What, No Green M&Ms?
Movie and rock stars are notorious for contract riders that demand exotic food and furnishings before performances. (To wit: Jennifer Lopez's rider a few years ago specified white couches, white roses, white candles, honey-peanut Balance Bars and green seedless grapes.) Before last week's presidential debate in Greenville, S.C., campaign staff scurried to meet vegan candidate Dennis Kucinich's prep-room requirements. We're told they included hot oatmeal, extra-dry wheat toast, "vegetarian barbeque," warm drinking water and two lamps.
Try finding meatless BBQ -- tofu nuggets with hot sauce? -- in the South, where ribs and chicken rule. But an earnest young volunteer prevailed. She even prepared the oatmeal at home, adding raisins and brown sugar to please the Ohio congressman.
"We feel bad that people were inconvenienced in South Carolina, but it's something that Dennis has to do to maintain his diet," Kucinich spokesman William Rivers Pitt told us. "We want to make sure the candidate stays healthy. When you undertake the practice of a vegan diet, you have to stick to it, otherwise it makes you not feel so great. Whenever you go off it, it can mess you up."
But what's with the lamps, one of which was decorated Mardi Gras-style? "It may have been that they simply needed more light for the work that they were doing," Pitt said. "They wanted more light on the issues and got the most entertaining light they could find."
The Right Car for Defensive Driving
* In last Sunday's classifieds we spied this ad: "TOYOTA '82 Starlet -- Once owned by former Secy of Defense, $1500/OBO."
And that raises the question: Which former defense secretary owned the less-than-regal (though dependable) Starlet, touted at the time as the most gas-miserly car on the market? Cap Weinberger? Bob McNamara? Two-time secretary Don Rumsfeld?
The answer is . . . Dick Cheney. The anonymous seller wouldn't comment, but her "representative" says the current vice president -- who was SecDef under Bush 41 -- sold the Starlet in the early 1990s. Cheney apparently traded up from his 1965 Volkswagen Beetle and used the Starlet as a starter car for his daughters, Mary and Liz. A Cheney aide said: "No word on whether that is a good thing or a bad thing for the potential buyer."
She Reads to Help Russia's Wild Wolves
* We're pulling for ex-homeboy Bill Clinton to snag a Grammy next Sunday for his performance of "Wolf Tracks" (he's nominated for best spoken word album for children), but Thursday night we had to settle for watching a tall blond supermodel win all the "Wolf Tracks" applause.
Tatiana Sorokko, style editor for Russian Vogue, read the story at the Phillips Collection, backed by the musical stylings of a wind quintet from the Russian National Orchestra. The pro-wildlife tale updates Sergei Prokofiev's classic "Peter and the Wolf" -- but if anybody can riff on Prokofiev, it's sexy Tatiana, in town to celebrate the orchestra's U.S. tour, which begins at the Kennedy Center today.
Among the swells gathered at the art museum was Prince Michael of Kent, the orchestra's new patron. Royalty confuses us, but luckily the prince addressed this supplicant in English instead of Russian.
He also has a Web site that helpfully explains: "He was christened Michael George Charles Franklin, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of his godfathers. His father, Prince George, was the fourth son of George V and his mother, Princess Marina, was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and of Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia."
The RNO's studio version of "Wolf Tracks" also features narration by Mikhail Gorbachev and Sophia Loren. Prince Michael predicts it will be a winner: "The combination was a heady mixture."
Annals of Puffery
"Super Bowl Stink!
"Anyone planning a Super Bowl party/get together needs a few basics; a big-screen TV, chips and dip, wings . . . oh, and don't forget the Petrotech Odor Eliminator. It's a new all-natural, unscented product that eliminates odors with one quick spray! After all, Super Bowl parties can get quite stinky. Groups of guys sitting around eating and drinking for hours in front of the TV. Petrotech Odor Eliminator is a one-of-a-kind product on the market that works like no others . . ."
This Date in Gossip
Thirty-two years ago:
In an Oval Office meeting after the National Prayer Breakfast, President Richard Nixon and the Rev. Billy Graham chatted about supposed Jewish domination of the media. Afterward, as recorded on tape, Nixon told his chief of staff, H.R. "Bob" Haldeman: "Jews -- Jesus Christ! . . . The Jews are -- they're malicious, [unintelligible] immoral bunch of bastards. That goddamn girl the other night was Jewish." Nixon was referring to an astounding antiwar protest at a Jan. 28 White House dinner that set tongues wagging around town. A member of the chorus line of the Ray Conniff Singers, just before her performance, pulled a cloth sign from her bodice. "Stop the Killing," it read. The young woman then addressed Nixon: "If Jesus Christ were here tonight, you would not dare to drop another bomb. Bless the Berrigans and bless Daniel Ellsberg."
The Washington Post identified the protester as Carole Feraci, 30, a Canadian citizen, who did not discuss her religion with reporters but said, "I thought that it would make a nationwide impression if an oobie-doobie-doo girl like myself made this protest on a stage inside the White House."
With Anne Schroeder