New Wave’s answer to Anne Murray is probably best encapsuled in The Biffs, a sextet from Scarborough, Ontario, which, coincidentally, features one of the songbird’s nephews, Chris Langstroth, on saxophone and hair dryer. The Biffs revel in the tasteless images of kitsch epitomized in songs such as Domesticat (lyric: I chipped my mother's Corning Ware) and Flying Saucer on a Stick. Since their average age is 19, even 33-year-old Rough Trader Carole Pope is considered “older generation” by Biff brother How’rd, who strums guitar and squirts the audience with a water pistol. Biff vocalist Rik Wainer contends the group is a serious cultural entity for the 1980s: “It’s all art—only we find it at the bottom of a trash can in front of K-Mart.”
As if the shadow of Chappaquiddick weren’t enough, Senator Edward Kennedy’s extramarital sex life goes under the public microscope next month in an article titled Kennedy's Woman Problems, Women 's Kennedy Problems, which will appear in The Washington Monthly. The 3,000-word story by Suzannah Lessard of The New Yorker is described as “the intelligent woman’s guide to the touchiest issue of the 1980 campaign,” and Lessard predicts a negative female reaction to what she calls Kennedy’s “short-term pattern.” The “pattern,” which Kennedy is said by
some to have practised on such notables as socialites Amanda Burden, Page Lee Hufty and, of course, Margaret Trudeau,
consists of “a lunch and a dalliance, over and out, on with the pressing schedule.” “The constant pursuit of semi-covert, just barely personal and ultimately discardable encounters is a creepy way to act,” summarizes the 30ish author and womanizer-watcher.
Although Barbi Benton hippetyhopped in the shadow of Hugh Hefner for years following her 1968 debut in Playboy, the hutch-father could never be lured to the altar. After Benton vacated the Mansion West, she began a singing career and traded her cottontail for a Daisy Mae-look as a regular on Hee Haw. Now verging on 30, Benton has finally taken the long hop into matrimony with George S. Gradow, 35, a San Francisco real estate tycoon. § Meanwhile back at the Mansion, Hefner o is living in contented sin with 1977 £ Playmate Sondra Theodore. o
Legal-eagle Marvin Mitchelson, whose o clients include Lee Marvin’s palimony ^ pal Michelle Trióla and Mick Jagger’s í
look-alike wife Bianca Jagger, may soon find himself with his own mess to clean up. For 19 years Mitchelson, 51, has been married to Italian actress Marcella Ferri and he now admits that they are having a few problems. “I don’t see her too often,” says Mitchelson, who doesn’t like to think about divorce. “Do you know how many lawyers would like to get their hands on that case?”
ííiwould be happier if the word ‘docuImentary’ didn’t exist,” says Ira Wohl, 35, whose, ah, documentary Best Boy, about his 52-year-old mentally retarded cousin Philly, has been sweeping film festival awards and tugging at critics’ heartstrings. Over the next few months, Best Boy will be opening across Canada and Wohl is afraid that the “documentary” tag will “send people running away in droves.” Not to worry, the film was such a success at Toronto’s Festival of Festivals that two extra public screenings had to be added, and lineups rivalled King Tut’s.
When the formal hat-tossing ended last week, both Senator Edward Kennedy and Governor Jerry Brown had
entered the Democrats’ official ring of presidential hopefuls. Kennedy’s announcement was made amid much fanfare before 5,000 Bostonians and three generations of “the clan,” headed up by 89-year-old matriarch Rose Kennedy. Brown’s declaration was a much lower keyed affair at the National Press Club in Washington where the Cloud 9 candidate spoke from a lectern graced with a hand-painted sign which read: WOW! BROWN NOW! “I see a future where we stretch out into space,” said the 41year-old governor, who promised a campaign based on three principles: “to protect the earth, serve the people and explore the universe.”
It may be “finger lickin’ good” again soon but for two years Colonel Harland Sanders says he couldn’t stomach the chicken he made famous. “It got so bad I wouldn’t eat it,” says the 89-year-old Colonel who sold his U.S. interest in the company 15 years ago. “They started cutting corners,” he explains. “The chicken tasted terrible.” John Cox, a spokesman for the American Kentuckyfried empire, says the company can’t quarrel with the Colonel’s qualms. “Colonel Sanders is quite right when he says the quality of our product declined,” Cox admits candidly. “We’re returning to his basic rules.”
Montreal-born Alexandra Stewart has
made so many movies that she can’t remember them all. “There have been 70 or 80,” she recalls, but her favorite is still the 1975 classic Black Moon, which was directed by her former mate Louis
Malle. Though she now lives mainly in Paris, Stewart is a hot property in Canada where she won critical acclaim for sensual déshabillé in In Praise of Older Women. This year she has worked in five Canadian films: Agency, The Last Chase, Phobia, Final Assignment and Your Ticket Is No Longer Valid, largely as a romantic interest. At 40, she shows few signs of her age, but that is something she has been working at since her modelling days in Paris. “I was so fat,” she recalls of the lean years when she was beginning, “that the agency people told me to go away and chew a lettuce leaf for three months.”
Life with Winston Churchill and his
“darling Clemmie” wasn’t always peaches and cream, according to Lady Mary Soames, one of their daughters. Soames documents the tribulations of her parents’ 57-year marriage in her book, Clementine Churchill. “We were brought up rather toughly, to realize that we lived in a world of grave concerns,” says Lady Soames, 57, who admits that life with the bulldog and his bride wasn’t always serious. Houseguests, for example, provided the five
Churchill children with no end of fun. “Charlie Chaplin did marvelous imitations of Napoleon,” she recalls, and at 12 Lady Soames maintained a mad crush on Lawrence of Arabia, who was somewhat of a James Dean figure: “He’d come roaring up to the house on his motorcycle and he’d come for dinner dressed like an Arabian prince.” The whole story will be documented in a 10part British TV series and, while Soames says the couple lived at a “crisis pitch,” she promises that the “Pug” (Winnie) and “Kat” (Clemmie) story contains its fair share of hugs and kisses.
Old Monkees never die, they just shed their toques and become real musicians—at least that’s the update on Michael Nesmith, who played guitar with Peter Tork, Davey Jones and Mickey Dolenz on The Monkees TV show in the late 1960s. “In the States we’re not as original—we call toques ‘wool hats,’ ” says Nesmith, 37, who has struck out on his own in the burgeoning field of video recording and movie sound tracks (Days of Heaven). Nesmith’s latest album, Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma, is currently rising on the charts and he plans to keep the rest of the Monkees out of his act, though rumors of a reunion crop up “at least every six months.”
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