January 15, 2001

Exorcising the Ghosts of Kennedys Past
Another piece of Camelot is about to become history. According to a Kennedy-family insider, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg is determined to cast out the ghosts from her legendary past. The extremely private attorney has decided to completely renovate the Martha’s Vineyard mansion that belonged to her mother, tearing down two wings on the main house as well as the rooms in which her brother, John F. Kennedy Jr., stayed before marrying Carolyn Bessette. A rep for the Schlossbergs confirms that the home is undergoing renovations but says they are merely undertaking them to make it “more comfortable to their needs.” But the source says Kennedy Schlossberg openly admitted to removing parts of the house “because of bad memories.”

Councilwoman Earns Celebrity Support – And One Cop’s Cuffs
After being arrested during the Amadou Diallo protests last year, Councilwoman Kathryn Freed has made a separate peace with the forces of the law. When Freed arrived recently for a fund-raiser at director Gus Van Sant’s swank TriBeCa duplex – where such stars as Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix showed up to support her run for public advocate – she recognized the man in charge of security for the event. “I said, ‘You look familiar,’ ” Freed recalls. “He said, ‘I should. I arrested you.’ It was the same cop who put the cuffs on me at the protest.” Freed also says the handcuffs in question were useless against her powers: “I slipped right out of them in two seconds. I’m very small-boned,” she explains. While such Freed-boosters as Lou Reed and Harvey Keitel had to send their best wishes, pitcher Rick Reed and some of his fellow Mets didn’t miss the party – although they hadn’t been officially invited. “They were like, ‘Hey, we heard you were having a party,’ ” says Freed. We’re familiar with the technique.

Shatner Beams Up From Planet Priceline
As agitated investors eagerly dump their declining Priceline.com stock, celebrity spokesman William Shatner is jumping ship as well. According to an insider at the firm, Captain Kirk is refusing to appear in more of the ubiquitous offbeat commercials for the Website that sells discounted airline tickets, hotel rooms, and long-distance services. Shatner, says our source, is paid for the spots primarily with Priceline stock options but called in his attorneys once the stock plummeted from a 52-week high of more than $104 per share to its recent low of around $1. The latest Shatner commercials for the dot-com seem to confirm this story – they feature no new footage of the Star Trek icon, only stills from his previous TV spots. A rep for the company informed us that Shatner cashed out a small portion of his stock but is under contract through October, and added that the weirdly warbling actor is “very happy with his association with Priceline.” Shatner’s rep did not return calls.

On the Road With the Last Beat Poet
New York has just lost its last remaining Beat poet. Gregory Corso – a Greenwich Village native discovered by Allen Ginsberg in the fifties – has been forced by massive health problems to move west. About a year after being diagnosed with colon cancer, the 70-year-old confidant of William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac has relocated to Minneapolis, where he is being cared for by his daughter, a nurse. Despite the seemingly dire circumstances, Corso’s friends remain impressed by his resilience. “He almost died last summer,” says Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose City Lights press was the first to publish Corso, famous for his ode to the atomic bomb. “They thought he was only going to live two or three weeks.” Griselda Ohannessian, the president of New Directions – which has been publishing Corso since the sixties – describes the writer’s mood as “extremely cheerful” and “full of bounce.” So will there be a new book from the poet? “My thing with Gregory is to say, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’ ” she says. “We’ve been waiting for The Dot” – a proposed collection – for a dozen years.” The publisher is also hoping to release an edition of Corso’s letters.

Detour at Details
After just eight months on the job, Details magazine fashion director Marcus Ebner is leaving the basically hetero men’s monthly to launch his own P.R. firm, insiders say. The German-born editor handed in his resignation last month to Fairchild honcho Patrick McCarthy, who declined to comment on his abrupt departure. The well-connected Ebner, who had never worked on a magazine before, was wooed to the top Details post from P.R. powerhouse Keeble Cavaco & Duka, where he had repped such fashionable clients as Versace and Helmut Lang. Insiders claim Ebner and Details editor-in-chief Dan Peres had been bickering over the mag’s fashion coverage, but Peres put a happy spin on the dramatic exit: “He was a great part of the launch, but he’s been cooking up something else, which he wouldn’t tell me about.” Well, Dan, you read it here first. Ebner was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Additional reporting by Paige Herman.

Contact the Intelligencer here.

January 15, 2001