NY Mirror

Meanwhile, gonzo journalist Matt Drudgeis outed in Jeannette Walls's upcoming book, Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip, as I told you last week, and now it's time for some details on this, the real Drudge Report. I hear that Walls—who feels rather sympathetically about Drudge—reveals that he was a lonely only child, a stutterer who performed puppet shows under the sheets (but not on the kitchen counter) and hosted imaginary talk shows into his tape recorder. Occasionally, he'd act up, throwing rocks at classmates, and he once had to be stitched up when one of them threw some back.

Years later, as a night manager at a 7-Eleven in Maryland, Drudge hung out with promiscuous gay men and had same-sex relationships himself. One old cohort says Drudge seemed open and comfortable about his sexuality, though they never actually talked about it. But Drudge still misbehaved at times, at one point throwing a pitcher of beer into the air and causing a hailstorm equal to President Clinton's eventual one on that dress. The portrait painted by Walls is that of an outcast-turned-unlikely-star who's vehement about unmasking others while poignantly (if hypocritically) clinging to his own veil of secrecy. What was left out of the book? According to an old beau, Drudge once cracked eggs over his head during sex. Better than rocks, right?

Finally, if you like 'em hard-boiled, the first of this season's two musicals called The Wild Party is a mild party brimming with talent and passion, but suffused with a little too much . . . I don't know, too much much. Still, Taye Diggsneeds to be the next pop superstar, and I loved Idina Menzel's song that starts, "I was born in a ditch in West Virginia." That part I could have played without changing a word.

musto@villagevoice.com

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