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Man about town

Our boss may want to create a new beat: Bird-dogging BoSox owner JOHN HENRY. At a fund-raiser over the weekend, the soft-spoken multimillionaire strapped on a bass and played ''Roadhouse Blues" with a band of amateurs. Then last night, Henry dropped by a benefit for the North End Community Association Health Center, where he bestowed World Series rings on Sox legends BOBBY DOERR and DOM DIMAGGIO. (They were joined by their friend and former teammate JOHNNY PESKY, who got his rock on Opening Day.) Considering how close the triumvirate came to winning it all in 1946, it's appropriate they got rings.

Music to our ears
Word around the ballpark is that Sox GM THEO EPSTEIN wants to start a foundation to give something back to the community -- what, the team's first World Series in 86 years wasn't enough? -- and to get it going he'll host a musical talent show a la PETER GAMMONS's annual Hot Stove, Cool Music benefit. It's not known yet who might show up to play, or where, but it's no secret BILL JANOVITZ, KAY HANLEY, and EDDIE VEDDER are Theo's pals.

All in the family
In town to promote her latest film, ''The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," 20-something starlet AMBER TAMBLYN stopped by the Kiss 108 studios yesterday to chat with MATT SIEGEL and the ''Matty in the Morning" crew. Later, the ''Joan of Arcadia" actress and her ''Sisterhood" costar BLAKE LIVELY got new dos courtesy of Boston stylist MITCH DEROSA. . . . The Aquitaine Group has a new baby, and it's not a restaurant or bistro. JEFFREY GATES, GM of Union and the Aquitaine Group, and his wife, JENNIFER KANER, welcomed their first child, CLARK JOSEPH GATES, born Monday.

Different strokes
Believe it or not, actor DAVID CHOKACHI, best known as one of the beefcakes on ''Baywatch," credits the swimming lessons he took as a kid in Plymouth with landing the memorable TV role. ''We had this hard-core woman who'd take us out in the fog, in 40-degree ocean water, and yell, 'Swim out to that rock!' " said Chokachi, whose latest movie, ''Crimson Force," airs on the Sci-Fi Channel next month. ''It paid off in the long run, I guess." The actor doesn't get back East much, but he will be in town for a silent auction and dinner June 17 benefiting the Children's Holiday Gift Fund. (Other special guests include BOBBY WAHLBERG, who has landed a role in MARTIN SCORSESE's ''The Departed.")

Done good
Journos KEVIN MERIDA and JOSEPH NOCERA and ''Queer Eye" creator MICHAEL WILLIAMS will receive distinguished alumni awards from BU's College of Communication Saturday. Merida is an associate editor at The Washington Post while Nocera writes a business column for The New York Times. Williams was also a producer of ERROL MORRIS's ''The Fog of War."

Bad news for this bear
The Massachusetts-based Merrimack Mutual Fire Insurance Co. is suing former child star TATUM O'NEAL after a fire in her New York City apartment on April 21, 2004, caused an estimated $75,000 in damage. The TV show ''Celebrity Justice" says the fire was caused by O'Neal's ''carelessness, recklessness, and negligence." A rep for O'Neal, who used to be married to tennis tyrant JOHN MCENROE, could not be reached for comment.

The long and the short of it
'People will think I'm a neo-Nazi or that I have cancer or I'm a lesbian. . . . After the crazy hairstyles I had to endure, it's quite liberating.'
Actress Natalie Portman, who shaved her head for a role in ''Vendetta."

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