The Night of 1,000 Gowns, the Imperial Court’s spectacular coronation event at the Marriott Marquis, was its usual rhinestoned, old-school procession of drag queens with names like Angela Mercy, Anita Greencard, Robin Kradles, and even “Countess Judy of the isle of Staten.” The only minor tragedyis that there was no one there named Mia Culpa, Dinah Soar, Barbara Seville, Lynn O’Leum, May Lox, Spring Break, Hope Floats, Kim Chi, Aida Lot, or Whitney Biennial! After hours of pageantry complete with miles of shaved elegance, the new empress, TRAI LA TRASH, was crowned as an orchestral medley of Queen songs soared. How will she rule? I asked Trai La afterwards. “Fun!” she enthused, bizarrely.
Queen was still on the soundtrack when Ella Enchanted premiered, the highlight of the so-so fantasy being ANNE HATHAWAY belting “Somebody to Love” as Prince Charmont, an elf, and a giant (played by HEIDI KLUM) sing the world’s most demented backup. But they should have played “Fat Bottomed Girls” at the after-party at Dylan’s Candy Bar, where I—the world’s only non-lover of chocolate—felt like a eunuch at an orgy. (It wasn’t free anyway.) By the comp clown-faced cheese omelettes, MINNIE DRIVER, who plays a fairy, told me, “I just did The Phantom of the Opera. That’s the ultimate fantasy film.” Fun! Does she play the ingenue/victim? “I wish!” she exclaimed. “I play the Italian diva. I wanted to be the phantom, but JOEL SCHUMACHER wouldn’t go for it.” You know, that’s just the kind of narrow thinking that’s destroying Hollywood!
HELP, I CAN’T COPPOLA
And so is the fact that it took so unspeakably long for Italian diva SOFIA COPPOLA to get her MOMA tribute last week. Come on, folks, the woman’s already made two whole movies. She’s the longstanding auteur behind Virgin Suicides (which no one wants to admit they loved) and Lost in Translation (which no one wants to admit they didn’t love—though I loved it, I really did!). To fill out the evening, they added a short that Sofia made, a WHITE STRIPES video she directed (with KATE MOSS sliding up and down a stripper pole), and home movies she didn’t even remember shooting. The hilarity was in watching her onstage interviewer, the Times‘ ELVIS MITCHELL, trying to come up with running motifs that link her body of work. He did OK, but Sofia, downing her eponymous champagne, was such a nervous mumbler, she was barely audible where I was sitting—the front row!
Halfway through, JIM JARMUSCH came onstage to zing things up, but he ended up laying on so much praise, even Sofia started to look mortified. (“You’re a poet. You have a gift. I love your movies,” Jarmusch kept repeating.) KIRSTEN DUNST added to the adulation, falling apart sobbing as she told the crowd, “Sofia made me feel beautiful. She made me realize I didn’t want answers, I wanted questions!” Well, I wanted answers, and just when I was about to shoot myself, BILL MURRAY provided them, stepping up to the podium to crack that he was thrilled to be part of “the Sofia Coppola lifetime achievement award.” Pointing out KATHLEEN TURNER in the crowd, he then interjected, “Now she plays homely wenches, but she’s obviously an incredibly hot fuck. She must be, right?” I have no idea, but I do know that Bill’s a poet! He has a gift!
Go folk yourselves
An incredibly hot Queer as Folk party awaited at the Cobalt Club, so I desperately needed the gift of a new drag name. I considered Shirley U. Jest, Fran Chise, Beverly Wilshire, Rita Book, Lois Commondenominator, Jeri Meandering, Bea List, Tippi Canoe, Rosie Future, Drew Pictures, Andrea Doria, and April Showers before finally realizing I simply had to be Elle Word! And so Elle I was, oozing lipstick lesbianism as I cheered on the still-interesting Queer show, whose characters have gotten a little less gonad-driven, though the oinking will always resonate for them. (“It’s where we made love for the first time,” Justin says about a special residence. “That wasn’t love. I just gave you a rim job and fucked your brains out,” Brian elegantly replies.)
As flacks for various reality shows tried to push their stars on me, I stuck to my QAF kids and questioned their brains out. PETER PAIGE told me that in addition to playing the ever developing Emmett, he’d love to be in I Am My Own Wife (“I keep thinking, ‘Why is no one calling me to do this?’ “). In the meantime, he’s directing himself in a “melan-comedy” called Donut Hole, a flick about “assumption and our culture of suspicion” in which he plays a guy who gets mistaken for a pedophile. MICHAEL JACKSON? “I’m not sure that was a mistake,” he deadpanned.
Lovable melan-ball RANDY HARRISON told me he stopped watching the show two years ago because “it’s exhausting enough to shoot. I’ve seen myself as Justin so much it bores me.” What hasn’t bored Randy for the last two years is his relationship with writer-editor SIMON DUMENCO, whom he met when he was interviewed by Dumenco for New York magazine. Excuse me, people, but I do up to 15 interviews a day and I still am my own wife!
Make it 16—I also chatted up the show’s ROBERT GANT, asking about the legendary night LARRY KING called him straight on live TV. “Larry misunderstood the cue cards,” Gant explained, “which said there were two openly gay guys. He assumed everyone else was straight.” It’s that damned culture of assumption! Gant later came out in The Advocate, and said he now gets oodles of e-mails from closeted actors asking if they should follow suit. “It’s a small pack,” Gant told me, “but it’s growing. And it’s very welcoming.” You hear that, any number of people?
By the way, as Queer Eye‘s KYAN DOUGLAS walked by holding onto a hot boyfriend, Gant—who’d been linked to Douglas in the columns—didn’t even flinch. They’re friends. It’s called class, folks.
And now, let’s all welcome my new drag name—Lana Opportunity (or maybe just the grand duchess of the isle of Rikers). By any name, I’m an incredibly hot fuck. Fun!
I hear the Post’s wave-making theater disher, MICHAEL RIEDEL, is being profiled for New Yor magazine. The Times should do him too, after all the scoops they’ve “borrowed” from him . . . In other portrait news, TIMOTHY GREENFIELD-SANDERS‘s upcoming photo (plus essays) book about porn stars is being made into an HBO documentary. Don’t sit too close to the screen . . . MAUREEN O’HARA‘s memoir reveals that legendary macho director John Ford was apparently as gay as a fruitcake. No St. Patrick’s Day Parade for him, if he’d lived . . . Openly everything Irish American club legend KENNY KENNY is back from his retreat to India and says, “They make eye contact there. They have so much soul. And I got fucked a lot!”
While we’re on a high plane, Sly Fox is the kind of guttural farce in which an actor suddenly adds a lisp in Act II because his next line has a lot of s’s in it. The show’s best joke is that a naive, pious woman is played by Showgirls‘ ELIZABETH BERKLEY. But on opening night, Berkley proved that the wide-eyed thing is no act, earnestly telling me, “As an actor, any time you get to play different roles, it’s a thrill.” It took ANNE MEARA to restore a touch of crass by screaming, “Whore! You fucking whore!” Everyone within a mile turned around, but it was PATRICIA FIELD she was greeting. Lovingly.