Hooray for the return of Sex and the City!

We had a little celebration barbecue here last night before the show. "I've never seen boneless spare ribs before," said my friend Ginny.

"Yeah," I said, "it does make the pigs look a little strange."

The show was great -- made me long for fall, and sweaters, and my next visit to New York -- and then, after, television gifted us with the two-hour E! True Hollywood story on Liza Minnelli.

True confession -- I've always pretty much perceived Liza as a punch line, a reliable answer gossip columnists' blind items. The infamous daughter of the singing child star found passed out on top of her Pekinese was almost always Liza.

I haven't seen her in Cabaret. I don't think I even knew she won an Oscar. I remember Arthur -- vaguely -- but none of the stuff on Broadway, or Studio 54, or the marriage to the man Michael Musto proclaimed -- without any evident irony -- "the gayest man in the universe." I bailed right after she split up from the guy who was the son of the man who played the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (well before the current David Gest era), and even so, I learned so much I kept asking, "Did that really happen?" (Prompting Adam to keep saying, "Honey, it's not called the E! False Hollywood story.")

I think my generation's going to have Liza-like issues when it comes time to explain to our kids what the deal was with Michael Jackson (who appeared on the Liza special at the latest Liza wedding with his unretouched, uncovered nose, and damn, it's frightening).

To those of us old enough to remember "Thriller" and "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" and the Motown special where he unveiled the moonwalk, he's an icon, albeit a troubled, and troubling one. To anyone born after 1992 or so, he's a freakshow, a guy who's famous for being infamous, for the bizarre marriages and the legal woes and the oddball affectations, who looks increasingly irrelevant in the time of hip-hop and boy bands and hasn't had a hit in years.

But I digress. I saw Solomon Burke on Saturday, and now I'm just upset that nobody's bothered to tell me about him before. If he's coming to your neighborhood, take my advice and go. You will not be sorry.