Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Girls, When Is It Racist, And When Not???????????

Darlings, let me tell you, as I was watching "The Shaggs" Saturday night, my mind kept flashing back to the much lauded "Book Of Mormon." And as I thought back to what made me uncomfortable with that show, my mind went farther back in time to something very important during my formative years--network reruns of "The Little Rascals."

Now, while I was uncomfortable with some of the 'Mormon' material, I never had a problem with any of the 'Rascals.' In fact, two of what I considered the most humorous episodes were eventually banned from the airwaves, very likely by those who would perceive nothing askew about "The Book Of Mormon." It leaves me to wonder.

The two episodes in question are the 1933 "The Kid From Borneo," and the 1935 "Little Sinner."

The first, and earlier one, is remembered chiefly for one famous line, spoken several times throughout--"Yum! Yum! Eat 'em up!," spoken like an actor resembling one of the Skull Island natives in "King Kong."

What actually happens is the Gang goes to a circus sideshow, to visit Dickie and Spanky's uncle, whom they mistakenly believe is "The Wild Man From Borneo." Somehow, they end up in an abandoned house, (as I best recall, not having seen this in over 40 years) which they are chased through by the title character. However, what inspires him to utter the famous is not a cannibalistic appetite, but a sweet tooth. The line is spoken only when one of the kids takes out some candy, to which he is drawn, and it is THIS he is going after, not the kids.

This was later removed from TV syndication, due to racial content. However, the child audience to whom this is directed, would not really grasp that. The humor of kids being chased by a strange character, uttering a famous, incantational nonsense line, is what got to so many, but the guilt ridden adults saw fit to deprive future audiences of this. One can only hope it is on a DVD set.

To those of a Certain Age, just uttering that line can produce peals of nostalgic laughter. And there is nothing wrong with that.

The second short, "Little Sinner," has Spanky and Co. playing hooky from Sunday school. The excuse is a brand new fishing pole, which Spanky wants to try. During the course of their excursion, they happen upon a Negro Baptismal Ceremony by the pond/river, which takes place during what turns out to be a solar eclipse. The first time I saw this, I was so young, I did not grasp all of these subtleties, and the result is visually eerie. But the disturbing atmosphere is interrupted, when the Baptismal choir breaks into a fast paced Gospel song, which accompanies the famous tracking shot of Buckwheat, fleeing through the woods, his curls and white ribbons blowing in the wind. Anyone who has seen this knows exactly what I am talking about. I wish I knew what hymn the choir is singing, so I could quote it here; I can hear it in my head, yet cannot reproduce it. But this is an iconic moment in "Little Rascals" history, and a real star turn for Buckwheat, who was given his big moments as much as the others. More, to some degree; there are more solo moments I remember from Buckwheat than Porky.

Yet, this is considered verboten, and "The Book Of Mormon" is not. I am not advocating censorship, or denigrating those who admire this lauded musical, but why cannot there be room for both????? I mean, how about the "Seinfeld" episode, where Jerry and a date get into a make-out session at a screening of...."Schindler's List?" Why is this considered inoffensive, but the humorous doings of a group of 30's children is not????? It just boggles my mind.

I hope future generations can experience the humor of these shorts, and that we come to a point where we enjoy them for the pure pleasure they offer, rather than the political guilt they induce in some. Perhaps those who would exclude these should examine just what they feel guilty about.

I mean, how many of us eat Buckwheat Pancakes??????????????????

Happy Memorial Day, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, it was a perfect weekend!!!!!

After all we did Saturday and Sunday, the Holiday started off with an excursion to Chinatown, to honor Monsieur's friend, Herb, whose birthday just happens to be today. Same as Clint Eastwood. Only Herb doesn't take up with crackpots, like Eastwood does in "Play Misty For Me." We ended up at the most charming place on Pell Street that served the best Dim Sum. Again, where was B.D. Wong??? He should have popped out of a rice cake!!!!!!!!!

And, much as I did my best to welcome the Sailors, I guess they chose to go elsewhere; I can only wonder. But after Chinatown, we met up with Judy in the Village and hopped on the PATH over to Sinatra's hometown of Hoboken, NJ, which is the new home of Audrey and her charming daughter, Ruby.

Audrey's apartment is fabulous, and there is so much one can do with it. Her view of the street, which looks like something out of "Tales Of The City," is gorgeous, there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops, the library is impressive, the parks are lovely....I just know they will be happy here. Monsieur and I were finally glad to get out and see Audrey's new digs. While we visited, Audrey's amazing father was putting up shades. I have SO much he could do at my place. But you can bet if MY father had been there, even at 96, he would have been right up on a ladder, beside Audrey's, working away. The resilience of this Depression era generation is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

With the sun sinking slowly in the East, we finished off with dining at an exquisite Thai restaurant. That ice tea was a bit much for me, but the Pan Thai was luscious. After a farewell to all in the park, we hopped back onto the PATH and whizzed into Christopher Street at the speed of light.

What a lovely wend to a lovely weekend. Or loverly, as Eliza Doolittle would say!!!!!!!

Hope all my girls had a loverly time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Darlings, "Bill Cunningham New York" Is Very Close To Mine!!!!

Except, girls, I don't go dashing back and forth from gala to gala. And I don't hang out with Anna, who makes some appearances in the film. But I have been meaning to have lunch with her; will have to do something about that!!!!

Mr. Cunningham photographs unusual street fashions for the New York Times. Aside from Anna, the standout appearance was this guy, Patrick MacDonald, who is like a cross between Michael Jackson and Truman Capote. Only not as smart as Capote. I guess my fashions are not unusual enough to be shot by him, but then I travel incognito, because there are times--like when I go to the theater or a restaurant--when I don't want people to know the Raving Queen is on the prowl. I don't want to upset anyone.

The documentary is fascinating about a New Yorker who lives his life the way he damn pleases, like so many of us!!!! Yet it reveals how conflicted he is with his profession, homosexuality and Catholicism. At 80, he IS from that generation, after all. He does not have the advantage of mine, who barely remembers pre-Stonewall, and knows the best Catholic remedy is a good, strong dose of Jennifer Jones!!!!!!!

This film was worth waiting for to see. And Anna--we love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Perfect for all my girls. And wait till you see some of the outfits.

You can bet I am going to go through mine, if I want to be photographed. I suggest you do the same, darlings!!!!!!

Christian Dior me, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Girls, The Theater Season Comes Full Circle!!!!!!!

The season began last fall, when Monsieur and I caught that modernist version of "The Little Foxes" at the New York Theater Workshop. It was on that night I learned, in the Spring, that a new musical, "The Shaggs--Philosophy Of The World" would be performed, and I was so excited, as this offered a wealth of possibility.

I was also familiar with the group. About 30 years ago, my friend, Doug, gave me "Philosophy Of The World" on vinyl. I still recall the first time I played it. I have never heard anything like it, before or since.

Basically, The Shaggs were the Florence Foster Jenkins of the pop music world. Their distinction was they had absolutely no talent, yet managed to get to the limited place they did. Then, almost a decade later, in 1977, they were re-discovered by someone at "Rolling Stone" who named them "Comeback Band Of The Year," and their cult was born.

The show that is seen incorporates some of The Shaggs tracks, and the actresses who play the Wiggin Sisters--Betty, Dot, and Helen--at times sing like The Shaggs, which means they sing bad skillfully; other times, they sing beautifully, because then we are hearing them from the obsessed father's eyes.

What is presented is a sort of inverted "Gypsy." Austin Wiggin, heeding a prophecy made by his deceased mother, is bound and determined to make it come true, come Hell or high water. She forecast that the girls would do something for him. Wiggin, a frustrated millworker, who wanted something better for himself and family, yet had no real idea what (which was sad) is inspired by the Beatles to make his daughters over into a rock band image. Ignoring that they are not really interested, have absolutely no talent, and, predictably and understandably, begin to chafe at the bit he is force feeding into their adolescent mouths. "The Shaggs" is a worthy addition to the "Dark Show Business Musical" genre, with its dissection of America's obsession with Fame, and the crackup of the American Dream. Hell, it gets so dark, it sometimes ventures into "Follies" territory.

Which does not keep it from being enjoyable. Peter Friedman gives a performance of "Papa Rose-ish" proportions, as the frustrated patriarch, and Annie Golden, radiant as ever, with that voice still to match, gets to soar in her one number, "Flying." The three lucky or luckless, depending on how you feel, daughters, are portrayed by Jamey Hood (Dot), Emily Walton (Helen), and Sarah Sokolovic (Betty). All are superb actresses with obviously strong theater voices, for whom this prominent gig should be a jumping off point.

The show is not afraid to go into such dark realms as the supernatural and potential mental illness. Yet it is better than anything I have seen recently, and that includes--sorry, you Theatre Queens!--"The Book Of Mormon!"

Honey, REAL Theater Queens will recognize and value this show. But be forewarned, the audience is mainly those who know who they are/were. Familiarize yourself with them before going.

Why, even Dracula will be there, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Will Somebody Call My Agent???????????????

Girls, I am telling you, agents are just like lawyers--they are never there when you want something, but when they want something from you, oh boy!!!! I haven't been around the track long enough to believe that "What-can-I-do-for-you?" stuff. It is about what YOU (meaning moi) can do for them.

First of all, I should have been cast in that 'SVU' episode about the sociopathic kid. And there is still all this background rumbling about Miss Rachel Berry, aka Lea Michelle (though I prefer Lea Salonga!!!) coming to Broadway to do "Funny Girl!" That has been MY role, since Barbra originated it in 1964!!!!! When the show plays, it had better be ME up there, or else heads will role.

Being at the theater last night with Monsieur (more on that later; so stay tuned!!!!) reminded me that "HAIR" is returning this summer to the wonderful St. James Theatre, where its superb score will dispel the bad vibes left by that atrocious "American Idiot." I don't know when performances begin; they may be loading in and rehearsing right now, so what I WANT to know is why has no one contacted me about performing "Frank Mills?" THAT has been a staple of mine, since 1978, when I first performed it, LIVE, on--when else???-- September 12, in front of the Waverly!!!!! The only year I missed was 2001, for reasons well known to us all!!!!

There aren't many, besides myself and Shelley Plimpton (mother of Martha) who can project the virginal innocence required to perform the song!!!! That's right, girls; you heard me!!!! Now, Allison Case in the 2008 production did indeed project this, but the moment was undercut by Diane Paulus' staging; she had Allison begin the song sitting down, then getting up, walking to stage center, and finishing it there!!!! That is NOT how it is done. You turn, face center, and just sing it plaintively. That's all. No movement, no choreography. Song and performer should do the work!!!!!

I don't know what the "HAIR" people or my agent are waiting for. I am available; I don't want to do the whole show, just this number!!!!!! Honestly, the next time my agent asks me to do some reading of some obscure piece from nowheresville, I am cracking down, and saying "NO!" In this business, honey, it is all about the work, but what some don't get is it is about the work I should be doing!!!!!

So all you agents out there--stop talking to Kirstie Alley about yet another weight reduction reality show, and start talking to ME!!!!!!!

And I can STILL do Lana Turner's famous walk down the street from "They Won't Forget!"

Friday, May 27, 2011

Guess I Better Get Here Fast, Before It Closes Down!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, with the closing of Elaine's, at this point I figure any iconic establishment in New York City is fair game. One place I especially used to yearn to go to when young--but never have--is Sardi's. At a very tender age, I thought this was the essence of high class dining--and it was in the Theater District!!!!!! Next I saw it as a Showbiz Mecca, where celebrities went to see and be seen. And you better believe, girls, that I have nursed dreams of walking into the place, with my picture on the wall, my very own table, and personal waiter to escort me to thereof.

Like Elaine's, you don't go to Sardi's for the food. So I was surprised by the variety on their Menu; I have no idea how good it is, but I can tell you it is spectacularly priced; everything seems to be a la carte, so I think a meal here could cost more than one at, say, One If By Land, Two If By Sea.

Is this enough to get me to go???? I will have to discuss it with Monsieur. Maybe on my birthday later this year, a Pre-Theatre meal, and then a show!!!!!!!
The point is, girls, the New York we all yearned for back in the days when we wanted to be Marlo Thomas as Ann Marie is slowly fading, so before it does, take a lesson from my experience with Elaine's, and quit putting off going to that spot you always said you would go to. Or else it won't be there, anymore!!!!!!!!!

But I still will, for all my girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's A Plan For All My Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Never let it be said I do not watch out for my girls!!!!!!!! Well, if you have no plans as yet for this evening, I can offer a suggestion designed to net you more results than you might have first thought.

One of my very good sources, my fellow volunteer, Mike, on Thursdays at the Center, informed me last eve that this eve, on the ship The Intrepid, they are going to show the movie "Top Gun." Now, not being especially fond of Tom Cruise, I have never seen this, but I am informed it is one of the gayest movies ever made!!!!!!!!!
Though I prefer crinoline, myself. But here is a chance to get on board, with hundreds of guys and gobs, see a hoot of a film under a starlit sky, and who knows, one of those gobs might become your guy!!!!!!!!! Hell, if they were showing 'Baby Jane' I would think about it. What else would go on board a ship????? "Ship Of Fools?" No, too intense??????? How about "The Poseidon Adventure?" With Shelley Winters and "The Morning After," that might be one that would get me on board.

Alas, I have plans of my own, this eve, darlings. But for those whose dance cards aren't full a trip to the Intrepid this eve might just be the thing!!!!!!!!!!

A-hoy, mates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are You Ready For The Summer, Darlilngs??????????

While the calendar does not yet say June 21, psychologically speaking, we know this weekend is the start of Summer!!!!!!! Are you ready for it, darlings?????? Feasting, and frosting, and all kinds of frolics. A time share on Fire Island???? Are you kidding me, girls???? The sunburn would kill me!!!!!!!!!

I can remember the 1960 classic "Where The Boys Are." Everyone wanted to be a different girl. I just HAD to be Connie Francis!!!!!!! Others wanted to be Paula Prentiss or Yvette Mimieux. I cannot recall anyone wanting to be Delores Hart, which is almost a foreshadowing of what was to come--her stay in the Convent!!!!!!!! And she is still there!!!!!!!! But, honey she is the only nun who is an offical member of the Screen Actors Guild and still votes for film awards!!!!!!!! She is one hip Sister!!!!!!!!

So if you're at the shore, the beach, or an urban esplanade by the water, have a FABULOUS Memorial Day weekend!!!!!!!! I can remember when Highland Park had its parade on that day; it was the biggest thing in town!!!!!!!! Then we would head over to my grandmother's on Nassau Street in North Brunswick for another parade, which went right up the street, so we could sit on the porch, and then the season's first official cook out. Whatever you do this weekend--ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!

But make sure YOU don't get cooked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Girls, If You Are Going To Do "Follies," THIS Is What It Should Look Like!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings,"Follies," that 1971 Sondheim masterwork, continues to be both the greatest and most problematic of musicals. Theater Queens of the Boomer generation were weaned on it, and the score is primarily the reason the show gets done, and actors want to do it. The book has always been secondary, but if you go with it, it is acceptable. Where "Follies" has been a problem is its staging. No one has been able, or seems willing to, duplicate the look and staging style of the Harold Prince-Michael Bennett-Boris Aronson original. And for us "Follies" fanatics, nothing less will suffice. It is a combination of ignorance and hubris--future "Follies" doers are ignorant of this fact, plus they want to put their OWN stamp on it, as if anything they could do would improve on what the three august gents mentioned earlier have done.

That said, let me say further--

Bitch slap that Ben Brantley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not too hard, darlings, because he might like it!!!!!! As one who has often questioned his critical acumen, I really have to call it into question with his recent review of "Follies" (with Bernadette Peters) in its new incarnation at the Kennedy Center in DC.

If you have read Brantley over the years, you know that he is about my age, and like me, is a "Follies" maven. I think he saw the Original in Boston. So he should know better when he delivers a review, the gist of which is he falls in love with the show all over again--but not till the second half, wherein the pivotal "Loveland" sequence takes place. Now, I am happy he thinks this sequence is done so well here; it was not in the Roundabout revival, which I saw. It had the look of BAD community theater. Shame on the Roundabout. However, no matter how brilliant a "Loveland" you have, in order for "Follies" to work, everything coming before it has to be perfection as well, or else it falls apart. And what would be the point of doing it???? This is the moment that "Follies" builds towards all evening, and if you have a poor foundation, no matter how impressive things look in "Loveland," "Follies" will not be a success.

But Brantley simply gushes like a tenny bopper!!!!!!! Get a grip, honey!!!!!!! How can he flip over a production that he loves only the second half of????? Which brings me to another thing that annoys "Follies" purists. As originally conceived and performed, the show was designed like "A Chorus Line"--to be performed without an Intermission. Which it SHOULD be. Somewhere along the way, someone got the idea (and I cannot believe that the original creators, let alone James Goldman's widow, Bobbie, who wreaks havoc with each new production or prospect thereof approved this) to break the show at the close of "Too Many Mornings," returning to that exact spot for what is now Act Two. For non purists, or those who have never seen it, this is no problem. But us REAL "Follies" folk know the difference--and we object!!!!!!

As the subject bar and pictures state, "Follies" has to LOOK a certain way to work!!!! Us purists accept NO imitations!!!!!!!!! Get with the program, Ben and start acting like a professional critic, instead of a jittery adolescent.

If there was a "Follies" fan club, his membership should be revoked.

May all your "Follies" be successful, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, There Is Just No Limit To This Man's Hubris!!!!!!!!!

It's Bitch Of The Week time, girls, Thursday again, and up till shortly ago, I was ready to give Ben Brantley the award, for his comments regarding the Kennedy Center's production of the great Sondheim musical "Follies" (my favorite!!!) now being done there. And then I came across something in the Books section, and the minute I read it, I knew I had my winner.

The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is........Chester Brown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not a household name, to be sure, or destined to become one. But Mr. Brown is earning a limited name for himself, for a time, with his newly published book, entitled "Paying For It."

Mr. Brown is a 51-year-old Toronto based cartoonist, whose latest book is a graphic novel, chronicling a lifestyle that he seems to be a bit too proud of--he sleeps with prostitutes!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, frankly, I don't care who or what he sleeps with. Or anyone else for that matter. I don't judge. But his abundant sense of pride in this fact, and his rationalizations for doing so, make me question whether he is wrapped tightly or not.


Mr. Brown said he took on this lifestyle, after a series of wrong relationships with women. Honey, maybe it was the women who were wrong for you!!!! Or maybe, dear, you don't know how to conduct yourself, during such. This shows he has some issues already. But to project these to the world so blatantly, suggest an ego of unlimited size. Not even the aforementioned Philip Roth has gone this far; he lets his ficitional characters do it for him.

"I'm very far from being sad or lonely," he says. Then why mention this, at all? Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

"I have never caught an STD," he claims. Oh, really????? Well, maybe????
But how does the saying go, "If you go to the barber shop, sooner or later, you get a haircut?"

"I haven't been arrested, I haven't lost my career, and my friends and family haven't rejected me," he asserts. Well, good for them!!!!!!!!!! As for not being arrested, he is not high profile enough, like Elliot Spitzer, he has been incredibly lucky, or maybe he has the luxury of being able to afford the higher priced gals, in which case he does a disservice to those unfortunate souls seeking solace this way who can't afford such, and have to go lower, and with more risk involved. It is like he is thumbing his nose at them, and everyone else.

Then comes the topper--"The romantic love ideal is actually evil." Oh, yeah?????? Bitch, who are you to judge??????? You are 51, honey, and while you are no Chris Meloni, if you weren't such a sleaze, you might stand a chance with someone, if you kept at it. Don't go deriding those of us who believe the ideal, and are quite satisfied with it. Your bliss, dear, lasts as long as your orgasm. And let me tell you, you are getting in your fifties, and those orgasms are going to be harder and harder to attain. Heaven help you if you have a prostate problem, because, then, oh boy!!!!!!! Your chippies, who are on the clock, anyway, are not going to have the patience for your services anymore, and then what will you do?????????

Gloat all you want, you self-righteous bitch, because it won't last. Sooner or later, something will have to give. Maybe Mr. Brown will write about that. It would be more satisfying than what he has written now. Meanwhile, for sheer ego, gall, and subjugation of women in general, you can't beat Chester Brown. He is a great bitch. No wonder he is this week's winner.

He needs to watch "Fatal Attraction," darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mother Of Mercy!!!!!!!! Could This Be The End Of 'SVU'?????????

There has just been too much to absorb, girls!!!!! Yesterday, TV talk showdom said farewell to Oprah Winfrey, and after today, Elaine's Restaurant fades into the fabric of New York History. With my regrets, I was never there, though I did manage to get to
some other long gone spots--Lutece, Le Cirque and La Cote Basque. Thank Heaven La Greouille is still in business.

Now comes the news that Chris Meloni, aka Elliot Stabler, will not be returning for the 13th season of 'SVU'. Talk about 13 being an unlucky number!!!!!!!!!!
With Elliot gone, we also lose Isabel Gillies as Kathy, his wife, and the actresses who have played his daughters, Maureen and Kathleen. For the past twelve years, almost an entire generation, girls of all ages, genders and orientations, have drooled over Chris as Elliot. In addition to being a fine actor, he was one of the best looking things on TV. Not that Mariska was bad, either; hell, this show offered something for everyone. But with Elliot gone, and Mariska cutting down on screen time, the dynamics will sure be different. How can this be replaced??? It can't. Short of Meryl coming on as a regular--which I doubt--I can't think of anyone big enough that could usurp Chris or Mariska. The show has been renewed for a 13th season, but this may very well be its last. Only time will tell.

As for Chris, we wish him all the best, know he will continue to be seen. But when an actor has done a character that long, it follows in your wake, so that no matter what Chris may do in the future, to so many of us he will ALWAYS be Elliot Stabler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What will my girls do?????????????????????????

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hey!!!!!!!!!! What Happened To The Rapture????????

Darlings, amidst all the running around I was doing on Saturday, the world was supposed to come to a screeching halt!!!!!! Well, as you can read, thank God (literally!) we are all still here. And the zealot dirt bag who created this little dose of mass hysteria--which no one took seriously for a second, anyway--is probably now holed up in the same lair Bin Laden was before he was killed!!!!!!!!!!

I think we would have sensed something if the Rapture were going to happen. Ever since the Y2K debacle, I have been suspicious. And it is not going to be like the Christian Evangelical scene pictured here.

When the Rapture comes, the Spirit of Meryl Streep will appear on earth, to shepherd everyone together, and woe to those with poor acting technique. From the sky above, Judy Garland, in her hat, suit jacket and black leotards and taps from "Summer Stock" will appear to All and sing--what else???--"Get Happy!"

Only then will we know that the Rapture will be upon us, as it will be...rapturous!!!!! So breathe easy, dears! I have to see "The Shaggs" Saturday night, so nothing simply can happen before then!!!!!!!!

Or even before July 2, when I come back from my New Orleans trip!!!!!!!!!!

Trust in your Icons, girls!!!!!! Let Meryl and Judy lead the way!!!!!!!!!!!

The Fleet's In, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, today marks the start of Fleet Week!!!!!!!!!!!

Sailor boys will be pulling in to port, and looking for action. Not quite Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, my dears!!!!!! Anchors aweigh, my boys!!!!!! Do your patriotic duty, by bringing home a sailor for a fresh, home cooked meal. Even if you turn out to be that meal!!!!!!! Remember what the song says in "Funny Girl'--"A bit of dinner never hurt/Bur guess who is gonna be desert?"

Frankly, I don't think Monsieur would be too thrilled if I did bring home a sailor. Maybe if I put on a sailor suit for him, but then finding one I can fit into these days is something of a challenge!!!!!! I could wear a sailor hat, though!!!!!

Otherwise, just enjoy the weekend, walking through the city, watching those sailor boys, saluting them as they go by, and carefully observing those Very Important VPL's (Visible Panty Lines!!!!!)

All hands on deck, darlings!!!!!! And watch where those hands go--or on whom!!!!!!!

Just One More Sad Thing, Before Moving On!!!!!!!!!!!!

And no, girls, I am NOT talking about today being the last day of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which I do not believe for a second. Or, rather, I believe Oprah's show as we have known it, will fade into history, but not Miss Winfrey herself. First of all, let's face it, how could she? And second, being a woman who loves to work on projects, you can bet we will not have heard the last of her. So I am hardly crying the blues for Oprah!!!!!!!!

But today is a more serious anniversary. In fact today has been designated National Missing Children's Day, based on the case that inspired this distinction--Etan Patz.

Today, just as Tyler Clementi's name has already become code for gay bullying, Etan's is code for every mother's nightmare--having a child gone missing. While the Adam Walsh case is no less tragic or important, Etan's was helped by the fact it happened in one of the world's media capitals--Manhattan.

Thirty two years ago, on this very day, a Friday, a six year old boy, declaring his independence, was allowed to walk to his bus stop by himself. He never got there. What followed put the Patzes in the same media glare now faced by the Clementis, and this couple handled themselves admirably, too.

For me, it was a tragic period also. Etan's abduction took place just seven weeks after my mother's death. I was living at home, unestablished, and coping with my own issues, when this case happened, which caught my attention immediately. I suspected soon after the child was dead. What I never could ascertain was how come a body was never found. It took me thirty years to find the answer to that.

Which came from Lisa R. Cohen's excellent 2009 book "After Etan--The Missing Child Case That Held America Captive." She establishes that Jose Antonio Ramos, a friend of the Patzes' babysitter at the time, has admitted, while imprisoned in Pennsylvania, that he abducted and murdered Etan in 1979. At one point in the book we learn that Ramos was also the Super of an apartment building on East Tenth Street. I think the address was 204 E. 10th. In the basement was an incinerator, to where he took the deceased body of Etan and........

So I cannot blame that Stan Patz, ever since, on both this day, and Etan's birthday, October 9th, sends to Ramos in prison an 8 by 10 of the now iconic photo, writing on the back, "What did you do to my little boy?" In fact, should Mr. Ravi be set free and clear, I would wish someone--maybe yours truly, darlings--would do the same to him, with regard to Tyler Clementi.

But today is Etan's Day, so let us remember him. And hope that the world can somehow be made safer for children, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!

To them belongs the innocence and magic. Allow them to keep it!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

...........And On A More Serious Note, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Honey, I have been around the block, I understand the assets and pitfalls of our judicial system, and the concept of everyone innocent till proven guilty. But, as my girls on here know, I make no secret of this fact.

I DESPISE Dahrun Ravi.

As if there wasn't already enough to despise him for. Now, Steve Altman, his sleazoid lawyer, who looks as though he might have a heart attack any minute, has had the audacity of entering--on behalf of his client-- a "Not Guilty" plea.

Can you believe it???????????????

All this took place yesterday at the world famous Middlesex County Court House in New Brunswick, which I drove past on Saturday. Now, on one level, a lawyer, once a case is taken, is obligated to give that client the best defense possible, so to a degree I realize Altman is simply doing his job.

But what bothers me more is this. When I look at Altman, I see a smugness, suggesting a belief that not only will he win, but that his client truly IS not guilty!!!!!! Even worse, though not surprising, is when I look at Ravi, I see smug arrogance, convinced of the same two things.

It is clear to me. Dahurn Ravi thinks he has done no wrong.

You know what that makes him, girls??????? A sociopath!!!!!!!!!!!!

IF he gets off, not only will I be outraged--and Heaven help when the Raving Queen gets that!!!!!! It will send a message that Tyler Clement's existence was invalid, because he is somehow less than for being gay, while Ravi is more, because he is straight. That is clearly the attitude I see projected by Ravi. That he can sit in a courtroom and look the Clementis in the face without a trace of sorrow or remorse shows a monstrous lack of empathy. It shows that to a degree Dahrun Ravi is a danger to society.

Frankly, I agree with one commentator--Grease his butt, and send him up the river!!!!!! That might be the only thing he would learn from!!!!!!!

But short of him being convicted, I could care less about Ravi. My concern is for the Clementis, for whom this must be a living Hell, which they did not ask for, and which they have handled with such aplomb. My heart goes out to them. And to the soul of Tyler, for whom I will not stop fighting for justice!!!!! If Ravi gets off, rest assured there is a Higher Reckoning that will deal with him ultimately!!!!!!!! It is just that in the face of a non-conviction, the world will look like an even more difficult place for potential future Tylers.

What was that slogan years ago???? "Stop the Madness?" I invoke it again here! The eyes of the world are on how America handles the Tyler Clementi case. I pray it does not let either Tyler or his family down!!!!!!!!!

There can be only one kind of justice--a justice that will allow Dharun Ravi to truly come to terms with the horror of what he did. There may be no cure for sociopathty, but there is PUNISHMENT!!!!!!!!!

Girls, I wish Dostoevsky and Dreiser were around for this!!!!! They would have a field day!!!!!!!!! Instead, you have me!!!!!! I will continue to do my best!!!!!!!!!!!

As we all must for Tyler and the Clemetis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Moving On, Girls, Let Us Remember A Speical Musical Theater Anniversary Day!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, I cannot recall if I recorded this last year, though I may very well have. And if so, it is worth noting again. Forty- five years ago tonight, at the Winter Garden Theatre, the curtain went up on what turned out to be a true Broadway classic and one of my favorite musicals of all time!!!!!!!


"Oh, Vera, I can't wait to hear that Overture. Tell me about the show!"

It must have been SO thrilling to have been in that first night audience, and hear that spectacular overture--one of Broadway's best. Then the lights dimmed, the sparkles shone on a glittery Manhattan skyline, and out from stage left walked Jane Connell as Agnes Gooch and Frankie Michaels as Young Patrick, who went into one of the most perfect of opening numbers ever written--"St. Bridget."

Girls, I could cry just writing about it!!!!!!!! And the score just keeps getting better and better--"The Man In The Moon," "My Best Girl," "We Need A Little Christmas,' the title song, and the penultimate solo showstopper by Angela Lansbury--"If He Walked Into My Life!!!!!!"

Let me tell you, loves, this was every burgeoning gay boy's dream!!!!! At the time of the Original, I was young enough to play Young Patrick, and you better believe I wanted to!!!!!!! Now, I would like to stage a production of my own OR act in it, as Gooch. Some say I could do Vera Charles, but I think I am better suited to Gooch. To open the show with "St. Bridget".....I get goose bumps, just thinking about it!!!!!!!!!

Forty- five years later, this show is still being written about, performed, sung, you name it. How many of today's fare can that be said of?????? Not "Spider Man--Turn Off The Dark," you better believe me!!!!!!!!!!

At 45, "MAME" is still a classic, fresh and exciting as the day it was born!!!!!!

Just like I am, at 24, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Weekend Just Didn't Stop, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, that was Highland Park, that was Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday night Monsieur and I were so worn out we tumbled into bed, where he fell promptly asleep--no surprise there, darlings!--and I dozed off while watching a recorded episode of "Raising Hope." Which I will have to watch again.

We slept in Sunday, but we had to move fast. Because, in between phone calls, from friends, relatives and my father and sister, we had to get ready for a 2PM performance of "The Book Of Mormon" uptown at the Eugene 0'Neill Theatre.

Monsieur was SO excited. The Hottest Ticket In Town, and I had acquired it!!!!!! Leave it to The Raving Queen!!!!!!!!! He had even been talking about buying the CD!!!!!!!!!!!

As for me, I was somewhat skeptical of a show that had been praised to the max. It seems like I have been this way ever since "Rent." Still, I was willing to open myself up to what I had hoped would be a transporting theatrical experience. Plus, I had LOVED the movie "South Park--Bigger, Longer And Uncut", which was something of a musical in itself, and which I still say should have been transplanted to the stage. So, I was open to the possibilities of this being a fabulous show. Plus the buzz on it indicated that it was.

But what do I know?

The fact is, a lot of "The Book Of Mormon" IS fabulous, chiefly the marvelous production numbers. I will go this far and say it is the best sung and danced show I have seen yet this season. The choreography by Casey Nicholaw is energetic and formative, and owes a debut of gratitude to "A Chorus Line"; that masterwork is still showing them how to do it to this day! The cast is alive with talent and energy, their vocals are the best and their harmonies soar!!!!!!!! If only the cast of 'How To Succeed' had this talent, because then the show would have blown you away, because THERE is a score to sing for!!!!!!!!!

I was highly suspicious when I got my Playbill, and saw the musical numbers were not listed!!!!! Why? Well, when broken down they aren't much; they make the same points over and over. Also, the relatively simple story--the conflict between a nonconformist geek and a straitlaced self-hating closeted gay, and how they change each other and a village in Africa, takes awhile to establish itself, because you have to see pass all the production flashiness before you can get at it. Bad book writing, guys!!!!!!!!!

None of the songs are especially memorable. Even Monsieur, who was SO psyched for this show, felt let down, saying he would not buy the CD, as he would not want to hear the score a second time. Which was not the case with the "South Park" movie. Now, as all MY girls know, I am certainly no Bernadette (unless you mean Bernadette Peters); when it comes right down to things, I am more like Pearl Chavez, and I admit it. I have no problem with good natured spiritual irreverence. BUT when I hear a musical number with the lyrics "Fuck you, God!" I have to confess it makes me a bit uncomfortable. Remember, I was raised getting up on Sunday mornings, and marching downstairs before my parents to watch "Davey And Goliath," which took years to sink into me that it was a religious show. (Remember "All Alone," when Davey gets locked on the train, and he hears the wheels chanting the title, then suddenly switching to "God is everywhere?" It is things like that which made an impression). So, I have to confess the content made me a little squeamish.

Not to mention this whole subplot about African men fornicating with babies so they do not contract HIV. Excuse me??????? Again, I can take a lot, but infant abuse?????? Some lines have to be drawn, and that and bestiality--they fuck with frogs in here, too!--is where I draw it. Even Monsieur said, while he is not super-religious, he respects the rights of people to their religion. This pushes the envelope a bit too much for me.

I am surprised the Mormons are not protesting in front of the theater. And any day, I expect the elegantly coiffed Reverend Al Sharpton to turn up!!!!!!!!!!

Still, the show manages to entertain. The Second Act Hell Number is the one REAL show stopper, both in design, staging and performance. If the rest of the show had been up to this segment, "The Book Of Mormon" might have been the musical its proponents claim it to be. In the end, I found myself admiring the talent and the creativity, but not transported by the results!!!!!!!!!!!

Give me "Anything Goes" ANY day!!!!!!! And stay tuned, because the musical I have been anticipating all season-"The Shaggs"--I am seeing Saturday eve, and THAT I predict will do what "The Book Of Mormon" didn't. So stay in touch, darlings!!!!!!!!!!

All of this in ONE weekend!!!!!!! Now you know why I am called the RAVING Queen!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Darlings, Here Is How I Start My Day Every Morning!!!!!

OK, now that I have your attention, a few odds and ends.

The next day, I called my sister and told her what I have just recorded, and she added something to the mix. There is this Big Yellow Mansion, on Harrison Avenue, with lots of land, a well, straight out of Tennessee Williams. And its fictitious history is as famous as anything.

As a child, my friend Dougie, and I, would claim the house was haunted, and that on Friday nights at midnight, Mothra would fly in to town and hold a convocation of All Monsters. This was during my monster movie phase!!!!!!

By the time "The Waltons" showed up on TV, I was convinced the two sisters who lived there were named "Baldwin!"

According to Paul, who drove us there, their names were "Borden"--like Lizzie!!!!! I mean, how appropriate.

And I was sure they manufactured some kind of alcoholic recipe!!!!!!

My sister told me the Sisters' name was "Conover," and they were related to Charlotte Mulder. Now, Charlotte was the wife of (let's call him) Jimmy Mulder, whose parents, Mr. Mulder and his wife, Gertrude, were big in HP's Reformed Church, where my sister went. In fact, Mr. Mulder was the Pastor!!!! His wife, who later shortened her name to True, became a librarian at the high school. She was there in my day, and she was quite a scold!!!! A real witch, second only to Mrs. Santamarina!!!!!! Well, Jimmy married Charlotte Hughes, who lived over on one of the President Streets--Grant, I think--so the Sisters are either Jimmy's or Charlotte's aunts. With my association to Jimmy's witchy mother that gives me another six degrees to them!!!! I bet if you did a genetic breakdown, you would find out everyone in Highland Park is somehow related to everyone else!!!!!!

Wouldn't that be something? It would. So before we close the book for now on Highland Park, let me throw out a personal, Little Rascals reference to Mary Anne--

Remember when we would shake each other and say, You shall die on the horns of the sacred Bull! Then bring on the sacred Bull!!!!"

Like the saying goes, dears, you can't make this stuff up!!!!!!!!

Girls, This Is More Important Than Reading About Jennifer Aniston's New "Dark Do!!!!"

Listen, darlings, I am not going to be upstaged by Jennifer Aniston!!!!! I mean, suppose I wore fishnets, like Madonna!! That would cause a bigger stir!!!!!

Now, it is time to resume our journey through HP!!! After the DQ, we rode down Eighth Avenue, with those cherry blossom tree islands still dominating. And all the houses--the Engebretsens, the Sveds, the Cohens, the Wysokers (I couldn't STAND them!!!), my grandmother's friend, Mrs. Deck, on the corner of Eighth and Abbot Street, and Aimee Rottman's off to the side, on Abbot Street. Alongside Wysokers, on Abbot, stood Reva Levine's old house. (Oh, and don't forget my sister's friend, Diane Camins, old house on Eighth. And those disgusting Mindels in that huge, Tara-like place!!!! I can still hear Margaret saying, "I can't stand that Meg Mindel!!!" And to think that Meg's older sister, Sunny--who never gets blue, I bet!!--is a spokeswoman for Giuliani??? Isn't that something???) Further down was the Eltringham house, or what once was, still standing. And right on the corner of Fifth and Abbot, across from the high school, was my classmate Rhonda Farhi's house. You know who lived there, before the Farhis???? Ronald Axelrad and his family. I am telling you, this was the town where everyone knew everyone!!!!!

The high school, that hallmark and nightmare of my existence, has grown out and about, like Mothra spreading her butterfly wings. When I lived here, it was the height of the Baby Boom; that has died down, and most of us Boomers ("BOOOOOOOMER!" I can still hear Blanche Miller calling one of her children!!!!) moved on, so the child population dwindled, to where the elementary schools became two, and the high school now houses grades 6-12!!!!! Can you imagine mixing kids so far apart at such a critical age range???? I don't know about that!!!!!!

Next, we drove past the red Brooks' house, onto Dennison Street, in front of my classmate, Lenise Bunn, who still resides there, next to where the Farrells used to live. This was SO mysterious; I had phoned Lenise the night before, but could not get through, had sent an email, which came back unsent. When I went up to the house, between 4 and 5PM on Saturday afternoon, the car was in the driveway, the outside door was open, and so was the house door, leading in. I mean, I could see inside. I was not about to walk in unannounced, so, after two bell rings and knocks apiece, I returned to the car. Sorry, Lenise, but at least I tried.

From there, we drove over to the world famous President Streets. If not world famous, they are HP famous, because everyone in town who ever lived in HP, knows them. Lincoln, Harrison, Grant and Cleveland Avenues. This was the HP equivalent of the Garden District in New Orleans, and, in my day, most of the kids from here went to Hamilton School, and because of such got all the attention all through school!!!! Which I had to contend with, and still carry some resentment about!!!!
However, on a second look, I had to agree with my fellow travelers; it did not look as elegant over there as it once did (though there were traces), because the properties were not being as kept well. At least I got to thumb my nose at the Dykemans' house, and, over on Lincoln and Fifth, the former homes of those Social Princesses Roberta and Nedra!!!!! I felt SOOOOOOOO much better!!!!!!!!!!!!

My sister's friend, Evelyn, from high school, had been raised on Grant, but now resides on Harrison. I stopped there, and she graciously invited me in, and we conversed, as she had not seen me since I was, well, a toddler!!!! We discussed my sister, their friend Vivian (I told Evelyn the "Auntie Em" story, and she loved it), and our common association with Seton Hall University--her husband had taught there, and I went there!!!! Speaking of association, thanks to reconnecting with Margaret and Co., I am Six Degrees From Meryl Streep; their Aunt Genevieve, darlings (whom I always thought was a nun!!!!) worked with Meryl Streep's father, for years!!!!!! So I am now that much closer to lunch with Meryl!!!!! OK, Meryl????????????

The sun was lowering, the day nearly done. The weather had cooperated. So, Paul drove us back to New Brunswick; Mary Anne, to her Aston Martin DB 4 on Patterson Street, and Monsieur and I to the bus station, where we hopped on back to the city. Now, I knew Monsieur was disappointed at not encountering the notorious Janice Gonnella, but I think, first of all, the church would have been locked early in the day, and, second, I did not want him disturbed by seeing such a tarnished, embittered, Creature Of Spinster Isolation!!!!!

Still, we waxed rhapsodic about our observations on the way back. He just adored Margaret, Mary Anne (who are no Baldwin sisters, darling!!!!!) and Paul; hell, who wouldn't? Speaking of sisters, I will have to relate my conversation with my sister the following day, when I discovered I was six degrees removed from the sisters on Harrison Ave who owned the big, yellow mansion. But not enough to be considered for the property, dammit!!!!!!

The most telling remark came from Monsieur, when I asked him what he had learned. He turned to me, and said, "Michael, I learned you had a charmed life."

In spite of all the high school craziness, I guess I did. For which I am extremely grateful. And to Margaret, Mary Anne and Paul, for whom I am also grateful, and so glad to be in touch with again!!!!!!

And so we bid adieu!!!! A bientot, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cue In The "Peyton Place" Theme--"And Now, The Continuuing Story Of.....Highland Park!!!!!!!!"

Well, girls, I guess this makes me Mia Farrow as Allison MacKenzie. Even on my best days, I NEVER looked like Barbara Parkins as Betty Anderson, and, second, I was no town slut. Though, believe me, this town had no shortage of those!!!!

But I am getting ahead of myself. When we finished lunch at Old Rafferty's, the next thing was showing Monsieur my home town. Paul, who had a car, generously offered to drive us about, which was great, because I could never have covered as much terrain as I did on foot, and Mary Anne wanted to come along, and, frankly, I was glad to have them both for emotional support, as neither I nor Monsieur had any idea how I would react.

We began via the old route--over the Raritan River bridge--with mesh wiring so it is not as open any more--and on up into Raritan Avenue and Highland Park. The first thing I spotted was South Adelaide Avenue, which, for the South Side, was a pretty street, and where the JCC (or Jewish Community Center) was housed. I discovered it was gone. To the left were stores where in my day had been a Robert Hall clothing store (and yes, girls, I shopped there!!!!) but, lo and behold, although refurbished, was the Dunkin' Donuts, which is now--are you ready???--KOSHER!!!! Only Anatevka, darlings!!!!!! There was still some kind of sweet shop, deli, eatery on the corner of South First and Raritan. Up South Second, I could see the Reformed Church, where my mother, grandmother and sister attended, and, straining, I could still make out Lafayette School, the most Gothic looking of all educational structures, which my mother had attended as a child!!!!! And which are now condominium apartments!!! As we moved further up Raritan, I recognized all the facades, recalling what had been in them in my time (a bank at one, a bookstore at the other). The main drag of town was still such, replaced by newer and often more sophisticated venues than in my time. I actually saw a Chinese restaurant, offering Dim Sum. Call B.D. Wong!!!! Not in my time, darling!!!!!

When we got to Fifth and Raritan, I was stunned! There, which I have pictured for you, darlings, were the Ansonia Apartments, which at one time is where I thought I would end up--living above Raritan Ave., taking the bus to work over in New Brunswick, and into NYC on weekends!!!!! Lambs, if that script had played out, I might have been hauled off, screaming, on a gurney, not unlike Blanche Du Bois at the end of "A Streetcar Named Desire!!!" Across the way was St. Paul's Rectory, the same as ever, and St. Paul's Church, where I attended countless masses with my father, always sitting near the big stained glass window depicting the Conversion of St. Paul. I was also baptized in this church!!!!!! However,a big empty lot stood where St. Paul's School (where Margaret and all her siblings went)had been. Amazingly, the building that was the convent (maybe I should go there, girls!!!!) was still there; I believe Mary Anne said it is now used for offices!!!! Well, where are you gonna find a nun these days????? Only in "Sister Act" on Broadway, I guess!!!!!!

Finally, we reached the top of Our Street--North Tenth. Across the way stood the house where the Appignanis used to live--and, remarkably, Raspa Jeweler's and Eleanor Lasso's house. The first change I noticed was where once had stood the Mistakos house, a new structure had been built. Good thing, because that house had been a nightmare image from my childhood. Otherwise I could not get over how basically the street looked the same, though most living there when I grew up were not. Finally, in front of what had once been Professor McDonnell's house (which Mary Anne correctly described as creepy, what with all the trees covering the front windows, an upstairs window light the only sign of life in the room), with the huge yard adjoining the Montanas (who still reside there) property, where in the summer, the Professor, in his grey streaked tank top undershirts would mow his lawn with an old fashioned push mower, we stopped, and there, in front of me was 166 North Tenth--where it all began!!!!!!!

But before I get there, let me say I was astonished by two more changes. What had been the Rein house, across from us on South Park Avenue, and which was big enough, was now expanded into what looked like a three residential townhouse. Next to it, where the Axelrad house had been, stood a structure I did not at all recognize.

Getting back to 166-- I stood there, reciting Vivien Leigh's lines from "GWTW", when she returns home, the moon parts--and she finds Tara is still there!!! I felt exactly the same. I ran over, where I first discovered the tree directly in front of the house was gone, and so was the sidewalk embankment that you always had to watch out for, which had been raised by the roots. The sidewalk now was as flat as could be. I was somewhat disappointed; a landmark gone. But the house looked remarkably the same--and the front porch was enclosed, just like it was all those summers I sat out on it, reading "Exodus" or "The Song Of Bernadette," or Margaret and all her siblings with me played games (like Bats In The Belfry!!!!!). Let me add here I also loved the new color; for one reason because now you could clearly see the number 166!!!!
Eventually, a woman said "I hear voices," and came out to see what was going on. As soon as I explained myself, she asked, "Is your last name Hearn? We bought this house from your father!" My Lord, it was the Rockoffs, the (then) young couple with small children who, succeeded us, still reside there, I was happy to see, and who are still a couple with small children in tow, only now those children are....grandchildren. How time passes!!!!!! Thank God my hair color is still natural!!!!!

But wait, it gets better!!!! To the astonishment of Mary Anne and Paul, and to the fascination of Monsieur, who snapped photos with all the aplomb of a VOGUE fashion photog, Mr. and Mrs. Rockoff graciously invited Monsieur and I into the house. The first time I had passed through this door in 31 years, never expecting I would again. I was amazed by what I saw. The Rockoffs have done so many beautiful things with it--reversing the placement of the fridge and stove in the kitchen, a new counter and sink, not so many curtains on the windows, a redoing of the windows and seating in the sun porch (home of my toys, books, and where my parents and I sat and read and watched TV), with the loveliest green sofa encompassing almost the entire periphery of the room. These changes WERE astonishing. But so was what remained the same--the lighting fixture over the dining room table (which Mrs. Rockoff had had refurbished, but I recognized it right away), the still white fireplace and mantle, home of fabulous Christmas decorations in our time, plus those side bookshelves, which, now as then, were still getting active use. The stairway banister, which, when small, I used to slide down, looked as it always did, the white corner hutch in the dinette, where we always had a radio was there. It was interesting for me, standing there, because, as I did, I saw two houses simultaneously--the one in front of me, reinvented by the Rockoffs, and the one I had been raised in. It was eerie.

But the basement--oh, my God!!!! In my day, it was a dank creepy place that ran the entire floor of the house. My mother's washer and dryer were up front, and on the wall nearby, as child, and left there till I left I had scrawled in chalk--
The Wizard of Oz, Happy The Clown (a program from Philly which I used to watch when visiting relatives in Linwood), and the numbers 444. Those were gone, because the front part had been walled off, and redone as a children's playroom, very much like my sister's house, which this reminded me of. Mrs. Rockoff urged me to go through the door,and on the other side was the basement I remembered--dark and creepy, where a ping pong table and bookshelf strewn with games, and another with National Geographics stood. As my sister pointed out, the house had very little storage space, so in my day the basement acted as a kind of attic, and attics are creepy, and children like to play in them, so we did. The washing machine was up there (Mr. Rockoff informed me a new boiler had been put in, and rewiring done, which I suppose was inevitable.) Again, I have to say I was thrilled with what the Rockoffs had done, down to the piano along the stairs where our pull down desk had been. It reminded me how houses have to be updated.

I shall always be grateful for the Rockoffs' graciousness in allowing me to have this very cathartic experience.

Oh--on a sad note--they told me the Axelrad house had been torn down and rebuilt, because, about six years ago, both Mrs. Axelrad and her son, Ronald, had died. I was not surprised about Mrs. Axelrad; she was well into her nineties. Ronald was a case--a good thing his family was wealthy (his father had been a chemist, and had patented something that was used in Borax detergent)so he didn't really have to do much, which he didn't. He had an inflated opinion of his abilities and talents, getting a degree in Military History, and then not working. About ten years ago, on the East Side, I ran into Ronald, where I learned he had lived in Akron, Ohio, for six years (whatever for? I wondered And why move back?) and now was back in HP with his mother, but working in New York for the Jewish Historical Society. There was no getting around it; Ronald was weird. He had that serial killer-pedophile manner about him, though that was not it. He was just very inverted socially, needy, and, while living there, I maintained a cordial friendship with him, he was just one of those people where a little exposure goes a long way.

Anyway, the sad thing is, shortly after his mother died, so did he. Of a blood clot in his leg that traveled. How scary. If this was six years ago, around2,005, say, Ronald would have been 53. Sad that another part of my past is gone. I can only hope he was happy while here, and is now at peace.

Saying our goodbyes to the Rockoffs, Monsieur and I returned to Mary Anne and Paul, where we continued on our way. I guess there is going to be a Part Three, because the story of our subsequent travels is too long to add on to this post.

The whole experience was very healing. I will add that we did drive up Ninth Avenue, where I discovered the Milch's house was for sale. (I had gone to school with Freddy Milch.) Apparently, Mr. Milch had recently died, though I don't know about his wife. There was a For Sale sign on the lawn, which saddened me, and also because on that lawn always rested, whom I can still see clearly as day, the Milch's collie-like dog, Daisy!!!! I wish a bronze image of Daisy had been attached to that lawn!!!!!!

We continued up Ninth, recognizing houses (the Goldmans, the Dessels, Dotty and Don Kramer's old house, Hymie Katz' house, now a new structure, Leroy Adler's, the Sinoways) till we reached the still iconic Dairy Queen, now a Dairy Delight. Now, let me explain, during my growing up time in the summers here, a lot of time was spent at the DQ. And there were two traditions. One involved me locking myself out of the house, and having each year to ruin one of my father's screens by climbing in through the basement window, to open the cellar door, which was NEVER locked. The second was at the DQ. There was the most enticing picture of something called a "Hot Fudge Brownie Delight." It was in a red, plastic boat-like dish, and featured a huge glob of vanilla DQ ice cream, saturated in hot fudge, with two huge brownie pieces stuffed in at the sides. It looked SOOOOOOOO good, and every summer I would order one, determined to finish it. Which I never could.

Now, the Dairy Delight is basically the same. I think foodstuffs (like burgers and such) have been added to the menu, and so has this seating area behind the gas station. Real classy, girls!!!!! But imagine my astonishment when Mary Anne pointed out this concoction was STILL on the menu!!!! Perhaps new generations have carried on my tradition!!!! For a second I was tempted....but no, I made a relatively sensible choice, and ordered a Medium (which once would have been a Large) vanilla shake!!!! Which tasted as heavenly as ever; especially in this atmosphere.

This is as good a place as any to end Part Two. Part Three involves travel, houses, repressed memories, and a mysterious visit that did not come off.

Still scrumdillyicous, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, You Can't Go Home Again, Nor Can You Run Away From The Past!!!!!!!!

Girls, this was a lesson 30 years in the learning, but the experience was worth it. After a long interval of twenty years, I reunited with Margaret and her sister, Mary Anne. And after an even longer interval, with their youngest sibling, Paul, who is so grown up since I last saw him, that I would not recognize him.

The day began with Monsieur and I taking that bus ride out to New Brunswick. Would you believe a round trip tkt is now $18.55???? Darlings, back in the 1970's, when I began my theater going, it was $2.60!!!!!!!!!! The Suburban Transit buses, which used to be orange and black, are now white, with a touch of red and blue--so American it would just melt the heart of Anita Bryant!!!!!! But the route was EXACTLY the same--I could sense it, even with my eyes closed. We arrived in New Brunswick, stepped off the bus, and, honey, I am telling you, it was like when Judy Garland opened that door, and stepped out into Munchkinland. Now, this was no spectacular Technicolor MGM dream, but what WAS eerie, in a dreamlike way, was how Time had seemed to stand still--the train station, despite a paint and touch-up job, looked virtually the same. For a second, I was feeling like James Daly in the "Twilight Zone" story--"A Stop At Willoughby!!!!" Was I dead?????? Only the facts I was in my fifties, had survived this environment, and was with the charming Monsieur, told me otherwise.

We sat and waited, the sunlight beamed down, it was gorgeous. I have to personally thank God for cooperating with us, weather wise. Shortly thereafter, Margaret made her entrance, and what an entrance this was!!!!!

Driving a very classy looking white convertible (Monsieur knew the make, but you know I forget those butch things, darling!!!!), her tousled raven hair flowing in the breeze, she was like Dorothy Malone as May Lee in "Written On The Wind." And like May Lee, Margaret looked svelte enough to fit into a pair of toreador pants!!!!!
When Monsieur and I got into the car, I thought we would sail through the sky!!!!
Instead, we parked in an enclosed lot, with Paul in front of us, honking. When I laid eyes on him, to paraphrase the song "Fancy", I discovered an adult man, where once a half grown kid had stood!!!!!! Amazing!!!! And thank God for moisturizer, because everyone recognized me!!!!!!

We entered a dining establishment, next to a corner park, that was smaller in my time, but had now grown larger. The establishment was called Old Rafferty's, and waiting for us there was Mary Anne!!!! I want to tell you, the Princess Has Awakened, like Elizabeth Taylor in "A Place In The Sun." Looking barely out of her twenties, she had on the most spectacular violet dress that I just know was Oscar de la Renta, plus a necklace I am sure she had delivered to her from Van Cleef and Arpels in New York. But, then, Mary Anne is making high powered financial deals in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia (where Blythe Danner came from, via the Main Line, of course!!!!!).

To think so much time had passed, and here we were, proof we had survived. I couldn't believe Paul still remembered "Trashville," the Altman spoof I had written in the Seventies. I had forgotten about Mary Anne bringing the portable TV out onto the front porch to watch old movies. Not to mention on my porch playing games (like "Go To The Head Of The Class", where, yes, girls, I ALWAYS had to be Bonnie!!!! Why didn't I realize...oh well!!!!) Thanks to technology, names and images from the past were evoked--Judy Meseroll; oh, my God! so adult, and no front fingers in her mouth!!!!

No wonder she was hard to spot. And Cindy Miller, that little snit, looking more like her brother, Cary, than ever, but also has this look about her that suggests she likes to imbibe unlimited!!!! Like Sharon Buck (whose sister, Linda, was in my class, with the rumor persisting that she (Linda) dealt drugs, while Sharon, two years behind us, did the most spectacular performance of "Let's Step Out" in the HPHS production of "Anything Goes." Wonder if Sharon has seen the new Sutton Foster revival????) with her vodka in tandem with her soccer Mom image!!!! To think that Mary Anne still has that parody of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" I wrote for her years ago!!! Honestly, until she first mentioned it, I had forgotten it!!!!! One of the best stories that day was of Paul flicking matches behind the couch, with folks sitting on it, unaware of a thing, setting it on fire, and then being chased out the door and onto the street by Michael Loughney!!!!!! That must have been something!!!!!!!!

I think Monsieur was just aghast at all the outpouring of memories and names.

One small caveat. Darling, I am from New York where Bloody Marys are robust. The one here you could have served at a children's birthday party. I am sure Sharon Buck would have sent it right back!!!!! As I told Mary Anne, you have to come to the Riviera Cafe, where they are the best in town.

Now pay attention to those last three words. Because I used to direct them at their brother, Jimmy (now in Michigan) who back then could cuss a blue streak like it was nobody's business. He was so good at it, I wanted to take lessons. From what went down, with Jimmy now, I am surprised he does not have his own televangelical show (remember the Reverend Jimmy Joe Jeeter on "Mary Hartman?"), and would probably blush scarlet at the mention of such words. He couldn't handle New York, honey!!!!!

Scarlett--which brings me back full circle to Margaret, who was the embodiment of Scarlett 0'Hara, and with all she has accomplished still is!!!!! The Fire Of Life burns brightly in her, just like it did with Scarlett. Only Margaret has put all that fire to better use than Scarlett, who caused a lot of unhappiness in her wake!!!!! Not so with Margaret!!!!!!

In fact, Margaret had to leave first, having domestic obligations. She was so generous in paying for us all, and let it be known, Monsieur and I will return the favor when she comes to NYC. Ditto, Mary Anne and Paul. Who stayed on, and what happened after that.....

This is a first, darlings!!!! A Two-Part blog post!!!!! You've heard about what happened in New Brunswick!!!!! Now, stay tuned to find out what happened in Highland Park!!!!!

Like Scarlett returning to Tara, lambs!!!!!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Girls, I Am With Carmine Callil On Philip Roth!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, what a literary scandal. This week the Man Booker International Prize was awarded to a man who has won quite a few prizes already--Philip Roth. However, one member of the committee, Miss Callil, (I just love her name, loves; I can hear Katherine Hepburn saying "the calillies are in bloom")withdrew her name from the committee in protest of the award, saying that Roth goes on and on about the same thing in each one of his books.

Listen up, folks--HE DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, it is not like I have NOT read Philip Roth. Let' see--
--Portnoy's Complaint
--Our Gang
--The Breast (at which point I swore off him for about twenty years)
--American Pastoral
--The Plot Against America
--Sabbath's Theater
--Operation Shylock

I also have "The Human Stain" sitting on one of my to-be-read piles. So, it's not like I have not read Philip Roth. And I may very well continue to read Philip Roth. And I have read what Claire Bloom, who was married to him, had to say about Philip Roth, and, honey, if you think living with yours is easy, try living with Philip Roth!!!!!!!

But I think Miss Callil has a point, because of the titles listed, only two--"American Pastoral" and "The Plot Against America" are worth reading. OK, maybe 'Portnoy' once, because everyone reads it at some point. But is it that great????? Not really.

There is no doubt Philip Roth can write. And some of his awards are deserved. But I think what Miss Callil was getting at was this idea that everytime Philip Roth does something--no, darlings, I am not getting gross here, I am just talking about when he writes a book--everyone falls on their knees and makes a fuss. I mean, if he wrote subway graffiti and published it as a book, it would get the same reaction.
All Miss Callil is saying is what I have been all along--COME ON!!!!! Philip Roth can write, but he is NOT the world's greatest!!!!! Just like Vanessa Redgrave, who CAN act, but world's greatest?????? We reserve that spot for MERYL, darlings!!!!!!!!!

Hey, all you sexist critics who get off on Roth's sexism, which I am SO tired of by now!!!!!!! You wanna take someone on????? As Gena Rowlands said in "Gloria"--
"Come on! COME ON! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!"

Salinger died, and literatrue has gone on. So it will with Philip Roth. And for the Jewish experience, girls, don't discount Chaim Potok!!!!!!!! Because his books have depth and insight, and are interested in lots more than an adolescent preoccupation with the "C" word. I would rather read him than Roth any day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take THAT, Philip!!!!!!!!!! And hats off to Miss Callil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, My God!!!! I Don't Have A Thing To Wear!!!!!!!!!!!

Today is Friday, girls, which means the end of another work week and a weekend where I actually get 2 full days. Tomorrow is a crucial day, because, on this fated day, Monsieur and I are venturing out to my hometown of Highland Park, New Jersey, for a trip down Memory Lane, showing him the places I have hitherto described only in stories, and most importantly, being reunited with several key figures from my childhood--Margaret, her sister, Mary Anne, and their brother, Paul. Oh, that Paul; he was a wild one, as I recall! I think the last time I saw him, his voice hadn't changed. Hell, neither had mine.

Anyway, I have to GOT to have the perfect ensemble for this occasion, and I have gone through my wardrobe several times. What is a girl to do????? No time for a shopping excursion; I have to buy a bus ticket. And my hair--should I go natural, or should I woof it back, for my Jake Gyllenhaal look?????

I suppose the best thing is to go as yourself. Who am I, to try and fool anyone? And I still have a reputation of sorts to maintain in that community that no matter how many years of New York living has hardened me, is always a part of my bloodsteam--like Tara with Scarlett. I only wish my sister and I had had enough back in the day to buy the house on 10th Avenue, to have as a sort of Tara. I just loved the way it was furnished and laid out.

Heaven help us tomorrow!!!!!!!!! What discoveries shall we find???? Stay tuned, girls, because Monsieur is bringing a camera, so you may be able to see what ensemble I finally decide on!!!!!!!

Maybe one of those white floral things from "Meet Me In St. Louis!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Well, Girls, At Least It Was Not Dr. Huang!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, I was relieved B.D. Wong got spared. Hell, he was not even in the episode; he was most likely down in Chinatown, making Dim Sum.

The 'SVU' season finale, entitled "Smoke", was hyped to the max with all kinds of potential, and while there were any number of gripping moments and some stunning camerawork, I came away feeling the whole thing was a bit anticlimactic.

For starters, in the superbly staged opening scene, when rape victim Annette Fox is gunned down in front of her daughter, I said to myself, "Uh oh. Keep an eye on this daughter. She will be up to something."

And we knew there was going to be some kind of shootout in the precinct office towards the end, but had no idea who the shooter was. Though, as I watched,I was certain it was going to be Luke Ronson (Andrew Howard), Annette's rapist, or Special Agent Greer (Pedro Pascal), a smarmy authoritarian type, who works for BATFE, NY Field Division. I had also pegged young Officer Nelson (Eddie Schneider) as the one to be shot and killed.

Boy, was I wrong!!!! Because the shooter turned out to be Annette's daughter, Jenna Fox (Hayley MacFarland) who open fired on just about everyone in the precinct, hitting Ronson and Greer (good!!!!!!!!!) but also hitting a couple of cops, and, most tragically, Sister Peg (played by the great Charlaine Woodard), who had been touted as coming back on the show, only I thought for more regular exposure. Guess not. The editing of the last scene, the final shots, the almost choreographed movement, took this show to an artistic level worthy of an update of Sidney Kingsley's "Detective Story." And everything happeend so fast, you would have to see it a second time, to take it in.

The other tragedy is that Jenna herself dies. She is just about to shoot Eddie Skinner, the scum hired by Ronson to kill Annette, when Elliot fires at Jenna, who goes down. From where I looked, he seemed to be aiming for her arm, which would have just wounded her, and that would have been fine. But something went wrong, the bullet lodged in a more lethal spot, because Jenna dies in Elliot's arms. Sweeties, I think Elliot should be brought up on charges; Jenna did NOT have to die. Or is this the old 1950s censorship thing, a la "The Bad Seed," that no matter how young, the perp has to die???? Listen, I am not condoning Jenna's actions, but I can understand them--the scum that took her mother down in front of her???? I might have done the same thing, though it does amaze me on these shows how seemingly inexperienced people can suddenly become skilled with firearms. I would end up doing injury to myself!!!!!!!!!!!

So--from Joan to Jenna--it was some season of 'SVU'. Who knows what lies ahead in Season 12????? But I am telling you, Elliot's good looks should not allow him to talk himself out of this one. If he does not get disciplined, I will be happy to bitch slap him--and so would every respectable gay man in town!!!!!!!!!!
Hell, things might come full circle; if he went to prison, and became somebody's bitch, he would probably evolve into the character he played on "Oz."

But that is for the future. The finale, while not perfect, was surprising, exciting, with enough items to provoke all sorts of viewers.

Now, no firearms, girls!!!!!!!!!! Unless you are doing "Annie Get Your Gun!"

Darlings, This Is A Bitch You Just Gotta Love To Hate!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, I am tellng you, this week's winner is bound to be hated by many, for how he flaunts his cause in our faces, while those of us out there, like moi, are struggling. But let me explain.

The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is Don Gorske of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Well, la de dah, as Annie Hall might say.

Mr. Gorske, on May 17th, set some kind of record by consuming his 25,000th Big Mac. There are so many things wrong with this, but let's start with, why keep a record of this? Is this anything to be proud of? Since 1972, when he celebrated purchasing his first car by indulging in twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepickelsonionsonasesameseedbun, he just could not get enough. So he began buying 6 on Monday, and 8 on Thursday of every week. That is 14 of these things, which he consumes a week in 16 bites. I mean, he has this down to a science. He even got a featured spot in Morgan Spurlocks's documentary film, "Super Size Me," because of this distinction.

He is a retired prison guard, which says he was no Ivy Leaguer. Not even the U of Wisocnsin in Madison, which used to have some of the best departments out there.
He has a wife, but let me tell you, she is no Blythe Danner. Hell, she doesn't even have to cook, unless she does so for herself. But to live with such idiocy and codone it????? Where is sanity here??????????

Obviously, it has gone out the window!!!! Adeed to which--and this is the hateful part, Mr. Gorske, unlike Morgan Spurlock, has not faced weight gain or any kind of chemical imbalances in his body. He maintains a trim six foot frame, is in good health with a cholesterol level of 156 (you have GOT to be kidding), and feels no compunction to stop gorging on these things.

Either he has the world's greatest metabolism, or he is a liar.

Who would want to eat so many Big Macs??? I could not tell you the last time I had one, and eating that today would certainly do me in. And let me tell you---that bullshit about "McDonald's Special Sauce." From my first Big Mac, I knew right away it was.....Russian Dressing!!!!!!!!!! Why don't they just do vanilla cream, like Hostess Snow Balls. Hell, the nutritional value is blown out of proportion anyway, what difference would it have made? And for some of us it would taste better.

So we salute Don Gorske as this week's Bitch. That he can get away with such gastrointestinal idiocy cannot help but earn him this distinction. Not that I would want to, mind you. The only comfort I take is that at some point, things are going to have to catch up with Mr. Gorske, who is 57 now. Let's visit him in ten years, or if he reaches 70, and see how he is faring. That should be quite interesting.

After this disgusting diatribe, it is strictly carrots and hummus for me tonight. And salad and yougurt for all my girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Low cholesterol, indeed!!!!!!!!!! Up yours, bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mother Of Mercy!!!!!!!!!!! Is This Really The Season Finale Of 'SVU'????????

Girls, it seems like just yesterday, as I sat in anticipation before the tube, staring at Joan Cusack's face blowing bubbles upward from the bottom of a bathtub, which kicked off this series 12th season. And what a season it has been. First, Joan, then Kate Burton as Annette Cole, and don't forget those powerhouse femmes from "Totem"--Elizabeth Mitchell, Agatha Nowicki (whom I actually met, and who is as sweet as Katie is lethal) and Lisa Banes. It has been a field day for actresses.

Tonight's episode, "Smoke" has a guest star whom I do not even recognize. Couldn't they throw in a biggie for the last episode? But the BIG news is there is going to be some kind of shootout in the precinct, and one of the characters will die. I have heard all kinds of rumors--Munch, Cragen, Dr. Huang, even Elliot and Olivia. I certainly hope it is not Dr. Huang; he is so cute, and who is going to explain these sickos to the audience????? That young officer who has been hanging around the last couple of segments, the one who almost got Elliot convicted for molestation--Officer Nelson, played by Edward Schneider--is my guess as to whom is going to get it. Interesting character, but not on long enough for people to get attached to. Even though B.D.Wong may be leaving for another series, I am sure he would love the option of coming back.

So, darlings, your guess is as good as mine as to what happens. Too bad they did not make this a two hour segment; now THAT would be exciting. Whatever, you know we will be discussing it on here tomorrow.

Season 12 is guaranteed to end with a BANG!!!!!!! Make sure yours does not end with the same kind of bang, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and by the way, we cannot wait for Sunday's "Killer Coed Marathon!" You just KNOW they will air my all-time favorite--"Mean!"

Set that recorder right now!!!!!!!!!!

Alas, Girls, Another Indicator Of The Passing Of An Era!!!!!!!!!!!

When I found out this morning, the news really didn't surprise me, darlings. Ever since the December 3, 2010 death of restauranteur Elaine Kaufman, I wondered how long, Elaine's would continue, or even if it would. This morning I found out the famed eatery is shutting its doors forever on May 26. And with it goes another part of New York City history, irreplaceable, whose legacy will be consigned only to quick shots in several earlier Woody Allen movies.

Elaine's, the restaurant, was one place I never thought would die. So, of course, I put off and put off going. It would always be around, I thought. I almost feel like I have betrayed my girls. I, who wanted to bring you via here, the glamour and allure of New York--and have, loves!!!--missed one of the high spots. A hangout for literary and artistic types, which God knows I am. The whole Woody Allen thing. You did not go to Elaine's for the food--same with Sardi's--but to see and be seen. And now that opportunity will never come to pass. True, I could walk in there during its last days, but how sad would that be, and without Elaine.

I have learned my lesson. If "The Fantasticks" could end its original run, if Elaine's could close, maybe Sardi's is not that far behind. I had better get there pronto.

At my own, red banquetted table, of course! With my picture hanging above!!!!!!!!

See you there, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, Quincy Magoo Would Be Appalled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To my girls of a Certain Age, I do not have to explain who Quincy Magoo was. One of the most popular animated figures of our childhoods, whose "Christmas Carol," with its Styne-Merrill score, and Alistair Sim's version, defined adapting Dickens's story for posterity. When I was in fourth grade, and first told I would have to wear eyeglasses, because I was nearsighted, the first thing that went through my head was, "My God, I'm like Mr. Magoo."

I still have my Mr. Magoo pin which my Uncle Jack gave me as a child. Eventually, we all came to realize that Magoo was voiced by an actor named Jim Backus. By the time I first saw him, as Thurston Howell on "Gilligan's Island," it was impossible to look at Backus without seeing Magoo. The two seemed to be one.

What some may not remember is that Mr. Magoo was an alumnus of Rutgers University!!!! The class of 1903, or "ought-three," as he would say, to be specific.
This year has set new standards for the University, and that is NOT a compliment. I am sure Magoo is turning in his grave. The Tyler Clementi thing alone would have been enough. But have you heard the latest, girls????????????

For its Commencement Ceremonies, the Speakers Committee wanted to hire--are you ready?--"Jersey Shore's" no talent wannabe, Snookie!!!!! Why??????? Is this the image of the state they want to put forth???? After the Clementi debacle (which still has not fully played out yet) you would think they would be walking on egg shells, trying to maintain a good image!!!!!!!! And THIS is how they do it??????
I mean, if they wanted a Jersey Girl, what is the matter with Meryl Streep????????

However, as Bette Davis once said, it gets better!!!!! I guess someone got to the committee the idea that having Snooki was not such a good idea, so they went with a more apt choice--writer/poet Maya Angelou, author of the widely read "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings," and second only to Toni Morrison as America's prime Afro American Woman of Letters. But--did you know that they were going to offer her less, payment wise, for speaking, than Snooki??????????? Again, is Rutgers trying to destroy itself??????? Hopefully, by now this situation has been rectified, as Maya should be the high priced one. Snooki might be good for cutting the ribbon on the opening of a brand new Jersey fast food emporium, but to speak at the State University??????? As Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene once said, "I never thought I'd come to this! What's it all about?"

Poor Mr. Magoo!!!!! I shudder to think which windows he might crash into today, driving along College Avenue. It would be both an accident and an act of civil disobedience.

Let us hope in the intervening passage of time, Rutgers makes wiser, more judicious decisions than they have shown this year, and in the past. Their track record is spotty, and if they don't wake up, people will air their dissatisfaction by decreased endowments and enrollments.

Did you know Rutgers was once the subject of a Broadway musical???? None other than the Jule Styne 1954 classic "High Button Shoes," with choerography by Jerome Robbins. Bring Rutgers back to its glory days!!!!! Do NOT upset Mr. Magoo!!!!!!!

I may just wear that pin in protest, darlings!!!!!!!! Make sure all your garnets are shiny and pristine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sweeties, Isn't YouTube The Greatest???????????????

Well, girls, now that the coroner's report is officially in on the death of 50's sex icon Yvette Vickers--she died of natural causes, most specifically, heart failure, and she WAS 82--it is time to think about those film festivals, honoring her. At least we know now she was not 14, as she claimed, in "Sunset Boulevard," but 22, which would make more sense.

But getting back to the film festival idea, some of the programmers in this town are so shoddy, and their film knowledge so spotted, they would not know Yvette Vickers from Yvette Mimiuex. I can hear them saying, "But they were both blondes."
Yeah, and so is your granny's chin hair!!!!!!!!!!

There is no need to get all worked up, darlings, because I am here to report that you can have your own, private, Yvette Vickers festival in your own home. And NO, I am not suggesting porn. Last night, I discovered that the 1959 Roger Corman classic, "Attack Of The Giant Leeches," all 62 minutes of it, is on YouTube.

Set in the Florida Everglades, this is the film where Yvette plays hot to trot swamp tramp Liz Walker. Poor Liz; I can relate. She is stuck in the backwater of the Everglades, where there is simply nothing to do. Not even a public library to take out books to read, though, I am telling you, girls, Liz is not the kind of gal who would frequent the town library, beyond its corner lamppost. And she wears the kind of clothes that just don't stay in one place when she moves curvaceously.
A girl just has to do something in this burg, so she carries on with local white trasher Cal Moulton (played by Michael Emmett). They just want to get together and do some canoodling whenever they can, especially right by the swamp ground where the leeches lurk. I am told, though I do not recall, that Yvette shows lots of flesh in this film; or, at least, as much as could be legitimately shown in 1959.

However, Liz's equally white trash husband, Dave (played by Bruno Ve Sota) catches up to the lovers, and here comes the classic scene I can still recall from my childhood viewing, the one this film is remembered for. Pointing a gun at the adulterous lovers, with the water sizzling and bubbling behind them, as the giant leeches (who, according to sources, are simply actors with Hefty trash bags on their heads) surface, awaiting fresh fare, as Dave forces Liz and Cal to walk backwards into the swamp, at gunpoint, until they are close enough for the giant leeches to maul them, which they do.

Darlings, I think this is Yvette's finest acting moment. Being forced to ruin her clingy, slutty dress is one thing, her hair another, but knowing that you are going to be eaten alive by giant leeches and there is nothing you can do about it--I swear, when this film was released in 1959, Meryl Streep was about 10 years old. I bet this made an impression on Meryl. Who knows, we might not have had Meryl, if it weren't for Yvette!!!!!!!! And being that she can do anything, I would love to see Meryl recreate this classic scene. If anyone can, she could!!!!!!!!!!!!

But you can see it for yourselves, girls!!!!!! Just go on to YouTube, type in the title (or Google it) and see a REAL trash classic, and learn why there has been such an outpouring of grief for the passing of Yvette.

Oh, by the way, the film was originally to be entitled "The Giant Leeches," as the poster indicated. But I have a feeling that, after her spectacular success as Honey Parker in '50 Foot Woman', when the producers had the good fortune to sign on Yvette, they added "Attack Of" to the title.

And despite what one may think this film is NOT about the Internal Revenue Service!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!