Dan Gross: 'Saved by the Bell' star offers teens advice

Elizabeth Berkley will sign copies of her book tomorrow.
Elizabeth Berkley will sign copies of her book tomorrow.
Posted: April 25, 2011

"SAVED BY THE BELL" star Elizabeth Berkley is excited about her newest role, an adviser to teenage girls, in a new book, Ask Elizabeth: Real Answers to Everything you Secretly Wanted to Ask about Love, Friends, Your Body . . . and Life in General.

She signs copies of the book at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square and will also speak this week to 2,000 girls at North Penn and Jenkintown high schools in conjunction with St. Basil's Academy.

She says that about seven years ago, she began being stopped for pictures and autographs by a "new generation" of "Saved by the Bell" fans, and that through talking to the young women and through a friend who worked in New York schools, she held a "self-esteem based workshop." The concept spread, "and I started getting invites from schools and groups around the country."

In the book Berkley talks about "Showgirls" - the cult classic that featured Berkley, shortly after "Saved by the Bell," playing a stripper-turned-showgirl in Las Vegas - and how she drew inspiration from the many harsh critics of the film.

"It was brutally difficult when it came out," Berkley said. "It's really hard to have your head handed to you on a national level when you're 21. But one of the things I say is, 'Never give up on yourself.' I was 21 and the world was telling me I should give up on myself.

"Most girls in adolescence feel like nobody else is going through what they are, but there are a lot of shared experiences, no matter what socioeconomic lines," Berkley said. Her book is divided into five categories - body image, goal-setting, friendship, family and identity - and her advice is culled from private sessions that she has held with thousands of girls in schools across the country.

"This generation doesn't know their girlfriends' handwriting," said Berkley, whose book includes handwritten notes that girls handed her at events nationwide. The book was designed by Paul Kepple and Ralph Geroni, of local firm HeadCase Design. Berkley communicated with them by phone and online but is looking forward to meeting them while she's in town.

"Before it took a lot of time for a rumor to travel," Berkley said, but now sexted pictures can spread like wildfire. "As an actress, ups and downs are public. For these girls it's in the hallways of their school."

Out and about

_ Sound of Philadelphia pioneer Kenny Gamble and his wife, Faatimah, had Easter breakfast yesterday at Redding's (1545 Pacific) in Atlantic City. It was Gamble's first time seeing chef Carl Redding since eating at the famed soul-food chef's old spot, Amy Ruth's, in Harlem. Gamble, who went for scrambled eggs, grits and turkey sausage, told our spy that the food was just as good as he remembered. Redding recently made headlines for giving out free chicken and waffles to people outside his new A.C. spot in protest of IHOP offering the dish, which he said was "soul food without the soul."

* Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and wife, Joan, dined with longtime friend, lawyer Dick Sprague in a large party at Fork (318 Market) the other night.

Dancing with the Blue Rocks?

"Dancing with the Stars" professional Edyta Sliwinska will meet and greet fans at 5 p.m. Saturday before the Wilmington Blue Rocks minor-league team takes on the Winston-Salem Dash at Frawley Stadium. For tickets visit bluerocks.com.

'Master of Disaster' at luncheon

"Master of Disaster" Kenneth Feinberg will speak Thursday at a Chancellor's Forum luncheon presented by the Philadelphia Bar Association's Business Law Section at 10 Arts at the Ritz-Carlton.

The 12:30 event is open to the public, and tickets are $55 online at philadelphiabar.org.

Feinberg administered the 9/11 fund, which distributed nearly $7 billion to survivors and families of victims. In June President Obama appointed him the independent administrator of a $20 billion fund set up by BP to compensate victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He also served in 2009 as special master for TARP executive compensation.

(P.S. Ken, they still make too much.)

Funny business

Doctor-turned-comedian Danny Broad edged out 97.5 The Fanatic's Phil from Mount Airy on Saturday night at the Sarcasm Comedy Competition at the club inside the Cherry Hill Crowne Plaza. Both men have been selected to open for "Jeffersons" star Sherman Hemsley when he plays Sarcasm on May 21 - tickets are available at sarcasmcomedy.com. The event was hosted by 610 WIP's Steve Trevelise, who owns the club, and was headlined by his WIP colleague Big Daddy Graham.

Speaking of Graham, he'll perform at the Sellersville Theater on Saturday, along with comedian Spins Nitely, whom you may remember from getting hit with a Shane Victorino bat that flew into the stands during the 2009 World Series.

For tickets or info, visit ST94.com.

Hammer-ing alternative energy

Local alternative-energy company SP-One has hired Dave "The Hammer" Schultz as its national sales manager. The former Broad Street Bully will procure "solar projects, co-generation projects and third-party electrical supply," says Lee Dinenberg, president and CEO of SP-One.

Rabbi on Newsweek's radar

Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, president of Wyncote's Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, was picked as one of the top 20 most influential rabbis in the United States in the Newsweek/Daily Beast annual poll. He is the brains behind a new social-media initiative, mostjewish.com.

Visit PhillyGossip.com for Dan's latest updates or follow PhillyGossip on Twitter. Have a tip? Call 215-854-5963, or email grossd@phillynews.com. For recent columns, visit www.philly.com/DanGross.

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