By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
The quietude started on the way in, when I mimed, "I'm on the guest list," then shockingly continued into the world of enforced near-soundlessness, except for the voice inside my head yelling, "This is not right!" Arms were flailing and lips were moving, but all that was coming out were light whispers and an occasional cosmo slurp. The back half of the place was a designated no-talking-at-all area, and since it looked mildly V.I.P.-ish, I barreled right over there, for once not afraid someone would yelp, "Come see me at Joe's Pub!" The tables were filled with Scrabble boards and hundreds of slips of paper for the smirky but game crowd to scrawl dialogue onand no one even wrote, "Come see me at Joe's Pub!"
Sure, some of the scribbled chitchat was as banal as real talking ("What brings you here?"), but for the most part, the correspondence game freed people to be livelier than usual, one harridan penciling "Fuck you" to my friend without much provocation. ("Fuck me" would have been more to the point.) By the end, I was convinced that this gimmicky mute emporium is the way things ought to be, though the waiter who kept pushing through the crowd with cups of sizzling cocoa, unable to say "Excuse me," was so terrifying I now feel clubs need dumb talk and bad DJs.
Any remaining solace ended with the premiere of Irreversible by Gaspar Noé (as in Noé, José), who clearly felt it wasn't disturbing enough to portray a brutal rape and the animalistic aftermathhe had to show it all backwards! The result is riveting, important, punky, loud filmmaking that usually has audiences jumping out of windows, so dire warnings now precede it, with a smile. "It's normal to feel bad during the first half," Noé assured the crowd before the screening. "Walk out, have a cigarette. The second half is much sweeter." Well, maybe because smoking is illegal, not one person left, even during the Club Rectum scenes (which, by the way, may not win gay pride awards, though the homophobe is even worse than the gays). "Whoever organized this has chosen a tough audience," Noé admiringly told me afterward, as I nodded appreciatively, hiding chunks of vomit in my cheeks.
At the Café Lebowitz after-bash, Yoko Ono gushed, "Very powerful," and her son Sean's girlfriend, Bijou Phillips, chimed in, "It was really violent, but amazing. Then again I liked The Sound of Music." Well what could be more violent than those lousy Nazisor my reaction during "Climb Every Mountain"?
My heels were alive at the Olica restaurant dinner for designer Anand Jon, whose show had its own fatal streak; "It was from the point of view of someone fading away and hallucinating Valkyries," Jon told me, as no one yelled, "Done that!" Fashion Week sure won't fade away, even in a burnt-sienna-alert pre-war era. "We're dressing people up in skimpy outfits and there's blood on our hands," Jon noted, bemused. Hey, it's a look.
And now I have some skimpily clad, rectally bleeding gossip for you: Gay porn star Jeff Stryker is doing a country album, and I hear one of the songs on it will feature the lilting refrain "I'm gonna pop you in the pooper." That should do really well on the poop charts.
In a lovelier career stretch, the Olsen twins are coming out with perfumes, and my spies say that the gals, while trying desperately to enter adulthood, are straining not to be too sexy for the ultra-conservative Wal-Mart. Did you ever think those cute little monkeys would ever be too sexy for anything?
Too sexy for Broadway, Tony Curtis has been touring in Some Like It Hot: The Musicalwhich, no fool, I hopped a PATH train to catch at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newarkand though this time Tony plays Osgood the millionaire trannie chaser, he keeps things familiar by basically playing himself. The old-timer floats around the stage in tight outfits, croaking out lyrics like "Even naughty old men need love" while groping a bevy of nurses. Alas, the show around hima revise of an old tuner called Sugaris partly set in '20s Chicago, which is probably a bad comparison point at this moment, especially since Hot's not-so-hot songs too often serve up the fuzzy end of the lollipop. (The score seems made for regular rotation at the Quiet Party.) But it was bizarrely amusing to see Curtis feel no pain as he broke the barely existent fourth wall while doing minimal dances and flubbing lines. ("I'm your Daphne . . . you're my Daphne," he said, later stammering to one of the drag queens, "I wanted to tell you . . . What did I want to tell you?") Come see him at Joe's Pub.
What I wanted to tell you is that Off-Broadway, Little Fish is a banal self-help musical about a whiny white lady with inane problems and a pressing need to sing about them. By the time Anne Frank shows up to teach the woman some life lessons, this thing starts to make Dr. Phil's show look trenchant.
More perceptively, Jonathan Tolins's The Last Sunday in June spoofs the conventions of gay theaterthe bitchy humor, melodramatic revelations, and inevitable surprise visitorwhile embracing and updating them, all on Gay Pride Day. The play's most controversial charactereven more than the muscle guy with a brainis the disgruntled gay who marries a woman, played like a lit keg by Mark Setlock of Fully Committed fame. At the opening night party at Lips, Setlock told me he's now fully committed to compiling people's fetishes (with the help of a Dan Savage plug, as it were), in hopes of doing a kinky theater piece that'll really pop folks in the pooper. The response so far? "My favorite is from a woman who likes to pee on doll heads," Setlock said. (No, it's not Michael Jackson.) There's also a priest who likes sacramental-wine enemaswell, naughty old men need loveand a gentleman who, ever since seeing Woody Woodpecker cartoons, fetishizes the haircutting process; go figure. Interestingly, Setlock wants to use Ella Fitzgerald songs in the project. You knowscat!
Finally, my particular fetish has always been the hoopla around the Oscar nominations, so I'm sitting here all aroused as I gloat about how 92 percent of my predictions were right on the money. But it's hard to get too excited about that rotten Best Song category, mostly filled with irrelevant stinkers (though it'll be fun to hear the words "Oscar nominee Eminem" till eternity). Also out of tune is the fact that Salma Hayek nabbed Meryl Streep's slotbut at least Nicole Kidman got in there, so I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that a vote for Nicole is a vote against Tom. That's right, Academy members, if you have any decency whatsoever, you'll make very sure that Nicole winsit'll drive Tom crazy! (But I'll be quiet now.)
Michael Musto talks about Michael Jackson on the 10 O'Clock News on Fox 5 NY, February 20, 2003.