NY Mirror

At Joe's Pub, JOAN RIVERS had something belated to say about the TOMKAT wedding, especially after I asked her about it with my tongue out. "Katie and Tom wore Armani," she cracked to me, "and both gowns were gorgeous! But I'm happy for Katie," Rivers added. "She was an ugly bad actress and now she's a rich woman!" I'd rather be an ugly bad actress.

Joan and I were there to do interpretive readings of celebrity memoirs for an Empire State Pride Agenda benefit performance of Cause Celeb!, the zingy NANCY BALBIRER/CHARLOTTE BOOKER event that puts the hag back in hagiography and the litter back in literary. While we kept getting into character (via dishing), Joan said—as I mentioned last week—that if her Bravo chat show is picked up, the all-gay panel will include Queer Eye co-creator ANDY COHEN, comic BILLY EICHMAN, and gay American Jim McGreevey. "Will McGreevey do his reports by sticking his mic through a glory hole?" I asked tastefully, and she generously laughed. "We're also going to have . . . can I say the name ANDERSON COOPER?" Joan deadpanned. "No, wait, he can't be on the show," she decided. "He's not gay!" She smirked so loudly they heard it over at the Public Theater. And she wasn't through yet. "I want to see Tom Cruise come out of the cupboard," Joan concluded, "because he's so short!"

Then came showtime, with Joan hijacking the whole evening with a hilarious turn as snooty patootie JOAN COLLINS. She even brought a curly dark wig, a feather boa, and shoulder pads to complete her transformation into the other Joan, reading from the chapter in which the Brit diva prays she isn't recognized when she finds herself on an unemployment line with underprivileged people of color. Halfway through the reading, Rivers interjected, "This isn't that funny." Pause. "Like Joan Collins herself." Pause. "Who used to be older than me!"


AND I AM TELLING YOU . . . SOME MORE GOSSIP
Moving on to younger divas who won't be seeing unemployment anytime soon, if the gossip is true that BEYONCÉ is jealous of her Dreamgirls co-star JENNIFER HUDSON—and Lord knows I pray it isn't; no, really—I think she needs to practice the religious mantras she preaches and realize that each day is a gift, her movie is a godsend, and she should kiss the ground for her great fortune—and besides, even morons have known for decades that the fat girl always steals the show!

This is all made even more delish by the fact that—spoiler alert for non-Broadway queens—the Dreamgirls plot has Hudson being bumped out of the spotlight by Beyoncé 's more mainstream-ready glitz appeal and now in real life, the bumping's happening in reverse. (Though I think everyone in the movie is quite fine and should kiss the ground, etc. etc.) Another interesting plot twist has the two characters engaging in a "Who you callin' crass, you self-absorbed nonprofessional?" catfight that's starting to sound more and more like an ad-lib. The movie, if you don't mind my jumping the gun, is a flashily done rags-to-riches showbiz soap opera with lots of people saying "You and I are through!" to lots of other people in between flailing their arms and singing their guts out. Part Alexander's Ragtime Band with a slice of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a hint of Mahogany, and a drizzle of Sparkle, it's a grand entertainment custom-made for gay little me, and the brief appearance of the guy who played Urkel doesn't diminish it in the least. Even he's good. Now how about getting Ms. Hudson on some of those posters that trumpet only JAMIE FOXX, Beyoncé, and EDDIE MURPHY? Leaving her out is like advertising a sandwich with "Lettuce! Mayo! Salt!"


THE DOPPELGÄNG'S ALL HERE
From showbiz to showing off, screamgirls SUSANNE BARTSCH and KENNY KENNY brought their fab old Tuesday night Happy Valley bash over to Room Service, which promptly became a little like the Marx Brothers film of the same name as everyone came out of cupboards with headdresses on. The mix was certainly, well, mixed, with people of all genders and astrological signs filling the long, narrow parlor, all of them cornering me to promote their latest self-produced CD. The very shy RICHIE RICH was doing no such thing; he was flashing his ring and exulting, "I just got engaged!" (which I swear he told me three months ago) in between showing the text message PAMELA LEE sent him after he asked her what he should tell People magazine about her breakup with KID ROCK: "Luv ya! Tell them you worked for hours on the beach for free making that veil!" And in white, yet!

Every single Happy Valley freak was there, but since that club closed a few weeks ago, there were now all-new versions of all the above, so the night turned into a multisexual version of The Island. At midnight, they opened an ominous door inside the place and allowed everyone—and all their doppelgängers—to go into the next room, which turned out to be a "gentleman's club" with half-naked women writhing up and down poles. Everyone came running right back! There, a publicist declared, "The owner wants to meet you." "No!" I shrieked, feeling I know way too many late-night types already. He was brought over anyway as I prepared for my big moment. "Hi," he said, succinctly, and moved on. And that was the wildest thing of all.

That spanking-new party was nominated for the Paper magazine Nightlife Awards presented the very next night at Show, but they'd hardly built up a HELEN MIRREN–type body of work just yet; Fridays at Mr. Black copped the trophy (a black orby thing designed by Kid Robot that, by the way, looked like a high-tech replica of MADONNA's latest baby). I was called upon to present four People's Choice awards with the delightful TINSLEY MORTIMER, so while we waited and primped, I asked her what she thought of the New York Post piece anointing her society's "It" girl. "I don't want to say anything," she said, looking coiffed but uncomfortable. "This press thing is new to me. I don't want anything taken the wrong way. . . . Don't give me that look!" I hope I didn't misquote that. Nearby, gadfly R. COURI HAY was cooing, "Is that MARC JACOBS's ex-hustler boyfriend over there? I can tell from the body language." Not to mention the three-foot tattoo. And presenter LYDIA HEARST was turning on all her gadgets in an unsuccessful attempt to shed light on the sealed envelope with the winner for Best Club, too ladylike to just rip it the hell open.

But she did so a few minutes later onstage, and when she announced that the winner was Stereo, the whole place erupted into skanky boos. (Her co-presenter, MOBY, later admitted to me, "I don't even know what Stereo is!") In other results, the PR triumph known as the MISSHAPES won something and gushily thanked a website that writes up their every pose. And when LADY BUNNY announced HEATHERETTE as a nominee for Best Designer with Influence, she smirked, "Wait, that's a designer under the influence." Of Pamela Lee, no doubt.

For the finale, FERGIE (or Froggie, as Bunny kept calling her) promised the crowd she wouldn't pee herself, instead making us get wet with a fiercely energetic performance and a toast to the pooh-bahs of Paper, complete with chocolates thrown at the audience. A Hershey's kiss is now glamorously embedded in my left nostril and I'm leaving it there. Don't give me that look!

Hoping for a big bonbon in my face, I went to see High Fidelity—a/k/a Spawn of Wedding Singer—which falls somewhere between High Society and High Anxiety and which is an amiable but far from urgent mix of cleverness and dullness. I enjoyed the (bleeped) utterance of "big black cock," but I fear critics will screech, "Bye, Fidelity!"

Before I take off along with it, here's an inside whisper: The 12-year-old who plays the nephew on Ugly Betty—who used to be older than me—is being conscientiously kept away from interested gay magazines, despite—no, more likely because of—the fact that the character's generally described as "effeminate" and "fashion savvy." I'm sure Beyoncé's livid. This only allows more cover space for Jennifer Hudson.

Web Extra: And now I must turn into all the people I run from by suddenly becoming a shilling, self promoting, pleading nightmare with some glitzy merch to hawk. See, I have a book compilation of my craziest columns, La Dolce Musto, coming out of the cupboard any minute now, so please start gathering your penises, I mean pennies, to order it because this thing comes from a legend with amazing credentials. ("112 years old"—New York Observer; "D-list, tired hack"—George Wayne, Vanity Fair). And in the meantime, I'll be at the LGBT Center, reading from the unwieldy thing and discussing it, on Monday December 11 at 6 ($10, please). Now that I've plugged myself really hard, I feel so much better.

Another Web Extra, 12.06.2006:And here's an update on the LGBT Center event. After I read a passage or two, Pulitzer winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens) will be interviewing me onstage! That's a lot of bang for your bling.


musto@villagevoice.com

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