Linkage: Lindsay Lohan Might Be an Escort, Jessica Simpson Can’t Stop Bonin’, & a Kris Kross Reunion

If you’re wondering how the hell Lindsay Lohan can get away with jetting across the globe and staying in fancy hotels with nothing but money from Playboy shoots and Lifetime movies, here’s a possible explanation on where she gets her money: she might be working as a high-class escort for the rich and not-so-famous. Some of her alleged clients include Prince Haji Abdul Azim, third in line of the throne of Brunei (which is a real place, not like Genovia), and painter Domingo Zapata. Of course, these allegations come from her scumbag father, Michael Lohan, so take them with a couple shakers of salt. [Radar]

Nicole Kidman is on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, and she dishes about Scientology—sort of. When pressed, she’ll say only: ‘I’ve chosen not to speak publicly about Scientology. I have two children [adopted with Cruise] who are Scientologists—Connor [the Red Dawn actor is now 17] and Isabella [20]—and I utterly respect their beliefs.’” The cover story also revels that Modern Family’s Sophia Vergara was director Lee Daniels’s first choice for Kidman’s role in The Paperboy, so just imagine that crazy lady doing her own hair and makeup and peeing on Zac Efron. [THR]

Jessica Simpson, as always, is both a good indicator of the failures of sex education in this country and an example of how annoying celebrities can be if their publicists can’t get them to shut the hell up. The occasional singer and sometimes actress told Jay Leno last night that she’d like to get married to fiancé Eric Johnson, with whom she has one child and a second on the way, but, in her words, “he keeps knocking me up.” [Fox News]

Sarah Jessica Parker replaced Demi Moore as Gloria Steinem in the upcoming Lovelace, premiering at Sundance, after Moore’s hospitalization for exhaustion early last year. It turns out it was all for naught: Steinem’s role in the film has been cut. [EW]

Because of money, NBC is going to roll poor Betty White out again and make her watch a bunch of people “pay tribute” to her for Betty White’s 2nd Annual 90th Birthday Special. The party’s guest list includes folks like Blake Shelton, Bill Clinton, and Larry King, because who else could possibly ruminate on all of Betty White’s achievements as an old actress who still makes dirty jokes when forced to read from cue cards in front of a TV camera? [Deadline]

Kris Kross are getting back together because they left a lot of things unsaid, a lot of pants unsagged, and also realized how much of a boner everyone has for the ’90s. [Vulture]

Does keeping a “princess-free” household promote feminist ideals in children or just keep them from having fun? [Jezebel]

Die Hard director John McTiernan is headed to jail for a year and must pay a $100,000 fine. And no, it’s not because he directed that Rollerball remake. [Indiewire]

R.I.P., old guy from old TV show. [TMZ]

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Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem, and Hari Kunzru Dish on Employee of the Month

What do you get when an esteemed novelist, an iconic face of the feminist movement and a political commentator walk into a theater in the East Village to ruminate on their careers? Juggling, tap dancing and a puddle of Applejack on the floor, basically.

Last night at the UCBeast, Catie Lazarus mounted the holiday party edition of Employee of the Month, the comedienne’s hilarious podcast talk show that explores the ins and outs of various industries via the working experiences of its illustrious (and often infamous) guests. Amy Sedaris, Morgan Spurlock, Kevin Clash and Jodi Kantor have all previously joined Lazarus to reminisce about their lives before and after the landing of their respective dream jobs, and Employee of the Month brought forth a banger of a lineup with Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem and Hari Kunzru to close out a solid year of night shift woes and odd-job horror stories.

Though the consistently superlative string of filmmaking, comedic, musical and journalistic hotshots have provided Lazarus with plenty of fodder for Employee of the Month’s episodes, last night’s program may have been her most ambitious to date given the company present. Navigating a controversial talking point while successfully topping it off with a punch line is a difficult feat, but Lazarus seamlessly achieved this in each of her conversations, which covered everything from Kunzru’s fleeing India for reading a passage from The Satanic Verses in front of an audience to Steinem getting tested for STDs in order to work at the Playboy Club to Maddow’s professional leap from activism to joining the media. Peppered throughout the knowledge bombs were a few WTF/giggle-worthy anecdotes, including immigration advice from Kunzru (“If you don’t want to go to the little room at customs, say you write about UFOs”), Steinem’s criteria for liking a job (“You never know what time it is and if you do the job anyway without getting paid—that’s when you love your work”) and Maddow’s take on her own work ethic (“I do not believe in the romance of struggle! I believe in the joy of winning!”).

The highlights of the evening—and the endearing, eccentric edge that sets Employee of the Month apart from other digi-talk shows—occurred when Lazarus would seize the moment to mess with her guests, and this is where the Applejack comes into play. After grabbing an audience member’s glass of sangria to quench Kunzuru’s thirst during their interview, Lazarus proceeded to hand him three balls and asked him to juggle, referring to a time when the writer was in between jobs and trying to make a quid juggling in bars while hyping energy drinks. When Steinem referred to securing investors for creation and publication of New York Magazine as “tap dancing for rich people,” she later wound up shuffling offstage while doing a soft-shoe. Maddow, fresh off the set of The Rachel Maddow Show, was handed an armful of bottles (and an “I’d Rather Be Reading Jane Austen” apron) in order to mix a drink of her choosing, and when Lazarus was handed a glass without an introduction, the hostess wound up spitting the straight applejack out, much to the audience’s (and Maddow’s) delight.

It’s a delicate balance between real talk and real funny, and Lazarus was able to engage with these great minds in such an approachable way that they laughed along with her jokes—and not for the sake of the packed room or rolling cameras before them. Anyone who can talk politics with Rachel Maddow after unsuccessfully swilling Applejack—and conversely, who can somehow get Gloria Steinem to tap dance onstage—is okay in my book, so Lazarus, keep the shop talk coming.

Linkage: Levon Helm Dies At 71, Occupy’s May Day Event Gets A Lineup

The Band’s Levon Helm has lost his battle with throat cancer. He was 71 and with music in his bones well into the end. [NYT]

Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio is back, still with the steel drums but minus the band mates. "Tanto" is the first song off of his first solo EP, Sunburn, which is scheduled for a May 21st release. [Fader]

Never mind what Wikipedia says, Waka Flocka Flame’s middle name is actually "James." [Interview]

Madonna revealed on a British talk show this morning that what she really wanted for her Superbowl halftime show was to perform with a mother’s favorite Adele, but because Adele was having "her throat problem or throat operation or something," she was instead stuck with wild-eyes Minaj and the rabble-rousing M.I.A. [Page Six]

Worry not if you missed last weekend’s Brooklyn Zine Fest, the event was successful enough that organizers are already working to make it an annual thing. [Capital]

Weekend One of Coachella was the most well attended in recent years and also, apparently, the most rowdy: 134 arrests have already been made, up from last year’s 48, and there is still a weekend of festival to go. Stay safe, kids. [Spin]

Das Racist, Dan Deacon and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello have all signed up to play Occupy’s May Day rally in Union Square. Immortal Technique, Talib Kweli, David Byrne and The Roots have also been invited the event that organizers are calling "Occupy Wall Street’s biggest action ever," but have yet to confirm. [D+T]

And to keep things all in perspective, Gloria Steinem doesn’t know what Girls is. [Vulture]

Gloria Steinem Tries to Put Cast of ‘The Playboy Club’ Out of Work

When NBC picked up The Playboy Club, we reckoned that all they wanted was to give the hardworking citizens of this country an excuse to shut off their brains for an hour and let the cheap thrills wash over them. Also, if they made a few bucks out of the whole endeavor, nice for them. But Gloria Steinem, famed feminist warrior and future HBO documentary subject, is putting a damper on the whole thing by calling for a boycott before the first episode has even gone to air.

Steinem famously went undercover as a Bunny in 1963 at the real New York Playboy Club (the show is set at the Chicago original) for an article that exposed the god-awful conditions those ladies had to work under. Now, in an interview with Reuters, Steinem is saying all sorts of damning things, like “Clearly The Playboy Club is not going to be accurate. It was the tackiest place on earth. It was not glamorous at all” and “It normalizes a passive dominant idea of gender. So it normalizes prostitution and male dominance.”

Sure, that might be true, but it’s also just a soap on NBC that will have to climb a mountain 18 times the size of Everest if it wants to make it past the first season. That’s how hard it is to be a successful TV show these days. (It also does not help that some stations are already refusing to air it.) It’s also a show starring largely unknown actors who thought this might be their ticket to making rent. Criticizing the show, which features its main character accidentally impaling someone with a high heel in its pilot, is fair and legitimate, but asking people not to watch it and decide for themselves is just bossy and sort of mean.