By Peter Castro
February 22, 1988 12:00 PM

ROCK OF AGES: He’s deified by millions, but who would ever think that Bruce Springsteen could collar the attention of the Catholic clergy? In a recent article, “The Catholic Imagination of Bruce Springsteen,” published in the Jesuit publication America, best-selling novelist the Rev. Andrew (Ascent Into Hell) Greeley asserts that Bruce, who was raised as a Catholic, either consciously or unconsciously fills his songs with Catholic symbolism and imagery. For example, in “Spare Parts,” a song on Tunnel of Love, the Janey character takes a redemptive wade in the river. Says Greeley: “Bruce Springsteen’s album Tunnel of Love may be a more important Catholic event in this country than the visit of Pope John Paul II.” He later adds, “I intend no disrespect to the Pope or to the importance of his trip. I merely state the obvious: Troubadours always have more impact than theologians or bishops.”

ALI MODE: Ali MacGraw, famous for never having to say she’s sorry, is unapologetically critical of the Hollywood dress mess. In Paris recently to accept an award as one of the 10 best-dressed women in the world, Ali pondered the state of elegance in America. “When you go to a big number in Los Angeles, there are too many sequins, too many beads and too much back-combing. I think that elegance is something that Americans still really haven’t gotten onto en masse. There’s style,” she said, “but real elegance is fairly elusive to Americans. Most of the so-called stars don’t have any idea.”

COLOR BIND: There’s more to Malcolm-Jamal Warner than the girl-happy teenager he plays on The Cosby Show. For one thing, he’s just finished directing and starring in a music video debuting on Entertainment Tonight later this month. For another, the 17-year-old actor has strong ideas about how blacks are being portrayed, or misportrayed, on TV. “Whenever you see blacks on television, they’re either street kids, druggies or thugs,” says Malcolm-Jamal. “The majority of blacks don’t live that way, and I think people are getting tired of it. I saw an episode of Miami Wee the other day and Philip Michael Thomas does nothing on the show. Don Johnson drives a Testarossa and Philip Michael drives a Cadillac, which is supposed to be a black man’s car. Johnson makes all the arrests and gets all the love interests—it’s so blatant.”

CALIFORNIA MAMA KNOWS BEST: It was fine for Michelle Phillips to be famous as a mama in the Mamas and the Papas, but she’s not as keen to see her and John Phillips’ daughter, Chynna, 19, in the family way just yet. Michelle, in a forthcoming interview on TV’s Born Famous, says she buys condoms and puts them in a basket in the bathroom. “I’ve dealt with the issue of sex for all of Chynna’s life,” she says. “Sex is not a dirty word.” Michelle, who says she wasn’t sexually active until she was 17 and feels that was a “long time to wait,” added, “Kids know that if they’re gonna have sex in this house, they have to use something and they’ve got something in the basket.” And what about the one time Chynna wanted to try psychedelic mushrooms? “When she said she was gonna do mushrooms, I just wished her a good trip.”

LEAVING THEM SPEECHLESS: As one of Colorado’s own, Gary Hart should have suspected he’d do poorly in Iowa when there wasn’t even room for him at the Troublesome Gulch inn in Jefferson County, Colo. During the locally important Democratic Central Committee meeting there, the time came for speeches supporting the Democratic presidential candidates, but not one of the 100 members rose to speak for Gary, despite repeated requests from the podium. Afterward, Hart’s close friend, former Colorado Lt. Gov. Mark Hogan, explained to the Rocky Mountain News, “I’m not sure Gary is running a campaign as much as a personal redemption trip. He is my friend, but Paul Simon is my candidate.”