The A.D.D. generation will simply adore this week’s, whatchamacallit, column. It consists of short, wispy observations for the easily distracted and . . . sorry, I lost my train of thought.
Anyway, let me start tossing out the tawdry tidbits before my kooky caboose totally derails. A mole who was backstage after the, um, Oscars tells me a reporter asked Best Supporting Actress CATE BLANCHETT, “Will the award change you?” “Will it change me?” she replied, laughing. “Absolutely, you asshole!”
But where was I? Oh, yeah, definitely unchanged by his award, Best Original Screenplay winner CHARLIE (Eternal Sunshine . . . ) KAUFMAN darted out of the pressroom after being confronted with a loaded question. “I heard that the difference between your screenplay and the final edit was quite dramatic,” a nervy reporter said to Kaufman. “Any thoughts about VALDIS ÓSKARSDOTTIR getting recognition for editing the film?” In other words, the reporter was implying that Kaufman’s honor partly belonged to the unnominated editor (with “Oskar” in his name) who visually chopped Kaufman’s words into the final, acclaimed product. Kaufman attempted a gracious reply, then edited himself out of the room faster than SCORSESE‘s Oscar chances.
I stayed for even less time at the post-premiere reception for Off the Map, CAMPBELL SCOTT‘s quiet film about a wacky Southwest family visited by an artistic auditor. Scott talked to me for a few seconds, but then he got sidetracked by well-wishers while I stood there, as ignored as I was during my childhood. “Did you bring your wife?” I heard Scott ask one guest. “No, I divorced last year,” he replied. “Me too!” admitted Scott. Suicidal, I tried to immerse myself in Huff‘s OLIVER PLATT, but was told he wasn’t giving interviews at all. Too bad—I got all hot hearing him gushing to his friend about Krispy Kremes.
Which brought my stomach—and wandering mind—to the Fat Actress party, where I was desperate to find KIRSTIE ALLEY but was bluntly told, “She’s upstairs eating.” Research, I guess.
I’m sorry, Miss Jackson
Kirstie’s got to beef up against all the trash TV competition, especially the nightly MICHAEL JACKSON trial re-enactments on E! Those shows aren’t all that shocking, since we’ve already read the leaked accusations (“PRINCE, you’re missing a lot of pussy!”). But in between all the overruled objections and the constant cutaways to experts sounding off, they still make for tragically fun viewing as actors recite the tawdry charges and countercharges. And thankfully there are no skanky, talk-show-monologue-style observations like how Michael’s gotten a jury of his peers—mostly white women.
On a marginally less criminal note, MTV’s new reality show PoweR Girls is an unwitting reflection of the glitzy, fun emptiness of my own life. It chronicles all the overcrowded openings, unwieldy guest lists, psychotic paparazzi, and celebs joylessly working the red carpet (or in the case of LINDSAY LOHAN, avoiding it with a coat on her head) that I deal with every twisted night. Interestingly, LIZZIE GRUBMAN‘s infamous car accident isn’t mentioned at all in the first two episodes. (There’s just one oblique reference to how the press treated her badly.) The emphasis is on the here and now as she mother-hens four flackettes, including one whose dad is supposedly the chief of an African tribe. (“He’s like my personal ATM machine, if anything,” says the daughter, touchingly.) Alas, the trumped-up crux of episode two is whether the presence of one of the girls’ boyfriends will distract her from her flacking. “Concentrate on your work!” people keep shrieking, but the guy is a total drip who couldn’t distract a . . . sorry, I got distracted.
From PoweR Girls, I went on bended knee to Altar Boyz, the Off-Broadway musical about a religious boyband trying to save souls through choreography. It’s such a hilarious and spirited romp, I didn’t even mind that occasionally it seemed as pre-recorded as a real boyband concert. By the way, poignantly enough, one of the actors thanks God in his bio—seriously.
But atheism runs amok with the falter boys of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which may not exactly be electrifying, but it’s smoothly assembled, with zingy casting and lyrics (“Buy him a castle/He’ll still be an asshole”) making up for the lapses (like a too predictable bit of BUSH-bashing). The Producers was clearly the springboard here, but I see this show more as a straight La Cage aux Folles (also about well-paired partners pulling a con on the Riviera).
At the opening-night bash, Outer Critics Circle president AUBREY REUBEN introduced me to guest CHRIS SARANDON by saying, “He was SUSAN SARANDON‘s first husband.” “He’s famous for a lot more than that,” I remarked and Chris touched me and whispered, “Thank you.” (I live to please.) Just then, his current wife, Scoundrels‘ JOANNA GLEASON, told me that her part was added for the show, “and I said, ‘I’m gonna take a leap of faith’ and I leapt!”
Across the room, NORBERT LEO BUTZ was leaping (of faith) on co-star JOHN LITHGOW and licking his face for the cameras, just like in the musical. (So I guess they’re not like the La Cage stars, who hate each other.) “It’s the best love story on Broadway,” Butz exulted to me. Is there licking offstage? “With me, John Lithgow, and SHERIE RENE SCOTT,” he said, laughing, “the possibilities are endless. John’s very sweet to the taste. He’s a very attentive lover.” At that point, I dumped Norbert and leapt on John too.
Sit down, you’re rocking DeBarge
But I got distracted again and leapt to my phone to ask drag favorite FLOTILLA DEBARGE about the notorious PETA ad she shot as dead-animal-licking-and-wearing STAR JONES, who’s been all fuming about it. “This is an acting job. I am not a Star Jones impersonator,” Flotilla clarified to me. “I don’t do Star Jones.” (No, that’s her husband’s duty, right?)
“She shouldn’t be that upset,” Flo continued. “Two male actors—KENAN THOMPSON and TRACY MORGAN—have impersonated her on Saturday Night Live, and I’m much prettier than they are. She’s thinking the public will confuse me with her—that they’ll think I’m Star Jones and she’s a drag queen. It’s very insulting to me!” Flo’s also hurt that the Post, in breaking this story, called her overweight. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I’ll get back at them!” Go on, phat actress!
Anyway, is Flo a fan of Star? (long pause). “I’ll just say ‘bogo.’ It’s Payless’s acronym for ‘buy one, get one half off.’ That’s the only thing of hers that I am—I too shop at Payless, so why can’t she go furless?”
She won’t—but how did they style Flo as the bogus, I mean bogo queen? “They went to the official Star and Al website and got a picture. The makeup artist, Bruce, shadowed the hell out of me to get my lovely couture face to be an oblong Moon Pie face that is known as Star Jones Reynolds.” Is that a dis, Star? Absolutely, you asshole! (Kidding. I think it’s time to start showing some compassion to the woman because . . . um, er . . . )
LGBT and Sympathy
Comic SANDRA BERNHARD got in trouble a long time ago for saying she hates the L-word. Well, as you know, she’s returned to TV. In The L Word . . . Speaking of that show, the hottest man on the tube is KELLY LYNCH as the swaggering yet vulnerable drag king Ivan. I need him to do me now . . . In response to a recent item of mine, DJ LINA (formerly DJ Girlina) says, “I don’t want to be referred to as a drag artist when I have evolved as an artist and woman.“. . . How Do I Look?, an upcoming voguing documentary that for years has used me in the promo trailer now only features me as a voice-over! (Update: They’re putting in two shots of me. Who’s better than this little house mother?)
More seriously: “Gays have no right to murder each other!” screamed gay leaders in the press about the supposed new strain of AIDS. Well, just days later, reports said that women with HIV are having more unsafe sex than gay men with HIV, and that the rate of African Americans getting AIDS has doubled, while the white rate of infection stayed steady. So why aren’t their leaders screaming murder? Can’t those groups get the same attention, enlightenment, hysteria, and blame? Huh?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 1, 2005