By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Our household TVs will be populated with some fun ribaldry of their own, if I can trust the advance screener I bamboozled of the premiere episode of Action. The Fox series starring Jay Mohr as the producer of action films like Slow Torture and Illeana Douglas as his whore-mentor fully lives up to the buzz, babe. It's hilarious, smart, racy, and has smash written all over it. Then again, that's what Mohr's character thinks about Slow Torture.
In other must-see TV action, Barry Watson, the cute guy from 7th Heaven and Teaching Mrs. Tingle, recently proved to be one of Rosie O'Donnell's most agreeable guests. At one point, Rosie went into her de rigueur Tom Cruisemakes-me-feel-so-good routine, then asked Watson who won't talk about his personal life in interviews who he feels that way about. "James Van Der Beek," he said, playfully. To her credit, Rosie seemed blithely amused, as she was on that episode where she expressed shock at Lea DeLaria's topless performance in a play, only to have DeLaria say, "But that wasn't the first time you saw my breasts!"
The ingenious Jean Paul Gaultier's certainly still showing his balls. Gaultier just designed a Piper- Heidsieck champagne bottle for the millennium the last time you'll hear that word from me, I swear but coordinators planning a launch bash for the bottle got major resistance from Gaultier's people when they tried to push for an s/m bordello party theme. They were irritably informed that the leather whorehouse image represented the old Gaultier he's beyond that now and wants to aim for a more classy, couture-oriented angle. And the bottle he'd designed? It's covered in a red latex, lace-up corset! I just love contradictions a party for a bottle being one of them.
They're lacing up and lining up in that little area west of 21st and Fifth, which has turned into a miniature South Beach for the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, minus the beach. On a recent Saturday night, there were Guido-laden, model-wannabe-strewn lines around the block for both Cheetah and Ohm two hotsy-totsy dance clubs but to the credit of the Ohm door wench, you could push her designer buttons and circumvent all the hoopla. She actually went for the line "Excuse me, I'm really famous. Do I have to wait?" In fact, 'twas I who pronounced it, and was ushered right in past the angry mobs.
A few blocks west, the b&t invasion continues at a handful of lobster restaurants you heard me that provide a festive night out for the Parsippany crowd. At Francisco's Centro Vasco, the "Excuse me, I'm famous" line didn't work, but the seafood-diet items (I see food, I eat it) were worth waiting for, and so were all the frosted-haired, dese-and-dose people from the outer regions. This was everything my crustaceous ass had escaped from years ago, but I loved it because their having gone out of town for a night made me feel like I had too.
A clambake for Outside Providence, based on Peter Farrelly's novel, provided a solid night on the town with actors who'd only been pretending to tawk like dat. The coming-of-age tale has a three-legged dog, a kid in a wheelchair, and a guy flossing his nose with spaghetti, but for the Farrellys, it's so gentle, it's practically a Merchant-Ivory film. I guess they're aiming for a more classy, couture-oriented angle now. At the Luna Park event, Peter Farrelly told me, "The movie's not at all autobiographical, except for the pot smoking." Well, puff puff, will they follow the high-concept Providence with sequels to any of their riotous past hits (There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, and Kingpin)? "Only if we get a couple of bad movies," he said. But he swears that their very next flick Me, Myself, and Irene, starring Jim Carrey is the opposite of horrible. "It's Jim's best movie," Farrelly gushed, "and he deserves to get the Oscar for it. He plays a schizophrenic, and both of his personas are in love with Renée Zellweger. It's a love triangle, and he's both sides. It's amazing how impressive Jim is as the two different personalities!" I wonder how he managed to narrow it down.
In Providence, Alec Baldwin plays just one character the gruff, preachy papa who spouts wacko homilies about sex and Chinese food and said at the premiere that he's glad to be in an intentional comedy for a change. Director Michael Corrente pushed for Baldwin to play the role (the Farrellys weren't so sure) and the actor feels his background made it fit like a brass knuckle. "My father was like that," Baldwin told me. " 'If you don't do these things, you're gonna be sorry!' And it worked." But to make his character's accent work, Baldwin borrowed more from Leo Tricario, a demoralizing construction-yard foreman he worked for as a yoot. With iron monsters like that for role models, how did Baldwin and his brothers turn out so seemingly affable? "A part of me thinks it's all gonna be over tomorrow," he explained. "I've got to be prepared for the slide down. All my affability comes from thinking the plummet is about to happen and I'm going to be driving a bookmobile next week." For Leo Tricario, no doubt.
I nabbed a schnookmobile going up to that feel-good apartheid musical, Kat and the Kings, which is emotionally threadbare, but so peppy and eager to please that the cast files down the aisle to chat you up as you leave. I'm sure they'd even follow you home to sing some more South African doo-wop and/or pay off your mortgage, if you like. Instead, I followed them to the opening-night party at Tavern on the Green and after trying to get them to explain the lyric "He may be a queero, but he's our hero" (don't ask) I wondered why they're so darned audience-friendly. "There's always a distance, and I hate that," said Junaid Booysen, who plays the show's reformed geek. "When does the audience become part of the act?" They certainly get to do so at Kat and Cats, for that matter but should probably refrain from putting it on their résumés.
Finally, the eternally kittenish Madonna treats her audience to a gender-oriented interview with our own Vince Aletti in an upcoming issue of the quarterly mag Aperture. The pop icon admits to having been a part-time drag king in high school, dressing as a male and going to gay clubs. "My goal was to trick men into thinking I was a boy," she admits. (I've tried that very same ruse!) As for the preponderance of hunky real men in her videos, Maddy reveals, "I am attracted to a thug. I like that quality, but I like the other side of it too. Because all the guys who go around behaving in macho ways are really scared little girls." Funny, I always thought Sean Penn was a scared little girl.