GOOD MORNING: “I think the Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot,” Hugh Hefner told me when I was visiting HBO’s “Sex in the City” troupe shooting scenes with Hef at his Playboy mansion, Wednesday night (until 7 ayem Thursday!). I asked him about the major Demos’ (including Al Gore) disapproval of the Playboy mansion as the site for Tuesday’s celebration of Hispanic Unity, USA, headed by Rep. Loretta Sanchez with board members including Henry Cisneros, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton Cabinet, plus Susan and Jeff Bridges, Bruce Cohen and Christie and Hugh Hefner. It’s a non-partisan organization “dedicated to registering, educating and empowering voters across the country.” Hef, between scenes in one of two “Sex in the City” segs being filmed in L.A. this week, reminded he’s been a supporter of political and bipartisan causes for years — “dating back to Chicago,” he emphasized. Plus, the mansion’s also been the site for countless charitable and artistic functions.
WHATTA WELCOME AT THE PLAYBOY MANSION for the four “Sex-y” stars, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon: 20 Playmates and models in the briefest of beachwear, were frolicking among sprinklers as the vidsters drove up. Later they were free to visit the famed grotto filled with a dozen topless Playmates. “It looked like ‘Tit Soup,’ ” said Nixon (Miranda). Davis (Charlotte) could barely get the words out when I asked if she’d pose for Playboy. “My mother would faint,” she gasped. The quartet has been invited to the mansion Saturday for Hef’s annual “Midsummer Night’s Dream” party — sleepwear required. Kim Cattrall said the “nightwear” some wore looked more like postage stamps or tea bags. … Sarah Jessica Parker said she could never bring her husband to the mansion. “He’s too shy,” she said. P.S. So is she! … Exec producer Darren Star’s HBO company was headed on the L.A. shoot by exec producer Michael Patrick King, co-exec producers Jenny Bicks (who also wrote this seg) and John Melfi, and associate producer Amy B. Harris. John David Coles directs the two L.A.-set segs of this series … The stars told me their vacation between seasons may be cut short to start early because of the impending strike(s). This season’s finale will be “friendlier” than last season’s they also tell me. But they still have to deal with the upcoming status of Charlotte’s marriage. There are only two weeks between filming each seg, budgeted at $2 million. The troupe is having difficulties in L.A. because of conventioneers — hotel rooms, locations, etc. One location next week is on a WB stage. George Clooney was asked to guestar — but he’ll be on vacation in Europe. The femmes stars tell me they’d like to have another location next season — like Paris.
THE DEMOS. KO’D A PLANNED convention seg showing the Wiesenthal Center’s Sensitivity Training Program with Rabbi Marvin Hier explaining how they’ve trained more than 20,000 police and 16,000 teachers how to react to “sensitive” situations. The L.A. program is so successful, N.Y. will establish a ditto program on 42nd St. Hier and the center host the N.Y. delegation Tuesday. Hier spoke about the Museum of Tolerance at the GOP convention –George W. Bush (and his father) have visited the center. Vice President Gore says he will, in the future. While not invited to speak, Hier has credentials to attend the Democonvention and to lunch with President Clinton. Hier reminds that the Wiesenthal Center doesn’t endorse any political party. He gave the invocation at the Democonvention naming Walter Mondale in ’84. And Hier was at the White House Wednesday to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom for Simon Wiesenthal, 91, who suffered a fall at home in Vienna. Joe Lieberman is Rabbi Hier’s friend for over 20 years. His wife, Hadassah, you recall, is the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
IS IT LIFE IMITATING ART — or art imitating life: among those attending “West Wing’s” “Welcoming Washington, D.C. Party,” Sunday on Stage 23 (the series’ set) at WB: John Podesta, Joe Lockhart, Sandy Berger, Thomas Daschle, Sens. Christopher Dodd (Conn.) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Donna Shalala. And invited are Hillary, Chelsea and Bill Clinton. The cast of the Demo-slanted series saying thank you for the cooperation on their four visits to the White House: Martin Sheen, John Spencer, Rob Lowe, Dule Hill, Brad Whitford, Richard Schiff, Allison Janney and Janel Moloney. And exec producers John Wells and Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme. Llewellyn, the series producer, tells me the troupe will be at Staples right after the Demos depart — the sets will remain up for the TV’er to shoot a flashback seg the night before Sheen was to make his presidential acceptance speech, having beaten out Tim Matheson — who is now playing JFK in “Jackie” … The DGA’s Pres. Jack Shea hosts a Wednesday luncheon in honor of Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln, (D.-Ark.), sister of director Mary Lambert (“The In Crowd”). Lincoln is the youngest woman ever to be elected to the Senate.