NY Mirror

Now that it was clear we were both put-ons who couldn't care less about the state of French cinema, Akerman and I were able to stop being held la captive by cross-purposes. Relaxing out of her mannequin mode for a second, the director admitted she only saw four films last year—"otherwise I sit home and watch TV. What do you want me to say? I only hear Jewish jokes." She told one and it was way less offensive than the Cahiers du Cinéma talk across the room. Alas, when the conversation at the table turned to tabloid dish, Akerman got agitated again, saying, "You Americans are so loud! And you're talking about things I don't know!" By that point I was so entranced by the rambunctious auteur I would gladly even see one of her films.

But can we put that on hold for just le minute? More pressing was the chance to check out the state of American theater with Starmites 2001, the Off-Broadway revisal of the 1989 Broadway musical that became famous as a giant flop that somehow nabbed six Tony nominations. The millions of people who missed the culty comic-book pastiche the first time around have been desperate to catch the new version in order to restore their theater-queen credentials. The verdict? It still feels inconsequential and a bit lame, though it's generally good-natured, well sung, and even has a new Napster joke. But don't ask me—I'm not a sociologist.

That other sci-fi toe-tapper, Bat Boy: The Musical, is feisty but rather bloodless, though at the opening night party at the W last week, guests like Monica Lewinsky and Woody Allen (separate) definitely brought my fangs out. I asked Woody if he was there because it's a scandal show and he's a scandal star. No, he said, "I'm a friend of Jean Doumanian [his—and Bat Boy's—producer]. I had to speak against the building of a building tonight, but I'll see the show this weekend." Building a kinship with moi, actress J. Smith-Cameron murmured, "When Woody squints in the paparazzi's glare, he looks a little like Bat Boy." Her equally esteemed hubby, You Can Count On Me author Kenneth Lonergan, admitted he wasn't worried about Gladiator as a screenplay competitor for the Oscar (alas, they both lost) and also advised me on how to watch the awards show: "Throw balled socks at the screen when there's a moment you don't like." Honey, there aren't that many socks in the world!


musto@villagevoice.com

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