By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Weinstein
By Tessa Stuart
There is nothing more boring, self-aggrandizing, and sad than when columnists take pains to remind you, "You read it here first" about some fly-by-night gossip scoop or other. So, anyway, you read it here first about Anderson Cooper's boyfriend, Ben Maisani, the co-owner of the gay bar Eastern Bloc!
It was on my blog, then I repeated it in this column, and after that, Page Six went there, Gawker gave them credit, and now they're both sharing in the glory hole. But wait a minute. PopEater just gave me credit! Yay! This is massively important!
By the way, another Eastern Bloc co-owner (Gabriel Beaton) is the really cute one we all should date, and the third one (Darren Dryden) is the one who is naked on bigmuscle.com. You read that here first.
But enough about them. You're reading here first that Kept, the upcoming Logo show that's basically The Real Gays of New York City, will feature four guys with their sugar-daddy partners, plus one 22-year-old who's sort of the Bethenny Frankel of the show, except that he's completely single and looking for love. I know this because I chatted the guy up at Club 57 on Saturday—and no, he wasn't looking to make me his breadwinner.
Sir Ian McKellen has certainly entertained young boyfriends—you read that awful segue here first—but that's hardly all he can do. The wiry Brit worked his royal ass off as MC of the 10th anniversary celebration of Only Make Believe—which entertains sick children; yes, real children—at the Shubert last week. The man recited Shakespeare, did a dramatic reading from Roget's Thesaurus, sang "The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery," and even told us how snippy the Queen was when she knighted him. ("Does anyone still go to the theater?" she sniffed—and while wearing lime green yet!) And that was all in the first 10 minutes!
Sir Ian went on to blow a ping-pong ball out of his mouth (a long story), act out a shtick with Law & Order SVU's Chris Meloni ("You're so butch, Chris!"), and badger guest presenter Jude Law when the cutie swore, "I go home religiously every night after Hamlet." ("I guess the night I saw you, you went home via the Box," said Sir Ian—joking, I'm sure.) He even managed to wax poignant about the poor children "with their head braces and dreadful diseases." Give the man the fucking Oscar already!
In fabulous head phones, DJ Cassidy was gleefully playing a Michael Jackson song at the 30th anniversary party for Mr. Chow restaurant. But wasn't he aware that Jacko's old playmate, Brooke Shields, was in the crowd? "Yes," Cassidy told me. "I was looking at her when I put it on. She was smiling!" I guess the curse has been lifted.
Also peppering the place was Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik, who was half-smiling as he told me, "I woke up today to the sound of buildings being loudly constructed. I thought, 'Stop that noise! I thought it was a recession!' " It is! They're probably just building another Quiznos.
But back to the children: I just had an inspired thought about the transitioning Chaz Bono. Remember when the divalicious Cher was pissed about Chastity turning out to be a lesbian? Well, mama should be thrilled. He's straight now!
One more progeny, deported entrepreneur Peter Gatien's daughter, Jen Gatien, is producing a documentary about dad's old club-kid palace the Limelight and the Giuliani crackdown that changed New York into a mirthless Disneyland. Of course I'd still take the mirthless Disneyland over the current garbage-strewn cesspool.
Bravely countering that trend, the Standard Hotel's Boom Boom Room—soon to be renamed "QT"—is a super-glam sci-fi Vegas-airport-lounge kind of place with live jazz, stunning views, a state-of-the-art fireplace, and lots of cozy nooks for Lindsay Lohan types to sit and reform in. It puts the "wank" back in "swank"! I went there for a party for the DVD release of the Valentino documentary, which director Matt Tyrnauer told me would make a great double bill with The September Issue. It's true, and by the end of it, you'd probably come out with an eating disorder and a whole new color scheme for your dining room!
Another hot doc, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, is a portrait of the late, renegade civil rights lawyer for whom being held in contempt of court was practically a badge of honor. His female offspring, Emily and Sarah Kunstler, directed, so I put them on the witness stand for a painless phoner last week. "He loved telling lawyer jokes," Sarah informed me. "One of his favorite jokes was, 'What's the difference between a lawyer and a spermatazoa? A spermatazoa has one chance in a million of becoming a human being.' He was the first one to knock his own profession."
Their own views on the law game? "Being a lawyer is a lot like being a filmmaker," said Sarah. "It's a way to advocate for a position or a person and bring light and also tell a story. I have to out myself. I didn't come clean in the film, so I have to come clean now. I'm a lawyer!" You read that here first. And she's a human being, too!
As long as I'm testifying, Up in the Air turns out to be a wildly witty winner about a downsizing expert's road to building up connections, and thankfully, when it starts veering toward some Hollywoody developments, things get twisty again. At the premiere, director Jason Reitman revealed that years ago, he twice turned down directing Dude, Where's My Car? because he wanted to make more personal films like this one. Radical move, dude. And he cast this well, with Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga scoring as the women who help bring out George Clooney's humanity. At the after-party, I told Kendrick I remembered her in Broadway's High Society when she was 12. "I'm so embarrassed!" she shrieked. "I must have made a fool of myself!" "But you were Tony-nominated," I remembered. "I cringe to think of things I may have said!" Kendrick carried on, cutely.
Farmiga was also refreshingly self-deprecating when I asked if they'll push her for the leading or supporting actress Oscar. "I don't know!" she swore. "They don't tell me. I don't know that they're pushing me for anything. I feel pushed and pulled. They just ask me to show up, wear a pretty dress, answer questions, wear heels, and smile through the blisters." Blisters? Well, those heels, she explained, were "half-sadistic and half-athletic." I never knew those were two different things.
Wearing naughty pumps, Eva Mendes romps it up in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Werner Herzog's hilariously entertaining non-remake, with Nicolas Cage as a corrupt copper with a painkiller addiction. At a party for the flick, Mendes told me, "I was sort of the straight man, which is funny because I play a prostitute hooked on drugs." But what was that character voice Cage was doing? Jackie Mason? "I don't know," she said. "He was going on all cylinders, and I loved it!"
For a different type of "high" culture, Karole Armitage's Armitage Gone! gala at BAM had the Hair choreographer triumphing with Itutu, her rich collaboration with the African band Burkina Electric. Armitage's goal, she said after the performance, was "to make polyrhythmic music polyvisual." How polysyllabic.