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  Gossip with Gregoire!
December 5, 2000

Superstar Stocking Stuffers

Oh, the holidays are here, and in New York, all the city is aglow with glorious trimmings. Now, I'm not talking about the lame-o Macy's store windows or that glorified root they're calling a Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. And forget about that tired spectacle at Radio City Music Hall and the hoard of cheap, dirty-looking ornaments strapped crudely onto every decrepit light post in the city. No, my friends, I'm talking about the real meaning of Christmas -- celebrity! Like wise men to a manger, the glamorous have been flocking to the Big Apple. We're pushing all my who's-dating-who gossip off the page this week so I can highlight some of the more fascinating star encounters, many of which, dear readers, were experienced by yours truly on a few rare Yuletide excursions outside my headquarters here at the Howard Johnson's...

Last Tuesday, I decided to ring in the holiday season downtown at Fez to witness the marvelous lounge duo Kiki and Herb set fire to a host of seasonal favorites. Kiki and Herb aren't your traditional cabaret stars; they're an elderly couple with scandalously little talent and psychological scars as deep as the Grand Canyon. (Underneath their thick charcoal make-up and wondrously tacky apparel lay creators Justin Bond and Kenny Melman.) Kiki and Herb have been hits in the East Village for a few years now, and fabulons from all walks of glam have already enjoyed their wacky antics. (In fact, Kiki and Herb's latest Christmas CD named after their current show -- "Jesus Wept" -- enlists the talents of Debbie Harry, Rufus Wainwright and Molly Ringwald!)

How do I know that Kiki and Herb have hit the big time? Well, as I sat in my private booth in the back, enjoying round after round of free Alize samples, I delightfully observed the uber-celebrity who sat right next to me -- scandal icon Monica Lewinsky! Seated with a female friend, Monica lapped up a small meal and a couple drinks and delightfully watched the spectacle on stage. At one point, as she finished her beverage, she pushed her empty glass with its lipstick-stained straw to the side...very near to where my companion and I were sitting. Oh, to have plucked the plastic collectable from the container! The straw which touched the lips which touched the very manhood of the leader of the free world! I could have paid my rent by selling the object on eBay!

Later, Kiki launched herself from the stage and swung back to the tables, where she sang one chorus to me while gripping my arm, then aimed another lyric directly at Monica and her friend. The packed cabaret room was literally gripped with panic. Would Kiki spring a cigar joke? Fortunately, the unusually unsubtle character moved graciously away without mention of Linda Tripp or the Gap's new fall collection.

How did the important historical figure-turned-handbag designer look? Her transition to urban, West Village fashionista is complete. She was head to toe in all-black; her hair was styled in a tasteful brush-forward, and her make-up was nearly invisible. Gone are the days of red ruby highlighter wrapping her infamous lips! The days of utter tackiness are gone. Now she looks like every other New Yorker!

On Thursday, I left the HoJo and walked down 46th Street to the opening of a new Hell's Kitchen bar named Posh. (As Posh as Posh Spice, actually.) As I brushed by the multitudes of tourists, I spotted a makeshift photo session to my left and went to investigate. There standing against a plain background heeding the cries of hungry paparazzi were Lance Bass and Britney Spears, hamming it up for the lenses! Lance was dashingly dressed in a slimmin' tuxedo and looked, dare I say it, rather handsome. (Not so womanly as usual.) Britney, however, was wearing a garish silver and black beaded evening gown, inappropriate for the weather and more suited for Gloria Stuart or Lauren Bacall. It was unclear exactly why they were posing in the driveway of the Marriot Marquis, though I assume it had something to do with their Fox prime-time specials that were airing that evening. I didn't stay to find out; an open bar awaited me!

Two days later, I was speeding downtown to catch former Rosie O'Donnell Show writer Seth Rudetsky debut his smashing one-man-show, Rhapsody In Seth, at Soho art space Here. Seth has played piano for some of the great Broadway stars -- Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Debbie Gibson (okay, not-so-great) -- and accordingly gushes over his experiences. Luckily, he kisses the glorious ass of Betty Buckley repeatedly, for there she was in the audience right in front of me, totally inconspicuous, and having a ball. She didn't even flinch at the "Carrie" reference! (Bets, as you know, played Sissy Spacek's compassionate gym teacher.)

Afterwards, I met up with some of my spies, who had also enjoyed weekends of star-studded encounters. One spy had just come from the Chemical Brothers concert at Centro-Fly. While the sold-out crowd danced the entire evening to their "rockin' beats," my spy got to pop into the deejay booth to meet the Brothers (actually not brothers) Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, and also a very esteemed guest -- U2 frontman Bono! Meeting the polite, soft-spoken rock idol, my spy described him as "short and haggard" and "having the look of living several lives." Sounds like a young, refreshing version of Lou Reed to me!

With Bono in Chelsea and Buckley in Soho, where does that put Ben Affleck? Well, earlier on Saturday, the charm-overloaded "Bounce" man was seen working out at the new Crunch gym near New York University in the Village. My flustered, trim spy claimed that Matt Damon's boy friend (that's a space between the words, not one word) looked "rather strapping and 6-foot-2." Not sure if he really is 6'2", but damn, he looked it! Later in the evening, a spy trailed him to Eugene's, the lush martini bar in upper Chelsea that's a bitch to get into, unless you're an Oscar winner! Ben apparently delved right into the madness, "bobbing up and down" and partying with "a bunch of anorexic models." My source added that the small group he was with seemed to have "a lot of attitude," but, hey, I have a lot of attitude -- why shouldn't Benny? Hmm, I wonder if he was with his reported latest squeeze Shoshanna Lonstein. Ben and Shoshanna were seen earlier in the week together at the Angelika, checking out the new Geoffrey Rush vehicle "Quills." For the record, I swear to you, I am not having Benny followed.


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