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
Oft-reliable British tabloid The Sun reports today on an unsubstantiated rumor that Johnny Depp could replace Heath Ledger in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Terry Gilliam's in-production fantasy film which Ledger's death threw into uncertainty this week.
• Both Times public editor Clark Hoyt and former Times conservative standby William Safire have panned Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger's decision to foist William Kristol on the editorial page. Among the other conservatives considered and passed over: Charles Krauthammer, Ross Douthat, Max Boot, and a bunch of other Weekly Standard stalwarts. But at least Judith Miller approves: "[I]t's an appointment that's a long time coming. The page needed balance.… [But] an unabashed neocon without remorse is unacceptable to Times people.… He's not kosher in that sense." [New Republic]
• New York Observer president Robert Sommer nailed his MSNBC interview: "We like to view our readers as some of the smartest, most insensitive — most… Some of the most brightest readers in the country and especially New York." [NYO]
• David Blum goes through his fifth sex columnist in little more than a year, firing his latest hire at the New York Press after she stole questions from Dan Savage. Some might call that slutty! [NYO]
When last we checked in with Ally Hilfiger, daughter of Tommy and appealing teenage star of 2003's Simple Life precursor Rich Girls, she was living a bohemian life between her Manhattan apartment and Berlin and working on a series of paintings featuring the number 8. "It's a lucky number for me," she explained. Tomorrow night, the fruits of her creative period will be on display at the Chelsea Art Museum, as part of a multimedia installation she collaborated on with her friend and painting partner Izzie Gold, otherwise known as Francesco Chivetta, a 26-year-old D.J. and multimedia artist who describes his work as "Warhol-esque Lichtenstein with a slight case of Basquiat."
The other day we spoke to them about the show over the phone. Ally was sick. "I sound like a dead cow," she said. "My throat is going to fall out of my ass."
Apparently after the whole partying and drinking and drugging and missed court dates and "random dudes sprawled on the couch" and threatening to molest her neighbor's dog and spending five months in a hospital with Hepatitis C, there wasn't anywhere to go but up. “I took it about as far as I could,” Natasha Lyonne told the Times this weekend. “And I didn’t die, so I decided to live, basically. Obviously it’s complicated, but it’s also very simple. I wasn’t dead at 27, so I might as well be 30. You’re already in it. You may as well be in a rocking chair some day eating a lobster club.” Mmmm, a lobster club. We're so relieved! (And sorry to say, she looks a little better than Tara Reid these days.) Lyonne is starring in Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years at the Acorn Theater starting June 15, but she's quick to point out that just because she's working and, you know, able to stand again, she's not exactly having her Little Girl Lost moment. “I’d love to say that there’s been this great 180 and happy ever after,” she told the Times while puffing on a Marlboro. But “I’ve always been both sides of the coin,” she said. “I’m very full of life, but at the same time very dismissive of it. Not really highs and lows, just a steady state of ‘Oh, hey, isn’t this great?’ and ‘Who gives a damn anyway?’”
When Living at All Is the Best Revenge [NYT]
Wow, New Year's Day seems so long ago. Remember, last week? When you had a day off just to nurse your hangover? It was really great. Not because you got anything done or because you were particularly festive. It was great because it was quiet.
Here at New York, we want to know what you do to find peace and quiet in the city. We live here (believe it or not), so we know how essential it is to just get a minute to yourself to rest. We already know how we do it (three steps, in succession: Scotch. Law. Order.), so we'd like to know about your strategies. We're interested in hearing about the most stressful five minutes of your day — in excruciating detail. Your boss is hysterical; your customers are angry; you've done the same thing 600 times in a row: Make us feel how miserable and stressed-out you are by heaping on the details of what happens to you at work or home. Then, we want to know how you calm yourself down. Do you run for ice cream? Breathe deeply and count? Stand on your head in a corner? Read the Sex Diaries? Tell us in detail your idiosyncratic habits. We can't get enough of them. Plus, we need some help — the most stressful five minutes of our day is when our editor sends us an e-mail about a magazine writer who needs help on a story and orders us to do a post about it "ASAP."
E-mail your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave them in the comments.
Bruce Ratner has plans to build Brooklyn's tallest structure using air rights from CUNY's NYC Technical College. The City Tech tower, to be designed by Renzo Piano, is being built with the collaboration of the school — and in return, they'll get a new class and lab building, built by Ratner. But there's one loser in this deal: George Westinghouse High School, which uses an auditorium and parking lot on the CUNY site where Ratner will be building. School officials only received a fax with the announcement a couple of days before a crew arrived to start work for excavation. "The principal asked the workers to leave the property, and they did," a community activist explained later. The school has rented the space from CUNY for years, and administrators have tried since September to learn what will happen to it. "They had one sit-down with construction people that ended poorly," says the activist. The school's PTA will meet with representatives of both Ratner and the Department of Education on January 19 (which would seem to make them more influential than dozens of celebrity protesters against Ratner's other Brooklyn projects, who can't seem to get a meeting with him). Ratner spokesman Lorin Reigelhaupt promises to restore lost parking spaces on-site or nearby, but neither Reigelhaupt nor the DOE will comment on the future of the auditorium. —Alec Appelbaum
Grub Street’s with-it brother Vulture introduces us to new comics every week, but it’s taken almost a year to discover a manga that has to do with mangia. Vulture describes Wonton Soup as “a manga–meets–Gahan Wilson–meets–Iron Chef space-trucker opera,” which sounds pretty fantastic to us. Plus, this comic speaks truth! “My cooking is all about passion and fun,” laments the chef who trained at a ten-star restaurant. “Once all that gets taken away, it’s just food.” Click over to Vulture to read an excerpt.