On Broadway, it’s the year of the screaming baby—the disadvantaged spawn that spasmically represents the forces that drive couples apart while inexorably sealing them together. In Life (x) 3, the kid is an offstage maw that squeals endlessly for chocolate fingers. In A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, she’s a broken blossom who bellows, has seizures, and causes even darker bouts of tragicomedy when she fleetingly snaps out of it. And in The Miracle Worker, she’s deaf, blind, and completely in need of focusing. (Yes, I know that one just closed out of town, but somehow I feel like I saw it anyway.) These unfairly damaged dolls are alternately coddled, pitied, and yelled at, and though thoughts of infanticide sneak in, eventually a certain breakthrough is achieved and the audience can leave holding its ears. But don’t take the kids!
At Joe Egg‘s opening-night bash, I asked co-star Eddie Izzard if the play’s “wegetable” child is a metaphor for the forces that drive couples apart, etc., etc. “Give me a day,” he said, then amended that to “Actually, I don’t think it is a metaphor because [author] Peter Nichols really had a disabled child.” I gasped in horror, ate for an hour, then asked Nichols himself, who said, “It didn’t drive me and my wife apart—but we had three other children. I wouldn’t try to explain it. It’s a fact of life and an act of God.” Waaa!
An act of lunatic genius, the childish yet very adult The Play What I Wrote is sheer goofy British fun, the same type of saucy shtick that will surely catapult my ass to Broadway. (The Trashy Column What I Wrote has a real ring to it.) At the after-party at the W, I told Alan Cumming I was sorry the sheer goofy British fun of his Contents column didn’t last; the mag folded just days after the party celebrating his working there. “I think my rimming thing is what closed it,” he cracked.
Life (x) 3 had a less loopy opening-night affair at Laura Belle, where I sucked in plates of food (x) 3, in between screaming for chocolate fingers and a rim shot. For dessert, I got to meet Take Me Out‘s Denis O’Hare, who’s surely Tony-bound for his portrayal of the fidgety gay accountant who’s liberated by a new love for baseball. O’Hare’s so scene-stealing that in the play’s move uptown from Off-Broadway, not one second of his part was shed (though 20 minutes of others’ roles were Hilary Swanked, so the evening doesn’t go into extra innings).
Does O’Hare, in actuality, like baseball? “I don’t,” he told me, wincing. “I didn’t even know it was the opening day today.” Opening day of what? Anyway, Take Me Out is a whole other ball game for O’Hare, who was a Nazi in Cabaret and has played more baddies than Liza‘s married gays. “I played Richard Speck in an awful movie of the week called Moment of Rage,” he admitted. “I killed a lot of Chicago actors!”
But in Take Me Out, he never gets to slay us with his trouser bat; he’s one of the few onstage who the script doesn’t require to constantly disrobe and flaunt it. “One’s always a little insulted not to be asked,” O’Hare said, “but it’s good to keep them guessing.” Well, let the guessing cease, because O’Hare’s hot boyfriend chimed in that his beau would wipe everyone else off the stage, given half the chance. (God—sitting in the front row, I already almost got my eye poked out.) Did I say hot boyfriend? Yes, O’Hare and the boo met in an AOL chat room, a setup the thesp loves because “you get everything out of the way up front. I just would never give out my name or profession. Once, a guy saw my picture and wrote, ‘You look exactly like an actor I saw last night in Major Barbara.’ ” O’Hare—the very star in question—got all panicky and shot back, “Is that a musical?”
The Paper dinner at Indochine for gay porn star Jeff Palmer‘s birthday—a musical—had even more pudenda on the agenda. Over spring rolls, Palmer regaled us with the tale of how he had just gone to a bathhouse in Queens, where a guy wanted to be plowed while the belt around his neck was tightened. Palmer said he politely obliged, “and afterwards, I made sure he was still alive, then I left.” (Gee, I wish my lovers were that considerate.) At this point, director Larry Clark and his star/partner, Tiffany Limos, perked up (there’s autoerotic asphyxiation in their movie, Ken Park), and we all found a common level of repartee—though later on, when Tiffany gushed about how Larry beat up his ex-distributor and Larry kept telling her to plug it up, I wanted my mommy. Of course, all unpleasantness was forgotten by the time Palmer fucked his birthday cake onstage at the Stonewall!
I was asphyxiated from laughter at the Sunday drag brunch at Lips restaurant, where busloads of soccer moms pile in to applaud the padders and tuckers over mimosas and unfuckable cake. The show—starring the rouged likes of Ginger and All Beef Patty—had quick-witted MC Kenny Dash claiming, “I used to be a runway model—at LaGuardia.” After the show, Ginger told me she recently did a number from Hairspray, in the middle of which she noticed a young lady in the crowd talking up a storm on her cell phone. Thinking it terribly rude, Ginger barreled up to the gal’s table and turned the fucker off—only to later find out the li’l gabber was Hairspray‘s Marissa Jaret Winokur! Ginger was eventually rewarded with two free tickets to Hairspray and is now a big fan.
But keep your phone off and pay attention to some more fictionalized screaming minors: Lilya 4-Ever is Lukas Moodysson‘s new film about the child sex trade, the darkest thing to hit the screen since you suddenly couldn’t see Peter Arnett anymore. At the premiere, Moodysson said the script flew into his head fully completed and he didn’t even have to articulate his ideas to his crew. “We don’t talk that much on the set,” he said. “We just work. We’re Swedish.”
Meanwhile, some Americans are working my nerves—namely all the local TV twinkies who are bizarrely covering the Iraqi weather. If you don’t pay attention, you go outside dressed for blistering heat and sandstorms. And it’s snowing!
Dressed for success, E!’s departed Steve Kmetko has nabbed a spot as a correspondent on Extra, according to filth2go.com. Thank God—I miss his handsome half-smirk and fully groomed eyebrows. I hear the equally comely Madonna is using Steven Klein—who did those contortionist shots of her in W—to direct an upcoming video, and this one will actually get aired. Will she pin her legs behind her ears and pop out a hand grenade? One can only hope so, after her Swanking of the “American Life” video. (Come on, Madonna, we don’t need you to second-guess your chutzpah and cave in to the big boys. We need you to tighten the belt around society’s neck and return to your old mantra, “I am not ashamed!”)
Returning to her old man, party-thrower Susanne Bartsch is back with gym owner David Barton, according to delighted spies. And now, though I wanted to close with my rimming thing, I’ll instead tell you that a recent Oscar nominee who was there swears that the Michael Moore booers were plants. Yeah, the type that need to be potted and fertilized. Now, where are my fucking chocolate fingers?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 8, 2003