Don’t believe the stories being planted in the tabloids about Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel being on the outs, or Christie talking Billy down to her kids. Nothing could be further from the truth.
But the volume is going up on this as the start of Brinkley’s divorce trial with architect Peter Cook heads to a Long Island, N.Y., courtroom on Wednesday. The tone of Cook’s “items” is getting more and more desperate.
The latest sad little attack from the Cook side warned Brinkley that on the stand, it could come out that she had somehow talked down Joel, her former husband, to her kids.
If only Cook could make that stick. But it was only seven weeks ago when Brinkley brought son Jack and a friend to see his sister Alexa sing with Joel at the Rainforest Foundation. Backstage, the entire extended family could not have been cosier.
Ditto last summer when Brinkley brought her brother, as well as Jack and Alexa to see Joel sing at the Ross School show in Easthampton.
Many have pointed out the obvious: it only takes one look at the poised, genteel Alexa, now a burgeoning pop starlet on her own, to see how well she was raised by Brinkley and Joel. The couple has always remained incredibly friendly since their 1994 divorce.
As well: there are plenty of people will testify about Joel coming to Brinkley’s aid a few years later after her brief and disastrous marriage to Colorado businessman Rick Taubman. By that time, Joel was seeing other people. His and Brinkley’s friendship was solidified.
Cook, friends say, is going to have to “Cook” something up if he intends to go that route at the trial. Brinkley -- who is shockingly beautiful anyway -- is going to look like an angel, friends say, when examined in front of a jury.
To wit: Last week, Brinkley was honored by the American Heart Association. She is also on the board of directors of the Global Security Institute (they work for world peace and non-nuclear proliferation) and was recently in Rome for the Nobel Laureate Peace Summit. She was also honored by the Radiation and Public Health Organization for her contribution to the "Tooth Fairy Project,” which is part of a study on children’s baby teeth to see the level of radioactivity.
By the way, a lot of people are asking who’s doing the leaking about the details of Cook’s financial arrangements with his former 18-year-old lover, Diana Bianchi. Only Cook, Bianchi and her stepfather would have been privy to those details. Even Brinkley, they say, was surprised to hear all about it.
Madonna has bigger problems, I feel, than rumors about a divorce.
Top of the list might be her attending a “Bar Mitzvah” at New York’s Kabbalah Center on Friday night, and dragging along the family.
For one thing, Madonna wore a baseball cap to the “service.” There is no sanctioned Jewish service that allows the wearing of baseball caps. For years, Jewish boys have probably dreamt of being allowed to wear them, but it simply is forbidden.
For another thing, just in case we’ve forgotten, Madonna is not Jewish. Neither is The Kabbalah Center a synagogue. Just so we’re all clear on that. Kabbalah is a business run by a former insurance salesman named Shraga Feivel Gruberger. A “bar mitzvah” at the Kabbalah Center is rather like a christening in a swimming pool. Now, that’s an occasion where a baseball cap might come in handy!
Madonna Louise Ciccone was born and still is a Roman Catholic as far as anyone knows. This will be addressed, I hear, in her brother Christopher’s imminent memoir.
It was a busy weekend at the theater. Over in Central Park, the New York Shakespeare Festival wrapped up its production of "Hamlet," which featured Sam Waterston of “Law & Order” fame as Polonius. Andre Braugher, known to TV audiences from “Homicide: Life on the Street,” was Claudius. They were each staggeringly good, with Lauren Ambrose of “Six Feet Under” fame turning in an exceptional performance as Ophelia. How nice it must have been for Waterston to get a chance to laugh again! He was simply superb.
Next for Oskar Eustis’s Public Theater is a revival of “Hair.” With “A Chorus Line” still wowing them on Broadway, the Public is on a roll. Joe Papp would be proud. This production also made a star of Michael Stuhlbarg as the title character … he could also play Joaquin Phoenix’s twin in a film … and Jay O. Sanders was outstanding in three roles. ...
The best new singing voice off Broadway? Amy Warren, of “Adding Machine,” is a marvel, off or on the Great White Way. She’s poised to be the next big thing. If only there were a record company smart enough to grab her now. Maybe some friends of hers could start by putting up a MySpace page. ...
Just in case you doubted it, Tim Russert’s first posthumous achievement is domination of the bestseller lists. On Amazon, his two paperbacks, "Big Russ & Me" and "Wisdom of Our Fathers" are at numbers 12 and 15 of all books, paper or hardcover, fact or fiction. Quite impressive. But sad considering the reason for the renewed interest. ...
Over at Variety, Army Archerd is still filing once a week, 50-some years after becoming the trade paper’s guru. Right now, Army’s column is book-worthy. He’s going back into his archives, giving a gem from history, then updating it. I do ask, where is the Army Archerd book/memoir? These recent columns demand it more than ever. ...