The premiere of Pola X was running late because of a technical problem, but the film’s star, Guillaume Depardieu, was feeling no pain at a jaunty little bar down the block. I hunted Guillaume down and found that, though he looks like Julian Sands crossed with Jude Law, he clearly has the insouciance of daddy Gérard Depardieu, especially after a few wines. Is this his first major role? I asked, by way of an icebreaker. “Everything is major,” Guillaume said, très pouting. All righty, then, does he like New York? I wondered feebly. “No,” he blurted, stubbornly refusing to elaborate. “Well, there’s no more poverty here,” I whimpered, and Guillaume shot back, “What about spiritual poverty?”
Before we started picking apart my impoverished soul, I switched gears and asked about Pola X, the arty moodfest based on a downbeat Herman Melville novel. “It’s very sad,” Guillaume said. “You shouldn’t stay. Don’t look at it!” I was starting to like the guy, who at least wasn’t laying on the promotional bull you usually get at these events. I told him I’d heard that the flick is sexy, and he cooed, “Yes, very sex [sic]. You will see my dick. Be kind with me—I’m a poor little French.” What came out of my mouth next is not something I’m terribly proud of, but I was feeling a bit giddy from the tension of the moment and absolutely couldn’t help myself. “Can I lick it?” I asked—as a joke—fully realizing that this was my reportorial Waterloo and I might even get punched out for it. Even more surprisingly, Guillaume lit up like the Eiffel Tower and laughingly said, “I’d like that! Lick me, please! At the party!” What an accommodating guy! You certainly never hear that kind of talk from the Cruises and Travoltas. Alas, I never made it to the bash because the movie was indeed sad and the appendage was truly, well, French. Maybe I’ll stick to Melville’s other big work, Moby . . . you know.
Another famous relation, Ellen‘s mom Betty DeGeneres, ain’t been licked yet. In Betty’s upcoming book, Just a Mom, she exults in the power of Ellen’s and Anne Heche‘s lengthy relationship—oops!—but it’s a good, positive read anyway.
Meanwhile, lesbian relations don’t have much lasting power on daytime TV. I hear ABC freaked about my recent item that Erica’s daughter on All My Children might soon be revealed as gay. Insiders now feel that the peppery plot thread may unravel before it even happens, and none of my children will be that way.
All my lesbian daughters and cross-dressing sisters turned out for the millionth annual Wigstock, the outdoor drag festival where you want to lick it, but you’re not exactly sure what it is. Wigstock’s been around so long that, the way I remember it, the very first one had J. Edgar Hoover singing “Lady Marmalade.” But time hasn’t taken its toll on MC-organizer The Lady Bunny. She’s looking younger and lovelier every year, especially in the ads for Wigstock. (This time, her face was painted and chiseled to practically look like Gisele Bundchen.)
At the event, cosponsored by the Voice, things started shakily as a drag queen accidentally tumbled into a rain puddle (I can still hear the sobbing) and someone asked a performer dressed like Shirley Temple if she was supposed to be Baby Jane (I can still hear the shrieking). But the weather cleared and the acts warmed up—from throbbing rockers (the legendary Jayne County, to whom Bunny nicely quipped, “Honey, you dropped your teeth”) to so many Britney Spears spoofs that guest politico Mark Green said, “I had an amazing Britney thing ready, but somebody stole my act.” The best joke? “How many George Bushes does it take to screw in a lightbulb? I don’t know, but it only took one to screw up an entire country!”
We’ve simply got to lick Bush—and Jaid Barrymore sure seemed game at acclaimed gutter-gal Kina‘s gig at Joe’s Pub last week. “I’m bisexual,” Jaid told me, without all the prompting it took for Guillaume Depardieu to uncork his earthly desires. “In fact, I kissed that hot woman over there once, but she bit me!” What really bit was having to wait for hours as techies readied the stage and barmaids handed us bills over a publicist’s protests. (Get a free drink at this place and you’ve got more tenacity than Richard Hatch.) “I hear Kina’s like Tina Turner,” sunny pop icon Mandy Moore murmured to me from the next table. I advised her that Kina isn’t Tina and she doesn’t care for comparisons, thank you. “I wouldn’t mind the comparisons,” Mandy said, smiling—meaning to Tina, not Jessica Simpson. Neither would I, but Mandy and I also didn’t mind leaving before the show started.
You get a full night’s entertainment before Sing-a-Long Sound of Music—a sort of Wigstock for the whole family—even starts. This British phenom, which has been transplanted to the Ziegfeld via whiskers on kittens, takes the classic musical brimming with treacle and Nazis and makes it an inter- active experience, a sort of Shlocky Horror Picture Show during which you’re encouraged to never shut your Von Trapp. Before the flick, you get a live costume contest, during which people go for true purist detail, some opening-nighters dressing like “brown paper packages tied up with string” and one guy announcing himself as “a Jew,” citing the lyric “a Jew, a Jew, to you and you and you.” The winner came as an entire gazebo, from which he darted his head and played both Liesl and Rolf. He was 16 going on a thousand bucks (the contest prize)!
When the tittering subsided, the MC briefed us on when to hold up our various assigned props, whom to boo or bark at (the Baroness, Rolf), and when to go “awww” (whenever Gretl does something pathetic or cute, which is often). It’s camp by numbers, but hey, The Sound of Music is big this year—it figures in that upcoming Björk toe-tapper about execution—and it makes sense that something we’re so ashamed to have loved should come back as a big, lederhosen-clad mockfest. The fun for me was finding all the dirty subtext in the dialogue (especially the nuns’), though the MC warned us that this was a family event and “innuendo is better than profanity.” The original Liesl, Charmian Carr, applauded that sentiment vigorously, but the film’s li’l Louisa, Heather Menzies—who ended up posing for Playboy in the ’70s—might have been more amenable to all the licking jokes.
Finally, my hills were alive watching the MTV Video Music Awards, though the Wayanses should go awayans, Puffy seemed underwhelmed by girlfriend Jennifer Lopez‘s victory, and no one even recognized Bobby Brown‘s surprise appearance. And am I the only one who noticed that self-proclaimed victim Eminem seemed to be sitting alone a lot? And that Aaliyah came onstage holding hands with her brother and gushing to him, “You’re my everything”? Girl, watch out or you’re gonna marry Billy Bob Thornton!