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PETA Protesters Smell Blood

Anna Wintour, Annie Lennox, Ben Affleck, Stephen Hanson, and much more!

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WITH DEBORAH SCHOENEMAN


PETA is still trying to get under Anna Wintour’s skin. The animal-rights group plans to plaster the city with this poster next month. The campaign—which will include handing out Wintour’s direct telephone line and e-mail address outside Condé Nast’s Times Square headquarters—coincides with the CFDA Awards on June 2. Wintour is to receive the fashion group’s lifetime-achievement award. PETA will also ask supporters to besiege the magazine with calls and e-mails on the day that ad sales close, in the hopes that Condé Nast’s computer and telephone systems will crash. (A PETA rep told us a Vogue staffer had provided him with specific closing dates.) None of this is likely to persuade Wintour to go fur-free, but similar actions from PETA have been known to temporarily cripple corporate phone systems at Gillette, McDonald’s, and Butterball. Wintour declined to comment, but actions speak louder than words. One of our spies spotted her at Terrance Brennan's Seafood & Chophouse on a recent Friday night. Her order? A 22-ounce porterhouse—cooked “black and blue.”

Annie Lennox: Doing It Her Way
Annie Lennox is fed up with having her picture taken, so the singer has put the kibosh on any future photo shoots for magazine and newspaper stories. Lennox tells us that from now on, the only photos taken of her will be self-portraits. “I’ve probably had hundreds of pictures taken of me,” Lennox says. “Some of the photographers were outstanding, masters of their craft, and others were petty thieves. All the visual images from now on are going to come from the source, as it were.” An exhibit of her portraits opens at the Spike Gallery next month.

Ben Affleck’s European Ad Venture
A shirtless Harrison Ford has flogged Kirin beer in Japan. Brad Pitt served as the Japanese spokesman for Edwin Jeans and Honda. And Leonardo DiCaprio hawked Suzuki SUVs throughout Asia. It’s no secret that most big Hollywood stars refuse endorsement deals in the U.S.—insisting that such things are beneath them—but then proceed to gobble up millions plugging products overseas. Now we hear that Ben Affleck is the latest to sell out. So what’s J.Lo’s boy-toy going to pitch? Sources close to the recently made-over Affleck (since hooking up with Jenny, he’s gone from frumpy Boston prepster to meticulously styled Hollywood glam god) tell us that he’ll soon be seen in European ads for L’Oréal men’s grooming products. No word on whether J.Lo’s persuaded him to launch a Glow for Him cologne.

George Soros’s Good-Neighbor Policy
Buzz in Bedford has it that billionaire investor George Soros and his wife of twenty years, Susan, have split up. But they’re doing their best to keep things amicable for the sake of their two sons. We hear that Susan has bought the house next door to Soros’s Bedford estate so the children won’t ever be too far from Mom or Dad. Susan bought the nineteen-room manse from novelist Michael Crichton’s ex-wife, Anne-Marie, who reportedly put the 63-acre estate on the market in December for $21.5 million. Soros’s office referred us to Susan for comment. She did not return our calls. Broker Dan Ginnel, president of Ginnel Real Estate, who handled the sale, declined to comment.

NIGHT MOVES: Limelight is rising from the ashes once again. Gay-nightlife guru John Blair tried resurrecting it as Estate in November with a $6 million overhaul, but it closed just three months later after failing to draw a crowd. It was then put up for sale for $14 million. Now, we’re told, Blair is partnering with Boston club impresarios John Lyons and Steve Adelman (who used to work with fallen club king Peter Gatien) and will reopen it in September.

HOUSEMATE: It looks like Soho House may have its first full-time resident. The chatter among the social set is that Alexander Von Furstenberg is telling friends he’s moving into the meatpacking-district members-only club. Von Furstenberg and his wife, Alexandra, split up in mid-May but are seeing a marriage counselor to try to patch things up.

THE DISH: Über-restaurateur Stephen Hanson is finally expanding his empire outside New York. The owner of hot spots like Dos Caminos and Ruby Foo’s is opening a more casual outpost of his Soho restaurant Fiamma in Las Vegas’s MGM Grand. He’s also opening the James, a 210-room hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona, with Equinox founder Danny Errico.


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