By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
While the Grammys were bringing sexy backand in the process, MS. AGUILERA sang a note so high only MARIAH CAREY could hear itI was at the Writers Guild Awards, where they were honoring Remembering Lou Rawls and a news report about courtroom sketching. Host TINA FEY added a few welcome smirks, promising "this will be the night of seven or eight stars," one of whom was presenter JOE FRANKLIN, who brought some endearingly fossilized chic to the podium. "I'm so old I'm from the time the Dead Sea was just sick," moaned Franklin. Rim shot. "My first TV guest was Moses. But he had a headache, so I told him to take two tablets." Rim job.
Naturally, Ugly Betty won something, and that reminded me: The show is supposed to be about the absurdity of making judgments based on looks, but every time star AMERICA FERRERA is interviewed on TV or in print, everyone turns cartwheels to gush, "You're so gorgeous! You're a complete wow! You're America the beautiful!" I'm thinking of renaming this column Ugly Michael to see if I get a similarly misguided charity fuck.
Meanwhile, I felt very grand celebrating less fortunate types who'd been dolled up and accessorized for Discovery Through Design's Rolling with Style gala at Cipriani. The bash honored fab women in wheelchairs, complete with a fashion show that included the disabled ladies sporting jazzily designed seats and hot matching costumes. "Isn't this depressing?" someone said to me at the dinner table, and I got all indignant, righteously crowing that the event was upbeat and inspiring and she should get over her superficial self. But it turned out she'd said, "Isn't this impressive?" Whoopsy.
Fashion Week brought other gems, from Designers for Darfur to Cherry Coke's new can unveiling, but the cool kids went to the Marquee, where Paper coverboy JOEL MADDEN from GOOD CHARLOTTE was gamely taking over the DJ booth. "The room is very hip-hoppy, so I'll play a lot of that," he told me, as I feigned a blank look. "What do you want to hear?" he chirped, taking the bait. "LULU," I blurted, meaning the miniskirted '60s belter of weepy teen anthems. "Fine," said Maddenand suddenly "To Sir With Love" was the height of hip-hop. Impressive.
NUDGE, NUDGE, KINK, KINK
The theme song was "To Sir With Rubber Glove" when the Museum of Sex premiered its amazing Kink: Geography of the Erotic Imagination exhibit, a paraphernalia-laden display that proved educational to vanilla types who are only familiar with your basic fisting and felching. I spent the evening absorbing the celebrity porn videos (I've been behind in my moviegoing) in between chasing pudgy people in latex masks and flirting with a plushie in a wolf head (who turned out to be a woman! Kinky!). In another corner, the big chair that comes with a phallus that bobs between your legs had a lot of guys yearning for a vagina for next Christmas. Talk about rolling with style.
The other fun was watching ALAN CUMMING stare, rapt, at footage of JENNIFER BEALS seductively eating in Flashdance. (Yes, Flashdance has finally become a museum exhibit! Hell's surely frozen overwhich reminds me: All the same people who were shrieking about the horror of global warming two weeks ago are now bitching that it's way too cold outside. Make up your minds, dingbats. Oh, and I loved esteemed musical star AL GORE on the Grammys, trumpeting environmental causes, seemingly unaware they had just shot confetti over the entire room.)
But back to the museum: Cumming's main dish, GRANT SHAFFER, filled me in on their wedding, the only recent buffet I wasn't invited to. "We considered both wearing white," said Shaffer, "but we decided that would be too much. So I wore a black suit and Alan wore a white kilt." I guess Shaffer wears the pants in the family.
SOUND-BITING REALLY BITES
Moving on to the museum of whoring, last week's column was about the disgraceful lying practices of TV producers as they book and cancel talking-head talent at whim. Well, I've got a fetid new example. ANDERSON COOPER's show recently booked me for a pre-taped interview about various public figures who've done rehab. I was delighted that Cooper had apparently gotten over my multiple suggestions that he's a fan of Judy Garland. But I guess not. When I got home to meet up with the car to the CNN studio, there was a message saying to forget itthey weren't going to do the segment after all. Funny, when I channel-surfed onto the show the next night, they did do the segment! A lying TV producer? For straightforward Anderson Cooper? Shocking!
Even less surprising is the next hot trend du cinema, which is all too perfect considering our current administration. It's real-life con artists! Color Me Kubrick has JOHN MALKOVICH as a man who pretended to be director Stanley Kubrick (though he didn't take credit for Eyes Wide Shut), and The Hoax stars RICHARD GERE as CLIFFORD IRVING, who legendarily published a fake autobiography of Howard Hughes. May JAMES FREY be struck by lightning if I'm shitting you!