With the revelation days earlier that there wasn’t even a cat in the bag in the first place, The Week magazine’s much-touted “Deep Throat Revealed” panel discussion turned out to be the nonevent that many skeptics predicted it would be.
John Dean, the former counsel to President Richard Nixon whose recently published e-book, Unmasking Deep Throat , built up a case suggesting that former White House attorney John Rose was the famed informant-and who then quickly backpedaled after Mr. Rose threatened a lawsuit-scrupulously avoided naming a name, much to the frustration of moderator Harold Evans and an audience consisting of numerous reporters, former Senator George McGovern and, inexplicably, actress Tina Louise, who played Ginger on Gilligan’s Island .
“We’re going to put you on the spot here,” Mr. Evans told Mr. Dean early on in the discussion, which was held at Michael Jordan’s Steak House in Grand Central Terminal. But no amount of mannered cajoling by the bantam-like editor could get Mr. Dean to come clean.
Meanwhile, someone should have told Mr. McGovern that he was at a media ratfuck and not some sort of UNICEF road show. Instead of taking the opportunity to say something about Watergate or Richard Nixon, who defeated him in the 1972 Presidential campaign, Mr. McGovern rose from the audience to suggest with senile zeal that “the United Nations, with the United States at the lead, should provide a nutritious, good school lunch to every student in the world.” The Skipper might never find out who Deep Throat is, but at least he won’t have to eat coconuts for lunch every day.
The Other Cheek
Thespians, Shakespeareans and a hefty Learning Annex contingent gathered at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 17, to irreverently fête Kevin Kline, the first American actor ever to receive the Shakespeare Guild’s prestigious and strangely phallic-looking Gielgud “Golden Quill” Award. The honor has previously gone to Sir Derek Jacobi, Zoe Caldwell, Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh, who last year described the experience as a “medieval This Is Your Life .” (Unfortunately, in Mr. Branagh’s case, someone forgot to bring the mace.)
But after a few hours of merry-making on Mr. Kline’s behalf, it was evident that the theater people-who had dubbed the affair a “Shakespearean revel”-should get some tips from the members of that genuinely medieval organization, the Friars Club.
The ribald fun kicked off when “master of the revels” Tony Randall told a story about how he once met Sir John Gielgud. Oddly enough, fellow presenters and actors Dana Ivey, Roger Rees, Kitty Carlisle Hart and Mr. Kline himself all later revealed-with perfect recall-that they too had met Sir John Gielgud.
N.Y.U. film professor Richard Brown used his time at the podium to call Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren a “really mean woman,” though he did not elaborate on how she’d tortured him. Perhaps she’d questioned his assertion that Mr. Kline’s 2001 movie Life as a House was an “extraordinary production.”
Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker ‘s flinchy answer to Chris Kattan, made Midsummer Night’s Dream jokes about how “Kevin’s Bottom [i.e., his performance as the character by that name] was cleft, divided,” and then channeled his inner Mango to “demand … demand [Mr. Kline’s] Lear!”
Mr. Rees came armed with a pocketful of ass jokes, too-which, come to think of it, is exactly what the Friars do at their annual roasts. The Friars’ ass humor tends to be funny, though.
Mr. Rees said that when Mr. Kline showed up for Midsummer rehearsals at the Delacorte Theater, “he showed the crew and director his Bottom. I knew he’d been working on his Bottom at home. Other people thought it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. But I thought it was cheeky.”
Monty Python maniac John Cleese finally brought some honor to the theater people by telling the crowd that he was genuinely moved by the speakers’ praise of Mr. Kline’s work, in part because he doesn’t “personally think he’s that good.”
Mr. Cleese recalled that Mr. Kline’s “first mistake” was his first film, 1982’s Sophie’s Choice , for which he was criticized for overacting, and in reaction adopted a modulated style that Mr. Cleese described as “really fucking boring.”
” The Big Chill was okay, but Grand Canyon ?” Mr. Cleese continued. He also questioned the merits of Life as a House , Cry Freedom and The Ice Storm .
” The Ice Storm ?” said Mr. Cleese. “I didn’t even see it and I fell asleep.”
The only one of Mr. Kline’s films that Mr. Cleese seemed to approve of was his own 1988 comedy, A Fish Called Wanda .
“That’s what he got the Academy Award for,” said Mr. Cleese, pausing briefly. “He did not get one for The Ice Storm .”
– Rebecca Traister
On Wednesday, June 12, singer Carole King stood before a crowd of 200 people crammed into a room in the Carlyle Hotel for a fund-raiser for U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. To Ms. King’s right sat Ms. Maloney, her daughter Christina and Bill Clinton, the former President turned fund-raising tool.
“I’m going to perform a song from Tapestry ,” said the caffeinated-looking Ms. King, referring to her monster album from 1971. She wore a wispy blue shirt, and her hair was a riot of corkscrew curls.
The song was “Where You Lead,” and Ms. King explained: “I didn’t perform it for a long time because it was a follow-your-man kind of thing, and it really wasn’t that kind of vibe for a while.”
Mr. Clinton-whose wife had, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, voiced her unwillingness to “stand by her man,” even while she did just that-smiled thoughtfully. Then Ms. King went on to explain that since “Where You Lead” is now the theme for the WB show Gilmore Girls , she’d dusted it off and started singing it again.
After a few verses, the conservatively clad Carlyle crowd was clapping and singing along. Mr. Clinton tapped his feet and mouthed every lyric. Ms. Maloney bopped arhythmically in her seat. Jordana Zizmor, the 17-year-old daughter of Jonathan (Dr. Z) Zizmor, the dermatologist with the inescapable subway-train ad campaign, turned to her mother and brother and enthused: “She’s really good!”
Only former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, who popped his head into the room for a nanosecond before retreating, looked as though he shared The Transom’s impression that observing all the swaying and woo! -ing in the room was a little like watching your parents make out.
After a rollicking rendition of “I Felt the Earth Move”-which Mrs. Zizmor told her brood was “dad’s favorite song”-Ms. King stepped aside and Mr. Clinton took the stage. He sported a bad sunburn and a wretched half-mullet haircut that suggested he’d been earning his post-Presidential millions as an Elvis impersonator.
“You can’t take your eyes off him!” kvelled Mrs. Zizmor.
But Mr. Clinton’s shtick sounded more like warmed-over Seinfeld than reheated Presley.
On his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton: “I like being a political spouse. Hillary called me three times today about various problems in Congress. It’s great: You give your advice and it has no consequence. I just say what I think, and hey-what the heck! Being a has-been is not so bad!”
On members of his opposing party: “A lot of those Republicans wake up really sad if another day passes and they haven’t hurt somebody … politically, that is.”
Mr. Clinton also sang the praises of Congresswoman Maloney and talked about the importance of integrated communities and foreign aid. After his speech, The Transom asked him what he was doing about integration in his community, Harlem, now that property values are soaring and longtime residents are find themselves priced out of the neighborhood.
“Every day I am in New York, I am in Harlem-except this morning, because I slept late,” he said. “And you bet I’m going to get involved.
“When I get back, maybe I’m going to talk to Charlie Rangel’s office, or maybe we should do it [ourselves], but we are going to organize a clearinghouse that places some of those people who are getting evicted in new affordable housing [nearby],” Mr. Clinton continued. He was still talking about the clearinghouse when his aides grabbed him by the elbow and rushed him out of the room.
“He’s just so spellbinding !” said Mrs. Zizmor.
Sources who attended a recent screening of Sony Pictures’ new Adam Sandler vehicle, Mr. Deeds , were surprised to find the covers of their press kits adorned with a version of the film’s movie poster that included Mr. Sandler’s lissome co-star, Winona Ryder.
Ms. Ryder was nabbed on Dec. 12 for allegedly swiping $4,000 worth of designer duds from Saks in Beverly Hills. She has been conspicuously absent from Mr. Deeds ‘ print advertising campaign, which features posters of a disheveled Mr. Sandler rubbing his chin with his left hand, holding a suitcase in his right, in the foyer of a fancy house with a butler behind him and the tag line “Don’t Let the Fancy Clothes Fool You.”
The cover of the screening press kit depicted a very similar image of Mr. Sandler, only this time the suitcase is in his left hand and Ms. Ryder is making goo-goo eyes on his right-all the while giving new meaning to the line about the fancy clothes.
Naturally, the press-kit image has led to plenty of speculation that it was intended as the original Mr. Deeds poster until Ms. Ryder had her run-in with the law. Adding fuel to the fire is Mr. Sandler’s facial expression, which appears to be identical in both images, although that could just be a sign he’s a one-note actor.
But Sony sources denied that Ms. Ryder had been airbrushed out of the photo to avoid any controversy. One source at the studio claimed that the movie poster sans Ms. Ryder had been sent to the printer on Dec. 5, one week before the actress’ arrest.
The Sony source pointed out that if Sony had airbrushed Ms. Ryder from the posters, they would not have distributed the poster with her on it as part of the press kits, or on the invitations for the movie’s premiere, where she also appears.
The last time Ms. Ryder did not appear on the poster for a feature film in which she had a leading role was 1990’s Edward Scissorhands , which given her alleged use of scissors in Saks’ dressing room is probably a good thing.
The Transom Also Hears …
So has Steven Spielberg-the director who, along with the late Time Warner chairman Steve Ross, made the Hamptons fashionable-seen Barbara Kopple’s ABC documentary? The Transom asked Mr. Spielberg this burning question at the post-premiere party for Minority Report at Cipriani on 42nd Street, and for a powerful director and studio mogul, he gave a pretty diplomatic answer. “I didn’t see it, but I met Barbara Kopple at an event last week,” Mr. Spielberg said. “I love her documentaries.”