Just when we thought Fashion Week held no more surprises, we discovered that, as usual, we were wrong. After all, if sharing air space with K-Fed, J.Lo, and Liza Minnelli (L.Mi?) wasn't enough to shake us out of our jaded, hard-hearted cynicism for a moment, nothing is. And though the last eight days were often exhausting and occasionally eye-crossing, they were also, as ever, tremendously fun. Here are a few highlights:
• At least 75 Time Warner layoffs are expected to be announced today. The layoffs are among CEO Jeff Bewkes's first public tasks since taking the helm of the company from Dick Parsons last month. Earlier today, Time Warner announced a 41 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings. [MSNBC & AdAge]
• Maybe some of those Time Warner folks can hang their hats over at Condé Nast. The Observer evaluates Portfolio's recent spending spree, during which it recruited top talent from The New Yorker, the Post, and the Times. [NYO]
• (Product)Red, the love child of Bono, iPod, and the Gap, has raised more than $22 million for fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa. But considering the big advertising bucks spent during the Super Bowl and elsewhere, some are arguing that it's not enough. [NYT]
We thought the Tory Burch presentation on Tuesday evening would be sort of a snore: pretty clothes, no celebrities. Little did we know that we'd find ourselves in the middle of a romantic drama — just the way we like it!
Now, we don't know Elizabeth Benjamin from the Daily News' Daily Politics blog, and we have never met Azi Paybarah from the Observer's Politicker. But sometimes we want to give them a standing ovation. On days when Mayor Bloomberg's maddening presidential flirtations make us want to pull our hair out, rip at our fingernails, and start talking really loudly on the subway to nobody in particular, they maintain a cool composure. Every hint, tease, and come-on that the mayor makes toward entering the 2008 presidential race they report with grace and ease. Like, today, for example, when Bloomberg sat down with Texas ballot-access expert Clay Mulford, the guy who put Ross Perot's name in voting booths in 1992 and 1996. This is yet another strong signal that the mayor is setting up plans to make an independent run, but he once again made an exasperated denial of any such plans to reporters today. "Read into that what you will," Benjamin reported coolly. "Another sign that he's running for President or another well-placed tip that keeps the buzz alive." Paybarah doesn't even offer up an analysis, other than explaining the ballot logistics. We don't know how you do it, people. We literally don't have eyebrows anymore.
Bloomberg Meets With Ballot Expert [AP]
The Wall Street Journal's Li Yuan, who writes Beautiful Country, a column that "looks at American business life and business culture from a native Chinese perspective," according to the Journal, had lunch at Michael's recently and wrote about it in a column on the "power lunch," which appeared on the Website yesterday along with an amazing accompanying video (above). "Over the past 18 years, a glamorous daily soap opera has unfolded here," Yuan wrote of the restaurant. "Who's eating there, with whom and what they might be discussing are hot gossips for tabloids and blogs." During her expedition to Michael's, Yuan made an accidental but important discovery: She spotted Katie Couric having lunch with Lance Armstrong! Sure, the meeting could have been business-related. But maybe, just maybe, it was something more. After all, Katie is totally Lance's type. Even if she's not 18, she's blonde and quirky and has piles of her own money. And Lance's dedication to his Livestrong Foundation must appeal to Katie, who lost her husband to cancer in 1998 and has been a huge cancer-awareness advocate since. Of course, the lunch could also have been a ploy to get back at Tory Burch for dating Katie's ex, Tom Werner. Hot gossips, indeed!
Recently, we were watching John Waters's 1998 movie Pecker, which starred all kinds of great people like Martha Plimpton and Lily Taylor and Edward Furlong, before he got weird and started getting arrested and dating his manager. Anyway, as in all John Waters movies, there were about five really brilliantly funny parts in it, one of which was a game the characters played called "Shopping for Others," in which they'd go to the supermarket and sneak things into the shopping carts of fellow shoppers when they weren't looking. (Like a long phallic gourd in the cart of a mousy single woman or a stack of Depends for a smarmy dude in tight jeans, etc.) Anyway, we got to thinking: How about if, this year, we make New Year's resolutions for others? We've never made New Year's resolutions ourselves — it's weird, every year New Year's Eve rolls around, and we realize we're still kind of perfect! — but we've always felt we were missing out on that great American tradition. Not to mention, frankly, there are people that could use our assistance. So. To celebrate the great New Yorkers who make this blog possible and to help them continue their gloriousness into 2008, we've generously ginned up some resolutions for their benefit.
Now, everyone knows how we love the Olsen family, so it pains our heart to do this, but we really have to recommend that everybody go over to the PETA Website and play their Dress Up the Trollsens game. See, that's the new nickname they have for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. You can go on their site and dress "Hairy Kate" and "Trashley," who begin the game naked, in what we can only assume is the makeup they used during their auditions to be extras in I Am Legend. In their closet, you'll see items like a "Choked Chinchilla Cap" and a "Mauled Mink Shaw" (the "Dead Doggie Shoulder Bag" and "Kitten-Trimmed Mittens," we must say, are a stretch, even for PETA). The creepiest part isn't the bloody clothing, nor is it the fact that both twins have the same naked body-warts that plague Mr. Burns on The Simpsons. It's that their giant dead eyes follow your cursor as it moves around their bodies and does whatever it wants. They just dully regard you with a silent mix of sneering disdain and mild terror. For anyone who has ever had a fantasy about having sex with either of them, that should just about cure it. Because we're no Lance Armstrong, but we suspect that in real life, that's exactly how it goes.
Dress Up The Trollsens [PETA]
Jessica Simpson got totally pissed at Eva Longoria for hanging out with her ex John Mayer at GoldBar. MSNBC pundit Lawrence O'Donnell, who plays a lawyer on Big Love, bashed Mormonism on The McLaughlin Group on Sunday. Richard Belzer says he's "hurt" his role on Law & Order: SVU has been cut back. PETA has dubbed the Olsen twins the "Trollsen Twins" because of their affinity for fur. Among the items in J.Lo's gift registry for her twins are a Balmoral enameled black carriage for a $3,495 and a $289 suede play mat.
Newly divorced billionaire and New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch might be dating women on both coasts. Martha Stewart created a special Christmas tree for Sirius Radio's office, complete with Howard Stern cookie ornaments. Former NYSE head Dick Grasso left CNBC's Charles Gasparino a creepy "merry Christmas" message on his answering machine, despite the fact that Gasparino's new book takes Grasso to task for the $190 million kiss-off he took after leaving the Exchange. John Mayer has had a crush on Ricki Lake for two years (Ed. note: WTF?!), and actually got her digits at the wonderfully successful Sunshine Sachs Christmas party. Lance Armstrong picked up the tab for dinner with former flame Sheryl Crow. Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera hung out together at the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year party. Andy Samberg, Amy Poehler, and Seth Meyers had lunch together.
"Here we go again!" Sam Keller, impresario of Art Basel Miami, cries out to a friend on a Miami street late last night. And, as if on cue, the double doors of a giant geodesic dome swing open over his shoulder to reveal millions of dollars' worth of glittering jewels.
When he goes back on air, Don Imus will likely not be so nice to those who took him to task for his "nappy-headed hos" comment. Socialista owner Armin Amiri quarantined paparazzi who were trying to snap photos of Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin and got the police to force them to give up their memory cards. (Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem are dating, by the way.) Val Kilmer got claustrophobic at a party at the Thompson Hotel and left his girlfriend there. Mayor Bloomberg said of his cameo in Sex and the City, "I play the city." Into the Wild's Emile Hirsch celebrated his Gotham Award for Best Film by lying low at Marquee.
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.
In today's "Page Six," Lance Armstrong breaks his silence over his alleged Ashley Olsen romance, and tells the tabloid that "Ashley Olsen and I are strictly friends. We have hung out amongst other friends, and she strikes me as a nice, smart lady." [Ed. note: Wait, Lance uses the word "amongst"?] The column also says that Lance's ex, Sheryl Crow, is "hitting back at a Life & Style report about her supposedly being upset over Armstrong's relationship with Olsen." So she wasn't at all hitting back at "Page Six," who reprinted the Life & Style item yesterday with the headline "JUST TOO YOUNG"? It should be noted that she's probably also hitting back at Daily Intel, because we linked to the "Page Six" story, too. But that's because we are completely obsessed with the idea of Lance and Ashley together, and its awkward, lovely, skinny spectacle will still burn in our hearts. At least, until Mary-Kate starts dating Barry Bonds. Which we expect any minute now.
Lance Responds [NYP]
Earlier:Daily Intel's brief, beautiful coverage of Asstrong
Sheryl Crow thinks it's "pathetic" that Lance Armstrong is dating Ashley Olsen. Paris Hilton has been frequenting New York hot spots very late at night (or, rather, early in the morning). Donald Trump Jr. is suing the board members of his West Side condo for kicking him off. Jon Corzine's ex, 48-year-old Carla Katz, is dating a 32-year-old American soldier and former model. Torch, a new club slated to open tonight, is scrambling to get Tiki Barber and 800 other invitees not to show up because the plumbing isn't ready. A guy on the subway once told Matthew Broderick that he looked and sounded exactly like Matthew Broderick.
When most kids bring something in for Show-and-Tell, it's something from their home. A pet, perhaps, or a rock collection. Something that's in their house and part of their regular life, that other people might not know about. Also, usually it's small and portable. So it's no surprise that when it came to 6-year-old little Isabella (daughter of Lance) Armstrong's turn to do Show-and-Tell, she decided to bring in Ashley Olsen. Radar reports that the little girl toted in daddy's new special friend. "Celebrities do this all the time," Radar's spy explained — and it's true! Lance himself was once a Show-and-Tell item for his ex-girlfriend Tory Burch's young son in New York. Now, to be completely fair, according to Radar, the story might not be completely accurate. It may have been Isabella's twin sister Grace who brought in the former Full House star. (Wait. They're twins, and the Olsens are twins. Showtime synergy!). Since Radar doesn't provide much more information, we've imagined what little Isabella's introduction would be like.
Outside of Carolines last night, where he was hosting a benefit for scleroderma research, Bob Saget weighed in on the rumors that his former TV daughter, Ashley Olsen, has been dating Lance Armstrong, father of three. How does Saget feel about the huge age and respectability gap between the two? “I like Lance, Lance Armstrong is an amazing guy. Amazing guy!” he said. That’s it? We were hoping for something like, "I hate Lance Armstrong. I should be with Ashley." What gives, Saget? "I apologize," he said. He tried again: "You know Tevye and Golde, they were together 25 years! We’re in a society, I don’t think — you can’t really go by people, you know?" Wha? "I’m not giving you want you want," he said, defeated. "I feel bad about that."
That’s okay, Bob, how about you tell us a disgusting story about Ashley, Mary-Kate, and a donkey erection instead?
Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano aren’t commenting (they’re probably a little wiped from celebrating Butter's fifth anniversary last night), but we’re hearing from a source close to 10AK that the secretive club Akiva asserts will “change the face of nightlife in New York” passed its building inspection yesterday and could be four or five days away from opening. We can only assume a fair share of Scores girls were invited to the opening, but the real question is this: Will Butter regular and Sartiano ex Ashley Olsen make an appearance with Lance Armstrong?
Earlier:Until 1OAK Opens, Look for Richie Akiva at ScoresRelated:Butter’s Richie Akiva Dines With Puffy, Cooks for the ‘Wifey’
Okay, so we know it's totally possible that "Page Six" has been exaggerating the crap out of this Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olsen relationship. Like, we heard from an eyewitness that they weren't actually making out at Rose Bar the other night, they were just whispering. But anyway, they were spotted again at Waverly Inn on Tuesday, so maybe there's something to it. For our own amusement, we tried to imagine the conversation they had over delicious chicken pot pie at the trendy restaurant:
Lance: You know, I've been a fan of yours since Full House.
Ashley: Aw, thanks. That's so sweet. I was so fat then!
Lance: I thought you were adorable. I watch the reruns with my kids. You really pulled off all of those matching baby jumpers! I never dreamed I'd get to actually make out with you.
Ashley: I get that a lot. I really admire what you did with, you know, your ball cancer. You took lemons and made them into lemonade..
Gisele Bündchen showed up at the haunted house on Suffolk Street sans costume and cut the line. Hunter S. Thompson's widow is pissed at Jann Wenner because he portrayed Hunter in his book as an "awful beast of a man" after he left Rolling Stone . Calvin Klein's ex, Kelly, finally has a daughter, via surrogate mother. David Brooks, a.k.a. the guy who was recently busted for using company cash to fund his daughter's $10 million bat mitzvah, also used his employees' pension funds to pay for his son's bar mitzvah. Hillary Clinton backed out of a Vogue photo shoot being shot by Annie Leibovitz because she felt it would be "too glamorous." Sting and some buddies went to Scores. Bono and Damien Hirst dined at Lever House. Law & Order's Richard Belzer had to get his driver to walk his poodle during a screening at Core Club because he wasn't allowed to bring it in.
Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olsen hooked up at Rose Bar and then left at 2 a.m. The Jewish Theater of New York claims that the Times won't review its plays because the paper is anti-Semitic; the Times says it won't review its plays because they are bad. Kim Cattrall actually showed up to work before the other SATC cast mates for once. AOL chairman and CEO Randy Falco was roasted by Bob Costas and Brian Williams, among others. Ivana Trump made a kind of funny joke about Harper's Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey being the devil in Prada at Denise Rich's Angel Ball. (Diddy also left the ball with model May Anderson.) Michael Jackson went to Brooklyn to shoot a cover for Ebony magazine and was sweet despite prattling on about how much he likes kids.