Enigmatic author JT Leroy‘s rich, racy work got an all-star reading at Barnes & Noble, the author furthering his myth by nervously crouching on the sidelines as celebs wrapped their pampered tongues around his prose (I MC’d). The calculated wackiness started beforehand, when Leroy—wearing a platinum wig, a face-covering visor, and ruby-red lipstick—leaned against the wall of the greenroom, tapping his foot like a jackhammer and whispering unintelligibly if anyone approached him. Comfortably seated nearby, celeb reader Norman Reedus‘s little son was trying to make sense of the Barbie sticker book that mama Helena Christensen had just bought him. (“It was the only sticker book I could find!” she explained, unnecessarily.) The choice made perfect sense at an event for Myth Thing Leroy, who was chewing his lip and looking ready to cry, as Sandra Bernhard told him, “This is one of life’s beautiful moments. Enjoy it!” But the waif kept tapping and muttering, his lady love—a transsexual named Speedy—picking up the slack by announcing, “I’m cockney, I’m Jewish, and I’m gonna be in your face!” as she wrapped a raccoon penis (JT’s emblem of honor) around my neck. What a fabulous freak show! (And by the way, Leroy’s much bolder via e-mail, contacting all kinds of press people in a way that makes you wonder just how shy he really is.)
Animal genitals also prevailed at the Tony Awards, where The Goat won Best Play, though the bestiality-friendly voters clearly drew the line at wee-wee. Well, that’s not stopping me! Though the creators of Urinetown (a/k/a The Wiz) told me they won’t follow that up with a fecal show—I asked—I’m currently preparing a New Poo Revue (a/k/a What a Dump!) that’ll wow ’em all next year. At the Tonys, one overheard all sorts of pesky poop. “I beat Susan Stroman! I can’t believe it!” a choreographer was caught exulting. “I thought I was losing to the cow,” admitted a triumphant costumer. (He meant the Into the Woods creature, not whoever.) And a Private Lives producer was saying his production’s intent is to do Coward as if it were Ibsen. (That’s way more effective than Hedda Gabler, which did Ibsen as if it were Coward.)
In another corner, Elaine Stritch was sobbing about “that fucking music” that cut off her speech. (By the way, Stritch had been asked to perform on the telecast, but declined, wanting for once not to “sing for my supper.” She feels the Tonys have long dissed her, never asking her to be a presenter all these years. Her behavior is intermittently nuts, but she’s earned the right.) My triumph was making Frank Langella unhappy, too, by asking if his Fortune’s Fool fop is gay or just a fop. “Just a fop,” he told me, adding, “What do you call yourself?” “Gay,” I said. “Well, I’m just a fop,” he said and walked off with a flourish. PS: If the play were called Fortune’s Urine, it would surely be just a flop.
And now, may I wrap some gossip shaped like a raccoon dick around your privileged neck? First off, lady Madonna just won’t stop acting. In fact, she and fellow blond legend Debbie Harry may both appear in an upcoming movie by Peter Greenaway, who’s clearly the great leveler. Madge has also looked into remaking All About Eve and wanted Gwyneth Paltrow to play the young title character, but so much time has passed that now Reese Witherspoon‘s name is coming up. . . . The real blond, Sharon Stone, is saying she’ll even consider supporting roles. . . . Call her Miss Sauced: I hear that after that proposed Supremes reunion tour fell apart, Diana Ross hit the bourbon bottle with brio. More recently, in her dressing room before her VH1 divas tribute, Di-Di-my-darling supposedly communed with white wine, which may have contributed to her urge to whine that night. I’m glad she’s stopping in the name of love.
Let’s also toast the workers who put out the fire at Buckingham Palace, thus sparing us the headline “Flaming Queen.” . . . No connection here, but a German mag is sitting on Ricky Martin photos that may add more clarity to his ambiguity. . . . Someone should have sat on the press junket for Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which was apparently a glitchy-glitchy ya-ya nightmare. Spies say Ellen Burstyn wanted to do her roundtable interviews with Ashley Judd, who plays a younger version of Burstyn’s character, but Judd preferred to do her Q&A’s solo. The press allegedly waited for ages as this was hashed out, the result being that Burstyn left the building with a ya-mama.
Kathy Bates shows her yo-yos, getting naked and hot tub-bound in the upcoming About Schmidt. Jack Nicholson runs. . . . I look rather challenging in the buff myself, thanks to all these new foofy restaurants—like elmo, the nouvelle comfort-food shrine that’s Chelsea’s answer to Auntie Mame’s living room, and Trailer Park, a miracle of kitsch memorabilia and burgers, with a roll of paper towels on the table to sop up all the cheese. But say goodbye to smegma! Those raunchy gay Magnum parties at the Park are kaput, thanks to a “legal technicality.” Kathy Bates must have jumped into the hot tub.
I felt like an exposed dick with a regal technicality when trying out for a new Bravo reality show about five taste-drenched flamers who make over schlubby straights. I’m sure I fucked up, but the experience was exacerbated by a fellow auditioner who spouted windy monologues, ersatz politics, and patronizing remarks like “Hip-hop is the new McDonald’s!” After trying in vain to get a word in, I just sulked, giving up on the idea of gracing a show the producer likened to everything from Reservoir Dogs to E!’s Fashion Emergency “with heart.” Still, I got an e-mail the next day saying, “Congratulations! You are a finalist! Come in for a callback!” But, bizarrely enough, less than a half-hour later came a really sensitive call from the casting people saying I should ignore the e-mail—they didn’t want me after all. This fucking show needs a makeover.
And was it Mike Piazza‘s hair makeover that had people saying he’s gay? Whatever it was, all that unsourced brouhaha brought down the standards of outing, and even worse, it led to a rash of doofy defenses, like the one in the Post (which outed him in the first place) arguing that the jock’s a “real man” who’s well behaved, polite, and a homebody. By that standard, no one would be gay except Brian on Queer as Folk!
Janis Joplin was bi, but that’s not mentioned in the show Love, Janis. Still, the producers have now decided that queers are the new McDonald’s, so on Wednesdays they’ve enlisted drag queens and downtown performers to lure ’em in!
Living diva Nancy Sinatra was fab at the Bottom Line, and I loved her crediting Roger Corman with her music career, “because I was so bad in The Wild Angels.” Backstage, Peter Bogdanovich told me about that ’66 cult flick, “I rewrote the whole fucking script and gave Corman all the setups. It was his biggest hit!”
TV’s biggest bomb, The Hamptons, came up at Paper‘s Indochine lunch last week when sunglassed socialite Anne Slater passed around a bad review from The Wall Street Journal that she happened to have on her. Slater’s problem with the show? “Twenty-two-year-olds should be attractive, cute, and clean. I like clean!”
I like Xaviera Hollander, who was très jolie at a Fez event the other night, even when I asked why her Happy Hooker book no longer includes the encounter with the German shepherd. Xaviera said her sister, whose dog it was, tastefully recommended removing the tidbit. Too bad—it could have spawned a dog–penis emblem of honor and even a Tony! I hate clean.
EXTRA ITEM: Just in time for Gay Pride—and Minority Report—Kyle Bradford, the porn star notoriously sued by Tom Cruise, is doing a stage play, and not at the Gaiety, either. Bradford co-stars in Billy Masters’s Hollywood Uncovered, a satire by the wicked Filth2go.com gossip columnist that’ll be performed at the Wings Theatre starting June 21. I bet Cruise tries to wrestle his way to some tickets.