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De Niro Ditches Tribeca... Spike Lee's Bunnies... Anna & Glenda Prank

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WITH BENJAMIN NUGENT


You Walkin’ Out on Me?!
De Niro ditches Tribeca for the less-than-mean streets of the East Side.
Does This Mean the Tribeca Film Festival will move, too? We hear that downtown booster Robert De Niro has an accepted offer for a $24 million, five-story townhouse in the East Sixties, off Fifth Avenue. The 40-foot-wide, 19,500-square-foot mansion has thirteen fireplaces, a garden, and an elevator. De Niro and his broker, Carrie Chiang of the Corcoran Group, declined to comment, but our source says De Niro wants to be closer to his young son, Elliot, with on-again, off-again wife Grace Hightower. His Tribeca loft isn’t on the market—yet.

Erotic Auteurs: Playgirls on Film
We always knew Hollywood was all about selling sex, but it still came as a surprise that some of the world’s most self-regarding directors had signed on to direct shoots for Playboy’s 50th-anniversary issue, on stands in December. Spike Lee, Mike Figgis, Neil LaBute, and Kevin Smith have taken on the Herculean task of shooting Playmates (we pity the women who have to pose for LaBute). But it’s not the first time that directors have taken the bunny dollar. For the January ’78 issue, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Louis Malle directed shoots that “illustrated what they thought was erotic,” says a company mouthpiece, who adds that Hugh Hefner wasn’t involved with the project: “He only deals with the Playmates.”

Family Photos: Tabitha Takes Aim
Roll over, Woodward and Bernstein. Journalism’s got a new tag team: Michael Lewis and his third wife, former MTV News anchor Tabitha Soren. Apparently, the Berkeley-based writer-photographer couple are so inseparable that Lewis prefers it when editors run her photos with his stories. “In the case of one particular magazine—ours—he wouldn’t do a story unless she took the pictures,” whispers a Condé Nast editor. That killed the piece. The September 28 New York Times Magazine cover story on the California recall was a Lewis-Soren job, and prior to that they collaborated on a Forbes article and numerous pieces for Slate, including a captivating travel diary of their protracted stay in Paris. (Lewis: “We drove for 90 minutes in heavy traffic, the baby howling, the wife attempting to hide her exposed nursing bosom from the driver, and the dog scratching her bottom across the floor of the minivan.”) Soren has taken photography classes but had never shot for major magazines or papers before she and Lewis met. She was, however, written up in People last year for a piece on Hollywood career girls who’ve embraced full-time motherhood.

“It’s fascinating that not a single scandal has erupted in Silicon Valley. It was all right to have a corporate plane there, but you had to fly it yourself. Greed was not in style—but it sure was here.”
-Tom Wolfe, on the current spate of corporate-scandal trials.

Thrilling Time
“I didn’t learn anything about cops,” said Denzel Washington at the premiere of Out of Time, his new thriller. “I just went fishing and swam!” Taye Diggs, Queen Latifah, Ossie Davis, and LL Cool J made appearances, along with Washington’s co-star, Eva Mendes, accessorized with a heavily lacquered coif that would’ve startled the B-52’s. “I’m not a big clubgoer,” Mendes said. “I’m just an artsy-fartsy kind of girl.” The film was originally set in godforsaken Buffalo, but the studio execs quickly realized the error and switched to the Florida Keys. In keeping with the Floridian theme, the after-party at Central Park’s Boathouse featured a man in a fedora hand-rolling massive cigars. (We’re glad they went with sex appeal rather than authenticity. Retirees palming Viagra wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.)

East End Transfer: Downsizing
When WorldCom board member Francesco Galesi sold his 60-room Southampton castle to Calvin Klein for around $27 million a few months ago, we felt his pain. (But we always pity the suddenly second-homeless.) Now, though, Galesi has picked up the more modestly priced Andros Hills, a $9 million, 30-acre estate in Shinnecock Hills between Hampton Bays and Southampton. Presumably he’s using the rest of the Klein money for day-to-day expenses, since he was forced to sell more than $30 million worth of WorldCom shares last year (after being, ahem, on the company’s audit committee). Locals are also worried that Galesi, a real-estate developer, will actually profit from the property by chopping it up into McMansions.

Tea And Antipathy: Anna & Glenda?!
We’re told that Anna Wintour and Glenda Bailey were dining together at Da Silvano last Sunday night. Right. We didn’t believe it, either, so we investigated. Apparently, society decorator Richard Keith Langham and a friend, a framer from Connecticut, dressed up as Wintour and Bailey for a prank on Banana Republic publicist Leslie Klotz—and got the whole place rubbernecking. “Langham was wearing a bob wig and a very attractive dinner jacket that had white mink lining, a short, lacy skirt, and red heels,” reports socialite Ann Barish, who was dining with Elle publication director Gilles Bensimon and his wife, Kelly. “I said to Gilles, ‘I think he’s a cover girl!’ ” And “Glenda” was looking more bizarre than Harper’s in a long, red, unruly wig and tight short pants.

Online Mania: Friendster’s New Pal
Literary agent David Vigliano (better known as “Vig the Pig” to New York editors) has a specialty in repping boldfaced names—Britney, the Pope, and Jayson Blair, to name a few. His latest conquest: Friendster, the Internet schmoozing service now suffering a backlash in New York but scoring in the provinces with 2 million users. A Friendster-related book is “in the planning phases,” says the site’s founder, Jonathan Abrams. Vigliano says the only serious candidate to write it is Josh Aiello, author of A Field Guide to the Urban Hipster. The book, says Vigliano, will probably be aimed at the same demo that uses Friendster (average age: 27). In his Friendster profile, Aiello says, “I enjoy writing long and pretentious descriptions of myself online.” Who could be better equipped to understand the market?


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