NY Mirror

Best gift bag item:A brochure for the Betty Ford Center, which was included in the bag for Radar magazine's relaunch party. This was so much more useful than the usual body scrubs and aromatherapy. Alas, Tom Sizemore wasn't there to get one (though he could probably use body scrubs and aromatherapy too, ba-dum-pum).

Juiciest comment I over- heard at a holiday party: The director of one of the big December flicks was gleefully telling a friend, "I don't think anyone's gonna see Spielberg's movie. No one's interested!"

You know my star has fallen big-time when most of the calls I get from TV producers are about: PETER BRAUNSTEIN, the psycho who went the lam after his alleged Halloween rampage. Yes, he did write for the Voice several years ago, but alas, I mean thank God I didn't know him well enough to get booked to talk about him!

Nocturnal omission: A New York daily ran a nightlife-related story that dealt with the sex-laden gay bar the Cock, but they wouldn't say the club's name, I guess because it didn't refer to a barnyard animal. Call me kooky-crazy, but I generally think publications shouldn't write about something if they can't actually divulge what it is. The newspaper I'm referring to, of course, is . . . um, sorry, can't say it.

My latest bunch of unbearably cute drag names to try on like dime-store jewelry: Ariel Photography, Ann Arbor, Sue Donymous, Cindy Cation, Mary Widow, Jennifer Convertibles, Anna Mation, Rosetta Stoned, Rose Tattoo, Pearl Onion, Carrie Okee, Brooke Trout, Sarah Tonin, Ginger Ale, Laurel Canyon, Sybil Union, Tami Flu, and— big finish—Felice Navidad.

Worst restaurant: Parkhill's Waterfront Grill in New Jersey—the place which, as a New York Post story revealed, identified patrons by putting descriptions like "Jew couple" or "Dirty Joanne" on their checks. I was sort of tempted to drop by just to see how they'd label me ("Tired queen"? "Greasy wop"? "Unspeakably rude, fat cow"?), but I lost my nerve and just ordered takeout.

Best feel-good musical about Tourette's syndrome: In My Life—unless there was another one around, in which case this was the second best. When the lead character was also revealed to have a brain tumor and the audience tittered, you knew this was a uniquely memorable experience. I also loved how the producer strived to stay anonymous for fear people would hit him up to finance their own shows. I guess he was afraid of that old "If he'll put money in this pile of stink, he'll back anything!" line of thinking. And how right he was; I've been dying to reach him about my seizure-disorder jukebox musical, Shake, Rattle, and Roll Over.

Most outrageous showing of pure gall: In a New York Post interview with MICHAEL RIEDEL, SUZANNE SOMERS compared her disgrace at the hands of Broadway critics to the tortures at Abu Ghraib. Funny, I heard some audience members make the same comparison. Kidding once again! I love her!

Least shocking gossip magazine headline: "Marcia Cross engaged at 43!"

Most annoying e-mail:"Kindly update your contact info." If I received the e-mail, then the contact info must be correct, right, douche bag?

Sickest truth:When you call the appropriate number on your cell phone to find out how many minutes you have left, it counts as a minute. It's even more immoral than Iraq.


Web Extra

The most common use of drag queens this week is in Christmasy cabaret shows where they vamp around as Gay-101-style divas while skewering holiday sanctimony. At Don’t Tell Mama, A Very Bette Christmas romps through all the expected jokes as a BETTE DAVIS TV runthrough goes awry, but TOMMY FEMIA makes a zesty Davis, especially when asked if being famous has its drawbacks. "Being a NOBODY has its drawbacks," he screeches.

Over at the D-Lounge, there's another faded diva acting the bitch in one more screwed-up-TV-special premise with DAREN FLEMING's Merry Christmas! Love the Cherries (costarring ShaBoomBoom). It's a DIANA ROSS and the Supremes spoof with sparkles, backstabbing, and a two-drink minumum.

And though I haven't seen A Broadway Diva Christmas—which shockingly features biological women—I hear CHRISTINE PEDI impersonates virtually everyone when she sings "The 12 Divas of Christmas"; the audience picks names out of a hat for her to do on command. I'd love to see "SHIRLEY PARTRIDGE in a pear tree"!

Pop diva CYNDI LAUPER's Broadway possibilities have long been talked about, with murmurs that she may have been up for the most recent go-round of Little Shop of Horrors, then reports that she was passed over for the current Sweeney Todd revival. Well, now a talkinbroadway.com poster claims that Lauper's in talks to replace EDIE FALCO (who stepped down) as Jenny in the Roundabout's upcoming Threepenny Opera production. If so, the Weimar republic will have never been such fun.


musto@villagevoice.com

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