Like AIDS before it, Darfur has become the shibboleth one clueless celebrity whispers to another to assure themselves that they aren't shallow and callous. With the exception of a scarce few (Mrs. Brad Pitt, for instance), these blithe young things have no idea of what they speak. But does it matter? The argument could be made, as it was last night at the Rip the Runway for Darfur event hosted by Lydia Hearst, that that doesn't matter. The words of celebrities, no less than their unshaven nether parts, carry a dizzying gravitas: If Lydia Hearst says "Save Darfur," the hope is it will trickle down until some slavering acolyte Googles the word. (Darfir? Darfer?) Call it a Reagonomics of good will. But last night, Lydia Hearst was "sick" and didn't show. Neither did other expected guests like socialites Tinsley Mortimer, Fabiola Beracasa nor Olivia Palermo. Gawker photographer Nikola Tamindzic and I were left to document Bertolli-shill Rocco DiSpirito, Hofstra senior and publicistgay Micah Jesse and an international debutante named Laura Dubois as they drank free Level vodka.
Last night dippy PR socialite Micah Jesse, most famous for being dippy PR socialite Kristian Laliberte's sworn archnemesis, celebrated his 21st birthday at Home, one of the grande dame agée nightclubs on W. 27th street. "There'll be celebrity guests I don't even know about," he boasted earlier in the day. Perhaps that's true but when our forebearing photographer Nikola Tamindzic and I went, we didn't see them.
Clubkid fashion label Heatherette was given some award last night by the stuffy National Arts Club on Gramercy Park—clearly this was a crazy attempt to draw the youth into the ranks of its members. The oak-paneled, floral-carpeted lobby was filled with flamboyant gays, aging relics from the Tunnel days and a few older club members whose senescence was only outshone by their befuddlement. Heatherette's co-founder Traver Rains wore his signature cowboy hat, a Swarovski crystal necklace and flared alligator print jeans. He spoke to us about the intricacies of jerking off a horse. (He's been doing it since he was 6, back on the farm in Montana.) Nikola Tamindzic was there to document the... stuff.
You don't gain the stature of apartment-hunting fur-loving socialgay Kristian Laliberte without making enemies along the way. Last night, we finally met the Draco Malfoy to Laliberte's Harry Potter. His name is Micah Jesse. He's a socialgay who works in PR. He wears subtle eyeliner and foundation just like Kristian. He even has the same roundness of features that makes Kristian look blandly wholesome. We ran in to him last night, and he told us, "I've known Kristian for years. People got us confused. We're both gay. We both were at the same parties. We both work in PR. But people are starting to turn on him. They're seeing that he's playing the manipulative socialite game."