By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
At a Lavo party for Due Date—about an ultimately likable mess who attaches himself to an uptight urban professional—Courtney Love jumped me and kept me so feverishly entertained I forgot to work the rest of the room.
At the New York Comedy Festival–hosted event, the rocker/personality told me she has a new place to live in New York (though she had to put down a year's rent in advance) and a brand-new Social Security Number, because of "identity problems" that sprung up. "I understand New York now," Love said. "I talk to people and listen more. I've lived in New York for over a year—this time without going to Bellevue!"
And the grunge widow has been getting noticed for it. She said she had a lunch date planned with Page Six's Emily Smith; Radar.com was tracking her for a story about whether she owns the Knickerbocker Hotel (she swore she doesn't); and the Times's Sunday Styles section was about to declare her the new queen of Fashion Week. "Supposedly, they'll say I've replaced Tinsley Mortimer," said Love. "I don't know who that is," she added blithely.
All of this could conceivably help Courtney get back on the big screen, where I long ago said she belongs. "If Robert Downey Jr. can get out of movie prison," she told me, "maybe I can, too." Could that "due date" be renewed if the press keeps improving? Maybe, maybe not—but at least she doesn't have huge regrets about not getting to play killer lesbian Aileen Wuornos, as she was in talks to do before Charlize Theron did Monster. "I can't be the pretty girl who goes ugly," said Courtney, self-deprecatingly.
No connection here, but Broadway's musical version of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown starts with a gigantic gazpacho recipe on a scrim and ends up serving you a big bowl of wacky mess. The set is a glory of constant movement complete with projections, conveyor-belt walkways, hanging ropes, and a bedroom fire, but all the frantic energy can't camouflage the fact that what sparkled and moved onscreen is often leaden here, especially when so many songs stop the proceedings like oversize croutons.
First of all, you should never start a musical with your leading lady passed out on a bed. How can she sing her proverbial "I want" song when she's totally unconscious? Even more weirdly, that's soon followed by a merry cab driver wheeling onstage to sing about how great Madrid is. (Between this and Miss Daisy, it's a big season for simulated cars in overstuffed vehicles.)
Fortunately, Laura Benanti has a fun number as an anxious model in a phone booth ("They misspelled 'vagina' "), and in Act Two, Patti LuPone—who is too sensible to totally click with her loony character in the first half—makes a poignant showstopper out of what's basically a samba version of "Mr. Cellophane." Yes, there are some shiny nuggets in this constantly spinning soup, but, basically, Women on the Verge is what happens when smart, calculating people try to be loopy.
Broadway types performed last week at a Shubert Theatre benefit for Only Make Believe, an organization that provides sick children with the best medicine of all: showtunes! The event was so eclectic it featured moments like host Sir Ian McKellen introducing the plus-size singing group the Glamazons and asking after their performance of "Lady Marmalade": "Which one was Sugar Cones?"
The dry knight also paused to tell us that the state of Georgia wanted to proclaim an Ian McKellen Day, until the governor's aide was reminded that the particular date they'd chosen was already Martin Luther King Day. (I guess parts of the South take that holiday a little less seriously than they should.) Instead, they made the Brit an honorary member of the Georgia army, "which makes me the only legally openly gay member of the American armed forces!"
Things are a little more closety in the Morris Plains, New Jersey, train station—don't ask—where I saw a rather disconcerting poster for Broadway's dead rock star revue Million Dollar Quartet. In big letters, it blares that the show is "the wife-tested, husband-approved Broadway musical." I guess the producers' idea of suburbia is still exclusively man-woman. They should have at least added: "Starring a Tony Award–winning gay!"
All imaginable types show up onstage at the gay lounge Vig27 for Thursday night's Meaner Harder Leather revue, which last week attracted self-deconstructing talents like Misty Meaner, Go-Go Harder, Stormy Leather, and Lacy Knickers. Sexiest of all was a seductress named Main Attraction, who slithered into the crowd and did a headstand that left her pelvic region smack-dab in a male customer's face. He looked gay, but not unhappy.
I knew it would be an interesting night when I saw Misty's Facebook query, "Can someone bring a whip to Meaner Harder Leather tonight?" But what was Jay McInerney doing there? ("Are you coming out?" I cracked to the Bright Lights, Big City author in the main room. "Go ahead, say it," he laughed. "It'll be good for me.")