Celebrity News


DAVID BLAINE, who is rapidly edging out his landsman DAVID COPPERFIELD as the most famous magician on the planet, will begin a truly challenging endurance test today in London. He will spend 44 days in a Plexiglas box, 7 feet long by 7 feet tall by 3 feet wide, suspended over the Thames River. He will have just a set of clothes and a blanket, no food, and will receive only pure water via a feeding tube. Experts say this is close to the limit that a human can live only on water. The event will be televised on British TV and, no doubt, highlights will be shown here, too. A film is also being made.

Blaine, 30, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Puerto Rican-Italian non-Jewish father. His parents split up when he was very young, and he was raised by his mother. Blaine's clever "street magician" style made him a celeb when he was still a teen. Sadly, his beloved mother died in 1992, not long after he had the first flush of success. Blaine identifies as Jewish, and his hero is the late HARRY HOUDINI, who, like Blaine, moved from magical tricks to death-defying events. The New York Times reports that Blaine has several copies of PRIMO LEVI's "Survival in Auschwitz" in his apartment, and perhaps it provided him with some insight on how to endure these 44 days.

This is not Blaine's first endurance test: he has stood on a pillar in New York for 35 hours, and he has stayed in a block of ice for 65 hours.


New York Magazine recently published its list of the 50 sexiest New Yorkers, and it was loaded with Jewish folks. Granted, New York is heavily Jewish, but the common perception is Jews are big on lists of science fair winners, while other groups edge us out in animal magnetism. Anyway, the magazine has done some excellent research, and it appears that the Hebrews have done well in yet another field. The complete list of winners, with photos, can be found at www.newyorkmetro. com/news/articles/03/08/sexiest

The list is divided into 50 different categories, with sexiest in each. But, we will dispense with that and just name them and what they do: ANDREW SOLOMON, author; PAUL RUDD, actor; JON STEWART, comedian; PAUL AUSTER, author; ELIOT SPITZER, New York state attorney general; MORT ZUCKERMAN, publisher; MAGGIE and JAKE GYLLENHAAL, actors (Jewish mother); BALFOUR BRICKNER, rabbi; Prince ALEXANDRE VON FURSTENBERG, venture capitalist (mother, DIANE, is Jewish); BEBE NEUWIRTH, actress; PATRICIA DUFF, socialite; JON ROBIN BAITZ, playwright; HARRISON FORD, actor (Jewish mother). We are unsure of the tribal status of a couple of winners not named above. (If you want to send

us your picks for the sexiest present-former Bay Area Jews, do so at

[email protected])


Chances are you never heard of Stella, which is both a comedy trio and collective shorthand for three of the brightest young Jewish comedians on the scene today: MICHAEL SHOWALTER, MICHAEL IAN BLACK, and DAVID WAIN. The two Michaels met in college, and they met Wain when all three performed for the now-defunct MTV comedy series "The State." They teamed up as "Stella" because they were all into the new comedy scene, forming in a few New York clubs in the mid-1990s. (Although they jokingly told The Onion, the satire Web site, that discrimination drew them together. "During lunch, the three of us were always banished to one table together…. We were always seated at the kosher table…. And we had to sit in the back of the van on the way to shoots…. The rest of the guys at "The State" founded a golf club, and we founded a knish store.")

Stella, the comedy troupe, has released film shorts on DVD, and they have hosted comedy nights featuring themselves and other comedians. They just completed a tour of the Northeast. The three guys collaborated on the 2001 film comedy "Wet Hot American Summer," co-starring Black. Black also has a recurring role on the TV series "Ed," as the bowling alley manager and appears as a commentator on VH1's series "I Love the '80s/'70s." Check them out at www.stellacomedy.com


After three weeks and a lot of publicity, Courtney Love's mother has denied the press report that her autobiography says that Marlon Brando is her biological father. Apparently, Love didn't know what was in the book, since she was as believing of the press report as we were in our column of Aug. 22.

The writer is the Oakland-based editor of www.Jewhoo.com

Nate Bloom

Nate Bloom writes the "Celebrity Jews" column for J.