Notes from the Big Hairy Apple 

I'm swaying in the depth of my insignificance. Plopped into the heart of New York City, where the deer and the antelope are gay, I don't feel as if I'm of any real consequence at all. Just cute and lost.

"Take me to the center of everything!" I grunt like Madonna wouldn't, sending commands to a subway that's not even pretending to listen. At least Madonna had a cab.

But alas, the center of the universe (MTV's "TRL," in Times Square, naturally) happens to be occupied by none other than Marshall Mathers himself. Eminem's own "Flashdance," "8 Mile," opens today and everybody under 12 is knocking out my cigarette and stepping on my boa to get a look into the limos that may be carrying a millionaire dirtbag.

They're not here to see me, but Eminem and I share the same peroxide content, so I'll pretend they are.

"Over here!" I imagine myself parting the mob and running into Carson Daly's chubby arms. "I'm your hero!" Or not.

Actually, I'm in the Big Hairy Apple on a well-intended sellout, chasing a treatment-worthy obsession.

Having written a music piece about and developed an unhealthy crush on Mark Geary ["Melancholy man," June 6] -- who, omigod, was in Orlando Wednesday and will be back for a Friday gig at Will's Pub -- his management thought it might be a good idea to fly me up for his CD-release party at the legendary Arlene Grocery, probably so I would say "Omigod, you just have to see him." But also because they like me, I'm sure.

Not one to be had cheaply (I was, after all, ripped off for $80 by a Jamaican limo driver/drug dealer immediately upon my arrival), I'm intending to cross my purposes here.

I deal in gossip, you see. And I intend to have Liz Smith's head on a typewriter.

Now, if I can just come up with something a meddlesome old lady might type, like: "Did you know that Joey Fatone filmed a movie with similarly talentless hairball Alec Baldwin in which he plays a fallen lounge singer? Did you know, also, that Fatone apparently couldn't sing the parts effectively due to a seemingly untrained cracky voice? No?"

I'm good at this.

"Did you know that when I approached post-celebrity club kid, Richie Rich (a party monster in the days of Michael Alig's limb-filled box), and mentioned mutual friends and, well, hairstyles, he told me that he had only been in New York for 10 years?"

No, of course you didn't. And you don't care. Only I do, natch.

"There's also the small coincidence that everybody I've spoken to knows Norwegian and has some sort of experience with a member from A-Ha. Plus, the fact that I'm sitting in a chair, right now, previously owned by A-Ha member, Pal Waaktaar? No?

"OK. How's this. I slept in the same bed Christina Ricci once did, and spent the night crawling around looking for candy-bar wrappers and stray hairs to prove it. Jealous? Thought so."

Still, the highlight of my trip has to be the Lizzie Grubman-style birthday party for one of the editors at bitchy Entertainment Weekly, wherein I waxed socialite way beyond my means, and faked a verbal resume of book options and celebrity friendships (y'know, like Christina Ricci).

Several "just got back from a wedding in the Hamptons ... " later I'm rubbing shoulders with the type of nose jobs who never really grow up; they just go out.

"Omigod, you wrote for Bop?" one coos.

"I did."

"I write for Seventeen!"


By the time the Mark Geary event rolls around, I've started to believe my own hype, and I've turned into everything I hate. I'm Lizzy Grubman.

"So Mark, what are you going to wear on stage tonight," I PR, drunkenly.

"Nothing," he flirts, advantageously. "I'd wear something slinky, but I know you'd just nose it to the side."

Ew. He's right.

And on stage, he's right on, knocking my head into an unseemly bob that's just a wiggle too much animation for the typically motionless New York music menagerie. Just before I can click my heels and turn into Parker Posey playing Judy Garland in an off-off Broadway glam-rock revival of "The Wizard of Oz," I'm silenced by the presence of one David Browne, the longtime music journo from Entertainment Weekly. David pissed me off in my early 20s by recognizing Simon LeBon's 13th chin in a review of Duran Duran's very important, very ridiculous comeback in the early '90s. I live for these things, you know. I have a grudge.

"I don't remember doing any of that," he plays along. "But hasn't Simon gone from aging chisel to aging bloat?"

Um, yeah. Then again, I've gone from aging twentysomething underachiever to aging thirtysomething underachiever without any notice from the national press. Which means, of course, that I had better head out before any of them do.

As if on cue, a cab pulls up outside the door bearing the bloat of Joey Fatone atop it peddling "Rent."

"Take me away from the center of everything," I whisper to myself. "Take me away."

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