Rosie’s Cruise: My Week in Fantasyland

Day One: July 2nd, SundayWe fly into Seattle, board the boat, take our boarding-photos like stunning jet-lagged CK One-campaign supermodels, realize our luggage isn’t in yet, walk around and look at the homos, and then head up to The O’Donnell Villa for a little party.

Yeah, that’s right.

A Private Party for Villa People! ( e.g. Haviland and the other performers and friends. I got friends in high places (e.g. the 14th floor penthouse), e.g. Haviland. )
This douchebag ship staffer named Claus totally thought we were lost and we were like all hell no Claus we were invited and then we threw shrimp cocktail at him. (the part about the shrimp cocktail is only true in metaphor)We got down to business pretty quickly–I downed my third Coronoa (I make drunk-in-daylight exceptions for VAY-CAY!) and we started stalking the Etheridge. “I wanna come over, to hell with the consequence, you told me you loved me, that’s all I believe..” sigh.sigh.pant.pant.

We got our luggage and changed to go see Gavin Creel. He was totally my type: nice hair, smiling, singing, strapping, homosexual!

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(I didn’t take that photo. I stole some pics from Travis Wise, who took a bunch more photos on the cruise than we did. )

This is me being cooler than you:

Quote of the Day: “I love how he just like, went to Melissa Etheridge and asked her where she got her ice cream from. Like, he has no clue whatsoever who she is. Conner, do you know who that is?”
-Anne, re: her 11-year-old son looking for an ice cream cone of his own.

Day Two: Monday July 3rd

These people are homosexuals:

This person took a lot of Dramamine.

Monday night was the big Broadway Belters show, and Haviland and Brandi sang ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked, and honestly they were even hotter than ME doing both parts of “Defying Gravity” from Wicked in my shower. (Holla Mom!!! (my Mom told me she has a t-shirt that says Defying Gravity on it.)) It was totally star-packed, because stars love homosexuals and boats! I imagine if I’d spent my life in the heartland in a proverbial closet and my only experience with musical theater was the local high school putting on “Bye Bye Birdie” starring the only kids smart enough to memorize their lines–the capacity of these performers would have been pretty fucking awesome. ‘Cause for me, it was really awesome, like super amazing, even though my video of the event apparently induces seasickness, which is ironic.

Thats Hav, anchored by Dana and Joy. Dana’s room had vodka and a balcony, and I want to get french fries with Joy right now. Right now! Oh also they are both amazing stars.

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Les Miserables, but gay!

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That’s Norm Lewis (he’s gonna be “Javert” in Les Miserables with Haviland, and “Hot Boy” in my sexual dreams) and Audra McDonald (Tony-Winner for Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, Raisin in the Sun)

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That’s Esera Tualo. He’s the only person I know of who won the Super Bowl, is an incredible singer, a homosexual, and ricidulously warm and kind and inspiring.

Quote of the Day (highlights from backstage musings on the crowds):
Rosie: “What, it’s like The Beatles or something?”
(Someone Else, don’t remember): “It’s like Studio 54 out there, but with Kelli as the bouncer.”

Day 3: Tuesday, July 4th

In honor of our nation’s birthday, we fled the ship in Juneau to look at pelts and find a McDonald’s with soft serve ice cream and a drugstore for Diet Doctor Pepper and an internet cafe. The Web-Cafe was totally filled with dudes talking to girls’ breasts on webcams with no shame whatsoever. Alaska RULES! While our ship-mates went on “excursions” to “catch salmon” or “sled dogs,” we “found Diet Dr.Pepper.”

Then we laid in the sun, extracted our guts onto freshly folded towels, and I broke into the mini-bar and tried to work on my book proposal while Hav enjoyed Audra’s concert.

Quote of the Day: “I’m a five-star general from Iraq, and I’m gonna kill somebody!” -(the driver of the angry car pictured above. he’ll be on “americas most wanted” in like, 5-7 days. keep in mind it was the 4th of July PEOPLE!)

Day 4: Wed., July 5th

We got an E for effort for sleeping through Susan Powter’s yoga class. We took our unshowered bods to the pool while all the children went out to witness the glory of the Alaskan wilderness, which hopefully is overrated?

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Susan Powter saw us and let us know that we are “Beautiful Girls!” and that we are the young ones and we are the future. We totally believe her and want her quads. That’s her there. Yup, that’s right. Goddess Number One.


This was a big day for us because it was the first time we sucesfully dined at a restaurant other than The Dining Hall (the ship-place-namers, who perhaps didn’t attend overpriced public universities, did not recognize this area as The Dining Hall and rather as “The Marketplace Cafe.” In NYC, places called “The Marketplace Cafe” have lots of expensive foreign cheeses in little containers with exotic seafood, which is just to say that it was confusing), except that it wasn’t totally “succesfull.” The servers were super weird. They totally ignored everything Hav asked for (she’s kinda like Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”) and brought us lots of things we didn’t order, like fruit in some sort of liquid pudding, french fries (I took care of that by eating them in three minutes), and Jello with Shrimp inside it. I wish I was kidding but I am totally not kidding at all!

“Are you lesbians? We need to find a lesbian to guide us.”-Kathy Griffin.

Rather than divulge the technicalities of my sexual orientation, we got pretty pumped to participate in a get-off-the-ship-into-Shagway or whatever it was called-expedition with a Real Live Comedian!

“Can you tell him I want room temperature Evian and Diet Coke on ice? And some cocaine for Jessica, pre-cut lines if possible. And is someone gonna escort me to the theater? Can I get a lesbian to take me? I’d feel better if it was a lesbian.” (Kathy, to the entertainment booker guy who was relaying this via cellphone)

(she was kidding about the cocaine)

That’s us in Skagway. I think.

Then we dressed up like sailors (PERSONAL COSTUME NIGHT #1) to go see Kathy. This is us, looking tan in Dana and Scott’s Picasso suite:

Kathi made us laugh a whole lot, and then we dashed over to see Jill Sobule play. In addition to “I Kissed a Girl” (which you’ve heard of, right? unless you live under a rock, or lived under a rock in 1995 and didn’t watch that amazing music video with Fabio. I think that’s also the year my Mom came out which may or may not be a coincidence?), she has about a thousand other good songs. Like “Lucy at the Gym,” which reminded me of the anorexic girl at my gym (and by that I mean, at every NYSC in Manhattan, because she goes to all of them):
“Lucy at the gym
She’s there every time I go
And I don’t go that often, so she must live at the gym
I stare at her ribs, they show through the spandex
Her little legs are working, she’s going somewhere
She’s climbing up the stairs
And when she reaches the top her dreams will be there.”

Cute, huh?

Quote of the Day:
Random Girl from England who was Following Us Around all night to different dancing locales: Are you proffessionals?
Hav and I: (confusion amongst ourselves) Proffessional what? Dancers?
Haviland: We’re proffessional hookers.

(note: this did not defer her interest in stalking us.)

Day 5: Thursday, July 6th:

We were mos. def getting to Susan’s yoga class. But it turns out that they wrote the schedule wrong, and there was no 10am yoga class.

“They need to get a fact-checker. Or a FAT CHECKER!”
-Susan Powter, Superwoman

So, instead we went to her 12noon talk, which changed our lives and inspired all of us to eat a lot of vegetables at lunch and then work out.

this is some real zen here:

Then it was time for PERSONAL COSTUME NIGHT #2: 80s night for the Cyndi Lauper concert. I was more punk (fishnets, converse, black legwarmers, denim skirt, punk belt, black t-shirt, lots of makeup) and Hav was more pop (hot pink skirt, black sweater, white high heels, lots of makeup). We were both hot, obviously.

me: We should create our own club in the city, for like, really hot lesbians, but make every ni
ght costume night. But not like The White Party–
haviland: Yeah, and it’s like, we won’t just let anyone in, you have to be in costume to come in. You can’t get in if you aren’t in costume.
me: Yeah, and like, look, I’m sorry but I’ve had it with your gay best friend, okay? He can’t come.
haviland: Unless he’s in costume.
me: Unless he’s in costume as a girl in costume.
haviland: Yeah, totally, we don’t discriminate against drag queens.
me: We encourage them.
haviland: And Da Lypstyxx can obviously come.
me: Obviously.

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(stolen, again, from the photo sets of Travis Wise)

quote of the day: “the nice thing about my job is that i can just roll out of bed …..and then apply massive amounts of makeup. I mean, just massive. When they mistress the art of tattooing make-up, I’ll be the first in line.” -Susan Powter

Day 6: Friday, July 7th

WE DID IT! We went to Susan’s yoga class and it was fantastic. We were full of energy because we didn’t yet know what the evening had in store for us….we were innocent then,and beautiful.

We told the teenagers to go to Susan’s yoga class. But they were probably having orgies. Seriously. They were having sex more than anyone else on the boat, I bet, except maybe Susan and her girlfriend Animal. (from “bitch and animal”)

today’s words of wisdom.

if this is sexy:

…it’s because this is sexier:

There was a 50s party. As much as I love to She-Bop the much as the next 8-year-old, I unfortunately preferred to stay at home and watch logo documentaries about Big Gay Weddings and the dark side of rugby. But Have went (evidenced by photos below) (and she sang “The Worst Thing I Could Do” from Grease, which is funny because the first broadway show I saw was when Rosie O’Donnell was in Grease onstage tour playing Rizzo, and it’s Rizzo’s song):

Then Hav and I met up with Joy and Anne’s family at the elegant downstairs (free!) restaurant. Esera the football player told us we were beautiful.

COSTUME NIGHT #3: We dressed as Kelli O’Donnell. I know photos of this must exist in someone’s flickr set somewhere…right?

So then things got a bit rocky. Call it a tremor, call it a tornado, but there was something amiss below our booted feet.

We went to the worst stand-up comedy ever, which was inside a giant waterbed. We were feelin’ a little queasy, and the comedians were making jokes about God’s Mighty Wrath, etc.

At the piano bar, the idiot played “she’s a brick and i’m drowning slowly” which is a bad song, for one, and also a song that reminded us of the fact that people were turning green. And barfing.

What was truly amazing was that–as the comedy show failed (except for the final girl, Elivra Kurtz, who performed again the next night and was hillarious) and people were retiring to their rooms to barf and 25 foot waves were flooding the deck–Kelli O’Donnell remained totally optomistic. Because she’s amazing.

We went to Lori’s room and watched waves from her balcony. They were freaky shit like the Titanic.

Then we went home to puke. Haviland yelled at the television and we finally passed out from dramamine overdose.

Which brings me to our quote of the day:

I’m getting very close to you right now, very close physically…..and emotionally……get your hand off my stomach!!!”

But also, this is a quote of the day really, because I made an entire elevator crack up with this totally mediocre half-joke i said to Haviland:

“This ain’t so bad. I mean, there’s probably 500 people who actually like paid 80 bucks to be tossed about in machines that bump through the air at high speeds in Disneyworld today, you know?”

Day 7: July 8, 2006.

We felt like crap in the morning because of too much dramamine, so we missed yoga! Our final /second yoga class!

Then I couldn’t locate Stillwell and that was very traumatic. I had some cold sweats and also debated spending money on gear for my fam from the r shop but then decided to save that money for alcohol. (jk!!)

We went to Canada to get Diet Dr. Pepper:

this one’s for you, chelain!

Then we saw Elvira and she was funny and fantastic. Our PERSONAL COSTUME NIGHT #4 was “back to new york” which meant we wore dark outfits that conveyed that we were in a hurry (aka boots, jackets, dark colors, practical but elegant cosmetics).

Then we drank stuff. Okay, I drank. I drank and we went around and I thought about how sad I was that it was all over and had a mini-mental-breakdown and wanted to grab someone else’s mother’s leg and go “nooooooooo i wanna stayyyyyyyyyy”

Here’s Brandi and Yolande, who we hung out with all the time despite the lack of pictoral evidence, so y’all need to check them out, and also this is a really cute photo. Yolande is the best dressed lesbian of all time.:

This is us at the piano bar on the last night in Fantasyland….

then i got scared about going back to the real world,
and then I went.

Which was hard to get used to.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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