US diary: Streisand helps spice up Chinese banquet
THERE were no gate-cashers at last Wednesday night's State dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao but there was plenty of unwanted drama thanks, in part, to guests like Barbra Streisand. Asked by reporters why she thought she made the guest list, the Democratic fundraiser cracked: "I used to work in a Chinese restaurant."
The Chinese must have thought that was hilarious. They probably had a similar reaction to the suggestion that Michelle Obama's choice of dress, a red Alexander McQueen gown, was meant as a homage to "Commie Red China". And to film star Jackie Chan being asked if he intended to perform any Kung-Fu stunts that night. (The poor man just shook his head.) President Hu, too, came under attack from the fashion police for his decision to wear a business suit to the black-tie event, while President Obama (already the target of a National Enquirer expose that claims he is so skinny because he picked up stomach parasites on a recent trip to Hawaii) got a ribbing for dying the grey out of his hair. Figure skater Michelle Kwan was criticised for wearing a skintight Herve Leger bandage mini dress and Vogue editor Anna Wintour was questioned (obviously by a fashion writer with no aspirations of working at a magazine) about choosing to wear a Chanel suit instead of a more formal gown.
Fun fact: Streisand wasn't actually kidding about having worked in a Chinese restaurant. When she was a teen, the native New Yorker had a part-time job as a cashier at Choy's Orient in Brooklyn and, according to The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook, "she credits [owner] Muriel Choy with teaching her many things, including the facts of life".
It's unlikely the revelation will make much difference to the Chinese.
Sandra's ex to wed tattoo artist
IN one of the most underwhelming celebrity announcements ever, last Thursday Jesse James delivered the news that he is engaged to tattoo artist Kat Von D.
James, 41, started dating the 28 year old just after his divorce from Sandra Bullock was finalised last June. This will be his fourth marriage and her second.
And just in case anyone thinks the last year has been hard on the man who humiliated America's sweetheart, James tells People magazine: "2010 was actually the best year of my life because I fell in love with my best friend," which might have come across better if he hadn't added: "An amazing woman who stood behind me when the world turned their backs." Good to know he isn't bitter.
Capitol idea for Ted Kennedy son
JOHN Boehner was off target when he tried to again cajole Caroline Kennedy into running for office. The House Speaker was addressing a group of Kennedy family members and dignitaries gathered last Thursday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of JFK's inauguration when he remarked: "Sadly, this is the first Congress to convene without a Kennedy since the Truman administration," before pausing to look at the former First Daughter, suggesting: "Caroline, there's still time."
Boehner should have made the pitch to Ted Kennedy Jr, the 49-year-old Connecticut-based attorney, who made a powerful impression when he delivered a moving eulogy at his father's funeral. He is being floated as a potential candidate to replace Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman who announced his decision to retire last Wednesday.
"Why wouldn't he be interested in the seat? He is his father's son," one Kennedy insider told the Boston Herald which is also reporting that Teddy's possible run might have been factored into Lieberman's decision not to run in 2012.
Ted Jr and his wife of 13 years Kiki have two kids, Kiley, 12, and Edward Moore Kennedy III, 13, who two years ago announced his intention to run for the Massachusetts senate seat one day. His dad, however, has yet to comment about his plans.
Globes to boost Ricky's career
THE backlash against beating up on Ricky Gervais has begun. The comic, who scandalised Hollywood with his cutting, often crude, jokes at last week's Golden Globe awards is now being heralded by the folks at Vanity Fair magazine as such a genius he should be invited to host everything from the White House Correspondents' Dinner to the Oscars. The Hollywood Reporter believes, despite all the handwringing about this performance, Gervais will probably experience a career boost from the all the buzz and according to one TV producer, the offer of a US show is quite likely.
In the same story, the HR quotes another "veteran producer" smugly saying that Hollywood types are relieved that James Franco and Anne Hathaway are hosting the Oscars. "Try to think of James and Anne skewering anybody," says the unnamed producer who must have missed the recent Saturday Night Live skit in which Hathaway mercilessly (some would say, cruelly) made fun of Katie Holmes. Insiders say the couple won't be as crass as Gervais, but that they do expect "a more lively than usual" Oscar show on February 27.