HELPING THE HOOSIERS FORGET BOBBY
A year and a half after the University of Indiana fired Bobby Knight, its legendary bully of a basketball coach, many Indianans still pine for his vitriolic courtside presence. But his successor, MIKE DAVIS, went some way in filling Knight's big sneakers last week when Indiana upset Duke, the defending national champion, 74-73 in the NCAA tournament. Davis grew up in crushing poverty in Alabama and had careers in football and basketball before he started coaching. An African American in a state with a history pockmarked by racism and a stutterer who struggles through press conferences, Davis has received ugly e-mail from fervent Hoosier fans and fielded what he obliquely refers to as "the craziest questions" on his radio show. But those questions were drowned out by the roaring crowds, who saw Indiana go on to beat Kent State 81-69 on Saturday, thus making it to the Final Four for the first time in 10 years. At the very least, Davis won't see many more WE MISS COACH KNIGHT signs.
SHE ALREADY HAS THE ACCENT
Novelists used to be the ones who fled our humble shores for Paris and London. Now it's A-list blonds. First, Madonna got a place in England and married a local. Now GWYNETH PALTROW is threatening to defect to the Old World faster than you can say The Sun Also Rises. A German newspaper quotes her as telling an interviewer (translated from German), "First, I'm going to do theater in London"--she will star in the play Proof--and then "I'd like to live in Europe for a while, in Berlin or Paris." She could just be making nice to Europeans, but she also sent a rocket back home: "The fact is, Hollywood is a male-dominated world." That doesn't seem to have hurt her career so far, though maybe an Oscar nod for The Royal Tenenbaums would have helped.
The adoptive mother of three children, ROSIE O'DONNELL was an obvious pick to narrate a documentary called Artists and Orphans: A True Drama, about a theater troupe that worked with orphaned children in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. There's just one problem, which O'Donnell discovered a little late: some of the filmmakers are allegedly members of a religious group accused of banning gay members unless they swear off homosexuality. On her talk show last Wednesday, O'Donnell--who recently came out as a lesbian--fumed that she should have been informed, and she demanded that her voice be taken off the Oscar-nominated documentary. "Let me just say I'm anticult," she said. Her publicist elaborated, "If Rosie had known the truth about this organization, she never would have consented to lend her name and voice." The film's lawyer responded that "the inflammatory accusation that certain people affiliated with the film" are in an organization that discriminates against gays is "without foundation." The filmmakers have a chance to prove him correct by recruiting RuPaul for their next documentary.
THE SEINFELD CURSE, PART III: JULIA GETS AXED