Tonight marked the 11th year of Clearview Chelsea Cinema's "Movie Classics," hosted by the always hilarious Hedda Lettuce. Well, more than simply hosted, as Hedda provided a riotous running commentary throughout the film.
The event took place, as it did last year for the first time, at the cavernous and historic Ziegfeld movie house on West 54th Street in Manhattan. There may have been fewer wire hangers and less dress-up (as Joan and Christina) than last year, but certainly not less enthusiasm during the show. The movie palace was packed, with only rear balcony rows empty. Eat your heart out, Rock of Ages.
With a famously outstanding sound system (most movie musicals get booked here) and a pristine print, Interactive Mommie Dearest (as in shout out the dialogue along with the film, Rocky Horror style) did not disappoint at $20 a ticket.
There were free giveaway/promos in the lobby, which I always love to snatch up, even if I'm only going to throw them out later. My Magic Mike dog tag is a keeper. Channing Tatum as a stripper? I'm there, honey!
Lisa Lampanelli, recently on tv's Celebrity Apprentice, received the second annual Pride Award for her outstanding work in raising funds for the Gay Men's Health Crisis, opening the pre-show with an uproarious, politically incorrect and very gay-themed comedy routine.
But that only warmed us up for the divine Hedda Lettuce who entered diva-style, from the back of the theater, only to make her long march to the stage.
Hedda's guest was Rutanya Alda, who stars as Carol Ann (Joan Crawford's fictitious life-long assistant) in the film. During their interview, Ms Alda said that Faye Dunaway was an "even bigger cunt" than Hedda. Now, that's saying a mouthful, in a manner of speaking.
Rutanya, who was plugging an off-Broadway show she's about to do and an upcoming "Mommie Dearest Diaries" book, spoke her mind, prompted by Hedda, of course, about Faye's uncertain emotional states during filming; a bit bipolar, it would seem. To wit, forty takes of the shot where Faye slapped Rutanya so hard, the co-star's face was red all day afterwards. Faye also insisted Rutanya look dowdier than originally planned; and that she be present for Faye's close-ups in their scenes together, while not reciprocating when it came time to shoot her co-star's close-ups.
Rutanya allowed as to how acting in The Deer Hunter was a far more pleasant experience for her, intimating there may have been some off-screen chemistry with co-star John Savage. You go, girl!
Ms Alda received applause, once the film rolled, by the largely gay male audience, every time she entered a shot.
Hedda provided an amazingly vivid and sometimes side-splitting commentary as the film rolled. She even used a projection pen to point out physical details on-screen. (Faye a bigger cunt than Hedda? Hard to imagine.)
A keyboardist supplied additional, ironic and frequently hilarious "additional score" to the scenes as well. After Faye dies and leaves nothing to Christina or Christopher, we all spilled happily back onto the street. Thank you, Hedda, and thank you, Chelsea Cinemas.
I look forward to next week's Chelsea Classics movie, back downtown on 23rd Street: the fabulous '50s/ reality Mad Men & Women of the publishing world, The Best of Everything, featuring Joan Crawford as a bitch of a boss to work for. Surprised?