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.

In the Fringe Festival, I hear, your generosity was generally rewarded with too many songs, too many verses, too many subplots, and not enough air conditioning (though, as always, there were gems in the sandbox). I kept my attendance down to one subpar comedy and The Last Days of Cleopatra, a musical about the Liz-and-Dick epic du adultery, which was surprisingly retro and earnest, but had nice touches like Burton telling Liz, "With or without my pants, I love you." And the air conditioning was great.

With or without a "fat cock," I have some titillating tidbits for your tongue-wagging delectation: 21 Tom of Finland works are being installed into the permanent collection of MOMA. I always knew they were art. . . . While clubbing one night, I heard rumors that Genre magazine might buy the indispensable gay bar mag HX and make it more upscale. (There already seem to be some changes of that ilk in the mag, perhaps by way of preparation.) By the way, SEAN KENNEDY just wrote a gorgeously flattering profile of moi for HX. Who needs changes? . . . You may have heard that Big Cup, the legendary Chelsea haven for young gays who eat Rice Krispie treats, use wireless Internet, and fend off old tweak addicts, was scheduled to close this past Sunday due to raised rents. A big shame! But workers there tell me they got the rights to the name and are lobbying to reopen the joint. . . . I sashayed by the still-there Christopher Street dive Boots & Saddle (a/k/a Bras & Girdles) for the first time in ages and was stunned to find a nice awning adorning the place and polished woodwork and glitzy neon inside. Fortunately, the crowd still looked skank. . . . Insiders say MADONNA's horse is anti-Semitic.

In other UK diva news: MARC ALMOND (Soft Cell) is working on some songs with ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS, who revere him, and he'll also be doing an album of cover versions. . . . Meanwhile, blue-eyed Irish actor CILLIAN MURPHY has gone from playing heels to wearing them. He made your flesh crawl in Batman Begins and your tonsils itch in Red Eye, but wait till you see him as a sympathetic real-life drag queen who consistently sashays past tragedy in NEIL JORDAN's upcoming Breakfast on Pluto. You'll pop your bras and girdles! (And yes, I'm well aware that he sports a fetching red scarf in parts of Red Eye, but this time I'm talking full-on drag, honey. He's quite symmetrical looking.)


Litter Box
My life on the OCD list

I've always wanted to write a musical about lupus called I Love You But I'm Allergic to Myself. While the world waits breathlessly for that one, other health issues will sing out in In My Life, the very real, imminent Broadway tuner in which a musician with Tourette's syndrome falls in love with a journalist (for the Voice, no less) with OCD. I shit you not! I've even exclusively gotten ahold of some sample dialogue from the show, which I'll generously share with you now.

Musician: "You're beautiful, you . . . motherfuckin' cunt hag slut piece of caca jism." Journalist: "Oh, darling! Hold that thought while I check to see if I locked my car, then go home to reorganize my Playbills, then wash my hands a few more times. I'll bring back the soap to rinse out your mouth with, OK?" Musician: "Yes, my angel snatchface twat dickweed piece of doggie fecal matter. Fuck off, whore!" Journalist: "Oh, honey, I love you too—three, four, five . . . " Kidding: I made all that up. It's satire! But the show is truly a-comin'. Take your meds.


musto@villagevoice.com

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