Newswire

Newswire

  • The Lost Soul Generation

    The Commitments," Alan Parker's sometimes charming new film about an Irish rhythm and blues band, makes it's pitch early on. Soul music, a young manager tells his musicians, is the rhythm of sex ad the rhythm of the factory, too. It's the language of the streets, the voice of the proletariat--not to mention the premise for a motion picture. ...
  • Etiquette

    Oh, that Boris. At the state dinner given by Mikhail Gorbachev during the recent summit, according to one eyewitness account, Russian President Boris Yeltsin displayed some decidedly unusual table manners. Seated next to Barbara Bush, Yeltsin, who lost his left thumb and forefinger in a grenade accident, is said to have spread butter and caviar on the stumps of the missing digits and eaten directly from his hand. Witnesses said Mrs. Bush tried politely not to notice. She told NEWSWEEK she never saw Yeltsin eat off his hand and that he used bread. Yeltsin had earlier flustered the First Lady by asking to escort her into dinner-a breach of protocol.
  • Sweet Dreams Or Nightmare?

    When officer Reg Browne walked into the room, 83-year-old Mildred Coats was stretched out on her bed, clutching a cheery birthday card in her left hand. Several towels had been placed gently around her head to absorb the blood from spilling from eight gun shot wounds. Anticipating a heated domestic dispute, Browne had donned a bulletproof vest before leaving the sheriff's office in Hurricane, Utah. But he didn't get a chance to use it. The old woman's daughter, 57-year-old Ilo Grundburg, was waiting calmly to hand him a written confession. "I didn't kill her because I didn't love her," Grundburg explained. "I loved her very much." ...
  • The Ultimate Runaway Best Seller

    It's the weirdest summer-reading hit in memory. When Derek Humphry's Final Exit: The Practicalities of the Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying (192 pages. Hemlock Society. $16.95) makes its first appearance in The New York Times best-seller list next Sunday, in the category of Advise, How-to and Miscellaneous, it will already be No. 1. ...
  • Sayonara, America

    Visit any Asian country these days, and you'll see them--the unmistakable symbols of Japan's growing economic power. In central Hong Kong, a shopping center anchored around a Seibu department store soars amid the office towers. Outside Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, a Matsushita Electric manufacturing complex stretches across the industrial flatlands. In Bangkok, a new technical school gets a $6 million grant from the Keidanren, the organization representing Japan's business establishment. Across East and Southeast Asia, the might of industrial Japan is no longer just omnipresent. It is dominant. "The color of our economy is blue because that is the color of a 1,000-yen note," says Malaysian economist Stephen Wong. "That is fine with us because that is the reality." ...
  • The Less-Is-More Democrats

    For the Democrats '92 is the Quality Time campaign. No one wants to replay the '88 primaries, when Democrats picked at one another in an endless march of boring debates. No one wants to revive the jokes about the Seven Dwarfs. That's why-contrary to some doomsayers-it's not bad news for the party that, six months before the Iowa caucuses, former senator Paul Tsongas remains the only Democrat to have declared. Sen.John D.Rockefeller IV last week became the second high-level dropout(after House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt). Other candidate-candidates, like Sen. Al Gore, are still making up their minds. And after Labor Day at least two new faces are expected to enter the race: Arkansas Gov.Bill Clinton and Iowa Sen.Tom Harkin. Both men are feisty, folksy and upbeat. What's wrong with fewer candidates and a shorter campaign? ...
  • Yes, Sir, That's My Baby

    Acting once again on its long-held belief that one piece of bad taste deserves another, Spy magazine this month guffaws in the face of Pregnancy as Art. Its September issue spoofs pregger-than-thou Demi Moore's August Vanity Fair cover---by putting her husband, Bruce Willis, on its cover in the same tetanically gravid state. It took three days to electronically weld Willis's mug onto a male model's bod, then stretch the torso to globular proportions. "I'm expecting some time next spring," smirks Willis. Did Spy ask him to pose? "No," says a top editor. "It's just a very well-built young man with the requisite hairiness." And a one-man argument for Norplant.
  • How Yesterday Saw Tomorrow

    The roaring '20s didn't last longer than any other decade, but after the exhibition "The 1920s: Age of the Metropolis," you'd swear it was an eternity. This vastly ambitious show at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a huge, clanking machine: 700-odd paintings, prints, photographs, posters, architectural models, drawings, chairs, teapots, cigarette cases, a Bugatti automobile and a De Havilland 60X Moth airplane fill up the entire museum, evoking the jazz age in three prime capitals--Berlin, Paris, and New York. The images and objects in this immovable feast (the show closes on Nov. 10) make a rich but mostly stew. From whorehouse to Bauhaus, the show touches on decadence and utopianism, dada and constructivism, art deco and De Stijl, communism and cafe life. It is an age in which nothing was quite what it seemed: a side table looks like a high-rise, a cocktail shaker like a dirigible, a woman like a man. ...
  • Edna And Bonna And Lynda

    Cartoonist, novelist, National Public Radio commentator and now playwright Lynda Barry has few illusions about her theatrical sophistication. "The Good Times Are Killing Me" is her first play, "and I proved it by writing 27 scenes in the first act." Her main character steps forward to tell parts of the story not as a tip of the hat to "our Town" but because "I didn't know how to do it without a narrator yet." But Barry, 35, also has few inhibitions. She just jumps in and does it--whether "it" be writing, drawing the faux-naif "Ernie Pook's Comeek" (which now appears in 57 papers) or just singing for the hell of it. "I think I sing great," she says. "Not everyone agrees. For some stupid reason, in America singing is not allowed unless you're a professional, except for "Happy Birthday." It's a shame how much judgement is put on the creative urge in this culture. So nobody sings, nobody draws. We can eat, and we can be entertained." Typical Lynda Barry: pessimism undercut by high...
  • A Detour From La-La Land To Shangri-La

    Speeding cross-country in his Porsche toward Beverly Hills and a lucrative career as a plastic surgeon, the brattish young Dr. Ben Stone (Michael J. Fox) crashes into a picket fence in Grady, S.C., and for penance is assigned community service at the local hospital. Stone thinks he's trapped in "Hee-Haw hell." The audience at Doc Hollywood, however, quickly perceives the doc has landed in a cornpone Shangri-La just south of Brigadoon and the magical village in "Local Hero." Director Michael Caton-Jones populates this hamlet with as many lovable eccentrics per square inch as the law allows, and one beautiful, sophisticated ambulance driver (Julie Warner), the better to convince the Yuppie that his life needs a permanent injection of Real Values. Corny and sweet, "Doc Hollywood" has its genuine charms, but they'd be a lot more charming if Caton-Jones and the screen-writers allowed them to sneak up on us. Instead, the movie oversells its whimsy and fits its quirkiness into a sitcom...
  • The Wilder Shores Of Funk

    The "King of Funk" could be in for an abbreviated reign. Rick James, who scored with several gold records during the '80s, was arrested Aug. 2 on charges of sexual assault and torture. An unidentified woman told Los Angeles police that James and his girlfriend Tanya Anne Hijazi held her prisoner in the singer's home, burned her with a cocaine pipe and forced her to preform sex acts. The accused couple pleaded innocent. If convicted, they could get life in prison.
  • Sleeping Without The Enemy

    During the four decades of communist rule in Eastern Europe, film directors cursed, confronted and conspired to outmaneuver their censors--often brilliantly. Despite or perhaps precisely because of the oppressive political climate, artists like Poland's Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi, Czechoslovakia's Milos Forman and Jiri Menzel and Hungary's Istvan Szabo and Miklos Jansco electrified audiences with their mix of realism, surrealist metaphor and piercing, sometimes outrageously funny satire. Movies were both a release and an essential part of the broader political struggle. But now that struggle is over, and many of the victors are curiously adrift. "When you can talk about anything, what do you talk about?" asks Polish screenwriter Maciej Karpinski. ...
  • Greater Love Hath No Mom

    It sounds a bit bizarre, but in Aberdeen, S.D., a woman is pregnant with her own twin grandchildren. Arlette Schweitzer, a 42-year-old librarian, says she decided on the virtually unprecedented form of surrogacy after doctors discovered that her daughter, Christa Uchytil, had no uterus. The daughter provided the eggs, which were fertilized in a laboratory dish with her husband's sperm. The resultant embryos were then implanted in Schweitzer's womb. Explaining her motivation, the expectant grandmother (due in November) told The New York Times: "If you can do something to help your children, you do it."
  • Chicago Housecleaning

    Ronald and Sharon Bullock just want what any other young family in Chicago might want: a renovated two-bedroom apartment overlooking Lake Michigan for not much more than $300 a month, or approximately what they now pay for a run-down studio apartment in a crime-ridden South Side neighborhood. Unlike most, though, the Bullocks--he's a security guard, she's a homemaker and their son, Orlando, is 4--have a chance of getting it. They are among 500 working families who have applied to live in the first two of what will be six rehabilitated high-rises on some of the city's most coveted lakefront and real estate. If they are accepted, the Bullocks' landlord would be the Chicago Housing Authority, which built the two towers (then called the Olander Homes) in the mid-1950s, lost control of them to a violent street gang in the 1980s and eventually relocated everyone living there in 1986. But that's history. "I don't care who owns the place," says Ronald. "I've seen it, and I want my family to...
  • Operation Desert Snore

    Getting out a hardcover biography of a sudden hero is no easy task. You can use paper ordered for another project, you can keep the bindery running round the clock. But if the author doesn't rush heedlessly toward the deadline, filling pages with warned-over journalism and assorted odd facts harvested during quick trips through the friends-and-relatives patch, then you'll never have a book like In the Eye of the Storm: The Life of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf (329 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux. $19.95). Actually, there are two authors on this story of the bearish, second-generation West Pointer who commanded the allied forces against Iraq: Roger Cohen, who covers the publishing business for The New York Times, and Claudi Gattio, the U.S. bureau chief for Europe. That would be no problem - if the writers didn't outnumber the interesting sources. ...
  • Time For The Grand Finale

    In London, Abedi launched the Third World Foundation in 1979, giving $100,000 prizes each year to such luminaries as the former West German chancellor, Willy Brandt, and then-president Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. One year, the awards were presented by Princess Anne.-The Washington PostA couple of years ago people were talking gravely about something called "the end of history." I didn't believe in that (more truthfully, I didn't know what it was), but I do believe in what I have come to regard as the finale of politics. Unlike the end of history there is nothing abstruse or philosophical about the finale of politics. It will not tax your brain. As I envision and yearn for it, the finale of politics will occur on a given day at a given time in a given opera house, probably the Met. At that ineffable moment, everything will at last come clear and everyone will come clean. All those government creeps and pomposities, all those marginal characters and duped celebrities and misbehaving...
  • A &Quot;Bambi&Quot; Break?

    When last we visited the case of Lawrencia Bembenek, the ex-cop and former Playboy bunny had been arrested in Canada after escaping from a Wisconsin prison. This was 10 years after she was convicted of killing her husband's ex-wife. Now "Bambi" supporters have new ammunition. The ex-chief medical examiner has examined the records and concluded the gun used to convict Bembenek does not seem to be the one that killed the victim. He also said he found a "serious discrepancy" between the bullet removed from the corpse and the bullet introduced in court. The Milwaukee D.A. says these claims will not affect Bembenek's conviction.
  • The Lost Soul Generation

    The Commitments," Alan Parker's sometimes charming new film about an Irish rhythm and blues band, makes it's pitch early on. Soul music, a young manager tells his musicians, is the rhythm of sex ad the rhythm of the factory, too. It's the language of the streets, the voice of the proletariat--not to mention the premise for a motion picture. ...
  • Hats Off To Hats

    (**) Many new designs are meant to evoke millinery of bygone eras. Sometimes they're more reminiscent of a wedding cake. (****) Baseball caps, often worn backward, are today's fave lid. They range from classic Yankee to gold-lame versions.(**) Known as softies or vagabonds, these squashy retro models might look better with a few fishing flies in the brim.(***) These floppy, mod London sombreros should be worn with a brooch for best effect-and improved visibility.(***) Besides being stylish, oversize straw bonnets are a hit with beachgoers who know enough to stay of out the sun.(**) "The Cat in the Hat" meets haute couture. But is it a fashion statement or an accordion?
  • Aboard The Ship Of Cools

    Margaret Thatcher doing a guest gig on "The Love Boat"? That was the concept when Princess Cruises, which provided the floating prop for the late ABC series, feted Thatcher last week aboard its newest ship in New York. After hearing accolades from a live Henry Kissinger and a videotaped Ronald Reagan, the former British prime minister quipped: "For a moment, I thought we [she and husband, Denis] were twanging harps, listening to our own obituaries..... Do repeat them when the time comes." On hand to celebrate were lovable "Love Boat" regulars Gavin Macleod (Captain Stubing), Bernie Kopell (Dr. Bricker), Lauren Tewes (Julie), Jill Whelan (captain's daughter) and Ted McGinley (ship photographer). How times have changed since Britannia ruled the waves.