Comedian Sandra Bernhard sure can liven up a party. Accepting an award at a National Gay Rights Advocates dinner in Los Angeles, Bernhard joked to the group that she had been gay until two weeks earlier, when she found true love and great sex with escort John Maletesta. She described Maletesta's anatomy and virility in graphic terms. "We [make love] all the time," she said, though Maletesta is, in fact, her assistant and not a love interest. Many of the guests were unamused. "It would have been crude and inappropriate anywhere, but it was certainly inappropriate in this group," said one of the dinner's sponsors. Bernhard was unrepentant. "If I couldn't say what I want to say," said she, "I wouldn't be Sandra Bernhard."

Nancy Reagan's former personal astrologer, Joan Quigley, who provided those awkward moments for the White House some months back, is getting downright democratic. The San Francisco society star-gazer, who used to work with only the awfully rich, is now selling horoscope cassette tapes through Ticketron for $45 each. Callers phone in the date, time and place of their birth and are mailed tapes of Quigley sounding just as she did when she used to talk on the phone to Nancy. Says Quigley: "You can't imagine how many people were calling me from all over the world [after the Reagan connection was learned]. I was in despair. I hate to turn anyone down." Quigley's sister, Ruth, came up with the idea of the tapes, which provide an hour of astrological wisdom. Quigley is certain the venture will be a success. "The chart says we'll be flooded with orders."

Brigitte Nielsen, whose recent cancer scare prompted beau Mark Gastineau to leave the football field, now feels well enough to go back to work. Sly's ex is closing a deal to star in a film tentatively titled White Steele as J.C. Steele, a government superagent. Will Gastineau be returning to football? His agent did not return phone calls regarding Gastineau's plans.

Isabella Rossellini, who has finished filming Cousins, based on the 1975 French farce Cousin, Cousine, about marital infidelity, is now attending New York University part-time to study animal behavior. Her goal: to make wildlife movies. While studying, she will continue to model for Lancôme. Cousins, out around spring break, co-stars Ted Danson and Sean Young.

Talk about a closed set: Stuck!, a low-budget film directed by Milton Moses Ginsberg, deals with 10 critics and two messenger boys who get trapped in an elevator over a long weekend. "Except for the opening scene, when the critics leave the screening room, all the action takes place in the elevator, including cannibalism," says Ginsberg, who did the 1969 underground cult film Coming Apart. Cast as one critic is Sylvia Miles, of Crossing Delancey.

The latest Manhattan restaurant to be reviewed by New York magazine's exacting food critic Gael Greene is NBC's Tattinger's, run by Stephen Collins. Greene plays herself on the Dec. 28 episode but wears a white cowboy hat low over her face so she won't be recognized when she goes out reviewin'. (In real life, Greene tells friends not to call her by name when they dine out.) How would she rate Tattinger's? "All I got was a glass of wine which was really grape juice, but it had a great bouquet," says Greene.