Brian was a co-owner of Hot Stuff on Polk Street, a vintage clothing store. He was also an aspiring women’s clothing designer.
In the Fall of 1979 someone came into Hot Stuff to post a flyer for the Outrageous Beauty Contest at the Fab Mab. Brian loved money more than anything and immediately set his eyes on the prize. That’s when our mutual friend Kathy told him to call me.
For ten days straight we got together evenings to hash out our routines. The night before the competition we met with the producer/director to preview our outfits and skits.
The guy lived in a Berkeley commune-like setting and looked like Stephen Hawking. He was in a wheel chair and communicated with a pointer attached to his head that was used with a letter board. His acolytes were so attuned to what he wanted that they could usually form whole sentences after just a few letters.
The women he lived with were absolutely devoted to him and there was a heavy sexual vibe to it all. Some worked in the strip clubs on Broadway next to the Fab Mab. Most of the other entrants in the beauty contest worked in those clubs too. Brian and I were the only gay men.
I don’t remember all the areas of competition but one involved Brian doing a Julia Child impression assembling ingredients and preparing a sauce. He called for his assistant and I appeared layered in spaghetti. I was supposed to be completely covered in the pasta but in our haste to assemble it backstage it wouldn’t all stick. The crowd loved it anyway when Julia dumped the sauce all over me.
In another segment we appeared in Brian’s original designs made from trash bags. I played the Hallelujah Chorus on a little toy piano while he sang God knows what.
For the finale we used nasty tripe from Safeway and doctored it with food coloring so it looked like brain matter. We attached it to his forehead and he laid on a catafalque as JFK. I appeared as Jackie in the pink suit and recited poignant passages from the Inaugural Address.
Our triumph was documented in the Examiner. We had so much fun working together I was a little surprised in the days following when Brian became distant. He was not rude about it, he was just not sentimental. He was ready to move on to the next money-making venture whatever that may be.
I wasn’t about to let him get away with that shit. I forced myself on him and within weeks we were inseparable.
The Jackie Obsession