November 23, 2003
Liking To Watch:
The Paris Hilton sextape has been making the rounds, but it was received perhaps most enthusiastically at the New York Post, where it arrived last Monday and was promptly screened in the late Neal Travis’s office. First in on the action were “Page Six” staff; the business department and the Metro reporters got sloppy seconds. (We don’t know, but we’re imagining Andrea Peyser, Steve Dunleavy, and John Podhoretz huddled around a monitor and . . . oh, never mind.) We understand that editor-in-chief Col Allen is hanging on to his own copy. “I’d compare it to 9/11—that’s how important it is to us,” one Post reporter joked (at least we think it was a joke). Full disclosure: We held our own office screening after strong-arming the tech-support guy into helping us download it (“It’s for work! We’re supposed to cover the Hiltons!”). . . . Paris, who will soon hit the legit small screen in Fox’s new show The Simple Life, is also planning to record an album. “Her producers have already begun working on the music and are waiting for her to come do vocals,” reports our spy.
The Week's Big Question: How can Paris salvage her image this time? Lizzie Grubman, Heidi Fleiss and others weigh in.
On the scene last monday at the Rolex Mentor and Protégé gala at Lincoln Center—fêting a program that pairs young artists with creative bigwigs like Toni Morrison—were Zoe Cassavetes (daughter of John) and Sofia Coppola (daughter of what’s-his-name). “I had a mentor: my dad,” admitted Coppola. And what advice would Cassavetes give a protégée? “You have to have strength.” (We’re pretty sure we saw that line on an office-wall poster titled courage.) Meanwhile, Morrison sat glaring at a New York Review of Books write-up of her new novel and gesturing toward the first paragraph. Courage . . .
Pent-Up Desire: Jenna’s ’house?
Super–porn star Jenna Jameson is rumored to be considering a career move that would undoubtedly guarantee her siliconed figure even more overexposure than it already gets. According to our sources, she’s in the running to buy Penthouse magazine. (Here at New York, it comes as no surprise that people who are in the magazine sometimes want to buy the magazine.) Since Penthouse’s publisher, Bob Guccione’s General Media, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August, a number of players, including Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner, have expressed interest in buying it. “I’m sure she is considering it,” says a Penthouse mouthpiece, adding that Jameson is January’s cover girl—and “it’s a really wild-looking shoot, even for a porn star.”
Better Than Paxil: King Solomon
Was that a smile on the face of famously depressive writer Andrew Solomon or a grimace of Jeez, Dad! embarrassment? As 100 guests sipped cocktails at the surprise 40th-birthday extravaganza that Solomon’s father, Howard—chairman and CEO of drug manufacturer Forest Labs and member of the Lincoln Center board—threw recently for his son at Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse, the New York City Ballet performed three pieces, and Audra McDonald warbled an original song by Ben Moore about the birthday boy based on six months of interviews with Solomon’s friends. In addition, Mikhail Baryshnikov was cloned 43 times for a special group performance of an original work titled Solomon! Solomon! choreographed by George Balanchine, who was raised from the dead especially for the occasion. (Oh, all right, we made that last bit up.)
“If you hope to have a career in music, you might want to get involved in porn—it’s the one place music is consistently used.”
Moby, on the music-business slump.
Milstein’s Millstone: Whale of a Deal
After nearly three years, real-estate baron Edward Milstein (of the family behind the whale room at the Museum of Natural History) has sold his fourteen-room apartment at 101 Central Park West—for approximately $14 million, roughly $4 million less than the original asking price. The six-bedroom features a mogul-ready putting green, a media room, and traditionally gender-appropriate theme décor in the kids’ rooms (princesses; sports). The buyer: a businessman who brokers assure us is “not famous.” (Robby Brown of the Corcoran Group wouldn’t comment.)
Caged Heron Won’t Sing: Jailhouse Rap
If you were tapping your feet waiting for Gil Scott-Heron to perform at the Knitting Factory and S.O.B.’s the other night, you may be waiting a while. The radical singer and writer widely considered the godfather of rap is behind bars (and not for lying about the whole “revolution will not be televised” thing). He was arrested in Queens on October 30 on drug charges and at press time was unable to make bail of $10,000.
Diddy’s Valet Cashes In
UMBRELLA MAN: P. Diddy’s ever-present umbrella holder, Farnsworth Bentley (which is apparently short for “Derek”), has built an exceedingly successful career around playing Jeeves to Diddy’s Wooster. And now he’s launching his own designer-umbrella line, which will include one painted by Sean Lennon—an unholy alliance, to be sure. The umbrellas are to be displayed at Incubator as part of an exhibit curated by Bentley’s 17-year-old friend Vito Schnabel, son of Julian, a St. Ann’s student. Bentley clearly understands the importance of building a strong brand: “With P. Diddy, you think of diamonds; with KISS, you think of face makeup; and for me, it’s the umbrella,” he says. Bentley, who also designs suits, idolizes another designer who acquired a Waspier name: “Ralph Lauren started with the scarf tie—they were wider and more beautiful. The umbrella will be my scarf tie.”
Architect Charles Gwathmey builds his first New York residence.
En garde, Richard Meier! Architect Charles Gwathmey tells us his new condo tower will break ground December 1 in the Astor Place lot where Ian Schrager almost built a Rem Koolhaas hotel. The 22-story Related Companies building will be Gwathmey’s first Manhattan residence (besides a dorm). And like Meier’s Perry Street towers (Nicole! Calvin!), it will have a glass façade, prompting the question: Why do celebs want to live transparently anyway?