NY Mirror

Enigmatic author JT Leroy's rich, racy work got an all-star reading at Barnes & Noble, the author furthering his myth by nervously crouching on the sidelines as celebs wrapped their pampered tongues around his prose (I MC'd). The calculated wackiness started beforehand, when Leroy—wearing a platinum wig, a face-covering visor, and ruby-red lipstick—leaned against the wall of the greenroom, tapping his foot like a jackhammer and whispering unintelligibly if anyone approached him. Comfortably seated nearby, celeb reader Norman Reedus's little son was trying to make sense of the Barbie sticker book that mama Helena Christensen had just bought him. ("It was the only sticker book I could find!" she explained, unnecessarily.) The choice made perfect sense at an event for Myth Thing Leroy, who was chewing his lip and looking ready to cry, as Sandra Bernhard told him, "This is one of life's beautiful moments. Enjoy it!" But the waif kept tapping and muttering, his lady love—a transsexual named Speedy—picking up the slack by announcing, "I'm cockney, I'm Jewish, and I'm gonna be in your face!" as she wrapped a raccoon penis (JT's emblem of honor) around my neck. What a fabulous freak show! (And by the way, Leroy's much bolder via e-mail, contacting all kinds of press people in a way that makes you wonder just how shy he really is.)

Animal genitals also prevailed at the Tony Awards, where The Goat won Best Play, though the bestiality-friendly voters clearly drew the line at wee-wee. Well, that's not stopping me! Though the creators of Urinetown (a/k/a The Wiz) told me they won't follow that up with a fecal show—I asked—I'm currently preparing a New Poo Revue (a/k/a What a Dump!) that'll wow 'em all next year. At the Tonys, one overheard all sorts of pesky poop. "I beat Susan Stroman! I can't believe it!" a choreographer was caught exulting. "I thought I was losing to the cow," admitted a triumphant costumer. (He meant the Into the Woods creature, not whoever.) And a Private Lives producer was saying his production's intent is to do Coward as if it were Ibsen. (That's way more effective than Hedda Gabler, which did Ibsen as if it were Coward.)

In another corner, Elaine Stritch was sobbing about "that fucking music" that cut off her speech. (By the way, Stritch had been asked to perform on the telecast, but declined, wanting for once not to "sing for my supper." She feels the Tonys have long dissed her, never asking her to be a presenter all these years. Her behavior is intermittently nuts, but she's earned the right.) My triumph was making Frank Langella unhappy, too, by asking if his Fortune's Fool fop is gay or just a fop. "Just a fop," he told me, adding, "What do you call yourself?" "Gay," I said. "Well, I'm just a fop," he said and walked off with a flourish. PS: If the play were called Fortune's Urine, it would surely be just a flop.

This is one of life's beautiful moments?: photographer Mick Rock, JT Leroy, and Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins.
photo: Speedy
This is one of life's beautiful moments?: photographer Mick Rock, JT Leroy, and Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins.

And now, may I wrap some gossip shaped like a raccoon dick around your privileged neck? First off, lady Madonna just won't stop acting. In fact, she and fellow blond legend Debbie Harry may both appear in an upcoming movie by Peter Greenaway, who's clearly the great leveler. Madge has also looked into remaking All About Eve and wanted Gwyneth Paltrow to play the young title character, but so much time has passed that now Reese Witherspoon's name is coming up. . . . The real blond, Sharon Stone, is saying she'll even consider supporting roles. . . . Call her Miss Sauced: I hear that after that proposed Supremes reunion tour fell apart, Diana Ross hit the bourbon bottle with brio. More recently, in her dressing room before her VH1 divas tribute, Di-Di-my-darling supposedly communed with white wine, which may have contributed to her urge to whine that night. I'm glad she's stopping in the name of love.

Let's also toast the workers who put out the fire at Buckingham Palace, thus sparing us the headline "Flaming Queen." . . . No connection here, but a German mag is sitting on Ricky Martin photos that may add more clarity to his ambiguity. . . . Someone should have sat on the press junket for Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which was apparently a glitchy-glitchy ya-ya nightmare. Spies say Ellen Burstyn wanted to do her roundtable interviews with Ashley Judd, who plays a younger version of Burstyn's character, but Judd preferred to do her Q&A's solo. The press allegedly waited for ages as this was hashed out, the result being that Burstyn left the building with a ya-mama.

Kathy Bates shows her yo-yos, getting naked and hot tub-bound in the upcoming About Schmidt. Jack Nicholson runs. . . . I look rather challenging in the buff myself, thanks to all these new foofy restaurants—like elmo, the nouvelle comfort-food shrine that's Chelsea's answer to Auntie Mame's living room, and Trailer Park, a miracle of kitsch memorabilia and burgers, with a roll of paper towels on the table to sop up all the cheese. But say goodbye to smegma! Those raunchy gay Magnum parties at the Park are kaput, thanks to a "legal technicality." Kathy Bates must have jumped into the hot tub.

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