Watts the Matter Here?

At a press junket for the film We Don’t Live Here Anymore at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 10, the reporters were there to meet the actors-but the one camera in the place was focused on a reporter.

Casey Basden, the 25-year-old in charge of the entertainment section of the city’s paper, The Park Record (circulation 7,500), was being trailed by a crew from the Sundance Channel at the event, held at Village at the Lift in Park City, Utah. The crew was documenting the young reporter’s introduction to the glamour and gore that is celebrity journalism, and in the end produced a two-minute day-in-the-life segment on her.

“It was my first conversation with big stars …. you know, Hollywood–New York celebrities. Those kinds of people,” Ms. Basden told The Transom. The event was held round-table style. “The celebrities-or I guess you’d call them cast members-moved from table to table,” Ms. Basden explained. At least one of the celebrities-or “cast members”-wasn’t digging the attention surrounding the young Lois Lane. Actress Naomi Watts’ press people asked the Sundance cameraman and the production entourage to leave midway through the shoot because it was a print-only event. Although the Sundance Channel team explained that they were there to shoot Ms. Basden and weren’t seeking footage of whichever legends of the silver screen might be present, the flacks were adamant, and so they graciously departed.

The other actors (Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Krause) seemed unfazed by the one small digital camera, and it’s unclear why Ms. Watts objected to such an extent. A representative for Ms. Watts said her publicists didn’t recall the incident. Perhaps she didn’t feel well-groomed enough?

“I thought she looked fine,” Ms. Basden said. “She’s a very cute girl.”

-Anna Jane Grossman

Pass On The Dutchie

Probated publicist Lizzie Grubman was abiding all laws at a party on Jan. 29 celebrating her 33rd birthday-even if her fellow revelers were not. Among the guests there to toast her at Marquee were basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman, musicians from the Wu-Tang Clan (a.k.a. “Wu-warriors”), punky fashion designer Richie Rich, Playboy model and celebrity mom Jaid Barrymore, and a lot of scantily clad women who were smoking. While club staffers upstairs ran around getting guests to put out their cigarettes in empty glasses, club staffers downstairs tried to tame partiers strutting around on the furniture. Their main problem seemed to be January 2004’s “It” boy, Fabian Basabe, who was gyrating on top of a large speaker and tossing around a pretty long-haired girl like the guy who dances with the doll in the subway. When approached by the club’s staff, he stopped for a moment to make a call on his cell phone to someone in authority, then said to the large Marquee men, “See?” Amazingly, it worked-they backed off while he went back to boogying.

Meanwhile, upstairs, one guest reported that when musician Ja Rule started smoking a joint, Ms. Grubman-who was sentenced to five years’ probation in 2002 after using the back of her S.U.V. to introduce herself to a bunch of Hamptonites in 2001-bolted downstairs away from the smoke.

“Absolutely not true,” said Ms. Grubman, when contacted about the incident. Conveniently, her publicity company represents Ja Rule’s label Def Jam, so she could speak for him, too. (Def Jam’s in-house publicists did not return calls.) “Ja Rule was not smoking pot. I never smelled weed at all,” she said.

However, she did acknowledge that at one point late in the evening, she fled to the club’s lower level, away from most of the cool kids. “What happened was, I don’t like the smell of alcohol,” she said, “and the group I was with [upstairs]? Their breath really stank.”


The Booby Trap

Comedian Joy Behar had plastic surgery and politics on her mind Monday night at the “Comedy Cares” benefit at Caroline’s on Broadway. “Haven’t had a face lift yet,” confessed The View’s co-host and Jenny Craig spokeswoman. “You know, once you lose weight, everything starts to droop. My doctor told me, ‘You know, a smile can be a natural face lift,’ and I said, ‘Well, then I wish my ass had a sense of humor!'”

After the show, which benefited Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Ms. Behar hung out in the lounge area with fellow performers Mario Cantone of Sex and the City and comedian Judy Gold, a former writer and producer for the Rosie O’Donnell Show. Saturday Night Live’s Darrell Hammond, who had the crowd roaring with his dead-on impressions of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Sean Connery, left early due to a 6:30 a.m. call time for SNL rehearsals the following morning.

The skinsanity continued post-show, when Ms. Behar reflected on Janet Jackson’s “Lil’ Kim moment,” when her surgically enhanced breast (she’s had implants since 1993) made a guest appearance at the Super Bowl. “Staged it! She’s 37 years old and she’s got a CD coming out. She learned from Madonna and Britney, and the girl staged it! Don’t bullshit, bullshitter! That tit came out at exactly the right moment …. What aggravates me is, terrorists are watching this. This is being satellited-or whatever the word is-to millions and millions of terrorists, who are watching Janet Jackson take her boob out. This is what makes them hate us-this decadence, this displaying of boobs. They think we’re just like a bunch of animals. Except for France. In France they’re saying, ‘What a nice teet she has! Where is zee other one?'”

Ms. Behar then paused and, while a friend took a photo of her with her tablemates, let out a good-natured bark: “Don’t get so fucking close! What did I tell you?” She continued, “I hope that Kerry can, like, get in touch with his charisma gene, because certain people want a very charismatic President. You know, maybe he needs to expose his boob like Janet Jackson! I hope that Kerry has the internal fortitude to deal with these Republicans, because they can be very evil. They’re evildoers! Already they’re on Kerry about the Botox. I think that it’s O.K. if he does it, as long as he doesn’t overdo it like Joan Rivers did. Even her clothes don’t wrinkle!”

-Noelle Hancock

The Transom Also Hears …

… That some stars never let you see them cry. Security was tight around the Soho location where Sex and the City was filming one of its last episodes on Monday, Feb. 2. “It was probably somebody’s last day,” said Mario Cantone, who plays Charlotte’s bitchy friend and two-time wedding planner. “I had my last day Tuesday, and the crew applauded for, like, five minutes after my last shot. I cried like a baby. That’s why there’s high security-you don’t want anyone seeing you cry besides the crew and the cast! I’m very sad about it.”

But unlike actor Chris Noth, who has complained that his stint as “Mr. Big” on the show has stuck to him like glue, Mr. Cantone is all smiles about having starred on a popular, long-running television show. “It’s only been a one-sided sword for me. A great one. A long, sharp, silvery, shiny one!” He pulls it out of its sheath again as early as this fall, when his one-man show hits the boards. “It’s on Broadway. It’s stand-up, music, family stuff. It’s about everything. It’s about my whole friggin’ life.”

-N.H. Watts the Matter Here?