Lorraine Bracco Also Likes Marilyn Monroe PhotosName: Lorraine Bracco
Job: Actress. Bracco has followed up her iconic role in The Sopranos with a stint on Lipstick Jungle as a whip-cracking publisher. Last night, Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment celebrated her Bracco Wines.
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Empire Diner’s roasted-chicken plate.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Think and/or worry.
Let the Bear Blame Game BeginFINANCE
• Bear Stearns followed up yesterday’s Morgan Stanley announcement with its own $850 million loss, again the first quarterly deficit in the bank’s history. [DealBook/NYT]
• Is former Bear Stearns exec Ralph Cioffi, the guy behind the two Bear funds that imploded this summer, the main culprit in the subprime crisis? New reporting suggests his team set off the plague of dirty debt that cost Citi and other top banks billions. Oh, and Cioffi’s under investigation for pulling out a couple mil before anyone else got the chance. [Business Week]
• What a mensch: David Rubenstein, the former lawyer turned Citadel private-equity master, decided to keep his new copy of the Magna Carta on display at the National Archives. Rubenstein paid $21.3 million — chump change for a guy worth around $2.5 billion. [Law Blog/WSJ]
Howard Stern Is Quietly Gay-LovingMEDIA
• Howard Stern, good for the gays? A longtime lesbian listener calls Stern “one of the most pro-gay media personalities in the country.” [Gay.com]
• Murdoch finally gets his giant puffy hands on the Journal today at 10 a.m. The only question is just how much of the Bancroft family will try to show their noble intentions, however laughably inept, by registering a protest vote against the deal. [WSJ]
• A great new/old debate: Should Democrats go on Fox News? [Mixed Media/Portfolio, NYO]
Ethan Hawke Pulls a Jude LawEthan Hawke is dating the woman who used to be his kids’ nanny. Mayor Bloomberg hit Joey Pantoliano with his car. Former Condé Nast chairman Steve Florio is still in the hospital despite having suffered a stroke two weeks ago. Former Sopranos star Aida Turturro left Stereo the other night after finding out that the stagehands’ strike was over. Fergie took the stage twenty minutes late at a Wilhelmina party because of a wardrobe malfunction. A fourteen-acre property in Southampton is going on sale for $59 million.
Bobby Baccalieri Has Some Advice for Britney SpearsThe Sopranos may have ended, but the cast is still partying. “The West Wing never partied like The Sopranos, trust me when I tell you,” Steve Schirripa told us at the Quill Awards at Jazz at Lincoln Center last night. “So half the cast lives downtown, we’ll call, we’ll check in. We have dinners, go out for a couple drinks,” he said. What are their favorite hangouts? “Oh, that I can’t tell you,” he said. Dare we guess Little Italy? “Il Cortile’s one of our hangouts. You can go to see a Soprano there. It’s on 125 Mulberry.” And we thought we were just being cute! So what does he think of another known partier, Britney Spears? “I think Britney Spears is absolutely insane. I think she — I know she calls the paparazzi, she tells them she’s going down to Starbucks. Why doesn’t she stay home? She’s got all of these handlers and she can just stay home — let them go to Starbucks, let them go to Dunkin’ Donuts. Why is she always going for the coffee? Stay home. Let somebody else — she’s always got her hands full. There’s cigarettes, the phone, the drink. Doesn’t she have lackeys to hold her stuff?” Yeah, really! Brit, honey, put that Jamie Lynn to work. —Amy Odell
Find out about Gay Talese’s guilty pleasures in our complete coverage of The Quills Awards.
early and often
Mama Always Said She’d Be the Chosen One
“The best campaign spot we’ve seen this season!”
—Kate Phillips, the New York Times
“An uproarious Web spoof!”
—Ian Bishop, New York Post
“Finally, Hil reveals fun side!”
—Michael McAuliff and Helen Kennedy, Daily News
Oh, just watch the damned thing yourselves.
For ‘The Sopranos,’ Everything Must GoThe Sopranos is over, so the show’s producers are having an estate sale. A Silvercup Studios warehouse is selling off set dressing (cash and carry!) all this week. So what’s there? Actually, nothing we recognized. We didn’t see Junior’s kitchen table; we didn’t see Tony’s desk at the Bing. But there were lamps and rugs and placemats aplenty. History only you will recognize, for a small fee! Plus you have to go to Long Island City.
Movie Company Set Dressing and Warehouse Sale [Craigslist]
Related: The Long Con [NYM]
Next Year in ‘Playboy’!Some female Israeli government officials are not happy that the consulate sanctioned Maxim’s “Women of the Israeli Defense Forces.” Bloomberg staffers overbooked a dinner at the home of L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and had to uninvite people. Harvey Weinstein is going after people who illegally downloaded Sicko, which he produced. Megan Ruddy may be the scribe behind the Southampton Press gossip column. A movement is afoot to get Isaiah Washington back on Grey’s Anatomy — and it’s being spearheaded by a gay activist. Paris Hilton’s neighbors aren’t pleased that her release from jail will cause a media frenzy at her house. A lot of famous people showed up at the funeral of former gossip reporter Claudia Cohen.
in other news
Peter Kaplan Writes! About Tony Soprano!Perhaps the surest sign — after all the Internet chatter and unfounded Post hysteria and exclusive Star-Ledger interviews from France — that the Sopranos finale was the most significant event in recent media-land memory is that it has brought out the truly big guns to cover it. Two weeks ago The New Yorker put Tony on its cover and devoted its “Comment” item to a meditation on the show not from Nancy Franklin or Anthony Lane or even designated meditator Adam Gopnik but from the capo himself, David Remnick, who more typically writes about the Middle East, or Bill Clinton. And then comes today’s Observer, with a cover essay on the show’s demise under the byline of Peter W. Kaplan, who Nexis shows last wrote for the paper he edits two and a half years ago (and, says Nexis, which might well be wrong, only once before that!*), when the then-broadsheet left its longtime townhouse home on East 64th Street for the officebound confines of the Flatiron district. (The two editors-in-chief are both, like Tony, Jersey boys, which may or may not explain anything.) We learn that Kaplan liked the ending and that Bogdanovich, though shocked by it, did, too; we learn that David Chase, Kaplan says, “embraced ambiguity and looked for poetry in the Bush administration” (like Jacob Weisberg!) and that “[i]t was, so far, the best last episode in TV history.” We can’t say we disagree with any of that.
Tony’s Blackout [NYO]
* Um, yeah, wrong. Simply clicking on his byline on the Observer site yields four citations.
Do You Hate David Chase?
We learn fascinating things about ourselves from the Post. Take this morning, for example. We were under the impression we’d liked the Sopranos finale. Quite a lot, actually. We knew different people had different feelings, but we don’t remember talking to anyone who hated it. But the Post informed us that we were wrong. “Sopranos fans,” today’s cover told us, are “out for blood.” Apparently we are furious. “‘Sopranos’ fans seething over the series’ finale flop called for one more person to be whacked yesterday — creator David Chase,” began the article. We had no idea. And so we took to the streets of Manhattan — well, to the stretch of Madison outside the office — to find out if people were actually so angry. Based on the evidence, we’re going to have to say that, no, they’re not. Questions and tallies after the jump.
Happy Birthday (Again), KanyeKanye West hosted his birthday party at the Louis Vuitton store then got free Vuitton swag. Anne Heche might be back on the ladies. Zach Braff loves New York, he says. The Sopranos cast didn’t know what Sunday night’s finale was going to be, and they went to Miami. Paris Hilton’s father wants to throw her a party in Vegas when she gets out of jail, but several clubs have said no. Owen Wilson left his bike at Scores West. Hugh Hefner wants Daphne Merkin to show his girls a little love. New York socialite Dori Cooperman is at Promises for rehab and trying to cozy up to Lindsay Lohan. At a benefit for the American Institute for Stuttering, Harold Evans wanted to take the Queen Mary for a spin.
How Did David Hyde Pierce Win Best Actor, and Other Unanswered Questions
HBO wasn’t the only source of unanswered questions last night. There were plenty from CBS, too. A few: Did “Being Alive” make any sense to viewers who hadn’t seen the rest of Company? Why was “Revolutionary Costume for Today” so good onstage but so lousy onscreen? How did David Hyde Pierce (whom we love, but still) beat Raúl Esparza? (Also: Esparza was sitting next to a woman, so is he straight again now? And should we be impressed that Hyde Pierce thanked his partner “of twenty-four years” or a little disgusted that he did so only at the Tonys, never at the Emmys?) Doesn’t “Please welcome Chorus Line composer Marvin Hamlisch and CSI star Marg Helgenberger” sound like a Family Guy joke? And, perhaps of the gravest concern to us, what exploded on Marcia Gay Harden, and did that explosion also blind Judd Hirsch (or somehow turn him into Richard Belzer)? We expected at least some of these questions to be answered on Vulture today. No luck. Guess The Sopranos got in the way. Tomorrow? (We do, after all, love ya, tomorrow.)
the morning line
• So some TV show had its finale last night? Depending on whom you believe, the ending was either terrible (“Chase will have to live with what he did last night,” says Stasi in the Post), simply mediocre (“It didn’t end,” says Bianculli in the News. “It just stopped”), or a near-ideal conclusion to the series (“a perfectly imperfect finish,” according to Heffernan in the Times). We’re just wondering: How many people started calling Time Warner, convinced their cable had gone out? [NYP, NYDN, NYT]
Not a Good ThingMartha Stewart’s driver was arrested for undisclosed reasons, and Stewart flipped out because he is Egyptian. Paula Abdul whines and moans a lot on her upcoming Bravo reality show, but it’s good TV. Actors from the Lord of the Rings trilogy are suing New Line, claiming the studio owes them a cut of merchandising revenue. Jean-Georges Vongerichten is set to open an authentic Japanese eatery where 66 used to be in Tribeca. HBO co-president of programming Richard Plepler, ICM agent Esther Newberg, and Lorne Michaels all back Chris Dodd for president. Barbra Streisand may star in a one-woman show on Broadway after her European tour.
This Week Is All About TonyNo, no, silly. Not Tony Soprano. (We’ll always have TiVo.) Antoinette Perry! In the sort of brilliant marketing move that could only come from the industry that thought a Bob Dylan dance play was a good idea, Broadway’s biggest honors will be presented Sunday night, opposite Tony Soprano’s final stroll through the tomato patch. While everyone else is desperately building excitement for the HBO juggernaut, the good folks are Vulture are looking ahead toward CBS’s annual ratings flop. They’ve got Tony-award news, Tony-award drawings, and, perhaps best of all, Tony-award picks from real-life Tony voters. It’s all at Vulture.
Tony-awards coverage [Vulture]
Spike Lee Mourns Christopher Moltisanti, New Orleans
All the death and destruction on this final season of The Sopranos is taking even Spike Lee by surprise. “It shook me up,” he said today after accepting a Peabody award for his HBO documentary about New Orleans, When the Levees Broke. “Michael Imperioli and I, we’re friends. And when he went out, I was not good for two days after that. In fact, I had to call him up. I said, ‘You still alive?’” Turns out Imperioli is just fine. Lee says the actor seemed more worried about a casting crisis at the Off Broadway theater he owns with his wife than about Christopher’s demise. Lee, meanwhile, says he’s already thinking about two new documentary projects for HBO. One would be a follow-up to Levees, which he likes to tell people is still a work-in-progress. “The misconception is, ‘Oh, they had Mardi Gras. Oh, the French Quarter’s open. Oh, women are flashing their breasts on the rails with the beads. Everything’s okay,’” he says. “But it’s not okay. Half the population is still not there, and a lot of them can’t come back because they don’t have jobs and the rents have been doubled and tripled. It’s crazy.” —Jada Yuan
So. That was some Sopranos last night, eh? The critic-y kids over at Vulture count a full five hits in this penultimate episode: the rat garroted by Silvio, the Ukrainian father and daughter, Bobby, Sil, and Tony’s therapy. The worst damage of all, however, is undoubtedly yet to come: There’ll be some in next week’s finale, sure, but also lots to those poor Baccalieri kids, doomed to be raised by Janice. What else caught Emily Nussbaum’s eye? Find out at Vulture.
UPDATE: Plus an obituary for Bobby Bacala, “the biggest sad-sack, nice-guy murdering mobster we’ve ever met.”
‘The Sopranos’: Melfi Whacks Tony
The Soho Grand Is a WonderlandRumors of the demise of the John Mayer–Jessica Simpson relationship may be greatly exaggerated; the two spent Sunday night together at the Soho Grand. (Mayer is also still doing the stand-up comedy thing). Today show correspondent Jill Rappaport owns eighteen acres in the Hamptons. Johnny Damon hung out till 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, but he still hit a two-run double later in the day. Ivanka Trump and Zach Braff exchanged numbers. (Uh-oh. Does Jared Kushner know about this?) Warren Buffett, David Remnick, John Kerry, Ted Turner, and Jann Wenner, among others (ahem), were all rejected from Harvard. After asking for $5.5 million, Stone Phillips sold his penthouse on West 72nd Street for $4.35 million. Times managing editor Jill Abramson is suing the truck driver who ran over her foot.
But North Caldwell Is Not Expanding!
So maybe you think that first-season Sopranos scene, when Tony garroted the witness-relocated turncoat while taking Meadow to visit colleges, was the show’s most disturbing scene. Or maybe you were as disturbed as we were by his quick, cold asphyxiation of Christopher last week. Whatever your preference, last night’s episode — How to Clean Practically Anything! The Little Italy beating! Bogdanovich and the water bottle! A.J.(poor A.J.)! — was one of the greats. And, argues New York critic Emily Nussbaum on Vulture, A.J.’s attempted suicide ranks as the show’s single most disturbing scene yet. With only two episodes left, we hope they don’t get much more disturbing.
The Most Disturbing ‘Sopranos’ Scene Yet [Vulture]
‘Sopranos’ Premieres, City Life Pauses
Alan Alda tells the story — or at least we’re pretty sure we’ve read someplace that Alan Alda tells the story — that he first realized the tremendous cultural significance of M*A*S*H when he went driving in Los Angeles during the broadcast of its famous farewell episode in 1983: The freeways, in that pre-VHS era, were empty. We can report that at about 8:30 last night, a half-hour before the final Sopranos premiere and usually a prime burgers-and-beer hour, you could walk into the Corner Bistro and immediately be seated.
Related: The Loneliest Soprano [NYM]
Earlier: Daily Intel’s coverage of The Sopranos.
What Worries a Soprano? The Fans
You’d think the cast of The Sopranos would be riding pretty high right now, with the hype nearly deafening in advance of Sunday’s final-season premiere. (This is, what, our 47th item on it?) But, in fact, they’re a bit paranoid. Why? Crazy fans. At the world premiere at Radio City Music Hall last week, Ray Abruzzo, who plays dim-witted Carmine Jr., told us about a woman calling him over to her table in a restaurant. “She says, ‘You’re the idiot!’ And in full loud voice, “He’s the idiot! He’s the idiot!’ People are turning around, having no idea what she’s talking about, except that I’m an idiot.” John Ventimiglia — you know him as restaurateur Artie Buco — says he often gets handed actual food, “like, ‘Here, I want you to try this gravy.’”
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About ‘Sopranos’ Whackings
Because no aspect of the Sopranos phenomenon should be left unexplored in the publicity blitz leading up to next Sunday’s premiere of the final season, midtown’s Museum of Television and Radio last night hosted “The Whacked Sopranos,” a panel discussion at which we gained yet more perspective on the show from five of its late and lamented. The big lesson: Even though they lost paychecks and prominence, the actors who played the whacked characters understand that they needed to go. “Whadaya gonna do,” asked Vincent Pastore, who played “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero, “put him in witness protection? That’s NBC.”
The Donald Picks a New FightDonald Trump claims that Golf Digest didn’t include his West Palm Beach course on their “Greatest Courses” list because he refused to advertise in the magazine. Jennifer Lopez arrived three hours late to her album-release party. Padma Lakshmi and Salman Rushdie may be breaking up. James Gandolfini picked up a girl Tony Soprano–style. And Christopher is apparently the odds-on favorite to get whacked in the final season. Julianna Marguiles bought condoms with some guy at Duane Reade. Lindsay Lohan was allowed to use an apartment in the Atelier on West 45th Street because developers wanted to give the building some star power.
Fourteen Things We Learned at Last Night’s ‘Sopranos’ Advance Screening
1. The first two episodes are some of the most domestic we’ve seen.
2. Carmella still gives Tony blow jobs.
3. A.J.’s Puerto Rican girlfriend has him whipped.
4. Phil Leotardo’s inferiority complex stretches back for generations.
5. Daniel Baldwin apparently “takes Ben Kingsley to acting school” as the lead in Christopher’s movie.
6. It’s possible for someone to get shot at your dinner table without you noticing.
7. Glenn Close is several seasons behind in her Sopranos viewing.
8. Gay Talese thinks both Tony and Christopher will die before the show ends.
9. No one else would dare speculate on the show’s conclusion.
10. Sam Rockwell owns a 52-inch flat screen and takes his TV-watching “very seriously.”
11. Sopranos writer Matt Weiner thinks Melinda is a more likely American Idol winner than LaKisha, and he thinks Blake needs to stop pretending he’s not gay.
12. Sydney Pollack plays a prison-hospital orderly in this season’s second episode.
13. Sydney Pollack cannot make a bed.
14. The Sopranos looks amazing on a movie screen. —Jada Yuan
Presumably It’s a Pay-Per-View AudienceDon King will meet the Pope on March 21. Sarah Jessica Parker is launching a low-end fashion line. Judith Regan is in China signing a TV deal. New Line execs want Jake Gyllenhaal to play Captain Marvel, but they’ll have to get to him before he’s tapped for Spider-Man 3. Sushi joint Bond St is closing for a month due to an electrical fire. Jennifer Hudson and American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino hit the clubs in Chicago. The weekly paper City Hall asked pundits to nickname presidential candidates, and Ed Koch called Hillary Clinton “Lady Godiva,” though he meant Lady Guinevere.
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.