NY Mirror

Wigstock, which had gotten too big for its pantyhose, just went back to its dark roots as a two-hour Mini-Me version in Tompkins Square Park, where it all began, and the result felt so wrong it was right. Without the dance acts, corporate sponsorships, and Jumbotron screen, the pared-down show (presented as part of the Howl festival) restored its old edgy, free-floating quality—like a drag queen with a little razor stubble—and nicely rocked, even if, I hear, the organizers only mounted it to hold on to their Wigstock trademark!

There was the occasional new performer, like bodacious Sugga Pie Cocoa flailing about entertainingly, but mostly there were the godmothers of us all—tucking pioneers like Lypsinka!(who I've been writing about for 18 years, even before the Times recently discovered her) and Taboo!, who—backed by dancers gyrating to "Love Child"—put forth provocative verbal riffs like "Don't be fooled by the face that I got/I'm still a trannie with a cock."

All the other queens' unapologetically un-p.c. jokes kept flying, too ("What do Barbra Streisand and The Vagina Monologues have in common? The cunt won't shut up!"), on top of the usual welcome array of toothless-blowjob remarks, but the female drag queen known as the World Famous *BOB* put back some political juice, getting bound and gagged (and topless) as the national anthem sardonically played. Meanwhile, who cared if Justin Bond's low-key lip-sync wasn't right for the room or if only a handful of the mostly straight, gender-specific audience members got the references when the Dueling Bankheads did a Village People spoof (featuring a cameo by the original cowboy, Randy Jones)? The ones that got it got it big-time—and the glory of the old Wigstock was that you were always given carte blanche to avoid pandering and to even fall on your overly rouged face if you had to!

Promoting themselves in another corner of the park, the Dixie Chicks With Dicks weren't invited to perform; it didn't help that one of the drag trio had organized a rival festival one year and another tried to blow her boyfriend onstage last Wigstock. After blowing them a goodbye kiss, it was time to bury the hatchet, release my penis, and hit the after-parties, though, alas, I was too stunned to go after realizing that the phone number a drag queen had given me was written on the back of a Duane Reade receipt for three enemas!

Of course big hair doesn't always have to mean taping down your Adam's apple and doing high colonics—you can always stay in gender, if that's your kinky game. And so, good-time goombah-actor Vinny Vella hosts an Aqua-Netted, pinky-ring-laden Italian get-together Tuesdays at the Village Lantern, where the men have jewels and the ladies have balls. When I went, the entertainment included Vella telling a riotous story about how he once had to drive a monkey somewhere—don't ask—and "the freakin' thing kept slappin' me in the head." By the end of the story, the freakin' thing practically needed three enemas.

If you want some kitschy Spanish culture, Penélope Cruz plays a gum-popping, kung-fu-fighting baddie from hell (literally) in Don't Tempt Me, a multilingual comedy that was celebrated a few weeks ago at a Ralph Lauren-store bash filled with gift bags from heaven. But the little doll took so long getting to the party that I only got to speak with the mannequins that night—how interesting they are!—catching up with pert Penny by phone the next day. "I love that it's a gangster trapped in the body of a woman," she told me about her persnickety part. "I do have a temper and I get to use it in this film. I love playing the bad angel instead of the good angel." (Me too, which is why I wouldn't even bring up her boyfriend, whatshisname.)

"I loved doing the movie in different languages," she went on, full of love. "That's what I do to keep working. To have all these territories give you the opportunity is nice." (I wouldn't know; I only get calls from certain parts of the East Village.) Cruz confided that she'll work with Pedro Almodóvar again—"he told me a couple of possible stories"—and in the meantime she plays Charlize Theron's lover in a sweeping Hollywood drama called Head in the Clouds. Will she become a lesbian icon from that (and the upcoming Gothika, in which she also gleefully Sapphos it up, not to mention her gal-on-gal flirtations in Don't Tempt Me)? "I have no idea," she said, cracking up. "That's such a funny question!" Yeah, I'm pretty hilarious for a bad angel.

Another Latina attached to a famous moneybags, Tommy Mottola's singing wife, Thalia, has hit cuchi-cuchi paydirt with her own homemaking magazine, as you've read. Well, I hear the mag's a collaboration between tabloid king David Peckerand Mottola, or as Mariah Careyno doubt calls them, "Pecker and the dick."

Back to vaginal theater, Broadway's upcoming Sweet Charity revival has gone through some uncharitable changes, what with Jenna Elfman, Marisa Tomei, and Jane Krakowski all supposedly having their jazz hands shown the door (though Elfman backed out on her own). Now, gypsies tell me, movie icon Parker Posey is up for the lead prostie role, which would make perfect sense, since she worked with the movie version's star, Shirley MacLaine, right? (In that Mary Kay cosmetics TV movie, silly.)

And Parker's indie-actor pal Craig Chester is getting some career action of his own, thanks to his marvy memoir, Why the Long Face? Spies say Steve Martin's company might want to make the book into a TV show, a sort of gay, indie Wonder Years—leaving me the only queen on earth without a series! (By the way, I hear the gay channel is on again. Snap.)

But the blunder years are already happening on TV, thanks to The Restaurant, the just-concluded reality show about Rocco's on 22nd (which could use Vinny Vella). Ages ago, they filmed two nights of press people like myself dining there, and partly as a result, they got a frenzy of media attention, all the columnists kissing the show's ass as we, I mean they, watched week after week, sure they'd turn up on-screen. But all they ever showed was the Post's TV critic Linda Stasi—who they misguidedly promoted as a food critic, and who tells me they edited her to look less polite than she was—plus a couple of other don't-blink shots of reporters and a glimpse of celeb drop-in Gina Gershon arriving. We were all used! Even worse, though Gershon was there the same night as Stasi and I, her appearance was shown a week later, as if it were part of a different event. ("It would be impossible to keep a consistent chronology" when it comes to celeb appearances, what with all the footage shot, claims an NBC rep.)

And let's not even talk about the glittering, stellar bash promised to happen in the last episode—that plate was empty! It makes you wonder about the fire, the fights, and even the bad meatballs. (No, wait, I had them, and they truly were room temperature.) The Restaurant was clearly full of beans.

As for that other NBC-backed reality show—the Bravo one I've been calling Five Guys Named 'Mo—I bet it spawns a whole bunch of other makeover scenarios: You know, five blacks teach a rhythm-less white how to dance; five Asians instruct a black on how to do laundry and stamp passports; five Jews show a shopaholic how to be pushy and save a few dollars. Or how about Goy Meets Goy, where an anti-Semitic bachelor doesn't know that one of the hot goys he's romancing is really Jewish? Or perhaps not.


SPECIAL TO THE WEB:

Remember when I told you about the Oscar curse on actors’ relationships? To wit: When the seemingly more featherweight member of a star couple suddenly gets nominated for an Academy Award, there’s trouble in paradise, and it’s hard to ever recover from it. Ethan Hawke was nominated in ’01. I rest my case.


My fellow gossip Cindy Adams's famous Yorkshire terrier, Jazzy—who was the subject of a book, a boutique, and much merchandising—sadly passed on after a brief stay in a kennel. Only in New York, pooches.


Seventies singer Roberta Flack's publicist called three times until she got me, to swear that, contrary to my recent item, Roberta never said anything at the gym about Justin Timberlake, Boyz II Men, or the diminished opportunity of African Americans in music. In fact, she hardly talks at the gym at all! Well, my source stands by the story and says Flack actually flaps her gums a lot at the gym. But if Flack wants to make it clear that she didn't complain about music biz racism in this way, that's weird but fine. Her publicist is the same one who wouldn't let me speak to Sean Connery after I shlepped through a blizzard to go to a bomb movie party and meet him—along with only about 15 other people—so I know she's on the ball!


musto@villagevoice.com

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