We've loved Janet Jackson ever since Control, partly because she seems to have remained relatively sane despite growing up in America's most baroquely fucked-up family. Er, the nipple thing aside. So we were pleased when last night at the Bryant Park Hotel, before a special intimate (read: we weren't invited) screening of her forthcoming film, Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?, we got to ask her a question worthy of James Lipton: What did she learn about acting from playing Penny on Good Times when she was 11?
Cable centerfolds Anderson Cooper and Jeff Corwin came together last night at the Museum of Natural History to celebrate their joint project, Planet in Peril. Of course we made a beeline straight for Anderson and introduced ourselves. "I'm working on my biceps," he assured us, without our even asking. Ay caramba, Anderson pays attention to what we blog about! IT'S LIKE WE'RE FRIENDS. Okay, anyway Planet in Peril included shoots in many exotic locales, like bug-infested jungles and the arctic north. While in Greenland, Corwin told us, everyone had to use the same public bathroom igloo, called a "shigloo" (we have no idea why). Including Anderson. "In fact, the shigloo is only partially covered," Anderson told us later. "It's got a wonderful view. It's quite exposed." Wow, Anderson's glutes exposed. We just had to sit down for a minute. "Nancy Pelosi came to the field site we were at," Corwin added. "I believe Nancy Pelosi may have visited the shigloo." Man, the ice caps have never seemed so white. —Amy OdellEarlier:Iraq Trips Hamper Anderson Cooper's Gym Schedule
We read in the Times yesterday that the financial district is so dead at night, most people who move there experience instantaneous buyer's remorse. Not club impresario Amy Sacco, whom we ran into at Saturday’s Cinema Society screening of Things We Lost in the Fire and who will be moving into her new condo in the District, the luxury development on Ann Street she consulted on, this spring. She thinks the financial district is just fabulous! Of course, as with most people involved in the real-estate trade, when Sacco says one thing, she really means another. Since we have a lot of experience with these things — hello! We've been renters for our entire adult life! — we were able to translate her Realtorspeak, and really, practically read her mind.
At last night's opening of Mauritius at the Biltmore Theater, Patricia Clarkson confessed a secret. "I never throw away a New Yorker," she told New York. "I have New Yorkers dating back to the 1980s. I have boxes and boxes." That sounds so, um, normal, actually. "She does. I know this," said Chris Noth, passing by. "Not New York Magazine." Noth also had some harsh words about our recent Bill Clinton–as–First Lady cover. "Your magazine has absolutely no scruples," he said. "That’s terrible!" You know what else we're terrible at, according to Noth? Predicting the plot of the Sex and the City movie based on all of the shooting around town. "Have you seen the script?" he asked. "I have. There’s been all this talk of Big and Carrie get married. I’m not going to say yes, or no, but did you see me at the church with Sarah Jessica? No, because I was at the Brooklyn Detention Center shooting Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The pictures everyone’s talking about are me with Charlotte. What does that mean? All I can say is that you people have gotten nothing right." This makes us feel a lot better about the fact that we never watch Criminal Intent. —Jada Yuan
Last night we ate dinner next to Richard Gere. It was prior to a screening of I'm Not There, a film about Bob Dylan starring six different actors, including Cate Blanchett, in seven different life phases. Gere plays the oldest Dylan. Whatever. The point is Richard — we call him Richard now — is the silverest of silver foxes, and after a while, we forgot all about the Dalai Lama stuff and the, you know, hamster thing and fell straight in love.
“I used to work for New York Magazine,” Terry George told us upon seeing our "New York" Scotch-taped to a barricade at the premiere of his movie Reservation Road. “I was a fact-checker,” the Hotel Rwanda director added. With that Irish storytelling gene, George dredged up a memory of his days toiling at this rag. “You can print this: I was kneeling down at the cupboard where all the New York Timeses were kept, because it was before LexisNexis and all that," he explained. "And as I’m kneeling down, I feel these executives stepping over me, and I turned around and looked up, and there’s Rupert Murdoch stepping over so he could go into the executive office. One of my bigger regrets in life is that I didn’t bite his balls off then, you know.” Joaquin Phoenix, who stars in Reservation Road, had a different reaction when he saw our name tag on that red-carpet barricade. “I love this, by the way," he told us. "That they have you here, corralled. —Bennett Marcus
At last night's Lucid Absinthe party, packs of twentysomething almost-models spilled out of the back of tightly packed SUVs to enter the Lower East Side's Back Room. "They're like hipster clown cars," observed publicist Alison Brod as she manned the door. Inside, the place was so packed that dainty green fairies (waitresses with body paint and glitter) kept getting their wings caught in people's hair as they tried to serve drinks made with the powerful licorice liqueur (it's the first legal absinthe in the U.S. in decades). Amiable Hills star Brody Jenner lounged in a corner with his friends and chatted with New York. We asked about Lauren Conrad (did you see this week's episode? They totally/maybe slept together again!). "I love Lauren, she and I are best friends," was all Jenner would say, before being yanked away by photographers. Ten minutes later, New York spotted Jenner chatting animatedly to a random male partygoer, who looked extremely confused. Jenner looked up and spotted us and ran over. "I was talking to that dude for like five minutes because I thought it was you," he said. "He thinks I'm a psycho!"
Last night Salman Rushdie showed up at the Cinema Society screening of Elizabeth: The Golden Years to very publicly not watch the season finale of Top Chef, hosted by his former-model (and dubious-culinary-expert) ex-wife, Padma Lakshmi. Instead, he spent much of the after-party on the roof of the Soho Grand getting his flirt on with a bevy of tall model-esque beauties, one of whom looked like Padma 2.0. If we’d once been amazed at Rushdie’s ability to rein in a hottie like Lakshmi, we were more than impressed with his ability to keep three ladies entertained at once, using some strange mating dance involving jumping, hand gestures, back touching, and, at times, French. Earlier in the evening we’d gotten a taste of his conversational skills ourselves. Was he witty? Charming? Sexy? Well…
Part of the reason people love Ryan Gosling is that it's possible to suspect that in real life, he's a little bit adorably weird, just like the characters he plays. That's why it was exciting to catch up with him at the premiere of Lars and the Real Girl last night and realize that it's true. The film's plot follows Lars (Gosling) as he falls in love with a sex doll. Gosling told us he was nervous to work with his inanimate co-star at the start of filming, because he imagined he would have to be acting for two people. "But then I met her," the Notebook star said. "She came to the read-through," he explained. "I couldn't stop staring at her. I was fascinated. She had all these beautiful freckles on her face. She was endlessly fascinating to me. I got excited about all of our scenes together." What a delightfully odd turn of events! So where did the doll end up after filming? "Well, uh," Gosling mumbled. "My house."—Jocelyn Guest
Like any good red-carpet watcher, at the premiere of Sleuth, we did our best to sniff out some drama between stars Jude Law and Michael Caine, director Kenneth Branagh, and writer Harold Pinter. With all those egos on one set, sparks must have flown! But apparently, unlike catty actresses, men can get along on a set. "They’re extremely funny and easy to work with," said director Kenneth Branagh, as Caine and Law told us they "loved" each other. Well, fine. They all "love" screenwriter-playwright Harold Pinter, too, apparently. "Thirty years ago, I did a monologue from a Pinter play for my audition for drama school, and it’s taken me 30 years to meet the guy and work with him, and it was a real thrill,” Branagh told New York. "When I knew him, he was an actor called David Baron," Caine said, one-upping Branagh (ooh, let's project some tension here!). "He decided to write plays, and he thought, 'I’ll use my real name,' he told me, which is Harold Pinter," Caine explained. "And so I did his first one, and then he wrote all this great stuff, and I wasn’t in any of it!" Caine says that though he and Pinter are friends, this is only the second of the famous scribe's works he's performed in. "I thought, I’m the one who started you, and then no one gave me any more," he said. "I was sort of pissed off!" Yeah, that's right. Fight, fight, fight! –Bennett MarcusFind more photos and chatter from Bebe Neuwirth, Joan Collins, and others at our complete coverage of Sleuth's New York premiere.
We ran into Tina Brown while waiting for the elevator at the last night's Heart On! benefit at Lincoln Center and thought we'd make polite conversation. How about Dan Rather suing CBS? we asked, as the elevator failed to arrive. "I'm a fan of Dan Rather so I want to know how it will turn out," she said, poking impatiently at the elevator button. So are we! Maybe we can be friends with Tina. "I'd like to see it reinvestigated, so let's put it that way," she said. "I keep missing the elevator." Since we were standing there, we thought we'd get to know her a little better.
The Plaza Hotel's 100th anniversary last night ought to have been a joyous celebration. The Orchestra of St. Luke's played a forties-Hollywood soundtrack. Yitzhak Tshuva, the Israeli mogul who turned the hotel into condos, smiled and laughed among some 200 family members and his favorite singer, Paul Anka. Gucci brought really cool fireworks — they even shot rockets off the roof of the building — and a twelve-foot, one-ton Ron Ben-Israel cake in the building's image was admired and then eaten. And it was good. And yet, Matthew Broderick, there to toast the happy occasion, could barely contain his sorrow.
Shakira shook her lower body vehemently during her performance of "Hips Don’t Lie" at Saturday night's MTV-produced event for Bill Clinton's Global Initiative Conference, but Clinton, sitting front-row center, would not oblige her by looking, at least not in public. Instead, he focused hard on Wyclef Jean. Lest we forget, Bubba is all about the music. "I’ve always wanted to play the Apollo," he admitted later. "I’ve been invited to play amateur night a number of times, but I’m afraid. If the audience doesn’t like you, they actually take a hook and pull you off!" Ha! It's not like the White House, is it then? But Clinton was distracted by MTV News personality Sway, who walked by wearing a Rasta hat and dreadlocks. Apparently the two men had bonded earlier in the evening. “I thought we were going to talk more about hair grooming,” Clinton asked Sway plaintively. “You could grow the locks, man,” Sway said, regarding the president's tufty white head. "It’ll change your life.” Clinton laughed. "I think it's too late for that," he said. Don't be silly, Bill! It's never too late for a new look! —Jada Yuan
It seems that a certain potential future leader of the free world can’t keep a secret. In a continuation of their very Demi Moore–Bruce Willis split, Kimora Lee Simmons planned a surprise 50th-birthday party for her hip-hop-mogul ex, Russell Simmons, at Gustavino’s last night. How Kimora expected to keep the party under wraps (especially when she’d invited the press) we have no clue. But Russell was in the dark, we hear, until Saturday night, when Hillary Clinton almost blew it.
At Jeffrey Toobin's party for The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, free copies of the book were nowhere to be found, much to the chagrin of one late arriver, Regis Philbin. "I can't get my hands on the book! All the free copies are gone!" he told us, upset because he had wanted to read the book and hold it up on his show. "I don't know how the etiquette works. But usually when you go to a book party, they give you the book! Do you have the book?" We didn't. "Are you disappointed?" Welll … now that you mention it, yeah! "You should be! I think you deserve it!" Wow, Regis really knows how to rile up a crowd, we thought. And as if reading our mind, he took that moment to throw his hat into politics. “I should be on the Supreme Court,” he said.
Everyone we talked to at Patrick McMullan's Glamour Girls book launch party last night at the Whitney agreed: Patrick knows everybody. Just not always their names. Though he signed books with personalized messages for hundreds of guests, he wasn’t always sure exactly who they were. "His mind goes blank sometimes," said designer Esteban Cortazar, McMullan's "friend" for the past ten years. "Then he'll remember it and apologize forever." Michael Musto, godfather to McMullan's son, recalled, "He's always pulling you over to have you meet someone you already know. Once he said, 'Oh Kelly Catrone! Do you know Robbie Catrone?' And they had been divorced. That's why they had the same name." We asked Patrick what his most embarrassing slip-up was. "One time I spit on Kelly Ripa by accident," he said, while socialites fawned over him as he sat behind a white lacquered table signing books (purchased by guests for $75 a pop). But there are some women left in the world he has yet to meet. Such as: "The Queen of England. I think her and I would be able to get along,” he said. “We could watch television programs together," he said. "Or Camilla. If we could talk about horses and dogs I think that would be fun." — Amy Odell Get more McMullan gossip from Vera Wang, Muffie Potter Aston, and others at our complete party coverage.
New York ran into Chloë Sevigny at Public last night, at the party for Sebaka Wines. We were like, "Chloë, how arrrrre you." Then we went ahead and asked her how she feels about all the people who have been making fun of the fashion line she recently debuted at Opening Ceremony. Her reaction was totally hippie meets hip-hop, a little bit like the look she is rocking on the left. "There will always be haters," she said. "I'm just living my life." —Andrew Goldstein
Remember when Georgina Chapman was best-known for dating Harvey Weinstein, and people thought it was cute that she thought she could be a designer? And then it turned out that her Marchesa evening gowns were a big hit with Weinstein's celebrity friends and even Anna Wintour has taken interest? Well, it seems all her whimsical career experiments weren't as successful. While at high school in England, the onetime model-actress started a band, even though she admits to being "completely unmusical." "It's very embarrassing," she told New York at the premiere of Control, Anton Corbijn's film about late Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. Chapman started her own band with a young gal pal. "We called ourselves Jesus and Mary Jane, and we sang in our school chapel at night in boarding school," Chapman admitted. "We were 13, and we thought we were 20." Too bad ol' Harv wasn't around back then to make some calls. Or, you know, thank God.—Amy Odell
Last night we sent a reporter to Elton John's AIDS Foundation benefit with a mission: Find Anderson Cooper and ask him about his bodacious new biceps. Bennett Marcus, our intrepid interviewer, took on the task and confronted Cooper about his ginormous guns. Below is what transpired:
Your biceps are really big lately. How are you working out?
“Wow. What is my workout routine — I’ve never been asked that question! Um, I don’t know [Ed. note: At this point, Cooper appeared to be dying of flustration.], I’ve just been working with a trainer and uh, I don’t know, lifting a little weight, and running a little. I don’t know.
Is that new? The trainer and the rest?
Uh, you know, I just turned 40, so yes, I’m trying to be a little bit healthier now and trying to eat a little bit more sensibly. And also, with traveling so much, you know, it’s tough when you’re in Iraq to do anything, so I try to work out when I’m here. [Ed. note: Best. Quote. Ever.] This is really I sound ridiculous.
You know how, even in a city as big as New York, there's that one person you always run into? New York has that, only our guy is 60 Minutes host Morley Safer, who is quite the man-about-town. We saw Morley last Tuesday at the Feast of Love screening, and then ran into him again at the Met Opera last night, where he told us a wonderful little story about back in the day.
At 60 Minutes I lost it [laughing] half a dozen times. Once I fell asleep in the middle of an interview. The guy I was interviewing … I'm not going to mention. He was a very prominent retired spymaster. He insisted I have a couple of whiskeys, but I'd been flying for twelve hours and driving for four. The cameraman pulled his arm around the camera and pulled my ear. I woke up — and collapsed again. He didn't notice. A dotty old Englishman.
We don't know about you, but we're pretty sure we learned something about Life from this. —Tim Murphy