In your brash Wednesday media column: Chris Matthews' wacky idea of "influential journalists," Alex Kuczynski strips, AOL's momentary earnings lapse, Adam Moss's reading list, crazy UK libel laws, and Newsweek's subtle Bin Laden cover.
Author/socialite Plum Sykes and her twin sister, fashion designer/socialite Lucy Sykes Rellie are turning 40 today. Jay-Z is celebrating his 40th birthday, too. Tyra Banks turns 36. Marisa Tomei is turning 45. Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen is 43. Actor Jeff Bridges is 60. Ugly Betty's Kevin Sussman is 39. Former porn star Nikki Tyler is 37. And former game show host Wink Martindale turns 75 today. A handful of weekend birthdays are below.
• The drama surrounding fashion's most famous headbutt continues: Kiefer Sutherland says he was "defending the honor" of Brooke Shields by attacking Jack McCollough, since Jack had knocked Brooke over and then failed to apologize. Brooke and Jack, however, say the push never even happened, and Kiefer was running around drunk and "looking for something to smack." The police are now investigating the matter, since apparently there aren't more important crimes to be tackling right now. [TMZ, TMZ, NYDN, P6]
• Anna Wintour and Rihanna were acting like old pals at a Costume Institute afterparty on Monday night, which certainly bodes well for Rihanna's chances of landing a Vogue cover in the future. [NYDN]
• Lindsay Lohan was supposed to chaperone her little sister to a party at LA's Roosevelt Hotel on Monday night, but ended up "getting up close and personal" with ex-boyfriend Jared Leto instead. [E!, P6]
• Casey Johnson, meanwhile, showed up to the same party and was overheard telling a friend that she and Courtenay Semel have broken up, again. [P6]
The Wall Street Journal's Thomas Frank, he of the book "What's the Matter with Kansas?," eviscerates in tomorrow's paper that infamous Times rich-people reporter Alex Kuczynski. Kuczynski, herself quite wealthy, published a mostly shameless account of renting a poorer woman's uterus in the Nov. 30 Times Magazine. Frank is unsparing:
It's Amanda Lepore's birthday today! At least we think it's her birthday and we think she's 41, but she's been known to fool people before. Others celebrating today: Margaret Cho is 40. The New Yorker's Calvin Trillin is 73. Novelist Joan Didion is turning 74. Little Richard is 76. Knicks center Eddy Curry is 26. Child star Frankie Muniz turns 23. Actor Nick Stahl is turning 29. And model Shalom Harlow is 35. Weekend birthdays after the jump.
New York Times official rich person-in-residence, plastic surgery addict, and orgy enthusiast Alex Kuczynski has a long, long, torturous story in the Sunday Magazine about her recent experience with a surrogate mother. Would you like to know how stressful and terrible it is to pay another woman to bring your child to term? No, probably not, but here you go.
Send Alex Kuczynski some sympathy plastic surgery gift certificates. Because the très public, cosmetic surgery-loving former New York Times high-priced-shopping beat reporter (and now sometimes Times freelancer) may be getting a divorce from her older, bazillionaire husband. Or at least Cityfile is hearing things to that effect! Kuczynski and money man Charles Stevenson have been married for six years, and had a baby by surrogate last April. But, I guess now it could be over. Cityfile's main evidence, I suppose, is the fact that Kuczynski has been laying low of late. She backed out of fashion designer Dian von Furstenberg's recent charity spelling bee (that this exists at all brings immeasurable joy/worry to my heart) and her usual consumerism-crazy Times articles have been in short supply these past few months. In fact, her most recent article was a review of actor Alec Baldwin's new book,
I Never Promised You a Rainbow A Promise to Ourselves. And what is that book about? D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Sad if it's true. Though on the bright side, maybe it would leave her more time for fabulous shopping trips and, erm, Idaho orgies.
We hear all is not well with Times reporter Alex Kuczynski and her husband of six years, financier Charles Stevenson. Rumor has it the Times journalist and reformed plastic surgery junkie is contemplating a divorce from the billionaire mogul, who is nearly 25 years her senior (and who has been married four times). Although there's been no official word of the split as of yet, Kuczynski has maintained a low profile in recent weeks. While she's probably rather busy these days now that she's a new mom—Kuczynski and Stevenson had a baby boy via a surrogate back in April—friends were surprised when she backed out of a scheduled appearance last week at a Diane von Furstenberg-sponsored spelling bee benefit that she usually attends every year. She's also been noticeably absent from the pages of the Times the last few months. Perhaps fittingly, her most recent article in the paper in early October was a book review of Alec Baldwin's book, A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce. "Divorce is a lonely business," Kuczynski wrote. "Divorce is hell. Lawyers are vultures."
Times orgy-loving rich lady Alex Kuczynski is fascinated with wood. Not just any wood, you see, but fashionable wood, old and knotty, the sort of wood driven across the country at great expense and used to erect a new home by some jerk who tore down his old home for not looking old enough. The topic of "reclaimed" wood raises all kinds of potentially interesting issues around the environment, design and class in America, but of course Alex is interested in none of that. She is focused on the big strong man who will give her his wood if she pays him enough money:
New York Times rich people beat reporter, billionaire-marrier, possible orgy enthusiast, and over-sharing plastic surgery addict Alex Kuczynski is expecting! Expecting a surrogate mother to carry and deliver her baby, that is, according to Liz Smith. Alex and her ridiculously wealthy (and ripped) husband Charles Stevenson have reportedly tried "several times" at this child-having thing, to no avail. Stevenson has five children from other women, a set-up the Kucz has commented on with approval on other occasions. (All you have to do is cheer them on at graduation—no weight gain or unseemly marks or scars!) So, we ask you, the Gawker readership: who on Earth is currently feeding and growing the spawn of the Amazing Plastic Woman?
Which version of Times rich lady beat reporter Alex Kuczynski's book, Beauty Junkies, would you rather buy? The original hardcover is subtitled, "Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession With Cosmetic Surgery." The newer, younger paperback version is called: "Beauty Junkies: In Search of the Thinnest Thighs, Perkiest Breasts, Smoothest Faces, Whitest Teeth, and Skinniest, Most Perfect Toes in America." Whoa. Maybe they're trying to shore up sales? After the jump, we play a little game of "Which cover is better?
'The rich do strange and terrible things with their money' beat reporter Alex Kuczynski is supplanted at the Times today by second-stringer Deb Schoeneman, who introduces us to Brad Peik and Sara Kehoe, a couple who have retained a "personal manager" to help them invent their lifestyle. "'Allison is covering all the bases for me,' said Mr. Peik, who spends winters in Lake Tahoe in California and feels more comfortable navigating ski slopes than society. 'I didn't want to waste my short time here setting up an apartment and figuring out what we would do here.' His girlfriend, a photographer, was grateful that she didn't have to deal with the move. 'If I had no job and nothing going on, it would seem reasonable for me to do these things.'" [NYT]
At the cocktail party preceding the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses spelling bee last night, former Star editor Joe Dolce was rubbing up against cheetah-sheathed Page Six editor Paula Froelich. Was he here to spell, like Paula? "God no." He was here to cheer on his boy, HarperCollins VP Jonathan Burnham. Joe has been mostly occupied by cheering Jonathan on lately, though he hasn't been completely at loose ends during his year of unemployment: "I was working on a web-based project about design, but I had to pull back from it recently," he said, as a very tall, beautiful woman in a houndstooth skirt and enormous diamond earrings came up behind him and mischievously grinned at everyone. It was Alex Kuczynski, who has been described by this website as a "pervert," a "body modification expert," "somewhat plastically-reconstructed," a "facially-reconfigured semiotician," and most often, "Times rich lady beat reporter." "Hi Bunny!," she said. "I looove your bangs! You look like a person on the 'Brady Bunch'!" Did she mean Cousin Oliver? Whatever, totally charmed! Nikola Tamindzic documented this.
"Which kinky fashion writer shocked guests recently when she asked her billionaire husband's pre-teen daughter—in front of company—to rehash the time the girl walked in on the couple in a compromising bedroom position?" asked Page Six yesterday, and as much as it pains us to imply this before breakfast, we're thinking the "fashion writer" in question might be Times shopping and rich people things reporter Alex Kuczynski. She is married to Charles Stevenson, a billionaire with six children. Also, we must once again recall that she has shouted "Orgy! Orgy!" at a party at her Idaho home. Yay pervert! We wish we knew more about this mysterious woman's inner life, but she is so reticent. Update: Ok, we are reliably informed that Alex is not the kinky person in question here, so.
From yesterday's "Over 40 is Facebook creepy" article in the Times: "It's no secret that Facebook, which started as a networking playground for college kids, is graying, and that the percentage of active members who are over 25 years old and out of school has risen to some 40 percent of the overall population of about 45 million. The influx raises questions. Will the loss of the campus sensibility and the youthful gestalt dilute the Facebook experience? And will the newcomers use the site — and change it? Or is it just another example of the fact that Americans age, but never seem to mature?" On the other hand, some Facebook users mature but never seem to age! [NYT]