By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
In a fit of curiosity, I dragged my sculpted culo all the way to Jackson Heights for the Mr. Zodiacs 2001 contest at Zodiacs Tavern, and it was well worth the nosebleed and the $1.50. Zodiacs is a small, festive, Latin-flavored glitz palace, filled with serious trannies, scary trannies, baby trannies, and some gay homeys and go-go boys, all blissfully oblivious to the handful of Manhattanite drop-ins wielding binoculars and tour books. The place exudes a sweet but frisky feeling reminiscent of the old Times Square, and once the crinkly silver curtain opened to reveal the Mylar-studded stage, we were privy to one of those long, ribald evenings we've been craving since Gaiety customers stopped being allowed to place tips in anyone's thong. (Tippingnow, thatwas the bane of New York living, wasn't it?)
Over a sumptuous buffet of popcorn and chips, judges Les Simpson, Sweetie, and I rated a succession of male dancers on Presentation, Body, Costume, Performance, and Confidence. (There was no question-and-answer segment, more emphasis being placed on a big piece than world peace.) The contestants danced their shaved heinies off, generally starting with tasteful moves in all-concealing monk's robes, only to end up in cock socks, humping the floor like escaped sexaholics in search of an orifice. The winner, Jay, was exciting and a bit dangerous looking, though allthe guys were simultaneously hunky/edgy enough to be headline material over the bridge. I love you, Queens!
But let's stay on the island for now and sample what passes for provocative entertainment in the newTimes Square, shall we? Judgment at NurembergGod, my range is amazinghas been resurrected as a Broadway show, prompting one (all right, me) to wonder if it's eligible for a Tony nomination for Confidence, I mean Best New Play. At the show, I asked author Abby Mann about this very issue, and he cutely enough said he has no idea, "but that would be great!" Well, I checked later and it's indeed in the runningthough, alas, it ain't all that good.
Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Loveeligibleis an academe's delight, with lines like "The science of textual criticism must aim for degrees of likelihood," woo-ha! The show's not for the Blast! crowdin fact, the Playbillcomes with so much material about aesthetics and classical scholarship, it makes all the background info provided for Copenhagenlook like a Family Circusstrip. But though I found Act I boringly didactic, Act II came dramatically aliveand that's coming from an extraordinarily demanding textual critic (and Mr. Zodiacs judge), like, OK?
Downtown, David and Amy Sedaris's The Book of Lizis a dryly amusing comedy about a woman with an enchanted cheese-ball recipe who gets a job at a pilgrim theme restaurant thanks to a Ukrainian pal who dresses like Mr. Peanut and speaks with a cockney accent. ("It's been done!" I can hear you all screaming.) "This is our Masterpiece Theatreshow," David told me at the opening-night party at Fez. "We wanted to do something that would fit the room, and the room looks like a place where religious fanatics and alcoholics would gather." No wonder I knew half the audience. David's sis Amy, who plays the cheese-ball lady, told me she'sfanatical about cranking out the cupcakes they sell in Liz's theater lobby, along with $12 cheese balls. Is she prouder of her acting or the cupcakes? "Sophie's choice!" Amy exclaimed. "Well, I love leaving with cash in my hand." So the cupcakes? "Yes," she said, laughing.
That kooky kreplach Jackie Hoffman also sat down for a chat, though the play's flack was pulling her to do NY1 instead. "I hate everybody," said Jackie (a riot as the peanut person and other crazed characters). "Today at ICM, I almost killed a baby." But you can't kill Rosemary's Baby, which Jackie will costar in when the Tweed Theater company campily resurrects it. As Ruth Gordon? "No, as John Cassavetes," she deadpanned.
The TV movie of South Pacific had Glenn Closerating somewhere between Mitzi Gaynorand Mary Martin, but though the whole thing strove for a p.c. blamelessness, the woman who played Bloody Mary was an outrageous nightmare, like something out of that old "Ancient Chinese secret, huh?" commercial crossed with Margaret Cho's grandmother on All-American Girl. I was hungry an hour later.
Meanwhile, I'm craving the upcoming gay kiss on Dawson's Creek, which I hear they've shot two versions ofone juicy, one fuzzyand are nervously deciding which to go for. Honey, I'll be judging on Presentation, Body, and lots of tongue.
Some random lip smackings inspired by the Oscars: Traffictook all the fun out of drugs. Cast Awayhad the worst product placement in historyI'll never fly Federal Express again. Pollockwas a labor of love that I hated (if admired). O Brother, Where Art Thou? was up for Best Adapted Screenplay, but the Coenbrothers have admitted they never read the source material, The Odyssey. I bet the kidnappers would immediately give Russell Crowe back. The tensest preshow moment came when Joan Riversasked Juliette Binocheto turn around and show off her outfit, only to have Binoche respond, "I'm not a model." What can one say about Dino De Laurentiis? The Bible, Barabbas, Orca, King Kong, Waterloo. 'Nuff said? Steve Martinwas so funny and cutting I bet they never ask him back. Björk's song was the best and the worst thing ever on the Oscars, the runner-up being a tie between her swan dress and Danny DeVito's carrot .