May 25, 1987 12:00 PM

CANNED APPLAUSE: There’s no rest from stardom, not even in rooms so designated. At L.A. International Airport, Oprah Winfrey found that her fans will follow her anywhere—even into the ladies’ room. “Six women were standing there in front of the stall when I came out,” Winfrey recalls, “and they applauded.” Accomplishment, after all, fosters admiration.

CHANCE MEETING: Monarchies are so democratic. On May 30 the Duke and Duchess of York will visit the city of York (their dukedom) to receive the “Freedom of the City” honor. To give residents the opportunity to hobnob with Prince Andrew and Fergie, who will be visiting for the first time as marrieds, the city council has reserved 175 pairs of tickets for winners whose names will be plucked from a barrel. Some 40,000 households were sent application forms, but only a puny 5,000 responded. Perhaps that’s because there’s little likelihood that the winners will actually meet the Yorks. Instead, says a city spokesman, “You have the opportunity of being close to them.” People may also be apathetic because the award is not as prestigious as it once was: Long ago it gave recipients useful entitlements, such as permission to graze sheep on the village green.

CANNES IT: Yves Montand calls the Cannes Film Festival a “rude competition”—and he’s president of the jury that will select this year’s winners. Strange as that may seem, the French Riviera’s annual glitterthon is usually stranger—a weird mix of high-minded movie mania and celebrity lowdown. This year, look left and Mel Gibson was sneaking out the back door of his hotel to avoid photographers. Look right and Bo Derek (remember?) was obliging every photographer, presumably trying to recapture her perfect 10. All of this left Nicolas (Raising Arizona) Cage kind of dizzy. Referring to the Italian master of celluloid madness, he declared: “Cannes is the film that Fellini would not have dared to invent.” Much less take to a festival.

NET GAINS: Arriving in Rome for the Italian Open, Martina Navratilova, the No. 1 ranked women’s tennis player, noted some key changes in her life. “The last time I was in Rome I was poor and fat,” she joked. “Now I am rich and thin. Isn’t that nice?” Have some pasta, Martina.

UN-COMFORTABLE: His ’70s mega-sellers The Joy of Sex, an illustrated “gourmet guide,” and More Joy of Sex, fueled the sexual revolution and made a reluctant guru out of quiet-spoken British physician Alex Comfort. Today, because of the AIDS epidemic, Comfort, 67, is updating those books to include his precautions against sexually transmitted diseases. Threesomes and anal intercourse, for example, should be “put on hold,” Comfort told London’s Daily Telegraph. “Any sexual involvement with unknown quantities is now wildly imprudent.” He added that he doesn’t think he’ll influence others’ behavior. “Whatever I say,” he noted, “People are going to make up their own minds.” Though Comfort’s guides inspired inventiveness in millions of bedrooms, he describes himself as sexually conservative. “I get complaints that I, rather than God, invented sex,” he said. “I’m accused of corrupting morals and advocating everything I describe, when my own habits are in fact most uninteresting.”

HE’S GOT THE BIG BAND BEAT: Add this name to the list of strange company Frank Sinatra keeps: pop demigod Bono of the Irish rock band U2. Maria McKee, lead singer of Lone Justice, explains that the singers met in Las Vegas, where Justice opened for U2 and Sinatra paid a surprise visit to Don Rickles’s show. Rickles’s son Lawrence is a U2 fan and had sent the rockers invitations to his dad’s gig at the Golden Nugget. Jackpot. “When [Sinatra] met Bono he started rapping on about all kinds of things,” says McKee. “Ireland, Buddy Rich and Tommy Dorsey.” McKee didn’t say whether Bono knew who those guys were.

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