Just when I was starting to mellow on models and think maybe they ain’t so dumb after all, the one named Guinevere Van Seenus opens her trap and unleashes even more verbal caca than most runway girls spew half-chewed arugula. In an interview with the Brit magazine The Face, glamorous Gwinny divulged what she’s learned about karma and reincarnation and how they relate to gay people—who might just be suffering from gender adjustment problems—and Jews, who could well have been handed the Holocaust as a result of all their past-life transgressions. In other words, it’s possible that they deserved to be exterminated because of something they may have done in the Middle Ages!
But I give you her own genius words: “Karma has lots of different explanations. I’ve been told that ‘gay’ is really that you’ve had so many lifetimes as a particular sex that, when you move into a new sex, you have trouble adjusting. One of the karmic explanations for the Jews that were massacred was that they were the Huns at one point. You know, they massacred, pillaged, and raped thousands of villages so . . . I mean, I dunno if I believe that, but if you’re bad you’re gonna have repercussions in another lifetime.”
By the reasoning Guinevere’s parroting, Amadou Diallo must have once been a diseased rat who tormented perfectly nice people and eventually had to pay for it in, like, a kooky karmic way. But a vexacious vermin is exactly what some fashion stars appear to be in this life, and perhaps Guin had better get ready to be punished next time, when she comes back as an actual human being. (Of course last time she was a queen, as she told The Face; funny, believers in reincarnation never seem to say, “I used to scrub toilets.”) Oh well—at least unlike most models, she’s heard of the Holocaust.
The fashion world continued to appall at the party for The Beach—an early contender for worst movie of the year—where the primary entertainment was rifling through the fashion magazines on our seats and finding Halle Berry‘s Revlon ad in which they’ve made her even lighter than Ava Gardner in Show Boat! The ad hawks products designed “to light up your look.” Tell me about it, Hun.
I loved L’Oréal’s darker diva Jennifer Lopez conspicuously tapping her mike at the end of her first song on Saturday Night Live so you’d know it had been on the whole time. But why would you have thought otherwise? On another channel, whitebread Mary and Rhoda were extremely on in that reunion movie, and though the flick had a bizarre gang violence subplot and surrounded the stars with twisted, hateful creatures in weird contrast to the old flawed but lovable ones (light up your look, girls), I loved it—especially since Mary’s daughter was bi and Mary’s doorman was played by Chuckles the Clown (reincarnation at its finest).
At the Tom of Finland show—an attempted crossover—the fashion sense was very Mary Tyler Moore Show via just plain Mary, with the usual helping of Paul Bunyan chic. The gayola macho romp trotted out sturdy bodies caressed by tie-dye, acid wash, and fuzzy camouflage, and we spent a large part of it closely reading the product placements on the guys’ clinging thingies. That wasn’t the only reading; the show was so well attended that beloved CFDA president Stan Herman had to battle his way in, sputtering, “I’m the head of the whole . . . I don’t know what’s wrong with these guys!”
I danced the night away at the Visionaire party at the Rainbow Room—I don’t know what’s wrong with these thighs—where the rotating room provided a lazy Susan of whirring notables and their various agendas. At the Page Six party at Guastavino’s the next night, everyone who’s ever been mentioned, wanted to be mentioned, or done the mentioning converged, as I spun around them, ignoring my severe gender adjustment problems for a sec. Among the power highlights, Rupert Murdoch resisted a photographer’s efforts to shoot him with Puffy; Howard Stern carried on festively (“He’s enjoying being free,” said pal Kurt Loder. “He used to have to be home by a certain hour”); and beleaguered club majordomo Steve Lewis—who’s waiting to see if he’s jail-bound—said, “For Christmas, I got the book called So You’re Going to Prison. It was very good.” Lewis was laughing wryly, but believe me, he doesn’t want to have to use the book.
The week’s big wacko event—diet guru Richard Simmons‘s unveiling of the new California Raisin in Union Square Park—was a potential prison sentence, but I ended up surrendering to Simmons’s nutty contagion and worshipping it. When I got there, the little demon was wearing a sparkly top and spandex shorts and signing autographs, crying as a child handed him his schoolbook, but mostly squealing and giggling and hugging, like Susan Powter via Barney.
Come showtime, Simmons surrounded himself with kids and danced his frisky buns off—to “Proud Mary”! “Cut the music!” he screeched, noting some deadbeats in the audience. “This whole group is not doing a farcacta thing!” He made them jiggle, then went on to lead two cops through deep knee bends, replete with orgiastic sounds. “Here we go,” he chanted. “Down! Down! Ooh! Ooh!” The raisin boogied onstage—ooh!—then Simmons led the entire crowd in a giant “grapevine line dance,” as people who just happened to be passing by found they had to quickly lift their jaws off the ground, two-three-four.
Afterward, Simmons spotted me in the purple raisin hat they were giving out and said, “You look fabulous in turbans!” So does he because, as he admitted to me, “I have hair plugs! When I starved and lost 123 pounds, all my hair fell out. This is all a hair transplant. This is 1900 hair plugs!” He showed me—very Ken doll meets Chatty Cathy—and said, “I don’t lie to people. I lost my nails. I lost protein. I had to wear a turban to keep them in place to grow. That reminds me of the Norma Desmond look.” He promptly went into a song from Sunset Boulevard, and, naturally, I joined him: “I don’t know why I’m frightened. I know my way around here. . . . ”
We took bows, then moved on to Monica Lewinsky‘s Jenny Craig gig, which he has no problem with—”I’m not one to judge people a lot”—though he recently saw Monica in a restaurant and observed how folks react to her. “She looked gorgeous,” he said, “but no one went over to her table. I didn’t even go to her table. Me, I’m like a box of Kleenex—people can take one out. I walk anywhere. Either they’re gonna shoot me or they’re gonna love me, what can I tell you?”
I was starting to not want to shoot him. He makes people feel special. In a past life, he must have been a very friendly tissue box. “I think we can do a Broadway show together,” Simmons told me. “We’re better than Michael Feinstein and have a better act with that turban on!” I suggested we do my favorite Barbra song—”He Touched Me”—and Simmons started belting again: “He touched me. . . . He’s real and the world’s alive and shining. . . . ” He’s real, all right.