Monday, September 26, 2016

LIZ SMITH: Momentous Monday

by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Honor and Good Sense? (Good Luck!) ... Naomi Campbell Divas Onward ... Pedal to the Metal for Queen Elizabeth ... TV Stars Descend on The Paley Center in October.

“NEVER GIVE in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” 

So said Winston Churchill.
TONIGHT, WE — Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those who resist party definition — will sit watching our TVs, computers, iPhones, etc, and take in the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as they battle to become the most powerful person on the planet earth.

Will we see “convictions of honor and good sense?” Or will one or both, “give in?”

History, for better or worse, one way or another, begins to truly take form, at 9 p.m. 
QUEEN ELIZABETH turned 90 years old on April 21.  But being queen means you get to revel in — or endure — an entire year of celebration.  All very classy stuff, too.  So imagine my dismay when a press release arrived with this screaming subject line — “Old Bangers Head For Buckingham Palace To Celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday!” 

What?!  That sounded disturbingly lurid, or at least unappetizing (leftover bangers and mash were being shipped to Her Majesty?) But I’m not up on my British idiom.  Apparently “old bangers” refers to a collection of vintage cars that will be part of yet another celebration of QE 2 on October 15th.
The H & H Classics auction venue was determined to provide one British vehicle to represent each year of Queen Elizabeth’s 90 years. Yeah, 90 cars and their drivers will descend upon the palace! (The air quality in The City of Westminster will very Tokyo-like that day.)  Included will be a 1939 Bentley ... 1982 Aston Martin ... 1951 Triumph Renown ... 1968 Rover Coupe ... 1955 Lagonda Coupe ... 1997 Caterham Super Seven.

Who knew the queen liked cars so much? I mean, if 90 corgi puppies showed up, that I’d understand.
SOME PEOPLE say that a lifetime of “diva” behavior doesn’t work out in the end. That’s not always true. Take the case of model deluxe Naomi Campbell.

She was, last week, the subject of a great big New York Times piece, courtesy of the adorable Jacob Bernstein. (We know — Jacob is a serious, talented guy; we shouldn’t objectify him.  He’s tried to hide the adorable behind a beard recently. But that just makes him adorable to a different set.)
Damon Winter/The New York Times
Ms. Campbell, known for her beauty and her tumultuous temperament, is in the midst of what is considered an unprecedented “comeback” for a model, in an industry obsessed by youth.  Not only does Naomi still strut her stuff on the catwalk — or at least in fashion layouts — she acts, she writes books, and she is omnipresent at events.  She says she’s made no “plan” as to her enduring high profile and continues to be occasionally volcanic.  Bernstein noted: “She vacillates between extreme confidence and near-paralyzing insecurity ... friends say they cannot predict which they will experience: Naomi the fiery tiger or Naomi the meek schoolgirl.”
Damon Winter/The New York Times
As with other celebrities who boast a similar temperament, it seems many friends prefer, or are more entertained by the tiger.  Producer/director Lee Daniels recalls meeting Campbell years ago — he’d cast her in a Rock the Vote public service spot.  The only thing Naomi rocked was being hours late and showing up like “Cruella de Vil ... I was screaming at her ... she was screaming back at me.  I fired her on the spot and fell in love with her there and then.”
Naomi on "Empire," with Taraji P. Henson.
I was exhausted after reading Mr. Bernstein’s juicy, jam-packed piece, but amused at the end, to learn that Miss Campbell travels with an elegant, ominous-looking silver vial containing her own ... hot sauce.  For some people, there’s just never enough habanero — in life, or dinner.

P.S. Most divas (and divos — let’s not leave out all those demanding guys!) — reject that word.  They are “perfectionists.”
THE New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Of course it’s a big deal, so they’ve joined with The Paley Center, to honor TV shows that are featured and/or filmed in Manhattan. That means, real live stars, in the flesh.

From Oct 6 to 19, episodes from the following shows will be discussed and screened: “Shades of Blue,” “Homeland,” “Elementary,” “The Path,” “Younger,” “Gotham,” Quantico,” “Madam Secretary,” and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
Here are some of the actors who are scheduled to regale you with their merely marvelous stellar presence and hilarious behind-the-scenes anecdotes. (The press release promises hilarity. You let me know who doesn’t come through.)  Tea Leoni ... Debi Mazar ... Jennifer Lopez ... Ray Liotta ... Sutton Foster ... Aaron Paul ... Claire Danes ... Ben Mackenzie ... Tim Daly ... F. Murray Abraham ... Lucy Liu ... Aidan Quinn ... Blair Underwood ... Mandy Patinkin ... Priyanka Chopra ... Hilary Duff ... Johnny Lee Miller, Trevor Noah and more!”

I’m tempted to take in the day devoted to “Homeland” (October 6th).   I’d like to see a “hilarious” Claire Danes. The path that her character Carrie Mathison has traveled is anything but. 

Call 212-621-6600 for info.
MORE MANHATTAN doings. If you’re looking for something more cerebral and historical (not that Tea Leoni as the Secretary of State doesn’t have a certain historical frisson) you might head over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There you will find a splendid new exhibition, “Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven.”  The display features over 200 eye-popping works of art. These spectacular objects tell of the city’s lavish cultural history, its art and commerce, quite apart from its biblical significance or its age-old place as the cynosure of Middle-East unrest.  The exhibit runs until January 8th.

I had dinner recently with Shelley Ackerman who has often offered her starry thoughts in this Diary. She and Michael Lutin are my favorite astrologists. I almost believe them. They do indeed say what they see in the heavens in a meaningful and endearing manner.
Shelley Ackerman and Raymond Merriman.
And they’ll be meeting with other true believers from October 13th to 16th. That’s when the International Society for Astrological Research gets itself together in Costa Mesa, Orange County, California. This gathering will include 20 astrologers from China. All these well-meaning “scientists of the heavens” will be operating under the headline — “The Power of Forecasting Meets the Consequences of Choice.” 

I, Liz, say, wait a minute. You guys didn’t give us a clue when it comes to the contest of the century between Clinton and Trump. I guess they have to take their astrological chances and so do we.
They do remind us that the US is preparing to elect its 45th President in an unprecedented set-up, when a former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State is pitted against a Real Estate Developer, Showman and Reality Star. But they don’t tell us their astrological predictions as of yet.

The star struck-crowd will have Ms. Ackerman, as its emcee and will end with the famous Raymond Merriman. 

Contact Liz here.