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The next night, the Heatherette show had an audience of trannies, Japanese investors in kimonos, and Liza Minnelli (who was in the wrong place if she was looking for a straight husband). I made it to the after-party at Morgans Bar, where the young, style-drenched crowd was getting down to, yep, old Madonna and Prince tunes. Stealing everyone's spotlight, good-time model Omahyra Mota was flashing booby and loudly announcing that she likes three-ways—all while working the door!

And suddenly it was theater week, too, filled with the kind of exhibitionists that stick to the script. Avenue Q met Mary Tyler Moore when radio personality Ken Dashow's comedy The Wingding Doodle Club got a staged reading at the West Bank Cafe. The plot involved a rinky-dink kiddie show with a psychotic, gun-toting puppeteer, but the audience didn't have to be threatened to laugh, especially with cast members like kooky Kim Cea, who's stolen so many shows they're starting to call her "Winona Jr."

Uptown, I saw four of the six 24 Hour Plays—the annual array of playlets written and thrown onstage in one day—and felt that in the move to Broadway, a little of the profundity got lost, but the urgency still mothered much invention. I especially enjoyed my good personal friend Rosie Perez screaming at an offscreen character, "You are not asleep, Mr. Gomez. You're jacking off to the Spice Channel!" Even the one-line bios in the program were poetic, like "David Lindsay-Abaire can rearrange all the letters in his name to spell 'Daddy lives in Arabia.' " Right, Vanna?

Beyond puree: Vanna White and Pat Sajak with guests at the Wheel of Fortune party
photo: Staci Schwartz
Beyond puree: Vanna White and Pat Sajak with guests at the Wheel of Fortune party

Too bad the wheel of fortune is spinning in weird ways when it comes to my once racy icons. Ellen DeGeneres, who smooched with her girlfriend in front of the president, now has a talk show on which she told Betty White that "clean" entertainment is timeless. (White even looked startled, reminding her that Golden Girls was kinda saucy.) And Madonna, who made the world her gynecologist and seemed ready for the Spice Channel, is now teaching spiritual life lessons to children as a modern-day Dr. Slut, I mean Dr. Seuss. Right-wingers are thrilled, but I say, "What the fuck is the world coming to?" (And I know I thought her Britney kiss was tired too. There's just no pleasing me.)

But wait, there is. Don't swoon, kids, but the cutest new guy in town is Heathe St. Clair, the charming co-owner of the aggressively unpretentious Aussie restaurant the Sunburnt Cow on Avenue C. Believe me, you'd love to go Down Under with this wholesome hunk. And he no longer drags around the stupid C-O-W!

SPECIAL TO THE WEB: That kiss wasn't the last high-profile interaction between Madonna and Britney. They duet on "Me Against the Music," the first single off Britney's upcoming The Zone album, and DJ-Grammy-winner Peter Rauhofer is already working on the remix.


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