Back in October, we delighted in the rococo law filings filed by William J. Unroch, Esq., on behalf of his client and maybe-girlfriend, Maximilia "Ava" Cordero, a self-described model who claimed that at 16, she was molested by billionaire finance guy Jeffrey Epstein. ("Epstein suddenly went into the bathroom and came out several minutes later wearing red lipstick and wearing a matted red wig," read a portion of her suit. "He said to plaintiff 'Call me Janice.'") Then the Post discovered that Maximilia was actually very probably a dude, which made everything even more interesting. "Gender-Bend Shocker!" they said. "Kinky-Sex Suit Gal Is a Man!" But apparently Unroch was not as amused as we are, because now he and Maximilia are suing News Corp., the Post's parent company, for $100 million dollars. The complaint, which paints a picture of a fragile girl-man, besieged by a billionaire, an "unsuccessful dominatrix," a publicist, and a conspiratorial news organization headed by a gang of reporters, names a number of Post writers and editors, reserving particular ire for Post reporter Lucy Carne, who according to Unroch, refused to print a retraction to a detail she knew to be false, reportedly telling him: “My father is the biggest lawyer in Brisbane, Australia.” "While perhaps your boss the Australian Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is impressed with your dad’s legal skills and perhaps uses him as an attorney," Unroch sniped back, he says. "It is irrelevant to this matter unless I am missing something.”
Earlier: Daily Intel's coverage of William J. Unroch and Maximilia Cordero
Welcome back to work, Upper East Siders. Did you see this morning's "Rush & Molloy" item about how people have started confusingLost star Ian Somerhalder for Chace Crawford, who plays Nate on Gossip Girl? This we appreciate, as we have often thought the two are twins of rosy-cheeked elfin hotness. We also appreciate it because we have been thinking about our favorite show for the whole holiday break. We assume you were as devastated as we were to discover that last week's episode, the last glorious flash of your spiritual libertarianism before you were subsumed by communist familial obligations, was a rerun. But never fear! We did some GG analyzing anyway, for your reading pleasure. Click below to read the official Daily Intel take on the etymology of teen drama and how it's influenced the greatest show of our time.
A Look at the Cast of 'Gossip Girl' [NYM]
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Scene: The Olsen Family Compound, Sherman Oaks, California. The camera pans a table set with linen and crystal and steaming tureens, around which several members of the Olsen family are seated. Their eyes are closed and their heads are bowed in prayer, except for Ashley Olsen, who is sitting on Lance Armstrong's lap. The Olsens' mother, Jarnette, begins her holiday prayer.Jarnette: Let us give thanks today for all of the food in front of us, the roof over our heads, and all of the opportunities given to us.
Lesser Olsens 1 & 2: [In unison.] Thank you, Mary-Kate and Ashley.
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Remember when everyone was talking about how maybe Jon Bon Jovi was going to run for governor of New Jersey? Well, it turns out he's already earned himself a much more important seat: in one of the judges' chairs of Project Runway. That's right. Tomorrow night, according to Fashion Week Daily, His Joviness will be giving Bravo's most popular show a bad name. Until now, we've never taken a moment to imagine how Bon Jovi and fashion could possibly be related, so we were flummoxed as to what his exact role on the show might be. But whatever it is, we're guessing the TRESemme Hair Salon is about to get much more pivotal.
Exclusive: Bon Jovi to Judge Schmattes with Heidi [Fashion Week Daily]
Update: In all fairness, we just discovered that this news was in Ben Widdicombe's Gatecrasher column in October. Back then, Widdicombe also reported in the breath that contestants would design for Sarah Jessica Parker, and we must have blacked out temporarily, because we missed the end of the sentence!
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Even though it's celebrating its fifteenth year on local cable, NY1, the city's 24-hour news station, still has such a lovably, reliably dorky, do-it-yourself feel. But this weekend, it caused a small ripple when the News, then the Times, reported that longtime weekend anchor Gary Anthony Ramsay had left the station. It leaked that he'd phoned into the station's talk show "The Call" under an assumed name ("Dalton, from the Upper East Side") and mouthed off his own opinion on the current Bernard Kerik flap. "He did a really stupid thing," said a former NY1 reporter, now with a local network affiliate. "His judgment was just horrendous." No argument there — even Ramsey admitted as much in the Times. He was planning to leave the station soon, anyway. Which got us wondering: Just where do NY1ers go when they leave? The channel isn't known as a star maker for anchors and reporters (why wasn't Pat Kiernan in the running for Dan Rathers's job, hmmmmm?). After the jump, a little list of where people have been going after they leave the 1 mother ship.
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Brooklyn City Councilman Bill DeBlasio plans to run for borough president, and the guy who wants to replace him is part of the borough’s urbanist next generation. "I’m running," said Brad Lander, 38, who directs the nonprofit Pratt Center for Community Development. Lander, neighbors might remember, got the Bloomberg administration to include affordable-housing incentives when rezoning the Williamsburg waterfront two years ago. A savvy political operator, Lander is also popular with the brownstone-bourgeois crowd — the Atlantic Yards Report quotes him approvingly. Even Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, has battled with Lander and admits grudging respect. "He’s a bright individual," Spinola says. Having successfully fought last year to bring those affordable-housing incentives to parts of all five boroughs, Lander now wants to expand them to the entire city and require public amenities in all development. He also wants to save rent stabilization. "What I feel a lot of passion about is, shouldn’t this growth and development bring us new parks and affordable housing and jobs?" he told us. "It seems like all they bring is luxury condos." —Alec AppelbaumREAD MORE »
Right about now, Barneys will be unveiling their legendary Christmas windows, and our own Fabiola Beracasa traipsed uptown to get a sneak peek. This year's theme is Give Good Green, and for it, Barneys creative director Simon Doonan invented "Rudolph the Recycling Reindeer." "The only sort of iconic visual associated with [the environmental movement] is the drowning polar bear," he told Fab. "Which wouldn't be very festive!" No indeed. Click above to see the windows, and hear Doonan explain why his Barneys staffers were gathering bottle tops from bars in the East Village and buying bottles from homeless people.
Making Barneys' Holiday Windows [NYM Video]
There was a time when a dork from the boondocks could come to New York City and reinvent himself as a whole new person. Andy Warhol did it, and Madonna, and really just about everyone fabulous who made this place worth the rent and rodent issues in the first place. But now there's the Internet, and well, that's the end of that! These days, you can't show off your carefully cultivated soigné personality and Oliver Twist–with–a–touch–of–Hermès look anywhere without someone from high school popping up cramp your style. Which is what happened to Look Book subject Caleb McDonald this week. McDonald claimed to be from the Middle East, but one commenter begged to differ:
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Behold the city's newest benefit for bicyclists: a sleek public bike-parking shelter that will start rolling out next month. The structures are from the same company that's installing those adorable new bus stops around town. As you can see, they look very similar, except they've removed the side and rear panels for easy access for up to eight bikes. (And their ad panels will show off the city bike map or reminders to pedal safely.) The Art Commission approved the design yesterday, and the contractor will build the first 5 of 37 at commuting hubs. Look for them at 17th and Broadway, DeKalb and Flatbush, Pelham Parkway and White Plains Road, Jackson Avenue at 50th Street in Long Island City, and the St. George Ferry Terminal. "You judge a good street by how you see people going out and using the space," Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told us. "We're working hard to make sure that the materials we put on the street are high quality and sustainable." And, from the looks of it, pretty. —Alec AppelbaumREAD MORE »
Great news! Last night we went to the opening of Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular (and it was, as you can probably tell from the name, splendid). There were a bunch of exciting celebrity appearances, including Cynthia Nixon with her girlfriend and children, and Chris Meloni, who arrived late and actually had to slide his glorious bubble butt past us to reach where his kids were sitting. But the most Christmas-miraculous sighting of all was of Taylor Momsen and Connor Paolo, who you might know better as Jenny Humphrey and Eric van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl! They were sitting in the front row, right up next to all the action. Now, we don't know if it was a date, but the two seemed very close and sat leaning on one another and whispering for the whole show. And the best part? They were chaperoned by Taylor's mom. (She even brought Taylor's younger sister along for the ride.) The actors are, after all, only 14 and 17. If they were real teenagers, instead of famous ones, they'd totally have to go to the mall as the only way to get away from their parents, and be forced to make out at Cinnabon. Oh, to be young
Earlier:‘Gossip Girl’ Star Connor Paolo Has Lunch at 10:30 A.M.All our Gossip Girl recaps and dish!READ MORE »
Chuck Schumer is bearing bad news. So bad that it affects you personally. Yeah, you, the one with the family of four who lives in New York (side note: What, are you crazy?). See, our senior senator just discovered that the United States is paying way more for the Iraq war than we thought: If we stay the course, he says, the nation's costs will exceed $3.5 trillion. Schumer, along with other senators and representatives, have released the report "War at Any Price? The Total Economic Costs of the War," which totals the real national costs of the war (hint: It's more than double what the Bush administration would like you to think). And $55 billion of that has already been spent by New York taxpayers alone. You, with that family of four? By the end of 2008 you'll have already paid $21,000. Chuck Schumer wants you to see it in those highly personal terms, and for you to get upset. His office sent out a press release about it, even. $21,000 is a lot of money. That's like a year of private elementary-school education for one of your children! Gone out the window, to someone who needs an armor-plated Humvee in Kirkuk in order to survive potential IED attacks.
Wait, now we're confused. What are we supposed to care about again?
'Hidden Costs' Double Price Of Two Wars, Democrats Say [WP]
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So, we looked up the MySpace profile of Le Call, the model who was in "Page Six" yesterday when Nello Balan threatened to sue her for breaking his precious leather umbrella, and in the Post and People today when it came out that she's the one who's been seen all over the city riding bikes (possibly the one given to her by Rocco DiSpirito?) with Owen Wilson. Heh, heh we said to ourselves, expecting to find a total moron. But it turns out that despite her ridiculous name ("In her line of work, it helps to have a kind of catchy name — she's a model," her ex-boyfriend, restaurateur Chris Dexter, explained to the Chicago Sun Times), Le Call might actually be kind of cool, and maybe even a little bit funny and smart? For a model, we mean. Here is how she describes herself:
"i guess first and foremost the outside does not match the inside. since i am not from california or texas, have no idea how my hair gets so big since i have done it myself about twice in my adult life, hate pictures, and wear my watch on my right hand even though i am not left handed. i also pick up tennis balls with the inside of my feet and not the outside like everyone else. which brings us back to the top sentence."
Also, she is 25, likes Electrelane and Miss Piggy ("cause she's a feminist but also a pig"), and one of the pictures on her page is of that anti-anorexia poster with the way-freaky-looking model, which is awesome, plus there are some fun drunk pics. Le Call is our new favorite model, we said to ourselves. We so give Owen Wilson our blessing. In fact, we can't wait till she destroys her body by bearing his children and they displace us from our Brooklyn neighborhood by driving up the rents with their famousness. Mwah! See you at the farmer's market! Then we noticed something that made our whole fantasy come crashing down. She likes Ayn Rand. Sigh.
Le Call [MySpace]
Owen Wilson's Model Friend ID'ed [People]
Earlier: A Model Break's Nello's Heart, UmbrellaREAD MORE »
It wasn't lost on the activists at the National Women's Conference at Hunter College that literary lion Norman Mailer, whose writing became a target of feminist wrath during the seventies, died in New York on the same day that their event began. The weekend-long program, which drew members of some 50 women's and girls' organizations, was planned by the late congresswoman Bella Abzug's daughter Liz to mark the 30th anniversary of the first such gathering in Houston. And while the elder Abzug once told Mailer, "We think your views on women are full of s---," she supported him in his losing 1969 campaign for mayor of New York, as did Gloria Steinem, who spoke Sunday morning to a cheering crowd of about 600 women from 21 states who had attended workshops with titles like "Smashing the Glass Ceiling."
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In our lives, there have been many things that, in their early stages, we felt instinctively, absolutely certain the culture would not embrace. Ha! We said to ourselves smugly. There's no way people will like Garden State /drink Sparks/wear skinny jeans/elect Bush/use e-mail. As if! Clearly, we are fools. Which is why we're not going to chuckle knowingly about what a laughingstock-waiting-to-happen Thrasher Funds, a mutual-fund management company "by young adult investors for young adult investors" specifically targeting the American Apparel generation, is. Thrasher makes investments primarily in the retail sector; they have holdings in the dread AA, H&M, and Uniqlo, and also in Google and Volkswagen. Their Website sports many pictures of hot twentysomethings languishing in expensive jeans and says Thrasher follows the Democratic Convergence Thesis, which postulates "that there are specific companies and industries that are taking advantage of the convergence between Generation X and Y’s newfound spending power and trend setting and the Baby Boomers’ desire to stay young forever and use their spending power to emulate the trends of the younger generations." This of course makes our skin crawl. And combined with the designy-ness and the lack of self-awareness and, God, the name, we already have an extreme case of generational embarrassment, one that may or may not be manifesting itself in a full-body rash right now. But then again, that's how we felt about Garden State! In the end, Thrasher's strategies are simply explained, you can start with $100, and they have cool fonts. Our prediction: It's a hit! Let's see if our odds hold. In the meantime, we're going to go take some Benadryl.
Thrasher Funds [via American Madness]
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Now, we love the Huffington Post and its fearless leader Arianna. But we're not so sure what we think about her newest venture, the "comedy" site 236.com. (It's called 23/6 instead of 24/7, get it? Funny already!) We perused the front page and culled some of the moments from the site's first day that made us wonder whether it is, technically, humorous
• An article on Michael Mukasey includes a joke about waterboarding the pope. (Okay, that's a little funny.)
• In their new feature "Dickipedia" (yes, that's a Wikipedia knockoff for people who are Dicks), they profile Pervez Musharraf: "In the weeks since the agreement, Musharraf and Bhutto have publicly feuded and traded accusations — a relationship not unlike Britney and K-Fed, only with the added possibility [of] a nuclear holocaust."
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In true Roberto Cavalli form, the H&M launch this morning was the flashiest of all the clothing company's collaborations so far. The sidewalk in front of the Fifth Avenue store was lined with a red carpet, where supermodel Jessica Stam joined the designer for photo ops. Over 50 people were in line by 8 a.m., surprising even Cavalli himself, who admitted he “didn’t expect so much success.” But the Cavalli-aholics, mainly hailing from New Jersey, were as frenzied and savage as the animals whose print they so furiously coveted. The first in line (since 7 p.m. last night!) were a pair of cousins, 12-year-old Margaret and 24-year-old Frances. When the doors opened at ten, they sprinted first toward the gold minidresses and floor-length gowns, swooping up entire racks of the same item. Later, at the cash register, the cousins carried bundles so huge that only their faux-Ugg boots were visible. Was it worth the wait? “I’m going to pass out. I’m not even kidding,” one replied before breaking down into tears on the phone. The other boasted that she fought a woman for a dress. "I hit her with a hanger!” she yelped. Their mother, however, wasn’t satisfied. “Whurs the jewelrrrrrrrry?!!!” she shrieked.
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As one of the many controversy-spurning agenda items Eliot Spitzer has to deal with, we hear some progress being made in the ongoing discussions with Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno over Bruno's pet issue: the future of the New York horse-racing industry. One source involved in the private talks tells us that the tentative plan is to split up control of each of New York's three horse-racing tracks: Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct. The New York Racing Association (which faces an expiration date at the end of this year) will get to keep control of the track in Saratoga, and thus stay alive. This would help the Spitzer administration avoid a potentially lengthy lawsuit.
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Grub Street's Daniel Maurer felt pretty guilty about taking up space at last week's third annual Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest at Union Hall — after all, so many people were clamoring to get in to the sold-out event that bouncers had to man the door. "You have to let me in!" one girl begged. "I've been obsessed with taxidermy my whole life!" (Hey, it beats the usual "I know the owner.") Nevertheless, if we had ceded our place at the bar where Wet Specimen cocktails were served, we wouldn't have captured the mind-blowing footage you're about to see of human-head replicas made from animal parts, mermaid rabbits with duck feet, and two-headed cat skeletons (real or fake? Not even a judge from the Museum of Natural History could say for sure). Click above to see the video. We promise that after watching, the words "Pope squirrel" will forever be lodged in your brain.
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest [NYM Video]