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September 6, 1999

Martha Stewart, Nicole Miller, Cristyne Lategano, Queen Latifah, Jenny Jones, Keith Richards, Albert Brooks, and more . . .

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HIGH TIDE IN THE HAMPTONS: IT'S RAINING EXPERTS

There's one thing about throwing a high-powered bash in the Hamptons -- if problems should arise, chances are a pro will be on hand to solve them. So when Helen Schifter held a party at her Sagaponack home on a recent Saturday and a pipe malfunction caused a flood in her library, Martha Stewart, architect Charles Gwathmey, and hoteliers André Balazs and Peter Morton were all conveniently available for an on-the-spot confab. "Charles Gwathmey was discussing storm drains," says Schifter. "He had the problem figured out." One solution: buckets. Guests, including Nicole Miller and Kim Taipale, Katie Ford, Larry Gagosian, Ron Galotti, Russell Simmons, Andre Harrell, and Patrick Demarchelier, remained through the evening, dining with pails by their seats to catch the rain. The water was turned off, and Stewart suggested washing everything in Pellegrino, but this had one major side effect. "Since there was no water, one of the Glorious Food waiters had to stand outside and pour water from the pool into the toilet at the pool house every time someone went to the bathroom," explained Schifter. Not really the most glorious of jobs.

JENNY JONES LENDS THE QUEEN A HAND

Who'd want to be a producer on The Jenny Jones Show? First you get socked with a $25 million bill from a Michigan jury sympathetic to the family of Scott Amedure, the gay man who was murdered three days after being taped for Jenny's show. Then, just before Labor Day, you're called on to pinch-hit for Queen Latifah's new program. The Living Single star is due to premiere her nationally syndicated talk show -- which will air in New York on Fox's Channel 5 -- on September 20. But on Friday, August 13, the Queen fired her executive producer, Cathy Chermol, according to a story that appeared in the next day's New York Post. "They're having a hard time booking people," reports one industry insider. "They're moving the Jenny Jones people to try to help out until they find a new producer." The shows are under the domain of Telepictures' Jim Paratore, who admits that he's called in producers from both Jenny's show and Extra. "They're having a great time," he insists. "They're working here, they're working there."

CRISTYNE GETS A DIAMOND AT WORK

No one was more surprised at last Tuesday's news that Cristyne Lategano was taking over the Convention and Visitors Bureau than those who had been following the search committee's work most closely. Bill Diamond, the commissioner of the city's administrative-services department, was told by bureau spokesman Howard Rubenstein that he was "a leading candidate" for the job, according to one political insider. Two other top contenders were said to be Marie Salerno, the head of the city's centennial celebration, and New York Cares's Kathy Behrens -- until Lategano "was shoved down the committee's throat" by the mayor, the source continues. Rubenstein, who says he told a few people they'd been "looked at very favorably" after Lategano was named, insists that the committee was very bullish on her.

KEITH'S DOS, GEORGE'S DON'TS

GEORGE GETS A RAISE: Selling magazines has never been a job for those with the most discriminating taste: Hachette Filipacchi's honchos are raising the cover price of the October George -- a memorial to the magazine's late founder, John Kennedy -- from $2.95 to $4.95, according to an industry insider. Some Hollywood luminaries who got a letter asking for their participation in an upcoming feature thought the monthly's editors were also cashing in on the tragedy. "As I'm sure you know, there's been tremendous interest in George recently and we know that our fall issues will be in great demand," read the letter. "I hope you'll agree that this is a good time to spotlight something of importance to you." Hachette president Jack Kliger says the letter was necessary to counter rivals who've been saying that George will be out of business soon, adding that if he does decide to raise the cover price, most of the increase will go to one of Kennedy's charities.

RASTA RICHARDS: Keith Richards and Patti Hansen were quite the feisty pair the night they helped celebrate the release of The Muse at Le Cirque 2000. When leading man-writer-director Albert Brooks entered the room and said, "Like George W. Bush, I have never done cocaine," Richards piped up, "Neither have I!" Hansen, asked whether she had any plans to match her husband's current hairdo -- the Rolling Stone gathered various charms and collectibles during his recent tour and affixed them to his hair with Rasta dreads -- replied, "I don't have to. When he's on top of me, I feel like they're in my hair.''

Additional reporting by David Amsden.


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