There’s certainly no shortage of high-wattage celebrity parties this New Year’s Eve, from New York to Miami to L.A. and beyond … but not everyone is planning to indulge. “I’ve decided to keep New Year’s on the mellower side, if possible. I might go to a friend’s house, but definitely no big parties,” says Alias star Michael Vartan. “New Year’s is always so anti-climactic, and you always end up going to some horrible party where there’s no parking.” Um, right, we hate that, too. Meanwhile, sexy Eva Mendes concurs. “I ain’t doing s—” for New Year’s, says the actress, who appears next opposite Will Smith in Hitch, due in February. “I’m really boring, just staying in New York, watching the ball drop on TV.” Singer Vanessa Carlton plans to ring in 2005 “skiing in Sun Valley,” before returning to recording in January and touring in February. And former The View host Lisa Ling says she’s headed to “Miami for the Rose Bowl,” to watch her college team, USC, compete against Oklahoma Jan. 4. (Of course, she means the Orange Bowl, not the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, but it’s the spirit that counts.)
Having a baby and doing mundane tasks like grocery shopping haven’t tamed the love between Mira Sorvino and husband Chris Backus. When the pair, who married in June, stopped by the Whole Foods store in Santa Monica with daughter Mattea Angel (born Nov. 3), our spy spotted Backus holding tight to his slim, jeans-clad wife’s hand, bestowing her with kisses. They appeared “disgustingly in love,” and while Backus cooed at the baby and made funny faces, “Mira looked really, really happy,” says our spy.
Caught in the Act
• Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, dining with friends at celeb favorite Beverly Hills eatery The Ivy.
• Brothers-in-law Chris Robinson and Oliver Hudson, helping each other pick out gifts (perhaps for Robinson’s wife Kate Hudson and her mom Goldie Hawn?) at the Ralph Lauren store in Aspen, where they waited in line before leaving with loaded shopping bags.
• Newlyweds Selma Blair and Ahmet Zappa, browsing the magazine rack before being seated at L.A.’s Newsroom Cafe. “He had his arms wrapped around her shoulders and they looked very much in love,” says a spy. The two will celebrate their first anniversary Jan. 24.
• Incubus singer and avid surfer Brandon Boyd and his girlfriend, Estee Lauder spokesmodel Carolyn Murphy, checking out the gear at the surfwear outlet Quiksilver on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade.
• By SARYN CHORNEY, ULRICA WIHLBORG, MARISA LAUDADIO, KIM LANSING and PRIYA MOHAN