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They Like the Nightlife

At Monday night's Nightlife Awards, honoring cabaret, jazz, and comedy, performers dished about life on the boards. And about gift bags. Swag bags, pro or con? "I never take them. Every gift bag I've ever gotten has gotten three kinds of hand cream, a CD of Aida, and a copy of In Style magazine. Give me free Botox or free hair transplants, or a $2,000 gift certificate to Armani for some underwear. Although nowadays, a flu shot would be good too, and harder to come by than Botox." —Charles Busch, playwright and drag queen What's in your fantasy swag bag? "A kazoo, a can of SpaghettiOs, and a forty of Colt 45." —Daniel Reichard, Jersey Boys actor

Steamrolling in Our Time

• Ladies and gentlemen, your new catchphrase for the day: "I am a fucking steamroller." If we are to believe the Post exclusive, this gem was uttered by none other than Governor Spitzer — in response to a GOP assemblyman who complained about being shut out of the legislative process. [NYP] • Albany Democrats, who apparently didn't get the above memo, are, in the delicate Times phrasing, "leaning toward reneging" on their deal with Spitzer that lets him hand-pick the Hevesi replacement. [NYT] • The White House has approved $25 million in aid to combat lung diseases and others in 9/11 first responders. And to think all it took was five and a half years, and the Dems pretty much parading a dead cop around the State of the Union address. [NYDN] • Guess who's about to sign a lease for $50,000 square feet at Lincoln Center vacated by the dear old Tower Records? T. J. Maxx, that's who. And so, suburbia encroaches one step closer. [Crain's] • And the Landmarks Preservation Commission has bestowed its blessing on three heretofore unprotected sites, thus saving them from, you guessed it, a fucking steamroller: two Harlem churches — one built by the architect of St. Patrick's — and the awesomely named Horn & Hardart Automat-Cafeteria Building. (Now, sadly, a drugstore). [amNY]

Exhaustion Sets In at ‘Gotham’ Gala

Gotham Magazine Gala. Capitale, 130 Broadway, nr. Grand St., 7 p.m. Truly an overflowing cornucopia of party fruits and sponsorship vegetables, this event is billed as Gotham’s “Seventh Annual Gala” and a retirement party for Tiki Barber; it’s sponsored by Cadillac, the luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet, and a London hotel called the Rushmore; entertainment will be provided by D.J. Cassidy, the “Chez-Zam Entertainment Group,” and the “Fifty-Person Rhythm & Rhyme Marching Band.” Scheduled to be exhausted by all of the above are Spike Lee, Ice T, Jon Bon Jovi, Nina Sky, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

HarperCollins, Still With the Decapitations

Speaking of HarperCollins: Lit blogger Bookburger has notices a curious new trend in the design of covers for teen novels: Decapitation. More and more releases from HarperTeen — Bookburger cites three examples from the spring catalogue — feature cover images of teenage bodies with the attached head conveniently cropped off. It's a strange trend, and an objectifying one, but it's also sort of inexplicable to be coming from Harper right now. If nothing else in the last few weeks, hasn't the publisher learned it might be best to stay far away from beheadings? Headless Wonders [Bookburger] Earlier: Our coverage of Judith Regan

Chuck Schumer Has Seen the Promised Land!

You'd think Chuck Schumer was busy enough in 2006, masterminding the Democratic takeover of the Senate while also doing his day job as a member of that body. But he also found time to write Positively American, which hit bookstores this week. It's part memoir and part branding strategy for his party: The key, both to Schumer's own career and to his vision for the Dems, is a relentless focus on the needs of a mythical suburban Long Island middle-class family he calls "the Baileys." He recently told us all about them. In the book you're tough on your own party, criticizing Democrats for losing touch with middle-class voters and pandering to interest groups. I felt a real need — an urging almost, a yearning — to get the Democratic Party to start coming up with a model, a platform of ideas, that would appeal to the average voter. Everywhere Democrats went throughout the 2006 campaign, middle-class voters said to us, "Look, we don't like Bush, we're tired of Reaganism — but what do you guys stand for?"

You've Never Heard of Robert Loomis, and That's the Point

Is it our imagination, or have we been noticing an uptick lately in glowing profiles of old-school book editors? (Maybe we're just projecting: We've only read Bennett Cerf's At Random, oh, eight times.) Today's Times brings the recap of another ceremony, this one honoring the 50-year career of Random House's Robert Loomis, who counts among his authors William Styron, Maya Angelou, and Calvin Trillin. As profiles go, it's pretty straightforward: a roundup of Loomis's cute editing quirks, reminiscences of an era before bloated auctions and editorial meetings — really? no meetings in the good old days? — and sighs for the days when an editor could merely, you know, edit, rather than being a multimedia star. It's charming boilerplate, all of it, but we're more interested in why the media is suddenly obsessed with attending the publishing industry's version of a Kiwanis send-off. Are newspapers for some reason desperately trying to remove Eau de Regan from the publishing world? (We're pretty sure the lede "Robert Loomis has never been fired" doesn't refer to the days before downsizing.) And, if so, we're eagerly awaiting fawning profiles of every editorial assistant who's managed not to scream anti-Semitic rants into the phone. A Career in Letters, 50 Years and Counting [NYT] Earlier: Forget the Columbia Course; Aspiring Editors Should Work on Farms

Yeah, We Should Have Gone to Law School

LAW • Simpson Thacher & Barlett has raised first-year associate salaries from $145K to $160K. Expect the rest of the white-shoe firms to follow suit. [Above the Law] • Lawyers dissed in Oscar nominations. Whither Atticus Finch? [Law Blog] FASHION Is Valentino retiring? The rumor — straight from yesterday's couture show — has the designer stepping down in July. [Fashion Week Daily] • The latest Chanel accessory: furniture. The company is commissioning a red chair inspired by a Swiss Army knife. [WWD]

Oprah's Book Club Returns; Americans — Or At Least Publishers — Rejoice!

Publishers across the city are presumably giddy as schoolgirls today over Friday's announcement that Oprah's Book Club — on hiatus for a year in wake of the James Frey debacle — is returning to the airwaves with an as-yet-unknown pick to be announced at the end of this week. Elie Wiesel's Night, the last Oprah pick — and not exactly an unknown work — sold more than 1.5 million copies after being tapped. So who will hit the jackpot now? The industry newsletter Publishers Lunch reads the Amazon tea leaves and determines that it's likely a HarperCollins trade paperback listed at $14.95. The Rupert Murdoch–owned Harper, of course, was most recently in the news for If I Did It, O.J.'s stillborn work of wit and wisdom. So it's pretty good time for the publisher to be getting a dose of Oprah-endorsed goodwill. And if it's true, well, we can't help thinking that a certain Australian billionaire owes the Chicago talk queen a drink the size of Lake Michigan. Oprah's Book Club Returns With New Title [AP via Yahoo]

McCall Sticks With Hillary

• Barack Obama is making overtures to one of Hillary's main African-American supporters in New York — pre-Hevesi State Comptroller Carl McCall, once the state's highest elected black official. McCall says he'll stick with Hillary. [NYP] • Yesterday's favorite tabloid story — a Madison Avenue antiques dealer is suing a homeless guy for standing in front of his windows — got a sequel today: The latter has a friend and patron in multimillionaire Edward Baron Cohen (no relation to Sasha). Which increases the beyond-awesome likelihood we might actually see that suit play out. [NYDN] • Several Roman Catholic parishes in the city, including Manhattan's St. Vincent de Paul, are about to close as part of the church's reorganization. The news itself may be less notable than the fact that the Times appears to have an anonymous source in the church. [NYT] • Newsday minds the gap — with a scarily comprehensive report on that pesky bit of space between the platform and the train. Turns out it's a more serious menace than most think, with 900 incidents reported since 1995 on the LIRR alone. [Newsday] • And you know who we haven't heard from even once in the whole Jim McGreevey saga? His now-estranged wife, Dina, who's about to rectify things with a deal for a tell-all memoir. The book will, sadly, be called Silent Partner rather than American Beard. [NYP]

O.J. Simpson Made $1.2 Million Not to Publish a Book or Appear on TV

Okay, there's one more O.J.-Judith wrinkle today worth mentioning (and, boy, do we hope it's the last one). Court TV got hold of Simpson's If I Did It contract with HarperCollins, part of a lawsuit Fred Goldman filed to try to recover the money Simpson owes after losing the 1997 wrongful-death suit. Slate's Timothy Noah, together with some unnamed literary-agent friends of his, examined the document and finds some interesting points. According to Noah, under the terms of the agreement, Simpson is already owed at least $780,000, even though the book was pulped. He may be due $95,000 more, depending on whether a book is considered "published" when it's shipped from the warehouse or when it's rung up at the cash register. He's also owed $400,000 for the unaired If I Did It TV special, because the contract stipulated he would be paid for being interviewed, whether or not the interview aired. Finally, Simpson apparently wanted to sign the contact under an assumed name and stipulated he would sign as "Sam Jones," perhaps taking the name from the sixties Celtics star. Despite that clause, the contract doesn't actually bear that signature: In what might have been the company's only smart move in this transaction, they insisted O.J. sign his own name. O.J.'s Book Contract [Slate] Hollywood Heat Exclusive: Contract Details Payments Between Simpson and HarperCollins [Court TV]

O.J.'s Book Deal: Regan's Out, But Everyone Else Is Allegedly In

The O.J. book project — and forgive the metaphor — will seemingly never die. Publisher Judith Regan may have left the building, but the Juice's coterie is still shopping a page turner from the disgraced football has-been. The old "fictional" aspect of the If I Did It Regan deal seems to have been scrapped; now publishers and agents are, says O.J.'s lawyer, "clamoring" for a memoir. (We don't know if receiving three e-mails in one day, as attorney Yale Galanter says he did, necessarily constitutes "clamoring," but prevarication-wise, it's progress.) Galanter claims he's got a profit-sharing deal worked out between O.J. and Ron Goldman's family — to which Simpson owes millions on a civil judgment — but Fred Goldman, Ron's mustached dad, doesn't seem too hot to get on board. (Astonishing!) Still, we understand why agents and publishers are so eager to follow in Regan's footsteps. Sure, the first deal was an unmitigated disaster, but the ruthless, delusional psychopath at the helm managed to weather the media assault and the eventual unraveling of the project without killing anyone — so it's probably safe to enter the room now. Oh, and, also, he seems like such a nice guy to work with, doesn't he? There's Plenty of Juice for O.J. Book, Att'y Sez [NYDN]

Although We See More Potential for Murder and Mayhem at Atlantic Yards

Award-winning mystery writer S.J. Rozan's latest book, In This Rain, is about — isn't everything these days about? — New York's redevelopment. A standing-room-only crowd turned out last night at Partners & Crime, in Greenwich Village, for a launch reading of the book, set squarely at the intersection of developers, activists, and City Hall in the gentrification of Harlem. (A large portion of Rozan's research, she said, apparently involved consuming sticky goods at Wimp's Bakery on 125th Street.) So who gets a cameo in this whodunit? "There's a character who's Bloomberg, and people keep telling me they see him in the book," commented Rozan. "But they also keep seeing Rangel. Poor Rangel! I didn't mean to have him in there." No word yet on whether Harlem's most presidential neighbor gets a role — or whether people think they see him there. — Lizzie Skurnick S.J. Rozan [Official site]

Selling This Book Will Be Murder

One of the few courtesies the press can accord the deceased — other than not parking satellite trucks on their families' yards, which is of course out of the question — is to keep coverage of the departed respectfully free of playful rhetorical flourishes. You'd think this applies even a decade later, but, then, you don't work at Time magazine. The stalwart newsweekly has reported that rights to If I Did It will revert to O.J. within twelve months, which means it's likely we'll see the book in stores — overseas, at least — by next Christmas. We're glad for the info — but less glad for some of those flourishes:
But the title itself, like a bad penny, may resurface, perhaps before the end of 2007.
Murdoch's high-profile rejection has only made the book more attractive. (Imagine the cover blurb: "The book that Rupert Murdoch doesn't want you to read!")
And so, alas, we will have to expect new chapters in the history of the crime of the last century.
Of course, it could have been worse. Herewith, some phrases we presume were included in the first draft but left on the cutting-room floor at the Time & Life Building:
But the title itself, like someone jumping out to murder you when you least expect it, may emerge from the hedge before the end of 2007.
Murdoch's high-profile rejection has only made the book more attractive. (Imagine the cover blurb: "Okay, Rupert: The gloves are off!")
And so, alas, unlike Ron and Nicole, this project just won't die.
It's fun for everyone! Well, except for the dead people. O.J.'s Book, Back By Next Christmas [Time]

Murdoch to Regan: J'accuse!

Oh, see? Now it all makes sense. It's not that Judith Regan was fired for offending Rupert Murdoch's notoriously delicate sensibilities by trying to publish a faux-confessional by O.J. Simpson. Today comes the news that Regan was fired for offending Murdoch's deep commitment promoting civil discourse by tossing off a few anti-Semitic remarks in a fight with lawyers. Reports the Times:
Rupert Murdoch personally ordered the dismissal of Judith Regan, the publisher of a widely criticized O. J. Simpson book, after he heard reports of a heated conversation Ms. Regan had with a company lawyer on Friday that included comments that were deemed anti-Semitic, according to two people familiar with the News Corporation's account of the firing. Mark Jackson, a lawyer with HarperCollins, a division of the News Corporation that includes Ms. Regan's imprint, reported the alleged comments from a phone conversation with Ms. Regan to Jane Friedman, HarperCollins's president and chief executive. "And then Jane called Rupert and Rupert said he won't tolerate that kind of behavior," said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Think of it as Murdoch's Hanukkah present to the Jews. (Query to research department.: Any cable or satellite deals currently pending in Israel?) Fired Editor's Remarks Said to Have Provoked Murdoch [NYT]

Reader: The City's Dim Sum Sucks. But Here Are the Places I Like!

We recently heard from our friend Francis Lam, a connoisseur of Chinese food who had some intriguing things to say in response to our post on the wooing of Chinatown Brasserie's Joe Ng by Bensonhurst restaurateurs.
"Frankly speaking, the dim sum I know of in the city just doesn't match up to the best stuff in Hong Kong and Vancouver. What you can get in those and other places is much more in line with Joe Ng's work at Chinatown Brasserie, which I would definitely call head and shoulders above anything else here. (Secretly, I'm glad he's being headhunted back to a Chinese community in Brooklyn, where it will be more affordable and the product turnover will be higher.)"
Okay, Francis. So where do you get decent dim sum in the city?

Creepy Old Guy Day in Publishing!

Between Judith Regan's just-announced Mickey Mantle smutography and Walter Mosely's forthcoming novel, the "fabulously filthy" Killing Johnny Fry, it seems to be Creepy Old Guy Day in the publishing world. A Radar Online interview with Moseley reveals that the novel touches upon "a melange of insatiable sex — anal intrusion, double penetration, priapism, golden showers" — and that he has figured out what college freshman everywhere know: invoke Camus, and you can get away with anything. To wit:
Existentialism theorizes that people wander between choice, freedom, and angst. Please help me understand the term sexistential.
Well, this is primarily an existential book. Cordell is looking for meaning in his life. Who am I? What am I? Why live? These are very basic questions. And the path that Cordell takes to find that meaning is a path of sexuality. The Stranger is probably my favorite novel. 100 Years of Solitude is pretty good, too. As far as I'm concerned it's a very similar book, about a guy who is set free by events and goes looking for himself through the act of fucking.
Elsewhere in the Q&A we learn that Killing Johnny Fry contains the line "You feel his cum splashing on her ankle" but without the supporting freshman-lit defense. Oh, come on, Walter. Can we get a Kierkegaard? Heidegger? Anyone? Gulp Fiction [Radar]

Decadence With Marc Jacobs; Elegance With ‘Portfolio’

Those who know about such things will tell you that the annual Marc Jacobs holiday party — a themed masquerade ball — is the premier event of the season. It was held last night, and we can tell you that they are correct. Tons of food, free-flowing booze, elaborate costumes, lots of exposed flesh: It's good to be a fashion designer. Party-hopping Julia Allison stopped by to check it out, and she also went to the quiet, refined party for still-to-launch Condé Nast Portfolio. You'll never guess which was more fun.

NY1 to Launch Eleven O'Clock Newscast

If Arnold Diaz's Fox 5 antics fill you with shame, if Sue Simmons's NewsChannel 4 banter makes you want to chuck something at your TV, if you're just looking for something calm and earnest at eleven o'clock, no-frills, low-budget, then lovably dorky NY1 has some great news for you: The local all-news station is starting its own late-night newscast, to launch Monday night, January 22. "You're not going to get stories about the latest person fired off The Apprentice or about the killer salad bar," promises NY1 exec Steve Paulus. Lewis Dodley will anchor along with, naturally, a white woman — Paulus won't yet reveal who it is, but he says she's a former NY1 reporter who left the station several years ago — and, unlike much of the station's news programming, it'll be broadcast live, with the anchors tossing to a mix of taped and live segments and reporters in the field. Paulus expects a good response from NY1's loyal fans. "People have told me they watch us so much that our logo gets burned into their plasma screens," he says. —Tim Murphy