Friday, July 13, 2018
Over the years, there has been talk of remaking "THEM!," which I think is a bad idea. First, the movie has only grown in stature over time; financed by Warner Bros, it is better made than most films of its type, and boasts not only an Oscar winner (Edmund Gwenn) and a brilliant child performance (Sandy Descher) but more future film or TV stars than any so-called B film I can recall.
I actually think "THEM!" belongs in the "A" category for its cast, cinematography,
and, above average for its time, special effects.
Leave it alone. Do not remake it.
But why not redo it?
Here's how it would work--the giant bug concept remains, but the setting now becomes, not New Mexico or Los Angeles, but New York City, particularly the Upper East Side.
Instead of a brilliant child, like Sandy Descher, there is a young, flamboyant queen, wandering the streets of Manhattan in the early hours, a look of trauma and uncertainty upon his face. What is wrong? Is Starbucks not open yet??????? Was he rejected from one of the fashion houses??????? Is an understudy replacing his favorite musical theater star?
These are, indeed, major traumas for a young gay man in New York City! And when he is faced with the iconic scene, instead of screaming "THEM!,
he thinks he has seen a giant cockroach.
Because, yes, darlings, if one is going to do a redux of "THEM!" set in New York City, the insects in question must, inevitably be cockroaches.
Cut to a crowd scene. People, to the tune of "Windy" on the soundtrack, are rushing to their self-important meetings, in a city. Suddenly, from off to the side, emerges a giant, human sized, cockroach, sporting a designer prop. Slowly, inexorably, more cockroaches appear, with all sorts of designer gear, slowly evolving into complete outfits. Soon, the screen is filled with people, mystified, walking along giant cockroaches, who are better dressed than they! One is even sporting Helmut Lang, for God's sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is discovered that a colony of cockroaches has mutated from all the hair chemicals, used over at Sally Herhberger's on East 71st Street. If they aren't stopped, the city will be overrun with fashionably dressed cockroaches, who will be hocking every item from the East Side fashion houses!!!!!!!!!! Which is what they have been doing! Clerks have been attacked in the name of a pair of designer shoes!!!!!!!!!!!
The cockroaches are out for empowerment. They are sick of being regarded as the slugs of this city, scurrying for crumbs, so now they will dress elegantly, and make others scurry!
How can the city be saved? Only one person can save the city--
It is ANNA's idea to mount a huge billboard ad in Times Square, summoning the cockroaches to her office, for a supposed VOGUE cover shoot! They may be roaches, but they cannot resist the lure of fame. The creatures, dressed in individual designer haute couture, are summoned into a room, against a nature backdrop, where they expect to be photographed. Only, the doors slam on them, they are trapped, and, like a gas chamber, massive quantities of RAID are pumped into the venue. You can hear their screams of "RAIIIIIIIIID!!!!!!!!!!!!" ANNA is triumphant, having saved the city
Of course, the movie ends on a twist. The flamboyant queen seen at the beginning is now in line at the TKTS booth, sipping a Starbuck's. He gets a ticket for what he thinks is his favorite musical, but when he gets to the theater designated, he sees what is playing there is---
"Straight White Men!"
The camera moves in for a closeup, as he screams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Isn't this all so brilliant, darlings? Better than a remake. And full of such New York touches!
It would also give Julie Taymor some needed work. I would have her design human sized cockroach costumes for each actor playing one, rather than use puppets, as was done, albeit to great skill, in the original "THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The premiere would have to be held at a fashion gala, at the Met. With ANNA hosting, of course!
And the Guest Of Honor would be Sandy Descher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not only how do I do this, girls, but where. I mean, Gisele has left the city, with hubby Tom Brady. They sold their stunning East 22nd Street apartment--if only I could have bought it, loves, and I think have moved out of the city. Boston, maybe?
So, like, where does one go to have lunch with Gisele these days? Does she still come to the city, now that she is raising a daughter? If she does, I favor Casellulua, on West 52nd Street. Only, that is an evening place, so perhaps we could chat there in the early evening hours.
Not like back in the day, when it was hanging out all night with Gisele and Leo, at Bungalow 88???????? You think I could do that, anymore???????? Or Gisele?????? As for Leo, well he is sort of benched! Everyone thought Gisele was just a cover for him, because of all the gay rumors. Like, when both had careers, how he and Tobey Maguire were an item! Tobey was a better actor than Leo, but now he is raising kids! What happened? Too bad he stopped acting. As for Leo, well Martin Scorsese is still alive, and Leo had better thank his lucky stars, because it is only through him Leo will get a job! Leo is NOT gay! Why? Because the only one Leo loves is LEO!!!!!!!!!!
But back to Gisele! Now, hon, I am sure you are still in touch with ANNA; I mean you two were a fabulous team! And that little bit you did in "The Devil Wears Prada" shows a strong sense of humor, which I just loved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, how about a visit to Casellula? Just give me plenty of advance notice, so I can find the right designer, stylist, and foundation! Oh, my God! Lunch with Gisele demands that I look my best!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And, unlike Gisele, that takes a LOT of work, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Two people I hope are not seen there, are Walter Bobbie and Leslie Stifelman. Now, maybe they will be under obligation to attend by their producers, but I am telling you, they better not show their faces too conspicuously, or else mob mentality could triumph, and they could be stoned to death, like Tessie Hutchinson, at the end of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."
It's not like they don't deserve it.
I am anxious to hear who speaks, and what they say. I hope Jeff's family comes to Manhattan to attend this event. And I hope it begins a healing process for not only the "Chicago" company, but the theater community.
Bullying is bad, no matter where it takes place. And it can take place anywhere.
I hope the Memorial is healing and helpful for all of us.
And provides closure for Jeff's friends and family!
But, like Marcia Kramer, I am STILL looking for answers, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See you on the 7tth, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is always so great to look forward to another "Carrie Diaries" from Lindsay Mendez, of "Carousel," which everyone, on here, by now, knows is the show I cannot stop writing about. But, during it, I was saddened to hear that next week's episode will be the last. I am curious to see what note it will end on, but, geez, Linz, all us Theater Queens want you to continue you it throughout the run. Please?
Anyway, this week is very informative, because it is all about health. The key word throughout is "Water!" Hydration is important for all of us, but when doing eight shows a week, and in the Summer, oh, my God! I feel so guilty for missing my morning walk, but I try and incorporate more water in my diet. Besides, with all the meds I take, especially for diabetes, I feel thirsty more often than not.
There weren't as many physical warm-ups as I expected, though what was shown were inspiring. And seeing Jessie Mueller getting a back and foot massage with the scariest looking equipment was amazing! Though I felt for Jessie; I, too, would have been a little apprehensive.
The handsome Amar Ramasar stressed the importance of water; if only that alone could get us to look as good as he, and dance that well. But there is more to it, than that!!!!!!!!!
The most eloquent turned out to be Joshua Henry, who, by the way, wears what is destined to become the most iconic sweater in show business, since Betsy Palmer's white fisherman one in "Friday The !3th," back in 1980!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt like I was listening to a mini Master Class, as he explains caring for his voice. I must try to incorporate all he says into mine.
As for Lindsay, well, she is just indefatigable! I will miss her "Carrie Diaries," though it does give me another reason to re-visit "Carousel."
Enjoy, everyone--and LEARN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Those perfect teeth. Betsy Palmer must have excellent dental coverage!
Yes, dears, there is no question what movie I will be watching on this day. The maniacal wholesomeness Palmer brings to the role of Mrs. Voorhees, makes her lovable, as well as camp!
All those years of work, including raves for Tennessee Williams' "The Eccentricities Of A Nightingale," on Broadway, and this is what she is best remembered for. That is the irony of show business. You often never know what role is the one of a lifetime.
So, enjoy today, however you may, and don't forget to utter, at some point, those magical words--"Kill her, Mommy! Kill her!"
Betsy died May 29, 2015. I cannot believe she has been gone three years.
All who love Mrs. V still miss her dearly. There will never another mom, like her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy Friday The 13th, everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, July 12, 2018
When Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb murdered Bobby Franks, within an affluent Chicago suburb, on May 21, 1924, they coined the concept of "thrill kill." But others followed in their wake.
One of the more disturbing, which caused me not to sleep well last night, was the murder of Daniel Sorenson, who, at the age of 25, was tragically murdered on November 7, 2007. He was, when it came down to it, a "gentle giant," like Lenny in "Of Mice And Men," or Spiros Anonopoulous, in Carson McCullers' "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter."
It wasn't just the murder, itself. It was who and how did it, and how the formula all came together to create a perfect storm.
First, I have something to say about Dan. Despite what I am writing, I feel sorry for him. He did not deserve what happened to him.
Dan was no angel; in fact, he was a problem kid. Petty theft, drugs, and even a sex offense charge. This is where things get murky.
My impression of Dan was that he was socially immature. Today, this might be labeled as autism or Asperger's, but I sure don't know enough to designate that. But it seemed as though Dan related better to those younger than he. When he was 17, he took up with a young girl, who was 14--both were minors. After a parental fight at home, he moved in with the girl friend, and lived with her as a couple. But--get this!!!!!!!!!--her mother allowed it! Now, right away, I said to myself, something has to be the matter with her.
In a way, there was. Because, once Dan turned 18, the mother's boy friend talked the women into charging him as a sex offender. He was, had to register, and, of course, found it impossible to get any kind of work. Though there was never further evidence of any predatory behavior, though I feel bad for Dan making a stupid choice--and that mother!!!!!!!--technically, the boy friend was right.
So, Dan became a kind of local itinerant. picking up jobs and money where he might, crashing with friends from time to time. All within the confines of Plymouth, Michigan.
Not far from there was the Inner City of Detroit. Going from Plymouth to there was like going from my Brooklyn neighborhood, to Manhattan. And it was in Detroit that Dan was seen at, and often hosted parties, with beer and other things procured for guests, who were often teens younger than himself. One evening, Dan had the misfortune of meeting two teen boys, J.P. (for Jean Pierre) Orlewicz, and Alexander James Letkemann, both in their late teens.
J.P., was from an affluent family, knew it, and was full of himself. Alexander was not from wealth, and became Orlewicz' acolyte. They began a friendship with Dan, who was invited to J.P.s house, and later his grandfather's, (whom the boy was supposed to be taking care of) where they hung out, partied, and thought themselves the coolest of dudes. Dan, unfortunately, was on this maturity level, and he craved the social acceptance, but he, like Alexander, under estimated the lethality of Orlewicz.
J.P., like Richard Loeb, had grandiose plans for being a gangster, which he shared with the two others. Dan showed them some easy petty theft tricks. What he did not know was that J.P. also harbored fantasies of wanting to kill someone--which Alex did not--and, in time, came to focus on Dan Sorenen as his target, because, even though his parents were still alive, he figured no one would miss him, or care that he was gone. Very much the same thinking as Lili Reinhart as Courtney Lane, in the 'SVU' episode "Lost Traveler," based on Brooklyn's Leiby Kletzky case.
On the evening of November 7, 2009, J.P. invited Alex and Dan over to his grandfather's house, ostensibly to hang out, and plan an extortion. Alex arrived first, and when he went with J.P. into the grandfather's garage, and saw how it was set up, that is when he was told Dan was invited over, not knowing J.P. was going to kill him, because he "wanted to." Alex went into shock, and before his eyes, witnessed J.P. luring Dan into the garage, pulling out a knife and slitting his throat, and then stabbing the man over thirty times!!!!!!! Overcome with disgust, Alex went outside and threw up. But he witnessed everything. Why didn't he run? Was it shock? Fear for his own life? Probably a bit of both.
With Alexander unable to function, J.P. called another friend, Isam Ayyash, who, with his help and, I believe, finally Alex's, moved Dan's body, wrapped in a blue tarp, dumping it in an isolated spot along the highway, in a field.
Oh, but there was a trophy kept in the grandfather's house, on the top shelf, for a time. In a cylindrical tube, covered, contained the severed head of Dan Sorensen, which J.P. delightfully had chopped off. The head was later moved to an isolated spot, where a distraught Alex, finally tracked by police, led them to it, so that Dan's family could give their poor, unfortunate and misguided son, a proper burial. And closure for them.
This was a trio of human scum. Though Ayyash helped in disposing the body, he was not charged or convicted, maybe because he was not actively involved in the murder. Alexander Letkemann, who at least had some remorse, was sentenced to 20-30 years in prison, on April 23, 2008, because of active involvement in the murder.
And J.P.? Well, scum rich kid's Mommy and Daddy couldn't buy him out of this. Though I think they should have been charged with raising and enabling a monster. A sociopath, clearly. That poor grandfather. Neglected while his grandson was supposed to be taking care of him!!!!!!!! Bad enough, but who knows? Had J.P. gotten away with Dan, he might have killed again. And Gramps might have been the next victim. Or Alex. Or J.P.'s parents. Or anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
J.P. got his on April 16, 2008. He got LWOP, and ten additional years, for the mutilation of a corpse. Judge Annette J. Berry told him she had no doubt, that, if paroled, he would kill again.
Why didn't J.P.'s parents, teachers, doctors, or other authority figures in his life, not see signs of his sociopathy?????????? Sad as Dan's death is, it was mostly due to his misfortune in crossing paths with Orlewicz. Had he not, he might have worked things out for himself.
But then someone else would have been Orlewicz' victim!
This future Ian Brady is right where he belongs!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am still trying to make sense of Jeff Loeffelholz' tragic death. An investigation is under way, and I hope someone, or ones, is held accountable.
But his death also, unfortunately, says something about shifting cultural attitudes, today, which do not benefit anyone.
Our society expects individuals to earn a living, and support themselves, and/or others. Unless, of course you're the Baroness Pauline De Rothschild, which, believe me, I would love to have been, and, in spite of it, try to do my best to live up to such standards. Just read what I write on here.
I think I can understand the place where Jeff was coming from. He had been raised with a strong work ethic, as was I. When I was growing up, in the Sixties, around me, the message given was if one got a job, one did not leave it, unless for extraordinary reasons. By the time I was of age to look for a job, prospective employers focused on two things--work experience, which, if one was young, was limited, meaning one had to prove oneself, or too much experience; in vulgar parlance "job hopping." Too much of this was on looked on unfavorably.
Today, it seems the opposite applies. People are regarded as disposable, yet are still expected to support themselves. It gets more difficult to blend the two. The job situation today is one is looked upon as less than, for staying with a job for a long time. Nowadays, job hopping is considered a virtue, favoring the employer, who can hire the next person for less, and the worker, who now is regarded as "ambitious" rather than "non-committal," for hopping around.
I learned that Jeff was offered the role of Mary Sunshine full time. Now, I have to be honest, that might have been something I would have leapt at. But, I have to hand it to Jeff--he was as practical as he was artistic. He knew if he took the role full time, his contract would be rewritten. Instead of a run-of-the-play document, he would be up for renewal, every six months to a year. Which meant, any time the contract was up, he could be let go. He made the smart choice--for him. He stayed with the show.
Had he assumed the role full time, I am sure as soon as the contract was up, he would have been out. That was not part of his plan. Let's face it, few shows run 22 years, so Jeff knew he was lucky. Had "Chicago" been a limited run, or closed sooner, Jeff would have been out, but I think he would have kept up a career. Combined with our culture's now prevailing attitudes, and Walter Bobbie's cruelly admitting to Jeff he disagrees with Equity and run of play contracts, plus his and Bitch On Wheels' (Leslie Stifelman), treatment of Jeff being pointedly vicious and abusive long before that June 22 rehearsal, someone needs to be brought up on charges.
There is nothing wrong with staying in a job you love. People have to work. They have to survive amidst a culture that, sadly, devalues them, no matter what the profession.
What is the poor, singular individual, supposed to do?????????????????