Intelligencer:July 11-18

It Happens This Week
•Tom Jones hits Mohegan Sun
•Vive la France! They didn’t get the Olympics, but they’ll always have Bastille Day
•NY Philharmonic hits Great Lawn
•‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Wedding Crashers’
•Stonehenge NYC: Sun sets in alignment with the Manhattan grid
•5K ‘racewalk’ in Central Park

Ali GOn Da 4 Train
Brooklyn busts Borat.
Can Ali G fool anyone anymore? Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, star of the HBO series in which he dresses up as several characters and hassles people, showed up wearing a snug beige suit and clutching a weathered tan suitcase on a moderately crowded 4 train in Brooklyn recently. As he moved down the car, lunging in to kiss surprised men and introducing himself in broken English as “Borat from Kazakhstan,” he was recognized almost instantly. He quickly got off at Borough Hall after one man asked, “Dude, why does your briefcase have a camera lens?” An entourage of about ten men, dressed to blend in with jeans, T-shirts, and nondescript backpacks or briefcases with camouflaged cameras, then shuffled Cohen away down the platform. An HBO spokesperson denied that the network’s in production with Cohen right now, though he has a new film in progress, reportedly about a Kazakh immigrant’s experiences in the U.S. Cohen’s spokesman, Matt Labov, wouldn’t confirm what Cohen was up to in Brooklyn, either: “You will see it when it comes out.”
—Aili McConnon

Photo: Chet Gordon/New York Daily News

GOPers wonder: Will she run or not?
Wasn’t Jeanine Pirro supposed to be taking on Hillary by now? Over a month ago, the media were humming with sotto voce plants by GOP operatives about her imminent announcement for Senate or attorney general. The Westchester D.A. told at least one senior Republican official that she was ready to challenge Clinton, even asking whom she should hire as consultants (and boasting that the White House was behind her). Since then, she’s backpedaled—to the point of lashing out at those pressing her to run, the official says, adding that Pirro was recently overheard screaming, “I’m not gonna be pressured into the race,” during a phone call with one politico eager for her to declare already. “She’s like water in a Third World country,” says the impatient official. “Sometimes it runs hot, sometimes it runs cold.” But they should hold their fire: Word is that her decision has been put on hold for reasons unrelated to politics.
—Greg Sargent

Chelsea expands north.
The man on the street will soon have better access to the exciting and ever more expensive emerging-artists market, as several members of the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) have a deal in the works to colonize West 27th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, a block north of the current northern border of big-time, big-box Chelsea. The group is said to include a group of cutting-edge galleries keen to maximize foot traffic: Clementine Gallery (currently on a second floor elsewhere in Chelsea), John Connelly (tenth floor), Derek Eller (second), Foxy Production (sixth), and Wallspace (second), all of which would be moving into prized street-level spaces. nada would also have its headquarters in the complex. If it works out, construction could begin this fall. “It’s the next generation of 24th Street dealers,” says one of the gallerists involved (who prefers to remain anonymous until the lease is signed), referring to the millionaires’ row established when Larry Gagosian, Barbara Gladstone, Metro Pictures, and Andrea Rosen relocated en masse from Soho about five years ago.
—Karen Rosenberg

The Law & Order litmus test.
President Bush has chosen a star of Law & Order, former GOP senator Fred Thompson (a.k.a. D.A. Arthur Branch), to chaperone his Supreme Court nominee through the inevitable media maelstrom. So what are Thompson’s TV persona’s positions on the legal issues of the day?
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: “Thank you,Sandra Day, for deciding not to decide … [Quoting Frederick Douglass] ‘Give the black man a chance to stand on his own legs. Let him alone. Your interference is doing him positive injury.’ ”
CRIMINALS’ RIGHTS: “As far as I’m concerned, we’ve got more cuffs on the cops than the criminals.”
PUBLIC-INTEREST LAWYERS: “Who is that stupid SOB, anyway? … What career? He works for Legal Aid, for crying out loud.”
SURROGATE MOTHERS: “We used to have a word for women like that.”
—Boris Kachka

Pretty?Let’s Vote on It! a dating site full of okay-looking people.
The bastard child of those Hot or Not? Websites and, is coming to the U.S. The dating site professes to be the online home of people “who because of their attractive appearance and personal qualities stand out from the majority.” It recently went live in the U.K. Admitted narcissists submit a photo and stats, which are posted for approval by members for three days (one in fifteen supposedly make the cut). Last Thursday, which was still pre-launch, the U.S. site counted 103 members, with 915 being voted on. Who’s been deemed pretty enough? There’s a solicitous-looking tan blonde named Savanah. Or Ania Maria, who submitted a photo of herself sitting down, which seems like cheating. There’s Loula, a Liv Tylerr look-alike. There’s JJason Gale, a dead ringer for Harry Connick, Jr., and Daniel John, a slightly saner Joaquin Phoenix. If you don’t look like a celebrity, you might try what member Julius did: You can barely see what he looks like, but he’s sitting in a BMW.
—Duff McDonald


Intelligencer:July 11-18