By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Rather than fight the happy hordes who'll surely be chirping "Happy New Year!" for the next three to six weeks, I've decided to abandon all serious thought, make my life easier, and poignantly join them. Happy New Year, everyone. Happy New Year to all the clucks who've made my life a nonstop crash landing, who lift me up only to drop me like a bag of turds, who send holiday cards and fruitcakes but won't answer my fucking calls all year.
Happy New Year to Broadcasting & Cable, which used info I had broken about the gay channel supposedly being on again, but didn't bother to give any attribution! And double Happy New Year to the New York Post, which had picked up on and credited my story, but then, when the Broadcasting & Cable piece came out a few days later, ran a whole new article with the same info, this time crediting the trade mag! Don't they read their own paper?
And Happy New Year to Bill O'Reilly, whose TV show once screwed me over and whose radio show more recently poured ineptitude into the wound. See, a producer from that esteemed program called to possibly book me for a segment on Elf, then called back to whimper that she'd been mistaken and they were actually doing a segment on The Cat in the Hat! Shaken but not rattled, I told herwhen asked for my opinionthat the Cat flick is rotten but not offensive, especially since the cat teaches the kids some valuable lessons. Well, that ended that gig; clearly wanting something more hate-mongering and stupid, they never called back. (By the way, Happy New Year to the dumbos who were mad at Bad Santa. It was called Bad Santa, for chrissake. If it had been called Really Bad Santa Who Should Not Be Held Up as Any Kind of Role Model Because He's That Bad, then would you have gotten it?)
Then there's Brit wit Tina Brown, who delightfully enough does her own research and even typing! Lounging around, watching Celebrity Bowling on a recent Saturday afternoon, I was stunned to pick up the phone and hear Tina's voice urging me to help her demystify the Paris Hilton sex-flick scandal. I spoke at length on the topic and Tina clanked away, taking down all my extremely clever thoughts for quotation. And you know what? The little vixen didn't use a single F'ing word, but I'm sure that's just part of her wackily idiosyncratic, minimalist charm. Happy austere New Year, Tina!
Next, faced with The Sopranos' more meaty James Gandolfini at a buffet party for Peter Pan, I naturally asked the cable star what we should do with Paris HiltonI mean Saddam Husseinnow that he's been captured. "Oh, man, I'm staying away from that," said the macho man, quivering and running for the hills with a heaping plate of Tater Tots. Happy New Year, kitten!
At a dinner for Cold Mountain, I asked another wuss how the movie was and she stammered, "Um, the dinner's good." (I later saw the flick and, um, the dinner was good. KiddingI found it hypnotically rewarding, even if Nicole looks like she's heading for an Allure shoot, not a Civil War showdown.) In another corner, Channel 2's Magee Hickey told me she's a movie junkie who's studiously avoided, yep, The Cat in the Hat. But it's not offensive!
The man in the thong was the accepted icon at the drag-oriented Glammy Awards at El Flamingo, a night of gussied-up gratitude and rouged recriminations, all teaching the kids some valuable lessons. Comedy winner Lady Bunny sent an audio message saying, "To the few bitter hags who voted against me, fuck you!" More warmly, presenter Alana Starr announced, "Hi everyone. I'm a big trannie whore porn star, that's who I am." And Living Legend winner Linda Simpson thanked "first of all, the Almighty, my hairdresser." And there were amazing performances by scary, robot-dancing Kevin Aviance; high-pitched duetters Angelique Ali and Porsche; and a passel of tuckers (Paulina, Shasta Cola, T-Boy, and Milan) shaking their expensive tushies to "Lady Marmalade." But that was all eclipsed when the excitable Sugar Pie Coco started sobbing uncontrollably upon winning Best Performance, outwatering even Halle Berry. She thought this really meant somethinglike a Golden Globe. Happy New Year, honey!
The New York Magazine Awards must mean something, because they brought out truckloads of big shots to the Four Seasonseveryone from Anna Wintour to Sean Combs, whom the fashion editrix touchingly described as "my good friend." (Who knew the bizatch shakes her tail feather for Diddy's gangsta shit?) The ceremony abounded in such kooky moments, most memorably Tina Fey admitting that Al Franken submitted a comedy sketch called "Fart Doctor" to Saturday Night Live, which led to guest host Al Gore playing the part in read-through (though, shockingly, it didn't get to flatulate on the air). Happy New Year, New York staffbut don't go after my job.
There was one more honorthe Film Society of Lincoln Center's "Evening With Sir Ben Kingsley," a glorified answer to Inside the Actors Studio, where they screened the rivetingly gloomy House of Sand and Fog, then brought out Kingsley to wax poetic about his craft. "There's a lot of nonsense talk about acting," said Kingsley nobly, "and I'll do my best to eliminate the BS factor." In the process, Kingsley admitted that once, when he watched Sand and Fog at a screening, "I actually heard a voice in me say, 'I really like him' [i.e., his character]. Afterward, three women said, 'You made us cry' with the widest smiles imaginable. It was an extraordinary paradox, but something was released in them." I guess they really like him too!