Dissecting the Soul of ‘Mommie Dearest,’ In the Most Loving Way
The ambience and attitude in the classically sculptured room felt as if we were all attending the original screening of the movie “Mommie Dearest.” Although an intimate gathering at the chic and opulent Eventi hotel (6th Ave. between 29th and 30th), the personalities were infused with excitement, anticipation and cocktails. There were certainly enough celebrities present for a red carpet reception, including but not limited to Michael Urie, the host of Logo’s series “Cocktails and Classics” and star of “Ugly Betty”; Michael Musto, celebrated New York City columnist, blogger, actor and guest panelist on the show; and Shangela, the vibrant and spirited “RuPaul’s Drag Race” queen and panelist on the show.
Also featured at the simulation of “Cocktails and Classics” was actress and author Rutanya Alda, who portrayed Carol Ann, Joan Crawford’s loyal assistant, maid and confidant, in “Mommie Dearest”; Alda was equipped with copies of her book, “The Mommie Dearest Diaries.” The publication is an expose of Faye Dunaway’s behavior during the four months of the shooting of the film.
The evening jubilee was a mirroring of the set of “Cocktails and Classics,” the Sunday night movie party where cocktails flow freely whilst magnificent movie classics are shown, discussed, dissected, resurrected and exposed amidst an array of party games and back stories. This particular evening’s tribute and showing was that of perhaps the gayest cult film ever, “Mommie Dearest.”
I spoke with a few in attendance to get their take on the film and “Cocktails and Classics.”
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Lynn Yaeger. I work for Vogue Magazine.
How long have you worked for Vogue?
I’d say about 7 or 8 years. I was at the “Village Voice” with Michael [Musto].
We are here tonight to view “Mommie Dearest.” How much do you love that movie?
I love “Mommie Dearest.” I’m also a big fan of early Joan Crawford movies. Mickey, me and Michael are all in a movie club together. But it’s funny, because Faye Dunaway thought playing Joan Crawford ruined her career, but I think it’s the pinnacle of her career.
How long have you been with your publication?
I’ve been with “Paper” for 27 years. Michael is also a longtime contributor for “Paper” magazine, and Lynn also. Michael writes some of my favorite things for the magazine and the website. He is very current and has really kept up with the times. I’m also a big fan of Michael Musto.
Mickey, what is your take on Faye?
She was Joan. I’ve seen her in interviews talking about it, and she said really all she did was muscle relaxing. It was really a method approach. The direction wasn’t great, the script wasn’t great, but I think Faye is an incredible performer who, with the right direction, could go all the way—but even without, it was never boring. I, again, am a huge fan of Joan Crawford. I think she was one of the greatest stars of all time. She was committed to being the star, being glamorous, a terrible mother. She shouldn’t have had children but…
She didn’t, she bought them.
But she also had a horrible childhood. The subject of Joan brings up a lot of different reactions, but nothing will take away the fact that she was a great star. Now, her whole life’s career is tarnished by her off-set behavior.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
How are you?
Well, I am just thankful to be working all the time now, keeping on the move and having a great time.
What is your favorite thing about being a panelist on the show?
Everything about the second season of “Cocktails and Classics.” We’ve even stepped it up with the movies. “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Mommie Dearest,” “Funny Girl” and a whole bunch of others—different classics for sure.
So you’re also doing a little bit of drag?
Just a little. I’ve been in drag this week in New York I think more than I’ve ever been. We did so much promotion for “Night of the Living Drag.”
You’re a really, really cute boy!
Give me a hug, Eileen!
Please introduce yourself.
And what do you do?
I’m a porn star.
I love porn stars.
Well, here’s the thing—most of the porn stars I’ve met are so open. When you walk into a room and they say “I’m a porn star,” you know that they will talk about whatever you want to ask.
So how much would I have to pay for you?
The question is how long!
How long have you been doing porn?
Only a year and a half. In that time I have won two national porno awards, which were amazing to win. It’s been a good run, and I really enjoy it.
So what brings you here tonight?
I’m excited to see everything that’s going on with this new series. I’m here to see one of my favorite movies, which is “Mommie Dearest.” It’s always been a fantasy of mine to chase somebody around my house and make them clean.