Skip to comments.G.O.P. Gallo
Posted on 01/27/2004 2:39:11 PM PST by paltz
Vincent Gallo, actor, director and conservative, sounded like hed just won something.
"I want to thank you guys for inviting me here today. Its a big honor," he told the crowd of pearl- and pinstripe-wearing Young Republicans who had gathered to hear him speak at their monthly meeting on Jan. 15. With his shaggy hair, blue jeans, military-cut overcoat and stubbled face, Mr. Gallo looked about as natural in the ballroom of the Womens National Republican Club on West 51st Street as a Beat poet at a 1950s cocktail party in Cleveland.
And yet he gushed: "In my whole life, no ones ever invited me or included me in any Republican event. As a matter of fact, I used to go to the Rush Limbaugh show with my best friend Johnny Ramone and a couple of other friends, and Rush never acknowledged us. So Im thrilled to be here."
Mr. Gallo, 41, is a devout if unlikely member of the G.O.P., an outspoken Republican who rivals only punk rocker Mr. Ramone, Motörhead bassist and hair-meister Lemmy Kilmister, and Factory alum Paul Morrissey for the title of Least Likely Celebrity Conservative. He has been a part of the downtown art scene since the late 1970sa product of the days of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Studio 54s Steve Rubell (both friends of Mr. Gallo before they died of a drug overdose and AIDS, respectively)and his most recent film, The Brown Bunny, turns an extended blowjob into a new form of cinema vérité.
He is hardly the poster child for the Moral Majority.
But Mr. Gallo insisted that hes the real deal. "Theres a picture of me at 6 years old campaigning for Richard Nixon. Ive always been the same. Always. I was against hippies," he told his Young Republican Club hosts. He loves President Bush and loathes "self-serving" lefties, particularly "that commie crawfish, Al Franken," and that "destructive hog," Michael Moore. And he thinks politicians spend too much time pandering to special interests like "the gays, the AARP, handicapped groups." When he gets going on the medias anti-Republican bias, as he did the other night, Mr. Gallo sounds like a regular Bill OReilly.
"Ive been on 125 magazine covers worldwide during my careerwhich is a lot for an unknown person who doesnt have a careerand Ive written about 200 articles in all kinds of magazines, and Id like to let you know that there is media bias in an extreme way against the Republican Party," he said. "I have never been quoted in any article that Ive been interviewed for saying anything positive in any way about the Republican Party.
"But you know," he said, "I would like to end my speech today by just saying, in terms of Europe, you know the United States has a great Presidenta, very, very great Presidentwhen the French hate him!"
The Young Republicans went wild, showering Mr. Gallo with applause and sympathy. A cute brunette in a houndstooth dress stood up to say that she felt his pain. When Mr. Gallo left the podium a small group converged on him to hear him expand on the evenings theme: the medias liberal bias.
"You want to know how its affected my career? Heres one great story," he told his new fans. "It was during the impeachment proceedings against Clinton, and I had gone to present Buffalo 66 at Sundance. I was just rambling on every day, and Paul Schrader [one of the judges] was so offended by my comments at my Q. and A. that he walked into the voting and said, Under no circumstance will Vincent Gallo win any prizes tonight.
"So there I sat, with clearly the hardest ticket at Sundance, and I was the only person who won nothing," he said. "The films that won a lot of prizes were Smoke Signals, because it was the first film by a Native American, and High Art, because it was the first independent film dealing with the complexities of a lesbian relationship. You know, if I had made a film with left-wing conceptsBoys Dont Cry, for exampleI may have been nominated for an Oscar that year!"
"I certainly dont remember it that way," said Mr. Schrader, responding to Mr. Gallos claims of jury bias. "Just because one of five people on a jury doesnt like your film doesnt mean that youre being persecuted for your politics. I didnt even know he was a Republican."
After the event, Mr. Gallo was in high spirits. "Wasnt that a lovely, kind, intelligent group of people?" he said as he swayed under the fluorescent lights of a downtown No. 6 train. "Ive always liked square people. When I was a kid, it was always the squarest mothers who were nicest to me. I mean, I was this weird kid, but they always took me in.
"Still," he said with a chuckle, "the Republican Party needs hipsters. If it wants to broaden its base, it needs hipsters."
Too bad I was not there: perhaps I could have passed my card around and enlisted one of them. The YR's in the Boston area seem big on supporting the troops but small on joining them...very small.