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March 11, 2002

Courtney Love, Nick Carter, Kathy Najimy, Melissa Etheridge, John Corbett, and more . . .

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Love Takes Wing
Courtney Love is learning how to control her anger -- to a point. The grunge goddess was an unexpected guest at former hedge-fund manager Boykin Curry's recent Moroccan-themed party, which included about 150 people lounging on pillows and smoking hookahs filled with fruit-flavored African tobacco in an apartment overlooking Central Park. While Love was talking politics with Washington's junior senator, Democrat Maria Cantwell (who, by the way, was dressed in a belly-dancer outfit), another woman from the Evergreen State joined their chat. Things got explosive when the woman started asking Love about her ongoing legal battle over the rights to the music of Love's late husband, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain. "After a few minutes, Courtney jumped up and started screaming," a fellow partygoer tells us. "She started yelling, 'I better get out of here before I brain that bitch.' " Love stormed off toward the elevator. But she wasn't done -- she grabbed a plate of chicken tagine for the ride down. Other party guests were shocked when the elevator doors opened in the lobby. One reports, "There's that bright elevator lighting and out walks Courtney with her makeup smeared and gnawing on a chicken bone."

Backstreet Boy: Larger Than Life
Nick Carter has long been known to fans as the solitary Backstreet Boy who eschews sexy leather ensembles for long, paunch-hiding jackets, but that may change any day now. His management team has ordered him to shape up. The 22-year-old pop star -- who agreed to enter a counseling program and perform community service after he clashed with a police officer in a Tampa nightclub in January -- has recently started working out every day with Ed Lovelace, a former Olympic sprinter who owns New York's Body Phat fitness company. The grueling four-month regimen, modeled after Lovelace's NFL-training-camp workout, includes sprinting, weight training, and 5,000 ab crunches a day. Lovelace explained, "Nick is young, and he likes to party hard."

It's Curtains for Westbeth
After 25 years, the Westbeth Theatre Center is being forced out of its West Village home. The 18,000-square-foot theater on Bank Street is being booted by the landlord, the nonprofit Westbeth corporation, so the space can be rented at market value. According to producing director Arnold Engelman, the theater has tried to fight its eviction in court since its 24-year lease ended almost two years ago, but finally decided to accept a settlement for an undisclosed amount and pack its bags after it heard that the New School's Actors Studio wanted to take over the venue. "We knew that it was a battle that we could never win, especially with them looming in the background," says Engelman, who told us that the Westbeth staff will continue to produce shows for other venues from its new West 17th Street office. The theater's final show, British comedian Bill Bailey's Bewilderness, closes on March 30.

Times Website Picks Its Own Trouble
The folks at the New York Times Website get squeamish at the sight of blood. Execs at production company Lot 47 Films were ordered by nytimes.com's advertising department to remove a gruesome shot of actress Béatrice Dalle with blood splattered on her face from an ad for Trouble Every Day, a sex-and-gore-filled movie starring Vincent Gallo and Dalle. "That's what this movie is about," Lot 47's Mark Lipsky explained. "It's very bloody and violent in parts, but it's not gratuitous." (Two people fainted during its premiere at the Cannes film festival.) Interestingly, the Times had no problem with a section of the ad that showed a man mounting a woman in bed. This isn't the first run-in Lot 47 has had with nytimes.com. It was forced to alter an ad for last summer's Happenstance because the copy said SHIT . . . in French.

Kathy's Clowns: Actress Kathy Najimy may want to think about releasing a CD from her 45th-birthday party. Melissa Etheridge belted out "Stay With Me Baby," Camryn Manheim sang "Nothing," and Kirstie Alley performed a tune Najimy wrote herself called "Upfront" during a staged performance at L.A.'s Club Lingerie directed by Najimy's husband, Dan Finnerty, front man of the Dan Band. Cyndi Lauper and Alan Cumming couldn't be there, but they sent a videotape of themselves running through the streets of New York singing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." To close the show, RuPaul (dressed as Donna Summer) performed "Last Dance," and Ellen DeGeneres led a conga line.

No Sex and the City: Rumors of John Corbett's latest romance have been greatly exaggerated. We've been inundated with calls from tipsters telling us the actor -- who plays hunky Aiden Shaw on Sex and the City -- has been dating Jillian Demling, the fetching entertainment editor of Vogue. Friends confirm that the two had their first date on February 13 after attending a meet-and-greet with Enrique Iglesias at the Hudson Hotel. However, Demling and Corbett's first date appears to have been their last. They haven't spoken since.

With Catherine Townsend and Aric Chen.


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