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Preserving Venice from up on the roof...Brad’s tough spot...Pierce and the next Bond flick...Hot spots in Vancouver, a.k.a. Hollywood North.

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Princess Michael of Kent

Princess Michael of Kent

Photo By Mary Hilliard

Catching Up With the Parties: It was a big, beautiful night on the St. Regis Roof, a celebration for those who love glorious Venice and want to keep it that way. Venetian Heritage was giving its annual benefit for friends and supporters, an early spring serenade with handsome Thomas Hampson singing gems by Cole Porter in honor of Her Serene Highness Princess Marianne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, known to international society as Mani. After the concert, there was a dinner and dance in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, Dr. Charles Ryskamp and Lee Thaw, recognizing their great contributions to the preservation and restoration of Venice’s great monuments. Princess Michael was a striking figure in drifting black chiffon, Dr. Ryskamp wore a nondrifting black dinner jacket and Lee Thaw stood out in a fabulous azalea satin gown made just for her by Carolina Herrera.

Patricia Patterson, also in drifting black chiffon, this one with beads, was the gracious chairman of the evening, which brought out so many of those people you know or think you know all sitting down to a repast of risotto, rack of lamb and vanilla ice cream on top of crepes. “So yummy,” they all said between bites.
Everyone was there: Larry Lovett, who is Mr. Venetian Heritage himself, with a palazzo in Venice to show for it; Mrs. Donald Miller, the chairman of VH; Trevor Traina of the San Francisco Trainas (he is Danielle Steel’s son); Jane and Peter Marino; Doda Voridis, in from Athens in cream lace and the creamy Voridis pearls; Kitty Carlisle Hart in a short confection that showed off her showable legs; Judy and Alfred Taubman; Gale Hayman-Haseltine; Princess Firyal of Jordan in ruby red satin; Christine and Stephen Schwarzman; the Honorable Anne Cox Chambers; Isabella del Frate Rayburn; Pierre Durand; Barbara de Portago; Princess Alexandra of Greece; Daisy and Paul Soros; Carroll Petrie; Mario Buatta — and that was just the beginning.

Not to be missed were Marchese and Marchesa Alberto Berlingieri; Sybilla Clark; Kathleen Hearst; Mary McFadden; Alexis Gregory; Countess Andrea zu Herberstein; Prince Dmitri of Yugoslavia; the John Heimanns, and on and on into the night. As they say in Venice, it was a bella notte.

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Drew Barrymore is making such good use of the world’s seemingly endless new technology. Brainy Drew and a friend went into a Victoria’s Secret boutique in California last week with one of those cell phones that double as a camera, a present for Drew’s 29th birthday. Drew then proceeded to try on the sexiest lingerie the store had to offer while her friend took pictures and e-mailed them to Drew’s rock star boyfriend, Fabrizio Moretti, who plays with The Strokes. Fabrizio, in theory anyhow, was then able to tell his sweetie which underwear he wanted to see her in that night. Help!

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Pierce Brosnan, who turned 50 last May, may or may not star in the new James Bond film due next year and tentatively titled “Everything or Nothing.” Will he be replaced with a younger 007? According to the small print in his contract, Brosnan was only “optioned” to make one more Bond film, meaning he would do it if producers still wanted him to. They will be hard-pressed to find someone as successful as Pierce, who is one of the best Bonds ever and has played the role since 1995 and made millions at the box office. The star is said to be not unhappy at the probable prospect. Friends say he has always felt that Roger Moore, who quit when he was 58, did one too many Bonds. Who will be the next sexy spy? Jude Law, Christian Bale, Orlando Bloom, Colin Farrell, Clive Owen or Hugh Jackman? Or will Pierce go for it just one more time?

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Linda Bruckheimer, the wife of megaproducer Jerry Bruckheimer, has been busy — and not just being a Hollywood wife. In April, “The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way,” the sequel to her best-selling novel, “Dreaming Southern,” will hit shelves across the country. The story follows a pair of Los Angeles-based sisters as they make their way back home to Kentucky. Faced with developers, a crime wave and the wear-and-tear of time, the girls shake off the delusion of Hollywood as they rejuvenate themselves with the virtues of small-town life, proving once again there’s no place like home.

Home to Linda now is Los Angeles but the Kentucky native could not agree more — so much so that she has been busy buying and restoring nearly a whole town in Bloomfield, Ky.

To celebrate her book, Mrs B. is planning a travel schedule that would rival any Hollywood promotional tour. In Los Angeles, Jerry Bruckheimer, along with Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, will give the first launch party for the author at L’Orangerie for several hundred of their friends. Then it’s off to Washington, D.C., where Lynda Carter and Robert Altman will welcome her, followed by a stop in New York, where Blaine and Robert Trump will celebrate her and the book at Elaine’s. The governor of Kentucky, Ernie Fletcher, is next to have her at a party in her home state, where the Bruckheimers will then host a soirée of their own, the chicest Kentucky Derby party maybe ever seen. Not that this has anything to do with anything, but Linda Bruckheimer is almost never seen if she’s not wearing Chanel.

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The chic blonde Ford sisters, Charlotte and Anne, real heiresses as opposed to the ersatz variety, were honored by the American Cancer Society as “Mothers of the Year 2004,” at a fine luncheon on the St. Regis Roof. ACS saluted the philanthropic twosome for “their remarkable leadership, tireless commitment and dedicated services to the community.” And rightfully so. Anyone who knows Charlotte and Anne knows no recognition could be more deserved. They are not only devoted mothers to their children, Elena (Charlotte’s) and Alessandro and Allegra (Anne’s), but doting grandmothers and “the best babysitters” to Charlotte, Callie, Alessandro, Annabelle and Eleanor.

New York’s First Lady, Libby Pataki, made the award presentation and the co-chairmen — the sisters’ close friends — were Diana Feldman, Tina Sloane-McPherson, Topsy Taylor and Melinda vanden Heuvel. Proud members of the Ford family were there to cheer Charlotte and Anne on, including brother Edsel Ford II; his wife, Cynthia; Elena Ford, and Joe Rippolone. Edsel, who gives great speeches, said he was thrilled to be a part of it all, but now he regrets that he will be the only Ford sibling who will never be a Mother of the Year! Ha ha ha! That Edsel!

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Justin Timberlake just hit Vancouver to make his first big movie. He’ll play a reporter in “Edison” with Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman. Justin laid out $60,000 to rent a house for two months to ensure privacy when his girlfriend, Cameron Diaz, comes to visit. Vancouver is a hotbed of what insiders now call Hollywood North. Opus, the town’s sizzling new boutique hotel, has housed such guests as Jason Priestley and Timothy Hutton, who are now making movies there. Others passing through of late include Jennifer Lopez, Cher and Christina Aguilera. Catherine Zeta-Jones was in town recently filming a T-Mobile ad. Many of the stars have made the quick trip to Whistler to go skiing, including Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, who are heating up the slopes. Queen Latifah, Hilary Swank and her husband, Chad Lowe, and Halle Berry, on her own, all checked in the Chateau Fairmont, which sits right on the mountain making skiing in and out easy. Christian Slater and Seal jumped on Whistler’s heli-skiing choppers for the ultimate powder skiing on glaciers 9,000 feet in the sky. Yodeleeheehee!

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