Owen Wilson Heals in Public

Advice from grannies and trannies; other topics are glossed over

A typically atypical week on the circuit involves a kebab competition, a play about postage stamps, a movie about a guy who blinks out his memoirs, and a party for gay black people. But it starts, of course, with a catchup session with comic legend Roseanne Barr, who's bringing her dry wit and welcome outrage to Comix (October 3), before hauling over it to Foxwoods and the House of Blues in Atlantic City. Does the domestic goddess tackle current events in her act? "Hell, yes," Roseanne told me by phone last week. "I don't like the Bush administration at all. I think they're Satan worshippers. We could get drunkards off the street or out of an insane asylum and get a better job done." But I thought that's exactly what we did!

"It's time for all governments to be replaced by a tribunal of grandmothers," continued rockin' Roseanne. "You're starting to sound like Sally Field," I cracked, ever nimble with the contempo references. "I think she sounds like me," she replied. "And I said grandmothers, dear. Who cares about mothers? They're a dime a dozen."

Roseanne may be a little partial because she happens to be the grandma of four boys—not that those are the only men in her life. "I've got a real nice boyfriend," she revealed to me. "He's old. I like 'em old. They're slowed down a little, they're not so rabid. They're less threatening and frightening." Hmm, maybe we have a new Anna Nicole in the making here? "I wonder if I could get me one of them old billionaires," said Roseanne, cracking up. "I don't think so. I think you've got to have a waist!"

More importantly, Roseanne has a blog (on roseanneworld.com), and in fact she had it way before Rosie started free (per-)versing. "After 13 years, I have 2,500 registered users," Roseanne admitted. "But it's cathartic for me to write. I use my site as my laboratory. There's an unceasing barrage of bullshit out there. People are addicted to bullshit in this country. They'd rather give up their children than give up bullshit." Even their grandchildren. But Roseanne swears she won't make any of this go down easier with the help of medication. "I'm depressed," she said, "but I'm OK with it. There's a war, no water, and no air. Maybe you're supposed to be depressed?"


A STROKE OF GENIUS

You want to really be down in the dumpster? Have a stroke and become completely paralyzed except for one eyelid, which you'll frantically blink whenever you need someone to dictate your life story to. That happened to editor Jean-Dominique Bauby—but at least he got a film out of it, namely Julian Schnabel's lovingly made The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. (And at least his plight wasn't as bad as my own worst nightmare, which is that someday I'll only be able to communicate by blinking my anus.)

At a New York Film Festival–related dinner for the film, I asked Schnabel if perchance we all have "locked-in syndrome," as it were. "I think we're all capable of it," he said. "We're all prisoners of our bodies. There's no getting out. It's getting accustomed to being inside—which doesn't have to be a bad thing. What Bauby achieved was amazing."

At this point, a party guest who wasn't paralyzed ran over and breathlessly told Schnabel, "I loved the movie. I hope you make millions!" "I don't care about that," said the artist/director, who's already got the cash. But back to my livelihood: How did they get star Mathieu Amalric to look so facially contorted? "We put something in his mouth to make it bend," said Schnabel, "then glued the lip down. With one eye closed and the other with a lens on it, he couldn't see or speak." Hey, let's try it on Paris Hilton.

(Sidebar: I hear that in Repo! The Genetic Opera, Paris will play an heiress—you heard me—who has face-lift after face-lift until her face literally falls off. She was hired, by the way, for her singing ability—by the horrormeister who did the Saw sequels!)

The festival had already served disability chic with its opening-night distraction, Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited, a typically deadpan adventure featuring rich weirdos going out of their leagues (and minds) on a family quest. The film veers between arid humor, Three Stooges slapstick, and strained profundity, all while looking downright painterly. The main lurid appeal is in Owen Wilson's eerily suicidal character, who's bandaged and pained-looking from the beginning, his eyes looking even deader than the paralyzed guy from the last film. It's especially poignant when he takes off the bandages and, seeing all the cuts and scars, says, "I guess I've still got some more healing to do." Replies brother Adrien Brody, "It's definitely gonna add a lot of character to you!"

Yet more family fights populate Mauritius, Theresa Rebeck's Broadway play—an original one, thank God—about value, ownership, and con games on the stamp circuit. The production features a top cast (especially Bobby Cannavale) and some crackling monologues, though all the screaming and scheming about postage stamps ultimately make you go a little postal.

I was mailed an invite to Patrick McMullan's gala Whitney museum party for his Glamour Girls photo book, so I went with friends, only to have a publicist try to get us to hold up a Maybelline eyeliner for the cameras. We idealistically refused, thrilled to have not done any shilling—not for free, anyway. But then we turned around and realized that the giant backdrop behind us said "Maybelline" in humungous letters! Send me a check!

But let me shill for Page Six as I tell you they're craftily starting a TMZ-like website on which they'll run videos of stars in crisis. Run, Britney, run.

I raced—with no one following me at all—to the monthly Kiss My Black Ass at Webster Hall, which I feared would be one of those poppers-laden circuit "black" parties. But it turned out to be an old-school gathering of African-American gays made special by the manic stage show (the House of Aviance in a voguing tribute to Willi Ninja) and snood-wearing drag queen Lady Vivacious, who whipped a hoop skirt out of her grab bag and turned it into "the infinite dress." Alas, the lights would flash on now and then to reveal . . . too many white people!

Street vendors of all nations gathered in Tompkins Square Park last Saturday for the Vendy Award finals, which I judged while trying to maintain a waist. I expected piles of hot dogs, but instead was lavished with ox tails, soy drumsticks, and something even the vendor couldn't identify. The best attitude belonged to the taco lady who, when I announced myself as a judge, ballsily served someone else first. She left before the proceedings were even finished, and fellow judge Mo Roca swore she'd been carted out by immigration, though it was probably just Bill O'Reilly. The top winner was Thiru "Dosa Man" Kumar from NY Dosas, who vowed to keep not killing animals.

Speaking of wieners, I mean winners: Brava to downtown favorite Candis Cayne for playing Billy Baldwin's transsexual mistress in ABC's Dirty Sexy Money. Interestingly, in her first scene, the voice they had Candis use was deeper than James Earl Jones's. The trannies I know—including Candis herself—generally speak in far more dulcet tones. Maybe they wanted to make the gender complexities here extra clear to the mass audience? Then they should have just showed her at a urinal, LOL.

There's one less male club god now that rocker/promoter Dean Johnson has transitioned, mysteriously ODing in D.C. (with another guy), where he'd gone to visit one of his hustling clients. Tall, shaved-headed Dean marketed witty outrage since the Danceteria days, prancing around in a black cocktail dress and drop earrings while chanting "Fuck you" to genocide, Union Carbide, and Mary Tyler Moore. Dean engagingly thumbed his nose at pretension, puritanism, and corruption, and now we're supposed to be depressed.

WEB EXTRA

Hold everything! I have to apologize to a socialite! No, not Paris Hilton. She did amazingly on Letterman, tirelessly plugging her charity work for women and children--I mean her movie and perfume. I actually have to grovel before Tinsley Mortimer for remarks I made to the New York Observer about the time she and I copresented an award at a nightlife event. Using hyperbole, I told the Observer reporter that Tinsley had warned me, "You better not queer me! You better not go off the script!" The reality is Tinsley never used the word queer. I was paraphrasing what she'd said, which was more on the order of "Don't throw me for a loop. You better not go off the script!"

When I also told the reporter, "I'm the wrong person to say not to queer," I was totally smirking. That was a joke. I wasn't really intending the "queer" quote to have anything overtly to do with gays. It's simply an old phrase that means "Don't get me in trouble." In any case, now I'M the one who's been queered by this whole mini-mess and I have to beg glamour-girl forgiveness. Tinsley assures me she LOVES the gays--well, probably except for one.

musto@villagevoice.com

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