John Turturro’s ‘Romance & Cigarettes’ Comes HomeJohn 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 Yuan
Bonus 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 & Cigarettes Interactive Party Lines.
James Brolin: That’s Not Richard Gere’s Butt
Richard Gere may say that’s his own butt in The Hunting Party, but his co-star James Brolin isn’t buying it. “That was a body double,” Mr. Barbra Streisand told us at a promotional lunch for the movie yesterday. “I’m sure that it was not his. If you look at the picture, there is a quick cut and I know, it doesn’t look like him.” Brolin knows what Gere’s backside looks like? “I worked with him for months. I know how his shoulders are shaped, and the minute they cut to that, I said, ‘That is not Richard.’ I don’t think it is him. But they’ll never tell you. It’s good press.” —Shira Levine
show and talk
There She Is, Your Overdressed Pet
The imprecisely named Pet Fashion Week was held in New York over the weekend — perhaps two days to a human is like seven days to a dog? — and New York’s Elizabeth Cline was there for the big pet fashion show Saturday night. What was the scene like backstage? About what you’d expect. Take a look; it’ll make your Monday.
Backstage: Pet Fashion Week [NYM]
What We Learned on the Night Before ‘The Ten’
Last night was yet another party for The Ten, the commandments-spoofing movie from the Wet Hot American Summer–slash–The State–slash–Stella crowd, and we learned several important things smoking and drinking backstage with Janeane Garofalo, Amy Poehler, and Rashida Jones. Among them:
• Garafalo, who makes an uncredited cameo in the movie, dislikes gossip magazines but can accept their right to exist. “There’s journalism and there’s dirt digging,” she said after a stand-up stand. “It’s not real journalism. But gossiping is, I guess, just part of the human condition.”
• Poehler, who was onstage barely longer than it took her to mimic jerking off, had little to say about the human condition but lots to say about our fear of getting older. “You know what the best years are?” she asked. “28 to 30. Ooh, they’re good.” (Somehow we think her 1998–2000 Comedy Central show had something to do with that.)
• And Jones revealed that she hasn’t always been funny. “I took a class with the Groundlings in L.A.,” she recalled. Before that, “God, I was so bad.”
• Also, David Wain has a fake tooth, and Ken Marino is in full support of breast-feeding, though he thinks National Breast Feeding Week could be replaced by a tasteful liquid lunch.
And now you know. —Jocelyn Guest
At JT’s Restaurant Opening, Long Waits, Bad PR, and a Gratuitous Insult to Our Intrepid Party ReporterWe have rarely come across a press event as epically bad (and badly run) as last night’s opening of Justin Timberlake’s gratuitous addition to the city’s barbecue scene, Southern Hospitality. Press and fans waited for over three hours for the man of the hour to arrive. (The publicists explained that he was always scheduled to arrive late, but insisted that the explosion at Grand Central was to blame for tardy red carpet. Um, we work in midtown and we made it to 76th Street and Second Avenue — JT’s new restaurant is across the street from frat-boy-heaven Brother Jimmy’s, naturally — in less than 30 minutes.) A weird mishmash of boldfacers were in attendance: Seth Green, Lance Bass, the Reverend Al Sharpton, local club owners, a dude from Making the Band 4 — few of whom would give print reporters more than one-word responses. (“A fire,” “three,” and “no,” if you must know.) Once Timberlake finally arrived, the publicists, in another brilliant move, placed security guards in front of the press line, rather than in front of the crowd that was surging toward the former boy-bander. Timberlake beelined for the television cameras, looking like a member of the world’s coolest barber-shop quartet in a vest and flat-brimmed hat.
‘America’s Next Top (Spokes)Model’ Comes to ChelseaMost reality/ talent-show contestants have earned their spots on TV by waiting on line for hours, doing their thing for some judges, and schlepping out to Los Angeles. But when Smartwater (“Hydration you can feel!”) sponsored an America’s Next Top Model audition in a Chelsea club last night, there was one more step: The eight tri-state finalists gathered at Stereo also had to flack the product — even posing with a bottle of the stuff — in hopes being sent west. They’d arrived at eleven in the morning for hair, makeup, and, one assumes, some Smartwater brainwashing. And it took. By the time the event started at 8 p.m., nearly every word from the girls touted the water’s substance and style.
She Was Not a Figment of Your Imagination
We’re not entirely sure what the Figment Festival, held yesterday on Governors Island, was (seems like a very mini, East Coast version of Burning Man), and we disagree with the Gothamists, who place this photo on the quasi-abandoned island (what with the high-rise and the tunnel and the traffic, we’re going with lower Manhattan). But, still, cool picture, and interesting-sounding event, and, well, we really do need to get ourselves out there one of these days. It’s open to the public each weekend through Labor Day.
Welcome to the Week [Gothamist]
Related: Arts Festival Awakens Sleepy Governors Island [Metro NY]
Visit the Island [GovIsland.com]
The Newlywed Game With Claire and Hugh (Who Are Not Newly Wed)
Many of the promised celebs didn’t turn up last night for Afghan Hands launch party, celebrating the outreach charity for Afghan widows founded by celebrity makeup artist (and native Afghan) Matin Maulawizada. (Classy, folks!) But the “It”-ish couple Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy were there, looking gorgeous and gamely — and separately — answering our impertinent questions. How did their responses match up? It’s the Daily Intel Party Lines Q&A Newlywed Game! (Not that they’re newly wed, or even engaged, or anything close.)
Revenge of the Flip-Flops!Finally, footwear vindication! Though we were embarrassed by our feet in the meatpacking district the other night, last night we could wear our flip-flops proudly: It was the 45th anniversary party for Havaiana flip-flops. We were in our Havaianas, standing in the roped-in party space on the second floor of the Time Warner Center, attempting to sip white wine and look moderately sophisticated while weary-eyed tourists in Borders stared at us through the glass wall as if they were watching monkeys pick bugs off each other at the Bronx Zoo. There were three giant flip-flops filled with foliage decorating the space (one had grass, one well-manicured daisies, and one overrun with orchids and jungle plants) and a helpful sign detailing the history of flip-flops: Apparently two out of three Brazilians own a pair of Havaianas! Sadly, though, among the perhaps 150 sets of feet last night, we counted only eight pairs of Havaianas and seven pairs of non-Havaiana flip-flops. Still, much better than that night in the meatpacking. —Jada Yuan
Earlier: In Which a Party Reporter Is Embarrassed by Her Footwear
In Which a Party Reporter Is Embarrassed By Her Footwear
We really ought to read press releases more carefully. Last night was the grand opening of Iris, a new store in the meatpacking district, and the release announced a “FALL 2008 PREVIEW OF: CHLOÉ, MARC JACOBS, JOHN GALLIANO, PAUL SMITH, VERONIQUE BRANQUINHO, AND VICTOR & ROLF.” We expected a runway show and celebrities. Exciting! So we trekked to Washington Street and Little West 12th. We were sweaty and clad in Havaiana flip-flops and a breezy polka-dot number from Ross Dress for Less (and — we’ll have you know — you wouldn’t believe the compliments we get). What we hadn’t read closely enough to discover is that Iris is a luxury shoe boutique. And when we arrived, well, if our feet had feelings, they would have been humiliated. The store is petite. And was packed. With intensely fashionable people. We stepped inside, did a quick lap among all those high-heeled sandals and perfectly pedicured toes, and walked right out. It was the fastest we’ve ever gone through a party. And then we rushed off to find friends in sneakers. Shoes in the store were cute, though. —Jada Yuan
There She Is, Murray Hill and Ms. Lez
The seventh annual Ms. Lez competition took place last night in Williamsburg, and, with everybody’s favorite Catskills-evoking drag king, Mr. Murray Hill, as host, it was bent on finding the most fabulous lesbian, transgendered, or otherwise “queer” woman in New York City. Judges including longtime drag queen Linda Simpson and Rose Troche, director of the nineties indie-dyke classic Go Fish, evaluated seven contestants who proved that lesbians could be just as potty-mouthed as men. The winner was Miss I Heart Brooklyn, a fake-ditsy, bikini-clad bombshell who made “summer water safety” her platform, tossing dental dams out to her hoards of female fans. “If you’re drowning, just take out your portable dam — and you’re not even in the water anymore!” she chirped. Before the show began, we chatted with some of the major players.
Liza RapsIt was not particularly surprising to find Liza Minnelli at last night’s amfAR Honoring With Pride benefit. It was entirely surprising, however, when Liza broke into a rap on her way into the Rainbow Room. “There’s always a man that you love,” Liza quasi-rapped for us. “There’s always a man that you didn’t love. There’s always a man that you love to love, and a man that you love too much.” She’s working on a new album inspired by her godmother, Kay Thompson, and the rap will be on it. “She was the first rapper,” Liza told us, proudly, of Thompson. Um, okay. If you say so. —Brett Amelkin
CORRECTION, June 7: Minnelli is work on an album of songs associated with Thompson. She is not working on an album with Thompson, who died in 1998, as that item initially stated.
McCourt, Gopnik, Hamill — Plus Other Aging Literati — Celebrate the Strand’s 80th
The Strand Bookstore turned 80 on Saturday, and owners Fred Bass and Nancy Bass Wyden threw a big party in its honor. You may not have been there, but New York’s Party Lines team was. What’d we learn? That Frank McCourt dislikes lettuce and parsley, that Kurt Andersen was inspired to write novels by Don DeLillo, that Adam Gopnik is willing to wear silly hats, and that, at least on special occasions, Nora Ephron will display her neck.
Strand Bookstore Celebrates Its 80th Anniversary [Interactive Party Lines]
Earlier: The Strand Turns 80
CFDA’s Titanic iPod: It’s Unsyncable!The fashion-industry elite walking out of the Swarovski-sponsored pre–CFDA awards dinner at Top of the Rock last night found a particularly exciting treat in their gift bags: a Swarovski-crystal- encrusted iPod Shuffle. There’s just one problem. The crystals covering the case make the Shuffle too big to fit in its dock, which means it won’t sync with a computer. Unless, that is, the fashionistas go out and buy Shuffle adaptors, we’re told. Note to Swarovski: Next time, get a tech team in to consult on crystal size. —Jada Yuan
Book Expo: Read All About It! (Ha!)
Book Expo America — the annual, enormous books-biz tradeshow that invaded the Javits Center last Thursday — reached its final chapter yesterday. Heartbroken you missed all the excitement? Buck up, little reader: Vulture’s correspondents were there, and they brought back all sorts of goodies for you (if by “goodies,” you mean “brief dispatches”). Julianne Moore! Tina Brown! An animatronic-ish Margaret Atwood! Foreskins! Everything you ever wanted to know about Book Expo awaits at Vulture.
Book Expo [Vulture]
Are You Smarter Than a Goldman Banker?Great triumph mixed with crushing defeat the other night as highly competitive people with lots of disposable income gathered at the Gramercy Park Hotel Private Roof Club for a fancy quiz night to benefit Darna, an organization that feeds struggling women and children in Tangier. It was a strange mix of monied New York: socialites, models, fashion designers, and, of course, investment bankers, who felt a little out of place. “We’re investment-bank nerds, so we spent pretty much a month planning our outfits,” said a member of the Goldman Sachs team. “We had wardrobe consultations on conference calls.” The grand prize they were competing for? A trip to Morocco to stay in the family villa of model Jacquetta Wheeler, the host.
At DVF Opening, It’s Everybody in the Pool!Diane Von Furstenberg’s literally shiny new flagship store in the meatpacking district may have mirrored ceilings and a staircase lined with Swarovski crystals, but it was a hard-to-spot pool, decorative and flush with the floor, along the back wall of the lobby, that garnered the most attention at last night’s opening party. By night’s end, that little body of water had claimed ten very embarrassed victims, including this reporter, and one very drenched laptop.
At Kitchen Gala, Seeking Baking SuppliesThe Kitchen is a forward- thinking arts center in Chelsea, and yet it somehow manages each year to wrangle avant- garde musicians, performance artists, and all manner of downtown freak to a stately, 10021-style benefit gala. At this year’s installment, held this week, the main honoree was experimental-music star Laurie Anderson (it’s her 60th birthday), and serenading her from the stage were several next- generation stars not terribly accustomed to playing over the sound of scraping knives and clinking glasses. Each coped in his own way.
SJP Won’t Bite at Bitten Launch, But Amy Sacco Warns Us About Ellen Barkin
Sarah Jessica Parker wasn’t talking to the press at last night’s press event for her new clothing line, called Bitten, for cheapie department store Steve and Barry’s. (“Thank you for respecting our no-interviews request,” her rep hissed. We heard a rumor that was because People had an exclusive, but the rep insisted it was merely because they’d rather we “write about the exciting new line of affordable clothing” than pay attention to the celebrity they were using to get attention for the line.) So instead we asked our bite-focused questions to the very svelte Amy Sacco, who reported that she has largely stopped biting. “I’m over food,” she said. “I’m doing all fish and really light stuff like salads. I want to get into a bikini this summer and be brave.” What about other kinds of biting? No doubt some kinky stuff happens late-night at Bungalow. “I’ve been bitten by Ellen Barkin,” Sacco gamely reported. “Ellen Barkin gave me a hickey. You have to be careful. She is very fast and you don’t see it coming.” If only Ron Perelman had known. —Shira Levine
At PEN Gala, Rushdie (With Lakshmi!) and Shteyngart Bemoan Demise of Book ReviewsThe T. Rex cantilevered over the famous writerly heads at the PEN gala last week at the Museum of Natural History supplied a metaphor too crushingly obvious for any of the assembled literary luminaries to use. Which didn’t make it any less valid: With one daily newspaper after another dropping book coverage, the world of letters hasn’t felt this vulnerable since the first TVs flickered on. “Literature is going the way of this dinosaur!” proclaimed a very trim Gary Shteyngart. “Wait, Salman Rushdie has already said something like that, ” he continued. “Let’s elaborate. Hang on. If the literature is the dinosaur, then the creeping national illiteracy is the meteoric event that Okay, this is not working. I can’t be pithy with my clothes on.” Within minutes, Rushdie himself arrived, accompanied by supposedly estranged wife Padma Lakshmi. His take on the book-critic shortage: “When I was starting out, any novelist’s debut, no matter how small, would get reviewed across the country. I would hate to be a young writer right now.” Letting Lakshmi get momentarily lost in the crowd while he finished his point, Rushdie added, “But let me tell you, it’s a dangerous game. The newspapers that are cutting people’s attention to reading may be cutting their own throats.” —Michael Idov
On the Sudden Seeming Ubiquity of Bill Clinton
Is it our imagination, or has Bill Clinton been a busy little bee lately — or, at least, a busy little potential First Husband? In eight recent days, he schmoozed, posed for pictures, and occasionally gave speeches at four different high-visibility charity events. The last time he’d attended a gossip-column-worthy event in town was in January, for his good friend Terry McAuliffe’s book party. This latest burst started a week ago Monday, when he came to the Food Bank for New York City’s “Can-Do Awards” at Pier 60, wandering in late from a Hillary fund-raiser at Pier 94 with Chelsea, who wore a Hillary campaign button. He introduced U2’s the Edge, who was being honored, and then he fake-admonished Jimmy Fallon, who had just sung a ditty called “Car Wash for Peace,” for withholding a plan that could have broken the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. The room exploded, and the Food Bank’s coffers hit a record high.
They’ll Always Have ParisParis, je t’aime — a collection of eighteen micro-mini shorts set in, and in tribute to, the French metropolis of croissants, angst, and amour — premiered at, natch, the Paris Theater on 58th Street last night. The shorts were made by brand-name auteurs — the Coen Brothers, Alexander Payne, Alfonso Cuarón, and Wes Craven among them — and a slew of boldfacers came out to walk Yves Saint Laurent–sponsored black carpet. (Black, rather than red, is apparently plus chic.) Natalie Portman was there, channeling Audrey Hepburn again, plus Maggie Gyllenhaal, Elijah Wood, Emily Mortimer, Steve Buscemi, Gena Rowlands, and Ben Gazzara. What are these New Yorkers top memories of the City of Light? Tales of excessive drinking, bad hairdressers, and, bien sur, the Eiffel Tower await after the jump.
Bono Celebrates Orangeman Lou Reed, Confesses He Owes Him MoneySo remember the mysterious, quasi-postmodern Unnamed Event With Lou Reed from last week? Big news! Turns out the thing did have a name; it was “Syracuse University awards Lou Reed with the George Arents Pioneer Medal.” (The medal is apparently Syracuse’s highest alumni honor. More interesting, Lou Reed is also apparently a Syracuse alum.) But we also learned that Reed might have more than just an alumni award coming to him. Why was Bono there, we asked the U2 front man. “Because I am in a state of genuflection,” he told us from behind his sunglasses. “I would carry Lou Reed’s luggage; I probably have carried his luggage! There are about nine or ten U2 songs that he deserves royalties for that I don’t think he’s ever received.” Um, wow. Is that really something you’re supposed to admit? We hope Reed’s into that whole debt-forgiveness thing, too. —Genevieve Leon
Earlier: It’s Not a Lou Reed Event Without Andy Rooney
Making the BandThe long national nightmare is over: Menudo, Spanish-speaking eighties boy band, is coming back. That means the producers need to round up a troupe of singing and dancing Latino teenagers, and this weekend the talent search came to New York City. Nearly 100 hopeful performers tried out at the Queens Center Mall Saturday, and Tim Murphy was there for Vulture, New York’s new arts-and-culture blog, to learn what drives kids to be aspiring Ricky Martins. Find out at Vulture.
They Want to Live La Vida Menudo [Vulture]
Lance Armstrong Can Dress HimselfAt the Spirit of Jimmy V Awards last night, a very dapper and very tan Lance Armstrong strolled onto Pier 60 in a spiffy suit and a repp tie, and with no USPS or Discovery Channel logo in sight. He was there, as was the U.S. Army women’s basketball team, to receive the Jimmy V award for raising money for cancer research. We buttonholed him on his way in to get some advice about biking — and about fashion.
Sean Connery Is Not Dead
When Scotsmen invaded the city earlier this week for the Friends of Scotland’s annual Dressed to Kilt charity fashion show, the event’s unofficial king, Sir Sean Connery, was notably absent. Why? As he told us the next night at a dinner Hennessy Cognac threw in his honor, he was recovering from a kidney exam at New York Presbyterian. “I actually heard from quite a few people that everyone thought I was dead because I wasn’t there last night,” he said. “No, I had to have a test because last time I was here, I had a tumor on the kidney. Everything’s perfect.” Well, almost perfect.
Celebrities Exposed at Dressed to KiltLast night was the annual Dressed to Kilt fashion show, a benefit at Capitale for which innumerable celebrities and demi-celebrities — like Stone Phillips (at left), and you can decide for yourself which category he falls into — walk the catwalk in kilts to benefit the Friends of Scotland charity, show off their legs, and raise the question in curious onlookers’ minds of just what body parts they might display that they don’t mean to display. (How does a true Scotsman pick up women? “Sit on a bar stool, give ‘em a little peep,” explained Lord of the Rings hobbit Billy Boyd.)
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About ‘Sopranos’ Whackings
Because no aspect of the Sopranos phenomenon should be left unexplored in the publicity blitz leading up to next Sunday’s premiere of the final season, midtown’s Museum of Television and Radio last night hosted “The Whacked Sopranos,” a panel discussion at which we gained yet more perspective on the show from five of its late and lamented. The big lesson: Even though they lost paychecks and prominence, the actors who played the whacked characters understand that they needed to go. “Whadaya gonna do,” asked Vincent Pastore, who played “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero, “put him in witness protection? That’s NBC.”
Faking Our Way Through the ‘Faking It’ PartyThe latest book from the boys of CollegeHumor is Faking It, which teaches you how to pretend to be worldly for fun and profit. At a party for the book in midtown last night, the CollegeHumor founders were dressed in faux-NASA spacesuits — they were faking it as astronauts, although, frankly, we thought they looked more like gay-porn stars — and we, too, gamely put dignity aside to test out some of the book’s techniques. The depressing verdict: Lying works. The evidence is after the jump.
Young Conceptualist Gets an ‘A’ in Grant WritingBubbleBath, a March 24 event in Union Square to be staged by 21-year-old School of Visual Arts student Anthony DeFranco, sounds simple enough: He will give away 400 bottles of bubble solution to passersby. Cute. Or is it? That shallow perception might shatter when you skim the talking points DeFranco and the school are peddling to the media:
• The project is inspired by the writings of Pythagoras (misspelled as Pythagorus) about the “harmony of the spheres.”
• It will also celebrate the arrival of spring.
• Its official supporters and sponsors include the NYC Parks Department, Union Square Partnership, and Community Board 5.
• It is DeFranco’s mission “to bring people together, to help them to connect with each other and to hear the music that we are all making.”
• It took two years — two years! — to develop.
The punch line? It’s DeFranco’s senior thesis for a BFA in graphic design.
BubbleBath Press Kit [BubbleBathNYC.com, .pdf]
BubbleBath on MySpace
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The View From the Press Room
In the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last night, rock journalism’s upper crust — folks like Ann Powers, Joe Levy, and, of course, Jann Wenner, all decked out in their Sunday best — dined alongside music-industry suits, long-suffering band girlfriends, and anyone else willing to spend $3,000 to eat a cheese pâté with smoked salmon in the same room as Michael Stipe. Lesser press, however, was consigned to a chandeliered conference room elsewhere in the hotel, where more than a hundred surly non-big-name writers killed time between occasional artist pop-ins by sampling the cold-cut spread and avoiding mustard stains. Oh, and watching one dude play a furious air bass to Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines.”
Harlem’s Juelz at Hot 97 Party: Obama ‘08!Last night was Hot 97’s fourth annual Full Frontal Fashion show at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Hip-hop stars including Omarion and Lloyd performed, and Kimora Lee Simmons and P. Diddy showed their latest Baby Phat and Sean John collections. Hometown hero Juelz Santana, crown prince of Harlem’s beloved Dipset crew, gave us his take on the radio station, and his style. After the jump, find out why black people should “root for Obama.”
Paul Auster Is Huge in France, on Crosby Street
The two women hurried to finish their cigarettes on the steps of Housing Works bookstore last night, exchanging excited, quick trills in French: Paul Auster was about to arrive in person. This was not surprising: The first thing you hear as you approach an Auster reading, anywhere in the world, is French. Merely a best-selling author in these parts, Auster is a rock star in Paris. He is a subject of picture books — one, called Paul Auster’s New York, contains photos of locales from le maître’s novels — regarded as an official ambassador of authentic New Yorkiness, alongside Woody Allen. And a quick scan of the fans who turned out for a reading from his new novel, Travels in the Scriptorium, suggested a similar ardor can be found in many foreign countries.
Hanson Comes to New York: MMMBop Till You Puke!
Andrew W.K. played piano at Hanson’s big Supper Club show last night. That was strange enough. And Harlem’s entire Young Love Choir sang. But no one who joined the blond brothers onstage was louder than the roomful of Hanson fans. This spring marks the tenth anniversary of the sibling-pop trio’s single “MMMBop” (yes, they played it), and every guitar solo, song introduction, and minor gesture to the audience elicited a wave of Woo!s louder than the last. Despite the single-digit weather, fans camped out on the sidewalk early to get in, as evidenced by the Starbucks cups dotting the pavement. (See? Way more mature than the Mountain Dew they were drinking on line a decade ago.) But why did Andrew W.K. sign himself up for the popsters’ comeback?
Dining By Design, in Style and for Charity
Dining By Design, an annual charity thingie that plops society types down to dine among phantasmagoric table settings, is a reliable showcase of ingenuity with a serious tranny undercurrent (John Waters did a table once; Amanda Lepore was a table once). This year, DBD’s tenth, there was a palpable sense of overdrive in the West Chelsea event space: Most table designers were piling on feathers, antlers, holograms, lenticulars, fruit hats, and drag queens with corporate-sponsored abandon. On the tamer end, Ralph Lauren erected a mosquito-netted gazebo. Disney’s table recalled, curiously, a boardroom. Nautica went with the oh-my-God-we’re-on-a-yacht theme. In a slight faux pas, the Cole&Garrett and Lexus tables used the exact same chairs.
Seven Things We Noticed at the Armory ShowThe ninth annual Armory Show opens at the West Side piers today, bringing 148 of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries to Twelfth Avenue and 55th Street. (This is not to be confused with the Art Show, which is smaller and stodgier and opened yesterday at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue.) Yesterday was the press preview for the show, and New York art critic Karen Rosenberg was there. Her observations, in no particular order:
1. Stephen Shore’s black-and-white photographs of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick, at 303 Gallery, have all the charisma that’s missing from Factory Girl — and they were captured by an original Factory Boy.
2. There’s the obligatory but effective protest piece: Thomas Hirschorn’s sculpture at Arndt & Partner, combining grotesque bulges of newspaper and packing tape with unedited photographs of deformed people.
3. The BritArt Neon Wars rage on: Martin Creed’s succinct “SHIT” faces off against Tracy Emin’s confessional cursive “People like you need to fuck people like me.”
Reno 911: New York!Reno 911: Miami!, the new movie based on the Comedy Central hit about an incompetent police force, screened last night as part of the Tribeca Cinema Series. The cast — um, we mean the Reno Police Department — was there, and afterward they sat for a Q&A with the audience. New York’s intrepid party reporter had a few questions of her own.
Do you have any advice for the NYPD?
“Lt. Jim Dangle”: My advice for anyone out there who wants to get into law enforcement is learn a trade.
“Deputy Travis Junior”: Learn a skill.
Dangle: Do something valuable.
Junior: Go into like …
Dangle: Soft-core porno.
Junior: Get a Webcam video. Do something that matters and makes a difference …
Dangle: Because crime doesn’t pay, but you get to make your own hours.
Junior: Crime pays better than law enforcement.
‘Putnam County’ Goes G-A-YIt is a question handed down since the time of the pharaohs, or at least since the time of Joseph: How is gay night at a Broadway musical different from all other nights? The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — already a not-ungay show, featuring both a character with two dads and music and lyrics by William Finn, who wrote and composed the pioneering gay musical Falsettos — attempted to find out yesterday, with a special “gay night” performance.
Indie Music Awards a Little Too Indie?
Thank heaven for David Cross. The 2007 PLUG Independent Music Awards at Irving Plaza Saturday night were an appropriately “indie” mess. Would-be attendees stood for hours in the cold before being informed that the “day-of” tickets allegedly available at the sold-out show were a myth, the sound system was plagued with technical problems all night long, and, during the long wait for sets by scene favorites Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, El-P, and Silversun Pickups, attendees sat through a succession of odd, intermittently successful acts, very few of which went off without a significant delay. A much-hyped “iPod Battle” found the participants standing awkwardly onstage for ten minutes before they were able to kick off the “battle,” which culminated with a pair of oddballs in gladiator masks sprinkling glitter on each other to the tune of “Oh Yeah” by Yello. Jason Trachtenburg (of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players) led a hoarse, out-of-tune sing-along of “World’s Best Friend” (his wife and daughter were absent) that had most audience members heading for the bar for depressingly tiny $8 drinks. A barbershop quartet sang a cappella between bits. And so it fell to poor emcee David Cross to make light of things.
in other news
Speaking of White Trash Nation, we’d like to direct your attention to two events coming to our area this weekend. First Larry the Cable Guy plays Radio City Music Hall tonight and tomorrow night. Then there are four monster-truck rallies at Nassau Coliseum from tonight through Sunday. Toss in that bullriding competition at Madison Square Garden last month, and all that Nascar-in-Midtown mishegoss at the end of last year, and you start to wonder: We are still a blue state, right?
Earlier: Anna Nicole and ‘New York’: A No-Love-Lost Story
early and often
Spitzer Bails on Silver Dinner
Governor Spitzer is adding a new twist to the old adage: He’s not eating where he’s been shat upon. Sheldon Silver’s Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee has a gala dinner scheduled for next week honoring the new governor. The invitation promised a Grand Hyatt soirée next Thursday to celebrate “a new direction for New York State as we honor our Governor.” But Silver chose to honor the new governor yesterday afternoon by reneging on a deal and picking an Assembly member to be state comptroller. And now, according to a senior-level source in the administration, Spitzer will cancel his plans to attend the dinner. The decision was made earlier today, said the source. The governor also skipped a long-planned lunch with Assembly Democrats. A Spitzer spokesman said the governor’s calendar for next week had yet to be mapped out. —Geoffrey Gray
Naked Comedy: Less Arousing Than It Sounds
“Clothing required on your left, clothing optional on your right,” greeted the usher for the Naked Comedy Showcase at the PIT over the weekend. One middle-aged woman shimmied out of her skirt (and everything else) to the tune of “Hey Ya!” with about as much fanfare as someone getting ready for a shower, which provoked not whistles but rather indifference. Host Andy Ofiesh, a pudgy redhead who notes that “my penis is fun size; you can fit the whole thing your mouth,” introduced Tommy D., who’s proud of his copious body hair and man boobs, and had his cell phone tucked into his white socks and sneakers. He read poetry while a tiny bead of a mysterious white substance dripped off his balls onto the ground — the first clue that although this was indeed naked, it wouldn’t necessarily inspire hooking up after the show.
Woody Allen Fights AIDS, Bores Us
Speaking of Wednesday’s amFAR benefit, it also brought out Woody Allen for a rare public appearance. (He presented an award to an old friend, Dr. Mathilde Krim, amFAR’s founding chairman.) After a charmingly bumbling speech, he sat, quite oddly, across the table from Soon-Yi and listened to Garry Shandling tell the room about watching Allen years ago on a short-lived Saturday-morning TV show, Hot Dog. “It was a show where they explained to kids how things worked and Woody Allen was one of the people who explained things,” Shandling said. “I’ll never forget the time he came out and told us that baseball bats were made of halvah, so that when you strike out, you can eat it.”
Later we approached Allen to ask for an interview and were shocked to have him agree. Suddenly, visions of brilliant, hilarious, angst- and Yiddish-filled quotes leaped to our mind. We were thrilled. And then he proceeded to give us a series of totally boring replies. (Except for one tiny bit of news, that despite his last few films, he hasn’t forsaken New York forever.) Feh.
They Like the Nightlife
At Monday night’s Nightlife Awards, honoring cabaret, jazz, and comedy, performers dished about life on the boards. And about gift bags.
Swag bags, pro or con?
“I never take them. Every gift bag I’ve ever gotten has gotten three kinds of hand cream, a CD of Aida, and a copy of In Style magazine. Give me free Botox or free hair transplants, or a $2,000 gift certificate to Armani for some underwear. Although nowadays, a flu shot would be good too, and harder to come by than Botox.” —Charles Busch, playwright and drag queen
What’s in your fantasy swag bag?
“A kazoo, a can of SpaghettiOs, and a forty of Colt 45.” —Daniel Reichard, Jersey Boys actor
The Wow Started Yesterday Afternoon, Apparently
You may have heard that yesterday was the dual launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft’s snazzy new operating system, and the freshly updated Microsoft Office. And if you haven’t heard about it already, you soon will. You’re also going to learn that not since 1995 has Microsoft simultaneously launched a new Windows and a new Office. And that “The ‘Wow’ starts now.” And that Vista is Easier, Safer, More Entertaining, and Better Connected. How do we know all of this? Because we attended Vista’s launch party yesterday, held at MTV HQ in Times Square and a party for which we received more pre-event press materials and invitations than any event we’ve ever been to ever. And how was the party? It was:
Easier to get frostbite: Attendees, registration in hand, were made to wait outside (wind chill: twenty degrees) for around 30 minutes. This included press. (How dare they!) All the shrimp in the world inside — and there was all the shrimp in the world inside — could not compensate for that discourtesy.