BIRTHDAY BONANZA!
JERMAINE DUPRI's 34th-b-day celebration at Quincy Jones's Bel Air estate on Sept. 21 had everything: pals (girlfriend JANET JACKSON and PENÉLOPE CRUZ), party favors (Louis Vuitton credit card holders) and plenty of punch (martinis by Hennessy Paradis). But no presents? Dupri told Insider, "I don't like to get gifts until my actual birthday." (We're sure Jackson came through on Sept. 23.) The next evening in Las Vegas, TOM CRUISE led a party of 10—including KATIE HOLMES—in honor of his mom, MARY LEE MAPOTHER, who turned 70. After they all caught Cirque du Soleil's Love, the birthday girl was serenaded by the cast and scored souvenir swag.

HURLEY LENDS A HAND
ELIZABETH HURLEY helped fete Evelyn Lauder's new book In Great Taste: Fresh Simple Recipes for Eating and Living Well, which benefits Lauder's Breast Cancer Research Foundation, at N.Y.C.'s David Burke at Bloomingdale's restaurant Sept. 21. The actress told Insider to ignore rumors of a wedding to ARUN NAYAR: "If I had something to announce, I'd announce it." New CBS Evening News host KATIE COURIC confided that getting up early for the Today show "was always an excuse to [skip parties]. I can't use that anymore! And tonight I didn't want to."

FAST TAKES
How did Green Day's BILLIE JOE ARMSTRONG follow up his Sept. 25 performance on ESPN's Monday Night Football (the Saints' first game in New Orleans since Katrina)? With a beer and chat with HARRY CONNICK JR. (top) at Nola's restaurant.

BRAD PITT lingered over breakfast with SPIKE LEE at Asia de Cuba in L.A. Sept. 20. No booster seats at the table, but Pitt still had a kid-friendly order: blueberry pancakes.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE took a break from promoting FutureSex/LoveSounds Sept. 20 to share a romantic dinner with CAMERON DIAZ at Il Sole: filet for him, ravioli for her.

NICOLE KIDMAN (left) and KEITH URBAN caught a Van Morrison show at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London Sept. 24.