Last night, Bruce Springsteen called for the President to be impeached. He was kidding, of course: the suggested impeachment would make a Clarence Clemons presidency possible.
But Springsteen wasn't entirely kidding.
At one point toward the end of his first show at Shea Stadium, right before playing "Born in the U.S.A.," he made a rare political statement.
Welcoming both Republicans and Democrats to his show, he told the audience to "demand accountability from our leaders," especially because our soldiers had been sent to fight a war.
It didn't take much to get the message. Springsteen also made an impassioned plea for the Coalition for the Homeless that seemed even more important, considering the recent upsurge in street beggars and sidewalk sleepers in Manhattan.
Then, too, he performed his song, "American Skin," which he wrote about the death of Amadou Dialo , killed by New York City police while former Mayor Rudy Giuliani held office.
Springsteen, once coy about his politics, is now unafraid to make a few statements. In a jovial moment he read aloud a letter he said he'd received from grade-school principal John C. Hughes at P.S. 48 in Queens.
His show, the first of three at Shea, was otherwise the usual brilliant exercise in marrying serious business with party-atmosphere rock and roll. He mixed songs from his Sept. 11 tribute album "The Rising" with older hits such as "Born to Run," "Because the Night," and "Tunnel of Love."
He also covered, I think, three oldies: John Fogerty's anti-war song, "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Seven Nights to Rock," and a portion of the old Curtis Mayfield/Major Lance hit "Monkey Time" was fused with his own rave-up version of "Meet Me at Mary's Place."
Among the fans who turned out in the iffy weather: actress Candice Bergen with her husband, Marshall Rose.
Before the show, the E Street Band's leader, Little Steven Van Zandt , held a small gathering for friends in a meeting area at Shea. When he was told it had started raining before the group was supposed to go on, he blanched.
"Rain and cold," he said. "You wanted to play in October," a friend countered. On stage, Van Zandt didn't look like he was having too much trouble adapting to the blustery elements.
The group did perform some buried treasures, like the much-appreciated "Night" from the "Born to Run" album, "Man's Job" from "Human Touch," "No Surrender" from "Born in the U.S.A." and "Johnny 99" from "Nebraska."
Will he do them again this week? It's anyone's guess. For me the highlight of the evening was the penultimate song, "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)," which stole the show. I'm still smiling.
A rocking version of "Dancing in the Dark" followed as the closer, with Springsteen and the E Street Band giving the 60,000 sardines at Shea a concise, just under three-hour souvenir to take home.
So it looks like veteran TV star Tony Danza won't be taking over for John Ritter in "8 Simple Rules."
Danza, starting a two-week run at Feinstein's at the Regency this week, told me the other night that ABC has never called him on the subject. There were rumors that he might be called in to pitch it for his late friend.
This is indeed a little odd since Danza has been a network franchise star for 20 years, starting with "Taxi," then the gigantic hit "Who's the Boss?" He's had subsequent sitcoms on ABC.
"They never called and I did think it was strange," Danza said at the Four Seasons restaurant. He'd come to celebrate the opening of Kerzner Hotels' new One and Only resort at the Palmilla Hotel in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
He wasn't alone. Danza was joined by newly-minted Emmy winner Edie Falco, her beau Stanley Tucci, Regis and Joy Philbin (who were on their way to the opera), Charlie Rose, "Law & Order" star Christopher Meloni and Kim Raver.
The resort doesn't open until February, but Kerzner's man around the world, Jerry Inzerillo, promises the same kind of spectacular luxury his group dishes up at posh places like Atlantis in the Bahamas and the Mohegan Sun Casino Hotel in Connecticut. He's even persuaded famous Chicago chef Charlie Trotter to do the food at Palmilla.
When Mohegan Sun relaunched 18 months ago under Inzerillo, you may recall him producing the Blues Brothers, Sam Moore, Wilson Pickett, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles — not to mention Rosie O'Donnell — for the opening.
Now Jerry tells me he's planning something even bigger, but more top-secret, for February.
"It's a surprise," is all he would say.
Is "Out of Time," the new Denzel Washington movie, a good film? Let's put it this way — without Eva Mendez, it would be a whole other story.
In this "Body Heat"-type thriller, much of the mystery is laid out rather artlessly by director Carl Franklin . Two things save him: First, Denzel brings an intelligence and sensitivity to the movie that is unexpected.Franklin and MGM/United Artists should shower Washington with gifts in exchange for his strong performance.
Reason No. 2: Mendez. To paraphrase a recent movie title, deliver me to Eva. The Cuban-American actress has already made a splash in films like "2 Fast 2 Furious," but in "Out of Time" she accomplishes much of what Jennifer Lopez did in "Out of Sight."
The trick, I guess, is being a gorgeous Latina playing a cop in a movie with a three-word title. (Charo should have tried that.)
Mendez's next roles: She's in the Farrelly Brothers' "Stuck on You" with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. Then next summer she films Robert Towne's much anticipated "Ask the Dust" with Colin Farrell. The latter, if done right, will be hot as a tamale and should turn Mendez into the sex goddess she is destined to become.
Washington, by the way, skipped the lavish and elegant "Out of Time" premiere on Monday night at the Central Park Boathouse. He is prepping for his role in Jonathan Demme's remake of "The Manchurian Candidate." (I see that "Antwone Fisher" actress Viola Davis has joined that cast, too. Great news!)
Instead, Denzel and wife Pauletta came just to the red carpet outside the theatre, posed for pics, and split. But the rest of the cast was there, including his equally beauteous co-star Sanaa Lathan, who Denzel is said to have taken under his acting wing during the "Time" shoot.