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Table of Contents

December 8, 2003 Issue

Cover Story

Exploding Stars

Michael Jackson. Paris Hilton. Kobe Bryant. Martha Stewart. In a culture that worships celebrity, some of the most famous seem to be suffering a collective meltdown—accused of acts that betray their own particularly self-destructive brand of entitlement. But to what degree do we share the blame? PLUS: Daphne Merkin imagines Michael Jackson on the couch.


Ending, She Wrote

Carolyn Heilbrun was a feminist pioneer, an influential Virginia Woolf scholar, a writer of pop mysteries, and a lifelong enemy (if happily married, with a family) of the patriarchy. As a passionate believer in choice, she talked often about the possibility of suicide. But when she killed herself in October, in good health, showing no signs of depression, it left family and friends with a mystery bigger than any in her books.

Thinking Small

Say good-bye to your entrée. From the bite-size savories at Alta to the sumptuous snacks at Savoy and Otto’s inimitable antipasti, New York’s chefs have launched a tiny new trend that’s a very big deal.



Readers sound off on power wives and house-husbands.

The Help Desk

Dating within the (extended) family, the breakdown on baby-haters, and how to keep your girlfriend in good form

Smart City

Best of New York

The best blow-dry for your buck, courtesy of Simon Sabag

Best Bets

A Lulu Guinness faux-fur stole, a retro alarm clock, and the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit

Shop Talk

A penguin lands in Bryant Park—and it's got style.

Sales & Bargains

Deal of the Week: Colorful catchalls from ply design

Plus: Sales at Theory, Nanette Lepore, and Stuart Weitzman

Ask New York

We want to tell our grandmother's amazing life story on video. Where do we turn to for help?


Intelligencer Column

Graydon Carter’s latest Bush- bashing . . . Bianca Jagger: The gas-masked lady . . .Adieu, Barefoot Contessa

New York Minute

Growing up in New Jersey, Janine di Giovanni had to get out. So she went to Chechnya and the Balkans.

For a Song

Song Airlines is now the official sponsor of the meatpacking district. Who should co-brand your neighborhood?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Vengeful (but confused) cell-phone customers hang up on their providers.

Belle Barbour

A Brit classic tests the waters on these shores.

Isn't He Just To Tie For?

If you thought Zac Posen was young . . .


Yup, they’re back. And bankers are dreaming about how to spend them.

Give Her Your . . . Cash

Lady Liberty wants to welcome visitors again.


The City Politic

The GOP convention is coming to liberal New York. Meet the conservative Alabama Republican in charge.

The Bottom Line

It turns out the SEC isn’t just slow—it was never looking out for the little guy in the first place


Armed with blockbuster epics, the major studios are getting ready to take back the Oscars



Zen and the art of civil war in The Last Samurai; unrestrained tastelessness is Bad Santa’s bag


Donna Murphy takes a Wonderful Town by storm; Caroline, or Change fails to find its footing


Mike Nichols and a brilliant cast bring the haunting epic Angels in America to HBO

Pop Music

The Beatles’ final album gets Naked; Missy Elliott smartly reteams with Timbaland

Classical Music

Herbert Wernicke’s Die Frau Ohne Schatten returns to the Met


Exquisite Japanese cooking and presentation at Chelsea’s new Matsuri

Restaurant Openings & Buzz

Mario Batali hops across the Mediterranean, opening not one but two Spanish restaurants at once, joined by his longtime aide Andy Nusser.

Top Five

Wobbily Wonders

Panna cotta, that wobbly wonder, gets dressed up for the holidays.

Holiday Lightings

Once Thanksgiving is over, the holiday lightings spread like wildfire.

Alternatives to Holiday Blockbusters

Sick of holiday blockbusters? Skip ’em in favor of a smart series.

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