Intelligencer: February 28-March 7

It Happens This Week
• Much ado in the charity world: Chelsea Clinton co-chairs the Junior Committee for the School of American Ballet gala (joined by alums like Chita Rivera), while Tina Fey and Conan O’Brien perform at a benefit for the Autism Coalition.
• There’s a citywide census of homeless New York.
BLT Fish’s much-anticipated third-floor dining hall opens.
• Interpol plays two dates at Radio City.
• And J.Lo is back on the block with Rebirth.

Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

50 Cent Takes the L Train
Williamsburg’s Disco D gets his big break.
No hip-hop blockbuster is complete these days without beats from A-list hitmakers like Timbaland or Kanye West. Which means that 50 Cent’s much-anticipated sophomore album, The Massacre, out March 3, is the rare sure-to-be-multiplatinum project that features a song by an unknown producer: Williamsburg’s Disco D. The 24-year-old D’s real name is David Shayman, and he’s Jewish and from Ann Arbor (far from 8 Mile). Originally, he made the track—which is based on a sample from the O’Jays’ “What Am I Waiting For?”—for his girlfriend, who lives in Brazil. “Just before Christmas, I got a message on my cell phone: ‘This is G-Unit, we want your track for 50,’ ” Shayman says (his publicist had been shopping it). In the end, 50 Cent transformed the lush orchestral track into something called “Ski Mask Way” (think armed robbery, not chairlifts). Shayman doesn’t mind the menacing take on his tune, especially as his relationships with his girlfriend and 50 Cent have blossomed: Shayman’s now engaged, and 50 is interested in five more of his beats for G-Unit artists Olivia and Tony Yayo.
—Ethan Brown

Sunni Triangleat $7.44/hr
“Adventure and low-cost travel.”
The fit, crew-cut, sweat-suit-clad team enthusiastically handing out POSITIONS AVAILABLE! fliers in the Atlantic Avenue subway stop weren’t your average hucksters. And at an advertised $1,290 a month pay (about $7.44 an hour), it wasn’t exactly a get-rich-quick scheme. The fine print was better: two raises within six months, full medical and dental, college tuition, 30 days of vacation, and—most appealing of all to riders smack in the middle of the Fort Greene gentrification zone—free housing. The catch, it turned out, was a pretty big one: The housing could be in Sadr City. The 718 number on the flier was answered by a Marine Corps recruiting officer. Given that the Marines recently failed to meet their monthly recruiting quota for the first time in fourteen years, one might imagine this less-than-forthright appeal—promising “adventure and low-cost travel”—was part of a desperate new strategy. But Major J. J. Dill, commanding officer of Recruiting Station New York, said it was the work of overenthusiastic members of the “delayed-entry program,” aspiring Marines who are waiting to finish high school or college or just need to get in better shape before entering basic training. Ten-hut!
—Ben Mathis-Lilley

Who Wants to Be aPaparazzi Editor
Picture weeklies attack each other’s mastheads.
When celebrity glossies need a break from fighting over photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie engaged in alleged eye contact, they fight over the photo editors who fight over the photos. Feeling lonely after the exodus of four of its photo editors earlier this year, In Touch Weekly snatched photo editor Monica Thompson from Bonnie Fuller’s Star last week. The hire has that extra touch of Schadenfreude for In Touch because it comes at an awkward time for its rival: Another Star photo editor, Mary Seyfried, is also leaving. Both Seyfried and Thompson soldiered with the Star through two great Britney Wedding-Picture Bidding Wars in the space of a year, winning the first (Jason Alexander) and losing the second (Kevin Federline). Fuller can hardly be surprised: When she abandoned Us Weekly to oversee Star in 2003, she took her photo editor with her.
—Benjamin Nugent

Trademarking a first name.
Tthe battle over who’s the real Jean-Luc is getting as bad as who’s the Original Ray. “I’ve gotten calls from twenty people, including my father, asking if I’m opening a wine store,’’ says Edmond “Jean-Luc’’ Kleefield, who owns Jean-Luc on Columbus Avenue and Jean-Luc East in East Hampton and has carried the Francophone nickname since he was in high school. This is because Jean-Luc Le Dû, former chief sommelier at Daniel since ’95, wants to use the name for a wine store he is opening on Washington Street in June. “My daddy is Jean and my mother’s name is Lucie—it is an homage to my parents as well,’’ says Le Dû. “My friend is a trademark lawyer and he said in this country you can call anything by your own name.” But Kleefield is unassuaged. “They don’t open Jean Georges wines!’’ he says. Kleefield’s lawyer whisked off a cease-and-desist letter, claiming trademark infringement and noting that he’s been operating businesses since 2001 under that name. “What I find funny,’’ says Le Dû, whose lawyer sent Kleefield a letter in response, “is that when he opened his restaurant, I got dozens of phone calls including the New York Times asking if I was opening my own place. My reputation in this industry is much more important than his. I don’t know why he is trying to pick a fight with me.’’
—Beth Landman

Southampton Dining Crisis Averted!
Southamptonites not used to having doors slammed in their faces have been in a tizzy this winter, when their favorite eateries started shuttering. Basilico, one of the most hopping spots, abruptly locked its doors in December; George Martin stranded hundreds of diners by closing the day before New Year’s Eve with a full book of reservations; and management infighting at 75 Main caused it to shut down just after the New Year. But hungry rich people take heart: Spring will bring signs of new restaurant life. Madison Avenue restaurateur Nello Balan will reopen the former Post House as a ten-suite hotel and satellite of his Manhattan restaurant. Almond owners Eric Lemonides and Jason Weiner (brother of mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner) are taking over the former Ristorante Capri and turning it into a Mexican spot, Almondito. And former Breakwater Café chef Chris Kozlowski is relaunching Montauk’s Acqua Terre as Aqua East. That silent “c” was so passé.
—B. L.


Intelligencer: February 28-March 7