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Jeff Simon

Jeff Simon is the News' Arts and Books Editor. He has been writing for the paper since Spiro Agnew was the vice president.


TAKE YOUR PICK from any of a dozen plausible Michael Jacksons, among them:The fellow who never goes anywhere without Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee.The terminal eccentric who sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber and makes million-dollar bids for the bones of "Elephant Man" John Merrick.The irate younger brother supposedly apoplectic at big sister La Toya's luxuriant Playboy ma…

It was a question that hissed through American living rooms and bedrooms eight days ago as we watched Tony Danza on "Saturday Night Live."After the word was used three more times, the answer was clear: "No, he didn't." The word that was used throughout the sketch was "funking" but, in context, there wasn't a smidgen of confusion about the word for which it was a surro…

It was a question that hissed through American living rooms and bedrooms eight days ago as we watched Tony Danza on "Saturday Night Live."After the word was used three more times, the answer was clear: "No, he didn't." The word that was used throughout the sketch was "funking" but, in context, there wasn't a smidgen of confusion about the word for which it was a surro…

TAKE YOUR PICK from any of a dozen plausible Michael Jacksons, among them:The fellow who never goes anywhere without Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee.The terminal eccentric who sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber and makes million-dollar bids for the bones of "Elephant Man" John Merrick.The irate younger brother supposedly apoplectic at big sister La Toya's luxuriant Playboy ma…

The Tralfamadore Cafe has announced its new talent booking policies and its long-awaited February schedule.The club in Theater Place will reopen Feb. 17 after a being closed for 15 months because of economic hardships.As previously announced, the opening night gala, a $100-a-ticket fund-raiser, will feature Grammy-award winning funkmaster Ramsey Lewis.The policy and s…

SO TOM SELLECK thinks he's a movie star, huh?After years of trying (in movies like "High Road to China" and "Lassiter"), he teamed up with Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg in "Three Men and a Baby" and had a monster hit. So now he thinks he's entered Gable and Redford country.Fat chance.One good look at his newest movie "Her Alibi" and the world is going to put him rig…

"SALAAM BOMBAY" is an enormously moving and powerful film about life for children in the slums of Bombay.The tightrope perils are obvious -- fall off on one side and you've got a social tract; fall off on the other and you've got sob-sister sentimentality. Mira Nair's film walks the tightrope unerringly and with immense cumulative emotional affect. In fact, the incons…

YOU CAN learn a lot from "Entertainment Tonight."It's a good thing, too. "ET" addicts have been presented with their stiffest choice in years now that the new syndicated tabloid number "This Evening" has hit the air. It replaced Grant Tinker's mega-turkey "USA Today" opposite "ET" at 7 p.m. on Channel 2.In one show, "This Evening" managed to slither through supermarket t…

Surprise, surprise.Surprise No. 1 is that Burt Reynolds is very good in "Physical Evidence." Surprise No. 2 is that Theresa Russell isn't.What isn't much of a surprise at all is that it's a mopey and thoroughly undistinguished thriller, no sharper or juicier or more inventive than any program you might see on Sunday night television. (In fact, for the life of me, I ca…

STEPHEN FREARS' "Dangerous Liaisons" is a great film, one of the great films of last year -- no "ifs" or "ands" and only one "but" that I can think of. The qualifying "but" is this: it was based on Christopher Hampton's play and is long and talky. But most of the talk is brittle and brilliant and all of it is directed with astounding grace and is necessary to set up t…

WOODY ALLEN'S "Another Woman" is a wickedly underrated movie -- critically abused when it first came out and then commercially abandoned. It finally opens today, rated PG, in the Amherst Theater.With the onset of TV's version of movie reviewing (among other '80s ailments), a certain amount of insensitivity and incomprehension became institutionalized in American movie…

YOU'VE NEVER seen an actor get physically tossed around the way Martin Short gets thrown about in Francis Veber's hilarious "Three Fugitives." Short spends a third of the movie as Nick Nolte's personal beanbag.In his middle-age, Nolte has turned into a kind of GQ version of Wallace Beery. Clearly, there is much fussing about over wardrobe and all but there really IS s…

God help me, I miss him already. I can barely concentrate on the Super Bowl. (Do you suppose old Dutch will show up on the halftime show? Or make a post-game call to the winning locker room for old time's sake? Too much to ask, I suppose.)It isn't every eight years that you get the ultimate product spokesman as president. America was his sponsoring product for two terms an…

AT HOME: Essays 1982-1988 By Gore Vidal Random House 303 pages, $18.95 PREPARED FOR THE WORST Selected Essays and Minority Reports By Christopher Hitchens Hill and Wang 357 pages, $19.95 PARTIAL PAYMENTS Essays on Writers and their Lives By Joseph Epstein Norton 429 pages, $18.95The photo of Gore Vidal on the dust flap of "At Home" is another matter. Vida…

POOR HARVEY Fierstein."Torch Song Trilogy" should have been his great moment of triumph. So too should it have been a great moment of triumph for the whole 40-year parade of gay emergence in American theater.The current witty and maudlin movie of Fierstein's hit award-winning Broadway play should have been the movie that unstuck the revolving door of the Great Closet …