By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I love it when local bands make good. OK, so it's not like we live in Kentucky, but still. SCISSOR SISTERS frontman JASON SELLARDS (a/k/a JAKE SHEARS) e-mailed me from Maui, where he's vacationing, about their post-Oscar performance at ELTON JOHN's house, which included a duet with Sir Elton himself and meeting ELIZABETH TAYLOR ("OH MY GOD").
If anyone deserves a rest, it's the Scissor Sisters. They've been touring the world for the past 18 months. Last month at the Brit Awards, they did a number with the JIM HENSON CREATURE SHOP ("we had a singing, dancing barn and a chorus of watermelons, a 14-foot-tall pink bird, and dancing eggs," says Sellards) and then collected three trophiesfor Best International Album, Group, and Breakthrough Actbefore playing Japan and winding up in L.A. for the Oscars.
I ran into two members of another hardworking local band, NICK ZINNER and KAREN O of the YEAH YEAH YEAHS, Wednesday at the Tribeca Grand after-party for the film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, based on JT LEROY's short-story collection of the same name. Directed by ASIA ARGENTO, it kicked off the New York Underground Film Festival at Anthology Film Archives, where the Voiceconnection runs deep. Not only is Voice writer ED HALTERthe festival's executive director, but the eldest gentleman dancing up a storm at the party was AFA founder and the paper's first film critic, JONAS MEKAS. At the screening, MEAN LOU REED reared his head again. He was reading an introduction written by JT. The festival's photographer, JOSHUA WILDMAN, was dutifully snapping photos, but then he fired the flash a few times, and Mean Lou Reed went ballistic. See, I told you: mean!
Whether or not you like his stories, the JT Leroy rumor mill is hilarious. Overheard: "They say he's really a girl." "They say he hires people to pretend to be him." "They say he has three heads." OK, not really. Here's my amateur movie analysis (keep in mind I've not read the book, but am familiar with Sarah): Good acting was marred by the flick's glacial pace; it sometimes felt like a series of scenes rather than a narrative. The cameo appearances by JT fans WINONA RYDER, MARILYN MANSON, and LYDIA LUNCH are enjoyable, but their celebrity is distracting. However, Argento is fabulous as Sarah. She's very COURTNEY LOVE, but mean, mean, mean. I loved hating her. And now back to your regularly scheduled nightlife column.
I asked Karen O what she thought about the flick ("Asia Argento is a fox and her presence is the most engaging and compelling part of the movie") and living in L.A. ("you get a lot of work done"). Presumably, by "work" she means job work, not plastic surgery work. She said the band's gonna start writing and recording in a studio out west very shortly. Just then, the movie's makeup artist, MIKE POTTER(who also worked on Hedwig), handed the phone to Karen. "JT wants to talk to you!" While Karen chatted with JT, whom she's never met, Zinner told me about his trip to Tokyo, where he hung out for a month. While he was in town, a bunch of New York bands came through, including the BEASTIE BOYS, THE FEVER, and LE TIGRE. You go to the other side of the world and end up in the East Village.
I finally met Karen's friend and designer CHRISTIAN JOY, who is as joyful as her name implies. She was wearing some fabulous white boots and said that she almost always wears thrift store clothes. No $1,000 purses for this homegirl. DJ EDDIE NEWTON, nicknamed Pink Bicycle by moi because he rides around town on a little girl's hot-pink bicycle, told me the sad news: The bike in question finally broke, and he's resorted to an unglamorous black one. I weep. Argento finally took over the DJ'ing duties from THE RAPTURE's MATTY SAFER, and spun nasty electro and techno, throwing in some classic '80s. When she played LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, she scored major points with the Grand crowd. Afterward, I asked her, "Oscar?" and she shook her head and waved her hands in a "phooey" gesture. Love to love her.