By Charles Winecoff
October 13, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Bruce! My Adventures in the Skin Trade and Other Essays

C-

Given his flamboyant persona on Hollywood Squares and his rep as a comedy writer for the Oscars, Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Billy Crystal, and others, one would expect more from the openly gay Bruce Vilanch than the disjointed compilation of flimsy essays Bruce! My Adventures in the Skin Trade and Other Essays. Whether he’s recalling his bit part as a dress designer in the Diana Ross vehicle Mahogany, bashing gay playwright Terrence McNally (Love! Valour! Compassion!) for being more homophobic than Braveheart‘s ibson, or explaining the difference between kitsch and camp (”Kitsch happens because straight people don’t know better”), the result is overfamiliar sop about the growing social acceptance of gay people despite lingering bigotry. Where’s the bite, Bruce? C-

Bruce! My Adventures in the Skin Trade and Other Essays

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