Jacob Bernstein to Direct HBO Documentary About His Late Mother, Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron, the brilliant journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, and director, died last June after a battle with leukemia. She has been remembered fondly in recent months with a reprinting of her classic essay collections Scribble, Scribble and Crazy Salad as well as the current Broadway production of her final play, Lucky Guy, starring Tom Hanks. It seems appropriate that her son, Jacob Bernstein, take the reins of an HBO documentary about her life. Titled Everything is Copy, the documentary will be "an intimate portrait" of Bernstein’s mother, with Nick Hooker signed on as co-director and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter as executive producer. If you can’t wait for the finished product, check out Bernstein’s tribute to his mother in the New York Times from last month. 

[via The Hollywood Reporter]

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Links: Linday Lohan Parties with ‘Big Monster’; Sasha Grey Gets Multiples on ‘Entourage’

● Lindsay Lohan’s bodyguard, who now accompanies her to all events, wears a shirt that says “Big Monster,” making the metaphor far too obvious. [Page Six] ● One in ten people under 25 say it’s okay to text during sex, but let’s go ahead and assume they’ve never been laid or won’t be again until they figure out how it works. [Ad Age] ● Who the hell gave Gary Busey a baby, and moreover, could he look any more mentally unfit to be a parent? [HuffPo]

● Who says print is dead? Not Graydon Carter. He begs to differ, in fact. Strongly.[Mediaweek] ● Everyone’s favorite hipster porn star will continue her crossover by playing Vince’s girlfriend for multiple episodes on the new season of Entourage. Things she has in common with the rest of the cast: hot body, dead eyes. [TV Guide] ● A new poll indicated that Céline Dion is the most popular singer in America, despite the fact that she’s both Canadian and horrible. [The Awl] ● As if we didn’t know: those who drink scored higher on a vocabulary test than those dumbs who don’t. It’s science. [The Rumpus]

For Rent: Graydon Carter’s Man Slave

Remember the days of private man servants? Neither do we. The closest thing we’ve had to a butler was Fresh Prince reruns. But, for Vanity Fair honcho Graydon Carter, having another human being cater to your every whim is just a part of life. Yesterday The Post introduced us to Ivo Juhani, who doubles as Carter’s butler and the headwaiter at his hush-hush West Village eatery, The Waverly Inn.

The 33 year-old Estonian immigrant-turned-celebrity waiter dons a custom-made Thom Browne suit, books private cars and sought-after reservations, and keeps the champagne flowing “like water” as he works private cocktail parties and camps out in Carter’s hallway between the hours of 12 and 4 pm daily. If you have $15,000 to $20,000 a month to drop, you can rent one of the luxury apartments, and the man slave, could be yours. Oh, and Courtney Love will be your neighbor. Do with that what you will.

Industry Insiders: Larry Poston, Room Service Provider

Larry Poston officially opened the West Village resto Hotel Griffou with business partner Johnny Swet on July 1. Poston made his name in New York restaurant circles as a manager at Pastis and the Waverly Inn, and Swet gained his hospitality know-how at Balthazar and Freemans. Most recently occupying the 9th Street space was notorious speakeasy Marylou’s, but the name of the new joint is after the original, French 1870s occupants. The modern dining rooms are themed as a salon, library, and artist’s studio with a French-inspired classic cuisine menu. Poston gives us an inside look at the new spot.

What are you focusing on now that you’re open for business? My business partner Johnny and I are really priding ourselves on great food and great service. That’s what we know. We’ve learned from Keith McNally that no matter all the fanfare and no matter what comes in, great food and great service are the only things that keep them coming back ten years down the road.

How did you first meet Keith McNally? I started waiting tables at Pastis in 2000, so I interviewed with Keith. He hired me, and I worked there for six months and then moved out to LA with dreams of being an actor. I was a pool boy at the Chateau Marmont for four months. So that was my West Coast experience. I hated LA. I came back and started waiting tables again at Pastis. They promoted me to manager on the floor, and I worked at Pastis for six years.

Most important thing you learned from McNally? Keith had been a maître d’ when he first started out. He taught me a lot as far as what to look for with people, and he would say, don’t just seat the people in front of you with the suits and the flashy money, because they always get a table. Look behind them and see the nervous couple or the little old couple or the funky-looking group that doesn’t always get a table, and seat them. That adds to the room and also keeps that eclectic mix of New York going. You don’t always want suits, you don’t always want fashion people, you don’t want all of any one thing. I would love to have Mick Jagger over here, some drag queens over there with a rock band and then some Wall Street guys. That’s what keeps it interesting. That’s New York to me.

Then you worked with another legend, Graydon Carter. It was just that time, that point of trying something new and spreading your wings and getting out there. And that’s when I met Graydon Carter over at the Waverly Inn. That was a whole other aspect of service and learning people because that’s a man who is like maître d’ to the stars. He’s the epitome of a host. It’s his room, and he knows where everyone should go. I got to know a lot of names at the Waverly Inn, obviously.

What’s the Waverly’s secret for remaining A-list over the years? You have Eric Goode and Sean McPherson who know restaurants, and they also have their own chic clientele of people who they bring to any project they’re involved in. You get that mixed with the energy of Graydon Carter and all these amazing A-listers in there for a great dining experience. You get the mix of a person who knows the people and the people who know how to run a restaurant. Once, I was telling a friend some of the names who went in the place one night, and he was like, “So, what you’re telling me is, if the Waverly was to explode right now, it would be the end of civilization.”

What’d you take from that experience to opening Hotel Griffou? How to deal with certain people. There are a million different personalities here in New York City, and then you have a certain amount of clientele that is …

High maintenance? Well, the great surprise is when the ones you expect to be high maintenance aren’t. It’s just having to deal with personalities. Higher-end personalities have higher expectations. You learn how to coddle egos in a way. I think that’s what the Waverly taught me: how to really deal with egos. That’s a good way to say it.

What came first for Hotel Griffou — the concept or the space? Johnny and I talked about doing this for awhile, and we had a concept. We had this place over in the East Village at one point, because we were thinking of modeling after some of those southern juke joints, speakeasy-type places that have great names like the Playboy Club or the Lizard Lounge. But you have to walk into a space that feels right. Johnny worked at Freemans, and I worked at the Waverly Inn, and both those places are very unique — Freemans is down that alley, and the Waverly Inn is at the bottom of a townhouse. In New York. It has to have a special vibe or a special space, then the bones were here and boom. I was never here for the Marylou’s experience, but I’d heard these amazing stories about what was here before. We’re hoping we can return it to some of its past glory.

You’re obviously alluding to that with the name. Hotel Griffou was what is was in the late 1800s. It was owned by this woman by the name of Madame Marie Griffou. It became this real mecca of ideals, artists, writers, and poets. One of the true stories is that Mae West actually did come here after her indecency trial, which is funny.

How long has this been in the works? From embryo to now — about two years. We initially started construction this past February.

What’s your favorite part of the interior? I can’t really choose. The inspiration Johnny and I talked about was an artist’s town house. There’s something about the feel of the salon, and I like the studio because of the crazy art and all the work that’s been contributed. Johnny spearheaded the design, but it was collaborative, and all the work that was contributed was by artist friends.

How much input did you have in the menu with chef Jason Michael Giordano (of Spice Market)? Johnny and I had ideas of what we wanted on the menu . We wanted those traditional dishes. Classical American cuisine is what we called it, and then we discovered that this place was owned by a French woman, and we had to throw a French nod to the cuisine. We wanted a signature dish, which is the lobster thermidor fondue.

Is that the most popular menu item? Yes, as well as the poutine, which is French fries with duck confit topped with a little buffalo mozzarella. It’s amazing. Also, the fried seafood basket, which is something from home. I love fried food, fried fish, cod, fried shrimp, fried oyster, with chips, we’re calling it Calabash, we’re not going to call it Southern, but yeah, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a mix of some rich dishes and some light dishes. We thought that the idea of a great restaurant was that you can go here three or four nights a week and always have a new experience.

True that the pork cutlet recipe was found on the menu from the 1800s here? It’s very true. We have a sautéed pork cutlet recipe that was on the original Madame Marie Griffou menu from 1892. They’re sautéed, lightly breaded with this delicious pork gravy au jus with green beans. They’re delectable.

How was your soft opening? It was great because we invited a lot of industry people that we’d worked for and trusted their opinion. We got really good feedback and notes that we can take with us to keep improving. You get a little anxiety about your peers coming, and knowing you’re going to really hear the truth — which can be unpleasant, but always necessary. The bottom line is that everyone was pleased with the look, the feel, and the vibe of the place, which is important.

Where do you go out? I like Norwood a lot, and Little Branch. As far as dining I still love Indochine and also Peasant.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Photo: Scott Pasfield

New York: Top 10 Celebrity-Owned Hotspots

Scott Weiland’s Snitch is now Citrine, Tim Robbins is no longer behind the Back Room, De Niro’s Ago was critically panned, cholesterol problems await at Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality, and Arnold Schwarzenegger & co.’s Planet Hollywood is a tourist trap, all’s not lost — here’s a list of celeb-owned spots worth looking into.

10. Bowery Wine Company (Bruce Willis) – “All for wine, wine for all” — it’s their philosophy, and we agree. 9. Angels & Kings (Pete Wentz, Travis McCoy) – Not short on cheap thrills; sex in the bathroom is encouraged. 8. Michael Jordan’s The Steak House NYC (Michael Jordan) – Though business may temporally be cooling, it remains the quintessential rich man’s cafeteria. 7. Nobu (Robert De Niro) – We hear it’s a bargain compared to the Nobu’s London outpost. 6. Santos’ Party House (Andrew WK) – Music aficionados looking to pick up oddball scenesters, look no further. 5. Haven (Bershan Shaw) – Like an old rich man’s study cum cigar bar (minus the cigars, but with the scotch), the dimly lit spot is a welcome relief amidst the midtown beer-guzzler bars. 4. The Box (Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Josh Lucas on the board) – Love it, hate it, or simply grossed out by it — there’s no experience quite like it. 3. Waverly Inn (Graydon Carter) – Given that you basically have to know the Vanity Fair editor to get a table, may we suggest brushing-up on your networking skills to avoid missing-out on a fireside truffle macaroni and cheese dinner? 2. 40/40 Club (Jay-Z) – Cigars, cognac, swinging leather chairs, 50-plus flatscreens, and VIP rooms aplenty — in other words, the swank hip-hop sports bar has Jay-Z written all over it. 1. Cutting Room (Chris Noth) – Sure, the crowd’s not the hottest, and the space could use a facelift, but catching at least one Joan Rivers performance should be considered a Manhattan must.

Graydon Carter Buys Monkey Business

imageGraydon Carter — editor of Vanity Fair and owner/savior/matchbook-maker at the Waverly Inn — has come to the rescue of yet another beleaguered New York restaurant. Word has leaked that Carter, along with a pair of partners, has purchased the Monkey Bar in the Hotel Elysée.

Troubled venue owners should look to Carter as a magnet personality fit to rejuvenate any property. Shall he creep further up the Upper East Side? Perhaps the bar at the renovated Mark Hotel? Or maybe kick the dowagers out of Bemelmans? Perhaps most importantly, will he continue his crusade as the Rosa Parks of indoor smoking?

Graydon Carter Monkeys Around

Yesterday came reports that famed Midtown eatery Monkey Bar (since 1932) had been sold. Foodies awaited the mystery buyer’s identity with baited garlic breath. Today, said identity has been revealed to all as Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, owner of The Waverly Inn. Carter’s spokesperson said the resto will reopen next summer after renovations and will be “small” and “low-key.” Kind of like The Waverly is “low-key.”Carter’s two partners include Jeff Klein of the City Club Hotel and Jeremy King of London restaurant The Wolseley. Hey Graydon, can you rescue Studio B now?

Counter Intelligence: The Waverly Inn’s John DeLucie

Nightly they come, exiting chauffeured limos and Maybachs, rushing by the paparazzi, and entering a Bilbo Baggins-sized door into the magical labyrinth called The Waverly Inn. There’s no need to name them. “They” have all been there, whether strolling from neighboring West Village brownstones (“Hey, Hah-vee! Can we get one shot?”), or “just in” from Los Angeles. Cannes. Sundance. Turks. Rehab.

And there are the editors, the owners, the Dillers, the glamour pusses, the disheveled ink-stained wretches with a National Magazine Award nom under their belts too. Co-owner Graydon Carter sees to the private A-list, which has not increased by much since it opened with no public reservations (but for the chosen few, access via a secret email and contact number) two years ago. Skeptics predicted a backlash, a fallout — didn’t happen.

The Waverly works because of its staff of wry and calm pros, and the guy in (and out of) the kitchen who keeps it real. In his chef whites (but thank you, no Pillsbury hat), John DeLucie, 46, traverses the wood-planked bar giving equal attention to walk-ins and presidential hopefuls. Lindsay Lohan with a gaggle of look-alikes does not faze either. She’s from Long Island, just like Amy Fisher!

A snob he’s not; his cuisine is accessibly sublime. Enough about the truffled macaroni. His chicken entrées, the beet salad, a perfect bowl of chili, those damnable biscuits are good enough for us. Here, we asked for dish, but got something more satisfying as DeLucie took morning time off to talk at Nolita’s no-less-buzzy Café Habana.

BLACKBOOK: How did you get the job as chef of the Waverly? CHEF JOHN DELUCIE: I was riding my Schwinn three-speed aimlessly around the Village one morning and saw a “FOR RENT” sign in its window. The former operators had seemingly abandoned the place. I was friendly with a neighbor who knew the landlord. I called [co-owners] Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson and said to them, I found a place for us. We signed the lease less than a month later.

What was your first impression of Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter? Initially, I was intimidated, but I soon found him to be a funny and engaging ball-breaker. He is so clever. I like being around him just to listen to his views on the restaurant, and on life in general. I can’t say enough about how his involvement has impacted The Waverly.

Did you like or dislike the idea of making food for celebrity-finicky palates? For some reason I have always found myself cooking for New York City’s cognoscenti, although not on the scale of The Waverly. It’s a career path, I guess. And the truth is, here, I have found that the boldest face names have been the most gracious and the least persnickety.

How did the truffled macaroni become such a “thing?” At the time we started it, most restaurants that were doing truffles were charging considerably more than us, but they were calling their dish “Pasta con Tartufi Bianco.” We called ours “mac and cheese with white truffles,” and the press went berserk.

Do you have favorite celebrity customers? I have a healthy respect for our clientele. They are some of the most accomplished, fascinating, and fabulous people ever. I would like them all to keep coming, so I’m going to remain taciturn about who they are.

Tell me about the book you are writing, The Hunger, and how free are you with what you say about working there? It will be published by HarperCollins next spring. It’s an anecdotal account of my cooking and life experiences in New York City over the past 25 years. It is wry and funny — I hope. The Waverly is represented, but not in the context of what some leading men’s magazine editor did or didn’t eat, or who he ate it with.

Where did you learn to cook? It originally came from my maternal grandmother. Growing up, my family lived in this giant brownstone in Brooklyn, and I would find my way to her kitchen and tugged on her apron. She would make me a snack of pastina with butter, or zucchini and eggs. Those food memories stayed with me. My mom was also a good cook, and there’s obviously the Italian thing; we have a marvelously rich food culture… and we also like to yell and scream and talk over each other at the table.

Where do you eat out in Manhattan? Any place where I can use one fork for the entire meal.

Do your peers give you guff about working at Celebrity Central? Chefs can be a covetous, jealous lot. I had a sous-chef who got into a brawl in a Lower East Side bar because a fellow chef — who worked in one of those midtown temples of gastronomy, with a lot of stars awarded to it by The New York Times — had referred to him as “the guy who makes those chicken pot pies.” Defending the honor of a flaky crust: I like it.

Bonfire of the Vanities Over Unread Article

Vanity Fair‘s National Editor Todd Purdum recently wrote a piece—a 9,647-word piece—about Bill Clinton. And, needless to say, it hasn’t gone over well in various circles. Speaking to a reporter from the Huffington Post after campaigning in San Diego, Clinton said of Purdum, “He’s a really dishonest reporter… And I haven’t read [the article]. But he told me there’s five or six just blatant lies in there. But he’s a real slimy guy.” Clinton would go on to call him “sleazy” and a “scumbag.”

As retaliation, the Clinton corner released a 2,457-word response—brevity is the soul of wit—attacking Vanity Fair‘s Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter, who, they say is “unconscionable,” and “[capitalizes] on his position at Vanity Fair to explore consulting and investment deals.” Carter writes in an e-mail to Off the Record, “The responses from the former president and his camp are very saddening in their own ways… Characteristic, but nevertheless shocking.” As usual, Graydon: 1, Everyone Else: 0.