Is Barbra Streisand getting sleepy?
I'm told that she's been having so much trouble sleeping that she's enlisted one of Hollywood's top hypnotists to help her nod off.
The hypnotherapist may also be able to cure Babs of her noted stage fright in time for her big June 7 John Kerry fund-raiser in Los Angeles with Neil Diamond and Willie Nelson — reported here first exclusively.
Meanwhile, Streisand fans are gearing up for June 5, when the Diva of Divas auctions off 400 lots of personal memorabilia, including most of her movie costumes, to raise money for her foundation, which will in turn make contributions to Streisand's pet causes. You can see the details of this at www.julienentertainment.com.
The Streisand Foundation doled out over half a million dollars in 2002 to a large number of liberal and humanitarian causes such as AmFar, Habitat for Humanity, UJA Federation, GLAAD, Rock the Vote and the John Wayne Cancer Institute.
The foundation, according to its tax records, seems to be sound, with only one employee — longtime Democratic party fund-raiser Margery Tabankin — receiving a nice salary of $166,000.
The hypnotist is not on the payroll.
If you can't follow this story, I won't blame you a bit. But there's no honor among thieves, especially in Hollywood, where a crazy kind of mob war has broken out among a variety of characters who sleep in velour, have drivers and limos and dine on expense accounts.
You know, to start, that Michael Eisner is at the top of everyone's hit list. He's fending off shareholders in Disney, Disney relatives, the robot from "Toy Story" and a hit man from a Tarantino movie.
A couple of years ago, in order to push Michael Ovitz from the Disney inner circle, Eisner paid him off with $140 million. Now the Disney stockholders, who are already angry, are suing to get the money back.
At the time Ovitz was being pushed out, Vanity Fair ran an extremely unflattering profile of him, in which the former chief of Creative Artists Agency declared that a "velvet Mafia" of gay higher-ups in Hollywood had conspired to destroy him.
Simultaneously, Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter bullied himself into producing a documentary about Hollywood's wildest producer, Robert Evans, using money from his pal, Barry Diller, then the head of USA Studios, a division of Universal Pictures.
Diller, if you're still awake, was named as part of the "velvet Mafia" referred to by Ovitz. David Geffen, Sandy Gallin and a few others make up this gang along with Calvin Klein and — I dunno — Elton John.
Carter is close to all of these people, but now Ovitz is said to hate him largely because of the article. Carter is also said to be close to Eisner, or at least nicer to him than he is to Ovitz.
Eisner, at least, has not had the guts taken out of him in Vanity Fair since all his troubles began at Disney — something the old Vanity Fair would have done without thinking twice.
Back to Eisner: He is accused of interfering with projects by two journalists. First, he's said to have gotten Kim Masters' unauthorized biography of him killed at Random House. The book moved to William Morrow, but Masters, a writer for Vanity Fair, was suddenly out of the magazine.
Eisner was also sued by Nikki Finke, an "agitator" in the movie press, but still someone with access and scoops, for allegedly killing her job with the New York Post.
At this point, if you're Eisner, Larry Hagman is playing you, or you're playing him. And if Eisner is J.R. Ewing, Ovitz is Cliff Barnes.
In the next episode, Ovitz's expense accounts from his Disney run are revealed, and the details are not pretty. Thousands of dollars for dinner with one star. Really unbelievably expensive, unnecessary gifts to others.
Eisner's correspondence is revealed. He says he thought Ovitz would commit suicide if he was fired.
Ovitz, a very private man, cannot be happy. Eisner now makes him seem like a depressed, wanton spender. Carter makes him seem like a wild homophobe who is now despised by the half of Hollywood who didn't hate him beforehand.
On top of all this, Ovitz knows his deposition testimony in the Disney stockholder lawsuit is about to break, with Ovitz's boasting that he was worth every penny to Disney because he kept Tim Allen from exiting "Home Improvement," a Disney-produced sitcom.
But maybe Ovitz is J.R. scheming in the background, a Machiavelli for our time, and Eisner is Cliff Barnes, never long in the catbird seat, because all of a sudden, as the testimony is coming out and Ovitz is looking bad again — Eisner's buddy Carter gets a swift public kick.
Suddenly everyone is interested in very old news: that Evans documentary Carter produced, and his role in getting "A Beautiful Mind" made into a movie three years ago. Like, who cares?
Answer: Probably only one man: Ovitz. And, maybe not coincidentally, the Los Angeles Times, upon which the sudden importance of this story rests and seems extremely timely long after its shelf life.
Because the L.A. Times wants it, the New York Times wants it too, and so does the Wall Street Journal. The Hollywood journalist crowd, which was waiting for Ovitz's testimony, now stampedes across the room to see if it can catch Carter, the Eisner supporter, taking bribes to put Nicole Kidman on his cover.
Ovitz, a master manipulator of the press, has gotten the heat moved to a new victim.
Unfortunately, when the two Timeses finally published their articles on Friday, the revelations were, well, a yawn. Carter got $100,000 as a finder's fee for suggesting Brian Grazer make "A Beautiful Mind." Then Grazer — gasp! — made the Vanity Fair power list after ... winning the Oscar for "A Beautiful Mind."
Shocking? Not really. But the damage was done. The stories that preceded the actual New York Times and Los Angeles Times pieces suggested that the newspapers really had Carter and were going to torch him.
So far that hasn't happened. The stories about the stories may have made more of an impact than the real ones that followed.
If you've been following the latest episodes of "The Sopranos" then you know that this has been writer-creator David Chase's championship season.
Each week has been better than the last, with three standout moments among many, I think: Tony's relationship with Uncle Junior explored in the episode in which Junior wanders the streets; Tony's breakthrough therapy session with Dr. Melfi, in which the real story about his cousin's imprisonment was revealed; and Carmela's reaction to her lover's callousness ("You'd better watch your step").
It's all been brilliant, and every single actor has done top-notch work. This is not your grandmother's "West Wing."
Last night, though: Marone! Most of the show turned out to be Tony's dream, or nightmare. It was maybe the worst nightmare ever, stuffed with movie references (I stopped counting them, but they included "The Godfather," "The Valachi Papers," "Like Water for Chocolate," "Bugsy," "Diner," "High Noon" and so many more) and guest stars, including — hilariously — Annette Bening playing herself.
When John Heard broke out singing "Three Times a Lady," it was, as they say, too much. Bada bing!
I can't believe there are only two more episodes left in this short season. James Gandolfini's work is so nuanced and brave, the only reason I will bother watching that stupid Emmy show this fall is to see him, Edie Falco, Dominic Chianese and Patti D'Arbanville pick up statues.
Forget about television. "The Sopranos" is better than most of the feature films that have come out this year.
Early Reactions to 'Fahrenheit 9/11'
Michael Moore's controversial film "Fahrenheit 9/11" screened on Thursday night in New York before the director and his staff headed off to the Cannes Film Festival. It was shown there last night.
Here are some comments from one audience member who saw it in New York and does not work for any movie companies.
She wrote: "I was so moved and emboldened by the experience of watching it ... It is passionate without being haughty or condescending, informative without seeming arrogant, the film reaches across the great cultural divide that is destroying our country."
Inevitably, today there will be more reviews from Cannes, but this much is certain: "Fahrenheit 9/11" will be in theaters on Friday, July 2, the beginning of a long July 4 weekend, whether it's being distributed by Lions Gate, Newmarket or any of a half-dozen different small companies that will relish the chance to see the kind of money that "Bowling for Columbine" brought in.