"SHOW BUSINESS is like sex. When it's wonderful, it's wonderful. But when it isn't very good, it's still all right," said British comedian Max Wall.
•SCENES FROM a book party: Hollywood super-mogul Jerry Bruckheimer appeared at Manhattan's Monkey Bar to promote his big, beautiful photo work, When Lightning Strikes: Four Decades of Filmmaking. (It weighs about 20 pounds and would be useful as a weapon or an implement for exercise. Everybody at the party received one, along with a sturdy black canvas carrying bag. If you asked nicely, you got two!)
Bruckheimer is the man behind some of Hollywood's biggest feature film hits -- Top Gun...Beverly Hills Cop...Armageddon...Con Air...the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and an omnipresent producing name on television -- CSI...Cold Case...Without a Trace. But why rest on your laurels when you are also a remarkably gifted photographer? His book is a splendid thing, highlighting the stars and the projects he has helped raise to the heights.
Bruckheimer is slight and rather boyish. He doesn't seem "mogul-ish" at all and was nicely self-deprecating under the assault of compliments. He and his very attractive wife, Linda, didn't make a fuss and delay their arrival for a grand entrance. When the first guests hopped into The Monkey Bar, at 6 p.m. the Bruckheimers were already there, smartly dressed, smiling, ready to go. (Linda was almost instantly attracted to the fabulous sliders, pigs-in-a-blanket and bowls of cheesy calamari and fries on all the tables. But she decided to wait until the event was over to dive in.)
Peggy Siegal, who put the party together, wore a skirt that resembled one of those glittery wraps at the base of a Christmas tree. She apologized for her rather spiky hair-style ("I didn't know what to do with it!") It looked pretty adorable, actually. Chris and Pat Riley, Blaine Trump and Steve Simon and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were the official hosts.
•AMONG the Throng: Cuba Gooding Jr., no longer quite so baby-faced and all the more attractive for it, in a rakish cap ("I'm doing a lot of writing, I've finished my second screenplay")...CNN's Ashleigh Banfield, born in Canada but a super American patriot. ("I really do celebrate Flag Day on June 14th. And my kids know all the presidents, including both of the Adams'")...GMA's Hoda Kotb, who is the absolute huggiest, nicest person in Manhattan. All you have to say is "Hi, Hoda!" and not appear as a stalker and you get a big hug....TV's Deborah Norville, sexy in red, but don't let that fool you. She can hook up her own cable, does fascinating things with yarn and built the headboard to her bed -- or at least she designed it. (Noisy room!)...literary agent Lynn Nesbit ("I don't understand the concept of retirement!")...Manhattan's best show biz scribe Roger Friedman ("Well, Lynn, people in my business never retire. It's always interesting, even when it's not. It's always changing, anyway")...Cornelia Guest, looking remarkably fresh and happy ("I finally sold the house, thank goodness. Time to get something smaller." -- she meant her mother's Long Island property "Templeton")...and Homeland star Claire Danes, who did her best to avoid telling everybody nagging her, about what's going to happen next season on the Showtime hit. She emphasized that the shoots are hot and grueling -- especially now that her character, Carrie, is supposed to be working out of the Middle-East. Finally, Danes cocked an eyebrow at one persistent fan and said: "Brody's dead you know?" She added, "Dead, and the show hasn't gone supernatural, either." Okay Damian Lewis will not be a ghost. Sorry fans.
Also noticeable were Sigourney Weaver...Hugh Dancy...Bob Colacello. (The beautiful Miss Weaver you couldn't miss, she towered over almost everyone.)
It was all pretty much over by 8:30. The Bruckheimers looked happy. Linda, free at last, ate a slider. But she passed on the pigs-in-a-blanket.
Too bad, they were really good!
•NEXT UP -- Monica Lewinsky on Fox, with Bill, or Hannity or Greta van Susteren or Megyn Kelly? Many expect this.
I like Monica. I met her at a Vanity Fair Oscar party. She seemed quite nice. She had a bad choice of disloyal girl friends. She got a raw deal; she suffered. She is a sweet woman. However, is it simply coincidence that her new Vanity Fair profile emerges at the very moment the Republicans are desperate to hang anything negative on Hillary Clinton, prior to her expected presidential run in 2016?
Lewinsky has not, she says, been able to "get over" her trauma. Again, a pity, but why repeat what she's said, in one way or another, years ago? The affair was consensual. She was 24 (Not 18 as many people seem to believe.) She was not raped or deflowered.
And frankly, over sixteen years later, her name is no longer the vulgar byword it once was. Everybody's moved on. She was one of the first to be scorched by 24-hour cable news and the ugly opinionating Internet. But, she wrote a book, did interviews, had a brief TV show (on Fox), created a handbag line, finished her education with honors.
Others have survived worse. It is, I feel, less that the world cannot forget, but that Monica herself cannot forget. Maybe she is just too nice, not like the creatures we see today making hay out of debasement.
Bill Clinton paid a high price in humiliation. But he is now a revered elder statesman/humanitarian.
Mrs. Clinton was also humiliated in front of the world, and further blasted for having the temerity to stick with her husband. I heard a pundit opine the other night that her decision to stay with Bill was part of a grand scheme. "They were already planning her presidential run." Really?! I guess, Clinton enemies will believe this.
Monica Lewinsky has a perfect right to tell "her side." But in fact, she already has, years ago. This re-telling smacks of something else. Something perhaps only an analyst or a conservative TV personality can adequately appreciate.