By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The Hamptons are where you go to get away from the same old 100 people in crowded rooms, only to find the same old 100 people in crowded rooms. It's the kind of place that, though it only requires $14.50 to get there by three-hour train ride from the city, will cost you a whopping $85 just to get from one freakin' Hampton to the other. But I rather adore it, dahling. I just went for the first time in about 27 years, so the relentless parade of white clothing seemed almost profound and the absolute quiet while you sleep (except for the buzzing of killer mosquitoes and the rustling of the help) came off sort of eerily refreshing. I got so into the whole effete experience that a pinched-faced lady screeching at a take-out counter girl, "You didn't give me my whole order!" became my new best friend.
In between watching braver people swim and play tennis, I watched dumber people push strollers and cuter people canoodle. But I left detachment at the door as I attended celeb photographer PATRICK MCMULLAN's "surprise" birthday party at Cain at Cabana, a fun alfresco dinner descended on by so many skinny white blondes (and a guy in a hot-pink monkey suit) that I felt perversely special. As they all compared summer shoes and jutting ribs, I migrated to the enclave of '80s survivors, who seemed to have found a state of calm, though one was shrieking, "I just had a weird moment on the dancefloor, forgetting I'm not 19 and hot!"
While I was busy forgetting I am hot, McMullan arrived and graciously pretended to be surprised. Quickly enough, he got to work doing that introducing thing he does as the world's most aggressive liaison man. ("Hitler, this is Anne Frank," we always joke he would have said, with best intentions.) "This is Jared. He won the contest," Patrick told me, panting. He meant the one on that KATHY HILTON show, which had Jared stepping in swank and making it way up to my level. Even Mrs. Hilton herself had shown up and was doing that introduction thing, telling me, "This is my husband, Rick," as she strangely gestured to someone in his twenties. Realizing her mistake, she laughed and said, "Oh, no, this is Rick," pointing to Rick, who was sitting nearby. Ah, le mariage.
Over DJ TOM FINN's selection of vintage hits, artist HEDY KLINEMAN and I enjoyed Patrick's mom's cute griping that he should get even bigger bylines. By the food station, publicist Alan Rish was unbuttoning Men's Health editor DAVE ZINCZENKO's shirt to verify that his "abs diet" works, as another developmental miracle turned up in the form of AMY LUMET, looking even more titty-tacular than at her dad Sidney's Academy Awards tribute. "I thought the Oscars were the gay Olympics, but I got a lot of response from straight guys after that," said bulbous Amy, who now naturally wants to be in Playboy.
After the pixie dust cleared, I was sitting outside Citarella with ANITA SARKO the next daygetting ready to scream, "You didn't give me my whole order!"when an inexpensively dressed Puerto Rican woman walking by asked if she could rest at our table for a moment. I said, "I guess so" and felt suddenly awash in the glow of my own astounding nobility. I had actually let a potentially unfabulous person in the Hamptons hierarchy perch on my exalted domain for a moment while I finished my lobster rolls. Could anything define generosity of spirit more than a golden gesture like that? I was so relieved to convince myself that I am not one of the patronizing culture-clash-mongers of the Hamptons after all. God, I'm sensational. Dahling.
I'D LIKE TO SKANK THE ACADEMY
Back in New York, we were all on the same level again at the gay publication Next's first Out There awards at Crobar, which brought together all the high end of uppity society's low end. Here, the skinny white blondes had penises and the titties were the type that come off at dawn and sleep in the closet. And the show was out-there all right. I was invited as a guest, but when I arrived, I was told by fellow gossip PEREZ HILTON that we were actually scheduled to co-present an award. I frantically started trying to make my crappy outfit look better while preparing all manner of witty stage remarks, only to have original Village People cowboy RANDY JONES take me aside and whisper that he'd heard Perez was in fact going to be presenting me with some secret honor. Well, I frenetically started preparing even longer, more trenchant comments, all agush with gratitude and self-congratulation ("Thank you, Next, for recognizing my pioneering spirit. Like your readers, I've always celebrated life on the edge . . . "), only to find that I was actually getting caca. Perez and I were simply going to present the "Award We Promised to Someone for Just Showing Up" to promoter SCOTT NEVINS, who did indeed show up, thanking the evening's hard-working host, SWEETIE, for "doing the job I turned down." Sweetie was understandably not amused and told Nevins, "Keep it movin', honey" as I kept movin' right off the stage.
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 Madamthe bitchy puppet Wayland Flowers made famousturned 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.
THUMB CAME RUNNING
Another magazine that we truly getPapernot 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, babyplus 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 truewith 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'
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 ringfun, fun, funas 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 TURNERgreat 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.
In the midst of all the caring and concern over the effects of Katrina, it was inevitable that some gross looting would happen tooI 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!