Ashton Kutcher Borrows Madonna’s Guest List for His 30thHa-ha, Los Angeles! You see what happens when you threaten to take the Oscars away from the pretty people? They come here to New York to party! Okay, so maybe it’s more that Madonna just invited them all to come to New York, and you can’t say no to Her Madgesty (she clearly knows how to do that Famke Janssen kill move from Goldeneye, and she likes it). But still, her Gucci/Malawi party was on Wednesday, and according to PageSix.com and Us Weekly, many celebs stuck around last night to attend Ashton Kutcher’s birthday party at Gemma. Kutcher claims it was his 30th birthday, and to celebrate, Salma Hayek, François-Henri Pinault, Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, and Kate Hudson all showed up. Madonna even sang “Happy Birthday” (okay, for all our bitterness, we must admit that’s pretty effing cool)! Later in the evening they went to Socialista, where they were joined by Roberto Cavalli, Rebecca Gayheart, Molly Sims, Liv Tyler, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Nice job, Ashton! Way to party like it’s still 1999!
Demi Moore’s A-List Birthday Bash for Ashton Kutcher [Us Weekly]
Ashton’s A-List B-Day [PageSix.com]
white men with money
Vikram Pandit Gets a Write-down, Foreign Capital for His BirthdayYesterday was new Citigroup honcho Vikram Pandit’s 51st birthday, and pretty much everyone forgot, since this morning he had to announce the largest quarterly loss in his bank’s history. To be sure, the $18.1 billion subprime-mortgage-related write-down is not as much as the $24 billion that was predicted over the weekend, but it was enough that it led to a fourth-quarter loss of $9.83 billion. But there was a silver lining: The bank says it has plans to raise upwards of $12.5 billion through a private securities sale, which includes $6.88 billion from Singapore. They also expect the Kuwait Investment Authority, Alwaleed bin Talal, and even former Citigroup CEO Sanford “Sandy” Weill to kick in with investments. That’s “a huge vote of confidence on [Weill’s] part,” one analyst told Reuters. “I’m surprised to see his name there.” We wonder if Pandit is surprised. Maybe today after work, he’ll go outside and Weill will be waiting for him in his red convertible. “Me?” Pandit will say. “Yeah, you,” Weill will say, and later that night they’ll share kisses over birthday cake while the Thompson Twins’ “If You Were Here” plays softly in the background.
Citigroup raising $14.5 billion [Reuters]
it just happened
Don’t Bet the Trailer Money Yet: Rather Lawsuit Moves ForwardBreaking: It looks like former CBS News anchor Dan Rather will indeed get his day in court. On Wednesday evening Justice Ira Gammerman of the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan made a preliminary ruling denying the TV network’s motion to dismiss Rather’s $70 million lawsuit. “I think discovery should go forward,” said Gammerman. Rather’s suit, you’ll recall, claims CBS unfairly shuffled him off the air after that infamous 60 Minutes Wednesday story about Bush’s performance (or lack thereof) in the Texas National Guard. Rather alleges that being shown the door was just the network’s misguided attempt to placate the White House and shield CBS’s then-parent company Viacom from political fallout. You know, the usual reasons for dismissal from a high-profile media job.
early and often
Bill Clinton Accuses Obama Camp of Preparing Dirty Financial AttacksSo we have been watching Bill Clinton’s blistering anti-Obama rant from a New Hampshire rally today, and it’s really juicy. You know, the one in which he calls Obama’s campaign a “fairy tale”? (And not in the good way?) Well, if you listen (and we transcribed below), Bill accuses the Obama camp of secretly drudging up old Clinton financial concerns and preparing a memo about them that was never released. Plus, you know, he goes bonkers. Which is fun enough on its own.
“That is the central argument for his campaign: ‘It doesn’t matter that I started running for president less than one year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure, and I am the only one that had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning, always, always, always.’”
After Taco Bell, Rodents Take On Cobble HillClinton Hill: What? You say you weren’t at the Pratt annual antique steam-whistle concert on New Year’s Eve at midnight? Like, where else could you have been? At least it was captured on this YouTube video. But, dude, it’s not the same thing as being there. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Cobble Hill: Is that a squirrel or a rat sunning himself in the window of that shamefully derelict Kane Street walk-up? Locals are bitterly divided over the answer. People, can we all agree that it’s a rodent? [Lost New York City]
Dumbo: Will the new owners of an old Water Street warehouse really build a theater and host a Korean film festival in there? We’ll see, kimchee. [Brooklyn Eagle via DumboNYC]
Hedi and LVMH: Together at Last!FASHION
• Hedi Slimane is back in talks with LVMH to launch his own fashion house. Everyone, commence jumping up and down. [WWD]
• IMG is behind Bravo’s new model show but won’t be giving the winner a contract. [Fashionista]
• Not even Cavalli can rev up H&M’s sales. [NYP]
Kanye West and His ‘Bazaar’ Angel MuralMEDIA
• Kanye West says Harper’s Bazaar “pissed me off” when they reported the rap star’s L.A. home features a giant mural of himself with angels. “That made me so mad. Because who would want to hang out with a guy with an 8-foot picture of an angel of himself?” Too bad Harper’s got almost every detail right, and Kanye is indeed featured in the painting. [WWD]
• CBS News writers voted to authorize their own strike. Watch out, Katie Couric! [NYT]
• Did Star really pull on an online poll because Ron Burkle, the billionaire investor the mag flattered with a recent photo spread, wasn’t doing well enough? Star claims they’re just planning to publish the results in the next issue — plenty of time to stuff the ballot box. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
Cavalli, Jersey Madness Take Over H&M
In true Roberto Cavalli form, the H&M launch this morning was the flashiest of all the clothing company’s collaborations so far. The sidewalk in front of the Fifth Avenue store was lined with a red carpet, where supermodel Jessica Stam joined the designer for photo ops. Over 50 people were in line by 8 a.m., surprising even Cavalli himself, who admitted he “didn’t expect so much success.” But the Cavalli-aholics, mainly hailing from New Jersey, were as frenzied and savage as the animals whose print they so furiously coveted. The first in line (since 7 p.m. last night!) were a pair of cousins, 12-year-old Margaret and 24-year-old Frances. When the doors opened at ten, they sprinted first toward the gold minidresses and floor-length gowns, swooping up entire racks of the same item. Later, at the cash register, the cousins carried bundles so huge that only their faux-Ugg boots were visible. Was it worth the wait? “I’m going to pass out. I’m not even kidding,” one replied before breaking down into tears on the phone. The other boasted that she fought a woman for a dress. “I hit her with a hanger!” she yelped. Their mother, however, wasn’t satisfied. “Whurs the jewelrrrrrrrry?!!!” she shrieked.
Will Samantha Enjoy Another Male Underwear Model in ‘Sex and the City’?Marcus Schenkenberg might get to star opposite Kim Cattrall as Samantha’s neighbor in the Sex and the City movie, the underwear model told us last night. “It’s me and another guy now and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get it,” Schenkenberg said over the noise at the Cavalli Vodka party at Cipriani 42nd Street. Does this mean Smith Jared is finished? “I haven’t read the whole script yet,” Schenkenberg said. “But Kim had a lot of men I think. She’s all over the place. Like me.” That’s adorable. Schenkenberg wasn’t the only celebrity enjoying the designer’s new vodka line. Fresh from the removal of her alcohol-monitoring bracelet last month, Eve raised a Cavalli cocktail onstage before decamping downtown to check out the party at the Scores strip joint in Chelsea. Wonderful! A wholesome night was had by all. —Amy Odell
Walters Says Greenspan Always Gave Bad AdviceFINANCE
• Alan Greenspan’s old flame Barbara Walters complained the G-man never gave good advice, insisting back in the seventies that she avoid an apartment on Fifth Avenue because it was a “bad investment.” [NYP]
• Henry Kravis got a little egg on his face thanks to the collapse of the $8 billion Harman buyout. Steve Schwarzman gets bragging rights or an excuse to back out of his own impossibly huge deals. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• With computers taking over, the NYSE plans to cut the trading floor down by half from its historic high. The famous Main Room and “the Garage,” opened in 1903 and 1922 respectively, will remain open. [NYT]
Murdoch Mulls the Liberation of WSJ.comMEDIA
• Murdoch is hinting heavily that he’ll take WSJ.com free, but Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino doesn’t think it’s such a great idea. [WSJ]
• Well, we’ll be — Portfolio pulling down pretty good ad pages. [NYP]
• Roger Ailes, former CNBC president now with Fox Business Network, making many CNBCers interested in switching teams. It may be many things, but it won’t be boring! [NYO]
Ba Ba Ba, Ba BarbaraleeHollywood players like Ben Stiller, Toby Maguire, and Steven Spielberg can’t figure out which Democrat to support for president, so they’re donating to multiple ones. (Tom Hanks, Will Smith, and Jennifer Aniston, however, are firmly in Camp Obama.) Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel was passed over for appointment as executive director of New York State Council of the Arts, perhaps because she has donated money to Spitzer, who’s now trying to look ethically pure. Gwen Stefani loves breast-feeding even though she’s been getting bitten. Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz refused to be photographed with their KY Intimacy Kit swag bags at Lollapalooza because they were scared of Joe Simpson. Tracy Morgan wants to get his SCRAM ankle bracelet “blinged out” at Jacob the Jeweler.
Ron Perelman Is Making Up for Lost TimeRon Perelman wasn’t the ladies’ man he is now when he was in high school. Harold Ford Jr. wants to be governor of Tennessee. Lindsay Lohan turned 21 yesterday, looking healthy and acting rather adultlike. Jackie O. didn’t like it when Caroline gained weight. Anna Wintour’s stylist is working weekends at a salon in Bridgehampton. Zach Braff and Drew Barrymore made out at Beauty Bar. Mice, dead and alive, are wreaking havoc at the new New York Times building. Padma Lakshmi is finally divorcing Salman Rushdie, and a billionaire or an unidentified chef may be to blame. Europe is the new Hamptons for celebrity Fourth of July celebrations.
show and talk
Feathers and Ruffles and Discounts! Cavalli to Design for H&M
Shoppers, mark your calendars. On November 8, H&M will unveil a new collaboration with Roberto Cavalli, the chain announced this morning. “The Roberto Cavalli collections represent an exuberant, successful lifestyle,” H&M’s design chief, Margareta van den Bosch, said in the announcement — which is something of an understatement. Cavalli has cultivated a notoriously wild aesthetic — his latest collection featured cowboy hats, leopard-print trapeze coats, skintight, sequined gowns, and jodhpurs — and one wonders how H&M’s mass clientele will react. Should we expect watered-down versions of these outrageous efforts, or will Cavalli stretch outside his trademark sensibility and design for everywoman? His canned quotes shed no light. “I love freedom and challenges: breaking down barriers, experimenting in different directions,” he said in the statement. The new collection “will add a dash of festivity and dreams.” Of course. —Kendall Herbst
Con Ed Terrifies East Village BargoersFor once, it wasn’t a bar that caused an Alphabet City noise disruption; last night the culprit was Con Ed’s East River Generation Station at 14th Street and the FDR Drive. Around 11 p.m., the plant began issuing dozens of deafeningly loud blasts of steam every fifteen seconds or so, and imbibers around the neighborhood decided it was a good time to step out for a ciggie and make sure the world wasn’t coming to an end. A disheveled man who was awoken by the blasts held his cell up in the air so a friend could hear the ruckus. “You don’t know what it is, but you like it,” a woman chirped at her excited dog, while someone else likened the steam puffs to those of a volcano. “This hasn’t happened once in 25 years,” said a woman bedecked in eccentric chinoiserie as she retreated into an Avenue B apartment. “If that thing blows up, we’re all fucked.” (A transformer at the station did explode, causing a fire and a blackout, in 2002.)