Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance! has the “bi-hemispheric” Aussie icon hilariously taunting audience members, deriding our president’s literacy level, and reminding us to “grab life by the shaft.” On opening night, she also encouraged us folks with the good seats to poke wicked fun at the sad paupers who filled the balcony, but karma clobbered me big-time at the after-party at Sardi’s, where I was sent right upstairs with the Z-list!
At least I had already schmoozed the celebs in the audience, like The View‘s JOY BEHAR, who was still smarting from STAR JONES‘s furor after Joy took a photo at Star’s wedding. Did Star yank her camera away? “No!” Behar said. “We wrestled to the ground.” Well, did Swagzilla manage to get the film out anyway? “It’s digital!” explained Behar, triumphantly. (She was especially happy about that because at a DONALD TRUMP event, security did grab Behar’s camera away when she took a photo. Must have been a bad-hair day.)
Pretty as a picture, ex-Edna backup performer CADY HUFFMAN was sitting in my row, exulting,”I love BARRY HUMPHRIES! He’s such a gentleman!” (She swore he’s really straight too.) Well, are the people who are doing the Producers movie gentlemen, or did they simply call Huffman—who won a Tony for flaunting it on Broadway—and say, “We got NICOLE KIDMAN. Fuck off”? “Nicole came to them,” explained Huffman. And no doubt she’ll now be the central character, I cracked. “Yes!” she laughed. “They’ll call the movie Ulla. I’m sure she’ll be wonderful.” I sensed some light eye-rolling going on. “But I’m in good company,” concluded the spunky Huffman, meaning that a lot of fine people didn’t get to re-create their stage hits, from JULIE ANDREWS to Edna herself. (“PATTI LUPONE has agreed to portray me,” says the daffy Dame onstage. “But I don’t know who’ll play me as a young woman.”)
BOYS IN THE SAND
You want another multi-hemispheric drag show? Well, Alexander‘s gotten it from both ends, as it were—the Greeks find it too Judy Garland–loving and the gays don’t think it’s swishy enough (though all critics agree it stinks). Having finally seen the epicene epic, I have to say it’s positively nutty that they don’t show COLIN FARRELL and JARED LETO kissing, and the rationales we got for that from OLIVER STONE and his stars were more absurd than Farrell’s early-period DORIS DAY ‘do. You know, “to sexualize the relationship would cheapen it” and “you’d have to be a moron not to get that they’re lovers.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, but anyway, where’s the freakin’ kissing?
At least there are plenty of other gay signifiers on-screen—and they’re plenty campy too. First of all, the L’Oréal-laden kid who plays the young Alexander has a distinct lisp, and dad VAL KILMER—whose one-eyed shtick can’t touch JAMIE FOXX‘s Ray routine—plays right into it, ominously instructing him, “Beware of women!” Our hero obediently does so, and a few years later, mom ANGELINA JOLIE (chewing the digitized scenery with an IVANA TRUMP accent) has to tell the teenage Alex, “The girls already say you don’t like them. You like Hephaistion more!” (“It’s only natural for your age,” she adds as a rationale. Yeah—in the Chelsea section of Macedonia.)
So Farrell and Leto keep hugging—if not kissing—and Leto even gives him a lovely cubic zirconia ring, making wifey ROSARIO DAWSON wildly jealous. (“You luff heem?” she intones, eyes a-bulging, so Farrell explains that away with, “There are many different ways to love, Roxane.” In her case, it’s via total rape. Hey, maybe straight women should protest the flick too!) Alex finally gets a real boyfriend, but since he’s a rouged Persian castrato, it probably doesn’t count. Still, you cheer when Alex snarls at a rebel, “You dog! Questioning your queen!” even if he actually means his mom. And things end up gayer than ever, tra la, with Farrell assuring Leto, “Our sons will play together as we once did.” Hopefully in Vermont or Massachusetts.
By the way, I’m the one who actually loved the first 10 hours or so, but then it all went so over-the-top, I had to second the remark on imdb.com, “Come back, Troy. All is forgiven.”
QUOTH THE RAVEN, ‘NEVER BORE’
Like Alexander himself, I’m a gay man who strangely finds myself watching ladies disrobe, if a comp meal’s attached. So on a recent Saturday, I went to Le Scandal cabaret at the Cutting Room, where if you get drunk, you end up on the Cutting Room floor (like the kiss with Hephaistion). The show—a fast-moving vaudeville revue—is intoxicating enough, with sometime emcee RAVEN SNOOK singing about being a female drag queen before bringing on a procession of naughty, bawdy acts that grab you by the shaft. The novelty stars range from FLAMBEAUX, an amazing fire-eater who defies the no-smoking rule—I luff heem!—to BONNIE DUNN, the show’s producer, who emerges looking preggers and singing “I Should Have Danced All Night.” When she strips, Snook reveals, “Bonnie used to teach at a school for the blind. What a fucking waste!” Right, Val Kilmer?
With both eyes as open as Rosario Dawson’s toga, I graced the Plaza screening of KELSEY GRAMMER‘s A Christmas Carol and five minutes into it, realized it was a filming of that deadening version they dredge up every year at the Garden. It worked much better this time—though I kept thinking, with JASON ALEXANDER as Marley, that I was watching Frasier being lectured by the ghost of George Costanza. At the after-party, Grammer was extremely approachable, but I left him alone since he threatened to sue my old Metro TV show after my co-host made fun of his wife’s irritable bowels. Bah, humbug!
But wait—here’s some holiday jeer: Spies say TARA SUBKOFF is fighting mad at Seventh House PR over a where’s-the-money dispute. She’s not the first one. More disgruntlement: After getting rude door treatment at the safari-themed Cain, nightlife legend JOHNNY DYNELL e-mailed the owner that the club is “everything that is wrong with New York rolled into one.” Dynell may be the lucky one. I got in.
Disturbing: Rush does Sellers.
photo: Jaap Buitendijk/HBO
The promotional image for the upcoming BEACH BOYS musical Good Vibrations—with its row of tanned, sunglassed male heads—looks extraordinarily Fire Island–y (or even Alexander-y) to me. I bet now they’ll change it. Over at Macy’s, the Polar Express Christmas windows have the NONA GAYE character looking virtually white in two of the displays. Where’s the Express going—to a Klan meeting?
My own dark side came out when I was asked to be on a committee hosting a Palladium reunion event, then read a rep’s claim in Page Six that the hosts (including myself) booted Rosario Dawson as a guest star because she was too young to be appropriate. Funny, I not only didn’t get the memo about Dawson’s involvement, I also didn’t hear about the cancellation decision and never even got an invite! (But I feel worse for Rosario. No friendship ring and now this!)
Darker than Kinsey, whiter than Ray, and straighter than Alexander, Brit actor Peter Sellers was a nasty genius whose inevitable biopic—HBO’s The Life and Death of Peter Sellers—is a mixed-bag chronicle of tantrum-throwing and period whimsy with “and then he met” career highlights, though GEOFFREY RUSH is undeniably killer in the lead. At the premiere, Rush told me, “Sellers liked a disturbing element in his humor. It was anarchic, chaotic, and confrontational.” And riotous; I worship him so much I even knew of a Sellers movie (the weird, little Hoffman) Rush hadn’t heard of. Snap, snap, Oscar winner.
WABC radio personality MONICA CROWLEY, who’s an MSNBC regular, told me at PM Lounge that she’s getting her own show on that TV channel starting next year. It already has higher ratings than TINA BROWN‘s.