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Maddow in the spotlight

"That is as it should be!" o Sandra Bernhard declared when Liza Minnelli's press rep, Scott Gorenstein, told her that Liza's upcoming Florida concert at the Hard Rock Casino had instantly sold out all of its 5,000 tickets. Sandra loves Liza.

This exchange happened at the surprisingly intimate, friendly fete thrown by MSNBC's Phil Griffin recently for his star of stars, Rachel Maddow, and her incisive, thought-provoking new book, "Drift." The book tackles our apparently endless wars, the costs incurred, and those who are truly burdened with its responsibilities. (It ain't the politicians, folks.)

The party happened in a basement of the Ace Hotel in New York City. It was civilized. Not overly crowded. You could actually have a conversation, even after the guests began hoisting tequila shots.

Among those saluting the intelligent, wry and funny Maddow were Dan Rather, Gail Collins (who said she'd keep writing about Mitt Romney's dog on the roof of the car because "The Republican primary has been so long, and you need something to keep it interesting!"), Luke Russert, son of the late beloved Tim, and a rising star himself, Tamara Hall, Alex Wagner, NBC News President Steve Capus, and MSNBC's famously bespectacled Chris Hayes, dressed in sailor stripes. Cute.

Maddow sat with her partner, artist Susan Mikula. Also in Maddow's circle was media master Michael Kusek. He helped in the recent election of Holyoke, Mass., Mayor Alex Morse.

Despite the serious nature of her book, Rachel kept the atmosphere light and her remarks mercifully brief and to the point. She thanked her bosses at MSNBC. "I am so lucky to have an employer who is so supportive of all this." She paused and grinned. "Well, they paid for it!"

You are worth every penny, Ms. Maddow.

***

The one, the only Bette Midler has agreed to sit down, in person, in the flesh, with yours truly Monday from at a swanky Manhattan location and talk absolute turkey for a full hour.

This is all for love of New York, for charity, civic-mindedness and, we hope just a bit of unexpurgated, unexpected naughtiness from the Divine Miss M.

She is putting very cunning limericks on her website www.bettemidler.com these days, so why should she hold back in person?

The truly philanthropic Elizabeth Peabody dreamed up these "conversations" several years ago for the Maria Droste Counseling Services, which helps those not so well-heeled to get psychiatric aid.

Will we get any words about Bette's own New York Restoration Project during this effort? You bet. I intend to ask for all she knows about garbage.

***

Teri Hatcher is facing the final season of "Desperate Housewives" with aplomb. Her TV character may have been widowed, but the real-life Teri has plenty of beaus, in the form of professional offers.

ABC, the network that put Teri on the map with "Lois and Clark" and furthered her adventures with "Housewives" is in hot pursuit. Teri wants to do a comedy, and ABC says, "Anything you want, honey!"

Miss Hatcher is also quite a good singer and has been putting together a cabaret act about which she is "quite passionate." (Several years ago, Teri won some excellent reviews in a revival of "Cabaret.")

Most likely, before Teri decides anything, she'll take some time off to be with her daughter, Emerson, and also to prowl around L.A. garage sales. She's quite a collector of things unique and nostalgic.