Real celebrities are riled by sightings of Eliot's lady friend; Simon Doonan gets his own TV show and pretty people buy expensive homes in our daily roundup of the news from New York's best gossip columns.
When Kimora Lee Simmons appears at an event, she makes sure she's cool, hydrated, and always with a full flute: As someone blathered to "Page Six," Simmons insists an attendant stand by to refill her Champagne glass whenever its liquid levels dip below an inch.
After over a year without a weekend-only gossip column, the Daily News is going to launch "Full Disclosure With Jo Piazza" on Sunday, we hear.* Running a half-page once a week, the column will cover the same kind of dish and celebrity news as the tabloid's current columns, "Rush & Molloy" and Ben Widdicombe's "Gatecrasher." Piazza, whom you may remember as the girl who got hit on by a married Nick Lachey at the Super Bowl in 2005, has been covering celebrities since her days as a legwoman for "Rush & Molloy" three years ago. She also has a Fashion Week blog and column. Previous weekend columnists for the tab, which has tested a handful out to compete with "Page Six"'s seven-day coverage, have included Widdicombe and Michael Gross. We think this is good news, because it's okay for you to not read us for your latest news and gossip on the weekends. After all, you need to read about Britney Spears sometime.
*We hear this because Jo has totally been besties with Daily Intel editor Chris since the day Jo body-slammed her way past a doorman at Bungalow 8 to get into Chris's birthday party in 2004, earning his respect forever.
Dear Grub Street,
In the midst of a moral quandary, I'm appealing to you. The Post's Sunday magazine, Page Six, asked me to have brunch at the 2nd Ave Deli and send them my opinions and rating of the restaurant. I had a really nice time and the food was very good, as was the service. So I gave the place four and a half stars. The piece was published last Sunday (it's called "Let's Do Brunch") and they changed my rating to two and a half stars, and also put in a lot of things that didn't really happen, including one pastrami sandwich that I didn't even order!
I know a little piece like this isn't considered a real review, but I hate the thought that the Deli has to have a bad rating written by people who weren't even there.
Annie's New York Eats
Every once in a while, when we see someone wearing clothes that have a skull-and-crossbones symbol on them (okay, so every day), we wonder whatever happened to Jared Paul Stern. He was the "Page Six" reporter who allegedly tried to extort Ron Burkle, and then got busted when Burkle turned tapes of their meetings over to authorities. JPS, who created the clothing line Skull and Bones (only to be outdone by everyone from Mark Ecko to Ralph Lauren), was fired from "Page Six," and then wrote a book about the experience. Sadly, the book was never picked up, and we haven't heard from him since. But today, WWD lets us know what he's been up to. Since November, he's been blogging for Kempt, a men's fashion Website. He covers liquor, luxury, and famous dudes. Kind of like what he did at "Page Six," except with even more freedom to glorify men and objectify women. Stern says that the lawsuit he filed against Burkle, which also included the Daily News and Bill and Hillary Clinton, is still pending. "It's on autopilot," he told WWD. "These things take a while to go through the courts system." We can only assume the suit is hopelessly outdated. Silly Jared, don't you know Burkle and the Clintons broke up?
Stern Surfaces [WWD]
Related:Jared Paul Stern's Lawyer Loves Suing the ClintonsClinton to Burkle: It's Not You, It's Me
We're so glad that "Page Six" ran an item today about Anna Wintour's lips, because it allows us to run one of our favorite photo comparisons that we've ever done: La Anna before and during Milan Fashion Week this fall. It was during this most recent fashion-show season that fashionistas began sniping to us that there was something different about the iconic Vogue editor. Even though we still can't really tell if anything's changed, there's something about her exposed face that's just mesmerizing, huh? Anyway, if "Page Six" says there's a story, it must be so. (You know, it's polite to laugh when people make a joke ) Of course, today the Post also picked up on our October item about Gordon Brown and Bob Shrum, but those pictures aren't nearly as fun to look at.
Airbrush Anna [NYP]
Earlier:Anna Wintour Has Lips Flapping in MilanBob Shrum Be-Labours Politics Once Again
"Page Six" has made a new move in its aggressive push to take over the world and make it canoodley. They've launched the new version of PageSix.com! The site is slick, a little bit more glamorous, and a lot more bloggy. They've got feeds from other gossip sites, a running blog (which, so far, seems to have mostly party pictures and items from the print version of the column), and even Gawker Stalker Maps. So who are the people behind this massive effort? They've got bios! We've selected the most important lines from their personal pages, and it turns out they chose to announce themselves to the world in special, special ways:
• Jana Winter is a fiery reporter with a love of murder and mayhem (and dirty vodka martinis) and a knack for finding — then talking her way out of — trouble.
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
Oh, Nello Balan. It's almost as if you want to be in "Page Six" once a week. This time, the Upper East Side restaurateur/columnist briber is caught in a dramatic war of words and lawsuits with an unknown model named Le Call over an umbrella. That's right, an umbrella. Granted, it's a $1,000 limited-edition Jean Paul Gaultier leather number, but an umbrella nonetheless. "Stop behaving like a boulevardier [street person] and a petite voleuse [petty thief]," Balan (awesomely) told Le Call. "You don't give me the umbrella, I sue you." Balan indeed eventually hired a lawyer, at which point Le Call then returned the umbrella in question, but it was BROKEN. All hell then broke loose, "Page Six" was called, and Balan's lawyer heads to court today to sue for "an act of disinterested malevolence, intentional infliction of mental distress, willful destruction of property, and whatever else [he] can think of." All of which leads us to the obvious question: a leather umbrella? Really?
MODEL RAINS ON NELLO UMBRELLA [NYP]
Related:Le Call and Ciara Christensen, Models [NYM]
We've been following the action behind the search for a writer of Page Six the Magazine's "Six in the City" column for a couple of months, and were interested to see their final choice of scribe was Faran Krentcil, writer of the Fashionista.com blog. Faran has been running around fashion parties for years now, ever since she started working at Fashion Week Daily, and we've always suspected she had a little something of a Carrie Bradshaw complex. And lo and behold, witness her introductory column:
The problem with clichés is they're usually true. Case in point: Me, the blonde, curly-haired girl writing tales of my "fabulous" life. You know what to expect – I breakfast at Tiffany's sans carbs, I meet devils in Prada, and then I report back to you. Except, of course, it's not that easy. Celebrities aren't just like us. And socialites are sometimes just girls who get high in high heels. But there's some gorgeousness, too, the kind that makes you live in NYC in the first place. It's my job to find it and serve it up to you.
Oh dear. You can just hear Sarah Jessica Parker's voice slowly reading that out loud, straining to make it sound wise, or at least world-weary. (Disclosure, Krentcil has contributed to nymag.com's Best Bets feature.) Since the column isn't available online, we've reproduced the rest of it for you after the jump. It only gets punnier.
Former Men's Fitness editor and Jann Wenner paramour Neal Boulton calls up "Page Six" to tell them that he is getting harassed for being "too straight." Harvey Weinstein said he uses Vogue and Anna Wintour to help style his films. The Box is about to implement a security system designed by Safir Rosetti, which is run by former police commissioner Howard Safir. 50 Cent may perform at Times Square on New Year's Eve. Salman Rushdie dressed up as Darth Vader on Halloween and had to fend off chicks with his light saber. Fox News correspondent Chris Wallace complained that only 39 American soldiers died in Iraq in October 2007, the fewest deaths in a month since 2004.
Jennifer Lopez will supposedly announce that she's pregnant during her show at MSG on Saturday night. Jessica Simpson's people say she didn't drink and dash at the Box — her friend just accidentally took the receipt slip with him. Rosie O'Donnell did an impromptu ten-minute stand-up set during a show by Roseanne Barr at Comix. (Rita Crosby was there, despite having been served a subpoena earlier in the day.) Mariah Carey doesn't know how many bathrooms are in her Tribeca penthouse. Howard Stein, the nightlife honcho behind eighties hangouts Xenon and Rock Lounge, died at 62. The Port Authority says the quality of its toilet paper is much improved, contrary to what Larry David said on last week's episode of Curb. GLAAD forced "Page Six" to apologize for calling the pre-op transsexual who has a reality show on Fox a "she-male."
When we last heard about the Box, owner Simon Hammerstein was telling a whistle-blowing auditioner that his patrons are “narcissistic and highly intoxicated. They don’t listen to words.” We can only assume, then, that the cops used sign language when they raided the place on Sunday morning and shut it down after searching random narcissists for drugs (Jay-Z and Cameron Diaz got away safe, perhaps by using the controversial Freeman Alley exit). What kind of substances would be consumed at a place that Hammerstein has insisted is not a nightclub? (A Box rep told "Page Six" the raid was due to a clerical error.) Well, the last time we were there, MC Raven O was doing a rendition of “Cocaine” and dumping white powder all over everyone. So, yeah, there’s that.
Cops Raid Downtown Hot Spot [NYP]
Related:Narcissistic and Highly Intoxicated Box Patrons Want Totally Gross Anthems, Says Owner
In a list of the world’s best restaurants to dine alone, the Modern Bar Room is right up there with London restaurant Itsu, where the former Russian spy is thought to have been poisoned with radium. [Forbes]
Related: No, Just Me [NYM]
"Page Six" figures out almost a year after the Times that Alain Ducasse is opening a space in the St. Regis Hotel. Ah, August. [NYP]
Two researchers spent a year compiling a book of New York gourmet shops; two favorites were Yonah Schimmel and Christopher Norman Chocolates. [NYDN]
Looking through "Page Six" this morning, we were a little jarred by this sighting: "MAXIM Deputy Editor Chris Wilson howling out a Monkees song with N.Y. Observer writer George Gurley, followed by fellow Observer scribe Spencer Morgan and his girlfriend, Vanity Fair fashion editrix Alexis Stewart, belting out Heart's 'Magic Man' at Sing Sing." Hm, we thought – this must be the first time they've done an item about a former "Page Six"–er and his writer friends singing karaoke. We would chalk it up to August gossip fatigue, if we didn't remember this item, from June 10: " MAXIM deputy editor Chris Wilson and New York Observer scribe Spencer Morgan belting out Kenny Rogers' and Dolly Parton's infamous duet 'Islands in the Stream' at the karaoke joint Sing Sing. Morgan was the Dolly to Wilson's Kenny." Wow – two items about Wilson and Morgan at Sing Sing? We hope somebody's getting some free tunes out of this, because otherwise, "Page Six"'s quest to be the new TMZ.com is off to a rocky, rocky start.
Earlier:Page Six to Try to Take Over World, Make it Canoodley
Don't quite see why Joe Francis being angry at Hugh Hefner is somehow the lead item in "Page Six" today? Don't understand what the news is, with Francis having been in jail since April on these charges of taping underage girls for a Girls Gone Wild video? Perhaps you've forgotten this, then: That $50,000 Mexican bachelor party for "Page Six" editor Richard Johnson? Joe Francis threw it.
Jailed Joe Not Wild Over Hef [NYP]
Once upon a time, there was little doubt as to the Post's opinion of Hillary Clinton. But questions arose when the Clintons reached their détente with Rupert Murdoch last year, and now, well, things are clear. This morning, the tabloid learned that Mrs. Clinton is a reader — and, better yet, a nonreader of the Daily News. "Like hundreds of thousands of other discerning New Yorkers," gushed "Page Six" in reporting the news, "White House front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton buys The Post." It's not just the gleeful promotion of Hillary to the front-runner status that made us smile. And it's not just the item's headline ("The Right Choice," which, placed over a decent photo, pretty much makes a free campaign poster). It's mostly this: Can you believe they're finally calling her a New Yorker?
The Right Choice [NYP]
On the agenda for tonight’s Community Board 2 meeting is a liquor-license application that a one “Sam Talbot or Corp. to be formed” has filed for 312–314 Bowery, a recently renovated mixed-use building between Houston and Bleecker Streets, walking distance from the restaurant Daniel Boulud hopes to open at Avalon Chrystie Place II. It seems, in other words, that Top Chef also-ran Talbot has found a new project after moving on from Spitzer’s, his ill-fated partnership with Fat Baby owner Rob Shamlian (you’ll recall "Page Six" rumors that big-name restaurateurs lured him into a mystery project). Trouble is, a Bravo publicist tells us Talbot doesn’t know anything about the Bowery application, and the other Sam Talbot, the beloved pushcart vendor, says he doesn’t know anything about it either. Will the real Sam Talbot stand up at tonight’s meeting?
Related:CB2 July agenda
• GE and Pearson, the parents of NBC and the Financial Times, are considering a rival bid for Dow Jones. [NYT]
• Quadrangle Group bought Dennis Publishing for $240 million and is courting editorial talent. [WWD]
• Demand for ad space pushes Page Six up to three pages. [NYT]