Sharon Stone is a genius at cashing in on communal fears (like the fear that she’ll make another movie). The moxie-laden one even recently managed to get publicity out of the Columbine incident by sending out a press release headed “Sharon Stone relinquishes her firearms to the Los Angeles police department.” (Rosie O’Donnell probably helped her bring them there.) Announced saucy Stone in the statement, “One of the greatest things my father taught me was respect for my country and gratitude for the rights that we as Americans hold dear.” And how to trot out a press advisory in the wake of a mass tragedy. The good news is that the world is definitely a safer place now. Sharon’s hubby can breathe more easily, plus potential intruders will still stay away, since Sharon retains the scariest weapon of all— the ability to bore people to death with viewings of Diabolique, Gloria, and any number of fruity flicks.
Here’s a more compelling all-points bulletin: The lethal-tongued Margaret Cho is coming to Westbeth with a one-woman show, which will effectively shoot down my lifelong ambition to star in a sitcom (called I’m the Yutz). Marvy Margaret’s stage romp, I’m the One That I Want, will mine her experiences as the star of All-American Girl, the big-break series that turned out to be what she alternately calls Saved by the Gong and “my journey to hell and back.” Margaret will reveal that the disillusionment caused by the stinky program led her on a drug, alcohol, and low-self-esteem binge— though now, of course, she’s all cleaned up and says that’s great “because I go to sleep instead of passing out, and when I work out, the sweat doesn’t burn my eyes.” That’s Cho business.
My other favorite comic these days is the sobering Jackie Hoffman, a rubber-faced cross between Carol Burnett and Judy Kaye who just killed ’em at Eighty-Eight’s (the Village cabaret that’s slated to close, despite freakouts from the two-drink- minimum- worshipping regulars). Hoffman does the voice of Dilbert’s mom on TV, played a squirrel at Lincoln Center, and starred in a recent stage spoof of Imitation of Life, but cabaret seems as much her true métier as press releases are Sharon Stone’s. She promises 55 minutes of hate and delivers hilariously, with equal parts self-deprecation, venom, and urban Jewish angst. After an announcer says, “Kindly refrain from making fun of Jackie’s ass,” Hoffman emerges— that ass!— and tells us a list of things she’ll never be caught saying to another person (“Do you need someone to go to the hospital with you?”). She lashes out at Hollywood, agents, and tired cabaret material (her medley of worn-out Liza, Barbra, and Michelle Lee songs makes you cringe with recognition). She points to empty chairs and says, “Where the fuck are these people?” She sings about how she’d all too willingly give blow jobs to get her own sitcom. And best of all, she makes wicked fun of the wannabe gypsies belting out Sondheim tunes at the piano bar downstairs.
Hoffman herself has a surprisingly crisp soprano, which she applies to a few zingy numbers— like a “vegetable medley” and a song about how vodka makes her feel odd-ka— but I’d rather hear her just raucously rant in that acid, assy way of hers. She’s so special that I hope she never gets her own sitcom— she’s funny enough without the drugs and alcohol.
The same winsome night, I ate vegetable medleys with Liz Renay, the bosomy gun-moll-turned John Waters star who’s bracing for her third or fourth career now that Todd Oldham‘s directing a movie based on her memoir, My Face for the World to See. At our Marylou’s dinner hosted by Brandywine, Liz’s face was on view for the girls to see. The seven-times-married great great grandma came off kookily effusive and in love with life, giggling as she told me she’s dating a 54-year-old, “and I feel like I’m robbing the cradle!” Too bad the even younger Oldham doesn’t want to meet Liz, according to an Oldham chat she read on the Internet. “He’s probably afraid I might give him some input he doesn’t want— and I probably would,” she said, cracking up.
Well, I wanted her input, so who, I wondered, does Liz want to play herself? Britney Spears? “Kim Basinger or Sharon Stone,” she said, “though they might be too old, since most of the book happens in my twenties.” (Besides, Sharon would never see fit to play a gun moll.) Whoever lands the role, it’ll be a challenge for an actress of any age to capture Liz’s chutzpah. As she exulted to me, “people in wheelchairs and walkers don’t make good escorts for me. I move too fast!”
The walker crowd lined up in droves— but quickly— for the B Bar
party celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Mudd Club’s founding, and some of these fabulous fossils even wore their new wavey outfits from ’79 (which are now called “vintage,” of course). It was shocking to see who looked haggard who used to look sprightly and— even creepier— who looked sprightly who used to look haggard. As that inebriating old music was spun by a Mudd DJ and slides of Tina L’Hotsky and Teri Toye flashed by, we all reminisced about those days of grunge posturing, pretending we’d merely heard about them. The club’s legendary owner, Steve Mass— who looked sprightly— was set to jump out of a coffin at midnight, but, not the reunion type, I wheeled home to watch The Golden Girls reruns instead.
A walker— who was cute— helped me to the H. SternFosse party at Sardi’s the next night, where the fabulous Alan Cumming was expected, but when isn’t he? The guy is such an omnipresent
party presence that his name— Alan Cumming— even sounds like an R.S.V.P. That other very visible diva, Elton John, was set to do a benefit for the University of Wyoming this past week, in light of the Matthew Shepard murder— yeah, there was a press release— but activist Bill Dobbs points out that the school doesn’t even have a nondiscrimination policy!
The good news for diva followers is that Madonna doesn’t discriminate against Deborah Harry. She told Cathay Che, author of the upcoming Harry tome Platinum Blond, “I was hugely influenced by Debbie when I started out as a singer and songwriter. I thought she was the coolest chick in the universe.” Responded the ever-cool Deborah, “Mmm. I haven’t thought of myself as a chick in some time . . . but the universe is a good reference.”
Chicks with dicks were ready to flog the guests to another universe at the Candace Bushnell dinner at Justine’s— the s&m boite where, alas, dominatrices can’t pull their subjects’ pants down as they paddle them. (Oh, thanks, Rudy, you wouldn’t want to offend the patrons at a bondage restaurant!) Anyway, it’s a good thing our puritanical mayor
couldn’t hear the party talk that night. Bushnell told me that the next season of her Sex and the City HBO series will be “edgier,” and supervising producer Jenny Bicks confirmed that, telling me, “We’ve got dirty-talking guys, guys who like porn, Gay Straight Guy, Mr. Pussy (who only pleasures women orally), and guys who like it up the ass but won’t say they like it. Every straight guy wants something up the ass, but won’t say he likes it.” I know, dear, I know.
Finally, no connection here, but everyone’s been cha-cha dancing around Ricky Martin‘s sexuality, but I hear he’s OK with it and even saw Get Real, the coming-out movie, with his Wilfredo. I’ll send you a release.