November 20, 2000

No Jive: My Friends Weren’t Jonesing
Being an up-and-coming pop sensation just doesn’t get you the respect it used to. Columbia artist JIVEjones discovered that recently when he was tossed out of Spa during the release party for his debut album, Me, Myself and I. When security staffers noticed two of Jones’s friends taking some pills, they quickly moved in and began escorting the pair out. Jones went over to help, insisting that the ingestibles in question were mere aspirin. More bouncers arrived, the argument spilled onto the street, and, according to Jones’s rep, the singer and his friends were sent into the night. A Spa spokesman insists, “Mr. Jones came out and pleaded for his friends, but he went back inside. We were going to throw him out, but he wasn’t doing drugs – his friends were.” Jones counters that he never saw the inside of Spa again that night but escorted his group of outcasts to Chaos. When we told the Spa rep that Jones insists the pills were aspirin, he replied, “It wasn’t any Tylenol or Tic Tacs or anything else. It was ecstasy. Come on, these bouncers know what it looks like.” Jones, however, stands by his pals, telling us, “I never thought a headache could turn into such a pain in the ass.”

Gwyneth’s Blythe Spirit
What did Environmental Advocates do when their master of ceremonies for tonight’s 2000 Advocate Awards, Blythe Danner, canceled at the last minute? They contacted her next of kin, of course. As a member of the organization’s board of directors, Danner agreed to host the event, but later decided to join her husband, Bruce Paltrow, at the London premiere of his film Duets. Golden child Gwyneth Paltrow came to the rescue, graciously agreeing to take her mother’s place for the two-and-a-half-hour ceremony while she’s in New York to promote her latest film, Bounce. “I’m indebted to my daughter for filling in for me. I’m thrilled that she’s doing it,” says Danner. The Advocate Awards celebrate representatives from New York’s environmental movement, honoring those who shape public policy. We hope Gwyneth doesn’t steal the spotlight from the cause at hand.

Ben Affleck Gets Carried Away
For only the second time in twenty years, Carrie Fisher held her annual birthday party without co-host Penny Marshall, but that doesn’t mean she spent the evening she turned 44 without a partner. According to an industry insider, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher spent the latter part of the evening snuggling and smooching on a couch with Hollywood hunk Ben Affleck – as guests like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Meg Ryan, Courtney Love, Gillian Anderson, Laura Dern, Robin Williams, Paul Allen, Ellen DeGeneres, Fisher’s former boyfriend the superagent Brian Lourd, and her former stepmother Elizabeth Taylor looked on. Says one witness, “It was very casual but a bit bizarre. They were having fun – I guess he had some Princess Leia fantasy.” When called for comment, Fisher’s rep told us, “Oh, good for her.” But Fisher’s own response was a more circumspect: “The only person that I ended up with at the end of the night was my daughter Billie.” Affleck had no comment.

Mainstream Moby Takes Stock
Napster enthusiasts may have been among the first to discover Moby, but he’s not shedding any tears over the recent decision to start charging them for access. We asked the rocker about the latest blow to the online community when we ran into him at the Hetrik-Martin Institute’s annual Emery Awards, which honor advocates for gay and lesbian youth. “On the one hand, I like the idea of people being exposed to music,” he said. “But I also like the idea of having professional musicians, and in order to have them, people have to get paid.” Moby went on to say that few people are aware of the insidious effect Napster has on certain musicians: “Because most college students and most relatively well educated people are downloading music and burning CDs, sales for good artists are down,” he explained. “Radio looks at sales charts and says, ‘Oh, all these boy bands from California are selling records, so that’s what we’ll play.’ But the truth is, people are still listening to good music; they’re just not paying for it.” Speaking of getting paid, we asked Moby how it feels to have finally made the jump from cult figure to mainstream celebrity. “The only real difference,” he said, “is, do I have a medium-size portfolio or do I have a big one? I hope that doesn’t sound sleazy.” What’s sleazy?

Versace’s (Colorful) Cold Shoulder
After Versace offered her a consulting position in September, fashion flack Hilary Heard resigned her job at Louis Vuitton, gave up her New York apartment, and had her belongings shipped to her parents’ place in Ohio. She hasn’t heard from Versace since. Heard tells us she met with Donatella Versace in Milan in mid-September, at which point Versace’s right-hand man, Giovanni Galbiati, verbally offered her the position. Later that day, Heard contends, Versace P.R. head Victoria Hennessy gave her a tour of the offices, introducing her to staff members as “Hilary, who will be working with us.” Back in New York, Heard received a draft contract along with a note from human-resources director Giorgio Bernini saying, “Mrs. Versace would like you to be here on September 20th.” Heard says she told Bernini she couldn’t start work until the 30th, since she would have to give Louis Vuitton two weeks’ notice. On the 21st, Heard got a flight confirmation from Versace’s travel office, including instructions for transporting her cats to Milan. But the next day, Heard received e-mail from Bernini regarding contract questions from her lawyer; the note suggested she put her move “on hold.” That’s the last she heard from Versace, despite numerous efforts to get an explanation from the company. Heard managed to get her apartment back but says she’s giving up the fashion biz for good. Versace spokesman Lou Colasuonno confirms that while a job was discussed, “Versace never reached an agreement with Ms. Heard,” adding that the company “clearly advised her not to leave her current employment until she had a signed contract. Ms. Heard has acknowledged that she was so advised.”

Front-Page Follies at the Post
The day after the election was an anxious one for Post staff, not over worries about who would be the next president but because they didn’t know where to get their hands on copies of the now-famous bush wins! front page. According to a source close to the paper, in the wee hours of Election Night, so many television news crews showed up looking for copies to put on the air that there were scarcely any left when the day shift came on in the morning. “At first, they’d put a stack of copies in the lobby and a security guard was giving them out to the TV crews,” says the source. Eventually, though, the eager TV folk made their way to the tenth-floor newsroom and were being treated to copies right from the city desk. By morning, the tipster says, “someone had even made off with the library’s bundle, and there weren’t any left for the archives.” On Thursday, however, Post trucks brought back enough of the framable editions from newsstands around town to satisfy the memento-hungry journos – who can now save them for the grandkids.

Erin Proves Voters Are No Boobs
Erin Brockovich recently voiced her opposition to California’s Proposition 37, joining the list of celebrities making those quirky recorded telephone solicitations for votes. The measure, dubbed the Polluter Protection Act by Brockovich and her environmentally conscious cohorts, was sponsored by the oil, tobacco, and alcohol industries to avoid paying for damages that their products inflict. It would have reclassified fees for cleaning up ongoing health and environmental hazards as taxes (requiring complicated voting procedures before they’d ever be collected). An excerpt from the message: “This is Erin Brockovich. You might have seen the recent movie about my real-life fight against big companies that poisoned drinking water in California.” The proposition was defeated last week. Erin didn’t even have to cuss – or flash cleavage.

A Cuban Mojito Crisis
Will we have to say adios to a West Village dining hot spot? The Cuban model mecca Isla had its liquor license revoked on a technicality thanks to a lawsuit filed against the New York Liquor Authority by five area residents. One source tells us that this is “a case of a handful of people imposing their tyranny on the neighborhood,” since the restaurant has been open for a year without complaint. According to block-association president Armando Buria, as the sixth liquor-licensed business to open in the past five years, Isla contributes to the area’s noise as well as its inability to support the increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The restaurant’s rep believes that “Isla has become the scapegoat,” singled out among other area restaurants like Blue Ribbon Bakery, Boughalem, and ‘ino because it is the newest addition to the neighborhood. Another resident quips, “I wish they had opposed McDonald’s instead of this classy restaurant.” Isla’s owner, Diane Ghioto, says her license remains valid pending an appeal. “This is all about six seats at the bar,” she says. “The Liquor Authority always sides with the community board when there is opposition, but I’m a member of the community, too.” Even Castro lets you drink.

Next, She’ll Shoot Jane Fonda in Black
It’s truly a jungle out there. Last week, designing diva Donna Karan sent her troops to Vietnam to shoot an upcoming ad campaign. Milla Jovovich and Jeremy Irons star in the new ads, shot by Mikael Jansson in and around Ho Chi Minh City. When asked what the steamy ads are trying to convey, Karan says the campaign is about “an adventurous, romantic journey where East meets West.” Spotlighting men’s and women’s clothing from the spring 2001 Donna Karan Collection line, the ads begin running in March.

Additional reporting by Abbey Goodman and Paige Herman.

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November 20, 2000