By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
It's Oscar-movie time, when disabilities are trotted out and sugarcoated, so you're not terribly upset as various performers cutely spazz up a storm in order to go for the gold. Coming up, we have Sean Penn as a lovable, mentally retarded Starbucks employee (and no, that's not the only kind they have); Russell Crowe as a paranoid-schizophrenic Nobel Prize winner; Dame Judi Dench as a famous novelist with Alzheimer's; and Jim Carreyas a suspected Commie who'll spend three hours of your life trying to get his memory back. Cheer on their impairments! Admire their brilliance! Wish you could go unconscious!
And be thrilled that they're not (badly) remaking the good old Oscar winners about the mentally challengedlike Charly, whose glamorous costar Claire Bloom just told me at her Academy salute, "There's so little brains around that they probably will remake it. They're remaking everything!" (I didn't remind her that there already was a rotten Broadway musical based on the property.)
Meanwhile, Oscar winner Hilary Swank jump-starts the French Revolution through jewelry in the lush The Affair of the Necklace, and though the reviews have been lousy, at least it's not a disability flick called The Affair of the Neckbrace. The ceaselessly charming Ivana Trumpcohosted the premiere and told me, "I have a special feel for the movie because it was shot in Prague and I'm Czech. In fact, I acted in three movies as a child for the Barandov Studio. But I didn't have the patience to sit in trailers day after dayand you need to have talent!" Still, she must have been a cute little bouncing Czech.
When the epic ended, Ivana cooed, "It was beautiful. I'm not that crazy about a necklace, but I love to dress up!" (By the way, she was wearing a necklace the size of Staten Island, and spies say she banged on the doors of a closed bank to get it out of the vault for this event!) In another corner, Swank gushed to me, "The costumes were beautiful. Milena Canonerois a complete . . . " "Bitch?" I said, smirking, and director Charles Shyer, thinking I was being serious, said, "Well, she's a perfectionist and that can be interpreted as . . . " (I love trapping these people into uncorking truthlets.)
And there was yet more sooth to be said, over drop earrings and prosciutto. At a follow-up dinner at Ecco! hosted by Ivana and writer Richard Turley, zesty pardon queen Denise Richentertained me with tidbits like "The king of Swaziland decreed that if anyone tries to have sex with a girl under 19, they have to sell their cow." ("Who needsa stupid cow anyway?" might be a common response.) More personally, Rich revealed that she recently called the police when she saw a lot of ambiguous-looking white stuff falling outside her window. The woman actually thought terrorist planes were dropping something dangerous, but once the cops finally came over, they determined what the shit really waspollen! So Bin Ladenis now going after our allergies? That diabolical bastard!
Some respite for itchy sinuses and cranky minds? John Leguizamo's zippy new showwhich should be retitled The Pinga Monologuesis like a really good fuck. And at Caroline's, Mario Cantonethe funniest man (andwoman) in the free worlddid his own hilarious sex monologue, starting by noticing a table of West Virginians and shrieking, "There are fucking children in the room! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" Cantone barreled on like a porn star, assaulting the likes of Michael Jackson("a Precious Moments figurine"), September 11 ("It happened just when I was coming out of my depression"), and Anne Heche("That fucking douche bag! She can't take care of her fucking self, and she's having a baby? 'Oh, Anne, what a lovely victimyou have'!")
By the way, Mario recorded the voice of the campy flamingo for the Macy's ninth-floor puppet show about Percy the penguinnot that I paid $2.50, sat with the screaming toddlers, and watched the thing, mind you. (Well, all right, I did; it was over that long weekend, and I thought it could be a sort of Puppetry of the Penguin. Besides, it was a chance to catch more Mario, seeing as they postponed Assassins, in which he was going to play the guy who wanted to hijack a plane and crash it into the White House to kill Nixon. "I know how to pick 'em!" said the comic, vigorously kicking himself.)
That infantilizingly boring weekend also brought me to the new Toys "R" Us in Times Squarefour timeswhere the gigantic indoor Ferris wheel is a wonderful, sick touch that FAO Schwarz will probably need to top with some falling pollen. You have to buy tickets hours in advance, but that gives you time to play with Nutcracker Barbie and think about how, if Times Square plunges economically, the ride will become a gigantic porno wheel!
Speaking of raw penetration, I hear folks have copped some great heedthat's how Heidi Klumpronounced legendary designer Edith Head's last name on the supermodel version of Millionairedownstairs at Triple XXX, Dean Johnson's and Johnny McGovern's gay Thursday night party at the Hole. Upstairs, I asked the DJ, Lily of the Valleywho memorably played a drag queen in Wonder Boysabout his new Toyota commercial, in which he wildly makes out with a girl in the desert. "I'm versatile!" exclaimed Lily, who could probably even do disabilities.