Scandal: A Manual

RUSH & MOLLOY’S SCANDAL --- Being in the ink-stained wretch business, I knew I was going to love George Rush and Joanna Malloy’s new tome, Scandal: A Manual, but I am truly loving it; not so much for their celebrity-stories (Kirstie Alley, Sylvester Stallone, Don Johnson and Jack Nicholson), but for the memories and references to such legendary newspaper characters like Steve Dunleavy; Richard Johnson; Richard Gooding; Cindy Adams; Liz Smith; Lou Colasuonno; and the dean of them all, Neal Travis. I mean, if you do a job like this, these names are like royalty. The stories are great, but the behind-the-scenes moments are priceless. Their classic Rush & Molloy column in the New York Daily News was required reading … right along with Johnson’s Page Six.

I met Joanna years ago and through her, met George, who has always impressed me as a writer out of the Dorothy Parker-era. Classy, reserved and, remarkably funny. It’s a classic book for sure … required reading. I loved Joanna’s machinations amidst the Woody Allen/Soon-Yi Previn scandal and George’s own dance with Motown-founder Berry Gordy.

Johnson left Page Six a while back and it really has never returned to what he made it; although Johnson has recently returned to the Post penning a Neal Travis-like column. The News, on the other hand, he re-christened their gossip sheet (in what must be like the 7th time) as NY Confidential and though they've gotten some legitimate stories, it’s a pale, pale link to what Rush & Malloy were. I guess the one constant in gossip is change.

Sirius XM's Brett Winterble talks to George tonight on his show.

 HOMELAND --- What was missing the most from Showtime’s Homeland this season, returned in the closing minutes of last night’s “Little Red Wagon” episode …. Damien Lewis. Mandy Patinkin’s character, after carefully orchestrating the possible coup of his career suddenly went under the radar and materialized where Brody has been held all this season. It posits several questions: How did Patinkin know he was there and for how long; did he ever truly believe Lewis was responsible for the mass bombing that ended season two; and, what plan does he have in mind for him. No doubt about it, this has been Patinkin’s season and he’s been truly brilliant. Many have believed that since the show began, he’s been the mole. Really, quite a superlative episode; certainly the best of a season that struggled somewhat. The last few episodes should be dazzling.

LADY GAGA --- I thought she did a tremendous job hosting this weekend’s Saturday Night Live; in fact, it garnered the show’s highest ratings since March.

Opening with a jazzed-up version of her current hit, “Applause,” she showed off her voice to great effect and it was a great arrangement of the song; mixed in with a bit of "New York, New York." There’s no question that she was in on the whole Gaga-joke and her appearance really displayed a great side of her personality; a side that’s often gotten lost. One reviewer called it her New York-theater side, rather than her art-school/shock persona. I couldn't agree more.

She also performed “Gypsy,” from her new album, which was most excellent. I noted many similarities to any of the classic Springsteen-anthems and felt that the late, great Clarence Clemmons’sax would have fit so perfectly in this. She’s got a real voice and can write songs; something so missed in today’s music scene. She came on the scene with such a fervor, that many missed the point; she’s a real talent.

CLOSING NOTES --- After a tremendous start last year: Mark Bego’s excellent edited-magazine on the 50th Anniversary of The Supremes – and, a healthy dose of Mary Wilson to boot – the company that issued it, Event Bookazines, has possibly shuttered. We haven't gotten any official word, but communication has gone silent. Publisher Tony Seidl, who invented the instant book years ago; with this company, basically invented the instant magazine. I know for a fact they had several new magazines in the pipeline. We're keeping our fingers crossed. They were a great addition to the media-scene.

LITTLE RASCALS-- The Rascals were absolutely brilliant opening The Views’ birthday episode for Whoopi Goldberg last week. Boy, did they sound like heaven! I totally missed their run on Broadway, but kept hearing raves left and right. I had occasion to sit with co-producer Maureen Van Zandt last week and she told me the production would be returning to Broadway in mid-September. Believe me: I will be there opening night. Maureen’s a visionary talent in her own right and I can't wait to see her talent explode in the production of the show, Once Upon A Dream. She’s been a key player in many projects, some with her husband Steve. A true talent for sure.

ANTI ALEC-- I've almost reached my tipping point with Alec Baldwin. I've loved him for years, possibly most in The Departed, and on many David Letterman appearances but, the man does have anger issues. In his so-called stalking trial last week; who the hell knows what really happened, but I'll say the alleged stalker’s attitude in court didn't really help her. She was sentenced to a contempt charge and 210 days in jail. I wonder if there’s a book in her future. And, post-trial Baldwin’s been systematically picking off photographers and journalists near his Village home. MSNBC pulled his talk-show for two weeks in response to a alleged homophobic rant he shouted at one photographer. Look, I'm quite sure what he’s been going through is the worst, but Alec, get a grip. You are killing what’s left of your career and your reputation. I predict MSNBC will pull the show. I've heard stories like this for years about Alec and, what can I say, karma’s a bitch.