By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The third most bizarre event of the week was "(Animal) Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," a Central Park Wildlife Center lecture about homosexuality in the animal kingdom, conducted by a Ph.D. in "sex change in terrestrial slugs." The evening redefined fruit flies. We learned about monogamous lesbian gulls, gay greylag geese, and bedbugs who apparently love Judy Garland. Alas, most of the reasons given for animal queerdom were on the order of mistaken identity and a shortage of opposite-sex partners. It wasn't until well into the rationales that we found out that "release of tension" might be a factor. You know, pure fun!
The second most bizarre event of the week was Designing Miss Chiquita,a CFDA benefit in which designers paraded potassium icons around the Bryant Park Pavilion, providing a distinctly phallic display that gay monkeys would have gone ape for. The outfits weren't nearly as Busby Berkeley spectacular as I'd hoped, and some weren't bananalike at all, but the best ones like Lavinia Co-op's stilts-and-balloons extravaganza punctured the pretensions of Fashion Week, while making one temporarily forget Chiquita's very shady history in Central America. Not that the fashion crowd knew about that anyway.
Afterward, the entire Chiquita cast mingled with two teen drummers, an elderly spoon player, and a guy waltzing with a puppet at Susanne Bartsch's opening of the Key Club (formerly System). It was the mostbizarre event of the week.
Runners-up? There was a jaunt to the club Krash in Queens (don't ask), after which I stumbled onto Magic Touch, a fabulously squalid little bar done in an aquarium theme though it's actually meat, not fish, that's on display there. Hispanic go-go boys sidle up to older men looking for, um, a release of tension, and that night, a female customer was also in the house, grabbing for pinga. Somehow it added to the delightful sickness though I quickly returned to Manhattan, avoiding insiders' claims that "at 2:30, it gets really fun downstairs."
Paper's Barocco bash in Manhattan was certainly kooky, especially when Willem Dafoe(who supposedly has a big Chiquita) remarked to me about the Golden Globes, "They should put the people who vote for those onstage. They're like the folks outside Grauman's!"
But all this merry mayhem must now screech to a halt as I go bananas reporting that recent drama duds have come upon us like wet Playbills. The Eros Trilogyis a batch of monologues in search of a play, erring in search of Eros. And though This Is Our Youthhas patches of snappy dialogue, I agreed with the guy behind me who muttered, "Another show about stupid people!" This junior league Hurlyburlydoesn't really coalesce, leaving one annoyed at the desperate-to-be-with-it critics who said it did. Kids with accents make like greylag geese in Beautiful Thing I saw half which was way more beautiful as a movie. And a movie starbrings luster to the CSC update of The Misanthrope, an attack on superficial fashion victims that's performed for an audience going, "Ooh! Uma Thurmanlooks fabulous!" Still, I did find a lot of cleverness in the presentation, the couplet-emitting posers, and Roger Rees.
But forget all that. As you've no doubt heard, the riveting Death of a Salesmanrevival more than makes up for the stinky Dustin Hoffmanversion that bored everyone to tears in the '80s. Brian Dennehyand especially Elizabeth Franzare heartbreaking, and the fineness of the entire production proves that you don't haveto reinvent an old show if you just do it extremely well. This version isn't set at Studio 54 or on a Carnival cruise; it's straightforward and truthful and I cancry, Willy.
From the sublime to the subeverything, Jawbreakeris a movie ballbuster, but it's nice to see Rose McGowanturn in another uninhibited performance as an emotional dominatrix. In an interview at the Four Seasons, McGowan an even less apologetic Christina Ricci smirked to me, "It's my job to spread deviance to the American youth." It helps that she just got engaged to Marilyn Manson, though when I asked if she'll change her name to Rose Manson, she said, "I won't even dignify that with a response." I can see why Marilyn likes her.
Whatever you call her, Rose is all angles and bedroom eyes a '50s movie bad girl, but one who should never be reformed. When I came in, she was on the phone I think with Marilyn cooing, "Hi, sugar. I feel like death right now." She told me she was exhausted, and added, "Last night, I put Meet Joe Blackon, thinking thatwould put me to sleep. But no!" Sultrily posing for pictures, Rose claimed she felt "crusty and old," but looked as alive as a Botticelli version of Archie's Veronica.
Fortunately, she summoned enough spirit to dole out some delightfully rancid remarks. I felt like we had the very best table in the high school cafeteria as we touched on Linda Tripp("One thing that gives me pleasure is how ugly she is. That's a karmic point. She deservesto be ugly."); Third Eye Blind("bottom-of-the-barrel shit"); Rosie O'Donnell("Why does she promote that horrible Savage Garden?"); and teen idol combos ("There's always a monkeyish one in the group. If they audition these people, why don't they look for some attractive ones?"). Oh, and she likes Richard Branson, but says, "What's with rich guys and ballooning? Who gives a shit?"