By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
The latest high-octane, gold-standard drag queen to sauce up the scene is DINA MARTINA, a malapropic, off-the-charts mess with a saucy sense of humor geared to "the BLT community" and beyond. Barreling onto the Cutting Room's stage the other night in a silver lamé astronaut suit, with red lipstick shockingly off course, Dina belted "Comin' to America" in between randomly rewarding some audience members ("Have a dollar!") and taunting others ("A pink-eyed lez. Ouch on both counts"). Removing the outfit to reveal an orange pantsuit that weirdly emphasized some eye-popping cameltoe, the Seattle-based minx kept going with ferocious force, whether attacking a Little Mermaid ballad as if clubbing a baby seal or sharing well-observed opinions like "I feel diversity is a wonderful thingon paper." Dina's manic act is not only good on paper, it works like a charm bracelet in personthough, she warns, "Remember, the stage adds 80 to 90 pounds."
SCAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
Dina's opener, the female sketch comedy group MEAT, was one of the acts lining up to spew obscenities at the Peoples Improv Theater's Aristocontest, where the stage figuratively added 80 to 90 pounds of body fluids. The illustrious event had comics telling their versions of the infamous joke where a family farts and fists and felches onstage, then calls itself the Federlines, I mean the Aristocrats. We were treated to every imaginable variation on the jokeincluding a folk song versionwith the scatological references topically spanning Katrina, 9-11, the Bush family, and "shit coming out like a giant Mister Softee machine." Several comics went on too long, forgetting that less is whore, but all of them were so gamely goofy that by the end there was even some real vomit on the stage. The punchline of the contest? The prize was absolutely nothing. (But here's a free gift to you: Spies tell me The Aristocrats might be bound for Broadwayyou know, the Great Brown Way.)
At the Café Carlyle, amazing ELAINE STRITCH barrels onto the stage in a silver lamé astronaut suit, with red lipstick shockingly . . . No, I got that wrong. Actually, Stritch skips out in a classic uptown lady's black-and-white ensemble, beaming through slap-happy songs like "Yes I Can!" and "I Think I Like You!" A nice Elaine Stritch? The buzz-saw-voiced ex-boozer as Mary Sunshine meets Shirley Partridge in a bright alley with Sammy Davis Jr.? Yeah, kind of, but relax. After what seems like six opening numbers, she goes into her fab acerbic mode and comically vents about "fucking cell phones, fucking taxis, fucking traffic" and fucking so on. She rattles off a list of grudges then rasps out "Why Him?" ("I'd like to put a knife to him/Just to see if there is life to him.") And though she goes soft again by revealing that, given the chance to say something to Dubya, she congratulated him on his sobrietyI guess she hadn't read the Enquirershe then launches into "Dear World," a timeless ditty about the sorry state of international affairs. The act may meander like a deer in the Pines, but the woman has fire and charisma that should be bottled for the ages. Most importantly, it turns out she has what she sings about in her finale"miles and miles and miles of heart."
Miles of sheets welcome another seminal diva, eternal gamine MIA FARROW, back to the stage in JAMES LAPINE's Fran's Bed, which at first seems as synthetic as the effigy of Mia's character that lies in a hospital dying of an overdose. The sitcommy banter and stale references don't enchant, and the tone fails to click until the characters satirically appear in a soap opera scene. (They do better with that than in the more straightforward soap that surrounds it.) But by the end, a haunted poignancy takes over to the point where one's rooting for Franand even her effigyto get the hell out of bed.
WWE ARE FAMILY
That's about as butch a sporting event as I'll cotton to, except for an occasional gander at the WWE gang for the hunk factor and camp appeal. So there I was at the USA Network's power lunch celebrating the return of the wrestling stars with Raw, which is just how I like everything from first dates to carrots. Cordially enough, promoter VINCE MCMAHON greeted the crowd, asking, "Where else can you go to meet larger-than-life individuals?" (Gee, I don't knowthe Cutting Room, the Aristocontest . . . ) Then out came the celebrity grapplers, each giving us a remark or two in lieu of poking our eyes out. There was a misty-eyed "STONE COLD" STEVE AUSTIN ("I remember driving beer trucks and slamming beers on TV!"); the frizzy-haired CARLITO, sporting a tropical shirt and exaggerated Caribbean accent ("I kind of like to theenk of myself as an icon too"); the hulking BIG SHOW ("Where's the buffet?"); and vampy TORRIE WILSON, carrying two fluffy bedroom props and asking, "Who wants to pillow fight?" "Those are some lucky pillows," interjected McMahon, all adrool.
Before the pillows end up smothering someone on Fran's bed, let's have some rapid-fire gossip flashes for the ADD crowd. (I hope they ADD up.) First off, the WORLD OF WONDER's Trans-Generation series, playing on the Sundance Channel, moved audiences of all hormones on a recent college tour, andthis is the real testit's even touched its own been-around-the-block makers. Co-producer RANDY BARBATO tells me, "It's the first time we all made sure we had a box of tissues next to the monitor whenever we watched a rough cut."
Stuff some Kleenex in your cheeks and pucker for Happy Valley, a pert new club in the East Twenties, where the downstairs bar is backed by two gigantic, fishnetted, garter-belted legs spread akimbo as if in a trans. The first Monday-night bash there drew straights in jeans, downtowners in Mylar, and co-host KENNY KENNY looking like SEAN YOUNG in Blade Runner, as everyone tried to decide whether to run toward or away from the giant legs.
I legged it over to SBNY, where the go-go boys weren't nearly as hot as the two shirtless sanitation workers who were towing away the trash outside. (Little did they know about all the trash inside.)
Speaking of which, on her last free night before lockup, the giant Mister Softee machine known as LIL' KIM was supposed to drop by her PM lounge farewell bash at 11:30 p.m. She actually didn't come till three in the morning. Well, she was convicted of lying.
I'm truthin' when I tell you that Nine Lives is a nonet of women's stories, each told in one unbroken take, just because they could. At the premiere, MARY KAY PLACE told me that the filming process was exhilarating, "like going off a cliff"but added that "you did not want to be the one to mess up the take." She wasn'tbut she did mess with my mind when she sardonically noted, "I love how you look me straight in the eye, then dart your eyes off to the side. Great technique." Yeah, and it's all done in one unbroken take.
Finally, TIM BURTON will probably do more takes of the documentary he was making about late horror legend Vincent Price when Price died in '93. Burton says he'd like to revisit the project, but he'll snip his own footage out of it because "I can't stand looking at myself." Awwhave a dollar!
Summer lover Miranda July
In a love-apalooza straight out of the art house circuit, MIKE MILLS(Thumbsucker's writer-director) is dating MIRANDA JULY (Me and You and Everyone We Know's writer-director-star). If there's a baby, they should name it Angelika IFC Sunshine.
I learned of another quirky coupling when IONE SKYE told The Daily's PETER DAVIS that she enjoyed a particularly swell summer partly because "I had a fantastic fling with [exFelicity star] SCOTT SPEEDMAN." As if there's any other kind of fling you could have with (exFelicity star) Scott Speedman.
In other hunk-a-dunka news, a sinewy waiter at the Maritime was telling people he got a call to work a party for GEORGE CLOONEY's new movie, adding, "They asked for 10 hot guys."
As for high guys, you'll remember that JOHN ELLIS BUSHFlorida governor Jeb's son and the prez's nephewwas recently busted for intoxication and resisting arrest. Well, isn't it poetic that he and messy sister NOELLE reign in the state where there's such a rabid anti-gay-adoption law? It's gays that make bad parents, you know.
JODIE FOSTER's appearance on Ellen this Monday provided a potpourri bowl full of lesbian contentsubtextually, anyway. First off, the two ladies admitted they hang out in the same places ("I see you at the market," Jodie interestingly remarked to ELLEN.) Then they talked about Jodie's butch mama character in Flightplan ("This was written for a man," she confessed.) And getting more intimate, they discussed how, when she was the Coppertone girl in a commercial, they'd put treats in Jodie's pants to make the dog pull 'em down. "Does the Coppertone girl still have treats in her pants?" wondered Ellen. "I'm sure she does," exclaimed Jodie, who then got all uncomfortable and smiled, "I don't want to continue with that line of questioning." It was all in fun, of course. I'm just being a dork.