"THAT IS as it should be!"
So Sandra Bernhard declared when Liza Minnelli's press rep, Scott Gorenstein, told her that Liza's upcoming Florida concert at the Hard Rock Casino had instantly sold out all of its 5,000 tickets. Sandra loves Liza.
This exchange happened last week at the surprisingly intimate, friendly fete thrown by MSNBC's Phil Griffin for his star of stars, Rachel Maddow and her incisive, thought-provoking new book, "Drift." The book tackles our apparently endless wars, the costs incurred, and those who are truly burdened with its responsibilities. (It ain't the politicians, folks.)
The party happened in a basement (a nice basement!) of the Ace Hotel in NYC. It was civilized. Not overly crowded. You could actually have a conversation. Even after some of the guests began hoisting tequila shots. Most events in Manhattan are so jam-packed there's no room to
even lift an arm to hoist.
Among those saluting the intelligent, wry and funny Maddow were Dan Rather...Gail Collins (who said she'd keep writing about Mitt Romney's dog on the roof of the car because "The Republican primary has been so long, and you need something to keep it interesting!") ...Luke Russert, son of the late beloved Tim, and a rising star himself...Tamara Hall...Alex Wagner...NBC News President Steve Capus and MSNBC's famously bespectacled Chris Hayes, dressed in sailor stripes. Cute.
Maddow sat with her partner, artist Susan Mikula. (They met a few years back, before Rachel became the darling of MSNBC. The former Rhodes scholar was working as a landscaper. She rang the doorbell to Mikula's house. The weeds went unattended. The rest is history.) Also in Maddow's circle was media master Michael Kusek. He helped in the recent election of Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor, Alex Morse.
Despite the serious nature of her book, Rachel kept the atmosphere light and her remarks mercifully brief and to-the-point. She thanked her bosses at MSNBC. "I am so lucky to have an employer who is so supportive of all this."She paused and grinned. "Well, they paid for it!"
You are worth every penny, Ms. Maddow.
- I HAVE been Vanity Fair magazine's biggest booster in all of the Conde Nast magazine's history and its different editors and many visions.
So I hate to criticize anything about Graydon Carter's current version for May, the "Special TV Issue." And what's more, I agree with Mr. Carter in his thesis that television has more splendid dramas, documentaries, comedies and what have you than big feature movies these days. TV has knocked Hollywood's film business for a loop.
But wouldn't the May magazine have been more arresting and had more impact with only that very good actress Julianna Margulies (she is a truly splendid creature) on the cover showing us that she almost had nothing on? This Emmy winner, all alone, would have had a lot of impact. The other three beautiful women---Sofia Vergara, Claire Danes, Michelle Dockery--were overkill, too much. (This is a criticism I generally have of the annual Oscar issue, with the fold-out cover--a dizzying display of pulchritude. And usually, you can't recognize most of the subjects.)
Then, inside we were treated to more current, hot TV actresses in lingerie in VF's "It's Evening in America" pictorial. The two-page spread showed Archie Panjabi, Emily Deschanel, Emmy Rossum, Grace Park, Kerry Washington, Emily Vancamp and Kat Dennings.
So, they really scored with all this cleavage, scanty bras, garters, bodices and the like. But...shouldn't they have followed with a two-page spread of the men of TV wearing their thongs, jockeys, boxers, briefs and BVDs, to match?I'd have loved that. And so would millions of others. Glimpses of near-nudity always pay off . Men shouldn't be left out. Equal rights! Everybody likes a little cheesecake. What's wrong with some beefsteak?
- THE ONE, THE ONLY Bette Midler has agreed to sit down, in person, in the flesh, with yours truly on April 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at a swanky Manhattan location and talk absolute turkey for a full hour.
This is all for love of New York, for charity, civic-mindedness and, we hope, just a bit of unexpurgated, unexpected naughtiness from the Divine Miss M.
She is putting very cute, cunning limericks on her website www.bettemidler.com these days so why should she hold back in person?
The truly philanthropic Elizabeth Peabody dreamed up these "conversations" several years ago for the Maria Droste Counseling Services, which helps those not so well-heeled to have psychiatric aid.
Call 212 - 889-4042 for these perfectly reasonable tickets to see Bette in person talking to Liz. (Bette has always known that I could use some extra psychic powers!)Will we get any words about Bette's own New York Restoration Project during this effort? You bet. I intend to ask for all she knows about garbage.
- TERI HATCHER is facing the final season of "Desperate Housewives" with aplomb. Her TV character may have been widowed, but the real-life Teri has plenty of beaus, in the form of professional offers.
ABC, the network that put Teri on the map with "Lois and Clark" and furthered her adventures with "Housewives," is in hot pursuit. Teri wants to do a comedy, and ABC says, "Anything you want, honey!"
Miss Hatcher is also quite a good singer and has been putting together a cabaret act about which she is "quite passionate." (Several years ago, Teri won some excellent reviews in a revival of "Cabaret.")Most likely, before Teri decides anything, she'll take some time off to be with her daughter, Emerson. And also to prowl around LA garage sales. Apparently, she's quite a collector of things unique and nostalgic.