John Turturro is hoping his movie Romance & Cigarettes is really going to make it this time. The indie musical about working-class neighbors in Queens who sing classic pop songs as an escape was a festival darling in 2005, but it's only now getting an American release. "I feel like Odysseus," Turturro told the audience at last night's premiere of the flick. "Our little boat lost its way, and it's finally found its way home." Sweet and surprising, the movie has perhaps the funniest sex scene of the decade, with Kate Winslet spewing the most astonishing obscenities as a tarty underwear salesgirl having an affair with a married construction worker, played by James Gandolfini. "She just started making things up," said Turturro. However the film fares here, Italians, at least, love it. Flying back from a trip to Naples, Turturro said, his e-ticket got lost in the system. Then ticket guy recognized him. "You made Romance & Cigarettes, no? Buonissimo! I get you your ticket." Then his fellow ticket guy jumped in. "Yeah, but I hear you're having a lot of trouble in America." —Jada YuanBonus Party Lines: John Turturro on dancing, Bobby Cannavale on singing, Susan Sarandon and Bebe Neuwirth on their worst jobs, and Aida Turturro on her underwear, plus lots more, at our Romance & CigarettesInteractive Party Lines.
R. Kelly! Live in New York! For the official premiere of Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 13–22! Omg omg omg! Okay, yeah, so he barely said anything. And wouldn't talk to press. And didn't have much of a boldface-name turnout. So what? Vulture was at the IFC Center for that momentous occasion, and its minions report back.
R. Kelly Even More Awesome in Person [Vulture]
The Wet Hot American Summer gang — the Stella gang? Part of the State gang? — is back with a new movie: The Ten. It's ten sketches, each inspired by one of the Ten Commandments, and it premiered last night at the DGA Theater in midtown. The after-party was at Avalon in Chelsea, and our Party Lines crew reports it was particularly late and particularly boozy, with a D.J. playing oldies, lots of small food (mini-burgers, mini–croque monsieurs), and big crowds on the smoking porch. What did David Wain, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Paul Rudd, Kerri Kenney, Gretchen Mol, Winona Ryder, and lots of others have to say at the party? Why was Chris Meloni wearing that ridiculous hat and Janeane Garofalo that crazy jacket? Why was Winona wearing an overcoat and a hat? (Does she have her own weather system?) All those answers at our Interactive Party Lines.
'The Ten' Screening [NYM]
Human beings build mental models for things. You don't really think about your commute into work; you just do it, the same as you do every day. This is why every now and then, when you walk to that same subway station to go someplace else, you get on that usual morning-commute train even though you mean to go the other way. Well, we have a model for party reporting, and last night we were set to cover the after-party for Glenn Close's new FX drama, Damages, which we were told was at Cipriani's. We assumed that meant Cipriani 42nd Street, so we left the office at the end of the day on autopilot. We saw some police barricades; we ignored them. We turned onto 42nd Street. There were a lot of bright lights. The street was blocked off. Wow, we thought, big premiere.
The marathon of Hairspray premieres ran on last night, stopping just over the Hudson in Newark, New Jersey — and, well, those Jerseyans took things seriously. Nearly 2,000 fans were gathered in front of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center as the celebrities arrived, and they were dolled up in their finest. (“I’m, like, the only underdressed person here,” moaned a jeans-clad teen outside the ladies' room.) Hottie Zac Efron and lovable Nikki Blonsky were greeted with cheers as they entered the building, but Queen Latifah’s appearance drove the crowd to a frenzy. The Queen, a Newark native, broke past press lines to embrace fans who had waited hours to see her. “Go with your own path, stop following everybody else’s," she told the crowd. "And go for your goal. You can accomplish it."
Last night's big New York premiere for Hairspray — one of many being held around the country — brought out movie stars, Broadway stars, musicians, and even a big queen. By which we mean Miss Latifah, of course, who plays Motormouth Maybelle in the movie — although, yes, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the show's composer-lyricist couple were there, plus Lance Bass, who takes over the Corny Collins role on Broadway next month. On the red carpet, Bass told us he arrived in New York two days ago and has four agents from competing brokerages working on his apartment hunt. (Ah, to be a boy-band alum!) Wittman and Shaiman joked about what a loose woman John Travolta became the moment he put on Edna's drag.
If you'll allow our cold, hard heart to be warmed for just a second: A little more than a year ago, Nikki Blonsky was serving ice cream on Long Island and preparing for her high-school musical; last night the movie she stars in — Hairspray, with John Travolta as her mother — premiered at the Ziegfeld, and she got to mug for photographers with Liza Minnelli. We'd be smiling that big, too. (Oh, and you've got to see Liza's full outfit — those pants! — after the jump.)
Related:Big Girl Now [NYM]
It can't be easy to watch yourself portrayed as Reggie Jackson's rival in an eight-week ESPN miniseries. But at last week's premiere party for The Bronx Is Burning, which debuted last night, Mickey Rivers, who played center field for the Yanks in that '77 season, was laughing up a storm. When he left the screening, he had a friend deliver a few words to Daniel Sunjata, who plays Jackson: "I still don't like Reggie, but you're okay." Then he spoke to New York about his old nemesis, life in the old dugout, and whether Alex Rodriguez is the new Reggie.
The Ziegfeld's red carpet nearly buckled last week under the Zeitgeisty weight of Brangelina, and things felt nearly as heady last night at the premiere of Michael Moore's health-care doc Sicko. Like Angie, Moore was looking his skinniest, and, also like Angie, he was barely available for quotes. (Okay, granted, his handlers were bum-rushing him past reporters to make the already-delayed screening.) Passing B-listers, on the other hand, were much easier to buttonhole. Comic Robert Klein called Moore's earlier films "not always right on their facts" but said he admires the iconic schlub's satirical genius and flair for awkward confrontations. Morgan Spurlock checked out his spiritual forefather's trimmer look. "He's a handsome man," the anti-fast-food muckraker said approvingly. When we got our 30 seconds with Moore, we asked how he felt about Sicko leaking to YouTube. He was outraged! "People should see the movie in the way I meant it be shown on the big screen." Or was he? "But I don't agree with copyright laws in this country. I believe in sharing, and I think that's only good in the long run. I just want people to see it." We would have asked him to explain at the after-party, but we weren't invited. —Justin Ravitz
Hear more from Moore and Spurlock and learn what Swoosie Kurtz and Carol Apt had to say at our Interactive Party Lines.
Related: Michael Moore: Medicine Man [NYM]