Paul McCartney

can now add one more honor to the numerous awards, accolades and the knighthood he has already received: He's qualified to audition for the Whiffenpoofs. The ex-Beatle yesterday was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree from Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

In granting the honorary degree to McCartney - or Sir Paul, since he was knighted in 1996 - the university said no one compared to the legendary, 65-year-old songwriter who awakened a generation, giving a fresh sound to rock, roll, rhythm and blues.

Yale also conferred honorary degrees on former U.S. trade representative Carla Hills, astronomer Martin Rees, architect Cesar Pelli, poet John Ashbery, and others.

Performance art

Wine, cheese - and police?

An East Hampton, N.Y., art gallery owner was led away in handcuffs Saturday after she refused to stop serving drinks at a season-opening bash for a celebrity photo exhibit containing the work of Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Angelina Jolie, and other stars.

As about 200 startled guests looked on, Ruth Kalb - generally known as Ruth Vered, after her gallery's name - was arrested on a charge of selling alcohol without a liquor license.

"I told them I've been doing this since before they were born," said Vered, 67, whose gallery has been a fixture of the Hamptons art scene for more than 30 years. "They have some nerve."

She said the wine and champagne were free.

Mayor Paul Rickenbach said police were just doing their job. "It's not something that's new and out of the blue at all," he said.

Vered faces arraignment June 25 in East Hampton Town Court.


Brooke Hogan

, the daughter of wrestler

Hulk Hogan,

was involved in a minor car collision in Clearwater, Fla., on Sunday.

The car that the singer and star of Hogan Knows Best was driving collided with another vehicle on the Bayside Bridge at 4 p.m., according to the Associated Press. The other driver, 19-year-old Ronald Gallmon, reportedly tried to change lanes and lost control of his vehicle, colliding head-on with Hogan's Mercedes.

"My tire blew out, but she hit us," Gallmon told Fox News in Tampa.

Both cars were towed, but no one was injured, according to the police report.

On May 9, Nick Bollea, Brooke's 17-year-old brother, was sentenced to eight months in Florida's Pinellas County Jail for felony reckless driving. He had pleaded no contest in connection with a horrific accident last summer in which his friend John Graziano was critically injured. Graziano was not wearing a seat belt.

Shortly after the accident Sunday, Brooke Hogan wrote in a post (since removed) on her MySpace page, "I don't know if you've heard, but my friend and I got into a really bad car accident today ourselves. . . . As I turned on my car I clicked my seatbelt. As we pulled out onto the road I looked over and realized my friend didn't have her seatbelt on. I reminded her to put it on and the minute she clicked it, a car crashed into us."

Author in town

Dalia Sofer

, the increasingly hot author of

The Septembers of Shiraz

, a first novel about a Jewish gem dealer in Tehran wrongfully arrested as a Zionist spy, reads and participates in a public conversation tomorrow at the Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St., at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, 215-446-3012.

Sofer, who won a Whiting Award and much acclaim for the book last year, last week won PEN's $35,000 Robert Bingham Award for first fiction and was also long-listed for Britain's prestigious Orange Prize.