Newswire

Newswire

  • A Chorus Lineski

    Here's one very singular sensation: Metro, the first Polish musical to open on Broadway. Loaded with glitz, acrobatics, laser beams and an energetic cast of 41 mainly Polish kids belting their hearts out in recently acquired English, this bizarre emanation from the new world order has been a smash in Warsaw since it opened last year. Context, as they say, is everything. In Poland, it must have seemed a blast of brash, irreverent air. Here, in the heart of Times Square, you feel you've wandered into a time warp. With a frizzy-maned poet-idealist hero out of "Hair"; a plot cobbled together from "A Chorus Line," "Fame" and Andy Hardy; a wildly eclectic Europop score by Janusz Stoklosa (ranging from "We Are the World"-ish anthems to a startling taste of Polish rap), and light shows worthy of Caesars Palace, " Metro" seems intent on proving that kitsch knows no boundaries. ...
  • Men At War

    Outside publisher Lawrence Burke isn't amused by Jann Wenner's handsome new adventure-and-fitness magazine, Men's Journal. First Wenner lured away Outside editor John Rasmus. Now Burke is complaining that Wonner's magazine is a mere photocopy of his own-including Its use of the name of Outside's popular column "Out There." Burke, who bought Outside from Wonner in 1978, says, "I don't know if it's arrogance or what:' Wenner couldn't be reached. Rasmus wouldn't comment.
  • Squeezing Stones

    The recession and other problems have taken their toll on the fund-raising efforts of Democrats and Republicans this year. Though Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton has raised $9.5 million, his campaign is now $600,000 in debt, causing him temporarily to suspend the paychecks of about 20 staffers in the Washington, D.C., office. A Clinton spokesman says the campaign will soon make up the shortfall, but sources say the pay cut has seriously hurt morale at the Washington office. Bush/Quayle fund raisers are having setbacks, too. They have raised $22 million in the past four months, but the GOP fund raisers say they have to perform "root canal" to get donors to cough up the maximum $1,000.
  • What Becomes A Legend?

    You don't revive a great play, it revives you. If done right, that is. You can put the text onstage, but you can't recapture the surprise, the theatrical big bang that creates a classic. A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) is arguably the best American play (outside of O'Neill), but never again will there be Tennessee Williams exploding into maturity, Marlon Brando creating a new kind of antihero or Elia Kazan becoming the key director of a golden age. Guys and Dolls (1950) is arguably the best American musical: Damon Runyon's fantasy underworld didn't have to compete with the real world of Gotti and Gambino, Frank Loesser's music and lyrics showed you could make high art out of lowbrows, and Michael Kidd found a new dance language for essential human activities like striptease and shooting craps. In revivals of both these classics last week the score was one bull'seye, one near miss. ...
  • A Chocolate Dream

    Worried about tooth decay? Then be sure to snack regularly on your favorite chocolate bar. So says the Princeton Dental Resource Center. As you may have guessed, we're not talking Princeton University The New York Times reported last week that the resource center is a creation of M&M/Mars, the candy giant. The organization Is standing by its assertions, even as researchers dismiss them. Too bad.
  • The End Of A Superpower Proxy War

    By the time Najibullah decided to flee the country, it was too late. Afghanistan's president had clung to power for three years since the Soviet Union withdrew the troops that protected him from Islamic insurgents backed by the United States. The former secret-police chief was a master at using fear and greed to divide his enemies and keep his partners in line, but ultimately his threats and promises turned hollow. As rebel forces closed in on the capital, Najibullah's troops began defecting, and last week his nerve ran out. He fled to Kabul's airport, where a United Nations plane was waiting for him. A militia unit that used to support him blocked his way. At the weekend, Najibullah was said to be hiding somewhere in Kabul, and the cold war's last proxy conflict seemed to be reaching its end. ...
  • American Means Black, Too

    What novelist doesn't yearn to write, at least once, a book like Toni Morrison's Jazz (229 pages. Knopf. $21)? Relatively short. Dense. Its language highstrung and lyrical. Plotted less like an inverted V than like a snake devouring its tail. And concerned not just with its story and characters but also with the process of its own creation. A book with sentences. That aren't always sentences. But if this is beginning to sound like more fun for her than for you, trust Morrison. As in all her novels, from "The Bluest Eye" (1970), with its Dick-and-Jane leitmotif, to the 1988 Pulitzer Prize winner "Beloved," with its ghost protagonist and unpunctuated monologues, her art burns through her artiness. In Playing in the Dark (91 pages. Harvard. $14.95), her newly published essay on classic American literature, Morrison insists that "American means white"; but hyphen or no hyphen, she herself may be the last classic American writer, squarely in the tradition of Poe, Melville, Twain and...
  • Why George Bush Will Get Zapped

    Adage alert: the only reliable prediction is that predictions are reliably wrong. Fred Barnes argues in The New Republic this week that absent some cataclysmic event, Bill Clinton is a "goner" against George Bush. He neglects to mention that in February he said exactly the same thing about Clinton in the primaries. Oh well. ...
  • Vice President Edition

    With Clinton having all but sewn up the nomination, his veep stakes are underway. Perot needs a pol, and Bush won't dump Dan. Arrows show likelihood of getting a nod. ...
  • Time To Drink Your Vegetables

    Stressed out? Try fixing yourself a glass of gingercantaloupe juice, complete with rind. A touch of Lyme disease? Nothing like a healing draft of spinach-parsley-tomato-green-pepper juice. Feeling senile? Treat yourself to a dose of ginger-beet-apple-carrot juice. These remedies are likely to have no effect whatsoever on your ailments - but they'll sure make a lot of other people feel better. In fact, the folks selling juice machines and juice books are already beaming. They're cashing in on juicemania, which just may turn out to be the biggest kitchen fad since the boom in homemade fettucine left a pasta machine in attics from coast to coast. ...
  • Arlen Specter's Specter

    Arlen Specter was lost. The April 28 Pennsylvania primary was coming up, and this was a day set aside to demonstrate how the two-term Republican senator was staying in touch with his state. The barnstorming schedule called for a late-morning tour of the Reading Regional Airport, but bad directions and a missed turn sent him on a mini-odyssey through the southeast corner of the state. " I hate to ask you this question, Kenny, but have you looked at a map?" Specter said irritably to his driver. He was an hour late when he finally arrived. "This trip is like democracy," Specter said, doing a slow burn as his car pulled up. "We'll get there. The tough part is keeping our good humor." ...
  • The Rage To Rage

    House Speaker Tom Foley has been doing his best to explain to people the features of the overdraft scandal that make it considerably less scandalous than the attendant uproar would suggest. He might as well forget it. The episode and its legend - not of an unforgivably sloppy system and a number of genuine offenders, but rather of wholesale, late-RomanEmpire-type indulgence and corruption - fit too nicely into the current rage for rage. This explosive, antigovernment feeling, fueled by some real and some imagined evidence of arrogance and privilege on the part of the country's so-called public servants, is of course not new. It is at least as old as the republic. And although breathless commentators in politics and the press keep describing the 1990s version as a novel phenomenon, some of them have been making this same breathless point about every three years for the past two decades. Message: they love it. ...
  • At Your Cervix

    Japan's new ambassador to the United States, Takakazu Kuriyama, is personally familiar with how Detroit's automakers work. The Japanese Embassy ordered a Lincoln limo for Kuriyama's official business two months ago. For personal use, Kuriyama ordered a Cadillac Seville more than a month ago. He's still waiting for the cars to be delivered taste police gone too far? Editors recently deleted the word "cervix" from a story about a former porn star; in another story, "breast" was changed to "bosom." Executive editor Len Downie later told staffers touchy words will be judged on a case-by-case basis.
  • I Am A Big Lawyer Basher

    I wrote my first and last law-review article in 1986. You can look it up: Maryland Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 1, pages 78-85. Actually, it's only a brief comment on a windy treatise by a genuine law professor. As far as I can tell, no one ever read my short reply. Still, it plugged a good idea: the "English rule." ...
  • Breaking The Bonds Of Hate

    Ever since I can remember, I wanted the ideal life: a big house, lots of money, cars. I wanted to find the perfect happiness that so many people have longed for. I wanted more than life in the jungle of Cambodia. America was the place, the land of tall sky-scrapers, televisions, cars and airplanes. ...
  • A Gentleman And A Lawyer

    He's kept his fans Spellbound for nearly five decades. That's why the prestigious Film Society of Lincoln Center honored Gregory Peck with a gala retrospective last week. On the program were tributes from such costars as Jane Fonda ("Old Gringo") and Audrey Hepburn ("Roman Holiday") as well as Clips from Peck's impressive body of work-"The Guns of Navarone," "Gentleman's Agreement," "Duel in the Sun," "Cape Fear" and "Arabesque." And, of course, his Oscar-winning performance as a compassionate country lawyer in the 1962 movie "To Kill a Mockingbird." Peck, who turned 76 on April 5, isn't resting on those laurels. He's currently filming a TV movie with Lauren Bacall and his actress daughter Cecilia. And he's still the star.
  • Springtime In Teheran?

    It's tempting to conclude that the fire has gone out of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution. In Teheran, peeling slogans have been scrubbed off the walls and replaced with ads for Japanese video players. A capitalist-style stock market is booming, children snap up Ninja Turtle toys and "Dances With Wolves" is the first Hollywood movie to be legally screened in years. "Teheran Spring" arrived in earnest last week with word that Iranian voters had turned out the fundamentalist zealots who long held the nation's Parliament, or Majlis. They elected the first truly postrevolutionary Parliament, reformers intent on steering the country out of its international isolation and economic chaos. ...
  • The Wild Card

    With his fortune, his twang and his endless supply of zingers, Ross Perot is launching his latest crusade. This is not the navy, IBM or General Motors: this is, he believes, a crusade for America itself As he has many times before, Perot is now casting himself as the underdog-as a folksy, self-deprecating David, the only guy around with the guts and the smarts to take on the entire U.S. political system and beat it. Winning this crusade is, to put it mildly, a long shot, and it is still not certain that Perot will formally declare himself a candidate for the presidency. But the politicians George Bush, Bill Clinton and all the other inside players of this dismal election year-are watching what he does with fascination and a measure of fear. They know, or should know, that challenging The System is what Ross Perot is all about. He has done it all his life, and he has won often enough and big enough to change the odds on any race he enters. ...
  • Arrivederci

    Olivetti chairman and felon Carlo De Benedetti was sentenced to more than six years in prison after being convicted of fraud in connection with the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano ... The Monitor Channel, the Christian Science Church's misguided $250 million attempt to keep up with the times, closed for good. For once, the skeptics were right from the start.
  • Windows Of Opportunity

    Under the best of circumstances, the personal-computer industry is about as peaceful as the Middle East, and this month marked the start of a major battle. With new products unveiled a fortnight ago, Microsoft and IBM are now battling over the software souls of 20 million desktop computers, and Apple Computer is on the march as well. At stake for consumers: the chance to get a reborn computer for less than $100-and maybe lose hours of time and reams of data in the process. ...