Grin and bear it (abroad pt. 2)

Grin and bear it (abroad pt. 2)|Grin and bear it (abroad pt. 2)|Grin and bear it (abroad pt. 2)

Lush Life from Berlin to Russia

Who needs Ambien when you’ve got a snooze-inducer like the Oscars?

Happily, celluloid was celebrated in a lot more lively––heck, sleepless––fashion overseas at the Berlin Film Festival. ROBIN WILLIAMS’ upcoming “The Final Cut,” about a man who edits people’s memories after they’re dead, was reviewed horribly (it’s not very exciting, but has nifty ideas going on) but Williams cracked up the press corp. He noted he doesn’t wear fur: “I am fur!” Well, this is the bear city.

Speaking of bears, Charlize Theron snagged yet another award––The Silver Bear––for her performance in “Monster,” while gay films were feted at the festival’s Teddy Award. The ceremony itself, which locals adore, is a bizarre Vaudeville-esque variety show affair that featured big band numbers, drag kings, a yodeler, and an appearance by gay Berlin mayor KLAUS WOWEREIT, who bowed graciously when referred to as “the queen.”

It didn’t win a Teddy, but bears are featured prominently in the Spanish film, “Bear Cub” (“Cachorro”), which involves a promiscuous gay dentist who assumes care of a young nephew to the delight of all his frisky ursine pals/tricks.

Writer/Director New Yorker TODD VEROW bared all in his latest feature, “Anonymous,” in which he starred as a promiscuous movie theater manager. Verow actually shot portions of the film––including several restroom sex scenes, one of which involved urination––at the theater inside the Times Square Virgin Megastore. Apparently, we hear the Virgin felt dirty and violated once they found out what was happening down there.

“Some of the cleaning people saw us shooting and thought I was filming a ‘gay porno’ movie,” admits Verow, who was actually working at the theater during the time. “I was interrogated and fired, which of course I adapted and incorporated into the movie.”

Wieland Speck, chair of the Teddy Foundation, was on hand.

SEBASTIEN LIFSHITZ won a Teddy for his atmospheric threesome drama, “Wild Side,” while other gay highlights included NYC director RODNEY EVANS’ excellent “Brother To Brother,” EYTAN FOX’s assassin drama “Walk on Water,” ANDREW HORN’s documentary on KLAUS NOMI, NYC’s New Wave legend, “The Nomi Song,” Thailand’s transsexual kickboxer biopic “Beautiful Boxer,” and photographer BRUCE WEBER’s––who’s claiming he’s straight in between listening to Doris Day songs!––beautiful stream-of-consciousness tribute to his canine buddy, “A Letter To True.”

The festival yet again took over the city’s futuristic Potsdamer Platz, which continues to sprout fantastic hotels and restaurants. Theron took up residence at the month-old, posh Ritz Carlton Hotel (which cost over 300 million Euro to build), as did CHRISTOPHER LEE. We savored teas in the tea lounge, and debated calling a bath butler to prep a tub for us in our resplendent room where a plate of French chocolates awaited. The joint is so hot that locals come in to just see the lobby, the French bistro, and the nightly opening of the Curtain Club, which sports a leather-bound menu of more than 400 fruit brandies.

Fest guest PETER FONDA occupied next door’s Marriott (also opened in January), which boasts a must-visit martini lounge, Exchange. Their tasty martinis (pineapple and banana split varieties for us, thanks) are served in stemless glasses resting atop globes of crushed ice with candied fruit garnishes. Cute boys/men worked the desk, and the hotel was peppered with pleasing details like plants in lime slice-filled vases.

Citrus scents are amongst those you’ll smell wafting by on 34th Street and Broadway now that Lush––a UK all natural bath/body product company––has opened its first store in our not-usually-very-fruity-smelling city. The manager at London’s Carnaby St. location lost out on a huge purchase a few weeks back when he told us about the NY location’s imminent arrival. We’ve been in love with Lush for years now, thanks to gigantic bath balls (Phuket and Hot Java are faves), massage bars, shower gel (Chai is delish), fresh soaps (Ginger), and fresh face masks, which are stored in refrigeration units. Some of the products are even edible due to ingredients like cocoa butter, Belgian chocolate, and fruit!

You’ll need Lush products to wash away the dirty feelings attained watching JAMES RONALD WHITNEY’s “Games People Play: New York.” The first in a reality movie/game show series (L.A. is next) “GPP:NY” sees fledgling actors submit themselves to EST-style emotional breakdowns, bizarre missions like begging people for urine (try the Virgin Megastore’s movie theater restrooms), and nudity, nudity, nudity. And nudity. One of the sexy, fame-starved contestants will win $10,000, which shows the U.S. dollar has at least risen in value when it comes to exploitation.

Entertainer JIM CARUSO appears in the film as one of Whitney’s accomplices. Early on, during the film’s casting call for hot 21-30 year-olds, Caruso is instructed to send the unattractive and clearly NOT hot (by U.S. standards), clearly well-over 21-30 hopefuls packing. Some refuse to go without a fight, or at least delusional tongue-lashing. “I can do whatever they can BETTER!” snaps a dead ringer for Grey Gardens&Mac226; LITTLE EDIE BOUVIER BEALE.

Was any of this stuff staged?

“The rejection portion of the movie was NOT staged, unfortunately,” Caruso tells us. “I literally wanted to die, telling perfectly nice people that they were not appropriate for the movie. The casting call went out for ‘extremely attractive actors&Mac226;’ and all I will say is some folks have very healthy self-images and good for them. They must be watching Dr. Phil on a daily basis.”

We wonder if GEORGE W. BUSH, or anyone else who opposes same-sex marriages, has seen “Fiddler on the Roof” lately. In Broadway’s latest incarnation, some opposite-sex marriages are frowned upon by society. OK, we admit the accents are more British than Yiddish (Seattle, perhaps?) and it doesn’t smack of a Borough Park Hassid wedding. But “Fiddler” is all about breaking tradition and creating anew. If a Jewish girl can marry poor, marry a Bolshevik, and, oy, a goy, and go with G-d’s blessing, why can’t she marry a girl? And a boy marry a boy? We got a lump in our throat when Tevye schleps his family out of their pre-revolutionary Russian village for America, and audience members were still singing the show’s classic catchy tunes as they made their way home. So, DAVID LEVEAUX, mazel tov, mazel tov!

Although they’re out, loud, and fighting for same-sex weddings to become legal, no amount of money would sway the Indigo Girls––who are appearing at Radio City on March 12 and 13––to become same-sex wedding singers.

“Oh my God, that would be depressing, I think,” gags EMILY SALIERS. “We know a few 80s songs, I think, but no way. No ‘Light Up My Life.’”

Congrats to Megu! We made another visit to this major new culinary addition to Tribeca (62 Thomas), set to open to the public this week. Book a reservation if you can get one, arrive before the mad dinner rush, and you’ll be treated to a Japanese salute from the entire staff upon entering the gorgeous main dining room. Standout dishes include the sautéed sweet shrimp and gempei miso marinated lamb chop. You must have the matcha and yuzu crème brulee.

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