NY Mirror – 2/9/99


The upcoming Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is sort of like The Usual Trainspotting Rounder Suspects, but somehow original (though I’m rapidly tiring of these tough-guys-together flicks, even when they half-spoof the genre). At Lock, Stock‘s spoon-your-own-dumplings party at the appropriately antiglam Cedar Tavern, coproducer Trudie Styler told me she refers to the movie’s characters as “diamond geezers.” “They’re bad,” she added, “but they look after each other— kind of like Giuliani‘s crowd.” The woman must know something. Styler admitted that she helped bring hubby Sting aboard in a pivotal role— he plays a bar owner who’s a diamond geezer’s father— though she scoffed when I said he didn’t look old enough to play the dad. “But he is,” she exclaimed. “He has a 22-year-old son!” Again, the woman does not speak with forked tongue.

On the other side of the dumpling tray, Styler’s coproducer, Steve Tisch, was murmuring, “If Harvey Weinstein had bought the picture [to release], he wouldn’t have been as good a bar owner as Sting was.” Huh? So Harvey wouldn’t make a good bar owner? “Not in this movie,” Tisch said. “Maybe in Broadway Danny Rose.” Well, Guy RitchieLock, Stock‘s writer-director and the toast of the U.K.— wouldn’t make a good bar owner in either movie. He was antisocially sitting alone with a drink downstairs, maybe afraid that someone would ask about his alleged fling with the world’s favorite dominatrix/geisha, Madonna. I prodded Ritchie long enough for him to reveal his favorite adjectives. (“Edgy‘s bad, quirky‘s good,” was his estimation.) Edgily, I then blurted, “Would you be hostile if I brought up Madonna?” He laughed and said nothing, so I simply crawled away in horror. He’s so . . . quirky.

Broadway musical revivals aren’t even edgy lately. The buoyantly fun if imperfect Little Me is looking better than ever with the demise of On the Town, not to mention the buzz on the p.c. Annie Get Your Gun, which some are dubbing Annie Get Your Gun Control (but hopefully not Audience Get Your Gun). Well, now there’s that mixed bag of revisionism called You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which was intriguingly assigned to the director of A View From the Bridge and actors from Rent and M. Butterfly. The show has all the urgency of Fosse (they should retitle it Schulz), but the cast of oddballs mostly performs the hell out of the flimsy whimsy, with Kristin Chenoweth, as Sally, especially demented and darling. There’s a definite modern twinge to Lucy’s announcing, “When I grow up, I’m gonna be the biggest queen who ever was!” (That would be quite an achievement in this company.) But, despite its intermittent neurotic charms, Charlie should probably have stayed in junior high school auditoriums, where it’s been doing fine for 32 years, thank you.

Fresh from that show, I grew up at once, and suddenly it was tit night, starting with the saucy cookbook party at the Armani store for Sophia Loren’s Recipes and Memories (and mammaries). As we grabbed at the free food and linen napkins, Giorgio Armani told me— through a stud-translator— “The book is Sophia.” I proceeded to ask the book— I mean the actress— what her favorite recipe is. “Pizza!” she said, infusing the word with an Oscar-worthy resonance. She made it sound like something so much more than a slab of dough with some cheese on it.

Cheesecake recipes were obviously used to concoct the lavish Victoria’s Secret event at Cipriani, where a bevy of fresh-faced models paraded around dressed as angels, fairies, and vestal virgins, all basically selling snatch. “In a word, what was it like?” asked a TV reporter afterward. “Heterosexual” was the number one answer. After pushing up to the reception, then swooping back down for the pudenda-positive gift bag, I trenchantly asked Marcus Schenkenberg what he thought of the show. “Very sexy and big,” he replied. “Big?” I said, making obscene breast gestures. “Yeah, some of the girls are big,” he complied. “And they’re real, right?” I cracked. “Oh, yeah,” he said, looking confused, as I crawled away in horror— by now I knew how.

It was fun to resurface at DJ Michael T‘s birthday bash at Kurfew, the weekly party in parts of the Tunnel, where you scrawl personal Post-its to people with your favorite big parts. Alas, if you happen to have written their ID numbers down wrong, you spend the rest of the night running away from Godzilla! If I ran anywhere, it was only to Limelight— sort of as a joke, though I was amazed to find that the place is still a cash cow with golden udders, if occasionally curdled milk. My friend was screaming “Tacky!” through our entire five minutes there, but the place was surprisingly mobbed, diamond geezer­style, and this gave the VIP room doormen moxie enough to yell stuff at aspiring entrants like, “Move to the side like a human being!”

If I can get as close to human as genetically possible, let me clarify a quote I gave to the New York Post for a piece about Special K that ran after that Tunnel patron’s tragic OD. I decried the drug’s abuse in general, but in describing its immobilizing effects, I was talking specifically about the “K-hole” brought on by hefty doses. Also, other remarks I made were bizarrely attributed to someone else, and one of those quotes, intended ironically, was made to sound sincere. It’s enough to send one into a journalistic K-hole.

While I utterly empathize with the kid’s grieving mother, by the way, her attempts to point fingers and assign blame reek of Carroll O’Connor‘s public efforts to find “the killer” of his son recently. Responsibility is a way more complicated issue than that.

On a much lighter note, I’ll be solely responsible for these gossip quickies: James Collard, the newish editor in chief of Out— where I hear there’s been some unrest— is on a three-month leave of absence. Henry E. Scott, the president of Out Publishing, Inc., told me that Collard is taking care of “personal business.” . . . In more uplifting career news— for her, anyway— disco queen Donna Summer is the next one in line to get the comeback treatment à la Cher. She’s nabbed a big-time recording contract, and they “Believe” in her. . . . Bill Murray, who never went away, looked especially friendly with his Rushmore costar Olivia Williams last week, though I could be imagining things. . . . Here’s something more certain: Madonna— yeah, her again— has asked steamy Steam star Alessandro Gassman to appear with her in Max Factor ads. . . . And this is not just cosmetic: Rachel Campos, best known as the Republican from MTV’s The Real World, is the front-runner to replace Debbie Matenopoulos on The View.

The surreal world— a/k/a/ the Metro Guide channel— turns out to serve helpful advice like, “If you’re the type of person who has a problem with cussin’ or same-sex kissing, Rent may not be for you.” Oh, really? Fuck you! . . . And finally, same-sex cussin’ and lots of other juicy stuff turn up on the most fun shows on television— Behind the Music, Where Are They Now?, and Before They Were Rock Stars— three VH1 confessional documentaries that plumb with aplomb the sordid beginnings and endings of various pop icons. I never knew there were such riveting cautionary tales lurking in the likes of Loverboy and Stacy Q., but there are, there are. It’s delicious— sort of like edgy pizza.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 9, 1999

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