Flower Power

The dame from Oz gathers her gladiolus for her Broadway return

And she's still dexterously balancing both international stardom and inspirational motherhood, God bless her. How are the little Everages, pray tell? Well, Kenny, the suspected "homeopath," has whipped up some stunning ensembles for Mama's new show. (And he's still interested in weatherman Sam Champion, by the way.) But is daughter Valmai—who lives near Fresno with her butch partner—a lesbian, per se? A hushed pause. "It's not a word I use, Michael," said Edna, sounding pained. "I think the world is getting divided into smaller and smaller groups of people. Soon there'll be special nightclubs and newspapers for those who part their hair on the right. I'm for integration. That said, my daughter is radically dysfunctional. She's suffering from post-adolescent anaclitic phallophobia. In layman's terms, she's a fruitcake!"

Again, I was too busy laughing to feel very burned. This routine was consistent with Edna's rude cracks about Latins in Vanity Fair last year, and since the horrified deserve an explanation, all I can think of is (a) she's supposed to be a bit of a cow, and (b) she's a satirist and has no regard whatsoever for correctness. Like the old Vegas-style comics, Edna aims to mock stereotypes while campily embracing them. "Political correctness is the old Plymouth Rock rearing its ugly head," she told me, sounding a little more like Barry. "It's a life-denying tendency. We should be able to describe the world as it really is. You find that the politically correct people are not the creators. They don't sing, dance, tell stories, or write columns in The Village Voice." Well, maybe they do write columns in The Village Voice.

"I do this," concluded Edna, I mean Barry, I mean Edna, "because my favorite country other than Australia needs laughter as it's never needed it before—and vitamin E. I know you use it, Michael. Well, I'm the other vitamin E." I was stunned that such a prestigious personage had researched my beauty regimen almost as vigorously as I'd investigated hers. (Her pores apparently crave bee pollen mixed with a dash of jalapeño.) The bitch does her homework! This startling revelation made up for all those years of gladiolus damage—which I used vitamin E on, by the way. She's back with a vengeance all right.

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