Fallen American Idol Star at Gay Bar!

Much wood in B'way's Desire Under the Elms revival.

In the land of the straighties, actress Nancy Balbirer has written a tell-almost-all called Take Your Shirt Off and Cry: A Memoir of Near-Fame Experiences. A juicy section of the book tells about how a certain (unnamed) fiftysomething star of stage and screen once tried to woo Balbirer by teaching her to shoot a .357 Magnum. It didn't work!

My weapon was popping through my pants when I went to see HBO's Grey Gardens with the very dedicated Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange as the Beales, Jackie Kennedy's black-sheep relatives who devolved into squalor, but kept their nutty showbiz dreams intact. This story has already been fodder for a documentary, a musical, another documentary with extra footage, a photobook, and a documentary about the musical, so it's hard to even be objective about it anymore. I can only tell you that this one includes scenes where the Beales are shooting the documentary and then watching it, so it's even more meta than Every Little Step. Also, unlike the musical, there's no Jerry character, and in this version, the characters seem softer and more sympathetic—except for the fun scene where little Edie cozies up to Jackie O. and asks, "Is it true that Jack Kennedy gave you gonorrhea?"

With a documentarian's gaze, publicist Peggy Siegal has written an awards-season diary for Avenue, dotting it with observations. The piece states that Madonna's then–boy toy, Jesus Luz, doesn't speak a word of English. (Does that help in dating Madonna? I don't know, I'm just asking.) Siegal also reports that when Mickey Rourke walked the red carpet at the Spirit awards, some female photogs asked him to remove his shades, and Rourke elegantly responded, "Show me your tits!" Adds Siegal: "This is exactly why he will never win an Oscar."

But you're much luckier, dear reader. This column of monumental passion and epic sensuality will now leave you with some parting gags of the highest rank. With due respect to my colleague Cindy Adams: If Mercedes Ruehl married Julie Benz, she'd be Mercedes Benz. If Freida Pinto married Nia Peeples, she'd be Freida Peeples. If Pamela Lee married designer Alvin Valley, she'd be Silicone Valley. And if Clay Aiken had married me, he wouldn't have even come in second.

musto@villagevoice.com

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