It's not just common folk tightening the belt in anticipation of the Great Recession of 2008. Socialites, those airy creatures who are thin and rich and go to parties for a living, are also starting to (gasp!) budget. At a party to benefit the East Side Settlement show last night at Mallet Antiques, Melissa Berkelhammer vowed to take the subway more often. "I'm also buying less frivolous things," she said. "I'm not paying $300 for a haircut." Berkelhammer's neighbor, Tana Dye, had a more extreme money-saving strategy: Don't leave the house. "I live in midtown, so I have to stay in my apartment. I walk out my door, and I'm in Bergdorf or Barneys."
With pieces donated by Banksy, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, and many more art heavyweights, the Sotheby's (AUCTION)Red at the auction house tonight is gearing up to be a collector's scrum. Christy Turlington, Dennis Hopper, and Mario Batali are all slated to attend, as is Michael Stipe, who already knows what he wants to buy. "I'll tell you, the Ed Ruscha is so beautiful" he gushed to New York's Fiona Byrne at Tuesday's Edun party at the Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea "I think it's a 2007, but it's brought what he does full circle, which is part of the reason I am drawn to it. I am tempted to bid; I may well." Elsewhere at the party, Josh Hartnett told us he's watching the pennies after a recent large purchase. "I have to find out if I have any money left," he said, not ruling out the prospect of picking something up from the auction, which will go to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. "I just bought a new place and totally redid it and put in new furniture, but I have to get something for the walls!" Last night at a Gagosian Gallery preview, celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi, Anna Wintour, Donna Karan, Tory Burch, Russell Simmons, and Ivanka Trump were more hushed about what they wanted. But we think we can guess which painting caught Rupert Murdoch's fancy. He spent the entire night standing in front of Damien Hirst's Where There's a Will, There's a Way. It's expected to fetch between $5 and $7 million tonight. Which, for Rupert, is probably a small price to pay for a piece of contemporary art that embodies your life philosophy.
On Thursday, Fashion Week headed east to Hoxton, London's Billyburg equivalent, where London’s asymmetrically coiffed and skinny-jean-plastered demographic runs free. So we were hardly nonplussed to find their heroes, the MisShapes crew, making themselves at home at Henry Holland’s first solo show — which was held in a venue called, of all things, the Village Underground.
Now, just because we've been all excited about the return of Gossip Girl doesn't mean we've forgotten about another important television occurrence next month: the debut of The Real Housewives of New York City. When we ran into one of the stars of the show, Bethenny Frankel, at Gotham's Black & White Ball, she was all too eager to talk to us about it. Frankel, you'll recall, was on Martha Stewart's version of The Apprentice. "We were supposed to do six episodes, and they extended it to seven, maybe eight," the pretty health-food chef told us. Seven episodes! They're really betting the farm on this one, people. "Most of [the other stars] are just women who are letting their lives be a fishbowl," Frankel explains. "But I have a brand, and I wanted to be careful about that." So before she went on the show, Frankel talked to her agents. "All my agents said, 'Reality-TV shows are a train wreck, and they want you to come off a train wreck,'" she explained, adding that she didn't listen. Frankel is confident that she can come off in the ways that she wants to. "I'm the Sex and the City character. I have a career. I have a life, but I want to have kids," she says. "I'm the Carrie Bradshaw meets Martha Stewart. I cook and speak French, but I dress fashionably when I need to and run the circuit." Oh, yes, Bethenny, you'll come off exactly the way that you are trying to. We can't wait.
Related:The Ladies of ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: A Social Examination
Why, we wondered, do some models covet a spot in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? After all, it’s kind of laddish, not exactly a high-fashion affair or a lucrative cosmetics gig. But apparently the opportunity to appear in skin and Lycra for some 4.5 million readers is not the main appeal. “They tell you you better not go on a diet before the shoot," said Bar Refaeli at the 2008 issue launch at 7 World Trade Center on Tuesday.
Last night an all-star bowling tournament raged at London’s private members’ club Shoreditch House (a cousin of New York's Soho House). Mark Barât and Gary Powell from the Libertines showed off ferocious gutter balls, while drag royal Jodie Harsh, London’s answer to Amanda Lepore, looked on. Their opponent, Amy Winehouse, also seemed to know her way around a bowling alley, as she nabbed herself a couple of spares.
Last night, at a benefit for Women's Expressive Theater, the cool old shul on the Lower East Side that's the Angel Orensanz cultural center hosted short plays about love or its complications by women playwrights like Brooke Berman and Jenny Lyn Bader. The plays starred folks like Gretchen Mol, Martha Plimpton, Josh Hamilton, and Michael Cerveris. After the shows, we asked Cerveris (star of Broadway masterpieces like Sweeney Todd, The Who's Tommy, and Titanic) what he's been up to lately. Apparently, he's been flying between here and New Orleans a lot to shoot the film Cirque du Freak, based on the popular young-adult Vampire Blood book trilogy ("It's like Harry Potter with vampires"). He's co-starring across from Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, and John C. Reilly. Since we don't know much about sucking blood, but we do know a little about sucking chest wounds, we asked him about Valentine's Day. Has he ever put himself out on a limb for love? "My whole life I've been making grand gestures," he said wearily. "And they meet with intermittent success, but often abject failure." Oh, no! "In the long-term, I'm still going home to my dog, Gibson." And his plans for Thursday, the 14th? "I'm flying back from New Orleans. Unless there's a particularly lonely stewardess, I'm probably looking at me and Gibson that night," he said. "She appreciates my presence in a consistent way. So maybe I'll get her a red...bone or something." —Tim Murphy
Yesterday's punctual Marc Jacobs show was designed to feel like a night out clubbing, with banquettes in the front row, champagne on ice, and art-rock stalwarts Sonic Youth performing live onstage. Not everyone was feeling so glamorous, though.
Marc Jacobs kicked off last night's show punctually at 7:20 p.m. we told you on time was the new trend! leaving the likes of Nina Garcia to tiptoe in halfway through, and Rachel Zoe to throw a screaming tantrum when she was completely shut out. We just happened to be chatting with Jacobs at the after-party at 24 Lexington Avenue when Zoe showed up to tell him the whole sorry tale.
We were delighted to discover when we arrived at Wednesday's Gucci party that we weren't the only ones totally awestruck in the presence of Madonna. As we interviewed Women's Murder Club star Angie Harmon, she became visibly nervous when Madonna walked up the red carpet behind her. "I've been running around Fashion Week," she stuttered, trying to stay on topic. Then she interrupted herself and burst out to her date, hairdresser Stephen Knoll, "Did you just say ‘Hi’ to Madonna?!" she gushed. "I'm totally freaking out! You said ‘Hi’ to Madonna!" Harmon turned back to us and admitted, "I can't handle it! I've never met her. Probably won't get up the nerve to do it tonight. Look at Lourdes! Look at how big she is! I bet she has a British accent." We bet she does, too. Most of the rest of the celebrities, who included Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani, Salma Hayek, and Drew Barrymore, didn't stop to chat on the red carpet. But when we asked the hugely pregnant Lopez what she was wearing when she tottered by on four-inch heels, she replied, "Gucci Gucci Goo!"
Diane Von Furstenberg and Narciso Rodriguez were glowing and ready to party at last night's Gucci/Madonna-hosted benefit for UNICEF and Raising Malawi at the U.N. But then, their shows were already over. Donna Karan was less sanguine. Her show isn't until tomorrow, and, like a fretful mother, she worried about being away from her collection for too long. "I'm nervous," Karan said.
He's the quintessential bad boy gone good, and, even though he's quit partying, Colin Farrell's still got his weak-knee-inducing charm, as we learned last night at the screening of Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, at the IFC. He plays Ray, a hit man who's sent to the gothic Belgian town to sit out the aftermath of a killing. As with all Martin McDonagh productions, the characters have set moral standards and rules, some justifying murder and violence. One of Ray's rules is that if someone comes at you with a bottle, you have to hit the person, even if it's a middle-aged Canadian woman. We wanted to know former bad boy Colin's lowest threshold for violence. "I'm not a very violent man," he told us, "[but] ask another question like that and I'll put you on your back!" he joked. "That could be misconstrued," he added quickly, as we blushed. And since his character punched said Canadian while on a date, we asked about his worst-ever first-date experience, being a former Casanova and all that. "We [Irish people] don't really date," he said. "I can't even ever remember ever having a first date." Just as we thought: Colin just goes right in for the kill! —Fiona Byrne
The drug-addled, skirt-chasing Neil Patrick Harris from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle wasn't the one out to play last night at Broadway Backwards III. As part of an evening of performances to benefit the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, Doogie sang a duet with his partner, David Burtka. But the high-minded goals of the evening didn't stop him from dishing about his, um, high-minded role in the much-anticipated sequel, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantánamo Bay. "It's the very next day, so I'm still the same Neil Patrick Harris you saw before," the How I Met Your Mother star explained. "I have not attempted rehab. I might have gone on another bender since you've seen me. Maybe not on the same drug. Maybe a new drug." Speaking of new drugs, what was it like riding on a unicorn to pose for the movie's posters? "It was a little hard. I had to ride it without a saddle, and it was in a green-screen room, and I had to ride it up a ramp and turn around," Harris said. "And this unicorn is very unfamiliar with a crew and green screen, and you don't have a saddle to hold on to. So there was lots of calming, nurturing touches. It was very Horse Whisperer–y." Oh, Doogie, you can whisper to our unicorn any time. —Brian Moylan
The writers' strike may end soon, and the SNL gang may have their day jobs back, but in the meantime, Amy Poehler's getting her groove back. "I went to a hip-hop class at Crunch today," she told us Friday night at actor Justin Theroux's week-long public installation in Soho with a baseball-capped Will Arnett, her actor hubby. "Let me tell you something, those natural endorphins I've heard about — they really work." Didn't she ever do aerobic activity? "No," she said. "Unless crying is considered an aerobic activity. I gotta get back to work." So what else was she doing with her spare time? "I've doubled my therapy," she said. But didn't less work stress require less therapy? "No," she replied. "I'm a thousand times more stressed when I'm not working. When you can't blame everything on being too busy, a lot of shit comes up." Totally. Last time our computers crapped out on us, we had to face that we had grown up to become bloggers whose high point of the week was Gossip Girl, and, well, it wasn't pretty. Well, we told Poehler, at least you're out doing new things, right? "Yeah," she agreed. "And I'm learning how to become a midwife!" Wow! Really? "No." —Tim MurphyClick here to read all our writers strike coverage from New York's Vulture blog.