September 25, 2005 |
In the cramped office of his Random House publicist, Salman Rushdie sits alone before tall stacks of his ninth novel, Shalimar the Clown (Random House, $25.95). The rectangular piles form a kind of mini-skyline as Rushdie, Kong-like behind them, does his duty. Signing. There will always be signing. It's what counts for heavy lifting in the generally cerebral life of a mainstream author - the little touch aimed at forging a personal bond between writer and reader. Just one sign of normality.
August 22, 2005 |
Planning a wedding? You might want to schedule it for next year's Unity Day, and not just for theme's sake. Organizers of yesterday's giant community picnic that drew hundreds of thousands to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway boast that it has rained significantly only one time since the event started in 1978. And despite stifling heat that at times made it feel nearly 100 degrees - prime conditions for thunderstorms - this year's event was another sunshine sensation, from beginning to end. So on went the music, eclectic food stands, games for children, and clowns handing out balloons, among other activities.
August 18, 2005 |
The sight of a shirtless Terrell Owens conducting interviews while working on his six-pack last week was one brand of odd. The guy in the black thong, matching push-up bra, and high heels took weird to a whole new level. The circus that follows T.O. like controversy made a stop in South Philadelphia yesterday, when the wide receiver returned from a weeklong dismissal from the Eagles. About two dozen fans - lured by radio contests and eager to let their displeasure with Owens be known - held signs and waited to greet Owens in the morning.
June 24, 2005 |
They all laughed when Betty Thomas announced she was making a classic '70s TV show into a feature film. When The Brady Bunch Movie hit, she had the last laugh. They all laughed when Jerry Bruckheimer announced he was turning a Disneyland theme-park ride into a movie. When Pirates of the Caribbean hit, he had the last laugh. They all laughed when Nora Ephron announced she was updating a beloved '60s TV comedy. With Bewitched, they have a point. Bewitched is . . . not unfunny.
April 22, 2005 |
Imam Shamsud-din Ali boasted about his close ties to Mayor Street in a conversation secretly recorded by the FBI four years ago but complained about the "network of clowns" he had to deal with in city government. The conversation, picked up on an FBI wiretap of Ali's phone in October 2001, was one of the first played for a jury yesterday as the racketeering trial of Ali opened in U.S. District Court. The prominent Muslim cleric is charged with using his influence to set up a series of fraudulent schemes through which he and companies he controlled generated thousands of dollars in illegal cash.
February 27, 2005 |
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when WIBG radio rocked Philadelphia's teenagers and Willie the Worm wooed the preschool set on television. When the zany Ernie Kovacs cavorted in the morning, and things went bump in the night with that cool ghoul Roland and his wife, My Dear, so shy she never left her coffin. When the dulcet voice of John Facenda made us feel comfy as he signed off his local newscasts by wishing all a "good night tonight and a good day tomorrow.
October 5, 2004 |
Pop Lit America (The Book) By "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" 240 pp., $24.95 Not content with their nightly skewering of current events on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and the other writers of The Daily Show have taken on a bigger target in America (The Book): lampooning all of U.S. history. Masquerading as a high school textbook (right down to the authentic "This Book is the Property of:" box stamped on the inside flap), America is the wildest civics lesson you'll ever get. It's full of hilariously apocryphal information, including the assertion that in 1978 President Jimmy Carter nominated NBA scoring machine George "The Iceman" Gervin to the Supreme Court in an "attempt to fundamentally alter the make-up of the Court by adding size, athleticism, and a patented 'finger roll' . . . Ultimately the vacancy was filled by Ruth 'Chocolate Thunder' Ginsberg.
August 25, 2004 |
It began, in the words of one principal player, as "a little misunderstanding" in Cumberland County. When it was over, a six-foot black snake was dead on a front lawn, one man was injured after the dead serpent was used as a bullwhip, and another man - the snake's grieving owner - was reeling after being hit on the head with a baseball bat, authorities said. Investigators yesterday were still trying to sort out what happened Sunday afternoon in the Cedarville section of Lawrence Township.
July 10, 2004 |
Cirque du Soleil, whose mix of art, daring and high style is a showbiz trademark, opened Alegr?a under its tent at Broad Street and Washington Avenue on Thursday, and proved that you don't have to have the world's strangest acts to make the whole thing work. In the past, I've seen Cirque's artists tossing around huge spools, scaling a dozen or so wobbly tables, and playing a form of ping-pong on a tongue. Alegr?a, which means elation in Spanish and has been touring for a decade, takes more-traditional acts to their extremes.
July 29, 2003
BOB HOPE, during the height of his popularity, tried to enlist during World War II. He was turned down and was asked to serve the nation a different way: as an entertainer for the troops overseas. Since then, he re-upped for every conflict, becoming an army of one as he brought a bit of home to soldiers during the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and throughout the Cold War. He was movie star who was willing to face down bombs in war zones and his own fear of flying to make someone laugh.