the Insiders


The gambling references made in the run-up to CityCenter's grand opening in Las Vegas are too numerous to count, but there's no irony lost in the fact that Bobby Baldwin, the megaproject's plain-spoken but charismatic chief executive officer, won the World Series of Poker in 1978.

A self-described "card player from Oklahoma," with his own Wikipedia entry (one that features Seventies-era pictures of Baldwin at the Vegas card tables), he quipped at the mega-project's opening ceremonies: "It's hard to believe you can get all this for only $8.5 billion."
The author's daughter, center, with two friends at the Jingle Ball.
On Friday night, a horde of prepubescent girls and their parents descended on Madison Square Garden for the Z-100 Jingle Ball presented by H&M. Last year, I took my daughter, a Z-100 fan, to the radio station's Zootopia concert. A glutton for punishment, I agreed to accompany her and two friends to this musical extravaganza.

"OMG, our seats are on the floor!" my daughter screams. "I'm so excited!"

Port at the Whitney Eve Spring 2010 show.
Last Wednesday morning, WWD stopped by Point A Showroom to get a look at the latest from Whitney Eve, the new line from Whitney Port of "The City." After being beleaguered by a swarm of "City" producers hounding us to sign a release form, we got a preview of the reality star-cum-fashion designer's spring 2010 collection.

The interior of The Wright.
Philip Greenberg
Upper East Siders -- and art aficionados -- will soon have a new boîte to call their watering hole. This Friday, the Guggenheim will open the restaurant The Wright, named after Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect of the museum building, and coinciding with the 50th anniversary of his design.

The sleek, predominantly white space features a cozy 58 seats, a communal table and a casual bar nestled in the 88th Street corner of the museum, perfect for a post-Kandinsky viewing or Christmas shopping break.

Courtney Love and Helena Christensen at the screening.
Photo by Steve Eichner

Tuesday night, the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel was packed to the rafters for the Cinema Society and Paramount Pictures after-party for a screening of "The Lovely Bones." Based on the book by Alice Sebold, the movie follows a 1970s family rocked by the murder of their 14 year-old daughter. And the story clearly struck a cord with guest Courtney Love. As the film's cast including Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg and Saoirse Ronan
worked the room, an unusually voluble Love chatted about death, fashion and feeling like a cougar.

Courtney Love: I just met Rose [McIver, one of the film's stars] and what is
the Irish girl, what's her name?
WWD: Saoirse.
C.L.: And her father.
WWD: As a mother, watching this film it must be...
C.L.: I was actually just talking to the paps to get them to not, because I was drinking out of a champagne glass and I didn't want them to use a picture of me corrupting youth and or drinking around young girls. But that [the movie] was really moving and I kept thinking about my daughter and just about my daughter and about death. I never read the book.
WWD: Oh the book is beautiful.
C.L.: I didn't read it. I came [here] alone. Helena [Christensen] is here. So that's awesome because I was sort of feeling a little cougary or something. So I have a girlfriend here.

Nate Berkus, Ana Ortiz, Christian Cota and Doc Hendley
photo courtesy of Christian Cota
On Wednesday night, we stopped by Marc Forgione's restaurant in TriBeCa to say "hi" to Christian Cota, who was holding a benefit for 2009 CNN Hero Doc Hendley's charity Wine to Water. The designer showed us looks from his eHoliday collection, created exclusively for his new e-commerce site. "We made them from extra fabric from the fall collection to bring down the price and make everything affordable," Cota said of the pieces, which retail from $60 for a T-shirt to $950 for a cocktail dress and will be available from Dec. 1 through Dec. 30.
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