The writers' strike may end soon, and the SNL gang may have their day jobs back, but in the meantime, Amy Poehler's getting her groove back. "I went to a hip-hop class at Crunch today," she told us Friday night at actor Justin Theroux's week-long public installation in Soho with a baseball-capped Will Arnett, her actor hubby. "Let me tell you something, those natural endorphins I've heard about — they really work." Didn't she ever do aerobic activity? "No," she said. "Unless crying is considered an aerobic activity. I gotta get back to work." So what else was she doing with her spare time? "I've doubled my therapy," she said. But didn't less work stress require less therapy? "No," she replied. "I'm a thousand times more stressed when I'm not working. When you can't blame everything on being too busy, a lot of shit comes up." Totally. Last time our computers crapped out on us, we had to face that we had grown up to become bloggers whose high point of the week was Gossip Girl, and, well, it wasn't pretty. Well, we told Poehler, at least you're out doing new things, right? "Yeah," she agreed. "And I'm learning how to become a midwife!" Wow! Really? "No." —Tim MurphyClick here to read all our writers strike coverage from New York's Vulture blog.
We're not sure which was the bigger crisis at the Rag & Bone after-party last night at the Box: The fact that a fire alarm went off around 11p.m., prompting a visit from the FDNY, or the fact that the D.J. followed said fire scare by playing "Burning Down the House," prompting the already jumpy Box management to stomp through the balcony, proclaiming, "That's it! We're clearing out the floor!"
Since his Diving Bell and the Butterfly was released to wide critical acclaim and he received a Best Director Oscar nomination nod, Julian Schnabel has been basking in adulation like a seal in the afternoon sun. Much of the attention has come from us at Intel, who find everything about Schnabel, from his irascible braggadocio to his pajamas to his frontal and dorsal man-fur, extremely compelling. But other people love El Schnabuloso, too, like Lou Reed, who mentioned his longtime friend and neighbor's "big old heart," when he introduced him as an honoree at the amFar awards last night. But how big was that heart, and was there room in there for us? We sidled up to the Schnabel to try and find out.
Leven Rambin, the 17-year-old soap star, has landed a role in the new Lipstick Jungle series. She plays an actress, so it couldn’t have been much of a stretch. At the Saks party celebrating the new show, she said she prepared for her role by studying all her gay best friends. “They were like, 'This girl’s over the top! She’s dramatic, she’s mood-swingy, she’s bitchy, she’s out of control!' And I was like, 'Hmmm who do I know?'” So, who does she know? “I have one person in mind, but I don’t want to say his name. I already told him he was my inspiration, and he’s very, like, proud of that,” she said. At this point, Rambin left us, dashed across the red carpet and wrapped Über-dandy Patrick McDonald in a hug, and exclaimed, “Patrick! You better work!” Aha! Did she base her character on McDonald? “No, no no! This one is, like, she’s flamboyant," said Rambin. "She’s like, all over the place.” Wait, "she"? Leven, we wondered, are you a fag hag? “I would say so. He says I’m the youngest one he knows.” —Bennett Marcus
Susan Sarandon knows how to find good help — but she didn't learn the tricks until too late. "By the time I finally realized how to spot a good nanny, I didn't need them anymore," the actress said January 30 at a star-studded screening of her new HBO film, Bernard and Doris, in which she plays heiress Doris Duke (Ralph Fiennes stars opposite as her controversial flamboyant butler and caretaker). Her au pair advice? "Don't pick someone you want to hang out with," she said. "Pick someone that has a way with kids." And make sure they can deal with boundaries, especially in a busy world where staff can seem like part of the family. "Some people can adjust to that, others just completely lose their discipline." Finally, pick the right person for the right phase in your kid's life, like when Sarandon and Tim Robbins were raising two young sons Jack and Miles and she hired "a young gal with a lot of energy, as opposed to somebody very sedentary." With the kids getting older, the Oscar winner has less help — a housekeeper, but no publicist, assistant, chef, or chauffeur. "My kids are on their feet, taking the train," she said. "If they're privileged, they don't think it's the norm." —Justin Ravitz
Marc Jacobs loves SpongeBob SquarePants. “I just think the colors of that particular cartoon are really beautiful and really sophisticated and interesting,” Jacobs said last night at the party for the screening of Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, the documentary about the designer during his geekier brunette days which will run on the Sundance Channel next week. “I have a tattoo of him on my arm,” he added.
Last night we ran into noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker at Maggie Norris's pre–Fashion Week party, and we're happy to report that the man who can most often be found sitting behind the judge's stand on America's Next Top Model does in fact have legs. We asked him if he was going to be bringing his expert opinion to Tyra's new show, Fashionista, in which women will compete to become assistant editors at Elle. "I was asked to come onboard today!" he said. "I said I'd love to." So what is it going to be like? we asked. Will it be like America's Next Top Model only less pretty, and more passive-aggressive? "I think the fashionistas are going to go out there and realize how hard and how cutthroat and ruthless this industry can be," he said. But won't it be kind of mundane? He waved this away. "People are obsessed with all aspects of this industry," he explained. "It's sexy, it's cool, it's unattainable." Which is why, we guess, none of the Top Models have gone on to become, you know, top models. Speaking of the industry: Doesn't Nigel ever miss being a real-life fashion photographer? Apparently, this hit a nerve. "I shoot all the time," he huffed. "Every day! Yesterday! I'm doing a big David's Bridal campaign, and I just did some stuff for Microsoft. I'm a photographer, that's what I do." But what about, um, fashion? He nodded sagely. "You never see me when I'm taking pictures because I'm on the other side of the lens. Look closely at their eyes, and you'll see my reflection." —Amy PreiserFor more up-to-the minute Fashion Week madness, check out New York's new blog: The Cut!
With free-flowing top-shelf liquor, truffle-oily foods, megaluxe venues, and scores of A-to-D-listers poised to shun our goofy questions, most Peggy Siegal parties fill us with a heady mix of wonder and self-loathing. Last night's private screening of the HBO film Bernard and Doris at the Time Warner Center was no exception. At an event that seemed especially saturated with befuddling celebrity sightings: Why is Mo Rocca following Bebe Neuwirth like a puppy dog? Why is Cindy Adams photo-opping with Rush Limbaugh? Catherine Crier is still around? We were rendered speechless by one boldfacer we saw shuffling into the screening room with a beautiful woman: Jeffrey Epstein!
That's right, Jeffrey Epstein.
Jeffrey. Ep. Stein. Unshaven, smiling that feline-monkey grin, wearing a slightly tattered sweater and jeans, he reeked of money and massage oil. Well, we didn't get close enough to say for sure, but we could imagine. We knew he and Peggy are friends, and “I’ve only ever seen him in jeans,” she told New York in December. But really? The week after another lawsuit was filed against him by a teenage girl, he showed up to a movie premiere? With a young woman? (She looked to be in her twenties, at least, by the way.) Words failed us. Hell, even our fingers failed us as we fumbled to text a colleague about this turn of events.
The film began, and it seemed to dovetail thematically with Epstein's saga: all about eccentric billionaires Doris Duke and her bizarre relationship with the hired help. When the lights went back up, Epstein and his comely companion were gone. No photographs of them on any of the wire services. Was it all a dream? —Justin RavitzRelated: The Fantasist [NYM]
Since the writers' strike has been keeping us from passing judgment on what's real and fake on Gossip Girl, we took the debate to the street at last night's celebration for the New Old Navy. The minute we saw Chace Crawford and Blake Lively, we of course asked them whether they read our awkwardly obsessive coverage. Both seemed politely interested (though previously unaware) of our weekly recaps. "Oh my goodness! I'm flattered!" laughed Lively, while Crawford asked us to show it to him on the red carpet, and told us that even though he "isn't a big Internet blogger," he'll check it out. OMG! Did you hear that guys? They're such liars. Even we Google ourselves and check to at least page three, and we're not famous. But anyway, we know it's standard stalkee procedure to pretend your stalker has no effect on your life. While talking blogs, we also dug into the carefully guarded identity of Gossip Girl herself. Lively laughed off the rumors of it being Eric, saying "I personally think it's Chuck," and real-life Gossip Girl narrator Kristen Bell took the more cerebral route: "She's just that eminent being in the back of your head, the little devil on your shoulder all the time." It felt like a good high-school gab session when Lively bragged to us about how she's the best Guitar Hero player in the cast (hello! Just like on episode eight!) and her Crumbs cupcake routine ("I cut them into fours and love the peanut-butter and red-velvet ones".) But as it turns out, we aren't the only ones feeling that Serena and Nate are Just Like Us: "While we were on set, these very Upper East Side–ish kids came up to me and said, 'We are, like, you guys, in real life.' But I was like 'I am so sorry to hear that, I would not wish that upon anybody, our lives of debauchery and scandal.'" Wish it upon us, Chace. Wish it upon us every Wednesday night, please! —Amy PreiserHear more from the New Old Navy Party, with quotes and pictures of Heatherette, Kirsten Bell, and Sophia Bush!And we know you need more Gossip Girl, so just get it over with and click here.
At the GQ party for up-and-coming menswear designers last night, André "3000" Benjamin wasn't the musical entertainment, but rather one of the celebrants. His Benjamin Bixby label — a small, American-football-influenced line — made its quiet debut in a hotel room on Tuesday night, and even Her Vogue-ness Anna Wintour came by to offer good advice. "She liked it," Benjamin said. "She was saying she hopes I get the right investors that believe in what I'm doing."
When we caught up with Tina Brown at last night's Atlantic dinner and State of the Union–viewing session, we were curious as to what she thinks about Hillary Clinton lately. The senator, after all, is going to be one of the subjects of Brown's just-announced book, The Clinton Chronicles. "I think [her campaign so far] is a complete high-wire, absolutely astonishing, ever-changing drama," Brown explained. "I think a lot of it, too, is a construct as well. Whenever I see so-called Bill Clinton eruptions, they’re not eruptions at all." Man, she's already dissecting them like fetal pigs! Awesome. "I think that he will definitely recalibrate," Brown added. "I think you will probably see less of him in the next two weeks." Elsewhere at the party, Law & Order: SVU heroine Mariska Hargitay lounged with her husband, Peter Hermann, one of the male stars of Cashmere Mafia. So, Peter, what does Mariska think of your steamy Cashmere sex scenes? "We go do other things when it’s on, and then I rewind the DVR and watch them in private," Hermann explained carefully. "Then we talk it through and let it all subside a little bit and then we move on." He laughed then and showed his megawatt smile (Mariska has one, too, but she's not allowed to show it on TV). "We’re working through it." Good for them, but too bad for us. How great would it be if Mariska kicked down a studio door and shoved a 9mm in Miranda Otto's face? We love it when she does that. —Jada YuanGet more dirt from Andy Borowitz, Bronson van Wyck, and Rick Lazio at our complete coverage of the Atlantic's State of the Union Dinner. Earlier: Tina Brown to Publish a New ‘Chronicles’
“I’ve been in the business for like 2,000 years,” Meg Ryan said when we hunted her down her at the Hollywood Life House after-party for her Sundance movie The Deal. Ryan, notoriously reclusive these days, had skipped the red carpet, and to find her we had to slip into the house undetected, evade three bodyguards, several clipboard-toting publicists, and her co-star William H. Macy, and stand for 45 minutes behind a large Chinese urn clutching a giant bunch of flowers while we waited for the precise moment to slip unnoticed into the room she was in. And there we were, face to face with the sweetly smiling blonde we remembered from When Harry Met Sally and other nineties romcoms. She sounded like a crotchety old man. “It’s absurd," Ryan said, of making movies. "It’s an absurd way to spend your time." But, she said, it's also rewarding. "There’s a lot of really great, creative people," she said. "There’s a lot of maniacs, idiots, too.” Present company excluded, we're sure. "I run into maniacs and idiots all the time," she continued, looking at us warily. (We were only kidding about the urn part, by the way.) Ryan excused her exhaustion by saying she had just finished making four back-to-back movies. “After you extend yourself like that, you want to hibernate,” she said. We asked where she would be curling up for the rest of the winter. You know, just in case we needed to get in touch. “I’m not going to tell you,” she said. Then she walked away. —Darrell Hartman
Julie Christie, who won her Academy Award in 1965, is having a good 2008, with Golden Globe and National Board of Review wins and an Oscar nomination for her performance in Away From Her. But she’s less lucky when it comes to the little things, like walking, talking, and eating. At the Board of Review awards at Cipriani 42nd Street January 15, she tripped over some wires and fell near the end of the red carpet, in full view of a Spanish TV crew. “I’m blinded by the lights,” she said, laughing. “These things are rather evil. They blind me with the lights, and then they take a picture of me stumbling.” Later, as she accepted her award, a stagehand had to adjust her microphone mid-speech because no one could hear her. And finally, back at her table, a menu fell into a candle, burst into flame, and then nearly dropped into her lap. She gasped and then smothered the flames, but not before another set of papers briefly caught fire in front of her. —Jada Yuan
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