Jewish World Review Dec. 1, 2004 / 18 Kislev, 5765

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Consumer Reports

PARTY ON FIRE!; buy a vowel, sell an opinion; more


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Actress-writer Nia Vardalos is my woman of the year.


During Monday night's L.A. party at the Spider Club for the Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year, Vardalos — who wrote and starred in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" — helped save a guest who burst into flames.


I'm not kidding. It was "My Big Fat Greek Snuffing."


The 42-year-old Vardalos tackled the combusting partygoer, a thirtysomething lady who'd leaned into candle, and patted down her smoking hair and stomped out her long, black trendy scarf, which apparently was made of a highly flammable synthetic.


"What was kind of frightening about it is that it could have happened to anybody and it happened very quickly," Vardalos told me Tuesday in an exclusive interview. "First I smelled something, and then I saw this fire go whoosh right up her neck so fast and into her head. About three or four of us went to warn her. Somebody yelled out, 'You're on fire!'"


Vardalos — who was there with Ellen DeGeneres, Brittany Murphy and Ms. founder Gloria Steinem — continued: "I was acting on instinct, going back to the second grade when we learned what to do when somebody catches fire: 'Stop, drop and roll!' So basically I slugged her really hard to get her down on the floor, and somebody else ripped the scarf off her and I patted down her head. I've never been so scared in my life."


Even so, Vardalos was thinking much more clearly than animal-rights activist Dan Mathews, who was standing nearby and wondering if he should try dousing the flames with his cup of scalding coffee.


"Afterward everybody was shaking and nobody said anything," Vardalos said. "There was a black smear on the floor where I'd stomped out the scarf. She was all right and was really sweet, leaning against the bar and thanking everybody. The bartender handed her a wet towel.


"I had a big rush of adrenaline. In these cases, other people might want a stiff martini. But I went for the pie."


By the way, Ms. Magazine named actress Kathy Najimy as its Woman of the Year.

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BIG MONEY FOR RECORD LABEL


Ludacris may want to consider changing his name to Lucrative.


This column hears that the 27-year-old razor-tongued rapper, born Christopher Bridges, has sold his record imprint, Disturbing Tha Peace, to Island Def Jam Music Group for $11 million.


According to a spy for this column, both Sony Music USA and Warner Music Group were in a drawn-out "bidding war" with Def Jam for the Disturbing Tha Peace roster, which includes Atlanta-based hip-hop artists Shawnna, I-20, Lil Fate, Tity Boi and Dolla Boy.


"It came down to the wire, and it came down to money," reports the spy. "Luda is already on the Def Jam label, but his Disturbing Tha Peace imprint is a huge get. In L.A. and New York it's sink or swim with new artists — after a year, you could be gone.


"But everybody in Atlanta is, like, cultured and nurtured. That's why these people are gonna make the label so much money, and that's why Def Jam paid so much (expletive) money."


Island Def Jam's heavy-hitting stable already features Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Ja Rule, Kanye West, DMX, Ashanti and Bon Jovi.


It seems Luda has inked the deal just in the nick of time: his Disturbing Tha Peace crew — along with OutKast, Cam'ron, Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri and Evander Holyfield — will be joining him in Atlanta tomorrow night at the Amsterdam-themed release party for his new album, "Red Light District," which hits stores next Tuesday.


THE BRIEFING


BUY A VOWEL, SELL AN OPINION: If game show hosts can write compelling op-ed pieces, perhaps the popular culture isn't heading hellward. In the latest Human Events, a conservative journal, longtime "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak muses on the reasons why the nominally liberal Hollywood establishment hasn't raised a ruckus over the recent brutal murder — allegedly by Islamic radicals — of Dutch documentarian Theo van Gogh. In a short film, van Gogh criticized the treatment of women in Moslem countries — and ended up getting shot and stabbed Nov. 2 on an Amsterdam street. And why is Hollywood silent? "Could the level of hatred for this president be so great that some people are against anything he is for, and for anything he is against?" asks Sajak, a registered Republican. "[I]t's a nutty-sounding explanation, but we live in nutty times."


WE ARE NOT ENTERTAINED!: Maybe NBC News journalist Katie Couric should give jazz trumpeter Chris Botti a talking-to. In Us Weekly, the 42-year-old Botti reveals why he enjoys going out with the 47-year-old "Today" show anchor: "There's definitely an advantage to dating someone who's also in the entertainment business."




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11/24/04: No to planned Bacanovic-Stewart meeting; Rita Cosby's memorable party; worst foot forward?: Amadeus II
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07/30/04: Bubba goes shopping; in the Bono bubble; more
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07/07/04: Spiderman fan shows Moore having trouble coping with his predictable fade; rock the vote?; more
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05/25/04: Picking over Bones; "W" this!; Motherhood, anyone?; more
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04/21/04: Things don't go better with Coke?; swipes from the grave; "Mami" to the rescue; more
04/16/04: Does this ‘Apprentice’ need some etiquette lessons?; Kerry's laff-riot stepson; fully baked?; more
04/14/04: Dick Clark's diabetes; Barbara Walters' $6 Million book; reality (television) bites; more
04/09/04: S-e-x and the Koran; PETA targets Beyonce; more
04/08/04: Stephen King vs. ABC; trapping the love rat; Liv-ing it up; more
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03/26/04: Bye, bye Banfield; from porn to politics?; more
03/24/04: The perils of film criticism; Dole-ing out compliments; but what about a cure for career lag?; more
03/19/04: Trump trumps everything; Mario vs. Joe; Trudeau pays up; more
03/17/04: Remembering Hillary %*&$#! Clinton; PUT AWAY THAT KRYPTONITE!; more
03/12/04: OOPS!, did Jayson Blair do it again?; skewing Young; more
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03/05/04: Bush vs. Kerry: a Skull session; Kramer vs. The Times, scorch session; enthusiasm curbed; (Tina) Brown-nosing?
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02/27/04: Regan rebellion; Ed Limato strikes again!; tears for Tom; more
02/26/04: McCain predicts a nasty campaign; the misdirected missive; Janet Jackson, the interview; more
02/20/04: Introducing the Kerry sisters; cyberflap!; Snoop Dogg v. O'Reilly?; more
02/18/04: John Kerry's Friendster?; On the mend?; food for fraughtm; more
02/13/04: John & Carolyn, redux; Zell Miller shows the flag; kill Quentin?; more
02/11/04: HE FEELS BAD!; Dick Cheney, still not dead; more
02/06/04: Glittering Grammys; a laurel for Janet; Haryl's heart
02/04/04: Shriver quits NBC; "Marshmallow" Mike Tyson?; Super Bowl propriety?; MTV's next production?; more
01/30/04: The political forehead front; Alies meets Franken; the art of the hype; arrested career development?
01/28/04: Eyebrow-raising politics; call him indescribable; Woods vs. Williams; more
01/23/04: Eyebrow-raising mystery; who's punk'd anyway?; don't curb your enthusiasm; more
01/21/04: Ridiculous lives of the self-important stars; long arm of the law; all's fair in love and literature
01/16/04: Global warming at a glacial pace; targeting pop culture; Is 'the price of loyalty' too high?
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11/26/03: Catherine Crier raps Jacko's TV defender, refuses on-air hint of racism; At 50, Tina's in full cry; STAY OUT OF HER WAY!; more
11/25/03: The mogul strikes back?; go ahead, make Harvey's day; more
11/24/03: Georgette's pilfered baubles; prosecutor of pop?; absent but not missed?; Norman Mailer's prescription for education reform; more
11/20/03: Is a movie career in store for Maria Bartiromo?; People for the Unethical Treatment of Humans?; more
11/19/03: Scientologists on Razor's edge?; picking a winner?; source on a hot tin roof?; more
11/18/03: Clay Aiken neuters PETA?; THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!; a mural for Joe
11/17/03: When networks attack!; leaky Fawcett; forget the Paris Hilton video!; more
11/13/03: Publicity hounds; Prophetic priest; Dumb and Dumber
11/12/03: Not so Rosie; do you believe in miracles?; catalogue of sins; My Heart Belongs to Koppel
11/10/03: Gen. clark on the Subway diet; life of the party; MTV's Dumb and Dumber?; the hug issue; but does the $6,000 shower curtain convey?; red faces at Buckingham palace?
11/06/03: Let them eat pita?; verbal jousting; pretenders to the throne?
11/05/03: Will Harvey Weinstein and Gregg Easterbrook now be pals?; crazed Quentin; more
11/04/03: Herding off the hipsters; more
11/03/03: Dean's tell-all on himself?; Lisaraye vs. Mya?; the odd couple; no need to panic; just don't call him "Scooter"!; Rosie scenarios
10/30/03: Autumn of the editor?; Cynthia Nixon's split may be costly; 'Burning' questions
10/29/03: Ah-nold, unauthorized!; a dilemma for Melissa Gilbert? not even Frank Gifford can help him now!; nobody wanted Elizabeth Hurley
10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
10/27/03: Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?
10/22/03: Showing the flag; Joe Frazier, smokin'!; see Carville bruised-up — sort of
10/21/03: Morris & Jaci's charm offensive; Hell hath no fury; Wintertime for Hitler
10/20/03: Isn't it rich?; men (and the occasional woman) behaving badly; peacenik John Lennon supporting the U.S. military?; courageous Connie
10/16/03: George Clooney and intolerable Drudgery; Cameron goes native; and you thought the war in Iraq was nasty?; now it can be revealed; star wars?
10/15/03: Kerik into the breach?; holiday pander?; "the Dink" corrects the record; more
10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
10/13/03: Clothes, but no cigar; New Yorkers put a Sox in it; mad at Matalin?; more
10/09/03: Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room?
10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/09/03: WHAT DID SHE KNOW, AND WHEN DID SHE KNOW IT?
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate