JUST DESSERTS: Lara Shriftman hosted a sweet surprise party for tennis ace Serena Williams’ 23rd birthday at her Sunset Plaza pad on Saturday. “The idea started in New York when I took her to Serendipity for the first time,” the hostess said. “We joked about an all-desserts party, because she doesn’t get to eat sugar while she’s training.” Along with Krispy Kremes, Good Humor bars, Red Hots, Pop Rocks and shots of Corzo tequila, Williams’ beau, Brett Ratner (who brought his photo booth to begin culling shots for his second book), corralled his Hollywood buddies, Penny Marshall, Quentin Tarantino, Christine Peters and David Benioff, while Williams’ pals, Kelly Rowland, Marlon Wayans and Larenz Tate, also came. Add to the mix Shriftman’s houseguest, Chris Heinz, in town for a John Kerry fund-raiser concert by the Black Eyed Peas at Avalon, which also drew Will Kopelman, Donovan Leitch, Kirsty Hume, Ione Skye, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashlee Simpson, Josh Duhamel and Nicky Hilton.

NOTHING LIKE A DAME: Cult cross-dressing actor Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna Everage, has been drawing crowds in San Francisco at the Curran Theatre for the pre-Broadway run of his newest one-man show, “Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance.” He’s also drawing loud guffaws for his deft jabs at locals such as Mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Kimberly, recently photographed for Harper’s Bazaar on the floor of Ann Getty’s dining room.

“I’ve been having trouble with my carpets lately, and I was going to ask Martha Stewart for advice, but she’s busy now,” drawls Dame Edna. “So I asked the Martha Stewart of San Francisco, Ann Getty, for her help.”

This story first appeared in the October 5, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“‘Don’t talk to me about getting things out of the carpet,’ said Ann,” according to Dame Edna. “‘I’m still trying to get Kimberly and Gavin off mine.’”

Fashionable Denise Hale also gets a nudge, nudge, wink, wink from Everage, whose gowns veer from the gaudy to the ghastly and god-awful. “Denise Hale is always copying my dresses,” she asserts. “She says her gowns are by Gianfranco Ferré, but you watch: Next week you’ll see her in an exact copy of this dress.”