By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Get out the Black Flag, kids. In one of those ungodly cinema coincidences as perturbing as that '80s slew of body-switching flicks, there are two separate animatronic and/or animated movies coming your way about insects! (Just what we want to leave our rat-infested homes for, right?) Both Antzvoiced by bug-eyed Woody Allen and slithery Sharon Stoneand A Bug's Life courtesy of those wormy Toy Story creatures serve up ants, roaches, caterpillars, and other arthropods prancing about in oh-so-mirthful situations that'll have you dropping Combat into your popcorn with one hand as you frantically swat the air with the other. But maybe these bugaboos won't bite after all. Intriguingly enough, the trailer for the latter film includes a scene in which a lascivious gnat makes a pass at a ladybug who turns out to be male! It's The Flying Game.
If we can leave the creepy crawlers behind on the No Pest strip, I'mbugged that, for all the hype about the gritty realism of Saving Private Ryan--the movie that puts combatin your popcorn--I found so many of the Oscar-begging dramatic moments and headache-inducing handheld camera techniques rather fraudulent. "Earn it," Steve, to quote Tom Hanks's character. But over in the battleground of sex establishments, where I can no longer save Ryan's privates, I love that a Downtown gay porn theater last week switched from featuring movies about sucking and fucking to showing, of all things, In & Out! Rudy, you'veearned this. Thanks to your hideous puritanism, they've revived a flick that not only has a porn-sounding title, but promotes homosexuality even more aggressively than any Jeff Strykerstarrer. Watch it and learn (and I hope the crabs are still there to gnaw at your ass).
Meanwhile, I'velearned tons from watching South Parkcreators Trey Parkerand Matt Stonein action, especially since they've imbued every single one of their projects with so much gay vibe that subtext analyst Mark Rappaportmight have his work cut out for him. As costars in thisweek's gross-out comedy BASEketball--which they didn't write, but did ad lib a lot in--the tighterthanthis wackos play straights who tongue-kiss each other, squirt milk from their nipples, call a male friend "little bitch," drink Cock beer, and psych out other dudes with lines like "I wanna feel myself deep inside you." Stone--whose character is called Sir Swish, by the way--licks a vibrator and also appears on the cover of Total Womanmagazine, while Parker's screen persona admits to knowing the name of a Chippendales calendar's Mr. October. The net result is either hilariously revealing, calculatedly preemptive, or overly mocking.
In a coincidence even more astounding than that bug movie invasion, Jodie Fosterand Sandra Bernhardboth recently had babies, cutely enough, and both have vehemently refused to discuss the father or method. I'm just guessing here, but could this possibly be because the usual method is to have sex with a man?
But let's applaud a spanking-new commercial baby, shall we, regardless of the method of conception. I'm talking about the upcoming Harlem USA, a $65 million, 275,000-square-foot retail-entertainment complex that will include HMV Records, Old Navy, and the Disney Store, if not that many porno theaters. This glitzy extravaganza won't exactly be an uptown Lincoln Center either, but it will provide jobs and hopefully some recreational merriment, while making gigantic corporations even more porcinely happy.
The groundbreaking last week attracted all kinds of well-wishers, but also a few disgruntled community members who had to stand and watch the ceremony from outside barricades because only the invited got seats. As press, I got backstage access, but not a gift bag. Back there, I asked Mya what it's like to see her videos on TV and she said, "Wild--but I don't see them," whatever that meant. Just then, all Icould see was queen diva Mary J. Bligearriving in a white pleated dress that highlighted her arresting rump, which I followed all the way out to the stage area. She proceeded to sing a fierce medley of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" with a choir that just happened to be there, and was effortlessly dramatic in a way Spielberg can't touch.
Back inside afterward, Mary continued to radiate her expected realness. Was it hot onstage? I asked. "Was it hot?!" she balked. "100 degrees!" (At least paper fans bearing Mary's new record's name were everywhere, for cooling and promotional purposes.) Is she really going to segue into acting? (That day she was scheduled to audition for a movie called In Too Deep--and no, it has nothing to do with In & Out.) "I'm supposed to be. It'll be something good to do." OK--well, um, why is she starting her own label? "Because I'll be the CEO, taking care of the artists. Right now, I'm just an artist on someone else's label." "But it's a very fine label," I interjected, since MCA reps were crawling around like antz. "Thank you," Mary said in an involuntary spasm of good cheer.
Thank you? Maybe the appealingly rough-hewn hip-hopper didgo to charm school, as reports had it. Actually, nah. "They wanted me to go," she admitted, "but I didn't want to. If people can't accept me for who I am, forget it. Even if I went, somebody would say, 'You need to go back!' " We all laughed, completely charmed. And to test her grace under fire one last time, I pointed out that Mary certainly didn't lip-synch the national anthem like Whitney Houstononce did. "Oh, no!" she said, looking like she wanted to elaborate, then stopping herself. Wait--does she actually like Whitney? "Yeah, I like her," she said. "Why not?" That's when I left.
And where did my little heinie end up? At Men's Fashion Week--bulletin: Calvin Kleinjust hit Fire Island again for the first time in ages, and with a vengeance--and found that the schools that teach one how to heel-ball-toe down a runway don't necessarily teach charm too. Or so I think--none of the male models would actually talk to me. Anyway, after a mannequin-filled party at Lot 61 for Tom of Hilfiger, I took in the dripping-with-whatever macho stereotypes at the Tom of Finland show, where a parade of penises unencumbered by underwear passed before me (in pants and bathing suits) like disapprovingly wagging fingers. I tried to bite them off, but they were moving too fast, and Giuliani probably wouldn't allow it anyway. The swaggering show was spiced up with gimmicks--one model was on a skateboard, others rode in on a motorcycle, and then the boarder came back with a camera--but everyone just kept looking at those jauntily wagging daggers.
At the Outmagazine?hosted after-party at Jet 19, I made sure to wear underwear, but couldn't exactly sport anything else, since Out's "Elect/Eject" list says male fashion-mongers must avoid Capri pants, shoes with a tuxedo, yellow-lens sunglasses, alien imagery, skateboarding over 20, four-inch denim cuffs (though women--like in their spreads--can wear them), or anything orange. Fortunately, they decree that it's OK to curse.