Sex Is Back  | Whitney Pregnant?  | Goodbye, Art Cooper 

Sex Returns With a Bang

Last night's premiere for the final season of Sex and the City — which is after all a TV series — was like an event for a new movie. A really great movie.

HBO filled the Museum of Natural History with as many stars from its many series as it could muster — and then some. But first of course, we all got to see episodes one and two of the new season.

If you don't want the surprise of the new stuff to be spoiled, skip from here down to the next item. But let's say at least that Samantha's (Kim Cattrall) romp with a young hot waiter from a raw food restaurant had a lot of people in the audience quickly trying to diagram the action to see if it was even possible. In fact, Samantha and the waiter execute some moves in bed previously unseen, including one that involves putting a lounge chair on top of the mattress.

After the screening, Caroline Rhea, who was a bit beside herself, almost elbowed Sheryl Crow out of the way to get the real story from Cattrall.

"How long had you known that guy before you did that scene?" Rhea asked Cattrall.

The actress replied, with a grin, "It's not about that." Which means: about 10 minutes. They are extremely unclothed during this episode.

Cattrall did explain: "Someone found a card in the park that showed all these different positions. So I just circled the four I thought I could do, and that looked the craziest, and we did them."

Sheryl immediately exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses with Cattrall, I might add here.

Someone asked Cattrall about the moving of furniture — that leather cube lounge chair — during sex. "You obviously haven't had sex in a long time," Cattrall purred. I mean, it's a put-on, but it got a good laugh, and several people who overheard this hummed in assent.

The Sex and The City premiere brought out a lot of Sopranos, too: Edie Falco, who's tipped as an Emmy winner this year; Lorraine Bracco, Federico Castelluccio, Aida Turturro, Vince Curatola, producer Ilene Landress. All of them were thrilled to hear that the show's creator David Chase had opted for a sixth season after all. (They're still in the middle of shooting season five.) At this rate, the Sopranos may go the full seven seasons — which most series aim for.

As for Sex and the City, the principals — Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon — are sad, but ready to move on once the season is completed. They are working on episodes seven and eight of 20, but Parker told me last night, "The two you've seen I think are the least good ones of the season. There are better ones coming."

"That's what she always says," laughed her husband, Matthew Broderick, who I must report has gone gray. I mean, for real. Imagine this headline: Ferris Bueller Goes Gray. "I'm 41!" Broderick said when I joked with him about this. He can't be a teenager anymore. "He still has a baby face," Parker interjected. Broderick's next role is as Nicole Kidman's husband in the remake of The Stepford Wives.

Parker is set on what she'll do next — return to her movie career, and fast — before she gets any older. She and Broderick may do something together, although "there are no plans yet," she cautioned. Cattrall will act, too, but also has an idea that she will become a producer.

Anyway, the world will be their oysters.

What else happens in the first two episodes? Again, avert your eyes if you don't want to know: Carrie finally settles the thing with Aidan, but has some problems with her new beau, Jack Berger. Miranda realizes she's in love with someone who may not love her back. Samantha welcomes a new neighbor in an unconventional way. And Charlotte — in what turns out to be Davis' best storyline thus far — considers conversion.

How will the show end? There's a strong rumor going around that Carrie and Mr. Big wind up together and go off to Paris. But you never know, and anyway, that's a good four months or so away.

Whitney Houston Pregnant?

The word from within the world of Whitney Houston is that the almost 40-year-old singer is pregnant. Is it true? Who knows? But Houston's been trying to have a baby for years. Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, is 10.

Yes, of course, the father would be Bobby Brown, Whitney's husband. This all may be the result of that weird trip to Israel to visit the Black Hebrews a couple of weeks ago. Whitney was supposedly detoxifying with the cult's help.

One friend of hers cracked to me the other day when I asked how Houston was when she returned: "She couldn't have been worse than when she left."

So hold on, because if Houston is pregnant, the next round of tabloid stories is going to be lurid based on her previous health conditions. At the same time, one can only hope that she will have an easy and healthy pregnancy.

Saying Goodbye to The Gentleman of Gentleman's Quarterly

More than 300 people packed into Alice Tully Hall yesterday morning to say goodbye to Art Cooper. His untimely death at age 65 came on the heels of being ousted, arbitrarily, after two winning decades as the editor of GQ. It was a beautiful service, but frankly, the whole idea is not to have 350 people at your funeral.

Nevertheless, Harry Connick Jr. brought his quartet and performed three numbers between the speakers: "As Time Goes By," "Quarter-to-Three," and "Once In Love with Amy." The latter, which brought people to tears, was a tribute to Cooper's wife, Amy Levin Cooper, who was the editor of Mademoiselle until she was sacked by Conde Nast, as well, years ago.

Many of the biggest names in magazine publishing and journalism paid their respects in the audience including David Halberstam, New Yorker editor David Remnick, Harry Evans, Tina Brown, Anna Wintour, Esquire editor David Granger, Daily News editor Ed Kosner, CNN's Jeff Greenfield, and many writers and editors from The New York Observer, the late Talk magazine, New York, etc. If Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter was there, nobody saw him.

There were a lot of people from the fashion world, too: Ralph Lauren spoke, and Joseph Abboud attended.

It was of some note that one of the speakers was the respected TV director James Burrows, who was related to Cooper by marriage. He said, "Art invaded and intoxicated our family."

There was a lot of good-natured joking about Cooper's huge expense account, one that permitted him to dine extravagantly at the Four Seasons for the last 20 years. The writer Alan Richman recalled that it was the Four Seasons' co-owner Julian Niccolini who'd ply Cooper with expensive wines. "What do you care?" Niccolini asked. "Mr. Newhouse is paying for it!"

Conde Nast is the rare publisher that supplies its top editors with limos, drivers, clothing allowances, all expense paid trips to the best hotels in the best countries and a dining allowance that would make Save the Children salivate.

All the speakers were lovely, but it was Martin Beiser — Cooper's second-in-command until he was sacked right after Cooper by the new regime — who put it best. He said that in their last lunch together, Cooper remarked: "God, I love my life."

You can't do better than that.