By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Let's catch up with the month's créme de la social collisions, shall we? The smash Tarzanpremiere party at Roseland had a distinctly PG crowd enjoying the cornrowing hair design stand, the make-your-own-banana-sundae table, and Phil Collins's live performance, as my wholesomeness allergies flared up big time. To calm my nerves, a friend told me about the recent Black Party at the same space, where there was far more corn-holing than cornrowing, the bananas took on slightly more imposing overtones, and "Sussudio" was a code word for Satan. Thatmade me feel better.
I swung my potassium pendulum over to the Boathouse Rock's AmFAR benefit, which brought out its usual contradictions-lavish buffets and anorectic models, silent auctions and loud bidders-but it was kookily fun, even though Miss Universe looked quite miserable as she was dragged around by handlers, seeming to have just realized that her life had come down to the same level as mine. At least in a year she can run back to Botswana-I can't.
Sans tiara, I was dragged by handlers to the premiere of An Ideal Husband, which unveiled a smart, witty, well-acted movie-youremember what that's like. At the Pierre party afterward, we came back down to earth as the band played Roberta Flacksongs and a noisy guest nattered on about the Knicks. Oscar would have gagged. The devastatingly charming Jeremy Northamlifted me back up again by telling me, "I admire people for whom events like this are a way of life. If I had to do these things every night, I'd go mad!" But I'm alreadymad-and nabbing the respect of the Jeremy Northams will keep me crawling back for more. About his costar, Cate Blanchett, Northam told me, "She's got a special thing. It sounds like rabid fan mail, but she just kind of breathes in front of the camera." So he hates her? "Can't stand her," he said with a devilish grin and I melted all over again. Roseannehad a special thing upstairs at Moomba, where she showed up with a large entourage that didn't include her ideal husband. The formidable one plopped down in a comfy chair and was instantly cornered by nightmares, as I nabbed a juicy exclusive with her hair and makeup girl. "How do you do Roseanne's hair and makeup?" I asked her, brilliantly. "Quickly," she deadpanned.
Later on, I gained an audience with the talk-show host herself and found her expectedly whiny, guileless, rapidly coiffed tone kind of endearing. Did she really lose an on-the-air arm-wrestling match with Oprah? "Yeah. I have to pay her $10,000." What did she really think of her recent TV guest, Paula Jones? "I think she's a great woman. She's the reason it all happened." What-Clinton's increased popularity? This launched us into discussing the guy's unzipped antics, and, in the course of the dialogue, Roseanne blurted, "I mean, you don't have to pull your wiener out!" "Speak for yourself," I exclaimed, throwing her a wry look, and we laughed like heck. Oh, the fun! I thought we were getting along fine until Roseanne shot out, "That's all you have to ask? Only boring things!" She decided she wanted to eat-"I've had so much sugar today. I want some protein!"-and started perusing the menu, later tossing it aside when a photographer asked for "sexy shots." As I sneaked away, she reminisced with someone about the time when "I'd just had my tits done. I looked great!" I felt like I'd just guested on Roseanne's realtalk show.
A newer kvetcher on the block, Marion Grodinperformed a quickie stand-up tryout for Conan O'Brienat the Comic Strip and was high-road enough not to even mention that the previous comic had done an impression of her dad, Charles Grodin, that fell short of rabid fan mail. (Actually, Marion was backstage and didn't hear the routine.) She barreled out and appealingly launched right into her very own fat jokes and a discussion of how, though her husband is generally glued to Weimar documentaries on the History Channel, sheprefers Lifetime. ("Give me some Meredith Baxter Birney. She's shooting up, she's throwing up, she's dyslexic-but she's not trying to annihilate the Jewish people!")
Lifetime watchers were the core crowd at the annual HXAwards at the Roxy, which celebrated all the bars and bar patrons that make my life so very festive. Everyone was on their best behavior-I mean, no one pulled her wiener out-until the Lee Press-On claws inevitably emerged through the white gloves. In lieu of the Academy Awards' heartfelt solemnity, this event had exchanges like Candis Caynesaying of her copresenter, the Lady Bunny, "I'm thrilled to share stage time with New York's scariest and oldest drag queen," to which Bunny responded that Candis's Wigstock slot was now open. Backstage, presenter Lea DeLariatold me she's set to play Audrey in As You Like Itopposite HX winner-I mean Oscar winner-Gwyneth Paltrowin Williamstown and laughed, "Tony, schmony!" Onstage, Lea cracked, "Thank you for nominating me for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. It's been my dream!" "You fucked Rosie," someone from the crowd yelled, wittily. "Nah, she's too butch for me," Lea answered back.
The other star presenter, the rosy Margaret Cho, told the crowd, "They say certain smells bring you back to your childhood. Well, the smell that brings meback is balls in panty hose!" I got all nostalgic as I caught a waft of that very scent emanating from my own Hanes-covered crotch. The biggest balls-in-panty-hose honor of the night-Best Drag Queen-went to the awards' cohost, Hedda Lettuce, who said, "This is a complete fix-I mean shock. All the baby kissing, cock sucking, and finger fucking finally paid off!" For some of us.
If I can get back to Oscar territory-sort of-that Austin Powersflick is the gayest thing ever at the local cineplex! The Unibrow creature verges on homophobic, but Dr. Evil and Mini-Me make up the queer love story of the year, and the fisting jokes, three-way scenario, Elvis Costellosinging the female point of view on "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," and Dr. Evil snarling "Don't go there, girlfriend!" add intriguingly to the lavender subtext.
Biting my pinky, I recently re-ported Queer Watch activist Bill Dobbs's complaint that Elton Johndid a benefit for the University of Wyoming, which doesn't have a nondiscrimination policy regarding sexuality. In response, Elton's publicist called to tell me that the benefit was actually for, among other things, the University of Wyoming's Fund for the Matthew Shepard Chair of Civil Liberties. Also, a rep of the university sent me their Mission Statement, which expresses a definite nondiscriminatory slant. Alas, the Wyoming branch of the ACLU says this isn't legally binding, and Dobbs reveals that documents supplied to him by the university's Employment Practices Office don't mention sexuality issues at all. Why, oh, why, Wyoming?
Rounding out the gayola week, I was relieved to see the luscious Ricky Martin tell New York magazine that his privacy door is locked. (I guess that means we won't get any more of those carefully planted items about his girlfriends, courtesy of the same label that once told George Michael to bolt the door.) I was also thrilled to come across that bare-assed, lip-licking Brad Pitt spread in Mandate-I mean W. Oh, and as for that royal wedding, God save the queen-I mean Edward.