruining the Atlas New York apartment, which you have to admire in that Johnny Rotten "Get pissed! Destroy" kind of way.

Malan the Evil Gay says, "I myself prefer better quality fabrics." He's irritated. I'm glad. Bradley with the funny sketches grabs Robert Gay Arms's pillowcase and rips it off the pillow. Robert Gay Arms pouts because it was his pillow. As in, he carries his own pillow from place to place with him wherever he goes. I can understand that. I'm the Princess and the Pea when I travel too. But here's what I don't get: Why is your pillow so yellow and gross, Gay Arms? That's not emphasized because it's product placement. No one would buy a yellowed used pillow. It's just emphasized because it's frigging nasty.

Laura the Glamour Mom is seen gently folding her finds and placing them into a bag. I like this kind of dignity. Everyone else is chewing fabric off the couch with their teeth.

Michael Knight With No Talking Car is going to use coffee filters to make his dress. I'm happy about this. Tim explains that they have only a few hours and to "make it work," which has turned into his catchphrase in just two seasons on the air. I think they already sell T-shirts with that expression on it. Contrast this to Randy Jackson's constant test-marketing of freshly stupid things to say on American Idol; Tim's genius is being organic.

Kayne the Flaming Lisp is not used to working with rubber bath mats. He prefers to make rhinestone thongs for 15-year-old girls so they can win the Miss Tenth-grade Bulimia Pageant. Also he wears puka shells around his neck and has a T-shirt on that says, "I'm really excited to be here."

Vincent the Second-chance Guy's dress--OK, I'm just going to call him Corky from now on because it's fewer words--is the worst dress in the history of all dresses. The show knows this and hammers the point home many times. But it's true. If Heidi doesn't tell him that he's out at the end of this episode, it's because he's going to make good disaster-level TV in the upcoming weeks. The pockets alone look like he bought that Todd Oldham book on how to make cute things in your house with Styrofoam cups, I forget the title of it, but who cares; and then he never opened it, just admired the cover and started turning "Kiss the Cook" potholders into wedding gowns. He puts chains on a basket. This will be a hat. Tim looks concerned. Corky goes, "It's working!" Cut to Angela the Yves Saint Laurent Copier rolling her eyes.

Keith Michael the Pretty One That Michael Kors and Tim Are Going to Totally Fight Over is making his first dress, and it's boring. But it does drape beautifully. So he'll go through.

Time for the model fittings. Laura Glamour Mom is listening to Malan the Evil Gay try to slither his way onto her good side. She's not having his shit. Tim comes in to tell them it's time to take their models in to the L'Oreal Paris Makeup Room, the Tresemme Hair Salon, and use the Macy's Accessories Wall "as well as you can." Was that a diss, Tim? I hope so.

Corky's model looks dismayed to be wearing his piece-of-shit dress. She has reason to look this way. Then he says, "We're making this work, and I'm a happy camper." This may be a record in hating someone on a reality TV show, but I just decided I want someone to throw him from the roof of Atlas New York. Stacey's dress is screwed up and too sheer, which equals vagina-on-parade. So she makes sheer boxer briefs for her model. Once upon a time, Stacey, way back in the day during the Bruce years, Demi Moore wore biking shorts on the red carpet with a skirt. And she hasn't lived it down yet. You have just begun a heated competition with Corky to get your ass ejected with an Auf Wiedersehen.

Tresemme people cut and blow dry and comb and stuff. Then they all practice walking in front of the Macy's Accessories Wall.

Time for the runway show. The prizes are announced again, only this time they throw in the nice one: a year of representation with Designers Management Agency. The judges are Michael Kors; Nina Garcia, fashion director of Elle magazine; and Kate Spade. Before my mom had a stroke she used to love Kate Spade's preppy little purses and would carry around these little feminine lady cigars in them. Gross, I know, and it probably helped her have the stroke. But still, she carried them in bouncy little bags, so it made them seem cute and Laura Petrie-ish.

Laura Glamour Mom's dress has a lot of fake fur and looks like something out of Palm Beach Story--awesome, really.

Bradley of the Cool Sketches used a comforter and it turns out OK. Michael Kors smells something.

Keith Michael the Pretty One That Michael Kors and Tim Are Going to Totally Fight Over's dress looks like a normal dress you could actually buy, which puts me to sleep, but you can see Kors thinking, "Ooh, he's pretty, and he can make boring clothes like the ones I make. I could hire him and go on vacation."

Malan the Evil Gay thinks his outfit might be misunderstood because it's such art. Fuck off, Malan.

Katherine Snowboarder makes something with a hood. Of course.

Michael Knight With No Talking Car turns coffee filters conventional and shapeless. How's that going to go over in the ATL?

Michael Kors gives the biggest "I smell it really badly" face I've seen since this show started two seasons ago when--when else?--Corky's disaster frock frumps down the walk.

Alison Supernice-supercute goes mini with lots of beads. Not awful.

Stacey Estrella avoids Vagina-on-Parade, but you can see the little shorts, and they might as well be made of flashing Christmas-tree lights.

I like Jeffrey Neck Tattoos's dress and cape, but it's a lot of things all at once, and the judges will hate it.

Safe = Alison, Bradley, Angela, Kayne, Malan, Bonnie, Katherine, Michael, Uli

The six best and worst are left.

Kors calls Glamour Mom's piece "chic and wearable." Heidi is being too nice to Corky and wants to see the piece without the hat. Like that's going to matter. Nina Garcia, who hates everything, grills him. Everyone loves Keith's dress, even the women. Nina praises his buttons. His buttons. Calls them "adorable" and makes a sex face. He's a finalist if he doesn't become a slacker or a jerk. Kate Spade is too nice to have an opinion about anything that the camera decides to use, but she calls Stacey's piece "messy." Kors hates the fit. Heidi hates the naughty boxer briefs.

The judges confer. They love Keith Michael the Pretty One That Michael Kors and Tim Are Going to Totally Fight Over and Robert Gay Arms. Cut to Robert Gay Arms unbuttoning his shirt. They love Laura Glamour Mom. Corky's piece is roundly despised but fascinating in its awfulness. Jeffrey Neck Tattoos is disliked and compared to--ew--Santino. Kate Spade especially cannot see Mary Tyler Moore, circa 1965, in anything by him. She doesn't say that. But have you ever seen Kate Spade's clothes?

Stacey is out. Keith Michael the Pretty One That Michael Kors and Tim Are Going to Totally Fight Over is the winner of the challenge. That means at least one more week of Corky craziness.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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Dave White