Terrence Howard's Latest Hustle and Flow

Black people revive the Great White Way. Plus a hue and cry from Mel Brooks.

Aiming for a Mel-like insanity, the wink-wink version of The 39 Steps dredges up some clever stagecraft, but it tries to get a laugh on practically every line and, in the process, becomes as thin and labored as Christina Aguilera last week. And what's with the all-white production? (By the way, I can finally admit, while turning red, that the Homecoming revival didn't sound like rock music to me, either. The night I saw it, the woozy audience woke up when the Times rave came out. Hey, maybe Mel's right.)

The dangers of an all-white White House are apparent in David Mamet's November, in which a buffoonish Borscht Belt comic has made it to the top position—sort of like Bush, but much more up front about his ignorance. This very funny glorified sitcom has amusing fuckin' lines (the Prez's "numbers are lower than Gandhi's cholesterol"), and even when one starts sensing a certain hollowness to the hilarity, things rebound, and it's worth it just to see Nathan Lane get asked, "Did you ever have a homosexual experience?"

A hetero experience—burlesque—suddenly became the domain of the gays when every foofy dance party started weirdly featuring disrobing females onstage a few years ago. It was like booking a pastry chef at an anorectics' convention. But now the straights have seized all those navels back with This Is Burlesque, a revue at the Soho boîte Corio, featuring strippers, those dancing Pontani Sisters, and Nathan Lane look-alike Murray Hill. Quips Murray, "So it's come to this! A downtown superstar performing in a bottle-service club for bachelorette parties!"

Unmarriageable women will like Teeth, Mitchell Lichtenstein's cavernous comedy about a girl whose va-jay-jay is studded with dentata. (That's nothing new; every vagina has a cavity, and it's a big one, honey!) At the premiere at MOMA, we got a souvenir toothbrush to go with our Juno pregnancy-test pens, as star Jess Weixler warned: "Don't get too scared by the movie." But even as her character turns into a vaginal Aileen Wuornos, the gays needn't worry: The film shows severed, mutilated (faux) penises, but never a vagina. How hypocritical! How absurd! Thank God!

Speaking of provocatively dangerous body parts, Chihuahua-like gay singer Ari Gold assures me: "I do not shave my chest! I come from a rare breed of hairless Jews!" Have no idea what he's talking about? Neither do I, but it'll all make sense if you read my delightfully annoying new blog, La Daily Musto, and all the kooky comments people are making on it with their entire instruments. Stay tuned for the all-black version.

musto@villagevoice.com

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