By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The rock critics and editors who blab away on shows like VH1's Best Week Ever get skewered by one of their own, Spin writer MARC SPITZ, in his latest play, The Name of This Play Is Talking Heads at Under St. Marks theater. "It's just turned into such a weird cultural nervous tic. I am entertained by it and I participated in it," Spitz says of the phenomenon over a drink at Odessa bar. "One too many of my peers who are really smart, funny peopleI've seen them do the monkey dance over and over." He's done the monkey dance himself. "Thoughts have been suggested to me that I've parroted back to the director," he admits sheepishly. "Or I've said the phrase 'Can I say that again? I can do it better.' Those words have come out of my mouth."
Spitz knows he might be cutting it close with his own industry. "MICHAEL HIRSCHORN from VH1 e-mailed me and said, 'We've been talking about the show over here and I'm a little worried it's going to attack me personally,' " he says of his former editor at Spin. " 'Are you attacking me personally or just the crap we do over here?' And I wrote back saying, 'Just the crap you do there.' He's coming to the show."
After our chat, we went uptown to watch INTERPOL blow the doors off Radio City Music Hall. Any illusions that I was going to have a nice adult evening at a proper venue where I could sit my old ass down were quickly destroyed. The band was so loud I could feel the drums on my face 100 rows back and everyone was standing. A frat boy type stood in front of me wearing a JOY DIVISION T-shirt. He kept pumping his fist in the air and screaming, "Fuck yeah!" I thought maybe he'd had an identity crisis and got lost on the way to a LIMP BIZKIT concert. The best part was when a giant 50-foot shadow of CARLOS D. appeared on the wall. Later that night at the Dark Room (where else?), the bass player said it was like being in a cocoon onstage, because the lights were so bright and their own monitors were so loud that they couldn't see or hear the crowd. I told Carlos I was going to miss their second show because I'd be watching JOAN RIVERS, queen of the red carpet, perform one of her final shows at Fez. We wondered aloud if Joan would get Carlos's goth-dandy style. Nope, said Carlos, who is a fan. "She'd be like, 'Did this guy just come from a coffin?' " (I did go to the second after-party on Wednesday at Happy Ending thrown by JAMES COPPOLA and JENNYand LAURENotherwise known to all as THE TWINSbut I can't remember a whole lot. Thanks for the drink tickets, guys!)
The crowd at Fez was a mix of middle-aged ladies who lunch; older, more conservative people; and tons of handsome gay men. Downtown diva SOPHIA LAMAR was in the house. I was dreaming Joan and Sophia would compare surgeries. Up close, Rivers is a bit scary looking, but for all her brusqueness, she seemed rather sweet, and she was more energetic at 71 than I am at 31. Surprisingly, she didn't do much red-carpet material. Her monologue skewered the "stupid Gates," her plastic surgery ("my grandson calls me Nanny New Face"), KATHARINE HEPBURN, and the OLSEN TWINS ("They go to NYU. There have been a lot of suicides. So I'm hoping"). She lashed out at a guy who readily admitted he watched STAR JONES instead of her, but later bought him two drinks and called him "angel." She was dismayed that her daughter MELISSA turned down an offer from Playboy. "What should you do? Take off your clothes, show 'em your pussy, and collect $200,000!" She compared standing in the hot sun asking celebrities what they are wearing to whoring herself out. Joan might be a talking head, but she's one of the most entertaining ones on or off TV. No monkey dancing there.