In a fit of curiosity, I dragged my sculpted culo all the way to Jackson Heights for the Mr. Zodiacs 2001 contest at Zodiacs Tavern, and it was well worth the nosebleed and the $1.50. Zodiacs is a small, festive, Latin-flavored glitz palace, filled with serious trannies, scary trannies, baby trannies, and some gay homeys and go-go boys, all blissfully oblivious to the handful of Manhattanite drop-ins wielding binoculars and tour books. The place exudes a sweet but frisky feeling reminiscent of the old Times Square, and once the crinkly silver curtain opened to reveal the Mylar-studded stage, we were privy to one of those long, ribald evenings we’ve been craving since Gaiety customers stopped being allowed to place tips in anyone’s thong. (Tipping—now, that was the bane of New York living, wasn’t it?)
Over a sumptuous buffet of popcorn and chips, judges Les Simpson, Sweetie, and I rated a succession of male dancers on Presentation, Body, Costume, Performance, and Confidence. (There was no question-and-answer segment, more emphasis being placed on a big piece than world peace.) The contestants danced their shaved heinies off, generally starting with tasteful moves in all-concealing monk’s robes, only to end up in cock socks, humping the floor like escaped sexaholics in search of an orifice. The winner, Jay, was exciting and a bit dangerous looking, though all the guys were simultaneously hunky/edgy enough to be headline material over the bridge. I love you, Queens!
But let’s stay on the island for now and sample what passes for provocative entertainment in the new Times Square, shall we? Judgment at Nuremberg—God, my range is amazing—has been resurrected as a Broadway show, prompting one (all right, me) to wonder if it’s eligible for a Tony nomination for Confidence, I mean Best New Play. At the show, I asked author Abby Mann about this very issue, and he cutely enough said he has no idea, “but that would be great!” Well, I checked later and it’s indeed in the running—though, alas, it ain’t all that good.
Tom Stoppard‘s The Invention of Love—eligible—is an academe’s delight, with lines like “The science of textual criticism must aim for degrees of likelihood,” woo-ha! The show’s not for the Blast! crowd—in fact, the Playbill comes with so much material about aesthetics and classical scholarship, it makes all the background info provided for Copenhagen look like a Family Circus strip. But though I found Act I boringly didactic, Act II came dramatically alive—and that’s coming from an extraordinarily demanding textual critic (and Mr.
Zodiacs judge), like, OK?
Downtown, David and Amy Sedaris‘s The Book of Liz is a dryly amusing comedy about a woman with an enchanted cheese-ball recipe who gets a job at a pilgrim theme restaurant thanks to a Ukrainian pal who dresses like Mr. Peanut and speaks with a cockney accent. (“It’s been done!” I can hear you all screaming.) “This is our Masterpiece Theatre show,” David told me at the opening-night party at Fez. “We wanted to do something that would fit the room, and the room looks like a place where religious fanatics and alcoholics would gather.” No wonder I knew half the audience. David’s sis Amy, who plays the cheese-ball lady, told me she’s fanatical about cranking out the cupcakes they sell in Liz‘s theater lobby, along with $12 cheese balls. Is she prouder of her acting or the cupcakes? “Sophie’s choice!” Amy exclaimed. “Well, I love leaving with cash in my hand.” So the cupcakes? “Yes,” she said, laughing.
That kooky kreplach Jackie Hoffman also sat down for a chat, though the play’s flack was pulling her to do NY1 instead. “I hate everybody,” said Jackie (a riot as the peanut person and other crazed characters). “Today at ICM, I almost killed a baby.” But you can’t kill Rosemary’s Baby, which Jackie will costar in when the Tweed Theater company campily resurrects it. As Ruth Gordon? “No, as John Cassavetes,” she deadpanned.
The TV movie of South Pacific had Glenn Close rating somewhere between Mitzi Gaynor and Mary Martin, but though the whole thing strove for a p.c. blamelessness, the woman who played Bloody Mary was an outrageous nightmare, like something out of that old “Ancient Chinese secret, huh?” commercial crossed with Margaret Cho‘s grandmother on All-American Girl. I was hungry an hour later.
Meanwhile, I’m craving the upcoming gay kiss on Dawson’s Creek, which I hear they’ve shot two versions of—one juicy, one fuzzy—and are nervously deciding which to go for. Honey, I’ll be judging on Presentation, Body, and lots of tongue.
Some random lip smackings inspired by the Oscars: Traffic took all the fun out of drugs. Cast Away had the worst product placement in history—I’ll never fly Federal Express again. Pollock was a labor of love that I hated (if admired). O Brother, Where Art Thou? was up for Best Adapted Screenplay, but the Coen brothers have admitted they never read the source material, The Odyssey. I bet the kidnappers would immediately give Russell Crowe back. The tensest preshow moment came when Joan Rivers asked Juliette Binoche to turn around and show off her outfit, only to have Binoche respond, “I’m not a model.” What can one say about Dino De Laurentiis? The Bible, Barabbas, Orca, King Kong, Waterloo. ‘Nuff said? Steve Martin was so funny and cutting I bet they never ask him back. Björk‘s song was the best and the worst thing ever on the Oscars, the runner-up being a tie between her swan dress and Danny DeVito‘s carrot .
As for white-winged doves, I’m once again hearing that Stevie Nicks is considering going to the annual Night of a Thousand Stevies club event, but first she wants to make totally sure it’s a lovefest, not a mockathon. Stevie, doll, I can assure you there’s so much love in the room it makes Mamma Mia! look like a hate crime.
That less reticent diva, Madonna, semi-backfired with her “What It Feels Like for a Girl” video, directed by her rather one-trick hubby. I’m the only one I know who even taped the single MTV showing of the clip, except for critics, who were distinctly underwhelmed by it. And Madonna’s attempt to assume some of Eminem‘s fuck-you aesthetic, I hear, didn’t sit well with the hatemeister himself. By the way, though Madonna loves the rapper’s rage, remember when she thought Sinéad O’Connor‘s ripping up the pope’s picture was out of line? Oy.
I’m glad I didn’t rip up my invite to Ilona Rich‘s “Size 6” art/fashion presentation. It was a zany
media circus, clearly mobbed because the designer’s mom is scandal gal Denise Rich—I mean because Ilona’s a widely known cultural force. Actually, the clothes were appealingly insane, and mamma Denise rose above the hoopla, smilingly telling reporters she wasn’t there to discuss the controversy: “I’m here for my daughter!” Well, pardon me! The attendant stars—Miss Teen USA and Cheryl James (from the defunct Salt-N-Pepa)—both refused to comment on Richgate, though the teen queen finally conceded, “It was a little weird, but what do you expect?” I expected a pardon in the gift bag!
And now, even though I’m naked and vehemently humping the stage, everyone please stop staring at me. I’m not a model!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 3, 2001