"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer, Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby.
• I had lunch this week at the one and only Michaels with a group of Time, Inc. veterans, including myself (counting my 1960's days writing for Sports Illustrated.) Chris Meigher, the guy who now runs Quest Media, hosted and we were Life magazine's former head Charles Whittingham and Fortune's acclaimed Carol Loomis, who retired recently at age 85 after winning praise from the New York Times Business front page. We were pleased and honored to have Marian Heiskell with us. She is the widow of Andrew Heiskell, a Time, Inc. famous name from the good old days! (Together, Marian and Andrew became "Living Landmarks" of NYC's Conservancy. They are credited with cleaning up 42nd Street, saving Bryant Park and helping the New York Public Library.)
• Anyway, we were all longtimers and when PR experts Peggy Siegal and Leslee Dart and publishing's Boaty Boatwright tried to join our center window table, we waved them off as "too old" for our crowd.
• Incidentally, Chris Meigher's "Quest Media and Re-Invention TV" will be launching a monthly series called Faces of Philanthropy in November over PBS/WNET. This will begin with charities to fight Hunger; then Literacy, then the Environment, Mental Illness, Giving and Young Philanthropists. More on this anon and if you have a charity of your own, you'll want to get in on it!
• WE WROTE the other day that we hoped the great Charles Busch would be the next performer to sign with the 54 Below club. (Patti LuPone was the first -- she'll have a twice yearly, two-week stint.) Received a charming response from Mr. Busch: "Thank you for the lovely item. And I so agree with you about True Blood!....I'm enjoying this season. And you're right about Pam and Eric (Kristin Bauer van Straten and Alexander Skarsgard.) They should have a spinoff! As for me, I'm back in vaudeville. Have club dates all over the country now through October. I feel like Nora Bayes."
For those of you not steeped in show biz lore, Nora Bayes was a great stage star of the late 19 introduce and promote phonograph records (quaint, yes?) and recorded, among other hits, the Farm After They've Seen Paree?" and "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" She was married five times. I think only Charles Busch could reference Miss Bayes with real affection and knowledge. And, sometimes I think I'm the only writer still scribbling who fully appreciates his vast knowledge.
• You can try the 92nd Street Y for the Fern Mallis fashion talk onstage come September 3. This will be a chat with the elusive photographer Bill Cunningham who has been recording New York fashion for the Times since heaven knows when. I hope Bill will ride out on stage on his famous bicycle.
• If you say the name "Bill O'Reilly" out loud, you find yourself either praised or castigated. People are seldom middle of the road th and early 20 "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on about the Fox News star.
It's outstanding anyway -- the shot in the arm this controversial guy has given publishing. He has coming September 23, from Henry Holt, a book on one of my other favorite characters --
General George Patton of World War II fame. "Killing Patton" will follow other O'Reilly bestsellers like his recent "Killing" or "Killing Kennedy,
Jesus, I had forgotten that my longtime pal O'Reilly once wrote a tome titled "Pinheads and Patriots." Now I see he is using this phrase to good effect on his Fox show where he asks "Are you a selfish pinhead?" This is O'Reilly at his best when he drops his political attack mode and becomes downright charming. I think the answer to Bill's question puts one in mind of the quaint idea of civilized behavior. Do you stand chatting on your phone in the middle of the sidewalk? Do you think you are privileged to attack pedestrians, or bike riders, or truck drivers -- or vice versa -- just because they annoy you?
Whatever happened to manners? Bill O'Reilly seems to ask when inquiring whether we are or are not "selfish pinheads?" And, I can't wait for the book on Patton because the movie starring George C. Scott came out in 1970 and it's time for a review of this soldier's life and death. " or "Killing Lincoln."