Jesus took the wheel and got me on an Atlantic City junket to see petite powerhouse CARRIE UNDERWOOD put the Christ back in country. Carrie’s showat Caesars Palace’s renovated Circus Maximus Theaterwas fascinating for all the contradictions she projected beyond her reality-show unreality. She was styled in a Little House on the Prairie babydoll dress, but to vamp it up, they made it a mini and put her in do-me black stiletto-heeled boots. And her behavior was similarly mixed-metaphor-laden. The woman has huge potential for trailery sex appeal, but she worked overtime to buckle that in and be polite and unassuming, asking permission to do certain songs and even apologizing when one of them got a little rough. (“Of course I don’t condone violence. That’s a no-no. Resolve your problems peacefully.”)
Carrie enjoyably applied her pipes to a smattering of slick crossover tunes, peaking with the Jesus song—which clearly suggests that those who die in car accidents are unrepentant heathens—and even a GUNS N’ ROSES cover, complete with adenoidal screeching. But generally exuding the personality of a studio singer, she didn’t make an intimate connection with the audience, falling back on nicey-nice patter (“When they asked me if I was interested in going to Africa, I was like, yeah!”) and so many references to her American Idol win that one junketeer compared it to GIULIANI‘s overreliance on 9/11 no matter what the question.
After more creamy vocals touchingly mixed with tentative dance steps, Carrie told the crowd that on her victorious Idol night, she didn’t use hair spray because there were fireworks going on behind her and she didn’t want to ignite—not literally anyway. “Thank the good Lord that didn’t happen,” she related, beatifically. But she’d have been better off having lost and flamed up a little. Carrie Underwood without hair spray does not quite work.
Jesus took a heel in the case of shoe-wielding attacker FLOTILLA DEBARGE, the local drag star who called me to say things are down to the wire on her footwear-instigated fate. (Yes, the other shoe’s gonna drop.) “Will I be NAOMI CAMPBELL or will I be thrown in with PARIS HILTON?” she winkily said on my machine as her sentence drew closer. Either way, I’m scared. (But of course I don’t condone violence. Resolve your problems blah, blah, blah. And by the way, I’m thrilled that while we still haven’t nabbed BIN LADEN, at least we got Paris!)
Another clubbie turned assailant, killer diller MICHAEL ALIG, is gloating to people that when he gets out of the clink, he’ll be bigger than Naomi, Paris, and Flotilla combined. Alig swears he’ll have a photo book of his artwork that will coincide with a Chelsea gallery show; a remake of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? starring him and JAMES ST. JAMES; a Disco 2000 makeup line; a World of Wonder-produced reality show about his efforts to create a new scene; a movie about club life; and a day job as an assistant editor at Jane magazine. Then again, take it with a grain of . . . everything.
In other life-threatening news, the organizers of Cause Celeb—the celebrity-memoir-reading event that plays various clubs—are considering doing a PHIL SPECTOR-related evening called And Then He Killed Me.
Moving on, two, three: Violent whites fill HBO’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which is tastefully done, with Native Americans radiating nobility even when saying stuff like, “Your words seem to come from your rear end.” Co-star ADAM BEACH is superb—and hot—reminding me that when I recently wrote, “I’d like to have sex on the Beach,” a fellow Saulteaux Indian promptly shot off a letter saying, “We have been raped and pillaged for centuries! You will not add to that raping!” No, I won’t, darling. And I’ll never say another Saulteaux Indian is attractive again, OK?
Satan took the wheel and got me to Fire Island, which used to be a flat landscape (except for the chests), but which now has two large new structures about to open: a Cipriani market right where the Pines ferry lands, and a gigantic new community center farther into the woods. At least they’re raping and pillaging the place for some buildings I might finally make sense in.
I fully belong at the Thursday night Kino 41 bash, which has grown in fabulosity to become like a larger-scale Happy Valley. But the other week, RUPAUL sashayed in, posed for a TINA PAUL picture setup, wouldn’t pose for another one (“Didn’t we do this?”), performed a fiercely attitudey song from her Starrbooty movie, drove the crowd wild, then raced out the door. Said co-promoter KENNY KENNY, “I guess I never met Starrbooty before. She’s a tough cookieno smiles or kisses. The movie looks amazing. I just feel the old RuPaul will always be my hero.” But why the ‘tude?, I still wondered. Was Ru simply staying in character? “I’m not sure,” responded Ru’s publicist. “I know he was looking forward to performing at that party.”
Another quickie celebrity drop-in, FERGIE, made appearances at gay bashes at Barracuda and Porky’s over Memorial Day weekend, accompanied by MARC JACOBS‘s ex, who must know where the dead are buried. The gays loved her lovely lady lumps, though they normally spew their Cipriani lunches over such things.
At the Garden of Ono’s Sunday night gay bash, I had a lengthy chat with boxer Joe Louis’s son, JOE LOUIS BARROW, and came especially alive when asking what his pugilistic pop thought of his gayness. “He died before I was outed by the Star,” replied Barrow, “on the same cover as CHASTITY BONO and Richard Pryor’s son. But he was a unifier. He would have come around.” So did I after Barrow told me he did blow with JULIAN LENNON and was in Promises rehab center at the same time as DIANA ROSS, who was told by someone, “Take off the dark glasses. Everyone’s famous here!”
Everyone’s spectacular at the Tuesday night party Beige too, especially last week when LUCY LAWLESS turned up (“to enable my gay friend,” she said, laughing) and so did LANCE BASS (whose chumming it up with a Brazilian hottie in Vienna led to false items that J.C. Chasez hooked up with designer ESTEBAN CORTAZAR). Lawless was in town to perform her rock show called Come to Mama, and no, she wasn’t toying with wearing a babydoll minidress, but she was
concerned about what to do with her hair. Rather than even ask if she was performing with fireworks, I sardonically suggested she talk to Bass for coiffing advice, and she was perfectly willing to do so, having assumed he must be a hairdresser! (Ah, boyband fame is more fleeting than an enema.)
Meanwhile, everyone enabled my gay friend DAVID HYDE PIERCE to be semi-closety by dancing around the g-word for years, but he just officially, finally came out, and afterelton.com says it probably had something to do with my recent Out magazine cover story naming him as one of the Hyde-ing-in-plain-sight glass closeters. Send all pansies and other congratulatory arrangements to yours truly, c/o Promises!
And send roses to MARION COTILLARD for a deeply committed performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose and for supposedly changing her hairstyle (and, I guess, spray) between the premiere and the after-party. “But I didn’t!” she told me when she arrived at the latter, regretting nothing. More important, ma cher, wasn’t Piaf a little bit like my messy old pal Judy Garland? Yes, Cotillard said, “but also like Joplin, Morrison, Johnny Cash, and all the great singers who found happiness and destroyed themselves with drugs.” (She strangely forgot to mention LINDSAY LOHAN.) Seeing as the movie basically consists of a series of people saying, “Edith, brace yourself for some bad news,” how did Cotillard escape from all the pain? “It wasn’t my pain,” Cotillard noted, sagely. This babe might not have any more pathos than Carrie Underwood, but at least she knows how to turn it on when called for.