The insane asylum is working out very nicely for the "CSI: Miami" character played by Elizabeth Berkley.
Julia Winston's being away on TV gives Berkley the time to promote her passion and mission, the self-esteem of young girls, which she committed to print in what has become a New York Times Bestseller, "Ask Elizabeth: Real answers to everything you secretly wanted to ask about love, friends, your body ... and life in general."
The "Saved by the Bell" alum stopped by Bloomington's MOA on Friday, where the first four people in line, as you can see at startribune.com/video, were not young girls but men of a certain age, who probably have daughters.
When I chuckled privately to Berkley about this and asked if she thought those men also might be there because they had seen her in "Showgirls," now a cult classic, she said, "Exactly." Of course, when you have a book to sell, you don't care what inspires purchases.
Berkley's writings grew out of workshops she runs for girls around the country.
"I've worked with almost 40,000 girls in schools, providing a safe space for our girls to connect with one another. These times are scary. Girls don't have a place to really talk to each other and share and know they're not alone," she told the audience.
Berkley gave a moment to everybody who bought a book, and she signed DVD covers and photos of herself in an act of generosity you don't often see at these events.
Berkley spent a very long time talking to one young girl named Grace and her mother, Chiquita Plowman, of Little Canada. Berkley and Plowman were encouraging Grace not to continue letting a bullying issue get in the way of something she enjoyed doing.
"I went to the book and, bam, it just spoke to me," said Plowman, who is discouraged that "already we're dealing with mean girls and sexualization of our daughters" at the tender age of 8.
Plowman still wants her little girl to play with dolls and not worry about padded bikinis, and she and Berkley connected on these and other issues.
An old acquaintance
During Elizabeth Berkley's book signing, Leisha Hailey also turned up in the crowd.
Hailey, who worked with Berkley when they were both on "The L Word," would not disclose her name to me, but she admitted to being on that Showtime show and being in the metro for a performance with her band.
That made Hailey easier to identify. But I am still confused under which name her indie electric pop duo -- which played at the Varsity Theater on Thursday -- is performing these days. I think it's Uh Huh Her, and now I believe the person rolling through the mall with Hailey was probably Camila Grey, the other member of the duo.
Kris & Kim ring shopping?
Word has it that Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were shopping for rings at the Galleria's Tiffany's over the Easter weekend.
I found a pic on Facebook, but it doesn't provide a good look. But the photo has legitimate media credibility, as does my second source.
Susan Evans, PR woman for the Galleria, said, "I cannot confirm the sighting."
Since the reality show star and her NBA-playing beau, who fancies himself a (snicker here) philanthropist, know exactly how much gossip they can generate by being seen anywhere near a jewelry store these days, I'm highly suspicious.
Things change. People change. Couples have birth control failures.
But last I heard from a source who was chatting with Will Humphries, Kris' dad, Big Daddy was against a wedding this year. In fact, Will sounded like his favorite wedding date for them was the 12th of NEVER!
The road to Rosie's place
An umbra of mystery accompanied L.A.-based filmmaker James Slocum's ride to Rosie O'Donnell's house for an interview about his historical novel, "Shadow of War." The star apparently doesn't want her whereabouts known.
"Rosie does her [satellite radio] show from her house and she's very private. It's outside of New York, somewhere. The driver picked me up; he knew where he was going, but he didn't know who he was going to. It's a beautiful place, but I had no idea where I was. I had to get out and buzz this thing. The guy just sits there: Be here when you're done," said Slocum, who found it interesting that "She does her show in her house."
It is the filmmaker's understanding that O'Donnell will return to this property regularly even after she starts her new show on Oprah's OWN.
The visit was well worth his time: O'Donnell "LOVED my book about three young people trying to escape Prague in 1939," Slocum told me.
Slocum was flattered to be on with O'Donnell because she doesn't do book authors -- because she prefers to actually read the books!
There should be much less mystery associated with the Southwest High and Carleton College graduate's 7 p.m. appearance Thursday at the Bookcase in Wayzata.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or email@example.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.