By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
Do you already miss all those horridly simplistic yet tidily assuring best-and-worst-of- the-year lists? Well, you're sick, but I'll gladly keep the feeling going with a little besting and worsting of the last few weeks.
The best fake Russian weather disaster comes when Off-Broadway's Slava's Snowshow climaxes with a long, loud burst of paper snow shot at the audience from a stage device manned by clown-faced sadists. You don't know if you've been assaulted or elevated, but you're smilingand picking the shit out of your hair, shoes, and strangely, buttfor days afterward.
The best New Year's Day bash was the DANIEL NARDICIO/Saint at Large event at Capitale, a circuit party-meets-bohemia colossus complete with an upstairs room coveredI swearwith snow from Slava's Snowshow! (It all comes together here at La Dolce Musto.) As I started picking the shit out of my ass all over again, THE WORLD FAMOUS *BOB* appeared, looking 34 pounds lighter thanks to a new romance with Weight Watchers. "I'd love to take ANNA NICOLE with me and get her off the pills," the downtown mascot cooed, laughing. (Sidebar: Give Anna Nicole the money already! You sleep with old people, you get paid!) In the meantime, *BOB* picked a hard candy out of a paper-snow-littered bowl and devoured it, noting, "Two points!"
The city's top all-around entertainer is self-professed "old-school fool" CARLTON J. SMITH, who's gotten a three-month gig entertaining in China, where he's providing soulful relief and outfit changes. In a ciao-for-now Motown brunch at B.B. King's, Smith paused between powerhouse renditions to teach rhythmless audience members Temptations moves ("So white I could ski on it," he said, keeping our snow motif alive) and dish ASHLEE SIMPSON ("ARETHA FRANKLIN can eat three chickens and still go onstage and sing. She is acid reflux"). While Carlton's away, his friendslike the plus-voiced goddess SHARON QUINNare holding the fort, and I'll be there eating four chickens. (Two hundred points!)
The second-best poultry meal was the pile of buffalo wings I nabbed at the M.E.A.N.Y. fest finals at CBGB in exchange for judging a mere five hours' worth of wannabe-famous rock bands. As I chomped to the beat, the emcee kept introducing me as "someone who's single-handedly kept the music scene alive with his incredible support." (Yeah, by never mentioning it once.) I was clearly there by mistake, but I could still tell when the bands tripped up (SEAL covers, insincere tsunami references) and when they were extremely attractive (THE KIN). The Kin won.
I'll support the film scene by saying the year's best paralysis movie, Million Dollar Baby, is directed with a lyricism that transcends the script's cornball conceits. (You barely notice two-dollar lines like "Girlie, tough ain't enough" and "Bleach smells like bleach.") Once again, HILARY SWANK is ferociously trained by an old codger. (Remember The Next Karate Kid? Hello?) And just like in Boys Don't Cry, she's a feisty white-trash dreamer who blurs gender lines. ("I'm gonna try to forget the fact that you're a girl," CLINT EASTWOOD says. "That's all I ask," responds Hilary.) Alas, Hill's counterpart is a male doofus who's mocked for wearing what look like ladies' tights and who's never given quite the same redemptive halo. Girlie, fluff ain't enough.
Ladies' tights littered the stage when the variety revue Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bada/k/a The Passion of the Christ Killersfilled the Cutting Room with Semites and atheists guzzling (He)brew and not feeling guilty about it in the least. The event was the best way for even a Catholic boy to spend Christmas Eve, with the sensibly named THE GODDESS PERLMANa plain talker who puts the whore in horabringing on a yenta parade of singers, strippers, hoop dancers, and a comic who poignantly wondered, "When is being Jewish gonna be hot? When's JewLo gonna be the shit?"
A nice girl gone good, CATHERINE CRIERthe most genial glamour-puss on cablecelebrated her fifth anniversary on Court TV at the Four Seasons as I peskily asked for her take on the MICHAEL JACKSON splotch-fest. Things could go busto for Jacko, the town Crier said, explaining, "If they're cutting out parts of the mattress and getting swab samples of his mouth, they may have something they want to compare it to. But it's strange that they took so long to take the samples." Yeah, Jacko's probably changed his DNA by now.
I had to run off to a Hotel Plaza Athénée lunch for Fahrenheit 9/11 temperature raiser MICHAEL MOORE ("I wanted to go to that!" exclaimed Crier), where the Michigan messiah was pounced on by well-wishers orgasming over his every syllable. I pounced too and asked if BUSH was so slow to respond to the tsunami because he was busy reading "The Pet Goat." "He was reading the sequel," Moore said, grinning. "He never did get to find out what happened to that goat."
The rumpled-clothed everyman went on to give a pre-entrée speech about how the Dems need to get a star candidate like CAROLINE KENNEDY and sell the public a backstory. (He said KERRY's"I'm not Bush"clearly needed rewriting.) Moore's next documentary is not Bush league; it'll be an epic exposé of the American health care system, though he told me he's not on any prescriptions. "I just had a physical," he said, "and my cholesterol is 163, my blood pressure is 115 over 70, my heart rate is 69, and my prostate is .4, which is 10 times better than the average. Now you can write, 'No sooner had he told me about his health than he keeled over into TINA BROWN's salad!' "