Huzzahing Howard at the screening was JIM SHERIDAN, who's directing him in Get Rich or Die Tryin', about a dealer who strives to be a rap star. Crowed Sheridan, "He's quite a handful. He's not the kind of actor you can control. I'd love to put him in a cartoon, but he'd say, 'One arm's longer than the other.' " I hate when that happens. For a final flourish, Sheridan revealed that on the set, Howard "was very generous with 50 CENT." Now that's just good common sense, don't you think?


Post Crash: Terrence Howard (with co-star Paula Jai Parker)
photo: John Singleton/Paramount Pictures/MTV Films
Post Crash: Terrence Howard (with co-star Paula Jai Parker)

Rather than let you pause and ponder the fact that Jim "My Left Foot" Sheridan is doing a rap movie—hello!—let's quickly move on to another gritty premiere, the one for Crónicas, the Mexican-Ecuadoran charmer about a serial child killer and the sleazy journo who engages him in mind games. At the event at the Angelika—of course—I reminded mambo mouth JOHN LEGUIZAMO, who plays the reporter, that I recently saw him on a scooter with his daughter, looking ever so pastoral. Is he actually not a freak as advertised? "Not anymore," he laughed. "I'm a dad. A freaky dad!" "So how are the kids?" I asked wittily. "They call you on everything you do," said Leguizamo. "They mock you and have no respect. It's great! Little Mini-Mes telling you off." It's a whole bunch of bullshit! (But very cute, Papi.)

Far more ego-building was Leguizamo's trek to Cannes to promote Crónicas, an unforgettable voyage into self. "It was wild," he gushed. "Going up the red carpet with all the photographers yelling your name and saying, 'Look over here,' in five different languages!" As a D-lister, I'd settle for just one "Aquí, bitch!"


Note to self: Lock and bolt the doors and hide all the pets and trinkets next April 23. Club-kid killer MICHAEL ALIG's telling friends he gets out of the big house on the 24th . . . Any news on the health of that other controversial Michael, Mr. Jackson? Has he been rushed to the hospital for any debilitating ailments since he was acquitted? No? He's feeling fine? Amazing!

Feeling uneasy, FLOTILLA DEBARGE thinks she was set to win Best Drag Queen at HX magazine's recent awards ceremony until she made remarks onstage criticizing the politics of Fire Island entertainment. (She told the crowd she was horrified when a booker notified her that since she was performing in the Grove, she couldn't work in the Pines.) Sure enough, Flo was later announced as the winner, but after much fumbling, the award went to HEDDA LETTUCE. Flo thinks there was a backup plaque ready in case of a controversial performance like hers, but HX's MATTHEW BANK responds, "Flotilla's name was announced in error. The awards had all been pre-printed before the ceremony and the Best Drag Queen award clearly said 'Hedda Lettuce' on it, so there was no way that Hedda's win could have been switched at the last moment." I just want peace, man.


The American media are having a field day trashing the supposedly inept Aruban attempt to solve Natalee Holoway's disappearance, and it's all so patronizing I could scream. I guess they’re forgetting that even WITH bodies or remains, no justice was ever reached with American casualties like JonBenet Ramsey, Nicole Simpson, Ron Goldman, Chandra Levy, Bonnie Lee Bakley, and on and on.

Meanwhile, the saddest recent loss on our shores was the death of r&b king Luther Vandross, who had a voice like plush velvet. (His virtuoso version of "A House is Not a Home" is one of the must-have records of all time.) Interestingly, AP's obit called the late, great Luther a "lifetime bachelor." You know what that means--he was a giant queen. They tellingly added, "The entertainer said his busy lifestyle made marriage difficult; besides, it wasn't what he wanted." They got THAT right.

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