By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I paid half price for a ticket to Rose, and sure enough got half a show, bolting gloriously to freedom at intermission. The nonhappeningwhich stars Olympia Dukakis as "a feisty Jewish woman" with a lot of time on her handshammers the last nail in the coffin of those contrived, antitheatrical one-person vehicles in which a one-foot-in-the-graver recalls her entire fucking life while traipsing about waiting for some crucial phone call. But this time there's no phone call and not even any traipsingDukakis just sits there and gabs away with equal parts strained humor and pretend pathos. The laziness of the whole conceit proves so infuriating you'd rather call grandma and hear her reminisce about the time when plays had two people.
There are threepeople in that nuclear-physics romp Copenhagen, and their acting is so impassioned that you don't start wondering if the 32 audience members seated onstage might get Tony-nominated. But I can't believe nobody went to see Hayley Mills(and three other people) in Noël Coward's Suite in Two Keys. Hayley's aged as beautifully as that other former child star named Haley, the one who sees dead people!
There are live people in The Wild Partywhich is so similar to the last Wild Party that you start to question your sanityand though they include a predatory lesbian, a pedophiliac bi, and two minstrely queens, you have to remember it's a period piece. The show also features "two sets of tits," as choreographer Joey McKneelyreminded me at the opening-night partyplus eight sets of balls, all Mandy Patinkin's. I showed my own by asking Vanessa Williamswhy she dropped out of the Queenie role (played by Toni Collette). She pointed to her swollen tummy, so I said, "Gained weight?" She meant that she's pregnant. I knew that.
At a life-giving wild party at Escuelita, there were hundreds of sets of tits, all sporting price tags. Come showtime, MC Angel Sheridanbrought out her African American love interest and explained, "You shouldn't have a white boyfriend before Labor Day." On came the multicolored drag tribute to Tina Turner, which kicked culo, especially since I'd just come from a low-energy (if endearing) Twelfth Avenue dump called the Olympic. There, the awning says it's a restaurant and an "international communication service," which means that on Saturday nights, older men sit at the circular bar and paw at scantily clad Hispanic male dancers. It's very Cats meets Hombre via Stella's, and for an extra touch of crass, a guy walks around trying to raffle off a toy orangutan. That's not quite what the crowd was after.
The monkeyor maybe that Heathrow Airport security guardmust have been the stage manager at the endless (love) taping of VH1 Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross, which I think just wrapped up five minutes ago. Terrifyingly enough, Miss Ross's mike was feeding back and her prepared thank yous were not on the prompter when she wanted them ("Can I have the words I wrote? They're not there!"). They rectified that and also gave her a new mike, but Diana moaned, "I don't hear the sound well enough. This doesn't please me!" She got anothermike, but when the director boomed out instructions, she bristled, "Hey Steve, your voice is really loud." OK, witch, hear this: The original mike was the one youhad insisted on bringing! (Well, it iscalled a diva show.) But, in spite of all this, lady didn't sing the blues. Diana was glorious, her star power ringing out with an amazing clarity even when her sound system didn't.
Also fabulash were Donna Summerand Destiny's Child, but the Supremes who weren't Supremes weren't all that supreme, and Mariah Careyseized the opportunity to get into the diva act too. When the director (loudly) asked her to repeat a speech she'd messed up, Miss Carey amusingly begged to just pick it up from the middle. She won.
Men Strike Backthe male diva show two nights laterran much more smoothly, and I loved the Backstreet Boywho wore the dress, plus Christina Aguilera(who, according to Z100's Elvis Duran, was supposed to be on the femalediva show until Mariah threw a fit; Aguilera denies this).
But the women of Mary Harron's American Psychoall victimized by Christian Baleto bad '80s musicaren't striking back at all; they like the film, which is a valiant commentary on consumerism and anti-diva misogyny. What they don't care for is the way it was cut to ensure an R rating. (This doesn't please them!) In a rendezvous at the Essex House, two of the slaughtered lambs told me that, in the ménage scene, the word assholewas absurdly amended to just ass. "Having written that line myself," said the charismatic Guinevere Turner(the film's co-screenwriter, who plays a Sarah Lawrence party girl), "holereally does make the difference." "You wantedto hear hole, didn't you?" the usually very proper Samantha Mathisa drugged-up status seeker in the filmasked me, laughing. Actually, I did hear it because I saw the movie before it was cutand I would have heard it anyway!
Even with the edits, Psycho has a certain dark appeal, though Turnerwho's slated to play porn legend Betty Page in Harron's next featuresaid, "I saw it in Berlin and I was the only one laughing." We agreed that people here might be more open to the humor. But at this point, the third victim, the divine Chloë Sevigny, walked in and wasn't that open to questions about her omnipresent H&M store ad campaign. "I really don't want to talk about it," said Chloë, horrified. "I'm trying to pretend it's not out there. We all need a payday every once in a while. I'd rather do that than a bad movie that's going to be around forever." And she's turning down bad movies left and right, which is why, she said, she has not one thing on her plate after Psycho.
Moving on to bad TV, how about them there Oscars? "I was really disappointed," said Chloë, who was a Boys Don't Crynominee and a second-row attendee, but still found herself watching everything on the nearby TV screen. "It was more comfortable and familiar," she said. "Like, to see Jack Nicholsononstage, I'd rather just watch it on TV!" She wished the whole thing "had been more of a tearjerker. I wish something more interesting would have happened." Like winning? "No, I knew I wasn't going to win. It was just a given that they were going to keep it in the family and give it to Joliethey like the showy parts. She was goodI mean I'm not downplaying her performance at all." But how sick is it that she's doing the brother? "Oh yeahit's the last taboo," concurred Chloë, and we all had a good psycho laugh over thatwild party.
In other Boys Don't Cry news, hotshot director Kimberly Peircehas been hanging out very conspicuously with Courtney Love. She wantedto hear Hole, didn't she? Meanwhile, boys don't lie, and as sure as I'm a feisty Jewish woman, they've been telling me that Fashion Wire Daily's Joe Dolcemight land a power job at PlanetOut, which owns the two biggest gay magazines, The Advocate and Out. Maybe he can get me the money I'm still owed by Out. Then I could afford full-priced tickets to really bad plays.