April 12, 1999

Marc Jacobs may have awakened in some interesting places in his life, but last week’s accommodations had to be the least trendy. The designer, who does double duty for his own line and as head designer for Louis Vuitton, and who has just won his fourth CFDA award, opened his eyes at three o’clock last Saturday morning in Elizabeth General Hospital in New Jersey, where he had not checked in. Jacobs had taken a Concorde Friday morning from Paris, gone to his office for the day, and left directly for Newark airport to catch a Continental flight to Los Angeles. He had two Jack Daniel’s at the airport’s first-class lounge, then downed a pair of prescription sleeping pills upon boarding. A stewardess offered him another drink, and that’s about the last thing he remembers before being escorted off the plane and taken to the hospital. “I had been going for days without rest. I was completely exhausted, and I really wanted to sleep on the flight,” says Jacobs. “They obviously thought I was drunk, but I told them I had just taken a sleeping pill and I would pass out in a matter of minutes. Clearly I did. I’m not an aggressive person. I don’t know what I could have done so wrong that they would put me off the plane.” The designer’s bag, including his keys and credit cards, was left to travel unescorted to L.A., so Jacobs woke up in Jersey with no identification or means of getting into his apartment. The cash he had on him, except for $20, was in a hospital safe and inaccessible until Monday. “It was the biggest nightmare of my life, like being in the movie The Game. I didn’t have enough money to get out of there, and everyone’s phone numbers were in my Louis Vuitton Filofax,” he says. “It took me hours to find someone to get me and days to relocate my bags. I re-booked on American and left the next day.” A spokesperson for Continental maintains that the airline does its best to deplane bags along with passengers, but that it’s not always possible in an emergency.

Who knows what is politically correct? It wasn’t pomp and circumstance as usual when City Council member Christine Quinn was sworn in last week at NYU Law School. David Dinkins and Chuck Schumer looked on as performance artist and women’s rights activist Eve Ensler read aloud from her award-winning play The Vagina Monologues. Selections included an interview with a lesbian dominatrix (“If your vagina was getting dressed, what would it wear?” “If your vagina could say two things, what would they be?”). It was all too much for one elderly woman who excused herself, but afterward council member Stanley Michaels and Manhattan borough president C. Virginia Fields both praised Ensler’s performance. Quinn’s chief of staff, Maura Keaney, says that the majority of the callers enthusiastically supported Ensler’s take on “the lack of respect that comes with having a vagina.”

Four-star chef Gray Kunz – one of only half a dozen in New York – may be about to find a new home. After more than a year in location limbo, Lespinasse’s former maestro is close to signing a lease on the restaurant space in Park Avenue’s landmark Lever House, according to well-placed real-estate sources. Kunz’s famous search began last year when he left Lespinasse after his controversial firing of a female employee who had brought a sexual-harassment suit against a Lespinasse maître d’. (Several staff members publically protested; the restaurant rehired the woman a day after Kunz dismissed her.) Kunz admits that he is considering the Lever House space, formally a Unilever cafeteria, but says there’s nothing official yet. Anyway, he’s not worried about where he hangs his chef’s toque: “Locations are never a problem for me.”

City Council speaker Peter Vallone got kudos for brokering Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s meeting with Manhattan borough president C. Virginia Fields after the Amadou Diallo shooting. But the efforts of city comptroller Alan Hevesi have so far escaped notice. Hevesi encouraged Giuliani to meet with state comptroller Carl McCall, then called McCall to sound him out. The state’s chief fiscal officer – who hadn’t met with the mayor since November 30, 1994, despite reconciliation attempts by Liberal Party boss Ray Harding and the late New York Post editorial-page editor Eric Breindel – was amenable. But “McCall was adamant that the meeting would be a one-on-one,” according to one political insider. “He didn’t need any meeting brokered.” Although Hevesi privately asked McCall if he could also attend, says the insider, when breakfast was served on March 27 it was just for the mayor and McCall. Hevesi insists he never thought “it was important for me” to be there, and McCall says they both agreed that “a two-way meeting … made more sense than a three-way.”

Ron Perelman might have won custody of his daughter Caleigh for the eight days of Passover, but Patricia Duff wasn’t sitting at home crying into her Easter basket over his court victory. Her current beau, Senator Robert Torricelli, whisked her off to Rome for a long weekend, reports one source close to the blonde beauty. But “she’d rather not have the time away from her child,” insists another Duff devotee. Spokesfolks for both Duff and Torricelli had no comment.

Fans of Calista Flockhart will be seeing a lot more of her soon. “This was made pre-nose job, pre-anorexia ridiculousness,” says Christopher Peditto, a producer and the co-star of Jane Doe, an independent film shot before the actress landed Ally McBeal. Flockhart plays a drug-addicted misfit. “It’s a much harder, tougher kind of role,” says Peditto. Although Doe recently won Best Feature at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival and is set for video release in June, you’ve probably never heard of it. According to a source close to the film, Unapix Entertainment, which holds the domestic distribution rights, has “no plan about how to promote it, and everyone is shifting their weight trying to figure it out.” A vice-president in Unapix marketing counters, “We paid a lot of attention to marketing. We’ve played some festivals, and we’re very confident about the video release.” But for Peditto, the nearly two-year post-post-production experience “has been a little frustrating. They’ve just been waiting and waiting and waiting.” The June release will follow on the heels of May’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which Flockhart stars alongside Michelle Pfeiffer and Kevin Kline. When asked about the timing, the Unapix veep says, “It certainly will help.”

Peter Tufo wasn’t there, but his divorce went on without him. The marriage of the U.S. ambassador to Hungary to writer Francesca Stanfill was dissolved last Monday in Manhattan’s Supreme Court – while Tufo was on a plane back to war-torn Eastern Europe. “He wouldn’t have been there anyway,” says Tufo’s lawyer, David Aronson. “He made the decision to let her get her divorce so they could both get on with their lives.” Aronson says he didn’t ask one question during the 90-minute proceeding. Stanfill’s attorney, Robert Stephan Cohen, called two witnesses. An investigator with Bo Dietl’s firm testified that in October 1997 – a week before Tufo’s confirmation hearing before Jesse Helms’s foreign-relations committee – he spied Tufo and a woman walking arm-in-arm and kissing on a Southampton beach. Stanfill, next up, said she found out about the woman through the private eye’s report. She was granted a divorce on grounds of adultery; the financial settlement is still in the works. Cohen declined to comment.

Has Sydney Pollack, ever the politician-director, found a way to remain neutral in Hollywood’s battle royal? One of Michael Ovitz’s best friends, Pollack has been represented by the agency Ovitz founded, CAA, for almost 20 years. But recently his name was bandied about as one of those most likely to abandon ship for Ovitz’s new Artists Management Group. After Ovitz poached Robin Williams from his old firm last January, the furious Young Turks who now run CAA announced that they would refuse to represent anyone managed by the “untrustworthy” Ovitz. On March 3, USA Today said that Pollack was staying at CAA, but the Daily News reported a week later that the director had jumped to AMG. So where is he? Vietnam, actually, biking with Herbert Allen and unreachable. But spokeswomen for both CAA and AMG insist on the record that Pollack, who recently wrapped Random Hearts, is on their roster. “They’re going to lose Marty Scorsese – and draw the line at Sydney Pollack?” asks one Hollywood insider. A CAA spokeswoman says, “Pollack is a longstanding and extremely valued client of CAA – and to our knowledge, not an AMG client.”

Claire Danes may be adjusting to college, but some of her fellow Yalies are having more trouble with the changes in her so-called life. The student body is so dazzled with the actress in their midst that the university’s a cappella group Mixed Company recently included a skit in their annual show about close encounters of the Claire kind. The skit depicted a support group for students who can’t cope with the quadrangle dramas of running into the freshman Mod Squad star. In the skit, an actress playing Danes asked directions of a co-ed – who instantly began to scream at top volume. That prompted the leader of the twelve-step dealing-with-Danes program to ask, “What do we say to ourselves every day?” At which point his students in recovery chimed in: “Claire doesn’t care! Claire doesn’t care! She’s normal! She’s normal!” Explains one Eli: “All of us freaky people are trying to make it as comfortable as possible for her. But sometimes we just don’t know how to deal with her being here.” Danes’s nonacademic reps did not return calls, but a Mixed Company member reports that when Danes heard about the skit, she told a friend she would have gladly played herself, had she been asked.

Additional reporting by Ian Spiegelman.

April 12, 1999