By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Overheard in a gay pickup place: "Everyone here's a four, but they all want a 10. I'ma seven and a half." No, dear, you're a zero. . . . More actual dialogue, this time from a Beige regular: "They're giving meattitude? I'm wearing head-to-toe Prada and even Prada underwear and at best they're wearing Gene Meyer or Richard Edwards and are probably just makeup artists and hairdressers--and these queens are giving me attitude?" Well, there's something about Mary. . . . Over the loud music at some other soiree,a nine and a half wearing thrift shop asked me if I've ever written poems. At least that's what I thoughthe'd said, so I overemphatically squealed "Oh, yes! Lots!" Well, it turned out the joker had said porn--and I suddenly had to play along with the guy and make up an entire dirty body of work on the spot. And it wasn't that hard.
Putting the perback into verse, Babalu is the drag gang's latest attempt to tap into that touristy cash-flow geyser. The Village hangout, at what was the bizarrely characterless Night Gallery restaurant, has gawkers dropping by for trannie acts, weekend brunches, and--at the opening--Baby Dee Bauched playing the accordion on her (menstrual) cycle outside. The exotic '50s ambience hasn't congealed at all yet, but if they get rid of the Night Gallery marquee, the place could jump from a three to an eight and two thirds.
At the Roundabout, Side Man--no, not Side Show--captures the spirit of exotic '50s jazz and how it ripped one family apart because Dad was married to his horn more than to his home. I went into the theater hideously predisposed against both trumpets and dysfunctional families, but came out tooting the show'shorn. It's riveting. Meanwhile, I'm getting horny just thinking about Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,premiering this week at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The play is described as "a fantasical retelling of the biblical story of Adam and Eve, tackling the larger questions: the existence of God, the need for belief, and the impact of Olivia Newton-John as a religious icon." Hopelessly devoted, I called Rudnick to ask if the play by any chance features a gay Jesus. "No," he said. "It's the Old Testament--though, in an early draft, there wasa gay Jesus whose divine gift was perfect taste." Wait--they had Prada back then?
It was by no means a perfect waste, but the Larry King tribute/AmFAR benefit at the Plaza did have one murmuring, "Oh, Jesus" on multiple occasions. As I entered, a woman was lying near the bottom of the stairs, a helper dabbing her bruised legs with napkins. This wasn't very festive. I kept climbing, trying not to trip over the woman, only to have someone upstairs warn that another fallen idol, Leona Helmsley, was across the room, "and she's so buffed you can see yourself in her skin, much like the vampire Lestat." The terror escalated. After two hours of me using Leona's face as a compact, Al Gore--on video--spoke of the White House's good works regarding AIDS, only to have someone in the crowd yell, "What about clean needles?" The room burst into applause, and finally we were on track (marks).
And Larry King was as funny as one could be at such an event (even after an AmFAR official introduced him with "Knowing what Larry has died . . . done . . . "). He pointed out his billionth wife in the audience and said, "I'm getting nervous because she's been whispering to Donald Trump all night"--hopefully not about whether her prenup with Larry is binding. As for Marlon Brando's sweet whisperings to him on TV, followed by that bodacious, full-mouthed kiss, King said, "I have a confession. I can't stop thinking about Marlon. I got up in the middle of the night recently and yelled 'Stella!' " (I bet he actually yelled, "Stella from Bayonne, New Jersey--you're on the air!") Larry then pulled his ass together and became a tiny bit more serious, adding, "I'm not gay! I respect gays, but I'm heterosexual. I don't know why. I didn't choose it. Trent Lott chose it." And he can have it!
The next thing I knew, I'd fallen down a metaphorical flight of stairs and woken up at various premieres in head-to-toe Prada and no underwear. How post-gay. At the one for Madeline--a benefit for Children's Blood Foundation--I wearied of the mechanical mayhem of the movie's pre-soubrettes, but had so much fun at the after-blowout at Tavern on the Green that I felt three years old again, if still not quite a 10. All in a night's work, I got to make obscene gestures to a mime, go on a candy (Spelling) hunt, and create my own sundae with M&M's and caviar. I even seized the chance to cut down a six-year-old who was exulting to her mom, "This is the best day of my entire life!" I turned to the little diva and snarled "Sofar!" She stuck to the mime after that.
With all of its contentious critters refusingto stay silent, Dr. Dolittledid very little for me, making the original movie--which almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox--look like Dr. Strangelove times Doctor Zhivago by comparison. This overstated, lowbrow bore has a guinea pig on a toilet seat, a dog with a thermometer stuck up its ass, a rat that farts, and another one with a stereotypical Spanish accent--and still it's bad! Most bizarrely of all, Eddie Murphy--who voices an animal in Mulan(costarring Harvey Fierstein and B.D. Wong)--actually threatens another character that he'll tell everyone about the tutu in the guy's closet! You'd think he'd just want to drive him home.
Anyway, the premiere itself was extremely novel and fun--a smelly, but enjoyable bring-your-own-creature extravaganza in Riverside Park, replete with pet psychics, animal hairdressers, and dogs sniffing each others' butts (and by the way, I saw one hyperactive canine sniff a ferret's, so I guess they don't discriminate). Dolittle's director, Betty Thomas,told me the tiger was the hardest animal to work with because it sprayed, but overall, "Most of the dogs learned how to talk on cue and the guinea pigs learned how to dance." Alas, they have very little fashion sense.
The fashionable movie du jour, Buffalo 66, has a lot of animal charm, but it's getting way too many 10's from the critics. The flick has Vincent Gallo extorting affection out of Christina Ricci, obsessively instructing her to pretend she loves him, and in fact (don't read this if you haven't seen it), it turns out she really does! Because he's so darned marvelous! What's more, Gallo pulls the very same trick offscreen; you'll remember that in his recent Voice dialogue with Ricci, he repeatedly coerced her to say how fabulous he is. Aren't I great for pointing that out?
And I'll even serve up a final bonbon to merit the praise. A certain woman who once married a bold-face personality in this column demands to be called Mistress [first name] by employees, but she should really be called Mistress Parking Tickets, as her vehicle was recently towed for nonpayment of a whole pile of them. And she's giving me attitude?