Published November 28, 2001
At least one Hollywood star whose sexual preference we don't have to wonder about: Recently Dennis Quaid popped into the Russeck Art Gallery in Soho and purchased a famous photograph of Marilyn Monroe. The picture was taken by Bert Stern, and the price was $3,500.
When the gallery's rep called Quaid's assistant to get shipping information, the assistant asked, "What did he buy?" The answer: "Marilyn Monroe naked." The assistant responded: "Of course."
Quaid made the purchase in two visits. The first time he came with a mousy brunette — "very Nancy Reagan-like," said our source — not at all like the brassy girls he's been showing up with in recent press outings. The second time he came on his own "and didn't seem to know how to ship things, that's why he left it to his assistant," I am told.
The Russeck Gallery is not one of those flashy places that gets a lot of attention. They handle artists like Picasso, Miró and Chagall. You've probably heard of some of them. But they almost never take on new artists, which didn't do a lot for the spirits of two other celebs lately. Both actress Jane Seymour and Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin approached the gallery to take on their artwork for exhibition and sale. They were each rejected according to the gallery.
I am told that all the speculation is true, and director Mike Nichols will make Angels in America for HBO.
Angels is Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning, Tony-winning, two-part, eight-hour long play about AIDS. It was a hit on Broadway.
Originally, Robert Altman was going to direct Angels, but he felt that the two separate parts should be made into two separate movies. The unwieldy nature of that plan caused the project to stall. Nichols will make one long movie combining both plays.
For Nichols, a superb director, Angels will be his second HBO offering. His first, an adaptation of the off Broadway play Wit, was a critical and ratings hit earlier this year.
Next week's album chart is mighty interesting, with rock group Creed hitting No.1 with 882,401 copies sold. That's a bigger debut than Britney, Jacko, or other recent hot acts.
But the rest of the chart? Invincible is at No. 12 after four weeks, with a total of around 934,000 copies sold. To be charitable, Michael's sales were only down 2 percent from last week. To be realistic, well, forget that. This is Michael Jackson. At this rate it should take two more weeks minimum to hit 1 million, and by then Neverland will be overgrown with weeds.
Paul McCartney's Driving Rain, which debuted last week with 67,000 copies sold, is off the Top 50 entirely. Mick Jagger enters at No. 31 with a little more than 82,000 copies sold of Goddess in the Doorway. Evidently, Jagger's Being Mick special on ABC last Friday night sent some faithful Rolling Stones fans out to the stores.
Elsewhere, other icons are fading. Madonna's second greatest hits record comes onto the chart lamely at No. 13, with about 165,000 copies. Kid Rock, who's looking a little like last year's big deal, is No. 6 with a respectable but not earthshaking 217,000 copies.
Of all last week's numbers, McCartney's is the most surprising. He issues daily press releases which are dutifully picked up Reuters ("Paul Was Tempted By Coke," "Paul Says Ringo Was Short," etc). Of course, releasing two dreadful charity singles in a row — "Freedom" and "From a Lover to a Friend," didn't help. But there are three possible singles still lurking on that album which could help: "Driving Rain," "Magic" and "About You." Maybe someone at Capitol Records will get interested in working a hit. Then again, maybe not.
Kind of an interesting evening Monday night when a well meaning society diplomat ran across a politicized film director.
The strange occasion was a screening of No Man's Land, a Bosnian kind of existential comedy which takes place during the recent Bosnian war. The movie has gained tremendous buzz around town and will be released by MGM shortly. It seems a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination in the foreign film category.
After the screening, director Danis Tanovic fielded questions from the austere audience which included former Australian Ambassador to Iraq Richard Butler (who is now diplomat in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York), former Fox News anchor Paula Zahn, Stagebill publisher Gerry Byrne and his wife Liz, and a smattering of older, white haired patrician do-gooders. Among them was Robin Chandler Duke, widow of Ambassador Angier Biddle Duke, and herself an accredited diplomat and philanthropist. She's no push over, let's put it that way, even though she was wearing the softest leather gloves I have ever felt.
After expounding on the brutal war between Bosnia and Serbia, Tanovic took Mrs. Duke's question. Which was: "Would you like to meet some of the UN people while you're here. I've done a lot of work with them on peacekeeping."
Tanovic, a handsome dark haired 32 year old, looked Mrs. Duke square in the eyes and replied: "I don't believe in peacekeeping. Keeping whose peace?" The answer was a definite no.
"You think you've had it bad here in New York?" Tanovic asked. "You had one hour of terrorism. We had four years."
Later Mrs. Duke told me she'd concede that Boutrous Boutrous Gali, the former head of the UN, "didn't know what he was doing." Mrs. Duke still plans on trying to introduce Tanovic to Kofi Annan.
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