By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
A mess of blind items is coming your way like a cannonball made of soiled confetti, but please bear with me and indulge my coverage of the week's high-cultural pursuits before groveling through the trash heap.
First of all, Transport Group is reviving Mart Crowley's landmark gay play, Boys in the Band, though last week, Crowley told me it will be a snipped-down version with no intermission. What's gone? Hopefully not the conga line! "There was too much talk," Crowley replied about the 1968 classic. "I've cut what Tony Kushner calls those loooonnng monologues between Michael and David about their parents." And Tony Kushner knows from long monologues.
And that's not the only new arrangement for this making of the Band. "They came to me and said they don't want to do it proscenium-style, but in the round," related Crowley. "Little did I know, they were talking about environmental theater! I said, 'Christ! This isn't going to be Tony n' Tina's Wedding, where we give the audience lasagna and wine?' It isn't. You come in and get a cocktail and sit down and fasten your seatbelts, but there's no touching. I don't even care if Gavin whatshisname from Hair came over and kissed me. 'Get the fuck out of the way, you and your sweaty wig!' " He laughed and added, "I like him a lot." So do I—but every time I've seen Hair, I've had a vagina in my face.
A one-man environmental experience, Anthony Mackie is even more visible these days than Gavin whatshisname. Mackie's up for an Independent Spirit Award for the wildly acclaimed The Hurt Locker; he's in a Sundance Film Festival selection, Tanya Hamilton's Night Catches Us, playing a former Black Panther working out some unresolved issues; and he co-stars in Martin McDonagh's dark comedy A Behanding in Spokane, opening March 4 on Broadway. (Give him a hand!) In between rehearsing and spiffing up awards ceremonies, the intense New Orleans–born actor found time to pick up a phone and put a ring on it.
Me: Hi, Anthony. Hurt Locker is reaping more awards than Helen Hayes. But why didn't it soar at the box office?
Mackie: As soon as you say, "Iraq," everyone backs off. None of the war films did extremely well. I think with this one, we didn't let people know it was about soldiers rather than about war and our political venue. We relied on word of mouth.
Me: And obviously some people thought it was about the Foot Locker.
Mackie: [Laughs.] "I'm not gonna see a movie called The Foot Locker!"
Me: What drew you to Night Catches Us?
Mackie: The story. We shot it in Philadelphia, where there's so much Black Panther history. As soon as you mention them, you hear, "Oh, they were cop killers." No one talks about the after-school programs, the feeding of the hungry, the security they provided for black people harassed by the police. Those were lost in the propaganda and negative stereotypes.
Me: Speaking of negative stereotyping, did anyone advise you against doing such a low-budget film?
Mackie: No. My team supports me on my continuous efforts to sabotage my career. [Laughs.] Being selected for Sundance, having that kind of cachet, lets you know you did something worth seeing.
Me: But why did you waste your time wanting to be an engineer before landing in the bright lights?
Mackie: My brother is an engineer, and I looked up to him. But engineering is hard, man. All the engineers I know are frustrated and wealthy and suicidal.
Me: Sounds good to me.
Mackie: I don't want to be frustrated. I'm acting because I don't want a job. If I ever wake up and acting becomes a job, I'll wash cars!
Me: Well, you apparently have a job coming up in the bizarre Behanding. Is the plot what I'm guessing?
Mackie: It's wacky! Christopher Walken plays a behanded, crazy gentleman. My girlfriend, Zoe Kazan, and I come up with the bright idea to go and steal a hand to sell Christopher. We break into the museum and steal a fucking hand! Even worse, we steal a black person's hand and try to sell it to him!
Me: They should call it My Left Hand.
Mackie: Cousin of Larry Flynt is what they should call it!
Blind Items Are "Anon" of Your Business
And now, please keep your hand on the clicker and continue to scroll away as I deliver those naughty blind items I so reputably promised. Yes, I'm keeping my word, my reward being that these will surely drive you crazier than a Christopher Walken character:
Which "man on the street" from TV went to View Bar (a gay establishment in Chelsea), but fled out of view the second he was recognized by staff and customers? Which co-star of that Emmy-winning cable series was too hungover to deal with the limo and makeup artist sent for her by a designer whose show she was supposed to attend? (She sent them back twice and stayed in, desperately trying to recover.) Who's been known to behave inappropriately at that vineyard, urging young girls to sit on his lap for some real juicing?