I hate it when people on the phone say, “Let me let you go,” even though they really mean “Let me go.” I hate it when Jenny Jones audience members scream “She looks like a tramp!” when the theme is “My Friend Dresses Too Sexy,” but the next night, when it’s “I Was a Nerd, But Now I’m a Slut With Breast Implants,” they’ll yell, “You go, girl!” I hate it when those rolling popcorn carts at the movies only sell combos. (What about people like, um, my friends, who are both lazy and cheap?) I hate it when my favorite restaurant, Empire Korea, abruptly switches to Chinese cuisine and changes its name to Empire China (a true story–only in Koreatown, kids, only in Koreatown).
But there are things I love,mind you–like the fact that Vincent Gallo seems to hate even more stuff than I do. The obsessive actor-writer-director–who never tries to make waves and drum up hot copy, oh no–is peeved over my write-up of the incendiary talk he gave after a Directors Guild of America screening of his Buffalo 66. “It turned into a piece of tabloid journalism,” he said into my machine, “out of context and unfully resolved.” Oh, I’m sorry–the full context was that he said Anjelica Huston was a big cunt. Anyway, when Gallo left me that message in response to my having called him about something else, I picked up in the middle and snarled, “Yeah, right, bye” and hung up. Well, Gallo–whose borderline-insane Buffalo 66 character is outraged that a “faggot” is supposedly watching him pee–called back and left the message, “Hey, Mrs. Musto, you’re a real asshole!” Sounds to me like we’ve got the start of a new Algonquin roundtable here (and by the way, Vinnie, it’s Ms.).
The guy clearly likes to start wildfires, but when they burn up his own ass, he runs away and blames the alarm. He’s now claiming I left out that he adored Anjelica once he worked with her, but, funny, what he actually said at his DGA kvetchathon was that he told her to get the fuck off his set. Oh, well–at least I’m only one of many he’s targeted; as Page Six reported, Gallo recently left nasty messages for critics who didn’t love his, in fact, overrated movie. Talk about shooting your own foot while it’s in your mouth.
In a perhaps more liberated arena, I hope it’s not mere tabloid journalism to report that–I love this–in the upcoming disco flick 54, a hormonal Studio 54 busboy named Shane has at least one hand on the maypole. In scenes that will hopefully end up in the final version, the hot-to-trot cocktail server (played by Ryan Phillippe) makes it with an aspiring singer (Salma Hayek) and also with her humpy husband (Breckin Meyer). How ’70s. How 54. Meyer told me for Indie magazine that he and Phillippe have been good friends for years and they were extremely comfortable with the scene. “We didn’t even laugh about it,” he said. “We just did it.” How ’90s.
I also love it that, while filming a sapphic cameo for a movie called Glam-Trash,Drew’s spirited mom Jaid Barrymore asked me, “Why is it that every time I see you, I’m doing some lesbian thing?” “If the shoe fits . . . ” cracked someone on the set.
And I’m positively gagging with joy that, just when cunnilingus was starting to lose its luster, millions will be learning about all new sex acts from a couple of penetrating movies (but don’t read this if you want to eventually be surprised into an orgasm for only $8.50). There’s “tea-baggin’ ,” which involves testes banging on foreheads, and “a Dutch oven” (passing wind, then pulling the covers over your lover’s head) from John Waters‘s upcoming Pecker, and “DVDA” (double vaginal, double anal) from South Park cocreator Trey Parker‘s Orgazmo. And then there’s just your regular old felching.
Meanwhile, fuck me, but I love that Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth–being revived in Central Park–is about human survival through disaster (and DVDA), and the night I saw it, an audience member was dragged out for a medical emergency, a baby screamed until her parents removed her, a woman involuntarily banged against her chair every 20 seconds (right next to me, natch), and a nonstop parade of hellish helicopters noisily passed overhead. Plus there were no popcorn carts!
Kristen Johnston, as the saucy maid Sabina (actually the actress playing Sabina) is not a catastrophe; even in this mildly received production, she’s as pert as she is in her Emmy-winning role on 3rd Rock From the Sun. In a phone interview, the delightful and highly focused Kristen seemed bemused by the outdoor free-for-all. “It’s a madhouse,” she laughed. “One night, this six-year-old girl had a Doritos bag that she was, on purpose, crinkling, then opening, then crinkling, then opening. I couldn’t take it! It was during Frannie’s [Frances Conroy‘s] speech, but if I’d been talking, you better believe I would have said something.” And the great thing about the fourth wall being down all night is that she actually could have.
Kristen’s loving this role because she goes from “a floozy little maid to a scary seductress to a whiny actress to a broad who’s lived through the war. It’s all the different aspects of being a dame.” Her biggest laugh comes as the whiny actress, exasperatedly moaning, “I was offered Twelfth Night!”–a Kristen ad-lib which both Wilder’s estate and Helen Hunt (who’s in the Lincoln Center Twelfth Night) gave enthusiastic permission for. Kristen’s delighted because, “I thought, ‘Will Mr. Wilder turn over in his grave?’ “
Alas, it must have been that one extra line that’s made her voice almost as gravelly as that of the original Sabina, Tallulah Bankhead, these days. Cracks Kristen, “As long as I don’t become her offstage,that’ll be fine.”
Leaving the crinkly Doritos bag behind, I grabbed for some distinctly non-apple ? at the premiere of Darren Aronofsky‘s ? and discovered yet another phenomenon I love: that of the bouncy, affable young auteur with underpinnings so dark he could black out the entire East Coast. Aronofsky’s the well-groomed, polite type who spews gratitude on his way to the top, while surprising you with a bleak vision replete with immense confidence and virtuoso camerawork triumphing over the shortage of humor, nice people, and good accents. Best of all, he’s cutely sincere about his bravado, as when he seriously told the crowd about a certain big shot who supported the movie, “He totally got it–and I can’t tell you how brilliant his aesthetics are.”
After the screening, things became slightly less aesthetically brilliant as Aronofsky invited me to follow him into the bathroom for an exclusive urinal-side interview. I did so and looked down at my own parts the whole time, just in case his worst nightmare is the same as Vincent Gallo’s. It turns out Darren’s favorite directors, tinkle tinkle, are Kurosawa, Polanski, Gilliam, and Fellini, and with the lead character’s head-shaving bit, he laughed, “I was trying to be the cyber Taxi Driver.” His next project? A movie version of Requiem for a Dream by his idol Hubert Selby, whom he tracked down when he called the Writers Guild and asked for his representation, “and it was his home phone number!”
Rather than call Selby, we zipped up and went outside, where ?’s star, Sean Gullette–his hair all grown back–told me, “Darren’s quite the genius dictator. He’s going to be a great director.” Don’t you just hate that? But let me let you go.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 14, 1998