Lori L. Tharps

Caryl Phillips, A Distant Shore

In Caryl Phillips’ powerful seventh novel, A Distant Shore, the West Indian-born, British-bred author presents a Greek tragedy set in modern England. Solomon is an African immigrant fleeing his unnamed war-torn country. Dorothy is a white retired music teacher fleeing her scandalous past. In alternating narratives, Phillips (Cambridge) unravels the appalling events that bring Solomon and Dorothy to the same anonymous village. Before the two have a chance to seek solace in each other’s company, though, a senseless act of violence shatters both lives.

Read Full Story

Japan’s reigning queen of crime fiction presents a dark yet absorbing portrait of four women driven to murderous acts by cheating spouses, dead-end jobs, and ungrateful children. In Out – the first of Natsuo Kirino’s many novels to be translated into English – we meet Yayoi Yamamoto, a young mother who snaps when her philandering husband comes home drunk, strangling him with her belt. ”Yayoi watched intently as he scratched at the leather, and then yanked even harder…. It feels so good, she told herself.” With help from her girlfriends, the body disappears.

Read Full Story

'Girlfriends' In Need

Pop Quiz: name the comedy series that (a) features four big-city girls grappling with men, work, and wardrobes (hint: It doesn’t star Sarah Jessica Parker); (b) is executive-produced by Emmy Award-winning actor Kelsey Grammer (note: We’re not talking about Frasier); and (c) is the highest-rated sitcom in the key adult 18-49 demographic on both The WB and UPN.

Read Full Story

Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford Make a Match

She was his real-life pretty woman. He was her brooding Buddhist. They were, according to PEOPLE, ”the sexiest couple alive.” And on Dec. 12, 1991, after three years of public canoodling, Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere made their relationship official in an impromptu ceremony at the Little Church of the West, in Las Vegas. Like fat-free cheesecake, this Hollywood romance seemed too good to be true. The two were introduced in 1988 by the mother of celebrity photographer Herb Ritts. Crawford, then 22, was the reigning supermodel of the day.

Read Full Story

Hot Gadget

The Spiffer

WHAT It may look like just an ordinary writing utensil, but this pen is also a manicure set, complete with emery board, cuticle pusher, and nail cleaner. Hangnails begone! WHY Not only does the gizmo fit into the tiniest purse, but ”you can do your nails in front of your boss or your teacher and they’ll never know,” says Spiffer inventor Charles Sherts, an engineer whose other creations include a bungee water-ski rope. WHERE Available at, Spiffers will soon retail for $3.49 at Claire’s boutiques nationwide.

Read Full Story

Tichini Arnold and the celebrities who love her scarves.

Don’t throw out that Bedazzler! The latest sparkle spot is ordinary bandannas and scarves. Actress Tichina Arnold (Martin, Big Momma’s House) started designing crystal-embellished wraps about two years ago to wear as cover-ups on bad hair days. (”I hate doing my hair, but I love looking good,” says Arnold.) But when her celeb friends, including Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, and Tisha Campbell, saw them, they demanded their own glittering kerchiefs – and China Moon Rags was born.

Read Full Story

Visit P. Diddy's hip hop church

Sean P. Diddy Combs

There are folk masses and gospel brunches, so why not a hip hop church service? Heeding the call to spread the word – with a back beat – is Rev. Hezekiah Walker, 35, whose Brooklyn based Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church attracts such worshipers as Sean Combs, Foxy Brown, and hip hop gospel duo Mary Mary. Walker, a music prodigy who founded a Grammy winning gospel choir in 1985 and is the coexecutive producer of Combs’ upcoming gospel album, opened his first church in 1994 (there’s now another in Bensalem, Penn., and one in the works).

Read Full Story

Puffy Combs escapes a mini riot

What started out as a quiet Monday in the Sean Puffy Combs weapons and bribery trial, ended in a mini riot outside the courthouse. An estimated 50 pro- Puffy protesters were waiting for the hip hop mogul to emerge from the Manhattan supreme court building with big signs that read ”Not Guilty” and ”Free Puffy.” When Combs exited the building and jumped into his waiting car, the protesters chanted ”Not Guilty,” and started chasing his vehicle. But once they blocked the movement of Combs’ car, several police officers dashed into the crowd.

Read Full Story

If the principal characters in this touching ensemble comedy were not gay men, this would be the ultimate chick flick. But since everyone (even Dean ”Superman” Cain) plays on the G team, what we have is a lighthearted but revealing peek into the lives of a quirky bunch of young gay men trying to make sense of the insular West Hollywood world they’ve created for themselves. Nia Long surprises as an angry lesbian trying to get pregnant, and Frasier’s Mahoney plays the mother hen of this brood with disarming ease. B+

Read Full Story

The Puffy Combs prosecution concludes

”The people rest.” These were the three simple words uttered by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos on Wednesday morning, signifying the end of the prosecution’s case against Sean ”Puffy” Combs and his codefendants Anthony ”Wolf” Jones and Jamal ”Shyne” Barrow. Combs is facing weapons and bribery charges, and could be looking at up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Read Full Story