By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
The most honest pitch of the week came from a press release about Supermodel, a one-sentence, 179-page "epic poem" loosely inspired by the story of tsunami survivor PETRA NEMCOVA. (Stop with the triple takes and frenetic eyeball rolling. You heard me.) "This book can be fairly daunting," admitted the release, "and in fact it may also tug on your last nerve." Enough saidI'm sold.
The week's most unsurprising news is that the gay sex club El Mirage was recently shuttered by the health, police, and fire departments, as well as the New York City Task Force and various lawyers, all of whom descended on the place en masse to sniff for unsafe sex, dim the lights, and call it a gay. Gosh, I guess that answers the old question, "How many uptight men in uniform does it take to stop a sex act that's not in the bible?"
The lingering argument that still tugs at my last nerve is that gays can't get married because it's imperative to preserve the sanctity of that institution as it applies to opposite-sex couples. You know, WHITNEY and BOBBY, REESE and RYAN, BRITNEY and KEVIN, PAUL and HEATHER, O.J. and Nicole...
The weirdest multisexual pileup happened when CLAY AIKEN put his hand on KELLY RIPA's mouth, then Ripa moaned, "I don't know where that hand's been, honey," after which ROSIE O'DONNELL chimed in that Ripa wouldn't have said that to a straight guy or someone whose sexuality wasn't questioned. Well, first of all, we know exactly where it's been JOHN PAULUS. Secondly, I love the way Rosie-in defending her friend Clayis screaming to the world that Clay's not straight and that Kelly's reponse was homophobic! That's something he'd never want said in a million closety years. In fact, Clay will probably put his hand on Rosie's mouth next!
The saddest departure is that of Robert Altman, who was great when he was good, and when he wasn't, let's not go there. In any case, his freewheeling ensemble-piece sensibility certainly lives on. EMILIO ESTEVEZ's generally likable Bobbythough it dangerously verges on Babel for Dummies with a hint of Love American Styleis sometimes reminiscent of Altman's great, sprawling Nashville. After all, both films center on a political campaign, throw in an aggressive foreign female journalist and a wildly neurotic chanteuse, sprinkle in a case of adultery, and end with an innocence-ending assassination. Yikes. Could it be Bobby that killed Altman? (No. That's tasteless, and it sounds more like an OLIVER STONE premise anyway.)
The second biggest heartwrencher is that the Avenue Q book sheds.
The most intimidating new Broadway drama would have been part one of The Coast of Utopia, but it puts Pushkin in your babushka and is amazingly not boring, partly because it's directed with an overheated samovar full of energy and accents. (ETHAN HAWKE sounds like HARVEY FIERSTEIN at his gayest and raspiest and BILLY CRUDUP is really souped up, maybe on borscht). The playpart sitcom, part sweeping soap operakeeps you glued, and not just because one of the actors recently had a heart attack onstage. In the audience, six-foot-five actor JAMES CROMWELL was heard understandably moaning about the horribly cramped seats. A fucking serf has more leg room.
The boldest revival is Company, which has the openly-something RAÚL ESPARZA as a closeting-something bachelor avoiding commitment while his friends warmly embrace all sorts of gimmicks. You knowthey're all onstage for the entire show, they dabble in instruments, they never touch, they wear black (especially the bride), and they amble around like warring pieces on a chess board. And despite a couple of drawbacks, I fucking worshipped it! In fact, I want to marry this bravely confident production and have its African babies! For the ads: "Company is so good it could turn me straight. Except then I wouldn't like Broadway musicals like Company."
Another show about running from public sexuality while always seeming to bump into it, The Little Dog Laughed starts very KEVIN SPACEY (an overemphatic awards speech to someone named Diane) and ends very action star-yand I'm sure Clay's in there somewhere too. Along the way, some folks have been getting the crazy idea that the JULIE WHITE character is some kind of unadulterated hero for closeting almost everyone in sight and leading them toward greater financial gain. I think this is partly because White is so magnetic in the role that her character's soulless views start to become seductive, and also because people are sort of dumb.
Still, Waters runs deep
Completely outand aboutJOHN WATERS has upped the shock threshold of the entire modern era, and I love him for it while averting my eyes from the result (i.e., reality TV). So now he has the right to play wry uncle and perform a traveling stage lecture, which has just been filmed as the highly diverting This Filthy World. In it, glib Waters gives on-set tidbits ("Meeting KATHLEEN TURNER is like going to prison. Show no fear and you'll do great"), offers insights about Divine ("Even he had limits. The first time he met RICHARD SIMMONS, he felt homophobic"), and reveals where he draws his own line. (When a fan asked him, "Will you sign my colostomy bag?" Waters responded, "Yeah, with a felt tip, no Sharpies.") This movie could easily destroy the guy's imagehe comes off as nice!
After a Cinema Village showing, the auteur without hauteur answered audience queries, giving them their very own This Filthy World in 3-D. He revealed that he'll play the grim reaper in Court TV's 'Til Death Do Us Part and an undertaker in an episode of My Name Is Earl. "I'm getting typecast," Waters smirked. "Maybe INGMAR BERGMAN can use me as Death."
Speaking of which, what did Waters think of O.J.'s ghastly book idea? "It was a new low," he said. "The low before that was when JOAN RIVERS and her daughter recreated the suicide of her husband for television!"
Riddle of the sphincters
But now there's a whole new lowmy blind items, in which everyone's hideous misdeeds are presented without names, to make it all a giant crime against your sanity. These pesky queries are even more daunting than that epic poem about Petra What's-her-name , which makes me even more anxious to sadistically serve them. And so: Who, when he got out of that police car, tripped, and so did his toupee? (His hairpiece in the back flew up, leaving only the hair plugs in the front. His people have tried to buy up the photos ever since.) What local news presence once took a leave of absence and came back married, though he's still remembered from Ivy League queer dances and suburban gay bars? What aging beauty and director are married strictly for convenience, trust me? What acclaimed foreign star, whom some find quite hunky, is a big old closeted hombre?
What hunting accident, swears an insider, was actually the fault of the secret mistress of the guy who took the blame? What '80s novelist turned bright red screaming at an uptown diarist for having written that the guy's latest tome was a bit of a stiff? What male Broadway performer has a boyfriend, but has been doing it with another hot guy in the same revival? (No, it's not Raúl ; the Company men are talented but not exactly sizzling.) What cover story was supposedly written by a Scientologist, which explains a lot? Which gay porn actor claims he's been hired by that ex-child star, that disabled singer, and that action star (who was very enthusiastic about the sucking aspect of it)?
What '60s TV kook used to get her vagina kicked by an abusive film star? What quirky film actress had a 30th birthday party gala the day she turned 37? What brooding actor supposedly contacted all his gay friends when he became famous, informing them that he could not possibly see them anymore for his career's sake? What society goddess lieswell, let's say exaggerates a teensy bitwhen it comes to her top-drawer family and big-buck background? What adorable film actor was once the rent boy for a rich Irish farmer?
Why do I refuse to check my coat at clubs? (Because I'm not going to spend three fucking dollars to check a $2 piece of shit!) Don't you love JESSE JACKSON, who had to apologize in a synagogue for his "hymietown" remarks, telling MICHAEL RICHARDS he needs sensitivity training? What nickname will the Seinfeld star never get called by? Free answer: P.C. Richards!
Web extra: Ready for a new high, Joan Rivers just told me that this is the week when Bravo will give her a thumbs up or thumbs down on the gay View-type show she's set to be hosting. Rivers said if the show is picked up, the pundits will include Jim McGreevey (yes, that Jim McGreevey), Andy Cohen (who's Bravo's Vice President of Production and Programming), and Billy Eichner (of the comedy duo Creation Nation). More on this next week!