Devin Gordon

Stories by Devin Gordon

  • Playing By Her Own Rules

    When you think about it, three years is a really, really long time to go without sex. "The West Wing," NBC's romance-starved White House saga, has won three straight Emmys for best drama series, so it seems to be managing just fine. But enough is enough. And Mary-Louise Parker, who joined the show late last season as lobbyist Amy Gardner and was so electric she earned an Emmy nomination for only six episodes of work, believes she's just the woman to end the dry spell. "I want a seven-minute sex scene," Parker says with a troublemaker's glint. "Just imagine it: me and Brad"--that would be Bradley Whitford, who plays love interest Josh Lyman--"and the whole time we're talking in really fast, really perfect paragraphs." Early this season, the two characters cross paths at a fund-raiser at the House of Blues. "I didn't know what to wear," she recalls, "and the producers said, 'Maybe a tank top, but we don't want you to look too sexy.' And I was like, 'Look, I am happy to wear the tank...
  • Campaign '02: Puffy's Got His Back

    Hip-hop stars are famous for endorsing Escalades, Courvoisier and, most commonly, themselves. Political candidates tend not to make it onto their radar screens. Until now, that is. Rap mogul Sean (P. Diddy) Combs told NEWSWEEK that he will formally endorse Carl McCall, the Democratic candidate in New York's heated gubernatorial race, later this week. Combs isn't the first hip-hop figure to attempt to extend his influence into politics--Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons, who also founded the policy-inclined Hip Hop Summit Action Network, was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign and also endorsed McCall last week--but the rapper is the industry's first major artist to throw his weight behind a candidate. "I ain't about to be a politician or nothing like that," says Combs. "But at the same time, I do vote, I do have kids and I do have my duty as a citizen to be politically conscious." (The McCall campaign was "pleased" to learn of P. Diddy's support, a...
  • High 'Wire' Act

    If HBO's cops-and-drug-dealers series "The Wire," which wrapped its first season on Sept. 8, were instead debuting on, say, ABC or CBS this week, I'd give it two episodes before it was canceled.The show's pilot--which ran back on June 2--was, quite frankly, a snooze. Nothing happened. The first of two protagonists, Baltimore homicide Det. Jimmy McNulty (played by English actor Dominic West) was--stop me if you've heard this before--a brooding, divorced, loose cannon with no respect for authority. His superior was a company-man jerk. His partner was a fat black man.The pilot's only innovation was that it simultaneously introduced members of a powerful black street gang. The protagonist here was D'Angelo Barksdale, cousin of gang leader Avon Barksdale. D'Angelo, played by a stunning young actor named Larry Gilliard Jr., had just beaten a murder rap. Obviously, McNulty and Barksdale's worlds would soon collide; "The Wire's" gimmick was that it would trail both spheres in epic detail. I...
  • Coach Till You Drop

    The last time Herman Edwards, head coach of the New York Jets, wrote a personal check was 1997. He thinks. "Let's see," Edwards says, glancing up at the ceiling of his terrifyingly tidy office in the Jets' Hempstead, N.Y., training facility. "Yeah, probably five years ago. I don't even have a checkbook." Or, at the moment, any real cash. He grabs a leather satchel from the floor and pulls out a small fistful of crumpled bills. "Seven dollars," he says with a huge smile. "That's all I got." Edwards, of course, is a long way from poor: the 48-year-old coach made $850,000 last year, his first with the Jets. He simply doesn't have the time to be trusted with money matters, so his wife, Leah, takes care of everything. In the Edwards household, Leah doesn't just wear the pants--she picks them out and buys them, too. It has to work that way. The coach's days begin at 4:30 a.m. and stretch past midnight. He will not have a day off--not a single one--until Thanksgiving. Better be one heck of...
  • Gidget Girls

    There were a few guys in the water at Malibu that Vicki Flaxman just wouldn't mess with, even if they did cut her off in the lineup or snake her on a wave. Like Buzzy Trent, who played football--he was just too big. If he wanted the next wave, well, he could have it. But Vicki was nearly as big as everybody else--she weighed 156 pounds, solid muscle from head to toe--and tougher than all of them. When they gave her trouble, she'd give it right back. "If one of those boys took off in front of me, I'd get so mad, I'd chase 'em down and drag 'em off their boards," says Flaxman, now Vicki Williams and 70 years old. "Then I'd growl at 'em. I'd say, 'Don't you ever take off in front of me again!' "Vicki, in case you couldn't guess, was the competitive one. Early in that summer of 1950, someone in the Malibu crowd (a guy, naturally) made the mistake of predicting that Claire Cassidy, Vicki's pal from UCLA, would be the best girl surfer by the end of the season. Vicki was furious. "Uh-uh,"...
  • Don't Try Playing Through

    Tiger Woods is a chump. Yeah, that's right. When he won the U.S. Open in June on the Black Course at Bethpage, he had it easy--just strolled right up to the first tee. He didn't drive cross-country to play. He didn't sleep in the parking lot for two nights. And he sure as heck didn't pay the $39 greens fee. If you want to play Bethpage Black, you, mere mortal, will have to do all those things. In the weeks since Woods played through, "The Black," the first truly public course ever to host the Open, has been a zoo. Golf nuts are driving from as far as Montana and waiting in their cars 48 hours for a tee time. "I just had a woman call from Canada asking what her chances were of playing tomorrow," says Joe Rehor, golf director at Bethpage. "I told her, 'Drive slowly, and when you get here, keep on going'." Many out-of-towners also don't realize what they're getting into. They can't handle the 7,214-yard monster and, sin of all sins, they slow down play. "Nothing we can do about it,"...
  • Blood, Sweat &Amp; Pastry

    There is no pastry-chef equivalent of seppuku, the ritualistic method of suicide for shamed samurai, but if there were, Jean-Philippe Maury looks about ready to commit it. For 13 hours over the last two days he has guided the United States' three-man World Team Pastry Championship squad through the warp-speed production of a full table of desserts: bonbons, petits fours, a pair of cakes and two towering showpieces, one made entirely of sugar, the other chocolate. Everything went great. They cooked butt.Then head judge Jacques Torres, the Food Network star and former pastry chef at Le Cirque, pulled the U.S. captain aside to break the news: Maury had made a mistake. While airbrushing his chocolate showpiece he applied a strip of clear, protective plastic to the back--and forgot to remove it. A tiny error, but enough to open the door for the French, the Belgians or even the upstart Japanese. For months, Maury, 33, had been assuring everyone of victory, but now doubt was creeping in. ...
  • The Return Of Dave

    I could tell that the Dave Matthews Band had returned to its former glory after listening to its new CD, "Busted Stuff," just one time: I didn't like a single song. Every track, 11 altogether, sounded like a mess. I was ecstatic.See, I've been a DMB devotee-apologetically at times, I admit-since 1994, when the five-man crew was a tiny jam band worshipped on kinda-Southern college campuses like the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina and, my former home, Duke. And with each new DMB album, a ritual began to take shape. The first time through, the band's sprawling compositions, bursting arrangements and wacky time signatures would absolutely confound me. I couldn't pick out the melodies. As soon as I began to guess where a song was going, the band would shift gears-drop a tune like an interrupted thought and pick up another, seemingly unrelated. By the time the final note sounded, I'd find I couldn't hum more than a few seconds of the 60 minutes of music I'd heard....
  • Design: Let's Do The Time Warp

    TV sets are an easy thing to evaluate. The better the picture, the better the TV--simple. That's why those plasma-screen thingies are considered the very best. Turn one on, and you can see the dimples on Tiger's golf balls and the tiny flames that shoot out of his nostrils. By this standard, Telstar Electronics' retro-classic Predicta TV sets are... perfectly fine. The real reason to buy a Predicta requires a shift in standards: no TV on the planet looks better once you turn it off.Telstar, a seven-person Wisconsin shop, began with the idea that your TV doesn't have to. Back in the 1950s, original Predicta models like Danish Modern and Princess brought taste and warmth, along with Jackie Gleason, into the living room. Telstar builds new Predictas from scratch, tailoring each client's set so that the finished TV blends seamlessly into its new home. The waiting list has stretched to six months. "I've had businessmen call and say, 'Here's how you mass-produce these things.' Well, that...
  • Dvds: You Say 'Autobot,' I Say 'Decepticon'

    For boys of a certain age, the last time we'll admit to crying at a movie was 1986, when Optimus Prime died at the hands of the Decepticons in "Transformers: The Movie." Well, grab your hankies again, boys, only this time prepare to shed tears of joy. Rhino Records, peddler of eternally cool pop-culture relics, has just released a DVD box set of season one of "The Transformers," the revered mid-1980s afternoon cartoon about a race of vehicles and weapons that morph into giant robots. (Optimus Prime, you'll recall, was the pure-hearted 18-wheeler chief of the Autobots, forever dueling with the evil Megatron and his minister-of-information sidekick Soundwave for control of... whoa, sorry.) Rhino reports that sales of the box set have already exceeded the company's one-year expectations, thanks to massive preordering. And that means more good news for fans: season two is on its way. After that, Rhino, we want "Voltron." And "The Go-Bots." And "G.I. Joe."
  • Bye-Bye, 'American Pie'

    Chris and Paul Weitz want you to know that they loved directing "American Pie." They're proud of the final result, proud that it became a teen-comedy classic. But there are downsides to making a movie in which a horny teenager humps a baking product. See, scenes like that tend to follow you around. You become the pie guys. And then something decidedly non-pie comes along--something like Nick Hornby's "About a Boy," a smart, witty best seller about a selfish London bachelor who befriends an oddball kid--and you've got to spend two years begging people to let you make it. Because Hornby and Hugh Grant, the star of the movie, do not want the pie guys. "I think Nick actively disliked the movie," says Paul, 36. Grant says he enjoyed it--he just wasn't sure about the men who directed it. "As it turns out," Grant says, "Chris and Paul are probably the most highbrow directors I've ever met. Bizarrely so. They sit around on the set reading Freud and Dostoevsky."Hornby is a step or 12 behind...
  • Boycotting The Blockbusters

    Folks, the only we way we're getting through this summer is by being honest with ourselves. We did not have fun watching "The Scorpion King." No, listen, I'm telling you, we didn't. And we're not gonna have fun watching "Spider-Man" next week. (Or at least you won't-I saw it about two weeks ago and, put it this way, I ain't going back. At least "Scorpion King" is short.)I know it felt like fun watching The Rock strike poses so hammy he should've been laced with pineapple. But see, that was movie-studio-generated fake fun-they pay $100 million for it, which is why it feels so real. What you really felt was bored. We're being honest here, remember, so ask yourselves: did your pulse really quicken during any of the fight scenes? Did you feel even a second of genuine suspense? Was the outcome ever in doubt? Now, before you answer, close your eyes and remember what it was like watching, say, "The Matrix"-for the first time or even for the 40th. Yeah, thought so.The summer movie season,...
  • Movies: Talk About A Hairy Situation

    It might not be possible to make a funnier movie about body hair and table manners than "Human Nature." Those are some tricky subjects, two places your average screenwriter might not dare to go. But the screenwriter in this case is Charlie Kaufman, author of "Being John Malkovich," a film about a puppeteer who finds a portal into an actor's brain. Next to that, body hair is a breeze.Kaufman's hilarious tale, directed by French music-video auteur Michel Gondry, charts the intersecting lives of three very curious characters: Lila (Patricia Arquette), a nature writer with a rare, extreme-body-hair disorder; her husband, Nathan (Tim Robbins), a stuffy behaviorist who teaches etiquette to lab rats, and Puff (Rhys Ifans), a man raised in the wild as a monkey. After finding Puff during a hike, the couple decides to teach him how to be human. For Nathan, "being human" means using the proper fork. Puff, however, learns a different lesson when he spies Nathan having sex with his French...
  • Newsmakers

    It's no surprise that Oprah Winfrey doesn't have all day to curl up with a good novel, but shelving her beloved book club? Didn't see that one coming. "It has become harder and harder," Winfrey said in a statement last week, "to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share." A spokesperson for Winfrey clarified that she will continue to pick books periodically. But the monthly segment on her talk show is over. "It makes me sad," says author Wally Lamb, whose novel "She's Come Undone" was one of 46 Oprah choices in the club's six-year history. "But I'm glad to hear the faucet's not shut off entirely." (So are publishing houses, which have come to depend on Oprah's turbo boosts.) The talk-show segments were never good for ratings, though Winfrey always insisted she didn't care. She did care about having enough time to find the right book. "I'm asking viewers to invest up to $23," she told NEWSWEEK last year. "So it has to be an A-plus read." Without Oprah's...
  • Primal Screamer

    It is a cliche of celebrity profiles to begin with the subject's arriving for the interview--Gwyneth walked into the hotel lobby, a vision in red...--and, typically, the gimmick is contrived and pointless. But then you watch Andrew W.K., the planet's next rock star, walk into the lobby of New York's Hotel Chelsea, and this is what you see: a tall, muscular man wearing a filthy white T shirt, filthy white jeans and filthy white Nike high-tops. So filthy, in fact, that "white" is really incorrect. His clothing is brown. (Later, in his hotel room, you will notice an open suitcase containing three more white T shirts, all as soiled as the one he's wearing.) He is also unshaven, unshowered and pocked with random blue pen marks on his biceps, which, when you think about it, is a really strange place for pen marks. Over the next few hours, Andrew W.K. will turn out to be among the sweetest people you've ever met. He is immediately the dirtiest.In the Britney era, can a man who looks like...
  • Newsmakers

    The bride (wedding no. 4) wore white. Michael Jackson (two ex-wives) held her train. Liz Taylor (eight weddings) forgot her shoes and showed up late but still got billed as the "maid" of honor. The 48-year-old groom (wedding No. 1, but a lifelong love of Shirley Temple memorabilia) played straight man to it all. Perhaps it's too early to call the Liza Minnelli-David Gest nuptials the Wedding of the Century, but they certainly rank as one of the strangest. And it gets stranger. The lovebirds tore themselves away from their London honeymoon to go on "Larry King Live," where they announced that they hoped to adopt a child and, more important, planned a Liza comeback tour. The next day thieves tried to rip the diamonds off the 56-year-old bride's neck while she and her husband waited at a traffic light. They were both unhurt, thank goodness. After all, Liza hasn't been this entertaining in years.KITT and KaboodleSaddam's Novel HobbyBlame It on the Buddha
  • NEWSMAKERS

    The rumor mill has long been unkind to pop power couple Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake--last June, a radio station claimed that they had died in a car crash--but now it's getting downright vicious. Britney and Justin might be, could be, we don't really know, to tell you the truth, broken up. Here's what we do know: Justin was spotted last week at a club (not the Mickey Mouse Club) gyrating with a comely female. Shortly after, Britney was seen crying in an L.A. cafe. (Say, how come stars always cry in public places?) Spears quickly hit MTV to deny the split; Justin's reps didn't return calls seeking comment. But if everything's peachy, then why the tears? Who knows? A bad BLT, perhaps? Because we're pretty sure Justin's slinky dance partner was just 'N Sync-mate Lance Bass.No Goods on WinonanotThe Child Who Wasn't ThereDon't Touch That Dialbreathe
  • Hbo's Boldest Thoroughbred

    In 1973, the same year HBO was born, the man who has built a home for tough, critically adored dramas "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under" was bombing onstage at the Improv in New York. Back then, Chris Albrecht was performing with Bob Zmuda (Andy Kaufman's longtime sidekick), and right there was the first problem. Albrecht and Zmuda. Doesn't exactly sing, does it? And the routine, well... "It was more like vaudeville, less like stand-up," says Albrecht, now a 49-year-old divorced dad. "It was very prop-based." You mean like Carrot Top? "Well," he says, laughing, "let's just say we were ahead of our time."Albrecht still is. In 1995 HBO was primarily a movie channel "hanging on by a fingernail" to its lead over rival Showtime, says chairman Jeff Bewkes. Then Albrecht, already a 10-year veteran of HBO after a stint as a Hollywood agent, was named president of original programming. Today HBO is the hottest number on the dial, winning Golden Globes for best TV series--comedy and drama-...
  • And The Loser Is... Us

    For nominees, Oscar season is a lot like being pregnant. (Am I qualified to make this claim? Heck no, but I'm comfortable with that.) The waiting period is all nervous excitement, months of tingly ups, queasy downs and one call after another from jealous friends who are just thrilled for you. Then the big night comes, and it's pure, undiluted hell. Beyond that, the analogy starts to break down. Because whereas childbirth is like a gory horror movie, the Oscar broadcast is like, well, "Gosford Park." Snoozing and polite, with an ending you can spot a mile away.There are so many dead spots in the Oscar broadcast that complaining about them stopped being fun a long time ago. It's way too easy. The most common complaint is that everything goes on too long--the speeches, the tributes, Nicholson's leering gaze at Kirsten Dunst. But honestly, would three hours of junk really be that much better than four hours of junk? At least the long version affords you the sensation of witnessing truly...
  • A Sort-Of Diary

    Let me tell you about my shower. For three weeks now, I have lived at the Anniversary Inn, a Salt Lake City bed and breakfast distinguished by outrageously decorated theme rooms. My room is the Jungle Safari room, and my shower head is an elephant trunk. Because in the jungle, people shower with elephants. The water in my elephant shower comes out of at least three, possibly seven, nozzles located along the trunk's length. Sorry to be so imprecise, but once the shower's on, I vanish in a cloud of mist and I can't tell where I'm taking fire from. But there is one nozzle I've pinpointed, chiefly because it shoots straight ahead and is positioned at, let's say, a rather dangerous coordinate on the Y-axis. This problem has two solutions: showering on tippy-toes or with a 20-degree bend in the knees. ...
  • The Ballad Of Trey Wingo

    I cry for you, Trey Wingo. "SportsCenter" is my favorite show, my touchstone in the morning and my bedtime story at night, and you, Trey Wingo, with your easy wit and your silly name, have always been one of my favorite anchors. ...
  • Slip Sliding Away

    Here's how it was supposed to go: the United States, having assembled its finest cast of sliding-sport athletes ever, wins a handful of Olympic medals in Salt Lake. We take one or two in skeleton--the daredevil new kid on the block--a pair of golds in bobsled and maybe, just maybe, a silver or a bronze in luge, a sport in which the United States is 0-for-infinity. Viewers fall in love with them. We find a hero in skeleton star Jim Shea Jr. (the first-ever third-generation Winter Olympian), a star in powerful bobsled driver Todd Hays and a pair of all-American cutie-pies in skeleton's Tristan Gale and bobsled's Jean Racine. ...
  • Slide-Enfreude

    Let's make this clear up front: It is not right to root for athletes to crash. That's beer-raised-in-the-air NASCAR stuff and I, for one, am firmly on the record with my disapproval. ...
  • Grizzly Skiers Gamble On Guts And Glory

    Among athletes at the Winter Games, there is a polite--and uncharacteristically modest--dispute about what sport is the most white-knuckle terrifying. Pull aside a skeleton slider, a freestyle aerialist and a ski jumper and they'll each make a compelling case for the other guy. But this ain't afternoon tea, so let's cut through the diplomatic bull. Out here in the cold, there's crazy, and then there's the Alpine downhill. ...
  • Safety In Checkpoints

    Rest assured, Mom, it's very safe here. The NEWSWEEK Olympic team can't vouch for all of Salt Lake City just yet, but if the security out there is anything close to the lockdown here at the Main Media Center, located in the old Salt Palace where the Utah Jazz used to play, the only thing we have to worry about is burning ourselves on McDonald's coffee. ...
  • A Soldier's Story

    If one were so inclined, it would be easy to persuade people not to see "No Man's Land," this year's Golden Globe winner for best foreign film and, suddenly, the Oscar favorite in the same category. ...
  • Newsmakers

    Queen for a DayThrown For a Toe Loop'Blue's Clues' New Hue
  • True Believer

    Malcolm X was in the next room, just a closed door away, when the Champ made up his mind to cut him off. Hours earlier, 22-year-old Cassius Clay "shook up the world," taking the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, a snarling bull of a man. Then he skipped the post-fight party thrown in his honor. Along with just a few close friends, Clay retreated to the Hampton House motel on the rough side of Miami. He played with Malcolm's little girls for a while, then moved to the bedroom with Jim Brown, the legendary NFL running back. It was the greatest night of his young life--Feb. 25, 1964--but Clay was in a somber mood. The feud between his mentor, Malcolm, and his spiritual leader, the Nation of Islam's Elijah Muhammad, was boiling over. Now, as a wealthy, influential Muslim, he would have to make his choice. For two hours, Ali talked. "It was difficult. I know he would've liked things to be different, but they weren't different," Brown says today. "You can't serve two masters." Malcolm...
  • Best Sex Scene, Most Pointless Tv Cliffhanger, Worst Line In A Movie

    The only thing that approaches the fun of getting an award is giving a few out. And seeing as how I failed to write, direct, produce, edit, appear in or compose the score for any movies this past year, it looks as if I'm going home empty-handed on Oscar night again.Fortunately, NEWSWEEK provides us with this cyberpulpit from which to pay homage to the Year in Entertainment. My problem is this: top 10 lists are, to me, kind of boring, particularly when my name's not David Ansen and nobody gives a Shrek what I would put on mine. Sure, I could throw "One Night at McCool's" on there, just so my mother can buy the DVD and beam with pride when she flips it over and reads that her son--and only her son--called it "One of the Best Movies of the Year!" But for the time being, I'm still above that.So here's my solution: no top 10 list, just a smattering of awards (covering all genres) of my design. Some little things were particularly great in 2001, and this is the only forum where they'll...
  • The Return Of Alt-Rock

    Three scenes from the alternative-rock nation, circa 2001: Two members of Saves The Day, a New Jersey pop-punk quartet, pick at their vegetarian platter at a restaurant in New York's West Village. They're trying to name the radio stations playing their new single. "KROQ in L.A.," says singer Chris Conley, 20. "Two in San Diego, Q101 in Chicago." "There's a Philly one, too, isn't there?" asks bassist Eben D'Amico, 21. But no stations in New York. So even though their new CD, "Stay What You Are," has sold 95,000 copies, they haven't had that moment when they first hear themselves on the radio. "I want to hear it once," says D'Amico, "so I can tell my kids someday."Doug MartschOUG MARTSCH, leader of the Boise, Idaho, trio Built to Spill, is sitting on Irving Plaza's empty floor five hours before the first of three New York shows. It's 5 p.m. and Martsch, a bearded-and-balding 31, is just getting around to lunch: $4.89 for a cheese sandwich, Coke and peanut M&M's. "People think...
  • Camcorder Confusion

    Would it kill electronics manufacturers to use actual words when naming their products? In the digital-camcorder market, each of the big boys--Canon, Sony, Panasonic, JVC--offers an affordable, first-rate model. Here are their names: ZR25 MC, DCR-TRV130, PV-DV101 and (this one really sings) the GR-DVL310U. I may be a techno-dumbo, but if you explain "optical stabilization," then slowly repeat yourself, I'll get it. It's hard, though, if I can't remember which camcorder you're talking about. One JVC comes with a built-in digital still camera--fine, I get that... but was it the GR-DVL310U or the GR-DVL510U? At moments like this, you wonder why JVC can't be more like, say, Volkswagen. Jetta. Cabriolet. Passat. Simple!The point of this piece, then, is to chart how an ignoramus (that would be me) transforms himself into an informed shopper. Does the Internet deliver on its early promise of providing vast information? Or will you get farther the old-fashioned way--going to the store and...