April 10, 2000

Casares Embraces … Motherhood

Sapphic love has gotten so mainstream that trendsetter Ingrid Casares (pictured) has moved on to other things. The 34-year-old bisexual clubster helped make lesbianism a national pastime over the last decade by palling around with Madonna while seducing the likes of Sandra Bernhard and k. d. lang. But now she’s three months pregnant by her boyfriend, a German model named Dennis Schaller. Casares, who had been in a funk ever since the arrest of her partner Chris Paciello on murder charges, fell for the 25-year-old mannequin six months ago, when she met him at her club Bar Room in South Beach. With Madonna expecting her second baby, it may be the death knell for fashionable nightlife as we know it. Sad. But at least the dad’s not David Crosby.

Uptown Girl at Discount Price

The most surprising thing about Billy Joel’s selling his Amagansett home to Jerry Seinfeld for almost $40 million is that Christie Brinkley didn’t kill the little pianist when she found out about it. Two years ago, Brinkley accepted a mere $3 million from her ex-husband for her share of the twelve-acre oceanfront estate. Although the pair split in 1994, the matter of the house remained unsettled until 1998, when Brinkley suddenly had to get her hands on as much cash as possible. The former supermodel had invested in the cosmetics company Nu Skin when she signed on to be its spokeswoman in 1997. But the company was doing 70 percent of its business in Asia, and the region’s market crisis sent Nu Skin stock plummeting from $28 a share in early 1997 to $16 in January 1998. That’s when the blonde goddess came crawling to the gnomish songster to work out the Amagansett question at a fire-sale price. Brinkley’s reps did not return calls, and a spokeswoman for Joel would say only, “This sounds like a Christie Brinkley thing.”

Gucci CEO Not InStyle Enough?

The doormen for InStyle magazine’s chic L.A. Oscar soirée unwittingly pulled a pretty unstylish move on the night of the big awards. According to a source, while guests including Dionne Warwick, Denise Richards, and LL Cool J socialized with party co-host Elton John, Gucci CEO Domenico De Sole was being dissed by the overzealous flacks at the door. Since the shindig was packed to capacity, less-recognizable guests were forced to wait outside with celebrity gawkers and autograph hounds. Upon learning that De Sole was among the cold-shouldered crowd, the source says, InStyle staff members “just freaked” and scurried out to usher him up the red carpet. Fortunately, the mix-up didn’t put a crimp in the gentleman’s evening with the stars. Says a Gucci spokeswoman, “Mr. De Sole said he had the most wonderful time.”

Which Robin Williams Are You?

Robin Williams’s possible next role doesn’t fall far from the tree. The frenetic funnyman is gearing up to play not one but 24 different characters – all trapped in the same body. Forrest Gump and The Insider scribe Eric Roth was talking at Vanity Fair’s post-Oscar bash about his new screenplay, First Person Plural, based on the memoir by Cameron West about his multiple personalities. Williams snatched up the book’s rights through his production company, Blue Wolf, and went to Disney in hopes of finding an able pen for the project. While Williams has yet to see a first draft, he seems to be preparing for the part: Playing host in Los Angeles to the likes of Hillary Clinton, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Hanks at a Saks Fifth Avenue-sponsored Cedars-Sinai Medical Center cancer benefit, Williams started manically kissing members of the choir organized by Rita Wilson and Kate Capshaw before halting a powder-room-bound Elizabeth Gaine, wife of HBO Films president Colin Callender, for a bizarrely brief embrace. Guess it’s not schizophrenia; it’s research.

Wrong Mann at the Mike

Moviemaker Michael Mann is ready for his close-up – even when it’s not his turn. At the ShoWest movie convention for theater owners, held in Las Vegas, the Oscar-nominated director of The Insider was asked to introduce Muhammad Ali at the Sony Pictures luncheon attended by such stars as Mel Gibson, Cameron Diaz, and Bill Murray. Mann was chatting with Arnold Schwarzenegger amid the bustling backstage crowd when organizers called out the name of the next person to go onstage. “Arnold said to me, ‘Michael! That’s you! That’s you!’ ” Mann recalls. But it wasn’t – the presenters had introduced Mike Medavoy, Schwarzenegger’s producer for his upcoming movie The Sixth Day. The wrong Mike bounded to the podium and, as earlier instructed, grandly introduced Ali to a standing ovation. According to one witness, the flabbergasted Schwarzenegger and Medavoy quickly realized the mistake but graciously let the moving moment play out as the show went on – albeit with an altered schedule. Mann seems to have learned something from his onstage gaffe: “This proves directors should never take cues from actors,” he quips.

WWD Moves West to Paris

Now that Daniel Peres has graduated from W’s Paris office to take over the new, reduced-testosterone Details, W’s associate editor Kevin West has been tapped as his replacement. The buoyantly blond editor, 29, has landed W’s coveted European slot, traditionally a stepping-stone to higher positions at the company. “Paris is still the capital of fashion,” says Fairchild boss Patrick McCarthy, who was Paris-bureau chief for WWD, as were Ben Brantley, John Fairchild, and James Brady. “And W is a fashion magazine. It’s more important than the Washington bureau for the New York Times.” How’s Kevin’s French? “He has college French,” says McCarthy. “We’ll send him to Berlitz.”

Puffy’s Flacks Slay Cable Fun

Even in the far-flung reaches of public-access television, no one is safe from the awesome power of Sean “Puffy” Combs. The folks at Da Mented Mindz – a cable variety show airing on various obscure local stations – say they’ve been receiving threatening calls from the suits at Arista Records ever since they ran a skit poking fun at Puff Daddy. The sketch, titled “Puffy the Vampire Slayer,” depicted the mogul as a hero, but his disgruntled representatives didn’t see it that way. The show’s creator, Kevin Keith, says he was told to give it a rest by two people who identified themselves as reps for Arista, which owns Puffy’s Bad Boy Entertainment label. “They were like, ‘Sean’s going through so much right now.’ ” says Keith. “They sounded very frustrated.” The funnyman also claims that the flacks threatened to stop providing the show with Arista music videos if Mr. Combs was goofed on any further. Keith doesn’t see what all the fuss is about, since he says the sketch barely referred to the infamous incident in which Combs was arrested for a weapons charge and bribery. Arista did not return calls.

Cuomo Goes Underground

For all of his powerful contacts, Chris Cuomo just can’t seem to get himself into the sewer. At a recent Manhattan File party at Henri Bendel, Cuomo told friends that he’s having a little trouble with a 20/20 assignment in which he’s tasked with exposing the city’s subterranean “mole people.” As many as 5,000 New Yorkers are believed to be living in a seven-level labyrinth of train tunnels, sewage systems, and electrical conduits below the streets, but the majority of them have so far eluded Cuomo. “Most of them live on level five and six,” he said, “but so far I haven’t been able to get past level three.” Still, there are some molefolk to be seen without descending to the deepest depths of the nether realm – and illuminating them with infrared cameras is apparently quite a trip. “There are all these little green eyes staring out at you from the dark,” said Cuomo. “It gets pretty eerie.” More eerie than working with Barbara Walters?

Lucky Trip; Tara Reid’s New Toy

LUCKY MOVE? Can Lucky overcome the bad karma in the ex-Details offices? Details lasted just half a year as the first tenant on the eighth floor of the cursed Condé Nast tower before the company turned the dogs on the staff and let Fairchild take over the title. Next up in that space: Lucky, the InStyle-style shopping magazine edited by Kim France. April 9, it’ll be moving into the mother ship from overflow space at 360 Madison Avenue. So with Condé Nast apparently tight on space in its new building, was Details briskly shuttered to make room for the growing upstart? “Seriously, the Details decision was made with absolutely no thought or discussion of Lucky’s real-estate situation,” says one CN executive. “We won’t even know if Lucky is a go until we get results on the first issue, out mid-May.” Meanwhile, whoever moves into the new space may be greeted by a message from a former disgruntled tenant. Ousted Details editor Mark Golin left behind a sign on his office door warning: ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.

PLAY WITH TARA: Soon, fans everywhere will be able to get their hands on Tara Reid. While sampling the dishes at Commune, the American Pie starlet told us that toy-makers are basing a Barbie-like doll on her Barbie-like self. But the designers can’t just toss any old clothes on their mini-Tara. “I have to have a say over what she wears,” Reid said. “The deal’s not final yet, and I’ll kill it if she’s not hot.” As for Tara’s film projects, the producers of her upcoming Josie and the Pussycats movie might want to furnish the young actress with some tapes of the seventies cartoon about an all-girl, space-traveling rock band. “I can’t remember ever seeing an episode,” said Reid. Unfortunately, we can.

Additional reporting by Carl Swanson, David Amsden, and Suny Sehgal.

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April 10, 2000