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March 5, 2001

Damien Hirst, Tea Leoni, Lil' Kim, Andrew Vachss, Michael Douglas, Cheech and Chong, and more . . .

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Limitation of Christ
A gaggle of upset and confused models can't be a pretty sight. A source tells us that several of the mannequins who sashayed for Imitation of Christ's recent fashion show -- a group that included Stella Tennant, Carmen Kass (pictured), and Frankie Rayder -- are feeling a tad manipulated. The gimmicky show was billed as a high-concept spoof on Hollywood decadence, and models were instructed to enter the Beekman Theater location like movie stars arriving at the Oscars to get in character before they appeared in front of an audience. However, little did they know that as they parodied their talking counterparts -- traipsing down the red carpet, blowing kisses, making faces, and saying hi to Mom -- the joke was on them. Apparently, the pretty young things weren't informed that the audience inside would be seeing everything happening outside on a big screen. "All the models seemed happy," says a spokeswoman in defense of the sacrilegious designers. "They all went to the after-party and were dancing on tables." A source, however, counters: "Some of them felt they were made fools of." A model rep adds: "It wasn't explained properly to them. The girls weren't told they were going to be filmed, and were confused." And we all know how much models hate that . . .

Brasserie's Frozen Foodstuff
If you've eaten at the better cafeterias in town, some of the food at Brasserie will taste familiar to you. When the legendary upscale eatery was resuscitated last year by Restaurant Associates, the new management brought with it some amusingly humble fare. Brasserie's $6 side of french fries is the same Lamb Weston-brand frozen spuds Restaurant Associates serves at corporate cafeterias all over the city. In fact, famished editors at Condé Nast headquarters can munch the deep-fried snack for a mere $2 at their own little food court. A Restaurant Associates VP explains: "I certainly wouldn't say these are generic fries -- they have a better consistency. This is absolutely the best fry we could find." Remember that when you're signing your $80 check.

Bed-Hopping With Damien Hirst
Life with bad-boy artist Damien Hirst is about as normal as some of his work is. While writer Danny Moynihan was in town promoting the U.S. release of his art-world novel Boogie-Woogie, he told us about living downtown in the apartment beneath Hirst's in the early eighties. "In those days, there was a lot of very, very heavy drinking," says Moynihan. "One night, we got extremely drunk and lost Damien's girlfriend, and he ended up sleeping in my bed." In the morning, Moynihan relates, a real-estate agent let herself into the apartment along with several Japanese businessmen to discover the pair in bed together. And the fun was just beginning. "While they were in another part of the studio, Damien ran upstairs and got into bed with his girlfriend" -- who had returned in the middle of the night -- "and a few minutes later, the real-estate broker came in and found him in bed with her, too." Yeah, whatever, Danny -- just tell us: Are the apartments still available?

Téa Leoni Triggers Paparazzi Battle
Sometimes fashion should just be about the clothing. Things got messy recently when designer Zang Toi let a film crew into his runway show to shoot Téa Leoni for her upcoming movie, People I Know. First, Mrs. David Duchovny's presence forced the designer to rescind several invites previously offered to the less photogenic. Not that it mattered: The leggy Leoni missed the 8 p.m. show anyway and arrived at a fashionable 9:30 (the film's rep claims that that's when she was scheduled to appear, while a Zang spokesman wishes he'd been told). Then things got ugly. During the post-show reception, the film crew abruptly took over the showroom's lower floor, forcing disappointed celebrity-watchers to the upper level. Adding insult to injury, movie reps then demanded that trigger-happy photographers covering the event leave the premises, causing at least one exchange of profanities between the two camps. "Stop kissing ass!" one photographer reputedly screamed at a movie staffer who tried to block his shot of the actress. Reps for Zang and the film confirm the unfortunate chain of events but deny any ill will. We're sure they air-kissed and made up.

Cheech and Chong: The High of Success
Whatever crime of fate caused Cheech and Chong to seek out solo projects in the nineties will be set aside at least for one night this week. The legendary drug-comedy duo will be together for the first time in more than fifteen years on Friday at High Times magazine's second annual Stony Awards for film. But don't expect a hug-fest -- the veteran tokers won't actually have to be in the same room together. While Tommy Chong will show up personally at the Anthology Film Archives to accept the duo's Lifetime Achievement award, Cheech Marin will interact with his former partner via telecast. The mag's award committee also appreciated another old-timer this year, nominating Michael Douglas as best actor for Wonder Boys. "What does one say?" asks Douglas's rep. "Surprise, surprise." Plenty of younger talent is also being considered this year, including Billy Crudup, whose convincing simulation of drug use in both Jesus' Son and Almost Famous got him short-listed for Stoner of the Year. "Knowing Billy as I do," says Crudup's flack, "I'm sure he'd be thrilled and honored." Surely there's something for Matthew McConaughey in all this.

The Really Annoying World Hits Hudson
The latest batch of under-employed youths to be the subject of MTV's The Real World has landed right in the West Village, and some locals are none too thrilled. According to one resident, the current gang of camera-hungry youngsters are being maintained in an apartment on Hudson and Horatio. "People have been complaining that MTV's coming," says one woman who lives on the block. "There's a lot of general grousing that these kids will infiltrate the neighborhood." A local business owner who has seen a few Villagers complaining in her store tells us, "For the younger people, it's exciting, but the ones who have been living here for 30 years are not impressed. It's a total invasion." In fact, our source says, a few Real World-ers have already shown up at beloved watering hole The Village Idiot, MTV crew in tow. "It's disturbing when MTV is taking over our nice residential neighborhood with their conglomerate marketing program," says the tipster. "Now I could end up drinking with the kind of people who want their most intimate moments televised." You mean to tell us there are people like that?

Lil' Kim's Party-Pad Price
Lil' Kim's New Jersey neighbors can finally remove their earplugs. After reporting that homeowners in the gated Englewood enclave Oak Trail Road were complaining about the rapper's noisy parties two years ago, we now hear the diminutive diva is selling her condo. The scantily clad bad girl is looking to turn a profit on the party pad by setting an asking price of double what she paid. Her rep -- though not aware of the financial details -- confirms that Kim's townhouse is on the market, and says that she's moving because she found a bigger house in Jersey. Let's hope the new neighbors are more hip to her lifestyle.

A Dope Fiend's Friend Writes . . .
Followers of author Andrew Vachss's best-selling series of crime novels are in for something different with his upcoming installment. Pain Management, the thirteenth novel narrated by the mysterious detective Burke, will be the first in the series not to feature child abuse as its central theme. The story finds Burke tracking down a missing girl, only to uncover a group of adults fighting to get pain-killers to terminally ill patients by any means necessary. Vachss takes the subject personally. "Should people die in terrible pain so they won't be dope fiends? It's sociopathically evil and just retarded," he says . The writer got the idea for the novel after "Dope Fiend" -- a short story about medicinal morphine use from his 1999 collection Everybody Pays -- drew a particularly strong response: "It seemed I could not come across one human being who didn't feel an impotent rage at seeing someone they love be in egregious pain and not being able to do anything about it." While the novel won't be out until the fall, "Dope Fiend" will be posted this week on vachss.com.

But Do They Have Leather Diapers?
Thanks to Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres, babies of celebrities can now dress the part. Torres has teamed up with Cinzia Spalletti, former designer of Halston Baby, to create a line of music-inspired, mostly black, red, and gray infant wear called Rock Star Baby. These pint-sized rock-and-roll threads have big-name backing, with Jon Bon Jovi, Steve Van Zandt, and Torres himself appearing in a series of upcoming advertisements. Vanity Fair, which is one of the sponsors of next week's launch party, is planning to dispense the duds as gifts for expecting celebrities. Rock Star Baby will also insert their catalog into the magazine's much-anticipated Hollywood issue.

Gere-ing Up
Living below the tree line is no way to spend your days if you're an actor who can handle both light comedy and heavy melodrama. As New York recently reported, Richard Gere is selling his full-floor condo at 817 Fifth Avenue for $12.5 million without ever even moving in. Well, it turns out the building will have its very own thespian-Zen master after all. Gere's new Xanadu is just a few floors above the ditched digs -- a room with a better view. Richard, we couldn't be happier for you.

Additional reporting by Aric Chen and Paige Herman.

Contact the Intelligencer here.


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