[Ed. note: this article was originally published on December 2, 1996.]
Tyler Kydd enters the Ziegfeld movie theater three minutes before his new film, Gagged, begins. The lights are still on, but everybody is seated, and, as usual, the audience turns to stare at him as he follows his manager and the movie studio publicist down the aisle to his seats. Tyler sits on the aisle, next to the publicist, whom he knows he will not remember if he meets her in a different context. She puts her elbow on the armrest and leans toward him, turning her head in profile, as if to shield him from the audience.
“People magazine is here,” she says.
“Mmmm,” he says. “What about the critic from The New Yorker?” He says this knowing that movie critics do not usually attend premiers, knowing that the movie critic from The New Yorker has already seen the film two weeks or even a month earlier.
“I’ll find out,” the publicist says.
The film starts. Tyler Kydd excuses himself to go to the men’s room.
A few minutes later, in row 4, the sculptor Dane Peen is getting bored—even though he is married to Tyler’s sister, Maria Kydd-Peen. Dane noisily gets up just as the Tyler Kydd character, playing the role of a gentleman cop, finds a mutilated body. Dane’s wife gives him a dirty look.
James Dieke, serious journalist and “best nonindustry friend” to Tyler Kydd, is staring at the screen, on which there is a close-up of a severed foot. James wonders where his wife Winnie’s sister, Evie, is sitting. He catches the eye of his wife, who’s sitting three seats away. She gives him a dirty look.
DANE PEEN STANDS in front of the urinal and unzips his pants. “Tyler?” he says.
“Yeah,” Tyler says, snorting coke off the back of his hand. “How is everything?” He flushes the toilet with his left foot.
“If you want to know the truth,” Dane says, “your sister is driving me crazy.”
“Somebody should have put her out of her misery a long time ago,” Tyler says. He bursts out of the stall with his hand in the shape of a gun. “Boom.” He straightens up and tugs the lapels of his jacket. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he says. “I-I-it’s showtime!”
‘Everybody Loves Us’
Tyler Kydd is on. He is sitting in the back corner of the V.I.P. room at Chaos, a room that can only be reached by private elevator that can only be accessed by a separate entrance, guarded by two bouncers and a young lady with a list. Tyler Kydd is chain-smoking Marlboro reds and drinking martinis. Tyler Kydd is laughing. Tyler Kydd is frowning. Tyler Kydd is nodding, his eyes wide with surprise, mouth open. “Uh-huh, uh-huh, yes, I do remember meeting you on the set of Switchblade, how have you been since then? You had a dog, right, and something happened to the dog, something with an elephant? Oh, a cat, a cat,” and then to somebody else: “Hey, that night, that was pretty hot, huh, stick around you going someplace let’s talk later after all this but you’re doing well, right? You look great.”
“Jimmy!” Tyler says, spotting James Dieke, who is squeezing through the crowd followed by Winnie, both still wearing their coats. “Jimmy my boy. Jimmy baby.” Tyler grabs James Dieke around the neck, swaying him from side to side, then he pushes James away and puts his hands on each side of Winnie’s face and pulls her toward him and kisses her on the lips. “I love you guys.”
“Everybody loves us,” Winnie says.
“I especially love you,” Tyler says. “Did you have any trouble getting in? Those people at the door are such assholes. I keep telling the publicity people…Jimmy, where’s your drink? Somebody get this man a cocktail.” Tyler pulls Winnie onto his lap. “Watch out, Jimmy boy, I’m going to steal her from you one of these days.”
I wish you would, James thinks. But instead he says, “I like the movie.” No one pays any attention to him.
Winnie giggles and takes the martini glass out of Tyler’s hand and take a large gulp. “Whoa. Go easy baby, easy,” Tyler says, taking his glass back and patting her on the butt. He slides his hand underneath the back of her coat.
“How are you?” Winnie asks. “I mean really?”
“I’ll be right back,” James says.