February 9, 2004
WITH SPENCER MORGAN
Benny’s Birthday: Hot Paris Nights
Benny Medina, the manager widely credited with turning J.Lo into a “capital D” diva before she fired him, threw himself a glittery birthday party at his Hollywood Hills house on January 24. Attendees included Ms. Lo herself, Will Smith, Usher, and Brandy. Our witnesses report that the dance floor got a little steamy when reality-TV co-stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie started flashing guests their bare nether regions under micro-miniskirts. “It was so dee-skuss-ting!” trills our source, who also spied Hilton getting hot and heavy with hotelier Jeff Klein (City Club Hotel, Argyle), who, let’s just say, might have been more turned on to be dirty-dancing with Ricky Martin. Hilton then slipped Klein’s hand under her skirt—we assume to determine whether her underwear was still noticeably absent. When we called Hilton’s new manager, Jason Moore, about the incident, he said, “I’m not commenting or answering any questions you have,” before we could even pose one.
The Golden Globes parties at the Beverly Hilton on January 25 reminded us of our prom but with more expensive decorations and, well, Harvey Weinstein. Miramax took only one award (Renée Zellweger in Cold Mountain), but its party still managed to draw a glittery crowd, including Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Jude Law, Queen Latifah, and Ben Kingsley. “I think my father enjoyed” the show, said Michael Douglas, who was with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, “but the idea that his son has a lifetime achievement award is a little scary for him, I’m sure.”
Politically Motivated: Das Gaby-Tal
Underemployed actress Gaby Hoffmann (200 Cigarettes, You Can Count On Me) has assumed the role of “eco-socialist” enforcer—and she isn’t about to let a couple of Manhattanites obnoxiously trying to enjoy their meal in peace stop her! The other night, she interrupted two patrons who were talking about voting Republican at an adjacent table at Café Lebowitz to give them—and most of the restaurant—a piece her of mind. The 22-year-old launched into a fiery tirade, during which she pounded her fists on the table, called both men “assholes,” pronounced herself an eco-socialist, and stormed away only to return and continue the one-sided shouting match. “Capitalism is destroying the world!” she proclaimed. A hipster at a nearby table responded by suggesting that Hoffmann “move to the Middle East, where they stone you to death for your beliefs.” Hoffmann’s rep says that the actress was merely “urging them to vote Democrat.” The objects of her “urging” received free drinks from a sympathetic waitress.
“Maybe now they will make enough money to get a manicure so that the middle finger they always raise will be sharper.”
Cindy Adams, on the taxi-fare increase.
But Is He On Nerve.Com? Cuomo’s Mojo
Andrew Cuomo appears to be back on the Manhattan singles scene now that his divorce from Kerry Kennedy (after thirteen years of marriage and her well-publicized affair with Bruce Colley) is almost finalized. Cuomo tells us he had been staying with an old friend, fellow bachelor Jeffrey Sachs, at his modern triplex apartment near the UN building, where Cuomo also stayed upon moving here to run for governor in 2002. But now he’s graduated to a bachelor pad of his own. “I did stay with Jeffrey for a while, but I am renting my own apartment now,” says Cuomo, refusing to give a location. We had also heard rumors that he was involved with a certain deep-pocketed former Bill Clinton staffer, but Cuomo steadfastly denied having a new girlfriend—yet.
Candidate Camera: Dems on Film
If you’re betting on who’s going to run for mayor in 2005, you may want to use filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi’s dinner calendar to handicap your picks. Pelosi, the daughter of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, became a political celebrity with her HBO George W. Bush documentary, Journeys With George, and will be filming the next Democratic presidential nominee on the campaign trail. But first, she’s meeting with New York Democrats eyeing Gracie Mansion. “Everyone wants Alexandra to make a movie about them,” chirps her manager. “She’s yet to make any decisions.” A rep for City Council Speaker and would-be mayor Gifford Miller confirms that Miller had an “informal meeting” with Pelosi in December. And Representative Anthony Weiner of Brooklyn, who last week announced he’d formed a committee to explore running for mayor, was even more of an eager beaver: He asked Pelosi to film his mayoral journey at a dinner in early May. “Sure,” the congressman and former Jon Stewart roommate told us false-modestly. “Watching me shaking hands for five hours at the Kings Highway subway sounds like a ratings bonanza.”
Hamptons Milanese: Penner al Dente
Chef Kevin Penner of East Hampton’s superexpensive 1770 House has clearly bounced back from getting pummeled by Lily “Daughter of Kurt” Vonnegut’s jealous boyfriend after the boyfriend caught them in bed together last summer. Penner recently went to Milan to “research” a new pricey Italian restaurant he’s opening on the East End with builder Ben Krupinski (the man behind Martha Stewart’s East Hampton home). It will be on the former site of the Grill on Newtown Lane, which locals always complained was overpriced and underwhelming. For Penner’s sake, we hope his “research” doesn’t include wining and dining anyone else’s significant other.
Anchor’s Away: NBC’s Stone Phillips takes leave of Gramercy Park.
Dateline NBC co-anchor Stone Phillips (or “Stooooone Phillips,” as we like to say in a deep voice while staring intently into the camera) recently unloaded his $2.2 million co-op on Gramercy Park East, complete with a key to the park. (He has yet to find a new place.) The 49-year-old anchor’s former pad has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and fourteen-foot-high ceilings. Far more important, neighbors include hunky Jimmy Fallon. Broker Fran Davis of the Corcoran Group declined to comment.