Arts & Culture » The B-List

Happy birthday to me



As this issue goes to press, I'm ducking down and dirty from the inevitable burn and hateful glow of turning 31. Comfort is a blanket buried beneath cheap cassettes and irremovable hangovers, and I can't seem to get to it. It's time for some retrospective scrutiny for a columnist who wants to get neither higher nor deeper, better or worse. At least for one week.

Fortunately, my malevolent nonsense of the past year has produced a litany of possibilities from the tarnished glitterati in my crosshair crusade. With interviewees like these, who needs to be alive?

Subjects like Pat Benatar, who last year offered some valuable advice about fashion. OK, headbands:

"I always say that you wear one thing once, that will immortalize you forever," she scowled.

"Ixnay on the ockringcay," I thought to myself.

Speaking of cockrings, there's Corey Feldman, heavy-lipped in his lamentable position in the pantheon when I caught up with him, and hopefully caught nothing from him.

"I don't know why that is," he simpered. "I mean, I slept with strippers, I did drugs, but I never did anything 'bad' to anybody else. If anything, I've only been bad to myself."

And just bad. No cockring, no being bad. Easy enough.

But Justin Timberlake wanted even more from me! Now I know how Britney must have felt.

"Anything that you want to do is in your grasp. And never doubt that the world is yours."

No, it's yours. And you can have it.

I'll take erstwhile drag queen Dame Edna, who tried to explain tribal Aboriginal speak:

"I think it means 'throwing sticks.' They throw sticks at each other, the Aboriginals. Bless their hearts," she blessed my heart. "I always think that's the most patronizing thing you can say to anyone: 'Bless them.' You can really bad-mouth someone, as long as at the end, you say, 'Bless them.'"

When I metaphorically stuck my finger down my throat by speaking to food guru and perennial annoyance, Wolfgang Puck, he informed me about how to get around a kitchen. I don't even have a kitchen.

"I yell sometimes," he screamed. "It's just like with kids. You know, you don't want to yell at them. You want to explain and teach them the right way. .... You work yourself into an upset stage, and then it's hard to cook and go and see customers and smile."

It's very hard to cook. And, for Cyndi Lauper, it's hard to sing, too. At least to sing and think at the same time.

"I can't think about it, because if I think about it, I scare myself," she scared me. "And then I don't know how I do it."

I don't know how "Texas Justice" judge, Larry Joe Doherty does it, either: a legal career, an Anna Nicole cameo. According to him, he does it by making sure nobody else has anything to say.

"People always come into court 'what if'n.' If you kick the lid off the yuck bucket, you'll be here all day."

Here too many days is former "My So Called Life" Catalano, Jared Leto. He is very serious about not being famous and is making music to ensure he won't be.

"I wanted to do something that's really ambitious, dynamic and powerful, at times intimate and other times bombastic. ... It's just about, in my gut, what really moves me creatively."

After catching wind of my reportage, Leto e-mailed me to tell me that I was pathetic. My compliments to your gut.

Skid Row has-been, Sebastian Bach, offered fashion advice. He used to hate fags, you know. Me too.

"I wore a T-shirt in 1989, for like 30 minutes one night backstage at an L.A. Guns concert, with a homophobic message," he limp-wristed. "That was really stupid and wrong for me to wear that for one-half hour in my life."

Taste kills metalheads dead, I presume. But nothing, and I mean nothing, kills Belinda Carlisle.

"I'm successful, but I'm not a prisoner of success. I'm not that famous. I'm sort of famous," she outlined a whole new level of denial. "I don't have the pressure of having any record company, I'm sort of self-employed and do my own stuff."

Note to self: Stay self-employed. Oh, and flat-iron your hair so that you don't end up like Paula Poundstone.

"My hair's my hair cuz I can't stop it," Poundstone curled. "People usually ask me about the necktie, because I do enjoy wearing the necktie. I just happened to stumble into a store one day, and they had a green tie with cream-colored polka dots on it. I don't know why men complain about ties."

Because you're wearing them.

Wearing thin was Richard Jeni when he tried to explain political views about people explaining political views, inciting the po-mo police into a frenzy.

"I think that celebrities have a right to speak out about the war. But if you want to be fair about it, the politicians should be able to speak out against the celebrities," he wretched.

He called back and told me to fuck off, and that he hoped that someday I happened to me.

Omigod, I think I already have.

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