Spotted! Yesterday afternoon, Bill Clinton and a team of Secret Service agents hanging around the lobby of 4 Times Square, the headquarters of Condé Nast Publications. What were they doing there? WWD, which reported the sighting, doesn't know. Could Hillary have been making a mea culpa to Vogue's editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, for backing out of a photo shoot for the magazine (and appearing several months later in Harper's Bazaar)? Or was Bill, who leveraged access to himself to force GQ into killing a Hillary profile a few months back, just there to bully Jim Nelson some more? Personally, Intel suspects that they were making arrangements to appear in Golf Digest. Now that's how you get the Florida vote.
Memo Pad [WWD]
Update: A reader points out that he was probably visiting his lawyers at Skadden, Arps, whose headquarters are in the Condé building. Duh! Also: Snooze. We were digging the image of Bill and Hill posing in plaid trousers.
Inspired by a 1966 tragedy in which coal waste trickled down a mountain in a Welsh mining town, engulfing a nearby school and killing 144, Elena Willis’s Aberfan 1966 seems an exercise in surrealist photographic technique.
Vanity Fair style arbiter Amy Fine Collins went to the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. Central Park carriage owners responded to Pink's animal-cruelty charges by deriding them as the "ignorant comments of a B-list pop star." Nets chairman and real-estate developer Bruce Ratner is getting married to plastic surgeon Pamela Lipkin. At Sundance, Paris Hilton gave a lap dance to Jared Leto, David Katzenberg took pictures of his privates for girlfriend Nicky Hilton, Cisco Adler got into a shoving match, Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian made out, and Adrian Grenier lost his drumsticks. John Legend says he doesn't get caught up with dating models and that he's "more concerned with (his) happiness."
• Anna Wintour took Hillary Clinton to task for backing out of her Vogue photo shoot because she feared looking "too feminine." Wintour: "The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying." Ouch. [WWD]
• The Directors Guild showed up the writers in striking, heh, fashion: After just one week of negotiations, the directors struck a deal with the studios that includes the all-important online-video money. The writers are cautious, though, since the last time they followed the directors' lead they got screwed on the home-video market. [WP]
• Wal-Mart, responsible for 20 percent of all "newsstand" magazine sales, announced it would dump more than 1,000 titles from its shelves. Shocking twist: The New Yorker stays, but Boar Hunter Magazine is out! [NYP]
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.
Have you noticed that all of the news about the Great Condé Nast Reshuffling of 2008 has emerged from Women's Wear Daily? It's becoming the mouthpiece of the company's HR department. (Or maybe the news is all a little too boring for anyone else to care about.) After a week of updates about shifts and firings on the business side at Condé titles Vogue, Golf Digest, Lucky, Teen Vogue, and The New Yorker, WWD today tells us about Portfolio (this month's cover pictured here). Apparently the business mag's editor, Joanne Lipman, tapped recently departed Post metro editor, Dan Colarusso, to run its growing Website. Also, to fill new Portfolio publisher William Li's absence at Men's Vogue, Condé looked within its walls to Details associate publisher, Marc Berger. We'd walk you through all of the changes that came last week, but the most telling detail is already above: While the rest of Condé Nast continues to recruit talent only from inside the company, Portfolio continues to look outside for fresh ideas!
New Titles All Around [WWD]
• Don Imus on Tom Brokaw: "He is not the most courageous person I've ever met in my life. He's not the guy I'd want to be in a foxhole with." You see, Brokaw didn't defend Imus when he was down-and-out because of the whole "nappy-headed-hos" incident. Resentment, now that takes courage! [NYP]
• Shocker: CNBC is actually scared shitless of Fox Business News. They're now asking guests to choose sides, threatening to drop them if they dare to appear on Murdoch's new down-home network. [Silicon Alley Insider]
• Veteran literary agent Lynn Nesbit wants a new publishing madman: "Even [former Simon & Schuster CEO] Dick Synder is a lot more colorful than [newly departed Simon & Schuster CEO] Jack Romanos, who is now gone. I mean, they had passion, they cared about literature. Even Dick, who's not an intellectual. He cared. He was a madman . . . . Who is a madman now in publishing? . . . It was just different then." Hi, Lynn, allow us to introduce you to our favorite publishing madwoman, Judith Regan. [Media Mob/NYO]
Not only did Brooke Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, allegedly steal $132 million from his mom's estate, but he also wanted to kill her dogs. The latest issue of Vanity Fair chronicles Governor Spitzer's "troubling, tantrum-filled" first year in office. A week after her kidney infection, Mary-Kate Olsen is back to partying around town. Tony Bennett is giving a "special performance" on behalf of Hillary Clinton in New Jersey in December. Jenna Jameson and Richie Rich are opening a bar together in Chinatown. Chelsea Clinton ate at Veritas with a "very handsome, dark, Indian male companion." David Mamet is a fan of the New York Post.
• How did Judith Regan's high-level lawyers let her bat-shit-crazy legal complaint get through? Oh that's right, she's Judith Regan. [Legal Pad/Fortune]
• CBS finally got around to filing their motion to dismiss Dan Rather's suit. The network claims they are "mystified" by Rather's "bizarre allegations," and that the lawsuit amounts to a "regrettable attempt by plaintiff Dan Rather to remain in the public eye, and to settle old scores and perceived slights, based on an array of far-fetched allegations." [NYO]
• Karl Rove signed on to become a regular contributor to Newsweek. Maybe they should consider changing their slogan to "fair and balanced"? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
Gisele Bündchen showed up at the haunted house on Suffolk Street sans costume and cut the line. Hunter S. Thompson's widow is pissed at Jann Wenner because he portrayed Hunter in his book as an "awful beast of a man" after he left Rolling Stone . Calvin Klein's ex, Kelly, finally has a daughter, via surrogate mother. David Brooks, a.k.a. the guy who was recently busted for using company cash to fund his daughter's $10 million bat mitzvah, also used his employees' pension funds to pay for his son's bar mitzvah. Hillary Clinton backed out of a Vogue photo shoot being shot by Annie Leibovitz because she felt it would be "too glamorous." Sting and some buddies went to Scores. Bono and Damien Hirst dined at Lever House. Law & Order's Richard Belzer had to get his driver to walk his poodle during a screening at Core Club because he wasn't allowed to bring it in.
Even in an industry full of eccentrics, Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld is an icon: those omnipresent shades, the man-jewelry, and, of course, the leather glove, which lends his style that special “ringmaster at a Michael Jackson–themed circus” feel. So when filmmaker Rodolphe Marconi touted his new documentary Lagerfeld Confidential as a profound peek behind The Kaiser’s sunglasses, we had to investigate — after all, this is the man who once told Elle, “It’s too easy to forgive. I love revenge.” What could be better than an hour and a half of that?
Man, Sarah Jessica Parker gets everything. She and the Sex and the City crew got to run around in the Condé Nast offices and pretend they work at Vogue, reports WWD. Willie Garson (a.k.a. Stanford Blatch) spilled the beans on the exclusive shoot — recall, The Devil Wears Prada was mysteriously barred from filming in the building — and even said that Anna Wintour consulted on the segments involving her magazine. While WWD says it was the actual Vogue offices that were used, we hear shooting took place elsewhere at 4 Times Square. Namely, the Teen Vogue offices. We can't say we're surprised. If SJP showed up at the real Vogue in one of her heinous movie outfits, she'd be taken out by interns with blow darts before she left the elevator.
Will There Be Coat Throwing? [WWD]
Earlier:'Sex and the City' Movie Continues Series' Violence Against Fashion
• Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne, ranked 611 in the world at contract bridge, fired Warren Spector, ranked in the top 225, for his role in the subprime crisis. Spector, a co-president at Bear, who took home $37 million, spent a whole two weeks at a bridge tournament in Nashville, while Cayne made do with a mere two days. Meanwhile, the firm announced 310 job cuts. [Bloomberg, DealBook/NYT]
• Merrill Lynch canned three top executives before even disclosing its own subprime losses, which could exceed $4 billion. Dow Kim, the former co-head of institutional securities, Osman Semerci, global head of fixed income, and deputy Dale Lattanzio were all shown the door. [WSJ]
• Zoe Cruz, co-president of Morgan Stanley, is the highest paid woman in America. At least there's good news for somebody! [CNN, WSJ]
2004: Frank Langella is coming off a tough stretch in his career. His most prominent role in the past few years is as Aertes in an NBC miniseries of Jason and the Argonauts; his performance as "Voice of the Dragon" was just cut out of Red Dragon. Langella shoots an independent comedy called Breaking the Fifth…
• Thomson agreed to buy Reuters for $17 billion, creating the largest financial-news service and the first major rival to Bloomberg LP. [Reuters via CNNMoney]
• Murdoch offered the Bancrofts a seat on the News Corp. board and asked to meet with the family personally. After an internal conference call, the Bancrofts seem unmoved. [NYT]
• Ron Burkle bought the Primedia Enthusiast unit for $1.2 billion and now owns 70 titles like Dressage Today and Popular Hot Rodding. [NYP]
In the criminal-justice system, as you know, the people are represented by two separate but equally important groups: the police, who investigate the crimes, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. Then there are the shyster defense lawyers, who try to convince juries that deranged and confessed torturers should get off; NTSB air-safety boards, who can't quite figure out who was flying the plane that crashed into the buildings; and Miss America, who entraps sexual predators. Yesterday was a busy day for all of them, and these are their stories. Da-dum.
You might have heard a little bit about GoldBar lately. It's the hottest thing since Death & Co. two weeks ago and until Star Lounge goes into soft launch … this weekend. We were pretty confident the décor of this Cain offshoot would be gold, and the involvement of skulls seemed likely. But until last night’s opening to "friends and family,” all details were little more than informed speculation. Now, finally, the truth can be told.