Wednesday, March 23, 2016

LIZ SMITH: Women who deserve some pampering

by Liz Smith

Mutiny at the Museum? Also: Bernadette Peters ... Cher ... Caviar for Your Good Health and Elizabeth Taylor — Five Years Gone but Never Forgotten.

"IT'S CLEVER, but is it Art?" said Rudyard Kipling.
RUMOR HAS IT: That all is not well at the Metropolitan Museum as it "re-brands" itself. Complaints include: the bold red "The Met" logo and "hard to read" employee business cards ... a freeze in hiring ... a ten percent cutback ... "too many events" and "new, young, brazen" art directors. (Hmmm ... aren't young art directors supposed to be "brazen?" I mean, that's what art's about!)

I refuse to take these complaints seriously. That is, The Metropolitan Museum remains an oasis of peace and beauty and culture in this frenzied city and these terrible times we live in. So, if there are any issues, fix 'em. Also, how can there be "too many events" at the Met? I'd rather go to an event there than almost anyplace else in Manhattan!
ON Monday, April 11th, The New Jewish Home — which is committed to transforming eldercare for New Yorkers — will honor eight well-known people over eighty at the Mandarin Oriental (80 Columbus Circle). These youngsters are Chita Rivera ... Harry Belafonte ... Jacques d'Amboise ... famed "Sesame Street" puppeteer Carroll Spinney ... ad man Keith Reinhard ... Investor and Jazz at Lincoln Center's Bob Appel ... philanthropist Joy Henshel and, oh yes, your very own Liz Smith.

Well, I am indeed over eighty. In fact I am over ninety. I think I need a special spot on the dais — sort of a throne. We nonagenarians deserve some pampering! This is a fundraiser, so come and raise funds! Or donate and raise funds. Remember, if you're lucky, you'll be a nonagenarian too. Call 212-245-6570.
A nonagenarian with her fellow octogenarian honoree!
SOMETHING lovely spotted on the streets of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Bernadette Peters, dressed head to toe in black, walking swiftly, like a young girl. Although it was a brisk 30 degrees, Bernadette was hatless, and her trademark vibrant curly mass of hair, was not only a striking contrast to her somber outfit, it made her instantly recognizable. People stopped and stared, but nobody bothered her. (Well, they would have had to move fast, like I said, Miss Peters was striding along at a remarkable clip.)
Bernadette seems to be ageless. She looks hardly different from the first time I saw her in "Dames at Sea" back in 1969. (I will perhaps not poke around her attic, looking for a portrait. Some things should remain mysterious.) I adore her, as an actress/singer and as a dear person.
Peters in "Dames at Sea."
I've always felt her interpretation of Mama Rose in the 2003 production of "Gypsy" was fascinating. I've loved all the Rose's — and I've seen every one, starting with Ethel Merman — but Bernadette invested the role with a sexual element it never had before and that sizzle gave the classic show a new and interesting vibe. (Her Rose's "Turn" was as hot as anything stripper daughter Gypsy did!)

Speaking of "Gypsy" isn't it about time for another revival? I feel this show should actually be installed on Broadway permanently. Change the cast from time to time, but just keep running. I bet it could run forever!
Bernadette as Mama Rose.
NOW HERE's something healthy — and expensive — I read about in the April issue of Men's Health. (What? Men are people too, we care about their health.)

One food and nutrition column concerned itself with all the chat around the benefits of Omega-3 Fatty acid supplements. Men's Health suggested an alternate Omega-3 — caviar! I quote: "Caviar is great on top of raw oyster (double the omega 3s!) but fish eggs work well mixed with scrambled eggs or atop sea scallops seared in brown butter."

Well, as much as I want to keep my blood pressure low and take care of my triglyceride levels, I think I'll stick to a pill. Once I run out of money keeping my fridge stocked with caviar, I think my blood pressure will do its worst.
PEGGY HEALY, the entertainment guru, was so impressed after reading Jim Fragale's novel "The Answer to Life" that she hired Fragale to write the introduction to her new book "Entertaining Houseguests: Easy Does It with 101 Rules of Thumb." Fragale's second novel "The Answer to Life Revisited" comes out in the fall.
"This is what 70 & 90 looks like in my family ... Mom has NO MAKEUP ON!"
LAST WEEK Cher sent out an Instagram of herself and her mom, Georgia, on Facebook. The pop icon commented: "This is what 70 & 90 looks like in my family ... Mom has NO MAKEUP ON!"

Cher's mom does indeed look lovely. She was (she is!) a great beauty, married six times. Cher looks absolutely adorable and it doesn't appear she loaded her own famous face with a lot of paint, either. The star is actually rushing her 70th birthday which happens on May 20th.

Cher is 70 years old. It doesn't seem possible. For all her smarts and her savvy, the sexy get-ups and the wisecracks, I've always felt that at heart Cher remains a teenager, with an emotional teenage heart — quick to open up to others, quick to break, not so quick to heal. She's a wonderful girl, still.

(The real Cher is quiet and utterly composed; she moves in hypnotic slow-motion and can sit, remarkably still and almost silent for the longest time. It's all very Buddhist, and peaceful. Of course, I've never been married to her, so that's just an admiring observer's point of view.)
ET — On the beach in 1976.
SPEAKING OF glamorous goddesses who remain young at heart, today marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Elizabeth Taylor. It still doesn't seem possible. She was such a presence, so eternally optimistic; the great phoenix forever rising from the ashes. Even when it became clear that her health had declined to a point that rejuvenation was impossible, those who loved her held out hope that she would defy the odds or the gods, one more time. And she herself never gave in to self pity.

She loved the grand and glorious life she'd lived and accepted the inevitable that she, too, was merely mortal. She never hid herself away, which was a remarkable thing for such a great beauty. But then, when had she ever hidden? As the more-than-pleasingly-plump Mrs. John Warner, she was hardly invisible to the media. In fact, her rebellious perversity seemed to kick in. ("Not only am I fat, I'm going to wear a Halston caftan slit all the way up my leg, so go stuff it!")

I still miss her terribly. La Liz was the greatest star, the star of stars, and a fabulous woman.

With Denis Ferrara

Contact Liz here.