The rise of Rosenblatt

ROGER ROSENBLATT of PBS and the “MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour” is one of the 20th and 21st centurys’ most amusing and astute social critics, journalists, professors and lecturers. He won two George Polk awards writing for Time magazine. Now he has a play previewing Thursday and opening Oct. 20th titled “Ashley Montana Goes Ashore in the Caicos.” (This seems to be something of a takeoff on the infamous Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue.) Roger also has a new novel coming in February. It is a modern day version of William Dean Howell’s “The Rise of Silas Lapham.” Roger calls his version, about a Trump- like tycoon in the Hamptons, “Lapham Rising.”

NO” IS Beyonce Knowles’ answer to the question of whether she is married to Jay-Z. Is she engaged? “No.” Does she know there’s a rumor that the two are secretly married? “No, I didn’t. … I’m not. But I’m ‘engaged’ and ‘married’ at the same time?” (Laughter) So goes the 23-year-old singer’s chat with writer Lisa Robinson in the coming Vanity Fair music issue for November. Says Lisa: “There are no drug rumors. No quickie Las Vegas marriage or annulment. No ‘pimps up, ho’s down’ jackets worn at a wedding rehearsal dinner. No jumping on sofas during ‘Oprah.’ Beyonce — she of the ‘bootylicious’ sexy dances — still manages to wear her success well while maintaining a sense of decorum in a world gone absolutely mad. Beyonce Knowles is very much a lady. And when was the last time anyone used that word to describe a superstar?”

JODIE FOSTER really wants to do “The Brave One” — a movie about a woman who seeks revenge after a brutal attack, but has not yet signed on the dotted line. She is waiting for a director. Aren’t we all? Right now she is shooting Spike Lee’s “Inside Man” with Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Christopher Plummer. It is described as a “crime/drama/mystery/thriller.” … Every florist in San Diego was cleaned out of roses and fans renamed Prado Avenue “Spider Woman’s Way.” This is for Chita Rivera who begins previews of her one-woman Broadway show on Nov. 23. Line up for “The Dancer’s Life” coming to the newly named Schoenfeld Theatre on W. 45 St.

SO WE did hold the Fete de Swifty last week in a tent on 73rd St. and Lexington and the mayor showed up to do his bit for his Fund to Advance New York and provide after-school programs for city kids. After his very nice introduction of me, I said, “He is our present mayor. We hope he is our future mayor and, I might add, he is the only Republican I have ever loved!” (This wasn’t exactly true but hyperbole in defense of charity is excusable, I hope!) We raised almost $600,000 at this cocktail blowout with people crowding the front entrance to buy $20,000 worth of tickets while it was all happening … Here’s another event to help children: Chefs from some of the city’s finest restaurants will be at the Kentshire Galleries on Oct. 11 for the “A Taste of the Good Life” to benefit the Partnership with Children. Wine tasting will bring in August Briggs, Alberto Giachino and the vineyards Hope Kiln, Bargetto and Charles Creek. Chefs Bill McDaniel of the Red Cat, Floyd Cardoz of Tabla and Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit are a few who will show up in their toques. Call (212) 689-9500, ext. 308 … Since he supposedly retired, the perspicacious William F. Buckley Jr. is more omnipresent than ever. Friends and colleagues will celebrate the founding of the National Review on Thursday with drinks and dinner in the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C. The hosts are the Hon. Henry J. Hyde, George Will and Rush Limbaugh.

POSSIBLY THE greatest shopper and wearer of model-size couture clothing in the world was the late Nan Kempner of San Francisco and New York. Much has been made of her death from emphysema on July 3rd and the social and fashion legacy she left us. It seems the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute is happily negotiating with Nan’s estate and the bulk of her amazing collection of the world’s most famous designers past and present will go to the Institute. What’s more, in the spring of 2006 the Costume Institute will mount one of its fabulous exhibits of Nan-ery fashion … In Sydney these days, the Australian harbor tours now glide past Russell Crowe’s glass penthouse located at the back of the W Hotel complex. This might be enough to incite the cantankerous, privacy-loving Oscar-winner to throw a telephone … “The last thing she ever cared for was gossip. Yet she had been out of touch for so long that she was astonished at the vigorous opinions of these random nobodies!” This is the Wicked Witch of the West astounded to discover that Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow are talking about her in the novel “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire.

E-mail Liz Smith at

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