Hey, you guys—no, wait, stop the truck! As a presenter at some gay literary dinner recently, I got heckled for referring to the organizers as “you guys” (too male-centric—though, to add to my confusion, The Donnas just told me they like to be introduced as a “guy band”). So let’s start again, you guys . . . gays . . . girls . . . women . . . womyn . . . gals and guys . . . guys and dolls . . . fuckers . . . shmuckers . . . folks. Yeah, hey folks! How are you doing, guys?
Anyway, kids, I was thrilled to nab a cameo in a movie called Death of a Dynasty, only to show up on the set at Eugene last week and find that everyone else had gotten one too. The flick—an autobiographical hip-hop comedy by Roc-A-Fella Records biggie Damon Dash—makes Les Misérables look like a one-woman (yeah, woman) show. In addition to model Devon Aoki playing the lead siren, there was singer Samantha Cole playing a model; stylist Phillip Bloch, writer Richard Turley, and restaurateur Jimmy Rodriguez playing themselves; and athletes Riddick Bowe and Walt Frazier playing whatever the fuck they wanted. And they had already shot Lorraine Bracco, James Toback, Busta Rhymes, Shoshanna Lonstein, P. Diddy, Sale Johnson, and my Aunt Sadie. With a camera!
But I still felt really special as I prepared to say my one line—”Scandalicious!”—which I was to utter after the Dash character mounted Aoki on the fashion runway in a kooky fantasy sequence. After spending an hour thinking up possible line readings (scandal-ish-us, scandal-ish-uss), I dropped it and chatted up Aoki, who’s so exotically gorge she almost looks like an anime alien. The pert waif told me this is her first full-length movie, “But I’m not really nervous about doing a runway show scene, unless they tell me to hop on one foot or something. Hopefully my performance will be good.” Oh, I’m sure it’s something she can handle-icious.
Bloch had brought five outfits to choose from—”He likes options,” said his handler—gleefully explaining, “This one is sexy, but louder. This one is more club kid flavored” and so on down the rack. Performing, he said, has a lot to do with wardrobe, because “You put on the baggy jeans and you feel like a gangsta. You put on this [a canary yellow suit, with matching Kangol] and you’re a stylist!” Stylist-slash-actor is more like it; Bloch’s playing silent screen star Ramon Novarro in Citizens of Perpetual Indulgence and a Mexican gang member in something called Return to Babylon. He’s on TV, too (he murmured that E! is cheap, so he’s on CNN now) and he also does pretty well in person, telling me how great my Death of a Dynasty lines were. I loved the humor of that. Lines.
Anyhoo, guys, gals, ‘hos, whatever, we finally sat down for the fashion show scene, which consisted of a string of vignettes requiring oodles of reaction shots. (My mouth still hurts from going ooh.) Between takes, Riddick Bowe kept calling me “big guy”—how male-centric—and remarking of his dialogue, “I can say it or I can not say it. Whatever I want.” (Shit, who was I to argue?) Still, the lug was nice enough to say it, though as the shooting dragged on, he cutely threatened, “I’m gonna be like Shalamar. I’m gonna ‘Make That Move.’ ” But he stayed put, and so did I—at least until a techie handed me earplugs because the models were going to be shooting guns into the air (another fantasy). I ran to beat the band-alicious, crawling back later to find that the sequence I was “scandalicious”-ing about wasn’t happening at all, even though I’d spent the last six hours thinking of more line readings, not to mention more lines. To make up for this horror, they let Bloch and me do some other shtick, and I’m now praying to the gay gods that it doesn’t get cut, along with poor Aunt Sadie. Fame—ain’t it a cunt.
Other entertainment options had me torn between the Kurosawa retrospective and The Country Bears, so instead I stayed home with those earplugs so the Springsteen record couldn’t hurt me. (I’m sure it’s marvelous, but je detest things that are good for me.) But there’s always room for gossip, like how all the Internet gabbers are guessing Vin Diesel is gay because he won’t talk much about his private life (and he just hung out with Nicole Kidman). Well, maybe he just won’t talk much about his private life. Right? Right?
As for life among the privates, there’s a sign up in one of the editorial bathrooms at the New York Post urging whoever’s been smoking in there to kindly plug it up. Spies swear columnist Victoria Gotti is the culprit—but Gotti responds, “I haven’t even been in the office since before my dad’s death. And I haven’t puffed a cig in over 12 years. I have a pacemaker and defibrillator. I’d have to be on a suicide mission.” Fine—just don’t shoot me!
Even more hazardous than puffing in the loo, crop circles have made it to Hollywood via Signs, and even scarier, the director’s being compared to Spielberg! At the premiere bash, I asked the film’s esteemed Cherry Jones about another project—her upcoming Broadway show, Imaginary Friends, a “play with music” in which she and Swoosie Kurtz are rival authors Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman. Has she ever sung before? “Oh, Mame in high school,” Jones said, laughing. (Me, too—I played Agnes Gooch.) At this point, the actress was distracted by my crumpled page of notes and said, “Eugene O’Neill supposedly wrote The Emperor Jones on three pages like that.” And they wonder why it was so verbose.
By another buffet, Matthew Modine told me he’s friends with Martin Short and considers it an honor that Short nods to him on the riotously funny Primetime Glick. (Glick’s kids are named Morgan, Mason, Matthew, and Modine). I love you too, Jiminy. Don’t sit on me!
Staying with the plus-sized sex symbols, they’ve re-released a book Liz Taylor wrote as a kid, and since it’s called Nibbles and Me, everyone’s having a big, old, cheap guffaw over it. But relax, you . . . folks. Nibbles was her pet chipmunk, and I don’t want to hear another word about it! (Belch.)
While we’re dabbing our mouths, I had a feeling the Russian Tea Room was on its last legs when I went to a Broadway opening-night party there and they were hideously charging for cocktails. (Thank god my concoction of choice, Diet Coke, was still comp.) Two days later, they announced the closing. Goodbye, oh blini-laden splendor! Good riddance, cash bar!
And hello 24 Hour Party People, an inept if somewhat endearing movie about the ’80s music scene in Manchester, where people burned the candle-icious at both ends. Janeane Garofalo was at the premiere, telling me she didn’t read my last interview with her because, “I’m always afraid I’ll sound like an asshole. But I can back-issue it.” Moby said his restaurant, Teany, is “like my little baby, because I’m childless.” And Party People star Steve Coogan told me that as a kid, he hid Never Mind the Bollocks in a Perry Como sleeve so mama wouldn’t see the dirty word. (What—never?) Today, Coogan doesn’t hide from discussion of the movie’s pigeon-poisoning scene because, “They were already dead. We got them from pest control.” But some of the so called “rats with wings” look like they’re writhing even more than Liz’s chipmunk. “Special effects,” he insisted, dryly. Really? Get me some now! Folks!