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This year’s edgy Miami Film Festival (which brought me down in a thong and a walker) opened with Modigliani, starring ANDY GARCIA as the Italian painter who was every bit as needy as Pollock and Basquiat, if not as hairy as Frida, as he tangled with puffy sellout Picasso. “This is a downer story about a troubled artist,” Garcia admitted to me at the pre-party. “This kind of film isn’t easy to finance. We needed a patron with a pot of gold and we got it in PHILIPPE MARTINEZ.” “I hope he’s not a sucker,” I cutely said, running away as Garcia shouted, “Definitely not!”

The second-night film, REBECCA MILLER‘s The Ballad of Jack and Rose, hadn’t exactly been instantly embraced by the franchise-hungry money people either. It has DANIEL DAY-LEWIS as a Pacific Northwest environmentalist with a daughter, a dream, and a terminal illness. “We practically couldn’t give the script to a dog on the street,” the producer admitted. (I’ve had no such problems; many a stray cur has leapt at my work come defecation time.)

We created our own art house movie by traipsing through South Beach’s Friday-night gay-bar trilogy—Twirl (multi-level, with go-go gods), Jade Lounge (bouncy queens dancing to angry rap), and Score (hip-hoppy gays mock-fucking fag hags). Food intake was encouraged at Nikki Beach (an ambient haven for sunning and lemon-pancaking) and Barton G, which specializes in giant, showy dishes like a mutant martini glass filled with seafood and a giant cotton candy wig on a stick. Pretentious New York restaurateurs would gag over the unrepentant gleefulness, and frankly, I wish they would.

The big SoBe buzz was that COLIN FARRELL, who’s down there shooting the inevitable Miami Vice movie, followed a bunch of young women into the ladies’ room at Sky Bar, probably wanting to serve them his own giant candy on a stick.

But my most vivid adventure was a tour of Casa Casuarina, the old Versace mansion, which is being turned into a private club-hotel for wealthy wannabes with a daughter and a dream. The place is still a visual orgy of gilded Mediterranean gorgeousness with lavish bedrooms, an outdoor pool right out of Satyricon, and enough bidets to satisfy the most extreme case of hygienic OCD. “People say, ‘Isn’t it creepy to work there?’ ” the tour guide chirped to me. “No, what we’re doing is a beautiful thing. It’s all positive feelings here!” It’s true—you can barely smell the bloodstains.

Deep space nine

Back in New York, the cotton candy had jizz on it at the premiere of FENTON BAILEY and RANDY BARBATO‘s Inside Deep Throat, a wildly entertaining doc looking back at the seminal, as it were, ’70s porn flick Deep Throat and how its oral-clit plotline made the world alternately orgasm and gag. The flick—which is worthwhile alone for HELEN GURLEY BROWN‘s admission that “ejaculate” is good for the skin—is stirring up all the old culture-wars issues as if Times Square were still my second home. During the panel discussion among cliterati after the screening, feminist legal scholar CATHARINE MACKINNON came out fuming, saying Inside Deep Throat diminishes the fact that Linda Lovelace was raped (a word Lovelace also ended up using when revealing she’d been hypnotized to deep the ding-dong). Co-panelist ALAN DERSHOWITZ angrily countered that MacKinnon was trivializing the word rape and the real horror victimized women face. Meanwhile, publisher JUDITH REGAN chimed in to plug JENNA JAMESON‘s book and to specify that she’s not necessarily endorsing porn, mind you, “I just helped her tell her story!”

At the after-bash at Brasserie 8 1/2, as it were, Deep Throat co-star HARRY REEMS—now a real estate agent in Utah—told me, “There were no guns pointed at anyone’s head. There was no hypnosis. I was there! And Linda ended up going back to nudity!” More impishly, the documentary’s co-director, Fenton Bailey, cracked to me, “I’ve been hypnotized and I still can’t do it.”

As I went down on the buffet—I’d been hypnotized too—famous attendee JASON BATEMAN approached me to comment on my item making fun of his name-heavy Golden Globe speech. He said the write-up was amusing and on-target—and honey, that’s exactly the correct kind of celebrity reaction in any situation.

An even more esteemed ’70s cinema classic lives on with the upcoming The Godfather video game, which—according to an exec at the preview party at Il Cortile—was “a thousand times more complex to make than Shrek or The Incredibles!” He showed some scenes, and with the characters’ offbeat facial expressions, the game looked closer to The Polar Express. “What the fuck?” muttered ROBERT DUVALL, standing nearby. Still, JAMES CAAN said he’s glad he participated because “my kids can play with me even when I’m not there.”

And the Me decade was regurgitated again via Mao Mag‘s retro romp at the Marquee, where disco bunnies you hadn’t seen since Studio 54 looked exactly the same as they did then—old. Did co-host ALVA CHINN, the divoon model, feel like this was a return to the ’70s? “No,” she told me over the thump-thump, “because I was a lot crazier then. I couldn’t stand still. But now I can at least stand and have a conversation!” “What?” I said, halfway across the room by this point.

Hail the conquering Hiro

Moving feet don’t fail anyone at the Maritime’s Sunday-night Cuckoo Club, which—since it segued inside to the Hiro ballroom for the winter—has become a can’t-miss dance party for T-shirted gays (a rare sight, I know). The queens bump and make out to DJ JON JON‘s bracing mix of new, old, and extraterrestrial. And last week, lovable BOY GEORGE performed in his Leigh Bowery makeup from Taboo (no, I have no idea) as author-monologuist MIKE ALBO told me he recently met a Radical Faerie in Hawaii whose opening salvo was “I’ve just had the best orgasm. How are you?” It worked even better than hypnosis; they promptly got it on, resulting in even more ejaculate.

Finally, we sprayed away the ick at the Saks party for Flowerbomb, the new fragrance from VIKTOR & ROLF (the droll Dutch duo who are very Dolce and Gabbana meet Pierre et Gilles on the yellow brick road to Siegfried and Roy). Their scent? “It’s about the power to transform anything into something positive and beautiful,” Viktor or Rolf told me, all deadpan and shit. So will they run around spraying it on all sorts of negative people and naughty things? Blank stare. “No.” Well, I promptly grabbed a bunch to hose onto the Versace mansion and maybe even Helen Gurley Brown’s face.


Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Cross: No kidding?

(photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC)

The good thing about last week’s MARCIA CROSS mania is that gay-celebrity rumors are finally as coverable as straight ones—going there is no longer considered a hideous smear campaign. And here’s some background on the story: At a recent Out magazine gala, Cross told me, “I have a gay uncle and I went to Juilliard, where everybody is gay. [Smiling] I’ve thought of turning gay myself.” “Well, have another cocktail,” I smirked. “No, kidding!” she said, laughing.

By the way, my sources swear she does have a girlfriend—but again, Marcia denies being a lesbian!

In other eyebrow-lifting news, Blondie legend DEBBIE HARRY is writing her tell-all—and I do mean all—memoirs, due next year. . . . More immediately, am I nutzoid or does NICOLE RICHIE look lighter? . . . And speaking of white stuff, what TV personality shoved more of it up her nose at Sundance than there was snow on the slopes? In fact her well-known hubby had to ask her to slow down the intake. I’m not agreeing, mind you, I’m just helping her tell her story.

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Ex child star COREY FELDMAN‘s revelation that when he was a teen, the adult Michael Jackson supposedly showed him a book about venereal diseases, with photos of naked men and women, was the silliest news of the week. Feldman’s sudden recollection of this incident is weird enough. But acting as if that alleged occurrence might really mean something may be his most dubious step of all (though he does admit he wasn’t molested). Lord knows when I was 13, I would have loved to have had a knowledgeable adult talk seriously to me about sex and biology. (Mind you, I’m not certain Jackson would have been the right adult). All I had was the minimal, clinical stuff we learned in school and the ill-informed junk we heard from other kids on the street. (From them, I learned that “eating pussy” meant literally taking a bite out of a vagina and chewing it. No wonder I turned away from that kind of thing.)

The parade of ’80s stars like Feldman coming forth with their recovered attitude only adds confetti to the Jacko-trial circus. And now DEBBIE ROWE—who gleefully went along with the farming out of babies and image-whitewashing for Jacko suddenly has her OWN truths to tell? Plug it up! (Actually, I’m dying to hear every bit of it, I just don’t think it will hold much weight in court. As I’ve written before, Michael’s gotten into this mess because he’s a celebrity and he’ll get out of it because a celebrity.)