NY Mirror

A more poignant moment had drop-in heteros MURRAY HILL and DIRTY MARTINI honoring all the clubs we lost this year (not surprisingly, the Cock and the Gaiety got the most rousing audience response). But something came way back from the dead when Madam—the bitchy puppet Wayland Flowers made famous—turned up on the arm of presenter JOE KOVACS, who got the rights from Flowers's road manager and is making the old hag zing again.

Also turning then into now, an '80s-influenced trio of "tri-sexual pop genderbenders" called DALIPSTYXX performed, committed to "taking the world by storm . . . one shade at a time." After they flounced around and rapped out their sardonically funny "I Wish I Was Eminem" ("He dresses in drag/No one calls him a fag"), I went home feeling honored after all.


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THUMB CAME RUNNING

Another magazine that we truly get—Paper—not only has a "revamped, redesigned, relaunched, and reborn" website, according to co-pooh-bah DAVID HERSHKOVITS, but it gave me a full night's entertainment by hosting a Ciao dinner for MIKE MILLS's Thumbsucker, an appendage-dependence epic that probably should have been digital. (Get it? Digital! I love it!) "Everybody said no to this picture, including Sony Classics," Mills told me before din-din. "No one wanted to do a movie about thumbsucking, vulnerability, or flaws. JAMES SCHAMUS from Focus said, ' Thumbsucker? You might as well call it Buttfucker.' OK, so you're homophobic and you don't like my movie. Even at Sundance, only one person wanted to buy it." Well, that's all you need, baby—plus a few thumbs up, which some critics have already generously provided.

Before thumbing a ride home, I asked co-star TILDA SWINTON about her brief but fiery role in Broken Flowers. "I counted and it was 20 seconds," she said, laughing. Yeah, but it seemed like 30. Anyway, does everyone have a thumbsucking problem, as it were? "I wish they would," said sensible Tilda. "You can make friends with your own loneliness. Otherwise you're open to all sorts of temptations and distractions like Ritalin and vials of stuff you don't need and getting married to the wrong people." How true—with your oral cavity clogged, you can't possibly take meds or say dumb, self-defeating things like "I do." I might even find something bigger to ram down there and save my life.



Raging bulls at 'Rumble on the River'
photo: scottmcdermott.com
Litter Box
Lohan behold

Rumble on the River," the Church Street Boxing Gym's night of amateur boxing on the pier, had angry people beating each other up in the ring—fun, fun, fun—as I ogled the attractive, surprisingly civilized crowd of every imaginable type of person you'd ever want to rumble with, as it were, in private.

Another night's unlikely sports event had me riding away from the meatpacking district when a guy approached me to say, " LINDSAY LOHAN's in that cab over there!" I barely caught a glimpse as the car shot by, but a nearby kindred spirit deadpanned, "Oh, well. There were dozens of Lindsay Lohans in Cherry Grove last week."

There's only one KATHLEEN TURNER—great segue, right?—and I'm sorry to read she's split from her one and only longtime hubby JAY WEISS. Could the theater itself be the third party? When Turner prepared to play the drunk, rumble-loving Martha in the stage revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, I interviewed her for Show People magazine and she said, "Martha is keeping me up at night . . . I have to be really careful that Martha doesn't cross over into my life too much. I have a marriage of 20 years and I don't want to take Martha home and turn my husband Jay into George." Who's afraid that may have happened?

I am, kids, I am.


WEB EXTRA

In the midst of all the caring and concern over the effects of Katrina, it was inevitable that some gross looting would happen too—I mean from publicity whores! The year's crassest press release just made it over the Web, using the hurricane to sell romantic advice to marrieds who might have been a tiny bit bothered by the tragedy. "Did you know that 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce?" says the release. "And 75 percent of all second marriages? Most marriages fail under extreme stress . . . So how can couples stay together in the face of Hurricane Katrina?" Apparently, only two people know, and they are a certain husband and wife therapist team the release sets about promoting, urging TV shows to book the couple for tips on how to keep love alive when all else is washed away. If anyone can prove this isn't some kind of massive joke, please let me know. And if it's for real, please let it wash away!


musto@villagevoice.com

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