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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!
The real DOUGLAS CARTER BEANE told me why JANE KRAKOWSKI had to drop out of his upcoming Broadway version of Xanadu. See, later this year there might be a strike of the Writers Guild (you'll remember them from the first graph), in which case 30 Rock would have to shoot a lot of extra episodes to bank them in advance. So Jane couldn't guarantee that she'd be available to roll around in Xanadu in April. But her loss will be some lucky other lady's gain. (There's talk of a Simpson sister. Even better, PATTI LUPONE can play a tuba. Can she skate?) And yet another diva might get to tackle Beane's The Little Dog Laughed. Beane told me he's selling it to the movies and one of the prospective buyers is a major actress who craves it as a thesping vehicle. The play, of course, is about the watering-down process that Hollywood imposes on gay plays, but I have every certainty that this time they won't go there.
In other gay news, JONNY MCGOVERN"the gay pimp" of the club sceneis a regular on the Rosie O'Donnell-produced The Big Gay Sketch Show, coming up soon on Logo. If it's even 10 percent as funny as the British sketch phenomenon Little Britain, I'll be in homo heaven. And if not, I'll be murmuring the words of the Brit show's unruly former beauty queen, Desiree: "This is so fatiguing to me!"
Tiresome RICKY MARTIN just decided the war in Iraq is bad and he should publicly give DUBYA the finger. He can join all the phonies who are suddenly kissing the DIXIE CHICKS' wide open asses. I guess when he shamelessly played the inaugural ball, he thought Bush's war on gays was just fine!
Sensible gays have a nice place to play at FLXX's Ultra lounge in Chelsea, where some endearingly cracked queens carried on last Wednesday, gamely braving the global colding.
But the hottest queen in Christendom right now is once again BOBBY TRENDY, Anna Nicole Smith's pastel-colored decorator who's been barraged with press requests since the blonde dish's untimely demise. "Anna Nicole Smith made me famous," Trendy cooed to me by phone last week. "I'm the most famous designer in the world and I'm forever grateful to her. I just made the call to ask about buying her a star on the Walk of Fame!" The sexpot earned it, he said, because "even though she spread her legs and bared her genitals, she was not a whore. She was the breadwinner of the family. HOWARD K. STERN led her in the wrong direction by isolating her from other people."
Oh, speaking of Howard Knucklehead Stern, is he a gay? "Everyone thinks he is," Trendy said, "as Doris Duke's butler was, but I never saw that. I saw him as a coattail-riding ambulance chaser." And a good friend.
Well, is Sternyeah, rightDANNIELYNN's father? "Howard would love that so he could pretend and have a meal ticket the rest of his life," Trendy responded. "It's hard to tell who the father is. All these crazy nobodies and unknowns are coming out of the woodwork. It seems at the week of conception, Anna Nicole might have been promiscuous. But it could be her dead husband. She froze his sperm, and with a turkey baster and microwave, she could have had a baby." All right, who's gonna tell the kid, "Your dad was from the time the Dead Sea was just sick"?
Web extra: Do you live in D.C.? Want to get invited to my upcoming book event there and maybe even get a free cocktail? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll discuss, kids.