"Guesswhat I got in the mail today?" said Paul. We were sitting behind thirdbase watching the eighth inning of a Mets-Marlins game. "What?" Isaid. "Aninvite to the Summer of Sampremiere."
"Doyou get a plus-one?" I said eagerly.
"CanI be that one?"
"No,"he said. "I'm telling you about the party because I want to take someoneelse."
"I'mkidding, muffin. Of course you can come with me."
"Hooray!"I shouted, pumping the air with my Kahn's dog. Suddenly the crowd went wild.I thought they were cheering my invite to the party but then I looked at thefield and saw that Robin Ventura had just hit a single and Luis Lopez was slidinginto home. I always miss the best parts of baseball games because I'm too busytalking. It's a slow sport but if you look away from the field a moment to schmoozethat's inevitably the moment of the most exciting play.
"Sowhen's the premiere?" I said.
"Monday,"said Paul. "And the after party's at Roseland."
The nightof the party I decided to wear a kimono-style wrap dress I got at the VillageScandal. It was thin and tight and it made my boobs look pointy and high. I'dbeen feeling kind of fat lately but this cut was just right for my bod.
Paul hadtold me to meet him at the brewery on 42nd between 7th and Broadway, but onmy way out of the station I spotted him coming from the R. He was wearing ablack silk shirt I love. He wears it unbuttoned down a lot and you can see hischest hairs but I don't think it looks cheesy. I think it looks good. Sometimesthe same style statements that gross you out on random men can be total turn-onson your current beau. We kissed on the lips and walked out of the turnstiletogether, and since we were running late we decided not to go to the breweryand instead to grab something quick.
"How'bout Roy Rogers?" said Paul.
"We'reabout to go to a film premiere and you're gonna take me to Roy Rogers?"I whined.
"Wedon't have much time, dollface. And Roy Rogers is good."
So we wentin, wolfed burgers and fries, wiped our mouths and walked to the Loews AstorPlaza. There were photographers everywhere and a real red carpet and a hugeline of will-callers waiting to get in. On our way toward the back of the linewe saw this guy Paul knew and he let us cut in front of him. A few minutes laterthe line started to move. We were presented with tickets and ushered throughthe door and all of a sudden I was inside a movie premiere. I'd only been toone other premiere in my life. It was for Six Ways to Sunday and it wasdamn lame. Debbie Harry was in it but she didn't show and the only famous personin the audience was George Wendt.
But thiswas a premiere with style. The stars were lined up in front of a rope talkingto journalists, and flashbulbs were popping like crazy. Jennifer Esposito waswearing a long white gown and I had to admit she looked pretty smoking. MiraSorvino had this perfect ass and shapely calves and high heels that she didn'tseem to have trouble standing in. I hoped she'd turn around, spot me in my kimonodress and suddenly decide she was bicurious.
Paul pulledme by the hand toward the escalator and I reluctantly followed. When we gotinside the theater it was a madhouse. Almost all the seats were taken exceptfor a small roped-off area in the front part of the back section. We wanderedand wandered, trying to find two together, but everyone was saving for otherpeople. But just as we were giving up hope, he spotted our friend Enrique inthe roped-off area.
"How'dyou get a seat here?" Paul asked him.
"Iasked the usher if I could sit here and he said okay."
Paul wentover to the usher, they exchanged a few words and then Paul beckoned for meto follow. He was so totally my hero. We took our seats next to Enrique andthen Paul nudged my side.
"I'mnot good about celebrity-spotting," he said, "but is that JenniferLopez a few seats down?"
I lookedto my right and said, "Where? Where?"
"Youhave to be subtle," he said. "To my left."
I slowlyrotated my head and did a quick drive-by with my eyes. "That can't be her,"I said. "She looks like such a shiksa. How could a Puerto Rican have sucha pug nose?" But then I answered my own question.
"Whoare you talking about?" said Enrique.
"JenniferLopez is like three seats down from you, boss," said Paul.
"Ohmy God," said Enrique, stealing a glance. "I can't focus on the filmnow. I'm all fired up. I can't believe she's sitting so close. Oh my God."
I rolledmy eyes. Guys can be such pussyhounds sometimes. At least my Mira fixation wasjustified. Chick won an Oscar. But Jennifer Lopez is a talentless chippie. Asfar as I'm concerned, the only thing she's got going is her tuches.
Suddenlya crowd approached our area and I recognized two of the guys as Puffy and Nas.The crowd went over to Lopez and her friends but while everyone else was kissingand hugging hello, she and Puffy just gave each other the evil eye. The lightswent down. I loved that I had a seat and Puffy didn't. Now maybe he'd know howthose kids felt at CCNY.
Spike Leestood up in a spotlight and thanked his wife and the curtains opened and themovie began. Jimmy Breslin was in the intro sequence and he was pretty bad.You could tell he was reading his lines off a cue card. But then John Leguizamoand Mira walked into a disco and did this amazing dance sequence where theyliterally became the only people in the room and I was totally hooked. I'llspare you my blow-by-blow review save to say the film was too long but the actingwas solid and George Tabb kicked ass in his cameo.
When itwas over Paul and I walked to Roseland. As we approached the bar to order drinks,I noticed that all the bartenders were wearing white tanktops-and all the chickbartenders were really fine-looking platinum blondes. I looked over at the foodtable and noticed all the chick waitstaff were platinum blondes also. Blackchicks and white chicks both. Then I realized they were wearing wigs. In keepingwith the theme of the movie. Because Son of Sam liked brunettes and in the summerof '77 lots of brunettes went blonde.
"They'reall wearing wigs," I said to Paul. "That's so sick and unfunny."
"Iknow," he said. "But the tanktops are even worse. See that guy overthere?" He pointed to a white-haired bartender. "I came here six yearsago and bought a beer from him. He's one of the regular Roseland bartenders.He's like60 and they're makinghim wear a goddamnundershirt."
I went upto thebartender. "How doyou feel about yourundershirt?" I said.
"Ihate it!" he shouted. "I can't believe they're making us wear them!I hate this fucking thing!" He pulled it angrily from his skin.
"It'sso wrong they're making you do that," I said. Then I waited for what Ifelt was an appropriately long beat and said, "Can I have a vodka tonic?"
He pouredone for me and a beer for Paul and as we sat to drink I spotted Auteur Jew acrossthe room. Auteur Jew was a Hollywood director and he'd made two films I'd heartilyenjoyed. He had a keen visual style and a rocking sense of humor and I had asuspicion he'd be the perfect director for the film version of my novel.
"Ihave to do some business," I said to Paul. "I'll be back in a few."I sidled up to Auteur Jew and introduced myself to him. "I hate to talkbusiness at a party," I said. "But I wrote this book I think you shoulddirect and I'd like to send it to you. I really liked your last film. Particularlythe vomit scene."
"Whichvomit scene? There were two."
I was thrownfor a loop de loop. For the life of me I could only remember one. But I couldn'tadmit that. I had to show him I'd been watching his work closely. I had to provemyself attentive to his art.
"Theone where he's, where he's about to?" I said hesitantly.
"Oh,that one," said Auteur, nodding.
"Anyway,"I said brightly, "let me tell you about my book. It's subtitled 'a gratifyingnovel' and my editor says you can read it with one hand. But really it's abouta nice Jewish girl who just wants to meet a Jewish guy."
"Didyou ever meet one?"
"No.My boyfriend now isn't."
"That'sgood," he said. "Jewish girl-WASP guy relationships always work out.But Jewish guy-WASP girl relationships never do."
"Becausein Jewish families the boys are spoiled and in WASP families the girls are.Two spoiled people together don't work. I know. My last girlfriend was a WASP."
"Areyou dating a WASP now?" I said.
He noddedsadly and said, "You'd think I'd learn."
He was soright up my alley. I knew our artistic collaboration would be a shiddach forthe ages. "So where should I send the book?" I said. He wrote downhis address and I took it, fighting the instinct to kiss the paper. Then I scurriedback over to Paul and said, "Let's dance."
I took hishand and led him to the floor. The DJ was standing up on a stage and behindhim were these huge blow-up posters of Daily News front pages from duringthe Son of Sam killings. One had a police sketch and it was really scary. Iturned my back to the posters and began to disco with Paul. My heels were uncomfortablebut I ignored the pain. I tried to move just like Mira in that opening scene.I was feeling pretty good, but then I spotted her dancing a few feet away andshe definitely had the better moves.
Suddenlya new song came on and I realized it was Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody."I am a humongous Chaka fan so I instantly grew tremulous and eager. "It'smy girl! It's my girl!" I said to Paul excitedly. For the first two versesI twirled around and shook my shoulders real slow, as Chaka began to build tothe first chorus, and when she finally sang that rising, "Oh, oh, oh, oh-oh"I totally rocked out, swinging my hips and waving my arms in the air. Paul tookmy hand and spun me around a few times and then he pulled me in and we slow-dancedeven though it's not a slow-dance song. I closed my eyes so I didn't have tosee the huge police sketch over Paul's shoulder and for a second we were theonly people in the room.