BUZZ/SAW (Dec. 7-13)

NEW YANKED MAGAZINE? New York Magazine is a very popular read in Los Angeles, especially because so many homesick ex-New Yorkers have relocated to the Left Coast.

So it came as quite a blow when the native sons and daughters couldn’t find their weekly Gotham fix — the Nov. 29 issue of New York Magazine — on L.A. newsstands.

What makes it doubly annoying is the fact that the issue carried a highly unusual L.A.-centric article, a scathing profile by Nikki Finke of ex-CAA superagent, drug addict and Mike Ovitz protege Jay Moloney, whose recent suicide shocked the entertainment community.

Finke’s allegations were stinging: Dubbing Moloney a “gangsta” agent, she also suggested that the former CAA “Young Turk” was a racketeer whose death may have been more karma than tragic. She recounted his rise in the Biz, thanks to mentor Ovitz, who had him do double duty as nanny and driver on the Ovitz homestead before moving Moloney into the CAA mailroom.

In no particular order, Moloney, alleged Finke, snitched on fellow workers as Ovitz’s spy, spread vicious and harmful rumors about competitors, probably stole at least one screenplay idea from friends, lied to at least one major client (Sean Connery), used Ovitz’s name to get perks (a lounge chair at the posh Hotel du Cap in Antibes, France) and flaunted his drug usage in hip clubs, etc.

Not completely certain that there was no hanky-panky involved in the curious absence of the Nov. 29 issue of New York Magazine in L.A., we made some calls. Alex, who manages the popular Santa Monica World News newsstand in West Hollywood, said that this was the first time that New York Magazine didn’t show up. At Anderson News, New York Magazine’s L.A. distributor Robin Dorn said that the issues arrived on time. But Nat Dortch, Anderson’s assistant operations manager, said that the magazine went out late, that “something got messed up with the ground carrier” also known as the “break-up agent.’

Mike Gural, director of newsstand sales for the magazine, is investigating the matter. He said that, according to New York’s production director, “everything went out fine and on schedule” from the printing plant in Illinois to Anderson News in L.A.

GIRLS, ERUPTED: How to explain the amazing number of strong female characters and even stronger female performances hitting screens this fall and winter. Already, even wise old King Solomon wouldn’t be able to choose between Hilary Swank, star of Fox Searchlight’s “Boys Don’t Cry,” and Janet McTeer, star of Fine Line Features’ “Tumbleweeds,” for the upcoming Best Actress Oscar award.

Even their co-stars are being touted for nominations: Chloe Sevigny for her role as Brandon Teena’s girlfriend in “Boys Don’t Cry” and the debuting Kimberly J. Brown as McTeer’s daughter in “Tumbleweeds.” And let’s not forget the strong performances of Annette Bening and even Thora Birch and Mena Suvari in “American Beauty.”

This week will find Julianne Moore, sporting a very acceptable British accent, as the hypotenuse of a love triangle in Columbia’s period romance “The End of the Affair.” On Dec. 17 and also speaking veddy British, Jodie Foster, as the eponymous Anna in 20th Century Fox’s extravagant epic “Anna and the King,” portrays an awfully upright English teacher to the royal family in 1860s Siam (now Thailand).

And there are already whispers of Oscar nominations for Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, co-stars in the psychological drama “Girl, Interrupted,” which opens Dec. 21.

Two-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet has won some boosters and Oscar whispers for “Holy Smoke!” and Gwyneth Paltrow, for the upcoming “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” might turn out to be the actress to beat. You go, girls!

SUNDAY IN NEW YORK: It was unseasonably balmy Sunday in New York, with spring and more than a little love in the air. So maybe we should forgive writer/director/boulevardier James Toback, appropriately known for films such as “The Pick-Up Artist,” for taking to the streets and doing what he does best.

On Sunday, moviedom’s second most infamous womanizer (Warren Beatty retains the No. 1 position in an emeritus capacity) did some picking up on New York’s tony Upper West Side hub at 72nd Street and Broadway, chatting up at least one surprised young woman and taking her to a nearby coffee shop in an effort to get her to commit to a date.

Of course, it wasn’t just the springlike weather that drove Toback into pick-up mode. His conversation, aiming to get the woman to commit to a rendezvous, oftentimes returned to the word “testosterone.” But the “girl, interrupted” turned down Toback, who sported casual clothes, topped off by a Yankees cap and enough beard for two St. Nicks (it’s that testosterone, he told her).

Because of action and motives so brazen, it occurred to us that Toback, with appropriately titled films under his belt such as “Fingers,” “Love and Money,” “Two Girls and a Guy” and “The Big Bang” might also have been trolling for ink. On that front, we’re happy to accommodate by also reminding that Toback’s “Black and White,” which Screen Gems will release in March, opens with what one journalist calls a “filthy” Central Park scene involving two high school girls and a hip-hop artist.

Meanwhile, Friday in New York, at a much more formal evening gathering on the much more formal Upper East Side, a group of TV news biggies, including Peter Jennings and Dan Rather, downed caviar and other delicacies with their drinks. The lavish food offerings were no doubt given careful scrutiny by restaurant guide mogul Tim Zagat, also in attendance.


Tragic and Lowdown: Two tremendously disparate events that happened Friday are nonetheless related. Woody Allen’s latest film “Sweet and Lowdown,” a mockumentary starring Sean Penn as a flawed 1930s jazz guitarist, opened nicely in three New York theaters. This and Allen’s other recent films probably would not have been possible without the fortune generated by the Safra banking family. Allen’s producing partner, Jean Doumanian, is the longtime companion of Jaqui Safra, nephew of Edmond Safra, the billionaire banker and scion of the financial dynasty. Last Friday, Edmond Safra died in a mysterious fire in his Monte Carlo penthouse, where two hooded men apparently were attempting a burglary …

Sharon a New Formula: Don’t ever say Sharon Stone doesn’t know how to promote a movie. Talking to journalists about her upcoming HBO movie “If These Walls Could Talk 2,” Stone, who co-stars with Ellen DeGeneres in a segment about a lesbian couple who become moms, says that she’s never experienced greater on-screen chemistry with a co-star than she did with DeGeneres.