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  • Alexis Arquette on the Politics of Gender Change

    Seventeen-year-old Alexis Arquette landed her first acting role in 1986 playing a transgender in "Last Exit To Brooklyn." Eighteen years later, she went through a real transition from man to woman. Arquette, an actress, musician and cabaret drag performer, comes from a family of actors that includes siblings Patricia, David, Richmond and Rosanna Arquette, father Lewis Arquette and grandfather Cliff Arquette. She's done almost 70 films—mostly indie, some adult—but one of her most memorable roles was as the Boy George character in  1998's "The Wedding Singer." "I did play transgender characters that were comedy roles and I feel bad about that now," says Arquette, 37. "That Boy George character, it's offensive to me now."  She's now starring in a forthcoming A&E documentary about her transition, "Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother," which just debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. ...
  • Law: Paris Hilton's Appeal? Unlikely

    Last week, a judge ruled that Paris Hilton was going to jail for 45 days, after violating her probation on a previous DUI-related conviction. She couldn't use a work permit to postpone her day behind bars, scheduled for June 5. She couldn't pay extra, as some are allowed to, for a nicer jail cell. She probably couldn't even pass Go or collect $200. But then again, this is Paris Hilton—she can do whatever she wants. Right?She sure talks a good game. Over the weekend, she said to photographers camped outside her house: "I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwarranted and I don't deserve this." But then the earth seemed to shift. This week, Hilton added DUI lawyer Richard Hutton to her legal defense team, and she came out with a new statement: "I am ready to face the consequences of violating probation."What happened to that petulant defiance? Apparently, Hilton finally woke up and heard what the judge said: it will be virtually impossible for her...
  • Movies: Ansen on  '28 Weeks'

    The entire population of London was wiped out by the "Rage" virus in "28 Days Later," Danny Boyle's stylishly resonant zombie freak out, but in the slick and frenetically intense "28 Weeks Later," the city is starting to come back. We learn in a series of titles that 11 weeks later, a U.S.-led NATO force entered the city, and that 18 weeks later London was declared virus free. Now reconstruction has begun, and a new imported civilian population is ensconced in a heavily fortified enclave in East London patrolled by jittery and increasingly trigger-happy Yank troops. It's referred to as the Green Zone. Hmmm. Do you smell a political metaphor here?The director's reins have been turned over to the flashy young Spaniard Juan Carlos Fresnadillo ("Intacto"), who may have Iraq in the back of his mind but is primarily interested in scaring the beejesus out of the audience. He's abandoned the grungy video look of the original for Enrique Chediak's gorgeous, more expensive-looking...
  • My Turn: A Hospice Volunteer's Reward

    Too many people die in pain and fear because their families are afraid to discuss death. How being a hospice volunteer can be life-affirming and even joyful.
  • Kids' Book Clubs Boom

    Twelve-year-old Joanna Krupp loves her monthly book-club meetings. She and her fellow bookworms tackle titles like Gloria Whelan's National Book Award winner “Homeless Bird,” about a 13-year-old girl in India whose parents arrange a marriage to a boy who is gravely ill. To go with the stories, they eat matching snacks, such as Indian food. Joanna's brother, Ben, 13, likes his father-son group, too. “It's just good to talk about the books, and I really understand them better,” he says.A generation ago, there were few, if any, organized reading groups for kids. Today, hundreds of thousands of kids belong to them, says Vicki Levy Krupp, coauthor of “The Kids' Book Club Book” (and Joanna and Ben's mom). Popular authors like Lisa Yee and Tamora Pierce include book-club information on their Web sites and even solicit e-mail exchanges with kids. And publishers like Scholastic are offering online discussion groups such as Flashlight Readers (www.scholastic.com/flashlightreaders). Last month...
  • Music: Tori Amos Returns

    On her new album, the unconventional singer creates a world of heavenly women. And they have their own blogs.
  • Sounding the Alarms on the ER Crisis

    It's a familiar story: America's emergency rooms are in crisis. But it's far worse than you think. How does the ER prepare for a terrorist attack when its medics can barely cope with the routine flow of mayhem on a Saturday night? A worried doctor traveled to Washington to sound the alarms.
  • Oval: Tornado Rouses the Ghost of Katrina

    Once again, a Democratic governor was sparring with the White House over disaster relief. Only this time, the war in Iraq was added to the Greensburg tornado equation.
  • Starr: On Roger Clemens's Return

    My pal didn’t want to be in Fenway Park on that cold, dank April night 21 years ago. He would have been far happier had he scored tickets to Boston Garden, where Larry Bird and the Celtics were playing the second game of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Dominique Wilkins’s Atlanta Hawks. Second choice would have been watching the Celtics game in the comfort of his home.But the Celtics, not the Red Sox, were the impossible ticket in those days. So with his former college roommate, a passionate baseball fan, visiting town, my friend secured two tickets to the baseball game—not a difficult get, with just 13,414 fans in the stands. They were pleased they would get to see the Red Sox’s young stud, 23-year-old Roger Clemens, who had shown flashes of brilliance in an injury-shortened season the previous year and was off to a 3-0 start.What they witnessed turned out to be a magical evening of baseball immortality. That was the night that Clemens broke baseball’s single-game record...
  • Portrait of an ER at the Breaking Point

    Gunshot wounds. Blood and brain matter. Exhausted nurses, endless wait times—and no end in sight. The only thing scarier than an average Saturday evening in the ER: What if it was forced to close? One night in Atlanta.
  • How to Stop the Bleeding

    Emergency-room health care is in a state of emergency. What the best minds in the medical community prescribe to begin to treat the crisis.
  • Docs Change the Way They Think About Death

    Consider someone who has just died of a heart attack. His organs are intact, he hasn't lost blood. All that's happened is his heart has stopped beating—the definition of "clinical death"—and his brain has shut down to conserve oxygen. But what has actually died?As recently as 1993, when Dr. Sherwin Nuland wrote the best seller "How We Die," the conventional answer was that it was his cells that had died. The patient couldn't be revived because the tissues of his brain and heart had suffered irreversible damage from lack of oxygen. This process was understood to begin after just four or five minutes. If the patient doesn't receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation within that time, and if his heart can't be restarted soon thereafter, he is unlikely to recover. That dogma went unquestioned until researchers actually looked at oxygen-starved heart cells under a microscope. What they saw amazed them, according to Dr. Lance Becker, an authority on emergency medicine at the University of...
  • Royal Visit: Queen Elizabeth in America

    On Feb. 6, 1952, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was distraught when he heard King George VI had died. His secretary, John Colville, tried to console him by assuring him he would get on well with the new queen, Elizabeth II: "But all he could say was that he didn't know her, and that she was only a child." She was 25 at the time. A year later, a royal aide confided that Churchill was so fond of her he could "scarcely speak of her without tears coming into his eyes."The rapport between Churchill and his queen was remarkable—she a serious young woman, known for her beauty, wit and love of dancing, he a great orator and war leader who delighted in schooling his monarch in the peculiar ways of British politics. Their meetings often lasted long past their customary half-hour appointment. When he notified her of his intention to resign in 1955, Churchill was told, through the queen's secretary, that "she would especially miss the weekly audiences which she had found so...
  • Great Expectations

    Seven years after his debut, the award-winning story collection "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," Nathan Englander has finally published a second book. His publisher must be relieved that it's a novel. Even readers who end up not liking "The Ministry of Special Cases" ought at least to admire Englander's good sense. After a $350,000 advance for your first book, followed by awed reviews comparing you to [deep breath] Roth, Bellow, Joyce, Kafka, Cheever, Gogol, Chekhov and Singer, any writer would be tempted to swing for the fences. Would a 1,500-page novel that linked, oh, say, Bobby Thomson's home run, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mason and Dixon, Joseph of Arimathea and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle—all narrated by a hermaphrodite—be enough to impress that mob of long-awaiters and knife-whetters?"The Ministry of Special Cases" is merely a wonderful medium-length novel, set in mid-1970s Buenos Aires during the "dirty war," when Argentina's military dictatorship "disappeared" tens of...
  • Ansen: 'Spider-Man 3' Quadruples the Fun

    Superman has always been the star of "Superman," not Clark Kent. Same goes for Batman/Bruce Wayne, only a little less so. What's different about the Spider-Man series is that it's always been more about sensitive, vulnerable Peter Parker than about his superhuman alter ego. Spidey's not a natural-born superhero. It's damn hard work swinging between skyscrapers, and Parker spent a good portion of "Spider-Man 2" wondering if it was worth the trouble. Where was the respect? Where was the glory? He was this close to turning in his spandex suit."Spider-Man 2" was hailed by many as the most grown-up of comic-book action movies, which was ironic in that nerdy Peter is the most adolescent superhero in the Marvel movie galaxy. It was all about his growing pains, his doubts, his insecurities, which all former adolescents could relate to—though to these eyes "Spidey 2" got a little too self-important for its own good: the less prestigious, more slapdash original was actually more fun.Now, in...
  • My Turn: What I've Missed With My Camcorder

    I am a card-carrying parent of this generation—a memory-card-carrying member, that is. My husband and I started early: as soon as we found out I was pregnant, we began poring over ratings of video cameras alongside cribs and changing tables. And while the furniture gathered dust in the nursery as we waited for the baby, the video camera was pressed into action. We filmed monthly belly profiles—watching mine grow, and watching my husband's in hopes that it wouldn't. We filmed shopping for the baby: pressing on crib mattresses, walking through forests of highchairs, pushing strollers up and down aisles in baby stores.As our family has grown, we've continued documenting it. Whatever our children's roles have been in holiday programs, recitals and sporting events, our roles have been as recorders of these experiences. We are part of the herd in the back of the auditorium, holding devices aloft, alternately beaming smiles from the side of the camera and glancing into the viewfinder to...
  • That Chabon Sure Has Chutzpah

    The Yiddish Policemen's Union" is Michael Chabon's first full-length adult novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" seven years ago, and it's just as ambitiously imaginative—perhaps too much so. The book is set in an alternate present, in the Federal District of Sitka, Alaska, a safe haven carved out for the Jews after the collapse of Israel. Sitka (where everyone speaks Yiddish) is to revert to American control by the year-end, threatening to send the Jews wandering again. As usual, Chabon's language is incandescent, distilling sad Jewish mysticism into pulpy prose: "Night is an orange smear over Sitka, a compound of fog and the light of sodium-vapor street lamps. It has the translucence of onions cooked in chicken fat." Equal parts Chaim Potok, Dashiell Hammett and Woody Allen, "Policemen's Union" creates a new genre: hard-boiled egg noir.The main action follows Meyer Landsman, a detective under review for a questionable shooting....
  • Is TV Turning Tots into Crib Potatoes?

    According to a new study, a surprising number of babies and toddlers have televisions in their bedrooms. Are we creating a generation of crib potatoes?
  • BeliefWatch: Circumcision Debate

    Poor "Misha." Caught in a terrible custody war, this 12-year-old boy from Washington state has become a cause célèbre for a diverse group of activists. Here are the facts, in brief: Misha lives with his father, who has sole custody and who recently converted to Judaism. The father wants Misha to convert as well, and so he wants Misha circumcised. The boy's mother, who is Russian Orthodox, is against it. Doctors Opposing Circumcision, an activist group, started circulating Misha's story online, asking for donations for Misha's defense. A lower court affirmed the father's right to circumcise his son but has allowed the mother to exhaust her legal options before he does so; now the mother hopes that her case will be taken up by the Oregon Supreme Court. The boy's own desires remain unclear.Two weeks ago, Richard Dawkins, the Oxford don, noted atheist and author of "The God Delusion," posted Misha's story on his Web site. Dawkins was irate, calling Misha's father's intentions ...
  • Extra! Tribune Sale Involves Tax Dodge.

    Whenever you see a deal involving Los Angeles's Chandler family, you usually see a tax dodge. And sure enough, the pending sale of Tribune Co., the big media firm in which the Chandlers are the largest shareholders, exploits a loophole so gaping that we taxpayers can only pray that someone closes it quickly. But it's not the Chandlers, the media magnates (L.A. Times and Newsday) whose shenanigans I've tracked for 15 years, who are dodging taxes here. It's Sam Zell, the Chicago real-estate mogul who's buying control of Tribune.As best I can tell, the Chandlers are willing to pay taxes on their $1.7 billion of sale proceeds just to be out of the newspaper business and to end their battles with Tribune's Chicago-based managers. The Chandler family paying taxes is like the sun rising in the west—an unnatural event. The family pioneered in tax avoidance when it controlled the old Times Mirror Co., which Tribune bought in 2000. The Chandlers specialized in convoluted transactions designed...
  • 'Waitress': Filmmaker’s Sad Goodbye

    Adrienne Shelly wrote, directed, co-set-designed, co-costume-designed and costars in the new film "Waitress." She also composed a song for the soundtrack and gave her 3-year-old daughter, Sophie, a cameo in the final scene. The movie is a serene comedy about an unhappily married—and even more unhappily pregnant—woman named Jenna (Keri Russell of "Felicity") who finds refuge from her stifling life by baking exquisite pies with names like "Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser Pie." (It's made with lumpy oatmeal and fruitcake, then flambéed.) More simply, though, "Waitress" is about a gifted woman finding her place in the world, and in that regard it is a metaphor for Shelly's own life. In the 1990s, Shelly was a pixie-faced ingénue who starred in a pair of films by the auteurist director Hal Hartley. But she resisted the lure of Hollywood and stayed put in New York, writing her own scripts and immersing herself in the city's close-knit indie-film world. She made two films that got...
  • Five Things You Don't Know About Fantasia

    Fantasia Barrino has fanjayas of her own. The ex-"Idol" champ helped sell $1.2 million in tickets her first week in Broadway's "The Color Purple." She spoke to NEWSWEEK after Wednesday's matinee (and before last week's "Idol" elimination). ...
  • Great Expectations

    Seven years after his debut, the award-winning story collection "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," Nathan Englander has finally published a second book. His publisher must be relieved that it's a novel. Even readers who end up not liking "The Ministry of Special Cases" ought at least to admire Englander's good sense. After a $350,000 advance for your first book, followed by awed reviews comparing you to [deep breath] Roth, Bellow, Joyce, Kafka, Cheever, Gogol, Chekhov and Singer, any writer would be tempted to swing for the fences. Would a 1,500-page novel that linked, oh, say, Bobby Thomson's home run, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mason and Dixon, Joseph of Arimathea and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle—all narrated by a hermaphrodite—be enough to impress that mob of long-awaiters and knife-whetters?"The Ministry of Special Cases" is merely a wonderful medium-length novel, set in mid-1970s Buenos Aires during the "dirty war," when Argentina's military dictatorship "disappeared" tens of...
  • That Chabon Sure Has Chutzpah

    The Yiddish Policemen's Union" is Michael Chabon's first full-length adult novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" seven years ago, and it's just as ambitiously imaginative—perhaps too much so. The book is set in an alternate present, in the Federal District of Sitka, Alaska, a safe haven carved out for the Jews after the collapse of Israel. Sitka (where everyone speaks Yiddish) is to revert to American control by the year-end, threatening to send the Jews wandering again. As usual, Chabon's language is incandescent, distilling sad Jewish mysticism into pulpy prose: "Night is an orange smear over Sitka, a compound of fog and the light of sodium-vapor street lamps. It has the translucence of onions cooked in chicken fat." Equal parts Chaim Potok, Dashiell Hammett and Woody Allen, "Policemen's Union" creates a new genre: hard-boiled egg noir.The main action follows Meyer Landsman, a detective under review for a questionable shooting....
  • Summer Movies: What's So Funny?

    This is going to be the summer of fun. No, really. Until recently, comedies were on the Hollywood endangered-species list, but for some reason this summer there are more of them than there are pirates of the Caribbean. Which ones will actually make you laugh? Beats us. So we asked the folks vying for your comedy dollar to enter a contest: using your film as inspiration, tell us something funny, and do it in 100 words or fewer. (Mr. Apatow seems to have difficulty playing by the rules—typical director.) Who won? We report, you decide. ...
  • Homer Simpson's Big-Screen Odyssey

    To make it on the big screen, you have to give people something spectacular. Something extraordinary. Something like Bart Simpson—full frontal. It happens early in "The Simpsons Movie," when the animated 10-year-old takes a dare from his goofball father, Homer, to skateboard naked through the streets of Springfield. Hidden by plants and picket fences, he whizzes along, past kids, down hills, through traffic lights, until, in one shocking moment, little Bart flashes his little part to the entire world. Which may make this the first Hollywood film to show that kind of skin and to escape an R rating.In a summer bursting with comedies—including major animated fare "Shrek the Third" and the new Pixar film, "Ratatouille"—"The Simpsons Movie," which opens July 27, is both the least hyped and the most anticipated. Since "The Simpsons" debuted in 1989, it has built a fanatical fan base, earned 23 Emmys and generated more than $2.5 billion in revenue, if you include the never-ending selection...
  • Dickey: France's Reality Check for America

    The Republican presidential debate shows just how much American politicians are out of touch with global realities. What the French can teach them about Iraq, terrorism and conflict.
  • Books: A Memoir of Adoption and Autism

    We’re told to pick our battles if we want to make a difference in the world. Activist and writer Ralph James Savarese thought he and his wife, Emily, had done just that. For her it meant working with a Florida center for disabled and autistic children. For him it meant writing and teaching college students about responsibility and social obligation. But in the late '90s they found themselves forgoing these larger causes for the smaller one staring them right in the face: an abused, autistic toddler named DJ.The American Psychiatric Association describes autism as a disorder of impaired communication and social skills (including the delay or total lack of spoken language) and restricted or repetitive behavior such as flapping of the hands. But that view, argues Savarese in “Reasonable People: a Memoir of Autism and Adoption,” robs people with autism of their humanity and in return offers little hope. “To many experts, the non-speaking autist resembles the old version of a black hole:...
  • Exclusive: Berkeley Breathed Speaks!

    Berkeley Breathed, the reclusive author, illustrator and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of "Bloom County," the uproarious and endearing sociopolitical 1980s comic strip, has just released a new children’s book, "Mars Needs Moms!," in which Breathed, in characteristically smart and whimsical fashion, addresses the powerful love that binds parents to their children.Breathed, who turns 50 next month, has a pretty good track record writing for the grammar school set: he’s authored and illustrated seven successful children's books, two of which, “A Wish for Wings That Work” and “Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big,” were made into animated films. But “Mars Needs Moms!” is his first crack at writing a children’s book since having kids of his own (Sophie is now 7 and Milo is 5).In addition to writing books, Breathed, who lives with his wife and two children in Santa Barbara, Calif., draws the Sunday-only comic strip “Opus,” which of course is named after “Bloom County”’s existential, lovably...
  • Music: Ibrahim Ferrer's Swan Song

    Ibrahim Ferrer was just a few weeks away from finishing his third solo album, "Mi Sueño," ("My  Dream") when the 78-year-old Cuban singer died after complications from emphysema. Up until that day in August 2005, Ferrer, who rose to international fame as the suave tenor of the Buena Vista Social Club, always insisted he had an angel on his shoulder, and it was hard to argue with him. A minor figure from Havana's big-band era, Ferrer was shining shoes, at age 68, when he was plucked from obscurity by American guitarist Ry Cooder in 1997. Cooder had heard that some of the great bandleaders and players from Havana's pre-revolutionary era were still around, and the producer wanted to capture some of the island's more traditional styles before they died out with the artists. With the help of Cuban bandleader Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, Cooder did just that. As the Buena Vista Social Club, pianist Ruben Gonzalez, guitarist Compay Segundo and Ferrer resurrected sounds from Cuba's big-band era...
  • Architecture: Restoring Wright

    A once-endangered home by Fallingwater architect Frank Lloyd Wright is set to undergo a massive restoration. NEWSWEEK gets a house tour.
  • Sloan: The Wall Street Journal's Value

    There’s a real difference between journalistic giants and stock market pygmies. That’s the lesson of Monday’s $5 billion hostile offer by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for Dow Jones, owner of the nation’s leading business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal.To most of us, of course, $5 billion is real money. But not to Wall Street. In a world in which you’ve got individual hedge-fund managers and private-equity players knocking down more than $1 billion a year, a deal of this size wouldn’t rate much more than a yawn if The Wall Street Journal weren’t involved.While The Wall Street Journal is a wonderful paper, at least to me, Dow Jones has been a less-than-wonderful company and has been marked down by the stock market for its various shortcomings. Hence the disparity between Dow Jones’s immense journalistic value and its negligible market value.Another company where there’s a huge disparity between journalistic and stock market significance is the New York Times Co., which has been...
  • The Oval: Bush Still Controls Security Debate

    The country says it wants a change. The candidates are not exactly embracing the legacy of President Bush. So why do they sound so much like him whenever they talk about national-security threats?
  • Humor: White House Seeks Lying Czar

    The White House in recent weeks has been quietly searching for candidates for the position of “lying czar,” a high-level administrator who would oversee all distortions and misrepresentations about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a White House source confirmed today.News of the administration’s search for a lying czar raised eyebrows in official Washington, where many insiders believe that the White House already has enough personnel to handle the creation and dissemination of war-related lies.Specifically, many insiders wonder why an administration that already has adviser Karl Rove and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would also need a lying czar. “The Bush administration has a lot of world-class manpower, lying-wise,” one insider said. “This whole lying czar thing seems like an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.”But White House insiders disagree, saying that those who believe a lying czar is unnecessary are oblivious to the overwhelming volume of distortions that are sorely...