NY Mirror

But our cute adventure in slumming felt silly by the time the Tribeca Film Festival screening of DAVID LACHAPELLE's Rize—which centers on the truly pocketbook-challenged—rolled around. A far cry from LaChapelle's glossy celeb-related stuff, this is a heartfelt documentary about put-upon kids in South Central L.A., who indulge in "clownin' "—speedy, aggressive dance moves done with clown/ warrior makeup on—as a way of filtering their frustrations. I was so engrossed by the flick, I forgot to even feel uncomfortable that they're all in whiteface!

After the movie, the cast sat onstage without their racing stripes as a co-producer told the crowd that when they came across this long-percolating dance craze, "We just embraced it, man. We just understood it right away." Laying on the ick factor, he boasted that the movie fell into place so fortuitously that after one girl got shot and a guy's house was looted, they were able to move right in with the cameras. Whoopee! Anyway, is the film's star, TOMMY THE CLOWN, getting rich and famous off all this hoopla? "Yeah, I have a 38-story mansion," Tommy deadpanned, then added, "Nah, I'm still in the ghetto."

But his life is a complete joyride now. In fact, at the after-party, Tommy was dragged over to meet me and barely managed to say hello before leaving me in the dust to jump on BILLY DEE WILLIAMS. What a clown! But he was dragged right back and exuded so much charm I'm currently clownin' on street corners and waiting for my Lincoln Center tribute.


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MORE USELESS INFORMATION . . . NO, REALLY

A venging madam HEIDI FLEISSrecently questioned the sexuality of her ex, TOM SIZEMORE, in a tabloid interview. Well, Sizemore did once intimate to me that in the '80s, he was, shall we say, experimental . . . Spoiler alert: A certain socialite services her black boyfriend in the car as they're driving in the new House of Wax. . . In other waxworks news, the pre-Broadway tribute musical Lennon reportedly has an actor doing drag in two roles—the queen and J. Edgar Hoover—plus an African American performer as a Klansman. Alas, there's no clownin' . . . Speaking of old songs, moments before the aforementioned Dustin Hoffman tribute started, the music being piped into the room consisted of comfy old STEVIE WONDER and ARETHA FRANKLIN chestnuts. "They're playing BUSH's iPod," murmured Celebrity Service's BILL MURRAY . . . And while we're on politicians' tastes, AL GORE's upcoming Current TV channel will offer bite-size nuggets for the nimble-minded and/or deeply impatient. They just interviewed me for a breathless eight minutes and said they'll cut it down to five! That's still more time than I usually get. ("BRITNEY is a real . . . ") Finally, an A.D.D. theater review: Is it open season on Tennessee Williams? I thought so for the artificially played first hour of A Streetcar Named Desire. But then NATASHA RICHARDSON clicks and goes to magical places—though JOHN C. REILLY ends up screaming a lot, as if to prove he wouldn't have been better as Mitch! Who screams too!


musto@villagevoice.com

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