Setting: Late 1970s, Manhattan, Studio 54 nightclub
Folded piece of paper containing white powder
On an empty stage, Warhol is pacing, massaging a migraine. Capote anxiously awaits Warhol’s response. Halston, hip cocked, studies Warhol critically.
Warhol: As much as I am loathe to admit it, at least this time, I have to agree with Tru. We must do something. We can't just recline on our chaise lounges, drink Cosmopolitans, and allow these New Jersey mooks to sweep us away. All our hard work, our reputations.
Halston: Your hair is just awful. How bold!
Capote: (speaking with an effete Southern drawl) Miss Halston, will you please shut your damn corn hole! Our dear Andrew is deathly serious. The Contralto family poses a significant threat to our cozy little “Velvet Mafia” and to our interests in New York. These so-called "mooks" are coming to Studio 54 today, before it opens. With guns, most likely. We need some semblance of a plan.
Halston: What do you suggest, Truman? Blackmail? Murder? In cold blood perhaps? Why not simply slay them, as we always do, with devastating style, an arched eyebrow, and biting wit?
Tony and Christophuh Contralto enter, unseen by Warhol but seen by the others.
Warhol: Those thugs are probably not intelligent enough to appreciate wit, Halston.
Capote: (whispering) Andrew dearest…
Warhol: And it will take more than a belted, camel-hair trench coat and an eyebrow pencil to get these mobsters off our backs.
Tony: Mobster is such an unkind word.
Warhol: Oh my God!
Chris: We prefer the term “Consultant”.
Warhol: We were not expecting company so soon. We were just…having a private conversation. Um, good afternoon. My name is Andy Warhol.
Tony: Right, Warhol. I seen your paintings. Giant soup cans.
Warhol: Yes, exactly. Soup cans. Very expensive, giant soup cans. And this is the internationally famous writer…
Capote: I prefer the term “raconteur”.
Warhol: Truman Capote.
Chris: In Cold Blood! Right on. That movie was truth, man.
Capote: Charmed, I’m sure.
Warhol: And fashion designer, Halston.
Tony: (to Halston) You, I never heard of.
Halston: (inspecting Tony’s clothes) I would never have guessed.
Tony: (to the group) Please excuse the intrusion. I am Tony Contralto. How do you do? This is my associate, Christophuh Contralto.
Chris: How you doin?
Tony: Christophuh is the amiable one in the family.
Warhol: Welcome to Studio 54.
Tony: Thank you. You understand what I am saying, when I say “family”?
Warhol: Yes we do.
Capote: Although to us, “family” means something entirely different. Do they seem like “family” to you?
Warhol: (indicating Tony) He is definitely not family.
Halston: (indicating Christophuh) Although he might be.
Tony calms an offended Christophuh with a slight gesture.
Tony: We come under the flag of parlay, to tawk to youz, have a sit-down, family to uh, “family”.
Capote and Halston carry in two chairs. Tony and Warhol sit, facing each other.
Warhol: Mister Contralto…
Tony: Please, Tony is fine.
Capote: Mister Tony. I am sure that your family and our family can reach a mutually beneficent agreement.
Tony: I am sure we can. In fact, I know we will.
Warhol: Mister...um...I mean, Tony, what we currently have in place is a fair deal for everyone concerned. The Contralto family continues to sell the street drugs and all the organics: marijuana, heroin, opium, cocaine…
Capote: And of course, crack cocaine.
Warhol: Exactly. But we control the designer drugs. Anything engineered in a laboratory.
Halston: Anything with a designer label, spelled with initials: LSD, PCP, XTC, X, MDA.
Warhol: MDMA, GHB.
Warhol: We’ll even let you have crystal meth. Although technically meth is made in a laboratory…
Capote: But Crystina can be such a bitch.
Halston: We don’t like how she accessorizes. Crystina often arrives at social events with guns.
Capote: Uh! And all her meth-labs keep exploding. Oh my, so untidy.
Warhol: Hard to part with such a reliable cash-earner as crystal-meth, but we’d be willing to let it go…if things can stay the way they’ve been. Your territory. Our territory.
Tony: (uncomfortably long deliberation) Used to be. But you crossed the line with VitaminD.
Warhol: Well, VitaminD is our biggest seller in the discotheques.
Halston: Studio 54 alone accounts for a quarter of the citywide VitaminD demand, in all of New York!
Capote: It’s the hottest new club drug in the 5 boroughs! Oh my, Miss Liza Minnelli herself cannot get through a single Tea Dance without a double-dosage of VitaminD. And poppers.
Tony: I know. That is why the Contralto family wants a cut of the action. Half.
Chris: And thank you for the crystal-meth business. We’ll be taking that too.
Tony: See? The amiable one.
Chris: Until you piss me off.
Tony: Until you piss him off.
Capote: Oh Dear, let us not piss off Mister Christopher then. Ladies, conference.
The 3 Velvet Mafia gather to discuss in private, away from Christophuh and Tony.
Chris: You ever been inside a Manhattan discotheque like Studio 54 before?
Tony: Nah. What for? I seen that movie “Saturday Night Fever”. What do I want to do the Hustle for? Like this buncha finnochios?
Chris: (singing) Awwww, do the Hustle! Doot doot doot, doo-doo, doo-doo, doot doot…
The 3 Velvet Mafia members re-approach.
Tony: Christophuh, shut yer damn corn hole.
Capote: (approves of Tony’s word choice) Ah! Another raconteur.
Warhol sits again. Tony remains standing.
Warhol: Mister Contralto, um, Tony, after careful deliberation, we, the Velvet Mafia have decided—unanimously—to respectfully decline your request. We cannot share the proceeds of our VitaminD business. VitaminD is our territory.
Chris: I don’t feel so amiable no more.
Halston: It has a designer label. Engineered in our laboratories. Sold in our discotheques and night clubs.
Capote: Enjoyed by our family.
Tony: (grabbing Warhol’s shirt) You think you can say no to Tony Contralto? No to the entire Contralto family? Who da fuck are youz? Three bippity-boppity-boo fairies from Sleeping Beauty? You will all be sleeping beauties when Christophuh gets tru with youz.
Chris: Ha! Bippity-boppity-boo.
Capote: Oh shut your damn corn hole.
Chris: You shut your damn dick holster, faggot!
The 3 Velvet Mafia members do not like the word “faggot”.
Halston: Faggot?! We are not merely some department store, ready-to-wear, off-the-hanger faggots. I’ll tell you who we are. We are the Velvet Mafia, the Pink Mafia, the Lavender Mafia, the Gay Mafia. We are the cultural elite, taste makers. We decide whose little black dress your wives will wear to your funerals—a year in advance!
Tony: He said, shuddup. Before we stuff your dick holsters…with our guns.
The 2 Italian Mafia guys pull out guns.
Capote: Guns. I knew it. Oh my.
Warhol: (standing) You came to Studio 54 under the flag of parlay! No weapons. Just talk.
Chris: Tawk time is done. Weapons now.
Tony: Well fellas, looks like it’s bullets versus high fashion.
The Velvet Mafia share a silent deliberation.
Halston, Warhol, and Capote in unison: You lose.
The 3 Velvet Mafia members begin a fashion show cat walk from one end of the stage to the other, passing in front of the bewildered Italians. Capote struts first.
Halston: (stage-whispering to Capote) Chin forward. Squint your eyes like you hate us.
Sitting down again, Warhol pretends to scribble notes for a review.
Halston: Truman is modelling last season’s look for the short, stout, has-been writer of novellas and true crime fiction. His fedora rakishly angles across tiny, bloodshot, piggy eyes. While his jaunty cape is flung over a shoulder with careless abandon, as if to say, “Who are you, Manhattan, to laugh at me…”
Toward the end of Halston’s babble, Capote and Warhol both attempt to run off stage, in opposite directions. Tony and Christophuh stop them in their tracks, threatening them with guns.
Tony: Stop this faery crapola now! Get back over there, you three sissies. And let me tawk for a while. It’s my turn to tawk.
Chris: Yeah! Just shuddup and listen, why don’tcha.
Tony: What we have here, Christophuh, is a failure of communication. We are all using the same English words, but mean something different. For example, when you and I say “family”, we mean the Italian Mafia. An organized crime syndicate with deep pockets, loads of guns, rifles, oozies, and ammo. And plenty of politicians, cops, and judges on our payroll. But when they say “family”, they mean sissy finnochios who take it up the butt.
Chris: (to Capote) You probably never even had a whiff of cooz.
Capote: Oh dear, I am feeling nauseous. Halston, please ask our guests to leave now.
Tony: Or for example, when I say “give us half the VitaminD business,” they say “No.” But what I hear is “ok Tony, yes. Take half the VitaminD business.” See my confusion?
Chris: I can, Tony. I can see your confusion.
Warhol: Yes, you are both very confused.
Tony: (gun to Warhol’s temple) Damn Gays, always acting like they are better than everybody else. Like their shit don’t stink like shit.
Capote: I have been told that mine smells of jonquils and orange flower blossoms.
Tony: I said shuddup! Christophuh.
Responding to his name like a one-word command, Christophuh pushes Capote onto his knees, gun to his head.
Tony: Our guns say that one Christophuh is better than all 3 of you princesses put together. Now, if all the backtalk and sarcasm are done, let us return to our earlier discussion regarding VitaminD. You 3 Marys will continue to sell VitaminD to your discothèque “family”, to all your queer-boy faggots and their fag hags. “Miss” Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Cher, whoever. You sell. Your territory. We take half the profit. Our territory. Capisce?
Halston: Why should we agree to this extortion?
Chris: Cuz my gun says so.
Warhol: Might makes right?
Tony: (pressing his gun more firmly against Warhol’s head) Don’t it?
Halston: Get a load of tough, macho Rock Hudson and James Dean. Only hetero.
Chris: Rock Hudson ain’t Gay!
The Velvet Mafia share a look.
Capote: Can I get off my knees, please? I have a condition.
Halston: Sometimes Truman’s blood alcohol level gets dangerously low.
Capote: And then I get dizzy, with palpitations.
Christophuh pistol-whips Capote, knocking him unconscious with a blow to the head. Capote crumbles to the floor.
Chris: Still dizzy?
Tony: (finally removing the gun from Warhol’s temple, he sits on either of the chairs) One more time. Give us half the profits from the sales of VitaminD.
Capote rouses himself. Stands, wobbly, and reaches out blindly, in delirium.
Chris: (to Capote) Whatcha say to that, “raconteur”.
Capote: I need a doll. I need a goddam doll! Don’t y’all know who I am?! I am Neely O’Hara dammit! Someone bring me a goddam doll!
Warhol: Please let us give Tru some VitaminD. Otherwise, he’ll never shut up.
Tony and Christophuh silently confer, then agree. Warhol removes a folded paper from a pocket, opens it, and smears the white powder inside all over Capote’s nose and face. Capote perks up.
Capote: (Performs some impressive dance-like karate, his accent changing from Southern effete to bad mock Asian.) Woo-chah! Hi-yah!
Tony and Chris: What da fuck?!
Halston: (imitating Capote’s effete Southern) Oh dear. Where are my manners? Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce…Miss Yakuza...
Capote: (more karate) Ninja Transvestite Assassin!
Tony: You have got to be fucking kidding me. Christophuh, you believe this shit?
Chris: If she’s a real ninja, Tony, then I am gay.
Halston: I told you.
Capote really feels the VitaminD pumping. Making various karate shouts, he rushes Christophuh, smacking the gun from his hand with a karate chop. Crouching low, he kicks the feet out from under Christophuh, knocking him to the floor.
Capote: (jumping upright into a karate stance) Who dizzy now, mudda-fuckuh?!
Chris: You bitches are crazy!
Tony, in a panic, jumps up, pointing his gun at each of the Gays in turn, trying to regain control of the situation.
Capote does an insane cartwheel, landing behind Tony. Capote karate chops the back of Tony’s knees, causing Tony to buckle to the floor on all fours, the gun flying out of his hand. Halston and Warhol grab the 2 guns that are now on the floor. Capote is about to karate-chop the back of Tony’s neck, but Warhol calmly stops him.
Warhol: That’s enough for now, Miss Yakuza. Thank you.
Capote restrains himself, slowly pulling both fists toward his torso while exhaling forcefully between pursed lips. He puts his palms together in prayer, inhales slowly, and bows to the audience.
Warhol: Ah Contraltos, now that our roles are reversed, we can return to our earlier discussion. We, the Velvet Mafia, stand firm in our resolve to retain all 100 percent of our VitaminD profits. And because you have behaved so un-amiably today, we will also take back our crystal-meth business as well.
Tony: Fuck youz. We’ll just come back here tomorrow with more guns iz’all.
Halston: Tomorrow is the weekly Tea Dance at Studio 54. Can you imagine 400 sweaty Gay men…
Capote: (back to his effete Southern drawl) And Miss Liza Minnelli.
Halston: …all high on VitaminD? All believing that they too are ninja transvestite assassins?
Tony and Christophuh do not like those odds.
Warhol: Stand up! Hands up!
Tony and Christophuh return to their feet, hands on their heads.
Warhol: The next time you mooks decide to leave Jersey City, or West Orange, or East Orange, or whatever New Jersey rock you live under, and decide to drive the Holland Tunnel over to Manhattan to threaten the Velvet Mafia, the Pink Mafia, the Lavender Mafia, the Gay Mafia, just remember one thing…
Halston: Warhol, and Capote in unison: Fags bash back!
Capote: Gentlemen, show us your catwalk strut—(imitating their Jersey accents) da fuck outa our nightclub!
Tony and Christophuh cautiously exit backwards.
Halston: (stage-whispering to them as they exit.) Chins forward. Squint your eyes like you hate us.