Maddox Jolie-Pitt gets his first star-billing on a magazine cover this week courtesy of Life & Style Weekly. The Bauer publication, based in New Jersey, took pictures of Maddox's sixth birthday party from a boat, thanks to a telescopic lens and an intrusive international photo agency.
Even though Angelina Jolie has sold pictures of her kids in the past — to People, notably — and for lots of money, this time she was had at her own game. The pictures show Jolie and Brad Pitt cavorting with their kids — Maddox, Zahara and Shiloh (Pax is not on the cover) — mostly unaware that the festivities were being recorded for posterity.
The result is a front-cover full-page shot of Maddox, complete with the magazine's round yellow price tag that reads in black: "1.99."
It's unclear who's become more devalued: the magazines for conducting business formerly left to the National Enquirer and Star, or the parents for putting the dare into the air. Because that's what it became the minute Jolie allowed her kids into the market.
"This is no different than Us' [magazine] recent cover with Shiloh or anything with Suri Cruise," one tabloid expert said.
Whether or not the Pitts can or would sue Bauer for invasion of privacy, the damage is certainly done. And it also shows that the rules have changed. Children used to be off-limits. Then it became a game among paparazzi to get the first pictures of babies after they were born. Now all bets are off.
Because Jolie has let People and others have sanctioned, staged pictures of her kids, paparazzi now feel they have the right to snap away.
Michael Jackson almost looks like a good parent at this point, making sure his kids' faces are covered up all the time. I said almost.
Interestingly, the Maddox birthday pictures were originally being featured online Wednesday as a link to TV's "Access Hollywood."
"Everyone wanted them," an insider told me. "All the shows did features."
But I'm told the NBC syndicated celeb show backed off from actually airing them when they realized the legal brouhaha in the making.
And by midday Wednesday, there was no mention of the shoot at the "Access" site or the ones belonging to "Extra," "ET" and "The Insider."
Maybe you wondered what happened to roots-rock group Counting Crows. Their last album, "Hard Candy," came out five years ago. And leader Adam Duritz has established a better career for himself as dreadlocked ladies' man than rocker.
But time passes, and some people want their legacies preserved. So Duritz has rounded up the Crows. The result is a compelling, beautifully wrought CD called "Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings." It will appear in mid-November on Geffen Records.
The Crows are also performing at Farm Aid in New York on Sept. 9. On the 18th, they're going to do a one-off show of just their classic 1993 album, "August and Everything After."
I must admit to having a favorite Crows song that I had forgotten, called "A Long December (One More Night in Hollywood)." It's truly a lost classic.
Maybe building on that, Duritz has turned his attention on "Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings" a lot to Hollywood, his own fame, misguided romances and a nice bluesy malaise.
He's picking up the gauntlet left behind by Warren Zevon in "Hanging Tree" ("She brings a friend so we won't be alone"), "Anyone But You" ("I'm always thinking of someone new") and "You Can't Count On Me" ("All this pain gets me high / And I get off and you know why").
It's a shame David Geffen doesn't get this album out before the Sept. 30 Grammy deadline. As usual, it hasn't been such a great year.
"Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings" would be a shoo-in for several nominations. Either way, though, the Crows are back, only this time Duritz seems to want the music, not the celebrity, to speak for itself.
This column was supposed to be in Miami Wednesday night for the premiere of "Rush Hour 3" with director Brett Ratner and stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
But then, Mother Nature intervened. Thanks to the crazy flash flooding in New York Wednesday morning, our car to the airport never appeared.
Gamely, we headed onto Sixth Avenue looking for a taxi to La Guardia Airport. Alas, the avenue was devoid of all traffic at 7:30 a.m., not the typical sight. There were plenty of people, though, more and more as news of subway closings spread.
Even the found cab — at last! — proved to be a mixed blessing. Two hours and 15 minutes later, not to mention $100 in fare and $9 in tolls, the game was over.
Along the way we saw city buses stuck in mud and sinking fast. Every time the cab stopped at a red light, another stranger dressed for business and desperate would come along, tap on the window and wonder if they could share the ride.
Traffic in Queens was gridlocked in every direction. There was no way out of New York City.
So much for the report on "Rush Hour 3" or the party at the Forge. We will just assume it was all a lot of fun, and of course, another hot night in South Beach.
As for the movie itself, it's a lot of fun. But better to see at home, as it turns out.