The CFDA's 18th annual American Fashion Awards started with cocktails at six and ended with an Yves Saint Laurent presentation at 12:20, by which point I knew the butcher I'd been seated with almost as intimately as I knew my own designer panties. With an inspiring sense of fashion bonding, the meat man, his sequin-collared wife, and I conspiratorially nibbled on the highfalutin menu items like pommes gaufrettes (that's French for potato chips), as presenters made windy observations like "What Edgar Allan Poe was to the raven, Yohji is to black." The night carried on and on as we downed more demoralizing pommes, endured the dizzying disappointments (honorees Cher and Sophia Loren were elsewhere), and fended off the insults (Busta Rhymes called the crowd ugly and Chris Rock urged for more applause, saying, "You guys suck! It's Calvin Klein, dammit!"). At the climax, we watched Matt Nye, the Perry Ellis award winner for best accessory I mean menswear designer conspicuously rub his nose no fewer than five times during his acceptance speech in some massive involuntary fashion statement. Was it perhaps a secret signal to Jann?
On the more affecting side, the video tribute to the late Liz Tilberis was poignant, especially when in a taped interview Liz referred to one of her Bazaar issues as the one with "the bone marrow transplant cover." Liz's absence put Cher's in perspective, though I decided I love Cher more than ever because only she could come out with those extremely old-sounding (if zingy) disco songs and find that they're the hot new thing. I think the butcher likes her too.
The hot new art-house movie will probably be Run Lola Run, whose lead character has a real gaufrette on her shoulder. The film is a Sliding Doorslike "what if?" stunt in which Lola acts out three potential ways to save her criminal-accessory boyfriend's ass over a throbbing techno soundtrack. You don't learn much about the girl except that she has electric red hair and a piercing scream what Poe was to the raven, Lola is to balls but Franka Potente is appealing as the star runner and the movie makes the most of its rather rigid premise.
I ran to interview the flick's cute German director, Tom Tykwer, who told me, "Franka has this special star thing you feel an immediate conspiracy with her and want her to make it." Yeah, yeah, yeah, but can the little vixen really run? "No," he said. "She's not at all a runner and doesn't look very athletic. I insisted that we didn't want to make a female Schwarzenegger film. We wanted her to be the girl next door who, because she's in an extreme situation, grows stronger and overcomes her weaknesses."
The movie itself overcame all odds and became Germany's box-office equivalent of Star Wars, to the point where every woman in the country and some of the men were desperate to have a Lola blunt cut. As for the real Star Wars, Tykwer said he's not, um, running to see it. "Lucas had a really big opportunity to bring film language forward and do something completely hardcore experimental," he said, "and it would have been a hit no matter what. He could have done an Andy Warhol film! And all I'm hearing is that the opposite is the case, and that's very frustrating." Ex-queeze me, but I have to agree.
Rather than be frustrated, I ran, ho, ran to Paper's 15th-birthday party at Joe's Pub, where I donned a Lola cut and a fabulous outfit it's Calvin Klein, dammit! and shamelessly tried to snag a butcher husband. While searching, I ran into PETA's Dan Matthews, who not only didn't provide any competition butchers are his least favorite people but cut me some gossip too, saying he's on the verge of convincing Pamela Anderson Lee to appear in this year's Wigstock. Apparently, Pamela simply loves drag queens the feeling's mutual and is totally into the idea, though she's not sure what kind of performance would be appropriate. I guess a dramatic reading from Baywatch or VIP might clear the room, but Matthews said Pamela is considering doing either a Jayne Mansfield song or a Mary Kay Place tune from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Whatever the case, it would only make sense for Pammy to be in drag and now that she's gotten her breasts reduced, she can be that much more convincing as a man (though perhaps not a man from Chelsea).
Sort of a drag, Instinct turns out to be not very hardcore experimental. In fact, you keep waiting for Cuba Gooding Jr. to shout, "Show me the monkey!" But here's some pop cultural news that doesn't in-stink: As sure as Madonna's daughter the real Lola is working on a memoir called Swami Dearest, Monica Lewinsky turned up at the très gay Beige last week (more unavailable men, Monica?) and Olympic runner Carl Lewis was spotted at Phab, the gay Wednesday night party at Rebar. Run, Carl, run.
Meanwhile, messy Jesse Camp tried to run off with magazines he stole at Tower Video, but was frisked and got a police escort out of there, dude! As for running magazines, I hear that Henry E. Scott, the editorial director of Out, will soon announce himself the editor-in-chief. By the way, get ready to do marathon leaps away from a slew of media types clucking over the various outings of Ricky Martin. These press people who think it's "high road" not to report such things are the same ones who sit around making fun of Calista Flockhart's presumed eating disorders, chase Sophia Loren down hospital aisles to see why she's wheezing, and mock Monica's proportions as if they were a criminal offense. They have no concern for privacy, decency, or helping out careers, but say the G-word and suddenly they're anxiously colluding with the stars' managers to bury the truth. These columnists need to be outed as hideous hypocrites.
And finally, a tragic truth: One of Downtown's most visible fixtures was brutally murdered over a week ago. John Badum, the exinternational sales director for the fashion company Go Silk, was a world-traveling addict of glamour and festivity. A couple of years ago, on a trip to Morocco, Badum and his sister Theresa met a young stud named Hamid Ouhda, with whom Badum became enamored. The stud ended up living with Theresa upstate, fighting with her, and moving in with a farmer, then supposedly getting caught sleeping with the farmer's boyfriend and the whole time, Badum thought of the guy as his beau. Lately, though, he'd started to realize Ouhda was more cuckoo than couscous.
My sources say Ouhda may have been desperate for money (promised or otherwise) from Badum, and also feared that Allah was frowning upon his own gay exploits. Whatever provoked him, he threw a brick through a glass window of Theresa's house where Badum was hiding out then, in true horror-movie style, got a meat cleaver and a knife from the kitchen. He broke the bedroom door down as Theresa frantically called 911, then stabbed her in the face and arm, while Badum rousing himself from a sleeping-pill stupor interfered so that his sister could escape. Badum quickly became the victim of Ouhda's cutlery, after which Ouhda ran outside and jumped on Theresa's getaway car, only to fall off and later race insanely toward a moving van. He ended up dying in the same hospital where Badum passed on.
Apparently, the hopelessly romantic Badum (a/k/a Betty) was perennially lovesick and had become so aware of this predicament that he was considering seeking help for it. He loved entertaining, escorting, and impressing people he had feelings for. Heaven's a more fashionable place now.
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