NY Mirror

I'm feeling a "best/worst" kind of column coming on, and I'm beyond certain it'll be the absolute best/worst!

And so: My best gossip is that a friend just spotted CARLOS LEON at the New York Kabbalah Center. I guess LOURDES will have to start singing "Papa and Mama Don't Preach."

The worst club parties in town are the ones (like the Saint-at-Large bash) where the bathroom faucets purposely spew only warm water, forcing the thirsty to buy $5 bottles at the bar—or to bring large bags of ice cubes. The lousiest excuse for a bad club debut is, "That was just the soft opening. We're having the real opening next week." I'll give you a soft opening, honey. The stinkiest addition to the language is "efforting"—as in TV producers saying, "I'm efforting a picture we can use of LINDSAY LOHAN." Please—I'm efforting to vomit, darling.

The most predictable utterance of all time is when anyone asks me, with batting eyes, about gossip blogger PEREZ HILTON. Every journalist who's talked to me about my new book has waited only about 20 seconds before chirpily querying, "So, what do you think of Perez, huh?" One even posed it as the very first question—before asking anything about my hot self! And a website that profiled me ended up efforting the title, "Before Perez Hilton, There Was Musto" (and before my name in the title, there was Perez Hilton's).

Well, everyone can just relax and shut the hell up. Much as you're all trying to push me over the edge, I am not going to turn into Anna Magnani when Marilyn Monroe walked into the room. In fact, I am doing a MADONNA/BRITNEY routine and embracing the new, but without actual tongue involved. I am even going to ignore the person who keeps calling to say, "How on earth could you have used Perez as a party host?" while trying to get his contact info and hit him up for some project of his own! I am perfectly fine with Perez's success and feel we're aligned in our repulsion for closeted celebrities, while coming off so differently in venue and approach that any other comparisons seem bizarre. But continue to ask that question if you like—just don't look like you're being so fucking original about it!

Moving on—two, three, four: The best thing about all the revivals clogging up Broadway is that we finally get to see that Sheila in A Chorus Line is basically Joanne from Company in a leotard. The best voguing being done out of the ball scene is in Mary Poppins's "Supercalifragilistic" number. It's ovah. The weirdest aspect of the exciting Spring Awakening is that occasional parts of it seem as if the director and choreographer ran out of time to stage them.

The creepiest new twist on the JT Leroy ruse is that LAURA ALBERT, who wrote the Leroy books, has apparently become obsessed with me. "Musto thought he was gonna stop me, but I got by him!" she gurgles to people, launching into a 'logue that's finally made of her own thoughts. (Yeah, I was indeed duped, but I rather smelled fish from the beginning and after "JT" got shady with me, I finally took a stand and banned him from the column.) "I always felt there was a gay boy living inside me and I was giving voice to him," Albert also tells people by way of self-justification. Well, much as I love a good hoax, this is one case where the gay boy probably needed to be hate-crimed. But hey, at least the woman's not obsessed with Perez Hilton.


THE FABULOUS BAKER GIRL
The best real transgender celebrity is LAUREN REECE, who as I told you recently was long known as Billy Reece from Billy's Bakery in Chelsea. Now, Lauren tells me, people call the bakery saying "Is Billy there?" and get the response, "No, she's not," prompting all kinds of hilarious stammering and 'splaining. (Oh, well. She's leaving the place sometime this year anyway.)

In a phoner last week, Lauren gave me some of the background on how she's emerged from a Pineapple Upside Down Cake into a Devil's Food Delight. "The one thing that held me back growing up," she said, "were the extreme examples you'd see on TV saying, 'I feel like another person trapped in this body.' That's what I was looking for, but I never felt that way. I asked myself, 'Do I look at my body and feel it's not mine?' No, you feel like yourself—but it wasn't the body that was supposed to be there!

"At 19 or 20, I had figured it out," she went on. "It was a frightening reality because of the examples that are out there. You'd think, 'Am I gonna dance at a gay nightclub or be a prostitute?' But I learned there were girls that ran the whole gamut. When I started to go through the process, it opened up that world much more."

What process? Well, Lauren started estrogen therapy a couple of years ago, but had a panic attack midway and held that thought for three months. "Reality sets in," she confided. "You're overwhelmed by work or people in your personal life aren't taking it too well or your family is giving you grief, and coupled with the emotional roller coaster of estrogen therapy, that doesn't make for perfect mental balance." But she ultimately confronted her fears and soldiered on, legally changing her name to Lauren last May in anticipation of her upcoming completion surgery. The result? "I'm a heterosexual white woman!" Lauren said, laughing.

And a single one too—not that she hadn't been warned. Said Lauren, "TS's told me, 'Girl, dating is a crazy bag of chips.' " She thought she'd be above all that, "but you can be in the top rung or be the last runner-up and guys treat you exactly the same." Don't I know it, honey! "But it'll come," concluded Lauren, brightening. I hope so. It'll be the icing on the cupcake.


RAGGEDY ANDY
Taking the cake for the most unappetizing premiere party in recent memory was the soft opening for Factory Girl, where the stars and VIPs were escorted into a luxurious downstairs room while I was ushered with other schleps into an upstairs restaurant to claw at greasy sausage rinds and $3 Cokes (if not $5 water bottles)! Two different parties? And this for a movie that asks, "Why on earth would anyone want to be famous?" (To get invited downstairs, obviously.) Amidst the humiliation, someone asked me what I thought of the movie and I replied, "Enjoyable." "Really?" she said, incredulously. "Well, I was just being polite in case you worked on it," I said. "I did!" she exclaimed, adding more confusion to the mix.

Anyway, the flick does have enjoyable parts—mainly SIENNA MILLER's game performance and GUY PEARCE's great one, as Edie gets swept up by the insecure artist, her pert mole compensating for his skin blotches and tilted wig. Alas, he's pitted against "folk singer Billy Quinn," who boringly resents Warhol's commercial world, ultimately telling Edie, "You don't know shit about shit, lady!" HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN is awful in the role (based on poor BOB DYLAN, who just recovered from that rotten jukebox musical) and the whole sad story, which started so appealingly, ultimately loses out to a distinct feeling of "Who cares?"

Meanwhile, the creepiest campaign has to be the one to flog the challenged movie while making Christensen seem like the hottest straight stud in history. There were those absurd reports that he and Sienna were really fucking as the cameras rolled. (Please—even in pornos, they probably don't really do it.) And simultaneously, some gushy "source" has been trying to plant in my column that Hayden was spotted dining with a redheaded woman. Wow! He must have been...hungry.

Starved for attention, Harry Potter star DANIEL RADCLIFFE has caused a ruckus by preparing to appear naked in Equus, perturbing parents who feel the sight of Radcliffe's gauntlet of fire could traumatize their children. Why—are they afraid it'll be that small? Shouldn't they be more upset that his character has a hard-on for a horse? And ends up mutilating six of them in the eyes? And that the play is psychobabble-laden twaddle and in fact utter caca? It's the worst, but seeing his wurst will be the best!


Shameless plug: On Tuesday, February 13, at 8 p.m., I'll be appearing in Fresh Meat with Catie Lazarus at Comix (353 W. 14th Street ), along with Christian Finnegan, Kambri Crews, Eric Davis as "Red Bastard," and a surprise guest. We will present a variety of readings and standup comedy, also sharing our worst experiences in the biz and our very first jokes. For a finale, there's a Q&A "press conference" with you, the audience! Tickets can be purchased online at www.comixny.com or by calling 212.524.2500.

musto@villagevoice.com

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