Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Brush with Celebrity

The first time I saw Bradley, he was dressed up as Frank-N-Furter. It was the premier of Rocky Horror Picture Show back in September of 1975. Every detail was perfect. I worked at the movie theater at the time and must confess that all I could do was stare. Keep in mind, this was long before the movie became a cult classic and everyone dressed up. I was a senior at the time in a largely white suburban school, which means Bradley was just a junior in high school. Talk about balls. Walking around Lexington in the daylight in 1975 in spike heels, fishnets, and full make-up was just asking for trouble. It certainly made an impression on me.

I saw Bradley again several years later. Bradley was a cocktail waitress at the local gay bar, with a strong preference for plain white, long-sleeved blouses, tight black and/or metallic skirts, nylon hose (with the line up the back) and various and sundry spiked pumps. It wasn't drag so much as stuff he found attractive or just liked to wear. He had a definite style sense of his own. He's the first aggressively androgynous person I ever encountered.

One night Bradley attended an after-hours party hosted by one of my best friends. We heard a very loud crash coming from behind the bathroom door. Cries of "help" followed, so we flung open the door. The bathroom sink was in the floor. Bradley (in his customary short skirt, hose and heels) was on his knees using his thumbs in a desperate attempt to keep water from spraying from the now broken lines coming out of the wall. He looked up and with mascara running down his face said, "Who the f*** lives here?" Apparently, he perched on the edge of the sink for some reason, pulling it from the wall. I still get tickled when I think about it.

Wasn't long before Bradley was fronting a punk rock band. I'm not sure I ever watched a performance. At the time disco was king and I was the proverbial dancing queen. The punkers were definitely cut from a different cloth.

Soon Bradley opened his own club in Lexington. I have no idea where he got the money. It was called Club Au Go-Go, and the crowd was definitely mixed. The club featured drag shows, punk concerts, and everything in between. We went a time or two, but it really catered to an edgier crowd. Even so, it was pretty clear that Bradley was going places.

A few weeks ago one of my classmates posted pictures from the glory days of Club Au Go-Go on Facebook. He played in a band that played there often with several classmates, including a few that are still in bands today. The club closed in the early 80s. I used to think about it whenever I drove by the intersection where it was. But I hadn't thought about Bradley for a very long time.

So I googled him. His full name came up on the list of suggestions almost immediately. Turns out, he's now party planner to the stars. He's planned several big Hollywood bashes, birthday parties for Elton John, and other fabulous parties. In the pic above, he's with alleged best friend Chi Chi LaRue who made her fortune producing high-quality gay porn. Or so I've heard. I wouldn't really know about the high-quality part.

Bradley always had a knack for making an impression. Looks like he found a way to make a living at it. Just another brush with celebrity for...

The Crotchety Old Man

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