Courtney in Trouble With the Law Again
Trouble is always looking for Courtney Love. It may have found her right after midnight last night.
Love was performing at the Bowery Ballroom in New York with her new all-girl punk-rock band. She was late to the show and didn't have much of a singing voice after spending Wednesday night in jail, but she was in good spirits.
In fact, she was almost ebullient at times, beseeching the small but loyal standing-room-only audience members to let her "crowd-surf" over them back and forth from one end of the room to another.
"I've been wanting to do that for 10 years!" said the almost 40-year-old rocker.
That's when the trouble started. Somewhere in her cross-room body surf, Love fell onto New York Daily News photographer Dara Kushner, and fell hard.
Kushner, a petite brunette, got kneed in the neck so badly she had to be taken from the club by paramedics to a local hospital.
Before she left, Kushner was questioned by police to see if a crime had been committed, if Love had hit her intentionally.
"She saw me taking pictures," Kushner told me while she was waiting for the paramedics. She was holding an ice pack to her neck and sitting on the floor in the club vestibule. "She came right at me and fell on me."
Nevertheless, it's not clear whether Love just lost her footing or aimed at Kushner.
Love was certainly not looking for trouble last night. When she finally appeared on stage, she announced to the crowd, "If anyone wants to get hurt and get arrested, do it now."
She was referring to the incident on Wednesday night when a fan at another club, Plaid, claimed Love hit him in the head with either her mike or microphone stand. Love was arrested and taken to central booking because, police apparently said, she had no identification.
The result was an overnight stay, release at 7:30 a.m., and no sleep. According to her friends, Love didn't actually go to sleep until 6 p.m. Thursday, rising in time to do the midnight show at the Bowery Ballroom.
"It's a witch hunt," her lead guitarist, Lisa Leveridge, told me after the show last night. "It's definitely a witch hunt. Male rockers do much worse things than Courtney. She's a lot of fun and we're having a great time."
Once on stage, Love — who's like an episode of "Knots Landing" on crack — immediately spewed epithets and cursed Howard Stern ("I love him even though he's an a---h---e," she said.) Twice she told the crowd that the NYPD wasn't so bad "compared to the LAPD. You have it easy here."
She claimed that the previous night's events had ruined her voice — she's not much of a singer even on a good day — and so she abandoned her set list, inviting fans to call out songs. She performed some of them, and even hit a couple of notes by accident. She covered 'Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry," and managed to do a few of her own numbers. The best of the lot was "Celebrity Skin," on which the band sang back-up vocals.
Courtney Love will be 40 in July, which — and I don't think she gets this — is a little old for these histrionics. Blondie's Debbie Harry, one of the original punk sirens, actually left Thursday night's show midway through the commotion. Harry knew when it was time to grow up.
Love — who also entertained Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garafalo, Steven van Zandt and David Blaine in the crowd — doesn't get it. She's almost become an ironic punk rocker, a caricature of what real punk was 25 years ago.
There's an intelligent, articulate woman hiding in Courtney Love. It's time to let that personality out, and put the current one — cursing, coarse, angry — away. It's not wearing well.
Once upon a time, Chuck Jones was in jail. He went there for letting his obsessions about Marla Maples, then the wife of Donald Trump, get the best of him. He stole her shoes. He wouldn't leave either of the Trumps alone.
You'd think Jones would have been rehabilitated by now. But on Wednesday night, he returned to the world he once knew and did something not entirely unexpected. He tried to embarrass Donald Trump.
The scene was Michael's restaurant, and the occasion was a gathering of journalists who'd paid $100 apiece to celebrate the life of the late Michael Kelly. The editor of the Atlantic Monthly died in Iraq last year in a vehicle accident while embedded with U.S. troops.
Into this room, where folks such as Tina Brown, New Yorker editor David Remnick, Rolling Stone's Kent Brownridge and many other reporters and writers jabbered about amiably, came Trump to pay his respects.
Everything was going just fine until, suddenly, like an assassin, up popped up Jones.
Trump didn't recognize him at first. He didn't have time. With no warning, Jones came into his airspace and took a shot.
"You're fired!" he said, mimicking Trump's signature line from "The Apprentice."
At first Trump kind of smiled, until he realized what had happened. Jones had disappeared into the crowd. Within moments, so did Donald.
New York's Apollo Theater will celebrate its 70th anniversary with a TV taping on March 28. I'm told a number of stars like Ashanti and Patti LaBelle have already agreed to do the show, and a few more, such as Beyoncé, are in talks to do so.
But how about some of the great acts who actually played the Apollo and are still going strong today? Gladys Knight was discovered there as a child, ditto Smokey Robinson, Sam "Soul Man" Moore and lots more. Let's hope the big show isn't just about hip hop. ...
Ben Affleck's well-crafted publicity campaign for "Jersey Girl" should win Ken Sunshine an award next year with the Publicist's Guild. Over the past two weeks, Affleck has been everywhere poking fun at himself and the whole J-Lo debacle. His "Larry King" sit-down really worked.
On Monday, he's co-hosting "Regis and Kelly" with Regis Philbin. Affleck will do his Reege imitation too. By the time "Jersey Girl" opens on March 26, Affleck should have turned a lot of his negative press around. Not bad. ...
My friends at Sirius Satellite Radio tell me that they're starting a big special on the blues this weekend based around Eric Clapton's favorite blues records. It's a six-hour extravaganza, with Clapton doing commentary all the way through. ...
The sleeper novel of the year seems to be Tom Perrotta's "Little Children" from St. Martin's Press. Perrotta wrote the book that became the movie "Election" and already has a following. His editor, Elizabeth Beier, is one of the unsung heroes of book publishing. Congrats! ...
After a dry spell in the world of movie premieres, Monday night is looking like a hot one. Nicole Kidman's got a special invite to "Dogville," her Lars von Trier movie, with a knock-out guest list. Only thing is, the Coen brothers are debuting "The Ladykillers," with their own A-list action, including Tom Hanks. If only we could clone ourselves!