Monday, November 12, 2012

LIZ SMITH: Big Ideas ...

583 Park Avenue at 63rd Street.
Eddie Murphy, Talking Big Ideas at L.A.'s Coffee Bean ... Daniel Craig Tells Rolling Stone Almost All — But Don't Ask About His Favorite Porn Site (That's Personal.)
Saving and Appreciating Manhattan's Fabulous, Historic, Third Church of Christ, Scientists.
by Liz Smith
Monday, November 12, 2012

WHEN EDDIE Murphy stops in at L.A.’s Coffee Bean on Beverly Drive, he is often accompanied by his gorgeous girlfriend, model Paige Butcher.

But Eddie doesn’t just sip coffee and gaze meaningfully into Paige’s eyes. He often engages and encourages the other customers into discussions on politics and world affairs. He leans towards the right, but is knowledgeable, polite and humorous. He’s a deep thinker!

On the professional side, Eddie is excited about a fourth “Beverly Hills Cop” movie. This has been in “deep planning” at Paramount. (As opposed to shallow planning? The first “BHC” movies were in 1984, ’87, ‘94.)

Our intrepid guy in L.A. Hal Lifson (he reps all those sexy runners like Maggie Vessey and Rick Symmonds) chatted Eddie up about his coming movie.

Murphy, who is co-writing the script, said, “I’m excited to revisit Axel Foley again. I feel that now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I can bring some worldliness to the character. Make him more of a veteran.”

Well, Eddie is older, and probably wiser, but at nearly 51 he looks at least a decade younger. So, he won’t be a grizzled veteran, that’s for sure!
SOME years ago I managed to scoop news that one of the most beautiful churches in Manhattan at 63rd Street and Park Avenue was going to meld with the Rose Corporation to begin offering some of its space for charity events and galas.

This is, of course, The Third Church of Christ, Scientists. Their congregation of believers, once led by such as the famed actress Carol Channing, is simply no longer sufficient to the building’s physical upkeep.

This fantastic looking church, an architectural wonder, is in what is known as “the historic district” of Manhattan and cannot be torn down. Not long ago, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, of which I am a worker, gave the Church a grant to fix its roof.
583 as an event space.
Meantime, the public ballroom in the Church has become a mecca for smaller parties, galas, tributes and private dances although the beautiful done-over “ballroom” cannot accommodate parties of more than about 400 people. I have officiated at a few parties here and I’ve never known the Church’s non-secular money-making public offerings to make a nuisance of itself.

This Church has spent thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting its “neighbors” – such as the ones in the building far across Park Avenue, at the co-op 580 Park Avenue. They seem to want to shoot down the Church’s commercial ballroom.

Someone smart that I know recently inquired of the objectors. “Do you really object to a few hundred, nice, well-behaved people assembling now and then at night on Park Avenue, going in and out of the Church. Do you want to prevent the Church from surviving?”
“Turn it into a museum!” came the answer from irritated “neighbors.”

Hmmm, would Park Avenue really like to have gangs of folks assembling in front of this Church, loitering the way the public swarms in front of the Metropolitan Museum or the New York Public Library? And I don’t think that’s wrong either, as the public owns these latter two institutions.

Third Church of Christ, Scientist doing its religious duty.
How would the “neighbors” like it if the Church sold the air rights to a huge-sun-locking tower, built to deface Park Avenue and block out light and view?

I say to these detractors, leave this Church be!

Let it have its one commercial floor which leaves the Church still able to do its religious duty. Other secular groups need the Church’s advantage for gatherings. It’s not as if rock’n’roll rowdies are spilling out onto Park There is no more mass coming and going than anywhere else happening at night in New York.

I don’t believe the commercializing aspects of the Third Church of Christ are so disrupting to the rich and privileged owners all the way across Park Avenue. If they feel this way, these wealthy lucky owners are bad sports indeed.

Live and let live! We all have enough trouble as it is.
DANIEL CRAIG is known to be a sometimes intimidating interview subject. He doesn’t open up much. He values his privacy and cherishes his silence. However, Erik Hedegaard caught the star of “Skyfall" in a more jocular, relaxed mood for Rolling Stone.

The actor happily chats about his big ears, nose-picking, shoplifted frozen turkeys, and certain habits we just can’t mention here.

When Hedegaard asks if Daniel ever Googles himself, he says: “I don’t — I mean, I really try not to. I really truly try. But then I can’t help myself and I disappear up my own ass and that starts a whole cycle where I gotta look. I mean, I could probably put a lock on the computer, but, yeah, anyway, it’s a sickness. But that’s it. Except for maybe I’ll look up some porn occasionally. Hey, I’m only human.”

Indeed! Not so human, however, that he’d tell what his favorite porn site is. Gotta retain some mystery.

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