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NY Mirror

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The annual Drama League Awards lunch went on so long that by the end of it, there was a third Wild Party being staged somewhere. No less than 52 Outstanding Artists were cited, plus three special honorees, three productions, a Distinguished Performance (Eileen Heckart, who was already one of the Outstanding Artists), and a tip for the waiter. Every single winner got to make a speech and every one of them said, “It’s an honor to be here”—though at least Ann Hampton Callaway sang it—and overall, I haven’t heard so much gratitude since I told my friend halfway through that Oliver Stone football movie that I wouldn’t be mad if he went home.

As the luncheon carried on, it became increasingly clear why Gabriel Byrne pretended to be sick to get out of this thing, though I’m glad I went anyway, and that’s coming from the only hambone in town who didn’t get an award. There were ameliorating moments, like Aida‘s Sherie René Scott remarking, “I had a lot of brilliant things to say, but Disney hasn’t cleared them yet. They want to get new writers and take it out of town.” And Toni Collette—whom we love because she’s been spotted at Krispy Kreme—said, “This Broadway thing is hard work. My knees are gone! I just went to the bathroom and felt completely justified using the disabled toilet.” There were 300 more hours of gratitude (and toilet runs), and then finally that cute codger Roy Dotrice admitted, “We’re all of us desperately trying to win something.” While doing so, at least we got a free lunch.

I got a free dis while misguidedly trying to push the second Wild Party on the Raymond Dragon circuit. The folks at the Chelsea gay bar Barracuda asked if I’d interview the fabulash Eartha Kitt onstage at a promotional event coming up there, and I agreed, figuring it good for a cheap laugh and a comp Diet Coke. But moments after I was booked, Eartha’s PR people weren’t sure they wanted her to be interviewed at all—maybe I could just introduce the little legend and then, you know, vanish. Introduce this, bitch. Me-ow. (But wait a minute. It’s suddenly on again. Bow-wow!)

Maybe I’m better off promoting Jekyll & Hyde, though now that Monsieur Metalhead, Sebastian Bach, is going into the lead role, it behooves me to remind everyone that he’s the brainiac who once so delicately wore that “AIDS Kills Fags Dead” T-shirt. What next—Dr. Laura in Les Miz? (Well, actually . . . )

Fags were alive and swarming at the premiere of Center Stage—think Fame meets The Red Shoes—so I went, with a gazelle-like grace, and found that the flick trots every comforting showbiz cliché out of the tutu closet. The unhappy fat girl. The unhappy bulimic girl. The stage mom. The stern teacher who cares. The talented Hispanic with an attitude. The big audition. The accident. The Hispanic getting her chance and losing the attitude. Me turning arabesques towards the after-buffet.

I got a during-buffet over at Supper Club, where This Joint Is Jumpin’ is a lively taradiddle—a musical history of the 20th century that only seems to leave out the Sebastian Bach incident. Appropriately enough, we nabbed our entrées by the time they got to “Satisfaction.”

Dance eastward to the Bloomie’s district and there’s no food, but there are two Asian gay clubs—the Web, where there’s poppy dance music and a drag show, and Pegasus, where they sing karaoke to Chinese standards as the Caucasian DJ weirdly announces, “It’s amazing—they have a word for everything.” Do I smell two more bookings for Eartha Kitt?

Downtown, it’s a British invasion, with the opening of Tanya Sarne‘s Ghost store in Noho getting the Distinguished Performance award. At the trendy-shmendy event, I crassly asked Sarne if the space is costing her a fortune. “Yes,” she said, looking woebegone. “My landlord has all rent-controlled tenants, and apparently I have to make up for all of them!” Despite her hardship, Sarne gave out great gift bags—the men got a shirt and the women got a scarf. And then we switched.

Speaking of men and women swapping stuff, remember last week when I told you about that married politico and his girlfiend rendezvousing Sunday nights in that confidential Times Square hotel suite? Well, the real scandal is that the suite is comp! It’s free! It’s not right!

As for Giuliani (no connection, mind you), tracking his popularity lately has been like watching a very wacky air show. He plummeted when he hypocritically bitched out Janet Reno‘s tactics, then he rose up with his cancer scare, then he dropped again when it turned out he was cheating on Donna, and then he soared again when he didn’t deny it. And now that there’s yet another glitzy attraction in Times Square—Bar Code, a high-tech interactive entertainment center—I don’t know whether to give the guy a gold star or a pink slip. The two-floor, 24-hour, state-of-the-art playpen is shiny, garish, and irresistible— much like all the vulgar porn palaces that were deemed inappropriate for the area—but though it drains you of your coinage in much the same way, it’s even more onanistic and alienating because you never need to relate to another human being (an idea I kind of like). On opening night, with the hired drag queens and club-kid types running around among the neon signs and wild rides, the joint was creepily reminiscent of Club USA, the ahead-of-its-time Times Square dance space that cleverly mixed freaks with commerce a few years ago.

Of all this place’s playthings, my favorite is the machine with the Foto Morphosis, whereby you can blend your face with animals, artwork, or famous Americans (I couldn’t decide between a warthog, the Mona Lisa, or Britney Spears, who was cavorting on a cyber go-cart mere inches away), and also a Gene Machine, which allows you to “See Your Future Child Today.” Mine is named Damien and will have to be removed by Janet Reno.

I hear that my future husband, Tom Cruise, sports such bone-tight pants in M:I-2 that the sight of it answers the Magnolia question for all time. Unless he’s suddenly tucking.

In other macho-movie news, there was an all-too-perfect sign at the theater where I saw Gladiator: “Arena Seating.”

Finally, I had circus seating at the Canine Comedy Benefit in support of Animal Rescue, where Janeane Garofalo cuddled a pit bull and told me that Broadway star Craig Bierko is not her future husband anymore. “We are no longer going out,” she said. “We are now just friends. I shall be at the theater tomorrow night and we’ll be having dinner post-Music Man.” More important, is overexposure still causing her trouble with a capital T? “It’s very detrimental to your career to be overexposed,” she admitted, “although there are people who are 50,000 times more overexposed. I mean, how does Angelina Jolie find the time to make movies?” I don’t know, but after seeing The Bone Collector, I fired my agent.

musto@villagevoice.com

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