NY Mirror

A few entrées away, the sensational Adrien Brody wasn't carrying around his Oscar nomination plaque, even with punctuation. I asked the rising star about Iraq and he started to answer—he's anti-war—but his publicist promptly shrieked, "Party questions!" All right, something lighter: What about Polanski's statutory rape conviction? "It's constantly discussed," said Brody, "and it's a distraction from how magnificent the film is. I never chose to get involved with that. It's not my place. I feel the film is amazing, and it's so far in the past." Well, I feel Polanski should win just for having done—I mean directed—Rosemary's Baby.

There was no Pianist envy at Nothing Like a Dame 2003, benefiting the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative—the entertaining all-star revue reveled in its own big ovaries. Columnist Liz Smith and ex-Texas governor Ann Richards were very cute duetting on "I'm an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande)," and afterward, Liz told Ann, "You are a handsome piece of horseflesh—or I mean woman flesh, whatever you are." Another highlight had Kathleen Turner emerging with her woman flesh covered for a change, but her mic not working, as a certain tension took over the room. A frantic stagehand raced out with a second mic, which also didn't work, and by time he ran out with a third one, the understandably peeved Turner threw him a look that so clearly said "shove it," it sent chills. (She simply projected, sans electronics, and was fine.)

Alas, there's one less belle to answer—Sarah Pettit, the Out co-founder turned Newsweek senior editor who tragically died of lymphoma recently. The Quaker memorial service for Pettit brought out a gorgeous bunch of gay literati who eloquently summed up her brilliance, rage, recipes, impatience, and lust for life. It was all so trenchant that I sat there wondering how I could book these people to spice up my own memorial or at least my musical. Among other tidbits, we learned that a writer who was late with a rewrite once explained to Pettit, "My boyfriend with AIDS is getting a shunt put in his head," to which she memorably replied, "That excuse might work in Boston, but it won't fly in New York!" God, I miss the bitch.

illustration: Anthony Freda


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