Hark! Angels, More L–Words, and Girlhood
By LAWRENCE FERBER AND AMY SABO.
Scary you, girlfriend! Halloween weekend entailed a mixture of angels (in America) and devils––and that’s not including the Village parade!
We caught “Millennium Approaches,” the astounding first half of HBO’s film adaptation of Tony Kushner’s six-hour Broadway Tony-winner, “Angels in America.” Director Mike Nichols introduced the cast-and-crew screening, sharing: “My friend David Mamet told me that ‘film is a collaborative medium––bend over!’ Thanks for the best time I ever had making a movie.” If only all straight men would take that advice! Get to work, Fab 5!
The Chiller Theatre Expo in Jersey saw a number of scary sights, some intentional and others not. Besides the requisite monster movie paraphernalia, a ton of former A-list (and B, C, and D-list) celebrities aggressively whored autographed photos. Margot Kidder, slated to co-star in writer/director/ actor Craig Chester’s feature, “Adam and Steve,” was on hand, as was Linda Blair and erstwhile Beastmaster Marc Singer, who forced you to shake his hand whether you knew him or not.
Trashy indie faves Troma kept busy; cuties Jonathan Lees and Jamie promoted cult delight DVDs like Al Adamson’s “Psycho a Go Go!” We also picked up Cinefear’s must-have DVD release, “Abby” (abbythemovie.com), a 1970s blaxploitation version of “The Exorcist” that Warner Brothers buried in lawsuits. Now it’s back, proving that the man can’t keep a (possessed) girl down!
Nor a convicted one, if Liz Garbus’ documentary “Girlhood” is any indication. “Girlhood” follows a pair of teen juvenile delinquents––Shanae stabbed a friend to death at age 11, and Megan attacked a foster child with a box cutter––as they struggle to come to terms with their troubled pasts and strive for a better future.
At “Girlhood’s” Screening Room premiere, we asked Garbus what she hopes the film will do for the girls. “I hope Shanae will get a job at Johnny Cochrane’s office,” she said––and in fact introduced Shanae to Cochrane’s wife at the event. Both girls attended––tough girl Megan was shy but Shanae loved the attention (and camera). “I’m hoping that my peers and teenage girls will be inspired and not take the same road I took,” she said.
Guests included “That Girl” Marlo Thomas, Rosie Perez, and Linda Fiorentino. We also spotted “it” girl model of the moment, Karolina Kurkova, outside the theater, but she was only waiting for a friend before heading off to a party somewhere else in the building. Ciao, Bella!
Speaking of/in Italian, a tome of New York Times film critic Dave Kehr’s exhibition of Italian movie posters (for classics like “Casablanca”) from his personal collection is being published by MOMA. You can check out the real articles at Posteritati Movie Posters (239 Centre Street) through December 15.
Here’s to the ladies who lunch! We joined the stars and creators of Showtime’s upcoming lesbian series, “The L-Word” (check out http://www.sho.com/site/lword), for a (non-potluck) lunch event at Blue Fin. Jennifer Beals, Erin Daniels, Laurel Holloman, Leisha Hailey, Karina Lombard, and Pam Grier play West Hollywood dykes and their ilk. Sexy clips suggested that “L-Word’s” engine doesn’t run on diesel, but creator Ilene Chaiken assured us that “I think everyone will be represented eventually.”
How about representing some naughty L-words like… licking? “You’ll hear some!” she laughed. Rose Troche (“The Safety of Objects”) directed the pilot, which debuts in January, and three episodes. As for lesbian celebrity appearances, Chaiken said Tammy Lynn Michaels will pop up, while gal pal Melissa Etheridge swung by the set.
As we scooped some months ago, after the pilot was shot, Pam Grier’s character––a dreadlocked, tattooed lady obsessed with lesbian lineage––was deemed too much of a bizarre “artifice” for a show aimed at a grounding in reality. But, they wanted to keep Grier involved, so they created an entirely new character for her to inhabit and re-shot. Grier, dressed in a Gaultier shirt, told us she’s never dabbled in the L-word off-screen. “I don’t think that’s something you do as a hobby,” she grinned. That said, she was once romantically involved with a gay man. “I didn’t have the gaydar! He was cute.”
Hugh Jackman is keeping “The Boy From Oz” up––his energized performance as the late Peter Allen is a box office and audience-pleasing draw. We heard that during a recent Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS auction following a performance, a gay man snagged a kiss on the lips for $1,000. We wonder what $5,000 buys!
Stephanie Block plays Allen’s ex-wife Liza Minnelli in “Oz.” Her preparation included a lot of research and makeup tests––“tons!” “It’s really all about the eyes,” Block said. “She has these huge eyes but more than that they’re so wide and spread out, so we would white out the inner of my eye to make them look further apart, but I looked cross-eyed and ridiculous. We ended up just enhancing my own features because audiences are going to know I’m Liza! There’s not going to be any confusion there.”
An opportunity to meet the real Minnelli proved a confusing decision for Block, however. Jim Caruso, host of the King Kong Room’s weekly “Cast Party,” rang Block, informing her that Minnelli would be coming by the show one evening. After torturing over the opportunity, Block declined. “At that point I was just getting into the character and feeling my way, doing her more youthful years,” she explained. “I thought I better stay on track and meet her later on when I have more foundation of the character she once was. Now I’m so anxious to meet her! Ann-Margret caught the show and came to my dressing room weeping and asked, ‘Has Liza come? It was so painful and emotional for me to watch the life of this man and all my connections with him, I can’t imagine having Liza seeing not only his life but her life and their friendship and his death.’ So I hope she does show up, but after the curtain!”
One thing that doesn’t show up in the hysterically delicious “Die Mommie Die!” is
Jason Priestley’s nude scene. Director Mark Rucker revealed: “I had an idea for Jason to jump into the swimming pool naked and he agreed to it. ‘Dude, whatever you need.’ So we arranged to get this [waterproof] camera from Panavision that’s in sort of a plastic bag and they put it in the pool and we were all set to shoot. Jason pulled his briefs off, and just before we called action, the bag started filling up with water! It destroyed the camera and I never got my butt shot!”
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