Liz Smith: "Mad Men" Returns with New Issues, New Clothes, New Wave

Jessica Pare and Jon Hamm

And more from our Gossip Girl: Sharon Stone and Judd Apatow confer … Madonna’s daughter smokes — stop the presses! … Liza Minnelli — she ain’t like mama, at all

“A TELESCOPE will magnify a star a thousand times, but a good press agent can do even better,” said Fred Allen.

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YESTERDAY WE told you about Sharon Stone’s thoughts on her ex-hubby and the news that she was considering a role in John Turturro’s film, “Fading Gigolo.” (She would play Sofia Vergara’s lover.)

Today we can report that Miss Stone is also mulling a TV project, a sitcom. She would play a sports agent, dealing with ego-mad athletes, sort of a female version of Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire.” But “Sex and the City” writer Cindy Chupack, who is co-creating this new series, is said to be basing the agent character on the late, great Sue Mengers. (Mengers and Stone were friends.)

Sharon is also pals with comedy actor/writer Judd Apatow, and he is eagerly looking at some funny stuff for Miss Stone to do in a film. Sharon has said that maybe ‘it’s not my destiny” to become a big movie star again.

Then again, maybe it is!

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THE GREAT two-hour season premiere of AMC’s “Mad Men” ushered in big changes for all the characters. Now we’re in 1966, and pretty soon it’ll be “Mod Men.”

We saw the show’s first Nehru jacket and Don Draper’s neurotic wife, Megan, populating her surprise party with New Wave types, some obviously gay. Megan, played by Jessica Pare, performed a Jane Birkin style musical number at the party, which celebrated Don’s (Jon Hamm) milestone 40th birthday. (In 1966, the youth movement was just about to crest. In a couple of years, we’d all hear the dreaded “Don’t Trust Anybody Over 30” chant. Hippie kids thought they’d never be 30 — then they became Wall Street bankers.)

And the civil rights movement has made its way into the corridors of “Mad Men.” Despite the nervous inroads of the decade — fast sliding away from the golden “Camelot” era of the series’ beginning — the show itself seems even richer, more complex and tense to the max. It’s a nest of adders and the venom is fatal.

But, fear not, nostalgia mavens, the drinking and smoking still continues. Although the unlikable, frustrated Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) demanded no puffing in his office.

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SPEAKING OF smoking. I hardly think the overheated “news” that Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes, caught puffing a cig, was the kind of publicity the Big M wanted, on the very day her “MDNA” album was officially released — to mostly excellent reviews, and No.1 on iTunes in 35 countries.

In all the years I’ve known Madonna I’ve never seen her smoke. I’ve never even been in a room with her where anybody else was smoking. Apparently, she indulged back in the day, but that must have been way back. Madonna has used smoking as a “glamorous” prop in movies and videos. Most recently, she was seen taking a drag in her “Girl Gone Wild” video. That one is so over-the-top it’s been banned from MTV, so who’d notice smoking amid the near-naked dancers writhing around? Well, enough people noticed to cause a bit of a ruckus and now Madonna is accused of setting a bad example for “Lola.”

This story was on top of Yahoo’s news page!

Madonna, like all normal parents — and she is, believe it or not — can’t control her children’s every move. Madonna doesn’t care much about what people say about her. But she worries over her children’s health.

Her video banned? Great. Her daughter smoking? No way to make that seem cool.

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HOW MANY of you remember the 1957 book, The Lonely Doll, written by Dare Wright? It contained a spare, touching text and the author’s haunting black and white photographs. The Lonely Doll became a classic in its time. And her nineteen other books remain popular as well. Dare Wright died in 2001. She was a great beauty, also an artist and fashion model.

Tomorrow, at the Fred Torres Collaborations gallery at 527 W. 29th Street, the first-ever exhibition of Dare Wright’s photos will be exhibited. The show runs through April 28. Call 212-244-5074.

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ENDQUOTE: “Just like Mama!” That’s what one over-excited fan screamed out to Liza Minnelli, after the star hit the final big notes of her signature song, “Cabaret,” in Atlantic City the other night.

But Liza wasn’t having any of that. After quieting the crowd, she walked to the center of the stage and turned in the direction of where the exclamation had come from. “Oh, no! No, no, no! I am not. And I would never settle for second best, either. I am the best version of myself that I can be. And guess who taught me that?”

Liza, the one and only, will appear next at Connecticut’s Palace Theater, in Stamford, this Friday.

4 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Hippie kids thought they’d never be 30 — then they became Wall Street bankers…

    They all discovered their inner “Don Draper” Liz.  I knew two who did anyway.  Trust me when I say money does not buy happiness. But then they weren’t really looking for it I guess considering the successive “mannequins” they both married along the way. And kids are just things you put pictures of in frames in the office. And hope you can remember their names. Or hope no one else does.

  2. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    As for Madonna being banned these days is quite an accomplishment!   Sorry, Liz, but she has always set a bad example for everyone. I realize being shocking pays well but it also sets an example that in her case in particular really shouldn’t be set.  I got tired of her “groping and grinding” very quickly. And now she’s on to “gang banging.”  Enough already.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Baby….actually, Madonna’s  “Gang Bang” has nothing to with sex.   It’s kind of a revenge song.  She did not come out of her marriage to Mr. Ritchie a happy woman. 

      Let’s never forget–Elvis was the devil too., setting a bad example and destroying our youth and culture.  Now Graceland is just kitsch.  

      • avatar Paul Smith says:

        Hip hop and its descendents are the only devils on the current music landscape. Madonna and her antics are close to creepiness. Its like grandma being banned. Elvis and his threats to youth and culture was a thing of the past by the time he collasped.