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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Saving Face

Are you a hard-pressed pol in need of a boost for your tough election fight? Forget spin doctors, pollsters and those pesky debates f hire a supermodel instead!

That's the route taken by Slovakia's pugnacious prime minister, Vladimir Meciar, who paid German ubertrixie Claudia Schiffer a reported $150,000 to fly in for a "non-political" ribbon-cutting f just before he faced the voters last weekend, The Observer reports.

Meciar joins the ranks of Fidel Castro, who recently had Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell down to Havana for some glossy PR ("You started a revolution towards little models," Castro enthused to the emaciated Moss); Nelson Mandela, who put the literal squeeze on Campbell for the photogs (and made her his "honorary granddaughter") f and even Al Gore, who has used Christy Turlington (in a non-Clintonian sense, of course) to put a pretty face on Central American policy and anti-smoking efforts.

Next up: Yevgeny Primakov spends the last of the Central Bank's hard-currency reserves to hire Cindy Crawford for a "Ruble-Rousing Rally" at Lenin's Tomb.

Blue Moon

London theatergoers f cultured, cynical, sophisticated f are probably the last group you'd think would go ga-ga over a celebrity from the vulgar climes of Hollywood (say it with the slightest shudder of distaste). But those enlightened eyes were bugging out at stageside last week as playgoers crammed the Donmar Theater to get a gawk at Nicole Kidman f every bit of her.

Kidman is trodding the boards in "The Blue Room," playwright David Hare's adaptation of the French classic "Le Ronde," The Guardian reports. During a highly detailed examination of the hydraulic mysteries between the sexes (though not as highly detailed as the latest porn-dump by the U.S. Congress, of course), Kidman plays five different characters, all of whom have highly detailed sex with lead actor Iain Glen.

With the prime of Miss Kidman's body on display every night, the theater has laid on extra security muscle, who have been kept busy confiscating cameras f 30 in the show's first few nights alone.

And while Kidman's husband, Tom Cruise, unaccountably stayed away from the early showings, other actors have been raving about Kidman's performance f and her acting, too. The Guardian caught one venerable sage of the stage ("a knight of the realm, no less") whispering to a friend after the show: "It's nearly enough to turn one heterosexual."

Eye Candy

Meanwhile, a release date has finally been announced for the Cruise-Kidman film vehicle, "Eyes Wide Shut." As you may recall, the prodigiously profitable pair had been held prisoner by director Stanley Kubrick for almost two years, as he shot and re-shot and re-re-shot what is said to be a "psycho-sexual thriller." Both actors had to pass up millions in lucrative film offers for other projects as Kubrick kept them locked down on his highly-secret set.

But now studio officials are saying the movie will finally see the light of day f in the summer of 1999. Providing, of course, that Kubrick doesn't decide to change the ending, or recast a major role after the shooting is completed, as he did when he booted Jennifer Jason Leigh and her miles of film footage from the production earlier this year.

Despite the long wait, studio officials denied the project has been fatally undercut by the newly released, straight-to-video "psycho-sexual thriller" from Starr-Hyde Productions, "Thong of Love."

Divine Intervention

But speaking of sex, when right-wing Christian adulterer Henry "Jekyll" Hyde and his merry band of impeachinistas on the House Judiciary Committee disgorged their second load of salacious anti-Clinton sludge this week, few took note of their strategic timing. However, as David Cohen of The Nando Times points out, the release was obviously scheduled to outflank some of the president's most vocal defenders: the Democratic Party's liberal Jews.

Hyde and the committee's Republican majority released the Clinton video f plus thousands more prurient pages of "secret" grand jury testimony f on Monday, which just happened to be Rosh Hashana, one of Judaism's most holy days. And it would have been difficult even for adamant know-nothings like Hyde and his hard-right goyim to be unaware of the day's significance: six members of the committee are Jewish (all of them Democrats, of course).

On Rosh Hashana, most Jews go to synagogue or at least refrain from worldly business, says Cohen, which means fierce Democratic partisans like Barney Frank and Steve Rothman were basically knocked out of the spin loop, leaving the talk-show and sound-bite field to Christian Republican representatives like adulterer Dan Burton, adulterer Helen Chenoeweth, and, of course, head adulterer Henry Hyde.

"One can't imagine the same material being released on, say, Christmas or Easter," Cohen writes. "It would sully those sacred days and it [sullies] this one."

Let's see, now: disrespectful, anti-religious, sex-obsessed peddlers of gratuitous smut f these are conservative Republicans? Gee, think how kinky the moderates must be!

Mouthing Off

It seems no place is safe from sex-tinged scandal these days f not even Britain's Royal Ballet.

No, Tony Blair has not been slipping backstage to canoodle with an apprentice ballerina. It's just, once again, a case of that old cherchez la Russe.

Ever since Diaghlev and Nijinsky sparked riots with their erotica, pas a deux po-russky has been wont to ruffle the feathers of world dance. And last week saw Russia's own Irek Mukhamedov making waves at the Royal Ballet, when prima ballerina Darcey Bussell withdrew from a Twyla Tharp work she and Irek were to headline next month.

Bussell has bolted the production of Tharp's "Mr. Worldly Wise" because Mukhamedov has been making too free with his mouth, the Guardian said. It's not that he was giving Darcey a lot of lip, you understand; he was giving her too much tongue.

"Every time they kissed in rehearsal, he slipped the tongue in," a theater source told the paper. "Well, that's not Darcey at all. She's not that kind of girl."

Bussell's place has been taken by her arch-rival Deborah Bull, who apparently is that kind of girl. Meanwhile, Mukhamedov has, uncharacteristically, kept his mouth shut about the controversy.