What’s a Desperate Housewife to do for the holidays? Eva Longoria, who plays sexy ex-model Gabrielle on the hit show, spent Thanksgiving weekend visiting family in her native San Antonio – though it was hardly a low-key vacation. Along with hosting a bridal shower for her sister, Longoria mingled with fans at hotspot Bar 11, which donated its draw from the door toward providing Thanksgiving dinners to local families in need. “It’s nice,” Longoria told us, “because it’s an immediate impact when you raise money locally, and it affects the community directly. So I’m excited to be home for this.” Prior to showing up at Bar 11, Longoria fueled up over dinner at Ajuua!, indulging in the cuisine that she says she misses most when she’s away from Texas. “Tex-Mex is my favorite food,” she said. “The tortillas are thicker, the beans and rice are just better and the enchiladas are the best.” As for the upcoming holidays, Longoria tells us she’ll be back in Texas for Christmas, then on to New York to appear on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. “It’s going to be my first time to see the ball actually drop in New York,” said Longoria, “so that’s going to be fun. And I’m involved in Usher’s newest video, which premieres New Year’s Eve as well, on ABC. I’m excited about that. It’s going to be like a 22-minute video. Remember how long the ‘Thriller’ video was, like a whole story? That’s what Usher’s doing, and I’m the girl in the story.” Stay tuned…
Can You Hear Me Now?
Paris Hilton admits that etiquette may not be her strongest suit, especially after one awkward incident while shooting The Simple Life 3. “These annoying people came up to me, and I pretended to be on the phone. And then the phone started ringing,” Hilton told us at a party for the show at New York nightspot Bungalow 8. “They were like, ‘Oh, you weren’t even on the phone!’ I felt bad. I mean towards them. It was more embarrassing to them, but I was embarrassed for them.”
If Virgin Atlantic chief and Rebel Billionaire Richard Branson ever decides to quit any of his day jobs, David Copperfield better watch out. On a recent night out in London following the Foreign Press Association media awards, Branson showed himself to be quite the adept magician in front of a table full of skeptical journalists, making a watch disappear from a female reporter’s wrist and having it reappear on his own. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make himself vanish before being enlisted to deliver an award to Fahrenheit 9/11 director Michael Moore. When the controversial documentarian, who was not present for the London ceremony, was named communicator of the year, “Somebody thrust the award into my hands and said, ‘Here, you own an airline, take it to him,'” Branson tells us.
Caught in the Act
• Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, Alison Lohman and Claire Forlani, at L.A.’s Culver Studios for a special screening of The Assassination of Richard Nixon, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.
• Kirstie Alley, at the Arclight theater in Hollywood catching a matinee of Finding Neverland.
• By ANNE LANG, SARYN CHORNEY, PETE NORMAN and KWALA MANDEL