By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
What star of that cop show used to practically live at Edelweiss, the West 43rd Street bar where trannies strutted around and sold their wares? Which handsome movie star whom a lot of people suspect is gay truly is, and he likes to get tinkled on, by the way?
Which director got away with murder on that project, the network afraid to second-guess him as he went scarily over budget? Which gay mafia member, as it were, has a huge noodle, and which other gay mafia member has an even huger one? (This from someone who once slept with them both and will never forget it, thank you.) Which entertainment titan supposedly got his start thanks to being very close with one of two gay mafia members whose members I just mentioned?
Which superstar's daughter annoyingly talks French to people who don't necessarily know French, repeating the same phrases whenever she doesn't want to really answer a question? Which ex child star who is now an adult star is, according to one professional who got close to her, "the biggest screaming bitch I've ever met"? Who tried to kill herself because she'd aborted that baby and suddenly remembered her deep-seated religious guilt about it?
What Oscar winner bristled when a reporter asked her about being an actress over 40? ("I don't like that question," she interjected, though at least he didn't say "way over 40.") What legend bristles at just about anything, and practically bit a writer's eyes out when he asked, "As the person with the most experience in the room . . ."? Which Oscar-winning director/producer will take meetings only with the lights off? (Just checking to see if you read dailymusto.com this week, chickens.)
Which circuity gay party got a little less crowded when revelers noticed a procession of overdosers being carried out on golf carts that would get them on boats back to Manhattan? What young actress filming a remake is a gigantically lesbian person, delightfully enough? Which actress who's played a lesbian more than once has such a reputation that one player who sleeps with just about anything that isn't nailed down decided to turn her down?
Which imminent Oscar-bait movie has been described as "the most uplifting, fun film you've ever seen about a guy who has to cut his arm off"? What's Burlesque like? (According to someone who saw footage: "The opening, with Christina Aguilera seeing Cher perform and imagining herself into the number, is exactly like the opening of Chicago. Stanley Tucci plays the right-hand man, just like in The Devil Wears Prada. And there are clichés—like how Christina gets to star in the show after Kristen Bell is sent home, drunk. But it's not Showgirls. The numbers look great and Cher is terrific. When it plays in Chelsea, they're gonna need oxygen and stretchers." Or maybe golf carts.)
What two-time Oscar winner is left out of her new movie's posters because marketing decided her image isn't likable enough? What weekly parties are coming back in a gay moment? (Free answer: The pool bash "Drip" at the Hotel Grace and the absurdist cabaret "International Affairs" at a new location. Yay!) And finally: What does the city's biggest store for used books tell customers who bring in their cast-offs? (Last free answer: "New fiction is a dead market—we don't buy it!")
That's good news for me because I usually deal in new non fiction! And I even put names in it sometimes—like long-running British auteur Mike Leigh, the very mention of whom will surely elevate my work from the rancid hijinks of the previous section, which I urge you to forget already.
Leigh's new film, Another Year, features one of the most memorable characters of his entire canon: Mary, a high-strung, abandoned woman who fights back tears while approaching strangers and chirping, "Do you want a cuddle?" Lesley Manville is riveting in the part, and so are Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen as the happily married couple who have to deal with her neuroses every time the bell rings.
But at the New York Film Festival showing, you'd think Leigh was promoting Another Question. He went topsy-turvy—in a cute-ish way—whenever the MC or audience members asked questions he didn't care for. Asked whether Mary is reminiscent of Beverly in Abigail's Party, he replied, "I apologize, but it's a bit of a cul-de-sac question. I can't really see the connection, and I shall give it no more thought." OK, then: Which ex child star who's now an adult star . . . ?
A former Mike Leigh lead, Sally Hawkins, is a wow in Made in Dagenham, playing the cheeky Ford auto-plant worker who demanded equal pay for women in 1968. (I pray Hawkins got as much money as a male actor would have nabbed for a comparable role.) At Michael's last week, I told Hawkins that her performance made me feel really good, and I usually don't like that sensation. "Even on a rainy night like this?" she said, smiling. "Please feel good!" All right, but I stop short at giving cuddles.