Bless my gay stars! You’ve heard by now that Rosie O’Donnell is coming out in her memoirs, which at this point might be as shocking as Kid Rock being straight, but it’s still an important step worthy of breaking out our finest diet sodas. For years, I’ve critiqued Rosie’s ambiguous single-mom act and dissed her for claiming she wanted to protect her private life, while publicly detailing every burp and doodoo of her kids. At the height of her subterfuge—enforced by her higher-ups, for all I know—Rosie gushed over Tom Cruise in between indulging in coy, pronoun-free banter with her musical director (who’s due for a closet-busting, too, if you ask me). Quizzed about her sex life, Rosie would say she didn’t want any adjectives attached to her name, though she probably had no problem with Irish or funny; it was just the L-word that drove her looney, and she made sure it didn’t come up on her homey (but not homo) show.
At least she was trotting out her gal pals in public rather than being a total “bearded” lady, and as the pop landscape changed, things kept moving forward for the mouthy comic. During a commercial break in a Tony Awards show a few years ago, Rosie made an untelevised lesbian innuendo, later telling me, “Maybe that’ll stop you from writing about my personal life.” It didn’t, but it wasn’t the end of her inching toward honesty either, as she floated more gay suggestions and legendarily declared, “I love you, Kelli,” at last year’s Daytime Emmys. (She later tried to take that back, but couldn’t.) Now Rosie can live without lies or evasions, if also without a talk show. Can’t someone come out when they’re on top? Still, though she’s belated—and selling a book—she’s definitely beloved, so bravo!
Out lesbians populated the Miss L.E.S. Pageant (for Lower East Side sapphists) at the Slipper Room, where the only bearding involved actual facial hair. As a judge, my fave contestant was the Aussie gal who promoted “basket weaving, bush crafts, and dingo farming” and sang “My Secret Love” to a photo of host Murray Hill (who’s a woman in drag, so don’t get bent out of shape). But it was hard to resist Miss Orchard Street, an earnest lass who, for the talent segment, brought out intricate, handmade music boxes that had literary inscriptions and played AC/DC tunes! The winner, Miss Rivington (sexpert Ducky DooLittle), scored points for licking from a bowl of milk, slurping away even when the stuff spilled onto the wood floor. (She won $100 and some oral splinters.) But what really nabbed her the prize was her interview segment; when fellow judge BOB asked her what’s the first thing she does every morning, Ducky responded, “I go home.”
By the way, the best gossip of the night was that at Barracuda, Flotilla and Princess Diandra had just put the drag back into knock-down-drag-out fight. I smell more oral splinters.
But most of the week’s behavior was gender-specific and quite cordial, actually. At the premiere of Miramax’s latest foreign entry, Behind the Sun, Harvey Weinstein‘s mom proved she’s behind the son by showing up and being a good audience. At the after-party at Nicole’s, I went behind the fun and asked Joyce Randolph—Trixie from The Honeymooners—about Rosie O’Donnell’s gay pal Nathan Lane playing Jackie Gleason in that upcoming biopic. “He’ll be wonderful, I guess,” she said, containing herself. “And now Jim Carrey is playing Art Carney and Sydney Pollack is involved. I thought it would be for HBO, but it’s a big movie!” I was ecstatic, until I turned around and caught Tina Brown schmoozing and putting on a brave front. I almost broke down in tears.
That pert pixie, Parker Posey, is doing her own big movie, cheerily enough. When I ran into her at a sandwich shop, the indie queen told me she’s learning how to play the mandolin for a Christopher Guest epic about a New Christy Minstrels-type boppy-folky musical group. I’m sure she’ll be best in show.
The worst in commercials is still that sepia-toned Sunday Times home-delivery one, my trashing of which has prompted kazillions to call in and point out what they find irritating about it. To wit: When hubby says, “She goes straight for Arts & Leisure; I check out the magazine,” wifey throws him a look that suggests she’ll be performing spousal duties that night; the Prozac-y black chick seems absurdly serene about getting “a jump on the week”; they keep repeating home as a mantra (“home delivery . . . at home”); and they all seem a little overly proud about reading a fucking newspaper. And don’t get me started about the daily delivery commercial, with the nerdy Web-surfer daughter and the dad who says that if the Times is just a paper, “then I suppose the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground.” Suppose this.
Meanwhile, deliver me from evil—and from big holes—but Justin Timberlake‘s fascinatingly foofy career choices have me wondering if the cutie has a memoir coming out. Justin—here comes another list—played a swishy hairdresser in the *NSync movie (a part he’ll reprise on Friends), wanted to do the film version of the AIDS musical Rent, portrays young poofter Elton John in Elton’s new video, posed for a homoerotic photo spread in Arena Hommes Plus, went to Beige and Asseteria with girlfriend Britney Spears, and reportedly might don drag in Brit’s next video. Ain’t no lie. Bi bi bi?
Benjamin Bratt and his girlfriend, Talisa Soto, are easier to figure, the couple providing the four most gorgeous cheekbones since Viggo Mortensen last looked in a mirror. Last week, Paper threw Bratt a bash at Thom, where the actor disarmed me by smiling and saying, “Are you gonna start any trouble?” Suddenly I was subservient, well behaved, and totally enslaved to those cheekbones.
I’d been all set to ask about Julia you-know, but now I was inquiring, with the height of civility, about whether Bratt likes making the PR rounds. “Under ordinary circumstances, it makes me fucking squirm,” he admitted. “I can’t stand it, maybe because I get bored talking about myself.” (I get bored, too—when other people talk about themselves.) But Bratt gleefully hawks Piñero; after he chatted up a table of As Four designers, one of them told me, “He was convincing us to see the movie!” In fact, Bratt was so winningly gung ho all night that a repentant photographer was heard saying, “If you only knew how many times I asked him to move away so I could get a shot of Julia alone!”
A lot of people want celebs alone, it turns out. At the bash, Moby told me he had a “quasi stalker” recently. “She said she was gonna be my stalker,” he revealed, “but she didn’t live up to that, only making a half-assed attempt.” Fame—ain’t it a bitch.
That brings us to quasi activist Jewel, who might not be much of a talker. While fighting for better filtration systems, the yodeling diva recently said, kookily enough, “Clean water is one of the leading causes of death in the world.” Oops. How about dirty milk?
In theater, cleaned-up scripts are the cause of creative death. Boy George ‘s new autobiographical stage musical in London includes his gay self, but actually centers on a fictional straight couple! It’s a total sellout—and ironically, critics said the show would be way more of a hit without the het stuff. And now? I go home.