TIME FOR TOVAH
Producer and radio host David G. Meyers is coordinating "The Chanukah Project," a fund-raiser on Thursday, December 9, at 3 p.m. The event allows guests to see Tovah Feldshuh as Prime Minister Golda Meir in William Gibson's "Golda's Balcony" at the Helen Hayes Theater.
The performance benefits "The Livelier Arts, Etc.," a radio show created by Mr. Meyers that premiered eight years ago with a birthday salute to choreographer Anna Sokolow. Lunch is available at Sardi's prior to the matinee performance. After the show, guests will return to Sardi's for a candle lighting to usher in the third day of Chanukah with surprise guests lighting the candles.
Ms. Feldshuh served as "crossovah" host with cabaret singer Jeff Harnar in Mr. Meyers's last radio series, "Hatikvah 5762," which included guests such as Edward Albee, Lukas Foss, Jackie Mason, Elaine Stritch, and Elie Wiesel. To open the series, which aired on WLNG in Sag Harbor in 2002,Marian Seldes recited the national anthem of Israel. Plans are afoot for the new series, titled "Reflections on the Light," to begin airing in February of next year.
OF PRAIRIE DOGS
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt interviewed E.L. Doctorow at the Small Press Center located at the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesman in Midtown.
Mr. Doctorow mentioned that he was once a reader for a motion picture company during the late 1950s. As part of that job, he would read a book a day and type up a synopsis. On the side, he wrote a short-story parody of a Western, which developed into a book called "Welcome to Hard Times."
"I thought I did pretty well. You see, I'd never been out West. I'd been to school in Ohio. I thought Ohio was the West. And I got some pretty good reviews, and I thought I really pulled it off 'til I got a letter from an elderly woman in Texas. This is a novel that takes place in the 1870s in the Dakota territory.
And she said, 'Young man, I was with you all the way until chapter five, where you have Mr. Jenks sitting in the flats making dinner out of the haunch of a prairie dog.' She said, 'At that moment, I knew you'd never been west of Ohio, because the haunch of a prairie dog wouldn't fill a teaspoon.' So I said the only thing I could say in my reply. I said, 'Well, "That's true of prairie dogs today, madam, but in...,' Mr. Doctorow recalled.
A historian at Brandeis University, Jonathan Sarna, won the Everett Family Foundation Jewish book of the year award at the National Jewish Book Awards for "American Judaism: A History" (Yale University Press). It was announced that evening that the book had landed on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list.
Mr. Sarna thanked Yale University Press publisher, Larisa Heimert, who was in the audience. Her family is no stranger to historical books about religion. Her father, the late Alan Heimert, a Harvard professor who was a student of noted Puritan scholar Perry Miller, wrote a groundbreaking book called "Religion and the American Mind" (Harvard University Press), as well as "A Nation So Conceived" with brooding Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.
Also at the National Jewish Book awards was Steve Oney, who received the Gerrard and Ella Berman Award in history for his book "And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank" (Pantheon).
The book unearthed much evidence about the arrest, trial, and lynching of Leo Frank, a young, Jewish Atlanta resident who was accused of the rape and murder of a 13 year-old girl about 90 years ago.
Mr. Oney admitted to procrastinating in writing the book. He was working on an article on the subject for Esquire magazine more than 15 years ago and took galleys along on his honeymoon. He later told the Knickerbocker he doesn't recommend bringing galleys along on one's honeymoon. The long gestation period for the book was the subject of mirth in Mr. Oney's remarks. The audience laughed when he said his wife has been referred to as "the bride of Leo Frankenstein."
FULL "COURT" PRESS
Both the editor and the managing editor of TheSmokingGun.com, William Bastone and Andrew Goldberg, were on hand yesterday at a lunch at Blue Smoke to show preview clips from the upcoming premiere of "The Smoking Gun Year End Special 2004," which airs on Thursday on Court TV.
The special broadcast, which revels in celebrity and civilian legal woes, will address subjects such as the year's most mortifying mug shots. Also, the first recipient of the "Michael J. Jackson Lifetime Achievement Award" will be announced. It goes to the celebrity who has gone above and beyond the call of duty by providing the show with reams of embarrassing legal documents.
The gift bag for the lunch contained a formal commemorative dinner napkin printed with e-mail messages from Martha Stewart from December 27, 2001, including "Peter Bacanovic thinks ImClone is going to start trading downward" and "Gift of $25,000 to Barnard Annual Fund?" Attendees also received "The Smoking Gun" playing cards in a box featuring mug shots of celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, with the phrase "Bergen County Sheriff 1938" under his name.
Guests could have their own "mug shots" taken. Court TV's executive investigative editor, Diane Dimond, who is reporting on Michael Jackson, had posed. The audience laughed when the chief executive of Court TV, Henry Schleiff, quipped that Michael Jackson took the shot of her.
Gary Sheffield, the Yankee star who's recovering from shoulder surgery, just made a lot of money signing autographs at a show in Somerset, N.J. However, he will no doubt sign autographs for free tonight (Tuesday, Dec. 7) in Tampa, Fla. His appearance is in connection with the 60th anniversary of Adele Smithers-Fornaci's National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Darryl Strawberry will also be present; his wife, Charisse, is head of the Tampa branch. Ms. Strawberry's and Mr. Sheffield's wife, DeLeon, are close friends.
GIVE YOURSELF A HAND
At a conference on "Self-Consciousness and Personal Identity in Modern Philosophy" at the Kimmel Center at New York University, Rolf-Peter Horstmann of Humboldt-Universitat in Berlin gave a talk on dialectical philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, a post-Kantian idealist. At the close of the conference, the audience clapped when it was announced that Mr. Horstmann was celebrating his birthday.
The audience laughed when, in closing, a New York University professor told the audience - given the nature of the conference topic of self-consciousness and personal identity - that they should give themselves a hand for the resounding success of the three-day gathering.
New York University sociological theorist Steven Lukes was among those at a reception for Corey Robin's book "Fear: The History of a Political Idea" (Oxford University Press).