November 13, 2000

Traffic Hits the Beltway
We’ve gotten used to Hollywood types like Michael Douglas sticking their chiseled profiles into the world of politics, but now a host of senators is looking to get in on glam screen action. Washington’s Finest – including Orrin Hatch, Don Nickles, Barbara Boxer, and Harry Reid – have agreed to play themselves in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming film Traffic, starring Douglas and wife-to-be Catherine Zeta-Jones. The pols’ celluloid moment occurs at a cocktail party in honor of Douglas’s character, the newly appointed drug czar. But where were such naturals as Ted Kennedy and Bob Kerrey? “They wanted to be in the film, but they couldn’t work it out with their busy schedules,” says a rep for the film. And where were their priorities?

Another Day That Will Live in Infamy
Given Ben Affleck’s nascent star power, it should come as no surprise that some of Hollywood’s brightest starlets are doffing their panties to be in his new film Pearl Harbor. Affleck’s co-star Catherine Kellner tells us that on the first day of shooting in Hawaii, she and castmates Kate Beckinsale, James King, Sara Rue, and Jennifer Garner were standing on the deck of a ferry, awaiting a glamorous helicopter shot, when they were asked to remove their underwear. “We were wearing 1941 period costumes, and the way the wind was blowing our skirts against us, you could see the seams of our underwear,” explains Kellner, who can be seen next month in Arrow Films’ Restless. The fun wasn’t over yet, though: As the chopper flew in, it blew the actresses’ dresses up over their heads – with director Michael Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and 150 wide-eyed cast and crew members taking in the sights. What’s more, no one had bothered to swab the deck, Kellner reports, “so everything in Christendom flew right in our faces – including nails. Our eyes and teeth were full of black soot.” Kate Beckinsale handled the incident with classic Brit reserve, says Kellner: “She turned to me and said, ‘I shall always remember this as the day I lost my mystery.’ “

David Byrne: Sort of Making Sense
If you need to know what David Byrne thinks of this election’s presidential offerings, just look up. Intelligencer has learned that those odd posters that have been popping up all over town featuring photos of masks of Al Gore and George W. Bush above the line huh? are the brain-fruit of the former Talking Head himself. While a source at Byrne’s office confirmed that the musician-artist-filmmaker created the posters and that “a couple thousand” of them had been put up here and in Los Angeles, Byrne himself was unavailable for comment. He did talk about another of his projects recently, at the premiere party for Calle 54 at Jimmy’s Downtown. For over a decade now, Byrne has been photographing surveillance cameras around the country, and the mission is often fraught with danger. “I worry about these cameras so much that when I take their picture I try not to get too close. It’s like the camera is alive and I don’t want to irritate it,” he said. Humans can get irritated by him, too. “All the time, store owners freak out and think that I’m casing the joint for a robbery,” he claims. “Sometimes they want to attack me physically.” Same as it ever was?

’N Sync-er Attaches Strings to Club
Seems like every time we blink, those boys from ‘N Sync are up to something new and exciting. This time it’s Lance Bass opening a dance club in town. One51 co-owner Eytan Sugarman tells us that he’s partnered with the young dreamboat and they’re currently choosing between two locations in midtown to open a nightspot. According to Sugarman, one of the prospective locales is currently an active club, so you can start placing bets as to which nightlife impresario is looking to sell out. The venue, says Sugarman, will feature different rooms for different types of music and live shows, and will accommodate about 2,000 people. The pair hope to sign a deal by the end of the year and get their club opened by early summer 2001. As for their door policy, Sugarman says, “We’re not big on that whole velvet-rope thing.” And if they want Bass’s fans to come in, they’d better not be big on that whole 21-and-over thing.

Courtney Love: In the Hole?
Wondering why Courtney Love was a no-show at Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year” awards a couple weeks ago? Perhaps she had nothing to wear. According to L.A.-based sources, Love has been stiffing her stylists, causing some West Coast agencies to refuse to serve her. One of the sources tells us that “a group of agencies has banded together. We won’t help her until she pays her bills.” The frustrated source has given Love’s home-phone number to a collection agency in hopes of obtaining payment for outstanding bills, and states that the sums in question are for services related to promotional appearances, music videos, and personal shopping over the past year. After Love’s rep was contacted, a barrage of stylists and studio execs phoned us in the singer-actress’s defense. “Courtney is great to work with and nothing but professional,” insists stylist Denise Azira. And a rep from Universal says that a bill which was referred to a collection agency was only unpaid because the stylist had vastly overcharged – and that Love paid part of those charges out of her own pocket.

You Can’t Afford to Enter This Dragon
Elysium is as far as … the first person who can dig up $45 million. At least that’s what Francesco Galesi is asking for his own personal “Elysium,” a 9.5-acre Southampton estate most famously known as “Dragon’s Head.” The real-estate developer first bought the sprawling manse – which has sixteen bedrooms, eighteen baths, and a shark tank – in 1992 for a mere $2.3 million. Built by Henry F. DuPont in 1926, it became notorious when Barry Trupin purchased it in 1979, gave it the spooky name, and turned the house into what has been described as “the Sleeping Beauty castle on a bad acid trip.” Elsewhere on the beach, New York City entertainment attorney Jeremy Nussbaum and his wife, Charline Spektor, are buying two BookHampton shops from entrepreneur Hal Zwick, who says the deal should be final by January. It’s just good to know there’ll be another lawyer making money in the Hamptons next summer.

Trouble in Shanti Town
Negative energy is permeating the city’s top yoga studios. Devotees of Yoga Zone, favored by such celebs as Sting, Marisa Tomei, and Mary-Louise Parker, are torn over the recent departure of husband-and-wife teaching team Lisa Bennett-Matkin and Charles Matkin. The studio’s directors were nervous about the duo’s devout following, says a source, who explains, “It was a control issue.” But Yoga Zone co-owner Alan Finger did not “feel comfortable” commenting on the couple’s reason for leaving, and Bennett would only say that “it was time to move on.” The Matkins have toted their mats to Haelth, where they are overseeing the department of mind-body therapy. The vibes are equally bad at Christie Turlington’s shanti of choice, Jivamukti, where star instructor Adrienne Burke abruptly left when, she says, the management did not fulfill a verbal agreement about how much they would pay her for opening the center’s uptown outpost. Soon enough, however, the studio was sending Burke a barrage of Zen-infused messages, telling her she always has a place to teach. “They knocked me down and then asked me to come back,” snipes Burke, who now teaches one day a week at Chelsea Piers. “The directors are more interested in money than well-being.” The owner of Jivamukti could not be reached for comment.

Hoteliers Break New Ground
Mercer hotel owner André Balazs has finally found a location for his second downtown hotel. As we reported last month, he (along with partners Curtis Bashaw and Craig Wood of Cape Advisors) has been hunting for a spot for a Manhattan outpost of his gently priced West Hollywood hit the Standard – and will be breaking ground this spring on Lafayette Street just south of Spring Street. Meanwhile, Balazs and Island Outpost owner Chris Blackwell are expanding their empires into cyberspace. The two hoteliers have joined forces with Laurent Vernhes and Michael Davis, two former general managers of the hip design firm Razorfish, as well as Kim Taipale of the Stilwell group, to help finance Tablet, an online company that will link travelers with hot properties around the globe. Tablet, which will use the Internet address, will launch early next year. Is it a conflict of interest for hoteliers to invest in a site that recommends hotels? Balazs says no. First, they don’t rate the hotels; they just provide links. And, he says, “none of these hotels compete with each other – they all have different personalities. Our goal is to provide an intelligent listing so the sophisticated traveler can choose.”

Licari’s Hair-raising Run; Zaks’s TV Fun
MARATHON MAN: Louis Licari, owner of the eponymous salons in New York and Beverly Hills, is pumping much more than a curling iron. The colorist-to-the-stars was planning on pounding the pavement yesterday in the New York City Marathon – but that’s a mere walk in the park compared with his next challenge. After training for five years, Licari plans to participate in next October’s Ironman triathlon to commemorate his 50th birthday. “It has always been my goal to do it that year,” says Licari, who opts for a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. He credits his coach, three-time Olympian Michael Gostigian, with helping him excel at all three events. We hope he wins by more than a hair.

SMALL-SCREEN ZAKS: Former movie stars aren’t the only people making the leap to network TV this season. Veteran Broadway director Jerry Zaks recently made his small-screen debut, helming an episode of the upcoming NBC sitcom Kristin. The show stars Tony award winner Kristin Chenoweth, whom Zaks directed on Broadway last year in Epic Proportions. Zaks is also no stranger to the sitcom’s creator, John Marcus: Marcus once called on Zaks to direct a pilot for a network project that didn’t get off the ground. Hopefully, Kristin will have better luck; Zaks says he’ll return to the set in December to shoot another episode.

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Additional reporting by Abbey Goodman and Paige Herman.

November 13, 2000