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Joan Rivers Embraces PETA...Mr. Big Settles Down...The Soho House of South Beach

Joan Rivers, Chris Noth, Billy Joel, Ralph Fiennes, Alexandre von Furstenberg, and more.

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Joan Rivers  

AND BENJAMIIN NUGENT

Joan Rivers Hosts PETA: Fur-Brain Move
We’re guessing that Joan Rivers may have stuck the needle in too deep and accidentally Botoxed her brain the last time around. How else to explain her startlingly short memory? Just a few winters ago, PETA threw blood-red paint all over her sable, but this year she invited the anti-fur organization’s New York rep, Michael McGraw, to Thanksgiving in her gilded Fifth Avenue apartment. “He got a vegan meal that looked so disgusting,” she tells us. “There was nothing to be thankful for on that plate!” Rivers has warmed up to the anti-fur crusaders now that her daughter, Melissa, is being featured on a Times Square PETA billboard. But she isn’t giving up her pelts, and hasn’t encouraged Melissa’s anti-fur stance, either. “When I said to Melissa ‘Fake it’ when she was growing up, I meant sex, not fur!” adds Rivers. Upon further investigation, another explanation surfaced for Rivers’s newfound benevolence toward PETA—she may want to give its members another shot at her closet. Apparently, the paint thrown on her coat was water-soluble—“which upset me. I sought insurance bucks. I thought, Oh, thank God! It’s an old sable, and I can get a new one.

Orientalists
‘I’m also available for weddings and bar mitzvahs,” cracked Billy Joel between songs at the opening of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in the Time Warner Center last Monday. (We hate it when people beat us to the punch.) Dotting the kimono-clad crowd were Isabella Rossellini, Gina Lollobrigida, Bruce “Kerry Who?” Colley, and Vivienne Tam. Plus Daniel Boulud, whose auction item, a dinner prepared by him, Alain Ducasse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Eric Ripert, helped rake in $150,000 for City Harvest. Asked about the Time Warner towers, one guest, architect I. M. Pei, was diplomatic: “This is a very controversial site. Whether or not the building is right is not for me to say.”

Mi Casa Es Mi Casa! Versace House
Here comes (not that we were asking for it) South Beach’s answer to Soho House. Early next year, the Miami mansion formerly owned by Gianni Versace, who was shot and killed on its steps by Andrew Cunanan six years ago, will become Casa Casuarina, a members-only social club. Three years ago, telecom magnate Peter Loftin bought the mansion for $19 million, but it’s presumably too pricey to keep up as a home. “It will be a classy refuge from some of the craziness of Miami,” trills a mouthpiece. (We decided not to point out that classy, by definition, would necessitate a non-Miami Zip Code.) Perks will include food by Miami restaurateur Barton G., massages, and outdoor screenings. The founding committee and membership price are yet to be determined.

Bringing Home To Bacon: Loverboy’s Birth
Kevin Bacon’s new directorial effort, Loverboy, which wrapped recently, had its genesis in CPW, a women’s clothing store on 84th and Amsterdam owned by Scarsdale native Linda Wolff. When her friend and regular customer Kyra Sedgwick (1 degree of Kevin Bacon) stopped by two years ago, Wolff (2 degrees) handed her a copy of a novel about a madly domineering mother by Victoria Redel, her childhood neighbor (3 degrees). Sedgwick (1 degree) read it over the weekend and gave it to Bacon, her husband. They met with Redel (now 1 degree) the next week, and soon an adaptation was under way, with Sedgwick (1 degree) cast as the protagonist. Marisa Tomei, Matt Dillon, and Oliver Platt were then attached. “I’ve known Kevin and Kyra for thirteen years, and I know they had a very dark side,” explains Wolff. The “hand to hand” (dare we say “incestuous”?) nature of the transaction appealed to Redel, a Columbia writing professor: “It has a nice karma.”

“Maybe the cruise ship would have been a good idea. These ships go out and everyone gets the flu . . .”
—Kevin Bacon, on Tom DeLay’s nixed accommodations for the GOP convention.

Just IMDB Them Already: Lost Near Sea
Pity those down-to-earth celebrities who dare to venture into the great outdoors without any handlers. It must be quite a hardship to travel without anyone around you to yell, Don’t you know who they are?! when the need arises. That was certainly the case earlier this month in Miami, when cops stopped Ralph Fiennes, Liev Schreiber, and Fisher Stevens, who were trendy-hotel-hopping on Stevens’s 40th-birthday-bonanza weekend. The merry trio had decided to cut across the beach from a barbecue at Miami’s Delano to the Shore Club’s Sky Bar after 11 p.m., which happens to be illegal in Miami. Three officers—who must not be fans of Shakespeare or the Scream franchise—insisted on escorting the actors to the bar. “They clearly had no idea who they were,” says our source.

Like A Noth To Flame: Big Deal
Looks like Mr. Big is settling down. We hear notorious skirt chaser Chris Noth, who plays Sarah Jessica Parker’s sometimes playboy boyfriend in Sex and the City, is now living with his girlfriend, fledgling actress Tara Wilson. A spy reports that Noth was shopping for a necklace at a downtown estate-jewelry shop last week, blathering about his new domesticity. (Given that it’s Noth, we’re imagining a scene in a movie where the pivotal pickup line is, “I want to buy a necklace for my girlfriend. Do you think you could try it on for me? She has a lovely, slender neck—just like yours . . . ”)

Love Don’t Live Here . . .Anymore. The Von Furstenberg house hits the market.
The sprawling town-house at East 73rd and Fifth that exes Alexandra and Alexandre von Furstenberg bought for almost $12 million two years ago—and added a gym to—has gone on the market for $23 million. It’s unofficially listed by Sami Hassoumi of Brown Harris Stevens, who was unavailable for comment. Meanwhile, Mrs. Alex (as their butler used to call her) is in London, dating art dealer Tim Jeffries. Mr. Alex was last spotted loft-shopping at the Porter House, where ("Mom Alex”?) Diane von Furstenberg nixed a $4 million condo he wanted. (But Mo-om!)


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