NY Mirror

Poor Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford, in the front row of the screening for Eyes Wide Shut, looked appalled; the film's a long, torturous meditation on adultery!

I beg to differ from the accepted view that The Blair Witch Projectis a real screamer. It's actually more harrowing than scary, more Debbie Rowe than Leona Helmsley, but whatever it is, it's so well done that I've vowed never to camp again—and that includes dressing up in drag and doing Bette Davis impressions! A few nightmares ago, a bone-chilling double-decker bus took us to the premiere party at the Central Park Boathouse, where the film's magnetic star Heather Donahuetold me, "I'm notthe frumpy college student I played!" In fact, in her glamorous ensemble, she looked way better suited to klieg lights than flashlights, to red carpets than yellow fever. She has the right attitude, too. "Honestly, it was really fun," Donahue said of the barbaric-but-worth-it moviemaking experience. "We didn't shower for eight days, my scalp was really itchy, and by the last day, they only fed us one Power Bar and a banana. But it's fun to push your limits once in a while." I pushed mine—right to the buffet line.

Another distressing adventure, the Twin Falls Idahopremiere, intrigued me because model Michele Hicksrecently said she decided to star in the film because "one of my big hang-ups about movies is that I can't believe them. They don't depict real situations and feelings. But this one convinced me from the start." And what everyday situation is Twin Falls Idahoabout, pray tell? A model who eats a Power Bar and a banana and yells at makeup artists? Nope, it's about Siamese twins, one of whom falls in love with Hicks and becomes heartbroken (or half-a-heart-broken)! Happens all the time—on Jerry Springeranyway. Actually, after seeing the flick, I felt a Springerepisode would be way less clichéd, studied, and arty-farty—though I did like Hicks's character saying, "They've got two arms, they've got three legs—what's the big deal?" Eyes Wide Shut won'thave legs, but it does have viewers up in arms when they realize that pacing-wise it makes Meet Joe Blacklook like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. On the bright side, it wasbrave of Tomand Nicoleto do a relationship flick concocted by a science- fiction director— not to mention a movie in which they don't shtupp and he's suspected of being gay. But poor Kathie Leeand Frank Gifford, in the front row of the big media screening, looked appalled; the film's a long, torturous meditation on adultery!

Let me cheat on my spies and tell you that Spike Lee's supposedly developing a movie script about club kingpin Peter Gatien—and I bet the feds would like it to be called He Got Blame.

The fluffy gay romance Trick— a/k/a Woo the Right Thing— isn't exactly a perfect treat, but the Eyes Wide Shut similarities add fascination. (The characters keep almost having sex, and the stars, Christian Campbelland J.P. Pitoc, are announced as straight in the press kit.) Tori Spellingaggressively plays a wannabe singer-actress who's the world's biggest fag hag—and, more important, in real life she's successfully changed her public profile from that of an industry punch line to a delightful contender. At the Trick party at Twirl, the moxie-ish Tori told me, "I love gay people! I have a lot of friends that are gay." Well, it would be hard not to in L.A., wouldn't it? "Everyone's bisexual to a certain degree," she said, with a knowing giggle. Well, is Tori, um, er, a fag hag, by any chance? "Sure, why not?" she said, agreeably enough. "Well, I'm a fag," I muttered, wittily. "Then I'll be your hag!" she exclaimed, and threw her famous arms around me. I love this girl!

With a whole different fag hag, I went to hilly, chilly San Francisco—which makes L.A. look hetero—because promoter Marc Huestis had appointed me to interview former tyke star Patty McCormack, onstage at a gala camp event at the Castro. I was afraid McCormack would be similar to Rhoda Penmark, the Bad Seed character she played so spine-tinglingly in 1956—an amoral, violent child, sort of like Tommy Lee. Actually, the now fiftysomething actress was as different from Rhoda as Heather Donahue is from her Blair Witch camping tyrant. She's neither harrowing nor scary—she's delightful!

The night before the interview, we had a sumptuous dinner at Piaf's and regretted nothing, except for the Little Sparrow impersonator who kept coming into the crowd to make us clap along. Then, at the Transmission Theatre, we willingly applauded Cyberotica!, a fab drag rock musical about which Patty wistfully remarked, "The guys always have better legs." And better social lives. When we arrived at the Castro the next night on a motorcade, Patty surveyed the long line of gay guys there to see her and lamented, "All these men—and I can't get a date!" She had an appointment inside anyway, where I coaxed dish out of her as intently as Rhoda insists on getting her telltale shoes back. Among McCormack's rowdy revelations: She always wanted to be Sandra Dee(so did Sandra Dee); she played Rhoda not like she was evil, but "like she was right!"; the Diff'rent Strokescast not only weren't actors, "they weren't stars!"; Patsy Ramsey"is twisted for having dressed JonBenet like a two-year-old hooker!"; and Nancy Kelly, who affectedly played the Bad Seedmom, once told little McCormack she was getting too fat for Kelly to pick her up off the couch and also complained that she had garlic breath. Deadpanned McCormack, "I was nice enough not to mention the distinct smell of ginon herbreath!"

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