NY Mirror

 BENNETT MILLER rang—you know, the talent from Mamaroneck who directed Capote, about the mixture of compassion and manipulation behind the making of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. "Am I the next Capote?" was naturally my first question. "You are," Miller obliged as I prepared to be stroked. "You're going to charm and disarm me and then betray me. You will laugh your way through my defenses and peel back the layers and find the chink in my armor and thrust your sword and reach your arm through my ribs and pull out my heart, throw it on the ground, puncture it with the heel of your pumps that I know you're wearing right now, and then put your cigarette out in it. In that way you are the new Capote." Goshers, I was hoping more for, "Yes, you're a truly brilliant writer for the new age," but hey, I'll take it.

While I tried to figure how to pull his heart out over the phone, Miller heard me clanking away on my keyboard, recording his words like a digital maniac. "You're a fantastic typist," he conceded, piercing through my armor. "That sounds like 60 to 65 words a minute. Actually you're playing PlayStation, not listening to a word." No, I was truly hanging onto every syllable, and I was thrilled to realize that at least I'm a brilliant typist. Anyway, how did he compensate for PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN being so much taller than Capote was? (These are the kinds of questions that make a writer so incredibly innovative.) Miller said he used little tricks like casting taller people around him. Isn't that discriminatory? "Are you nuts?" he responded. "What do you think casting is? It's a process of discriminating."

Point taken. But more lip-smackingly, was Capote casting around for an indiscriminate love match with his not unattractive criminal subject Perry Edward Smith? No way, said Miller, who'd consulted biographer GERALD CLARKE about this. "In Cold Blood meant more to him than anything else. He wasn't about to risk it all for a blowjob!" (So I'm not the new Capote.) Well, from the movie, you sense that Tru didn't enjoy much conjugation with his own boyfriend either. Miller explained that a make-out scene got cut for "narrative reasons," and besides, by this point their relationship had become as platonic and open as mine and Keanu's.

Tru to life: Capote director Bennett Miller
photo: Attila Dory/Sony Pictures Classics
Tru to life: Capote director Bennett Miller

As we peeled back more layers, Miller said the acclaim he's gotten for the film has been like "a very clean, sober high and relief." Pleased for him, I refused to carry out my betrayal.


For narrative reasons I'm moving on to typing about the already legendary In My Life, the Broadway lemon which I approached hoping for a sober high while thinking, "It had better not disappoint me and be good." It didn't. In fact, the vanity production (backed by some straining-to-stay-anonymous lunatic) proves once and for all that a guy with Tourette's syndrome, a brain tumor, and two dead family members doesn't make for a high-kickin' musical, even if he's as cute as the script's treatment of his disabilities. ("Fuck suck duck," he screams as his girlfriend giggles appreciatively.) What's more, daffy ditties about MRI exams generally don't enchant, even if led by a prancing emissary from heaven who shows that you obviously don' t get eternal damnation if you're gay—though he probably should. ("There's a little rumor/ Someone's got a tumor," he feyly croons.) But the scene that provoked the most lemony snickers the night I went had a rocker apologizing to a big-voiced little girl for having mowed her down in a car accident. ("No problem," the little angel pretty much replies before tottering off.) Honey, I have practically every illness represented in this show and I still didn't like it.

Patrons were screaming "fuck," "suck," and "duck, you sucker" when I judged the five-hour-long finals of WILL CLARK's Porn Idol contest at O.W. bar, where wannabe adult stars made love to a banana, jerked off a shampoo bottle, and answered Clark's pert questions like "Are you a top or a bottom?" ("Yes" was a popular response.) The contest drew a healthy helping of Marymount students of the type who obviously run around squealing, "Mary, mount me!" But the winner was the dog walker from Gastineau Girls who truly walked a dog when he gamely mounted me on the pool table for photos.

At the Roxy, MADONNA loomed before us in the wee hours—and in a '70s feathered hairdo—to say that the club's DJs were a crucial part of her, like, roots. ("My whole career started with 12 inches," she cracked. "Some girls have all the luck.") Looking kabbalah-tastic, Maddy danced onstage to her new hits for days, even prancing about with bright-eyed clubbies who were bloody from pinching themselves. It was a great show, but of course throngs of queens left bitching that she didn't sing.

It was actually the second time I'd been to the place that night. (This is the kind of unorthodox chronology that makes me better than Capote.) Earlier on, there was a benefit celebrating the 20th anniversary of Florent, where I asked restaurateur FLORENT MORELLET why his big cause, "hastened death" (a nicer term than suicide), is so important. He went on for 10 minutes, graciously explaining the need for "aid in dying," after which I brilliantly said, "But this is a pretty festive event considering it's for killing oneself." Awkward silence. "Oh, no! This is a benefit for the High Line!" he shrieked. Still, it was a pretty festive event.

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