George Eliot may not have foreseen that “Middlemarch” would become a PBS miniseries, but she’d be flattered, no doubt. She would have also been flattered by the panel discussion of her novel at the Museum of Radio and Television in New York. Among the panelists were Peggy Noonan, Erica Jong, Susan Cheever and Gail Sheehy who talked about how “Middlemarch” related to the lives of women today. But Brooke Astor and Sister Souljah, also panelists, stole the show; sitting side by side, the unlikely duo seemed to get along famously.

“I agree with Brooke,” said Sister Souljah on the subject of interpersonal communication. On several accounts, Astor agreed with the young, outspoken rap artist, who clashed with Bill Clinton during his campaign and has a book on relationships coming next spring from Random House.

“What a lovely young woman I sat next to,” Astor told one of the panel’s organizers. “I really bonded with her.”

Tents are becoming a fixture in the fashion world. Isaac Mizrahi’s got a dazzling one planned for the dinner following his APLA benefit show at Mann’s Chinese Theater in L.A. on May 5. The tent will be raised in the parking lot next to Mann’s and Mizrahi has rallied decorator-to-the-stars Michael Smith to mount projections of old movies on it. Smith will extend the Chinese Theater’s lacquer red theme with hundreds of red lanterns. The dinner will be created by Tommy Tang’s. k.d. lang will be the after-dinner entertainment.

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