Tuesday, February 23, 1999
The lights have dimmed here at the corner booth. I'm drinking doubles and I haven't shaved for 48 hours. By my request, chicken fingers -- particularly the thumbs -- have been temporarily taken from the menu. My lament, you see, stems from the tragic demise of one of the most influential professional couples in all of the film world. No, Nicole hasn't strangled Tom in the night. Joanne Woodward's Caesar salad hasn't been spiked with Newman's Own arsenic. We're talking the untimely death of Gene Siskel, popularly known as "the skinny one." Together with "the fat one," Roger Ebert, these two have lovingly bickered and made up more times than even the most passionate of Shakespearean lovers. Sure they have real families, real wives -- I've heard Rogerís is a real knock-out -- but they've emblazoned themselves onto the cultural landscape in a hetero-homoerotic clash, arguing about the one topic, after politics, that everyone loves to disagree on. Why, I've even named goldfish after these two because they always seemed to disagree on the motivation on the bubbling treasure chest.
What's Ebert going to do now? Can you actually envision him sitting all alone in the balcony without shedding a tear? With Siskel gone, what will stop Ebert from looking up all by his lonesome at the latest flickering James Van Der Beek film and not ponder leaping onto the empty seats below? May you stay brave, Ebert, and if you have to take your grief out on the latest work from Michelle Pfeiffer or Andy Garcia, I'm sure they'll understand.
Got 'Til It's Gone
Maybe he wasn't nasty enough. Rene Elizondo, the secretive beau of Janet Jackson, is no longer a part of her rhythm nation. The "normal" Jackson broke up with her former escapade around Valentine's Day for undisclosed reasons, though maybe it was a certain impatience sprouted by rumors of their supposed clandestine marriage, begun by the "least successful" Jackson, Janet's sister Rebbie. (She claimed they eloped years ago, but then, the "Centipede" singer may be getting as desperate for headlines as her sister LaToya.) Maybe Rene wanted to get married and Janet, perhaps unafraid to commit to more than two dozen piercings and hair extensions, could only respond, "Let's wait awhile." I can only speculate here; Ms. Jackson keeps very strict control over her private affairs.
How did some other famous couples spend Presidents' Day? Matt Damon, who had been partying with Ben in New York all week, flew up to visit his pixie Winona Ryder and enjoyed a romantic pizza dinner. (Spare no expense, darling. As Paul the Intern would say, "Supersize that for the lady!") Jerry Seinfeld was seen with Jessica Sklar at Balthazar, making out the whole night. And over in the Village -- at least according to the Post -- Christy Turlington was sighted at your local grocer, arguing with her latest love, Jason Patric, over which brand of cookies to buy. Sources say Entenmann's were the snack of choice.
Nicole Kidman, who is seen at least once in every fancy restaurant above 42nd Street these days, and her hubbie recently caught a performance of Broadway's Cabaret, currently starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming, and so enjoyed themselves that they took the entire cast out for a late dinner at Peter Luger, the renowned steak house in Brooklyn. Honestly, seeing three hours of writhing, bruised flesh mixed with Nazi imagery would not make me hungry for prime sirloin, but if it means seeing Tom Cruise saw away with a steak knife, then color me a meat eater.
Splish, Splash They Were Taking A Bath
Twisted glam rock star Marilyn Manson and mild heartthrob Kevin Costner are brothers in the family of l'amour. A couple Fridays ago, as Costner was charmlessly winning the heart of Robin Wright Penn in the lame box office hit Message In A Bottle, Manson was taking some time to woo his own love Rose McGowan with a marriage proposal. The alien-like rocker popped the question to his voluptuous babe while they were both in the bathtub, which means that Rose must actually see Marilyn out of make-up and still like him. Awwwww! The busty Jawbreaker star recently flashed a diamond engagement ring to Howard Stern, who was probably shameless enough to hit on her anyway. I'm personally overjoyed for these two quirkly lovebirds. If someone as silly and monstrous as Marilyn can find a mate as saucy as Rose in this world, then there's hope for the rest of us. And like that other Rose--of the Kate Winslet variety --and her girlish, waterlogged beau, may Manson and McGowan never take their union for granted. That last piece of advice wasn't from me; it's from the still small voice up in the balcony, someone who may never have the strength to lift a thumb again.
Breakup Girl created by Lynn Harris & Chris Kalb