Wading In the Waters
Premiering his latest sexfest of a film, "A Dirty Shame," director John Waters stood in Baltimore's elegant Senator Theatre on Tuesday night and introduced his cast -- the velvet-blazered Johnny Knoxville, the shyly smiling Selma Blair, the still-has-'60s-hair Patricia Hearst -- and then his parents, to whom he said: "If I wasn't your son, you would've never seen this movie." After watching it, the auteur's 87-year-old father, John Waters Sr., confessed: "It was a little raucous."
Rated NC-17, the flick explores sexual awakening in a prudish, blue-collar neighborhood of Baltimore. The cast partied later at the Walters Art Museum under a giant mosaic of Adam and Eve, surrounded by David-esque nudes. "These statues are in very good taste. And our dear John's movie wasn't that," Blair told The Post's Darragh Johnson.
What about her role as the silicone-inflated, go-go-dancing daughter of Tracey Ullman and Chris Isaak? With her fashionable black sweater slipping repeatedly off her shoulder, the wraithlike Blair said nostalgically, "I had done 'The Tonight Show' years ago with Chris Isaak, and I was nervous sitting next to him. It was a schoolgirl crush. And then there he was -- playing my daddy." Anyway, the actress said she loved being in Baltimore, where Frank Zappa, the father of her husband, Ahmet Zappa, grew up: "His dad's bodyguard, Smothers, still lives here, and I finally got to meet him. That's the closest I got to meeting his father."
About 30 bikers from the Holiday House, a bar that's in the movie, turned out for the premiere. Said manager Vinnie Liberto: "John Waters comes in there every other Saturday night. For years and years, he always said he was gonna make a movie about it. I didn't know it'd be about that, though." The director's mom, Patricia Waters, 80, who wore three strands of pearls and looked surprisingly like Barbara Bush, offered this instant review: "He wanted to get his old reputation back, and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams."
Documentary Rhetoric Gets a Little Hotter
* Converting Fahrenheit to Celsius: Conservatives are launching a cinematic counterstrike against Michael Moore's incendiary hit "Fahrenheit 9/11" with a quickie documentary titled "Celsius 41.11." The 80-minute film, funded by Citizens United, a D.C. conservative advocacy group, will premiere Sept. 28 in Washington. "What we have done is debunk some of the main lies and distortions of Michael Moore's movie," the group's president, David Bossie, tells us.
As for the title, that's part of the well-calculated message: 41.11 degrees Celsius converts to 105.998 degrees Fahrenheit. Okay, let's call it 106, the temperature at which a fever can cause brain damage and even death.
So, fans of Moore's movie are almost brain-dead? "We believe they are not thinking straight," says Bossie, former investigator for Indiana Republican Rep. Dan Burton (a legislator who, we should point out, once shot a melon in his back yard to test a theory related to Vince Foster's suicide). "We take that title from all of the anger, rage and hatred that Michael Moore and his ilk, the MoveOn.orgs of the world, direct at President Bush."
Yet the main focus of the $1 million documentary actually is not Moore: "The movie is inherently and extensively about John Kerry," explains Bossie, author of a recent book bashing the Democratic senator. The film's stars include Fred Thompson, a real actor and former Republican senator, and various conservative pundits: Charles Krauthammer, Michael Medved, Michael Barone and Fred Barnes. Made-for-TV movie veteran Lionel Chetwynd (recent credits include "Ike: Countdown to D-Day" and "DC 9/11: Time of Crisis") is co-producer.
Will "Celsius 41.11" receive wider release after the premiere at the Loews Georgetown Cinema? "We're close" to finding a distributor, Bossie said. "This movie will be seen in theaters around the country; it's just a matter of how many at this point."
Coincidentally, there's another premiere in D.C. the same night: Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, will screen her latest documentary, "Diary of a Political Tourist."
So many election movies, so little time before the election.
* She says the darndest things: Teresa Heinz Kerry expressed concern yesterday that hurricane relief shipments to the Caribbean are too heavy on clothing contributions. "Clothing is wonderful, but let them go naked for a while, at least the kids," said the aspiring first lady. "Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes." Visiting a market in Brooklyn's Caribbean community, she spoke French with Haitian vendors and shook hands with volunteers packing relief supplies, the Associated Press reports.
* Tuesday night's 13th anniversary party for Washington Life, the glossy society magazine, wasn't your usual stuffy Washington affair. During cocktails, people stripped down for massages. Servers were brightened with body paint. A fog from dry ice drifted from the vodka ice bar while a deejay spun chill-trance-electronica beats. And there was a swinging trapeze artist. About 500 beautiful people mingled happily at the luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel, but by evening's end several were grousing outside about the interminable wait for cabs. The recently opened hotel, adjacent to the Federal Communications Commission HQ in Southwest Washington, says it is still working to convince cabbies that it's actually there.
Richard Leiby's online chat, at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline, has moved to Thursdays at noon.
With Anne Schroeder