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Rag & Bone Sets the Box on Fire

We're not sure which was the bigger crisis at the Rag & Bone after-party last night at the Box: The fact that a fire alarm went off around 11p.m., prompting a visit from the FDNY, or the fact that the D.J. followed said fire scare by playing "Burning Down the House," prompting the already jumpy Box management to stomp through the balcony, proclaiming, "That's it! We're clearing out the floor!"

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Julian Schnabel Gives Us a Schnug

Julian Schnabel
Since his Diving Bell and the Butterfly was released to wide critical acclaim and he received a Best Director Oscar nomination nod, Julian Schnabel has been basking in adulation like a seal in the afternoon sun. Much of the attention has come from us at Intel, who find everything about Schnabel, from his irascible braggadocio to his pajamas to his frontal and dorsal man-fur, extremely compelling. But other people love El Schnabuloso, too, like Lou Reed, who mentioned his longtime friend and neighbor's "big old heart," when he introduced him as an honoree at the amFar awards last night. But how big was that heart, and was there room in there for us? We sidled up to the Schnabel to try and find out.

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Leven Rambin: ’Mo Ho?

Levin Rambin
Leven Rambin, the 17-year-old soap star, has landed a role in the new Lipstick Jungle series. She plays an actress, so it couldn’t have been much of a stretch. At the Saks party celebrating the new show, she said she prepared for her role by studying all her gay best friends. “They were like, 'This girl’s over the top! She’s dramatic, she’s mood-swingy, she’s bitchy, she’s out of control!' And I was like, 'Hmmm … who do I know?'” So, who does she know? “I have one person in mind, but I don’t want to say his name. I already told him he was my inspiration, and he’s very, like, proud of that,” she said. At this point, Rambin left us, dashed across the red carpet and wrapped Über-dandy Patrick McDonald in a hug, and exclaimed, “Patrick! You better work!” Aha! Did she base her character on McDonald? “No, no no! This one is, like, she’s flamboyant," said Rambin. "She’s like, all over the place.” Wait, "she"? Leven, we wondered, are you a fag hag? “I would say so. He says I’m the youngest one he knows.” —Bennett Marcus

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Nanny Advice From Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon knows how to find good help — but she didn't learn the tricks until too late. "By the time I finally realized how to spot a good nanny, I didn't need them anymore," the actress said January 30 at a star-studded screening of her new HBO film, Bernard and Doris, in which she plays heiress Doris Duke (Ralph Fiennes stars opposite as her controversial flamboyant butler and caretaker). Her au pair advice? "Don't pick someone you want to hang out with," she said. "Pick someone that has a way with kids." And make sure they can deal with boundaries, especially in a busy world where staff can seem like part of the family. "Some people can adjust to that, others just completely lose their discipline." Finally, pick the right person for the right phase in your kid's life, like when Sarandon and Tim Robbins were raising two young sons Jack and Miles and she hired "a young gal with a lot of energy, as opposed to somebody very sedentary." With the kids getting older, the Oscar winner has less help — a housekeeper, but no publicist, assistant, chef, or chauffeur. "My kids are on their feet, taking the train," she said. "If they're privileged, they don't think it's the norm." —Justin Ravitz

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Marc Jacobs Wears His SpongeBob on His Sleeve

Marc Jacobs loves SpongeBob SquarePants. “I just think the colors of that particular cartoon are really beautiful and really sophisticated and interesting,” Jacobs said last night at the party for the screening of Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, the documentary about the designer during his geekier brunette days which will run on the Sundance Channel next week. “I have a tattoo of him on my arm,” he added.

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Nigel Barker Is a Real Photographer, Okay?

Barker
Last night we ran into noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker at Maggie Norris's pre–Fashion Week party, and we're happy to report that the man who can most often be found sitting behind the judge's stand on America's Next Top Model does in fact have legs. We asked him if he was going to be bringing his expert opinion to Tyra's new show, Fashionista, in which women will compete to become assistant editors at Elle. "I was asked to come onboard today!" he said. "I said I'd love to." So what is it going to be like? we asked. Will it be like America's Next Top Model only less pretty, and more passive-aggressive? "I think the fashionistas are going to go out there and realize how hard and how cutthroat and ruthless this industry can be," he said. But won't it be kind of mundane? He waved this away. "People are obsessed with all aspects of this industry," he explained. "It's sexy, it's cool, it's unattainable." Which is why, we guess, none of the Top Models have gone on to become, you know, top models. Speaking of the industry: Doesn't Nigel ever miss being a real-life fashion photographer? Apparently, this hit a nerve. "I shoot all the time," he huffed. "Every day! Yesterday! I'm doing a big David's Bridal campaign, and I just did some stuff for Microsoft. I'm a photographer, that's what I do." But what about, um, fashion? He nodded sagely. "You never see me when I'm taking pictures because I'm on the other side of the lens. Look closely at their eyes, and you'll see my reflection." —Amy Preiser For more up-to-the minute Fashion Week madness, check out New York's new blog: The Cut!

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The Night We Saw Jeffrey Epstein in Real Life

Epstein
With free-flowing top-shelf liquor, truffle-oily foods, megaluxe venues, and scores of A-to-D-listers poised to shun our goofy questions, most Peggy Siegal parties fill us with a heady mix of wonder and self-loathing. Last night's private screening of the HBO film Bernard and Doris at the Time Warner Center was no exception. At an event that seemed especially saturated with befuddling celebrity sightings: Why is Mo Rocca following Bebe Neuwirth like a puppy dog? Why is Cindy Adams photo-opping with Rush Limbaugh? Catherine Crier is still around? We were rendered speechless by one boldfacer we saw shuffling into the screening room with a beautiful woman: Jeffrey Epstein! That's right, Jeffrey Epstein. Jeffrey. Ep. Stein. Unshaven, smiling that feline-monkey grin, wearing a slightly tattered sweater and jeans, he reeked of money and massage oil. Well, we didn't get close enough to say for sure, but we could imagine. We knew he and Peggy are friends, and “I’ve only ever seen him in jeans,” she told New York in December. But really? The week after another lawsuit was filed against him by a teenage girl, he showed up to a movie premiere? With a young woman? (She looked to be in her twenties, at least, by the way.) Words failed us. Hell, even our fingers failed us as we fumbled to text a colleague about this turn of events. The film began, and it seemed to dovetail thematically with Epstein's saga: all about eccentric billionaires Doris Duke and her bizarre relationship with the hired help. When the lights went back up, Epstein and his comely companion were gone. No photographs of them on any of the wire services. Was it all a dream? —Justin Ravitz Related: The Fantasist [NYM]

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Serena Thinks Gossip Girl Is Chuck!

Nate and Serena
Since the writers' strike has been keeping us from passing judgment on what's real and fake on Gossip Girl, we took the debate to the street at last night's celebration for the New Old Navy. The minute we saw Chace Crawford and Blake Lively, we of course asked them whether they read our awkwardly obsessive coverage. Both seemed politely interested (though previously unaware) of our weekly recaps. "Oh my goodness! I'm flattered!" laughed Lively, while Crawford asked us to show it to him on the red carpet, and told us that even though he "isn't a big Internet blogger," he'll check it out. OMG! Did you hear that guys? They're such liars. Even we Google ourselves and check to at least page three, and we're not famous. But anyway, we know it's standard stalkee procedure to pretend your stalker has no effect on your life. While talking blogs, we also dug into the carefully guarded identity of Gossip Girl herself. Lively laughed off the rumors of it being Eric, saying "I personally think it's Chuck," and real-life Gossip Girl narrator Kristen Bell took the more cerebral route: "She's just that eminent being in the back of your head, the little devil on your shoulder all the time." It felt like a good high-school gab session when Lively bragged to us about how she's the best Guitar Hero player in the cast (hello! Just like on episode eight!) and her Crumbs cupcake routine ("I cut them into fours and love the peanut-butter and red-velvet ones".) But as it turns out, we aren't the only ones feeling that Serena and Nate are Just Like Us: "While we were on set, these very Upper East Side–ish kids came up to me and said, 'We are, like, you guys, in real life.' But I was like 'I am so sorry to hear that, I would not wish that upon anybody, our lives of debauchery and scandal.'" Wish it upon us, Chace. Wish it upon us every Wednesday night, please! —Amy Preiser Hear more from the New Old Navy Party, with quotes and pictures of Heatherette, Kirsten Bell, and Sophia Bush! And we know you need more Gossip Girl, so just get it over with and click here.

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André Benjamin Blessed With Words of Hope From Wintour

At the GQ party for up-and-coming menswear designers last night, André "3000" Benjamin wasn't the musical entertainment, but rather one of the celebrants. His Benjamin Bixby label — a small, American-football-influenced line — made its quiet debut in a hotel room on Tuesday night, and even Her Vogue-ness Anna Wintour came by to offer good advice. "She liked it," Benjamin said. "She was saying she hopes I get the right investors that believe in what I'm doing."

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Tina Brown Thinks Bubba Will Recalibrate; Peter Hermann Thinks It's Best to Watch His Sex Scenes in Private

Peter Hermann
When we caught up with Tina Brown at last night's Atlantic dinner and State of the Union–viewing session, we were curious as to what she thinks about Hillary Clinton lately. The senator, after all, is going to be one of the subjects of Brown's just-announced book, The Clinton Chronicles. "I think [her campaign so far] is a complete high-wire, absolutely astonishing, ever-changing drama," Brown explained. "I think a lot of it, too, is a construct as well. Whenever I see so-called Bill Clinton eruptions, they’re not eruptions at all." Man, she's already dissecting them like fetal pigs! Awesome. "I think that he will definitely recalibrate," Brown added. "I think you will probably see less of him in the next two weeks." Elsewhere at the party, Law & Order: SVU heroine Mariska Hargitay lounged with her husband, Peter Hermann, one of the male stars of Cashmere Mafia. So, Peter, what does Mariska think of your steamy Cashmere sex scenes? "We go do other things when it’s on, and then I rewind the DVR and watch them in private," Hermann explained carefully. "Then we talk it through and let it all subside a little bit and then we move on." He laughed then and showed his megawatt smile (Mariska has one, too, but she's not allowed to show it on TV). "We’re working through it." Good for them, but too bad for us. How great would it be if Mariska kicked down a studio door and shoved a 9mm in Miranda Otto's face? We love it when she does that. —Jada Yuan Get more dirt from Andy Borowitz, Bronson van Wyck, and Rick Lazio at our complete coverage of the Atlantic's State of the Union Dinner. Earlier: Tina Brown to Publish a New ‘Chronicles’

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Meg Ryan Has Been in the Business for 2,000 Years

Meg Ryan
“I’ve been in the business for like 2,000 years,” Meg Ryan said when we hunted her down her at the Hollywood Life House after-party for her Sundance movie The Deal. Ryan, notoriously reclusive these days, had skipped the red carpet, and to find her we had to slip into the house undetected, evade three bodyguards, several clipboard-toting publicists, and her co-star William H. Macy, and stand for 45 minutes behind a large Chinese urn clutching a giant bunch of flowers while we waited for the precise moment to slip unnoticed into the room she was in. And there we were, face to face with the sweetly smiling blonde we remembered from When Harry Met Sally and other nineties romcoms. She sounded like a crotchety old man. “It’s absurd," Ryan said, of making movies. "It’s an absurd way to spend your time." But, she said, it's also rewarding. "There’s a lot of really great, creative people," she said. "There’s a lot of maniacs, idiots, too.” Present company excluded, we're sure. "I run into maniacs and idiots all the time," she continued, looking at us warily. (We were only kidding about the urn part, by the way.) Ryan excused her exhaustion by saying she had just finished making four back-to-back movies. “After you extend yourself like that, you want to hibernate,” she said. We asked where she would be curling up for the rest of the winter. You know, just in case we needed to get in touch. “I’m not going to tell you,” she said. Then she walked away. —Darrell Hartman

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Julie Christie Is on Fire in 2008. Literally.

Julei Christie
Julie Christie, who won her Academy Award in 1965, is having a good 2008, with Golden Globe and National Board of Review wins and an Oscar nomination for her performance in Away From Her. But she’s less lucky when it comes to the little things, like walking, talking, and eating. At the Board of Review awards at Cipriani 42nd Street January 15, she tripped over some wires and fell near the end of the red carpet, in full view of a Spanish TV crew. “I’m blinded by the lights,” she said, laughing. “These things are rather evil. They blind me with the lights, and then they take a picture of me stumbling.” Later, as she accepted her award, a stagehand had to adjust her microphone mid-speech because no one could hear her. And finally, back at her table, a menu fell into a candle, burst into flame, and then nearly dropped into her lap. She gasped and then smothered the flames, but not before another set of papers briefly caught fire in front of her. —Jada Yuan

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Alan Cumming, Reporter

Cumming
We know Alan Cumming has had sex with journalists. But would he ever like to try being a journalist, like Naomi Campbell, who recently interviewed Hugo Chavez for British GQ? "I'd love to ask certain questions to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama," he said at the launch of the Italian Commission's Made in Italy ad campaign at the Hearst tower. "I'd like to know where they stand on equal rights for gay people. I'd also like to interview George Bush, just to watch him squirm." (Maybe he could ask him, "You're into your cock, aren't you?") But what about the people who really matter?, we pressed. Which celebrities would he like to interview? "I'd like to find out who all those blonde girls are — there's a whole lot of them who look the same, the ones from The Hills, and that Hayden, um, Pan-i-tare? She's everywhere," he said. "And who's that one, that Kim Ka-shi-shen?" Kardashian? We said. The one who made a sex tape with Brandy's brother and now has a TV show? "Yes! My friend told me she's a skanky whore, and I'm like, 'Wow, she's a lot more interesting than I thought she was.'" Like any ambitious reporter, Cumming would like to land the big story. "I'd love to interview Britney," he said wistfully. Then he changed his mind. "But I'd rather her do it with one of those E! TV people, or Oprah." That's it, Alan Cumming will take care of Hillary and Barack. Let the professionals handle Britney. —Amy Preiser

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Heath Ledger Would Have Found Fox News Comments Funny, Friend Says

Brady Corbet
Talk of Heath Ledger's death continues to dominate the Sundance festival in Utah. "It was a terrible place to get this news," actor Brady Corbet, in Park City to promote Funny Games, told us yesterday. "It was supposed to be a time for celebration, and now this town is just abuzz." Corbet, who was friendly with Ledger, says he's been disturbed by the tone of some of the gossip, particularly John Gibson's comments on his Fox radio show. "All this Fox News shit, I couldn't believe it," he said. "It's so shocking and totally unacceptable.… The guy John Gibson should just be fucking shot." Er…right. Let's move off that thought. "The only thing that's charming about it," Corbet continued, "is that I know Heath would have gotten such a kick out of it. 'Oh, you played a gay cowboy so you were condemned to death.' I really think that Heath would have thought that was funny. He would love how it makes them look and how it sheds some light on how disgusting a corporation Fox is." —Steve Ramos

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Your Fashion Week Party Guide

Ah, the joy of Fashion Week: the clothes, the models, the celebs...and the parties. Despite what your feet or your liver may say, there's no better way to wrap up a day at the runways (or just fantasizing about them from afar) than by rubbing elbows with A-listers—isn't it about time you met Madonna?—and guzzling free drinks. Always eager to serve, we've got the rundown on Fashion Week's best parties, with something to satiate every taste, from Gucci to the Beastie Boys.

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Sundance Snowboarding With Adrian Grenier

Heath
Everyone has their reason for coming to Sundance: movies, networking, making money, making off with swag, making out, usually while drunk. But there's also the skiing and snowboarding. It's a rare pleasure to see the celebrity taking time off from promoting his or her movies to hit the slopes, but most do at least once: Woody Harrelson, for instance, has gone snowboarding nearly every day since he's been here. Paris Hilton got in a day of skiing (though she may be a liar about how good she is). And on Monday, Eliza Dushku, Matthew Rhys, and Dave Annable (from Brothers & Sisters) all made valiant attempts to tame the fluffy white beast.

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Mo Rocca Dreams of a Psychosexual Thriller Starring Bill Clinton

Mo Rocca
Last night at Joe's Pub, four teams made up of Broadway composers, directors, writers, actors, and assorted other creatives unveiled the works they had produced for the inaugural 24 Hour Musicals, which, like the annual 24 Hour Plays event, requires contestants to prepare a musical from scratch in just 24 hours. We swung by and took the opportunity to ask the punchy participants a question that's been rolling around our heads since Iowa: If the presidential candidates were in a musical, what would it be? "I would do a musical about people that live under the subways, like the subway moles, and I would cast John McCain as, like, the leader of the underground subterranean people," actress Ashlie Atkinson said breathlessly. "And then I would cast Hillary Clinton as a developer who is trying to destroy their oasis." Mo Rocca had other ideas. "I think it would be a psychosexual thriller about Bill Clinton trying to hook up with Michelle Obama," he said. "I'm currently obsessed with Michelle Obama. And, um, I think she's beautiful. I think she's dynamic. I think there will be legions of drag queens soon dressing up as Michelle Obama. She's just a great sort of larger-than-life figure." But what about Hillary? Is Hillary really musical material? "Umm," he paused to think. "She's tough with musicals. Hillary's just not really very…musical." —Amy Odell Click here to see video Mo, Kerry Butler, and others chatting with New York and performing in the 24 Hour Musicals.

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Celebrities Skipping Out at Sundance

Adrian Grenier
Hey, have you noticed how the celebrity supply in New York has been depleted these past few days? (Thankfully, we still have Tom Brady wearing a boot in the West Village.) It's because all of the actors and directors are at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. But it seems like even in the celebrity fustercluck that is Park City right now, planners still can't get enough star power to fuel their events. Apparently, Sundance schedules are so jam-packed with appointments, parties, and swag-suite visits that it's no wonder they don't make half the events they (well, their publicists) say they will. Of course, some no-shows you can see coming: Robert De Niro and Quentin Tarantino "expected" at a dinner for 50 Cent sponsored by VitaminWater? Um, sure. And we look forward to seeing Paris at the poetry reading.

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