Gossip! Gossip! Gossip! With Names!
Sit down, pull up a cruller, and let's dish the crap out of our favorite public figures. I'll start with a dizzying array of short-attention-span tidbits full of sass, vinegar, and a hint of cilantro.
First of all, our beloved Sandra Bernhard played an auditorium in Norfolk, Connecticut recently, and I hear the place was not exactly full. But the comic/singer valiantly did her complete show, berating the audience when she felt they weren't getting it, and comically calling them "a bunch of farmers." "She should only know that Meryl Streep lives down the road," one embittered attendee remarked to me.
An irritated insider tells me that as an actor, Ben Affleck can be goofy to work with, carrying on like a practical jokester and sometimes trying to throw you off your mark. I'm sure it's a riot!
Nineties icons kept soaring when my spies caught the unlikely duo of Mickey Rourke and Carlos Leon checking out a storefront rental on Bedford and Morton. I can't even imagine what business those two are getting into—something combining dogs, boxing, personal fitness, and superstar insemination?
Let me now give the business to that West Coast porn titan who got a teensy bit tipsy while hanging with some theater folk in San Francisco and became noticeably belligerent. People were actually scared!
As for angst caused by too much chocolate milk, Selena Gomez was recently pulled away from a press junket when a reporter dared to lob a question about her relationship with Justin Bieber. But isn't the whole dumb thing a gigantic teen-idol publicity construct to begin with? Probably, but if so, the hushing still makes sense; with such a delicate scenario on their hands, publicists don't ever want their subjects taking the risk of going off script.
What's Up, Doc?
Some documentary gossip is what I desperately feel we need right now to bring us back to the realm of actual fact.
Late porn god Joey Stefano is the spunky subject of a documentary being directed by Kenneth Sherman. Joey's the one who spilled the beans on David Geffen, gamely shoved a beer bottle up his ass onstage, and hoped to branch out into more legit acting, instead falling into a druggy spiral full of unhygienic behavior. God, how I loved him.
Another much-missed provocateur, drag star Divine, is getting a documentary courtesy of Jeffrey Schwarz (who's done films about porn star/actor Jack Wrangler and activist/historian Vito Russo). As one of the breathlessly talking heads in the film—titled I Am Divine—I've gotten my paws on some exclusive highlights from it:
Director John Waters remembers that at Christmas, Divine "would go crazy and have to buy people all these expensive presents. He would write bad checks at one point and the police busted him and took him home. He always said to his parents, 'I did not do that.' Such a liar! And they made him take a lie detector test and he passed. That's acting!"
Waters also remembers another of Divvy's thesping triumphs: the immortal doggie doo-doo-eating scene in 1972's Pink Flamingos. "They all went to somebody's house that night and got stoned," relates the auteur. "They said, 'What's gonna happen to you from eating dog shit?' So they said, 'Call the hospital hotline.' Divine pretended he was a mother: 'I have a retarded child that just ate a dog turd!' " I guess that sounded so much less embarrassing than what actually happened.
Meanwhile, Divine himself got ingested on occasion. Warhol star Holly Woodlawn recalls rooming with Divine in Provincetown when they did the campy show Neon Woman together. One night, says Holly, "God damn her, she had an 18-year-old boy worshiping her body! Why her and not me?... She was snoring her tits off! She didn't even know what was going on! How dare she? What can I do? Should I gain weight?"
Nah, let's stay on the svelte side so we can fit into our seats on the aisle for some far more tasteful theater talk.
Annabel Sexton Daldry, the eight-year-old daughter of performer Lucy Sexton and director Stephen Daldry (The Reader, Billy Elliot), did well at P.S.122 the other week, singing Bowie's "Space Oddity," along with some other expert stage biz. A new career? No, she's performed there since she was two.
At another downtown performance space, Dixon Place, Pitch! is Greg Walloch and Mark Allen's monthly show that allows performers to pitch a "publishing heavyweight" their ideas. Last time around, that heavyweight was me, oink, oink, and I loved hearing all the gossip that emerged along with the proposals. Performer Glenn Marla remembered working at a sex-toy emporium when Star Jones scoured the sale racks and ended up with an absolutely divine rubber corset. And comic Billy Eichner recalled the time a few years ago when he went home with the Times' then–food critic and ended up with a really swell rim job. "The head restaurant critic for the New York Times ate my ass!" said Eichner. "That is a huge compliment!"
I can't think of a really strong segue here—except maybe for "Out, damned spot!"—but let's close with Sleep No More, the Macbeth-related walkthrough show where you throw on a mask, if not a rubber corset, and decide which actors to follow on your expensive journey. "The bold are rewarded," attendees are advised at the outset. Well, a friend of mine understandably interpreted that to mean he should go off into areas where no one dares. Wrong! It means follow the flock or you won't see shit.
Got that? No? Bunch of farmers!
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