By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
I hope you also caught the recent Jeopardy! in which a male contestant boasted of being one of the world's greatest Ethel Merman impersonators and, upon Alex Trebek's request, burst into a loud chorus of "There's No Business Like Show Business." He was absolutely awful, but still, it was a moment, especially when the mock-delighted Alex quickly moved on to the next contestant.
If I may move on, there's no business like showing up late for business--which brings us to the listening party for The Artist Formerly, Etc. at Spy, an event so agitating it took weeks for me to recover the memory of having been there. His Purpleness came about two hours late and was escorted to a VIP area within a VIP area, where he looked even more aloof than necessary. My photographer tried to snap aphoto back there, but a bodyguard formerly known as Killer snarled and she stopped dead in her tracks. I never heard Prince's tracks, by the way, because I was already home by then and playing my Michael Jackson records, ha ha ha.
I showed up on time to Beige recently and faced my biggest nightmare--dozens of stunning, maleNatalie Imbruglia look-alikes, all engrossed in coversation with each other! They're probably all staying at the Y. At least I got to overhear stuff, like how L.A.'s drag scene has perked up with the emergence of someone named Bridget of Madison County. How Paul Reubens (a/k/a Pee-wee Herman) revealed at Babalu that he was in town to be considered for the MC in Cabaret (I guess he's going back to adult theater). And how a lot of disco bunnies' big adventures these days include mixing Viagra with all their other drugs--not because of the sexual thrills, mind you, just because it's another potential mindblower to throw into the nocturnal stew. At least they'll die with hard-ons.
Some media mindblows: I can't live without the Advocate, but now that they've cut down columnists' word counts to provide more white space, they might find themselves with more white space on the masthead. Pulitzer winner Tony Kushner just quit writing a column there--you should give Tony more, not fewer, words--and tells me, "This ends my career as a journalist." (The edited version is "This ends . . . journalist.") And what's with all the words the mag has used up in their multiple advance blowing of Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss? Yes, I've interviewed the costar, but I never said the movie was all that good--and neither did the Advocate's filmcritic, whose bad review is untitled and buried after yet another piece related to the movie.
And how about the Hollywood screen kiss-off over Newsweek'shaving thrown together a Saving Private Ryan cover when they learned that Time was preparing an exclusive? Yes, Newsweek was naughty in piecing together old quotes and stuff just to crank out a cover that would fuck with Time. But there is a certain sick amusement in watching execs who--while understanding that hoary old freedom of the press concept--are furious that a magazine dared to promote their movie out of their own jurisdiction! Only in the Control Age could flacks be annoyed because Newsweek gave them a cover story! This calls to mind a chilling recent incident when a PR lady said to me, "Well, you did do a good job interviewing[Starlet A] for us, so I guess we'll let you do [Starlet B]." Wait--shouldn't those words be uttered by editors?
I did a good job interviewing all the starlets when VH1 and Revlon presented Lilith Rocks for Women's Health, a party-benefit-concert that was a real ladies' lollapalooza. At the Milk Studios event, Deborah Gibson confirmed to me that Betty Buckley might play the Merman role opposite her in the Paper Mill Playhouse's Gypsy production. (I'm glad they're not considering that guy from Jeopardy!) And then, in an unwanted real-life scene from Les Miz, I was badgered into meeting and posing with an all-female group named AntigoneRising and promptly renamed them AntagoneRising. See, the band member on my left was leaning against me for the photo, so I thought nothing of resting my elbow on the shoulder of the womyn on my right, for that group togetherness effect. Well, this ruffled her righteous feathers. "Excuse me," she said, waving off my body part. "Uh-uh." Oh, sorry, miss thang, I didn't realize that forcing myself to act friendly for a photo op that I didn't fucking want to do anyway constitutes sexual harassment. Believe me, I'm not interested.
The show--a sampling of Lilith's lesser-known acts--was a little more huggable, though it didn't exactly have me running toward the nearest scalper. Anggun, the Malaysian Madonna, performed with finger cymbals, and then Rebekah strutted, sang, and smiled (though I liked the movie better). Our MC was News Radio's pleasingly demented Andy Dick,who didn't go over too well, but at least kept on going. He said he was jittery because he'd stopped smoking, drinking, and doing drugs, so "I'm just wandering around like a little nervous gerbil." Ignoring the person in the crowd who nastily yelled, "Betty Ford," the little gerbil lip-synched a Louis Prima?Keely Smith duet, then reemerged in drag as Gina (pronounced to rhyme with Va-gina), claiming to be a Lilith wannabe who was thrown out of Natalie Merchant's dressing room by Courtney Love.
After he stumbled off, cohost Cindy Crawford announced, "My card says 'Thanks, Andy,' but I didn't write this." Her mole seemed irritated. Andy later told me that Sarah McLachlan almost didn't come onstage after that, because of his Gina routine. At least he didn't put his elbow on her shoulder. I asked the wacko comic if he's really off drugs, and he started spraying water out of his mouth for the cameras, then said, "What were you asking?" Never mind. Changing gears, I found myself saying "Do it out your butt!" And suddenly Dick did, pouring water back there that dribbled down in an example of why rectal leakage has become such a major worldwide crisis. "I drank so many Arizona Iced Teas, which are like caffeine enemas," he said. And then--with an entourage that included his son and a guy I heard Dick earlier ask, "So you're not coming home?"--he was gone into the night.
But let me settle my stomach, and a score. At the opening of a Soho makeup emporium named Sephora--my favorite shade: Gash--party diva Susanne Bartsch responded to a recent daily paper blind item that addressed rumors that her gym-owner hubby, David Barton, might leave her because he's fallen for a man. "They got it wrong!" she exclaimed. But if it were true, she joked, "I guess me and Bailey [their son] will have to be bridesmaids!" Only Bartsch could turn this speculative humiliation into yet another party!