All this time we thought that Traver Rains’s ever-present cowboy hat was just an affectation. It turns out that the silent half of fashion-design duo Heatherette — maybe he just can’t get a word in when partner Richie Rich is around? — is a real Marlboro man. “I grew up in Montana on a cattle ranch," Rains told us at the Lunchbox Auction at Saatchi & Saatchi on Thursday. Really? Does he know how to, like, rustle or wrangle or whatever one does to cattle? “Rope. Yeah," he said, all Heath Ledger–like. “I spent more time on a horse than not, growing up. I was Brokeback before Brokeback was cool.” One of the specialties that ranchers rustle up around the campfire, Rains says, is Rocky Mountain oysters. And those are? “It’s fried cow balls. After they’re snipped," Rains told us, covering his mouth and giggling coyly. We were, for once, speechless. “Um, they’re like, fried, breaded, um, you know the things hushpuppies! That’s what they remind me of.” Alas, Rains moved to New York in 1999 and has not eaten Rocky Mountain oysters since. He doesn’t know of a place that serves them in the city. “That would be fun,’ he said. “I would love to take my friends out and torture them with that.” —Bennett MarcusRelated: We can solve this problem! Where to Get Cow Balls [Grub Street]
Attention shoppers! It's that time of year. Yes, the Tipping Time, wherein you must give of your bounty unto all those little people who make your world go round (even if it makes you a little morally queasy). But what to give, and to whom? Well! We ran into Barneys creative director Simon Doonan and Fashion Week overlord Fern Mallis several weeks back at the launch for our New York Look fashion magazine (which, we might add, yet again, is pretty fucking fantastic), and asked them how they treat the help when the holidays come around. What we discovered was a highly detailed system of reward, based on equal parts anger, fear, and compassion, which we've made into a handy list, below.
1. If you subscribe to fashion magazines, be generous to your postal carriers.
As every girl or gay knows, September fashion magazines are heavy enough to be used as doorstops or murder weapons. You've seen your coffee table buckle under the weight. Now imagine the spinal discs of your poor postal carrier, forced to lug a 5,000-page Vogue to every apartment in your building. And then there's Bazaar. And W. Oh, God, that W. Feel guilty yet? Doonan does. "Every postal worker who has ever delivered to my building has gone on sick leave with hernia from lifting magazines. It's a really disastrous situation," he says. His tipping solution: at least $25. "But I do raises, so [my postal carrier] is making a fortune now."
One of the things that we love about Mayor Bloomberg is that he always makes an effort during speeches. He always has a joke handy, he's personable, and crowds always eat him up (who doesn't want to eat up a munchkin?). So it was last night at the Global Green USA Awards. "When I first got elected mayor, [my mother] said to me, 'Now don’t try to be witty or clever; just be yourself,'" Hizzoner cracked, to much general amusement. Then he went straight into his eco-themed speech, which touched upon a lot of his PlaNYC initiatives. And then he threw down the gauntlet to PepsiCo, of all people. "Coca-Cola Enterprises has developed a hybrid delivery truck," he explained. "This new truck produces zero emissions when it’s going very slowly, which is the only thing it’s ever going to do in our city … If I can start to get people saying, 'Hey, Coca-Cola is a responsible company,' then it’s good for Coke. They will make more money, and they will have an increased interest in investing in our future. And other companies will hopefully follow suit. After all, if you were PepsiCo., what would you do?" Um, bring back that commercial where Britney Spears, Beyoncé, and Pink are gladiators? Is that the wrong answer? —Robert Fischer
We ran into Heroes star Masi Oka at the Cinema Society screening of Atonement last night. Heroes films in L.A., and Oka, a Brown graduate, was happy to be back on the East Coast. “There seems to be a lot more culture in New York; people talk to each other; people are interested in more intellectually stimulating conversation," he said. "Whenever I go out, I’ll meet like, investment bankers, you know, people who are creative. The creative folks here tend to be a lot more intellectual.” Wait, what? Investment bankers are creative? And intellectual? Has living in California addled Oka's brain?
The Michael J. Fox Foundation hosted its annual fund-raising gala over the weekend, and our Jada Yuan was there with a camera. The night's theme was "A Groovy Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's," though some of the participants opted not to dress the part. Governor Eliot Spitzer blamed decorum and said a spotted tie was as groovy as he could get. Whatever you say, your Excellency. You dress like you support medical marijuana. Watch the video for more wardrobe explanations from Donny Deutsche, Gavin DeGraw, and others.
Party Lines: Michael J. Fox Foundation
With the holidays upon us, Donny Deutsch is kind of feeling charitable toward Ann Coulter. At the annual Michael J. Fox Foundation's "A Groovy Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's" fête at the Sheraton on Saturday, Donny had forgiven Coulter for her "Jews need to be perfected" rant during a recent Big Idea appearance. "What was shocking was that it wasn't a bit. It was very genuine," the big D told us. But, he clarified, "I don't think she's an anti-Semite." Huh? "She's gotten to the point where she's so detached from her words … it's the same reason Britney Spears will crash her car again. Because she doesn't exist until she crashes her car. Ann Coulter doesn't exist until she says those types of things." Wow, that's like a koan for our time: Without Car Crashes, Britney Exists Not. "I think [Coulter] genuinely felt bad afterwards," Donny continued. "I think she saw me personally offended. It's like seeing the hate crime in front of you." Donny even said he's ready to send Ann a Hanukkah present. "A muzzle!" he suggested. "And a Jewish history lesson." God bless us, every one. —Justin RavitzEarlier:The Internet Finally Thinks of a Response to Ann Coulter
At a WE TV voter-registration event on November 28, Brady Bunch alum Chris Knight—he was Peter — wandered past with his wife/reality-show co-star Adrianne Curry. "I'm a libertarian," he said. "I hate the two-party system, but I'm not sure what other system works." He said he was leaning toward Barack Obama at the moment. What about the other sons of Mike (and the daughters of Carol)? Did they grow up to be Democrats or Republicans? “I think they were swing voters,” he said. “Conservative Democrats. More like libertarians, probably, in their heart of hearts.” Did any grow up to be Republicans? “Oh, Greg's a Republican,” Knight said. “He’s probably a John Bircher. In real life, only two of us grew up in Democratic families. But I gotta believe that Mike Lookinland [Bobby] has turned out an independent, because was a Deadhead. And Susan [Olsen, who played Cindy] has turned the other way, too: She’s a strident liberal. And Eve [Plumb, who played Jan] is more or less a libertarian. Her dad was a banking investor and very conservative. But Barry [Williams, otherwise known as Greg] was always was a Republican — he was always very businesscentric.” —Tim Murphy
Last time we ran into smoking hot (even while tubby!) Ryan Gosling, he told us that he'd been living with his Lars and the Real Girl co-star, Bianca, the blow-up sex doll. So, where was Bianca tonight? "She's at home, reading a book by the window," he told us when we ran into him on a cigarette break from a post-screening dinner at the Plaza Athénée. As he spoke, he rested his hand gently on our back. Well, well! Maybe things aren't so happy at home after all! We smiled adoringly at him. But leave it to Peggy Siegal to ruin our moment. "He's taking her to St. Barts with him," she interjected. "Do you know how much that doll costs? $10,000!" Gosling shushed his publicist. "Don't put a price on her," he said, removing his hand. Damn. So, does Ryan ever feel as shy as his character in the movie? "I feel pretty shy right now," he said, very un-shyly. So, uh, what does a real girl like, a human one, have to do to try to steal his inanimate lover's place? "That would be implying that she is inanimate," Gosling warned sternly. Then he softened. "It's a very special relationship, but they're welcome to try." Victory! So should we — uh, they — stay, you know, pretty still? "I think at this point I could use the conversation. She's not the best conversationalist." —Amy PreiserEarlier: Ryan Gosling Keeps in Touch With His Co-star
Below, the tale of the coolest thing one of our reporters has ever done, which she has, after much deliberation, decided to give unto the Internet because she never plans to run for political office, and her parents were hippies and have therefore engaged in far too much delinquent behavior to ever cast judgment:
[Scene: The Bowery Hotel. Second floor. After-party for the opening of the first U.S. Billionaire Boys Club/Ice Cream flagship store. BBC/Ice Cream co-owners Pharrell Williams and Nigo hold court on a banquet in the back room. Fellow Neptune Chad Hugo stands in a doorway, fielding sexual innuendo from tiny Asian girls. Pusha T from Clipse leans on the bar, knocking fists with the myriad black dudes who walk by. Countless models swarm the one table with bottle service, sending death stares through all who dare approach. The three beanie-wearing white guys in the room play pool, pretending they haven’t noticed there’s a party going on in here. Two Disaffected Reporters, Jada Yuan from New York and Neel Shah from Radar convene in the hallway with their Assorted Friends.]
A gazillion people showed up at Rockefeller Center last night to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the annual tree-lighting ceremony, and the dawn of what we truly believe is the most wonderful time of the year: the season in which tourists wait in long, miserable lines in order to fall on their asses and slide embarrassingly across a cold sheet of ice. As the lights twinkled in the night sky, Josh Groban, whose holiday album Noel is No. 1, thanks to Oprah, was feeling philosophical. "Every year I kind of say to myself, 'What a beautiful tree,'" he told New York. "It's great that it's on display, but I mean the tree doesn’t know that that's the best it is ever going to look. It’s just a living thing. You know?" —Catherine Coreno
At last night's Snowflake Ball to benefit UNICEF, we asked everyone awkward questions about the future to prepare them for their holidays with nosy Aunt Susan. DavidLaurenBush, are you getting engaged? ("I don't know!" laughed the Lauren half of the socialite organism). Maggie Betts, will your dad, Roland, have a job for his BFF George Bush when he retires the presidency? ("I don't think he'll need one," said Maggie, who was arm in arm with Barbara Bush herself. "But I think my dad will give him anything he wants!"). When we got to Margherita Missoni, we couldn't think of anything tough to ask her, so we threw her a softball. What do you love about New York City? "I'm not in love with New York right now," she said. "I'm thinking of moving back to Europe." Oh, no! Is it because they shut down SocialiteRank.com? We'll try to write about you more, we promise! "I'm not sure if I'll go back to Italy. Maybe London or Paris. I long to be back in Europe," Missoni explained. "I've been in New York four years. I miss my family and everything. I wasn't born in America, and I loved it — it was great when I first came here. But after four years it's like " Missoni didn't finish her sentence. She said she preferred how everything in Europe is close together, but we weren't listening anymore. All we could think of was, with Margherita gone, there will only be 49 other top-tier socialites for us to care about! —Amy Odell
The Independent Feature Project’s seventeenth annual Gotham Awards were at Steiner Studios last night, and Jada Yuan took a video crew all the way to the Brooklyn Navy Yards to chat up the indie elite on camera. Kyra Sedgwick was impressed by how fancy the event had become, while Jeffrey Wright extolled the virtues of Brooklyn. Maggie Gyllenhaal talked real estate, Emile Hirsch discussed survival techniques, and Juno star Ellen Page revealed a onetime Brooklyn job that will be familiar to many. Oh, and see Jason Reitman threaten Judd Apatow!
Video Party Lines: IFP Gotham Awards
“You know, I host a show about crime,” said CourtTV’s Jami Floyd, leaning in very close to Javier Bardem. “I’ve interviewed serial killers. You’re the only one who ever gave me nightmares.” The actor managed a polite smile. The official purpose of yesterday’s lunch at The Four Seasons, hosted by Miramax president Daniel Battsek, was to honor Bardem and Josh Brolin for their performances in the Coens’ No Country for Old Men (and, one assumes, to kick-start the Oscar buzz). Its unofficial running refrain, however, was people coming up to Bardem and telling him, by way of compliment, that he made them shit their pants.
When we saw Eliot Spitzer last night at the Kids in Distressed Situations gala, we were relieved to see that in person, his hotness remains undiminished. We asked him what he thought of being a sex symbol, and (get this) we actually made him blush. Victory! "That's, uh, wow, maybe you should ask my wife that," Spitzer smiled. "It's news to me. But I will take it as a compliment." Laughing, Mrs. Spitzer grabbed his arm and crowed, "I agree! I agree!" [Ed. Note: Man, what a bitch.] Anyway, we thought we could throw him off with our flattery and blatant flirtation so we might get a real answer to our next question, which was, what does the governor really think of how Hillary handled the questions about her stance on Spitzer's driver's-license issue? She did, after all, stick up for him at first and later sort of slink away from her position. "I think she has been exactly right," he said. "We need a national agenda on immigration that will address these issues." Damn, a slick non-answer. Kind of like the ones Hillary gave when asked about him. In politics, does that make them best friends? —Shira LevineEarlier:Eliot Spitzer: Hot or Not?
Alan Cumming is such an, um, Man About Town, we almost totally forgot he was married! He got hitched to his artist boyfriend, Grant Shaffer, in January in London. "We got married there because it’s legal, but we live here," he told us at the International Emmy Awards gala on Monday. They're very happy. "We had our first cooking lesson in our home the other night," he said. "This man called John came around and taught us how to make salmon with beets coulis and everything." But don't be lulled by the warm homey stories. Cumming is still not an entirely domesticated beast. Five minutes later, he was telling us all about his mile-high experiences. Yes, there's been more than one. “I always think the pressure on planes gives you a hard-on,” he mused. “My friend I was just working with said that when he goes to sleep, he always puts the table out in case he gets a hard-on whilst he’s asleep. That’s a very good tip for your readers if they want to avoid embarrassment on a plane.” And just in time for the holiday season! —Bennett MarcusSee Al and Tipper Gore, Robert DeNiro, and Gloria Reuben at our complete coverage of the International Emmy Awards.Earlier: Who Had Sex With Alan Cumming?Who Hasn't Had Sex With Alan Cumming
Evening, Upper East Siders! So last night we went to Central Park North (a.k.a. 110th Street) for Esquire's fête to honor Bill Cosby at the mag's swank bachelor pad. Much as we love us some vintage Dr. Huxtable, last night was all about Gossip Girl, and the chance to talk to Jessica Szohr, who plays Vanessa. Yes, that's right, Dan's annoying friend who likes to enter his room through the window. Come on, we're not in Dawson's Creek here, Vanessa! First and foremost, we have to point out that Jessica Szohr is not as terrible as her character on the show. Last night, she was wearing a very nice simple black sweaterdress and tights and had really red lipstick on. Unless Vanessa gets a job hosting at the Waverly Inn, we know she's not gonna be rocking a simple black dress anytime soon. Which brings us to our first question. What exactly is Vanessa's deal? Why does she dress like an extra from a New Kids on the Block video? Thank God we had Jessica to break it down for us!
What is Stephen Schwartz doing in his downtime with the stagehands on strike? Getting an education. The Broadway composer and lyricist told us he's still working on an opera (commissioned in 2006) to premiere in Santa Barbara in 2009. "It's like going back to graduate school a little bit," Schwartz said at the Enchanted premiere at the Ziegfeld last night. Schwartz revealed to us, for the first time, that the opera is called Cluelessly and Recklessly, and it is a psychological thriller. He said he adapted it from the British film Séance on a Wet Afternoon and is getting used to composing for singers who don't use microphones — for him, the biggest departure from his Broadway work. "Like in Wicked, you know, the orchestra's just playing away. Or in Enchanted, the orchestra's just playing away and you turn the mike up and you hear the singers over the orchestra. In the opera you can't do that. So you have to make sure there's space for the singers. So that's a different way of thinking about writing." This is Schwartz's first opera. "That's why it's so foolish for me to be doing this!" he said. You call it "foolish"; we call it "the only good theater news we've heard since the stagehands' strike began." —Amy Odell
Hordes of rich famous people arrived at the Lexington Avenue Armory last night to shop Seventh on Sale, where money spent on donated designer goods goes to charity. Among the first to arrive to get the good stuff were Gayle King, who brought walking shoes in her purse to change into post–photo op, and Tommy Hilfiger, who was there to shop for his girlfriend. "I could shop, but I don't know what I would buy," Hilfiger said. "I'll buy whatever she wants." Gossip Girl Blake Lively planned to call her business manager to find out her spending limit. Looking adorable in a bright-yellow dress, she was jumping up and down with excitement when we asked her what she wanted to buy (a handbag! Oh, to be a pretend-teenager again). We detained her for a bit more dish about how she researched for her role on the greatest show of all time. She said Gossip Girl's creator Josh Schwartz recorded interviews with real-life Upper East Side girls. And she got to listen to the tapes! Which story resonated most? "One of the girls, her father was a big investment banker or something. And he was in a meeting with another man, and this man was going on and on about this hot young girl that he'd been dating and hooking up with. And it ended up being this investment banker's daughter," Lively said. "She got in a lot of trouble. The guy was like 42." Gasp! Ewww! What happened to the guy? "A slap on the hand basically." Um, thank God we have the show, then, where something like that would be rewarded with a slap and a hand job. From a teenager. —Amy OdellTo find out what Marc Jacobs, Parkey Posey, Dita Von Teese and more said at Seventh on Sale, read Party Lines.Related:‘Project Runway’ Scores a Touchdown With New York Giant Michael Strahan [Vulture]
Earlier:The entirety of our giddy Gossip Girl coverage
At Charles Grodin's book party at Le Cirque on Wednesday, we stopped by to ask former governor Mario Cuomo if we could have a word. Cuomo began by introducing us to his dinner partner. "This is Sandy Frucher," he said. "Of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Just made a big deal. NASDAQ is buying them out, and that's like a $700 million deal. And even he's here!" His mind wandered. "Who took my wine?" The wine was located. We figured it was as good a time as any to ask the tough questions. Who were his presidential picks? "I think Hillary wins the Democratic primary. I think Romney wins the Republican primary," he said. "I suspect and I hope this is not true: That neither Hillary nor Romney is going to be such a towering figure that it will preclude third people from coming in."
Don't feel bad if you've ever called P.J. O'Rourke a shithead. It's not so far from the truth. On November 8, O'Rourke showed up at the bash for the Atlantic Monthly's 150th anniversary with a giant scab on the bridge of his nose. "I've been waiting all night for someone to ask me what happened!" he told us. So? While cantering around a friend's polo field in Virginia, says O'Rourke, "my horse, Pronto, and I had a kind of parting of ways … He simply came to a stop and I did not." O'Rourke went flying. "It was a one-point landing, face first," he says. To add insult to injury, O'Rourke's friend had just fertilized the field. "Most of this scab is from me scrubbing the stuff off," O'Rourke explained. "I essentially fell face-first into shit. It was a classic situation: 'With this much shit, there must be a pony around somewhere.' And there was!" —Jada YuanEarlier:The ‘Atlantic’ 150th-Anniversary Party: A Play in One Act