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May 20, 2002

Walter Cronkite, Stephanie Seymour, Alan Cumming, Mandy Patinkin, Diana Krall, and more . . .

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Alan Cumming Takes a Crack at the Pope
Alan Cumming can't slow down. First, the Tony Award–winning actor is working to get the pilot of Zero Effect, a television show based on the 1998 movie of the same name, picked up by a network. As it is, he'll be on a book tour this fall, promoting his first novel, Tommy's Tale. ("It's about a man who lives in London who shags around, does a lot of drugs, and then has a boyfriend who's quite fun, but he's got this ex-girlfriend too," Cumming tells us. "But then he realizes that he wants to be a parent and have a baby.") But that's not all. Cumming, his boyfriend Ned Philippou, and pal Audrey Rosenberg are starting a New York–based theater company called the Art Party in July. Their debut production, directed by Philippou, is the first English adaptation of Jean Genet's Querelle. Cumming stars as a roller-skating pope who wears nothing under his robes. "You get to see my naked arse," he says. "When I did Design for Living, people were saying, 'Is there something about Alan Cumming's contract that says he has to have his bum out in every show?' But this time it's in the script, so I have to do it."

Stargazing at the Tribeca Film Festival
Walter Cronkite may be 85 years old, but he still has a way with the ladies. During Graydon Carter and Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival party at the State Supreme Courthouse last week, we overheard John McEnroe telling Lauren Bacall how good she looked. Bacall cracked, "It's a miracle I'm still standing upright." Cronkite, who was nearby with his wife, Betsy, smiled, patted his lap, and said, "You can sit right here, sweetie." . . . Earlier, Stephanie Seymour griped about the paparazzi. "I wish I could just walk by and have them take pictures like that," she said. "But when I have to just stand there, I get so nervous." At which point her hubby, Peter Brant, gallantly quipped, "I don't ever take a good picture. Period." . . . Firecracker socialite Ginny Bond Sr. had a fun time going through the metal detectors. "It must be from my diamonds," she joked after the buzzer went off. When another alarm sounded as a guard swiped a wand over her bosom, she winked, cooing, "Oh, that's just my pacemaker." . . . Donna Karan, who was on crutches because of her broken knee, was groaning with friends about how much pain her physical therapist was putting her through and how he won't let her return to yoga: "I just wanted to hit him over the head with my crutches." . . . Also in pain was Interview publisher Sandra Brant. Despite having fractured her right foot in dance class, she donned heels and not only limped her way to the Tribeca shindig but later headed to Town to celebrate Dennis Hopper's painting exhibit at the Hugo Boss flagship store. She left at midnight: "I have to get up early for a cat scan -- on my foot!"

So . . . Do You Get HBO With That?
Guests at the Pax 2002 Benefit Gala and Awards on April 29 were not amused when the emcee, Tony and Emmy winner Mandy Patinkin, put his African-American cable guy up for auction. Lamenting the lack of African-Americans at the event, Patinkin told the crowd at Cipriani -- which included Senator Jon Corzine, Dominick Dunne, and Russell Simmons -- to get to know more people of color. Then Patinkin asked the cable guy to stand up and take a bow. "I felt that it was patronizing and racist," a partygoer told us. Another African-American guest told us that he was so insulted that he walked out. "Mandy's heart was in the right place," PAX co-founder Dan Gross insists. "The point that he was making was the need for more diversity." The cable guy and his services went for $5,000.

Heatherette Designs Some Killer Looks
While Richie Rich and Traver Rains have been busy readying their Heatherette boutique, which will open on the Lower East Side in June, they've also been talking to Hollywood. The fashion house was recently asked to dress Chloë Sevigny for her role as a wannabe club kid in Party Monster, the movie based on the book Disco Bloodbath, about Michael Alig, the nightlife promoter who murdered his drug dealer, Angel Melendez, and dumped his body in the East River. The filmmakers liked what they saw so much, they've asked Rich and Rains to help outfit Macaulay Culkin, who plays Alig, and Seth Green, who plays Bloodbath author James St. James.

Hamptons update: Buzz on the East End is that Mayor Bloomberg has rented a place on Gin Lane in Southampton, not far from Alfred Taubman and Marty Richards. . . . Celebrity fitness guru Radu is going to be using the Star Room (formerly the gay bar Swa) in Wainscott and its surrounding property for early-morning and weekend workouts. Don't worry, he promises to remove the barbells before the lunch crowd arrives.

Jazzed Up: We hear jazz superstar Diana Krall will make her big-screen acting debut opposite Christina Ricci, Jason Biggs, Glenn Close, and Danny DeVito in Woody Allen's next movie, Anything Else. Allen hasn't told Krall what her role is, only that it's a major speaking part. She'll shoot her scenes in New York City in June.With Catherine Townsend.


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