Eva Mendes' Underwear Scene and Madonna's Strap-On!

And inside the women in Towelhead. Plus Rockwell paints a fucked-up Casanova.

The remake of The Women is elevated by Bette Midler and Candice Bergen in small roles and by the fact that there's no pajama-party scene where the gals lip-synch old Motown tunes. Another plus—let's be kind—is that Debi Mazar plays a manicurist who claims to have done Madonna's nails. (At this point, I got one of those rushes of in-joke appreciation, gurgling, "Aha! Debi started out as Madge's makeup artist!") But Jada Pinkett Smith's character must have been painted a lesbo only to desperately try for a fresh touch; clearly, the writer has never met a dyke before (though I bet Jada has).

And while I'm glad they kept men off the screen until the end, some of them did make it to last week's screening. In fact, when Eva Mendes tried on a lacy black bustier, foxnews.com's Roger Friedman started applauding and catcalling to the screen: "I'll buy that for you!"

Over at Towelhead, a/k/a the vagina movie, you'll have to buy the fact that there are two scenes with people shaving the title character's privates, another with her profusely having her period, another where she and dad shop for tampons, and yet another where she's fingered by a neighbor. And I still didn't like it!

Judith Light makes converts at the Chelsea.
Andy Kropa

Judith Light makes converts at the Chelsea.

In yet more genital-cinema news, Radar presented a special screening of Choke, based on Chuck Palahniuk's novel about a sex addict who hardly ever needs to choke the chicken. After the film, director Clark Gregg said he liked the idea of delving into the "sex-addicted-colonial-theme-park-worker genre," and star Sam Rockwell chimed in that he liked playing "a really interesting fucked-up Casanova." And, ah, the memories. Said Rockwell, misting over: "Remember the four-in-the-morning cum-in-the-camera shot? I was fucking a camera, basically." "And the camera's really upset that you haven't called!" said Gregg, wryly.

On a less jizzy note, Palahniuk said the musical version of his Fight Club might still happen, eerily enough. "David Fincher approached me and Trent Reznor a few years ago," he related. ("Another Reznor musical?" deadpanned Gregg. "I'll be there.") "As long as I don't have to promote it," said the author, interestingly, "I would love the idea."

But back to the genitals. Save Me is an earnestly affecting movie about a Christian retreat where they try to "cure" gays, though it probably could have benefited from a big dose of John Waters or Todd Solondz. At the premiere, I capriciously asked fab star Judith Light, who's on Ugly Betty, if Betty happens to be gay. "Do you mean America Ferrera?" she wondered. "No, I meant the character," I said, "but I'll take an answer for that one, too." "I know America, and no, she's not a lesbian," said Light. And the character? Not her either, swore Light, as the man accompanying her weirdly interjected: "She's not a lesbian—she's queer!"

Anyway, director Robert Cary told me the movie's point is that "you've got to learn how to live with people who think differently or it's Armageddon." And, um, is Ugly Betty gay? "Yeah," he said, "good gay." You mean the character? The actor? "No, the show," he explained. I was getting bad confused!

Rather than seek clarification, I talked to a good gay in the crowd—zingy comic Jim David—who told me that he was never informed that he was nominated for a MAC award this year, nor even invited to the ceremony. "But the award came in the mail!" he said with a bittersweet smile. God, if that was how Meryl Streep found out about her honors, she'd spend half the day with her face in the mail slot.

Moving on, they may not be getting awards, but the seminal punk group the Ramones is set for a whole new gabba-gabba-heyday from the great beyond. Not only is Howard Stern remaking Rock 'n' Roll High School, but Dee Dee Ramone's wife, Vera Ramone, has written a memoir based on her life with the "diagnosed bipolar manic-depressive musical genius who was also well known for his infamous heroin addiction." And she still believes in the right to straight marriage.

Update: I've gotten an advance peek at the book, and it's riveting stuff, from Johnny Ramone's wildly controlling behavior to Dee Dee's mood swings, which hit bottom with sad physical attacks on Vera. "Was it my fault that they were not his brand of cigarettes?" she writes at one point.

An anti-violence legend goes legit in Fela!, the musical about the Nigerian musician/activist, which improves as it gets more expressionistic and becomes less of a concert with anecdotes. Bill T. Jones's staging is spectacularly rich, though most press people looked pained during the audience-participation number where you had to stand and swivel your hips on command. Not me—I'm queer!

And again we go back to the pudenda with the Howl Festival's preview party at Bowery Poets Café, which was a high-minded testament to flirty, squirty privates on parade. One performer sang, "I'll suck your dick on the dance floor," a folk duo belted something that went "Suck my dick, faggot," and when the MC had to stretch for time, he suitably improvised, "There's a special place for my vagina . . . " Don't ever tell me the downtown kids have no range!

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