The Fix

Chris Noth and Candace Bushnell dress up and discuss Tolstoy and cocaine, and Nicole Kidman charms U.N. members. Plus: Mel Gibson to direct lesbian "Braveheart"?

Salon Staff
April 28, 2004 1:25PM (UTC)

Afternoon Briefing:
Black, white and read all over: The New York Observer wonders why Truman Capote's Black and White ball was such a big deal, since Frank Sinatra left early and it cost only $16,000, and why anyone would try to emulate the affair, as literature enthusiasts did last week at the New York Public Library. The 2004 version had Chris Noth chatting about Tolstoy and cocaine with Candace Bushnell. (N.Y. Observer)

Speaking of history: Time Inc. may bring back Life magazine -- this time as a supplement to Friday newspapers. The magazine, which stopped publishing in 2000, would relaunch this fall. (Reuters)


The next Mel controversy? Word is that Mel Gibson's next film project is best described as a lesbian "Braveheart." According to Variety, the story is about Britain's first queen, Boudica (or Boadicea), who led her people against Roman invaders in the ninth century. (TV Guide)

I scream, you scream ... Free cone day at a Ben and Jerry's parlor near the New York Times reportedly drew a lot of Times staffers. The ice cream giveaway apparently cleared the paper's ethical guidelines, which include the following reminder: "Accepting a reasonably priced meal, golf outing or sporting event or entertainment ticket in the local area on an occasional basis may be reasonable." (Gawker)

Celebrity diplomacy: Nicole Kidman charmed members of the United Nations this week when she took time out from filming Sydney Pollack's "The Interpreter" at the U.N. building in New York to attend a cocktail party hosted by the Australian U.N. ambassador John Dauth and the New York consul general Kenneth Allen. Kidman's co-star, Sean Penn, did not attend. (IMDb)


-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
On tonight's reformatted "Extreme Makeover" (10 p.m. ET; ABC) -- one reveal each half-hour, instead of two at the end -- one lucky lady gets a tattoo removal, breast lift, tummy tuck and tooth whitening. On "Miracle Hunters" (8 p.m. ET; Discovery), scientists investigate the resurgence of miraculous occurrences in America with a skeptical eye.


-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Naming names: ABC News has announced that "Nightline" will dedicate its entire half-hour broadcast on Friday to Ted Koppel reading the names of the more than 500 U.S. soldiers killed in action in Iraq since March 19, 2003. The show's executive producer, Leroy Sievers, says the reading of the names -- accompanied by photos of the dead -- is an attempt to pay tribute to people who gave their lives in the name of their country and to "remind our viewers -- whether they agree with the war or not -- that beyond the casualty numbers, these men and women are serving in Iraq in our names, and that those who have been killed have names and faces." Koppel says the decision to run the show on a day other than Memorial Day, which he says would have been "the most logical occasion," was made to maximize its impact. But it has been pointed out that Friday happens to be the second night of May sweeps. (Washington Post)


Calling names: Elton John, who recently guest-judged on Fox's "American Idol," says he found the voting by the national viewing audience to be "incredibly racist." "The three people I was really impressed with, and they just happened to be black, young female singers, and they all seem to be landing in the bottom three," John said Tuesday at a news conference in New York. "They have great voices. The fact that they're constantly in the bottom three -- and I don't want to set myself up here -- but I find it incredibly racist." (Reuters)

Nothing to sneeze at: Bill Clinton's New York office was evacuated for two hours Tuesday morning after a Secret Service agent stationed there opened a package containing a letter and a vial of white powder. Though preliminary tests were negative for anthrax, further tests will be conducted and the agent was taken to the hospital to be examined. Clinton was not in the office when the package was opened. (1010wins)

Puffy pile-on: The day after he opened to, to put it charitably, mixed reviews in "Raisin in the Sun," the New York press is piling on Sean "Puffy/P. Diddy" Combs for failing to fork over all of the $2 million he raised for charities and public schools by running the NYC Marathon last year. Combs apparently still owes the New York public school system $500,000, which was to be used for the construction of libraries and computer centers. His rep says he's waiting to be given a tour of the schools to make sure that the money he's handed over to date has been "put to good use." (Page Six)


Meanwhile ... Russell Crowe, in Toronto filming Ron Howard's "Cinderella Man," was reportedly so upset by news of the fire-bombing of a Jewish elementary school in Montreal that he called the school to offer to pay for the rebuilding of its library. "He wanted to make sure that our students knew that he was thinking about them," said a school spokeswoman of the actor, on whom fatherhood seems to have had a softening a effect. (Reuters)

Taking his gripe to court: Mohamed al Fayed, father of Dodi, has filed a lawsuit against CBS, claiming the network invaded his privacy and caused him emotional distress by airing the photos of Diana dying on "48 Hours Investigates" last week, though the network opted not to air photos of Dodi taken at the same time. Fayed's lawyer said his client "was also very close, as was Dodi, to Princess Diana ... and he was also very upset that her photograph was used." (Reuters)

Splitsville, boomtown: Ellen Barkin has confirmed that she and Ron Perelman have separated. (Rush and Molloy) According to reports, Halle Berry, citing "irreconcilable differences" and making no mention of husband Eric Benet's widely reported infidelity (and sex addiction), has petitioned for divorce, asking to "terminate the court's ability to award spousal support" to Benet. (N.Y. Daily News) Robert Downey Jr. and his long-suffering, long-estranged wife, Deborah Falconer, are divorcing after 12 years of marriage. Downey is engaged to "Gothika" producer Susan Levin, in which he starred with ... Halle Berry. (Associated Press)


Oh, and also? Sofia Coppola and Quentin Tarantino have been spotted looking "very cozy" together all over New York. Their rep insists they're just "good friends." (Page Six)

-- Amy Reiter

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