With Deborah Schoeneman
Drew Barrymore was in a randy mood at Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy bash at 55 Wall Street. She was overheard telling her boyfriend, Fabrizio Moretti of the Strokes, that a stylist recently lent her a pair of well-worn leather pants once owned by Guns and Roses guitarist Slash. She was gaga over the sizable impression his private parts had left on the crotch. “I want you to put them on and walk around in them for me,” Barrymore instructed Moretti. A few minutes later, she pulled a buxom brunette over to Moretti. Cupping the gal’s left breast, Barrymore cooed, “I could sleep on these. They’re like pillows.” … At the same party, Naomi Campbell told us she’s ready to hit the recording studio again despite having released two albums in the mid-nineties that tanked. “I talked to my A&R guy the other night, and I’m still signed with Sony,” she said. “But I won’t do it under my name. Maybe I’ll call myself Brown Sugar.” … Meanwhile, security zeroed in on MTV chairman and CEO Tom Freston. The overzealous guards made him turn in the Swiss Army knife he carries with him at all times: “You never know when you’ll have something between your teeth or need to clean your fingernails or use the scissors,” Freston told us. “I was just happy I didn’t get an internal. I’ve never been subjected to such a thorough search in my life. It was tougher than getting on a plane in Cambodia.”
Jennifer Esposito is one celeb who doesn’t care about privacy. The co-op board in her East Village building is threatening legal action against her if she doesn’t quiet down—especially her bedroom escapades. “We’ve asked her several times to insulate her apartment so that we don’t hear all of what’s going on,” one resident tells us. “When she has visitors, it’s clearly heard. We know more about her life than we care to.” Other complaints include Esposito’s “screaming” at her dog “at all hours” and blasting “deafening” techno music. The co-op board sent a letter to Esposito last week demanding that she carpet 80 percent of her apartment within a few weeks. Esposito’s rep insists she’s been too busy in California for the past year to bother anyone.
First Hillary Clinton griped about a right-wing conspiracy; now it’s Eric Alterman’s turn. The columnist for The Nation was scheduled to do a reading in L.A. last week from his anti-conservative book What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News. But, he says, a woman claiming to rep him called the store to cancel, saying he was ill. She did the same with C-Span, which was to tape the reading. Fortunately, Alterman found out about it, and the reading went ahead as planned. But then, Alterman says, when he got to the airport, he was told that a woman had canceled his plane ticket.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s bickering at the Grammys was nothing compared with the backstage beef between Busta Rhymes and Ja Rule. This was only two days after Rhymes’s GMC Suburban was shot up outside his Chelsea management company (no one was in the car at the time). An insider tells us that about four hours before showtime, “one of their publicists called and asked to please keep Ja Rule and Busta Rhymes separated.” At that point, their dressing rooms were next to each other. “So that had to be completely reworked, like the floor plan of the dressing rooms and their arrival times at the red carpet,” our tipster says. “And the report that we were getting was that they had to be separated because there had been a gunfight.” Things really got surreal, our source reports, when Ja Rule’s posse showed up dressed in fatigues: “I don’t know if it was a symbolic thing, but it was weird and people were scared.” Rhymes’s rep insists the changes had nothing to do with security. It was a space issue, she says, because Rhymes was bringing twelve people with him and Rule’s entourage numbered fifteen.
COUNTRY TIME: Faith Hill is ready for her close-up. We hear that the singer recently read for a part in the remake of The Stepford Wives, which will star Nicole Kidman.
NIGHT FALL: party’s over at Veruka. We’re told that owner Noel Ashman is fed up with fighting with neighbors who say he has no right operating the club in a residentially zoned building.