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"Hannibal" director has to crash his own party …

Street Talk

'Hannibal' Chows At Havana '59 FeteVA Hospital Suspends Top CopWanted: Landlords With HeartOops! … She Did It OnlineLocal Artists Get the 'Shaft

'Hannibal' Chows At Havana '59 Fete

Once he got into the party, he seemed to have a great time.

Just like the hundreds of other "Hannibal" crew members and state VIPs enjoying a Virginia Film Office freebie at Havana '59 this month.

But before ascending to his third-floor throne in the attitude-suffused Shockoe Bottom restaurant, director Ridley Scott ("Alien," "Thelma & Louise," "Gladiator") suffered a bit of an ego bruise. Sources say the anonymous-looking auteur had trouble getting past a hostess keeping out crashers.

"Never mind. Just get out of my way - I'm the director," an unamused Scott reportedly remarked as he pushed past the list-checking hostess at the June 17 soiree.

"That's very possible," laughs Havana '59 manager Angela Whitley. "We have a lot of parties for the celebrities when they come in town … but we try to give them a little bit of privacy, of normalcy."

Thus the hostess' hot sheet, on which the director now is believed to have been listed as "Scott Ridley."

Partygoers say the film office fete otherwise was a sweltering success. Gov. Jim Gilmore, standing with wife Roxane on the third-floor deck, seemed intensely satisfied as he enjoyed a cigar. Tables away, a soon-smiling and animated Scott conversed with "Hannibal" lead Anthony Hopkins. Sources say the actor looked ice-cool in a light summer suit, while always-nearby film office director Rita McClenny radiated triumph in a velvety midriff-baring number. (Rumor had actress Julianne Moore spending time with her son elsewhere.)

"They appeared to really be enjoying themselves," a partygoer says. Sardined and sweating inside the restaurant, lesser "Hannibal" crew and film-office types talked shop over drinks, cigars and Havana's rave-winning beef tenderloin, salmon, black bean hummus and roasted red-pepper goat cheese crudités.

Overheard: Shooting moves early next month from the Bottom to The Martin Agency in Shockoe Slip and Frances Kahn on River Road, among other locations.

Rob Morano

VA Hospital Suspends Top Cop

The head of security at the Veterans Administration hospital here has been suspended from duty following an alleged altercation with a patient, sources say.

McGuire VA Medical Center spokeswoman Darlene Edwards says VA Police Chief Wesley Crickard is on administrative leave while the alleged incident is being investigated.

Other sources in the hospital say a patient was "roughed up" earlier this month.

"The medical center administration is aware of some allegations regarding the chief," Edwards says, adding that she could not comment further because the issue is a personnel matter.

VA Police Capt. Lorenzo Doles has been appointed acting chief "until further notice," according to a June 16 McGuire memo.

Crickard is one of three McGuire employees named in a federal lawsuit filed in March by Navy veteran Sean M. Church, who claims there is a pattern of patient abuse at the medical center.

- R.M.

Wanted: Landlords With Heart

It's a tall order to fill - finding landlords willing to give former homeless people a chance at permanent housing. But Homeward, the non-profit group that coordinates homeless services in the Richmond area, is attempting to do just that.

Its "Permanent Affordable Housing Workgroup," being held next month, is the first of its kind for Homeward.

The program aims to make the partnership a win-win situation for all involved - guaranteed tenants and no advertising for landlords and a step closer to independence for former homeless people.

The landlord would charge the tenant fair market rent, assuring no subsidies or extra paperwork for tenants. The landlords also would have to be willing to accept tenants with credit problems that have been a stumbling block to getting approved for housing in the past.

According to Homeward volunteer Emily Field, the landlords will benefit and save money because the rental contracts will be signed in advance and eliminate the need for advertising. Also, Field says, those seeking the housing will be less likely to be evicted than other tenants paying the same reasonable rent because those placed by Homeward already have gone through a screening process. "They've made the commitment to clean up their act," says Field.

Homeward had hoped to have the program in full swing by now. Field concedes that it's been tricky getting area landlords to jump onboard the initiative. Homeward hopes to place 100 tenants in housing each year through the program.

Homeward will be hosting a luncheon in mid-July for interested landlords who would like to learn more about the program.

"There's a real fear of previously homeless people," says Field. "Nobody has done this yet in Richmond and there are no proven results."

For more information about Homeward's new permanent housing program call 225-7909.

- Brandon Walters

Oops! … She Did It Online

Richmond Times-Dispatch music reporter Melissa Ruggieri got caught in a little moonlighting last week.

While her editors have pulled the plug on that gig, she'll keep her day job.

Ruggieri reviewed a June 20 Britney Spears concert for as "Lisa Taylor," the editors confirmed Friday.

Like, so? Like, she was at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., on the company tab and didn't have their approval to do the review, which appeared June 21. A nearly verbatim version appeared two days later in the Times-Dispatch.

Given what reporters make, what's so wrong with a little "Baby One More Time?"

Because "we see … dot-coms as competition," Times-Dispatch Managing Editor Louise Seals said in a statement read over the phone by Assistant Flair Editor Cindy Creasy.

Seals said "we were surprised to learn" about the online review from Style. Creasy says it was Ruggieri's first and last such review.

Ruggieri could not be reached late Friday for comment.

Spears' hits include "What U See (Is What U Get)" and "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know."


Local Artists Get the 'Shaft

It didn't take long for Meredith Tracey to spy in the summer action thriller "Shaft" the artwork that once hung from the walls of her shop, Urban Artifacts.

In a few brief but bullet-ridden scenes, the artwork of four Richmond artists, Jeph Majer, Conor O'Keefe, Traci Wood and Wes Freed flashes across the screen.

When New York set designer Chuck Potter was in Richmond a few years ago filming "Forces of Nature" with Sandra Bullock, he discovered Tracey's shop, which specializes in funky retro items and art, as a place to buy props for his sets.

So when Potter went scouting for the perfect Caribbean-style artwork to hang on the apartment walls of the character Rapper Rasaan, played by Busta Rhymes, he found just what he wanted at the Fan shop.

And even though they don't exactly get a movie credit, Tracey says the artists are happy about having their work in the movie - if even merely for a second. Still, she says, it's hardly the kind of exposure that swells your head.

"I went to the movie and you could see it," says Tracey about the five pieces Potter selected for the film. The most identifiable painting is a large one called "Tribe" by Majer. It gets a little more screen time than the others during a big shoot-out scene.

"It's pretty cool to see it up there," says Tracey. "Even if it's just for a split second."


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