Michael Jackson Checks Out Other Masks and Wigs at ‘Lion King’Michael Jackson took his three kids to see the Lion King on Broadway, and they were all wearing wigs and baseball caps. An art dealer in Chelsea sued Christie’s for $7 million for allegedly selling him a fake Basquiat. Kanye West’s album is outselling 50 Cent’s, though 50 is still worth more money according to Forbes. Jennifer Lopez may be expecting twins, but that’d be news to Marc Anthony. The Dalai Lama likes eating at Masala Garden on West 79th Street. Vince Vaughn went into Marquee at 2:45 a.m. to hit on some girls. Hugh Grant cruised down a deserted strip of road in Southampton in a red convertible. Representative Charles Rangel subconsciously thinks Hillary Clinton is going to be president.
Location, Location, Location
Next month, Christie’s will auction a 1951 prefab aluminum house designed modernist icon Jean Prouve, but, for now, it’s on display on the Long Island City waterfront. The auction house estimates the Maison Tropicale, as it’s called, one of only three constructed, will sell for $4 to $6 million; the winner bidder will receive simply a kit, a collection of metal parts. (“Like an Ikea piece, but bigger,” as the Times described it this week.) Which is a shame: $6 million for these views is a steal.
Related: From Africa to Queens Waterfront, a Modernist Gem for Sale to the Highest Bidder [NYT]
Breakups and the CityFormer Sex and the City partners Candace Bushnell and Darren Star are no longer speaking after Star sold a show similar to the one Bushnell was working on to a different network. Matt Lauer once had an awkward bathroom experience with Tom Brokaw. Kate Moss will launch her clothing line at Barneys on May 8. Alt Coffee on Avenue A is being turned into a stroller shop. Britney Spears may give Allure a tell-all regarding her family infighting. Lesley Stahl denies being the source of anti-Katie Couric rumors. On her way back to New York City, real-estate queen Barbara Corcoran boarded the wrong flight and ended up in Syracuse. Tyra Banks ate with Clay Aiken at Jean Georges. Andy Dick accosted two employees at a Chelsea club.
Billie Jean Is Not My Talk-Show HostBillie Jean King says she wouldn’t mind taking fellow lesbian Rosie O’Donnell’s spot on The View. Socialiterank.com will post no more, but its (still anonymous) founders do have a book deal. Arthur Sulzberger Jr. was marginally insensitive toward deaf people at the New York Times Co. annual meeting. American Idol contestants put on a private performance at Rupert Murdoch’s house. Christie’s exec John Hays made a quip about Katie Couric at the Children for Children benefit. Cameron Diaz went shopping in Soho, then freaked out when the paparazzi showed up. Kate Winslet likes New York’s paparazzi more than London’s. A woman obsessed with Sandra Bullock tried to run over Bullock’s husband with a car. Hugh Grant was arrested on an assault charge after throwing baked beans at a paparazzo.
in other news
It’s Like ‘Six Degrees of Separation,’ But With WineNext time you uncork your cobweb-covered 1961 Mouton Rothschild and taste Two-Buck Chuck, you know whom to call: The FBI is hot on the trail of crafty con men passing off “inferior bottles” as historic vintages. The investigation, which is setting New York’s wine-snob circles abuzz, grew out of a lawsuit brought by billionaire William Koch; Koch forked over $500K a pop for several bottles supposedly once owned by Thomas Jefferson. Christie’s, which vouched for the bottles’ provenance, has been subpoenaed, as has the dealer who found (or “found”) the forgery. To be honest, we’ve never heard of this particular scam before counterfeit wine! but the more we think about it, the less we’re surprised. With the amount of money floating around the city, we’re clearly running out of status symbols (seriously: $800K duck decoys?). Someone’s gotta take advantage.
Inquiry Looks at Accusations That Wines Had False Labels [NYT]
Earlier: Duck! That Decoy Costs $800,000! [Daily Intel]
Christie’s to Sell Pigeons, Shit
After a weekend full of avant-garde art — Scope, the Armory Show, and so on — Christie’s is stepping up to the plate with a contemporary-art auction of its own. Together with Swiss art dealer and contemporary-art fiend Pierre Huber, the stately Rockefeller Center auction house will tonight offer Huber’s eccentric collection of photographs (e.g., Thomas Ruff’s hazy, glammed-up Internet porn), paintings (Christopher Wool’s enormous abstract canvases), sculpture (Piero Manzoni’s famous canned shit, which is, well, exactly that), and large-scale installations (i.e. Mike Kelley’s wackily eerie Test Room). Each one is sporting a hefty price tag — even the shit is estimated at $50,000 to $70,000 — for a total sale estimate of $11 to $15 million. That’s low for postwar and contemporary sales, but pretty significant considering there’s nary a Pollock in sight. —Rachel Wolff
Duck! That Decoy Costs $800,000!
More ways to spend your fat bonus this year, Wall Streeters: a very manly wooden duck. On January 19, the auctioneers at Christie’s are hoping to be the first to break the $1 million barrier in folksy duck decoys, hawking a cute, rare, and immaculately preserved white-bellied merganser. Carved from cedar and hand-painted shortly after the Civil War by a Massachusetts cemetery caretaker named Lothrop Holmes, the merganser decoy (used by hunters to attract waterfowl) is estimated by Christie’s to go for between $400,000 and $600,000. In November, an 1890s-era feeding plover fetched twice the presale estimate: $830,000. “Decoys are the new macho territory of folk collecting,” declares Margot Rosenberg, who runs Christie’s furniture, folk, and decorative-arts departments. “For hunter-gatherers on Wall Street, collecting is a sport unto itself.” Along with the hedge-funders, collectors from across the country will be bidding on 58 lots of decoys. Geoffrey Gray
Bar, PittyBrad Pitt played bartender for Angelina at the after-party of her new movie, The Good Shepherd. (He also gave his thoughts on the current state of the CIA). Fabian Basabe dropped his assault charges against Bungalow 8 at the behest of the Manhattan D.A., but he is still considering a civil lawsuit. Jim Carrey and J-Lo may be the two newest catches for the Church of Scientology. Christie’s tried to round up in-house “volunteers” (read: free labor) to man its “awesome auctions.” Rosie O’Donnell and Republican fund-raiser Georgette Mosbacher are B.F.F. because Rosie gave her $300k. Nicole Richie and Joel Madden must be really serious, because Richie listed Madden as an “emergency contact” when she was booked for her DWI charge Monday. Sylvester Stallone thinks Richard Gere blames him for the whole “gerbil incident.” Don Rickles made fun of Kirk Douglas at his 90th birthday party. Lillo Brancato — the Sopranos actor facing a murder rap — tried to commit suicide at Rikers Island last month. A local politician once propositioned a lesbian, and a pregnant real-estate broker doesn’t pay her taxes or her accountant. Donald Trump Jr. cut down his own Christmas tree. Liz Smith says China is considering dropping the dragon as its national symbol. Cindy Adams professes her love for The Good Shepherd, insults millions of working-class Americans in the process. (Says Cindy: “high school dropouts can stick to Daniel Craig’s shoot-n-shout shlock.”) “Why Men Cheat,” by Men’s Health editor Dave Zinczenko, has inexplicably become the most commented-on blog post in Yahoo history. Speaking of Zinczenko: Got rock-hard abs and the ability to read a TelePrompTer? Naked News is looking for a new anchor.
the morning line
Alan Hevesi, and Other Car Wrecks
• So after all that outraged wife-chauffeuring tabloid ink, Alan Hevesi handily won reelection, 57 percent to 39 percent. Anyone want to bring up the scandal now? Didn’t think so. “You can make the case that the public has spoken,” says Mayor Bloomberg. [NYDN]
• A 5-year-old Brooklyn boy is dead after a ruthless hit-and-run. An SUV lurched onto the Flatbush sidewalk, struck a family of four and continued on — until shocked drivers in other cars nearby gave chase and blocked its way. And another errant Brooklyn SUV collided with, of all things, an ambulance this morning, injuring at least five people. The ambulance’s driver had to be cut out of the wreckage. [NYP, WNBC]
• The City Council met to discuss an urgent topic: raising its own members’ salaries 25 percent. Surprisingly, almost everyone’s in favor. The current base salary for the part-time job is $90,000. [amNY]
• Remember the long, hysterically pitched discussion of whether cell-phone service in NYC subways would be a good or a bad thing? MTA doesn’t. Four companies submitted competitive bids to retrofit the city’s trains with cell-phone transmitters back in January; ten months later, the Authority still hasn’t made a decision. [NYT]
• And Christie’s cleared $491 million in one night, almost doubling the record for an art auction. It could have been even more, but the house ended up withdrawing the Picasso, on whose convoluted origins (Mendelssohn, Nazis, Andrew Lloyd Webber) we reported, at the last moment. Still, some vigorous paddle work there. [NYT]