August 10, 1981 12:00 PM

Black Humor

The Black and White Ball is not dead, we’re all delighted to hear. Houston socialite Lynn Wyatt threw one on the Riviera last month to celebrate her 46th birthday and it drew the local royals. Princess Grace wore white chiffon and black roses in her hair. Prince Rainier wore black pants, shirt and jacket with white tie and suspenders. Under his wraparound sunglasses he sported—voilà!—a painted-on black eye. “A lot of people don’t realize he has a fantastic sense of humor,” sotto-voce’d an insider. Next came Princess Stephanie, 16, who was in a white shirt and pants, huge-shouldered striped jacket and—sacre bleu!—black lipstick. Estée Lauder ran right over to find out where she got it. Murmured a local belle, “I hope Estée’s not thinking of putting that in her fall line.”

That Was No Lady

A photographer’s life isn’t always a snap. Consider David Barnes, who was awaiting some corporate clients on the shore of Chicago’s Lake Michigan when he got a tip from a passing bicyclist that a celeb was headed his way. So Barnes pointed his lens toward porn-star-turned-punk-rocker Wendy O. Williams, of the Plasmatics, who was out jogging. Though she often appears onstage clad only in electrical tape, clothespins or shaving cream above the waist, Williams is apparently sensitive about certain kinds of exposure. The miffed rocker, who was clad in T-shirt and shorts, allegedly tore into Barnes with her fists and her red-white-and-blue glitter fingernails, but, he says, she ran away when a lifeguard surfaced. “Funny,” said Barnes later, nursing a bunged head, “I usually like aggressive women.”

Purl of Great Price

Broadway shows sometimes open out of town to work the bugs out, but Joyce Van Patten, prepping in Washington with Sandy Dennis in Supporting Cast, came across one kink she wasn’t expecting. During a scene in which she knits and converses at the same time, Van Patten stabbed herself in the arm with a knitting needle. “I think I hurt myself,” she said, so calmly that nobody could distinguish it from the dialogue until she started to bleed. She finished the scene and appeared bandaged in the next act. It was pretty good theater—but no, this bit of spontaneous business will not be written in.

Short Stuff

Being small (4’11½”, 85 pounds) and looking young (she plays a 13-year-old in The Two of Us) is a professional boon to Dana Hill, but it has its shortcomings too. Though she’s 17, she’s often been stopped by cops who thought they spotted a moppet at the wheel of her Volkswagen bug. Finally she got new California license plates. They say, simply, OVER 16.


•Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Starship has scrapped plans to write a rock survival song about “the gauntlet you have to run to make it.” Why? “The list is too long,” he says. “Between auto accidents, drugs, police, disease and chemical spraying, there would have been too many verses.” And that’s not mentioning groupies.

•Princess Margaret asked painter Richard Stone to redo an early study for her portrait because it left out the sense of fun in her face. In fact, Meg had been feeling a bit peaked when she sat for it. “Mr. Stone,” she told him gently, “I have influenza, and unfortunately I think you have caught it.”

•Perennial funster Rep. Morris Udall (D-Ariz.) has his own way of stressing that the Interior Secretary, James G. Watt, is no environmentalist. “His idea of a wilderness area,” says Udall, “is a parking lot with no lines.”

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