September 17, 2001

Monica Moves to the Head of the Class
Web Exclusive! Former president Bill Clinton isn’t the only former Washingtonian starting school this fall. While Clinton is lecturing at NYU, his former intern-turned-paramour, Monica Lewinsky, will be heading uptown once a week to take an undergraduate psychology class at Columbia (where Al Gore taught a journalism course in the spring). “I want to see what it feels like to be back in school again, but it is uncertain where this will lead,” Lewinsky told us through her rep. Lewinsky has a bachelor of science in psychology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Before shooting to fame, Lewinsky had dreams of earning a PhD in Psychology.

Pink: Let’s Hear It for the Boys
Potty-mouthed singer Pink spent two recent nights hitting gay hot spots, looking for go-go boys to entertain at her raunchy 22nd birthday bash last week at Eden. The rapper and her stylist best buddy, Derek Khan, hired chiseled Adonises–and dressed them in D&G briefs–from Stella’s and Esquelita, and at least one from an escort service. Many of the guys asked if they’d be participating in more than just dancing. “They thought we wanted them for some sort of celebrity orgy,” Khan told us. Although the party pair were interested in a few of the men from the Gaiety, a full-frontal strip joint in Times Square, a stunned Khan said, “They were too expensive, and they were giving us the names of their agents. They wanted contracts!” Things were easier at Flashdancers, where they chose a few female strippers–and several lap dancers asked Pink to sign autographs for their kids.

Sarah Jessica Bets the Farm
Earlier this summer, we reported that Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick were thinking about buying a home in Bridgehampton that Parker sort of stumbled upon unexpectedly. Well, it’s time to send them a housewarming present. The couple bought the five-bedroom 1850s Victorian just before Labor Day. They also picked up some land and an equally old barn next door, which they plan to convert into a guesthouse. They paid a little less than $2 million for the 1.5-acre spread, a source close to the Sex and the City star tells us. “She’s going to do extensive work on the house,” the source says. “She said she wanted something big enough to hold her large family.” (Parker is one of eight children.) The couple – longtime renters on the East End – weren’t even looking when Parker got a peek at the home. Our source says she fell in love with the place when she was tagging along with a pal who was house-hunting.

Missing: Katie Couric’s Autograph
Supermodel Carolyn Murphy may have just been signed to join Liz Hurley as the newest face for Estée Lauder, but it’s the Today show that really gets Murphy excited. While waiting to appear on the morning show last week to promote the Lauder deal, she whipped out a small camera from her bag and started taking pictures in the greenroom with company bigwigs Aerin Lauder (who also was appearing on Today) and Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne. After the segment, while Murphy and Matt Lauer got all gooey about their toddlers, she asked the morning-show co-hosts to autograph a printout of the script used for her spot for her 9-month-old daughter, Dylan. Lauer scribbled, “Good luck. Be happy!” Soledad O’Brien wrote, “Congratulations to your mommy.” Al Roker got a bit more artistic by including a doodle of a smiling sun, along with the note, “Sunny Skies.”

Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate. Please.
First it was Tony Shafrazi. Now it’s Larry Gagosian’s turn. Artist Julie Harvey, who caused a stir in March by sending out postcards reproducing a not-so-nice portrait she painted of Shafrazi, is mailing thousands of similar cards of Gagosian to art-world biggies in New York, Beverly Hills, and London, where Gagosian owns galleries. Although Harvey’s Shafrazi bit was more personal because of an unpleasant encounter she claims they had with each other in the eighties, she’s never met her latest subject. The portrait includes a somewhat crooked male appendage with a question on the back, “Does size matter?” She says the entire project is being funded by a collector friend of Gagosian’s. “Larry is one of the biggest dealers and a main member of the ‘boy’s club,’ ” Harvey tells us. “I felt he needed to be portrayed au naturel.” But, she says, “he’s a very attractive guy, so it was really hard to do. His face is just wonderful to paint.” A staffer at Gagosian’s uptown space said he was traveling and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Gandolfini’s a Hit: Getta Loada These!
Just the sight of James Gandolfini makes some women want to rip their clothes off. The Sopranos’ star was meeting friends at Spread, where Full Frontal Fashion host Robert Verdi was celebrating his 33rd birthday in the downstairs lounge. As soon as Gandolfini arrived, “everyone suddenly got on their cell phones,” says one observer of the chatty fashionistas. (“But there was no reception!” Verdi complains.) About a dozen women rushed Gandolfini, cameras in hand. One, an adoring blonde fan, grabbed him by the arm and pulled him toward her, while a brunette offered to give him an impromptu flash: “She said, ‘Hi, I love your show, can I show you my breasts?’ ” Gandolfini – who’s been happily married to wife Marcy since 1999 – politely declined: “No thanks. I’m not working tonight.”

Heche Probably Won’t Be Hitting P-Town
If you haven’t gotten enough of Anne Heche and her new hubby, Coley Laffoon, here are somemore goodies for you. We hear Laffoon’s bachelor party was a low-key weekend in Ensenada, Mexico, where he was joined by his brother, Brent, a childhood friend from Miami, and a pal from Los Angeles. We also hear that the couple are going to honeymoon on Cape Cod after Heche finishes crisscrossing the country on a ten-city book tour promoting her memoir, Call Me Crazy. “The details aren’t set, but they’ve both been talking about the Cape,” a source close to the newlyweds tells us. A rep for the couple confirms the jaunt to Mexico, but declined to talk about Cape Cod: “As far as the honeymoon goes, we’re obviously not going to comment on what the location is … We’re hoping to give them a little privacy.”

De Niro Finds Love During Wartime
Robert De Niro may be going through a nasty custody battle with his estranged wife of two years, Grace Hightower, but he’s still making time for romance. The actor was at the new TriBeCa eatery Roc on Labor Day night, sharing a candlelit dinner with a gorgeous young woman at a back-corner table. The couple spent about two hours engrossed in conversation (the straitlaced actor even laughed out loud a couple of times) while holding hands and sharing a pasta dinner along with a bottle of wine, a spy reports. De Niro and Hightower are due back in court on September 28 after a judge ordered them to see a mental-health professional for an evaluation before he could decide custody of their 3-year-old son, Elliot.

But Would Philip Johnson Live There?
Big-ticket architect Philip Johnson describes his design for a proposed 26-story luxury residential tower at 328 Spring Street as “sculpture.” But we wonder if he knows that its developer, Antonio Nino Vendome, has at least one other property that sounds more like a slum. Residents of a Vendome-owned Grand Street building have run to us with stories of vermin infestations, radiators that take a full year to fix, drunk repairmen, and crumbling ceilings held up by foamcore – and that’s just inside the apartments. “The hallways are never cleaned,” gripes one tenant. “They tore all the linoleum off the stairs years ago,” says another, “and they still haven’t replaced it. We’re basically walking on plywood and tar paper.” Vendome begs to differ. “That property was severely depressed when I took it over five or six years ago,” he says. “The linoleum has to be taken care of,” he admits, “but I’m building a temporary art gallery at 328 Spring Street, and the floors there are plywood. If a multimillion-dollar piece of art can rest on it, then I don’t see why the tenants are complaining.”

Brinkley Has No Use For An Older Model
Christie Brinkley and hubby Peter Cook are taking advantage of the East End’s infamous traffic snarls to sell their silver Mercedes G wagon. Driving past Cook’s office complex on Montauk Highway and Station Road in Watermill on Labor Day, attentive Hamptonites noticed Brinkley’s four-year-old Mercedes parked on the side of the road with for sale signs. The couple decided their Lexus SUV was enough. “It’s a question of how many SUVs do you really need?” Cook said with a laugh. Bonus for the buyer is the bumper sticker supporting Brinkley’s well-known anti-nuke cause. “Yes,” Cook said. “It does come with a STOP HONKING, I’M EVACUATING AS FAST AS I CAN. CLOSE MILLSTONE sticker.”

RAG MASTERPIECE Julian Schnabel’s latest work took him a mere two minutes to create. Asked to design the poster for the Hamptons International Film Festival, October 17 to 21, Schnabel simply scribbled the name of the event in black paint on a used drop cloth. And the organizers couldn’t be happier. “It’s not how long it takes to create the art,” gushes festival director Denise Kasell, “it’s how long it takes to come up with the idea, and I don’t know anybody who could have come up with this one but Julian Schnabel.”

DIOR FOLDS Never let it be said that Hedi Slimane takes no pride in his work. The Christian Dior Homme creative director was spotted recently at Barneys checking out his own line and – with the humility of a Gap salesperson – folding the sweaters. “There were only like four of them, “spare eyes told us,” but he made sure they were perfect.”

Additional reporting by Catherine Townsend and Aric Chen.

September 17, 2001