Liz Smith: NYC Happenings

main“DO not join encounter groups. If you enjoy being made to feel inadequate, call your mother!”

I found this in a quote file attributed to one Liz Smith. I can’t believe I wrote that. Perhaps whoever did, will communicate and take credit. I adored my mother.

parentsHere’s what I wrote about her for a recent program for the T. J. Martell Foundation which fights cancer in a big big way. I was recently honored by them and they asked for a remembrance of my mother for their program. Here it is:

My mother used to say if we did good in life there’d “be a lot of stars in your crown in heaven.” We three children were convinced since she died at 95 that she was shining bright in heaven. My mother was a country girl born in Mississippi   to a circuit horse-riding doctor father and a teacher for a mother. Dr. McCall died when she was 13 and he left a drawerful of medical bills, $150,000 unpaid to him.

Elizabeth McCall was a good Southern Baptist Christian. She always did the right thing and expected us to. I am still trying to be more like her. My father always said, “After I met your mother I never looked at another woman again!” So, I guess they were ideal.

I wrote her some kind of letter or note every single day after I left Texas. I still miss my mother, although I am now almost her age when she died suddenly, watching “Ås The World Turns” and playing solitaire in her chair. My brother assured me when he called, “It’s OK, she had just had her hair done and she looks beautiful.”

THE T.J. Martell Foundation is made up of numbers of ladies who were all gorgeous at lunch in their hats. (This was at the Riverpark on the East River. The honorees were Marcie Allen of Mac Presents where she is large as a music industry VIP … JoAnn Camuti of American Airlines … Lori Stokes of ABC’s Eyewitness News … and Dr. Margaret I. Cuomo who has written “A World Without Cancer.”

liz and laura(Her famous parents, Matilde and Mario Cuomo, once residents of the governor’s mansion in Albany made it very special indeed and the onetime Gov. of New York told me a story about his 12 grand-daughters and his one grandson) … and also with us was the Martell CEO Laura Heatherly of Nashville, Dallas and points elsewhere where big beautiful ladies hats abound … (Best teeth I’ve ever seen!) … we had entertainment by Grammy Nominee Elle Varnerwho actually played guitar and sang a song I could understand.

Everybody saluted the excellent Dr. James Holland who shapes great research for this important organization. But my own speech was mostly about another Dr. Jimmie Holland (his wife) and a famous psychiatrist in her own right.

It isn’t unusual in Texas, where she hails from, for girls to be given boy’s names. Dr. Jimmie, research notwithstanding, is the best chicken fried steak maker in the entire world! Maybe I brought down the tone of the T. J. Martell Foundation, but we all had a very good time!

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OH YES, Jenna Wolfe was an exuberant emcee in the same way she scores mornings on the “Today Show.” She worked against holding her stomach in, as she says she does all the time professionally on NBC, because she is expecting a baby girl in a few months. I’ve seldom seen a better, funnier, wittier emcee in such a “serious” fundraiser. Jenna speaks French, Spanish, Creole. She developed her savoir faire from covering sports before the “Today Show” found her. I wish I could recruit her to enliven some of my charities.

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THE COMEBACK girls! You haters or dislikers of Anne Hathaway andGwyneth Paltrow might have to re-think. Both of these actresses have paid the price in public “dissing” for their having won the Academy Award. But I thought Anne was the most fascinating, most interesting looking of all the women we saw photos of at the Metropolitan Museum’s Anna Wintour fashion bash of the year! Her new cropped blonde locks were an antidote to all that has been said about her. (And she remains one of the best actresses I’ve seen in a lifetime of movies. Both in “The Devil Wears Prada” and Jenny Lumet‘s “Rachel Getting Married.”)

As for Gwyneth — she just goes gravely on, ignoring her critics and now she is part and parcel of a large comeback team with Robert Downey, Jr. in “Iron Man 3.” Association with this success will go a long way for the public’s forgiving her for People mag naming her the most beautiful woman in the world.

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Neither of these women has made the “fashion” impact of Sarah Jessica Parker that same Museum night. Sarah was more for just plain show and I can’t believe anybody would seriously wear such a get-up twice.

But as the brilliant Anna Wintour has said in the past about the ultra fashion ofVogue … “These clothes are not for people to buy. They are aspirational!”

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wayneHERE’S the New York Timesyesterday under the headline “Rap, Both Good and Bad for Business.” They examine the current fad, or whatever it is. “Three times in recent weeks large companies … have … learned the hard way, severing ties with rappers they had previously happily paid to endorse their products …”

(They were talking Reebok’s dropping Rick Ross over objectionable lyrics … PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew doing the same to Lil Wayne …. This is a neon-bright sign of corporate retrenchment in the face of protest, bad press and flashes of moral rectitude …”

But the real sum up to this is theTimes statement: “These reactions are a signal of how expendable hip-hop culture … and, by extension, black culture and youth culture — is to mainstream, predominantly white-owner corporations …” Reporter Jon Caramanica goes on to examine the hypocrisy and usefulness of these attitudes. (May 8th The Arts edition of the Times.)

Maybe it is just the out-size publicity granted success stories like Beyonce and Jay-Z and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who are choice morsels for the tabloids and the Internet gossip press to seize on. They are the newnoveau riche and they more than act like it!

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This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 5/9/13

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