Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Gothic Surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          For those of you less than satisfied with Michael Chabon's "Telegraph Avenue," let me say that Hair Kunzru's "White Tears" is the book the other should have been.
What starts out as a tale of obsessive record--and I mean vinyl, darlings!!!!!!!!--collection escalates into a near Noir mystery with two friends--Seth, and Carter Wallace--at the helm.  What follows, and where the reader ends up, is so striking and devastating it cannot be seen coming.  Along they way there are also meditations  on American racism, history, friendship, betrayal and the music business.

                                            And all neatly wrapped within only 271 pages.  I admired his last book, "Gods Without Men," so I was curious to see what would follow.  The results are even better than the previous book.  "White Tears," at this point, looks good to shape up as one of the Books Of The Year.  And this is only April, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                             It is way beyond "White Teeth," darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No One Plays Sickos, Like Rafael Sbarge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   Ever since I first saw the 'SVU' episode, "Wannabe," where Sbarge played wanker supreme Wayne Hankett, with Raymond J. Barry (who would play Lily's father on "Cold Case") as Wayne's sexually and physically abusive father, I knew Mr. Sbarge was an actor to reckon with.  I have seen him play other things, like an attorney, on the "L and O" franchise.  But when he plays perps, no one does a better job.

                                    Now, "Thrill Kill" on "Cold Case" stops just short of being a masterwork.  As soon as it showed three pre-teen boys murdered, and placed in an abandoned swimming pool, I knew this was based on the West Memphis Three.  Now, in a post I did awhile back, I mentioned that the title is designated to the three boys who were convicted.  It should have indicated the victims, who seem to have been forgotten in all this.

                                    And "West Memphis" referred to Arkansas, not Tennessee. 

                                    When I saw Melissa Leo was playing one of her great White Trash roles as a mother of a victim, I thought, for a moment, she would be responsible.  But it turns out to be Sbarge, as Henry Aymes, the stand in for who I always thought was the real killer--father Terry Hobbs!  If Hobbs is dead--good!  If he is still walking around out there, he will eventually be hunted and dragged down, like the skunk he is!  You better believe it, darlings!  I know how these things work.

                                       I wish Henry's phobias had been explored a little more.  Because, according to this story, the crime was triggered by an irrational fear of the dark he has had, since childhood.  There is a suggestion that someone--a parent???--locked him in the dark for intolerable stretches of time.  In the present, the boys are disobeying the father's orders to stop playing.  He finds them in the basement, and they pull the lights on him, leaving him in darkness.  When they come back on, Henry is so enraged he kills his son, then the other boys, to cover things up.

                                        Interesting the show went with the Terry Hobbs theory.  I am telling you, he is the one.  But I wish the show had explored more of Henry's past, to see why darkness would freak him out so, it could drive him to murder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Of course, Henry will go to prison, and be attacked by his inmates for killing children.  But he may not even last long enough, for that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                             Wait till Melissa Leo get her hands on him!  You do not mess with her, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Episode Should Have Been Called "Scumbags!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                               The "Cold Case" episode, "Revenge," started out like a retelling of the Adam Walsh case.  A sweet kid, Kyle Bream, is abducted from a department store.  His nightmare is just beginning, because everyone in this episode, save Kyle, and Lily and Company, turn out to be prime scum.

                                 The minute I saw Brent Sexton was playing Kyle's father, I was convinced he was to blame.  After his chilling performance as Jim Turner (also with a son named Kyle) in the recent 'SVU' episode "Great Expectations," I expected no less.  But Sexton plays a sympathetic role.  When he finds out that pedophile Rudy Tanner has Kyle, he hunts him down, and murders him in the back yard.  Get rid of some scum!  Good for you!  I would call this justifiable homicide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   Two families are ruined by Kyle's abduction.  His father kills Tanner, and it turns out that Kyle's own uncle, Ed Kripke, a no-good piece of filth, sold Kyle to pedophile trafficker Rudy Tanner, for some drug money.  Ed should have been gunned down too.

                                   Things are a mess at the Tanner household.  His wife, Sandra Riley, was the "star" of hubby's life, until Archie, their son, came along.  Then, Archie became the "star," and Sandra began absenting herself from home--she is culpable, here!!!!!!!!--because she knew Archie was being sexually abused by her husband, and did nothing about it.  By the time Kyle enters this damaged household, Archie, who, by now, at 13, confuses what he father does to him with love, has some awareness that Kyle was brought in, because he was aging out.

                                      So, Archie tells Kyle the truth about his parents, making him swim across the harbor, to the neighborhood where they live,  Poor Kyle tries, but, of course he can't sustain, so he drowns!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       I am telling you, everyone is a scumbag.  Hopefully, Sandra will be charged with child endangerment, Eddie will be locked in a prison cell and torn apart by inmates, once they discover what he did, and Archie should do some time in a youth facility both for his crime, and to heal, so that, maybe--and it is a small-maybe--he has a chance at a future life.

                                        Everyone, save Kyle, deserved some kind of "Revenge."  Not a masterwork segment in the series, but it serves up a galaxy of scumbags!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         Take the key, and lock them all up, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It Started With David O. Selznick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Sexual harassment, darlings, has been around since the dawn of Time.  But it really took power mogul David O. Selznick to perfect the art of the casting couch seduction, and to conceptualize the idea that men sexually harass, for one reason, because they are not much to look at!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   Next to Bill O'Reilly, and Roger Ailes, Selznick was a catch!!!!!!!!!!!!  Imagine--chasing Joan Fontaine around his office, and sucking on Jennifer Jones' titties at a Hollywood party--and this after her winning the Oscar for "The Song Of Bernadette!!!!!!!!!!"

                                     If any of these trolls put a hand on me, I would slap them silly!  I am so glad O'Reilly and Ailes are getting their just desserts!!!!!!!!!  Maybe ugliness is a prime requirement at Right Wing Fox News!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I wouldn't be a bit surprised!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      These men use their power to harass, because, with their looks, they can't get it any other way.  Oh, I am sure there are some smooth looking harassers out there, but the vast majority of them are just plug ugly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Let these debased pigs make a wreckage of their lives. But, girls, do not let them make one of yours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

"A 'Picnic' Spot Is Our Rendezvous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                  No one is quite comfortable in their skin in the Transport Group's production of William Inge's "Picnic."  And that is just how it should be.

                                   William Inge may not have had the poetic lyricism of Tennessee Williams, or the ability to juxtapose politics and drama, like Arthur Miller, but he had the ability, like Carson McCullers, to see through to what was inside his characters, and "Picnic" is his best example thereof. As with 'Sheba' it is as much about what the actors convey in dialogue, as what they don't.

                                       Take Flo Owens, wonderfully played by Michele Pawk.  She lovingly hovers over her girls, Madge and Millie, wanting the best for them, even if, one of them, Madge, isn't sure what she wants.  Something clues us in to Flo wanting for Madge what she did not get for herself, as she sees Madge capable of making the same mistakes she did.  Madge questions the value of her beauty, which is all she seems to be admired for.  Those of us not having the looks to get us through in life--hear! hear!--may be struck by Inge's assertion that pretty people have problems, too.

                                        Not that it makes much difference to Madge's defiant, adolescent sister, Millie, played by Hannah Elless, who walks off with the show, whenever she is on stage.  I always gravitated to Millie, as I was so much like her, down to reading "The Ballad Of The Sad CafĂ©," and wanting to escape to New York--which I did, and which I know she will.   And Heather MacRae, so compelling as Lola in 'Sheba,' is lovable as neighbor Helen Potts, whose chance for a man has sailed, but is content with the pleasures she is given, simple though they be.  If Helen Potts seems the most lovable character, it is also because she is most comfortable in her skin.  Except when her ailing mother calls--a real "Eunice and Mama" scenario, if there ever was one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       It is when Hal Carter, brilliantly explored by David T. Patterson, arrives, that the play heats up, and things begin to darken.  Hal's physical charms are apparent, but Patterson digs deep and comes up with a tormented soul, with a traumatic past, that leaves him incapable of grabbing onto life's brass rings, even when they seem within reach.  What's more, Jack Cummings III explores, in Hal and Alan's (Rowan Vickers) relationship, homosexuality, or, at least the possibility of it, simmering beneath the surface.  Hey, why not; this is William Inge!!!!!!!!!!  It should be explored.
I have never seen so much touching between Hal and Alan than here.  It is a daring, but necessary move.

                                      Emily Skinner's Rosemary may at first seem the quintessential Midwestern spinster.  But, once she takes to drink, calling out Hal, and admitting to a less than virginal past, the role goes from caricature to character, with Skinner in command all the way.  Her begging Howard to marry her is still heartbreakingly touching, and John Cariani is the first Howard I have seen to play him with some sexuality, downplay the nerdieness, and even reveal a cruel streak, all belying his insecurity at change, let alone living with  Rosemary.

                                        "Picnic" was originally titled "Front Porch."  It is generally staged between the two front porches of the Owens' and Potts' households.  Here, it is staged against slabs of wooden boards and Fifties lawn chairs that I recall from my own childhood.  The lighting mutes the slabs, mirroring each moment's emotional mood.  It is an unconventional staging device, that works.

                                          I have always had a special relationship with "Picnic," and not just to Millie.  Growing up in Jersey, when I did, on each Saturday before Labor Day, the 1955 movie version of "Picnic" was shown as the late movie, on ABC.  Kim Novak, Susan Strasberg, William Holden--wow!!!!!!!!!!!!  For many, this is how we came to "Picnic; " for some, it may be the only one known.

                                           But while it is still running, I encourage a visit to the Transport Group's stage presentation, which explores this already known story deeper than the movie, limited by censorship of the time, could hardly suggest.
                          I just love this photo!!!!!!!!  Yes, the play is full of humorous, fun moments, which the actors make the most of.  But, thankfully, they, and the production, make the most of Inge's explorations of understanding the human condition, still essential to our time.

                           And, yes, I miss the McGuire Sisters, but this "Picnic" can stand on its own, without them!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Can't Wait To Write About Rayane Leland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Ever since "Mommie Dearest" almost tanked her career, Diana Scarwid has scored points by playing bitches.  I guess that is what playing Christina Crawford did to her.  But, let me tell you, no one, today, plays a bitch, like Diana.  She has filled the void left by longtime pro, Louise Fletcher.

                                When I first saw Diana in the "Cold Case" episode, "Spiders," I knew I had found a Bitch Of The Week.  Her character, Rayanne Leland, is this week's winner of the Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Not since Rose Ann D'Arcy, played by Shelley Winters, in "A Patch Of Blue," have I seen such a despicable, racist bitch.  Diana really camps it up, going for the Emmy gold!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Rayanne is All Right-Wing American, right down to the giant swastika and Confederate Flag, hanging on the basement wall, where she lets her son and his skinhead pals plot White Supremacist schemes, which she not only encourages, but masterminds.

                                  She even found out a hidden secret of one of her son's friends--that her has Jewish blood, in him.  Rayanne despises that, and him, so she manipulates the guy into murdering her son's girl friend, who won't conform to their way of thinking.  She says that, by doing this, his Jewish blood will be erased.  What a manipulative bitch, and what a dumb kid.

                                  Now, Spider, the son, is a White Supremacist, but he cared about the girl, so he turns on Mommy.  She calls him weak, with no balls; but how can he have any, when she has them all in the family??????????????????

                                   I could go on about Rayanne.  Many families have a version or two of her (sometimes a him) lurking in their closets.  I know I do--several!!!!!!!!!!!!  My advice to everyone--stay away from these Rayannes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   Rayanne, and her like minded cronies, deserve nothing but our contempt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hey Social Worker, "Go Be A Soda Jerker, Which Means Go Be A Schmo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                  Many "Cold Case" fans speak highly of the episode, entitled "Fly Away."  I found it moving, but it was not one of my favorites.  But Don McManus' chilling performance as evil social worker Josh Freely, (a character type used in "The Woods," though the abuser was accomplice Jacob Leonard, partner to social worker, Lee) was one of the milestones of this segment, which also introduced us to issues Lily has with her past, and understandably.   Which is why her make-up and hair are so perfect; Lily is always trying to prove herself, because she feels she has to.  Believe me, I get it!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Let's get back to "Fly Away."  This was the case of Rosie Miles, a down on her luck Mom, and her daughter, Toya.  Things start with both being tossed out a window.  Now, Toya dies, but get this, Rosie survives, for years, in a coma!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    But this is "Cold Case," darlings, so years later, she comes to, and can barely remember anything.  She does not even know that Toya is dead.  The sad thing is what happened did not have to.

                                     There were people watching out for Toya in the neighborhood. One of these folk was a pizza boy, named Phil Williams.  He would scrape together as many leftovers as he could from where he worked, to give to Toya, so the child would get some nourishment.

                                      Which was a good thing.  But, because of a DUI with Toya in the back seat, years before, Rosie is turned over to social services, and assigned the nightmare social worker, Josh Freely. 

                                       This guy is clearly in the wrong profession.  Except many sexual predators choose these professions to find victims.  Josh starts on Toya, but Rosie catches him.  He calls her "trash," "a dumb bitch" and says he calls the shots!  Nice!  He threatens he will come knocking at Rosie's door, unexpectedly, and will have his way with Toya! 

                                          On the night of May 21, 2001, that knock comes.  Only, it is not Josh, but Philip, delivering leftovers!   But Rosie, thinking it is Josh, and to protect herself and Toya, says they are going to "fly away."  They are not tossed from the window--Rosie takes Toya and jumped, indicating death would be preferable to this scum abusing Toya.  Like I said, had Rosie known, it would never have happened.

                                            Rosie survives, gets it together, and is not charged.  Meanwhile, other clients of Josh Freely report what he has done to their daughters, and when Lily and Company get him, all he does is call his clients "trash," Welfare queens," and the kind of people society does not care about.

                                            Oh, really Josh?????????  If you were in front of me, I would punch you in the face!  Some of us do care about these people, who deserve a whole lot better than you, you sick thing!

                                            But cheer up!  Josh will sing an entirely different tune in prison!!!!!!!!  Oh, yes!  When those inmates find out what he did..........................

                                             As for Lily, she clawed her way up from the same type of world as Rosie.   She is hard on herself, resentful of her past, and of others who couldn't make it, as did she.
Which becomes apparent, when her mother Ellen (played by Meredith Baxter Birney) and sister Christina (played by Nicki Aycox) are later introduced in the show.

                                             Too bad scumbags can't always be nailed as perfectly as they are  on "Cold Case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"