By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
I went to a gym! For a party! It was constant hostess SUSANNE BARTSCH's toy drive at her hubby DAVID BARTON's gym a few weeks ago, which brought together both charitable types and charity cases to benefit Smart Inc., which distributes truckloads of playthings to kids and teens with HIV. Thanks to the contributions of the downtown crowd, young PWAs are now overcome with RUPAUL dolls, Green Acres lunch boxes, and tons of liner and lip gloss. And thanks to the enjoyable insanity of the party, I got the priceless vision of a Chelsea guy lifting up his shirt to check his abs in the mirror (I guess to make sure they were still there) and JUN NAKAYAMAthe cute clubbie who wears towering blond wigs and gingham baby-doll dressessobbing nearby while looking into the very same reflecting glass. What was wrong, dear Jun? "My favorite faggot is having another fag hag," she lamented between gasps. I hate when that happens!
Meanwhile, Bartsch and KENNY KENNY are continuing with their Tuesday nights at Room Servicethe chandeliered, upscale-bordello-looking haunt, its booths equipped with phones that ring directly to the bar. (Well, who else would you want to call at 2:30 in the morning?) The night is growing in freaky allure, attracting something akin to the old Happy Valley crowd, but darker, louder, and distilled to just the eight-wigs-and-nine-genitals bunch. I'm the normal one, if that gives you an idea.
Up in mainstreamland
i.e., Times Squareceleb photog PATRICK MCMULLAN had a holiday dinner at Hawaiian Tropic Zone, the newish restaurant which I assumed would be a kitschy, lei-laden paradise à la the late, lamented Trader Vic's or Hawaii Kai. Wrong! It's basically Hooters, Hawaiian-style, without a favorite fag hag in sight. The waitressesa/k/a Hawaiian Tropic models serve you in skimpy sarongs and bikinis, their coconuts shaking as you wonder who ordered the tuna. The large wall of screens features similarly booby gals writhing on the beach, and they spring to life when the waitresses parade across the stage to urge you to vote for them (for what, I have no ideaHottest Person Who Should Be Taking My Order?). But the food did come, and it turned out to be really exotic Hawaiian stuff like chicken, mashed potatoes, and cheesecake (though the wafer cookie on top of the bonbon is tropicallyif not surprisinglyshaped like slinky female legs in the air). The lights, by the way, continually get brighter and darker to make you think you've got a brain tumor. Soon enough, you actually do.
My mind alighted again at a birthday party for Bronx social arbiter
RICHARD TURLEY at YUE-SAI KAN's house, which had DENZEL WASHINGTON charmingly mixing with virtually everyone, PATTI LABELLE belting "I Believe" by the piano as we all held on to our seats in astonishment, PATTI D'ARBANVILLE and me discussing the dangers of dried fruit, and DONALD TRUMP JR. and his wife, VANESSA, wondering what to call their upcoming child, the sex of which they don't know yet. (My parents still don't know.) "How about Rosie Trump?" someone sardonically noted, since this was the day O'Donnell and the Donald had their contretemps about which of them has the right to legislate morality in America. "Or, more simply, Butch Dyke Trump," I genteelly interjected in that way that makes me so rarely invited above 14th Street. "Or maybe an African name with lots of clicking," suggested Donald Jr., smiling. I'd say the couple still has some work to do.
Can't get no satisfaction
The name Breaking and Entering has a good ring to it, so I went to a special screening at MOMA and found it to be an ANTHONY MINGHELLA drama about a break-in's uncatastrophic effect on a relationship between two blonds. BIANCA JAGGER mysteriously ran out for a few minutes halfway through the film, but she broke back in, only to find JULIETTE BINOCHE's character blackmailing JUDE LAW's. "What a bitch, what a bitch, what a bitch," Bianca murmured in a tizzy, as my part of the room grew a little tense with interest. A few seconds later, Bianca had one more thing to blurt: "What a bitch," she repeated before simmering down. Point taken.
There's no connection here whatsoever, but let's pause and sum up all the Dreamgirls- related bitterness through the ages, shall we? No, really, it'll be fun. First, Florence was bitter about her shabby treatment in the Supremes. Then DIANA, MARY, and CINDY became bitter at each other. Then Diana was irked at the Dreamgirls stage production. Now JENNIFER HOLLIDAY is furious at the Dreamgirls movie version. And Diana turned down a role in the very same movie version. And BEYONCÉ's family members supposedly resent JENNIFER HUDSON for being so good. And all this stems from an act based on airtight harmony. "Where Did Our Love Go?" indeed.
But won't the sharpest fangs of all come out if Beyoncé wins an Oscar for "Listen"? She recently admitted on MTV that the song was already written when she joined in the process and that she didn't add that much to it! (One hopes her contribution wasn't just "by Beyoncé Knowles.") By the way, I adore all of these gals.
Homo erectus display
Diva cinema is popping up in the most unexpected places. Night at the Museum is pretty undistinguished family fare, but there's a cute gay moment when OWEN WILSON's figurine-come-to-life character tells his cohort (STEVE COOGAN), "I won't quit you!" And earlier, Coogan had gotten into a snit and sardonically called Larrythe night watchman played by BEN STILLER"Mary!" God, who writes family films these daysthe people who did Reno 911? Well, actually, yes.
You also have to love the fact that in The Good Shepherd, MATT DAMON is in full drag and gets peed on (but not at the same time). And the weirdies have taken over prime time too. A promo for a musical episode of Scrubs has ZACH BRAFFgrabbing DONALD FAISON 's fisted arm and singing, "He was the first man inside of me!" ("I just took out his appendix," assures Faison, only minimally subverting the fisting joke.)
Which reminds me of the most sizzling tired old gossip of all time: On Countdown With Keith Olbermann recently, I made a remark about the famous rumor surrounding a certain late TV star and a glass table. Since then, my computer has almost crashed from all the e-mails begging for raunchy details. Well, brace yourselves, freaks: Said actor would supposedly hire young guys to defecate on top of a clear glass table while he lay orgasming underneath it. Happy now? But three questions: Why not just skip the middleman and remove the freakin' table? Was he that much of a wuss? And if every name attached to this rumor really enacted the activity in question, wouldn't furniture outlets (not to mention paper-towel stores) be the most celebrity-packed places in christendom?
But back to high culture, if you don't mind: The Coast of Utopia is so long that, by the time I got home from part two, a spider had spun a web over my door that said, "Some pig." But it's shaping up as vital, glorious theaterjust the kind of stimulating, elegant epic worth leaving the house for, whether the characters are gabbing about feudalism, adultery, or chandeliers. It's just sad that, looking around the Lincoln Center Theater, my wandering p.c. eyes strangely didn't see a single person of color. There isn't even anyone brown from the glass-table trick. I felt like I was at the world's most high-toned Klan meeting.
Presumably a more diverse group is being sought by HBO, which is adapting the book When I Knew into a World of Wonder produced flick about coming out. My own taleknowing I was that way when I watched Tarzanis in the book but won't be in the film; they want complete unknowns, not just modified ones. So if you're not known, closeted, or ashamed, it's your turn to be an HB-'mo.
No, wait! I need someone to come out and admit something much more important: Who's the fucker who had the three balls to sell my new book's galleys to the Strand? What a bitch, what a bitch, what a bitch, what a bitch. Well, you can make up for this tawdry act of indiscretion by showing up for my reading at Barnes & Noble (21st Street and Sixth Avenue) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9, and buying it back from me. And bring a toy too.
Wait, I've got some more Dreamgirls bitterness for you. Next week Ill give you a fuller report about Jennifer Hudson's concert at the Saint-at-large party at the Hammerstein Ballroom, but for now let me tell you that the big shocker was that she didn't do her big number, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"! This is like if TONI BASIL sang for 40 minutes and didn't do "Mickey"! Why in hell didn't she sing it? "Because she can't," murmured a promoter. "It's in her contract that she can't sing that song till after the Oscars." Gee, I wonder what kind of twisted internal campaign led to that insane little stipulation. And this from a movie in which Effie's song is stolen for Beyonce to do.
Update: The Academy just decided that Beyonce is ineligible for a Best Song nomination for "Listen" because a maximum of three songwriters is allowed per song! Poetic justice? I don't know, but I'd love to "listen" to her reaction.