By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
I ran into artist Andres Serrano (the guy who pissed people off with his Piss Christ) the other night and asked how his inevitable "Shit" show was developing.
"It's coming in September," he promised. "Out of your ass?" I asked, elegantly. "Actually," he said, "the last shit I got was from my therapist. He gave me some Freudian shit." Rim queen—I mean, rim shot! "Do you know any priests?" Serrano then prodded me, taking a crapshoot. "I need some holy shit." Ba-dum-pum. No, honey, I don't know any priests who just ate at Chipotle, but I do know of a midnight slot over at the Laugh Factory.
Totally hot shit, Stew is the guy from Passing Strange who I recently blogged should be cast as Nicely Nicely in the upcoming revival of Guys and Dolls. He's got the verve and would surely be different enough, no shit! Well, a loyal reader told Stew about that idea, and the rocker said he'd love to do it—for a couple of months anyway—but he feels pretty certain they'd never hire him. I bet they would—but then again, I thought there'd be a sequel to Urinetown.
Speaking of musical sequels—God, I'm good—the immortal John Waters is working on a cinema follow-up to Hairspray, which I suspect is a less fragrant idea, and not just because Nikki Blonsky and company might beat the other cast members to a pulp. I feel there's nowhere for the story to logically go now that racism has been conquered and the fat girl has everything. But also, musical sequels generally eat more caca than Divine did in Pink Flamingos. Remember Grease 2? And, on Broadway, Bring Back Birdie? No? Me neither.
Not a sequel to Sideways at all, Bottle Shock is the multi-subplotted wine dramedy in which the lead character has a breakdown when the chardonnay turns brown ("Wine the color of shit?" another expert exclaims with precision). At the premiere last week, the cast members took the stage for an entertaining whine sample. Adorable Freddy Rodriguez said: "You'll want a big glass of wine after this. Be prepared." Feisty Bradley Whitford told us: "This was the most joyous half-day of filming I've ever had." And the always grand Alan Rickman deadpanned: "The lighting in the film is better than it is here."
At lunch the next day at Brasserie Ruhlmann, I turned down about 10 glasses of merlot, which is like refusing a bong at a Pineapple Express screening. The star, Bill Pullman—who liked that I've dubbed him the Patti LuPone of Albee—plays the vineyard owner who turns blue when the wine turns brown. His motivation for that scene? "That was like realizing the aliens were going to be all over the earth," he told me, smiling, "and they weren't friendly."
More importantly, what is Pullman's own guzzling history? "At one period in my youth," he confessed, "I was draining any vessel that had any alcohol in it. And wine is not a kitchen-sink mixer. I'd get terrible headaches. I lost my sense of smell, and that affects your taste. I was drinking it like it was grape juice!" At that point, I turned down 10 more glasses.
Pineapple Express turned out to be supremely dopey—get it, dopey?—with flights of hilarity mixed in with some pretty strained antics, which get louder as the action replaces the character insight. "But you don't smoke pot!" came the reply from all the grinning people at the premiere. True—but Step Brothers almost drove me to heroin. Before this movie started, producer/co-writer Judd Apatow got up to announce: "It opens in two hours. You beat it by two hours!" Co-star/writer Seth Rogen tried to make us feel even better, assuring, "You're one of the first groups of people in New York to see this. That's not even true, but I wanted to say it."
And it was still almost-feelgood time at the after-party, one of those bashes where, having invited you, they do everything imaginable to make sure you don't talk to anyone. That could drive you to drugs. But Rosie Perez—who plays a nefarious cop—is always a friendly highlight. She said she enjoyed making the movie ("Everything is easy now"), and "Seth would tell jokes and funny stories all day, then say, 'OK, let's go do the scene.' " In another scene, Rosie's in talks to come back to Broadway, having vamped it up as a campy chantoozie in The Ritz. "People come up to me and want me to sing 'The sun'll come out mañana,' " she related. "I say: 'No!' "
The All My Sons revival will come out mañana—all right, some segues are better than others—and I hear rehearsals have been even more interesting than a Scientology meeting. A mole told me the actors were asked to lie down and do some kind of swimming exercise, for whatever kooky reason. "Are all theater people like this?" Katie Holmes asked co-star Patrick Wilson, arms a-flailing. "Yes," he said, dryly.