NY Mirror

Conspicuous overexpenditure hits the screen again with Memoirs of a Geisha, a/k/a Farewell My Crouching Concubine, a florid melodrama that has all the wacky spontaneity of taxidermied butterflies. The characters talk in near-haiku ("Every once in a while a man's eel likes to visit a woman's cave") or showbiz clichés ("You are the most celebrated geisha in all Myaku!") in between bowing, scraping, and spitting out verbal flying daggers. Every frame seems to come from Nippon by way of N. Highland Avenue, and what's more, the character named Nobu made me really hungry. If a tree has no leaves or branches, can you still call it a tree? I don't know, but thanks to all these lunatic excesses, the movie made my eel hard, and I perversely enjoyed it as much as Casino Royale. I might even go to Sephora and get me some "Memoirs of a Geisha eau de parfum—inspired by the film."

Moving on to the memoirs of a Gatien, a recent, fragrant item of mine mentioned that deported club kingpin PETER GATIEN might be able to come back to the states because he's part Native American. Well, Gatien (who's opening a nightclub in Toronto) told Page Six that he isn't trying to return at all, and no one's working on his behalf to get him here. Funny, his daughter JENNIFER—an up-and-coming writer—has been e-mailing people that her dad just got into his grandmother's tribe, Mohawk Nation, "meaning he can come on back to the U.S. of A. Natives are not deportable. I made that discovery a while ago and so my dad will be coming here soon—like next week." That week has already passed, so maybe next week? Unless Gatien somehow didn't get the memo. (I refuse to believe he'd flat-out lie.) Or maybe he's just playing parts.



Pod People
photo: Craig Hayes
Litter Box
THE FASCINATING GASTINEAUS

I did a guest appearance on E!'s Gastineau Girls, brag brag, being filmed as I was interviewed by the mother-daughter duo for a perky podcast. When I turned the tables by asking them questions, the Gastineaus were open and fascinating, with young Brittny projecting a sort of mother-hen quality and mama Lisa seeming more like a feisty coming-of-ager. Things got especially interesting when I asked why they're celebs and how Lisa deals with sexual dry spells.

I've also been guest-appearing in audiences, like the opening-night one for the Zipper Theater's effective revival of the queer-murderer drama Bareback Pouncing, I mean Rope. In the crowd, AMY SACCO (not with Vanzetti) told me they're starting to develop the pilot for the HBO show about HER CLUB DIVADOM, AND THOUGH CASTING HASN'T BEEN DONE YET, SHE'D LOVE KRISTEN JOHNSTON to play her because "she has the voice and she's so funny." And like Sacco, she's so very tall.

On Broadway, A Touch of the Poet is rarely seen O'Neill in a potent production that's for serious theatergoers only. In tackling the tale of dampened aspirations, there are no gimmicks, pop stars, or video projections—just lots of strong, straightforward work. Can you deal with it? (I know I couldn't.)

But Broadway-to-movie transfers are more iffy. Some people are walking out of screenings of The New World looking more glazed than donuts (but that's just some people). And a friend of mine is undergoing chemotherapy, but said in all seriousness, "It's better than Rent!"


Web Extra

The kids on the Broadway boards are buzzing that the stage musical version of the Full Monty might be on the verge of being made into a film musical, much the way The Producers and Hairspray have ping-ponged from movie to stage show to movie again. The proposed star of the strip-and-sing film epic? Hugh Jackman! Book my ticket now!

More immediately, stage legend Chita Rivera is back on Broadway where she belongs in Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life, her loving tribute to herself and the people who helped. The show starts dramatically, with a girl playing little Chita dancing onstage in synchronicity with big Chita, who's high-kicking in silhouette behind a scrim. Then big Chita comes center stage and entertains and informs us—I had no idea she started out dancing on tabletops like Paris Hilton!—whirling her 72-year-old ass around to some great old songs and bland new ones. Some of the script is too cutesy and cliched ("The part fit me like a glove") and alas, there's no mention of Chita not being all hetero, which she told me on the record last year. (Here, she does a gender-specific tribute to the men in her life.) But it's still a solid enough showcase for the gloriously graceful star, and that's good, isn't it, grand, isn't it?—though for the movie verison, they'll probably get Hugh Jackman. (For backup dancer Deidre Goodwin, they should definitely get Kevin Aviance. The resemblance is astounding.)


musto@villagevoice.com

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