Believe it or not, Elizabeth Berkley and Jane Austen have something in common. The video releases of the critically savaged Showgirls and the lovingly praised A&E version of Pride and Prejudice have triggered an outbreak of tribute parties for both projects.
On Feb. 17, Sunset Boulevard star Betty Buckley toasted Showgirls at New York’s Planet Hollywood, and a similar event was being planned at NYC’s trendy Webster Hall nightclub for March 16. Meanwhile, along with Jane cultists hosting parties, places like Borders Books in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody are reeling in readers with special viewings of the six-hour A&E adaptation.
Pride-ful partygoers say their fetes are really just about quality time. ”Once you’re in Elizabeth and Darcy’s world, you don’t want to wait until next week to see what happens,” says Delia Fine, an A&E vice president of programming, noting that the miniseries is currently A&E’s fastest-selling title.
Soirees for Showgirls, which has been in the video top 20 since its release, are more like those for The Rocky Horror Picture Show. ”Everyone yelled at the screen,” says Buckley, ”screaming the lines, doing the routines with the girls.” Even if the Showgirls revival verges on high camp, director Paul Verhoeven will take it. ”Maybe this kind of ritualistic cult popularity isn’t what I intended,” says the filmmaker, ”but it’s like a resurrection after the crucifixion.”