N AMES & F ACES

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bravo, Paul Wharton?

Is Paul Wharton a "Real" housewife?

We're only half-kidding. The self-described Washington fashion and lifestyle consultant, who's had bit reality TV roles on VH1, MTV and CW, has been trailed by cameras at several recent events tied to Bravo's "Real Housewives of Washington" -- including his own birthday party last week at the Park, a mob scene where filming kept him cloistered from most of the guests.

Fueling speculation: Wharton was one of two dozen people at Cafe Dupont for dinner Thursday night with several of the women being eyed for the cast, his fabulous dark-blond curls blown out straight into a pageboy for the occasion. Everyone dined at a large table for a few hours while cameras rolled; no obvious arguing or hair-pulling, just seemed like a meet-and-greet episode. (Wharton didn't get back to us, and everyone attached to the Bravo series has been non-commenting.)

Also there: Ted Gibson, whose M Street salon and spa opened in January (sounds like most of the housewives will be going there, if they don't already); and, somewhat inexplicably, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who brought her mom.

Hannah storms the capital

Celeb causes abound in Washington, but ESPN anchor Hannah Storm has one we hadn't heard of before: vascular birthmark advocacy.

Storm, 47, was born with a port-wine stain under her left eye. (Vascular birthmarks -- which include port-wine stains, and can cause life-threatening health problems -- are congenital, and affect one in 10 newborns.) As a child, Storm underwent several painful, expensive treatments, and now works with her eponymous foundation to make insurance companies cover such treatments.

On Friday, she spoke about her foundation at both Hogan & Hartson and the Brookings Institution, along with author Nicholas Sparks (who has a child with a birthmark). We asked her why more celebs don't talk about the issue.

Not many birthmark sufferers have enough confidence to be in the spotlight, Storm said, so "it is kind of funny that I went into TV." Her advice to others with vascular anomalies: "You have to choose -- whatever your dream is, to not let that get in the way."

Roman Polanski roundup

What's Roman Polanski up to these days? The fugitive filmmaker, arrested last month in Switzerland for evading sentencing in Los Angeles for having sex with a minor in the late '70s (got all that?), is still incarcerated. The incremental news this week:

-- Tuesday: Polanski, whose lawyers say is "depressed" and in an "unsettled state of mind," asked to be released on bail. The court refuses, saying the director poses too great a flight risk.

-- Midweek: One of Polanski's lawyers suggested he may not fight extradition much longer. "If the proceedings drag on, it's not completely impossible that Roman Polanski might decide to go explain himself in the United States, where there are arguments in his favor," Georges Kiejman told the Telegraph newspaper. Sounds sensible . . . but another of Polanski's lawyers quickly shot it down.

-- Thursday night: The United States formally requested Polanski's extradition from Switzerland.

What's next? According to Felix Bommer, a criminal and international law professor at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland interviewed by Bloomberg, "There is a certain likelihood" that the Swiss will comply with the United States' demands. Polanski's lawyers can oppose the extradition request -- and, if recent history prevails, probably will.

End note

Spotted: Elizabeth Edwards at the Fairmont Hotel on Friday, where she was honored at the sixth annual Living in Pink luncheon, a fundraiser for breast cancer research. . . . Mickey Rooney having lunch (Greek salad, stuffed flounder) with his wife and two friends at Legal Sea Foods in Crystal City on Thursday.

-- Marissa Newhall, from staff, wire and Web reports


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