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 Woman in White proves you should never wear that color after Labor Day. The sleekly designed show gains power as it goes along, but it's still basically a glorified Harlequin musical with too many moon/June lyrics, rape songs, and unwitting melodic homages to stuff from "Can't Help Falling in Love" to "Macarena." While awash in the plot's arsenal of revelations, I shamefully started wondering if one of the characters' namesLady Glydedoesn't sound like some kind of feminine-hygiene product.
The Great American Trailer Park Musical seems more up my dank alley, so when the producers asked me to judge a promotional trailer-trash contest, I said ho, I mean yes, and became privy to all sorts of faux pregnant ladies belching the alphabet while doing a headstand and eating Spam. As the trash piled up, the event's host, JERRY SPRINGERwho's no stranger to raucous mobile-home escapeessurveyed the room and cracked, "This is a new career low." But I know he couldn't possibly have meant it, since he said the very same thing when he hosted my birthday party at a drag bar a few years ago!
Trailer trash made good is the subject of Walk the Line, which takes a womanizing singing legend through childhood, marriage, cheating, success, dressing-room destruction, more cheating, a comeback, and redemption. No, wait, that was Ray. Walk the Lineor Joaq the Line, as it weretakes a sightedwomanizing singing legend through childhood, marriage, cheating, etc., etc. It's a more than decent piece of work, though almost every imaginable biopic cliché is in there, and spunky REESE WITHERSPOON brings a little too much Beverly Hills to her hillbilly honey. In the premiere's audience, Hills dweller JESSICA ALBA was asked by a photographer to pose, and she complied, laughingly saying, "Sure, take a picture of me eating popcorn and gaining five pounds!" (That would probably double her weight. Spam would quadruple it.) At the after-party, more habits were challenged when someone asked Phoenix if they could help him stop smoking through acupuncture. "I don't want to stop smoking," he replied, simplythough acupuncture could probably help with that too.
But needles are out and pills are all the way in again, thanks to the fact thathold on to your Lady GlydeValley of the Dolls is finally coming out on DVD in the states next year! The tawdrily glamorous 1967 classicthe kind of gorgeous backstage musical that forces Walk the Line to the back of the lineis being sumptuously repackaged, and there will even be special features, like a documentary I've been interviewed for, hallelujah, hoo-ha, praise Jesus. I am plotzing from joy. I'm planting my own tree of pure heaven. I can barely go on.
But I'll try: Even racier cinema will get the once-over with porn industry chronicler BENJAMIN SCUGLIA's book in progress called It Just Happened, a behind-the-scenes tell-all of the gay adult-film jizz biz. "I was going to call it an oral history," Scuglia tells me, "but people kept giggling. It's about how the Falcon aesthetic has infiltrated the mainstream via advertising and popular culture. Look at any fashion magazine and you see those naked, hairless, androgynous male modelsand where does the aesthetic come from? Falcon movies! If you want to predict the next trend, just look at gay porn." OK, then I guess the next mainstream trend is going to be light ramming followed by simultaneous felching (and gaining five pounds).
And airbrushing primates. Everyone knows that fans didn't cotton to King Kong's snaggletooth in early footage shown (though I felt it gave him a sort of country-singer charm). Well, in the newest promo image I saw, it seems to have been photo-shopped right out of there, his mouth streamlined as if it were that of a supermodel (and it is, it is). His other appendage, I hope, is still hanging.
I'D RATHER HAVE A BOTTLE IN FRONT OF ME . . .
Barbaric Photoshopping of the brain, as it were, is spotlighted in the radio documentary My Lobotomy, whose premiere at Bellevue I gleefully went to, mainly to act all superior to the live guests who'd no doubt be screaming, slobbering, and belching the alphabet. But these survivorswho once had ice picks rammed into their heads for various un-chic reasonswere touching and well-spoken about the ramifications of their horror, though I was most attracted to the lady who said the lobotomy actually helped her resolve her schizophrenia. I hope she got two for the price of one.
At the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, comics were strapping on extra brain cells to do an elaborate deconstruction of R. KELLY's Trapped in the Closet, the insane r&b opera in which Kelly monotonously sings every character's dialogue, leading up to the closet-busting revelation, "The man is a midget!" (When the midget literally shits himself, you want to put him back in the closet.) In between showings of Kelly's mind-boggling video, a panel of fake experts fielded audience questions like "Is the policeman holding the chicken a metaphor for himself?" The reply was that this work might not hold up under quite that much scrutiny.