NY Mirror

If we can catch up, kids: Rudy was named Time's Man of the Year (an honor previously attained by Hitler and Stalin—yes, I know that's a cheap shot, but so's your Mother); a freak went aboard a plane with a rigged sneaker (thereby redefining "Those shoes are the bomb!"); and Madonna reportedly made hubby reshoot movie footage when she didn't care for the way she looked. (Perhaps they should stick the finished product in the heel of a psychopath's Manolo Blahnik.)

And Hollywood already released a whole batchof cinematic sour balls, aggressively putting runs in our Christmas stockings. (By the way, can I please have a quarter for every Oscar wannabe Rolling Stonecalls "one of the best movies of the year"?) The upshot? Well, Alilacks a certain, er, punch, and if, like me, you don't like boxing, chances are you won't particularly care for, duh, a boxing film. The equally lengthy Lord of the Ringsis beautiful and grandiose, like an old Cecil B. DeMille epic on extra crack, but honey, I was bored shitless. One more close-up of someone holding the damned ring and this thing would be ready for the Home Shopping Club.

The Majestic—which posed an even more serious nuclear threat than India-versus-Pakistan—is also pristinely shot, but it's much more banal than the original Hollywood clichés it's paying homage to. I saw only the first half, but noticed that Jim Carrey has become hideously life-affirming, earnestly underacting in a way that's really just another form of overacting. ( Russell Crowe—you know, "He's smart! He's schizo! He's straight!"—is way better at that kind of flashy subtlety.) And Kate & Leopoldoffensively trades on Breakfast at Tiffany's, repeatedly alluding to that chestnut as if this will automatically invest it with classic New York love story status. The difference between the two movies? "Wider than a mile." (On the bright side, at least Monsters, Inc. has a really hot sex scene. No, wait, that was Monster's Ball. Never mind.)

Just another small-town Saturday night: the scene at D.C.’s Velvet Nation
photo: Michael Wighita/courtesy Metro Weekly
Just another small-town Saturday night: the scene at D.C.’s Velvet Nation

The murder-among-the-lobsters drama In the Bedroomremains the favorite of a lot of critics—"one of the best," etc.—and Marisa Tomei will no doubt nab a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for it. Ring any bells? Tomei infamously beat out three Brits and an Aussie for an Oscar in '92, and people have been bitching and moaning ever since, insistently claiming the wrong name was read by the presenter. Well, this year, she'll probably be up against the high-toned, accented likes of Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, and Kate Winslet, and I can already hear the caterwauling. Shut the fuck up, youse—she's good!

And now—I'mgood—let's pack up our lobsters and move on to Washington, D.C., one of the gayest places on earth, not to mention one of the best movies of the year! (I just went.) In Dupont Circle—a/k/a the Fruit Loop—and beyond, the queers are everywhere, gagging at the architecture, delighting in the power plays, and marveling at the afternoon sex parties. In between all the political posturing, there are enough recreational options for you to retain veto power. At a pre-Stonewallish gay steak house named Annie's, the gay steak is tasty and the flamboyant waiter will gladly tell you the history of his jewelry. Rather have chicken? You can quietly grope a go-go boy at Secrets, a tunnel-like hangout studded with boyishly diverse dancers who gleefully flash their wee-wees. (In New York, that's topped only by XXX Thursdays at the Hole, where they actually dothings with their wee-wees; thank God that Man of the Year was only for lastyear).

Crawl through Secrets' men's room—it's basically a small town—and you get to something called Ziegfeld's, where the trannies put on a cabaret show with retro material ( Liza Minnelli's "Cabaret") and banter ("Everybody say, 'Hey, bitch!' "), though the spirits sometimes get as high as the hair. As a special treat, a Secrets go-go boy doubles as a spiritual singer, gravely massacring "O Holy Night" with clothes on. But the real stars are the audience, who make a point of grandly tipping the performers, a ritual that lifts them out of repression and bonds them to the gay experience. (I'd rather be cheap.)

Apparently, straights will pay to be part of the experience, too. A ballsy Adams Morgan area restaurant called Perry's brings out a handful of hets for a $22.95 drag brunch that doesn't even include coffee. What it did get us was a show featuring some of the same queens we'd seen the previous night at Ziegfeld's! (I toldyou it's a small town.) Stick to Velvet Nation Saturdays at Nation, a zesty, sprawling dance club where the eclectic patrons adopt a self-deprecating attitude ("D.C. is the worst"), a sentiment that prompts them to festively jump on any New Yorkers that come around. My friends and I were descended on by three shirtless guys on both Oxy-10 and "oxycotton" who ground their butts into our crotches within five seconds of saying hello. Forget the Washington Monument; we found the real landmarks, and it's not such a small town after all.

Back in our own burg, nightlife is already lifting itself out of the Rudy-era torpor in restless spurts of hedonism. In addition to that XXX thing I mentioned, non-dance clubs are shadily (and excitingly) encouraging dancing, one gay lounge clearing away tables for some New Year's cha-cha-cha that clicked. I guess the feeling is that Bloomberg won't notice or, if he does, he won't care—and if that's true, I'll gladly name the guy Man of the Millennium!

But we have some more catching up to do, chickens: Cher's upcoming Living ProofCD is lots of fun but has so much of that "Believe" voice-machine stuff that if her ex-hubby suddenly came back from the dead, they'd be Sonny and Vocoder. . . . Cher's young pal, Britney Spears, has been making the gay scene with Justin Timberlake, as you've heard, the couple observing the action at more than one swishy club. I'm sure they'll stop when one of the go-go boys puts clothes on and sings "O Holy Night." . . . In other acne-related news, the trailers for the next Star Warsmovie make it look like Dawson's Creek Goes to Outer Space, and that's fine with me.

Getting back to the gay-friendly stuff—and the retro material—wouldn't it be nice if this new hubby of Liza's proves just the right ticket for her? Wouldn't it be, well, terrific if he provides the key to her future happiness, the end to her fragile neediness, and a really sane match—sort of like mama and Mark Herron? Hello? Hello? . . . Can we light a match to the shoes of all those critics who idiotically said gay Nathan Lane couldn't possibly be convincing as a womanizer in that flop TV series a few years ago? (The show's problems lay elsewhere.) Guess what those same scribes spent every second of 2001 doing? Scrambling to get tickets, any tickets, to see Nathan Lane play a womanizer in The Producers!

Meanwhile, I've come upon the only incontrovertible statement in all of showbiz these days: How cute is that Dell elf, huh? . . . But I hate to have to put this in my Dell: In the saddest news ever, culty drag queen Faye Runway recently killed herself, supposedly because she didn't feel beautiful or relevant anymore. How wrong she was!

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