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
Last night at the Ziegfeld premiere of his film Michael Clayton, George Clooney was feeling jokey. He approached writer-director Tony Gilroy and pointed at the Hilton across the street. "Hey," he said. "You know Ahmadinejad is next door?" "Is he?" Gilroy asked back, probably aware that the Iranian president was in town but probably unaware of his hotel preference. "He literally is," said Clooney. "How big is that?" "Is he coming here tonight?" Gilroy asked his star, playing along. "Yeah, he's coming to the screening," Clooney laughed, as Brad Pitt scampered down the carpet past reporters. For witnesses, it felt like being on the set of Ocean's Fourteen, only more self-congratulatory and less airbrushed. Speaking of which, we asked Clooney whether he's had a midlife crisis. "Just this morning!" he said. "I'm fine now, I got over it." (His secret is Percodan.) After recovering from Clooney's barrage of wit, we asked his co-star Tilda Swinton if he ever played jokes on her while on set. “I think his very existence is an entire joke on humanity," she told New York. We were just thinking the same thing. —Bennett Marcus
"I'm frankly not too big on opera," Jane Fonda confided at the opening of the Metropolitan Opera's season last night. "I don't like the inevitable tragic-ness of it." Indeed, Lucia di Lammermoor was a major downer, although an entertaining one: Natalie Dessay, in the title role, brought down the house with a hair-raising mad scene. Has Jane ever lost it like that? "In a scene in a movie, but never in life," she said. "My mother did that for me. I didn't have to go there again." Uh, okay, dead mother, we're super-uncomfortable now. Oh, hey, it's Barbara Walters!
Event planners for last night's "VH1: Save the Music" benefit were so accustomed to diva Mariah Carey's lateness that they built in an hour's delay into their schedule. As a result, the songstress arrived right just in time, joining stars like Conan O'Brien, John Mayer, James Blunt, Jon Bon Jovi, Mya, and Quincy Jones. Hillary Clinton was supposed to be there but sent her husband instead. "“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m doing tonight what I hope I’ll be doing for all of us for the next several years," Clinton told the crowd. "I’m just sort of standing here for Hillary.” Read more about what the stars said in our complete "Save the Music" Party Lines.
Sex follows some women everywhere, even the New York Philharmonic. Tuesday evening, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 79 years of age and four-foot-seven in height, stood in the aisle waiting for Yo-Yo Ma’s opening-night performance. “Mort Zuckerman just came up and kissed me and said that I’m the best woman around,” she told New York. “And he had a date! She just stood there and smiled. What could she do?” She beamed. “It’s wonderful to be Dr. Ruth!” Westheimer had had a busy day. A study had just been released, showing that 55 percent of divorced women aren’t having sex, and everyone wanted her advice. “If she’s divorced and doesn’t have a partner, it makes sense,” she said. “But I hope that she keeps her libido, her desire for sex, alive. That she goes out, that she looks around if there are any eligible people, and if not, I do say that until she finds a partner, I want her to masturbate."
Last night, comedian and cupcake maker Amy Sedaris hosted a party for Ikea Home and told New York all about her own domestic life. "I have Pergo floors you can only get at Ikea," she explained, adding that she didn’t install them herself. "My friend Todd Oldham, who is a designer, put them in. I laid on the couch and smoked pot and was like, 'That one looks crooked.'" Likewise, she admits, when she got a Weber Grill, she made her brother (humorist David Sedaris) put it together for her. "He put the wheels on backward and literally had a pile of leftover screws. I said, 'What is that?' and he said, 'Well, that's, you know, the leftover screws they give you,'" the Strangers With Candy star said. "It literally didn't even roll around." On household pests, Sedaris is a true expert. "There's never just a mouse. You have to find the hole! I'm telling you! I had a cheese-ball business in my apartment, and I had a huge mouse problem," she says. "I have cockroaches too! I kill those with my hand." No doubt everyone who buys Sedaris's famous homemade cupcakes will be delighted to hear it. —Jocelyn Guest
Sean "Diddy" Combs probably wasn't even aware that the air at the party for his perfume, Unforgivable Woman, smelled bad. The combination of the packed crowd and oddly rank steam machine on the fourth floor overpowered efforts by guests to have any scent of their own, unforgivable or otherwise — but Diddy was up above the clouds on the fifth floor, with Ashton Kutcher. Stuck waiting at the foot of the stairs for two hours, we asked passing celebrities what they imagined they themselves smelled like. "Oh, I smell incredibly beautiful," Jay-Z told New York. "I smell like you just got out of the shower, you have on the towel and you just got your sheets on your bed and you're laying and you wrap yourself up. I smell like that." We tried to follow up with Beyoncé, but she only had the time to say that she was "hot," which we had an easier time believing. "If a man falls in love with me, I would rather he fall in love with me than the perfume," Eartha Kitt mused. "But if you need the perfume to help you, then that's why I'm here. Because I want to see if Sean's perfume is beautiful for somebody that I would like to have." When we were finally allowed up to see His Diddyness, he deigned to answer a couple of simple questions. So what does Unforgivable smell like? "Confident, seductive, understated," he told us. After two hours at the foot of the stairs, we begged to differ. —Amy Odell
Parties for movies about human sex trafficking are a bummer. We guess we should have known that when we trekked over to the U.N. for the premiere of Trade, where we spent most of the night trying not to catch a case of self-righteousness from Mira Sorvino, Sigourney Weaver, Gloria Steinem, or the movie's director, Kevin Kline. Happily, Rufus Wainwright was there. He had a song in the movie. “It’s by far my favorite placement of one of my songs in any films to date," he said. "There's nothing like having a song of yours play while somebody’s jumping off a cliff!” Rufus has a sense of humor! He also eats red meat. Jorn, his current German boyfriend, often cooks him Wiener schnitzel. “And every night for dessert,” he added, “we have sausage.” —Bennett Marcus
We’ve always kind of thought this, but now we know for sure: Mel Brooks’ entire life is like a slapstick comedy. We spotted him at last night’s New Yorkers for Children Annual Fall Gala, fresh from rehearsals from his Young Frankenstein, which opens on Broadway in November. “One day I brought in some pickled herring, a jar of pickled herring, for the dancers — a gift!” the director-producer-comedian told us gleefully. “But I spilled, and three dancers slipped and fell. But! The way they fell gave Susan Stroman [the choreographer] a great idea for a slide.” “So you’re a choreographer now, too?” New York asked. “No, no,” he demurred. “I just help with the slides. —Elizabeth Brown
Is America finally becoming celebrity fatigued? Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie arrived nice and early at the premiere of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and benevolently went directly to greet fans lined up across from the Ziegfeld Theatre. We expected a zoo — this is Brangelina, the apex of celebrity — but there were only a few fans behind the (barely necessary) barricades. So fortunately for us waiting with recorders, the autograph signing and cell-phone-picture-taking took only about five minutes, and then the golden ones were on the red carpet, beaming, smiling, and looking very much in love. We asked Angelina (who was looking lovely and remarkably un-praying-mantis-like) if her son Maddox is into cowboys and Indians. She rewarded us with a laugh, saying he wasn't really, but "he liked his spurs when he had them." And Maddox won't be seeing Jesse James, she said. "It's Daddy being really violent!" Daddy himself wasn't feeling contemplative as he walked the carpet, instead seeming a little bored with it all. When a perky MTV producer threw him the standard softball, "What did you learn from doing this movie?" Pitt didn't swing for it. "I didn't learn shit, really," he said. Is it possible even Brad Pitt is tired of himself? —Bennett Marcus
See more pictures and quotes from the premiere in Party Lines.
At the Gossip Girl premiere party last night, things were running late. The bash started at 7, but by 9:30, cast member Blake Lively was still a no-show. Über-publicist Leslie Sloane-Zelnick loitered behind the red carpet, waiting. "I'm with Blake," she told a reporter. Of course the biggest star in the show would work with Zelnick, who reps Jennifer Lopez and Anne Hathaway, and helped Britney and Lindsay back in their glory days. "Hey, all these kids are stars!" Zelnick insisted, but that's not what it looked like. The rest of the show's cast lingered upstairs at Tenjune, waiting until Lively turned up at 9:45 to enter the hellishly crowded party. The youngest talent, 17-year-old Connor Paolo (OMG! he played a young Colin Farrell in Alexander!) and 14-year-old Taylor Momsen (OMG! she played Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!!) dawdled in a corner doing what else – gossiping. "The reporters asked me what 'gossip' is, and if I could tell them a rumor about someone one set," said Momsen. "What did they ask you?" "They asked me if I had a crush on anyone in Hollywood, who would it be?" said Paolo. "They asked me for gossip, too. I said I wanted to punch Zac Efron in the face." Wait, what? "Don't you think everyone wants to see him get punched?" he asked. Wow, if possible, we love this show even more.
Earlier'Gossip Girl' Just as Tawdry, New Yorkey as We'd Hoped
In Feast of Love Morgan Freeman plays a professor taking a leave of absence to sort out his "issues." In his time off he guides younger characters, including one played by Greg Kinnear, through their love lives in a close-knit Portland neighborhood. We caught him on the red carpet before the screening and asked him about his worst date ever — but he seemed more interested in ballroom dancing with New York's party reporter than answering questions.
Freeman: [Taking New York in his arms, to dance] How do you do?
New York: [Pause, to be dipped by Freeman] Wonderful. Now you always have these wise roles.
Freeman: Yeah, I'm a wise kind of man — look at me.
New York: Now since this is a movie about love relationships — [interrupted by another ballroom dip] — Umm
Freeman: Sorry. Greg [Kinnear] didn't do that, did he?
Viggo Mortensen goes full frontal in a knife fight scene in new David Cronenberg Russian Mob flick Eastern Promises. At the premiere, Cronenberg told New York that Mortensen suggested the nudity himself when they choreographed the scene, which takes place in a bathhouse. "He said, 'You know, it's obvious I'm going to have to do this naked.' And I said, 'Great.' That was pretty much the discussion," Cronenberg said at a screening after-party at the Soho Grand. "If he had had this towel wrapped around him that never moved, you would've noticed that. But this was so real." [Ed. note: Then where did he hide his knife??]
The chaotic, shutterbug-infested scene at Zac Posen's show meant that celebrities from Demi on down to Ivanka Trump were unavailable for us to chat up. And so Serena Williams, sitting just outside the fray, provided the rote quotes.