Saturday, December 31, 2011
I know, I know, like Janet Leigh in "Psycho," that we have already arrived at the end of 2011 is enough to make one scream!!!!!!!
Like the ghosts at the end of "Follies," it seems like everything at this point collides together!!!! "Spider-Man,TurnOffTheDark,"MerylSteep,TylerClementi,theClementiFanily,LeibyKletzky,LeviAron,JohnList,HighlandPark,New Orleans,NotToMentionAFullYearWith Monsieur,TittiesAndTheater--it all just blends together into a mix that seems whirled, till what comes out are all the Memories of 2011!!!!!
When I wrote this same post a year ago, I wished for Hope, which was abundantly granted. My wish for all of us NOW is Gratitude--that we can be thankful for what we have done, how far we've come and that 2012 will be something to be grateful for!!!!!!
In the meantime, I am grateful to all the events and memories which shaped this blog this year, and of course, to all my Girls/Readers/Followers for your comments and support. May we all continue!!!!
When next you hear from me, loves, this will all be History!!! And a new one will be beginning !!!! So stay safe and healthy tonight, and remain so, for the next 365 days!!!!!
See you all, dolls, at the same time and place!!!!!!
Oh, girls, let me tell you, there are some stories here!!!!! The winner of the above award happens to be a joint creation of my aforementioned niece, and her brother, Matt (my nephew AND Godchild!!!) who, as the creator of the visual component, should be named Artist of the Year!!!!!
So, there you are, Matt!!!!
But the winner of the Raving Queen Fictional Character Of The Year Award, is......Baby Mouse!!!!!
Baby Mouse, is this little adorable mouse, as you can see, but the character's genesis comes from Jenni's memories of a French poodle my family owned, named Baby Mouse!!!!
What stories there were with Baby Mouse!!! Like how I would cuddle her, and call her pet names, like "Mademoiselle Cunegonde." How she would sit on the rim of the love seat, facing out towards the front window, so that she would see my Mother's car pull up to the front, and let us know she was home!!!! How she would wake me up on Sunday mornings; my parents would say to her, "Go get Tommy," and up the stairs she would prance, pushing open my bedroom door, leaping atop my bed, prodding me up, with her sweet, cold, wet nose, while I called her "Ms. Poodle!"
There was the time she collided with my Maternal Grandmother, Nana, who lived with us. I was taking her out the back door, so she could relieve herself. Nana happened to be in the yard, and chose to reenter the house at that moment!!! Well, there was a collision, and up she went in the air, and down she came, sprawled out, spread legged in the grass!!!! I am telling you, girls, it is a Miracle Of God that she was not injured; she was in her eighties at the time!!!!!! Of course, she named me as the culprit, as though I deliberately chose to knock her down (which I did not!!!), and this was the incident which caused her to utter her classic remark, of me, "Lord David, give me the STRENGTH to stand him!!!!" I mean, I was just a Total Innocent, loves!!!!!!
But, wait. I would not be honest, if I did not include the "Titties" story, which I believe some of the neighborhood children witnessed.
It was Summer, and the front door was wide open. The air conditioner was not on. My grandmother was at her usual place in what we called the Sun Porch, playing Solitaire on her Solitaire Board!!!! What a nasty little thing I was. I picked up Baby Mouse, stood her up before Nana, and said--I swear!!!--
"Nana...Nana...See Baby Mouse's titties?????
This was followed, of course by screeches of indignation, and giggles from the front door, as kids looked in. Of course, I went one step further.
"Nana," I said. "Nana...Baby Mouse wants to see YOUR titties!"
Well, darlings, I never saw either she or Baby Mouse move so fast! Nana hopped up, tossed the Solitaire Board in my direction, while Baby Mouse broke off,and ran from me, but not before turning to give me a dirty look!!!! Yes, a dirty look from a dog!!!! This was one poodle who knew the Score, and understood what kind of crazy people she was living with!!!! If only she could have talked, it would have made Cleo on "People's Choice" blush!!!!!!!
So, this lovely dog (which I wish I had a pic for all you girls) has been immortalized as the fictional character Baby Mouse, in the "Baby Mouse" series. Now that Harry Potter has had his day, maybe the Mouse will get her due!!!!!!!
And yes, Nana and Baby Mouse, I AM sorry!!!!!!!!!
Now, lamb chops, I know I said, and stand by, the observation that "The Marriage Plot," by Jeffrey Eugenides, was the Book Of The Year. So, why am I not naming him as Author Of The Year??? Because he has gotten enough gloss this year; my selection does not get nearly the star treatment she ought to get; she may be blonde, like J.K. Rowling, but she does not have Rowling's checkbook, and, the fact is, with her talent, she SHOULD!!!!!!
The winner of the Raving Queen's Author Of The Year Award is Jennifer L. Holm!!!
Who just HAPPENS to be my niece, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And proves talent runs in our family. For, while I am scribing online, making my own forays into Internet Bitchery, Jenni has steered herself headway into the even more navigationally difficult realm of Children's Literature!!!!!!
Since she stunned the world--and US--by winning the Newberry Honor Award first time out, for "Our Only May Amelia," she has not quit!!!! In fact, she has gone on to win TWO MORE Newberry Honors, for my personal favorite, "Penny From Heaven," and her more recent work, "Turtle In Paradise." I also love her "Middle School Is Worse Than Meat Loaf," which gets those years right, without being nasty!!!! Leave THAT to me, darlings!!!!!!
Jenni is the reason Monsieur and I traveled this year, to one of my favorite places, New Orleans, where you better believe this Transplanted Northerner blossomed into a Southern Belle!!!! I can still recall the Awards Dinner, where, as I made my way to the bathroom, I overheard a group of librarians talking, and one them said to her group, "When is Jenni Holm going to win the fucking Newberry?" I know, darlings--gasp!!!--a librarian said the "F" word. Get over that Donna Reed crap, loves! But she had a point, because, while the Newberry Honor is prestigious, it is a runner-up to the Newberry!!!!
Well, I am proud of Jenni, no matter what, but when I overheard that remark, not only did I agree with it, I said to myself, "It's simply a matter of Time!" Which it is, girls!!!!!!
So, here is to this year's Author Of The Year, my niece, Jennifer Holm, whose capacity for invention is unlimited!!!!!!!
And she still manages to look FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am telling you, girls, what goes around, comes around!!!! Earlier this year, at the behest of Monsieur, I sat through "Spider Man--Turn Off The Dark", which, as you can imagine was like watching a train wreck in action; or, more appropriately, one of those "Final Destination" movies LIVE!!!!!!!
Sitting through this mess, trying to keep my mental faculties alert, I mused, wistfully, for a Perfect theatrical Evening, which I sure was not getting THEN!!!
How I longed, seated at this dreck, for a nigh perfect production of one of my favorite
Well, darlings, just six months later, I got my wish!!!!!
This is the "Follies" for this generation. There will not be a better production than this in our Lifetimes (for those who did not see the Original!!!!), and if you have not gone yet, I urge you to do so, immediately, because I think it is going to close, and then tour, starting January 22!!!!!! If only I could tour with it!!!!!
Not only was it MY dream, it was Every Theater Queen's!!! Loveland...oh, my God!!!! You know we all want to go THERE, loves!!!!!!
Eric Schaeffer's (a director to keep an eye on!!!!) production takes you there, and back!!!! Get to the Marquis before this treasure closes, for gold will never glitter like this again!!!!!!!
The Theatrical Event of this, or ANY year, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, finally (and I know you are all happy, darlings!!!) we move into some of the more Affirmative memories of 2011!!!!! And while I agree and support the entire Occupy Wall Street movement, I don't think TIME should have named "the Protester" as "Person Of The Year."
I think the Clementis, parents and siblings of Tyler, should have been named.
In 2010, they were dealt a blow no one should ever have to face!!!!! In 2011, they rose to the occasion with class, distinction, and humanitarianism, in speaking out about Tyler and other kids in need of help, in establishing the Tyler Clementi Foundation for said purpose, and in leading the way for further tolerance of LGBT youth, which, despite this post-Stonewall age, we still have a long way to go with.
Instead of saying "Get over it, you bitches!!!" to America's homophobes, which is what I would have done, the Clementis, as a united front, espouse justice and acceptance, tempered with compassion. Pretty remarkable in the face of what they have been forced to live through.
So, they are my choice for TIME's cover. They get this blog, instead, but they merit TIME. Let us take some time to reflect on what an example they have set for dignity in the face of adversity!!!!
Hail to them, one and all, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Even though 2011 turned out to be the 40th anniversary of the List murders in Westfield, New Jersey--certainly, a Macabre Milestone-- once July rolled around, I knew who this year's winner would be, from the get-go!!!!
July 11 of this year was the day/evening, little Leiby Kletzky, of Brooklyn disappeared!!! What searchers did not know, was that he was within their grasp, being held prisoner, and, later killed and dismembered (with some remains being found in the perp's refrigerator, and others in a garbage bin in Sunset Park!!!!) by neighborhood slow wit, Levi Aron!!! I said it then, and I say it now---
There is no question that Levi Aron is the Winner of the Raving Queen's Bitch Of The Year Award!!!!!!!
The incident has already been immortalized, dramatically speaking, in the 'SVU' episode, "Lost Traveller," the best one this current season!!!!! Which gives you an idea how high on the area's radar this story was, this year, and still is.
Levi Aron will be going to trial. He may even plead an insanity defense. But so far, nothing has conclusively proven what his motive was. Though there are sexual connotations, Aron's interest in Leiby did not appear to be sexual. Is it "pure evil," like John List???? Not really, because there was no clever planning and calculation here; the whole incident seemed to play out as "paint-by-numbers-crime", with Aron making things up, as he went along!!!!!!
Which speaks about how impenetrable his mind is. Now, that is really scary!!!!! Aron may be slow witted, but he is dumb like a fox!!!!! At one point, he reveled in his new found fame. He might be thrilled to find out he was named Bitch Of The Year!!!!!!
Well, girls, I will be thrilled when this piece of filth is locked up permanently, and the key tossed away!!!!!!!
Congratulations, Levi!!!! Your little escapade guaranteed this will be the last distinction you ever receive!!!!!
Darlings, is it actually possible to die twice???? It is, when you die one year, but are not discovered, until the next!!!! Which is exactly what happened in the case of former Fifties Screen Siren, Yvette Vickers!!!!!
Those of us in the know, girls, just LOVED Yvette, who was basically Hollywood's Greatest Slut!!!! After her signature role as townie tramp Honey Parker, in the 1958 classic "Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman," (starring the former Femme Fatale Of Fifties Fright Films, Allison Hayes, in the title role!!!!!!), it was, like, if you needed an actress to play a slut, call Yvette!!!!!
Did you know she made her screen debut as a teen in the A-list classic "Sunset Boulevard"???? Watch the party scene closely; at one point, William Holden sits down, and, next to him, a young woman is talking on the phone!!! It is Yvette, girls!!!!!
But Honey Parker was her all-time great screen moment. When gigantic Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes) storms through the town, en route to the local watering hole, searching for hubby Harry (William Hudson), and bellows, "I know where my husband is...he's with THAT BLONDE!!!!!!!", Yvette tops even this, because the camera switches then to she and Harry smooching underneath the table. When the ceiling begins to cave in, Yvette turns to him and sultrily purrs, "Haaaaaary, whaaaaaaat's going on?", before everything comes crashing down on them both!!!!! From that point on, Yvette was a cult star!!!!!!
She even posed for Playboy (around 1959) in a manner I might have well envied. She even appeared in another A-List film, Martin Ritt's "Hud," starring Paul Newman, and, in her Oscar-winning performance, Patricia Neal, as world weary housekeeper, Alma.
But sluts get old, and when those roles dried up, Yvette was doing bits as aging Moms in films like 1971's "What's The Matter With Helen????" Eventually she disappeared from sight, becoming a recluse, the Little Edie or Miss Havisham of her nabe.
Till earlier this year, when someone (a neighbor) went in to her house, and found a decomposed heap on the floor. Medical examination proved it was Yvette, who had died the year before!!!!! From Honey Johnson...to this!!!!! How sad!!!!!!
Even more, how shocking!!! But, for a time, Yvette was back in the limelight!!!! She will always be remembered for her film campiness, but for sheer shock value, this beat any story this year!!!!!!
Honestly, darlings, I don't know why Harvard's "Hasty Pudding" refers to their acting award as the "Natalie Wood Worst Actress Award," because she was brilliant in so many film, chief among them, "Splendor In The Grass," which you know I lived, loves!!!!!
All I can say is that MY winner of the Worst Performance Of The Year is....Judi Dench in "J.Edgar"!!!!!!!
Oh, Lord!!!! What an awful piece of work!!!! And the thing is, Dench IS a capable actress. Granted, she was not given much to work with, but couldn't she have used those technical skills to better enhancement?????
She plays Anna Marie Hoover, mother of J.Edgar. Her mode of dress is one step removed from Mrs. Bates in "Psycho," and so is her make-up!!!! She espouses right wing, homophobic crap, culminating in the story of Edgar's classmate, Barton Pincus, who, at about age 13, was caught by the janitor playing "dress up"--sporting a flashy hula skirt and hat--by the janitor in his school. Bet he looked better than any of the girls or teachers, back then!!!!
So, Barton is caught, and, in a scene right out of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre," was made to stand in the schoolyard in his garb, while classmates and teachers taunted him. Frankly, I don't believe this for a second; I think screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, lifted this straight from "Jane Eyre," which exceptionally literate gay men read and reread, and any gay worth his salt has seen the 1944 film, with such child star iconics as Peggy Ann Garner, Margaret O'Brien, and...Elizabeth Taylor!!!!!
The end result of all this is that Pincus is given the nickname "Daffy," which is short for "daffodil." A spur on his sexuality. Six weeks later, or thereabouts, she relates how Barton shot himself to death. Then, with the cool, listless look of Family Annihilator John List (whom she could have been a close second to) she says the now classic line, "I would rather have a dead son...than a daffodil!!!!"
First of all, I cannot believe Dench was able to keep a straight face, while filming this. Even she knows how stupid this is!!! But, then, she must have been paid enough, darlings!!!!!
Even more incredible is that Dustin Lance Black, who wrote "Milk", had the temerity to write this in the political climate we have today, what with all the surrounding matters attendant upon the Tyler Clementi case!!!!! What he does, through this speech, is practically justify, both in those times, and to today's audiences, the kind of behavior that led to Clementi's demise!!!!!! Screw him!!!!!!!!!!!
If Black had said this himself in some docudrama, it might have been different. Instead, he makes Judi Dench stand before a camera and spout these righteous aphorisms. Which, considering the director was Clint Eastwood, what would you expect; the film dances around the issue of homosexuality so carefully, it is clear Eastwood did not have the balls to tackle the subject head on!!!!
Clearly, the only one with balls is Dame Judi as Anna Marie Hoover. Who, by the way, from the looks of things is the one who should have been running the FBI, not her wimp son!!!!!!
The film is a disgrace,and Dench disgraces herself in it!!!!! I can honestly say, darlings, I have not seen a worst performance this year!!!! And it is not even so bad you can enjoy it; it is just plain awful!!!!!!!
What some won't do for money, darlings!!!!!!!!!
Well, girls, here we are, at the final day of 2011!!!!! Can you believe it??? Where has the year gone??? To think that after tomorrow, this is all History!!!
And what a year it has been, with my lovely Monsieur by my side, and the travelling--from Highland Park, to New Orleans, to Vero Beach, Fla., even King Of Prussia, PA!!! It just boggles the mind.
I blogged more this than any other year, which raises the bar higher for 2012, Apocalypse or not!!!! And I have to start thinking about my forthcoming book, "The Queen Speaks--Musings From The Raving Queen," which I am planning to somehow turn out this year. Remind me to tell you girls how I was turned down for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo;" it is quite a story!!!!
So, like the headline says, Old Man Year runs away. Some may say good riddance, but I will look back on 2011 with fondness.
Now get set for the Best, Worst, Most Shocking, and Bitch Of The Year!!!! All coming up, before your eyes, right now!!!!
See you when the ball drops, hons!!!!!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Earlier this year, darlings, you may recall my naming my former high school French teacher, Mrs. Alice C. Santamarina (now pushing up daisies!!!!) as BOTW!!!! Well, while checking up on the Tyler Clementi situation, I came across two pieces of work that make Santamarina tame by comparison!!!!!
The winners of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award are Christie Wilt, and her Teacher's Aide, Kelly Chaffins!!!!
Both are Special Ed teachers at Miami Trace Middle School, in Washington, Ohio. Or, rather, were; since this story was leaked in November, Wilt has been placed on unpaid leave, and is virtually gone from there--and good riddance!!!!--while Chaffins resigned; her husband said, "the same thing happened last year." And they don't have a clue why????
It is bad enough when kids are bullied by their peers, as I can attest, but how much worse is it when done so by your teachers???? And not just subtly, like Santamarina; these two--who taught Special Needs students--are seen verbally harassing a 14-year-old girl, named Cheyanne. How about this????
"You are just too lazy, and your family is lazy."
"No wonder no one likes you."
"No wonder you haven't any friends."
And more and worse. I say, boil these bitches in oil!!! Can you believe these two got teaching licences???? Not for long, I hope!!!! And let me tell you, there are other teachers out there just like this. Which, of course, the schools, till pressured, don't want to deal with. What about the damage being done to students, who are in many ways already damaged????? I say rake these two over the coals as a wake up call to rotten instructors. Just like Tyler Clementi alerted many to peer bullying, I think these two should blow a whistle on Teacher Bullying. If it had been my child, let me tell you, I would have gone in there, and smacked them right across the face!!! In fact, place these two in a pillory--you know, the stocks--and let every parent of every student they ever taught take a crack at them!!!!!!!
Now, that is what I call Justice!!!!!! Then prohibit them from ever teaching again!!!!!
At year's end, we could not come up with two more apt bitches than than these!!!!!
Which is why I say sometimes they had the right idea, at the Salem Witch trials!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, The Most Important Thing I Learned From This Film Is That When You Look Like Charlize Theron, You Can Afford To Eat Ice Cream Out Of The Tub
Girls, contrast my 'Dragon Tattoo' experience on Tuesday, with yesterday's at "Young Adult." I walked out of the theater blissfully happy over having seen a truly good film, with a striking performance by the visually and dramatically striking Charlize Theron!!!! What gets me is how many people don't get Mavis, her character, thinking she is an out and out bitch!!!! She really isn't; she is just someone who makes the mistake of going back to a place she has not only outgrown, but was probably too good for, in the first place!!!!!
No wonder she scarfs down ice cream and fast food!!!! Because, in a place like Mercury, Minnesota, what else is there to eat???? Has anyone there heard of artichokes???? Probably not!!!!! Or Cabernet Sauvignon?????
So, she drinks!!!! Honey, if I was in that burg, I would be drinking, too!!! It gives her something to do, makes her less bored, and keeps her pumped up enough with anger for the big scene when she tells off all the yokels who deserve to be told off, in the first place!!!!!
And I just LOVED her dog, Dolce!!!! Named after guess what designer, loves??????
Charlize nails this character head on. And is matched every step of the way by Patton Oswalt, as townie Matt!!!! When it is first learned what happened to him--he was victimized in a hate crime by jocks who PERCEIVED him to be gay, though he is not--I was, at first, pissed that screenwriter Diablo Cody did not make the character gay. However, as the film, and Oswalt's performance, went on, I actually realized it was more interesting than if he was (gay, I mean!!!), because it brings an entirely new dimension into the picture of how wrong hate crimes truly are, and, there was something touching about how he and Mavis--a girl he worshipped from afar back in high school, but who never gave him the time of day--connect emotionally, and, even more touchingly, physically. I could relate to this, darlings; it would be like, say, if Roberta and I were to meet in the city and have lunch at Bergdorf's, which I can tell you right now ain't gonna happen, because she is so stuck in her Lincoln Avenue outlook, which landed her in Demarest and hooking up with Bernie Madoff that you know she has not changed; just the same stuck up, and (I will say this!!!) anti-Christian bitch I knew as far back as seventh grade!!!!
So, there is plenty of emotional resonance for me here, darlings!!!!!
But the way audiences knock Mavis in this film!!!! Give me a break!!!! Beth, wife of Buddy Slade, (Patrick Wilson) is a suburban frump. She does make an effort, and when Mavis reveals about the miscarriage of she and Buddy's baby years before, Beth is clearly shocked, which gives you some sympathy towards her, as she has some genuine compassion, unlike the rest of these yokels (save Matt), and we sympathize with her further, as she comes to realize she is married to a real schmuck, which Buddy is!!!!!!!
And, yet, people say Mavis is the bitch????? Who are the stupid ones here?????
As for the others, Cody gets the whole suburban thing right; even Matt is a loser reduced to living in his home basement,and working at a sports bar!!!!!! Gag me with a spoon, darlings!!!!! Let me say, when I heard the part about him, living at home in his basement, I could not believe the movie was not set in New Jersey, because, I am willing to bet it has more of these types, per capita, than any other state in the country. Just ask me, and anyone who knew me then, about a guy named Ronald!!!!
Call ME a bitch, darlings (and sometimes you might be right), but I thought "Young Adult" was refreshing and uplifting!!!!! Not that anything wouldn't be, after the abysmal 'Dragon Tattoo', but this was truly exceptional!!!!!
In fact, I think I will go out today, like Mavis, and have a few drinks!!!!!
Why don't you join me, girls?????????????????
Before I go any further, I just want to throw out a few observations about my moviegoing experiences this week; that is, my experience as an audience member!!!!!
Now, darlings, I know school is out. I have taken the week off from work, and I may not be the only one.
But, honestly, does anyone in New York WORK?????
I say this, because I thought going to the movies in the afternoon would be pleasurable and relaxing; if not a private screening, then at least a quiet one. Well, the two films I went to--"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and "Young Adult"--seemed to me to be as packed as on a Friday night!!!!!
And have New York audiences gotten dumb???? Because I went to see "The Muppets" in Pennsylvania, on Christmas Eve Day, yet, and let me tell you,it was a more civilized experience!!!!!
At 'Dragon Tattoo', a mother actually brought her two small children, ages five and seven, approximately, with her!!!!! To a film where, among so many things, a girl is violently raped, and then anally rapes her rapist???? What kind of thinking is this???? And not being able to get a baby sitter does not cut it!!!! Hey, lady, if your children are screwed up by the time they reach adolescence, you have only yourself to blame!!!! And, remember, loves, you heard it first here!
Honestly, yesterday afternoon, I was in the basement of the Strand bookstore, in the True Crime section, looking for books on the John List case, when I thought I saw this woman there!!!! Oh, really????? Same red hair, short height, flipped up, and everything!!!! Maybe I should be a detective, loves!!! What's she looking for, how to off the kids??? Then she should read the Alice Crimmins case!!!! Maybe that is what she was looking for!!!! Hell, lady, you've already traumatized them with 'Dragon Tattoo;' you are well on your way!!!!
I love the not so subtle advertising messages movies throw out these days about audience behavior--"Inconsiderate Cell Phone Man," "That Guy"--except no one now is heeding them; they are ALL these characters!!!! And you should hear some of the moronic comments out of people's mouths; don't they know what they have come to see??? I bet during the "Iron Lady" trailer, few people in the audience knew Meryl Streep was portraying Margaret Thatcher!!!!!
Things were not much better at my screening of "Young Adult." I heard so many of the audience, on the way out, calling Charlize Theron's character, Mavis Gary, "bitch" that it was clear to me they did not get what they had seen. Mavis was not a bitch; she was damaged and in pain!!!!! My audience at this film were on a par with the dumb suburban yokels portrayed in the film!!!!!
Which brings me to another point!!!! Why are these types allowed in to quality movies???? There is plenty of trash out there; let them go see that!!!! If they want to see quality fare, they have to EARN that privilege; they should be screened beforehand!!!! Even if that reduces the audience to five people!!!! Hell, at least it would be a decent screening!!!!!
And if these types want to see such a film, confine these pigs to their own pen; let them see it in an auditorium where they don't bother us more serious minded viewers!!!
It used to be you went into Manhattan to movies for a more sophisticated experience and audience!!!! Has that gone down the tubes!!!! When I get a more civilized experience in suburban PA, you have to wonder what the world is coming to!!!!!
Maybe the Apocalypse WILL be in 2012!!!!!!! Get your wardrobes ready now, girls, just in case!!!!!!!!!!!!
Having a Week Of Leisure can really get things done--books read, movies seen, blogs written; I am telling you, Retirement is tempting!!!!!!
On Tuesday, because I was meeting Monsieur later in the day, I needed a long movie to while away the time. It had been on my radar to see "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," which, at two hours and forty minutes, (can you believe it???? Four minutes longer than "The Song Of Bernadette," which is a REAL masterpiece, with a story to tell!!) I opted for an afternoon screening.
Let me say, if David Fincher had not directed this, I would never have gone near it!!! Fincher, who knows his serial killers, with the films "Seven" and the lengthy, though fast paced, "Zodiac",(with a honey of a cast--Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr.--yum!!!!!) offered hope for this film, which had been filmed two years before, in a Swedish version that was vastly superior to this!!!!!
What is frustrating is that all the right elements are in place. Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig are quite good in their roles, while Joely Richarson, Geraldine James and Steven Berkoff--good actors, all!--render excellent support. Plus another bravura performance from Christopher Plummer (who looks fantastic!!!!) And Stellan Skarsgard is on hand; though, the minute I saw his name in the cast, I KNEW he would be playing Martin Vanger. And, from his work here, frankly I thought he was doing better flashing his hot middle-aged butt and flirting with Julie Walters in "Mama Mia!!!"
But there is no doubt--the movie is well cast!!!!!
Even the few scenes with a shirtless Daniel Craig (would I forget my girls??), his pecs still firm and in place, come off as ho-hum!!!!!!
The problem is the script. It gets all the key elements in, but none of the juice!!!! I don't mean that it is sanitized; it really isn't, though you naturally do not see as much as in the Swedish film. Considering that NBC in prime time did an 'SVU' derivative of it, where the perp branded words on men's' chests, and these words were clearly shown, I don't see why the same could not be shown in this film. But even more, the suspense and pacing which made the book and first film so compelling you didn't want to leave for a second, has been dragged out, so that it becomes so tedious you just want to move from one plot point to the next. Girls, I sat through Abel Gance's 1927 epic, "Napoleon," and Erich Von Stroheim's "Greed," and I didn't feel their length nearly as much as I did here!!!!!! Which says something about how poorly made the film is. I heard audience members having read the book muttering their dissatisfaction on the way out!!!!! And from what I understand, the film is not doing too well at the box-office!!!! Not what was expected at all!!!!!!
Darlings, don't waste your time! This is one Tattoo that should be removed immediately!!!!!
Honestly, girls, I was all psyched. Two weeks ago, at work, Christopher, who is a fairly well read, learned individual, told me about this novel, "New Grub Street", by George Gissing, both of which I never heard of. He waxed rhapsodic about it so much, I thought, "I have got to read this." And when he told me it was set in the literary world of 19th Century London, I thought, "Here is something that presses all my buttons." I thought I had struck Victorian gold, and gone to Heaven, because, having read all the standard Victorian fare, I was thrilled to find a whole new set of works by an author I had yet to read.
So, I began "New Grub Street" with high expectation. It read well, is fast paced, beautifully written, and captures the time being depicted superbly. But it is quite a contrast to the Romanticism of the earlier Victorians, which you know I just LOVE, darlings!!!!! Instead, what Gissing give us is essentially a male "House Of Mirth" with two Lily Barts for the price of one--Edwin Reardon and Harold Biffen. Both of whom are aspiring writers of the day--at least they have been published, lambs; though, as the novel makes clear, it is not the ticket to fame--both of whom come to tragic ends. I just LOVED the spinster Milvain Sisters, Dora and Maud; no nineteenth century work should be without at least one spinster, and they took me back to memories of my spinster days, when to be such was merely to be content with the crumbs thrown to one from Life.
They are contrasted by two of the most despicable characters in Literature, Jasper Milvain, and Edwin Reardon's wife, and ex, Amy!!!!! Jasper is basically what today we would call a "careerist," who has no humanity, and job success and so-called professionalism (emphasis on so-called, loves!), is all that he prioritizes!!!! I work with several of these types, who see themselves as so "self-important", but who are so miserable they don't realize it!!!! Clinically, Jasper suffers from NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and it just killed me at the end, when he got all he thought he was entitled to!!!! As for Amy Reardon, she is a selfish, materialistic bitch, and I agree with Maud Milvain, when she says she (Amy) killed her husband. No sooner is his body cold, then she aligns herself with Jasper so her career as a Prestige Wife can rise!!!! These two deserve an early death, and they just may get it; with the way he is, I doubt, if you continued the story, Jasper Milvain would remain faithful to Amy, which means he would go out and catch some horrible STD, pass it on to her, and, with no medical help available, they would die horrible deaths!!! Good for them!!!!!
Honestly, I don't know what Christopher sees in such depressive musings. Grab some Scotch, and a razor, and slash your wrists!!! At least Sylvia Plath was lyrical!!! Give me "Middlemarch" or "Wuthering Heights" any day!!!! Give me a novel about the Milvain Sisters; now THERE'S a story!!!!!
Gissing is a fine writer, and this is his signature book. I am glad I read it, but if all his stuff is in this vein--especially with the despicable getting off Scott free--then I will not tolerate it!!! I DON'T tolerate it in the real world, why should I in fiction?????
Cross this street at your own risk, loves!!!!!!!
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
We wuz robbed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, I don't know what it is with today's TV distributors. On November 28, "Rizzoli and Isles," after an absence extending back to last September, resumed its season, and we settled in. Now, barely 30 days later, they are saying that last night's episode was the Season Finale, and the Girls will not return till Summer. How can we stand it???? I know they are telling the truth, darlings, because the episode DID end on a cliff hanging note!!!!!
It also featured Erica Gimple (remember her as Coco, the Irene Cara role, on the TV series "Fame?" Hey, what ever happened to Irene????) in a bit role as a hospital physician, tending to Maura's adoptive Mom, Constance (wonderfully played by Jacqueline Bisset, who looks fabulous, girls!!!), after a car tried to run down Maura, and Constance pushed her out of the way, saving her daughter's life. Who should turn up but Paddy Doyle, Maura's biological father, who wants to tell the truth about her REAL mother (for those of you who have read the Tess Gerritsen books, you know!!!!), but won't yet say a thing, and neither will I. Poor Jane; the climactic scene in the Jeans factory shows them at their most glam among the gritty, but, in shooting the perp, Kevin Flynn, Paddy Doyle also gets shot, which infuriates Maura enough it looks like their friendship is on hold!!!! Will it be recovered????
Will Paddy live to tell Maura the truth????? Will Constance live, to be more of a mother to Maura???? Will Jane find romantic happiness (though, come on, loves, when you look like Angie Harmon, especially with that hair, how can you not????)???????
And, most of all, what will Angela/Lorraine brew up in that coffee shop, next????
We have to wait till Summer for all THIS???? How dare these moguls jerk us around???? I don't know what to tell you, loves, except to say, if you have not yet, in the interim,, start reading the Tess Gerritsen books, because they are wonderful!!!!! They are well written, quick reads, and they will make the waiting time pass, and make you feel you have Jane and Maura with you a little longer!!!!!
One thing about this show--when it is a Finale, they sure know how to stage a cliff hanger!!!!! Even more suspenseful than MY life!!!! Which is probably a good thing for me!!!! Meantime, I have tons of reading to wade through, and plenty to cover before 2011 winds up or down...depending on how you look at it!!!!!!
And no, darlings, I am NOT going to be the New Year's Baby!!!! At least, not THIS year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Going, going, and almost gone....honestly, girls, where has 2011 gone?????? Not only is there just four days left of this year till it becomes History, but I have so much to do in these four days--films to see, books to read to finalize my list, errands, shopping...what is a girl to do????
In the coming days, I will have to report on books read, movies seen, PLUS recap some of the Best and Worst--according to the Raving Queen, darlings!!!!--of 2011!!!!
And don't forget things like the Most Shocking Event Of The Year, and, of course, Bitch Of The Year!!!
So, there is a lot to get done this week. But before we do, I want to call your attention to the Man In Red. As some of MY girls know, that is none other than Eric Evans, a movie star of note, and star of such classics as "At Your Service", (and wouldn't we love to have Eric at our service, darlings???) and the gym/exercise classic, "Pumped Up," which also features the stunning Shane Cole, he with the Celtic cross on one of his mammoth shoulders. Who he is/was, and what ever happened to him, is one of the great mysteries, because, I am telling you, loves, Shane could have been as big (in ALL ways) a star as Eric. But the film has superb color photography, colorful lighting and costumes (when there are any), and will inspire you to exercise all those underused reflexes!!!!! Better than Impact Aerobics, darlings!!!!!
Today happens to be Eric's birthday, and he turns 45!!! Girls, let me tell you, neither I nor anyone I know looked this good when reaching that age!!!! And doesn't Eric look adorable in his tasteful red suit???? Very apropos for a post-Christmas baby!!!!! I know many of you would wish to find Eric in their Christmas stocking!!!!! Well, where are you gonna find one that big????? Dream on, darlings!!!!!!
So Happy Birthday to Eric Evans!!!! A beacon of inspiration for those approaching Middle Age. What a nice way to greet this Last Week of 2011, and all it entails!!!!! Not to worry, girls; you will get a full report!!!!!!
And if I run into Eric, girls, I will be sure to say "Hi!", and get his phone number and autograph for you!!!!!!!
Monday, December 26, 2011
Darlings, the Holiday had us exhausted by evening's end. Sprawled in front of the TV, I was desperate for anything--"Law And Order," "Snapped," even some serial killers!!!! Not a one to be found. We actually contemplated watching "Godzilla vs. Mothra," but somehow the mood didn't strike. Even "The Song Of Bernadette" was an option. Now, lambs, you know how much I LOVE that, but I was just not up to it, emotionally, and, besides, Easter is coming!!!! Eventually!!!!!
But, lo and behold, what did we find, but the 1978 made-for-TV classic "The Initiation Of Sarah," which I do not think I have seen since 1978!!!!!
What a cast of Where-Are-They-Nows? Kay Lenz, Tony Bill (remember him on 'Class of '65," darlings?????), Robert Hays, Tisa Farrow (yes, Mia's sister, who, I believe is now a nurse in some New England hospital!!!! What would Maureen O'Sullivan say????), Morgan Brittany (who started out as one of the children in "The Birds"), Kathryn Crosby (is she STILL alive?), Shelley Winters (who is NOT!!!) and the still working Morgan Fairchild, in one of her signature Bitch roles!!!!!!
Morgan Brittany is just so butter-wouldn't-melt-in-you-mouth as Patty Goodwin that you just want to vomit. No wonder Kay Lenz looks all spooky and telekinetic around her!!!! Then there is poor Tisa Farrow, playing a suicidal violinist called "Mouse" (real name--Alberta--jeez, she can't get a break!!!!) who has good reason to be such, being stuck in the loser fraternity, run by demented, and overweight, House Mother, Shelley Winters!!!!! After seeing Shelley in her witch's garb, you are going to wish for her back in that rabbit suit, like on the cast album back cover of "Minnie's Boys"!!!!!!
Morgan Fairchild makes this movie so much fun!!! As bitch-with-ax-to-grind Jennifer Lawrence, she is every school nemesis you have ever dealt with!!!! It is so much fun seeing her get her comeuppance; the interesting thing is she KEEPS getting it throughout!!!! First, her wardrobe, hair and make-up are ruined, by falling into a pond, which Sarah telekinetically hurls her into!!!! This would be enough to make me a bitch, I can tell you!!!! Next, in the classic shower sequence, she and Patty get trapped, and are almost scalded to death!!!! BUT, best of all, in the climactic fire and wind sequence, Jennifer is burnt to a crisp before our very eyes, like a witch on a stake!!! Fry this nasty thing good, darlings!!!! You have got to see the film for this alone, which is why I supplied a picture!!! For which I hunted long and hard, for all my girls!!!!!
Even though I had a bit of lingering guilt for not watching 'Bernadette,' this film took me back to those carefree days of 1978, when fashion was at its worst, Morgan Fairchild was a bitch (and didn't we all just want to be her, darlings???) and Kay Lenz and Tisa Farrow still had potential careers in front of them!!!! Back when summer evenings were spent on the porch in Highland Park, New Jersey, plowing through the latest best-selling tome!!!!!
Ah, those carefree days!!! Have a drink, sit back, and go on a wild nostalgia trip with this one, dolls, capped by Morgan Fairchild's being burnt to a crisp!!!!!
Don't you get burned in the process, darlings!!!!!!
You are just not going to believe this, girls!!!!
While channel surfing at my sister's, I came across some BBC talk show, on which was appeared actress Gillian Anderson, whom no one has seen since "The X Files", and whom I still recall as an unforgettable Lily Bart. Well, this time, in promoting her latest project, Gillian left me stunned.
She is appearing in yet another dramatization of the Charles Dickens masterwork, "Great Expectations." And she will be playing the role of....Miss Havisham!!!!!!!
My first thought was , "You have got to be kidding!" This is the role of a lifetime for an actress who can act; someone like Meryl Streep, who is exactly whom should be playing the role. Gillian is not nearly at this level, and look at her pic!!! She looks like some fashion model from space, or some bad Lady Gaga wannabe at a party!!!! That is NOT what Miss Havisham is!!!!! Take a look at the other picture, and you will see.
Miss Havisham was the daughter of a wealthy English brewer. Her mother died in childbirth, and the father raised his only daughter, spoiling her in the process.
While still a young girl, she was smitten with a man named Compeyson, who pledged love, but was really only out for her fortune. Her cousin, Matthew Pocket tried to warn her, but she would not listen, causing an estrangement between she and the Pockets for years. On the morning of her wedding day, at exactly eight forty (twenty minutes to nine), dressed entirely in her gown, save the left shoe, Miss Havisham received a note from Compeyson, informing her he was jilting her on the altar. She instantly transformed from young ingenue to embittered spinster, shutting all curtains and windows, stopping the clocks at the precise time mentioned, and living out the rest of her days at that exact moment, and not a second beyond. The cake and gown crumbled, she became a recluse--a Victorian Grey Gardens--until the arrival of her ward, Estella, whom she raised to "break the hearts of the male sex!" Like how I always wanted to have Jake Gyllenhaal as my ward, and do the same thing!!!!!
Miss Anderson is getting a bit beyond herself, methinks. None but the great Martita Hunt in David Lean's 1947 film has definitively portrayed Miss Havisham!!!! Who does Anderson think she is???? Only Meryl is worthy to fill Martitia's shoes, and I am sure she is wise enough not to. Meryl is NO fool!!!!!
Why even bother???? You have the Lean film and Martita!!! You have the novel, which is a thrilling reading experience!!!!! Leave well enough alone!!!!
But I just had to tell you, girls, as soon as I found out!!!! Again, look at the ugly, incorrect pic of Gillian!!!! Only the lowest expectations, here, loves!!!!!!!!
First of all, gang, the Raving Queen is back!!!! Let the festivities begin!!!!
And a joyous Christmas it was! Monsieur and I, albeit at different times, arrived in scenic , downtown Norristown!!!! My sister drove us to her spacious suburban manse, which was a Currier and Ives fantasia of decorative splendor. Shortly after settling in, we drove to Villa St. Martha, near Downingtown where my father now resides, and can have (and should!!) on weekly afternoons--tea with Sister Bernice!!!! I am ready right now, let me tell you.
Christmas Eve Day found us at the movies, finally viewing "The Muppets," with Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang, and the fabulous Amy Adams, who, yes, shows off her song and dance skills here!!!! Some interesting choreography, a whimsical plot...just the thing for a pre-Holiday afternoon!!!! We had a festive evening meal of roast and veggies, then off to St. Teresa's for the Christmas Eve Mass. Honey, I am telling you, it was the fastest on record,; so much so, I had to phone my sister ahead to come get us, as she had not planned leaving till fifteen minutes later!!!!
Then the traditional Christmas Eve repast of coffee and home made cookies, then to bed, while Santa chartered his route over PA!!!!
"When I awake at seven....
I'll see you at the Angels' Gate...."
We bounced out of bed, down the stairs, for the annual fruit salad, soda bread, and oh, my God--coffee!!!!! Then--presents!!!! Such things--a scarf, gift certificates, money, the annual "Wizard Of Oz" calendar--everything to make the Christmas complete.
Afternoon greeted the arrival of my nephew, Jonathan, Mandy, his wife, and their adorable children, Fiona and Alexander. What a young lady Miss Fiona is getting to be, and Alexander is quite the charmer cutie!!!! Just like I was, darlings!!!!!!
But, girls, I am telling you, as the pic suggests, though I am not THAT old yet, for some of us, Christmas is a time of remembering. Remembering the happy and crazy times that your memories have stored up, but which start popping out of your heads, around the time you reach 40!!!! Even while other memories are still being formed!!!!
So we remembered--the Christmas When Everyone Got Sick, the Christmas When The Tree Fell Over, Or The Needles Came Off, So We had To Get A New Tree Just Two Days Before!!!!!! And we reminisced over the Popeye Lights, which used to adorn our tree, for which we were famous, darlings!!!!! Cherish those memories, darlings, because soon they are what the Holidays become!!!!!!
A good time was had by all, including yours truly and Monsieur!!!! Now we are back in town for more to report on this week! Stay tuned!!!! You don't want to miss a second!!!!
And let me tell you, dolls,--these memories go a bit beyond Barbra's in "The Way We Were!"
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Girls, this is the blog I normally would have done on the 25th, but, being that I will be away, and the computer there does not perform as well as others I am on (I cannot post pics!!!!) I decided to do my Christmas blog now!
So, here is to finding you gathered underneath the tree with loved ones, gifts, and bon bons aplenty, having gotten through successfully the year that was 2,011. Whether you think of Christmas as Victoriana, "Meet Me In St. Louis," or a tacky white tinsel tree with blue balls (the ornamental, not medical, kind!!!), the Raving Queen hopes your Christmas is Merry!!!!!!
And some special wishes out there for--
Margaret and Mary Ann--a Sister Act still on the Top Charts!
Brian and Dolores--troupers navigating some rough turf, which I hope is done
Judy--a former colleague, one of my faves, a source of cheer, who needs
some cheering herself!!!!!!
Merry Christmas, to one and all, from the Raving Queen!!! See you when I get back!!!!!
Darlings, not since Ann Bancroft and Shirley Maclaine went at each other on the roof in "The Turning Point" (1977) has there been such a joyous bitch fest as "Carnage".The difference is the earlier film was High Camp, and remains iconic ally so,whereas this is an incisive, humorous, yet unerringly accurate portrayal of a group of people, who just may be you and I. And don't try to deny it, darlings!!!!!
This film is also a good example of why it is a good thing I never had children!!!
At one point, Michael, played wonderfully by John C. Reilly, in a role that finally allows this fine actor to show his genuine acting skills, says, "I am a short-tempered son-of-a-bitch!" Lambs, with me, all you would have to do is change "short-tempered" to "confrontational," because, as you can imagine from this blog, when I feel threatened or attacked, I tackle matters head-on!!! As a parent, I would have been every neighbor's or teacher's worst nightmare!!!!!
Which is one thing you don't have to worry about. But it explains why I felt more sympathetic towards Nancy and Allan (played wonderfully by Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz), even if his cell phone antics got on my nerves, too. But, then, have you ever tried walking down a street with someone coming at you, talking on a cell phone??? Even if they see you first, do you think they move???? Of course not; because they expect YOU to!!! Which is one of many reasons why this film presses so many of my buttons.
Jodie Foster, as Penelope, has the best role here she has had in years!!!!
Onstage, she was played by Marcia Gay Harden (we LOVE Marcia!!!!), and my response was different in relation to the actress. With Marcia, I admired her release of suppressed rage; it was a relief, after her cool self-containment. Jodie has no self-containment whatsoever; her anger and self-righteousness is all on the surface, like a pot just getting ready to bubble over, so that, when she does, it is not a surprise, and she (the character) is so annoying, you want to her slap her silly!!!! When Kate Winslet delivered the now classic line that ends with "...and I wipe my ass, with your Human Rights!", I was not the only one in the house who applauded!!!! I have gotten into arguments with these Penelope types in stores, and let me tell you, they had best be put out of their misery before inflicting any more!!!!
And Jodie Foster nails this persona PERFECTLY!!!!!
Good as the film is, and it is good--the camera work, lighting, positioning of the actors, is typical Roman Polanski, meaning you can see traces of earlier work ("Repulsion," "Rosemary's Baby,"), so that, by the time the film ends, you cannot imagine anyone but Polanski having made it--I think in some ways it works better onstage, only because it is such a visceral piece, you need to have the actors right in front of you, you need to have the distance of the screen removed to give it full dimension. I have no doubt this cast could play it just as well onstage as they do here, and it would be something to see that!!!!!
Girls, I just LOVED "Carnage." If you have had a bad day at work, if you need something to constructively release your Inner Bitch, without doing yourself, your property or anyone else, harm, especially if you cannot get an appointment with your therapist, THIS is the release for you. And I know, dolls, that once this is out on DVD, EVERY Queen will have it in their collection!!!!! You know THIS one will, darlings!!!!!
But try and see "Carnage" on the big screen!!!! It is a Bitch Fest, and an Actor Delight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As if, girls, the days leading up to Christmas are not short enough, they really are short, as we have reached the point we have been building towards, since Summer. The good news, dolls, is that, from here on, the days start getting longer. Which means the end of Days Of darkness At 4:30 are in sight!
Something I have always been confused about--if this is the Shortest Day, then when is the Longest Night???? Was it last night? Or tonight? It is things like this, that can drive one batty.
Meanwhile, on this, the Shortest Day, I have so many errands--out to the nabe bakery for loaves of Irish Soda Bread, packing for my Holiday trip (and making sure I have enough books, darlings!!!), dinner with some friends before leaving town for a few days, and then off to the wilds of PA tomorrow!!!!
So especially make the most of this day, because it REALLY does go fast!!!!!
Remember MacDonald Carey's opener at the start of "Days Of Our Lives?" On this day, honey, the sand does not sift through the hourglass, it POURS!!!!!!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Well, girls, Fall, 2011 is History, and Winter is here! Time for cozying up to the fire, 19th Century Novels, and two coming months of monotony, until the Spring!!!!!
Tomorrow is, the way I was taught, the Shortest Day Of The Year, so I just want to say that, with today being the First Day Of Winter, I wanted to open it in a very special way!!!!!
One of my first associations with the season is that wonderful song from "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol," entitled "Winter Was Warm."
This cartoon special first appeared in 1962--to think it will be 50 next year!!! Hopefully, there will be some kind of COMPLETE Anniversary Broadcast!!!! I understand this was sometimes shown in local theaters--imagine the Lucky Ones who have seen THIS classic on screen!!!!!
It is still one of the most talked about specials of my generation, and for so many reasons. The first is Mister Magoo, voiced by Jim Backus, and one of the iconic cartoon figures for the Baby Boomer generation!!!! The second is how he was used--though an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic (and an extremely good one; despite major condensation, it is still perfect!!!), the concept was that Quincy Magoo was appearing on Broadway, in a Musical Stage adaptation of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." It starts out with him enroute to the theater, with the classic opening, "It's Great To Be Back On Broadway!" There are theatrical in-jokes, glimpses of backstage mishaps, and still a show is presented onstage, before an audience that is clearly shown. It is even structured in acts, like an evening at the theater!!!! The concept was brilliant!!!!!
Before going further, let me say that in 1962, Broadway classics were still being churned out. Jule Styne and Bob Merill were getting ready for a classic collaboration of their own--a musical about Fanny Brice, called "Funny Girl," featuring a young Brooklyn up and comer with the last name of Streisand. And Styne had done "Gypsy," with Merman, by this point!!!!!
"Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" was first aired on NBC the night of December 18, 1962!!!!! Which would have made me all of eight years old!!! And it pointed me in the direction of several things--my Dickens mania, and, darlings, my Theater Queenship!!!! Since the age of 6, I had been captivated by this 33 rpm record I had of Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge, taken from a radio adaptation. I think I had seen at least some of the Alistair Sim (still the gold standard, when it comes to Live Action versions, darlings!!!!)1951 movie, so I was grounded in the story. And I loved the Mister Magoo cartoons; my Uncle Jack, who worked for Shell, gave me a Magoo pin the company, who I guess had been a corporate sponsor, manufactured one year!!!! I still have and cherish it!!!!!
But Mister Magoo and Charles Dickens???? How would this play out????
Well, darlings, here we are today, discussing it!!! Tell you something???
Its dramatic intensity must have been illusion bursting to some kids, accustomed to the Magoo humor, and settled in, after the 'Broadway' opening. But once the curtain went up on Dickens, they pulled out all stops!!!!!
How many of us here can still remember "I'm All Alone In The World," without choking up, and tears coming to our eyes??? Or, by contrast, the strictly Broadway ribaldry (and it would be a show stopper, if done live) of the Thieves' number, "We're Despicable!"??????
But the number that always got to me, still does, and forms the basis for today's blog, is the aching, romantic ballad, "Winter Was Warm."
This was sung in the past, by a girl named Belle. In the Dickens original, or other adaptations, she is called something else, but the situation remains the same. Young Ebenezer Scrooge was engaged to her, but she sensed his love changing, as his romantic dreams and ideals are overtaken by capitalistic, moneygrubbing ones.
"But this is the way of the world!" he answers to her, defensively!!! Just like today's techo junkies, whose humanity erodes in the face of ever increasing technology, forgetting to keep the advantages of technology, without losing the joys of Humanity.
Sadly, Belle, in releasing him, asks, "If you were free, would you today choose a girl whose father had left so little money?" Scrooge is abashed; he knows the answer now is that he wouldn't!!!!
Which is why it is so heartbreaking to see Magoo/Scrooge in the Present, with the Ghost Of Christmas Past, implore, "Yes, Belle, yes!" hands, outstretched. He is truly regretful of a choice that cost him, ultimately, some real happiness, and consigned him to a lonely life!!!!!
And now, it is time to get out the hankies, darlings!!!! For this is when Belle, with that gorgeous Victorian hairdo and red dress, walks from him, goes to a table, picks up a snowglobe, muses on their lost love, and sings--
"Winter Was Warm.
Summer-soft that year.
The winter was warm.
Without a sign of frost,
Like winter lost
Its way that year.
It seems, as I recall,
No blossoms fell that fall,
May didn't leave at all,
Or did love paint an illusion?
Now, trees, with a sigh,
Stand and shiver
While their dreams fall and die.
And all my dreams are bare,
Wrapped up somewhere,
In summer leaves.
Oh, what I'd give to be,
To be in love again.
This year, the winter is cold.
Will it ever be warm,
As it was, then?"
And then, with a parting, "Goodbye, Ebenezer," Belle walks off!!!!!
All right, are we crying now, girls???? Are we???? Darlings, even at eight, this song got to me like nobody's business. I hadn't even started crying at "Over The Rainbow" yet!!!! And the song still gets to one; I was weeping, as I wrote the lyrics. It is a gorgeous song, sung by Miss Jane Kean, who, again, boomers will remember as Trixie, on the Jackie Gleason "Honeymooners" from the Sixties, in color, as part of his hour long variety show, with Art Carney (again!!!) as Norton, and Sheila Macrae as Alice, this time!!!!! Jane's rendition of this song is so powerful it brings comparison to Judy Garland. Some maintain it was she who sang it, since the production company that made this made her cartoon film, "Gay Pur-ee", where she voiced Mewsette. It is definitely not Garland's voice, but imagine if she HAD sung it!!! But not a thing Jane; others have recorded it, but hers is the definitive rendition.
Now, wait till you hear this!!! As this special went on to become a classic, somewhere along the way art gave further way to commerce, so that, by the Eighties, this was still being shown, but the 'Broadway' opening was often cut--bad in itself!!!--and so, horrors, was "Winter Was Warm." Which is stupid, because a chorus sings it on the end credits, and it is used as a score bridge throughout, the same way 'Rainbow' is in 'Oz.' Which shows how high a value its creators placed on it.
My apologies to all--try as I could I was unable to find a picture of this sequence. So I settled for the Broadway title marquee, and Scrooge with Belle in happier times!!!!!
More to the point, without it, you lose the central idea of wrong choices leading to lost happiness--and why!!!! Which is not too young a lesson for children to learn!!!! Look at the impression it made on me!!!! And turned me into a Theater Queen, to boot; those instincts were grounded in me!!!! This song is an understated masterpiece; it may not turn everyone into Theater Queens, but I defy anyone to listen to it, without pause for reflection on and gratitude for the love you have. You know I do, girls!!!!!!!
There is happiness, or wishfulness towards HOPE, within the teariness of this song, and warmth is my wishes for this Winter for all MY girls!!!!!
As warm as all that warmth encased within the snow globe!!!!
Now, darlings, you know I have missed you all, but what a rough couple of days it has been. And here we are at Christmas Week!!!!
It all started with the annual Work Christmas Party this past Friday, which, of course, included the annual group dance to "It's Raining Men." Honey, if you think "Who's That Woman?" is winding, you should try this, especially in high party mode. Since I had to work the next day (another "time honored" tradition!!!!), I could not imbibe, but that did not stop others, I am telling you!!!!! The drinks went fast, the food faster, the tree was beautiful!!!! And a good time was had by all!!!!!!
Before I get to the weekend, let me backtrack to the Gay and Lesbian Reading Group Party, which took place last Wednesday. Joel's famous Mai Tais were once again the highlight of the evening, and while I had my share, remarkably I was not hung over the next day!!!!! That Julio, what a cut up!!!! And no Miss Thing to disturb the festivities!!!!! I wouldn't have missed it for the world!!!!
Two parties in 72 hours. Is it any wonder I was getting run down???? Then working a full day Saturday. And we actually had a party to go THAT night, but were both so exhausted we passed on it!!!! And, darlings, when the Raving Queen passes on a party, you know a point has been reached!!!!!
And Sunday, we had to do Christmas shopping--at MACY's!!!! We arose, breakfasted, I did my calls, errands, and such, and we were off. Well, by the time we climbed out of the subway at 34th Street in front of the store--and you can imagine how crowded THAT was!!!!--I was hit by such a state of drowsiness I thought I was going to go down right there!!! Was my klonopin working over time????? Had I accidentally taken too much???? I was feeling WEIRD!!!! Nevertheless, Monsieur shepherded me into MACY's, where we shopped, and where I was eventually overcome by nausea, which was so palpable by my face, he knew I was not faking. I can act, darlings, but I'm NOT Meryl Streep!!!!! Even he knew we had to get home--and fast!!!!
Would you believe we got a taxi outside MACY's Sunday, in middtown, during Holiday Shopping Season???? The angels must have been giving me a break, because we whizzed home, where I was promptly hurled into bed when IT began--stomach ache, back ache, and intestinal noises. Oh, and yes, girls, running to the bathroom with expected results. I almost wished it had been the other end, as I am better at gauging attacks. With where it was, over the years, there have been times when I did not make it, accidents happened, and clothing was lost!!!!! Intestinal stuff is the worst!!!!!
Added to which I could not eat, nothing tasted right when I did, my stomach was growling a mile a minute!!! Was this food poisoning???? Fallout from the Christmas Party????? Holiday Stress???? All of the above??? And I was supposed to go to my sister's at week's end, for our annual Christmas celebration with my father and everyone!!!!! What was I going to do????
I even, coincidentally, went to my doctor, as I had to reorder a prescription. All he could do was to advise me to drink fluids and go slow on my food intake!!! Like, I was going to pig out at Commander's Palace in NOLA???? Honey, if you put me in front of there over the weekend, I would have passed out on the spot, because the luscious aromas coming from there would, at that point, have sickened me. As did the Holiday food commercials, when I would try and watch television!!!! Would this torment ever end???
I think it might, and I have to credit some of it to Pepto Bismol!!!! You just know I love its pink color, so why should something so pretty taste so icky??? Like mint flavored chalk!!!! Not as bad as a colonoscopy prep, but not what you would expect from pink!!!!
So I went to work yesterday, and, at some point late afternoon, I felt my stomach settle!!! Though I don't feel out of the woods yet; memories linger for a long time!!! But--food tasted normal now, I enjoyed dinking coffee for the first time in days, and things are staying in me. I don't know what knocked me out, but , girls, don't let it get you!!!!!
What else???? I have to get bus tkts, a token gift for Monsieur. We have no idea what to get one another, so we are going to jointly give ourselves an evening out, with a nice dinner, and a show. My guess, if it is till running, the show will be "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," because Monsieur has been hankering to see it, and I have to admit, I am curious, too. But I am telling you, darlings, if "What Did I Have?" is improperly sung, I will get right up in my seat and deliver on the spot a sell out rendition that will put such an error to rest!!!!! So stay tuned on here, for this, girls!!!!!
I want to stop in at my home away from home, Three Lives Bookstore, to wish everyone a Happy Holiday!!!! As well as those at work!!! Then I am meeting my childhood friend, Doug, for a Bitchfest screening of "Carnage," which, now that I am blogging again, girls, I will be sure to report to you!!!!!
Oh, another sign of improving health, I was really able to enjoy my "Law And Order's" last night. It was a full evening of 'SVU', and capped off by one of my favorites, Shadows," featuring Sarah Paulson as the Socialite Siociopath we all know and love--Ann Gillette, whose fashion sense does not stop with prison or murder!!!!
You just gotta love her!!!! I had forgotten how doubly delightful this episode is--as it is the one where Edward Hibbert licks Mariska Hagarity's (Olivia) boot!!!!! I recall reading an interview with Hibbert about doing this scene, where he said they all had fun, and had trouble keeping a straight face!!!! As for the boot licking, he said, "It was an honor, really!!!"
If only I hadn't capped it off further by watching the "American Justice" program "To Save their Souls," chronicling the story of Family Annilhator John List, the man from Westfield, NJ, who murdered his entire family 40 years ago. Monsieur watched it with me, and I think it was too intense for him!!!!! And it got under my skin in an eerie way, because I had a series of disturbing, nightmarish dreams at one point, capped off by List's image appearing in there somewhere!!!!
So.........from stomach upset to boot licking!!!!! That's where I have been!!!! You can bet I am going to avoid any homemade egg nog this year--and I advise you to do the same. Or, at least, lace it with enough alcohol to kill any bacteria that might be there!!!!!!!
Today we turn over a new leaf!!!!! Keep your eye on the next post, darlings!!!
Get out The Roches Christmas Album, "We Three Kings..." !!!! Watch the 60's Mexican movie "Santa Claus" with the gayest Devil this side of Christopher Street!!!!!
Whatever you do to make your holidays festive...Enjoy!!!! But no foot fetishes, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
The year is winding down, which means, girls, I need to cram in as much reading time as I can. Right now, I am reading this dark, lovely Victorian (Christmas is the time for such things, darlings!!) novel called "New Grubb Street." It explores the literary scene in London of that time, and what with the conflict between hard copy and Kindle books today, it still has a kind of timeliness. And the conflict between artistry and those who sell out--oh, honey, I am telling you!!!!!!!!
I'll talk more about that book when I finish it. The one I want to talk about right now I touted awhile back as a Fall Literary Event!!!!!!!!!!
Leah Hager Cohen's "The Grief Of Others" has a cover which evokes the Broadway set of "August: Osage County." Proof positive that you cannot judge a book by its cover, because, on the basis of it, and some positive feedback I had heard, it was my hope this novel would, in its own way, have been as compelling as Tracy Letts' play. Alas, alas.
It's not that Cohen's novel is not good, or that she can't write. She can; it is just that she goes down territory we are all too familiar with. The impact of a child's death on a family cannot be under emphasized, but the minute the novel opened with daughter Biscuit (real name-Elizabeth) Ryrie symbolically pouring ashes into a brook, I knew where this would end up. Which it does, cyclically; with the family restored as a unit, disposing of the actual child's ashes. Been there, done that!!!!!!!
While other characters, like Gordie, and his father, who is dying/does die of cancer, and makes these artistically beautiful dioramas, she does not do enough with. And still others, like John Ryrie's daughter from a student liaison, Jess, she does too much with, added to which the character is SO annoying. And, unfortunately for us, the reader, she is the catalyst that moves the story forward. Judging from all the buzz generated by Rooney Mara in 'Dragon Tattoo,', I think if this book gets filmed, she will play Jess.
It is all so predictable, darlings. I mean, so is Dickens, but, sorry, Leah, hon, you don't have that kind of lyrical genius!!!!! Though it a somewhat short 371 pages, I found myself wanting to hurry up and finish this, and get on to something else!!!!! I did not feel that way at any time while recently reading the 800 page plus "Moby- Dick." Just goes to show, girls, it is all in the writing.
I wanted to like "The Grief Of Others" more. It does not go completely out of control, like "The Night Circus," but it takes too long to establish where it is going, and then take paths too frequently traveled.
Though, how about that little thing dropped at the end that Gordie might be gay???? What is that all about???? Let me say, I never got a Gay vibe from Gordie while reading the book. What are you doing, Miss Cohen???? Is this your way of tossing in a little surprise!!!!!! Stick to Lilac Chocolates!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't know what was more frustrating--"The Night Circus'" lack of prosaic cohesiveness, or Cohen's exploration of overly explored turf. Let's see what she can do with a subject that goes in a new direction, or one not as frequently explored!!!!!!!!!!
Like my fashion sense, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, December 16, 2011
I just had to amend myself! When I posted this iconic photo yesterday, I asked you to go from left to right. It should have been Right To Left. The Children, in DESCENDING order of age, are/were--
Lauri Peters (Liesl)
William Snowden (Friedrich)
Kathy Dunn (Louisa)
Joseph Stewart (Kurt)
Marilyn Rogers (Brigitta)
Mary Susan Locke (Marta)
Evanna Lien (Gretel)
There!!!!!!!!!! I stand corrected!!!! Now, I want to hear from all you girls!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Just who are these people, darlings???????? When it comes to "The Sound Of Music," they are the Forgotten Ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who are they? From left to right, in order of their ages, they are--
Lauri Peters (Liesl)
William Snowden (Friedrich)
Kathy Dunn (Louisa)
Joseph Stewart (Kurt)
Marilyn Rogers (Brigitta)
Mary Susan Locke (Marta)
Evanna Lien (Gretel)
If the actors' names aren't familiar, their stage names certainly are--those are the Von Trapp Children in "The Sound Of Music." And the actors listed here are the ones who originated those roles when the show first opened on Broadway at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre the night of November 16, 1959!!!! (Just two days till my fifth birthday, darlings!!!!!!!!! I know I should have been in it, but even then I was too young!!!!!!!!!)
Why should this come to mind? It seems I did something of a post on them awhile back. But I recently recalled a 45rpm I had as a child, which was the song "Do Re Mi" sung by Mitch Miller (whose variety show, "Sing Along With Mitch" was very popular at the time), and, once I could read, underneath, the words "and the Children from "The Sound Of Music." Since this preceded the film, it was the Children from Broadway.
Now, as my girls know, once the film came out, those children eclipsed these!
After all, Angela Cartwright was well known prior, thanks to "Make Room For Daddy," and, as the film became a blockbuster and then a Classic, the screen children, who became a tightly knit, sibling-like group themselves, became almost promoters of the film, which they still do. Eldest daughter Charmian Carr even penned her memoir of the experience, entitled "Forever Liesl."
So, in the shuffle, the Broadway Children became kind of forgotten, which always made me wonder how they felt about all that. After all, they were the first, and there they are on the Original Cast album; in many ways singing better than their screen counterparts, because they all COULD sing, whereas most of the film Children were dubbed or accentuated.
You can see the Broadway Children on a YouTube excerpt from "What's My Line?" when they were the Mystery Guest. At the time, their ages ranged from 17 to 9. When I did the math, that comes out today to between 61 and 69.
Lauri Peters is still alive; may in fact still be in town. She has been known for teaching the Meisner technique at NYU. Hey, Lauri, if you get wind of this, comment on here, and let my girls and I know what is up, what happened to the others, do you all keep in touch, etc.
Unfortunately, my search led to the discovery that one of the group, Marilyn Rogers, passed on last year, in Miami Florida, at the age of 63. She was the original Brigitta. And like the film Brigitta, Angela Cartwright, I think she may have had some credits prior to, as she is billed on the cover of the cast album.
I would love to know about the boys in particular, William Snowden, and Joseph Stewart. What we all want to know is--Darlings, how did it feel being boys, and nominated for a Broadway TONY in the category of Best Supporting ACTRESS In A Musical???? Does that haunt you to this day??????????
So, kids, if you are out there, let me know on here. Or if you know one, or know someone who does, feel free to comment on here!!!!!!! Look at the photo, depicting how the departure from Austria was achieved onstage. How theatrical!!!!!! Quite a contrast to that spacious end shot in the film!!!!!!!! I understand onstage there were wet eyes every night, and when Act One ended, with Patricia Neway as Mother Abbess hitting the final note of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," the rafters and chandeliers shook nightly!!!!!!!!!
A toast to the Broadway Children of "The Sound Of Music"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is about time you got the credit you deserve!!!!!!!
Auf Wiedersehen , adieu, darlilngs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just look at this photo, girls!!!!!!!!! You can certainly tell I am not talking about my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Compton!!!!! I think I have mentioned her on here at points, and, believe me, she was a piece of work! Not to mention she is alive out in California someplace! I thought she was old when I had her over fifty years ago! She must be 150 by now!
But back to the photo. As you can see, the child being menaced in this pic is Shirley Temple. Now, lambs, I am sorry, NO ONE menaced Shirley Temple, and those who did automatically were elevated to Grade A Bitch. Even Jane Withers, as a child, as witness her performance opposite Shirley in 1934's "Bright Eyes."
The actress seen here with Shirley is Mary Nash, and the character she is playing herein is this week's Bitch Of The Week!!!!!!!
The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is Fraulein Rottenmeier in "Heidi."
How much more appropriate a name for a bitch can that be???????????
For those who may not remember, or have never read the Johanna Spyri children's classic on which it is based, Farulein Rottenmeier is the villain of "Heidi." She is Herr Sesemann's housekeeper. Sesemann is the father of the crippled girl, Klara (played in the film by Marcia Mae Jones) whom Heidi becomes a companion to. Rottenmeier wants to keep her job forever, so that means Klara must stay dependent. But when Shirley/Heidi comes along, and talks of Independence, and actually works with and succeeds in getting Klara back on her feet, the Bitch Fraulein feels pretty threatened.
And, of course, in the context of Hollywood movie, morality, she is an ugly, embittered, repressed spinster!!!!!!!! But a lesbian???????? In a Shirley Temple movie??????? NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why was she my first childhood bitch???? Even in the book, a picture version of which I first had, I hated her. And in the Temple film, this character, played by veteran Mary Nash, is truly hateful. (It is interesting how memories morph; I had thought this role had been played by Gale Sondergaard, looking a bit like Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers in "Rebecca." Nash never gets that distinctive enough look, but her meanness is right on target!!!)
I remember one afternoon we were visiting my aunt Martha and uncle Jack in Cedar Grove. Darlings, you would just LOVE Cedar Grove! I mean, the Friar Tuck Inn, and everything!!!!!!!! Honey, I am sure if that is still there it beats out Graydon Carter's clip joints by leaps and bounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyway, this particular afternoon, I was watching TV and "Heidi" came on. Of course, I watched everything with Shirley Temple. What I recall most vividly is in the film, at least, Heidi had this glass snow globe that I think her grandfather gave to her. One day she and Fraulein Rottenmeier get into it, and the bitch takes the globe from Heidi, smashing it to the ground in front of her!!!!!!!! This was the first time I experienced such hate for a character!!!!!!!!!! Not even the Witch "The Wizard Of Oz;" in fact, before I got the whole MGM/Garland thing that all us queens get, I LOVED the Witch!!!!!! Well, maybe not love, but she DID have what I thought at the time was a fabulous castle, she had the Winged Monkeys to do her bidding, not to mention the Winkies; she had that flowing long dress, hat and broom, with a tinted green face, and she flew through the air!!!!!!!!! What more could I want??????? I still recall how, the morning after my first 'Oz' viewing, I drove my mother crazy by repeatedly, with toy broom in hand, leaping off the rim of the living room love seat, trying to propel myself into air, shouting, "To the Emerald City, as fast as lightning!"
But Frauliein Rottenmeier, as befits her name, was rotten to the core!!!!!! When she smashed that snow globe, and sneered viciously, for the first time I experienced such revulsion I wanted to put my fist right through the set, and belt her in the mouth!!!!!!! Which, of course, I did not, because I couldn't!!!!!! But I am telling you, if anyone had done that to ME, in real life, it would have been an altogether different story; I would have kicked that bitch in the shins until she bled!!!!!!!! Just ask Katina Mataras!!!!!!!! But, then, I was always more Jane Withers than Shirley Temple!!!!!!!
In the movie, things go from bad to worse. In a considerable plot departure from the book, the writers come up with Fraulein absconding with Heidi, attempting to sell her to the gypsies. Her grandfather finds them, and pushes the old hag into the snow so hard I thought he did her in!!!!!!!! Good for him!!!!!!! And the film should have ended with THAT being her comeuppance. But the whole thing comes to a head, with Shirley and Gramps in the police station, headed by Sig Ruman (six years before portraying Louis Bouriette in "The Song Of Bernadette"), and Fraulein increasingly distressed by the arrival of Herr Sesemann, because she knows the jig is up, and she will be out of a job!!!!!! Which is how the film leaves her--kind of hanging!!!!!!!!!! Better left to let her freeze in the snow!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, even as a child, I knew a bitch when I saw one!!!!!!!! So, though fictitious, Fraulein Rottenmeier is Every Child's Nightmare. At end of the film version of "Rebecca". Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) burns in Manderly's flames!!!!!! Too bad Rottenmeier could not have been thrown in with her!!!!!!!!!!! And if this character had REALLY been around in 1937, when the film was made, there is no doubt she would have been working for the SS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is it with uppity housekeepers???????? It's all part of the Servant Problem, I guess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fire this Fraulein on the spot...........and then grill her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!