Thursday, June 30, 2011
Do you think two queens from New York, let alone the Raving Queen, are going to get THIS close to Houmas, without going there? That is, of course, where the gay iconic classic "Hush, Hush...Sweet Charlotte" was filmed, and didn't we have a lovely tour. Our guide, Judy,not only provided historical detail; she indulged us, allowing me to enact one of Agnes Moorhead's scenes on the stairs, play Bette Daivs ordering the men off her land from the top front porch, and, girls, I sat on Miss Charlotte's bed, and held the bedpost. I also cried when I saw the spot downstairs, where she placed the music box, at the end.
It looked just like the movie, though the stairs seemed narrower than I expected. And being driven to and from there in a limo, with just the two of us, made me feel like Olivia De Havilland as Miriam Dearing, except I am NO white trash.
And, by the way, Oak Alley is the place where the scene with Jewel Mayhew and Cecil Kellaway was shot.
Our guide even sat by the piano and sang the title song, the sheet music to which was there, and she did such a beautiful job, I cried real tears!!!! In the Charlotte room was a cabinet featuring treasures such as photos, and--GASP!-a copy of the original script for the film!!!!! You know, I just wanted to get my hands on that--what a find for the Theater Collection, or our Playreading Group, but I was good. It belongs there.
Even our driver, Jude, was a character, regaling us with life stories ranging from Perth Amboy NJ to losing out in a standup comedy contest to Ellen DeGeneres, who is from down here, and whose cousin, Clyde, owned the club where the contest took place.
What a day, darlings!!!!! Makes you want to watch the movie with a fresh eye!!!!!!
And you know I am just dying to play Velma Cruther! I did her scene on the stairs!!!!!!!
Make sure your banisters are polished now, loves!!!!!
Darlings, it has been days since I have talked to my girls, because things have just been so busy!!!!! Tuesday we dined at Galatoire's, which is famous, as it was where Stella took her sister Blanche (Du Bois) her first night in town in "A Streetcar Named Desire," and it is continuously mentioned in "The Witching Hour", which means it is frequented often by the Mayfairs, and that is good enough for me!!!!!
As this was my second visit, I have to say it is my favorite dining spot in New Orleans. The simple unpretentious decor of white linen tablecloths, black and white checkered floors, and lace curtains is charmingly understated, and allows for an exquisite dining experience.
So, what did we have??? I am happy to report, girls, that after 15 years the Shrimp Remoulade here is still the best in town!!!!!! And then I had a Crabmeat Ravigotte, rich and creamy in a buttery and garlic Hollandaise sauce, which was just out of this world!!!!! Monsieur opted for a traditional gumbo, and another classic dish, the Crawfish Etouffe. We drank the House Wine of the South, Iced Tea, and capped it off with coffee and a bread pudding with a whiskey toffee sauce, and coffee ice cream and cream, which we shared. Let me give you a tip, loves--the food is so plentiful here, that even if you half everything by sharing you still get a full meal. The truly full meal one could not even finish!!!!!!!!!!
Galatoire's was the highlight of the afternoon. The evening's highlight was our French Quarter Ghost Tour, guided by our charminng and ebullient guide, Emily. She showed us LaLaurie Mansion, where things went on from slave beatings to mutilated bodily experimentation, with things hidden all over the house. They say you can sometimes see the ghost of Delphine LaLaurie in the window, and, honey, I believe it. We saw sightings of murder, mutilation, hotels where ghost children plague patrons by running down the hall, and other things too numerous to mention.
Did we dine that night? Not really, because after a meal at Galatoire's, I guarantee you that is it for the day!!!!!!!!!!
If there is time I would like to go back there a third time. But for those of you who have not been down, or been down but not to it, you simply HAVE to visit Galatoire's!!!!!
I bet some of the Little Darlings dine there with their more wealthy clients!!!!!
Remember, you are all MY Little Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
No, girls, I am not talking of the ghosts that haunt the famed Monteleone, one of which I saw several days ago. I am talking about the fact that every hotel bathroom always has oversized mirrors, perpendicular to each other, which inevitably, when doing ablutions, force one to look at themselves in all their naked imprefection!!!! I mean, at home, most of us deal with just a medicine cabinet mirror. A vacation is supposed to relax one. SO why this torture device???
The first morning, I screamed; I thought someone was in the bathroomn with me. Let me tell you, lovers, before having my coffee, the last thing I want to look at is me naked. I think that goes for most. Except maybe Jake Gyllenhaal.
I LOVE the Monteleone!!!!! But it is fascinating how hotels force us to confront our physical flaws while on vacation. What a contradiction!!!!!!!
But all my girls are lovely, with no flaws!!!! So, for God's sake, stick to those medicine cabinet mirrors!!!!!!!
Girls,now I want you to pay close attention to the bar above, as it has some bearing on the topic at hand. In the Highland Park, NJ house,where I grew up, my parents had many unusual books, one of which was "Dinner At Antoine's" by Frances Parkinson Keyes. Now, I discovered this book long before I made it to adult fiction,but I did manage to glean that Antoine's was mot only a restaurant in New Orleans, it was THE restaurant in New Orleans!!! As you opened the book, right before the title page was this beautiful color plate of patrons eating in the dining room there, and it looked the height of all the elegance my childhood dreams could concoct and desire. I vowed someday I would dine there. And once I transitioned to adult fiction, and read "Gone With The Wind," where Scarlett and Rhett go to New Orleans on their honeymoon, and presumably dined at Antoine's,since it opened in 1840, I was bound and determined.
My dream came true in 1996, when I did dine there, but what I want to talk about is NOW.
Through a chain of unexpected circumstances, here I am in New Orleans again, this time with the lovely and charming Monsieur Davide, who is enjoying his initial visit to the Big Easy. Well, last night we dined at Antoine's, where we were attended to by Darrell, and what a meal we had.
I started with an Antoine Salade, which had a scrumptious dressing, palm hearts, artichokes...it was so yummy, girls, you just HAD to be there. My Main Course was a Chicken Rochambeau with Bearnaise Sauce, ...heavenly, accompanied by an order of glazed carrots, which we shared, and also Antoine's classic potato puffs, which look like fries, but are lighter than air.
Monsieur was a little more venturous. He started with the classic Oysters Rockefeller--a MUST if you have never been to Antoine's, and a cup of gumbo soup.
His Main course was Trout with a Crabmeat stuffing, and by meal's end, we were doing just fine.
I had been drinking enough already, so we contented ourselves this eve with tap water, and the House Wine Of The South--Iced Tea!!!!! But it was desert that finished us both. Since this was Monsieur's first visited I capitulated to the classic Baked Alaska, which is decorated to a fare thee well, is scrumptious as anything you will taste, but is SO rich--especially after an Antoine's meal--that one simply can't get all of it down, though I did my best!!!!! And THIS, girls was capped off the by the showstopping Cafe Brulot Diabolique, which is coffee served in three quarter cups, with the Devil's picture on them. The chicory coffee is poured into a chafing dish laced with brandy and cinnamon sticks, set aflame, and even our table flames a little, and then spooned into cups. Honey, after two cups of this, I practically had to be carried back to the hotel. Which was when I was almost accosted by one of the Little Darlings, peeking out of the doorway on Bourbon Street.
I can personally tell you, it was straight to bed for us, lambs!!!!! And this following a two hour Ghost Tour Of The Garden District, where we saw everything from Anne Rice's house. the Mayfair Witches burial ground, houses haunted by the spirits of deceased children, and an exclusive girls' school, the Southern equivalent of Miss Porter's, where you know I could teach elocution and deportment to these debutante wannabes, whom I am sure badly need it.
Our tour guide, an older lady named Katie, was charming and gracious, and very informed on all thing paranormal in the Garden District. We just adored her. And, of course, I had to pop into the Garden District Book Shop, and buy a couple of volumes.
Darlings, it was quite a day. But I am telling you, when here you MUST dine at Antoine's!!!!! It is everything you have heard about, and all true!!!!!!
Now, today we go to Galatoire's, which is where the Mayfairs always dine, where Stella took Blanche on her first night,if you know "A Streetcar Named Desire!"
Honey, this is the town to satisfy ALL desires!!!! So look out!
Until tomorrow, girls!!!!!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Girls,in just a 48 hour span, I have gone from the Big Apple,to the Big Easy, where I feel like a true daughter of the South. Just like Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof."
Would you believe my first morning in the world famous, though haunted Monteleone Hotel, I saw a ghost???? I peered down a stairwell to the hallway far ahead, and there was a mysterious black, female shape, whom I am convinced was Mary Beth Mayfair. Having been marked by them,since my initial encounter with Lasher,fifteen years before, at the First Street House, I know I have to be on my best behavior when I come to this town.
And what a time we had last night. The Book Awards banquet was fabulous, from Miss Debutante in her overflowing and ample green gown, to my niece getting her Newberry Honor Award, for "Turtle In Paradise" (the literary event of the Newberry Season) to chicory coffee and muffletas, to Little Darlings on Bourbon Street ("Hey,there, baby,come on in; no cover!") where I intend to pose for pics!!!!!
The hotel is sumptuous,and we have got to get a gander at Room 1462, which is the haunted room. We also have got to meet my niece Jennifer today, my coworker Tanisha, then get over to the Garden District for the Ghost Tour and Book Shop visit!!!!!
All this capped off by Dinner at Antoine's this eve, where we will have the Baked Alaska and Cafe Diable!!!! Girls, it may be sultry down her, the livin' may be easy, but the Raving Queen shows no sign of letting up for a second!!!!!!
Don't I take care of all my girls??????
Friday, June 24, 2011
Do you recall that Western (or is it country-Western?)song, "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'?" Well, I just want to let you all know that, while I may vanish for a time from this spot, the Raving Queen is not about to forsake anyone. In fact, I will do my best to give some on location reports.
The Raving Queen, with Monsieur, is headed for the Deep South. Specifically, New Orleans, which I had visited back in 1996. The impetus for this is my niece, an internationally respected author, receiving her third Newberry Honor Award, at a dinner to be held there on Sunday. She, her husband and kids, and my sister, are all flying in, too, but are returning to their respective homes sometime Monday. Monsieur has never been to NOLA, and was curious, so he and I are going to stay on a week and do the town!!!!!!!!!
Having been marked by the Mayfairs on my last visit, I have got to be careful. Though I think Lasher will keep watch. And we also plan to go outside the city one day to Hummus House, where the classic "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" was filmed. I cannot WAIT to reenact Agnes Moorhead on the stairs!!!!!!!!
Just think, darlings--me amidst antebellum mansions, trees dripping with moss, coffee and beignets at the Cafe Du Monde, amidst the sultry heat. Honey, I will feel just like Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof!" If only I looked that good!!!!!!!!
So I want all my girls to stay tuned. Just because I may not be on here every day does not mean I have vanished. And there will full accountings thereof, when I am on. In the meantime, keep those hair clippers fastened, and remember to walk down the street every day, like Lana Turner in "They Won't Forget!"
And I will not forget you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, I am sorry not to have reported the following sooner, but before I get into that, let me start with a recent experience I had this morning, when we almost had--"Quelle Catastrophe!"
There I was, up at the crack of dawn (ie; 6:15 AM), making my way into the kitchen, barely awake. Monsieur had assured me he had set up the coffee maker the night before. I go to turn on the light and--NOTHING!!!!!!! WHAT?????????????
Panicked, I summoned Monsieur from his sleeping quarters, who was less awake than I. There was brief moment of panic....where...we thought...the coffee maker, which was barely a year old, had given up the ghost. Do you know what I am like without my morning coffee??? It is not pretty!!!!!!!!!! True, I could dash outside for one, but the immediacy factor is SO important.
Finally some tugging and plugging was done, the maker kicked in, and disaster was averted.
If only the disaster of Wednesday night could have been averted!!!!!!!
Imagine--a full house gathered for the 100th performance of the current revival of "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying." Backstage is chaotic enough before the start of any performance, but imagine when a stagehand going into cardiac arrest, or in it, already, is discovered. They call 911, the ambulance shows up, and the stage manager, over the loudspeaker, announces to the awaiting audience that there will be a delay. Fifteen minutes go by, thirty. Finally, at 8:50, a visibly shaken Daniel Radcliffe and John Laraquette, in street clothes, announce the cancellation of the performance, due to an unfortunate basckstage incident, involving a member of the company. They did not say, but it was the unfortunate stage hand, who was rushed to St Luke's Roosevelt, but pronounced DOA.
Because of family, the unfortunate young man is not being identified. And I can certainly understand not being able to perform. Hell, now that theater, for the rest of the show's run, is going to be haunted by this tragedy. The sad thing is, while it is SO unfortunate that this person died so young, how many others are walking around backstage, or anywhere else, on stuff they should be off of???? And I am not talking about coffee, darlings!!!!!!!!!!! If this is not a wake up call for druggies, I don't know what is.
The only show I can accept drugs backstage at is....HAIR!!!! I mean, come on!!!!!! But when HAIR played its recent successful run, there were no drug deaths, though I did have to wonder why Allison Case, the greatest Crissy since Shelley Plimpton, dropped out of the show mysteriously, and seems to have disappeared. She can still be heard on the cast album.
The Raving Queen extends condolences to the 'HTS' company, and the unfortunate family of the unfortunate stagehand. If anything more develops, you will be certain I will report on it.
But for now, to all those working the Great White Way--nothing stronger
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Honestly, girls, I am telling you, last night walking home with Monsieur, I was saying how I had no candidate at the moment for Bitch Of The Week. And then, voila! things explode and this morning we have a REAL prize of a winner.
The honor of this week's Bitch Of The Week Award goes to David Laffer!
Honey, he is a REAL piece of work! And so is his wife, Melinda Brady. She is no Maureen McCormick, let me tell you!!!!!!!! I mean, look at this picture! REAL trash, the kind that gives Long Island, which has a bad name already (Serial Killer Central) a worse one than before. These two look so trashy they are several notches below Goat Alley. In fact, residents there are high class, next to these two!!!!!!!!!
David Laffer will go down in criminal notoriety history. In fact, I sense a "Law And Order" episode coming. He is the one who committed the dreadful Pharmacy Massacre out in Medford last Sunday, June 19, which happened to be Father's Day!!!!!!!
Happy FD, Dad!!!!!!!!!! Because he needed painkillers (allegedly to manufacture homemade Vicodin; well, let me tell you something, darlings, I was on Vicodin once, and it did nothing for me. But then I need the strong stuff, like Judy!!!!!!!! For me it is strictly Tylenol 3, with codeine. And speaking of Judy (Garland), she knew enough about pharmaceuticals to qualify for a degree, but you never saw her robbing or shooting people down!!! This guy is real scum!!!!!!!!!)
Let me make it clear. David is Bitch Of The Week. Wife Melinda is just an appendage. These two are such a class act; living with her mother, him out of work (a shipping clerk, which according to the Little Rascals, "is a cluck!", hardly Ivy League, with Melinda sitting around popping pills and turning into a real junkie.)
"I am so sorry for all this," she says. Crocodile tears, honey!!!!! She claims he did it, because he was out of a job, and she was sick. What she does not say is that he was fired from his job for stealing, and she needed a fix. Money was low, so he figured he would just grab a stash. Now, I am not defending robbery, but OK, you shoplift, why gun down everyone in sight??????
The victims and the citizens of the community are crying out for both David and Melinda's blood!!!!!!!!! David is some sicko, despite the neighbors saying he was normal, athletic, etc. Normal, athletic, lives with mother-in-law on Long Island, Army vet, gun lover....sounds like a serial killer in the making. So let's stop him, before he kills again.
By now he and the Mrs. are locked somewhere and beginning to come down from their drugs, and I predict their withdrawal will be painful. So, David, not only are you the Raving Queen's Bitch Of The Week, you are some piece of scum!!!!!!
Get Chris Meloni back as Elliot Stabler, and have him slam this guy up against the wall!!!!!!!! Wouldn't we just love it, girls????????????
And if any of you out there need a fix--that is what home coffee makers are for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No, darlings, I am not talking about "Disco Inferno," though we all remember those carefree days of dancing to such at the Monster or the Saint.
I am talking about Deborah Mayfair.
It is so exciting--I have reached the crucial (and best) spot in "The Witching Hour," where the History of the Mayfair Witches, from Suzanne on up to Rowan, is given. And what a history it is!!!!!
Suzanne of Mayfair was burnt as a witch in the 15th century, with her young daughter witnessing such. The child was rescued by Peter Van Abyl, becomes a cunning woman and midwife of her village, where she is turned on by her delirious, dying husband and young sons. She is tried, tortured, and condemned. Even her young sons turn on her, while her older daughter, Charlotte, disgusted by it all, flees to Martinique.
Peter Van Abyl tries to come to the adult Deborah's aid, but to no avail. But, honey, Deborah, like all the Mayfairs, is one tough witch. Before her death, she curses and disowns all who accuse her, and calls forth a swirling storm that knocks the panels off rooftops, crushing everyone who did her dirt!!!! Way to go, Deborah!!!! And Peter Van Abyl lures the evil Witch Judge to a precipice atop the church, and pushes him off!!!!! Good riddance!!!!!!!
In so doing, Deborah speaks for the first time those immortal Mayfair words, words which I want all my girls to know by heart--
"Come forth, my Lasher; be my avenger; strike down my enemies!"
Girls, I am telling you, if this worked, that would be the end of every Grotesque Creature in my life, and in yours!!!!!! The best time to say it is during a tumultuous rainstorm. So take your cue from Deborah, loves; she really socked it to them!!!! Wonder what tricks her daughter Charlotte has up her sleeves?????
As for your tricks, darlings, first, make sure they leave by sunrise. And as for other tricks, make sure only to use this magic for the utmost benefit. Like a manicure!
Darlings, this goes way beyond Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha OR Serena ("Hi, cuz!"), so all you good witches be on guard against evil ones!!!!!!
Like Sarah Palin! Or Maggie Gallagher!!!!!!!
To the Emerald City, as fast as lightning!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
According to what I was taught, girls, today is the Longest Day Of The Year, something we have been building towards since six months before. Now, technically, the days start getting shorter after this, but we will not see the results of that till sometime in October, so you have plenty of outdoor time, loves.
Of course, this is Gay Pride Week, and unofficially I guess you could say this date marks the Birth of the Gay Rights Movement. Because, 42 years ago today, Judy Garland, that icon of icons, passed on at what at one time I thought of as the ripe old age of 47, but who am I kidding???? And that was the night the Stonewall Riots began, which launched the Movement.
All I can recall is coming downstairs that morning to breakfast, and my parents telling me Judy Garland was dead. I was emotionally devastated. My parents did not know what to do, as I spent so much time in front of the TV; they took me out of the house, took me to a reissue of "Ben-Hur" (which I had not yet seen) at the Clairidge Theatre in Montclair, New Jersey, and then to Aunt Martha and Uncle Jack's in Cedar Grove, where I swam in their sunken pool!!!!!!!!!!!! All from being upset over Judy!!!!!!!!!!!!
How would I know, having then just graduated from eighth grade, that this would be the defining moment for gay culture, a culture I barely recognized myself as being part of, at the time? But, as my girls know by now, you push a queen too far, and out pops a bitch, and the cops were the first to push the envelope at the time of Judy's death. They obviously did not understand the monumentality of the event. And from this tragedy and ignorance came Gay Rights!!!!!! Whoopee!!!!!!!!!!!!
But there is another reason to Whoop!, darlings! Today happens to be the birthday of the Divine Meryl Streep. Miss Meryl is 62, and let me tell you, we should all look that good at that age. I plan to, girls!!!!!!! Meryl is an actress, a social activist, a symbol of glamour and a Heavenly emissary here on Earth. I am telling you, the BVM consults with her on fashions and the world situation. Mother Teresa took her cues from Meryl!!!!! So let us take some cues right now, and each and every one of you out there have a birthday celebration for Miss Streep, no matter what your cuisine of choice may be. Mine will be Red Velvet!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy Birthday, Meryl!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a definition of excellence!!!!!!!!!!
Make sure your hemlines are well defined, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Now, darlings, I cannot completely confirm this, because I have not heard of a specific date or theater, but I have it on best authority that the Kennedy Center revival of the great Sondheim musical, "Follies" (my all-time favorite) is destined to come to Broadway in August. Supposedly, this "Follies" is staged the way it should be, and reports from DC indicated this was the greatest production since the 1971 original. The cast was headed by Bernadette Peters and Jan Maxwell, and they are scheduled to travel. Elaine Page was down there singing "I'm Still Here," as Carlotta, and there is no reason to suppose yet she will not travel north. But it is questionable whether Linda Lavin will. She did the Hattie Walker role (singing "Broadway Baby," and I am sure she is fabulous) but it seems Linda is booked in stuff for the Fall, so who would take her place is a question at this time.
Let it be known to the "Follies" contingent that I am available; I know not only every word of "Broadway Baby," but every word of "Follies," so, lambs, all you have to do is block and light me, and I am good to go!!!!!!!!!!
IF I do not appear, then you know I have GOT to see this. And why August I wonder???? The wealthy Theater Queens who will make this a hit will still be in their time shares and trolling the Meat Rack on Fire Island; I doubt whether they will train in just for the this. So I would not be surprised if it is delayed until the Fall. If so, you know it will be the event of the Season!!!!!!!!!!!!
A perfect production of "Follies" is the dream of everyone who never got to see the 1971 original. I did see the 1985 Concert Version at the Philharmonic, and the 2001 Roundabout Production, which, despite deficits, had a brilliant ending, a brilliant ghostly opening, and Blythe Danner in between, to make it exciting. But a production for the ages????? Hardly!!!!!!!!
May they bring this to New York, and get it right, because time is running out on baby boomers, who, now old enough to play "Follies" principles themselves, have Time closing in on them, if they are to catch a truly good production!!!!!
May this one be it, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Giggling, wriggling, out of our tights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Girls, can you believe it is already the beginning of Summer 2011???? That tomorrow is not only the day we have been building towards--the Longest Day Of The Year, it is also Meryl Streep's birthday. And you know that will be covered tomorrow.
Now, Gershwin says Summertime is when the livin' is easy. At least, it is supposed to be. But when the heat rises, and tempers flare, as they do in this city, look out. Remember to avoid physical and psychological meltdown during these next three months. And try to read some fulfilling books!!!!!!!!!!
Summer is starting off with a blast here, darlings, because tonight I have to get out all my clothes that I am taking to New Orleans on Saturday, where I just might have an audience with our hotel ghost, Lasher, or Marie Levaux, the Witch Queen Of New Orleans. Just think what happens when the Witch Queen meets the Raving Queen. The fur should really fly!!!!!!!!!!
Cool summer drinks, cold compresses, Shakespeare In The Park, lots of literature outdoor freedom, colorful and comfortable clothing--those are my prescriptions for the Summer. Make sure it is wonderful, loves!!!!!!!!!!!
And don't let your skin dry out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, June 20, 2011
Girls, no one could ever accuse me of NOT having literary ambitions--after all, what does this blog prove???--but, while I aimed high, I never aimed where one might expect. As early as my teens, I remember thinking, "To Hell with Proust and Joyce!" I mean, they are great writers, and I LOVE reading them, but they hardly enjoyed anything in their lifetime. And I wanted it all, darlings--like Valerie Bertinelli in "I'll Take Manhattan." Only without the consequences.
For a time, Garace Metalious was my role model, with "Peyton Place." I had, and still have, plenty of stories to tell about my hometown, Highland Park, New Jersey, but, unfortunately, for me, Grace got there first.
Then along came Jacqueline Susann!!!!!!!
Of course, reading "Valley Of The Dolls" was a life changing experience. I mean, when I first read it, I can still recall the passage where Neely says to Anne (pay attention, girls, because this is NOT in the movie), "And, Anne, guess what? He went down on me!" At that point I thought, "Down on WHAT???" I had no idea; I was twelve years old!!!! And somehow I sure as Hell knew I could not ask my parents. I am not so sure they would have known anyway. I mean, there were no more children after me!!!!!
But this novel inspired me. I was going to write a blockbuster bestseller, get on the Times list, move to Hollywood with a pool, the whole works!!!! Now, Jackie covered show biz, television and fashion in her books. At this age, the only thing I was fit to cover was education. Would you believe I came up with a novel I called "The Teachers," which would reveal the sordid truths about the instructors purportedly teaching me??? Of course, it was fictional, because my real life instructors were too ugly to even be thought of as sexual!!!! I can recall my outline where I said the theme was--"Mainly sex, alcoholism, prostitution, smoking!! " I have to laugh about it now. How does smoking figure as a literary theme???? A plot element, yes, but a theme????? A good thing my poor parents had no idea what I was working on.
I think, as I write this now, the better novel would have been my ambitions and the results I thought would materialize from writing this book. I also wanted to go to elegant literary parties, and wear expensive clothes like Jackie Susann in the picture above.
Some of it I did, some not. But Jackie paid her price, too, and I am not so sure I would be so willing. I mean, no way would I ever sleep with Ethel Merman!!!!!!
Such carefree days when I thought all I had to do to get a house with a pool was put words on paper!!!!! I wonder what Jackie would say about that???? And Gore Vidal, who is still alive!!!!!!!!!!
So if this blog is my legacy, so be it!!!!!! Sometimes the ambitions we have develop differently from the way we had them!!!!!!!
Just make sure you dress as elegantly as Jackie, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last night's "Law And Order Criminal Intent" was such fun it was almost a spoof, not only of the series but of the Broadway theater in general, because its episode ripped from the headlines the shenanigans surrounding the creation of the show "Spider Man--Turn Off The Dark."
Entitled "Icarus," the episode centred on a beleaguered Broadway production, trying to make money. The show dealt with the myth of the title--the youth with wings who was warned not to fly too near the sun (the wings were of wax), did, and plunged to his death. In the segment last night, life imitates art, when the lead player in this flop plunges to his death, and then it becomes a theater whodunnit!!!!!
Darlings, you could just tell Cynthia Nixon was having the time of her life as Julie Taymor stand in, Amanda Reese. High strung, shrill, an alcoholic, whose drunken scene at the Memorial service was the best, this truly did rake Julie over the coals!!!!! They even had the nerve to mention her by name, when Gore (the ever Falstaffian Vincent D'Onofrio) says to her at one point, "You don't want to become another Julie Taymor!" I am telling you, this show had guts!!!!! After this was viewed, if Julie watched it, or those she knows did, I am sure she left town!!!!
As if this were not enough, the whole thing was capped off by a cameo by Patti Smith--yes, darlings, THE Patti Smith--as--are you ready??--a classics professor at Columbia, whom Gore knows and consults with on the case!!!! Honey, speaking of mythology, Patti looked like one of the Gorgon sisters, and not the most attractive one in the bunch, either!!!! See what drugs do, kiddies???????
Honestly, I was hoping Cynthia/Julie turned out to be the killer; that would really sock it to her!!!!!! But instead it turned out to be a team conspiracy to get the investors back their money on the part of the producer and what they called "the dramaturg," which did not fool me for a second, because honey, I took a course in dramturgy, and I know what one really does. They are employed by theater companies to do everything from read scripts to help choose shows for the theater or season. This guy was more like a production assistant--only he had ambitions to be a producer. Can you believe it???? He should have been content, like the rest of us, wanting to be Barbra!!!!! Someone should have shown him the Mel Brooks movie on which that musical was based, which would have cured him of any such inclination.
So the producer and "dramaturg" get dragged off screaming, and I end up on the floor, laughing my head off. They couldn't have done a better parody of the show, and the theater, than if they had planned to!!!!! This one will be talked about for weeks to come, and I am urging all my girls out there to see it!!!!!!
And I would lay odds, darlings, that the fictional "Icarus" is better than the real life "Spider Man--Turn Off The Dark!!!!!!!"
Well, girls, it was just about as perfect a weekend as could be hoped, the kind you wish would never end, and alas, here we are, back in the grist mill, getting ready for another week, which will be capped off by Monsieur and I flying off to the Big Easy. But it won't be Easy this week; oh, my God! the clothes I have to take, or not take. What am I going to wear???? I had better pack a steamer trunk, like Vivien Leigh did in "A Streetcar Named Desire!!!!"
And speaking of classics, we got a chance to see another, yesterday, when we caught a 6PM screening of "Bringing Up Baby" at the Film Forum. Everyone has their own idea of what is their funniest movie, but, darlings, this is mine. Ever since I was young, when Channel 9 (the RKO station) would screen it often, and I would watch, I could not get enough of its madcap hilarity. Now, I had not seen this film in maybe a decade, and certainly had never seen it onscreen, which was the big attraction. How would it stand up????
It held up beautifully. Not only the humor, and the comic timing, with the actors speaking the lines so fast you wondered how they caught their breath, but the cinematography, art direction and costumes, which, while the film came from cheapy RKO looked almost sumptuous, with that art deco Thirties elegance. I was just dying for Katherine Hepburn's New York apartment, and her country house in Connecticut. And that dress she wore at the bar, doing the olive trick with all those things circling around her, making her look like something from the Jetsons. It was a treat to see this screen classic in its original format, and I was laughing so hard, even Monsieur was surprised. Even the animals give great performances here; with George played by Asta, the dog from the "Thin Man" series.
Nothing that followed in the wake of so-called "screwball comedies" could, for my money, top "Bringing Up Baby". And it is playing at the Film Forum through Thursday, so all my girls out there still have a chance. Get on down and see what true comedy is all about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The leopard call alone is a riot!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Girls, we made it to another Coney Island Mermaid Parade, which I have been going to since 1990. The traditional group--Monsieur, Kris and Jerry, Mr. Mayer, not to mention our lovely friend Judy, and I--gathered at Fiorentino's, on the Avenue U stop off the F train, for our pre-parade lunch, which was fabulous. They do the most delicious stuffed escarole imagined, and we had such a great time there, we almost missed the parade!!!!!
At Coney, the rides were going, people were screaming on the Cyclone (not ME, honey!!!!!!!!!), and the Mermaids, Mermen, King Neptune and his Queen ( a REAL woman!!!) were out in full thrall. There were pasties aplenty, and even some exposed boobies. As Neely says, "Boobies! Boobies! Boobies! Who needs them? I did great without them!!!" You know that is true of me, dears!!!! I am sorry to report that we did not see the Naked Devil. And it has been awhile, which makes me think he has either moved, retired, or gotten too heavy to do his act anymore. The sad thing is, in this town, girls, there is always a desirable body waiting in the wings to replace another, so why there has been no successor indeed puzzles me. But the Polar Bears, Icebreakers, and Floats were on display, complete with the always present Dick Zeigen, Mr. Coney Island himself!!!!!!
The weather did us proud; I have to say it was one of the best weather days in all my years of parade going. Cool and overcast, but with a lovely sea breeze. We all sat by the water, walked along the beach and had a relaxing ocean filled day with some gorgeous visuals to match.
This event inaugurates Summer At Coney, and with the Saturday Night Film Festival (can't wait to see what they are showing!!!!) and the Friday Evening Fireworks, I imagine we will get several visits out of the summer, lambs, and I will report on every one.
I am telling you, this parade was better than the one in "Hello, Dolly!" Hope all who were there enjoyed yourselves as much as we did, and hope to see you all next year!!!!!!!!
Before The Parade Passes By, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, June 17, 2011
Now I Can Audition For The Same Roles As Lainie Kazan!!!! But I May Need Breast Enlargements!!!!!!!!!
Like the song in "A Chorus Line" says, "Tits and ass won't get you jobs, unless they are yours." Lainie certainly took that to heart, though nature did lend her a generous hand.
This past Wednesday, the LPA Playreaders held their monthly meeting, with an almost on the spot rendering of one of Wendy Wasserstein's early plays, "Isn't This Romantic." As our own Wendy said, it was time for us to explore a woman playwright, and while to many theater folk that means Lillian Hellman, (which it does) Lillian is now no longer the only one out there. Wendy was a strong contender, and now we have Marsha Norman, Suzann Lori-Parks, Anna Deavere Smith, Tina Howe, Rebecca Gilman--we have come a long way, baby!!!!!!!!
And so have I. As Charles said, it was my Ruby Keeler moment, because I was stepping into a role at the last minute. And it seemed to fit me like a glove!!!!!! I am talking about the role of Tasha, Janie Blumberg's very Jewish mom.
What a range I am developing! From sociopathic children to spinster governesses to Jewish moms! Someone give Charles Busch a call--quick!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But first, a digression to the past. Honey, if I owe anyone inspiration for my portrayal of a Jewish mom, it isn't Lainie Kazan or Rennee Taylor.
It is Blanche Miller!!!!!!!!!
Oh, my God, Lenny and Blanche Miller. They lived two houses up from me, back in Highland Park, New Jersey, and especially in those pre-air conditioned summer years, when the windows were open, you could hear Mrs. Miller's voice booming over the street, like she was auditioning for Mamma Rose in "Gypsy!' "Caaaaaaaaaary!" she would call. "Ciiiiiiiiiiiindy!"
"Boooooooooooomer!" One always knew when Mother Blanche was looking for her children.
Both might be described as full figured. Lenny, it seemed, always had a scowl, and a cigar butt hanging out of his mouth. Maybe Blanche drove him to it.
So, when I was called upon to play a Jewish mom, she came first to mind, and it turned out to be one of my triumphs.
But there were other triumphs as well. Like Emily, our Eternal Ingenue, in the ingenue role of Harriet, though one might call her the ingenue with spine. This is, of course, Wendy Wasserstein. And Janie, played by Wendy, could easily come off as annoying, but Wendy brought something to a difficult part, because nothing is really resolved for Janie at the end. When Wendy played it, you were at least left with the possibility that down the road, there might be a resolution in sight. Which is all we could hope for.
Who would imagine Charlie and John playing two sides of the male asshole/douchebag coin???? Like an inverted parody of 'Earnest.' They were so good, if we had done this before an audience, people, women especially, would just want to go up there and smack them silly!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Our own Tanisha was a revelation. A tough career babe is nothing for her, but who would imagine she would be inspiring in the role of Russian cab driver, Vladimir??? I am sorry Wendy Wasserstein did not devote more time to him, or use him in another play.
Then there was Steve, professional to the nth degree. To think, I got to have him for a husband--at least for the evening!!!!!! He was a wonderful comic foil, and it makes me think we should team up and do a revival of some 50s situation comedy. Maybe Burns and Allen, where I play Gracie.
The wine flowed, the salsa was heavenly, the chocolate brownies were divine. If we had been doing "Valley Of The Dolls" (which, believe me, if we could get our hands on that screenplay, we would, with me as Neely, darlings!!!) we would have been both stoned and soused. As it was we were about halfway there, anyway. But who would have thought this last minute choice would have turned out to be such a triumph???? You just cannot tell!!!!!!!!!!!
And with summer approaching, what could be next??? "Where The Boys Are?" "Psycho Beach Party?" Only the walls of the Seminar Room hold the answer--and those walls don't talk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unlike me and my girls, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am telling you, you just cannot say enough about "Valley Of The Dolls." My one regret about the evening, being I had an aisle seat, was I did not stand up and act out Neely's scene in the gutter. Which my girls know I can do. Believe me, no one would have stopped me, because when it got to where Patty Duke says "the whole world loves ME!" the entire theater was reciting the lines. So one more nut in the crowd wouldn't have made a difference here.
Just love how those beads for one moment outline Patty Duke's breasts in the film. As they say, you could not make this stuff up.
And my favorite Sharon Tate line, when she consoles Neely after being fired--
"Gee, honey, I'm sorry! That old witch oughta be boiled in oil!" Wonder how Meryl Streep would have read that line?
As Hedda said last night, times change, but not Hollywood. Look at Lindsay Lohan. When Helen Lawson says of Neely, "Nothing can destroy her talent. But she will destroy herself," Lindsay's image flashed before my eyes.
You can bet I took a doll when I got home. Or at least my klonopin, which relaxes me enough to help me to go to sleep. But a good time was had by all, with a film that offers the best time in town anywhere!!!!!!!!!
The moral to the story is you have to have a backup plan--like a gorgeous house in Lawrenceville. Otherwise you are doomed.
"Lawrenceville would be there forever!"
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Honey, it seems like June has so much to celebrate in it. Since it is halfway apart from December, another big holiday month, that is not surprising. Two days ago we celebrated Flag Day (as well as Mary Anne's birthday which I am sure was fabulous!!!) Today, we have my niece, Jennifer's birthday; how well I remember that day, which was Father's Day, back in 1968. It seems I remember coming home from the Swim Club we still belonged to (that was the last year) to learn Jennifer had made her debut!!!!!!!!! And, after 43 years, has two children of her own, and continues to thrive!!!!!!!!!!
Not even as literary a figure as I back then recognized the further importance of this day. I don't know when I first became aware of Bloomsday--I honestly cannot remember--but today it is.
Bloonmaday concerns the character of Leopold Bloom, who figures in the James Joyce novel, "Ulysses." Which I still have yet to tackle. The novel actually does take place in one day, which is June 16, 1904, hence the name. But it is also maintained that it was the day Joyce met Nora, the woman who became his wife.
I should have staged a 3PM reading of moi or someone reading Molly Bloom's Soliloquy, which ends "Ulysses." There are many events commemorating this event all over the city, but when one has to work, let alone turn out this blog, there is just no way to fit it in. Maybe some bangers and mash for dinner.
So a happy Blooomsday to all. Yes is the most important word therein.
Make sure you say it for the right reasons, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, along with the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade, which is coming up this Saturday, and which you know I will provide a full report on (especially if the Naked Devil makes an appearance!!!!!!!) one of the other more regular events is the Chelsea Classics's yearly, or is it bi-yearly, showing of the screen classic "Valley Of The Dolls!"
Yes, darlings, Hedda Lettuce is hosting a screening this very evening, starting at 7PM, and I expect to see all my girls there!!!!!! I mean, where would we be, if not for Jacqueline Susann and this story????
And hosted by Hedda Lettuce, who comes from Royalty herself, being the granddaughter of Bedda Lettuce, and the great niece of Nedda Iceberg!!!!! Wonder if Nedda arrived by way of Harrison Avenue, in Highland Park, New Jersey???? With a name like that, it would certainly sound like it!!!!!!!!!!!
For those of you who may be curious about what it is like to be in a theater full of screaming queens, but you don't want to pay the high ticket prices, for, say, 'Priscilla,' this will provide that chance. Why don't the Tour Buses just drop off passengers at the Clearview Chelsea on 23rd Street tonight, and give them a glimpse of New York City they won't get anywhere else.
To hear an audience gasp with tears, when Barbara Parkins, as Anne, presses her face to the train window at the start, while Dionne Warwicke, at that precise moment, screams "Yeeeeeeeeeearn for a dreaaaaaaaaaaammmmmm!" while the audience goes wild with instant identification, recalling how we all came to the city that same way, yearning ourselves!!!!!!! My girls know, of course, that I always related best to Neely, and when Patty Duke finally winds up in the backstage gutter, with the entire theater screaming, "NNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELY O'HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARA!" there just isn't anything like it. Forget about those Vicious Queens at the Metropolitan Opera, this is the real thing, right here!!!!!!!!!!
I would not dream of missing it, and don't you. Come dressed as your favorite character, or yourself. Wear a Helen Lawson wig, or not, who cares? But for a laugh filled evening, it just can't be beat.
So come celebrate "Valley Of The Dolls" tonight, loves!!!!! It made me what I am today, and I am sure I am not the only one!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"I know it's a rotten business........but I LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!"
I know what you are thinking, girls--how come she did not turn up sooner??? And how ironic that today marks the anniversary, to the day, of daughter Caylee's disappearance/death.
I am talking about the winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award, Casey Anthony!!!!!!
Who should also get the Susan Smith, Mother Of The Year Award, as both have SO much in common.
Both will burn in Hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Both were selfish, evil bitches. Susan was motivated in trying to pull herself up from her White Trash roots. She thought marrying Tom Findlay would allow her to ride the Gravy Train, but he told her he did not want to raise her children. Or, more specifically, he did not want children at all. Her ex-husband, David Smith (so cute back then!!!) was willing to take the two boys, but no, Susan drove them out to John Long Lake and drowned them. And it didn't get her a damn thing except a prison term.
Casey wanted to be a full time party girl, and raising a daughter cramped her style. Her own mother, the child's grandmother, even offered to take Caylee. But, no Miss Casey feigned a disappearance, claimed the child had gone missing, even when it became established that she chloroformed her to death, and hid the body!!!
What a piece of work!!!!! Looks like Susan and she could be cell mates!!!!
These infanticidal maniacs must have ice water flowing in their veins. Never mind the Mydol excuses, this goes beyond hormonal imbalance. These two had their own entitlement issues, and wanted what they wanted when they wanted it. And look what it got them!!!!! This should be a lesson to future perps. But few are as cold as these. Honey, they make the Wicked Queen in "Snow White" look like Mother Teresa.
Casey, you have been long overdue, but you finally made it to Bitch Of The Week. You are pure evil, and my fondest wish for you is permanent incarceration in the Hole, after they cut off every hair on your head, till you are as bald as a bowling ball!!!!!
The Raving Queen can be a bitch, sometimes, too, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Well, darlings, "Spider Man-Turn Off The Dark" opened for the final time last night, and while some reviewers said it was better than the last one, that is damning with faint praise. If you read between the lines, it does not look like much has been done, and I for one would not see this mess again unless a free tkt were placed in my hand, or someone paid me to go.
How supremely egotistical is Miss Taymor, not only attending the opening last night, but taking the stage, as though she were still responsible for it, without having never been booted off??????
It is up to the show to see if there is any staying power. My guess is curiosity seekers and summer tourists will keep it going through Labor Day, with maybe a pickup during the Thanksgiving-Christmas rush (if the world does not end by October 21) but after January 2012 (again, if the world does not end)--forget it!!!!!!!!!!!
But never mind "Spider Man"--I have enough going on, what with my play reading tonight, "Valley Of The Dolls" tomorrow, and the Mermaid Parade on Saturday. And a Yoga Class Sunday. There is just no rest for the weary when one is the Raving Queen.
Not to mention next week, which is all about packing for the trip to New Orleans!!!!!!!! And live reports from there will follow.
So "Spider Man," darlings, is the least of it. If it runs, fine, whatever. But let this turkey Rest In Peace!!!!!!!!!!!!
And just think--we have to worry about "Carrie" next season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Now, you know, darlings, by now, that when it comes to Tyler Clementi, I am like the proverbial dog with a bone. I will not let go. So it really irks me when I read on NJ.COM, that someone who is President of her school's Gay Straight Alliance, comes out with what you are about to hear. But keep in mind--the school at which she heads this organization is West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, once attended by--are you ready, girls!--Dahrun Ravi and Molly Wei!!!!!!!
Is there an agenda here? You damn well better believe it!
The President, Shayla Reed, should be fired from her post. You know what she says? Listen to this--"She said she disagreed with the characterization of the incident at Rutgers as a hate crime. 'I think most people would agree that Ravi was just messing around and it just got out of hand."
First of all Miss Reed, the Raving Queen and my girls are NOT most people. Second, "messing around" and "out of hand" are understatements at best. Try saying that face to face with the Clementis. Try convincing a desparing Tyler that.
Let me say it again. This was a hate crime. No one may have intended Tyler Clementi to commit suicide, but he did. And he did because the cultural climate he was surrounded in did not take to his sexuality kindly, plus, instead of giving Tyler a chance to come out slowly, and evolve, like most of us do, the carpet, so to speak, was pulled out from under him. Which is what pushed him off the GW. And this was engineered by Ravi and Wei. Their intention was to embarrass and humiliate Tyler Clementi. They may have been at college only three weeks, but they recognized he was shy and vulnerable--and they went after that!!!!
How anyone can not see this as a hate crime is inhumane. Like today's detractors who say the Holocaust did not happen.
We are, more or less to an extent, consumed by our own Personal Holocaust. Tyler, like those in Germany, had one imposed on him, and like those unfortunate individuals, it destroyed him as surely as they were destroyed in the camps. Both acts engineered by hateful individuals.
I think Shayla Reed needs to stand back and examine her motives. How she can take such a stand indicates she really does not belong at the helm of a Gay Alliance organization.
Miss Reed, for you to say such a thing is to, like Ravi and Wei, have the blood of Tyler Clementi on your hands. Same with anyone who cannot see this as the ultimate hate crime.
Darlings, in addition to punishment being meted, the other true justice for Tyler is that no more LGBT youth are driven to the point he was. That they can attend college, safe and secure to lead their own lives. If Tyler Clementi leaves any kind of a legacy, let that be it.
Listen to him, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And to those who don't--if you mess with me, I will have your ass!!!!!!
I'm just the Raving Queen, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, girls, it has barely been 48 hours since the TONY Awards, and already talk is on about the coming theatrical season. For starters--Oh, my GOD!--"Spider Man-Turn Off The Dark" opens for what is the second, and, I hope, last time. It may beat a hasty retreat, after that spot they showed on the TONYS. Or maybe they should just change the title. We have "War Horse" at the Beaumont at Lincoln Center; they should call this one "Dead Horse!"
Then--wait till you hear this--Monsieur gets in the mail a brochure from MCC--basically the Manhattan Theatre Club, promoting their upcoming season, which promises, among other things, "The Musical Event Of The Year!" You know what they are banking on to be that????? The newly revised, reworked and remounting of the flop musical "Carrie." Yes, darlings, by Stephen King!!!!!!!!!!!
In its day, "Carrie," next to "Got Tu Go Disco" was the flop musical everyone wished they HAD seen!!!!!!! Honey, it was SO bad no one ever expected it to be seen or heard from again.
But here we go, next season, and with a top cast, featuring Marin Mazzie, who took over from Alice Ripley in "Next To Normal" and originated roles in "Passion" and "Ragtime", playing the evangelical Mother From Hell, Margaret White, and Molly Ranson, who appeared in "August:Osage County,"in the title role.
Could we be looking at next season's "Spider Man?" Or will the show's cult status cause Theater Queens and flop aficionados to crawl out of the woodwork and support this potential theatrical mess???? Or will it actually surprise us and be a hit????
We can only wait and see, loves!!!!!!! But summer is here, so head for the Hamptons, and let's not worry our pretty heads about a thing till the advent of Fall!!!!!!!!
Where The Boys Are, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, June 13, 2011
With the TONY party taking place in Bay Ridge, an area I am long familiar with, having lived there from 1983 till 1997, Monsieur and I decided to take a ride out there early, walk around, see my old nabe, and scout out prospective living possibilities. We got more than we bargained for.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how little the area had changed, not having been there in 14 years. The two restaurants diagonally across from each other at the Bay Ridge Ave stop are still there, but under different names than in my day. Same with the Cagianno's store on Third Ave; it was still thriving, but was now a generic ethnic bodega, rather than the high end Italian grocery it had been. Sad. The Three Jolly Pigeons bar on the corner had gotten a classy makeover, and so had Mike's eatery, which still carries his name, but is no longer owned by Mike.
Once we got into my nabe, save for a fence here, or a wall there, it was still pretty much the same. At last, we stood in front of my building. There it was, and the street, exactly as I remembered them. I showed Monsieur the windows out front where my bedroom had been; there was now an AC. An older man heard us chatting and asked some questions; he turned out to be the owner, George Poulakakos, still married to Debbie, who dealt with tenants there. 'Nuff said. But George was friendly, bringing us up to date on tenants from my past--Mr. Hoffman is still there, Mr. Wheeler died, the Donahues bought a place on Long Island--and even showed us an available apartment there. Like walking into my childhood home several weeks back, I never thought I would walk back into this location I had been so emotionally attached to. So much looked the same, though I noticed a more secure lobby door, new mail boxes, and buzzers outside. The apartment we saw was on the first floor, clean, charming, but I don't like first floors--no privacy. There was hardly any kitchen, and no refrigerator--NO right there!!!!--but the bedroom and living room were completely carpeted. What is it with this building???? Because the apartment I lived in there had full carpeting, too. AND no fridge; I had to buy one!!!!!
The thought of living again in the same building seemed a bit creepy. We said thanks, but no thanks. If I go back to Bay Ridge, with Monsieur, I would like to be farther in, and we both agree, in an elevator building!!!!!!!
We also stopped at OLA (Our Lady Of Angels) church, still the most beautiful one in the area. And Logue's ice cream parlor on Third Ave is still there, though under a different name and owner ship. My old laundromat on Third had now moved further down the street, but closer to my apartment.
The past converging so fast in so short a time. This means something, but I don't know what. I could not find a pic of the building, girls, so I include one of the park nearby--Owl's Head--where I spent many afternoons, sitting in and reading.
Wherever Monsieur and I do end up, girls, you will be sure to get a full report!!!!!!
Carry me back to old Bay Ridge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, girls, there were few surprises last night during the TONY Awards, but there were SOME. Let's start with those first.
The first is that "War Horse" beat out "Jerusalem" for Best Play, and its directors beat out "Jerusalem's" director. I did not see that coming, loves!!!!!!
The second was Frances McDormand. Oh, my God!!!! OK, Fran, you want to make a point by receiving the prize dressed as your "Good People" character, fine. And maybe you have eczema, or are self conscious about your arms. OK. So you cover over a nice dress with a denim jacket. Not the best thing, but understandable. But for God's sake, dear--comb your damn hair!!!! And put on some make-up!!!! You can bet gay men, and especially gay hairstylists (men) were cringing throughout Frances' time onstage. I do not know who does Frances' hair, but I can tell you this--IF said person is not the owner of the emporium, he is going to be raked over the coals by his supervisor this morning!!!!!!
The third TONY surprise was something only a specialized audience saw. And that was those of us gathered at Ellen's Annual TONY Party in Bay Ridge!!!! To cap off the evening, and thank our charming hostess, Monsieur and I got up and performed the "Caroline The Cow" number from "Gypsy," with me (who else?) as Dainty June, and Monsieur as Caroline!!!!! It was a showstopper, as I knew it would be, and Monsieur was SO skilled, doing all his "Moo's" on cue!!!!! I am telling you, he was SO good that if he weren't a man (which, thank God, he is!!!!!), he would be ready to assume the only other great theatrical role that requires good Moo-ing skills--the title character in "The Killing Of Sister George."
Now, back to the show at hand. OK, for "The Book Of Mormon;" the talent is there, but the show still did not do anything for me. Chris Rock's analogy about this show's victory being like taking a hooker to dinner was pretty apt, you have to admit!!!!! So was the victory of Sutton Foster and "Anything Goes;" both she and the cast shined in their number!!!!! You just can't beat Cole Porter!!!!!
I had predicted John Laraquette, who I felt was fine, but like that entire production, was not mind blowing. The cast did its damnedest in the "Brotherhood Of Man," with Daniel Radcliffe sashaying his cute little booty all over that stage, honey, but it did not blow the roof of the theater, as it ought.
They crammed everything into this show--"Spider Man" (bad!!!!!) 'Priscilla' (FABULOUS--with another surprise, one of the original Weather Girls to sing the signature classic "It's Raining Men!!!!!") and "Company" (very good, but too abbreviated; I know this score, so I knew where it was cut, and I would rather have seen an uncut rendering of the opening, title number, which, I think, is more representative of the show!!!!)
Frances, we love you, and are glad you won, but when it came to DRAMA last night, what ruled was "The Normal Heart!" Damn right!!!! Sure, you can put a horse puppet onstage (take THAT, Julie Taymor!!!!), but Power To The People!!!! Right On!!!!!
It was one of the best telecasts in years. And wasn't Neil Patrick Harris SO cute??? I mean, patting his little butt??? Hope your Aunt Fanny, who diapered that butt, Neil, was not watching, because she might not understand what you use it for now!!!!
Even if she is a geriatric spinster weaned on BLT's and secret readings of "The Well Of Loneliness!"
And Judith Light--great actress, but did you catch her garb??? That red, with her washed out look, with her hair down, made her seem like Baby Jane Hudson trying to do the Alexis Smith role in "Follies." And how about Patti Lupone?????
Not a peep outta her???? How did the producers manage that?????
A good time was had by all, including yours truly, who is not even hung over. Except now I really have to consider seeing "The Normal Heart," and make sure I see those ticket selling nuns in "Sister Act", which is the Catholic "Some Like It Hot!"
Neil, we love you, but next year, darlings, I want to host the TONYS. Start a Facebook campaign right now--just like Betty White!!!!!!!
The Raving Queen will rule!!!! See you on the Rialto, darlings!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Girls, back on November 24, 1970, when I was a high school sophomore, ABC Movie Of The Week aired something called "Crowhaven Farm." I saw it only once, but those of us who did, never forgot it. Well, honey, I can tell you, it is now on YouTube, so have a forty year feast, because, lambs, it is a hoot! It's also rather good.
Hope Lange plays an unfulfilled, barren career woman, who inherits a farm in rural Massachusetts. She and her unfulfilled artist husband (who may or may not be impotent) played by Paul Burke, who was Lyon Burke in "Valley Of The Dolls," move there, and before you know it, Maggie (Hope's character) is hearing cries in the night, and experiencing visions from the witchy past.
Things really take off when Mercy Lewis (Virginia Gregg) and her niece, Jennifer (Cindy Ellibacher) come on the scene. Oh, brother!!!! What a piece of work these two are. A pair of real witch bitches. Or bitch witches. And poor Cindy, you can see how desperately she wanted to be Maureen McCormick or Eve Plumb, (I would bet she even auditioned for "The Brady Bunch") but she was just too second rate. Even here, with her trying vainly to do a 70's rip on Abigail Williams from "The Crucible," she comes off wooden.
This movie throws in everything--pedophilia (which I am amazed got on the air), a bit of "Rosemary's Baby" and a bit of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, what with its death by pressing, (being crushed by stones, placed atop a wooden board over the victim's body) which is what I think made this film so memorable in the first place. Nothing creepy like this had ever been seen before, and seldom since.
So, having watched it last night, I can say "Crowhaven Farm" holds up!!!! You will love it, darlings, but I am telling you, it confirms all my fears--none of that "Green Acres" shit for me!
Neeeeeeeew York is where ah'd rahtuh say. I get allerrrrrrrgic smelling hay!
Yes, girls, this day is a Theater Queen's best revenge. Today is TONY day, which means at 8PM tonight TV sets in gay (and straight) households will be tuned in to the TONY Awards, with the TQ's strenuously keeping score as carefully as their pigskin counterparts scout out gridiron opponents.
It should be an interesting evening, for starters, because Monsieur and I are converging at his friend Ellen's in Bay Ridge, home of the mysterious Miss T, whose birthday today just happens to be. By my count, she is about 74, though with Miss T, who knows. So the show, in a manner of speaking, begins, even before sundown.
I expect no surprises, unless the "Spider Man" segment actually turns out to be good! Which I doubt. But I can clock it off right now--
Best Musical--The Book Of Mormon
Best Actor, Musical--Noebert Leo Butz, Catch Me If you Can
Best Actress, Musical--Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
Best Musical Revival--Anything Goes
Best Actress, Play--Frances McDormand, Good People
Best Featured Actor, Musical--John Laraquette, How To Succeed....
......to name a few! Stay tuned for tomorrow, when we discuss not only the actual results, but what the celebs are wearing!!!!!
And speaking of wearing, I have to run to the designer's, to pick up my outfit!!!! Happy TONY viewing, loves, and may every one's favorite win!!!!!!!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
It did not start out that way, let me tell you! First, summer just sort of LANDED!!!!!!!! Here we were, getting a Spring that really seemed more like Winter, with a few hit and miss warm days thrown in. Then the temperature goes up, and so do artistic temperaments, let me tell you!!!!!!!! So I picked up from my reading pile, the next item to be read, which was "Clockers" by Richard Price, which I think was made into a movie, but I never saw it. Anyway, I had loved his widely acclaimed novel, "Lush Life," so I thought, goody, more of Richard Price, a writer whose work I wanted to follow.
Well, after about two days, darlings, I hit a snag. I knew that this book was NOT doing it for me. After getting through one fifth of it, I realized it was more effort than pleasure--a red flag. Even though more difficult, Proust and Pynchon offer more pleasure. The structure of the book--the street cops of an inner city vs. the crack dealers was dull and repetitive--one chapter good guys, the other bad. No variations whatsoever. The language was so street scrip I needed a glossary, or a cop who had worked this beat to steer me through it. I had no idea where he was going with the story; it just seemed like two disjointed stories having been strung together. What a disappointment, Richard!!!!! Not only do I know you can do better, it does not make me want to tackle any more of your books. Maybe I will change my mind, but that is it for now, honey!!!!!!!!!
When this occasionally happens, as it does, I know now what to do. Cut your losses, because life is too short--and getting shorter. There are plenty of book out there. But which one? In this situation, I head for the nearest bookstore, and find something I have been meaning to read, but have not purchased yet. On Friday, when all this went down, that turned out to be "The Help," by Kathryn Stockett, which I am already halfway through. It has a compelling story, interesting characters, and while the writing style may not have the lyricism of the great Southern writers, its story is clear and distinctive, without being an insult to one's intelligence. That is when the idea hit me.
As all my girls know, two weeks from today, I take off to the Big Easy--New Orleans, Louisiana. Last trip down, I appropriately read "A Confederacy Of Dunces," John Kennedy Toole's posthumous work, which some feel (but I don't) is a masterpiece. Like "The Mists Of Avalon," I had tried three times over the years since it first appeared to get through it, but simply could not. I figured maybe reading it in its actual locale might help, and that turned out to be the charmer. Not only did I finish it, I could appreciate it for what it was, and mourn the loss of Toole, whose death cut short a promising future. 'Confederacy' now stands as his work, but he may have produced others that went beyond it. Like John Irving. While many may feel 'Garp' is his signature book, to me his BEST was and will always be, "A Prayer For Owen Meany."
So I knew, with this trip coming up, I needed to take something with me, and two titles, which I have read many times but are still old favorites, came to mind.
"The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice and "Gone With The Wind" by Margaret Mitchell.
The first begins the chronicle of the Mayfair Witches. It is not only the best of the trilogy (the other two works being "Lasher" and "Taltos,") it is, for my money, the best thing Anne Rice ever wrote. If she had gone on to write as many Mayfair books as she did the vampires, or even more, I would have been a lot happier, and Anne might still have the career she once had. So "The Witching Hour" it is. Fifteen years ago, my friend Tom read it, while I read 'Confederacy'. I am glad a tradition of sorts is being maintained.
As for "Gone With The Wind," what can I say???? The title alone evokes SO much. BUT June 30 of this year marks the Diamond (75 years) Anniversary of the novel's publication, which means it is sort of in the public eye again, what with parties and fests throughout the South, Atlanta especially, in its honor. Even if the NOLA trip were not pending, I still think I would be compelled to reread this at this time. It will be my 10th reading of it, since the first, back in 1968. That is over a period of 43 years, which averages out a reading every 4.3 years. Guess it is time again, for a visit to Tara.
So with all the hunger for Southern cuisine and ice tea that "The Help" and my upcoming trip is evoking, is it any wonder this will turn out to be a Southern summer????? It has been awhile, anyways!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, y'all hush yo' mouths, and get readin', heah?
Friday, June 10, 2011
No sooner, darlings, had I posted Anthony Weiner as this week's winner of the BOTW Award, then comes the news that his recently wed wife, Huma Abedin, is pregnant!!! Well, at least it's the wife, and not one of the chippies. Clearly, it demonstrates that Weiner's weiner has been working...and working overtime!!!!! Let me tell you something, loves; a man and his weiner are easily separable, because the latter has a mind of its own. You know the old adage about one's brains being in the pants????? This offers no greater proof!!!!!
In fact, I would not be surprised if Weiner's weiner has been spreading love juice all around. Sure, Huma is preganat now! But after, say, her first trimester, it would not surprise me if one of his bits on the side evidence the same condition.
The end of the Anthony Weiner story is nowhere in sight. But, darlings, let us remember who the real fools are, and cast no aspersions on those faultless, as yet unborn, Weiners!!!!!!!!
Meanwhile, as we begin TONY Weekend, who should step forward, but another ex-BOTW, none other than Miss Julie Taymor, who insists she is going to sue the producers of "Spider Man--Turn Off The Dark." Her contention is she should be compensated for royalties, as she wrote the book (which was the show's main problem) and, with all the tremulousness of a Christian martyr about to be fed to the lions, announced that she devoted nine years of her life to this project. Oh, come on; give it up, Jules!!!!!! You probably never gave Spider Man a sustained thought, until the producers came to you with their idea, and you saw dollar signs!!!!! And look where it got you???? NOW you want some gravy!!!!!! Eat those mashed potatoes dry, honey!!!!!
Jules, dear, no one disputes your talent, but your street cred has been ruined. Here's a thought for you. Why not go back to your roots, at La Mama, and do one of your once pioneering puppet projects? How about an adaptation of the Judith Krantz classic "I'll Take Manhattan," with a giant sized Valerie Bertinelli puppet figure, hovering over a set designed mini Manhattan, with citizens to match, resembling Thimble City????? Brantley or Isherwood will fall to their knees, crying about "theatrical innovation," while the Theater Community will say you are back on top again. Which you won't be, if you pursue this silly lawsuit.
Which just goes to show a bitch can't be stopped from being...well, a bitch!!!!!
However Jules and Weiner's dramas play out, you know I will be right beside my darlings letting you know every aspect of the gloppy mess!!!!!!!
Less fattening than hot fudge, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
...Insofar as picking out a Bitch Of The Week!!!!!!!! This one, girls, simply presented itself, without any effort on my part. I knew he would be a winner the moment I heard.
The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is....Anthony Weiner!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey, Weeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiineeeeeeeeeer!!!!!!!! Where's your weeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiner?????????
Now that we've gotten that over with.
How could he not be selected? Though among the pantheon of this gallery, he is one of the silliest. In a certain sense, he outdoes Elliot Spitzer!!!!!!!
Weiner obviously has a high opinion of himself and his body. Someone should tell him to take a good look in the mirror. Sending a pic of himself over the web in his tidy whities smacks not only of huburs, but insecurity in showing the goods, and general idiocy in thinking anyone would really care, or that he is such a hot number people would thrill to the sight!!!!!!!
Not me, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, personally I do think he should resign!!!!!!! But not for reasons most think. My reason is simply if Weiner is too preoccupied with sexual success or marketing himself in such manner, he cannot be too interested in the common good of the Common People. In other words, the sleazeball should not have gone into politics.
I don't care who Weiner shows it to. Or if he does it all. The fact that so many people do indicate how hung up America still is on matters of sexuality, which can lead to things as far ranging as the silliness of this to the horrific tragedy of...yes, girls.....Tyler Clementi.
All these politicians should simply keep their private lives to themselves. Hell, most of us do. But Weiner's hubris, ego and ineptitude in showing only himself in his underwear makes him one of our silliest honorees as Bitch Of The Week!!!!!!!!!!
Congratulations, you Weiner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, darlings, last night's shopping excursion WAS a success, but it offered numerous challenges. Now, let me say, when the Raving Queen goes shopping solo, it is something fierce!!!!!!! I storm into the store, tense, with this manic look on my eye, because I am on a mission. I go directly to the department, find what I want, pay for it, and I am outta there. Usually in about thirty minutes!!!!!!!!
But shopping with the lovely Monsieur Davide is a different experience altogether. We got what we came for. But it took a good deal longer than thirty minutes, what with all the perusing, the trying on and taking off and trying on again, making sure the fit was just right, and the look perfect for our trip South, it was something of an ordeal. And then the poor, confused salesman, while attractive in an enigmatic kind of Italian way, definitely was not adept at multi-taking or dealing with screaming Theater Queens screaming "I wanna see 'Sister Act!'"
while a bedraggled Monsieur tries to complete the transaction.
I was EMOTIONALLY exhausted. But we emerged triumphant. The designer of choice was Ralph Lauren, who seems to have grasped the concept that men (or least US men, darlings!!!!!) like COLOR!!!!!! When we got home, I am telling you we crashed--but so many PRETTY things to look at!!!!!! Wait till you see my orange hat!!!!!!!
But it sure isn't like shopping for books or Original Cast recordings.
Let me give you all a fashion tip that has stood by me for over thirty years--when you pick up an item, and hear the designer's voice in your head say, "Look what I have created for YOU!", that is how you know when to buy it. No questions asked.
I have to admit if it had not been as hot it might have been a bit more exciting. But hot is what we are expecting in New Orleans. If only I looked like Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof;" I would feel so clean and cool. If only we ALL did, darlings!!!!! But I am sure Liz had her moments, too!!!!!!!
But the results were successful. I don't know if I can promise pictures, loves, but I can promise you full on locale reports--as many as I can get out---from the Big Easy, once I get there.
Meanwhile, we have to look towards those TONY Awards. May all your shopping excursions be successful and easy!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Can you believe, darlings, they gave a disparaging review to "The Shaggs--Philosophy Of The World?" Easily, as said before, the best musical I have seen this season, and you are talking to someone who has seen quite a few musicals in their time. Charles Isherwood was the reviewer, so we can be thankful for small favors, like that it was not Ben Brantley writing. Let me tell you about him--you know the closet case depicted in the Tyler Clementi play I saw the other night????? I am pretty certain his apple does not fall far from Brantley's tree. Or that other theater demimonde, Michael Reidel. I cannot speak for the latter, but my guess is that Brantley, to cover his sorry ass, gives his employers at The Times an address in Darien Connecticut, or some such suburban enclave, while in reality dwelling in TriBecca or the Meat Packing District. Hell, Brantley is probably SO tight assed I bet he would not even know who The Shaggs were, or heard any of their tracks. At least, Isherwood evidenced some knowledge in his review. including its debt to "Gypsy." Now, I will be the first to say this score does not match "Gypsy," but few scores do, honey!!! And the music is of an altogether different period. It is self serving, and serves the show well. And the performers put it over. I could easily have tolerated more of 'The Shaggs'. By the time "Book Of Mormon" finished Act One, I was ready to leave!!!!!!! But I didn't.
And of course the Times was all over THAT one! Bet Brantely drooled over it. Well, he is entitled. But not only is "The Shaggs" entertaining, it has something unique to say about America's Obsession With Fame, in that the daughters Austin Wiggin pushed for alleged stardom not only were untalented, but they all REALIZED it!!!!! Truly a unique situation.
No, the score will not stand Time's test, like say, "HAIR." But the show deserves a run, and deserves to be seen. It is not overrated, as compared to other, bigger items out there. If the Times has some kind of an agenda, I can tell you, its head is not screwed on right!!!!!!!!!!
Make sure yours all are, darlings!!!!!!!!! And stay cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, ain't it the truth? Sometimes, I actually DO feel like Lynn Redgrave, in "Georgy Girl." Well, I am here to tell you, right now, that truth is going to be violated tonight, because this eve, Monsieur and I are converging upon MACY's--hopefully it will not be the insanity it is during Holiday time--to select an ensemble for me for the upcoming New Orleans trip. Now, what I am shooting for is an imitation Elsa Schiaparelli knockoff, perfect for the Southern sultriness, that will allow me to burst forth from the smoke off the plane, just like Vivien Leigh, as Blanche, emerging out from the train smoke at the start of "A Streetcar Named Desire."
I am sure this is the dream of every Theater Queen who embarks on a journey to the Big Easy. I do have my obligations to make Tennessee Williams AND Truman Capote (who both hung out here) proud!!!!
Darlings, you know I will damn well do my best! But the reality of this evening is I have to hunt for a dress jacket/blazer/call it what you will, and dress pants to go with it. I have to have some outfits on hand, for when we go to such places as Antoine's and Commander's Palace. The only aspect of the trip I don't look forward to is having to dress up for these places. I mean, how is Mammy suppose to lace me into my corset. And after I get back from this excursion, you know I am never gonna be no eighteen and a half inches again. And ain't nothin' I can do about it! Hell, there's nothing I can do NOW!!!!!!!!!
Shopping is supposed to be FUN--books, wine, gifts for others. Shopping for myself--clothes and such--becomes a MISSION. Now, you would think, being the Raving Queen, I would go for it. Hell, I would much rather pick out clothes for Monsieur or my friends, matching them up with the right designers, colors, and fabrics.
But the spotlight shines on me tonight, so step forward I must. Wish me luck on my excursion, loves, and I will be sure to report on the results of my findings!!!!!!!!!
Maybe, like Blanche, I will wear Delia Robbia blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!