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Summertime Scoop

Who says summer is slow?
If your brain is being fried by the heat, the mind can come up with some odd things. Here's our scoop on this summer's trends. Though some highly dubious, all worth checking out.

Controversial Movies
Right-wing fringe actor Mel Gibson's flick about the last hours of Christ, The Passion, has already gotten more press than it will when it opens. At least he can't offend anyone during the actual screening since no one will be able to understand the subtitleless Latin script. Do you really want to help him support his zillion children? We say Carpe Diem and skip it. Instead put your bucks on Stephen Frears (Grifters, Dangerous Liaisons, High Fidelity), who's at it again. This time "exposing" seedy black markets. Frears' Dirty Pretty Things follows Nigerian- born Okwe. Once a doctor, the sleep- deprived Okwe now toils as a London cabbie and hotel clerk. When Okwe discovers that his hotel is the site of a shady-ass black market operation, he fights to save his life and the lives of others while trying to stay anonymous. Audrey Tautou (from Amelie) plays his friend. We saw it already but it hits theaters starting July 18.

Memoirs Before Your Time
Just as Christina Ricci turns up on the silver screen in Prozac Nation (does anyone really feel sorry for the self indulgent pill popper? "We're so privileged. Woe is us." Re-ally.), Melissa de la Cruz and Karen Robinovitz's book How To Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less hits shelves. Touted as a "Get Famous Quick" book-fomercial, the saving grace for the book is that no matter how their publicist angles it, it's not meant to have you wake up as Harrison Ford the morning after having read it. Melissa and Karen's cute tome is thankfully drug- free, self- pity free and really about two regular Janes and their hilarious and earnest struggle to climb to the top of the heap. Since the girls say, "You're not really famous until you're a Halloween costume", maybe this Winter, they'll go as each other?

More Woe Is Me?
Pieces (of Ass), from Brian Howie (best known for his VH1 celeb karaoke production), is 12 gals' snarky vignettes on the torment of being beautiful. Guys will go for the gals in lacey lingerie and secretly find themselves in a somewhat female power reclaimist play, as fortunately Howie and his harem have a forthright sense of humour about such topics as having a supermodel boyfriend. We went to the screening Lizzie Grubman and Aaron whatshisface from The Bachelor went to in NYC where it will run till August, then it's going to L.A. for September and October. Maybe some other cities afterwards. Deets are at piecesofass.com

Booze Sponsored Music
This week House of Courvoisier threw an intimate invite only concert for Macy Grayís third album The Trouble with Being Myself and presented her with Courvoisier's $5,000 bottle of L'Esprit de Courvoisier, blended with cognac from Napoleanís private reserves, and contained in a signed and numbered Lalique decanter. As long as it doesn't contain "l'esprit" de Napoleon, hey, if these are the perks of being a musician, where did we put that piece of paper with LA Reid's mobile number? ...Also on tour is the Heineken heavyweight tour La Leche. Already on the road and hitting Miami, Chicago, L.A., Houston and NYC next, the sponsored La Leche 2003 has Nortec and the latest in Latino underground dance music traveling across America. Check out artists Hiperboreal, Panoptica, and Bostich. Check out Fussible, one of the groups, at www.sonic360.com/artist.php?id=8&sec=5 Tour info is at sonic360.com/laleche

Magazines Bored With Not Owning The World
The design mags learned well from Martha (who just launched Everyday Food and a funky fresh flower service). Vice Mag has new record label (they signed The Streets) and a new TV show. Trace has a whole cable TV channel in France. Surface Mag even has a hotel. Gee, can't imagine what the in-room mag is. Will we be able to watch Vice Mag's show in the Surface rooms however? If Maer Roshan's Radar Mag ever stops insulting people, maybe they too will get a hotel or a TV show?

Extreme Marketing Contests
Now that races, eating bugs, and scavenger hunts are done, what's left? Does drinking Red Bull make you wonky? We don't drink it so some one tell us. All we know is their Flying Machine contest Flugtag's commercial had us nearly peeing in our pants. Real contestants flying machines propelling off a pier. Our favourite is the giant rubber duckie on wheels rolling itself into the water. The tour's motto? "You'll laugh, you'll fly. Just not very far." Enter your own contraption when it hits your city at redbullflugtag.com. We'll come see you in our "We're with Stupid" shirt.

Desperate Traveling
These days, you're no one if you're not hiking Everest with a sherpa to call your own, or snowboarding out of a plane with a Burton Liquid Lounger (complete with tailgating flask, stool, dice, shotglasses and cards!).
Sheesh. Whatever happened to camping.
Even T shirts from Old Navy touts places you haven't even been. [Check out the Havana t shirt (BDG at oliveandbettes.com), Taos Ski Academy, and Innsbruck Austria by Jake's at goclothing.com]. So what do those without adventure blood do? We say private cooking classes in our own Tuscan Villa. Rent one of 20 Tuscan villas where you can come back an Italian gourmet from learning in your own kitchen. 10 specialty chefs, each with a particular culinary flair and all experts on Tuscan cuisine, give you private lessons in three 3- hour sessions. Program is $1,140 for up to 8 people, includes groceries and vino. See some of the villas - Sassaia, Greggianello, Casello, Monticchia and Aiola - and at wimco.com or call 800 932 3222. 3- to 6-bedroom villas with rates are from approx. $6,000. Thank heavens for the Italians.

Above: DJ culture on the road at La Leche


1. Burton's outdoor patio party at the Scandinavian House with their pro boarders Keir Dillon and Kelly Clark.

2. Coach's luscious tented cocktail party at the Cooper Hewitt Museum attended by Anna Paquin.

3. Jay Z and Alize's party at 40/40 for WNBA star Teresa Weatherspoon.

4. Celeb favourite beauty line Davines' summer cocktail at the loft/pseudo lab of owner Davide Bollati.

5. K-Y's tittilating party with Patricia Field at the W Hotel using K-Y Liquid as a massage cream and handkerchief paints.

6. Paper's Quiksilver surf theme party at Coral Room complete with mermaids.

7. Perry Ellis' 10th anniversary of its IPO party at Isla just before the doors shut on the Cuban restaurant.

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