October 2, 2000

Hilton’s Rep is in the Toilet

Junior socialite Paris Hilton certainly seems to have a keen grasp of social etiquette. A fashion-world source tells us that at Nautica’s recent post-show party at Laparue, the 19-year-old hotel heiress enraged fellow partygoers when she and beau Edward Furlong locked themselves up in the bathroom for a cool twenty minutes, leaving hipsters in need of a little relief standing around in anguish. “The line was like fifteen people long,” says the source. “Everyone was drinking and the place only has two bathrooms, so the situation became pretty tense.” The tipster says that once Hilton and Furlong unbolted the powder-room door, the Park Avenue nymph showed off her Sapphic side, attempting to kiss a slender model on the lips. “She kept getting all up in this one model’s face, trying to kiss her,” explains the source. “But the model kept dodging Paris until she went away.” To get over the rejection, Paris did what any noble-blooded young lady would do: She went to the upstairs balcony, showed off her G-string and bra, and, according to one witness, performed a lap dance for Furlong. “She almost fell off the balcony,” says the observer. “That girl was totally out of control.” When asked about the evening, a rep for Hilton curiously insisted that she “was only at the party for five minutes.” Furlong’s manager didn’t return calls.

Damien Hirst Goes Down Face-First

Attention-getting artist Damien Hirst is looking just a little less pretty these days. Before his show at Chelsea’s Gagosian Gallery, the bad-boy Brit wounded his face during some horseplay with a few of his buddies. According to a source close to Hirst, he booked the penthouse suite at the Soho Grand as well as several rooms at the Chelsea Hotel to accommodate his pals from across the pond, including members of London’s bawdy Groucho Club, among them rubber-faced actor Rowan Atkinson. Originally, we’d heard that Hirst fell over after too much of a good time at a barbecue he held at the Grand, but his publicist, Nadine Johnson, set us straight. The art star – nicknamed “Damien Thirst” by his crew – scored his scars not at the barbecue, but simply while he was “walking down the street.” Actually, he wasn’t walking, but riding on a friend’s back. Everything was going just swimmingly until, it was explained via e-mail, “the friend tripped over.” We’re just glad to know he wasn’t up to anything silly.

No Welcome Matt for Donaldson

When it comes to the topic of Matt Drudge, ABC’s Sam Donaldson is right in line with his mainstream news brethren. “To the best of my knowledge, Matt’s never broken any story of any consequence at all,” the veteran anchor told us at the Independent Feature Project’s Tenth Annual Gotham Award show last week. Drudge had grabbed the spotlight yet again by releasing information about a New York Times story before the paper had seen fit to print it, but Donaldson remained unimpressed: “It’s a unique way to say you’re in journalism,” said Donaldson. Also in attendance was Girlfight star Michelle Rodriguez, picking up the Breakthrough Actor Award. Before landing the career-making role in an open call, she told us, “I’d never gone on an audition in my life. I never wanted to put myself in someone else’s hands because they can really mess up your ego.” And how has the breakthrough role affected the 22-year-old Jersey girl’s ego? “It showed me that I don’t have one,” she said. “I’m just a dead person. I’m not even in my body. None of this is me.” We know just how she feels.

O.J.’s Rough Cut; Tom Wolfe’s Truth

Whether O. J. Simpson likes it or not, the mini-series he sued to keep from airing is just about ready for prime time. American Tragedy co-producer Tom Fontana had just come from seeing a rough cut of the two-part trial drama when we caught up with him at Court TV’s fall season party at Patsy’s last week. “It’s got the same kind of intensity as All the President’s Men,” he told us. When asked who the audience is supposed to root for in a story about the Simpson defense team, Fontana explained, “It’s a Barry Levinson-Fontana movie – there’s not supposed to be any hero.” And how will O.J. like the flick? “If I could read the mind of O. J. Simpson, I’d be in a much different place.” Meanwhile, Tom Wolfe was less forthcoming in discussing his latest project, a novel about modern American campus culture. The author told us he’s completed a research tour of various colleges and has gotten to work on the actual writing. As far as that goes, Wolfe said only, “Time will tell.” He was more talkative when we asked why people seem to enjoy seeing him take public potshots at two-time Pulitzer winner John Updike. “They look to me as a beacon of truth,” he said. Does that explain the white suits?

Kurt Queries Queer Goldie’s Dinner

Whatever’s going on between Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, don’t ask Goldie. When the ever-stunning Hawn recently showed up for a G & P Foundation for Cancer Research dinner hosted by her friend Denise Rich at Pier 92, the throng of journalists and photographers quickly made her lose her appetite. “There was all this press left over from the Escada show,” says a witness, “and as soon as they saw Goldie, they pretty much bombarded her. The photographers went crazy, and people had to shield her from them.” The real problem, however, wasn’t the shutterbugs but the reporters. According to the source, so many journos inquired about recent reports that Hawn’s long relationship with Russell is on the outs that she was “practically in tears” by the time she reached her table. “She was supposed to stay for dinner,” the tipster tells us, “but she was so upset that she just said ‘Hi’ to Denise and left.” Hawn’s rep did not return calls.

Unhappy Buddha Bars U.S. Outpost

Leave it to the Parisians to find national pride in a trendy bar. When the folks behind the Paris hot spot Buddha Bar got wind that restaurateur Marc Packer was slated to open a restaurant with a similar name in New York – Packer was calling his the Tao Buddha Bar – they had their lawyers write a terse letter explaining that they owned the rights to the name Buddha Bar for use in America (not that the name hadn’t already been tried, by the now-defunct – and not related – Buddha Bar on Varick Street). “But we had looked into this and knew it wasn’t true,” Packer tells us. “So we sent them a letter asking for the trademark number and a location for their U.S. restaurant. They never gave us a straight answer.” However, when his nosherie opens this fall, the name will be changed, to Tao Asian Bistro. Was it the Gallic pressure? “No way,” snips Packer. “We made the decision independently, not because of them.” The Parisians didn’t return our calls. And in other nightlife news, Jeff Gossett, the man who gave New York Moomba, is opening a branch of the lounge in Los Angeles. The sibling eatery is set to open in February.

Gandee Puts Talk Staff on Hot Seat

Not content with simply helping redesign the magazine’s feature well, Talk editor Charles Gandee is now redesigning the office space. The staff of the monthly recently moved to new quarters in Chelsea, where the enterprising editor was pressed into service as a decorator. The stylish ex-Vogue editor’s first move was to ban the staff’s old desk chairs and replace them with wooden ones imported from the Bank of England. According to distressed staff members, in addition to being quite ugly, the new chairs are rock-hard and ergonomically incorrect. One insider reports that the staff is so put out they’re circulating a petition demanding that Gandee – whose own designer throne swivels, reclines, and is made of plush leather – be forced to spend a week on one of the torturous seats. Says the source, “Most people have had to augment their chairs with cushions to make them at all bearable.” Gandee defends the chairs as “classic” and claims that specially imported pads are on the way.

Ex-Communications Major From BYU

Where do you go when the Church of Latter Day Saints is mad at you? Cyberspace, of course. At least, this was the case for Julie Stoffer, the bubbly twentysomething star of the most recent incarnation of MTV’s The Real World. While viewers were charmed by Stoffer, the powers-that-be at Brigham Young University didn’t relish seeing their student – who’s supposed to be a devout Mormon – rooming with boys at the Real World house in New Orleans, so they soundly booted her out of school. Now she’s signed on as spokeswoman for Soulgear.com, an extreme-sports Website co-founded by Stoffer’s former TV housemate Jamie Murray. Stoffer, who was a business-management major until BYU requested her absence, will be handling the site’s new nonprofit initiative, which is intended to raise funds for environmental-preservation and youth-development programs. Maybe they can give a little something to Jesse Camp.

Prince is Peeved; Ducasse Has a Cow

DAVIS’S PRINCELY REP: Prince will have to find someone else to explain his various marriages and monikers. The diminutive pop star’s long-time publicist Lois Najarian, who spent the past five years at the venerable P.R. firm Susan Blond, Inc., is leaving him to be head of publicity at Clive Davis’s new label, J Records. One person who wasn’t happy to hear the news was Prince himself; the anti-establishment rocker accused his soon-to-be-former flack of selling out. “He said, ‘I can’t believe you’re joining the system. I thought you were different,’ ” Najarian tells us. “If anyone else had said that to me, I would have been very upset, but I’ve worked with Prince too long; I know what he’s all about.” At least someone does.

VACHEMENT BIEN: Alain Ducasse knows what makes a restaurant classy: the freshest ingredients, an elegant décor, and one of those bizarre cow sculptures that have been silently grazing all over town. The restaurateur behind the city’s priciest joint recently herded one of the decorative bovines overseas to add to the ambiance of his latest place, 59 Poincaré, slated to open in December in Paris. Observant Gothamites will recognize the cow – shellacked in international flags – as the one that has been watching over the entrance of the United Nations all summer. Ducasse wouldn’t tell us how much he shelled out for the creature, but we’re happy to know at least one has found a new pasture.

Additional reporting by David Amsden and Abbey Goodman.

October 2, 2000