THE “BRAINS” surrounding Hillary Clinton didn’t make any friends last week at Conde Nast when they balked on a firm, longstanding commitment to let the candidate pose for Vogue, while the astute Julia Reed hung ten waiting to write about her and photog Annie Leibovitz had her cameras at the ready for nothing. Handlers for the senator suddenly decided Vogue would be “too elitist” and Hillary might come off as “too glamorous.” Hmmm, after those hideous Al Gore-type pantsuits, like the one she wore at her 60th birthday fund-raiser, I think Mrs. Clinton could use a touch of glamour. Elitists vote too, you know.
JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS will make his singing debut Nov. 9 at the Celebration of Music benefit at NY City Center. It’s for a fine cause — Americans for the Arts — and also a fine plug for his upcoming feature film, “August Rush,” a fantasy-style musical. Others from the movie who’ll do their stuff include Freddie Highmore, Jamia Simone Nash, Leon Thomas III. (“August” also stars Keri Russell, Terrence Howard and Robin Williams.) Producer Phil Ramone has put it all together. Call 877-252-7814. … I’m sure the divine Cate Blanchett didn’t exactly lie to me, when she said the secret of her flawless skin was, “Simple, I don’t do sun!” But imagine my surprise when I read that the star of “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” is the new spokeswoman for something called SK-II, a skincare line from Proctor & Gamble.
SOPHIE DAHL has become such a serious writer, launching her first novel “Playing With the Grown-Ups,” that the 29-year-old daughter of Patricia Neal and Roald Dahl, says she is no longer interested in acting … Andrew Lloyd Webber is busy right now putting together his new musical “Phantom of the Opera II.” … The struggle for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s memoirs kept 10 publishers busy for 4½ days before Knopf nailed the book. And we won’t even see this work for two years.
E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com