Despite the fact that the BBC just cancelled The West Wing, NBC's big hit show, the program about the presidency has its fans.
In fact, its biggest fan is the New York Times's Maureen Dowd.
Sources at the New York Times tell me that Dowd has had a long and rather wild e-mail correspondence with the show's creator Aaron Sorkin, who was recently arrested for drug possession. Dowd has sent him dozens of e-mails including some of a jocularly randy nature. "There was at least one that referenced hand-counting of votes," reports my source.
How do we know? According to the same sources, Dowd is better at writing the missives than sending them. With a flick of a letter here and there, her messages have been going to a young Times reporter named Andrew Ross Sorkin by accident. Sorkin is said to have contacted Dowd about the mishaps, but still they've persisted.
Sorkin — Andrew, not Aaron — did not return calls yesterday.
Dowd, according to her assistant, was in New Haven yesterday with Dubya.
Dowd, of course, is a political columnist, so The West Wing is undoubtedly her favorite show. Whether or not any of her messages made it through to Sorkin the TV writer — and also author of the play and movie A Few Good Men — is not ascertainable at this time.
Aaron Sorkin, by the way, was a struggling actor before he became a writer, according to his online bio. This may account for the performance he gave the police when he was arrested on April 17th at Burbank Airport for possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms and crack cocaine. Sorkin apparently dropped into a dead faint at his moment of arrest. ("He had a momentary fainting spell," Victor Gill, spokesman for the Burbank Airport police, told me yesterday. "That is correct.")
On cue. Now that's a dramaturge for you.
It's a first in a career of firsts. Tomorrow evening, J Records president/founder and Arista Records founder Clive Davis will make a rare appearance on Capitol Hill.
The occasion? To educate congressmen about the ins and outs of the record business. Recording Industry Association of America chief Hilary Rosen evidently thought Davis — a legend, certainly, and the last of the great record industry geniuses — would be able to explain how new artists are discovered and how they're marketed.
The congressmen and other guests will get a treat: Davis is bringing his new star, Alicia Keys, who will play with her band after the discussion. Keys' debut album is due on June 12th from J, and from my own hearing of her should be the talk of the town and the business for weeks and months to come.
Before Moulin Rouge finally comes to a wide selection of theatres this weekend — and either takes center stage or bombs away — the real winner in this musical muddle is singer songwriter Kenny Nolan. Nolan wrote the hit "Lady Marmalade" for Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash back in 1975. Now it's a hit again, in typically undecipherable hip hop form, for Christina Aguilera and friends from the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge.
What you might not know is that Nolan had two other number one hits in 1975: "My Eyes Adored You," by Frankie Valli; and "Get Dancin'" by Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes. A couple of years later he had another hit, this time which he sung: "I Like Dreamin.'" Even if Moulin Rouge peters out, it looks like the soundtrack and song are hits anyway. Who's buying them? It's beyond me. But I know that wherever he is, Kenny Nolan must be one happy guy. And with "Lady Marmalade," the Wings greatest hits album, and Shaggy singing his version of "Angel of the Morning" on the radio, and aviator glasses back in fashion, all I know is pop culture is in a lot of trouble.
I can't say who exactly, but there's a famous British actor — movies, mostly, quirky — in his 50s who gets his hair dyed in the same London salon as his wife and his mistress. Talk about cosmopolitan. Apparently, this guy prizes his famed hair so much that he's willing to take the risk. Many other glittering stars are seen at the same Bond St. cuttery ...