Liza Minnelli

I Apologize...

I apologize to my readers and to Liza Minnelli for quoting from Tunku Varadarajan's otherwise estimable column about John McCain a remark slighting to her and her gifts. Minnelli has been a talented singer and actress for several decades, and she still has the the warranted courage to perform.

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A.O. Scott on "Sex and the City 2": The first “Sex and The City” movie, which came out two years ago, qualifies as a comedy both because it is somewhat funny and because, according to a more classical definition, it ends, after some reversals and delays, with a wedding. The sequel — which should have borrowed a subtitle from another picture opening this week and called itself “Sex and the City: The Sands of Time” — begins with a wedding and never seems to end.

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Smugged by Reality

Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York By Adam Gopnik (Alfred A. Knopf, 336 pp., $25) I SOMETIMES WONDER if Adam Gopnik was put on this earth to annoy. If so, mission accomplished. Mind you, he finds himself in fine company in my illustrious literary perp walk. Francine Prose, with her pinched perceptions and humorless hauteur—every time she brings out a new book (she is depressingly diligent), I find myself grumbling, “Her again?” I’ve never gotten the point of Paul Auster and his swami mystique and probably never shall, unless I move to Brooklyn and achieve phosphorescence.

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ISHERWOOD: A LIFE REVEALED By Peter Parker (Random House, 815 pp., $39.95)  “FIX” IS A WORD FOR OUR time, blunt and secretive, yet promising transformation. If the “fix” is in, don’t we all suffer because of it? When the World Series of 1919 was “fixed,” the game needed Babe Ruth in order to recover. But if we have a bad knee or a car that won’t start, it is a mercy if someone says they can “fix” it for us. That treatment—we hope—doesn’t involve a cheating fix. It must be a true case of repair or restoration.

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Childish Things

It's not often a television show can make you reconsider the talents of a longtime celebrity. "Arrested Development," the nearly cancelled FOX sitcom whose first season is now out on video, has made me reconsider the talents of two: Ron Howard (whom I'd written off as a purveyor of tame commercial pabulum) and Liza Minnelli (probably best if I not detail my objections). Their mere involvement with "Arrested Development"--Howard as executive producer and folksy narrator, Minelli as a self-parodic supporting character--suggests I may have given neither adequate credit.

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Seeing is Believing

East Berliners head West.

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Los Angeles—In a city that already regards chefs, hairdressers, and lawyers as acceptable playmates, the flowering of yet another exotic social type can’t be regarded as particularly noteworthy. But in Los Angeles this season there’s a new species of personal companion on the rialto that is not only positively orchidaceous but that demonstrates just how chic addiction has become. The hottest companion here is a “disenabler.” A “disenabler” (also known as a “key voice”) is a person who keeps you from doing drugs or from drinking.

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