My old friend, Kevin Sessums could be my older brother. We’ve had similar lives, both being gay, from the south and moving to the big (New York) City at a young age. But he’s honestly had a FAR more glamorous life than I (I’m not being falsely modest) and he’s had to be MUCH braver than I could ever be…
On his 53rd birthday he woke up in the hotel room he kept at the Chateau Marmont in LA, wondering how he would get through his interview with Hugh Jackman. For years he had interviewed everyone from Madonna to Courtney Love and everyone in between, but that hardly matter a blip as he knew his life was starting to unravel. We know this because he’s laid it all out in his new memoir, I Left It on the Mountain. I’ve honestly not read enough of it to give you a good review, but the Daily Mailwas doing their dishes in it last week. Here’s what they wrote:
Sessums was one of a few celebrity interviewers who was treated like an insider by stars while writing for Andy Warhol’s Interview, Vanity Fair in the 1990s, as well as later interviews for the Daily Beast, Allure and Parade.
Michael J. Fox discovered the magnitude of Sessums’ sexual obsessions after discovering a piece of paper the author accidentally left behind during an interview with every written word being sexual: ‘P****. D***. C***. F***’.
At an Oscar after-party in 1995, Tony Curtis was checking out Sessums and confessed that he once had a crush on Yul Brynner.
‘I think that’s why you’re making me feel so odd. You kinda look like him. I haven’t slept with a man in decades, but the night is young’, Curtis told him.
Daniel Radcliffe, who became a star through the Harry Potter films, revealed how ‘more collegial and camp and…well, let’s face it: gay’ – working in the theatre was versus making the Harry Potter films.
He said: ‘For a lot of straight guys and I know I’m guilty of it sometimes. When you know a gay guy has a crush on you it is the most flattering thing.
‘Yeah, I’m a fag hag, to use your term.
‘I know I definitely caught it. Absolutely. My mom was a casting director and my dad was a literary agent and I was surrounded by gay men from a very young age. And I was the only boy in my class at school who had that kind of relationship with gay men.
‘That’s one thing Harry Potter has done if nothing else. It has restored the reputation of the English boarding school. It has made it something other than a hotbed of sexuality.’
Pretty juicy, huh? Granted, they picked out the bits a Daily Mail audience is after, but the book isn’t all celeb gossip, Kevin also talks openly openly about LOTS of anonymous sex, his HIV Positive diagnosis and his descent into addiction. And finally his spiritual redemption that he found while climbing to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It’s been a rough few years and it would be a tough story to tell, even to a close friend but he’s told the world now, which after asking celebs to do their dirty laundry in public for years, is kind of fair play.
Kevin and I first met X thousand years ago while both working at Vanity Fair, but most recently when he first got into town about ten days ago, we had breakfast at SoHo House to catch up. He lives in San Francisco now, the editor of the glossy quarterly, FourTwoNinemagazine. His latest is the “Conceptual Issue” and he was here to promote it. He asked me to do something for it a few months back, but after the artist Joseph Kosuth turned in 10 pages instead of 6, I got bumped at the last minute. No hard feelings – we are working on something for his next issue. When you’ve worked in magazines for years, as I once did, you know how it goes, and there’s ALWAYS another issue –well, until there’s not, which has been increasingly the case of late. Kevin was in a whirlwind of activity while in New York giving talks, doing interviews promoting the book (he was on Watch What Happens Live as the bartender last week and Jane Lynch asked for an autograph copy, btw) Believe it or not, he was also finalizing the magazine we held last night at the party to celebrate the James Franco issue (the straight James interviews the gay Franco… I know. THAT one everyone will be reading and talking about…) Anyway, I was lucky enough to have Kevin take me through the mag from cover to cover. He, the proud, and exhausted, editor throwing out asides as he flipped:
“…here’s a Charles Busch original playlet…” “Amy Fine Collins and her daughter, Flora. LOVE them…” “this fashion story that made no sense, so I wrote the head and deck to make it sexy. He’s cruising now…”
It was a fun flip through… and it’s a really good issue, although, I think it might have been made 15% better had that page-hog Joseph Kosuth just stuck to the assignment.
You can get FourTwoNine here and I Left It On The Mountain, here.