DOWN-HOME NICOLE

Nicole Kidman has been one easygoing Aussie while staying in Nashville with sweetheart Keith Urban. On March 12 the two turned up "in their best flip-flops" to brunch at South Street bar, says manager David Strohmeyer. "They just came in, no fanfare, sat down and read the Sunday paper." That night the pair held hands in the lobby of a local cinema. The couple have also hit a Bread & Company more than once with pals. On her own, Kidman has strolled around Radnor Lake and frequented Venetian Nails & Spa and the Mall at Green Hills near Urban's home. "She's very much at ease," says a resident. "They can be alone and not bothered. It's a great thing for them."

FAST TAKES
Diddy revved up the crowds at New York City's HOME, CROBAR, SPIRIT and BED March 15, shooting his party-hopping festivities for fun with a hand-held video camera. ... At a March 19 Louis Verdad fete at WEST HOLLYWOOD'S SPANISH KITCHEN, Paris Hilton told Insider she can't wait for her CD debut this summer. In the meantime she says she'll tend to beau Stavros Niarchos, who she says broke his collarbone snowboarding: "I'll be his nurse." ... Brooke Shields may return to denim: I hear Rock & Republic is interested in using Shields as a fit model for their new maternity-jeans line. ... At a New York City bash for Montblanc March 14, Claire Danes said she's off to London to film Stardust: "I play a star that falls to Earth, Robert De Niro plays a cross-dressing sky pirate, and Michelle Pfeiffer plays a witch [out] to eat my heart to get everlasting youth." Hmm . . .

CROW: ROCKING ON
On Mar. 20 Sheryl Crow made her first public appearance since her breast cancer diagnosis one month ago. The singer braved the rain to catch pal Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders at the Rock & Republic fashion show in L.A. "That's some serious dedication right there," Crow joked to Insider. Not as serious as her commitment to beating her disease, of course. "I'm the walking poster child for mammograms," Crow says. "I'm just taking care of myself right now. I'm really dedicating my life to getting back on my feet, living in a very healthy way and appreciating life." So far, so good: She stayed through the end of the Pretenders' gig, leaving at 11:30. "I haven't been out in ages," she said. "It's nice to get out and see friends."

BRIT'S LITTLE B-DAY SURPRISE
Britney Spears threw a party for Kevin Federline's 28th birthday at Tao Las Vegas at the Venetian March 21. Spears (in a black halter dress with a lethally low-cut back) and K-Fed (in a wife-beater and a N.Y. hat) came to party with 10 pals. She drank a Cosmo, he went for a Jack and Coke, shots and beer. Bringing out the cakes: two little people in tight dresses.