WEDNESDAY

It’s hard to imagine that the Tab Hunter who worked beside Divine in such ’80s tranny-camp films as Polyester and Lust in the Dust was once considered the quintessential Wholesome Boy Next Door. But that’s just how Warner Bros. marketed their dreamy, towheaded “Sigh Guy” back in the ’50s. And sigh the frisky girls did, even as some were gasping at the tabloid-fed rumors of Hunter’s homosexual exploits (gay pajama parties!). With his new book, co-written by Eddie Muller, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, the 74-year-old actor has consented to finally loosen his lips and let the real dirt spew forth—provided that you “promise [him] you’ll read the whole story.” (And I promise, one day I will.) Born Arthur Kelm to an überpragmatic German mother and an absentee father, Hunter spent his Southern California childhood obsessed with movies and horses. A prepubescent encounter, during which he was encouraged to press his genitals against a 12-year-old neighborhood tart with loose panties (“On a clear day you could see all the way to Catalina”), left the shy Art petrified of girls—an affliction that worsened as the girls around him grew boobies and became increasingly aggressive. This fear, combined with darkened-moviehouse unbucklings, an underage stint in the Coast Guard, and a fortuitous meeting while mucking out the stables, could have led to only one thing. A Village People hit? No, silly—the making of an American heartthrob! Hunter reads and signs copies of his book at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Anne Marson)