RON GALOTTI'S PILLOW FIGHT
The party's over for Talk magazine. Publisher Ron Galotti has finally settled the enormous bill for the troubled glossy's August 2 launch party after a lengthy feud with event planner Robert Isabell. Apparently, Galotti was distressed by Isabell's expenses from the outset and considered firing him even before the splashy bash. But the Talk-er ultimately stopped talking to Isabell, says a publishing insider, after being hit with the final bill -- and then Galotti struck back. You may remember that the posh picnic on Liberty Island five months ago had celebs like Madonna and Demi Moore lounging on giant pillows at the water's edge, taking in the food and fireworks. Galotti pounced on those pricey pillows, says the insider, and held them hostage until the money problems were worked out. The principals, of course, want to put the squabbling behind them. According to Isabell CFO Mark Koda, "the party was a tremendous success, and at this point, everything is amicable. We've talked, and the bill has been settled." Galotti's response: "I called Robert, and he said that not only has his bill been paid but the money has been spent." Perhaps he's bought a new house in the country.
DAWSON'S CRANK CALLER
How far would you go to rub elbows with your favorite celebrity? A naughty Dawson's Creek staff member impersonated actor Joshua Jackson of the teen TV hit -- even enlisting co-workers to help with the scam. An entertainment-industry source says the smooth-talking imposter called the P.R. firm that planned the recent soirée for Motorola's new Hollywood store, hoping to gain access to the star-studded bash. A suspicious agency employee didn't buy the act, and peppered the pretender with enough Jackson trivia questions to make Regis Philbin proud. The deceptive Dawson-ite held his own, answering correctly and calmly, and left a legitimate contact number for the show's L.A. production offices. When the promoters called back to double- check, a Dawson receptionist who was in on the scheme handed the phony the phone. The fooled firm relented, and the fake Josh made it onto the guest list -- along with his "buddy" Jason Palmer, who he insisted was a writer for the show. Later, says the insider, the agency found out that Palmer was no Dawson scribe. "He's not a writer. He gets lunch for the office," sniffed the source. The production assistant was promptly scratched from the list. Palmer denies that he pulled the con job but offered a glowing review of the prankster, opining, "He is one incredibly creative genius." The party didn't suffer from the charlatan's absence, and unsurprisingly, the genuine Jackson -- busy shooting the show in Wilmington, North Carolina -- didn't attend. Real celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio, Natasha Lyonne, and Stephen Dorff had no problem getting in.
PERELMAN CUTS TO HEAD OF CLASS
It's no surprise that Ron Perelman hasn't hesitated to use his considerable clout to ease love interest Ellen Barkin's way into a comfortable New York berth. According to Upper East Side sources, the Revlon billionaire not only escorted his new significant other on her rounds to meet with private-school headmistresses but barraged influential parents with phone calls, lobbying them on behalf of one of Barkin's two youngsters (from her marriage to Gabriel Byrne). "If you were on the board of any private school they were interested in, you were sure to get approached," says one tony mom. "It became a running joke -- 'Did you get a call yet?' " Not surprisingly, Barkin's child has just popped up mid-semester at one of the poshest prep schools -- one at which Perelman has a child enrolled, and where he happens to be a substantial benefactor. Says another private-school parent: "It's very, very difficult to get into that school, and the child just zipped right in. Needless to say, a lot of the parents whose children are waiting to get in are a bit unglued."
HILLARY GOES UNDERGROUND
Apparently trying to save pennies for her Senate-campaign coffers -- or see how the other half lives -- Hillary Clinton and her entourage were spotted on the afternoon of December 10 waiting for the R train to arrive at the City Hall station. Approached by a straphanger, the First Lady was asked when she last rode the subway. "I used to ride it all the time," she answered. But lest you think she's been riding the rails regularly since she began her bid for Senate, think again: Her mass-transit days were a while back. "I think the last time was in 1993," she admitted. You have to give Hillary credit for her common sense: Why ride the iron horse when you can travel by Air Force One?
Additional reporting by David Amsden and Suny Sehgal.