The Fahrenheit 9/11 premiere at the Ziegfeld brought out such a massive parade of rabidly liberal stars that if a bomb had dropped, BILL O’REILLY would be the biggest thing left. (No, wait, he was there too!) The film is mesmerizing, though I’m a little wary of any documentary in which each person isn’t identified, every setup isn’t explained, and you’re not even sure who conducted the interviews. (MICHAEL MOORE isn’t on-screen much this time. These days, if he made Roger & Me, it would probably just be Roger.) But I repeat: It’s grippingly and cogently done, making DUBYA look even worse than Ronald McDonald in Super Size Me. Is it biased? Yeah, but with an informed bias, and it happens to be the bias I share, so fuck you! And even if it only preaches to the choir, said PETER JACKSON look-alike Moore at the premiere, “it’s a good thing, because the choir must be awakened!”
At the theater, I was wide awake as I weeded past all the hotsy totsy Oscar winners and headed right to pretty-boy rocker BEN JELEN, who was wearing a Dubya-phobic T-shirt, looking fit for a heavenly choir of Democrats. “My problem with Iraq is denying the U.N. when it wasn’t obviously a desperate matter, and lying to your own country,” Jelen fumed, prettily, as I went all slack-jawed. But was Dubya asleep at the wheel before 9-11 (or even during; the film shows him being told of the attack, then blankly continuing to read My Pet Goat to some tots in his most literate gesture yet)? “He apparently took a lot of vacations,” said Jelen. “Most presidents get older, but he looks younger.” And his mind seems to be getting younger too—it’s practically down to a three-year-old level, whomp-whomp-whomp.
The evening, by the way, had started with HARVEY WEINSTEIN onstage, respectfully mentioning the passage of Ronald Reagan. Poetically, it ended with my pal, guest TONY KUSHNER, going “nucular,” sagely telling me, “Reagan was a catastrophe as a president. The disastrous non-president we have now is the direct result of Reaganism. All the lionizing will pass—history will not be written by the idiots babbling on now. Reagan was a fraud, a liar, and a morally bankrupt human being!” True—and his wife repackaged birthday gifts.
Fairly leaden despite being wrapped in a shiny pink bow, De-Lovely is not a total de-bacle, but it’s certainly not consistently de-licious enough to raise my Fahrenheit level. De problem is that, while KEVIN KLINE and ASHLEY JUDD are fine as composer Cole Porter and his inspiration/beard, de whole thing needs a little BAZ LUHRMANN-ish surfeit-of-visual-ideas insanity to jazz things up, and shoot me now (in Technicolor) because I never thought I’d say that about anything! What’s more, de framing device—with dead Porter reviewing his life—is annoying, and so is de procession of pop-singer guest stars. The least de-stracting of these cameo players are cute ROBBIE WILLIAMS and kicky ALANIS MORISSETTE, but ELVIS COSTELLO looks overstuffed and awkward and by the time NATALIE COLE pops up, you’ve entered a Kraft Music Hall Special that’s utterly de-ranged. On the bright side, the movie does address Cole’s gay life, which certainly redefines “If baby, I’m the bottom . . . ”
But I’ll see anything, honey. I never miss a JUDI DENCH action movie—or even a Judi Dench cow cartoon. And buoyed by the cat stealing Shrek 2 so shamelessly from the donkey, I even caught the witless Garfield and now I’m allergic all over again. Baby, I even paid for The Stepford Wives, which, except for the beginning and the end, was a fraud, a liar, and morally bankrupt. (Since Nicole Kidman plays a heartless bitch whose decisions lead to mass death, how are we supposed to be upset that she might be turned into a robot? And since I hear they cut the gay couple’s adopting of two Abercrombie & Fitch-looking twins, imagine how bad that plotline was!)
For free, I saw The Door in the Floor—a JOHN IRVING adaptation starring glacially grieving JEFF BRIDGES and KIM BASINGER—and found it to be a mournful melding of In the Bedroom and Summer of ’42. “A real feel-good movie,” I cracked to Door‘s screenwriter-director TOD WILLIAMS at the Plaza Athénée dinner afterward, and he laughingly responded, “It’s like a swift kick in the head—I mean a slow kick in the head.” “What about that masturbation scene?” interjected host GRETCHEN MOL, and I pretended not to know what she was talking about, wank-wank. But I was all ears as publicist PEGGY SIEGAL‘s fun mom told me, “Peggy got a modeling job at 15, but she said, ‘I’ll never do that again. I’m too smart for it.’ ” I was too ugly for it.
But back to the laffs, Afterbirth: Kathy and Mo’s Greatest Hits provides trenchant observational hilarity that has you cheering for mo’ (and Kathy). I especially enjoyed their spoof of feminine hygiene commercials: “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my vagina to smell like a daisy any more than a daisy would want to smell like a vagina!”
SUNDAY BLOODY MARY SUNDAY
That was not the predominant scent—manstench was—when the Cabanas, the open-air upper terrace at the Maritime Hotel, launched its frolicsome Sunday-night gay party, hosted by ERICH CONRAD and LINCOLN PALSGROVE. It’s sort of like Beige with less oxygen. But I sniffed out some gossip there: that at the Tonys, after they dragged old, dear CAROL CHANNING out on stage, BOY GEORGE thought maybe he had a chance to win after all. (He didn’t.) Also, on that same dizzy night, PATRICK STEWART thought designer RICHIE RICH was Taboo‘s EUAN MORTON and said some very personal and encouraging things to him. More immediately, club legend RUDOLF PIEPER told me he’s helping to open Lotus clubs in Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Rio, where the most sizzling hot spot now is Iron Lady. “It’s a carioca version of an s/m leather bar, with carnival atmosphere and feathers,” said Rudolf. “It’s very confused. In Brazil, even macho married men are not responsible for what they do after 1 a.m.—and that’s strictly enforced.” De-gorgeous! Come on, Dubya—let’s take some more vacations.
RANDOM HATEFUL THOUGHTS
My guess as to how BRITNEY SPEARS hurt her knee: The Moesha broad who’s preggers via Britney’s new beau must have done a TONYA HARDING! And here’s why the MADONNA, I mean Madge, I mean Esther, concerts supposedly had so many empty seats till the last minute: Flacks hyped it as “sold out” from day one! You figured, “Why bother even calling for tickets?” (That’s one theory.) And here’s some gossip about the late designer Egon von Furstenberg, who died from AIDS, I mean liver cancer: His last wife, LYNN VON FURSTENBERG, feels his previous one, DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, kept her away from the dying Egon by saying she’d visit him first and Lynn could swing by later. There was no later.
My favorite living couple popped up at Entertainment Weekly‘s Crobar party for its “Must List” issue: Saturday Night Live‘s frisky AMY POEHLER and her hubby, WILL ARNETT, whose Arrested Development magician character EW calls “intriguingly deluded.” “I’ll take that!” Arnett said after I read the description to him. Poehler’s characters, meanwhile, are intriguingly diluted (like MICHAEL JACKSON) and often downright white trash. Off camera? “I’m 10 percent white trash,” Poehler insisted. I fully believed her until she added, “and part Cherokee.”
WEB EXCLUSIVE, 6.25.04
Welcome to the career nook, where I tell you about everyone’s upwardly mobile job opportunities, as my own career slides into the tar pits. Drag king MURRAY HILL is the latest offbeat celebrity to get his own TV show. (Details to come.) Meanwhile, the Corsair reports that former E! mook A.J. BENZA says he’s getting in the upper six figures to host a reality program of his own. (What—Big Brudda? Again, details to come.) Still in the amazing race, ex-New York magazine editor CAROLINE MILLER has apparently gotten the backing to start up a W-type publication. And I hear FRANK DiGIACOMO is penning an oral history of Page Six for Vanity Fair (which makes delightful sense since he used to edit that very column).
An even larger slice of American pie, C. DAVID HEYMANN‘s Triumph and Tragedy—a book about JOHN F. KENNEDY, JR. and his sister CAROLINE—will explore the rumors that John-John was notoriously bisexual. Funny, he never bought me anything.
And in more serious news, In Style‘s HAL RUBENSTEIN came out as a longtime HIV survivor during his speech at a UJA Federation of New York benefit last week. You’re gorgeous, Hal!
Now someone help me find my career.