By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
The A.D.D. generation will simply adore this week's, whatchamacallit, column. It consists of short, wispy observations for the easily distracted and . . . sorry, I lost my train of thought.
Anyway, let me start tossing out the tawdry tidbits before my kooky caboose totally derails. A mole who was backstage after the, um, Oscars tells me a reporter asked Best Supporting Actress CATE BLANCHETT, "Will the award change you?" "Will it change me?" she replied, laughing. "Absolutely, you asshole!"
But where was I? Oh, yeah, definitely unchanged by his award, Best Original Screenplay winner CHARLIE (Eternal Sunshine . . .) KAUFMAN darted out of the pressroom after being confronted with a loaded question. "I heard that the difference between your screenplay and the final edit was quite dramatic," a nervy reporter said to Kaufman. "Any thoughts about VALDIS ÓSKARSDOTTIR getting recognition for editing the film?" In other words, the reporter was implying that Kaufman's honor partly belonged to the unnominated editor (with "Oskar" in his name) who visually chopped Kaufman's words into the final, acclaimed product. Kaufman attempted a gracious reply, then edited himself out of the room faster than SCORSESE's Oscar chances.
I stayed for even less time at the post-premiere reception for Off the Map, CAMPBELL SCOTT's quiet film about a wacky Southwest family visited by an artistic auditor. Scott talked to me for a few seconds, but then he got sidetracked by well-wishers while I stood there, as ignored as I was during my childhood. "Did you bring your wife?" I heard Scott ask one guest. "No, I divorced last year," he replied. "Me too!" admitted Scott. Suicidal, I tried to immerse myself in Huff's OLIVER PLATT, but was told he wasn't giving interviews at all. Too badI got all hot hearing him gushing to his friend about Krispy Kremes.
Which brought my stomachand wandering mindto the Fat Actress party, where I was desperate to find KIRSTIE ALLEY but was bluntly told, "She's upstairs eating." Research, I guess.
I'm sorry, Miss Jackson
Kirstie's got to beef up against all the trash TV competition, especially the nightly MICHAEL JACKSON trial re-enactments on E! Those shows aren't all that shocking, since we've already read the leaked accusations ("PRINCE, you're missing a lot of pussy!"). But in between all the overruled objections and the constant cutaways to experts sounding off, they still make for tragically fun viewing as actors recite the tawdry charges and countercharges. And thankfully there are no skanky, talk-show-monologue-style observations like how Michael's gotten a jury of his peersmostly white women.
On a marginally less criminal note, MTV's new reality show PoweR Girls is an unwitting reflection of the glitzy, fun emptiness of my own life. It chronicles all the overcrowded openings, unwieldy guest lists, psychotic paparazzi, and celebs joylessly working the red carpet (or in the case of LINDSAY LOHAN, avoiding it with a coat on her head) that I deal with every twisted night. Interestingly, LIZZIE GRUBMAN's infamous car accident isn't mentioned at all in the first two episodes. (There's just one oblique reference to how the press treated her badly.) The emphasis is on the here and now as she mother-hens four flackettes, including one whose dad is supposedly the chief of an African tribe. ("He's like my personal ATM machine, if anything," says the daughter, touchingly.) Alas, the trumped-up crux of episode two is whether the presence of one of the girls' boyfriends will distract her from her flacking. "Concentrate on your work!" people keep shrieking, but the guy is a total drip who couldn't distract a . . . sorry, I got distracted.
From PoweR Girls, I went on bended knee to Altar Boyz, the Off-Broadway musical about a religious boyband trying to save souls through choreography. It's such a hilarious and spirited romp, I didn't even mind that occasionally it seemed as pre-recorded as a real boyband concert. By the way, poignantly enough, one of the actors thanks God in his bioseriously.
But atheism runs amok with the falter boys of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which may not exactly be electrifying, but it's smoothly assembled, with zingy casting and lyrics ("Buy him a castle/He'll still be an asshole") making up for the lapses (like a too predictable bit of BUSH-bashing). The Producers was clearly the springboard here, but I see this show more as a straight La Cage aux Folles (also about well-paired partners pulling a con on the Riviera).
At the opening-night bash, Outer Critics Circle president AUBREY REUBEN introduced me to guest CHRIS SARANDON by saying, "He was SUSAN SARANDON's first husband." "He's famous for a lot more than that," I remarked and Chris touched me and whispered, "Thank you." (I live to please.) Just then, his current wife, Scoundrels' JOANNA GLEASON, told me that her part was added for the show, "and I said, 'I'm gonna take a leap of faith' and I leapt!"
Across the room, NORBERT LEO BUTZ was leaping (of faith) on co-star JOHN LITHGOW and licking his face for the cameras, just like in the musical. (So I guess they're not like the La Cage stars, who hate each other.) "It's the best love story on Broadway," Butz exulted to me. Is there licking offstage? "With me, John Lithgow, and SHERIE RENE SCOTT," he said, laughing, "the possibilities are endless. John's very sweet to the taste. He's a very attentive lover." At that point, I dumped Norbert and leapt on John too.