EDITED BY CARL SWANSON
It Happens This—and Next—Week:
• Goings-on in high culture: Metropolitan Opera returns from holiday hiatus with season premiere of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.
• Purveyors of haute cuisine drop prices for Restaurant Week.
• “New York Remembers Derrida” event pays tribute to late French philosopher and sometime NYU prof.
• Oscar nominees announced.
• And not-so-high culture: Yanni plays three shows at Radio City.
• Trump gets married again.
• An art show devoted to Pam Anderson opens in Chelsea.
• Plus: Chinabrand, the largest “Chinese-government-sanctioned trade show of its kind in America,” opens at the Javits Center.
How did Bonnie’s glossybotch Brad and Jen’s breakup? By writing to the pictures.
Those who suspect the fallibility—if not actual fictiveness—of celebrity journalism got to feel extra-smug January 7 when the picture weeklies announced the renewed, Anguillan happiness of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston just as their reps announced a breakup. Us gushed about BRAD & JEN’S HOT CARIBBEAN GETAWAY; People asked RIFT? WHAT RIFT? But the Star was most off-course, squealing BRAD & JEN BACK ON! IT’S BABY TIME! “Against their better judgment, they tossed out all the good reporting they’d done about their marriage being in crisis and went for a story to fit the pictures,” says a source at the Star’s parent company, American Media Inc. Not all that surprising, considering that, according to a former Star employee, the paparazzi are frequently sourced as celeb friends: “If you’ve met them, you’re a ‘pal.’ ” “When the piece closed, we thought it had viable information,” says an AMI spokesperson. “We were working with the same sources who helped Star about the problems in their marriage.” But some see this as yet another crisis for editorial director Bonnie Fuller, who oversaw the story while Star editor Joe Dolce was on vacation. According to three company insiders, AMI CEO David Pecker had already dispatched news director Paul Field to find as many as twenty new Star reporters, potentially remaking Fuller’s masthead. Explains one AMI source: “Her strength is style and layout, not news gathering, so the company is bringing people in to help deal with that.”
Morgan Entrekinto get hitched at last.
Publishing Casanova Morgan Entrekin, who runs Grove/Atlantic, is finally settling down. “I spent a long time looking,” admits Entrekin, who popped the question to photojournalist Rachel Cobb on January 1, just days before his 50th birthday. He met the 40-year-old Texan a year and a half ago and told her on their second date, “I feel like I’m with someone from the same tribe.” By their fourth date, he’d asked her to meet his family in Nashville. “That is not an invitation I would have extended to anyone,” he says. Entrekin’s been keeping the beleaguered book business glamorous since the eighties. He published the likes of Candace Bushnell and P. J. O’Rourke and has made every scene from Odeon to Bungalow 8. “He was the ultimate toxic bachelor,” says one novelist. But he and Cobb appear to be the picture of happiness. “I’ve felt nothing but contentment since getting engaged,” says Entrekin. “For everyone there comes a time. For me it took a little longer.”
Lap of luxury for the motor-oil set.
The Hamptons sea air may do wonders for New Yorkers, but it’s hell on their vintage Mercedeses. And with zoning laws often limiting them to a three-car garage, many auto enthusiasts are faced with the heartbreaking choice of which sedan to stable. Until now. The new Bridgehampton Motoring Club kennels cars at a constant 68 degrees, with 50 percent humidity. They’re started every two weeks, and e-mails go out with data on tire pressure and engine temperature (members can also monitor their vehicles via Webcam). “It’s kind of like a resort for cars,” says a spokesperson, and “you don’t have to have a Ferrari. We have a member with a 1969 Ford Bronco he took really good care of.” There are Ferraris, as well as the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (which is being parked until the show opens on Broadway in April). Jerry Seinfeld inquired if he could store his harem of Porsches, but a source at the club says it couldn’t accommodate them, adding, “When it becomes just a garage, it loses its fun.”
Kozlowski’s Acquitted Ex-CounselBack at Practice?
Former Tyco general counsel Mark Belnick is said to be getting back to the bar. According to a source, the onetime Paul, Weiss superstar is returning to private practice six months after being acquitted of grand larceny over the $17 million bonus he got from Tyco (plus undisclosed interest-free loans). Belnick wouldn’t return calls about his plans, and his defense team from the Tyco trial is equally mum about their client’s return to the courtroom as counsel instead of defendant. “We’ve spoken quite a bit, but it’s not up to me to reveal those details,” said Robert Katzberg, who helped defend Belnick. “It’s not an attorney-client thing, it’s a friend thing.” Ex-prosecutor John Moscow, who unsuccessfully argued the case against Belnick and has since started his own firm, is still amazed at how many of Belnick’s Paul, Weisscolleagues came to root for him in court. “It’s one thing to support someone when they’re going through a trial,” says Moscow. But he wonders how professionally helpful they’ll be now.
Is Lloyd Banks Better at Rap or Porno?
He won his “adult Oscars.” Next up: the Grammys.
It’s awards season for 50 Cent protégé Lloyd Banks. Next month, he’s up for the Best Male Rap Performance Grammy for the single “On Fire.” But he’s already a winner: On January 8, in Las Vegas, he won two porn Oscars—Best Interactive DVD and Best Music—at the AVN Awards for his work on Groupie Love. At the Sands Expo Center, with a diamond-encrusted G-Unit logo the size of an English muffin around his neck, the 22-year-old seemed relaxed in the crush of bodyguards, fans, and silicone. But how’d the Queens native get into this business in the first place? “I was 21: No kids, no girlfriend, no obligations. I asked my mother—that was the only worry I had. She said, ‘Get the money.’ ” Banks doesn’t perform in the video per se—he’s more of a host, throwing a few rhymes and mingling with the talent. Last fall, rumors circulated that he had starred in a gay porn movie, Bam 2: Thug, but it turned out the actor just bore a strong resemblance. Still, while Banks isn’t really a porn star, he is deeply invested in the product. “I was on set the whole time. I wanna give my own input as far as the music and how it takes place.” He’s already casting the sequel. “Next year, I’ll have more notoriety in the porn industry because they know me in the rap world.” He smiles. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
–Lissa T. Rodgers
EDITED BY CARL SWANSON