Sideshow | Horrors! King in Esquire

Posted: June 12, 2007

Today, you can buy a brand new novella - in full! - by horror shoveler Stephen King in the pages - 23, to be exact - of Esquire. Titled "The Gingerbread Girl," the tale is about Emily, a woman grieving the death of her baby, who notices that her neighbor brings home an awful lot of women - who never return home.

Esquire has a long tradition of publishing fiction by a host of hepcats including Truman Capote and Norman Mailer. Is the decision to go with King a step down from those illustrious artists? Esquire's chief ed David Granger yesterday said the best way to "breathe life back into magazine fiction" is "to publish nothing other than event fiction." The event, of course, is the momentous release of a new story by the best-sellingest celebrity author! Stories by celebs are the best, since they "call attention to themselves" beyond something as silly as literary worth. Granger did not use the terms craven, whorish or the phrase cheap publicity stunt in his statement.

Paris: The dumb act's over

Yesterday on The View, Barbara Walters shared a heartfelt chat she'd had the day before with Paris Hilton, who called her from jail in L.A.

Hilton said she has undergone a life-transformative experience that has made her a responsible grown-up. "I used to act dumb," she said. "It was an act . . . and that act is no longer cute."

The heiress, who insists she will serve her full 45-day sentence, said, "I have become much more spiritual. God has given me this new chance" to live a better life.

Defending Michael Moore

Loudmouth Michael Moore's mouthpiece, attorney David Boies, has complained to the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control about the federal probe into the movie director's trip to Cuba, where he shot much of his flick Sicko.

Boies writes that Moore was "selected for discriminatory treatment by your office" because the outspoken Flint, Mich., native's work - especially the controversial Fahrenheit 9/11 - contains harsh criticisms of President Bush's administration.

Last month, the OFAC informed Moore, whose new film is an indictment of the American health-care system, that he's under investigation for possible violations of the embargo restricting travel to Cuba. No comments from the government.

Alba's avoirdupois

The exquisite Jessica Alba, the hottest tomboy this side of Mia Hamm, is all common sense (so rare in Celebdom) when it comes to starlet self-starvation, which is decimating a whole generation of coed thesps.

"I used to be crazy, taking protein powders and eating high-protein, low-carb stuff," Alba says in an interview with Seventeen mag. "But that was when I was training for Dark Angel and I had to keep a certain amount of muscle on. I don't have to anymore. Now I can have flabby arms and legs and it doesn't matter!"

Hmmm, flabby Alba arms . . .

Alba's ardor

In other matters Alba, World Entertainment News Network claims that Jess, who's going steady with 28-year-old Yale alum and movie producer Cash Warren, is hopelessly besotted with Britannia's dashing royal, Prince William. Hope her infatuation doesn't destroy Jess' thing with Cash and thus restrict her access to Cash's pa, Michael Warren, the smooth dude's dude who played Officer Bobby Hill on Hill Street Blues.

Accentuate the negative

Here's a real challenge for all you dapper Don Giovannis and lounge lizard lotharios: Kelly Clarkson tells Elle mag that despite her many heartbreak songs, "I've never said the words 'I love you' to anyone in a . . . relationship. Ever." Yikes!

The 25-year-old "Never Again" warbler, whose lovely, round (baby-fat) cheeks have virtually disappeared over the years, comes off more negative than any death-rocker I've known.

On marriage: "I'm not keen on marriage. I don't let many people in." (Open the gates, Kelly!)

On kids: "My point of view is that I shouldn't be a mother at all, because I'd be horrible. I'm not willing to be that selfless." (A brutal self-evaluation!)

On men: "I can't stand pretty boys." (OK, that's a positive.)

On fame: "I could give a crap about being a star."

Reminds me, I need to up my antidepressant dose.

Accentuate the love

In a Bizarro World follow-up, Elle asks American Idol's judge, jury and executioner, Simon Cowell, to share about Kelly, who won Idol's first season. And Darth Vader is frightfully positive: "Vocally, I genuinely think she is up there with the top five in the world. As good as Whitney [Houston], as Mariah [Carey], as Christina [Aguilera]. She isn't aware of how good she really is." (She's too busy negativizing.)

Quaid multiplies

The coolest Quaid, Dennis, 53, and his wife, Kimberly Buffington, who wed in '04, are expecting fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, their rep has confirmed. The children, who are biologically Dennis and Kimberly's, are gestating chez surrogate, as it were.

Quaid's previous marriage to Meg Ryan produced a boy, Jack Henry Quaid, now 15.

Farm Aid to bite the Apple

Country hayseed and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that Farm Aid will be held on Sept. 9 at Randalls Island in the city. The show will feature cofounders Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, plus Neil Young, Dave Matthews and many others. Since its beginning in '85, Farm Aid has raised $30 mil for farmers in need.

From CBS to the BBC

News vet Rome Hartman has left CBS News after 25 years for the BBC, where he'll exec-produce a new one-hour nightly news show to be shown by BBC America and by BBC World News network. Said Hartman in a statement: "More and more Americans are seeking smart and sophisticated coverage of the world; coverage the BBC is uniquely capable of providing."

Hartman's tenure in network journalism peaked when he oversaw the launch of The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric and then crashed in March when he was replaced because Katie's show had lackluster ratings.

Brittany's the boss

Brittany Murphy's husband, Simon Monjack, says all he had to do to unleash the eternal breath of joy into his marriage was to admit Brittany is totally the boss of him - forever. Period.

"It's the only way for a happy marriage," the Brit screenwriter and producer tells People mag.

"That's why I leave everything up to the boss." The couple, who worked together on The White Hotel, married last spring in a super-secret wedding.

Contact "SideShow" at This column contains information from Web sites and Inquirer wire services.

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