By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
This week's dirt is so low, it's practically out of the ground. First off, when feisty JEFF PALMER was photographed for an upcoming coffee-table book on porn stars, he insisted on only being shot with an erection. Knowing Jeff, I doubt he could ever not be bone-hard anyway. Well, the publisher freaked and nixed his photo, not exactly about to show porn stars being, you know, porn stars. That'll topple Jeff's torpedo.
Meanwhile, there's bad news for oft aroused socialite CASEY JOHNSON. Her much hyped acting debut in a WE channel series called Tinsley Bumble (a supposed spoof of the fashion world) will never be seen, except maybe by eBay regulars. I hear that after shooting a pilot and several episodes, the channel decided not to air the thing, and I'm not rejoicing about this eitherI shot a cameo!
Last week GERALDO RIVERA should have made a pilot set in his greenroom, where I unearthed a JACKO commentator, some MARTHA-related talking heads, a gay couple looking for a license, and a twinkie who was crawling up my ass, swearing I look much thinner in person than on TV. Come showtime, the twink turned out to be an ex-gay who's married with kids and who thinks homosexuality is a sick and twisted lifestyle! Funny, he looks gayer in person.
In other sicko news, Entertainment Tonight recently revealed that when Michael Jackson flies, he demands KFC for all his meals. Just as I always suspected: Jacko likes chicken. In fact, he likes chicken legs up in the air! Pity that pilot.
But back to Martha
For years, I led the parade of bad jokes about how she'd surely be redecorating her cell, ha ha ha, but now that she's really headed there, it's hard not to feel some sympathy for the Dirt Devil. The sight of the poor thing trudging through a sleet storm to give a urine sample to her probation officer was truly heartbreaking, especially since my own wee-wee is so often soaked up by her wonderful Everyday 3-Star bath rugs. But Martha, who's made an empire out of selling charm, probably should have served some of it to authorities along the way. Her imperiousness (which admittedly isn't illegal) was never clearer than on the day of the verdict, when she showed up in an eye-poppingly tasteless fur wrap, looking like Cruella De Vil's evil sister.
I'm convinced that's why they declared her guilty on four counts.
Most tragically of all, Martha might be headed to an institution where she'll be encouraged to attend classes in cooking and needlepoint. Talk about preaching to the converted! As for DOUGLAS FANEUIL, the social set is torn between pegging him as a total rat fink or a noble whistle-blower, but either way, he proved to be the most credible witness, maybe because he clearly had a ghostwriter. ("It intensifies your tactile sensations and emotions," he testified about Ecstasy.) Faneuil's cleverest move of all was that, in the midst of Team Martha's hope that he'd come off like a ditzy drug queen, he copped to just two Ecstasy uses. ("Say one," you can hear the lawyer strategizing. "Nah, they'll never believe that.") And the less ecstatic BACANOVIC? Well, if any of you caught his mother seething on TV, you can probably better understand the steely, scary drive under his wings.
Keeping things scandalicious . . .
I finally caught up with Who Killed Woody Allen? at the Triad and found it to be a fun (if awkwardly structured) satire, in which PETER LOUREIRO deftly captures CHRIS- TOPHER WALKEN's bizarre cadences and JOHN FRANCIS MOONEY nails both DIANNE WIEST and CONAN O'BRIEN. But I still say JEAN DOUMANIAN did it.
In person, I couldn't quite nail down French film presence VIRGINIE LEDOYEN (The Beach, 8 Women). At a party for the absorbing movie-movie Bon Voyage, co-star Ledoyen was caught smoking, and even worse, was trapped in one of those polite, useless interviews that have both parties craving an escape chute. Ever have a bad moviemaking experience? I wondered. "No. I've been lucky," Ledoyen swore. Hollywood versus France? "No difference. Same process, same sincerity," she insisted. As a former child actor, are you now a druggie serial killer? "No. I'm pretty fine, I think." All rightfuck, shit, merdeyour views on gay marriage, ma chère?
"People should do what they want," she said, brightening. Finallysomething controversial!
New mag shirts the issue
Meanwhile, gays can say bon voyage to Cargo, the new men's merch magazine that obviously caters to paranoid heteros. (And yes, I'm aware that a Queer Eye guy is one of its contributors.) An item on shirts in the premier issue is geared strictly to straight guys living in fear of gay stereotypes. Titled "Honey, Does This Embroidered Shirt Make Me Look Gay?" the not-tongue-in-cheek-enough piece then decides, "Kinda, if it has . . . busy patterns." Well, the A.D.D.-currying magazine happens to be so busily designed, it clearly takes it up the ass!
No connection here, but the media have been doing such a delicate dance around CNN charmer ANDERSON COOPER's private life, they're not even upsetting his Martha Stewart "occasional signature" furniture. Lengthy profiles of Anderson regularly address his brother's suicide and other delicate matters, but don't dare even hint at the sexuality stuff that would surely crop up in a straight person's story (especially if it was in the Observer, whose muckraking obviously stops short at gay anchors). I guess we're still in the '90s, when ROSIE O'DONNELL's People cover made her out to be a sexless single mompartly to "protect" her and partly to project the publication's own discomfort.
At least last year New York magazine said that Anderson was spotted in Chelsea scooping up after a cute dog. Honey, that's as strong a signifier as being a KYLIE MINOGUE fan.
But one of BRITNEY SPEARS's backup dancers, BRANDON HENSCHEL, is not gay, OK? Henschel went on his website to address the persistent rumors and say, "How can I be gay if that is not in accordance with the Scriptures? Secondly, if my family had a dollar for every time the question was asked, we'd all be driving a Lexus." Anyway, let me now go back to blowing my priest in his Lexus.
Jersey Girl definitely has gossip value, seeing as BEN AFFLECK's character learns to live again after his relationship with JENNIFER LOPEZ ends sadly. And trendwise, it's of interest because it's the second recent flick (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen being the other) about a move from NYC to New Jersey, though in this one, the Garden State provides revivification, not spiritual death. Otherwise, it's pretty synthetic stuff, with lots of characters walking in at just the wrong moment and people rejecting life in the fast lane the way no one within a mile of this project would ever imagine doing. Still, anything that climaxes with a six-year-old doing a musical number from Sweeney Todd deserves some respect.
At the premiere, director KEVIN SMITH said he's desperate to change the film's title to The Passion of the Jersey Christ. When he also cracked that they would hold the screening until J.Lo got there, Affleck squirmed, then laughed and said, "Thanks. Friends like these, folks!" Most fascinatingly of all, Affleck groveled before HARVEY WEINSTEIN, who in turn compared the Smith-Affleck team to SCORSESE and DE NIRO. But the mogul also helpfully described his boys' complex relationship. ("Say the lines the way I wrote them." "Of course, Iwon the Oscar for Good Will Hunting.") And then I grabbed the gift bag and headed back home to Rahway. Kidding. M.M.
My friends at Broadway.com are reporting that Melanie Brown (a/k/a Mel B, a/k/a Scary Spice) from the Spice Girls will be going into the role of Mimi in Rent starting in April. She must have gotten the idea when Mel G (Melanie Griffith) did Chicago.