Fashion Lessons From Donna Karan

No prima donna, that Donna Karan. By closing shop at age 66 — Karan announced last week that she’s relinquishing her daily duties as chief designer of her namesake company — the visionary is stepping away from the world of fashion with her style legacy intact and her bared shoulders held high. Thanks to her shapely 1980s power suits and draped skirts, we finally stopped kvetching about our weight and learned to love fashion. Karan — no size 2 herself …

Rod McKuen: 10 Things You Might Not Know About the Pop Poet

Literary critics never had much love for Rod McKuen, who passed away on Jan. 30 at age 81 in Beverly Hills. Not that it mattered to his legions of fans. McKuen’s volumes of poetry, including Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows and Listen to the Warm, sold 60 million copies. In addition, McKuen was a prolific songwriter whose lyrics were interpreted by performers ranging from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Johnny Cash. His own gravelly, breathy recording of “Jean,” which he composed for …

Barbra Streisand: A Life in the Movies

One of the great what-if stories in Hollywood history has Elvis Presley turning down the starring role opposite Barbra Streisand in A Star is Born. Well, although we never got to see an Elvis-Babs pairing (he would have been SO much cooler than Kris Kristofferson), Monday, April 22, brings the next best thing: Streisand on the same stage with the Elvis of presidents, Bill Clinton. He’ll present her with the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Chaplin Award in honor of …

Marvin Hamlisch: Music for the Generations

Composer, conductor, pianist – Marvin Hamlisch was all those things. But he was, above all, a consummate showman.  His death at age 68 leaves a gap because he was one of the few musicians – folks like Wynton Marsalis and John Williams come to mind as his peers – whose musical vocabulary and knowledge were so broad and deep as to welcome new audiences into music in a way that underlined the universality of that unique art. As a pops …

Paul Williams: More Alive Than Ever

“I’m a pretty run-of-the mill alcoholic,” says Oscar winner Paul Williams. “I never came out of a blackout with a Russian arms dealer, or with Norman Mailer and a couple of hookers in a Paris hotel.” The 5-foot-2, bespectacled songwriter smiles. “I’d come out of a blackout in the boys department at Sears, trying on sweaters.” Paul Williams ought to be one of Hollywood’s great cautionary tales: Winner of an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Golden Globe (and a nominee …