By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Last week's happy hoopla had Levi Johnston—the whistle-blowing ex of Sarah Palin's teen-mama daughter—sweeping into town to take his clothes off for a Playgirl photographer named Greg Weiner.
If that didn't merit major column inches here, nothing would, so I scooted up to the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton for a monosyllabic but fun 12-question chat with Levi the night before his shoot and just moments before he was swept off to accept (if not pose with) a phallic Fleshbot Award at the Box. Shiny nuts were sitting on our table—mostly pecans—but I uncharacteristically behaved and didn't grab at them as we awkwardly engaged in our oh-so-genital word exchange.
Me: Hi, Levi. Will this Playgirl spread be some kind of launching pad for you?
Levi: Could be, yeah. I don't see it going in a bad way.
Me: Will you show the whole banana?
Levi: I'm not gonna tell any more. You're gonna have to figure it out.
Me: Hmm. Will there be all kinds of special grooming and shaving down there in preparation?
Levi: I'll clean up. I'll be ready for it.
Me: Better hurry. Is it really the Alaska pipeline?
Levi: That is the nickname I got! You're gonna have to find out.
Me: Deal! Your thoughts on Carrie Prejean's playing-with-herself tape?
Levi: It's something she did when she was younger. I don't think she thought it was gonna come out. People make mistakes.
Me: Yeah, a lot of them. But your project is much more above board, right?
Levi: I'm in total control of what I do and what I show here.
Me: Do you have gay fans?
Levi: I know I got a lot of them. It's cool. People are people. I'm not one to judge.
Me: But you're completely hetero?
Levi: Yeah, I'm not gay. I like women. But I don't have a problem with 'em.
Me: I do. What kind of sex did you have with Bristol? Wildly kinky stuff or just plain in-and-out?
Levi: I'm not gonna get into that. That's too personal.
Me: Fine, be that way. When you're allowed near your kid, are things tense between you and Bristol?
Levi: We don't have much to say to each other: "Hi."
Me: That's better than "Hi, monster's spawn." Did you vote last year?
Levi: Yeah, for Palin. At the time, she was gonna be my mother-in-law, and everything was good. I knew some things, but I was gonna marry her daughter. I wouldn't vote for her again—I'll tell you that. She puts on a big front. She's a big backstabber. She said things to me and things behind my back. And the truth really comes out now!
Me: Well, you're riding high nonetheless. I heard you want to act, model, and maybe even sing. Will you be better than K-Fed?
Levi: Who? Oh, Federline? I'm a country singer—I'm not gonna be no rapper. I'm sure I couldn't rap any better than him.
Me: Don't be so sure.
Moving On to a Play, Girl
Actual musicality—and fuller sentences—come to the big screen with the adaptation of Nine, which a friend of mine gave a 10 at a test screening the other night. According to him, the film could be bigger than Levi's johnson. But he was less excited about the questionnaire the audience was made to fill out afterwards. Said he [SPOILER ALERT]: "There were tons of questions about the opening number, which I loved, and the closing sequence, which I also loved. I hope they don't fuck the movie up by changing those. But the questionnaire was very concerned with whether we understood that Guido and his wife get back together at the end. Who cares, Hollywood?" Yeah, it's not like they're Levi and Bristol.
Otherwise, it's been a great movie year for foxes—even better than for Amelia Earhart—with Fantastic Mr. Fox turning out to be a sardonic, visually rich film about a buttoned-down columnist who pretends not to be a wild animal. Yes, it's my life story! "I find it hard to believe we got the officially number one ranked actress on the planet," crowed director Wes Anderson at the premiere last week, meaning foxy Meryl Streep. But also in the house was the top actress from her own generation, Oscar winner Patricia Neal, who was married to Fox's author, Roald Dahl. "I thought the film was gorgeous," Neal told me. "He would have loved it." She then became distracted by my green sweater and started wildly admiring it—as Eva Mendes crazily had the week before—so I told her where I got it. "I love thrift-shop things!" exclaimed Neal, sincerely.
The fantastic Fox News Channel and the New York Post have the same right-wing owner, so it was no surprise when the latter labeled The Messenger a clichéd antiwar flick that the military would not be thrilled by. But star Ben Foster says the Army approved the film and even worked with it, to the point where a lot of the soldiers you see onscreen are real ones! Sorry to be the messenger for such grief.
By the way, add George Clooney as a downsizer/consoler in Up in the Air and you've got a trend, especially if you want to also throw in that real-life Army psychiatrist in the news lately (though that guy only got our attention because he allegedly went on a psycho shooting spree and killed 13 people—and no, the military didn't approve that.)
Atlantic City's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is finally waning, thanks to the way they've started actively reaching out to the gay market in the new depression. First came September's "Weekend OUT in Atlantic City" and, just the other day, I went on a casually fun "Trump Rainbow Fall Fam '09 Weekend" to the Taj Mahal. Someday, they might even say the gay word, but in the meantime, I'm going to keep plugging AC as the most accessible place for shopping (the town has a strip of outlet stores with sales so alluring even Levi would buy something to put on) and glitz (the Taj's color-changing lobby chandeliers are like the three biggest drop earrings in the world.)
In that hotel's arena on Friday night, the "Freestyle Free for All" concert trotted out an array of nostalgia acts reprising their hits a few pounds later, from Stevie B ("Put your legs—I mean hands—together and sing along!") to Judy Torres ("This is for the chunkies but funkies in the house!"). And the out-of-left-field but somehow de rigueur Michael Jackson tribute dropped into the middle of the concert—complete with the all-too-appropriate young dancing boys—passed the white-glove test; it was immaculate.
Back in New York, it's frustrating to be the gayest person in the queerest city on earth and have to wait for same-sex marriage to even get to the floor of the State Senate. Of course, they're not rushing it for fear it'll be voted down faster than my last bid for refinancing. And even if it goes through, the populace might get to gleefully line up and vote it right back out à la California and Maine. So all we can do is keep pushing and waiting and hoping that, at some point in our lifetimes, we'll get to go to my—well, my friends'—weddings, wearing the same awful outfits as straight people do at these things.
But speaking of going down, whom do I have to blow to help this along? Reverend Jason McGuire? Rubén Díaz Sr.? Fine, bring 'em on. I bet they're cleaned up and ready for it.