Intelligencer: May 30–June 6, 2005

It Happens This Week
• Bill Maher and Billy Crystal at BookExpo 2005 at Javits Center
•Lee Friedlander at MoMA
•First SummerStage concert: The Killers
•HOT 97 Summer Jam
•Poets House Benefit Tenth Annual Bridge Walk Special guest: Bill Murray

Photo: Dean Cox/AP

When JennaMet Bono
The education of a president’s daughter and other random celebs.
Jenna Bush was having such a good time at the U2 show at Madison Square Garden last week—hanging on a male friend and spilling beer on her tank top, standing up in the front row near Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Christy Turlington, David Bowie, and Michael Imperioli—that the last thing she wanted to be confronted with was Article 5 of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nonetheless, there it scrolled across the giant TV screen above the stage: no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. According to one nearby concertgoer, Jenna “watched, head tilted sideways, brows furrowed, with the most obvious look of puzzlement on her face.” If that wasn’t torturous enough, Bono started exhorting President Bush to do various world-improvement things, and everyone around Jenna just stared at her. But she just smiled and clapped.

Photo: John Barrett/Globe Photos

The GrumpiestOmbudsman
Retract this, Krugman!
Dan Okrent admits that his final column wasn’t meant to make the people at the Times miss him. In it, the public editor accused Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd of letting their ideology warp their accuracy, before going on to assert that Alessandra Stanley’s Katie Couric piece got “gratuitously nasty”—which is pretty much what the people at the Times thought about his column, too, especially since he didn’t give any of them a chance to respond. “It was mystifying why he abandoned his practice of giving the journalists critiqued a chance to rebut,” says Dowd, who, like the others Okrent singled out, let him know. “Krugman’s been writing to me two, three times a day demanding a retraction or apology, and I’m not going to give him either,” says Okrent. At his going-away party (where “there was no hostility present at all”), he did tell Times editor Bill Keller and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., “I didn’t mean to go out making everyone mad at me.” Or maybe he did. “I have a theory. Over the last few weeks, people were taking me out to lunch, being so gracious to me, I was beginning to worry I would miss this job,” he says. “So on some subconscious level—and I do mean subconscious—maybe I thought I’d write something so that they’ll be glad I’m leaving.”

BloombergGoes a-Courtin’
Will Ferrer buddy Rivera give in to his charms?
Mayor Bloomberg has been aggressively wooing Dennis Rivera, the staunch Freddy Ferrer ally who heads the powerful health-care-workers union—and his efforts may be paying off. A source close to Rivera tells us that while it’s “likely” he’d throw his political operation behind Ferrer if he’s the Dem nominee, “it’s not impossible” that he’d back Bloomberg. “We didn’t think Freddy would be having these difficulties,” the source says, referring to the fallout from Ferrer’s Diallo comments. The source says Bloomberg has invited Rivera to dinner a couple of times and calls him frequently: “Bloomberg tells him, ‘I might be Republican, but I’m not Rudy—I’ve done my best on race.’ ” A Rivera endorsement of Bloomberg would deprive Ferrer (or any other Dem) of union troops to offset the mayor’s war chest. And it would soften the anti-union image Bloomberg got from battling teachers and cops. Not that, just because he runs a union, Rivera is a Dem-only man: He’s a pragmatist. He backed George Pataki in 2002 and later won a lucrative state contract for his workers.
—Greg Sargent

Who’s Zoomin’Brutus?
Shakespeare with Aretha.
The queen of soul doesn’t seem to have much respect for a mere Roman emperor. After rolling into town (she doesn’t fly, and she lives in Michigan) for her three nights at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, Aretha Franklin decided to catch Denzel Washington as Brutus in Julius Caesar. But once seated, she just wouldn’t shut up. “It was peculiar,” said a fellow audience member. “It was as though she was sitting at home and the stage of the Belasco was her own TV. A few people would turn back to see who was talking, but no one shushed her.” Not even theatergoer Laurence Fishburne, who turned to look and didn’t seem amused. “She’d make a comment to someone in her entourage, then start laughing, and as you know, Caesar isn’t one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays.” Though it wasn’t certain whether Franklin’s voice carried to the stage, she sent Washington a bouquet of flowers the size of a Christmas tree the next day.

SympathyFor the Dentist
Keeping Mick Jagger lookin’ toothsome.
Mick Jagger’s maintenance routine involves more than keeping his 61-year-old body looking like it belongs to a 19-year-old. The night before the Stones kicked off their U.S. tour with an unannounced mini-set at Lincoln Center, the singer made a nocturnal visit to the office of Dr. Robert DiPilla, so the cosmetic dentist could whiten his legendary smile and polish the diamond in his eyetooth. Maybe you can blame his fondness for brown sugar for Jagger’s stained teeth, but he was treated with DiPilla’s latest invention: a luxury whitening agent made of diamond dust.
—Beth Landman


Intelligencer: May 30–June 6, 2005