By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
But Diane Keaton was a delight (even though showbiz realities have forced her to keep overemphasizing how supposedly crypt-ready she is), and Meryl Streep is our saviorthe only one in the room with nerve enough to acknowledge something going on in the world besides her manager and publicist. Plus, I loved the close-up of Johnny it-took-me-three-hours-to-look-this-messy Depp searching for something he dropped, adored the fact that Scarlett Johansson has effectively become Pink, and am even starting to enjoy Sofia's implacable, mood-stabilized shtick!
The subsequent Oscar nominations came up with an extremely vivid bunch, but though the academy probably thinks it's going edgy by supporting indie films, it unfortunately tends to endorse ones that are either like Hallmark specials or extended CSI episodes. It's sad that people like Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Giamatti, Peter Dinklage, Campbell Scott, and Hope Davis will stay home that nightthough they're all welcome to corn dogs over at my place. (Sidebar: I hear nominee Bill Murray really did fire his agent, mainly because a three-month shoot on The Life Aquatic ended up being an even longer ordeal. The agent is now lost in transaction.)
In search of yesterday's esoteric talent, I dropped by the Big Apple Comic Book, Art & Toy Show at the Penn Plaza Pavilion, which brought out hordes of slightly cracked collectors and even more offbeat celebs trying to siphon money out of them. David Carradine was there, hawking autographed stills from his old Kung Fu series, though, crazy me, I was more interested in hearing about (the non-nominated) Kill Bill. What was it like working with Tarantino? "He's all the way out there," Carradine said, choosing his words carefully. (Hello, pot!) Has he seen volume two? "No one has. It isn't finished," he replied, glumly. And finally, why did he get top billing in volume one even though only his voice was heard? "I didn't get top billing," Carradine insisted. "I didn't get my contractual billing, that's for sure!"
Before he could fire his agent, I pranced over to René Auberjonois, who was attracting throngs because of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, though culture vultures know him better as a Tony-winning theater guy, soon in Sly Fox. "That Benson photo also has Robert Guillaume's autograph on it, so it'll cost you $20," he was shamelessly telling a potential customer. "I know I sound like a whore," the actor told me, "but it's all for charity. People buy this crap. I used to go to these fucking conventions and be humiliated, so I decided I'd raise money for Doctors Without Borders. Of course it's not totally altruistic," he added, flashing me a free smile. "I take a tax deduction. I'm not a saint!"
As a teen geek fondled a still, Auberjonois smirkingly shot out, "That's from the classic Police Academy 5!" Alas, there were no pix available from last year's classic Broadway confuse-ical Dance of the Vampires, a kitschy weapon of mass destruction with songs like "Read My Apocalypse" and the immortal "Garlic." "I saw the project being destroyed in front of my eyes," Auberjonois (who played a vampire hunter) told me. "It was a bad mix of the star, the producer, and the directorall perfectly well-meaning people, but chemically speaking, a toxic mixture." Sounds like my last relationship, except for the well-meaning part.
By the way, the fest's organizer, Mike Carbonaro, has his own wacky claim to fame. "Remember that guy who fell off the roof of Studio 54?" he asked me. "That was me!"
And the nutty celebs kept on coming like tit-revealing togas at awards shows. While waiting for Paper coverboy Pharrell Williams at the mag's bash for him at APT, I got to torture and schmooze all sorts of former child stars, the rare kind that don't kill. Tatum O'Neal was there, telling me her teenage kids are "little Pharrells, with their jean jackets and trucker hats." The Hanson boys turned up too, and I noticed that even without jean jackets, the cute one is still cute, the little one is now handsome, and the goofy one is somehow now gorgeous. MmmBop indeed.
All three Hansons, plus the middle one's wife and baby, just moved into a giant loft in Tribeca, "and it's not that bad," Zac Hanson told me. "We are brothers." As we became sisters, Pharrell finally arrived and was not frontin' when he told me he's a little uneasy about having posed shirtless for Paper. "I never knew my life would turn out like this," the recording phenom told me, "and taking your shirt off and shit really makes a difference in the way people perceive you. I don't want people to think I'm trying to sell how I look. I'm not a sex symbol!" "But you're cute," I blurted, so ashamed of myself. (I'm not a saint.) "Don't say that," Pharrell said, looking pained. "I don't want to be 40 without a home, wife, and kids, because I'm dating the hottest models. That's not a life. I want someone to share a life with." After nine more hors d'oeuvres, I ran home with my Benson photo and we made a life together.
Not that I'm still horny or anything, but can I just remark on what an unexpectedly très hot bunch of Dem daddies there's been this campaign season? Howard Dean is a silver fox and entirely fuckable, even with that coiled neck (I'd make him scream, all right); Wesley Clark, despite the shoulder pads that make his head look even smaller, radiates smiling smolder and four-star authorityhe'd dominate you, but nicely, thank you; John Edwards, let's face it, is an utter Breck goddess with a portrait in the attic; Kucinich has those floppy ears to grab on to for a potentially wild ride; Sharpton's new hair makes me hot for some (affirmative) action; and even Kerry has a certain Boris Karloff-y goth appeal that could be sexy after a few cocktails. (His wife, though, simply has to lose that sash on her shmatte.)
But my Joe-mentum is slowing down, so let me quickly needle you with a reminder of my recent item about a weird ex-superstar who had to be seen by a doctor after having taken too much MD Contin (a prescribed morphine drug) mixed with booze. Praise be to Jesus juice.
SPECIAL TO THE WEB: Boy oh boy, but Boy George really holds a grudge. Hes still so fighting mad at Taboo producer Rosie ODonnell (they clashed over what was needed to save the show, which is closing on February 8) that he didn't show up this Monday or Tuesday for the cast album recording! Apparently they missed him blind. But defenders say George will eventually show up and do his thing, and his behavior hasn't constituted any kind of boycott; he's simply a recording artist and needs to do his taping separately.