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The Handlers

Billy Lazarus slashes the agent stereotype. He’s well-mannered, friendly, fashion-forward and magazine-obsessed. In his five-and-a-half years at United Talent Agency, he’s amassed a client list that includes red-hot Kate Bosworth, James Franco, Kelli Garner, Lou Taylor Pucci and Elizabeth Banks. But he insists he doesn’t seek out the tadpoles. “I’m just immature,” he jokes. “Perhaps I’m closer to knowing what that’s like than to knowing what it’s like for older actors,” says Lazarus, who, at 33, isn’t a rookie anymore, though he has a long way to go before being dubbed an old-timer.

Working on other sides of the biz — he started in casting and went on to publicity, where he once assisted uberpublicist Steven Huvane — has given him unique insight. “You learn a lot about the foundation of this industry.”

Lazarus also consumes movies and pop-culture like he does coffee, whether it’s at film festivals or on off nights with friends. It’s a practice he believes is as important as putting in long hours at the office. “The hardest part about this job is separating it from the rest of your life. But the best agents are those who have other things going on and can bring different life experiences to the job.” United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, 310-273-6700.

Everyone insists Hollywood is a young town, but some have more firsthand experience with that than others. Courtney Kivowitz, 33, started in the mailroom as part of Creative Artist Agency’s notorious training program 10 days after she graduated from college. And after nearly nine years in the war room, she left in 2003 to start the talent division at the boutique literary management and production company Benderspink.

“Now I look around the office, and I’m one of the oldest people. I’m an adult,” she says. “It’s pretty thrilling to know we are not looking up to that ‘senior’ partner to tell us what to do.”

One of her clients who followed her from CAA was Maggie Gyllenhaal. Kivowitz’s partner in the talent division, Christian Donatelli, nurtures the equally talented Emmy Rossum.

This story first appeared in the February 22, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We’re helping actors deal with a system that’s tough. They put their careers in your hands, so my personal approach is to be honest and tell it like it is.”

Kivowitz questions why some industry types toil away, then complain about work. “If you don’t love what you do, then you’ve got to get out. Otherwise, why would you get out of bed to fight for your clients all day long?” Benderspink, 6735 Yucca Street, Hollywood, 323-856-5500.

Most don’t know the difference between agents and managers. But having been the former for 12 years and the latter for six, JoAnne Colonna imparts this wisdom: “When you’re an agent, it’s a lot about volume. When I was an agent at ICM, I had 40 clients and I couldn’t give them all the consideration they deserved. As a manager, you work with fewer people, and you can really help them shape their careers.”

These days, careers often begin when actors are in diapers, so Colonna, who works at The Firm, knows how to pick them early. She’s repped Sarah Michelle Gellar for 16 years and Brittany Murphy for 12. “Watching those individuals on screen is a lot more interesting than watching the next pretty face. Those are a dime a dozen,” she says.

Newer clients include Anna Paquin and Brit import Oliver James. Although Colonna, 40, has now been in L.A. for 13 years, she began her career 18 years ago in her native New York, where she repped the teenage Matt Damon, Adrien Brody and Ben Affleck. After all, today’s gangly teens could be tomorrow’s Oscar winners. The Firm/AMG, 89465 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, 310-860-8000. — Marcy Medina

The Tarot-Card Reader

Psychic healer and tarot-card reader Laura Bushnell says she’s had the gift all her life, but the past decade has seen her move to Los Angeles and cast her third eye on celebrities such as rockin’ lovebirds Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro and a “Desperate Housewife” she’d rather not name.

For $225, Bushnell, aka the Magick Lady, invites clients into her home office for an hour of chakra analysis, energy-field diagnosis and tarot-card readings. “I like to use my gifts to accelerate people’s lives—accelerate their ability to find their life path, create more abundance in their life, or find a life partner,” she says. “People come looking for some clarity with life.”

And they come away happy, she says: “I have a 90 percent success rate.” She gives partial credit to the energies supplied by the roughly 20 Catholic relics she has stationed around her office, including, she says, a lock of the Virgin Mary’s hair.

Miramax Books has also discovered Bushnell. Her new book, “Life Magic,” materializes in 2006. For an appointment, call 323-6 54-9010 or visit magicklady.com. — Leslie Gornstein

The Vibrator

Michelle Rodriguez, Jamie Lynn DiScala, Shar Jackson and Lake Bell are buzzing about their new favorite toy.

All of them own a limited-edition precious-metal Jimmyjane Little Gold or Little Platinum vibrator etched with the word “Trouble” ($350-$500). Jimmyjane’s best-selling toy is waterproof and can hold its temperature for added enjoyment.

They’re a hit with the guys, too. At a recent Golden Globes event “Alias” star Greg Grunberg snapped one up for himself and another for his co-star, Jennifer Garner.

“We’ve been working with a number of celebrity clients to produce custom pieces and are growing this area of the ‘couture’ business,” says spokeswoman Samantha Slaven. Buyers can personalize their silent Jimmyjane tool with a message around the base or just leave it naked. Available at Alpha, 8625 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, 310-885-0775, and at jimmyjane.com and vivre.com. — Jennifer Belli

The Nightlife Impresarios

Like her 8-year-old daughter, Amanda Demme doesn’t like to sit still. She’s already earned a party pedigree from her days hosting the Monday crowd at the Argyle Hotel on the Sunset Strip. And when she isn’t supervising soundtracks — she was nominated for a Grammy for her work on “Garden State” — she’s dreaming up still more to do after the sun goes down.

There’s the Roosevelt, the most anticipated revamp of a Hollywood hotel ever. Together with designer Dodd Mitchell, Demme hopes that the three new hotspots at the Hollywood Boulevard landmark will attract her favorite kind of crowd:

“I want it to be one place that, every night, feels like a collage of people,” Demme says. “I want chic, and to me, chic is a mix. It’s not making any one person more important than the other.”

That said, Maggie Gyllenhaal, brother Jake, Kirsten Dunst and other stars have all had a ball at her shindigs. No doubt her VIP crew will show up at the Roosevelt, once Demme takes up nightly residence there later this month. ASD Entertainment, 323-525-2400.

For any die-hard nightcrawler, Brent Bolthouse is number one on the cell-phone speed dial — if you can keep up with his schedule. On Mondays, Bolthouse is spinning tunes with buddy Danny Masterson on their radio show, “Feel My Heat,” on Indie 103.1 FM, crowned the coolest station in the country by Rolling Stone. Or you can find Bolthouse later that night holding court at the über-schmoozy Chi. He’s also the man behind those infamous Wednesday nights at Concorde, frequented by Cameron Diaz and a legion of other pliant young starlets. This month, he kicked of Friday nights at the Spider Club. To top everything off, Bolthouse always plans the annual ultra-exclusive post-Oscar bash thrown by agent Patrick Whitesell and The Firm’s Rick Yorn. He does one-shot events, too, like the premiere and after party for the upcoming “Ring Two.” His newest vision? An all-industry bowling league, a Thursday-night social scene for “the agencies, the p.r. firms, the modeling agencies — something to bring everyone all together.”
Brent Bolthouse Productions, 323-848-9300. — L.G.

The Life Coach

For T.C. Conroy, years spent working closely with some of the music industry’s biggest stars — Guns ‘N Roses, the Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel and Ric Rubin at Def America, among others — served as a kind of a crash course in the human psyche. When the rock lifestyle grew tiresome, Conroy — who, with her ruby-studded platinum tooth and ironed black hair, looks like she could front a band herself — decided to take her unofficial role as life coach and offer it up formally to the many friends and friends of friends in Tinseltown who had hit her up for guidance.

Today, she counts stylists, industry players and a few of their famed clients among her customers. “I don’t think it’s more of a challenge working with creative types. It’s what comes natural to me,” says Conroy. Well, maybe except for the hours. “I do rock ’n’ roll hours — late-night, even midnight coaching sessions.” West Coast Coaching, 6525 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 205, Hollywood, 323-461-4600. — R.A.

The Cake Baker

A $45 price tag for a six-inch disc of buttery, sugary, tragically fleeting pleasure? It’s a small price to pay for cakes and pies hand-created by sometime club maven Audrey Bernstein.

With no storefront and virtually no press for her Bluebird Bakery, Bernstein has nonetheless managed to build a sweet business frequented by the likes of Tatiana von Furstenberg, Portia de Rossi, Amy Fleetwood and the heretofore jaded palates at Donovan Leitch’s Spider Club. She’s also provided petit fours and other bite-sized treats for top-line parties such as Agent Provocateur’s recent Valentine’s Day bash.

Less than a year ago, a bored Bernstein grew tired of the club scene and went looking for a tastier occupation. (She used to run the infamous Monday nights at the Fenix inside the Argyle Hotel and, before that, at the now-defunct Café Le Deux.) Buddies suggested a bar or club, but when a friend suggested a bakery, the lights came on. Within days, she had her first client, a friend who “trusted my style” and ordered a wedding cake sight unseen. Word of mouth built the rest.

“It’s exhausting,” Bernstein says of her new business. “But it’s also really fun. You deliver a cake to someone, and it’s not like you’re giving someone their dry cleaning. They’re so happy and excited about it.” Order in advance via 323-665-1762 or bluebird-bakery.com. — L.G.

The Pooch Pamperer

From the tiniest purse puppies to the most rugged hounds, VIPs such as Jake Gyllenhaal and Kirsten Dunst bring their furry VID’s to L.A. Dogworks.

Jewel, Nicole Richie, Kimberly Stewart and Kirsty Hume also strut their pooches in for anything from a rhinestone Pawdicure ($25) to a hydrotherapy session ($65 for 30 minutes). After a warm bath ($35-$50) pups can be pampered with the popular apple oat body wrap that helps rid their coats of tangles and matting ($15).

Off to a faraway film location? Board Fifi in the cozy Dog Den, where she can roam free in a clean, modern living-room space complete with a flat-screen TV tuned to Animal Planet and educational animal videos.

Denise Richards’ pregnancy was outted in the L.A. Dogworks dog park by her three French bull dogs. She took them in for a consultation with famed London psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick, who told her the dogs were curious when she would have her baby, proving dogs can do their own scooping. L.A. Dogworks, 1014 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, 323-461-5151, ladogworks.com. — J.B.

The Cobbler

God knows that 38-year-old Jacques Zatikian is a hard-working fellow — he’s repaired and remodeled shoes at the Progressive Shoe Shop since he began helping his father, Victor, at 14. But if you’re thinking of ringing up Jacques three days before the Oscars, reconsider: You’ll have to jockey for position behind Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lopez. Stylists such as Phillip Bloch and Lisa Michelle Boyd also are regulars at the Beverly Hills locale.

“Before the Oscars, I’m working almost 24 hours a day,” says Zatikian, who not only repairs but also expertly color-matches and applies custom Swarovski crystal embellishments. “[Celebrities] want difficult colors, and of course they want it to be done perfectly. And all the time, they come at the last minute.”

And if, say, Heather Locklear wants a pair of demure mules reinvented as a set of towering platform slingbacks, Jacques will do that, too. Progressive Shoe Shop, 210 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, 310-276-8717. — L.G.

The Dry Cleaner

It’s the cleaners of choice for Kirsten Dunst and Kate Bosworth, who actually bring in and pick up their own clothes, despite having assistants aplenty. Why? Four Seasons Cleaners & Laundry is conveniently located on the corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Boulevards, a stone’s throw from Fred Segal Melrose, Marc Jacobs and the Virgin Records megamall, as well as many a West Hollywood crib and a roster of the hottest restaurants and clubs — all places where dry clean-only emergencies are born.

Celebrity stylists, publicists and fashion designers also turn to Four Seasons for industrial strength-yet-delicate jobs — from getting body makeup off the linings of those borrowed frocks to steaming out the creases caused by sitting too long at awards shows.

Owner Nancy Carter is acquainted with each of these one-off gowns. Not only does she personally handle incoming orders, she’s an avid red-carpet watcher herself, and usually among the first to know who wore (or will wear) what. Four Seasons Cleaners & Laundry, 8042 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, 323-654-5189. — M.M.

The Eateries

Scarlett Johansson and Jared Leto have recently been spotted canoodling at Real Food Daily, the vegan hot spot near the Beverly Center that moves some stars in other ways.

Don’t expect any greasy comfort food at this progressive organic vegan restaurant, where everything is made without the use of animal products, refined sugar, white flour or preservatives. After sinking your teeth into The Club (a sandwich of lightly breaded seitan [wheat meat] served on toasted sourdough bread with tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and veganaise for $9.95), or the Tac-o’ The Town (two crispy corn tacos stuffed with seasoned seitan, shredded lettuce and tofu sour cream and served with Spanish rice, black beans, guacamole and pico de gallo for $12.75), you’ll understand why stars keep coming back to this bright and cheery cafe.

The famous Coconut Moon Pie — coconut-cream filling sandwiched between two wafers and drizzled with chocolate for $5.95 — appears on Thursdays, when Keenen Ivory Wayans sometimes buys 10 at a time.

Meanwhile, the vegan brownie is a favorite of Selma Blair, but it’s been known to send some stars running for the bathroom. Jokes Donovan Leitch, “We all call it Real Poop Daily.” Real Food Daily, 414 North La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, 310-289-9910. — J.B.

Warner Ebbink knows a thing or two about how Hollywood likes to eat and drink. The former manager of Good Luck Bar, Swingers and Bar Marmont, Ebbink decided to break out on his own and, along with chef Brandon Boudet, open the midcentury-flavored 101 Coffee Shop inside the Hollywood Best Western Hotel. On any given midnight or morning, the place is rife with A-list regulars — from Beck and Brad Pitt to Rose McGowan and Sheryl Crow. They come for the scene as much as for the food, especially the no-huevos huevos rancheros and the brownie waffle sundae. 101 Coffee Shop, 6145 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, 323-467-1175.

Last summer, Ebbink and Boudet added a second restaurant when they assumed the legendary Dominick’s across town. The former watering hole for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Packers, the place has survived several owners since. But Ebbink and Boudet restored the inside bar and outside patio to its original glory, and a new generation — Jake Gyllenhaal, Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Rodriguez, Joaquin Phoenix and Rosario Dawson — have stepped in to sup on signature plates such as the grilled artichokes or veal parmesan. Dominick’s, 8715 Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood, 310-652-2335. — R.A.

The Stylist

Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig is a starlet’s best friend. It’s who Mischa Barton and Jennifer Garner turn to for their spotlight-grabbing red-carpet turns. And after she worked with Jessica Simpson, younger sis Ashlee looked Rosenzweig up for her own makeover. Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz have also come calling, and newest client Portia di Rossi couldn’t buzz enough about her at a recent event: “I love everything about her! She’s so talented, and so very cool.”

Indeed, the incredibly lithe New York native has become a kind of star herself, with clients such as Barton and Nicole Richie (who Rosenzweig also revamped), along with many a fashion and entertainment industry player.

Her signature Seventies glam style also attracts its share of paparazzi snapshots. But what Rosenzweig fans love about her most is her drama-free approach to styling, a trait not every working stylist can claim.

“I know this sounds so sappy,” offers Rosenzweig, “but it has never been about the money for me. I love what I do. I still get overly enthusiastic about the clothes and dressing people.” The Margaret Maldonado Agency, 310-481-4420. — R.A.