A Little Gob Will Do Ya
By Richard Leiby
Thursday, July 8, 2004; Page C03
Several disturbing scenes stand out in Michael Moore's agitprop movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," but one that always prompts "ewwws" from the audience involves a comb, some saliva and the stubborn coif of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz.
Showing top officials primping before TV appearances is a tried-and-true embarrassment tactic, but the Wolfowitz scene -- captured on camera on a breezy morning outside the Pentagon -- is notable because Wolfie not only spits on his own comb but gets grooming assistance from an aide who donates saliva. The occasion was a June 2002 ceremony marking reconstruction of the Pentagon's facade and passage of three-quarters of a year since the Sept. 11 attack (though the film doesn't provide that context).
And who is the valiant aide who assists the hair-plastering? "Would that qualify me for hazardous duty pay?" wonders Kevin Kellems, who chuckled while confirming to us this week that he's the one. At the time, Kellems worked as a special adviser to Wolfowitz. Now he's communications director for Vice President Cheney -- a position that doesn't include the challenge of Boss Pompadour Maintenance.
Friends have teased Kellems (who, by the way, sports a good head of hair) about his role in Moore's anti-administration blockbuster. "But I haven't seen it," he told us, "because he's not getting a dime out of me."
My Rowdy Dinner With Bill
• Even sitting on the threshold where the open-air patio meets the closed-in restaurant, Bill Clinton still took all of the oxygen out of Cafe Milano on Tuesday night. People were practically jumping over tables, stopping fully on the sidewalk and staring, grabbing their picture phones, pens and paper -- anything they could find to snag a memento from the man in the middle of the dining room.
The ex-prez's posse -- wife Hillary, DNC chief Terry McAuliffe and pals Taylor Branch and Vernon Jordan -- waited patiently while the million-selling author accommodated requests from fans. He told one that he'd signed 24,000 copies of his autobiography since his book tour started, and that he signed 1,200 that evening alone, but his hand wasn't sore. At one point, he even started massaging Hillary's shoulders. What a pro!
The group clanged glasses -- 'ear, 'ear -- but we didn't catch the message of the toast. All hail John Kerry and John Edwards? "We were toasting Mark Shields's column about Terry, saying he's the greatest chairman ever," Clinton merrily told us, proud of his good buddy (and choice as DNC chair).
D.C.'s Faith, Conducting Marlon Brando's Swan Song
• Distressed that Marlon Brando was cremated privately Monday in Los Angeles without a public send-off, his old friend in Washington Faith Dane yesterday proposed a memorial concert at the New York theater where he starred in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Better known in D.C. as Faith -- the one-named, bugle-blowing former Broadway star and perennial candidate for mayor -- she met him in Greenwich Village in 1946. ("Faith, do you mind if I fart?" was one of his first lines, she recalls.) Two years ago, Brando all but endorsed Faith for D.C. mayor, telling The Post: "She's one of the people I would trust with my life."
Now the 80-year-old is running for president as a write-in candidate to "free D.C. from congressional tyranny," and her last contact with Brando was sending him a Lady Liberty costume she hoped he would wear to her planned protest at the Democratic National Convention. "He called back and started to laugh," she told The Post's David Montgomery. Faith wants to invite mourners like Harry Belafonte, Rita Moreno, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson -- help with phone numbers, anyone? "Everybody should do a song or a poem or a bizarre story," she said. "And I blow the last eight measures of taps."
MTV Takes Wonkette Beyond the Beltway
• That foul-mouthed red-haired vixen known as the Wonkette ( Ana Marie Cox of Arlington) has leveraged her popular political gossip site, Wonkette.com, into a gig with MTV News. The network will announce today that it has hired Cox, 31, to cover all the incredible tension and excitement that is the Democratic National Convention. It says her "unabashed style and irreverence" will galvanize young voters.
"Her coverage of the DNC will help us reach our goal of 20 million 18-to-30-year-old voters in November," Ocean McAdams, vice president of MTV News, said in a statement. Cox will join correspondents Gideon Yago and SwayCalloway on the beat. But one question lingers: Is Ana Marie's name avant-garde enough to connect with MTV acolytes?
"No. I'm not even, like, Tabitha or Serena," she told us yesterday. "I am totally old for them. I can't be Sway but maybe I could be Lean, or Listing, or an archangel to compete with Gideon. Or I could use my porn star name, my childhood pet and street names: Muffin Witchwood." Over to you, Muffin.
This Date in Gossip
Sixty years ago:
• A military tribunal begins at the Justice Department for eight accused Nazi saboteurs who had landed by U-boat in New York and Florida. The streets of Washington fill with onlookers shouting "There go the spies!" and "Nazi rats!" as military vehicles transport the Germans from the D.C. Jail to the Justice Department and back. Shortly afterward, the department issues orders for the dismissal of German, Italian and Japanese waiters, barbers and busboys in the Washington area, for fear they might overhear gossip from high-placed officials.
With Anne Schroeder
© 2004 The Washington Post Company