By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
To learn all there is to know about Fire Island without having to actually go there, just check out some shorts. One short, actuallyTodd Downing's Dirty Baby Does Fire Island (in the gay compilation Boys in Love 2), which sums up the entire enchantingly, hellishly hedonistic experience in nine delectable minutes. The mini-movie has a jittery baby (played, in a fine performance, by a doll in stop-motion) washing ashore on the Pines and gasping at all the obsessive sex, pecs, and X with utter horror before she--all poppered, coked, and fed up--flings herself into the water and grabs a fast current back to reality. Most viewers identify with the baby, but find themselves continuing to wash ashore anyway.
Speaking of extraordinarily wise infants, ba-dum-pum, a friend of mine's baby smiled, but didn't gasp when Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn happened to pass by outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently (yes, my friends are very cultured and their offspring are extremely showbiz savvy). On Mama's orders, the precious darling threw Woody and Soon-Yi a winsome little wave, which Woody thought was absolutely adorable. In fact, he promptly remarked to Soon-Yi, "When are we gonna have one?"--meaning a baby, not a winsome little wave. One's impulse is to respond, "But Soon-Yi is one," but I'll just bite my tongue.
Meanwhile--ow!--snuggle up with your loved ones and nibble on this: Cable queen Robin Byrd is branching out from adult entertainment to adult contemporary, baby. Her name will be attached to a CD called Lie Back and Get Comfortable, Robin Byrd Presents Latin Songs To Make Love To,which will be positively packed with fuckable tunes like "Eres Tu" and "Como Una Loba" (no, not "Cum on my Labia"), as performed by an uninhibited variety of human aphrodisiacs. When BMG finally moves this thing onto the market, then mi casa, su Robin Byrd Show.
The mood turned to Afro-disiacs last week when personable all-media diva Downtown Julie Brown hosted a lunch at 27 Standard for her Playboy spread--sorry, pictorial--which is extremely perky, though I stopped short at saying, "When am I gonna have one of those?" "Julie calls it the Playboy TAP dance," a publicist told me. "Tits, Ass, Pussy." That could also be the PTA dance, I presume, but whatever you call it, model Roshumba was marveling, "Look at those breasts!"--meaning not the chicken entrées, but Julie's omniscient orbs in the plucky pages of the magazine. I certainly didn't see any blubba blubba blubba. On the subject of her tit-illating photo shoot, the ex-VJ (who's now on the Webba Webba Webba) remembered the stylist who came after her pussy with a gigantic mascara brush, but otherwise it was a fun, empowering experience. "Normally, I'm just a talking head," she explained. "Now everything's talking!"
While HRH Ms. Brown takes it all off, David Schwimmer seems to be adding layers. David checked out Hedwig and the Angry Inch the other night with his girlfriend Mili Avital, and, between his low-hanging baseball cap and his incredibly incognito demeanor, he looked like he was straining overtime not to be noticed or be-Friend-ed--though there was that little matter of the gigantic black limo waiting outside for him the whole time. Don't you just love celebrity contradictions?
And broken celebrity contracts? I'm ready to blow some winsome little chunks after having been offered an interview with someone named Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who's in a bad movie called The Governess (sample dialogue: "I would like to see semen, but not to drink it!"), only to have the agent mysteriously retract the offer. Drink this.
On a higher plane, I was invited to eat it and drink it at the hotsy totsy new Soho restaurant Oona (as in one, not O'Neill) and, as sure as Barbra Streisand served something called "performance crab" at her wedding, I downed the Tuscan seafood stew and tower of pear to much piggish delight. I sat outside, where trailers--not limos--were lined up for the filming of Analyze This, in which Robert DeNiro plays a gangster (yeah, he could probably pull that off) who requires the help of psychologist Billy Crystal (though it's Billy who probably needs the therapy after My Giant). Alas, DeNiro never walked by, as I was in full drag and ready to audition for the trannie part opposite him in Flawless.
Staying that way, I was desperate to play Rachel in Off-Broadway's Visiting Mr. Green, but they told me she never appears--precisely why the part appealed to me. They don't need my help anyway; Hal Linden and Mitchell Anderson are doing well in the very slight and formulaic, but ultimately affecting story of the young fagele and the old Jew. Anderson in particular providesa more appetizing bit of stunt casting than Tony Danza no doubt will in A View From the Bitch.
The openly gay actor has also attracted attention as the gay violin teacher in Party of Five, which otherwise has those interchangeable guys named Wolf and Fox, that squeaky Lost in Space cadette, and the cancer theme that's been threatening to make it Party of Four--though I've never seen it. In a postmatinee interview, the serious, classically handsome Anderson discussed both the silly and acclaimed facets of his career. He was in Jaws: The Revenge, but succumbed to the star in the first 10 minutes. He played Richard Carpenter in the Carpenters TV movie, which he liked, despite the "awful wigs" (and by the way, the real Richard "wasn't so happy" about that all-Dirty-Baby--I mean all-Barbie-doll--Carpenters biopic directed by Todd Haynes). And in an upcoming pathos-laden comedy called Relax, It's Just Sex, he's a gay guy unsuccessfully looking for a mate.
Visiting Mr. Green hasAnderson looking for a match and finding it in the curmudgeonly bigot whose attitudes and eating habits he struggles to change. I felt très young watching him do so; most of the audience looks like they'll soon be visiting Mr. Reaper. "They talk all through it," laughed Anderson. "Today, when Hal said, 'Who is it?' I heard a woman in the audience say, 'It's the fagele.' " And it was!
It was also Anderson who came out of the door--of the closet--with a big splash at the '96 GLAAD Media Awards, and he doesn't regret that move at all. "My work's a lot richer because I'm not hiding anything," he told me. The actor--who's had a lover for over a year--doesn't cover up his views on gay hot topics either. "Boredom leads to self-destructive behavior in the gay community," he said. "Promiscuity, drugs, circuit parties. I can't be a saint in this issue, but when you come out of all that, it's so empty. It's not even as satisfying as eating an ice cream cone." As for the Gaultier cone? ready muscle boys (look at those breasts!) who would like to see semen, he said, "Everyone in Chelsea looks the same--the same facial hair, the same shirts with no sleeves. But, while I used to be afraid of people who were too 'faggy' and also of the muscle guys, I discovered that once you get comfortable with yourself, you can enjoy other people and their differences." Goshers, I might have to try that sometime.