Part 1 of story on the mob runs in Spy's last issue Part 2 may appear elsewhere

MAGAZINES

March 20, 1994|By Bruce McCabe | Bruce McCabe,Boston Globe

It's Oscar season and the print medium is even more preoccupied than usual with Hollywood. What follows is a list of some of this week's more compelling reading on the subject.

Unfortunately, Part 1 of investigator-journalist John Connolly's very readable investigation of mob influence in Hollywood appears in Spy magazine's final (March) issue. Mr. Connolly, now writing for New York magazine, says his Spy article, cynically titled "Have Your People Whack My People," is not the last look he'll take at his subject because the piece prompted calls and tips about "even better stuff" than he has compiled already. He says his future pieces may show up in New York and probably in a book.

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Speaking of New York, this week's cover stories on Ron Howard's new newspaper movie, "The Paper," probably capture more about journalists than the movie could. Author-journalist Pete Hamill's piece begins with a wonderful anecdote about Louis Liotta, New York city's greatest tabloid newspaper photographer since the legendary Weegee. Mr. Liotta, who's 72 and unemployed, is driving along the Brooklyn Bridge when he suddenly comes upon a bullet-riddled van. Inside he finds bleeding yeshiva students. He starts shooting pictures of what will become a major story -- even though he has no outlet to take them to. The anecdote, which has a surprise ending, probably conveys more of the romance of daily print journalism than any scene from a movie could.

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This week's special issue of the New Yorker on the movies is a must. I gravitated first to Hal Espen's Q&A with the inimitable critic Pauline Kael, who, although 75 and slowed down by Parkinson's, is still calling them as she sees them.

The piece doesn't take off until Mr. Espen gets Ms. Kael on to some hallowed contemporary directors and performers and their work. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are losing it, she says, and you can never get enough of Daniel Day-Lewis. "Julia Roberts not smiling is like Tom Cruise meditating." As Ms. Kael puts it at one point: "Not many reviewers have a talent for effrontery. I think that may be my best talent."

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One of the better non-Hollywood pieces in the magazines this week -- although it would make a great movie -- is Dan Wakefield's take on Werner Erhard, the EST founder who was one of the most controversial figures of the Me Decade. It's in the March/April Common Boundary, a magazine devoted to the spectrum between spirituality and psychotherapy.

Mr. Erhard granted Mr. Wakefield his first interview since the "60 Minutes" expose three years ago in which family and former associates accused Mr. Erhard of sexually abusing two of his daughters and physically abusing his ex-wife and one of his sons.

Mr. Wakefield caught up with Mr. Erhard while he was conducting a workshop on ministry for 28 people in Dublin, most of them priests and nuns. In his interview, Mr. Erhard contends that he's living in an undisclosed location in exile not because, as has been reported, he's ducking the Internal Revenue Service, but because he's considered "fair game" by L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology for taking Scientology courses and then "lifting" some of the methodology. Mr. Erhard says he's been told by attorneys that his enemies in the United States would have him killed if they could.

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The March 14 Sports Illustrated joins the bandwagon condemning basketball great Michael Jordan for embarrassing major league baseball by trying to play the game. But Steve Wulf's screed lacks perspective. There's no reference to other embarrassments the game has survived, such as the late owner Bill Veeck's sending a midget up to bat. Not even a mention of George Steinbrenner.

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