The Transom

Lindsay Lohan’s ‘Treacherous Turn’

At the Prairie Home Companion premiere’s after-party in the bar of the Hudson Hotel on Sunday, Lindsay Lohan, in a short little black-and-gold tunic, eyelashes suspiciously thick, joined her family. She self-consciously picked up a pool stick. Her opponents at the table were various daughters of Meryl Streep, startling look-alikes to their mother. “I don’t think I can bend over,” Ms. Lohan said.

“She was well trained at the Disney College of Film and Art,” Garrison Keillor said of his co-star in the film. “Her tabloid life is a separate thing. It’s a whole game that she plays with the tabloids, and it goes back and forth. It’s valuable for her up to a point—but I think she’s now past that point.

“And so one fears for someone who continues a game beyond where it ought to go. She understands that at the age of 19, she has to be thinking about the next 10 years. It’s time for her to do some other things, and make a very treacherous turn. And this picture was part of that turn—it wasn’t perfect, but it was something where she was able to show that she could do a small, specific job well. She exploited a teen attitude that she does very well. But she can’t play that character any longer. She needs to find other things.

“I like her. I wish her well,” Mr. Keillor said. “She’s very shy, and very attached to her family.”

Something glass shattered. Ms. Lohan covered her mouth and shot a frightened look at her younger brother. “A tumultuous life that you and I can barely imagine,” Mr. Keillor said.

—M.K. Stump

Bill Weld Is Free

Bill Weld stood on the bright green lawn of his Bellport, Long Island, home and stared out at the Great South Bay. It was six hours after delegates to the New York Republican Party convention had spurned him as their nominee for Governor, and five days before he would drop out of that race altogether.

He had shed the suit and tie he had worn earlier for an unbuttoned blue oxford shirt and a pair of coffee-stained khakis. The makeup that had given his face a tangerine tint had been washed off to expose his ruddy complexion. The stiff posture he bore on the convention stage had softened in the salty air.

“Now there’s a little bit more the feel of a beach,” said Mr. Weld, pointing at the smooth stones, white sand and beach grass he had put in place of a concrete breakwater. The water lapped a few yards before his feet. About two miles out, Fire Island stretched in a gray mass beyond a thick haze. He pointed at the island too. “If there is no humidity in the air, it seems like you can reach out and touch it.”

This barbecue was supposed to be a victory party for the future leader of New York’s Republicans. The caterers in the kitchen, preparing hamburgers and hotdogs, chicken and ribs, said they expected about 85 guests; about 40 people, mostly reporters and staffers, showed up.

Still, Mr. Weld was, as he almost always is, in a very good mood. He talked about bluefish and stripers and his favorite: “ Salvelinus fontinalis—brook trout.” Mr. Weld’s grandfather had served as the curator of fish for the American Museum of Natural History.

The house has 11 bedrooms. It is painted white with green shingles and was built in 1878. Its sale price, according to public records, had been $2,475,000 in December of 2001. Mr. Weld walked past an overturned green canoe and said that he admired the house’s Italianate flourishes and comes here twice a month. On the porch, flanked by icy pails of beer and wine and plates of steak and salads, he stopped to talk with a supporter wearing a red, white and blue Weld sticker.

In Bellport, Mr. Weld reads his Ford Madox Ford in a living room which has five couches (most of them leather), a couple of love seats, an ottoman and bookshelves stacked with Faulkner, biographies of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller and several atlases. Ducks sit on the fireplace mantle, dinosaurs perch on the windowsills, and frogs play instruments atop the box piano.

Out on the backyard deck, Mr. Weld sat on a wooden rail in front of a stone cherub fountain. White flower buds fell onto his freckled hands and into his fading red hair. “In a way, it’s almost liberating to be able to swing away,” he said of losing the nomination. He joked about his taste for archaic expressions and difficult vocabulary: “The convention part is the one least aligned to my long suits”; “parlous, yes, that’s almost a Gilbert and Sullivan word.”

On the front porch, Mr. Weld’s wife, Leslie Marshall, laughed with reporters about Joe Namath being drunk on television. A dozen delegates and supporters sat around round tables covered in red-and-white checkered tablecloths. They kept their voices low so as not to seem like they were shouting.

“I would have liked to have seen the Governor pick up a few more points,” said Frederick Hall, a 54-year-old delegate from Suffolk County who wore a yellow bowtie spotted with blue sharks. “I think one of his strengths is that he is so approachable.”

Mr. Weld chatted with whoever wanted to chat with him, about whatever they wanted to chat about. He ate a hotdog and sipped white wine from a plastic glass—he had an early television interview the next morning. Next to him, an old man in suspenders and a tie dabbed with Republican elephants filled a plate with pasta and coleslaw. Everyone on the deck watched while a woman from the Brooklyn delegation walked down to the lawn and performed a standing backstroke as she faced the bay.

At 8 p.m., the air chilled. Mr. Weld went into the house to fetch a beige blazer and thanked his guests for coming.

“I’ve been through this and the same,” said Mr. Weld. “I’ve been through this excelsior.”

At the front of the house is a black and broken mailbox. In it was a letter advising Mr. Weld, now the former favorite son of the New York Republican Party, that it was his household’s “last chance to protect your valuable Frigidaire product.”

—Jason Horowitz

Adult Contemporaries

Perry Farrell, the front man of Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros and the founder of Lollapalooza, was the D.J. at MoMA last Thursday, for GQ’s cocktail party for the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s menswear honorees.

“The key to D.J.’ing a party like this is not to play the music above talking level,” Mr. Farrell, 47, said. GQ editor in chief Jim Nelson and creative director Jim Moore posed nearby with Ralph Lauren. “You have to play things they know. And every once in a while, slip in something they haven’t heard.”

He wore a double-breasted charcoal blazer, thickly knotted tie and tapered black jeans, and sipped a Red Bull and vodka.

“I love electronic music, but I would never play that here,” he said. Aren’t fashion parties supposed to have techno? “This is an older crowd,” he said.

Mr. Farrell opened the night with Roy Orbison’s “You Got It,” Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion” and Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson.” During a Ramones track, New York Times news assistant Joe Brescia approached the D.J. booth and handed Mr. Farrell his card.

“I saw Cream’s reunion show at the Garden and it was awesome!” Mr. Brescia said. “You’re doing a great job, keep it up!”

Later, a girl in a glittery tank top came over and had her friend snap a cell-phone picture of her with Mr. Farrell.

“Ooh! That’s Perry Farrell! He’s a punk god!” another elegant partygoer said.

Near the end of his set, Mr. Farrell switched tracks from Eric Clapton’s “After Midnight” to INXS’s “Suicide Blonde.” He wasn’t happy with the transition.

“That wasn’t the smoothest,” he said leaning over to a friend. “But who cares? They don’t care.”

—Gabriel Sherman

Bloomberg at Large

When Mike Bloomberg took the podium at last week’s CUNY/Lehman College commencement, boisterous applause and a partial standing ovation greeted him.

“I know the speaker that you really wanted was Taylor Hicks,” Mr. Bloomberg said, looking tan and styled. (Was that a rinse?)

It was hot out. Young women in the front row hiked up their black robes and the skirts underneath for better flow-through.

Mr. Bloomberg’s Big Point to Ponder was immigration—makes sense, since 30 percent of the school’s graduates were foreign-born. “We have too many pessimists, including some in our Congress,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “We should be making it easier, not harder, for people to come to America,” he said.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was another unannounced high-profile speaker. He arrived late and got tacked onto the tail end of the ceremony. At that point, the audience—those who were still present—had been reduced to sweaty messes. “Have you been sitting here a long time?” Mr. Schumer shouted, to a chorus of groans. He then lifted the text of his speech, on peachy-beige paper, high in the air and ripped it into four even squares.

The audience jumped to its feet and cheered once more. “Have a great life,” Mr. Schumer yelled.

—Nicholas Boston


Stefano Pilati, the Yves Saint Laurent designer, showed up at the CUNY Graduate Center on Sunday wearing a super-shrunken suit jacket by the Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester, as well as those suddenly ubiquitous floodwater pants. He stood outside the door to the room where Karl Lagerfeld was rolling his pen across book after book until New York Times magazine style editor Stefano Tonchi—also in high-waters!—tapped his shoulder and beckoned him inside.

(The day was “Sunday with the Magazine,” a celebration, of sorts, of the New York Times Magazine lifestyle—more on that in the Off the Record column this issue.)

“Stefano and I met in Italy,” Mr. Tonchi said. “I was working at L’Uomo Vogue and he was an assistant there, more or less, and we had a lot of friends in common.” He flashed on a touchy discussion that had taken place earlier about the awkward relationship of fashion media to the corporate clients on whom they report, and hastened to add: “But that doesn’t mean that I run stories on Stefano Pilati.”

The afternoon’s panel starred Mr. Lagerfeld, who charmed and amused his audience with his deadpan delivery and unapologetic expressions of connoisseurship.

“I never use the word ‘cheap,’” he said. “People are cheap, but clothes are inexpensive.”

The session also turned a bit therapeutic.

“I always had the feeling that they didn’t do enough for me,” Mr. Lagerfeld said of his parents, in a comically maudlin tone. “No designer was a rock star then; they were social climbers with a lot of success.”

Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn, her crossed legs supported by one heel dug into the carpet in what appears to be a signature stance—she strikes the same toe-up-heel-down pose with one foot in her author’s shot for the book she wrote on Bill Blass—said Mr. Lagerfeld’s “Germanness” was one of the characteristics that had drawn her to him. And the fact that “he was raised by very old people.” She noted that Mr. Lagerfeld had had a “godfather born in 1868.”

Mr. Tonchi, who, in his mid-40’s, looks like Tintin come to life with dark hair and an Italian accent, brought up Mr. Lagerfeld’s popularity among fashionistas much younger than himself. “Why do young people care about what you think?” Mr. Tonchi asked the 67-year-old couturier.

“I think it’s a dangerous question,” Mr. Lagerfeld replied. “It’s not something that should be put into words.”

But let’s try. “I love Karl Lagerfeld because I believe he is a true vampire,” said 28-year-old Eric Werner, a member of a neophyte design collective called Form. “What makes me believe that is, the couple times that I’ve seen him, it’s been at early hours of the morning, at around 5 or 6 o’clock, walking through the streets of Paris, or in New York once before, and he’s always wearing a long, black trench coat—and with his white hair, he looks magical!”

An aspiring designer solicited Mr. Lagerfeld’s advice on time management—how much of his output comes from inspiration as opposed to grunt work?

“I am too spoiled to be an example to anybody,” Mr. Lagerfield said. “Spoiled in a good way—I can do what I want to do.”

A middle-aged woman, a florist by profession, said she’d been brought to the event by her daughter. She had no prior knowledge of Mr. Lagerfeld or the world of high fashion and was pleasantly surprised by his wit. Still, she seemed a bit frightened when she asked him a question. “When friends come over to your house, do you ever look at what they’re wearing?!”

If by “looking,” she meant “passing judgment,” Mr. Lagerfeld clarified, then no. One never knows “how happy they were when they bought that shit.”


The Transom