In his trademark white suit and spats, Tom Wolfe regaled a breakfast audience yesterday at the Aspen Institute, the venerable values and issues outfit, with candid descriptions of the campus mating rituals that underpin his new novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons." The author outlined these stages of sexual activity in an era when partners scarcely know one another:
First base is groping and kissing (students call it "tonsil hockey," according to the 73-year-old Wolfe). Second base is oral sex. Third base is going all the way.
Tom Wolfe, making up new rules for a very old game.
(Jim Cooper - AP)
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And home plate? That's the actual act of "being introduced," Wolfe said to laughter. Quipped Jack Valenti, the legendary movie lobbyist: "This is the first time I've ever been sensually aroused at any Aspen Institute meeting that I've attended."
Miss Universe Gets Down-to-Earth in D.C.
Australia's Jennifer Hawkins, judged the most beautiful woman in the known cosmos (she's Miss Universe), graces our glamour-challenged town today -- for a good cause, naturally. She will visit Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with HIV/AIDS. Later this evening, the Australian Embassy hosts a fundraising reception at which Hawkins will preside.
Australia's Jennifer Hawkins tells young people the ABCs of avoiding HIV.
(Darren Decker - Miss Universe via AP)
Hawkins, 20, told us yesterday that she travels the world telling young people "to do the ABCs: abstinence, be safe, use condoms." Also: "I just want to say that people shouldn't be scared to talk about it, or to touch anybody that has it."
And, in other celebrity activist news, "Lethal Weapon" star Danny Glover this week attacked the "arrogance and dismissiveness" of the Bush administration for refusing to sign a 144-nation treaty to ban land mines. The 57-year-old actor returned from a visit to Ethiopia and its border with Eritrea, where land mines have killed thousands in a 2 1/2 year war. Glover, according to the Associated Press, said he felt "a sense of embarrassment that my own country has not signed the Ottawa Treaty." The State Department said last week it disagrees with key provisions of the treaty and cited cost as a factor in the decision not to send a delegation to the Nairobi summit on land mines.
Colin Powell, Open To Suggestions
Exit an important government job, then write a book: It's part of the Washington drill. But Colin Powell, departing secretary of state, has been there and done that -- he published his memoirs back in 1996 and doesn't plan to again. So what's ahead for him career-wise? "Offers are coming in," Powell told us at a reception at the British ambassador's residence Monday evening. "I'm keeping an open mind." (You expected details?)
The occasion was a book party for British editor and knighthood recipient Harold Evans, author of "They Made America: Two Centuries of Innovators From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine." Guests included irrepressible Republican campaign adviser Mary Matalin, who cornered hawkish scribe Christopher Hitchens and praised him effusively for supporting President Bush's reelection. "My hero," she called Hitchens. "I'm going to get your name tattooed on my chest!"
Elsewhere there was chatter about Matalin's outfit at the hoity "business attire" function: She wore a Mickey Mouse T-shirt under her blazer. The shirt exposed, on occasion, a sliver of midriff. "I just forgot I was in Washington," explained Matalin, who has just returned from a post-campaign trip to Disney World with her kids and hubby James Carville. "I wasn't trying to make a statement. It was a put-together outfit. And let the record show, I did have good jewelry on." (Noted.)
For Kondracke Biopic, a Happy Beginning
Production is underway in Vancouver for a TV movie based on "Saving Milly," Washington journalist Mort Kondracke's book chronicling life with his late wife, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the late 1980s. Bruce Greenwood, who portrayed President Kennedy in "Thirteen Days" and was more recently seen in "I, Robot," will play Kondracke. Madeleine Stowe, whose films include "The Last of the Mohicans" and "We Were Soldiers," plays Millicent Kondracke, who died in July.
"When I found out that she was going to be the star, I flipped," Kondracke said yesterday. " 'The Last of the Mohicans' is one of my favorite movies."
Michael J. Fox, a Parkinson's sufferer and research advocate, yesterday taped an epilogue for the movie, which is scheduled to air on CBS in March. During a visit to the set, Kondracke told us, he found the stars to be "sane and nice," defying his own stereotype of arrogant Hollywooders. "My every association with the movie people has been positive."