Jewish World Review Oct. 27, 2003 / 1 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764
Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?:
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | NEW YORK When Beyonce Knowles and her boyfriend, Jay-Z, pulled up in a gas-guzzling SUV and stepped onto the red carpet at last week's "GQ Man of the Year" extravaganza, their bodyguards blocked television crews and paparazzi from getting a clear shot.
The massive men muscled event organizers out of the way and pushed photographers roughly to the side as they led their charges into the Regent Hotel.
"Who the (bleep) do these people think they are, using their thugs to block pictures?" a steamed event staffer complained to me afterward. "If they don't want their pictures taken, don't come to the red carpet! Haven't they heard of the First Amendment?"
Maybe, maybe not. But the singer and the rapper apparently don't want to be photographed together. And using brute force to manipulate photos is standard operating procedure for the state-of-the-art celebrity.
"It's all part of the game," says a paparazzo who doesn't want to be identified. "Bodyguards are usually really big guys. They just block you with their bodies. They get physical, push you around, threaten you. Using umbrellas is pretty standard. Shining lights in people's eyes is a West Coast thing. It stops the cameras from focusing. I first saw it with Pam Anderson's bodyguards, about six years ago."
"Access Hollywood" correspondent Billy Bush said he likes Jay-Z's and Beyonce's bodyguards, but advises: "If someone doesn't want to be photographed, they should avoid the red carpet and go in a side entrance. That's what normally happens."
The paparazzo has a different experience: "They just generally try to grab your camera. Britney Spears' bodyguard did that to me outside the Peninsula Hotel. It's illegal it's called assault, but it doesn't bother them much. J.Lo's people are normally fine.
"Madonna's driver is really good, but if she's with her Kabbalah idiots, they're insane. They ripped the lens off my camera last year. They are not bodyguards, they are just maniacs. Ben Affleck's bodyguards are normally fine."
As for Beyonce and Jay-Z, a two-shot "could go for $5,000 to $10,000 if it's exclusive."
When this column asked Yvette Shore, Beyonce's publicist at Sony Music, about last week's incident, Shore responded with a stiff verbal shove: "I wasn't there, so I have no comment." Is blocking photos a regular tactic? "I don't know about that," Shore snapped. But why would they have been blocking photos? "Did you miss the part where I said I wasn't there?"
WHERE'S AARON Brown?
"NewsNight" anchor Aaron Brown who once proclaimed himself "the face of CNN" is having a bad year. First he was AWOL from CNN's Columbia Shuttle Feb. 1 disaster coverage to play a celebrity golf tournament (explaining later that he didn't have the proper anchor-ready attire and, in any case, had spent $13,000 to charter a jet to Palm Desert, Calif.). In the meantime, "NewsNight" has slid in the ratings. And on Thursday, Brown was absent from CNN's big political coverage breakfast for advertisers at the Waldorf-Astoria. Larry King, who emceed the event, announced that Brown couldn't make it because he'd been up late the night before. A CNN spokeswoman told me that Brown also had to catch a flight early Friday to interview former president Gerald Ford in California. A commercial flight, I hope.
POSTCARDS FROM THE MIDDLE
Hollywood is buzzing over Carrie Fisher's latest novel and it isn't even out yet.
Fisher's first book in a decade, "The Best Awful," won't be published till January. But it will no doubt be read as a series of dishy blind items concerning the bad habits of the Hollywood elite and Fisher's relationship with Creative Artists Agency honcho Bryan Lourd, with whom she shares an 11-year-old daughter, Billie.
The 43-year-old Lourd is a powerful super-agent who, unlike the 47-year-old novelist, is extremely private about his private life.
Fisher, who created the literary alter-ego Suzanne Vale in "Postcards from the Edge," begins this novel: "Suzanne Vale had a problem, and it was the one she least liked thinking about: She'd had a child with someone who forgot to tell her he was gay."
Lourd, whose fictional stand-in is a Mississippi-born studio executive named Leland (Lourd hails from Louisiana), said through a spokesman that he's read all seven drafts of his ex-lover's novel. "I'm Carrie Fisher's biggest fan. People are going to love the book. I do."
Fisher, who was with Lourd for three years in the early 1990s, supplies a rich menu of characters that will keep folks guessing: Who is Dean Bradbury, a Jack Nicholson-like character who picks Suzanne up at a memorial service for a famous producer, has a one-night stand, and the next morning leaps out of bed to play golf?
Who's Dani Campbell, "Hollywood's first lesbian of cinema"? Who's Harvey Metzger, the television producer who had a brief affair with Leland? Some real bold-facers, such as Ed Begley Jr. and Meg Ryan, make cameo appearances.
Simon & Schuster President David Rosenthal told me not to get too excited: "This is fiction, and like all great fiction, it is inspired by real life. And like other fiction by Carrie, there are autobiographical aspects. But are any of the characters in the book specifically based on real folks? No."
HOUSE FLOODED WHEN NOT AFIRE?
; Ken Auletta's long-awaited New Yorker profile of Dow Jones, the troubled parent company of The Wall Street Journal, focuses on the hot-blooded behavior of Journal publisher Karen Elliott House.
Auletta reports that House is a leading candidate to replace 61-year-old Dow Jones CEO Peter Kann (who happens to be her husband) when he faces mandatory retirement in four years. The company lost $8 million last year, even after reducing costs by $179 million and, since 2000, terminating 1,700 employees.
The 55-year-old House is mercurial, to put it mildly. When she's not sobbing, she's yelling, Auletta reports.
Auletta reports that at the Journal's two-day summer retreat, House's voice broke and her eyes welled up in the middle of her talk on the importance of journalistic independence. "House cried on nine occasions during our two interviews," Auletta writes. "Once, she was describing (Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger), and when I asked why she was crying she struggled to regain her composure and said, 'Partly because Steiger is a nice guy.' Then she choked up again."
But House who made $535,000 last year, compared to her husband's $935,000 salary can also explode with a lightning temper.
Auletta reprises a well-known story of House, the Journal's diplomatic correspondent in 1986, throwing a glass of wine at then-managing editor Norman Pearlstine (now the editor-in-chief of Time Inc.) during an argument over her unauthorized appearance on "The McLaughlin Group." Auletta reveals that a Dow Jones flack later claimed in an unpublished letter to Vanity Fair (which printed the original anecdote) that House "tossed wine on Mr. Pearlstine's shirt in 1986 after he made a sexist remark about another female Journal reporter." Pearlstein and executive Washington editor Al Hunt, who witnessed the wine-hurling, vehemently denied the charge.
Auletta also reports a 1984 clash between House and European Wall Street Journal Managing Editor John Huey (now Time Inc.'s editorial director). When House and Huey both assigned correspondents to cover the same story, Huey phoned her in Maine, where she was vacationing with Kann. "You want me to staff it or do you want to?" Huey asked innocently. "She starts screaming at me over the phone, 'John Huey, I'm not going to sit here and let you call me a liar!'" Auletta quotes Huey.
The New Yorker story also describes the deterioration of the close friendship between Pearlstine and Kann after House became Kann's second wife in 1984. House and Kann looked on at Pearlstine's farewell party in 1992, when Pearlstine presented to Steiger a 2 1/2-foot-tall papier-mache dog with a copy of the Journal in its teeth.
"It was the same dog," Auletta writes, "that Kann and House had given Pearlstine at his wedding, in 1988. 'It was a rebuke,' according to a reporter who knew that Pearlstine was publicly returning the wedding gift."
It was 20 years ago today. Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.
Actually, it was almost 38 years ago, and John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were at the Abbey Road Studios recording "Sgt. Pepper," the Beatles' iconic LP. During a late-night session in January 1967, Lennon scratched out the album's track list on a 3 1/2 by 8 inch brown envelope, and left it behind.
Now rare document dealer Gary Zimet wants to sell the envelope for $54,000. "It's the track list of the greatest rock-n-roll album in history, in John Lennon's own hand," Zimet tells me.
Former Beatles manager Peter Brown, now a New York PR man, is impressed. "I was not aware of the existence of this piece it would be pretty special," he says. "The album was enormously special. It was a turning point. It was a concept album, and so therefore the order of the songs was even more important."
Beatles road manager Mal Evans, who played harmonica on the "Sgt. Pepper" track "Benefit of Mr. Kite," retrieved the envelope from the studio and kept it until his strange and violent death in 1976. After his girlfriend called the police to their Los Angeles home, saying he was "totally messed up" on Valium, the cops shot him when he refused to surrender his rifle.
In the mid-1980s, the envelope, along with Evans's letter of authentication, was acquired by an auction house and ended up with Zimet.
INVASION OF THE PARTY SNATCHERS?: California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger says he's a loyal Republican. Not so his wife, Maria Shriver. The future first lady has asked her Democratic friends, including Bill Clinton loyalists and veteran campaign operatives, to help find a chief of staff to work for her in Sacramento. "The job has not been very fleshed out," said an e-mail circulating last week, "but she's looking for someone who is bright, loyal (obviously a key characteristic), a Democrat (yes, it's true) and a fast learner. The person does not need to have past political experience, but does need to be willing to spend weekdays in Sacramento. It could be a pretty cool job for the right person." Consider this a free want ad, Maria!
NO ROOM ON THE PLANE: Watching the Marlins beat the Yankees in Game 5 of the World Series Thursday night was bad enough. But for Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, it was even worse to see, on her television screen, City Comptroller Billy Thompson and Council Speaker Gifford Miller sitting behind Mayor Bloomberg in Miami's Pro Player Stadium. Bloomberg had invited some pals including Thompson, Miller, Billy Crystal, Mets pitcher Al Leiter and Congressman John Sweeney to fly down to Miami on his private jet. But not Gotbaum, who wondered if Hizzoner is running an old boys club. Bloomberg press secretary Ed Skyler, also a passenger, didn't sound too worried. "Maybe if she had made a bet with the Public Advocate of Miami, she would have bumped someone off the flight," he told me. "Do you know if Betsy Gotbaum is a Yankees fan?" Gotbaum fired back: "Does Mr. Skyler think women don't like baseball?" The mayor's girlfriend, state banking superintendent Diana Taylor, was also along on Air Bloomberg.
FLIRTING AND THE CITY: Actresses Aisha Tyler and Gabrielle Union are both very married, but that didn't stop them from making time with "Sex and the City" hunk Jason Lewis at the Chelsea nightspot Suede last week. The two lovely ladies were competing for Lewis's attentions, along with hordes of young women who were throwing themselves at him, after the "GQ Man of the Year Awards." J.Lo's ex, Cris Judd, was trying, unsuccessfully, to get in on the action.
HAPPY ENDING: Gun-control activist Dustin Hoffman was bummed that the National Rifle Association left him off its enemies list of "Anti-Gun Individuals and Celebrities." So a few weeks ago the movie star wrote to NRA President Kayne Robinson, aka the Great Satan of gun-control supporters everywhere, and alerted him to this grave omission. "I was deeply disappointed when I discovered my name was not on this list," Hoffman confided. But Robinson dissed the actor's plea until I called NRA headquarters Thursday to ask why the powerful firearms lobby considers anti-gun celebs Michael Douglas and Britney Spears worthy of its so-called "blacklist," but not Hoffman? NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam was quick on the draw. "We appreciate Dustin Hoffman taking the time to express his views," said. "He's now on the list."
THE SKINNY ON JENNY: What's up with former MTV babe Jenny McCarthy? "Whoring myself," she told me before headlining a Goldschlager liquor promotion at the Q Lounge in Chelsea. "Just kidding." Actually, the 31-year-old McCarthy is finally re-emerging as a celeb after giving birth last year to son Evan. "I was huge! I'm 5-foot-7 and I weighed 204 pounds. So I had 70 pounds to lose in the last eight months. When you're like that, you basically just hide under a rock." McCarthy, who's in "Scary Movie 3," is doing a sitcom pilot for CBS and getting ready to release "Belly Laughs," a book on her pregnancy due in May.
THE PARENT TRIP: United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie says that in order to spend quality time with her adopted son, Maddox, "I take two months off after every film to travel with him, for the U.N." Ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton isn't in the picture. "My son can be proud," the star of "Beyond Borders" told a friend. "It's not about being a movie star. I want him to know a successful life is about being a good person."
QUEEN FOR A NIGHT: You'd think Martha Stewart had picked up a laurel, not a federal indictment, judging by the way folks greeted the alleged insider trader at the National Design Awards last Wednesday night. The domestic diva, wearing a chunky knit cardigan with a sturdy leather-and-fur wrap, was the center of attention at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum dinner. "We love you, Martha!" a group of well-groomed guys called out flamboyantly, while a middle-aged woman gave her a thumbs-up. A mellow Martha, who goes on trial Jan. 12, didn't attack any photographers, and architect I.M. Pei gave her a hug as she left.
SUSPENDERS OF DISBELIEF?: After announcing plans last week to join George Bush the elder on his next parachute jump in June, Larry King told a CNN political coverage breakfast: "It's going to be an honor for me to be the first Jewish parachutist. We don't do that. We own the plane. They jump."
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?