• A Coming-Out Party In Rome

    At a televised ceremony in St. Peter's Square this Sunday, Pope John Paul II will beatify Josephine Bakhita, an African slave who became a holy nun. But who will notice? On the same program is the beatification of Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, and Opus Dei, the secretive international organization he founded, has marshaled a record crowd of 150,000-including 200 bishops-for the event. All of Rome's 60,000 hotel beds were booked months ago and two "floating hotels" have been chartered to ferry well-heeled members of Opus Dei ("The Work of God") from Spain, Escriva's homeland. ...
  • Clean-Hands Investing

    Humorist Colin McEnroe got it right. "By now," he wrote in Mirabella, "everyone knows that values are the BMW's of the nineties and that you're nobody if you don't have some." On that premise, the tiny industry of mutual funds that makes socially conscious investments is hoping to extend its reach. Nine new funds are expected this spring and summer, boosting the group to 25. ...
  • Literary Lion In The Desert

    Critics' darling Cormac McCarthy has been compared to everyone from Faulkner to Melville to the writer of the Book of Job. The only authors not mentioned in the same sentence are his contemporaries, and this must please him. "One of the great hurdles of life," he once told an interviewer, "is when you can forget about what other people are doing." His prose and his plots, with roots sunk deep in the blood-drenched soil of classic tragedy, reveal an unremitting contempt for modern sensibilities. Even his latest novel, All the Pretty Horses (302 pages. Knopf. $21), though it is by far McCarthy's gentlest book, takes for its hero a 16-year-old boy who in 1949 turns his back on American civilization and strikes off into the Mexican desert on horseback. ...
  • Gorbachev: Capitalist Tool

    He says he is still devoted to "the socialist idea." But now Mikhail Gorbachev is jetting around the United States on a corporate plane called the Capitalist Tool, raking in fat fees for bland speeches and other celebrity turns. Last week the former president of the former Soviet Union visited California's Simi Valley, the site of the Rodney King verdict. At a lunch hosted by Ronald Reagan in his presidential library, guests paid $5,000 each for the chance to have their pictures taken with what the invitation described as the two men "who ended the cold war." If Gorbachev is embarrassed by such hucksterism, he doesn't show it. He is as preachy as ever and refers to himself grandly as "Gorbachev." He says his mission in life is to promote "the new political thinking." And he has learned that in his post-Soviet life, new thinking can require lots of money. ...
  • Man Of La Mantua

    The Italian Renaissance was more than a mere reinvigoration of the arts. It was the reawakening of the ancient Greek and Roman views of life that saw science, art and morality as inseparable parts of a whole. Renaissance artists who were real Renaissance men knew Plato and Pliny as well as paint. For them, beauty was no less objective than a fact of, say, botany. Andrea Mantegna (circa 1430-1506), who grew up and began his artistic career in Padua, near Venice, was the quintessential Renaissance man: he could draw with the precision of a surgeon, play with perspective like a computer animator and paint with the sensuousness of a diva. ...
  • Lawrence Of America

    One real-life politico (hint: he lacks the articulateness thing) recently said, "I'm all for Lawrence Welk ... He used to be, or was, or--wherever he is now, bless him." We hear that. Now hear this: "Lawrence Welk: A Musical Anthology" (3 CDs) has "Take the 'A' Train" (Welk once called it "Take a Train"), the lovely li'l Lennon Sisters, a religious recitation by the sad-faced Aladdin, sedate fox trots and kick-tushie polkas. Hard-core Americana, but not for the squeamish.
  • We Will Bury You

    It's not an easy sell. But the Chetek Corp. of Moscow is doing its best to promote the use of underground nuclear explosions to blow up unwanted chemical and nuclear weapons and toxic waste. The company, which has close ties to Russia's atomic-energy ministry, is circulating a promotional computer program featuring humanoid figures and flashy graphics to show how the explosions would work. Projections in Russian and English compare the costs of conventional and nuclear waste destruction. At a recent Moscow demonstration, the program froze. "Our experiment will work better," said a Russian scientist.
  • Beyond Blackand White

    Out of the ashes, Los Angeles began the hard task of rebuilding its future. The century's deadliest riots left deep scars on the face of the city--and the soul of the nation. In all the debate that followed, one thing became clear: the country must find new ways of thinking and talking about the divisive questions of race, crime and leadership. ...
  • Mixing It Up

    Angry over the Nicaraguan government's failure to deliver on promises of land and credit, an unlikely alliance of former contras and Sandinistas seized 147 farms. President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and Sandinista honcho Daniel Ortega agreed to talk jointly with the rebels, triggering an anti-Sandinista outcry in Chamorro's governing coalition.
  • Los Angeles Will Save Itself

    "Blade Runner" has been on everybody's mind here in L.A. The movie coupled Asian congestion with immigrant violence and consigned Los Angeles to a future of racial and social anarchy. In the aftermath of the riots, it was easy to be a pessimist. But look at Los Angeles closely, and you come away an optimist. ...
  • More Justice

    Forget Wall Street. Thanks to the Clarence Thomas imbroglio, publishers are now hot for the Supreme Court. Just out this month is "Turning Right," a critique of the Rehnquist court by David Savage. Three books about the Thomas confirmation process are on the way. And a former clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun recently negotiated a $300,000 advance from Turtle Books for his account of the court's work on controversial issues. Author Edward Lazarus hopes to interview all the justices and vows he won't write a gossipy, kiss-and-tell book. Will it sell? Well, "The Pelican Brief"' an account of the murder of two justices, is No. 1 on the fiction lists.
  • The Book On Marketing

    Alexandra, a redheaded 4-year-old, and her older brother Tim were squabbling. "It is, too," said the little girl. "It is not," snapped her brother. "Ask Mom." The issue: whether the Barnesand Noble bookstore they were visiting in Nashua, N.H., was a bookstore or a library. There were so many books there (17,000 for kids alone) that Alex figured it had to be a library, so she could take home any book she wanted. ...
  • Sir, Your Card Has Expired

    Some neighbors bicker over their lawns. But if your neighbor is American Express, it's a bit different. The saga begins deep inside New York's World Financial Center, where the classy Rizzoli bookstore hosted a book-signing last week by Wall Street Journal reporter Bryan Burrough, author of "Vendetta: American Express and the Smearing of Edmond Safra." The book is the store's hottest-selling title, but the event bombed. Why? Maybe because the hundreds of promotional fliers usually passed around the area before a signing were not distributed this time. Sources say AmEx, which occupies much of the skyscraper above Rizzoli, complained to the building's management company that the promotion was "not neighborly." Rizzoli sources also told Burrough and NEWSWEEK that they removed a window display featuring crumpled AmEx receipts after being told AmEx "didn't appreciate" the display. ...
  • It Takes A Worried Man

    Every election year, Mad magazine's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, runs for president with the slogan "You could do worse, and always have!" So it seemed fitting to the editors at Esquire to combine Neuman's goofy mug with an image of President Bush on their June cover. The irreverent portrait is by Richard Williams, who's done many of Mad's Neuman covers. Comparing his two subjects, the artist told Esquire: "I think Alfred's a little cooler." How cool does Bush think the cover is? Esquire can't say; the editors haven't shown it to him.
  • When Left Meets Right

    What is going on here? Democrat Bill Clinton wins support from liberals even though he wants to cut welfare benefits for unemployed single mothers after two years. Jack Kemp, the conservative secretary of housing and urban development, advocates turning over housing projects to community nonprofit groups of the sort Republicans used to want the FBI to infiltrate. Jerry Brown endorses a flat tax and enterprise zones, ideas that liberals attacked when Ronald Reagan proposed them in the early 1980s. ...
  • Just Say Moo

    MGM, eager to milk publicity from "Basic Instinct," has a new scenario churned out by the screenwriter, Joe Eszterhas. This time the Emperor of Icepicks has whipped up a concupiscent curd of a comedy: about a folksy presidential candidate whose opponent claims to have a compromising photo of him with a heifer back on the family farm. Look for lots of stock footage.
  • Peri Picks

    As summer approaches, Hollywood has two words on its mind: "blockbuster" and "sequel." PERISCOPE offers the preopening buzz on some of the season's biggest and most expensive box-office contenders: For those sick of cartoon characters. Harrison handles Alec's "Red October" role. But test audiences didn't like the ending.Made for those too young to watch Mel with a babe. But Rick Moranis-mania is unlikely to sweep the nation.It's even more of a Tim Burton movie than the first-meaning weirder. But can Danny DeVito fill Jack's shoes?Production problems sent it back to the shop for some returning. Sigourney looks cool bald, but this ship could crash.Big hit for Mel and Danny. Lotta slapstick. Great exploding building. Increasingly seen as a Joe Pesci vehicle.Stephen King's wedding video would probably earn millions these days. May open well but fade fast.
  • Stasi Stories

    Hand on hip: the subject has stopped. Rub your nose: the objective is in view. A bizarre game of Simon Says? In a new book, Markus Wolf, former archspy of East Germany's Stasi secret police, explains these and other hand signals the agency used when tailing its targets. In the interviews, with French author Maurice Najman, Wolf also recounts meetings with Mao, Stalin and British Communist agent Kim Philby. But beware: "At several points," says Najman, "Wolf manifestly does not toll the truth, or at least not all the truth."
  • Down, But Not Out

    By now you've read all about it. Japan's in trouble. Its stock market is down more than 50 percent since the end of 1989. Its GNP actually contracted in the last quarter of 1991 and probably did the same in the first quarter of this year-the first real recession since the mid-'70s. The banks are hurting. Japan's vaunted electronics companies are bureaucratic monoliths. And some of its automakers are actually scaling back in the United States. Everything that allegedly made Japan Inc. tick is now called into question: lifetime employment, the relentless pursuit of market share at the expense of profits, even the legendary cross-shareholding system that allowed Japanese managers to plan for the long run, not maximize quarterly profits. ...
  • Live Longer With Vitamin C

    Everyone agrees that vitamin C is terrific for preventing scurvy, but experts are divided on whether it can help ward off more common killers, such as cancer and heart disease. To get at that question, researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health recently analyzed findings from a decadelong federal health survey. The results, published last week in the journal Epidemiology, at least bolster the case for optimism. ...