If you heard a loud, lively boom uptown the other night, it was the sound of the art and scandal worlds festively smashing into each other at the opening of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders‘s portrait exhibit at the Mary Boone Gallery. The boundary-crossing bash brought out all kinds of power brokers, critics, aficionados, and Monica Lewinsky. The randy-faced ex-intern, whose premature memoir’s cover was shot by Greenfield-Sanders, is giving more than lip service to her hankering to be part of the Gotham glitterati. Alas, these yearnings have a price, and she was instantly descended on by the biggest nightmares in the room, prompting at least one cynic to crab that they wished Boone’s last exhibit was still up, the one with the vase of bullets.
At the sociopath-free after-party at Le Cirque 2000, the menace was gone, and cohost Nancy Friday dryly enthused, “There’s a lot of joie in this room!” And a lot of Monica watching. I gawked as the très jolie Jenny Craig spokesmodel left her handbag-one of the ones she’s been cranking out to defray her legal costs-unattended behind the bar. (The girl is nothing if not trusting.) Introducing myself as a really famous writer, I told her I liked the bag’s frilly design and asked if she makes these kooky clutches for guys too. “No,” she said, bouncily, “but the totes are unisex!” She seemed to lean on the word sex. Her demeanor was lively and accessible, coming off as good potential best-friend material, and not just compared to Linda Tripp.
On the off chance that we might click socially, I wasn’t going to let Monica out of my talons just yet. (Yeah, there was one sociopath left.) To keep her from running toward even less available men, I made yet more airheaded accessory talk, and then author Beauregard Houston-Montgomery chimed in, “The Post review of your bagswas bad, but it made me want to have them.” “What else do you expect from the Post?” said Monica, grimacing (though I hear the portly pepperpot reads it religiously). After a few nice words about our mutual pal Greenfield-Sanders-“You must be so proud!”-the mouthy one looked possessed by a whole new urgent idea. “I’m hungry!” she exclaimed. “I’m looking for something to eat. Where’s the food here?” And my moment with the oral-sex queen of the 20th century was suddenly as over as her days without pizza.
Rather than rifling through Monica’s abandoned handbag and selling the inevitable condoms and dimestore novels to the tabloids, I cornered a
radiant–looking Mary Boone and asked her for those bullets. “If I had one left, I’d give it to you,” she assured me. As for her coverage in the Post, Boone beamed, “It was great!”-though jail, it turned out, wasn’t quite so luxurious. “Giuliani‘s sending a message that art is bad and dangerous,” she lamented. “Now you have to think about what to wear all day, including to prison!” (Fortunately, her shoes that day matched her bag, which wasn’t a Lewinsky.)
In another room, Lisa Marie–Tim Burton‘s leading lady in life-knew exactly what to wear. She was draped in a snazzy boa she’d bought at the Marilyn Monroe auction, where, said Burton, “They set up the mood and even the lighting to get you in a frenzy.” They do the same in Las Vegas, where the Burtons once went to a chapel wedding presided over by an Elvis impersonator (“It was really touching”) and also dropped by Steve Wynn‘s bizarre palace of “hermetically sealed art.” (In another cross-cultural collision, Wynn’s portrait is in the Greenfield-Sanders show.) Burton’s wild for the town and said, “If you don’t gamble, it’s even better. You’re like a blind person whose other senses become stronger.”
All senses were enhanced at Jeffrey Jah‘s “Gore-y” Halloween Ball at Milk Studios to benefit DISHES-I went sans Monica, who never called-where there were precious few blue suede anythings running around, but tons of Austin Powerses and Andy Warhols and even a real Ivana Trump. Once past the sadistic, screaming doormen, you entered a playful crowd that was more Edward Gorey than Al Gore?y, though there were a few too many beauties of the type who are selling their eggs on the Internet. TV’s Angie Harmon was done up as a half-naked Vegas showgirl, sure enough, and Marc Bouwer, who dressed her, said, “She’s law and order.” On leaving, I saw a Britney Spears, a human potted plant, and another Warhol, and learned that Matt Damon sings “My Funny Valentine” on the soundtrack for The Talented Mr. Ripley. I’m ready for the future!
At a Yankees bash, Kevin Spacey was wearing a cap that said Dorothy’s Fortress, which must have been some kind of metaphorical costume. But I don’t do sports events, only hors d’oeuvres parties for art films, so the Vandam restaurant one for Werner Herzog-who has vigor, but isn’t Wim-was the upscale ticket. Since Herzog’s My Best Fiend,about his impassioned collaborations with the late Klaus Kinski, had just landed at Film Forum, I asked the director if he and kinky Kinski were like a married couple. “Not at all,” he said. “Married couples sort out their differences by divorce or murder or fornication. Nothing of the three happened between us. It was always a very creative sort of thing.” So are divorce and murder and fornication. Herzog told me that Kinski was especially creative when dredging up tall tales of his youth. As Herzog explained, “Klaus said he had to fight rats over the last bread crumbs and wash bodies in the morgue, but the fact is, he grew up in a wealthy pharmacist’s household.” Still, I doubt that there was a lot of joie in that room.
At least the Annie party at Roseland turned the place into Daddy Warbucks’s mansion and filled it with a big band, the cute sidekick from Footloose, and screaming children whose shoes matched their handbags. “We found the sleaze!” playwright Douglas Carter Beane was exulting, not because he’d uncovered some secret stash of available orphans, but because, at the screening earlier, titters had erupted when Warbucks’s secretary became more like his intern. Beane cracked that I must have been one of the snickerers, but being the ultimate Annie queen, I had actually seen the teleflick aeons ago, and only snickered when Miss Hannigan claimed she just threatens violence. Right now, though, a whole different thought was overtaking the room: “I’m hungry! I’m looking for something to eat! Where’s the food here?” There were sumptuous buffets, but rather than fight rats for the last bread crumbs, we went to a diner.
A whole new crumb was offered when a booker at Judith Regan‘s cable show asked about my availability for an on-air discussion about sex, specifically regarding what men want in women. I explained that I’m gay, duh, and the broad said, “Well, you can talk about that. I’ll call you tomorrow to let you know if it’s happening.” She called all right-to say they’d gotten one of Regan’s authors instead.
But let’s go back to what men want in women, shall we, and gnaw on Greenfield-Sanders’s final thoughts on Monica: “People come away liking her. She’s going to survive all of that past and be an interesting person. There’s something there-there’s a there there.” So there!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 9, 1999