Anyone who’s the younger brother of the Backstreet Boy who’s the equivalent of the *N Sync guy who hangs out with Britney Spears is stupid fresh with me, but that’s not the only reason I like Aaron Carter. The boppy 14-year-old pop star appeals to the teenage girl inside the ageless man in me, plus he did a bunch of songs on the soundtrack for Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius. I dragged my pert ass to an early-morning screening of that animated epic and was delighted by its frenzied spirit and multigenerational appeal. (“It’s an awesome movie,” Aaron told me, accurately. Maybe even better than Mulholland Drive.)
I’m not the only male Aaron Carter fan—”There are guys every once in a while,” he admits—but I may well be the only one who panted for the chance to discuss his apple-cheeked career for a lefty alternative weekly. By phone from Florida, honest Aaron told me he started performing way back when he was six, “and I was horrible, it was sickening. A frog sounded better than I did. I’d fall off the stage, trip over things, and break guitars. A six-year-old listening to Nirvana!” Not to sound all Tiger Beat-ish and stuff, but when did he get good and all? “I never got good,” he insisted. “People might say you’re good, but you can always push it to the limit. Even Michael Jackson, he can be a lot better.” Now you’re shitting me, kid!
“Good” or not, Aaron’s stage shtick mixes G-rated rap with impish spunk, the perfect recipe for stardom via the Fox Family Channel. “Personally, I think they’re better than MTV,” he said. “MTV and I never really got along. My lyrics aren’t explicit enough for them.” And they’ll never get any nastier, you muthas. “I don’t think so,” said Aaron. “I’m not gonna talk about sex and all that crap.” I guess he’s closer to Gary Condit than Eminem.
Speaking of Aaron’s songs—and I always seem to be—doesn’t “Not Too Young, Not Too Old” seem eerily similar to labelmate Britney’s later ditty, “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”? (These are the kind of musicological issues that weigh on my wartime brain; to quote Backstreet, “I want it that way.”) Aaron admitted he’d given that subject serious thought “because the chorus is kind of similar. She probably got the idea from me.” He laughed good-naturedly, a real pro—maybe even a boy genius.
“Only one more question,” interjected the label rep who’d set up the call and turned out to have been listening the whole time. (Aaron’s kept under close, loving watch.) Naturally, I asked about the recent arrest of brother Nick Carter—who’s not watched—for resisting arrest at a Florida bar; I’m not stupid. “I don’t know if Aaron knows all about that,” bluffed the voice, hoping to divert the conversation. “Nick did what he did,” answered Aaron, unfazed. “He’s a grown-up. He can do whatever he wants. But if you’re gonna drink,” he added, giggling, “don’t do it in front of anybody, because then it won’t get on the news!” The voice freaked, so we all hung up—but I can tell you that pop’s littlest superstar has no hang-ups.
To prove that I dig the kooky sounds of the older set, too, I attended a Rihga Royale sit-down dinner for musical icons Skitch Henderson and Cy Coleman, where I was the only 60-year-old who listens to Nirvana. Tablemate Joan Rivers was talking about her daughter Melissa‘s marital problems, saying, “What if one matures and one doesn’t? What if one stays a party boy? But it’s not over till the fat lady sings, and you don’t even hear me humming.” (Nor did I see her eating; the “fat lady” gave me every morsel of her food, thank God, satisfying herself with a nutty row of blue breath mints.)
“Melissa’s very vulnerable,” Joan continued. “I told her, ‘Life is a movie, and this is just a moment in the movie.’ ” (Hopefully it’s not by Oliver Stone.) “I’ll give you a real >tragedy,” Joan went on. “They just sent me a tape of In the Bedroom, and it left out the last five minutes!” Relax, they all drive off a cliff.
Speaking of which, Cy Coleman just did the tunes for a musical about Princess Grace—Mandy Moore would be great for the lead, no?—and when I asked him for some of the lyrics, he looked stymied and said, “They’re in Dutch.” (He wasn’t kidding; the show’s being put on in Holland.) When he described the rotten attitude of actors over there, Rivers laughed and said, “That’s why there never was a My Fair Hans.”
Meanwhile, my fair downtown diva, Richie Rich, has been hired to revivify Members Only clothes, which will soon be the perfect attire for drinking in front of people. Says Richie, “They’ve been making millions selling your-dad-would-wear-type jackets to Wal-Mart for the last whatever years. They want to remarket it to a younger, edgier crowd. I’ll be doing the black label stuff—fur coats, leather jackets, denim, and funky T-shirts.” You know, for the gang that’s not too old, not yet a woman.
Fourteen-year-old Liam McMullan is not yet a movie star, but I hear Gus Van Sant might make him one in his next, untitled project. The Aaron Carter look-alike certainly comes with stellar credentials; his dad is celebrity photographer Patrick McMullan and his godfather is yours truly.
In my own private Idaho of Broadway, observers say the upcoming musical based on John Waters‘s Hairspray will be a very good hair day, though Waters gets practically bupkiss for the project. Still, the idea of a Waters-based show on the Great White Way is so extraordinary, even in the age of Urinetown, that my latest fantasy has blue-haired matinee ladies lining up to catch Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren in Pink Flamingos. While we’re waiting for that vivid sight—or maybe for Aaron Carter as Prince Rainier—I hear Waters has met with ex-Jackass host Johnny Knoxville about a possible film idea. Waters feels Knoxville has the caca-eating potential of Divine, and to anyone who disagrees, I say, “Eat shit!”
In sadder poop, we mourn the death of another era’s poster boy for outrage, Lance Loud, not only because the American Family docudrama that launched Lance in the ’70s was the original Survivor, but because he was a witty, personable wacko and the self-proclaimed “Fred Astaire of uncool.” Ages ago, Lance explained his life’s philosophy to me, saying, “My whole art is the art of clumsiness, of cosmic left-handedness . . . Sticking your foot in your mouth so many times that you get athlete’s foot between your teeth.”
Fortunately, Lance’s foot in his mouth inevitably came across his tongue in his cheek. He grew up in public as the nonconformist who shook up his Santa Barbara family with unwanted sexual truths—he was the first out gay guy on TV and pretty much the last one, too—and since that didn’t kill him, he went on to front the Mumps, a band that purveyed a wry, spastic chic that unleashed aggression and confounded critics. (“Lance Loud has star quality,” one wrote, “which is not to be confused with talent.”) It was fab but would never have landed him on Fox Family.
Now leave my icons alone, you twisted fates—quit playing games with my heart.