Magazine article Insight on the News

Move over, Ronald Reagan - Here's Hollywood's Next Pol

Magazine article Insight on the News

Move over, Ronald Reagan - Here's Hollywood's Next Pol

Article excerpt

`If I could choose someone for a dad it would be Newt -- no, make that Dick Armey,' says actor-artist-musician-model Vincent Gallo, one of the few Republicans who likes to dress in women's clothing.

America may be inured to the Gregory Pecks, Charleton Hestons and Arnold Schwarzeneggers of Tinseltown, but a conservative leading man with a taste for women's clothing seems over the top even for Hollywood.

Moviegoers will recognize Vincent Gallo, flamboyant thespian and aspiring politician, as the handsome corpse in last year's The Funeral, and he has just finished shooting another feature titled Goodbye Lover. When not acting, he records with his rock band, "Bunny," and models -- posing with sunken-checked waifs in the controversial campaign for Calvin Klein's fragrance "CK Be." Currently he can be seen in Truth or Consequences, scheduled for release in April.

So where does women's clothing fit into the picture? The slightly built card-carrying Republican claims he is not a drag queen but simply likes the cut of certain women's garments -- leopard-spotted coats, fitted leather pants, frilly blouses -- and wears them as his own. "It has the effect of some of the sixties rock-and-roll clothes that were very fitted," he says. "A lot of those rockers wore their girlfriends' clothes. It comes across as very masculine -- not soft. I wear it to attract as many girls as possible, so that I have more choices."

Gallo is refreshingly honest -- or outrageously calculated, depending on one's point of view. "Acting is one of the ways I've been able to magnetize toward approval, social status, money, freedom, power, fame, unconditional love and social access to people I admire," he explains, showing his flair for circumlocution before speaking plainly. "There's a part of me that still has that `I'll-show-those-bastards' feeling. I'll show my father, who said I was a bum. I'll show that director who didn't hire me, and that girlfriend who went with the actor that got the bigger job."

He has shown them all. Gallo found himself in the thick of New York's underground music scene not long after arriving in the city in 1978 at the age of 16. Not only was he playing bass in a band founded by the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, he became a successful painter himself, showing in the best galleries and quietly selling his work.

Yet even as he prospered in this trendy and liberal milieu, Gallo remained true to his conservative roots put down in his native city of Buffalo. …

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