Good Night Mr. Lewis: Tweaking Geraldo

image“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” — Lewis B. Smedes

The question of whether my loyal “Good Night Mr. Lewis” readers would find me on BlackBook seemed to have been answered as my poor, obsolete Treo almost crashed and burned with well wishers and a decent amount of critics about yesterday’s post. I’m not sure I was encouraging anyone to support my old friend Michael the murderer; only saying that I personally was going to try to help someone that I was once very close to. When the Party Monster movie was going to premiere in New York, I was involved in the club Plaid, and although I didn’t have total control over the situation, I asked my old staff not to allow the premiere party to be held in the club. Request after request came in, and I kept saying, “No, I’m not interested in celebrating this film.”

Then an old friend, Fenton Bailey of World of Wonder Productions and co-director of Party Monster, called Megan Gaver, Plaid’s promotional director, and asked her to get me on the phone. Before he could get a word in, I said, “No, Fenton, I can’t let this happen.” He replied, “You just have to, Steve.” “Why do I have to, Fenton?” “Because we (Fenton and co-director Randy Barbato) kept you out of the film.” I laughed and lifted all my objections. I waited to see the film on DVD about a year later. For the most part, Macaulay Culkin doesn’t really get it right. His portrayal doesn’t reveal the intelligence behind all the masks and insanity that was Michael Alig’s club kid character. During the day, Michael was sharp and calculating and possessed a keen sense of the bottom line. He often ignored it, but he knew where it was. There’s a few times in the movie when Macaulay hit it dead on. It was just a twist of his head or an inflection in the voice, but I got goose bumps.

My gal Nicole was off to Puerto Rico via Jet Blue Monday morning, leaving me in my frenzied state as I try to finish up Aspen Social and launch this blog. She arrived at JFK Terminal 6, and there were hundreds of people outside. Police and TSA officials were emptying the building. She found out much later that some moronic woman had put an empty hand grenade in her carry-on luggage. Amongst those inconvenienced by the affair was my favorite embellisher Geraldo Rivera. He sat cross-legged on a planter while passengers and construction workers waved and yelled, “Yo, Geraldo!” Geraldo waved and said hello to all and was generally pleasant. My gal’s mom chatted with him as they exited the plane in San Juan, and he told her and my gal that he was off to a private island where he had just purchased land. My gal was very impressed that he flew with the masses on JetBlue, which doesn’t have a first class section. She told me that if “he doesn’t make up another story [she] will really like him.”

I remember Geraldo doing a segment of his show from the Palladium back in the day. He and his cohorts did interviews from various rooms in the club. At one point, DJ Johnny Dynell, later of Jackie 60 and Mother fame, was interviewed. When asked how he became a DJ at the fabulous Palladium, Johnny, on camera, told the silliest of all stories. He told Geraldo’s sidekick that he had started out with the Menudo, and then got too old and joined the Ice Capades, and then went into DJing. This went out to America, with half of New York’s club scene in hysterics. Michael Musto revealed the joke in his Village Voice column.

I got a call from a Geraldo assistant, which a Lewis assistant took. It was relayed to me that I was to fire Johnny Dynell, or the wrath of Rivera would come down on all our heads. I told my assistant to tell Mr. Rivera’s assistant that I would then have to reveal some embarrassing truths about Geraldo that indeed could be fact-checked. [“Steve really does have something over Geraldo,” assures Dynell. -Ed.] So it all went away. I always liked Geraldo, and Johnny told me he really meant no harm, and how sure he was that everyone knew he was just kidding. It was just good, clean club fun. Geraldo was so nice to my traveling gal pal and her mom; I do hope he’s forgiven Johnny and I.

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