BENNETT MILLER rang—you know, the talent from Mamaroneck who directed Capote, about the mixture of compassion and manipulation behind the making of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. “Am I the next Capote?” was naturally my first question. “You are,” Miller obliged as I prepared to be stroked. “You’re going to charm and disarm me and then betray me. You will laugh your way through my defenses and peel back the layers and find the chink in my armor and thrust your sword and reach your arm through my ribs and pull out my heart, throw it on the ground, puncture it with the heel of your pumps that I know you’re wearing right now, and then put your cigarette out in it. In that way you are the new Capote.” Goshers, I was hoping more for, “Yes, you’re a truly brilliant writer for the new age,” but hey, I’ll take it.
While I tried to figure how to pull his heart out over the phone, Miller heard me clanking away on my keyboard, recording his words like a digital maniac. “You’re a fantastic typist,” he conceded, piercing through my armor. “That sounds like 60 to 65 words a minute. Actually you’re playing PlayStation, not listening to a word.” No, I was truly hanging onto every syllable, and I was thrilled to realize that at least I’m a brilliant typist. Anyway, how did he compensate for PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN being so much taller than Capote was? (These are the kinds of questions that make a writer so incredibly innovative.) Miller said he used little tricks like casting taller people around him. Isn’t that discriminatory? “Are you nuts?” he responded. “What do you think casting is? It’s a process of discriminating.”
Point taken. But more lip-smackingly, was Capote casting around for an indiscriminate love match with his not unattractive criminal subject Perry Edward Smith? No way, said Miller, who’d consulted biographer GERALD CLARKE about this. “In Cold Blood meant more to him than anything else. He wasn’t about to risk it all for a blowjob!” (So I’m not the new Capote.) Well, from the movie, you sense that Tru didn’t enjoy much conjugation with his own boyfriend either. Miller explained that a make-out
scene got cut for “narrative reasons,” and besides, by this point their relationship had become as platonic and open as mine and Keanu’s.
As we peeled back more layers, Miller said the acclaim he’s gotten for the film has been like “a very clean, sober high and relief.” Pleased for him, I refused to carry out my betrayal.
YOU BLIGHT UP MY LIFE
For narrative reasons I’m moving on to typing about the already legendary
In My Life, the Broadway lemon which I approached hoping for a sober high while thinking, “It had better not disappoint me and be good.” It didn’t. In fact, the vanity production (backed by some straining-to-stay-anonymous lunatic) proves once and for all that a guy with Tourette’s syndrome, a brain tumor, and two dead family members doesn’t make for a high-kickin’ musical, even if he’s as cute as the script’s treatment of his disabilities. (“Fuck suck duck,” he screams as his girlfriend giggles appreciatively.) What’s more, daffy ditties about MRI exams generally don’t enchant, even if led by a prancing emissary from heaven who shows that you obviously don’ t get eternal damnation if you’re gay—though he probably should. (“There’s a little rumor/ Someone’s got a tumor,” he feyly croons.) But the scene that provoked the most lemony snickers the night I went had a rocker apologizing to a big-voiced little girl for having mowed her down in a car accident. (“No problem,” the little angel pretty much replies before tottering off.) Honey, I have practically every illness represented in this show and I still didn’t like it.
Patrons were screaming “fuck,” “suck,” and “duck, you sucker” when I judged the five-hour-long finals of WILL CLARK‘s Porn Idol contest at O.W. bar, where wannabe adult stars made love to a banana, jerked off a shampoo bottle, and answered Clark’s pert questions like “Are you a top or a bottom?” (“Yes” was a popular response.) The contest drew a healthy helping of Marymount students of the type who obviously run around squealing, “Mary, mount me!” But the winner was the dog walker from Gastineau Girls who truly walked a dog when he gamely mounted me on the pool table for photos.
At the Roxy, MADONNA loomed before us in the wee hours—and in a ’70s feathered hairdo—to say that the club’s DJs were a crucial part of her, like, roots. (“My whole career started with 12 inches,” she cracked. “Some girls have all the luck.”) Looking kabbalah-tastic, Maddy danced onstage to her new hits for days, even prancing about with bright-eyed clubbies who were bloody from pinching themselves. It was a great show, but of course throngs of queens left bitching that she didn’t sing.
It was actually the second time I’d been to the place that night. (This is the kind of unorthodox chronology that makes me better than Capote.) Earlier on, there was a benefit celebrating the 20th anniversary of Florent, where I asked restaurateur FLORENT MORELLET why his big cause, “hastened death” (a nicer term than suicide), is so important. He went on for 10 minutes, graciously explaining the need for “aid in dying,” after which I brilliantly said, “But this is a pretty festive event considering it’s for killing oneself.” Awkward silence. “Oh, no! This is a benefit for the High Line!” he shrieked. Still, it was a pretty festive event.
So was porn prince MICHAEL LUCAS‘s house party, which I dragged Mom to, walker and all, without telling her any of the background. “Everyone’s so nice!” she exclaimed about the roomful of fisters, fuckers, and felchers. (And they are, they are—from top to bottom.)
NIGHT OF THE HUNTER
Farther uptown, at the Weather Man premiere, I asked restaurateur ELAINE KAUFMAN about her place’s recent TAB HUNTER party. “He was very charming,” she crowed. Other bashes? “The little guy, MICHAEL GROSS, had a book party.” Any others? “They’re all the same,” she deadpanned. “I have to tell you?”
After the screening, co-star HOPE DAVIS had to tell me that someone near her was offended by the film’s cameltoe montage. “That’s shocking?” she said. “Downtown there’s a billboard of a guy coming out of the waves and a girl’s about to blow him, and their heads turn to the camera. That’s the closest thing to pornography. And the cameltoe thing is shocking?” Not to the man near me who was making appreciative noises. (I think he even liked the gay pedophile.)
Back to the little guy—Michael Gross, not Capote—a Barnes & Noble ad in the Times unfortunately ran with the wrong photo. It was of MICHAEL JOSEPH GROSS, a whole other, maybe even taller entity (but not by 12 inches).
But even a short-tempered Times review can’t bring hastened death to The Odd Couple, which is comfy, mechanical, and sold-out. Like The Producers, this chestnut is basically a male love story, with messy Oscar falling for fussy Felix, the original metrosexual, oven mitts and all. Naturally, I hunted for the lines reeking of gay subtext: “You’re tops with me, Oscar!” “That’s really funny coming from a fruitcake like you,” “Don’t forget to look at my meat,” and Oscar’s line, after Felix moves out: “We broke up!” At the party, I asked JERRY SEINFELD if it was really a gay love story. After humorously urging me to give him a firmer handshake, he said, “No, it’s a traditional love story.” Between whom? “Between two people.” And I guess they’re not about to risk it all for a blowjob.
Mo Pitkin’s wall of fame
Monsters and Mo’s
HX magazine’s 14th anniversary party at Avalon was a woozy waltz down memory lane, magically turning the club back into the colorfully demented Limelight before my jaded eyes. My booth was enlivened by a straight couple violently making out, a fat guy praying on his knees, a shirtless club kid staring at me with glazed eyes, and someone screaming, “Did you see Party Monster?” All of the above eagerly held out their glasses when someone came around with warm vodka . . . On a calmer note, the restaurant- showcase Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction—from the Two Boots people—is a hit, thanks to its East Villagey feel and Hadassah/Havana menu (they actually have a Cuban Reuben). The Satisfaction salad is always available—they never say “We can’t get no Satisfaction.” . . . Not satisfied with PARIS HILTON‘s last book? I hear she’s doing another one . . . Speaking of more, more, more, spies also say the World of Wonder boys will get their own channel . . . Channeling a preacher man, CARLTON J. SMITH starred in another powerhouse Motown brunch at B.B. King’s and told the crowd, “God is in the lowest crack house. He’s even in the White House—though theyain’t listening!”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 25, 2005