By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
WAUGH AND PIECE
People showing their heinies and being oh so wicked and debauched populate STEPHEN FREARS's Dirty Pretty ThingsI mean STEPHEN FRY's Bright Young Things, an Evelyn Waugh adaptation that's another festive cautionary tale not set in the present. The film centers on a flighty gossip columnist who makes up itemsdon't look at meand the irony was too delicious when Fry had to talk to positively scores of such people at the film's after-party at Soho House. Finally, the actor-director got around to my reputable self and told me that when he chats about the old-time social swirl with these jaunty journos, "everyone always has a Pavlovian response and up pops the word Hilton. But that's like saying Johann Sebastian Bach is like Hitler because they're both Germanic." (I bet PARIS HILTON never heard of either one of them.)
"Waugh thought he was living at the height of a facile, shallow celebrity culture," Fry went on. "But in the words of Al Jolson, he ain't seen nothin' yet. At least the bright young things of his era had flash and wit and when they had a party, it was because they wanted a party, not because Louis Vuitton arranged free alcohol in exchange for a nice piece in Vanity Fair." (He meant the magazine.) "Can you imagine the Hiltons having an idea of any surrealist wit or dash?" I could have if Louis Vuitton had arranged for some more alcohol.
Fry left me by saying he'd "sometimes like to be an ice hockey star and just grunt," but he realizes he must be wildly witty to promote the film "and swing one's handbag on a streetcorner and be a whore." Sounds good to me.
HUSTLE WITH MY MUSCLE
And that brings us to current-day debaucherynamely the Sunday gay parties on the Maritime Hotel terrace, where, when a twinkie-ish couple arrived last week, someone whispered to me, "Don't call the one on the left Joe. That's his hustler name and his boyfriend doesn't know he's a hustler. Call him Glenn." How about if I don't call him at all? But do call me to go to that eventit's been the summer's most idyllic bash, where, collapsing on a banquette, you're encased by both a luminous sky right out of a Vincente Minnelli movie and the looming hotelonce Covenant Housewhose chic porthole windows look back at you as if to say, "Father Ritter doesn't live here anymore." Or does he? The crowd, at its best, is a Satyricon swirl of bright young things topped only by the waiters, who are increasingly shirtless and flirty as the night goes on. And co-host ERICH CONRAD provides the Auntie Mame-like string of commentary about how TINA TURNER's legs are overrated. As for me, boys, I'd like to offer you my ass!
Hustling for a smorgasbord of Supremes classics topped with some peach cobbler and Louis Vuitton soda, I went to CARLTON J. SMITH's Saturday Motown brunch at B.B. King's and never stopped gorging in the name of love. Smith is a powerhouse who serves up oldies, original tunes, guest stars, audience birthday celebrations, tributes to dead people, conga lines, and everything but cuddling on your lap (though I'm sure that can be arranged). He deliveredand so did the collard greens.
There was plenty of food for thought when RICHARD BARONE's The (Not So) Great American Songbook took over the Central Park SummerStage for a concert of kitsch classics you love to hatethough eerily enough, the roster of supposed stinkers included all my favorite songs. (Call me by my hustler name, Moron.) Of the many highlights, MARSHALL CRENSHAW added orgasmic yelps to "Afternoon Delight," and DEAN BOWMAN prefaced "Hello" by saying, "LIONEL RICHIE was a very important part of a very bad era in music. He's one of the pallbearers of the blues." (Funny, I thought he ushered them right in.)
And now, let's usher the Republican delegates into the approved Broadway musicals they're scheduled to see on the 29th. Alas for them, the supposedly conservative-ready choices include Fiddler on the Roof, which is about the way an old codger learns to accept a shockingly unconventional marriage, and Bombay Dreams, which has a "middle sex" drag character who slithers around emitting campy one-liners and putting the her back in heroic! The delegates might as well go totally gay and see I Am My Own Wifeand I bet they will, on the sly.