Pop Culture

Whew! George Clooney is NOT engaged

Women of the world who pine for George Clooney: breathe easy. The “Michael Clayton” star is not engaged, says his longtime rep Stan Rosenfield.

The British Marie Claire reported that Clooney and his girlfriend of nearly a year, Sarah Larson, are going to tie the knot this summer at the actor’s home in Lake Como, Italy.

“There is no truth to reports,” his rep says, pointing out that the false news originated with an Italian restaurant owner.

Why begin the rumor? One source who has dealt with the reports of Clooney’s alleged nuptials in the past points out that they tend to resurface right before Italy’s springtime tourist season kicks into gear. “It's as if they think that saying Clooney or his friend Brad Pitt will marry will increase tourism to the town. Kind of brilliant, when you think about it, if there really are people like that who will plan a vacation around a rumor."

Simpson's Kuwait concert no charity showJessica Simpson is headlining the Operation MySpace concert in Kuwait Monday, but industry insiders are wondering how Simpson is going to pull off making her performance look like a gift to the troops given how little time she’s spending with them and the exorbitant expense required to shuttle Simpson overseas and back to the U.S.

According to a source close to the Simpson camp, a private plane carrying Simpson and her entourage — which includes dad Joe, hairstylist Ken Paves, her personal assistant and a stylist — left L.A. and was due in Kuwait the evening of March 9. Total cost for the plane was approximately $150,000.

Someone will be picking up the tab for accommodations as well, even though it’s been touted that Simpson will be forgoing her standard hotel suite to spend the night living like the troops in a bunk. The source close to Simpson predicts that any time spent in a bunk will last no longer than the time it takes for a photo. (Reps for Simpson maintain she had accommodations as barracks and she didn't fly privately, and she doesn't have a hairstylist or makeup artist with her.)

“Jessica doesn’t sleep in tents or bunks the night before a concert. She needs to give a good performance — there’s no way Joe will want The Pussycat Dolls (who are also performing as part of the same show) to upstage his daughter. He’ll have her sleeping in a proper bed in the right environment.”

Other expenses include her stylist and makeup artist (who both charge approximately $6,000 per day), and Paves, whose day rate is a whopping $10,000, according to the Simpson source.

“This isn’t a charity show. The people around Jessica aren’t donating their time or cutting their rates as if this was Jess’s charity Operation Smile. Someone is picking up the tab, and it’s not going to be Jessica.”

When the concert is over, Simpson has about three hours for quality time with the troops before her plane takes off again. “Literally, she’s going to sing ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking,’ and she’s going to be walking herself right back onto that plane,” said the source.

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“The decision for her to do this doesn’t make sense,” said the source. “Her album is not ready for promoting, she risks being upstaged by the Pussycat Dolls and there's no way to come out of this without looking like a financial drain on the project.” (MySpace did not comment on who exactly is picking up the tab, but did say “Jessica was not paid for her appearance. This is a good thing she’s doing.”)

“She doesn’t even talk to her fans on MySpace. She has that odd SweetKisses.net site that was finally copied onto her MySpace.”

As an aside, Simpson is looking for someone to help her pick up the tab for SweetKisses.net too. There is a link on the page to donate to “help me out with covering server costs and other necessary expenses …”

If you don’t tune in to MySpace for the show, not to worry. There will be pictures available, as a magazine insider said that Joe Simpson will be taking some of the photos himself, like he did with Jessica’s last Operation Smile trip, and will be shopping an exclusive to the weekly mags for publication this week.

Lohan out and about
Lindsay Lohan spent a good bit of time in New York City last week and managed to keep a somewhat low profile.

Among the events she went to was a photography exhibit at her own building, The Atelier. The (bizarre) exhibit showcased works inspired by her tattoos. Also present was Samantha Ronson, who hasn’t spent much time with Lohan since she took part in the vehicular drama that was Lohan’s last night before re-entering rehab last year.

Lohan was overheard talking to guests about her new album, saying it’s “her best yet.”

Weekend box officeThe streak is alive: “10,000 B.C.” was No. 1 at the box office last weekend with nearly $36 million in box-office gross. Considering the cost of the film’s CGI effects and early predictions of an opening weekend that would exceed $40 million, the performance will probably still be viewed as a disappointment by the studio. “College Road Trip” came in second with a very solid $14 million; “The Bank Job” came in fifth with only a $5.7 million gross for the weekend.

Celeb sightings
In New York City: John Mayer was at Butter sipping Evian water with fellow musician Eve; DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ AM at Prime; Blake Lively went shopping at the Armani Exchange store on 5th Avenue; Derek Lam, Mathias Hermes and Olivia Palermo previewing Lam’s new sunglass collection at Ilori Soho.

In L.A.: “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier stopped at KOI. “American Idol” alum Kelly Clarkson was also there the same night. Karolina Kurkova’s celebrated her 24th birthday at Johnny Zander’s Green Door. The guest list included Georgina Chapman and Harvey Weinstein, Rachel Zoe and Roger Berman, and Kurkova’s “GI Joe” co-star Channing Tatum.

In Las Vegas: Barry Manilow treated his band to a night at Ghostbar at the Palms; J.C. Chasez and Chace Crawford were spotted partying at the Playboy Club at the Palms Casino Resort.

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