Last night I got a chance to spy the bootlegged last issue of Talk magazine.
It was bound in a very limited edition and distributed discreetly at the going-away party for Talk held on the Lower West Side of Manhattan at a bar called Glass.
In the cover story about rocker Courtney Love, the controversial actress/widow/activist tells writer Holly Millea she's mad at actor Russell Crowe. According to Love, the pair had been friends, but when tabloids suggested that they were lovers, Crowe 86'd the relationship and took off. He spoke out against Love in other publications.
"We never even f---ed," Love says with characteristic candor. "I want an apology."
In the romance department, Love also denies that she and Ben Affleck ever "made out" anywhere. "That wasn't true but I didn't say anything about it, did I?" Love asks.
Millea's article — which should find a publisher shortly — is indicative of her usual brilliance capturing the essence of difficult people. She observes Love urinating while her assistant stands between Love's legs and fits diamond earrings onto his boss.
But most of the article is about Love's lawsuits, in particular her desire to break free of Interscope/Universal Records rather than record for them. She has choice words for Universal chief Doug Morris — "they throw everything against the wall and see what sticks." And she is quick to point out that Interscope's first big hit was the one off single "Rico Suave" by Gerardo.
At the going-away party, which was full of eloquent, sad speeches and a lot of hugs, Brown told me: "My last issue at Vanity Fair had Courtney Love on the cover. This was one [that] almost got under the wire."
Look for the bootleg issue of Talk on eBay soon.
It was a friendly and funny Joaquin Phoenix who wandered into yesterday's Motion Picture Club luncheon at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The Oscar-nominated star of Gladiator and Quills arrived with his girlfriend, Topaz, a lovely young South African woman who is neither a model nor an actress. (She is, however, something of a ringer for Gwyneth Paltrow.) He was not what you might call "dressed up," but he was ready for action.
"Where are we?" he asked me.
In fact, Phoenix had shown up at the invitation of star-of-tomorrow Casey Affleck, who dates Joaquin's sister, Summer. Casey and Summer took seats on the dais. Joaquin declined. "I get sick if I sit on a dais. Ask my doctor."
Instead, the loyal pal and Topaz sat through the entire 2-and-a-half-hour proceeding at the same table with actress Lena Olin, whose husband director Lasse Hallstrom won Best Director. Phoenix clapped enthusiastically, and quipped away — he has a vicious sense of humor only partially seen so far on film — as he learned about the immense hidden power of the theater bookers who comprise the organization.
Phoenix was particularly bemused when Casey Affleck, lacking someone to introduce him, did the honors himself. "I've known Casey since we worked on To Die for together," said Affleck. Some of the audience didn't seem sure of what was happening. "Those three Oscar nominations, they meant nothing to me, but to Casey …"
Eventually, Affleck accepted his own award and sat down. He gets high marks for trying to make the best of a dreary New York afternoon.
Hallstrom, collecting a much-deserved accolade after making The Cider House Rules, Chocolat and The Shipping News in three years, was very pleased. "I can't think of a better year to win this," he said. "I'm very proud of the film I made [Shipping News] and I'd like more people to see it. I worked on it for five years."
He and Olin will now take a much-needed rest in Vermont. Then Hallstrom will decide which movie to make next: The Cinderella Man, with Russell Crowe, or The Conspiracy of Paper, a thriller. He and Olin told me they are looking furiously for a film they can do together, and would like to shoot something in Europe next if possible.
(Olin — sexy and beautiful — also has a sense of humor. She exclaimed of the room temperature, "It's so cold in here." When someone responded, "Aren't you from Sweden?" she replied, "Yes, and you see I'm not there!")
Other award winners included Producer of the Year Doug Wick, and newcomer Agnes Bruckner, who's about to be in several films. Actor of the Year British Ian McKellen told the very funny John Cameron Mitchell, star of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, "You're the boy that I never was."
How hard can it be to choose Bob Dylan's most recent album for the Grammy award?
Love and Theft, nominated for Best Album, is competing with U2, Indie.Arie, OutKast, and the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?
But by and large, each of these other albums owes some kind of debt to Dylan, whose forays into acoustic, metal, electric, soul, and bluegrass makes all the other albums possible.
Love and Theft is a piece of genius, an eclectic and eccentric call out by Dylan to everyone — musicians of his own age and to the youngsters — that nearly anything is possible when you just don't care to pander to commercial restraints.
"Lonesome Day Blues" in particular is so spectacular that you could probably put it up against any of the other albums and find its influence. I am told Dylan hasn't agreed yet, but he will more than likely appear at the Grammy's. Let's hope it's to collect a big award.