NY Mirror

The Tony awards were their usual compelling exercise in flashy esoterica, and though people in Des Moines probably weren't glued to their sets wondering if Roy Dotrice would beat Derek Smith, I cared—and he did. The show ran smoothly—I loved Rosie O'Donnell's coming-out joke and also her assuming the part of the drag queen with AIDS in the Rent number—but my favorite moment was snarky Michael John LaChiusarolling his eyes at Nathan Lane's James Brownimpression. He was rewarded with four Tony losses.

In the press room, the winners tried to control themselves as we brought them down with demoralizing questions. What happened to the pyramid in Aida? "We turned it into a laser," said the lighting designer. What's it like playing a drunk? "I learned it at my father's knee, didn't I?" said Dotrice. Will Kristin Chenoweth(who just split with Wild Party's Marc Kudisch) really play Gooch in Barbra's TV Mame? "I'm not available because of my TV show," Kristin told me. "I'd give anything to work for her . . . with her." What's next for Dame Edna? "I'm thinking of going into Donna Hanover's slot in The Vagina Monologues. The word slot is quite appropriate, don't you think?"

As the night wore on and Mae West lost the Best Play slot to nuclear physics, Blair Brownassured us that "there's no quiz at the end of Copenhagen," Sharon Lawrencesaid she turned down Kiss Me, Kate, and that unlikely Macbeth, Kelsey Grammer, admitted, "I may be the largest target to present myself in a long time."

But all theater honors stopped right there. As the second biggest target in a long time, am I the only sensible playgoer who's a little unnerved to see John Simon's quote, "You should not miss this," in ads for that screed against hate and gay-bashing, The Laramie Project? What next—" 'The Diary of Anne Frankis a supremely moving experience,' crows Austrian demagogue Jörg Haider"?

Some Paxil must have been put in the tap water because a lot of unlikely folks suddenly want a place at the tea dance. But Eminem's staying true to his hideous convictions, with raps like "You faggots keep egging me on/'Til I have you at knifepoint/Then you beg me to stop?" As a result, a Fab! editor named Gay Boy Ricjust sent an incensed letter to MTV's top three execs—including the openly gay one— demanding to know how they could so enthusiastically back such a dangerously delusional creep. But hey, I hear Eminem liked The Laramie Project.

If your blood isn't boiling enough from that—or Survivor (which is like throwing Christians to the lions, except the Christians are calling their agents and begging for it)—get this: In the wake of the SAG/ AFTRA strike on commercial work, Southwestern Bell was all set to do a nonunion shoot last week at Rikers Island, which our city gave them full permission to use! But thanks to pressure from SAG, Rikers reneged, the shooting was diverted, and no one has to go to the big dollhouse.

Oh, while the TV's on, I am so sick of uppity people shrieking, "What? You don't have HBO? How can you live without The Sopranos?" Well, guess what, freaks? I was perfectly alive the last time I checked, and the more people say I absolutely must watch that massively overexposed show, the more certain I am that I can keep on surviving without it. (And that's coming from a guido goombah supreme.) No, I can't possibly live without Altoids or air or a place called the Big Enchilada, but without The Sopranos, I'll somehow get by and will even clutch at some occasional happiness. But just as I've convinced these snobs of boob-tube culture that I'm not some vile aberration of humanity, they start screeching, "What? You've never seen Sex and the City? How can you even exist?" Well, guess what, fuckers? I hadn't and I do, and I had no intention of ever checking its overexposed ass the fuck out—ever!

But, um, last week—let me explain—HBO had a gala screening of Sex's new episodes and I couldn't help crawling toward it with legs akimbo. (I learned it at my father's knee, didn't I?) See, it suddenly felt like it wasn't really a TV show, it was a night out, kinda like a movie. What's more, it was free, star-studded, and involved an after-dinner. If Just Shoot Me!came with an invite, celebrities, and a meal, I might even go to see that. So I went, and though I still feel I could have lived without it, I must say it was a fun, kooky, dirty update of How to Marry a Millionaire—the word slot is quite appropriate—with the four vaginal vixens getting plowed by firemen, little people, and, in Sarah Jessica Parker's case, a politician who wants to be peed on. (Wait a minute! Candace Bushnell—the sex columnist whose life the show is rather based on—went out with a politician, Al D'Amato! But Bushnell bristled when I brought this up, saying, "This is completely ridiculous. That is a really cheap thought. I have nothing to do with the writing of those shows. That's probably Darren's [creator?writer Darren Star's] idea of a joke. The guy has nothing to do with Al. . . . Al's a great guy! He will sue you!" OK, Candace—it's not him. But relax, water sports don't happen to bad people.)

At the party at Guastavino's afterward, we pee-ons clutched for cheeseballs and Cynthia Nixon, who's delightfully dry as Miranda, the Eve Arden/Celeste Holmcharacter. Nixon was horrified that I'd been a Sexvirgin until that night, but all was forgiven when I told her she's the Eve Arden/Celeste Holm character ("God bless you!"). Will Miranda commit to the doofy but decent boyfriend who's trying to get her to do so? "I think she will—for a time," Nixon said, on her way to the dinner. "Nothing is forever on Sex and the City." By the way, though one Sex character says the country was fucked by Nixon because no one wanted to fuckNixon, they don't mean Cynthia.

As I left, Kim Cattrall—the show's sex-crazed Samantha—was telling a young woman, "Your outfit is so Samantha!" The babe was wearing a faux leopard skirt, flashy fuck-me pumps, and way too much jewelry. It was a very cute exchange—but I still won't watch The Sopranos.

Women eschew firemen's hoses, and in fact allmale tools, in But I'm a Cheerleader, a thin but very bright farce about a camp that unsuccessfully tries to deprogram potential queers. ("A stunning social commentary," says John Travolta.) At a party celebrating the New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival opening-night showing of the film, its droll star, Natasha Lyonne, told me, "I don't even know if my character Megan's necessarily gay. She just fell in love. Then again, the girl she falls in love with was her first orgasm. Maybe she does like the puss." The puss? I love this girl (if not the puss)!

As for that slypuss, pop cheerleader Christina Aguilera, my sources swear that her backup-dancer beau broke up with her between songs! No wonder halfway through the set the vocals seemed to get a little bitter as the choreography soared.

Finally, Madonna—who, I hear, they're turning into a laser—is understandably upset that her upcoming song "Music" was leaked onto the Internet, but there's a ray of light. It's trippy, retro, electro, and fabulous—her best record in years! Michael Musto says: "You should not miss this"—when it officially comes out in four months, that is.

musto@villagevoice.com

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