Michael Musto Judges Mr. Gay

The gossip gadfly is Philly bound

He’s notoriously spoofed Madonna, been a fixture on the New York nightlife scene long before club kid Michael Alig hammered himself into the pokey, and he’s practically the poster boy for gay gossip everywhere. Michael Musto, longtime columnist for the Village Voice, adds Mr. Gay USA to this list as he makes his way into town to judge the national competition at Voyeur on Saturday, November 13 (8 p.m.).

As he readies for his judgeship alongside several other famous faces this weekend (including a few of those crazy cast members from Logo’s The A-List), he chatted with G Philly by phone from his home in New York City about the latest dish and then some.

You’ve been to Philly several times in the last few years. What’s your impression of the gay scene here?

I really like the gay scene. First of all, I’m kind of a fish out of water, so people treat you with a little more excitement. In New York, it’s a little bit of, “Oh, you again.” It’s nice to have people light up as if I’m something special. That’s been my fantasy. But beyond me-me-me, it’s a fun, diverse scene. People are friendly. And it’s accessible by foot. You can walk out of the hotel room and go to four or five clubs. In New York, you’re all over the place.

How will you spend your time in town this time around?

Mickey Boardman (editor of Paper magazine) is also one of the judges. We’re going to see the Cleopatra show. That’s our idea of high art.

What made you decide to judge Mr. Gay USA?

I love judging. I judge for a living. When anyone gives me a chance to give thumbs up or down, I relish it. It’s so wonderful to sit back and not be particularly good looking or witty and force other people to subscribe to those standards. I also think it’s amusing to subvert the idea of a pageant. It’s an ironic twist on a traditional pageant… and what Carrie Prejean would not be able to pull off.

As a judge, what are you looking for in the next Mr. Gay USA?

Somebody with some hometown pride, but who is capable of representing the whole country. I’m not looking for someone generic or your typical run-of-the-mill muscle gay. He should be funny, and serious enough to take on the incredible responsibility that goes along with this title.

Gay issues are front-page news items lately. What are some of the important headlines in your opinion?

The hot topic recently has been anti-gay bullying, which when I was growing up, it would have been nice for someone to come to my support. …But I think in light of the rash of teen suicides, this obviously became the top issue. And people who I never thought were friends of the gay community are coming out to talk about it – like Barbara Bush?

You’ll be judging along with a few cast members of Logo’s new show The A-List. What’s your impression of the series?

I made a cameo in the first episode. There’s been a lot of controversy about the show. Some people feel it’s too superficial. A lot of the community have been complaining that it shows gays being superficial and mindless, but most of the people who are complaining are pretty superficial themselves. …The straight people have their own mindless reality shows like Jersey Shore and Real Housewives and we’re entitled to ours, too. But I agree, there should be diversity of coverage.

You are famous for posting blind items in your column La Dolce Musto. G Philly has to know: Is there any truth to the rumors that Christina Aguilera is knocking boots with Lindsey Lohan’s ex Samantha Ronson?

They were friends from the old days. Christina has talked about being bisexual and her album is called Bionic. She gave an interview and said she liked chicks, her words. I think there has even been a report that her husband knew she was hitting on women in clubs and that was all part of the deal. I’m not ruling out the Christina and Samantha thing. But I think Christina will end up with Chaz (Bono).