NY Mirror

The Tribeca Film Festival enveloped my life so completely for two action-packed weeks that when it ended I felt like I'd been dumped by a lover—the kind of stud who sends 20 Evites a day luring you to everything from tranny road movies to Muppet costume romps, all preceded by buffets and followed by Q&As.

The festival—the closest thing I've had to a relationship in ages—kept me whole and satisfied, leaving me with a sore ass and a cerebral cortex full of memories. There was JOHN CATANIA and CHARLES IGNACIO's documentary The Lady in Question Is Charles Busch (yes, I'm in it)—a loving dissection of Busch's life as a hardworking drag theater aesthete with a hard-on for Joan Crawford. The film deals with Busch's open-heart surgery in 2001, but it also shows him shtickily faking a heart attack as he reveals that the casting folks for HBO's Angels in America asked him to be an extra in the drag queen funeral scene because "We want people from that era." Smirks Busch, "I said, 'Excuse me, I star in my own pictures!' "

So does indie fave CRAIG CHESTER; he wrote, directed, and acts in Adam and Steve—also at the fest—a wise, hilarious gay-marital romp, which immortalizes the DAZZLE DANCERS, Marie's Crisis, and incontinent bowels. (Behind-the-scenes tidbit: They used chocolate sauce with peanuts.) The entire cast is perfection, but PARKER POSEY winonas the whole thing as the sassy, formerly obese comic who can't let go of her fat jokes. (Another tidbit: For the '80s scene, Parker wore all kinds of prosthetics and says it was hell, but by the end of the day she got so into it she wanted to stay enormous. I know the feeling.)

Svelte good-time gal SALLY KIRKLAND has a part in it too—she's the free-loving lady who marries Adam and Steve. "I really am ordained," Kirkland told me at the screening. "I said, 'I have to be in this movie,' so they wrote the role of the bipolar, AA-sponsored minister." Sally's real life is also refreshingly off the map. When she introduced me to her "girlfriend" and said, "we live together," I charmingly replied, "Have you gone lesbo?" "No," she explained. "I live communally. I still like men. But I need women around me so I can deal with the men." (Been there!)

At the after-party, cable seductress ROBIN BYRD was miffed that Posey's on-screen man, CHRIS KATTAN—who played a half-clad Byrd-show dancer in an SNL spoof a few years ago—refused to pose with her. God, ever since Corky Romano, he's been such a snob!


My final festival affair was with SALLY POTTER's Yes, an international adulterous romance with dialogue exclusively written in iambic pentameter. (I know that sort of thing sounds quite outré/But first they had a really neat buffet.)

At the movie's bash at Bubby's, I talked plain English to star JOAN ALLEN, asking if she attains wild sexual abandon in the film. "Sensual," she corrected. So no penetration? "Sally leaves a lot to the imagination," she assured. "It's sexier that way."

I slunk away and had a penetrating chat with Yes's co-producer, ANDREW FIERBERG, about his next movie, Fur, which deals with eccentric photog Diane Arbus. "Diane was a five-four Jew," he told me, "but this is an imaginary biography and we went for the best actress." Namely that 5-11 shiksa NICOLE KIDMAN. How imaginary is it? Well, ROBERT DOWNEY JR. plays a furry fantasy character who represents freakdom and takes Arbus out of her '50s home life and into a new realm of possibility. It sounds like Sylvia meets that Muppet movie.

By the buffet, I ran into Daily News gossip LLOYD GROVE, who recently wrote something rather cutting about ANN COULTER. Aren't they friends? "Yes. She likes that," Grove told me. She likes abuse? "She likes being called a human Uzi." Just don't elongate her legs in a cover photo.

Then all of a sudden the festival told me we were over. (It wasn't me, mind you. It's just that the festival's not the settling-down type.) So after spewing a torrent of chocolate sauce with peanuts out my butt, I buried my pride and, before the fest even closed, started going elsewhere. I went to Paper's party for KELLY OSBOURNE, where Kelly wore a wig (she'd shaved herself bald because . . . well, just because) and a medical corset underneath a shirt that blared, "Look at Me." I did.

I also went to the MAC Awards (for cabaret) at Symphony Space and felt like I had been beamed into a completely alien community —a world of people who cry easily, whose lips are chapped from licking so many flyer-filled envelopes, who never got the memo that Judy Garland died, and who are completely adorable. The four-hour-plus ceremony gave them all much craved pats on the back, and gradually I started actually recognizing some of the talent—like belters LINA KOUTRAKOS and BABY JANE DEXTER, humorist SIDNEY MYER (who sang a funny ode to pheromones), and chanteuse ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY, who won two awards and exulted, "I'm 5-10 and worth the climb." Guest performer SARA RAMIREZ from Spamalot fit right in by doing a dramatic version of "The Man That Got Away," the song immortalized by—everybody now—Judy Garland. And lifetime achievement award winner KEELY SMITH sang up a storm, jazzing around the stage as if she were 23, not freakin' 73! The woman received no fewer than four standing ovations and fell apart sobbing each time, admitting, "I cry over the six o'clock news!"

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