NY Mirror

At the Gen Art party at Home for his romantic comedy The Baxter, MICHAEL SHOWALTER looked so vulnerable and almost pained that I instantly took to him like tighty whities to a bubble butt. "I'm not that comfortable with myself as a movie star," the writer-director-actor admitted when cattle-prodded. "I much prefer to look at [co-stars] JUSTIN THEROUX or PAUL RUDD than my misshapen face. I like symmetry. Some people have even compared me to Screech from Saved by the Bell." Outraged, I convinced him that Screech had a cuteness, and besides, there's something Picassoesque about all of us oddballs that gives us major auction value in certain dank quarters.

"It's a well-meaning movie," he went on about The Baxter, "in its innocuously benign, positive way. I hope people don't go at it in a critical way. But I've had so many things get horrible reviews—like The State, Stella, and Wet Hot American Summer." Well, don't look at me—theVoice's review of The Baxter was not at all un-positive. Rather than dwell on the final rottentomatoes.com tally, I switched gears to Broadway show tunes (that's always a spirit raiser), and we started spontaneously duetting on the "tits and ass" song from A Chorus Line, as our misshapen features magically turned into those of VIGGO MORTENSEN.

Other body parts came up—and up and up—at the party when I asked Justin Theroux about his recent spurt of genital typecasting. Theroux's The Baxter character claims to have a "fat cock," and in the upcoming Strangers With Candy movie, he's a doof with a genuine eyeball-poker for all the world to avoid. As the actor explained it, "AMY SEDARIS said, 'All you need to know about your character is he's got a really huge dick and he never gets to use it.' " Well, if he were gay, there'd definitely be takers.

Speaking of swollen assets, did The Baxter have any kind of ginormous budget? "I got a cup of dust and some wax lips," Theroux laughed. "A really terrible paycheck." But he's making nice cash on the Miami Vice movie starring COLIN FARRELL, about whom Theroux told me, "He's funny and smart. He really is the party boy—the way the media portray him—but more wonderful than that." And he gets to use it.


SHUT YOUR HOLE AND FORK OVER SOME DRINK TICKETS

Trying to be funny and smart on my own party express, I went to the usually delightful nightclub Duvet and heard every single one of clubland's most obnoxious lines all in one night. Among the outré utterances coming at me like dirty bombs: "Remember me? Come on, who am I?"; "Why aren't you as entertaining in person?" (Like I should trot out sound bites, gossip exclusives, and manic facial gestures on the spot every time someone says hello. And SAVION GLOVER should do an elaborate tap dance.) And most perversely of all, "What are you doing here? It's so over." (I guess so ifyou're here.) Fortunately, DJ LARRY TEEdrowned it all out with a dance version of that haunting whistling routine from Kill Bill: Vol. 1, and suddenly it wasn't over after all.

A whistle-stop over by the Hudson, Salon is that intriguing contradiction—a snazzy restaurant-lounge in one of the few $35.50-a-night flophouses left in town (the Hotel Riverview, which we should all probably move into before it goes up to $36). A recent Wednesday night party there, hosted by gossip maggers GREG LITTLEY and KELLY WILL, flowed with free "Boru citrus vodka topped with Passionfruit Fizzy Lizzy." One patron likened the place to the Peach Pit from Beverly Hills 90210, but I don't recall that club having a straight customer so passionately recommending a Judy Garland movie to his friend. I guess the bell hasn't yet tolled for metrosexuality—or for people blurting revealing things after too much Passionfruit Fizzy Lizzy.

But it's the out gays who have all the real talent. At Therapy, I walked in on various after-work teachers and lawyers giving head to beer bottles onstage for cash prizes—their bosses would have been so proud—while at Maritime's Cuckoo Club, a guy was trying to prove how dexterous Southern mouths are by rhythmically deep-throating all sorts of glassware and fruit as I held on to my wallet, laptop, and friends for dear life. And they say gay culture has stagnated!


MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

Nocturnal excesses got a theatrical workout with Party and Prey, BRANDON OLSON and RAMI RAMIREZ's disco drama, which was an endearing, loosely structured glimpse at club life, complete with rueful songs and observations. One highlight had SOPHIA LAMAR definitively stating that it wasn't MICHAEL ALIG, GIULIANI, or 9-11 that killed nightlife—"It was bottle service!" (Or maybe servicing bottles.) Another theatrical high point came before the show, when a Dixon Place rep got up to crow about the kazillions they've made in fundraising, after which she nervily passed around a helmet for spare change. A few of the struggling audience members who'd paid admission looked a tiny bit stunned, as if she might next go for glassware and fruit.

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