NY Mirror

As flashes popped and everyone resumed their self-promotion as if time had frozen on New Year's Eve '89, it took Deborah Harry to serve up some contempo reserve. Debs told me she rejected the offer to be a judge on American Idol because "I'm not a good judge. I give everything a thumbs-up." When pressured, she added, "They can all sing their asses off, but the songs are terrible. They should do some rock songs and stop fucking around!"

(By the way, ex-McMullan employee James Ransone didn't turn down the chance to jerk off while asphyxiating himself in the upcoming Ken Park—another of the "Tsk-tsk, look how these rotten parents are making their kids violent" flicks, which I loved, though I promise it's the real last gasp.)

So '50s, the Radio City Sinatra tribute show—a/k/a Ol' Blue Eyes for the Straight Guy—may have seemed like flinging open another coffin to pull out some pocket change, but actually it was lovingly done and was way better than seeing Clay Aikenalive (though I had to leave before "New York, New York"—sorry, kids, that's my Liza's song).

Which brings us to the big dead-pop-star homage of the week—The Boy From Oz, a/k/a Secrets and Liza—which is an "And then I sang" show, with Peter Allen's songs uncomfortably crammed into his tutti-frutti life. But what a life! Between flounces, Allen faced advice from mom-in-law Judy Garland ("Sometimes your heart is on Venus, but your penis is on Mars"), sexuality issues ("He comes off like a fag? That's because he is a fag"), and delusional drama ("You have the flu, for Chrissake!"). It's not lost on me that the real Allen bombed big-time on Broadway in Legs Diamond, but now that he's played by hunky Hugh Jackman, people are lining up with their tongues out. He's also been watered down and sweetened for the matinee ladies—the real Peter Allen made people, especially gays, very uncomfortable—but I guess you can't have the guy singing a song demanding respect for Judy Garland, then gleefully bonking her husband.

Still, Jackman has liquid hips and Golda Meir-like charisma for days, and the entertaining-despite-itself show has people dying, then coming back to sing Allen hits, all ending up in pineapple hats on a lit stairway for the very sick finale. It also has a big shock up its ruffled sleeve—Judy's actually played by a woman. A writer couldn't make that shit up.


musto@villagevoice.com

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