By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Sushi and stand-up make strange bedfellows over at Shiki's Japanese restaurant, "where the comedy is as raw as the fish." John Femia emcees the weekend parade of comicssome shaky, some less so, but all so spirited that when they're not on, they stand outside literally pulling customers into the place by force. Soon your arm is as raw as the fish.
You want laughs but no dinner? At Rock-N-Roll Disco Rated Xthe new Saturday rock night at Opalinethere's a special no-pants dance zone, a moderately racy room where you're required to drop trou before you even think of getting down. On opening night, the ones with all-forgiving baggy underwear clearly had gotten the memo in advance. The rest unveiled raw fish.
No underwear either? Try Streakin'. Relax, it's a '70s revue at Babalu that verges on glorified karaoke, but works when it puts its energetic cast in funny contextslike a sequence in which a Carrie-type sings "Last Dance" as she uses her telekinetic powers to zap a guy dressed as all six Village People. It may not be a direct stairway to heaven, but in its own dippy way, Streakin' does leave you with a smiley face.
For a giggle and some "tantric tikka," there's K, "a Kama Sutra lounge" co-owned by various Chopras upstairs at Bombay Palace, throwing together the serene and the kitschy as if mixing chalk and cheese (no, sushi and stand-up). The highlight on opening night came when a staffer spilled a drink all over Deepak Chopra, who remained impressively calm and focused. So did I as I licked it up on all fours.
Upstairs at the Supper Club? There was the "official grand opening" of the King Kong Room, which was odd since I so vividly remember the last official grand opening. But however many times these people want to make excuses to hand out free Diet Cokes and some bar nuts, I'll be there. This bash's apex came when, over easy-listening jazz, a woman in a wheelchair was dramatically lifted down the stairs by caring studs. "She was a big publicist," I was told by an official. "Pedro Almodóvarbased a character in a coma on her!"
Not comatose at all was the very first grand opening of the Paramount Bar, a randy boîte that juxtaposes fancy glass fixtures with Sam Truitt wall graffiti like "The smoke drifts up from our lives. Who are we signaling to?" As I read that, Kelly Osbourne drifted up into the room, exuding charm in her new frosted-blonde pouf 'do. I told Kelly she looks like a young Madonna (in her "Papa Don't Preach" phase, interestingly) and she said, "Everyone's been saying that to me. I feel like such a twat!" I know the feeling.
I felt even worse when Damon Dash's cameo-studded Death of a Dynasty screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and my credit at the end turned out to be way longer than my entire part! But the moviea light, overstretched spoofdoes spend time making merciless fun of P. Diddy, who's portrayed as a mincing, self-promoting asshole. As for Dash himself? Before the movie, he'd plugged his record label, clothes line, and vodka to the crowd, sardonically adding, "If I think of anything more to promote, I'll cut the movie." But by then I'm sure he was on to his nightclub.
Some morphine with your Long Day's Journey Into Night? No, try caffeineit's four hours long, which is more time than I've even spent with my own family at one sitting. But the revival is done with devastating depth of feeling, Brian Dennehy redeeming himself after Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three's Companyand Vanessa Redgrave giving one of those magisterial performances for the ages as the disillusioned dope addict mom. During one of the intermissions, Enchanted April's Elizabeth Ashley gushed about Redgrave, "I've never seen anything so pure, so honest, so dangerous. It gives you fucking faith!"
So truebut I just lost it again on remembering the horrific ending of America's Most Talented Kid. (Yes, I can effortlessly segue from O'Neill to trash TV. It's called range.) This pint-sized rip-off of American Idol, replete with an ethnic '80s judge, climaxed with a showdown between a young Asian classical music prodigy who truly owned that piano and a blond, pretty Jewel wannabe emitting some whiny folk song about her surfacey feelings. Corruptly enough, the shiksa won and I've been furiously throwing out my ponchos ever since.
But let's toss out all our clothes (including the pants and baggy underwear) and talk porno, OK? It's, like, taking over America, becoming legitimized as couples blatantly enjoy it and rappers put adult stars in videos. A case in point is Gina Lynn, the petite, saucer-eyed blonde who made a career leap when Eminem cast her as his lover-antagonist in "Superman" (you know, "Bitch, you make me hurl"). Over lunch at the Palm last week, Lynn told me that Eminem went with her instead of Shannon Elizabeth for the role after he saw her as a stripper in Analyze That. "He had no name for me," she said. "He didn't even know I did adult films." (Hmm, I bet he did!) "He's very sincere and sweet," she addedin fact, the rapper's only caveat to her was to not wear too-high heels because then she'd be way taller than he is!