Cathleen McGuigan

Making a New Buzz

It's hard to believe it's been eight years since "Seinfeld" left prime time, and with it Seinfeld himself--star, co-writer and producer of the most successful comedy series ever.

Jerry Seinfeld

It's hard to believe it's been eight years since "Seinfeld" left prime time, and with it Seinfeld himself--star, co-writer and producer of the most successful comedy series ever.

There's Something About Mary

The ArtsMary Poppins was always a cultural oddity. Created by P. L. Travers in a series of books begun during the Depression, she was enchanting to generations of children for her magic powers--she could fly and talk to animals--and a little frightening because she was awfully strict and not the least bit sentimental.

The Crying of Truman Capote

Truman Capote, who's been dead since 1984, has been having a big year. There are the dueling movies: Bennett Miller's "Capote," which won an Oscar for actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and this fall's much-praised "Infamous" by Douglas McGrath.

A Sacred Mission

This week, the 200-year-old neoclassical Baltimore Basilica will reopen its weighty oak doors after a two-year, $32 million face-lift. The restoration of America's first Roman Catholic cathedral is a triumph for preservationists, both for its history and design: it's considered the masterpiece of architect Benjamin Latrobe, best known for his work on the U.S. Capitol.

Newsmakers: Kirsten Dunst, Madonna

Forget about Norma Shearer. Kirsten Dunst is Marie Antoinette. She spoke with Nicki Gostin.I had to believe that because I was playing her. I couldn't judge her; I had to understand her.At first it's completely daunting and intimidating, and then it becomes part of your universe.

What Little Town Blues?

The fabled architectural sketch on a cocktail napkin has made a comeback. But in the case of the new Denver Art Museum, it was a boarding pass--Daniel Libeskind says he grabbed it as he flew over the city: "I copied the shapes I saw out of my airplane window--the craggy cliffs of the Rockies." Libeskind is the Great Communicator when it comes to explaining his edgy abstract designs to the public--a talent that got a workout when he won his highest-profile commission, to plan the World Trade...

Unfinished Symphony

Stories about World War II seem to occur in black and white, all grainy and bleak. That makes the stunning novel "Suite Française," about the German occupation of France, all the more remarkable.

Snap Judgement: Books

Heat by Bill Buford Former New Yorker fiction editor Buford got to do what every serious amateur chef dreams of: he apprenticed at Babbo, the flagship restaurant of superstar Mario Batali. "Heat" teems with hilariously humiliating tales of chopped carrots, skinned lambs' tongues and self-immolation.

A Death in the Family

The memoir genre has taken a beating lately, which is just one reason to celebrate Donald Antrim's stunning new book, "The Afterlife." Antrim, the author of three praised novels, writes principally about his mother here, a terrifying alcoholic who, even when she finally got sober, was hostile, unhinged and convinced she was an artistic visionary.

Building Recognition

When the Museum of Modern Art in New York opened "On-Site: New Architecture in Spain" earlier this year, it showcased Spain as the hotbed of cool design. But besides the cutting-edge projects on display by the usual suspects--Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel--the exhibition carried a subtle subtext.

Transition

OLEG CASSINI, 92 Son of a Russian aristocrat, he found fame in dressing royalty--American royalty, that is. For the 1,000 days of Camelot, he was Jackie Kennedy's primary designer, creating the elegant dresses, coats and gowns that made the First Lady an icon of chic.

Heck of a Prob, Brownie

If you've read "The Da Vinci Code," you know author Dan Brown loved planting anagrams as clues in his best-selling thriller. But when he named a scholarly British character Sir Leigh Teabing, little did he know an anagram could bite back. "Leigh Teabing" is a play on the names of Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent, the two authors now suing Brown's British publisher, Random House U.K., for copyright infringement.

Transition

She was a housewife and freelance writer in 1963 when she published "The Feminine Mystique," the manifesto of modern feminism. What sounds obvious today was revolutionary when she articulated it then: "A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, 'Who am I, and what do I want out of life?' She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children." A founder of the National Organization for Women, she was often at odds with her fellow...

A Fine Mess in Malibu

The old Getty villa in Malibu always had a wacky Hollywood vibe. A replica of a grand Roman house that was buried when Mount Vesuvius blew in A.D. 79, it looked so fabulously fake in the southern California sunshine that you half-expected some B-movie actor to stroll out in a toga and start orating.

A Light in the Piazza

It's easy to forget that the elegant Italian architect Renzo Piano's first big commission was totally outrageous. Thirty-five years ago, he and British colleague Richard Rogers teamed up to build the Pompidou Center--both unknown, they beat out 681 architects for the job--and their brash factory for culture, with its pop-colored industrial tubes, ducts and pipes, landed in a sedate Paris neighborhood like an alien spaceship. "We were young, quite impolite bad boys," Piano recalled with a smile...

The de Young Is... DeLovely

If you go to the top of the tower that rises out of San Francisco's stunning new de Young Museum, you can see for miles. You can see the Marin headlands and the downtown high-rises; on a clear day you can see the Pacific.

ALONE WITH HER WORDS

These are the first words Joan Didion wrote after the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in December 2003: "Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant.

A 'Diplomat Of Grief'

Marian Fontana had just dropped her little boy at kindergarten and was waiting in a Brooklyn coffee shop to meet her firefighter husband; it was their eighth wedding anniversary, and they were going to spend the day in Manhattan.

DESIGNER DIGS

As you sit in the crisp white living room of the model apartment at 50 Gramercy Park North in New York City, check out the subtle details of the exorbitant minimalist decor: the sleek fireplace of buttery travertine, the Italian cherry kitchen cabinets, the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the leafy private park to which each owner will be given a key.

SNAP JUDGMENT: DVDS

The Bette Davis CollectionIn this five-film set, you can see Davis go from mesmerizing to monstrous--often in the same scene. The 10-time Oscar nominee (and two-time winner) is luminous when she's good ("Now, Voyager," the end of the weeper "Dark Victory"), but nothing beats Bette when she's bad (the lying wife in "The Letter").

SNAP JUDGMENT: BOOKS

Acts of Faith By Philip CaputoIn this modern-day morality tale set in Sudan, a band of Western aid workers pay the price for their altruism when they forgo airlifts of food and medical supplies to run guns to the Sudanese People's Liberation Army.

SNAP JUDGMENT: BOOKS

Son of the Rough South By Karl Fleming Fleming was shot at, beaten, spied on and nearly killed as a reporter. Was he a war correspondent? Not exactly. He covered the civil-rights movement for NEWSWEEK.

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