GOOD MORNING: How do you list the credits when they range from an Oscar winner to Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners — for poetry? That’s my dilemma in offering congrats to the New Yorker magazine, which celebrated its 75th anniversary with a weekendlong celebration including the above — and plenty more. From the ridiculous to the sublime: can you picture Robin Williams working with a parrot? It wasn’t in the script, I was assured. Williams and well-loved-and respected New Yorker writer Lillian Ross were on stage Sunday at Lincoln Center’s Juilliard school in what was supposed to be “A Conversation With Lillian Ross,” but a third party interrupted. It was a parrot that someone had brought along to the event and as parrots are wont to do, it spoke up. To the delight of Robin, who made full use of his talents in a “double bill” with the bird. P.S. the bird’s name was “Bouche” so of course Williams didn’t miss an opening to demonstrate his French accent, along with all his other talents — like dancing across the stage. Aside from that, Ross tried to get in some questions to Williams about his career, his three years at Juilliard, etc. He touchingly recalled watching his father laugh out loud to Jonathan Winters on the Jack Paar show and that was a major influence in his decision to go into comedy. By the way, Williams agreed to be part of the celebration only on condition he was not the only celeb (star) participant. He was not alone. Saturday night at Town Hall in another toast to the New Yorker’s birthday, a revue written by Wendy Wasserstein and directed by Greg Mosher played to a packed house with Alec Baldwin, Swoosie Kurtz, Buck Henry and Christopher Durang reading from pages of the magazine with virtually no rehearsal. And they had the audience laughing non-stop — including themselves. P.S. Baldwin is a New Yorker fan and starred in their ad sales video. The fest wound Sunday in Bryant Park and despite the heat wave (over 90 degrees) a crowd of 3,000-plus listened to poetry readings by the Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning New Yorker creators. You could have heard a pin drop.
NEW YORKER EDITOR DAVID REMNICK (who interviewed Jon Stewart at the American Place Theater), told me he is proud of the magazine’s three wins from the American Society of Magazine Editors: general excellence, public service and fiction. And coming up is a lengthy profile on Randy Newman. Remnick happens to be a Newman fan, admitting to me, “I grew up listening to his records.” Remnick is particularly proud of his showbiz crix, David Denby and Anthony Lane on film, Nancy Franklin, TV, and John Lahr, theater. As for his opinion of the new Talk magazine, he would only say he wishes New Yorker alumna Tina Brown “well. We get along.” Other anniversary celeb participants included Frank Gehry who led the first (and only) tour of the Conde Nast cafeteria that he designed, Paul Simon talked about a future work, Tony winners Elaine Stritch and Kristin Chenowith appeared at a B’way Brunch benefiting Broadway Cares. And many more caring New Yorker fan-reader-contributors. Happy birthday and congrats.
RICKY MARTIN HEADLINES this year’s Carousel of Hope, Oct. 28 at the BevHilton. This is Barbara and Marvin Davis’ 14th fundraiser for the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver with the L.A. chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the American Diabetes Foundation also benefiting from the evening — always a spectacular night of stars, surprises and an enormous silent auction. Jay Leno is once again m.c., David Foster is musical director, George Schlatter produces. The Davises remind that each year, more than 160,000 Americans lose their lives to diabetes. But the Davises remain optimistic and their Carousels of Hope have raised $49.5 million in that fight Katharine Hepburn celebrates her 93rd birthday Friday (May 9). Maybe “celebrate” isn’t the correct word since Kate has never really been big on birthdays. She is at home in Fenwick, Conn. where she walks a bit, and takes her daily drive to enjoy beautiful ocean views. Her niece, Katharine Houghton (“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’) has lined the walls of Hepburn’s hallway with photos of her life and love, Spencer Tracy. Houghton will be appearing in her one-woman show this summer at the Berkshire Theater. … Theo Bikel was birthday-partied on his 76th, Sunday by Kim Campbell, former prime minister of Canada and current Canadian consul general in L.A. and her husband, Hershey Felder, concert pianist and actor. Called a Russian Soiree, the party at the Canadian consulate (where Theo’s entertained often) featured decor, dinner and music all in the Russian mode in honor of Theo’s Russian musical savvy. Sure, he sang, accompanied by Sergei Taranov, Nick Oriando and host Felder. … On Saturday, Carol and Frank Biondi hosted a screening at their home of “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” the Detroit Tigers’ Hall of Famer. The screening honored the pic’s director-producer Aviva Kempner and Greenberg’s son, Steve. The film was also screened last week at the DGA, hosted by Elliott Gould, Arn and Nancy Tellem and Arthur Hiller. Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks and Estelle and Carl Reiner were among those on hand. Kempner received a $40,000 grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Fund for Jewish Documentary Filmmaking, created with a lead grant from the Righteous Person’s Foundation established by Steven Spielberg.