Phil Spector | Adrien Brody | Martha Stewart | Harlem Gets Jazzed Up  

Spector's Comments Make No Friends

Record producer Phil Spector is testing the limits of certain peoples' patience: The family of the woman who died in his house, and his own lawyer. Spector has gone on a rampage declaring that Lana Clarkson, found dead in his home last February, killed herself by putting a loaded gun in her mouth. He has somehow forgotten that he, not she, had a habit of waving guns around.

I told you back in February that Spector, on advice from his attorneys, would do everything he could to discredit Clarkson. In Vanity Fair recently, writer Robert Sam Anson declared that Clarkson was a "thousand dollar a night" hooker.

That did not go down well with Clarkson's family or her attorney, Roderick Lindblom. Sources say they polled everyone around the 41-year-old actress to see if there was any possibility this could be true.

"We came up with nothing. There's no truth to it. We asked everyone we could think of. But everyone knows it not to be true," said a friend.

Clarkson's family is furious, and to that end I am told that Lindblom is composing a letter to Vanity Fair which will outline all their issues -- including the fact that an unnamed source pegged their sister and daughter as a "working girl."

Meanwhile, former O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Shapiro is sticking with Spector's defense, even though his client complains about his high prices in Esquire. Spector evidently feels that he should get a cut-rate, even though he's accused of murder.

"Can you believe he charged me $1 million? I'm supposed to be his friend," Spector tells the magazine. Shapiro's assistant nevertheless told me yesterday: "Mr. Shapiro is still representing Mr. Spector."

Luckily, Spector -- unlike Simpson -- has the money to pay for a defense.

Shapiro himself was unavailable for comment. On the subject of the Clarkson family friend being upset about Spector's constant claims of innocence -- and insistence that Clarkson somehow killed herself, Shapiro is said to be sympathetic.

A source who knows him told me yesterday, "Bob used to say if a client went to use the phone to call the press, he'd break their wrist." Spector, as far as we know, is not yet wearing a cast.

Adrien Brody's Inside Oscar Joke

Not too long into a weird little independent movie called Love the Hard Way, newly minted Oscar winner Adrien Brody makes an inside joke -- in character.

"The Academy appreciates your performance," his character, a career criminal, says sarcastically.

The line got a good laugh the other night at the movie's premiere, especially from Brody and his parents who sat through the whole, excruciating show.

Brody stuck to his parents at the premiere as if they were life preservers, and rarely let them leave his side -- even when they went to the bathroom. Is he a mama's boy? I'd say no, but he seems to be suffering from the same phobias that Gwyneth Paltrow said plagued her after her Oscar win catapulted her to overnight, frenzied fame.

But forget the Oscar: Brody's real cause celebre at the premiere was his hair, which was designed -- for lack of a better description -- like a whirlybird, sort of Clay Aiken plus. Love the Hard Way starts out with promise but turns weird along the way. It almost went direct to video, but Brody's Oscar saved it. (He made the movie before he did The Pianist.)

Brody's performance is dead-on though, and shows that there's a lot more to this fine actor than just The Pianist. Meanwhile, I'd like to see the band that provided the original score to get a recording deal. They come out of Love the Hard Way with all systems pointed to Go.

Martha Stewart Flashback: Unhappy Christmas, 2001

Martha Stewart is all over the news, but don't think she's as vilified as her detractors say. Lots of people -- including Wall Streeters -- are saying that she's gotten a raw deal. I do think the public has started to side with Martha against the government and the SEC. No matter what crimes she committed, the new thinking is, they are nothing compared to the CEO's from Enron, Tyco, etc., who've pillaged the economy for their own gain.

Stewart's situation, and the detailing of specific dates in her scandal, does bring to mind the Christmas party Sam Waksal threw in his Soho loft back on December 6, 2001. That was the party where Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman invited Waksal to Aspen for Christmas and hooked up with a new galpal. It's also where Mick Jagger arrived with photographer/Fiat heir Jean Pigozzi and posed for pictures as if he'd paid to entertain the room. (Sources say he was, you know.)

Amid this frivolity, caviar, and champagne, Stewart was completely out of sorts that night. She sat for a very long time on a door sill in Waksal's entryway. She was clearly inebriated; there were many witnesses. She wouldn't socialize with anyone and seemed so depressed that we wanted to suggest she go home and read a Martha Stewart book on surviving the holidays.

Five days later, Waksal's brother and partner, Harlan, sold almost $50 million of his Imclone stock. The sale caused a huge spike in the average number of Imclone shares traded on a given day -- from 1 million to 5 million. That was December 11th. On the 27th, Stewart, according to the SEC, on advice from Sam Waksal, sold all her Imclone stock and her troubles began. What did she know at that Christmas party? What was making her so upset? The color scheme? The eggnog? The truth is out there.

Harlem Gets Jazzed Up, and So Does Gotham...

This is for all our readers in the New York tri-state area: On Sunday, jazz great Craig Harris is going to give a little impromptu concert up in Harlem. The occasion is the post-festivities following a tour of homes in beautiful and historical Mount Morris Park, Harlem. My own grandmother was born in Harlem in 1904 at the edge of Mount Morris Park, and I can tell you that right now the area is going through an amazing renaissance. Call 212-369-4241 for more information.You will not regret it...

Congratulations to Gotham magazine publisher Jason Binn, the hyper-drive overactive advertising sales genius who's made his Niche magazines into such a cash cow. This month both Gotham and sister magazine Hamptons arrived on my doorstep with a thud. They are heavy with sumptuous color ads for things -- all kinds of luxury items such as watches, furniture and clothes that you could never afford. They look so good in Jason's magazines, though, you want to bathe in their decadence. Jason is now engaged to marry the beauteous and smart Haley Lieberman.

He knows how lucky he is, as do all his friends. Having spent copious amounts of time with Jason in Los Angeles this year, I can tell you Haley will never experience a dull moment. Their life will be lived on an electric scooter of adventures. Mazel tov!...

And last, Only the Strong Survive continues to draw audiences on both coasts -- at Tribeca's Screening Room on Canal Street and in Los Angeles at the Beverly Center.

Check out the new People magazine for Oliver Jones' loving portrait of America's great unheralded artist, the original 'American Idol,' Sam Moore...