Intelligencer: March 21-28

It Happens This Week
•Lent comes to an end, as many private schools go on break.
•The New York International Auto Show takes over the Javits Center, while the MTA mulls final bids for the “stadium” site that abuts it.
•Ian McEwan’s Saturday, the story of one neurosurgeon’s very bad day, hits stores.
•And a new CD from D.J. Clinton Sparks features just about every rapper in New York, including P. Diddy, Fat Joe, and Joe’s new rival, 50 Cent.

Photo: Stacy Walsh Rosenstock/Newscom

The Anti-Ferrer ’Toon That Won’t Die Resurfaces in ’05 Race
The politically explosive flyer that helped decide the 2001 mayoral race—the one with the Post cartoon of Fernando Ferrer kissing a flatulent Al Sharpton’s buttocks—is back. Renegade Mark Green supporters distributed the flyer during the ’01 primary, upsetting Ferrer, whose backers withheld support from nominee Green, helping Michael Bloomberg win. Now some Dems are whispering that the flyer’s designer, Micah Lasher, a consultant whose company is a subsidiary of Bloomberg ad firm Squier Knapp, is doing the mayor’s campaign mail. In fact, Bloomberg’s advisers were so worried about flyer blowback that, after some debate, they had Lasher sign a notarized paper saying he’d recused himself from working with them. Still, the flyer’s power lives on: Asked about Lasher, Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser blasted Ferrer for campaigning with State Senator Carl Kruger, also allegedly behind the flyer: “Mr. Ferrer was outraged by the flyers, but now he embraces one of its masterminds.” Ferrer’s spokesman said he welcomes new supporters.
—Greg Sargent

Photo: Henry McGee/Globe Photos

Elliott Smith’sLast Brawl
How he fought the police.
When Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter Elliott Smith died two years ago of what appeared to be self-inflicted stab wounds, he was facing charges of fighting with a policeman outside the Universal Amphitheatre. And during the last months of his life he was haunted by the incident, scared of going to jail and anxious to get out of L.A. Now a police report provides an account of what transpired the night Smith went to see a Beck–Flaming Lips double bill. According to the deputy sheriff who fought with him, the diminutive indie-rock god evinced a Hemingway-esque bravado one might not have expected from the man behind the Good Will Hunting soundtrack. When security dragged a man out of the theater for refusing to leave a seat that wasn’t his, Smith “approached the [guards] trying to handcuff the suspect on the ground and pointed his finger at them saying ‘That’s not right,’ ” the report says. After the deputy warned him off, Smith said, “I don’t have to get back.” They started struggling, and Smith kept at it even after being hit with pepper spray. “The subject closed his eyes,” reads the report, “but continued to hold on to me and grapple.”
—Benjamin Nugent

No Baconfor Eisner
Wants to get at least six degrees away from Kevin.
Last Wednesday, departing Disney CEO Michael Eisner was trying to have a private dinner with his wife and two other people at Lever House. He didn’t seem to mind that he was seated next to Harper’s Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey and Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. But when Kevin Bacon and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, were shown to the booth beside him, he flagged down the maître d’ and asked to be relocated upstairs, a section that’s usually considered Siberia. “Mr. Eisner requested a quieter table, so we moved him to the private dining room,” said Lever House partner John McDonald. It’s unclear whether he would have left altogether had Lever House regular Michael Ovitz walked in. —Beth Landman

Bonjour, Bruni!
Le Bernardin’s Ripert unmasks Times critic.
When the staff of Le Bernardin got the news late last Tuesday that the Times had awarded the restaurant four stars—yet again—champagne was corked and and caviar consumed in an impromptu kitchen party. Losing a star means losing up to 25 percent of your income, said chef Eric Ripert, who recounted how Times critic Frank Bruni made his first of five visits on Christmas Eve—at 10 P.M. “It was the first time I’ve seen a critic on a holiday,” Ripert said. “I came right up to him and said, ‘You are recognized,’ which you’re not supposed to do. He said, ‘You are not supposed to recognize me,’ and I said, ‘If I recognize someone in my restaurant, I think it is rude not to say hello.’ He was not thrilled.” Bruni wouldn’t comment on his strategies for avoiding being recognized (“It’s a no-win answer”). “We were worried it would influence his review,” said a relieved Ripert.
—Deborah Schoeneman and Beth Landman

The Sexual Politicsof Dancing
Be gone, girls gone wild!
Last week, Allanah Starr, a transsexual who hosts the “Trannylicious” soirée at Opaline on Avenue A, complained to “Page Six” about being barred from an all-male party at Chelsea’s Splash. But it turns out that Opaline has its own gender issues. The club is home to the gay party “Area 10009” on Fridays, and the new door policy is to charge women $20—twice the price for guys. “In the past six months, it’s been 50 percent straight girls,” says Michael “Formika” Jones, who co-hosts with D.J. Adam Schlauch. “And not just any straight girls, but the nightmares of a bachelorette party. They’re bumping and grinding with the go-go boys and pulling them down to the floor. Even the gay boys don’t do that. They don’t integrate the evening; they destroy it.” “We had to do something,” adds Schlauch. “It’s helped eliminate the overabundance of girls gone wild,” says Formika. “We’re down to about 10 percent girls, and they’re mostly punk-rock chicks and lesbians.” “We’re not against women,” insists Schlauch, “just obnoxious women. I mean, we don’t shut out the cool girls. Besides, they’re on the list.”
—Jada Yuan

iParanoiaat Sony HQ
(Hide the headphones.)
Before the March 6 announcement that their boss, Howard Stringer, was being promoted from head of Sony’s American operations to worldwide CEO, employees at the Madison Avenue headquarters didn’t think twice about bopping into work listening to their iPods. But since then, iPod sightings have gone into rapid decline. (Sony has its own MP3 player.) “Howard’s no longer just an entertainment executive,” noted one Sony exec. “Now that he’s going to, like, kill Apple, people are a lot more hesitant to get caught in the elevator with white headphones.” Of course, in the old days, Stringer wore an iPod to work, too.
—Kate Pickert


Intelligencer: March 21-28