Newswire

Newswire

  • Making Saints

    On the morning of Aug. 1, 1987, the small lobby of the Hotel Gulich in Cologne, West Germany, was filled with Jews. They were members of a clan, about two dozen in all, whose German ancestors had been scattered by Hitler's pogroms to the United States, South America and Canada. Four of those ancestors had died in Nazi death camps. One of the victims was Edith Stein--"Tante Edith" to her nieces--who, as Sister Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, was to be proclaimed a martyr that afternoon by John Paul II. But a martyr for whom? To Jews around the world Edith Stein was one of 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. To the pope she was also--and primarily--a martyr for the church. ...
  • Slow Out Of The Gate

    Just one month ago, the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination looked about as desirable as a weekend in Baghdad. With George Bush riding high in the polls, party strategists talked of a sacrificial run by Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, who would lose gracefully; others proposed clearing the field for Rev. Jesse Jackson and "getting him out of our system," as one official put it. But the fallout from the budget follies has dramatically altered these scenarios. For the first time in a decade, voters think the Democrats would manage the economy better than the Republicans, and '92 is starting to look like a real opportunity. "In the next few months, a lot of 'vision' speeches are going to be cranked up," says Democratic speechwriter Kevin Sullivan. ...
  • The Kids Play--And You Pay

    The scene: screaming children cavorting in a knee-deep sea of green, red, yellow and blue plastic balls. They swim in them. They bury themselves under them. And they dive into them with the daredevil zealousness of an Evel Knievel. A playground? No, it's the activity room at the IKEA furniture store in Elizabeth, N.J. While they hunt for the affordable armoire, parents who visit the Swedish home-furnishings company can "check" their kids at the playroom for up to two hours. Here, the little ones watch videos, draw pictures or immerse themselves in the popular ballroom--under the supervision of babysitters. Says Maria mother of three: "The kids want to come here just to play." ...
  • Anti-Semitic Or Merely Nasty?

    The profile of media mogul Mort Zuckerman in the current GQ is nasty, but is it anti-Semitic? That's the complaint being leveled against the magazine and writer Alicia NIundy by some media heavies--and Zuckerman's friends They think the article played up Zuckerman's Jewishness to buttress charges that the owner of U.S. News & World Report and The Atlantic is a shameless social climber. The complaints were aimed at such lines as "There's Mort the Jew and Mort the WASP" and the comparison of Zuckerman to the fictional Jewish character Duddy Kravitz. GQ editor in chief Art Cooper, who is Jewish, says he has received compalaints from at least one major magazine editor. But Cooper says the charges of anti-Semitism are "nonsense" and that a negative story about a rags-to-riches Jewish person often prompts such a response. Mundy, an editor at Washington's Regardie's magazine, says the allegations are "absurb" and adds that both of her editors at GQ are Jewish.
  • Gershwin From Hamptons To Harlem

    There is a certain uneasiness on Broadway these days about the question of "nontraditional casting." An increasingly multiethnic talent pool has added political pressure to the normal uncertainties of theater. There have been critical complaints that certain black or Jewish performers were miscast in Shakespeare. Protests by Asian performers led to the recent banning, then unbanning, by Actors' Equity of British star Jonathan Pryce, who plays a Eurasian in the New York-bound megamusical "Miss Saigon." Black versions of white shows, long a Broadway staple, now come under sharper scrutiny: are they esthetically justified, or are they a gimmicky form of affirmative action? ...
  • Two-Coast Man

    How many actors have the comic touch to play the fast-ball, slow-brain minor-league pitcher Nuke LaLoosh in "Bull Durham" and the dramatic power to play the life-in-death hero of "Jacob's Ladder"? Well, Tim Robbins has done it. His mild, 6-foot-4, Bill Bradleyish look belies the off-center versatility that's made him a hot property at 31. Robbins is a two-media, two-coast man. The son of folk singer Gil Robbins, he grew up in Greenwich Village (where he still lives with Susan Sarandon, the mother of his year-and-a-half-old son). At 13 Robbins was acting with the off-off-Broadway group Theater for the New City. "We did political street vaudevilles; at 14 I played H. R. Haldeman," says Robbins. "I learned how to act in the street, competing with truck noises, mothers yelling at kids and drunks coming on stage and dancing." ...
  • Mr. Reagan Went To Washington

    FOR A PRESIDENT SO DEPENDENT ON TV, RONALD REAGAN HAS DONE A FAST FADE FROM THE BIG SCREEN OF POLITICS. HE APPEARS IN PUBLIC ONLY RARELY, AND IS NOTICEABLY ABSENT FROM ANY OF THE DEBATE SURROUNDING THE ISSUES OF HIS EIGHT YEARS IN OFFICE. REAGAN'S JUST-RELEASED AUTOBIOGRAPHY, AN AMERICAN LIFE,[*] WRITTEN IN THE HONEYED PROSE OF A HOLLYWOOD PRESS RELEASE, OFFERS FEW CLUES TO TAKE US BEYOND THE MAN'S POPULAR IMAGE. MUCH OF THE BOOK IS FAMILIAR, FROM THE HARANGUES ABOUT GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS TO THE OFT-TOLD STORIES OF HIS EARLY CAREER AS A SPORTSCASTER. REAGAN'S WHITE HOUSE RECOLLECTIONS ARE SO ROSE-COLORED, THERE ISN'T EVEN ANY GOOD GOSSIP. THE FORMER PRESIDENT DISPLAYS NONE OF THE VENOM TOWARD HIS AIDES THAT NANCY REAGAN SPILLED IN HER BOOK, "MY TURN." ...
  • Twinkle, Twinkle

    The fall party season is in full swing, and big baubles are popping up everywhere. Recently, at the glittering Carousel of Hope Ball in Beverly Hills, Elizabeth Taylor showed up--with goldilocked beau Larry Fortensky--looking positively robust in pink. They joined 1,000 other big names at the benefit to fight juvenile diabetes. Basia Johnson, on the other hand (and coast), could have used a few fashion tips. The chambermaid turned heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune appeared at a New York soiree to help save crumbling Venetian landmarks draped in a Renaissance-look frock she designed--but trimmed with all those emeralds, who was looking at the dress?
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    In 1974, Nancy Kaiser made the mistake of coming down with an illness that didn't fit any of the available diagnoses. The Albuquerque housewife was just 38, an avid golfer and swimmer, and under no particular stress. Yet she felt like she was dying. She was weak, profoundly tired and plagued by constant bladder infections. Her muscles ached. Her mood shifted unpredictably. Her memory seemed to be failing. "If this is menopause," she remembers thinking, "this is horrible, worse than I ever imagined." Her doctors could offer no better guess, so after seven awful years she agreed to a hysterectomy. When her health didn't improve, physicians referred her to psychiatrists, who announced she was mourning her lost uterus. One suggested she have an affair. ...
  • From Pit Bull To President

    After flipping on taxes and flopping on the deficit, George Bush was searching for new directions last week. "Shift gears with me," he urged an audience of Ohio Republicans as he ripped into Saddam Hussein. His scorched-earth campaign against those tax-and-spend Democrats seemed forgotten, and Bush the Partisan Pit Bull was acting presidential again. "His spirits are soaring," one aide said. "He thinks he can turn this thing around now." ...
  • Night Of The Living Videos

    Jim McCabe, the owner of a Washington, D.C., video-rental business called Video Vault, brags of two convenient locations, bargain prices and "the guaranteed worst movies in town." McCabe, who opened his first shop in 1985, knew it was hopeless to imitate the large national chains whose "superstores" had begun to dominate the video-rental business. So McCabe packed the racks with the drive-in fare of his South Carolina youth: titles like "Night of the Bloody Apes," "She Devils on Wheels" and "Shanty Tramp." "The chain stores have shelves of cult movies," says McCabe. "I've got rooms. " ...
  • Deathly Vacancy

    Some New Yorkers will do anything for a cheap apartment. Last Wednesday, NEWSWEEK learned a New York City medical investigator was summoned to a building on Manhattan's West 43rd street where a longtime tenant had suffered a fatal heart attack. After pronouncing the man dead, the investigator discovered the deceased's rent-stabilized, one-bedroom apartment rented for about $300 a month. Without missing a beat, the investigator, Jules Lisner, notified the building's management company of the death--then asked if he could put a deposit down on the apartment. "It was bad judgment," admitted Lisner, who has been reprimanded by his superiors.
  • Bush: 'I Have Had It'

    Some of them inhabit Baghdad's luxury hotels, where boredom and homesickness are the biggest threats to their well-being. Others hide in Kuwait, in constant terror of discovery by Iraqi troops, and get by on the kindness of Arab friends. Still others serve as "human shields" at Iraqi military bases and other potential targets, where living conditions range from the uncomfortable to the unspeakable. All of them, fugitives and prisoners alike, are the unwilling "guests" of Saddam Hussein. Last week the hostages, including nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens, began their fourth month of Babylonian captivity. ...
  • Bill Paley's Historic Will

    Jeffrey Paley rose to speak last week at the small private funeral service for his father, the man who built CBS. He explained the complexity of being the child of someone so much in the public eye. William S. Paley was not the first father to give more attention to the larger world than to his children, Jeffrey noted, and he would not be the last. But the scale was different: "He wasn't one to play baseball in the backyard with his kids," Jeffrey said. "Yet he owned the New York Yankees, my childhood idols." Paley's will, unsealed last week, reflected that same approach. All six of his children, including two stepchildren, were treated generously (Paley's second wife, Babe, died in 1978). But the jewel of his $500 million estate--a magnificent art collection--went to his foundation, with instructions that it be given to New York's Museum of Modern Art. ...
  • The Hunk's Happy Hour

    The bar is open at last to John F. Kennedy Jr. Friends of the Manhattan assistant D.A. say he has finally passed the New York bar exam after failing twice. Official results come out this week. Passing means Kennedy keeps his $30,000-a-year job. He could also seek greener pastures. In July, Kennedy took the easier Connecticut test, along with New York's. He passed that as well.
  • War And Recession

    This is a peculiar time in political Washington. It is hagridden by uncertainties and apprehension. "Do you think there is going to be a war?" That is one of the most frequently exchanged questions. The other is "How bad do you think it is going to be?"--meaning the coming recession. People here seem to sense something menacing and inevitable, but as yet unseen, advancing in their direction. In some respects their constant querying seems less a quest for expert judgment than for reassurance. We are like those anxious characters in the suspense movies who have just heard an unmistakable creaking on the stair. ...
  • Stirring Old Hatreds In India

    Once again India has fallen victim to its tendency to self-destruct. And this time the stakes couldn't be greater, for the battle threatens to revive the country's most explosive division--the split between Hindus and Muslims. India's leaders have tried to avoid such a confrontation from the moment of India's modern birth in 1947. They established a secular Constitution in the hope that the Hindu majority and a large Muslim minority could live together in peace, if not necessarily in harmony. Though the reality sometimes fell short of the dream, India survived in spite of its simmering religious, ethnic and caste divisions. The country has suffered through the grievances of smaller groups, like the Sikhs in Punjab. But now it is being pulled apart by a much greater force. In the last eight days alone, more than 300 people have been killed in Hindu-Muslim riots and in clashes between Hindu fundamentalists and government forces--all over the fate of a disputed mosque. ...
  • Giorgio Takes Manhattan

    Last week all eyes were trained on the fashion runways of Calvin, Ralph and Geoffrey, but it was Giorgio Armani who stole the show. The Italian designer, who seldom visits these shores, was all over New York City doing a little personal PR (even Saks Fifth Avenue pronounced it "Armani Week"). After appearing at the opening of a photo exhibit called "Giorgio Armani--Images of Man," he held court at a lavish dinner for 250 carefully chosen guests at the Museum of Modern Art. The occasion for this little ciaodown was a screening of "Made in Milan," a documentary about, who else Armani. The 26-minute film, made by buddy Martin Scorsese (who received a reported $2 million fee), depicts the designer's life and work in embarrassingly egotistical detail, leading some wags to dub it "Paid in Milan." Though there were scattered titters in the MoMA audience, most kept their sniping under wraps.
  • For Longer Life, Take A Wife

    Mothers and matchmakers have always known that not being married is a definite health hazard. But when a team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, reported a few weeks ago that middle-aged men without wives were actually twice as likely to die during a 10-year span as men with wives, the espoused and the spouseless alike stopped to take notice. It was the kind of news that swept through offices and watering holes--and it made people feel smug or anxious, depending on their circumstances. Now the researchers who conducted the study are trying to find out what accounted for the dramatic differences in survival rates. ...
  • Cold Confusion About Dr. Pons

    The mysteries of cold fusion are nothing compared with the mysteries of cold--fusion scientists. A year and a half after he and a colleague announced they I had achieved nuclear fusion in a tabletop experiment, University of Utah chemist B. Stanley Pons has disappeared--and so could his funding if he doesn't turn up. ...