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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit IssuePostpartum Britney? The theory that Britney Spears’ recent public madness may stem from something other than drugs, alcohol or twisted P.R. savvy got a boost Tuesday. A source tells TMZ that doctors at the rehab center in Malibu, Calif., where Spears is still (as of this writing) recovering think she may be suffering from postpartum depression. As TMZ reports, “Doctors believe the drinking is a way Spears has coped with a bigger problem,” and Spears is currently reading Brooke Shields’ book on her own postpartum depression, “Down Came the Rain.” (TMZ)

Beyoncé exposed (to hepatitis A): Celeb chef Wolfgang Puck scored a nice gig catering the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue bash earlier this month, but the coup has turned into a P.R. nightmare after Los Angeles health officials announced that one of the workers preparing food may have exposed people at the event to acute hepatitis A.

Reuters writes: “The Los Angeles County health department recommended on Tuesday that anyone who ate uncooked food at the sports magazine’s party on Feb. 14 get treatment by Wednesday to avoid developing the serious liver disease.” Yikes! Cover girl Beyoncé Knowles was at the party, as was “Borat” costar Ken Davitian, but officials are trying to reassure people that the risk of infection is “quite low.” (Reuters via Yahoo News)

The new New Republic: Marty Peretz is owner of the New Republic no more — Canadian media giant CanWest Global Communications announced Tuesday that it purchased Peretz’s remaining 25 percent share in the magazine to become its new full owner. Editor-in-chief Peretz, who has been with the magazine for three decades, told the New York Observer, “It feels like a burden has been lifted from me.” The magazine also recently announced it’s undergoing a redesign, and it will be going from a weekly to a biweekly starting March 19. (New York Observer)

White noise … No more watching Seinfeld’s Oscar bit on YouTube. On Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked the Web site to remove all unauthorized posts of Academy Awards clips — and YouTube quickly complied. (Variety) … Is Nicole Richie getting engaged? She and new boyfriend Joel Madden were seen looking at engagement rings in Los Angeles last week. (The Scoop) … Martin ScorseseOscar-flush Martin Scorsese (right) has announced his next project: He’s teaming up with Rolling Stone Mick Jagger for a film about two friends in the music biz. Jagger will produce, and “The Departed” screenwriter and Oscar winner William Monahan is set to write. (BBC News) … Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe’s stage debut in London’s West End, where he plays a stable boy who has an erotic relationship with horses in the play “Equus,” received a standing ovation this week; the play has been well received by critics. (BBC News) … Victoria “Posh” Beckham is reportedly in talks with NBC to make a six-episode reality show out of her upcoming move to Los Angeles when her husband, David, joins Major League Soccer’s L.A. Galaxy team. (Variety) … Police in Los Angeles are investigating claims that singer James Blunt ran over a person’s foot while leaving a party this weekend and then drove off. The Associated Press calls the incident a possible “foot-and-run.” (Associated Press)

Talker

24Sutherland on torture and “24”: The U.S. military is so bothered about the pernicious effect that Fox’s “24” has upon how its troops view the use of torture that it has asked Jack Bauer himself, actor Kiefer Sutherland, to address cadets at West Point on the topic, according to WENN. As detailed in a recent New Yorker piece on the show, West Point dean Brig. Gen. Patrick Finnegan asked producers last November to stop depicting torture as the “patriotic thing to do,” saying, “I’d like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires.” WENN reports Sutherland has accepted the invite. (“U.S. Army Invites Sutherland to Give Anti-Torture Speech,” Hollywood.com)

Buzz Index

Judgment

Mmm, stripper steaks: Heading recently to the Penthouse Executive Club in New York to sample the steaks served among strippers at Robert’s Steakhouse, critic Frank Bruni tries to overcome the stereotypes about strip-club food: “You can find bliss in the soulless cradle of a strip mall. Why not the topless clutch of a strip club?” Distractions aside — a dancer asks, “Is there anyone I can get naked for?” — he finds the rumors about the place’s steaks are true: “As it happens, Robert’s has some of the very best steaks in New York City … no matter what your appetite for the saucy spectacle accessorizing these steaks, you’ll be turned on by the quality of the plated meat.” He gives the restaurant one star. (“Where Only the Salad Is Properly Dressed,”


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