Mouthing OffA noose dangling from the door of an African-American Columbia professor’s office was the only thing that kept Yankees manager Joe Torre off the front pages this week. Rudy Giuliani pleaded with a capricious higher power — God, that is, not George Steinbrenner — to save his pin-striped pal’s job (he’d already said he’d appoint Torre to his Cabinet if given the chance). Mayor Bloomberg, displaying the tendency to be not totally insane that has set him apart from his predecessor time and again, merely remarked that “you can have great people and great coaching and it’s just not meant to be.”
You and Me and Liz Smith
Though Literacy Partners’ annual event didn’t boast the grub of the Beard Awards across the square at Avery Fisher Hall this week, Liz Smith rounded up pals to read in honor (and support) of her favorite adult-education program. Guests including Barbara Walters, Taylor Holland, and a very tardy Martha Stewart were treated to readings by Vanessa Redgrave, Alexander McCall Smith, Bob and Lee Woodruff, and Frank Langella. Langella read from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but everyone else touted recent or upcoming projects. Bette Midler was there too but opted to sing a number from Smith’s lap. After the jump, Liz discusses her own literacy issues and wonders what to send Paris in jail.
Bette and Joy’s Happy, Raunchy Halloween
How does Bette Midler celebrate Halloween? If her tenth annual Hulaween Gala at the Waldorf the other night was any indication, by lacing into a string of good-natured obscenities to browbeat other celebs into supporting her New York Restoration Project, which cleans up, replants, and maintains neglected city parks.
It was a crowd of well-heeled, big-drinking nature lovers, all of whom had enough money to buy some fabulous costumes, like the man dressed as a Christmas tree covered in ornaments and the half-dozen Andy Warhols roaming about, including an unrecognizable Michael Kors, who’d added a prosthetic forehead and nose to his face. “What are you, Golda Meir?” Harvey Fierstein, dressed as John from Peter Pan, asked Midler’s co-emcee, Joy Behar. “No! What? I’m the Queen!” she replied, hitting his arm. “I’m the blues,” said Willie Nelson, dressed in a black suit and looking exactly like Willie Nelson. “I’m Flora, the goddess of the garden,” said Midler, her thoughts trailing off. “Who are you?” she continued. “Oh! It’s Shalom. Goodness, what are you, dear?” Shalom Harlow, in a bikini, satin robe, Afro, and abdomen full of bullet wounds, said she and her date were dressed as Scarface. As she reached to say hello to Midler, she spilled a sizable amount of “coke” all over the Waldorf’s pristine carpet. Midler laughed. No one bothered to clean it up.