Broadway’s newest rock musical, Passing Strange, is about leaving home and finding yourself. So after a recent performance, we asked audience member Martha Plimpton about a time when she tried to find herself. It turns out that in high school, she explained, she tried to do it through Jesus. “Instead of becoming a punk-rocker, I became a church lady,” she said. “I was baptized and everything, which in its own way was rebellious. But I was Episcopal, so it was only so rebellious. It’s not like I swore off sex and booze and all that. I just added church.” Lately, her spiritual quest took her to a two-hour stint in a Mexican sweat lodge. “I don’t think I discovered anything about myself, but I did learn quite a few things,” she said. “You’ll literally believe anything when you’re in a 500-degree stone igloo.” —Jada Yuan
At the American Ireland Fund's St. Patrick Day party last night, Conan O'Brien picked up an Irish Spirit award for his work with the charity Labels Are for Jars. But as it turns out, the funnyman sadly isn't stereotypically Irish. He didn't even like fairies as a kid! "My only connection to Irish lore was through the breakfast cereal Lucky Charms," said O'Brien. "And the Leprechaun horror movies. Leprechaun in the Hood!" But any self-respecting Irishman, leprechaun-loving or otherwise, should at least be able to put a few beers back every March 17, right? Not so for O'Brien. "I get very self-conscious around a lot of Italian men and African-American men pretending to be Irish," said O'Brien. "Of course, on Saint Patrick's Day someone like me just becomes an Irish piñata. 'It's Conan O'Brien — ARRRRRRR!!!'" The late-night host has had to deal with his fair share of drunken Irish fans — though the madness has calmed down with upped security budgets — and now chooses the "less obvious" holiday route. "I want to have a Diet Coke, eat some melba toast, and go to bed early. Pretty sexy, huh?" —Jocelyn Guest
Last night the Supima cotton held a "white" party (à la Diddy) to celebrate today's opening of its Soho pop-up shop, which will feature clothes from AG Adriano Goldschmied, Three Dots, Zooey, and a bunch of other lovely designers. As we reported earlier, Supima will promote the store by setting up a "mock cotton field" on the corner of Broadway and Houston today and tomorrow, where they'll hand out real cotton branches to passersby. We had to know how, oh how, they came up with this idea.
Lorne Michaels took some heat for picking Venezuelan-Japanese cast member Fred Armisen to play Barack Obama when Saturday Night Live returned to the air at the end of February, but Armisen himself isn't having any trouble with it. "I just want to have fun," he said at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 10. "I like wearing outfits and doing things." So how does he turn himself into the country's potentially first black president? "It's really quick," Armisen said. "There's shading on my eyebrows and plastic behind my ears. And there's a little bit of something called Honey, a honey color, that is something I would wear when I play Prince." About the perception that "Weekend Update" favors Hillary Clinton, Armisen's response was similar to what SNL writer Jim Downey told today's Times: "I think they're not favoring anyone," he said. "The pieces are more making fun of the media than anything else. It's all about the jokes." —Bennett MarcusRelated: SNL Searches for A Fauxbama
At last night's Cinema Society after-party for Sleepwalking at the Soho Grand Penthouse, Rachel Zoe took a few seconds between smokes, air kisses, and her BlackBerry to chat with the Cut. She was one of the few revelers uninterested in Spitzer speculation.
At the annual Women's Campaign Fund dinner last night at the home of Community Board One's Julie Menin, City Comptroller William Thompson had a wry sense of humor about yesterday's scandalous revelations regarding Eliot Spitzer and a gaggle of high-end prostitutes. "I wonder what we'll be talking about this evening?" Thompson had already cracked twice before he made it all the way into the party. Thompson called Spitzer "a friend" and expressed "shock and disbelief" about the recent news. While he stopped short of calling for the governor's resignation, he expressed the obvious concern. "I think it is very difficult to govern in the current situation." He was not as reticent in his views about Spitzer's possible successor, Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson. "While Eliot's a friend, David's a very good friend." Thompson went on to express his belief that as minority leader Paterson helped to change the Democratic Senate, that they became much more aggressive and idea-focused under his guidance. "I think the world of him; he is such a talented person." —Catherine CorenoEarlier:Reacting to Eliot's Mess
At this week's premiere of new Broadway musical In the Heights, about a Latino community living in Washington Heights, Grey's Anatomy (and former Spamalot) star Sara Ramirez was rapturously plotting her return to Broadway. "This show makes me want to come back!" she told Intel. "It was beautiful! I know Manuel [Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer and star] is going to be busy for a long time with the success of this show. But I gotta tell ya, I want him to write me something! That's who I'm calling." We're sure he'd take her call. Ramirez has come a long way from the ten-by-sixteen room she used to rent on the West Side, back when she was a recent Columbia grad and struggling actress. "It was the servants' quarters on the top floor of a brownstone," she said of her digs back then. "I think it was five rooms with a bathroom which we all shared." And by "we all" she didn't mean a bunch of cute, young twentysomethings. "There was a couple that was like 90 years old down the hallway, who had lived there for 40 years. There was a fridge out in the hallway. I had a loft bed and a sink, a tiny little closet, and a window that looked out onto a brick wall. I'm not exaggerating at all. It was $400 a month. What are you gonna do, hello? It builds your character when you live a lot less." We'll say! And anyway it's not like she stayed there that long. Success was just around the corner! Right? Actually, no. "I lived there for about eight years," Sara qualified. So hold on to your dreams, readers. It could happen to you, too. —Justin Ravitz
Last night at a party for this year's CFDA Awards nominees, the Cut (that's our fabulous new fashion blog, in case you don't know) caught up with executive director Stephen Kolb, who, as it turned out, had had an interesting encounter with Luv Guv Eliot Spitzer. No, not that kind of encounter. Kolb was in Washington this past February 14, the day after Spitzer allegedly hired a prostitute. He and Narciso Rodriguez were at a hearing about fashion designers' intellectual-property rights, when the lobbyist they were working with suddenly introduced them to Spitzer. "I shook his hand!" he told the Cut. "I shook his hand the next day! I'm thinking about how creepy that is now! No, I'm joking. So, I mean, it happened on the 13th?" Allegedly, yes. "Alright, well, he looked happy on the 14th!"
CFDA’s Stephen Kolb Touched Eliot Spitzer the Morning After [The Cut]
He is one of America's top-selling artists, but Justin Timberlake wasn't exactly an audience favorite when he introduced Madonna at last night's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. We have always loved JT, but our esteem for him plummeted during every minute of his speech, and that's saying a lot, since the speech was more than ten minutes long. "A strange thing happens when you're asked to induct Madonna into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," he began. "You become aware that every single word you can possibly imagine saying about Madonna suddenly sounds much hotter, much dirtier, and a whole hell of a lot more fun. Induct her. Induct her … Why yes, I'd love to. Enter the hall. [Deep voice] Every chance I get." Thanks, Beavis. He went on, despite the groans of the audience. "Madonna has changed the way our world sounded, she's changed the way our world looks, and somehow she still found time to publicly kiss at least someone who I may or may not have kissed myself," he paused. "Of course, you all know I'm talking about Sean Penn." Assorted peevish sounds rippled across the crowd. "They're jokes!" he said, because no one knew. "They're jokes!"
Fashion and politics go hand in hand. Literally. Last night at the cocktail party for CFDA Awards nominees we caught up with CFDA executive director Stephen Kolb, who reminisced about the time he met — and touched — Governor Eliot Spitzer in Washington, D.C.
Roberto Cavalli may have his own brand of vodka and chain of tacky nightclubs in the works, but he's not the only designer who knows how to shake his tail feathers. On Saturday night we spotted Donna Karan at the Box dancing up a small storm — and with a handful of good-looking young men, to boot.
On Friday we dropped by the Plumm for the memorial celebration for Baird Jones — the promoter, art collector, and gossip reporter who was a New York party-scene fixture for three decades before being found dead in his apartment last month. We expected a sea of eighties clubbers, fellow gossip writers, and open-bar-hoppers. We did not expect Lindsay Lohan.
Yet as the aging crowd nursed its final free drink, the starlet arrived and installed herself on a couch in the back. It was surreal yet, in a way, the perfect homage to a man who devoted himself to celebrity gossip and often put random kooks in the same room as A-listers at the parties he threw.
We admit it: We harbor a secret crush on Chuck Klosterman. He has a nerdy hotness about him not unlike what Natalie Portman must have seen in Moby. We even almost joined the Facebook group "If Chuck Klosterman spit in my face, I'd stop taking showers," but then we promised our career counselor we wouldn't. Er, anyway, last night we went to the Highline Ballroom for a reading of his upcoming novel, Downtown Owl (even though we found it a little hard to follow). Over the course of the next half hour, we learned a few things about our little demigod:
• Chuck used to have a few nicknames back in the day: Curtains (after a pair of unfortunate sweatpants his mom made him), Facehead (also interchangeable with Headface), and Joaquin Andujar.
• Chuck does not think that rock and roll is dead. In fact, he thinks "it is pretty good right now."
• No one ever has sex in Chuck's books because he identifies more with people being rejected.
• Chuck is going to be teaching in Germany for fourteen weeks and what he will miss most is his girlfriend.
We raised our hand to ask a question. So, how do nerdy guys get chicks? "Well," Chuck said, "it's like this. You used to be able to tell the difference between hipsters and homeless people. Now, it's between hipsters and retards. I mean, either that guy in the corner in orange safety pants holding a protest sign and wearing a top hat is mentally disabled or he is the coolest fucking guy you will ever know." And in that moment, nerdy Chuck Klosterman got just a little bit hotter. —Lauren Salazar
Since The Real Housewives of New York City debuted on Tuesday, we've been thinking a lot about women who try to do it all. We ran into a gaggle of exactly those kinds of gals at last night's cocktail party to honor Brian Atwood and the charity New Yorkers for Children. Susan Shin, whom we see all over town at the fanciest events, told us it's definitely possible to try to spread one's self too thin. "I think we all have that tendency. It's the era of the superwoman," she said. "Husbands, kids, work, very successful careers, friends, social life, philanthropy. It's hard to do it all." So, Suze, what do you think of Real Housewives? "I don't think it's a true representation of housewives or other women in New York."
While Married Life is Ira Sachs's first full-length feature film that doesn't take place in his hometown of Memphis, he says that he and fellow Southerner Patricia Clarkson bonded on the set. "She tells me I have very good manners," Sachs told us at a Cinema Society screening of the film yesterday. "And you know Chris Cooper is from Kansas City, so we're all from the river towns." "He's such a nice southern boy," Clarkson said about Sachs, turning to the director. "Ah! You have shoes!" she cried, pointing at his feet. To us, she explained, "Do you know Ira called me to tell me, he's such a gentleman, 'Patty, I might have tennis shoes on with my suit'? I was like, 'Ira, it's okay — you're the director!'" Sachs chimed in: "Then I realized I live on 8th Street, so I just went across the street and bought some shoes."
As for Chris Cooper, he says he's left his Missouri cattle-ranching days behind for good. "You know, when I was younger, it was a very physical job, and you were called on at any time of the day or night to tend to the cattle and help deliver and castrate and tattoo and wean and all that business," Cooper told us. "It was a great way of life, but now that I'm a little bit older, realizing how physical it is, I'm glad I stuck with the acting biz." —Bennett Marcus
Part of being in the "new generation of creative people," Ally Hilfiger told us back in January, is being "multitalented" and mastering a variety of methods of artistic expression. But as much as she loves fashion, acting, art, and combining the three in hard-to-explain multimedia exhibitions, she may have a higher calling. "If I couldn’t do the acting, the painting, and the fashion design," she told us at the spring 2008 Men's Fashion Party at Blue and Cream last night, "I would really like to become a healer." Really? Like, what, a doctor? No. "An energy healer and a holistic healer," Ally clarified, explaining that despite her interest in fashion, she's just as interested in what's on the inside as what's on the outside. In fact, she follows Peter D’Adamo's Eat Right 4 Your Type diet, which tells her which foods are okay for her to eat and which are "toxic for my specific makeup." She added, knowledgeably, "It helps your immune system, and it just keeps you really healthy for your geno-type." As for the healing, right now it's just a hobby, something to do in between art projects. "I already do healings on people sometimes," she said. "But I’d really like to get a degree and really have a profession of healing people." —Stephen HaskellRelated: Ally Hilfiger on the 'New Generation of Creative People'
David Gordon Green's Snow Angels is a movie all about the relationship between a teenager, his older babysitter, and her family. So, naturally, at the event celebrating the movie last night at MoMA, we asked the cast if they ever had the hots for nanny. "Like, all of them," Green admitted immediately. "I tried [to hit on them, but] they wouldn't have me! I was a dirty little kid." As for his techniques? "Lookin' up skirts and all that. I tried to [use a makeup mirror to look at her] when she was in the bathroom, and it didn't work," Green said. "She got pissed [and] sent me to bed with no supper. And beat me." Connor Paolo, Gossip Girl's Eric, is just 17 but remembered having an eye on his Iranian nanny's young daughter. Amy Sedaris, however, had a view from the opposite side. She was always the babysitter. She remembered with a shudder that awkward ride home with the dads, who inevitably had "booze on their breath," driving you a distance you could walk. And then! "This one kid once accused me of killing his goldfish. I was leaning over it breathing, and he told his parents I killed it, so they never had me back," Sedaris griped. "I will never let it go!" Man, we wish Amy Sedaris had been our babysitter. Imagine the insanity. And the cupcakes! —Jocelyn GuestRelated:Amy Sedaris Kills Roaches With Her Bare Hands
At last night's launch party for the Smirnoff Signature Mix Series, we asked rapper KRS-One how he felt about some people's assumption that the black vote will go for Senator Obama in the presidential election. The hip-hopper has appointed himself of a spokesman for black culture in the past, most notably when he drew ire in 2004 for saying he "cheered when 9/11 happened." "People should assume [blacks will vote for Obama]," he told us. "And people should assume that KRS-One will vote for Obama For those of us who preach Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, are those who have dreamed of a day of a black president or an African-American president." He was careful to add: "If Obama gets in, it's not like he is going to do anything different. But at least if he gets in, at least we get a chance at the steering wheel." We asked KRS if he would care to take a moment, then, and freestyle about his candidate. He obliged:
I don't know where this is goin'
But KRS-One is right now freestyle flowin'
Me, I'm not into votin'
All that wishin', beggin, and hopin'
Me, I get open
Let me tell you Obama's not a token