Two days before Katrina hit, small-time hustler, sometime drug dealer, and non-stop motormouth Kim Roberts bought a used video camera for twenty bucks. Then she filmed as she and her husband helped 25 neighbors survive and escape the waters.
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.
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.
The city’s Board of Health is set to reenact its legally contested rule requiring all restaurants with fifteen or more eateries nationwide to post the caloric value of food items on their menus. [NYDN]
Related: Fast-Food Biz Wins Fight Against City Hall
Restaurants and nightclubs currently owe the city $14 million in health-code violation fines, which means that high-roller venues like the Rainbow Room can get away with stiffing the city out of $50. [NYP]
Times Square’s Spotlight Live became the latest scene of club violence when one man was killed and five others stabbed there yesterday morning. [NYDN]
George Clooney's response to a question asking whether he planned on marrying Sarah Lawson: "What kind of question is that to ask in front of her? Let's just say I'm fine the way I am right now, thank you." Four Seasons owner Julian Niccolini is selling his own Sauvignon Blanc, available at Dean & DeLuca. After falling ill in Israel (perhaps with dysentery), Maureen Dowd got medical attention from White House doc Richard Tubb and hitched a ride home on Air Force One. Some pro-life bloggers are angry that Vogue did a fashion shoot with a woman who got an abortion 22 weeks into her pregnancy. Diddy is hiring both a personal and an executive assistant. (One responsibility: acting as a "liaison" between the chairman and his family.) Diane Keaton ate at Michael Jordan's The Steak House in Grand Central Terminal.
Self-styled badass chef Tony Bourdain plays 20 Questions, revealing that he lives with his wife and daughter on the Upper East Side these days — “proximity to Baby Gap is a priority” — and has a kitchen that is “small and functional and very crowded with baby food, cat food, a few essentials.” [Chicago Tribune]
Frank Bruni takes a moment to sort through the piles of food-related tomes that landed on his desk this year, finding his favorites to be David Kamp’s The Food Snob’s Dictionary and the recently released Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Related: David Kamp Adds Two More Entries to the Food Snob’s Dictionary
A recent NYU grad is suing Times Square club Arena for $2 million over a June incident in which he was overcharged by $1,000, beat up by the bouncer, and arrested for not buying enough alcohol. [NYP]
A publicist for model Annabel Vartanian claims that the model fainted at a La Perla party because "she wore herself out," not because she has an eating disorder. Kim Cattrall is donating all the furs she wore in the Sex and the City movie to PETA, which in turn will give them to charity. Cindy Adams is taking credit for breaking Enquirer's John Edwards–is–having–an–affair story. East Village landmark dive bars Sophie's and Mona's are both going up for sale after the holidays. Police commish Ray Kelly says he won't make a decision about running for mayor until after the presidential scrum plays out. Donald Trump will be David Letterman's first guest back when he goes live on January 2. Model Selita Ebanks, who may have been dating James Blake, was at a Knicks game with Giants lineman Osi Umenyira.
If you were planning on attending the Sundance Film Festival but had some reservations about sitting through yet another batch of miserable indie flicks and vitriolic documentaries, well, you may just want to stay home and play Nintendo.
The corner of Avenue B and 11th Street has a troubled history for restaurants. Paolina, despite fresh, authentic, inexpensive Italian food, went out of business there, and then Matt Hamilton’s Uovo, despite favorable reception, also closed, thanks to its lack of a liquor license. Now comes a third try, La Scarpetta, a traditional Puglian restaurant from Pasquale Martinelli. Martinelli was the chef at Bellavitae, a restaurant beloved by Adam Platt, so there’s some hope, but at the current East Village rents, and with the presence of something approaching a curse, we have to wonder if it will play. Fate has to be kind, but if we were Martinelli, we’d be more worried about the community board. They’re throwing liquor licenses around these days like they were manhole covers.