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July 24, 2000

Christy Turlington, Billy Zane, Raoul Felder, Keanu Reeves, Keith Barish, and more . . .

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Christy's Miami Vice: a Rooftop Spa

The most seductive aspect of Philip Pilevsky's soon-to-open $125 million Shore Club resort in Miami is likely to be its spa owner. Christy Turlington and partners Ayla Hussain and Cavan Mahony have just signed on to launch their Sundãri Spa -- named for their Ayurvedic skin-care line -- at the ultraluxe oceanfront hotel. The rooftop co-ed beauty emporium will offer wet and dry treatment rooms, outdoor terraces, massage decks, and private VIP suites. Turlington is just the latest heavy hitter Pilevsky's lured to Miami. Robert De Niro and Nobu Matsuhisa will be opening a branch of Nobu, and Michele Quan and Robin Renzi will bring their Me & Ro shop to the hotel. The Shore Club will be Pilevsky's first solo project since he teamed up with Ian Schrager at the Morgan, the Paramount, and the Royalton.

Billy's Zane-y Opsail Antics

When it comes to socializing, Billy Zane is a true descendant of Warren Beatty. The chiseled thespian spent the Fourth of July weekend demonstrating his gift for hobnobbing with both the hip-hop set and the high-brows from D.C. Within a 24-hour time span, Zane went from swilling cocktails out on the deck of Puff Daddy's Hamptons digs (where he appeared in a James Bond-ish wet suit over his white tuxedo) to the deck of the J.F.K. aircraft carrier, where he celebrated OpSail 2000 with the Clinton clan. While even his publicist confessed she was clueless as to how he boarded the vessel, Zane told the Intelligencer about the moment by offering us his own headline: "BILLY ZANE: FROM PUFF DADDY TO THE MACK DADDY." Whatever. His adventures didn't end there. The actor was recently in Iowa wrapping a movie when he heard that Gear magazine editor Bob Guccione Jr. was sending ten bikers on a two-week assignment to ride from New York to Los Angeles, documenting their journey with a digital camera and posting the images daily on the magazine's Website, gearmagtv.com. "Billy called up saying he wanted to jump in halfway on the tour," explains the editor. "We were going to literally airlift him out of the cornfields and put him on the road but Billy didn't get his motorcycle license in time." What? And the White House didn't offer to cut through the red tape?

Felder's Brighton Beach Memoirs

Raoul Felder is one member of the New York elite who won't be getting away to the beach this summer -- in fact, he won't be getting away at all. Not only has the high-octane divorce attorney just sold off his long-neglected East Hampton place, he's also unloaded the vacation spot he's actually been using for the past few years, a two-bedroom condo on the waterfront in Brighton Beach. Brighton Beach? "I like it better than the Hamptons," he tells us. "It's the same water with nicer people. Everybody's equal on the beach there." Felder gave up his Long Island digs when he discovered the wonders of the Brooklyn shore in 1992. These days, however, Felder tells us he is simply too busy to make use of his Little Odessa Xanadu. "It's an overlooked gem," Felder says, "but now that I'm out, I don't care who knows about it. I have a penthouse in Manhattan, so I can sun there." Sounds rough.

But You'll Still be Stuck in First Gear on Rte. 27

This time next year should find moneyed speed demons very happy. Porsche is planning to release the GT-2, a lightweight, more powerful "racing version" of its popular 996 Carrera Turbo, in the U.S. for the summer of 2001. Although the automative press as well as gear-heads everywhere have been predicting that the carmaker would get the GT-2's not-street-legal successor, the GT-3, okayed for U.S. distribution next year, Porsche has decided instead to offer American enthusiasts a souped-up incarnation of the earlier model. The GT-2 racer, however, will have considerably more kick than the GT-3, with 462 horsepower instead of a mere 390. The modified GT-2 will easily achieve 200 mph, but we know that no one will be trying to attain anything near such velocity on those twisting Hamptons back roads next summer. Right?

Model Mayhem's a Federal Case

The model wars have gone national. The FBI has suddenly found itself mixed up in the age-old contretemps in which competing mannequinneries accuse each other of everything from sabotage to talent-poaching. According to a source close to the case, two special agents showed up at the SoHo headquarters of ID Model Management to investigate company president Paolo Zampolli's claim that someone with inside access deleted computer files containing information about ID's models, as well as confirmed bookings. Whether or not this has anything to do with male-model booker Wilbert Hill, who defected to the Karin agency last month, is anybody's guess. Hill tells the Intelligencer that any suggestion that he is responsible for the missing files is baseless -- though he thinks he knows the source of the claim. "Once again, Mr. Zampolli, in his overcreative imagination, is coming up with things." Hill says he left ID because Zampolli wouldn't support his men's division, and calls his departure "a clean break." According to the tipster, ID has hired a Microsoft expert to retrieve the allegedly missing data. A spokesman for the FBI's computer-crimes squad wouldn't comment. Says Zampolli: "We will let the authorities decide."

Did Keanu Refuse a Panting Donna?

For a guy who pulls off the whole down-and-out-in-Grungeville thing, Keanu Reeves makes a pretty respectable clotheshorse. At the Mademoiselle/DKNY Jeans-sponsored party for the surfer-soundalike actor and his band, Dogstar, a backstage source tells us, Reeves was grumbling that he wouldn't wear a pair of Donna Karan-designed jeans unless the legs were custom-tapered -- by his L.A.-based tailor. A DKNY spokeswoman denies the story, saying that while the band was sent a slew of DKNY garments, the reason none found a place on Reeves's toned frame had nothing to do with vanity. "It was in the original plan for the band to sport a casual oceanside jeans-and-T-shirt look," says the flack. "Keanu decided to go with a suit, which was fine for us -- we just don't make suits."

One Scribe's Non-Interference Claws

He may not be blessed with sight, but New York Press columnist Jim Knipfel is still one dangerous guy. The Slackjaw author was enjoying the launch party for William Monahan's novel Light House at the Carnegie Club last week when an uninvited hothead made a general nuisance of himself and got belligerent with Knipfel's girlfriend, Morgan Intrieri. "I suggested that perhaps his presence at this particular table wasn't appreciated," Knipfel explains, "and when Morgan had finally had enough, she slapped the drink out of his hand. Then he slapped her -- you don't do that." Knipfel grabbed the bounder by the throat and proceeded to choke him. The evening's host, New York Post byline Jared Paul Stern (pictured), stopped chatting up the likes of Jay McInerney, supermodel Irina Pantaeva, and Talk mag No. 2 man Bob Wallace long enough to free the interloper from Slackjaw's kung fu grip. The defeated cad beat a hasty retreat. "It was sheer luck that Knipfel found the guy's throat," Stern muses, but Knipfel says his combat prowess had nothing to do with luck: "I listened for his voice and aimed just beneath it." Perhaps he should have aimed a little lower.

Keith Barish -- Tapas the World

Keith Barish is re-entering the chain-restaurant business. The producer-cum-Planet Hollywood founder is backing his son Chris in joining up with Andrew Sasson, the man behind downtown's Jet Lounge and East Hampton's Jet East, to open a chain of five restaurant-lounges throughout the city. The first, called Light, will offer a tapas-style menu and is scheduled to open in September on the site of the former Rage at 123 East 54th Street. The two plan to scatter one Light-like hangout every six months throughout midtown and uptown, hoping to draw in the happy-hour set who prefer a sleek banquette to a knobby barstool. "Young, hip professionals who know what's going on have nowhere to go after work," Sasson tells us. Guess that leaves Bruce and Arnold out.

Estée Hangs in the Flatiron District

The Flatiron Building is getting a makeover. Estée Lauder recently signed three fifteen-year leases for the bulk of the triangular skyscraper's bottom floor. Now Silicon Alley will feel much more like SoHo, because the cosmetics powerhouse plans to divvy up the 4,000-square-foot space among three of its baby companies popular with downtowners: Origins, Jo Malone, and MAC.

Cohen Grads' Cannes-do 'Tude

Perhaps you had a good chuckle in May when we mentioned that that goal-oriented not-for-profit TriBeCa institution Audrey Cohen College was shipping fourteen media-management majors to the Cannes Film Festival in hopes of striking a big Hollywood deal. Lo and behold, the trip seems to have paid off. With the assistance of Steven R. Greenwald, the college's president and former CEO of DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group, one student, Bed-Stuy native Kenya Cagle, tells us he's in the process of signing a multi-million-dollar deal with Los Angeles-based Angel Film Group to produce a legal thriller he penned called The Undercover Man. Though Cagle still has some rewriting to do, Bill Duke, actor and director of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, has expressed interest in filming the script. But the road to success was not easy. Recalls a chipper Cagle: "I was pitching to one woman who just stopped me in the middle and told me I was an ass-kisser."

Additional reporting by David Amsden and Brooke Gosin.

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