July 14, 1997 12:00 PM

Los Angeleno Jack Nicholson appeared to learn an important Big Apple lesson—if it ain’t the puppies, it’s the pigeons—when he walked his canine costar Verdel on the New York City set of Old Friends, a romantic comedy due in December. Nicholson plays an obsessive-compulsive writer.

A cut above the crowd, Billy Baldwin and wife Chynna Phillips split hairs at a Manhattan bash launching Clinique’s new fragrance, Happy. Baldwin was breathing easy after wrapping Virus, an upcoming sci-fi thriller. “After I do a film, I’ll grow a beard or dye my hair,” he said. “Because I can.”

In L.A., Laurence Fishburne admired an artist’s feet accompli—mehndi, the ancient art of applying decorative skin henna—while attending Fore Play ’97, a golf tournament that benefited AIDS Project Los Angeles.

She had audiences eating out of her hand during a performance at Caroline’s Comedy Club in Manhattan, so Suddenly Susan’s Kathy Griffin reaped her sweet rewards at a party in her honor at Comedy Nation Restaurant. The stand-up comic reteams with Brooke Shields in the sitcom this fall.

Did Rachel and Ross get that friendly over the summer? No, Jennifer Aniston is spending her Friends hiatus in Manhattan playing an unwed mother-to-be who plans to raise her baby with her gay male roommate instead of her boyfriend in a romantic comedy, The Object of My Affection.

He skipped the toga party, but after a benefit performance that helped raise some $1.5 million for Democratic party coffers, Bill Clinton thanked the Broadway cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, starring F.O.B. Whoopi Goldberg (not shown).

It hurts us too, Jerry Seinfeld, but here goes: Shoshanna Lon-stein, your ex-girlfriend, kissed off her 22nd birthday at Manhattan’s swank Spy Bar in a slinky dress and an equally tight lip-lock with new beau Jay Aston. Move on, man.

Julie Andrews might have turned out in something less revealing, but the guise is no limit for Raquel Welch, 56, who took over Andrews’s gender-bending role in Broadway’s Victor/Victoria on June 26. Welch plunged right into her opening night party at Tavern on the Green, sporting a blonde wig and daughter Tahnee, 34, an actress.

Men in Black star Will Smith took a kin-do approach to his sci-fi comedy’s L.A. premiere by bringing his raygun-toting nephew Kyle, 7 (right), and his son Trey, 4. (Mom is songwriter Sheree Zampino.) Those not hiding behind Ray-Ban Predator 2 shades, created for the film, included ER’s Noah Wyle and girlfriend Tracy Warbin, a makeup artist (bottom left), and scream dream Vivica A. Fox (below), who played Smith’s love interest when he saved the world last summer in Independence Day.

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