December 21, 1998 12:00 PM

At the White House reception before the Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 6, Bridget Fonda arrived with country singer Dwight Yoakam, who later performed a musical tribute to Willie Nelson, one of the event’s honorees. So are Fonda and Yoakam dating? “Yeah, I guess we are,” Fonda replied shyly, adding that she didn’t want to elaborate about her personal life: “It’s just embarrassing.” She was in awe of her surroundings. “I’m overwhelmed,” said Fonda. So was Yoakam. “I’m just trying to remember the lyrics to [the Nelson classic] ‘Hello Walls.’ ” Happily, he did.

Former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, who spent 20 months in a Northern California federal prison for conspiracy, tax evasion and laundering money from her call-girl operation, was transferred Nov. 19 to a halfway house in Los Angeles. On Nov. 30 she turned up at the Sublime salon in Beverly Hills and had her hair cut to “a nice long layered shape,” according to salon owner Donn Stuart, who adds that the gray hairs she’d gotten in prison were dyed to a “rich brown color.” Fleiss also indulged in an $8 health tonic intended to enhance sexuality, among other things.

Look for Akosua Busia, one of the screenwriters for Beloved, and Amistad star Djimon Hounsou to become intriguing new characters on ER in February. They will play a married West African couple employed in menial jobs at the hospital. The ER docs soon find out that they have a pair of political refugees on their hands.

No, the nude woman taking a shower in the Psycho poster, which was banned on buses and subways in Boston, is not the thriller’s star Anne Heche, according to Universal Pictures marketing president Mark Shmuger. It’s a photo of a model, computer enhanced for a more graphic representation of the famous scene. Reaction to the poster surprised the filmmakers. “We thought it was scary and sexy and graphic and beautiful,” says Shmuger, “but not offensive.”

New mom Jodie Foster made a rare appearance as a host, along with Isabella Rossellini and Winona Ryder, at the Film Foundation’s recent showing in L.A. of the restored version of 1948’s Joan of Arc, which starred Rossellini’s mom, Ingrid Bergman. In greeting the crowd, Foster joked that she was delighted to be there because it let her get out of the house to see a movie, which “I haven’t done in four months.” She went on to say that as a young actress she’d been inspired by Bergman’s Joan of Arc, and felt the movie would give hope to young actresses today, who might think: “Do I want to be a bimbo on The Love Boat? No, I’ll be Joan of Arc.”

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