"Wedding Crashers" opened pretty big over the weekend, bringing in over $32 million. The Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn comedy is already assured of turning a profit, more than you can say for some other summer movies.
Wilson — nicknamed the "Butterscotch Stallion" by the gossip Web site Defamer.com — celebrated his success on Saturday by being the guest of honor at the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge in Bridgehampton, N.Y., along with Woody Harrelson.
The two footloose actors followed their appearance at the polo matches, where they were carefully placed in a VIP area far from the Mercedes-driving, Ralph Lauren-wearing hoi polloi, with a private dinner at JL East in East Hampton.
But most interesting about the polo matches was a young lady who turned up as a guest.
Twenty-year-old Nicole Shabtai is the daughter of Benny Shabtai, the president and marketing genius behind watch makers Raymond Weil. Shabtai is a longtime fixture on the Hamptons party scene.
Nicole is a sophomore at Duke University, but she's also said to be, if not Wilson's official girlfriend, at least one of his favorite coeds.
Wilson is 36 years old. The age difference is not exactly that between Jerry Seinfeld and Shoshanna Lonstein or Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, but it did have Duke students in a tizzy last February when Wilson showed up on the North Carolina campus to see the beautiful brunette.
When I called Benny yesterday to ask him about all this, he mysteriously referred me elsewhere and declined to comment.
But my sources say that Nicole told her father last year she was a big Owen Wilson fan and wanted to meet him. The dutiful dad apparently complied, with the result being an e-mail relationship between Wilson and Nicole that grew into a more three-dimensional friendship.
This would track with an item that ran last February on the wires when Wilson was spotted dining with "an unidentified brunette" near the Duke campus.
In the meantime, Harrelson attracted attention at the polo matches for being a little fuzzy around the edges all day. It wasn't clear whether this was from the extreme humidity or some other indulgence.
Other notables seen in and around the big Mercedes-Benz tent: Q-Tip, who deejayed for Yahoo; actor Kyle MacLachlan; Star Jones; Victoria Gotti and "Hotel Rwanda" director Terry George.
Hamptons magazine publisher Jason Binn and his pregnant wife Haley were on hand. The pair entertained none other than Howard Stern and girlfriend Beth Ostrosky at Madame Tong's in Southampton, which is, like JL East, part of the Jean-Luc restaurant empire.
The Polo tents were set up with a lot of gadgets from Panasonic, including gigantic plasma TVs, very small and lightweight laptop computers and cool new digital cameras.
"Regis" executive producer Michael Gelman and I investigated the whole display, but, alas, none of these things were included in a gift bag.
Gelman, however, may wind up getting some of those plasma TVs on the "Regis" set this fall.
And yes, that was Howard Stern with beautiful blonde girlfriend Beth at Madame Tong's.
Howard did tell me he was looking forward to moving to Sirius Satellite Radio in January. You may recall this column was the first to report that Stern was spotted at the Sirius offices last year.
But Howard says he has no ill will toward the Infinity Radio executives he is leaving behind.
"They're nice guys," he told me.
But on Sirius he can be the real Howard Stern — no holds barred.
Howard isn't the only Infinity personality to jump to Sirius. "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow is doing the same thing, now that Infinity has wrecked New York's oldies station WCBS-FM, replacing it with institutional junk from the '80s.
It's sort of amazing what damage Infinity did by pulling the plug on the 35-year-old station. WCBS-FM was not just music; it represented a community. New York had a small-town feel because of it. Losing Stern and Morrow shows that Infinity is more limited that its name suggests.
Real jazz aficionados will know the name Sol Yaged.
The 82-year-old clarinetist is kind of a legend, having played with Benny Goodman and on countless hit recordings of the late '40s and all through the '50s.
Of course, if you're a fan of 50 Cent or the Ying Yang Twins, right now you're thinking: Why am I reading this?
So, last night a nice guy named Larry Schaffer, who works in the diamond business and loves good music, brought Yaged to a wedding I attending as a gift for the bride and groom.
The couple was Jan Milner and Mike Zimet, whose security company handles many of the great events in New York. The setting was the Supper Club, where the Zimets put on a real throwback Art Deco wedding that could not have been more elegant.
And then there was Sol Yaged. He just climbed up on the stage and joined the already excellent wedding band.
Yaged, who taught Steve Allen how to play clarinet for the movie "The Benny Goodman Story," can swing like no one I've ever heard. I'm still humming his lead from "Moonglow."
Someone better do a great TV piece on Yaged — he's a natural for Charles Osgood — or get him on "Charlie Rose" or NPR fast, before he gets any older. This is what we call a living legend.
If you're in the New York City area and want to hear two up-and-coming pop stars, this is the week.
On Wednesday, Jessica Domain plays the Triad on West 72nd St. with KMA Studios session musicians. The gig is at 9 p.m. and the tickets are $10.
On Thursday, Leela James, a very hot soul singer who's been in purgatory at Warner Music Group, shows off her much-anticipated album at Irving Plaza.
Later on Thursday night, Ben Taylor and Friends are playing at The Cutting Room, Chris Noth's place at 19 West 24th St. at 10:30 p.m. Ben is a gifted singer songwriter. If I have to tell you who is his "friends" are, then really, what can I say? Just try and catch all these people this sultry summer week.