By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
Mess with Michael Douglas and it might not be the war of the Roses, but it won't be pretty either. Paula Schwartz, who does legwork for Joyce Wadler's Boldface Names column in the Times, can tell you about it, having inadvertently made Gordon Gekko's tongue dart. Schwartz says she was recently escorted out of an event for The In-Laws because the generally likable Douglasor at least his publicist, Alan Burrydidn't appreciate what she'd written about the premiere of his last icky film, It Runs in the Family. Imagine what he'd do to Jayson Blair.
To explain: Schwartz had been invited to the In-Lawsparty, then dis-invited, so she sauntered in with an invited journo friend, planning not to work the event. "I had words with her at the party," Burry admitted to me last week. "I said, 'Thanks for the snotty little article you wrote.' " (Using Schwartz's reporting, Wadler's column had cracked that Douglas's current wife's jewelry is way bigger than his previous one's, though it also noted "a good deal of happiness and family affection" at the premiere.) When I told Burry I felt the piece mixed the edgy with the upbeat, he said, "We went out of our way to make time for her. Why did she have to write snotty things?"
Still, Burry insists Schwartz wasn't escorted out"If you write snotty things, I don't think you get asked to leave, but you get told off"though Schwartz swears security took her to the door mere moments after Burry's hissy fit. (By the way, when I throw one of those, snotty things fly out of my nose.) Says Wadler, "How much of a threat does someone pose at the buffet table? We reporters are well trained and tend not to fling sliced meat at people." But she does recommend the tossing of some Valium.
Press are being punished in other ways too. A lot of screenings are now preceded by long, tedious waits during which each person's bags are thoroughly inspectednot for bombs or anthrax, mind you, but for recording devices that could lead to piracy. After the showing of one recent sequel, they actually caught someone, and we cheered for the safety of multibillion-dollar mass marketing (if not ourselves)!
But most movies just rip each other off, forcing me to say, you know, snotty things. If I can very belatedly say so, Bend It Like Beckham is a complete female steal from Billy Elliot, down to the seemingly gender-inappropriate physical activity, the disapproving dad who ends up cheering, and the gay male friend. And Down With Love re-creates the spirit of '50s romantic comedies, which is like rebuilding Las Vegasutterly pointless, but in this case, surprisingly cute. The split-screen phone call sequence in which Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor unwittingly simulate sex acts was especially to my likingeven if that's a total cannibalization of Austin Powers!
Also slight and uneven but suggestive and cute-ish, BOOBS! The Musical (at the Triad) is a revue of numbers by Ruth Wallis, who in the Rock-and-Doris era devised dirty ditties like "The Dinghy Song" and "Johnny's Got a Yo-Yo." As in life, the raunchier the songs get, the more amusing things become. Dinghy on down, you yo-yos.
I hauled my three boobs (plus two on my back) to the Paper lunch at Indochine for Simon Doonan's new book, where party thrower Susanne Bartsch had a waiter wrap some food up for her sonthe first time I've ever seen someone get a doggie bag at a private party! She's featured in the book, which sure enough is called Wacky Chicks.
Over at Moomba, which became Chateau, and is now supposed to be Breakfast Club, rumors had it that hip-hop mogul Damon Dash's deal with partners to take over the space may have hit a negotiating bump at the last minute. Let's hope breakfast plans won't be scrambled.
After a buffet of bagels and cream cheese, Madame Tussaud's unveiled their stunningly accurate Jennifer Lopez wax figure, which is interactiveyou whisper sweet nothings in her ear and she blushes all the way down to her culo. For extra PR juice, the unveiling was accompanied by a booty-call contest whereby people were invited to come onstage and compare their real butts with the fake J.Lo's. "Lots of applause," an official instructed as she ran through the crowd, making me wonder how natural all this was, even for a wax museum. The winnerchosen by some unidentified twink named Brianwas a gray-haired grandpa who, on command, touched J.Lo's rump in a mildly lecherous fashion and whispered some intimacies too. By this point, I was more entranced by the tourist who was looking at the description card next to another replica and telling her friend, "It's named RuPaul and it's a man!"
The next day Ia manwent to the American Museum of Natural History and, on perusing the displays of gemsboks and sea lions, realized what Tussaud's needs to do: stuff actual dead celebrities! But I was here mainly to see the Hall of Ocean Life's fake blue whale, a restored 94-foot model that they describe as "one of the most beloved icons in New York City." It's got some culo.