By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
All these strikes have cut down on my entertainment optionsyes, it's all about mebut I've managed to make lemonade, just like on 9/11, when I sobbingly unearthed a cineplex showing American Pie 2 for free.
Yes, the flicks are still out there, even if their sad stars can only promote them on diabetes-inducing morning shows. There's The Mist, an exercise in hysteria whereby people trapped in a supermarket by the encroaching blur stone each other with cans of corn and demand each other for sacrifice. It's like Trader Joe's on a sale day. After the premiere, cast member Toby Jonestold me, "My character didn't have to be hysterical. He's the voice of common sense." But even common sense would tell you to be a little jangly in a situation like that (and Lord knows it happens all the time). Was he more terrified of the mist or the creatures (large, attitude-y insects who buzz around your body parts and sometimes nibble at them)? "The other characters!" Jones said, sensibly. Next up, the actor lends even more sense to the Frost/Nixon movie, in which he plays shiny-headed agent Swifty Lazar. I told him I heard that Frank Langella demanded to be called "Mr. President" on the set in order to stay in character. "I never had to call him 'Mr. President,' " swore Jones. Hmm, special privilege!
By any name, Bob Dylanhad to suffer that lousy jukebox musical and then the unspeakably boring portrayal of him in Factory Girl. Leave Bobby alone! But now Todd Haynes's I'm Not There captures Dylan's spirit with an inventive and flavorful if sometimes unwieldy approach. Poor Richard Gere looks silly as Billy the Kid and should have been edited even more than his dancing in Chicago, but Cate Blanchett's Jude (a/k/a Bob Dylan) is better than her Kate Hepburn, and I feel she should get an Oscar nomination in whatever category Jaye Davidsonwas in.
Julian Schnabel could get a directing nod for the haunting The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, about the paralyzed guy who blinked out his memoirs without a single typo. At a Brasserie Ruhlmann lunch for the flickthe third meal I've had thanks to that guy's strokeSchnabel told me, "I was interested in making perfume, so I'm feeling like I made the perfume and everyone's under the spell of it. I was able to take everything from that and put it into this." Huh? Did I miss the fact that Diving Bell is in Odorama? Noa mere Google search revealed that Schnabel meant Perfume, the German novel he was originally scheduled to film about a whole other type of menacing mist. I crawled away in embarrassment and talked to Diving Bell's star, Mathieu Amalric, who fragrantly told me, "Julian and I decided it's not because you have a stroke that you become a saint. We felt this guy had a stupid life, he loved beautiful cars, and he continued to seduce women from his bed. And at the same time there was this thing about his wonderful and desperate sense of humor." The things he could do with that one eyelid!
My eyes were a-poppin' at the Radio City Christmas show, which is 90 minutes of hedonistic glitz followed by the serene birth of Jesus. Shouldn't it be the other way around? No waythis show's got it right, from Santa's 3-D sleigh ride through the landmarks of New York (you know, like a North Fork Bank billboard) to the eye-popping Rockettes numbers (a candy-cane dance-off, with whistles blowing) to the myrrh-laden emergence of the Christ child, complete with talented sheep. Yes, there was one gayish dwarf who was overacting a bit, but as Santa himself said, "What would Christmas be without a little holiday ham?"
Thanks to the strike, swarms of Jerseyites filed into Dillons for The Ultimate Drag Off, where they were promptly put to work by vivacious host Sweetie and her high-haired sidekick Giggles. As one lucky man was plucked out of the crowd to be transformed into a drag queen named Uma Asshurts, the rest got to vote on which of the evening's four contestants had the best Britneyesque arm gestures, coke snorting, and bad parenting skills. The inspired Mimi Imfurst strangely came in last, which is what happens when drunken bachelorettes from Jersey City are in charge of something.
Of course most drag queens have been unaffected by the strikes, seeing as they haven't even heard about themor anything else! I love the tucking haven Lips, but they might be in a bit of a lovely fogor maybe a mistjudging from the calendar they sell there. In fact, having based my scheduling on the fact that it wrongly lists Thanksgiving as being on the 29th, I'm now visiting the folks the week after the holiday! Saner queens populate Escuelita, where they peddle energy drinks with photos of luscious boys and trannies on the can. Their lovely visages alone are what give you energyno need to even down the liquid.
A new club called Touch was about to add some zing uptown, but then came a mass e-mail saying they were postponing the opening because the plumbing wasn't ready. But you don't go to a club to use the bathroom! You can just do your drugs and sex by the coat check!