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Alan Cumming, Reporter

Cumming
We know Alan Cumming has had sex with journalists. But would he ever like to try being a journalist, like Naomi Campbell, who recently interviewed Hugo Chavez for British GQ? "I'd love to ask certain questions to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama," he said at the launch of the Italian Commission's Made in Italy ad campaign at the Hearst tower. "I'd like to know where they stand on equal rights for gay people. I'd also like to interview George Bush, just to watch him squirm." (Maybe he could ask him, "You're into your cock, aren't you?") But what about the people who really matter?, we pressed. Which celebrities would he like to interview? "I'd like to find out who all those blonde girls are — there's a whole lot of them who look the same, the ones from The Hills, and that Hayden, um, Pan-i-tare? She's everywhere," he said. "And who's that one, that Kim Ka-shi-shen?" Kardashian? We said. The one who made a sex tape with Brandy's brother and now has a TV show? "Yes! My friend told me she's a skanky whore, and I'm like, 'Wow, she's a lot more interesting than I thought she was.'" Like any ambitious reporter, Cumming would like to land the big story. "I'd love to interview Britney," he said wistfully. Then he changed his mind. "But I'd rather her do it with one of those E! TV people, or Oprah." That's it, Alan Cumming will take care of Hillary and Barack. Let the professionals handle Britney. —Amy Preiser

Heath Ledger Would Have Found Fox News Comments Funny, Friend Says

Brady Corbet
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

Your Fashion Week Party Guide

Ah, the joy of Fashion Week: the clothes, the models, the celebs...and the parties. Despite what your feet or your liver may say, there's no better way to wrap up a day at the runways (or just fantasizing about them from afar) than by rubbing elbows with A-listers—isn't it about time you met Madonna?—and guzzling free drinks. Always eager to serve, we've got the rundown on Fashion Week's best parties, with something to satiate every taste, from Gucci to the Beastie Boys.

Sundance Snowboarding With Adrian Grenier

Heath
Everyone has their reason for coming to Sundance: movies, networking, making money, making off with swag, making out, usually while drunk. But there's also the skiing and snowboarding. It's a rare pleasure to see the celebrity taking time off from promoting his or her movies to hit the slopes, but most do at least once: Woody Harrelson, for instance, has gone snowboarding nearly every day since he's been here. Paris Hilton got in a day of skiing (though she may be a liar about how good she is). And on Monday, Eliza Dushku, Matthew Rhys, and Dave Annable (from Brothers & Sisters) all made valiant attempts to tame the fluffy white beast.

Mo Rocca Dreams of a Psychosexual Thriller Starring Bill Clinton

Mo Rocca
Last night at Joe's Pub, four teams made up of Broadway composers, directors, writers, actors, and assorted other creatives unveiled the works they had produced for the inaugural 24 Hour Musicals, which, like the annual 24 Hour Plays event, requires contestants to prepare a musical from scratch in just 24 hours. We swung by and took the opportunity to ask the punchy participants a question that's been rolling around our heads since Iowa: If the presidential candidates were in a musical, what would it be? "I would do a musical about people that live under the subways, like the subway moles, and I would cast John McCain as, like, the leader of the underground subterranean people," actress Ashlie Atkinson said breathlessly. "And then I would cast Hillary Clinton as a developer who is trying to destroy their oasis." Mo Rocca had other ideas. "I think it would be a psychosexual thriller about Bill Clinton trying to hook up with Michelle Obama," he said. "I'm currently obsessed with Michelle Obama. And, um, I think she's beautiful. I think she's dynamic. I think there will be legions of drag queens soon dressing up as Michelle Obama. She's just a great sort of larger-than-life figure." But what about Hillary? Is Hillary really musical material? "Umm," he paused to think. "She's tough with musicals. Hillary's just not really very…musical." —Amy Odell Click here to see video Mo, Kerry Butler, and others chatting with New York and performing in the 24 Hour Musicals.

Celebrities Skipping Out at Sundance

Adrian Grenier
Hey, have you noticed how the celebrity supply in New York has been depleted these past few days? (Thankfully, we still have Tom Brady wearing a boot in the West Village.) It's because all of the actors and directors are at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. But it seems like even in the celebrity fustercluck that is Park City right now, planners still can't get enough star power to fuel their events. Apparently, Sundance schedules are so jam-packed with appointments, parties, and swag-suite visits that it's no wonder they don't make half the events they (well, their publicists) say they will. Of course, some no-shows you can see coming: Robert De Niro and Quentin Tarantino "expected" at a dinner for 50 Cent sponsored by VitaminWater? Um, sure. And we look forward to seeing Paris at the poetry reading.

Sundance Report: Paris Hilton Dodges Snowballs, Suffers Hookup Amnesia

Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is, of course, the living embodiment of everything cinephiles hate about Sundance. She doesn’t even have a movie in the festival, for one: She says she’s promoting her new flick, The Hottie and the Nottie, which one critic friend of ours described as “as close as you can get to straight-to-DVD without being straight-to-DVD.” More likely, though, she's here to get paid (as the gossip columns claim) to show up at parties, including one thrown this weekend by the folks behind NYC club Stereo, which she fled from in tears before they could get their money’s worth. In a more private moment, she made out with also inexplicably famous Simon Rex at 5WPR’s Escape Mansion, deep in Deer Valley — apparently forgetting, according to a publicist we know, that she’d done the exact same thing at Sundance four years ago, at a Motorola party.

Carl Bernstein: We've Got the Hillary of '92 Back

Carl Bernstein
Plummy with his trademark bravado and bonhomie, Carl Bernstein took the stage at the packed 92nd Street Y last night to talk about A Woman in Charge, his bestselling, closely observed Hillary bio. "The theme of the fear of humiliation runs through her life," he told the crowd, explaining that that's why she resisted investigations into Whitewater, for example, and never told her closest law colleagues in Arkansas that she failed the D.C. bar exam. What's more, he said, her current campaign has found both her and Bill slipping back into their old, unpalatable take-no-prisoners mode, rather than that more supple, negotiation-friendly Hillary that bloomed like a quiet flower in the Senate. "We're seeing a real devolution back to the Hillary Clinton of the '92 campaign," he said. "She's shown a lot of her worst."

‘Gossip Girl’ May Be Over, But Serena and Dan Go On

Serena and Dan
There were socialites and movie stars galore at Chanel's “Night of Diamonds" at the Plaza Hotel last night, but to us, there were only two souls in the sumptuous ballroom: Gossip Girl deities Blake Lively and Penn Badgley, or, as we prefer to call them, Serena and Dan. It's been rumored that the onscreen couple has been dating in real life, and we were relieved to see this seemed to be true, as we try our best to maintain the illusion that characters on Gossip Girl are real. We positioned ourselves uncomfortably close to their table and watched as Serena pirouetted for Dan, her blonde ponytail slapping his face; Dan drummed his fingers while Serena chatted about fashion; and Serena close-talked to Dan between courses. Finally, we got up the nerve to approach them. We mentioned that, you know, some people have commented on whether the show portrayed Manhattan realistically and asked what they thought. "From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty accurate," Serena said. Upper East Side teenagers "really do hang out in the lounges of bars after school." But Dan wasn't so sure. "I would say definitely, um, when my little sister, Jenny, swings from our Brooklyn apartment to an Upper East Side palace in five minutes top — that’s really absurd," Dan admitted. (He actually said, "My little sister, Jenny!" We died.) He must have noticed the crazed fandom in our eyes, because right then he started talking about what the network is planning for the hiatus in order to keep people like us off the streets, or at least from turning to Cashmere Mafia. Starting January 28, he said, they'll be airing the reruns with "extra tidbits" called Gossip Girl Revealed. "It will entertain people who have seen it," he said. "And for those who haven’t seen it, it will be illuminating." —Justin Ravitz Get scandalous hotel memories from Helena Christensen, MisShapes, Julia Stiles, and others at our complete coverage of Chanel’s “Night of Diamonds” at the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom.

Spotted: Blair's Mom!

Blair's Mom
It's been a week since the Gossip Girl season finale, and with no new episodes until God knows when, we don't have much to live for. So when we spotted Margaret Colin, who plays Eleanor Waldorf, at opening night of The 39 Steps at the American Airlines Theatre last night, we almost knocked down a few innocent bystanders to get to her. After gushing like a tween at a Hannah Montana concert about what huge, geeky fans we are, we begged for tidbits to quell our Gossip Girl withdrawal. Colin, who by the way we recently noticed had a bit part as a teacher in John Hughes classic Pretty in Pink, was looking very Upper East Side in a black beaded jacket and flat riding boots. "The girl that my character is based on, she's an extra in the show," Colin said. "She's my assistant in a couple of episodes. We actually use her designs on the show. She's completely delicious — she's like 12." Like a good Gossip Girl tipster might, we kept tabs on the popular kids. Are any of the cast members dating in real life?, we asked. Like, you know, Serena and Dan? "Oh, I wouldn't know, they're not going to tell the mom!" Colin says, throwing her head back and letting out a throaty laugh. "I think they are." —Maridel Reyes

National Board of Review Awards Lacked Writers, Brevity

George Clooney Red Carpet
If ever there were a case to be made for ending the WGA strike before the Oscars, it was last night's lengthy National Board of Review awards gala at Cipriani. The WGA let the awards go on as planned because the NBR isn't televised or otherwise connected with "money-grubbing moguls." But that also meant no TV time limits on speeches. About an hour in Juno's Ellen Page and screenwriter Diablo Cody became heroes for their quickly mumbled acceptance speeches (they were the fifth award of twenty). "We felt bad for just going up and saying a couple of 'awesome's," Cody said during a break around hour four, "but now we realize we were being merciful." Josh Brolin accepted award No. 7 (for Best Acting by an Ensemble) on behalf of the No Country for Old Men cast. "I'm going to take soooo long, because everyone before me took so friggin' long," he threatened, as the crowd let out a great cheer. But the baiting didn't stop introducer Mike Wallace from talking so long he actually had to ask: "Now why am I up here?" The only other hero was an animated George Clooney. Introducing the Coen brothers, he cracked: "These guys hate this kind of shit. They are the worst people you could have seen at this kind of event. It's like March of the Penguins. Ethan won't even talk." Sure enough, Joel and Ethan Coen shuffled up to the stage, grabbed their award, muttered "Thanks" into the mike, and shuffled off. The bit got a big laugh, and suddenly the crowd seemed to get a second cocktail-fueled wind. Which only lasted two speeches of the remaining sixteen. —Jada Yuan Hear more from George Clooney, Diablo Cody, and Ben Affleck at our complete coverage of the National Board of Review awards.

A Designer Explains the Effect of the Writers' Strike on Fashion

Phillip Lim
After the Fug Girls got us thinking about the effect the WGA strike would have on the fashion industry, we caught up with designer Phillip Lim and asked him about it at Repetto's 60th-anniversary party last week. Lim is a well liked, quickly rising designer who has been showing since fall 2005, and is therefore a good example of a designer who is established but by no means on as stable ground as any of the giant houses that have been around for much longer. So what does he think about the strike, which is appearing to affect more and more people as time goes on? "It's about how it trickles down to retailers, how it trickles down to restaurants, how it trickles down to the community," said the bubbly Lim. "They've got to work it out and get on with it. It's almost selfish to just keep on with the struggle." So if it affects everybody, it must be affecting Lim himself, right? "For us, we have a distribution in Los Angeles. Our stores, people we sell to, they're affected by it. So in the end it affects us." And the loss of award shows? "[A presence on the red carpet] boosts business, but we didn't build our business on that premise, so in the end it doesn't hurt us a ton," Lim explained. "We make clothes for the 'everywoman,' you know." Still, we're guessing some other, more gown-oriented designers (Marchesa, much?) would have killed for the opportunity to dress Keira Knightley last Sunday…—Jada Yuan Earlier: No Golden Globes? Now Everything's Fugged Up Related: Mr. In-Between [NYM]

Jesse Jackson Doesn't Give ‘Free Advice’ to Barack Obama

Jesse Jackson
Ever since Obama swept Iowa last week, capping the win with a speech that seemed brushed by MLK's angel wing, we've been wondering what the Reverend Jesse Jackson has been thinking. Sure, the Rev endorsed the guy, but his remarks about Obama have been so lukewarm you have to wonder if the nod wasn't an obligatory matter of brothers supporting brothers. Not to mention that the candidate's camp has never particularly reached out to the Rev. (Could it be all those conservative pundits saying that O's a big hit precisely because he's not Jesse Jackson?) And the Rev's own wife endorsed Hillary. Finally, last night, we had our chance. At the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, where the Rev's RainbowPUSH Coalition and Bombay Sapphire have been hosting a five-day summit on minority business-ownership, the Rev was sitting haggardly (he has the flu) amidst a phalanx of large, suited handlers. Everyone was waiting for Angie Stone to perform. So we approached the Rev and asked if we could briefly interrupt his fluishness. We just had to know what was going on in his head since O's Iowa surge. "It's continuous growth," he murmured in that legendary semi-intelligible voice. "In 1988, we won thirteen states, so we laid the groundwork for change." According to Jackson, Obama once told him that he was a Columbia undergrad in 1984, when Jackson, Hart, and Mondale had a Democratic primary debate there. "That made [Obama] say, 'This was really possible,'" the Rev explained.

Alexandra Kerry Weighs In on Hillary's Tears

Alexandra Kerry
At last night's opening of Julian Schnabel's show at the Sperone Westwater Gallery, we ran into Alexandra Kerry (daughter of former presidential candidate John). She was there with BlackBook founder Evan Schindler, who is now running Tar Art Media, a socially conscious arts-media collective. Kerry is working with Schindler on some projects, including a narrative film of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, screenwritten by the author's son ("We're doing a reading of it, actually, in February, with Alec Baldwin and Harvey Keitel and Josh Lucas!"). Since Kerry is a woman and political by heritage, we asked her, naturally, about Hillary's tears. "There has never been a politician who hasn't stood onstage and been moved at one time or another and affected by something emotionally," she told us. "I think it is very human and very normal." How reasonable! But surely it was all a ruse to trick us into voting for her? "The kind of pressure that each candidate is under is not something that I think the average person can understand, so I give her the liberty and the freedom to have her moment," Kerry said. "And I don't think that's something someone would act. I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who is standing up there and running, particularly in the Democratic party. So I honestly have to say that I don't think it's my place to judge what her motivations are. I mean, it may be completely honest." A-ha! It "may be completely honest." Girl, you've got a future in politics. —Andrew Goldstein

Even Reality-TV Star Robert Verdi Thinks Reality TV Is Bad for You

Robert Verdi
We ran into Robert Verdi, the former Style Network host and ubiquitous E! talking head, at the Louis Vuitton/Richard Prince event at the Guggenheim last night. So, we said, his business must be booming, what with the writers' strike and all. "It's a terrible thing," Verdi said, solemnly. But! "It's really good for people who are in reality, because it's exacerbating our already tragic careers." Unlike Daily Intel, whose life will be left cold and empty after the season finale of Gossip Girl this very evening, Verdi isn't really feeling the loss of any specific programs. "I actually don't watch television," he confided. "I haven't had it for two years. When I did a renovation, I got rid of the television, and I never bought new ones." It was hard living without Oprah at first, he said. But it was ultimately for the best. "This is tragic, but I got to feel lonely, and I'm single so it was a lot of white noise and it keeps you company. I recognize the value of TV for people, but I wanted to avoid the feelings, so getting rid of it was great for me." So what does he do now, if he's not slumped in front of makeover shows like the rest of us? "I read more!" he said brightly. "Or, I count my money and try on my jewelry." — Fiona Byrne

Sarah Polley Will Call You Fat to Your Face If You Give Her a Bad Review

Polley
When New York ran into Sarah Polley the other night at the Film Critics Choice Awards, we asked the Away From Her director if she'd ever confronted a critic who had given her a bad review. "Yeah, I have," she laughed. "He came to a press lunch for a film that I knew he hated, because there was really good free food, and it was in Cannes. He was kind of famous for doing that. And so I sort of confronted him on how much food he had on his plate; not necessarily about the review, but just how gluttonous he was." How did he react? "He was pretty good-natured about it," she said. "We actually ended up becoming friends." Oh, yeah? So … who was it? She wouldn't say. We tried another tactic: Was the film one she directed or one she was in? "It was a film I was in," she said, before floating off in that ethereal way she has. And so we put the question to you, dear readers. Who was the freeloading film critic shamed by Sarah Polley? To help you guess, after the jump, we've compiled some choice lines from reviewers who haven't exactly fallen at her feet.

For Blythe Danner, New York Is Wistful, Energetic

Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner still has a love-hate relationship with New York City, where she lived with her husband, Bruce Paltrow (dad of Gwyneth and Jake), until he died in 2002. She's still in mourning, she says. "A poet wrote, 'The edge softens, but it never leaves.'" And there are a lot of memories to contend with. "We met here," she said at a recent benefit for the Williamston Theater at the Puck Building. "I was in a show he produced that lasted two weeks. And we were walking home one night and went to a fortune-teller on a lark in the Fifth Avenue Hotel," she told New York. "And she told us we were going to get married. We weren't even dating." Yet in the end, she says, it's the city that keeps her going. "For a woman who's a widow and pretty much a loner, I can walk out and I'm surrounded by NYU kids. The energy jumps off the sidewalks, and I never feel sad or bored." —Tim Murphy

Kid Rock Proposes to ‘New York,’ Says He Would Convert to Judaism

Kid Rock
New York reporter Shira Levine ran into Kid Rock, divorced and full of vim on New Year's Eve, at the party he was hosting at the Gansevoort. "I'm a lot of fun at parties," he announced. Shira tactfully did not mention that she wasn't so sure about that; she had, after all, seen that video of him and Scott Stapp. They enjoyed a few moments of conversation, and he asked for her name. "Shira," she said. Then he made his indecent proposal. "Shira, will you marry me?" "No," she said. "I'm not marrying anybody who has been married as many times as you." Shira's mom raised her right, you see. "I've only been married once!" Kid protested. "I got married to the same girl like five times. Does that count?" Shira wasn't sure. She sized Kid up. He was wearing a white tracksuit, a bowler hat, and a fur stole. "Would you convert to Judaism?" she asked. Kid replied enthusiastically: "Yeah! If I can get lifted up on the chair at the wedding! I love Jewish people." Shira had heard this from men before. It usually meant they were after her money. "What do you love so much about Jewish people?" she asked warily. "They just fucking got 50-caliber fucking guns in Israel. They don't give a fuck. They'll unload on anybody. 'Fuck with us? We'll fuck you up.' That's my motto in life. 'Be nice to everybody, but if somebody fucks with you, FUUUUCK them up.' We're fucking saving your country basically." "Thanks, but I'm not Israeli, just Jewish," Shira said. "Same thing. You say tomato, I say fuck off!" Kid Rock let loose a big, raucous laugh.

Liz Lange Hopes to Use Her Ivy League Smarts to Dress Jamie Lynn Spears

Liz Lange
Last night at the premiere of The Great Debaters, we stood back feeling superior as reporters from tabloids asked maternitywear designer Liz Lange about sartorial dos and don’ts for newly knocked-up Jamie Lynn Spears. So, we asked, once they had fluttered off, since the movie was about a college debate team, would Liz tell us what her own school days were like? "I was a very good student," she said. "I went to Brown early admissions and I was a comparative-literature major there, and I was at Trinity here in New York. I did just about everything — I was on the yearbook, I was on the newspaper of our school." Oh. That's fascinating. So, um, speaking of teenagers and just because we're a little bit curious now, what did she recommend Jamie Lynn Spears wear during the most widely publicized teen pregnancy of our time? "I said I really want to see Jamie Lynn keep it clean and keep it simple and keep it young and fresh," said Lange, although she didn’t have any plans to work with her yet. "And I’d love the opportunity to work with her and dress her in that way." —Bennett Marcus

Carson Kressley Was Working It Even Before ‘Queer Eye’

Carson Kressley
Woody Allen's new film Cassandra's Dream is about a pair of brothers who do something dreadful and are plagued with guilt. So naturally, we asked guests at the Cinema Society's celeb-studded screening of the flick on Tuesday what was the worst thing they'd done for money. Colin Farrell admitted that he once line-danced, and Rosie Perez said she did an ABC movie, but our favorite answer was Carson Kressley's. Because it was so, well, not fake. "When I was a young struggling stylist, I had a credit card that my parents would help me pay for, and when I would run out of money for food, I would go to Bloomingdale's and buy something and I’d put it on my charge card and I’d ask for a gift box," the former Queer Eye style guru told us. "And then I would take it back to Bloomingdale's and say I’d received it as a present. Then I would ask for the money back, and if they wouldn’t do that, I would buy popcorn or Mrs. Prindable's Apples or whatever food they sold at Bloomingdale's, and that way I could eat. But now they have much stricter return policies, it totally doesn’t work." We've never tried this tactic, but we did run out of money during college and use our parents' credit card to pay for group dinners so our friends would give us cash. So we really feel him on this one. —Fiona Byrne