At this week's premiere of new Broadway musical In the Heights, about a Latino community living in Washington Heights, Grey's Anatomy (and former Spamalot) star Sara Ramirez was rapturously plotting her return to Broadway. "This show makes me want to come back!" she told Intel. "It was beautiful! I know Manuel [Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer and star] is going to be busy for a long time with the success of this show. But I gotta tell ya, I want him to write me something! That's who I'm calling." We're sure he'd take her call. Ramirez has come a long way from the ten-by-sixteen room she used to rent on the West Side, back when she was a recent Columbia grad and struggling actress. "It was the servants' quarters on the top floor of a brownstone," she said of her digs back then. "I think it was five rooms with a bathroom which we all shared." And by "we all" she didn't mean a bunch of cute, young twentysomethings. "There was a couple that was like 90 years old down the hallway, who had lived there for 40 years. There was a fridge out in the hallway. I had a loft bed and a sink, a tiny little closet, and a window that looked out onto a brick wall. I'm not exaggerating at all. It was $400 a month. What are you gonna do, hello? It builds your character when you live a lot less." We'll say! And anyway it's not like she stayed there that long. Success was just around the corner! Right? Actually, no. "I lived there for about eight years," Sara qualified. So hold on to your dreams, readers. It could happen to you, too. —Justin Ravitz
Last night at a party for this year's CFDA Awards nominees, the Cut (that's our fabulous new fashion blog, in case you don't know) caught up with executive director Stephen Kolb, who, as it turned out, had had an interesting encounter with Luv Guv Eliot Spitzer. No, not that kind of encounter. Kolb was in Washington this past February 14, the day after Spitzer allegedly hired a prostitute. He and Narciso Rodriguez were at a hearing about fashion designers' intellectual-property rights, when the lobbyist they were working with suddenly introduced them to Spitzer. "I shook his hand!" he told the Cut. "I shook his hand the next day! I'm thinking about how creepy that is now! No, I'm joking. So, I mean, it happened on the 13th?" Allegedly, yes. "Alright, well, he looked happy on the 14th!"
CFDA’s Stephen Kolb Touched Eliot Spitzer the Morning After [The Cut]
He is one of America's top-selling artists, but Justin Timberlake wasn't exactly an audience favorite when he introduced Madonna at last night's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. We have always loved JT, but our esteem for him plummeted during every minute of his speech, and that's saying a lot, since the speech was more than ten minutes long. "A strange thing happens when you're asked to induct Madonna into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," he began. "You become aware that every single word you can possibly imagine saying about Madonna suddenly sounds much hotter, much dirtier, and a whole hell of a lot more fun. Induct her. Induct her … Why yes, I'd love to. Enter the hall. [Deep voice] Every chance I get." Thanks, Beavis. He went on, despite the groans of the audience. "Madonna has changed the way our world sounded, she's changed the way our world looks, and somehow she still found time to publicly kiss at least someone who I may or may not have kissed myself," he paused. "Of course, you all know I'm talking about Sean Penn." Assorted peevish sounds rippled across the crowd. "They're jokes!" he said, because no one knew. "They're jokes!"
Fashion and politics go hand in hand. Literally. Last night at the cocktail party for CFDA Awards nominees we caught up with CFDA executive director Stephen Kolb, who reminisced about the time he met — and touched — Governor Eliot Spitzer in Washington, D.C.
Roberto Cavalli may have his own brand of vodka and chain of tacky nightclubs in the works, but he's not the only designer who knows how to shake his tail feathers. On Saturday night we spotted Donna Karan at the Box dancing up a small storm — and with a handful of good-looking young men, to boot.
On Friday we dropped by the Plumm for the memorial celebration for Baird Jones — the promoter, art collector, and gossip reporter who was a New York party-scene fixture for three decades before being found dead in his apartment last month. We expected a sea of eighties clubbers, fellow gossip writers, and open-bar-hoppers. We did not expect Lindsay Lohan.
Yet as the aging crowd nursed its final free drink, the starlet arrived and installed herself on a couch in the back. It was surreal yet, in a way, the perfect homage to a man who devoted himself to celebrity gossip and often put random kooks in the same room as A-listers at the parties he threw.
We admit it: We harbor a secret crush on Chuck Klosterman. He has a nerdy hotness about him not unlike what Natalie Portman must have seen in Moby. We even almost joined the Facebook group "If Chuck Klosterman spit in my face, I'd stop taking showers," but then we promised our career counselor we wouldn't. Er, anyway, last night we went to the Highline Ballroom for a reading of his upcoming novel, Downtown Owl (even though we found it a little hard to follow). Over the course of the next half hour, we learned a few things about our little demigod:
• Chuck used to have a few nicknames back in the day: Curtains (after a pair of unfortunate sweatpants his mom made him), Facehead (also interchangeable with Headface), and Joaquin Andujar.
• Chuck does not think that rock and roll is dead. In fact, he thinks "it is pretty good right now."
• No one ever has sex in Chuck's books because he identifies more with people being rejected.
• Chuck is going to be teaching in Germany for fourteen weeks and what he will miss most is his girlfriend.
We raised our hand to ask a question. So, how do nerdy guys get chicks? "Well," Chuck said, "it's like this. You used to be able to tell the difference between hipsters and homeless people. Now, it's between hipsters and retards. I mean, either that guy in the corner in orange safety pants holding a protest sign and wearing a top hat is mentally disabled or he is the coolest fucking guy you will ever know." And in that moment, nerdy Chuck Klosterman got just a little bit hotter. —Lauren Salazar
Since The Real Housewives of New York City debuted on Tuesday, we've been thinking a lot about women who try to do it all. We ran into a gaggle of exactly those kinds of gals at last night's cocktail party to honor Brian Atwood and the charity New Yorkers for Children. Susan Shin, whom we see all over town at the fanciest events, told us it's definitely possible to try to spread one's self too thin. "I think we all have that tendency. It's the era of the superwoman," she said. "Husbands, kids, work, very successful careers, friends, social life, philanthropy. It's hard to do it all." So, Suze, what do you think of Real Housewives? "I don't think it's a true representation of housewives or other women in New York."
While Married Life is Ira Sachs's first full-length feature film that doesn't take place in his hometown of Memphis, he says that he and fellow Southerner Patricia Clarkson bonded on the set. "She tells me I have very good manners," Sachs told us at a Cinema Society screening of the film yesterday. "And you know Chris Cooper is from Kansas City, so we're all from the river towns." "He's such a nice southern boy," Clarkson said about Sachs, turning to the director. "Ah! You have shoes!" she cried, pointing at his feet. To us, she explained, "Do you know Ira called me to tell me, he's such a gentleman, 'Patty, I might have tennis shoes on with my suit'? I was like, 'Ira, it's okay — you're the director!'" Sachs chimed in: "Then I realized I live on 8th Street, so I just went across the street and bought some shoes."
As for Chris Cooper, he says he's left his Missouri cattle-ranching days behind for good. "You know, when I was younger, it was a very physical job, and you were called on at any time of the day or night to tend to the cattle and help deliver and castrate and tattoo and wean and all that business," Cooper told us. "It was a great way of life, but now that I'm a little bit older, realizing how physical it is, I'm glad I stuck with the acting biz." —Bennett Marcus
Part of being in the "new generation of creative people," Ally Hilfiger told us back in January, is being "multitalented" and mastering a variety of methods of artistic expression. But as much as she loves fashion, acting, art, and combining the three in hard-to-explain multimedia exhibitions, she may have a higher calling. "If I couldn’t do the acting, the painting, and the fashion design," she told us at the spring 2008 Men's Fashion Party at Blue and Cream last night, "I would really like to become a healer." Really? Like, what, a doctor? No. "An energy healer and a holistic healer," Ally clarified, explaining that despite her interest in fashion, she's just as interested in what's on the inside as what's on the outside. In fact, she follows Peter D’Adamo's Eat Right 4 Your Type diet, which tells her which foods are okay for her to eat and which are "toxic for my specific makeup." She added, knowledgeably, "It helps your immune system, and it just keeps you really healthy for your geno-type." As for the healing, right now it's just a hobby, something to do in between art projects. "I already do healings on people sometimes," she said. "But I’d really like to get a degree and really have a profession of healing people." —Stephen HaskellRelated: Ally Hilfiger on the 'New Generation of Creative People'
David Gordon Green's Snow Angels is a movie all about the relationship between a teenager, his older babysitter, and her family. So, naturally, at the event celebrating the movie last night at MoMA, we asked the cast if they ever had the hots for nanny. "Like, all of them," Green admitted immediately. "I tried [to hit on them, but] they wouldn't have me! I was a dirty little kid." As for his techniques? "Lookin' up skirts and all that. I tried to [use a makeup mirror to look at her] when she was in the bathroom, and it didn't work," Green said. "She got pissed [and] sent me to bed with no supper. And beat me." Connor Paolo, Gossip Girl's Eric, is just 17 but remembered having an eye on his Iranian nanny's young daughter. Amy Sedaris, however, had a view from the opposite side. She was always the babysitter. She remembered with a shudder that awkward ride home with the dads, who inevitably had "booze on their breath," driving you a distance you could walk. And then! "This one kid once accused me of killing his goldfish. I was leaning over it breathing, and he told his parents I killed it, so they never had me back," Sedaris griped. "I will never let it go!" Man, we wish Amy Sedaris had been our babysitter. Imagine the insanity. And the cupcakes! —Jocelyn GuestRelated:Amy Sedaris Kills Roaches With Her Bare Hands
At last night's launch party for the Smirnoff Signature Mix Series, we asked rapper KRS-One how he felt about some people's assumption that the black vote will go for Senator Obama in the presidential election. The hip-hopper has appointed himself of a spokesman for black culture in the past, most notably when he drew ire in 2004 for saying he "cheered when 9/11 happened." "People should assume [blacks will vote for Obama]," he told us. "And people should assume that KRS-One will vote for Obama For those of us who preach Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, are those who have dreamed of a day of a black president or an African-American president." He was careful to add: "If Obama gets in, it's not like he is going to do anything different. But at least if he gets in, at least we get a chance at the steering wheel." We asked KRS if he would care to take a moment, then, and freestyle about his candidate. He obliged:
I don't know where this is goin'
But KRS-One is right now freestyle flowin'
Me, I'm not into votin'
All that wishin', beggin, and hopin'
Me, I get open
Let me tell you Obama's not a token
Has chronic curser Snoop Dogg reformed his dirty language? At Monday's Hip-Hop Summit Action Network awards gala at Capitale, honoree Snoop Dogg repented for some of the harsh language he's used against women in his songs. "I'm not trying to do anything to offend nobody, but y'all've got to understand, I'm from the East Side," he said. "I worked hard to become a man on my own. My mother showed me how, but she couldn't really teach me how to become a man. My father wasn't there. I never knocked him for that. But the playas that I learnt from, they taught me the wrong way."
So last night New York Magazine threw its annual Oscar party at the Spotted Pig, and even though everyone had promised themselves they would act professionally and not drink too much, by the time Best Picture was announced, Chris was in the corner stroking Alan Cumming's beard and Jessica was wondering if it would be okay to ask Dave Zinczenko if she could touch his abs. Or the abs of Dan Abrams and Bill Hemmer, who were (as always) hanging out with him. Really, any abs would do. Happily, our man Darrell Hartman was there asking the important questions. "So, have you ever drunk anyone's milkshake?" he asked stylist Kate Schelter. "I've shared a milkshake," she replied dubiously. Diane Neal from Law & Order drifted by, looking judicious. "Julian Schnabel has been going to events in pajamas," Darrell said, importantly. "What do you think about that?" Diane replied that she had been wearing pajamas until moments before arriving at the event. "I have the onesie footie pajamas, but they do not have the button on the anus," she said. "I gotta say, the only problem is when you have to go to the bathroom. It gets pretty cold, because you have to take everything off."
During our extensive research in preparation for the premiere of the new thriller Vantage Point, we observed that Matthew Fox, the not-bad-to-look-at star of Lost, grew up on a horse ranch in Wyoming. We kept this in mind as we prepared to interview Vantage's stars on the big night, thoughtfully studying our list of questions, prioritizing some and eliminating others (probably there would be technical difficulties involved in asking Mr. Fox to remove his shirt, for instance). By the time Matthew, who we will always remember as Charlie on Party of Five, reached us on the red carpet, he was overwhelmed by reporters with tape recorders. They all were assaulting him with questions about his role as a Secret Service agent. At a lull, we took a deep breath and jumped in with the number-one question on our finely honed list.
New York: Mr. Fox, you grew up on a horse farm?
Fox: On a ranch, yes. [Ed: Hey, we live in the city. We think every farmer has a "dell."]
New York: Then you must have eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters. [The reporters around us look perplexed. Why didn't we want to know what his summer plans were?]
Fox: [Grinning slightly] Yes, I have. They were very good.
Victory! Another celebrity admits to eating bovine testicles! —Bennett MarcusRelated:Traver Rains Loves Him Some Cow Balls
The fashion, art, and Web worlds seem to be enjoying a tantric threesome as of late, happily tangled in a mutual embrace. First there was the Met Costume Institute's blog.mode exhibit, and now Sartorialist Scott Schuman has his Danziger Projects exhibition.
It looks like That '70s Show's Danny Masterson isn't busy enough being a D.J., radio host, producer, and restaurateur — now he's looking to add boutique owner to his résumé. Teaming up with Ilaria Urbinati, former buyer for chic L.A. boutiques Milk and Satine, Masterson plans to open a shop called Confederacy, a high-end "mini–Fred Segal" in East Hollywood.
Because Daily Intel's pursuit of all things Schnabel is not bound by geography or actually, gravity, we asked Berlin-based reporter Lawrence Ferber to corner Madonna at the Berlin Film Festival this week, where she was promoting the film she directed, Filth and Wisdom, and ask her why she had rejected the Chupi of our dreams. Here is his report:
"What a strange question!" Madonna laughed when we asked her about the Palazzo Chupi. So we laughed too, like "Ha-ha-ha-ha, we're not psycho." "How did you know that?" she asked. Er, we have our ways. Madge confirmed she had looked at the Chupi and decided not to move in. But not, it turned out, for fear of seeing a Schnaked Schnabel slipping into the swimming pool. "I love the house," she explained. "But it's not child-friendly, which is why I didn't end up moving there." Also, she was able to iron out the issues she was having with her co-op board at Harperly Hall. I bought the apartment upstairs, so now everything's A-OK," she said. She and Schnabel will continue to be friends. "I love [Julian]," she gushed. "He's awesome." We think so too! Maybe we can all be friends! Madge? —Lawrence Ferber
Last night's (Auction)RED at Sotheby's was a complete success, succeeding in raising more than $42 million to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. It also saw a heavy celebrity turnout: Michael Stipe, Russell Simmons, Christy Turlington, Martha Stewart, Ed Burns, and Dennis Hopper all showed up to support hosts Damien Hirst and Bono. But oddly enough, the money and the star power didn't seem to be connected. Michael Stipe, for example, told us earlier in the week that he had his eye on an Ed Ruscha. But he told us last night he "didn't get a paddle." Even though it was Valentine's Day and he was there with his boyfriend! "We're not going to buy each other $5 million paintings, I'll tell you that!" Stipe said, limping away on his crutch, the result of a go-karting accident. Brian Williams also told us he "can't afford a single thing they're auctioning tonight." But he added, "if there's a collection bowl, I'm good for probably twenty bucks." Even Queen Noor of Jordan said she "couldn't even remotely dream about" buying one of the pricey Hirst pill cabinets on the block. So who's buying all this expensive art, if even movie stars and royalty can't afford it? (RED) campaign co-founder Bobby Shriver cleared that up. "Sotheby's and Gagosian are willing to stage this, with their lists, to their buyers," he explained. "Here, you have a commercial company promoting to their commercial buyers, which is a tremendous asset of theirs, selling products that they could have sold at their normal markup. That's a new platform for raising pro-social money." —Bennett MarcusSee and hear more from Bono, Queen Noor, Christy Turlington and others from last night's (RED) auction.