By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
And now, a gossip break: A book is under way that plans to out legendary goddess LENA HORNE. Expect some "Stormy Weather" indeed.
Meanwhile, the forecast is uncertain for Jenny's sister from the block. Sources say that LYNDA LOPEZ's version of The View is by no means a definite go-ahead. Producer J.LO's option was picked up, but the show, at best, will be a mid-season replacement depending on the reception given the KIMORA LEE SIMMONS-JULES ASNER version of The View. My reaction to that should be "God, that fucking hurts!" but I'll go with the more practical "Vote for Kerry."
JOAN OF ARF
JOAN RIVERS came back to Fez last week for an acidic, incorrect, and hilarious set that bashed the Bush girls ("Their designated driver is TEDDY KENNEDY") and for equal time, the Kerry ones too. ("Ugly! They favor the father! They should have feedbags!") But even worse, said the comic, is DONATELLA VERSACE, who's so homely "you want to hang her on a door in Africa."
Wearing a stole made of her dead dog, Spike, Joan lashed out at PETA members ("This fur in death has gone better places than you'll ever go in life") and added that the dog killed himself, "which in my family is not such a rare occurrence." (She was referring to her dead hubby, Edgar.) Most shockingly of all, she referenced 9-11 by cracking, "Three thousand widows. Well, five had to be kind of happy he's not coming back!"
Icame backto Joan's dressing room afterward and asked why she's moving to the TV Guide channel. "Enough with E!" she said. "RUPERT MURDOCH owns 40 percent of the TV Guide channel and they're gonna turn it into another Fox." But will she be sharing the screen with all those listings? "No! My show is the first one they're taking the crawl away for, and Melissa's will be the second." Too bad, she laughed. "I thought I'd never have to shave my legs again!"
A gossip report making its way around the Internet serves the inside scoop on various Broadway stars in a steamy and knowledgeable-sounding way. The main problem is I'm the only one who cares about Broadway stars. But still, let's wiggle our Fosse hands and summarize some of the juicier items: A composer was blowing a male fan, who reached down to guide the guy's head only to inadvertently pull his toupee off. A thought-to-be-straight-but-isn't musical star who was in last season's big revival is insanely jealous that Christopher Seiber came out and became even more respected. A theater-TV staple likes 'em young, but not as young as that Tony winner, who likes 'em 16 to 18. And that ex-child star has been bottoming out for his Broadway lover, whose boyfriend was the last to know about it. Most shockingly of all, they say that Hugh Jackman is indeed straight and very comfy about it. ("His handlers insisted a hetero be cast as his love interest. Hugh didn't care either way.") What's more, Rosie O'Donnell quietly paid for the medical expenses when one of her old Grease cast mates got sick. God, Broadway's a scandalous place!
And furthermore: Spies tell me that Denzel Washington was just hangin' on Sean Combs' yacht in St. Tropez, and it wasn't always such a holiday. In between chunks of time spent staring blankly into space, Combs would regale Washington with streams of hip-hoppy, I'm-so-street jive talk, assuming he'd adore his host getting down with his bad self. He didn't. "I have no idea what you're trying to say," replied Washington.
In clearer news about a newly urbanized star: Page Six just reported that Tom Cruise waited till the lights went down at the Collateral premiere to change his seat to be next to his male trainer. Well, I'm just guessing here, but I bet the upshot of that item will be: Tom's lawyer will fire off a beheading-threatening letter; the trainer will be locked up in an attic with Hans Blix, never to be heard from again; and Tom will promptly announce that he's back with Penelope Cruz. Can't wait!