With Deborah Schoeneman
Just when we thought we’d had enough of Joe Millionaire runner-up Sarah Kozer in her now-infamous bondage videos, it seems we’ll be seeing even more of the buxom blonde. A source close to Kozer reports that she’s been telling friends she’s agreed to appear topless in an upcoming issue of Playboy. We’re told that she initially declined the magazine’s offer of $1 million to go completely nude, but then took it up on its second offer—$500,000 for topless shots. In last week’s issue of US Weekly, Kozer wrote an account of being on the show and how her fifteen minutes of fame have garnered her work on Extra!, development deals for a cooking show and book, and how she has been “approached by Maxim and Playboy.” She didn’t bother to mention that the Playboy gig was a go. A Playboy rep declined to comment. Kozer’s publicist wouldn’t confirm or deny our story, because “nothing is set in stone yet.”
Mario Buatta has finally been paid for his Learning Annex lecture. In nickels. As we first reported, Buatta had been fighting for months with the Annex about how much money it owed him for a lecture he gave in October. Annex director Steven Schragis finally promised to fork over $162. But Buatta was shocked when the payment arrived in the form of two Learning Annex tote bags full of nickels. The Prince of Chintz wasn’t amused: “What a stupid jerk.” Schragis makes no apologies: “We thought he was nickel-and-diming us, so we nickeled him back.”
While residents of Chelsea’s London Terrace are buzzing that artist Ross Bleckner has bought Annie Leibovitz’s penthouse apartment, they shouldn’t be welcoming him to the neighborhood just yet. Bleckner tells us that although the celebrity shutterbug agreed to sell him the place, the deal recently fell through. “I think she’s having trouble with her other place,” Bleckner says, referring to Leibovitz’s new pad in the West Village. “So I don’t know if she wants to sell it anymore.”
Hollywood is coming east—very east. Three movies will be shooting in the Hamptons over the next few months. First, new East End homeowner Renée Zellweger may want to watch where she’s walking, because she could run into her old flame, Jim Carrey. He and Kate Winslet are shooting scenes for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at celebrity lawyer Michael Kennedy’s Wainscott estate, Kill Kare. Hamptonian Alec Baldwin may also have an unexpected run-in: Oscar winner Kim Basinger, his ex-wife, returns to the area to film The Door in the Floor with Jeff Bridges. And don’t think of getting a room at the Southampton Inn in late spring. We hear that the cast and crew of Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton’s as-yet-untitled romantic comedy—directed by Nancy Meyers—have booked all 90 rooms for the first three weeks of May.
MENU CHANGE: Théo has served its last supper. However, the Spring Street restaurant will reopen under a new name on April 1 as a “truffle bistro” with French chef Bruno Clément at the helm. “We’re making it a lot lighter, warming it up,” says owner Jonathan Morr. “We want a completely different energy.” Morr has also poached Craig Pogson, former maître d’ at Orsay and La Goulue, to run the front of the house… . Meanwhile, the recent relaunch of Guastavino’s upstairs dining room is kaput. We’re told that from now on, it will only be rented out for private events.
COOKIE MONSTER: Add Tori Amos to the list of celebs with a kooky demand or two. While we weren’t surprised to hear that she asked for water and tulips in her dressing room when she recently filmed a concert for the Oxygen network (airing March 16) at the Chelsea Market, we chuckled over her third request: two boxes of Famous Amos—get it?—chocolate-chip cookies. That was 500 cookies for a two-hour gig.
SOCIETY INK: Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group, and his wife, Christine, have purchased another home to add to their collection spanning the Upper East Side, East Hampton, Jamaica, and Saint-Tropez. We hear they recently shelled out $27 million for Four Winds, the landmarked ocean-to-lake Palm Beach compound of Robin and John O. Pickett Jr., former owners of the New York Islanders… . In other socialite news, Bettina Zilkha tells us that she’s signed a deal with Assouline to write a coffee-table book about Eleanor Lambert’s famed Best Dressed List.