July 23, 2001

Photo: Mitchell Gerber/Corbis

Gray’s Anatomy: Still Healing
Our get-well wishes go out to Spalding Gray. It turns out that he suffered a fractured skull as well as a fractured hip in that car accident in Ireland on June 22. Gray was riding through County Westmeath in a car driven by his wife, Kathie Russo, when they were hit head-on by a van. Russo says doctors diagnosed the skull fracture two days later, after she noticed a dent in his forehead. Russo and another passenger, Barbara Leary (widow of Timothy Leary), were treated and released on the same day. The 63-year-old monologuist flew back to the States on July 12 and will undergo surgery sometime this week; he is expected to make a full recovery. In fact, Gray didn’t waste anytime getting back to work. He began plotting a monologue about the disastrous trip from his bed in the Dublin-area hospital.

Legally Blonde: The Director’s Cut
Legally Blonde may look like a harmless teen flick, but the Motion Picture Association of America wasn’t so sure. The academy’s ratings board, says director Robert Luketic, threatened to slap his first feature with an R rating if he didn’t cut certain words from the dialogue. So what, exactly, was so shocking in a comedy about a ditzy Los Angeles co-ed (Reese Witherspoon) who finagles her way into Harvard in order to woo back her high-school sweetheart? “They said I couldn’t use the word cunnilingus, which was fine,” Luketic told us at the PG-13’s movie’s Southampton premiere. “But then they told me to cut wiener. I mean, you can’t really get any sweeter than wiener.” An MPAA spokeswoman declined to comment: “We could only give you the rating and what it’s for. We don’t comment on the process of how it got there.”

Every Picture Tells a Story
House Beautiful editor Marian McEvoy obviously admires the personal style of Ralph Lauren design vice-president Bob Andrews and pediatrician Peter Vaccaro; she put their Water Mill home on the cover of her July issue. But attentive readers have pointed out that what was good enough for the cover apparently wasn’t good enough inside: The cover shot features a quaint corner of the master bedroom with, among other things, a lettered sweatshirt and books on photographer Herb Ritts and the homoerotic work of Tom of Finland. On page 65, the photo reappears – but the letters on the sweatshirt have been erased, along with the titles from the spines of the books. What happened? “It’s common to change pictures like that,” a rep for the magazine explains. “They take out what they don’t like to make the picture more pleasant.” So why wasn’t the cover shot manipulated as well? The rep doesn’t know, and McEvoy was vacationing in Europe and unavailable for comment.

A New Lease on Life for Moomba?
Just call it the Lounge Formerly Known As Moomba. The Greenwich Village hotspot – which was abruptly shuttered in April by front man Jeff Gossett – may be reopening in the fall, but under new owners and a new name. After recently forming a corporation called Park Avenue Entertainment, nightclub promoters Michael Heller, Larry Kramer, Michael Satsky, and Doug Akin snatched up the twelve-year lease on the place for about $1 million (that’s on top of the $8,000-a-month rent). Heller insists the revamped space – a new name has not been chosen yet – will not be another celebrity clubhouse like Moomba. “We want to promote to an Upper East Side preppy crowd rather than a trendy VIP-celebrity kind of crowd,” says Heller, a promoter at Etoile, the Globe, and Siren. “Think of it more like a Dorrian’s downtown.” But the karaoke machine will stay: “I’ve always thought the upstairs was perfect for that.”

Mike Bloomberg’s Got the Velvet Touch
As far as we know, Michael Bloomberg is the first mayoral candidate to step out to “Beige,” the weekly gay night at B Bar. The Republican billionaire and his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, had a three-hour double date in one of the VIP booths there last Tuesday, with policy adviser Jonathan Capehart and his boyfriend, architect Giuseppe Lignano. Bloomberg was amused to hear that the reservationist had booked his table under the name “Bloomberry.” On the way out, he stopped to chat up doorman Derek Neen on how he decides who does and doesn’t get past the velvet rope.

Recipe for Success
Alison Becker Hurt, owner of Alison On Dominick Street in SoHo and Alison by the Beach in Sagaponack, is apparently making a play for a TV career. She’s currently shopping around a proposal to host a Joy of Cooking television show. It wouldn’t be a stretch. Hurt’s cousin and partner on the project, Ethan Becker, is the author of the most recent edition of Joy, and Becker’s grandmother Irma S. Rombauer was the original author of the 1931 homemaker’s bible. Hurt, a onetime actress and author of 1999’s Kitchen Suppers: Good Food to Share With Good Friends, wouldn’t confirm or deny that she’s ready for her close-up: “Anything is possible.”

John Travolta’s Moveable Feast
John Travolta has been bragging lately about how exercising more and eating less have helped him slim down to 205 pounds. Well, we hope the six-foot-two actor was able to make it to the gym during his recent stay in New York. While doing two days of press for his latest action flick, Swordfish, at the Bryant Park hotel, Travolta couldn’t decide what to order from the hotel’s restaurant, ILO, so he had one of everything delivered to his suite. “He didn’t ask for anything specific, but wanted the full menu both days,” one source says. But that apparently wasn’t enough. His staff also called over to the Four Seasons – where the actor was staying – and had one of everything from its menu delivered to the Bryant Park suite as well. At one point, we’re told, Travolta sat at a table with all the food spread out before him and sampled most of the dishes with tiny bites. Travolta’s rep insists the star’s meals were never that big, but conceded he may have given in to his sweet tooth: “Sometimes he gets several different desserts and tries a little bit of each one. He likes desserts.”

House Hunting of the Rich and Famous
It looks like the East End may get hit with another wave of celebrity homeowners. Although Sarah Jessica Parker’s rep denies it, we hear that the Sex and the City star and hubby Matthew Broderick are thinking about buying a place in Bridgehampton, a month or so after the two some signed a lease for a summer rental in Sagaponack. And last week, director Rob Reiner was spotted not only watching the fireworks on Georgica Beach with Steven Spielberg, Meg Ryan, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Nora Ephron but also looking at a home on Cottage Avenue in East Hampton. (Ryan and Ephron came along for the ride.) Meanwhile, Hollywood powerhouse turned Vegas honcho Sandy Gallin was overheard on Main Street in East Hampton talking about how he recently took a look at the $4 million house Andrew Tilberis shared with his wife, the late Harper’s Bazaar editor Liz Tilberis, in the town’s Northwest Harbor section. Tilberis doesn’t know who has seen the house but told us, “I’ve had quite a few offers that have been unacceptable. I’m not desperate to sell it, but I’ve got something else I’m looking at on the East End to buy. Hopefully, it could all happen at the same time.”

Will the Real Gay Porn Star Please Stand Up?
It’s like a plotline right out of Sex and the City: A gay porn star wants to sleep with Carrie Bradshaw. When Carrie’s furniture-making boyfriend Aidan Shaw (played by John Corbett first appeared on the HBO hit starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon, you could practically hear a collective gasp coming out of Chelsea. His name is an apparent homage to one of the, um, biggest gay porn stars of all time, Aiden Shaw. The real Shaw is loving the attention. “I get a lot of e-mails from fans about it,” he said from his London flat. Even though he has a boyfriend, Shaw wouldn’t mind a little romp with Carrie. “I’d love to go out with Carrie Bradshaw,” he told us, laughing. “What I mean is, if it was just a date I’d want someone more like Debbie Harry. But if sex was involved, then I’d definitely want to be with Carrie.”

Gene Simmons’s Big Adventure
Gene Simmons’s girlfriend of seventeen years, former Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed, has a perfectly toned figure, but that doesn’t mean the Kiss front man can’t appreciate the charms of a full-bodied woman. “I’m sick of these designers who design for skinny women that you wouldn’t want to bed,” he was overheard saying last week at a fashion show at Ohm that was staged for Curve, a documentary about plus-size models. Simmons even slipped backstage to chat up the voluptuous, half-naked catwalkers as they prepped for the show. Most of his attention was focused on Tammy Carney, the Anna Nicole Smith look-alike star of Victoria’s Secret’s Plus Fit Line campaign. “He definitely took a special interest in her, and they were talking for quite a while,” says our spy. But it’s no surprise that Simmons likes variety: The long-tongued rocker claims to have slept with more than 3,000 women.

With Catherine Townsend and Aric Chen.

July 23, 2001