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Page 2 / IDEAS, TRENDS, STYLE AND BUZZ | SoCal Confidential

DeGeneres Is Out and About, Touting Her New TV Series

October 16, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

Ellen DeGeneres, whose much-publicized breakup with Anne Heche was just a few months ago, was in good spirits the other night. A new friend, actress Alexandra Hedison, accompanied her to the Lifetime "Women Rock! Girls & Guitars" breast cancer awareness concert/fund-raiser Thursday. At the Skybar after-party, DeGeneres said her new TV series is a go. It won't be a variety show, as was initially planned. It will be another sitcom, she said, with "a different kitchen and a different living room."

Also at the bash was Melissa Etheridge, whose rockin' performance with Sheryl Crow, Nancy and Ann Wilson, Cyndi Lauper, Amy Grant and Wynonna Judd was enough to make a girl consider playing for the other team, if you know what I mean. Etheridge and her longtime companion, director Julie Cypher, recently announced they were splitting. The singer told me she's been keeping busy putting the finishing touches on a yet-to-be-titled album she referred to as "my therapy."

A few of us at the concert wondered whether the zany Lauper was a pain to work with because she insisted on re-recording two of her songs when she didn't like the way the first takes sounded. And all night she was a stickler about mike and speaker levels. Etheridge said Lauper is just passionate about her job. And while she may be a pain, said Etheridge, "she was a pleasant pain."

Though she's fallen off the show-biz radar in recent years, Nancy McKeon (Jo from "The Facts of Life," remember?) introduced one of the evening's acts. McKeon, who is slated to star in a detective series on Lifetime beginning in January, said the cause really hit home because one of her grandmothers died from breast cancer and the other is fighting it now. "We have to find a cure, because I don't want to have to worry about my mother, too."

The concert is scheduled to be broadcast at 8 p.m. Sunday on Lifetime.

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Forget jean jackets and leather trench coats. The cover-up of choice in L.A. this fall is the sweater coat: a cardigan-like number that hits mid-calf. "It's warm, it looks cool and you don't have to lug around a jacket," said Lisa Bhathal, 29, who was wearing a beige sweater coat by Icon at the Skybar the other night. "It feels like a long bathrobe."

Dressed in a cream-colored sweater coat with crocheted sleeves, her friend shared the secret behind the trend, on the condition that I not print her name: "They cover your butt."

Gap has the long sweaters in black or baby blue for $98. Instead of a button, the cool coats fasten with an overgrown safety pin.

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My actress friend, feeling guilty for not joining the SAG/AFTRA picket line, was relieved to get an invitation to Thursday's Strike: 1830 fund-raiser for strikers between 18 and 30 years old at Barfly. "Finally an activity I can take part in!" said my 28-year-old friend.

Perry Herman of the national strike strategy committee and Ann-Marie Johnson of the SAG board of directors gave rousing speeches to the capacity crowd, explaining that actors are losing their homes because of the six-month strike.

After the cheers died down, my friend said the scene became a bit grim . . . everyone sat around drinking and worrying about their futures. At least a portion of drink sales was earmarked for the strike fund.

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SoCal Confidential runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Booth Moore can be reached at booth.moore@latimes.com.

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