Links: Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins?; It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp Who Owes the IRS $1.1M

● In your totally unsubstantiated rumor of the day: Was Meg Ryan the reason Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins split? [Perez] ● If you should be unfortunate enough to find yourself in the hospital, at least now your ass won’t be hanging out of your gown. [BBC] ● Proving New York City has really become as lily-livered as all the “back in the day you could get mugged in Union Square if the rats didn’t get you first” olds say, public school gets canceled 24-hours in advance of possible blizzard. [Daily Intel] ● A Make-Out Mix for Valentine’s Day. Somehow it doesn’t include “Let’s Get It On,” but then it would’ve had be called the Having Sex on Valentine’s Day mix. [NPR]

● Terrence Howard owes the Federal Government $1 million. [DetNews] ● We know you’ve been waiting for this day: underwear that flies [InventorSpot] ● There’s a billboard up in Wyoming, Minnesota with a goofy picture of George W. Bush and the tag line, “Miss Me Yet?” Nope. [Mofo politics]

Links: Roman Polanski’s Love Song, Nicole Richie Rear-Ended

● Drew Barrymore is totally cool with not being selected to direct Eclipse; like a jilted girlfriend, she says she wasn’t “in love with” the script anyway. [EntertainmentWise] ● A song extolling how great a lover Roman Polanski is, recorded by current wife Emmanuelle Seigner, has been shelved for rather obvious reasons. [Mirror] ● Pete Wentz had Mark Hoppus shave his head in a bid to kill emo hair. [MTV]

● The paparazzi finally got too close to Nicole Richie, rear-ending the back of her car while tailing her in Beverly Hills. Richie sought her own medical attention for some minor injuries. [People] ● Tim Robbins was snapped biking past the New York City set of Matt Damon’s new film and stopped to talk to him — you know, actor to actor. [ICYDK] ● Method Man is the latest rapper arrested for not paying his taxes; he owes $33,000 to New York State and could face four years in prison. [CNN]

NYC Celebs: Where Do You Go Out?

imageAt the opening of Hair on Broadway, March 31:

● ROSIE O’DONNELL: We have just little local ones in our neighborhood that we go to, but we don’t really “hang out,” you know. I mean, we have four kids under the age of 13. You don’t really hang out a lot, when that happens. You know, the local Irish pub in our town, the OBI or the Casa del Sol, the Mexican restaurant. You know, there’s some kid-friendly places that we go — we’re kinda dull.

● TIM ROBBINS: Oh, uh, yeah — I’m tryin’ to think of someone that needs help right now. [laughs] A lot of people are hurtin’ with this economy. I can’t, I can’t — I don’t go out much. No, I don’t go to bars. We like Basta Pasta on 17th Street — great food. It’s an Italian restaurant run by Japanese people. Pasta with the cheese — they put it into a big wheel of cheese, and it’s really yummy.

● GINNIFER GOODWIN: Oh, I’ll give you LA. My favorite restaurant is this little spot called Vegan Glory, in a strip mall on Beverly. They have the most phenomenal tacos. Are you a vegan? I am, and that’s where I get my taco fix. I recommend the faux beef tacos — absolutely!

● TOVAH FELDSHUH: It’s not that extraordinary. I like to go to Orso, ’cause it’s right next to the theater. I love to go to the Harvard Club, where we’re members. I love to go to Daniel. Oh, my god, Bouley — way downtown; it’s brand new; it’s extraordinary. I went there for one lunch. I love little Chez Josephine, when I’m playing 42nd Street — Restaurant Row — I love to do Jean-Claude at Chez Josephine. You know, I go to the places that patronize me, that are good to me, and that are easy on me. Sardi’s always takes care of me — I always have their steamed vegetables and tofu ’cause I’m dieting. I love the bread — the extraordinary, very, very, thin, paper-thin bread, that’s garlic and thyme, at Orso’s. I love the Harvard Club ’cause they know me. I’ve been a member all my life, through my father, my husband, and my son. I love The Ivy restaurant in London. I eat there a lot. And I love The Ivy in Los Angeles, on Melrose. And I love The Wolseley in London. It’s fantastic. It was an old bank, like tonight [Gotham Hall], an old bank.

At the Lymelife premiere, Gen Art Film Festival, April 1:

● JILL HENNESSEY: I love the question. God, there’s so many. There’s a new place that opened up called The Charles — John DeLucie’s the owner. Oh, Tillman’s, one of my favorites. I think Leslie Bernard is the owner. Irving Mill, which my husband and I are partners in — it was rated as having the best burger in New York City, and one of the best new chefs, great bar. But Tillman’s — Leslie Bernard owns another place called Mr. Jones on 14th Street. It’s like this 1960s James Bond world that you suddenly walk into, with the best yakitori, food, and incredible drinks. Very sexy, very hip.

ALEC BALDWIN: I’m not a drinker, but my favorite bar to hang out in is the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, Long Island, ’cause it’s just a great, great, old room. It’s a great space.

Links: Jeremy Piven ODs, Sienna Miller’s Fashion, Brangelina’s Gifts

● Jeremy Piven dropped out of the play Speed the Plow not with the usual “exhaustion” excuse, but rather due to a rather high level of mercury. I guess he’s been hitting Nobu a little too hard. [Variety] ● Sienna Miller and her designer sister are excited about their first fashion show in London for their luxe-label Twenty8Twelve. [British Vogue] ● Lily Allen wears her own homemade Chanel shirt, gets in trouble for “Womanizer” cover. [Daily Mail, NME]

● Madonna correcting her own publicist, Liz Rosenberg, in a joint statement with Guy Ritchie, saying that the reported $92 million for their divorce settlement is “inaccurate.” [P6] ● Rumor has it Tim Robbins will play Robert Downey Jr.’s alter-ego Tony Stark’s dad in Iron Man 2. [Moving Image] ● Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and their kids prefer to make homemade presents for each other, as if this family couldn’t be any cuter. [People]

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.

Tim Robbins on the War, the Election, and the Economy

“How’s your grammar?” Tim Robbins asks behind a copy of The New York Times. I assure him it’s admirable, so he asks me why it’s written and pronounced “a one in a million,” and not the usual an-before-a-vowel “an one in a million.” We agree it’s the exception to the rule, thanks to the “w” sound in “one,” and move on. He folds out the cover of the Rolling Stone Comedy Issue I brought with me, to see who’s on it — people like Letterman, Crystal, and Rock. Pals, I’m sure. But that’s about as light-hearted as this was going to get. Mr. Robbins met with me to promote his new coming-home dramedy The Lucky Ones, a road movie about three soldiers returning from Iraq.

But our country is trapped in a watershed moment. An economy ensnared in an historic downfall, an unprecedented election that is more phenomenon than political race, and of course, that stubborn war. So it was impossible not to press Robbins — a notorious political activist — on this country’s divisive issues. Once he got going, he couldn’t stop. Here’s the acclaimed actor on Republican lies, that shiny new VP candidate, and his soured relationship with John Edwards.

As a staunch opponent of the war, was it strange playing a soldier? Not at all, because I’m very clear on my end, and have been very clear from day one. I never have been opposed to any individual that was there, and I know people conflate this, but I also know who’s doing that. Usually it’s people on the extreme right who are trying to intimidate other people into silence, and they use their mouthpieces on talk radio, and Fox News. Because you were against this war does not mean that you were against the troops. I think a lot of people who were against this war had the best interest of the troops, and realized that their leaders were deceiving them into a situation that was dangerous, and would possibly fail. When you’re going to put people in that circumstance, you better have the facts on your side and you better be right, and I didn’t feel we were right.

Do you think that if Barack Obama gets elected, that he’ll do what he says and put a stop to the conflict over there? I don’t know. That remains to be seen. I know that McCain has said that he could see us being there for another hundred years. So of the choice, I would prefer Obama.

Did you see Jill Greenberg’s photos of McCain with the fangs and bloody mouth? Yeah, I thought that was dumb. It’s just another distraction really. There’s enough already there — if you’re pissed off with Bush — there’s enough already there that we know about, that is grounds for impeachment, or grounds to discredit him. To bring in those kinds of tactics, it kind of distracts, and gets you away from what the real issues are. And I think that’s kind of been the policy of Republicans for years. You know, distract the voters with issues like homosexuality.

Or a shiny new Vice President! Or Sarah Palin! That was the strategy on her, to distract.

And are you amazed that it’s worked so far? I’m amazed that the media took the bait like it did.

Not all the media. Not all of the media. Less so than took the bait on the Iraq war; that’s encouraging. But how many times do you have to be manipulated to you realize that you’re being manipulated?

Did you watch her interview with Charles Gibson? Yeah, I did.

What did you make of it? I thought it shows a person that is wholly inexperienced ,and not ready for this, but I think that was the point. And then we started talking about that, and that will take another two weeks off of the election. So where is this leading, if we do not talk about the issues, and not talk about what is really important?

What’s the most important issue right now? The fact that we’ve had leadership that has led us to a disastrous economy.

Are you kidding? We’ve a good couple of weeks! [laughs] I don’t know what position you’re holding from. I’m fortunate to have money. Have you been to the supermarket lately? I mean, prices are really, really inflating beyond control. If you’re talking about surviving on a subsistence salary, these are hard times. That doesn’t happen through effective leadership; that happens through corruption and greed. The fact that all these guys are walking away with bonuses, after destroying a hundred-and-fifty-year-old institution, and there is no movement towards any prosecution for that? Meanwhile peoples’ pensions are all of a sudden gone, and you’re 58 years old, and all the money you’ve been saving is gone? It’s a crime! And when are we going to talk about it as a crime?

Before the Republicans were in power, they’d say “We would be good for you, Joe Six-pack, you, the common man.” Well guess what, they got the power, and they had the power for six full years in the Congress, in the Senate, in the Presidency, in most of the governor’s mansions. They get the power, and not a goddamn thing changes! They don’t enact any policy that helps out the common man. They don’t help Joe Six-pack survive. In fact, it gets worse for them. So what the fuck is happening? How is that person not aware that they’ve been lied to? Yes, some people did benefit from those six years; billionaires benefited, millionaires benefited. And that was the agenda all along. If you ever want to understand the reality of the situation, follow the money. Who benefited from those six years of Republican rule? The fact that we’re even talking about this as being a close race is evidence of the effectiveness of propaganda on the ground in America.

How frustrated are you to see that it’s even a close election? Well here’s the frustrating thing — when someone lies, why does it have to be represented as, “The Republicans said this. The Democrats response was this.” Not, “Hey, we’re not gonna print that, it’s a lie.” Or “John McCain lied today,” should be the reporting, because they know the fucking truth. Why is there an equality on reporting on a lie, and in order to get an equal story, you have to get the Democrats’ denial of the lie? It’s a non-story. If someone lies, you say, “Dude you’re lying, I’m not going to report that.” If I would tell you right now, a complete lie, would you feel obligated to print it?

No. No I would not. Can you talk about campaigning for John Edwards? It taught me that I should never get involved in a campaign ever again. [Laughs] They’ll always let you down.

So you were let down by his extra-marital shenanigans and lies? Well, of course I was.

So you wouldn’t have campaigned, had you known that prior to doing so. He wouldn’t of been in the running, and if he knew that, he shouldn’t have been in the running.

So you were kind of disgusted by that whole thing? Yeah.

Did you know John Edwards on a personal level? Yeah.

And have you talked to him since? I have not.

Are you satisfied with Obama as the candidate? I would say that given the choice, yes.

Do you think that he should have chosen Hillary as his running mate? You know, everything’s better in retrospective. I don’t know. If that was the case, the Republicans would another thing to distract people. They’re very good at strategic thinking. The fact is, if Obama gets elected, it’s again up to us to set the agenda. People have to advocate for change, and make sure that it happens. Leaders don’t tend to do bold things unless they have to, and that’s been the case throughout history. Slavery didn’t get abolished without a hundred and fifty years of advocacy, people getting arrested, people getting killed, people putting their lives on the line to make a stand against slavery. A woman didn’t get the right to vote without hundreds of years of protest. These things don’t come fast, and they don’t come from the top down, they come from the bottom up.

Are you hopeful for the future, or do you think we’re at the beginning of a long, downward slide? I try to be an optimist. I wonder sometimes. I wonder how secure our future is when we are in a situation like we are, where for some reason this is a close election. I wonder about the common sense of the people.

Or even how Bush was able to get re-elected. Well, I don’t think he was. I don’t think he was elected either time. That’s another fallacy we continue to repeat. There is evidence of corruption in both elections, and I’m sure there will be a certain level of corruption in this election as well.

I read that you’re a Mets fan and a Rangers fan. It’s Game 7 of both championships on the same night. Which one do you go to? I’d have to say Mets. I’ve seen a Game 7 victory in person for both. I saw the Rangers win in against Vancouver in the Garden. I was in Shea when the Mets won it in ’86. And I was there for game five, my eleventh birthday, October 16, 1969. Three rows from the back row in the top level .and that was a beautiful moment. I think I’d have to go Mets.
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Snobbery and Entitlement at All Points West

VIP access to this weekend’s All Points West Music and Arts Festival means hanging with the artists, but not actually watching them perform. Ignore the tempting buffet because there is too much beer to drink. Score a bunch of free shit and feel very important because of it. At the entrance, unimportant and important people alike wait in long-ass lines while their are bags checked. But we very important folk waltz right in.

Pass the Brazilian Girls and one gay man of CSS on the second stage, ignore Underworld on the main stage, and go straight to the VIP tent/area. Once inside the haven of exclusivity, I can breathe again, finally amongst my very important people. But when I go for a beer and the bartender has the gall to ask for money, it became very clear, very fast, that the whole thing was a sham, a put-up. Even the food had prices — a cardinal sin in VIPville. My lungs pinched up and the Statue of Liberty laughed at me. I’ve been had by promoters looking to grant concertgoers a quick fix of upper-crustery. I had to get out of this make-you-believe world and into the real, which meant only one thing: backstage.

Passing security is no big deal — I belong there, after all. Beyond the metal railing, behind the stage, is a world of artists golf-carting to and fro, and celebrities picking at fruit plates. Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi hangs out with the hipster set. Natasha Lyonne (looking a little plump these days) is flanked by Animal Collective. There’s Liv Tyler bringing her son onstage to watch Kings of Leon (probably dating the whole band). Jessica Stam just walked by. Rosanna Arquette eats cantaloupe. Mary-Kate Olsen watches the show. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon are there too. Miso too salty, chocolate cake too decadent. And when headliners Radiohead finally start playing, their music sounds so much better from behind the stage, muffled as it may be. It’s the music only very important ears get to hear.