By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Atlantic City is in terrific shape, even if the animatronic mule at Bally's hasn't moved or talked since MADONNA came around. The tourism bureau sent us down to revel in that other accomplished Jewess, BARBRA STREISAND, who not only moved, she worked her butt off in a gorgeous concert highlighted by her creamy voice and a cleavage-revealing dress that made her look completely like udder, I mean butter. Barbra sang everything from Funny Girl to more Funny Girl, and she even personalized her patter by chirping about having visited the local 99-cent store where she ogled "flags on Band-Aids and toys for my dog." (Presumably, she exchanges pricier trinkets with JAMES BROLIN.)
Alas, while I absolutely adored la diva, I could have done without IL DIVO, the oily opera quartet that came out whenever Babs needed a beauty rest. (They loudly crooned "My Way" in Spanish, just like the penguin in Happy Feet, but seriously.) And the funny-starting BUSH impersonator skit became labored, though it's been so trimmed (and JoisEy is so liberal) that there were no hecklers whatsoever this time! I have to admit I was sort of praying Babs would have to repeat her "Shut the fuck up" remark or at least play the "Shut the fuck up" remix that's been making the rounds online. Instead, all was calm, especially since Babs served a verbal wet blanket by cooing that Dubya in fact has a very good sense of humor about himself and what's more, we're not from red or blue states, "we're all from the United States." Shut the fuck up!
After lots more glorious singing, the newly serene Streisand encored with a love song to her dead dog, who "is on another plane now." First-class, I hope.
SUSANNE TAKES YOU DOWN TO HER PLACE NEAR THE RIVER
Back in New York, all animatronics have stopped and things are like shutter. We've had a real disco bloodbath lately, with Happy Valley, the Roxy, and Avalon having gone through different degrees of shutdownthat last club on the night of SUSANNE BARTSCH's Halloween bash, just as I was arriving in clowny splendor (though I did feel a thrilling sense of power telling the pleading Oscar-winning composer for Brokeback Mountain that I couldn't possibly help him get in.) Fortunately, Bartsch and Kenny Kennywho brought edgy magic to Happy Valley for a yearare returning with Tuesday parties at the strip club Room Service starting on the 28th. And I still won't help any Oscar winners through the door without a grab at their golden boy.
LipsYVON LAMÉ's award-caliber drag jointis not only still there, it's expanding to the inevitable Fort Lauderdale. And it has a new calendar featuring its lovely tuckers du maison, which was celebrated at the boîte's 10th-anniversary bash last week with lots of drink downing and lip reading. But the real show was backstage, where I saw signs urging the staff to make sure to push the calendar and promote the penis cakes onstage, and on weekends, "Dress to impress, not to frighten. There needs to be more glamour and less tranny!" That should be forever embroidered on my waxed pubic hair.
On Thursday, Pop Rocks was a madcap stew of inebriated young zanies carrying on and acting like penis cakes on the roof. (Outdoor partying in November? This global warming thing is turning out to be a godsend! What the fuck's the problem?)
And the mood was warmly welcoming at the Capitale party for the Out 100, where MC JUSTIN BOND set the tone by giddily exclaiming, "Let's hear it for the 101st NANCY PELOSI!" The annual galathrown by Outmagazine (which I write for)celebrated celebs from Prada-wearing gay icon Anne Hathaway (who gushed, "I can't believe I'm the ingenue of the year. I would have thought it would be LANCE BASS") to gay playwright TERRENCE MCNALLY (who sardonically said he hopes KARL ROVE gets outed and added, "For the next election, we get rid of the main asshole."). Best of all, the video montage before the awards ceremony started with KATIE HOLMES moaning, "Gay men are so hot. It's tragic." Relax, it's from a movie.
The title creature in How the Grinch Stole Christmasplayed by the fabulous Patrick Pageseems more than a tad gay, but offstage, of course, Page is married to PAIGE DAVIS, a/k/a Paige Page (which sounds like two-thirds of a three-way with MARK FOLEY). Anyway, the show may not "stink, stank, stunk," but it's a fairly uninspired mounting of the Dr. Seuss story about how it's love, not presents, that makes the Christmas spirita moral you get to ingest after passing by the souvenir stand and having people run through the aisles hawking merch in your face!
Mary Poppins serves a similarly insincere theme"There are more important things than making money"while offering loopy lavishness for your supercalifragi-etc. dollar. The show's magic is sometimes so mechanical they should retitle it The Umbrellas of Cyborg, and the new songs, like Grinch's, are mostly blah (and Act Two has nine friggin' reprises). But shoot me, I enjoyed every minute! I especially loved Poppins serving the kids some mystery liquid that makes them do their chores (no doubt the same stuff the kids were doing over at Pop Rocks). And it's very sweet of the lady to fly over the cheap seats at the end.