Wednesday, August 31, 2011
We are now exactly 22 days away from the First Anniversary of Tyler Clementi's death, a fact I am sure does not escape his family and supporters. One trouble with Tyler I have to admit to is that, because of his tragic demise, selections of what pic to use for each posting are rather limited. I try not to repeat photos, but in this case almost cannot help myself. Of course, if Tyler had been allowed his life, there would have been more pics--graduation from college, more musical triumphs, Facebook and other profiles. But such is not the case.
Just something I wanted to all to know. The real crux of things here is that the Star Ledger Editorial Board, courtesy of the blog NJ.com, seems, if you read carefully, to be siding with the defense. Can they make it any more obvious???? And, of course, if one sides with the defense, then one sides with the idea that victims, for whatever reason, deserve to be bullied or harassed because their tormentors have that right!!!!!
Honey, if I were a Ledger subscriber, I would cancel this second!!!! But they do not have to worry about yours truly--oh NO!!!!!!!!!!!!
Concerning the mysterious partner known only as "M.B.," who was involved with Tyler, both parties seem to be in agreement that his identity remain anonymous. I concur here, too. This individual is, through no fault of his own, linked to one of the most tragic cause celebres of the early part of this century, which is a big enough burden to carry. Forget about the media suddenly coming at you, demanding interviews, answers and making recriminations of their own.
So I am with both parties on this man's privacy. Personally, I would love to know more!!!!! But do we need to????????? Not really!!!!!!!!!!!
Where I deviate, and side with the prosecution, is in their maintaining that, while the defense interviews "M.B.," a State Investigator be present. That way, they cannot fudge anything in their favor. And I would also add that should the prosecution interview him, the same standards remain in place. But then the lily does not need to be gilded when it comes to Tyler, who is innocent of any wrongdoing. Once again, good old fashioned finger pointing and speciousness used is being used in a desperate attempt to get Ravi off.
The defense wonders if Tyler knew he was being taped, and warned the guy.
If so, then why go through with the encounter where they did? Why not leave the room/campus/wherever, and go someplace else????? If they had, Tyler would still be here. These sleazeballs also hypothesize that maybe the gents played it up intentionally for the camera, a statement that, as a Gay man, I find offensive. Not all Gay men are child molesters has been heralded for years. By the same token, not all Gay men are rabid exhibitionists. Those who are generally have friends and venues where they can act out such things. Tyler and this guy do not strike me as that type. I recall reading somewhere that Tyler maintained that sexual activity should not begin till one reaches 18, which shows a young man taking a rather sensible approach to an adult matter. Most of his peers don't have that sensibility.
The defense also wants everything about "M.B." kept secret, even to the prosecution. Don't they have a right to know, especially if the defense knows already?????
Once again the attempt is to discredit Tyler Clementi. But in blatantly stating such forthright opinions, the Ledger Editorial Board have done their best to discredit themselves.
Both legal sides need from "M.B." a truthful account of what took place. Tyler is not alive to tell his side; this guy is in the position of having to give his own side, and speaking for Tyler's.
This case needs to go to trial. Things need to happen in court. That the defense is trying to sway public opinion, which it obviously has done with the
Ledger, speaks of two things--this legal team's desperaton and this media constituency's already biased stand on the matter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Objectivity rules, darlings!!!!!!!! And here there can be only one objective--Justice For Tyler Clementi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, that is the thing about Broadway--it is silent one second, and buzzing the next. The latest buzz concerns Jan Maxwell, currently wowing them at the Maruqis as Phyllis in the revival of "Follies." Word on the street (including yours truly) is that Jan's Phyllis is the best this side of Alexis Smith--and that is high praise indeed.
Jan has always been one to get high praise. From her bitchy yet humanizing performance as the Baroness (avoiding all the campiness of Eleanor Parker in the film) in the 1998 revival of "The Sound Of Music," to her brilliant turn awhile back as Rosemary Harris' daughter in "The Royal Family," Jan has always been a critic and audience favorite, and her Phyllis should be no exception.
However, loves, it seems that favorability does not extend to backstage, where I am told Jan is widely disliked by those having to work behind the scenes. It seems Jan treats non actors and techies therein like a grade-A bitch. Not since Frank Langella appeared at Roundabout in "A Man For All Seasons," have I heard someone being reviled this much. It makes one wonder.
But I am here to tell Jan--honey, you better watch out, or you will find yourself being named on here as Bitch Of The Week. At this point, you are at the very least a strong contender!!!!! And if you persist in such behavior, you will not only be named, but subsequently will find yourself no longer sitting at the table with all the "cool" people, but banished to the darkly lit corner table filled with those who thought they were SO special, but weren't--like Julie Taymor and Diane Paulus!!!!!! They do need another to round out as a trio, but, Jan, do you really WANT that distinction????? What is the problem?????
It may be that Jan's brilliance as an actress is overclouding personal judgement. She is so biting and acerbic as Phyllis that she may just be carrying the character around with her backstage. Now, having trod the boards somewhat myself, I know there is a fine, invisible line, that separates backstage from onstage, and person from character. Whatever side you are on is how you behave. You do NOT behave as yourself when you cross onstage, nor should you behave as your CHARACTER when you cross backstage. It seems Jan may be forgetting this. She needs to have a talk, or a crisis intervention with MERYL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Or it may just be that she is a bitch, treating everyone around her, to paraphrase Karen Richards (Celeste Holm) in "All About Eve", like her supporting cast. Better wise up, Jan--if reports of your behavior have gotten out as far as this blog, you are in serious trouble, already. I know Phyllis can't decide between wanting to be Lucy or Jessie, but you can decide between being a lady or a bitch!!!!!!!!!!!
Otherwise, dear, you will be staring at nothing but your shelves of the world's best books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, there is news from the Rialto, and one item is that James Franco, Mr. "127 Hours" himself, has withdrawn from his plan to star next season on Broadway as Chance Wayne in the Tennessee Williams classic, "Sweet Bird Of Youth." This is a tremendous loss, girls, because James is such a wonderful actor, not to mention someone to ogle, and wouldn't we love to have ogled him aplenty as Chance???????
The reason given is academics; workaholic actor Franco is also pursuing a graduate degree in English Literature at that most prestigious institution of higher learning, Yale, and so had to bow out of the production. Not so the Princess Kosmonopolis, who is to played by that Princess of Botox, Nicole Kidman. Honestly, who does she think she is? One nude cameo in a David Hare play, and she thinks she can take on a role originated by the great Geraldine Page???? She isn't fit to polish Miss Page's shoes, loves!!!!!!!!! Also, Nicole can barely cut it on film, what makes her think she can do the stage???? Now, if you want to get a REAL Princess, why not call Meryl????? Hell, I bet Franco would put his dissertation on hold, if he heard that one!!!!!!! Maybe he wisely did not want to appear with Nicole as the Princess.
Now, as an actress, darlings, I could certainly do the Princess, except I am too youthful looking and vital to be convincing. The character is basically a washed up, neurotic, wasted in mind and body, suicidal actress. A great challenge, no doubt, and I could really nail the scene where she gets the call from Walter Winchell that they want her for a comeback, whereupon she dumps Chance like the proverbial hot potato. But I think the role I am more suited to is Boss Finley's mistress, Miss Lucy, originated onstage, and done on screen, too, by the great character actress, Madeline Sherwood, long before her Mother Superior "Flying Nun" days. Had she done it while alive, I can think of no better Miss Lucy than the great Rue McClanahan; hell, she was practically playing it on "The Golden Girls." If you played Blanche Devereaux straight, instead of for laughs, there you would have Miss Lucy!!!!!!!!!!
She inspires one of Tennessee Williams' best lines in the show, which, in the film, is not spoken, but written on the a bathroom mirror--"Boss Finley can't cut the mustard!!!!!" At this point, I would have to do a careful rereading, girls, to see if that line is spoken; if not, forgive me, Tennessee, I might improvise it into the action.
So, while Franco is bowing out let us get rid of Nicole Kidman!!! Who might be next, for Chance--Tobey Maguire???? Jake Gyllenhaal???? Ryan Gosling???? How about James Macavoy?????
Actually, I think Ryan would be great, but he deserves a better Princess than Nicole.
How about Annette Benning????? Or Blythe Danner???? I am surprised the egocentric Kathleen Turner has not stepped up to offer herself!!!!! Let's see; one more; how about Cate Blanchett???? Better choices than Nicole, darling, and I would be proud to play Miss Lucy alongside any of these Princesses and Chances.
"Sweet Bird Of Youth" should really work onstage. But it needs to be cast properly. Ditch the over-exposed Kidman, and use one of my choices, darlings!!!!!!! Once again, I am preaching to the choir; who, beside my girls, listens to me, anyway???????????
But mark my words, honey; if this 'Sweet Bird' is not done right, it will fly right out the window!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
"Greed", girls was a fabulous 1924 film, directed by Erich Von Stroheim (a good quarter century before his signature appearance as Max in "Sunset Boulevard"), based on the Frank Norris novel, "McTeague," and featuring, in a dramatic role, the great comic actress ZaSu Pitts (that name alone, darlings!!!!!) before she became knows for "Mrs. Wiggs Of The Cabbage Patch" (1934) and, in the 1950's, Gale Storm's sidekick on the "Oh Susanna!/Gale Storm" shows. But if you were watching TV with us--Monsieur and moi, loves--it would have figured as the theme for the evening's fare. And what a bunch of scum got featured.
Let's start with 'Criminal Intent,' which ran one of their better episodes, entitled "Smile." It started out seeming to be about a lethal dentist, who kills his patients, especially young male ones, because he may be a suspected pedophile. Just what I need to see--I, who REFUSE to watch "Marathon Man," and am just seven days away from wisdom tooth extraction, myself!!!! This I DON"T need to see, and I almost turned it off. But it was a good thing I did not.
For one thing, I would have missed Catrina Ganey's over the top performance as psycho mom Jacqueline Gordon. Mrs. Gordon has recently lost her son, Tobey, whom she believed was killed by the dentist, whom she suspected was a pedophile. What he actually turns out to be is a nitrous oxide addict, and one afternoon, while he is gassing himself up for a high, Mrs. G sneaks in and takes matters into her hands, holding down the mask and turning up the barometer. Execution Mama!!!!!!!!!!! However, as other boys point out, Dr. Goldman, the dentist, never touched anyone, so after Mrs. Gordon is caught taking a knife to her daughter and rambling psychotically, she is arrested and hauled off, the dental part of the story ends, and the plot shifts.
The series of children's death is linked to some tainted mouthwash, thought to contain excessive amounts of alcohol (the deaths were thought to be from alcohol poisoning) but were actually from the oral fluid being tainted with high doses of the drug DEG. So it looks like we have a corporate FDA cover-up. The solution turned out to be a counterfeit of one manufactured by Schorr Labs, whose brass claim they know nothing. Goren and Eames enlist the aid of willing insider informant, Leslie Lezard, played to a career bitch fare thee well by Amy Acker. During the investigation a morally zealous FDA worker, Jim Kettle (Jason Kravitz, wonderful as always, and yes, his character WAS better than anyone else, despite the snide remark by his ex-wife!!!!), who, a lifelong asthmatic, is found murdered by a defective inhaler. Fortunately, the company has a mole named Stacy, and she points them to the real culprit--Leslie Lezard. What a piece of slime!!!!! She could almost make Bitch Of The Week; in fact, she might in the very near future. Leslie is what is termed a career fabulist; someone who successfully lies well enough to advance herself a certain point, but is never content and wants to advance further. She makes the young Barbara Walters seem like a Burger King sales clerk!!!!!!! Hauled away in cuffs, she hisses and snarls, ranting about everything from the stupidity of the kids who drank the mouthwash (depraved indifference to life) and Goren's alleged instability (it is all about YOU, isn't it, Leslie?????) But she gets what is coming to her but good, and just wait till she gets to prison, because those babes will make short due of her careerist act, and cut off every inch of hair until she is as bald as Sinead O'Connor.
Such fun, darlings! And Amy Acker played Leslie as such an evil bitch, you just wanted to kick her in the teeth.
Now--for "Rizzoli And Isles".
A father and son, returning from a meal, are attacked by a lone gunman. He murders the father, seriously injures the son. The latter's manner is about as smug and arrogant as Leslie in the aforementioned; you just know he is sleaze, and boy, does that turn out to be right! It seems Chris, the son, got involved with some drug dealers running an Asian (how trendy!!!!) nail salon. They offer him an in on making some easy money by smuggling in heroin, and the greedy bastard jumps at it, endangering the lives of his innocent wife and young son, who know nothing, yet are eventually abducted and held prisoner. They are found, and the scum son is brought in for interrogation.
But the one caveat I have with the show, overall is, after the big climactic scene, comes the closing, usually with both women, which is fine. But we never see what happens in between. In this one, I wanted to see Chris handcuffed, like on any "Law And Order" and get his sorry ass hauled off to prison. And I wanted to see his wife divorce him!!!! After what he did to her and the kid, she should!!!!! And, as far as I am concerned, he is just as responsible, for his father's murder.
Nevertheless, there was excitement and enjoyment, what with Angela (the wonderful Lorraine Bracco) trying to straighten up Maura's apartment; Jane being treated for an ingrown toenail (no fun; I've been through it!) and hunky Ian being hunky, even if he turns out to be a spy, who Maura cannot count on. But the girls have each other, which is refreshing, and, unlike so many straight guys, who SO want these two to have a lesbian relationship (I know this for a fact, darlings!!!!!), I just like seeing a nice depiction of friendship between women, where they aren't fighting over birthday cards or pulling hair out, like the lesbians at the Cubby Hole and Henrietta Hudson's on Saturday night!!!!!! Jane and Maura are above this!!!!!!!!
But what a night for greed, loves!!!!!!!!!!!! One of the greatest criminal, and dramatic motivators of them all!!!!!!!
Stay far away from it, girls! Two words guaranteed to--Bernie Madoff!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, things are beginning to heat up in the Tyler Clementi case, especially from the prosecution angle. As has been suspected, they are not going to take things lightly. And what with the anniversary of Tyler's death (three weeks from Thursday) fast approaching, it could not come at a more auspicious time.
However, thirteen days before said anniversary, there is going to be a hearing, and an outcome, regarding the defense's desire to dismiss all charges aganinst their client, Dahurn Ravi. Let me say, if this should happen, and Ravi walks, not only is it unfair to Molly Wei, who , as far as I am concerned, has committed double perjury, in order to keep herself more out of the mess than she is already in, but, what with Phoebe Prince's tormentors getting off, it will send a message carte blance, that, whether due to sexual orientation, or a different hair color, anyone can bully/brutalize anyone else, with no regard for the victim tormented. Let us hope this does not come to pass, for if it does, you can bet that will be taken to task here.
But let's get back to the present, and Tyler. The prosecution derides Ravi's alleged apology. According to them, it was written exactly 14 minutes after Tyler had taken the fatal plunge off the GWB, so he was already dead. Not, to be objective here, that Ravi could have known that at the time, BUT he did know by then that he was under threat of university punishment for his privacy invasion alone, and so did everything in his power to, bluntly, cover his ass, preventing him from being charged with anything--or so he thought. Instead, he has had to withdraw from the university, and he has been found out at every turn. His arrogance, or entitlement, or both, are beyond belief, as is his seeming depraved indifference to Tyler's death, or his family's suffering. (And how about your own family, and what you are putting them through???? Huh, Dahrun!!!!! Don't tell me they aren't suffering!!!! I am fairly certain, that, when he came home from Rutgers directly following the incident, there HAD to have been a moment when, even though his folk obligingly defend their progeny, they must have said to him, "What the HELL were you THINKING????" Any parent would.) There was also that comment, paraphrased here, about setting up a computer in the room so that "he (ie; Tyler) can't rape me!" Oh come on, honey; you are not THAT great to look at. What are you afraid of Dahurn, that you might enjoy it???? Tyler had better taste than you in everything else, and I am sure that included men. You were not even within his gaydar, darling, so stop fancying yourself a ladies--or in this case a gay's--man!!!!!! You are not God's gift!!!!!!!
You are the Spawn of Satan!!!!!!!!!!!!
There is also an accusation made by the defense that in keeping the identity of Tyler's "companion" (known only by the initials "M.B" and that he is 25) things are being withheld that could aid them in their case. I seriously doubt it; I think they are grasping at straws. This poor guy is unwittingly at the center of a socio-political hurricane; no wonder he wants to remain anonymous. He is one step from being a public figure, and he was placed in that role once Tyler leaped from the bridge. I don't deny his story would be interesting to hear--is he married??? in another relationship???--but it really has no bearing on what happened. What was suppose to happen was an intimate encounter. Maybe once only. Maybe the future and a relationship. But that evaporated when Tyler died. Although "M.B." cannot be held to blame for anything, he knows he can never escape the fact that "I was the one who was with Tyler Clementi." A pretty large burden to carry.
In the end, it comes down to what Ravi did. And everything shows calculated cruelty and furtive attempts to obstruct and cover up his deeds, once he found things had gone too far. I would like to hear Wei testify; to see what light she could bring to bear on him. After all, they knew each other since grade school. Was there a history of them bullying???? Did she see or know about Ravi abusing others in their hometown environment???????
These questions may or may not get answered. Right now, we have to see whether the defense's or prosecution's wishes are honored on September 9, and what goes from there! But for those who take what I am saying seriously, heed me--the judge who rules on all this is in a precedent setting position no matter what. Let us pray he sets the right precedent.
Otherwise all Ravi and his ilk will learn is that it is OK to victimize!!!!!!!!!!
Well, darlings, it's NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The first is--why does he have a career??????
The second, darlings, is--how long will it last???????
Why is easy. Hill simply follows a long standing tradition, going back as far as I can tell to Fatty Arbuckle, and probably even further, of, shall we say, avuncular entertainers!!!!! Most are usually comedic, while some, such as Orson Welles, start out seriously, then end up as comic parodies of themselves!!!!!!!
As to the second--it is anyone's guess. Welles and Jackie Gleason aside, these folk don't live long. Hill's youth and already formidable girth speak for that. And while Belushi and Chris Farley were helped by being known substance abusers, the weight, (especially in Farley's case, who went from cherubic to outright grotesque) did not help!!!!!) And don't forget Divine! And Mama Cass!!!!!
Darlings, maybe Hill should get in those roles--Falstaff, Edna Turnblad--while he is still able!!!!! He definitely needs Mr. Pinky's House of Fashion, complete with those pink Sno-Balls, which I am sure he has and would nosh on!!!!!!
Now, loves, I am certainly not attacking fat entertainers, or Jonah Hill. He has a modicum of talent; I just haven't seen it used in an interesting direction. Like, say, the great Victor Buono, who played Edwin Flagg in "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?", Bette Davis' father (!!!!) in "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte," and, of course, King Tut on "Batman!" I mean, anyone who could upstage Madge Blake as Aunt Harriet!!!!!
But Buono also died around 40, much too soon!!!! So, I am not too sure about Jonah Hill. He needs to show us what he's got, girls, before what he has does him in!!!!!
Pink Sno-Balls never hurt anyone!!!! But in moderation, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, August 29, 2011
Girls, on Saturday night New York was dead; I mean, socially, if you can believe it. The wind howled, the rain beat against the buildings, but there were some, like yours truly, who said it was more than wind and rain. Some of us believe it was...Gojira!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And on Sunday, when Monsieur and I ventured out, it was like the Reconstruction from "Gone With The Wind." People pumping water out of buildings along the West Side highway; trees of tremendous size down on Bleecker Street, one of the major thoroughfares in the Village; businesses still closed...it was the aftermath of disaster, girls!!!! But not for some; the Gay gym boys were still running along the esplanade, shirtless and in their tight shorts, hoping to be ogled by all...some things never change!!!!!!
In keeping with the somber spirit of the day, we came back home, and after artistic preparation (where I prepped Monsieur for the artistic experience he was about to have) we watched the original, 1954, "Gojira."
Of course, darlings, so many of us have grown up with this as the 1956 "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters," featuring Raymond Burr. But, honey, I am telling you, once you have seen "Gojira," there is no going back.
Foe, this is an artistically stunning film of human tragedy. The stunning Momoko Kiucchi, as Emiko, the daughter of Dr. Yamane (played by the great Takashi Shimura), whose terror upon seeing Gojira initially is so real, you will scream; the wonderful Akihiko Hirata as Dr. Serizawa, (who, with that eye patch, I had the hots for)loving but tragic, making the supreme sacrifice out of love for Emiko and Mankind. A true humanitarian!!!!! The art direction, and lighting, the shots of the children singing plaintively amidst destruction, the panoramic evacuation and hospital scenes...this film clutches at the throat and heart, and it is no surprise that I cry real tears at the end. You will, too. Monsieur had an artistic experience he will never forget--as will you, if you have never seen the film this way--and I was reminded of the masterpiece it is.
So, like I said, after Gojira came to visit us, we watched him. Picture For A Sunday Afternoon, darlings!!!!!!!
Here is to a fabulous Monday, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Isn't It Roamntic???? In The Hurricaaaaaaaaaaane!!!!!!!!! Oooh!!!!!!!!!!!! Ooooh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, here we are, safely ensconced, though who knows for how long??? But I am here to tell you that, even if you do not hear from me for awhile--if we lose power--the Raving Queen is not planning to go under just yet!!!!!
Earlier, Monsieur and I were actually walking down along the Village waterway, and boy was it choppy!!!! And--can you believe it???--Starbucks was closed!!!! But not quite as bad as when Meryl Strep stood by the sea in the opening of "The French Lieutenant's Woman." Though, from what I hear, it could be a lot worse!!!! I don't think we will be asked to evacuate, but, I am telling you, if the power goes, and there is no way to make coffee tomorrow, you are going to see a Bitch!!!!!!!!! Maybe some fine wine can relax me, though I do not do alcohol in the morning. I have not lost it yet, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nevertheless, I do not want any of my girls to do anything foolish. Get a portable CD and review BARBRA's career!!!!! Read Jane Austen (or whomever; in my case, the new Ann Patchett!!!) by candlelight!!!! Watch "Gojira" while your DVD still works. But do not venture out of doors. I mean, if Broadway is dark tonight; darlings, what is the point!!!!!!
This Irene is cramping all sorts of lifestyles!!!! Just make sure it doesn't trample lives!!!!!!!!
Think of Maureen McGovern, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, August 26, 2011
What, indeed????? First, an earthquake early in the week, and now the potential onslaught of Hurricane Irene. I liked Irene better when it was just a 1973 Broadway musical revival, starring Debbie Reynolds, though I did not see it till a year later, when Jane Powell took over. She was fabulous, and so was the Gower Champion choreography.
But this Irene, what a bitch!!!!!!! When I was little we used to have this heating pad for dishes, which had a picture of an old fashioned boat at sea, being bombarded from on high by two Gods--Boreas, of the Wind, on the left, and Neptune, of the Sea, on the right!!!!!!! I can still see that pad; it is etched in my mind with mealtime.
Well. Boreas, Irene or whomever is going to be working overtime tomorrow, and I mean, what is the point? And just for the record, no, I have not called forth my Lasher!!!!!! I am not out to destroy anyone--at least, for the moment!!!!!--so there is no witchery afoot here! If there were, I would move to stop this, because I just heard the MTA in New York is going to shut down subway service at noon. Forget it, if you have tickets to "Follies" tomorrow; you will have to stage your own production in the living room. Which can be lots of fun; hell, I have done it!!!!!!!! But can you imagine the show(s) NOT going on??????? This is serious, and while Monsieur and I will be huddled, who knows if the roof won't blow off and send us all to Oz??? Though, I am telling you, right now, I am staying in Munchkinland, because that is the prettiest!!!!!!!!!
There is nothing pretty about what may happen tomorrow, which can be one of two scenarios. Either it could be tremendously bad, OR it will be a big fizzle, with all this hysteria for nothing!!!!!!! Let us hope it is the latter!!!!!!!!!!
So, hole up tomorrow, girls, with a flashlight, books, DVDs (while electric power lasts), and some good Scotch or wine!!!!!!!!!!
How much more can we stand, darlings??????? Tell Irene to BLOW--outta here!!!!!!!!!!!
......I am telling you, there, really isn't.
But, after writing about Bitch Of The Week, Korey, yesterday, it got me thinking. There were a whole slew of B movies in the 50s where women were nasty creatures. I am not just talking about "Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman," with Alison Hayes, which is in a class by itself. I am talking about things like "Daughter Of Dr. Jekyll" (with Gloria Talbot, who seemed to do a lot of these, breaking out only once to do an A-list role as Jane Wyman's bratty daughter in "All That Heaven Allows." Though never so bratty as Veda!!!!!), or "The Wasp Woman," with Susan Cabot, which is quite a hoot!
And then there is MY favorite, darlings, "The Leech Woman!"
When I was writing yesterday's Bitch Of The Week Column, I was thinking ahead to really bad movies, and I thought of that one, thinking maybe June (Colleen Gray) from that film would make a good contender. Instead, it showed me how long it has been since I have seen the film, for June in "The Leech Woman" is not a bitch, she is a tragic figure, and this film has some psychological underpinnings that place it above the trash it actually is. But it is still lots of fun, to watch!!!!!!!!
However, after carefully investigating this film, I have to wonder if maybe Edward Albee was inspired here to write "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?" For the heart of its plot mechanisms stems from a troubled marriage.
The unhappy couple is Paul and June Talbot. Paul is a sleazy, opportunistic endocrinologist (can you believe this, already???) and his sleaziness and neglect have driven wife June to premature aging and big time alcoholism. Unlike Martha, in Albee's play, she has no spine. Or so it seems, at first!!!!!!
But, darlings, I am telling you, you have to see the opening scene and sequences for Estelle Hemsley's performance as Old Malla. When the wrinkled and shrouded crone, complete with cane, saunters down the hall and the doctor's office, in the opening shot, she recalls the days of the great Blanche Yurka. And when she becomes so imperial, even as Granny, in the darkest jungle--honey, this is a Granny NOT to be reckoned with. Malla has come to see Dr. Talbot, because she knows (though how, from the far reaches of the jungle; I mean, it is not like he is an internationally known, Nobel Prize-winning endocrinologist) he has been working on anti-aging experiments, and her tribe has the secret to Eternal Youth, which she offers to let him see, if he will travel to her native village. Of course, the sleazeball says yes!!!!!!!!
And he brings wife, June along for the ride. After their scene in his office, where she wears her box hat and veil, complete with fur wrap, looking like a middle aged harridan, and drinking like a fish, dripping bitterness as though she were Mary Poppins out for a stroll, hubby Paul plays up to her, suggesting a romantic reconciliation, which turns out to be bogus; he just wants to use her as a guinea pig for his youth experiments. When they get to the jungle, and she discovers the truth, you better believe she is plenty enraged!!!!!!!!
Girls, you have to see the transformation sequence of Malla. She ages backwards from about 140 to her late 20's, so Estelle Hemsely becomes Kim Hamilton. And once Malla becomes young, she is one, nasty, sly piece. A real bitch!!!!!!!!!!
Seeing how unhappy June is, she dangles this carrot in front of June. But there is a price! The solution involves a mixture of an orchid, with secretions of the pineal gland in the human male--and to get that, the man has to be killed. Before you can say, "Double Indemnity," June has arranged to have Paul killed, so she can become younger. It seems the deed is done with a secret ring, which has a blade that bores into where the gland is and secretes its fluid. June is restored to all her Colleen Gray glory. Let me say, in her day, Colleen was quite a beauty, and she was also known for her roles in such noir classics as "The Killing," the western "Red River," and the thriller "Kiss Of Death." Once she has gotten rid of her husband, and sees how gorgeous she is, June starts feeling mighty bitchy herself. So she concocts a plan to flee this burg and get back to the States, where she can score!!!!! This involves a lot of subterfuge, where the ring is stolen, and Malla gets mad, uttering that there is a price to be paid. You better believe it, honey!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once she gets back in the States, June poses as a cousin (or is it niece) named Terry. She is big on the singles scene, now, baby!!!!! However, eventually she discovers the serum's caveat--it allows youth only for a limited time. Eventually, she starts aging again, meaning she will have to have fresh pineal secretions, and that involves going out and killing another man!!!! June hates to do this, but what can she do???? So she becomes something of a moralist murderess by offing only sleazeballs, drunks; in other words, men who would not pass muster on the social scale, and by not doing, falling off the radar, and keeping June safe from apprehension. But there is trouble afoot.
Even when she was the blowzy alcoholic, June could not stand her husband's nurse, Sally, played by the aforementioned Gloria Talbot, who, though a good girl, turns out to be just as annoying as ever. June always suspected Paul was making it with Sally, even though she has a hot boyfriend and fiancee named Neil.
Meanwhile, after the murders, the police are stymied. Several eyewitnesses say they saw an "old woman" do the deeds, or at least being the last one seen with the unfortunate gentlemen. When the cops follow the leads, and are guided to young and beautiful June, they are completely stymied!!!!!!!
Over time, June has had the hots for Neil, and now that she is truly gorgeous she can make a play for him. She does, but to assure her security, she knows Sally has to be gotten rid of. So, she kills her, dumping her body in her closet!!!!! That is right, darlings, you heard me!!!!! June is not too swift!!!!!!!
She is making a grand play for Neil, when, like Lon Chaney, she senses a transformation coming over her, knows she is about to age, and pushes the confused Neil out the door. Then she goes to the closet, and uses her ring to get Sally's secretions. Now comes the pay off!!!!!! Sally is female, and the solution only works with male glands. With the female, it causes one to age faster than usual, and June wrinkles before our eyes into an ugly old crone!!!!!!!!!!!
Having not seen the film in awhile, there are two versions of how this ends. One has June fleeing from the police, who discover their aged killer with the body of dead Sally, and she flees from them. Her mind is young, her body not, and she crumbles to dust, blown away by Time and the wind. The other version has her sputtering incoherency about youth, realizing now she has lost everything, whereupon she kills herself by jumping off the balcony, her secret revealed only in death.
Personally, I like the second ending, which I think is the true one. It makes "The Leech Woman" a psychological study of a tragic woman, who only wanted the things every woman wants, could not have it, and becomes a suicide over it. You have to wonder about the creators, all men. Perhaps they saw the coming of change in women's roles, and were out for something more than high camp. So June would not make it as a Bitch Of The Week; she is not fun, and too tragic. That Sally, and Malla, now, are something else.
If you can find "The Leech Woman," darlings, it is worth a look. But my girls know they don't have to go to the lengths June does to preserve youth.
A good moisturizer and astringent work just fine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Just caught the latest episode of "Rizzoli and Isles," darlings, which Monsieur sometimes tapes for me, when I get caught up in other things. This most recent one was such fun, since it dealt with a subject near and dear to my heart, and to so many of you--witchcraft!!!!!!
Things started out excitingly enough, with some woman tied to a tree, obviously being set up for a burning, while weird, indistinct voices issued from the soundtrack. Clearly, a serial killer, I thought. The series takes place in Boston, MA, but it turns out the victim lived not far from Wtich City USA, Salem, MASS. In fact, further investigation proves she was a practicing witch also, and part of some coven, all of whom are employees at an occult store in Salem.
Maura, the intellectual but still glamours MD, played by Sasha Alexander, knows all about anthropology and occult rituals, it would seem. While Jane, with that equally glamorous Angie Harmon hair, figure and voice, has been to Salem six times; turns out she is an aficionado of witchery. In between all this, Mamma Lorraine Bracco is serving coffee, bunny shaped pancakes, and trying to deal with the mess of son Frankie, and his trashy ex, Teresa. She is SO trampy, girls; her skirts are higher than Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich. The blouse is cheap, the hair is frowzy, and, horrors, she chews her food open mouthed at the dinner table!!!!!! She would not dine with me, I can tell you!!!!!!!! Clearly, she was not a Miss Porter's graduate. We know what Frankie must have been thinking with when he rubbed up against Teresa!!!!!!!! And she comes armed with a surprise--a sweet little girl named Lily, whom she is trying to pass off as Frankie's, so she can manipulate her way into the family's good graces, as if she could!!!!!! And to have the nerve of applying at the police station for a job. As what???? A hooker decoy??? And all this talk about being a nurse's aide!!!!!!! This is NO Florence Nightingale, girls.
Not to fear. Teresa gets found out, and sent on her way. But back to the witchery. Soon, other members of the coven are being attacked or murdered; one is found drowned in his bathtub, the other a victim of a toppling bookshelf which might have crushed her, mimicking the old Salem punishment of crushing by stones!!!!!
The red herrings are out the door. A sleazy real estate monger, who was trying to buy the property of the first witch murdered, Helen, and an overly zealous right wing preacher, whose daughter, Sabrina ,(no teenage witch she, she is definitely on the far side of thirty!!!!!!!) is in the coven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like all these episodes, despite the good intentions having gone before, and prior to them all winding up laughing it off over drinks in Lorraine's kitchen or the local pub, the whole thing turns out to be contrived. Sabrina, the not so teenage witch, descended from Sarah Good, who was found to be a schizophrenic, has inherited said illness and is having a psychotic break. She even tries to kill herself, by almost crushing herself with a store bookshelf!!! This causes her conflict between the coven she has embraced, and her father's faith, which she has renounced. She hears voices telling her to off the other witches, right down to that classic phrase, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live!" Girls, I will say one thing. At least the girls in "The Crucible" or even Margaret Hamilton, did not ugly themselves up with body piercings, like these ersatz witches. Personally, I don't think piercings should be allowed in witch covens. I mean, would the Castevets have approved???? No way!!!!!!!!
But this was one of the more delightful episodes seen, with Maura and Jane at their most glamorous and brilliant. Role models, for all of us, darlings, including yours truly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cast a spell right now, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, this week's winner is one nasty thing!!!!! Of course, part of that stems from her being stranded on an uncharted tropical island in a 50's sci-fi film considered one of the worst movies ever made!!!!!!
The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is Korey in "From Hell It Came!!!!"
Now, if Korey had not been on this island, she would have fit right into 50's suburbia, and the "Mad Men" era, because she was just one big old social climber!!!! Hell, she could have made it into "The Ice Storm," given half a chance!!!!
For a nowhere island, things get pretty heated politically. Korey has been married to Kimo, son of the Native Chieftain. Daddy dies, and, while Kimo is a nice guy, he just can't cut it as a leader. So his position is usurped by Chief Maranka, the local Witch Doctor, who begins making a play for Korey, without question the best looking woman on the island. Where did she learn make-up and hair styling techniques???? Kimo, meanwhile has become a forward thinker, and has ingratiated himself with a group of American scientists, who are there to study tribal customs. Using this as a pretext to get Korey for himself, he openly accuses Kimo of betraying his people. Poor Kimo, before the entire village is pinned to the ground with spikes, and sacrificially stabbed, in front of the villagers. This island, by the way, looks like someone's back yard, or a sand pit at a local country club. REALLY low budget!!! But before Kimo dies, the nasty Korey reveals herself to be a power mad bitch (she wants the status of being the Chieftain's wife, which shows how perfectly she would have fit in with corporate America!!!), who openly renounces Kimo. But smart Kimo, given his obligatory last words, he curses the entire village--and Korey--promising to come back and avenge himself on them all!!!! You can see that nasty piece, Korey, tremble!!! And come back Kimo does--as tree monster Tabonga!!! No kidding, dolls, a walking tree, with an ugly face, limb arms, and he sees to it that Korey gets what is coming to her!!!! Go, Tabonga!!!!!!
Korey was played by an actress named Suzanne Ridgeway, whom no one expected anything from. I expected this to be her only credit, but she turns out to have been in, albeit remotely, two of the biggest "A" list films of all time--"Gone With The Wind" and "Citizen Kane". Can you believe it??? From there, to THIS garbage?????
In the 1939 classic, she played one of the Can-Can dancers, visible down below, while Scarlett and Rhett are on their New Orleans honeymoon!!!!! In "Citizen Kane," she is one of the nightclub dancers during the celebration scene, early on in Kane's career!!!!
Obviously, her greatest career triumph was Korey, because she speaks. How could she have known that a money job would turn out to be her signature role??? Well, that's show biz, darlings!!!!!!
So, here is to this week's Bitch Of The Week, Korey!!!! She was ahead of her time, and her culture!!!!
Girls, don't you DARE offer up your husband for sacrifice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Girls, as you know, "Follies" is in previews, pending a September 12 opening. The show, as Ethel Merman would say is "frozen--Birds-Eye" because the text is not being tinkered with. But Mr. Eric Schaeffer, Broadway's latest toast, is trying something out this week that has not been done since the original.
Like "A Chorus Line", this show is supposed to be performed,without an intermission. But to placate theatergoers as time went on and they became more unsophisticated (though only the truly sophisticated will go to "Follies," so I never saw the point), an intermission was inserted, right at the close of the classic song "Too Many Mornings," possibly my favorite of Sondheim songs. You hear the last notes, Sally and Ben embrace, and the curtain descends on them. As a "Follies" purist, I find it mildly annoying, but I will say this--it works!!!!!!! What is unusual it that, when it resumes, it is EXACTLY in this spot, down to the final notes. Before going into the rest of the show. Which tells me how reluctant creators are to intermission "Follies."
(At least, there is a point to break it. I have been told other productions have broken it elsewhere, though I cannot imagine where. There is no way "A Chorus Line' could be broken, so, dolls, don't worry, you will NEVER see that show with an intermission!!!!! If they dared, I would email Baayork right away and she would lay down the law!!!!!!!)
So, if you want to see "Follies" distilled at its purest, this is the week to go. I am not sure if this will be maintained throughout the rest of its run, though it would be great if it were!!! Hell, I am SO tempted!!!!!!!!! But, meanwhile, take a look at this photo of Bernadette performing "Losing My Mind." Notice, especially the way the shot is angled, how she resembles the cracked Follies girl in the David Byrd poster ( a copy of which hangs in my apartment!!!!!). Don't tell me Mr. Schaeffer does not know what he is doing; you damn well better believe it!!!!!!!!!
Maybe I will see you there this week, girls!!!! As Ann Baxter says at the start of "All About Eve," "Standing room doesn't cost much...I manage."
Don't we all, girls????????????????????????????
When it comes to youth, darlings, you cannot do better than the Little Rascals. I was just thinking yesterday of one of my faves, not viewed in ages, called "Mike Fright," from 1934. This is the one with Spanky and Company going on an amateur radio program, calling themselves the "International Silver String Submarine Band," whose performance of "The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeeze" is classic, especially when the sound booth's toupee (or is it hat) blows off!!!!!!
This also features a trumpet solo, destroyed by the boys sucking on lemons, a boy in a sailor suit tapping on a miniature dance floor, and two little girls in hula outfits doing "I Wanna Go Back To My Little Grass Shack."
But the highlight, which so many of us grew up on, is the early appearance of the Darling Sisters, who perform that classic, "Jimmy Had A Nickel". ("Jimmy had a Ni-CKLE!!!!!!" I can hear one of them singing, and even though long past puberty I can still do this bit!!!!!!) Nothing surpasses this moment, and, darlings, I am so sorry, I wanted to supply you with a picture of the Darlings doing this priceless moment, but none were to be found.
So let's just sit back and remember one of the Rascals' more cherished episodes. Like "I Love Lucy," no matter how many times watched, the freshness never goes away!!!!!!!!!!
Start your own Submarine Band, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As we all know, some stars, like yours truly, are ageless!!!!!! But there are certain things, like bungee jumping, I just wouldn't do!!!!!!!!!
Now, I know Cathy Rigby was at one time an Olympic gymnast. But these days, at 59, pushing 60, she is closer to Eleanor Rigby than her former self. So, would you believe that, later this year, and into 2012 (when she WILL turn 60) she is going to do yet another tour of "Peter Pan?????"
First of all, Cathy is not a world beater in the role. Having grown up with Mary Martin on television, and seen Sandy Duncan live back in 1980, I have seen some impressive Peters. Cathy Rigby cannot sing as well as the others; her gymnast ability landed her the role (no pun intended!!!) because she could certainly handle the flying skills. But it takes more than that to deliver an effective Peter Pan!!!!
I swear, at almost 60, she has to be the OLDEST Peter on record. The lighting designer is going to have a field day trying to make Cathy look youthful and sprightly. Maybe they should call in Julie Taymor as show doctor!!!!!!!!
The tour begins in Hershey, PA. I do not know if it will come to New York, but I can tell you I have about as much intention of going to this as I do the Diane Paulus "Porgy And Bess." Why do they keep messing up the classics??????
Reviving "Peter Pan" is not a bad idea; it is a classic of the musical stage!!!!! But can we have some age appropriateness in the role?????????????
How about Ann Hathaway?????????? Now, she would be charming!!!!!!!!!!
Even with fairy dust, no one is going to believe Cathy!!!!!! Off to Neverland, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, as if there isn't enough drama already--impending wisdom tooth surgery, dealing with nut cases at work, transitioning my 96 year old father from Florida to Pennsylvania--now, I have to deal with....earthquakes??????
I do NOT want to be Ava Gardner at the tail end of her career. Yesterday, I had just come back from lunch, and was looking at my schedule, to see what I was in for that afternoon. Suddenly, just before 2PM, the ground, or the building, slightly shook, and, with me seated, the chair began moving across the room!!!!! Now, we have had construction going on above us for months, so I thought nothing of it--I chalked it up to that!!!! But when I met up with my coworker, Steve, later, he asked me if I felt the earthquake. That is when I realized!
Frantic with worry, I called Monsieur, who had been trying to reach me, but cell phones were down for a time. We finally connected, and I learned his building had been evacuated, and he had been sent home!!!! Oh, my God!!!!!! I stayed there last night, relaxing, and anticipating whatever aftershocks might occur. What a day!!!!!!!
Actually, this was my second quake. Twenty some years ago, I was living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, getting ready for work, when the ground beneath the building shook slightly. I held onto one of the archway entrances, and clung there for several minutes, thinking this was it. Which it was not!!!!! But it was scary.
My sister, who lived on the West Coast for years, has experienced worst quakes than this. And now her daughter, my niece, who is out there, has had her share. But my cousin Aileen was the worst. Years ago, she was riding over a bridge, when one struck, in the L.A. area. She saw the cement crack in front of her!!!! How scary is that????? And I think she suffered an arm injury from fallen debris!!!!!
So, now we have this to worry about, in addition to everything else!!!! So, shop before you drop, darlings, and see "Follies" ASAP, because, I am telling you, if the quake had struck while I was thus engaged, there was no way I would have left that theater!!!!!
There's got to be a morning after, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Darlings, maybe it was that New York Times essay the other day on boys and reading, that got me onto this topic! This essay really set my teeth on edge, because, let me tell you, girls, I have a lot of personal experience where this was concerned.
The essay, written by Robert Lipsyte, a noted children's author, makes a number of important points. It says that many boys shy away from reading, because much of what is out there does not relate to their specific needs or concerns. He says that boys tend to gravitate to non-fiction, rather than fiction, which I take argument with. He also touches upon a point that leads to a bigger issue that is not addressed. According to Lipsyte, "teachers don't always know what's out there for boys."
But he fails to take into account the reason behind this. Being that the majority of teachers in the elementary years, especially the lower grades, are female, there is female-centric approach and attitude in education. I certainly don't mean to sound sexist--and if I do, darlings, I apologize--but not only don't the teachers know what is out there for boys, they don't really make an effort. Because, in the lower grades, and I can attest to this personally, elementary education teachers are too locked in to traditional roles and stereotypes. Hence, right away, girls are perceived to be less trouble than boys, so they get more attention. If a girl in my day volunteered to do an extra credit assignment, she was highly praised. If a boy did, they were regarded skeptically.
Who knows? Maybe boys should be taught be men? Controversial as this sounds, I wonder. And when I look at my own personal experiences, I wonder even more.
The first time I read "To Kill A Mockingbird," I empathized instantly with Scout's bad first day experience at school, due to, among other things, she knew how to read before she started school. Such was the case with me. There were always plenty of books in our house; and I would observe my parents, grandmother and sister reading a lot of times. But, still too young and inexperienced, I would have these folk, whenever possible, read aloud to me. My maternal grandmother, who lived with us, got the lion's share of this duty. And often I would have several favorites--I recall "Alice In Wonderland" being one--that I would have her read over and over. Somewhere in those readings, as I looked at the pages, first centering on the pictures, I think I began to associate words, and started to make them out. After awhile I was fully capable of reading 'Alice' on my own.
Then came first grade, with Mrs. Cohen, she of the "cursive writing' incident. From day one, she would put words on the board, and I knew words the other kids could not even fathom. And I could not understand why I could, and they could not. As for Mrs. Cohen, she did not like this, at all; oh, no, not one bit!!!!!!
We were led into literature on a Dick and Jane (or in my case Alice and Jerry) level--- "See Spot run. See Jane go after Spot." When, I asked myself, are we going to read REAL books, which, as far as I was concerned, were established children's classics, or at least the Dr. Seuss books, which were popular in my day. I was the one who always wanted to move ahead. But Mrs. Cohen would never have it.
It was even worse in second grade, with Mrs. Beinhower. The way she looked and dressed, she would have made a great Tea Party-er today. She and I started off badly from day one, and the year was a battle of wills. Each morning, before dismissing us for lunch time, we would be given a free half hour of reading time. We were supposed to read whatever we chose. Well, for a gift, I had received the children's anthology, "Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery." I bought the book with me, in anticipation of this time, and once it came, took it out, and began reading. Before I knew it, Mrs. Beinhower was standing over my desk, staring at me as I read. I knew that she was staring, and she knew I knew, but damned if I was going to pay any attention to her. The next thing I knew, she walked away, and returned, blocking my line of vision with a book she selected. "Wouldn't you rather be reading this?" she asked with authority. Of course, I should have said, "No, I don't, you old witch!" But, honey, this was pre-puberty, and I was raised to be SO good. I took the book, put the other away, and stewed with resentment. The book she gave me was "Robert, The Rose Horse," which was not a bad choice, by the way--except I had already read it in first grade. I was ready to move on, but Mary Beinhower was damned if I was going to. Throw a bucket of water on her, and melt!!!!!!!!!!!!
But the last straw was that Norma Brodsky in fourth grade. One year ahead of my sister, she was young, at the time. Nowadays, she is not Mrs. Brodsky, and has not been for a long time. I am not a bit surprised. Anyway, having gone through the entire shelf of "Childhood of Famous Americans" series, I was drawn to the one on Kate Douglas Wiggins (who wrote "Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm"), particularly the part about how she and her mother each night would read Dickens before bed. The work referenced the most was "David Copperfield," so by the time I finished this book, I was keen on reading that. Well, that Norma Brodsky had such a fit; she and I fought over my right to read that book in the school library; saying I should not read that, because it is too advanced for me--honey, you were not advanced enough for ME!!!! Not only did I read it, ( and love it, as I went on to read it many times throughout my life) my father came home one evening and told me the following week Geraldine Fitzgerald would be reading it aloud each afternoon, chapter by chapter, on Channel 13, around 4:30 or 5:00. So I basically followed the book along with her, which was enormously helpful in understanding it, and ignited my lifelong love of Dickens!!!!!
Hey, Norma; up yours!!!!!!!!!
I could go on, but the point here, darlings, is that teachers are often so clueless. Never judge a student by preconceived notions, just like one should not judge a book by its cover. It is rare I make this latter mistake, but back in 1970, before I even read a word of it, I was enthralled by the hardback cover of R.F. Delderfield's novel, "God Is An Englishman." It looked so appealing, I figured the book must be, too. When it finally came out in mass market paperback (which was the only way then I could buy it!) it had an entirely different cover, and maybe that clouded my judgement, because the book did nothing for me. Perhaps, being even better read than at 15, I should give it another chance, but that first experience lingers.
Then there was the book I never read, which I never could find, till possibly now. In sixth grade, our reading book was called "Cavalcades." It was a bunch of the same processed junk, but at the end was this beautiful color plate page (replicating the hardback cover) with the title "The Rain Forest--A Condensation Of The Book By Armstrong Sperry." That illustration fueled my desire to read this book, and try as best as my parents did, we were unable to find it. Sperry is best known for "Call It Courage," which I have never read, but I have never found "The Rain Forest" in any children's library I have been in, including the great ones here in New York. Go figure. But now, thanks to Amazon and the Internet, who knows??? I may read it yet!!!! Will it live up to the expectations engendered by the cover???? You can be sure as soon as if I am successful in this endeavor, all my girls will be the first to know!!!!!!!!!!!
Some of the best books have the worst covers, and vice versa!!!!!!!!!! The only way to judge, darlings, whether you are MALE or FEMALE is to READ!!!!!!!
But a closing shot about Nancy Drew. Thanks to her, I had an inkling that I might be gay. Because I just loved Nancy's glamorous wardrobe, her friends Bess and George (uhm-hmm!!!!) and how they were always dashing about in the Roadster, wearing white gloves, and having what was called luncheon!!!!! Just what I could not wait for in adulthood, loves!!!!! But every time her father, handsome lawyer Carson Drew, would be mentioned, I got this warm feeling, even before hormones!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, girls!!!!!!!! Caaaaaaarson!!!!!!!! Drewwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!
Let's get out the Mystery Date set!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, August 22, 2011
Girls, I am telling you already, if he hasn't already, Eric D. Schaeffer (now billing himself as Eric Schaeffer, which is a bit confusing, as there is a straight man with a blog called (what ego!) "I Can't Believe I Am Still Single," and they are not the same. To Eric, of the blog, I can say, having looked it over, I not only can BELIEVE you are still single, I can understand why!!!)
But the former Eric D. Schaeffer is something else again. In collaboration with choreographer Warren Carlyle, this is the first production team since originals Harold Prince and Michael Bennett to get "Follies" RIGHT, and I cannot overstate this enough.
So, of course I wanted to know more about Eric. Hell, someday, I might want to work with him!!!!!! And I know all my girls would want to know about him, because, while I have found out little, it seems to me he is available. I don't get the impression he is straight, and before anyone out there says Harold Prince directed "Follies" and he was, let me add that while Prince put it all together much of the look and tone of "Follies" came from Michael Bennett, who was cutting his teeth in preparation for "A Chorus Line,' and, honey, we know he married Donna (McKechnie), but none of my girls out there would ever have called him straight!!!!!!!!!!
Eric would be quite a catch, girls!!!!!!! But honestly, it is hard to dig up anything about him. I mean, all his artistic accomplishments--from being from Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, originally, to working as a graphics designer in Washington DC in the late 80's, to eventually becoming Artistic Director of the Signature Theatre in Arlilngton, Virginia, as well as Broadway's "Million Dollar Quartet," "Glory Days," and of course now the triumphant "Follies." But what makes this guy tick???? Where did he study/get his theater training???? Inquiring minds want to know, Eric, as your star right now is SO ascendant. And my singles girls want to know what watering hole in NYC they can meet you for a drink. Hell, I might turn up, to discuss future performance plans!!!!!!!
But while I am seeking further info to pass on, girls, catch his work in "Follies." And I may just catch "Million Dollar Quartet," which I had been putting off, but if Eric directed it, I think it bears a look!!!!!!!!!!
And look no further, darlings, at this rising star of the Theater Scene!!!!!
For God's sake, Julie (Taymor); comb your hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, back when I posted about the, shall we say "questionable" casting of Lauren Ambrose in the forthcoming revival of "Funny Girl," I wondered if the Official Definer of that role, namely BARBRA, would weigh in, and it seems she has.
According to word out there, Barbra, when she heard, had no idea who Lauren Ambrose was. She looked her up on YouTube, just like I did, where she saw her with her band, singing "My Man." From the sounds of things, it sounds as if BARBRA was, like yours truly, not a bit impressed. She commented about Lauren singing it in an up tempo, and it is NOT an up tempo song. Even when BARBRA belted it, there was a raw, emotional edge, that signaled this was not an upbeat song. Bittersweet, maybe, in how it was used to end the film (and which I am sure the Bartlett Sher production will end with.)
I wonder what BARBRA would think about all the changes Sher plans to incorporate into the score. From the sounds of things, it sounds like he is going to jettison a lot of the original score. Up yours, Bart!!!!!!!!!!! "The Music That Makes Me Dance" is definitely out (which makes sense, since it was only used as a substitute for "My Man," anyway, and now that song will be used), and I will bet Eddie and Mrs. Brice's numbers will go, so forget about me being cast as the latter if he still insists on using Lauren Ambrose as Fanny.
But, mark my words, darlings!!!!!! As this show has NEVER been revived on Broadway and has SO MUCH to live up to, if it fails in any degree, you had better believe there will be Theater Queens aplenty who will be out for blood--and it will flow!!!!!!!! But if Mr. Sher is set on a path to his own destruction, what can I do but warn him. If he fails to listen to me, that is his choice!!!!!!!!
You would think he would take some hints from BARBRA!!!!!!! After all, where would he be, if it weren't for her?????? I believe Julie Taymor and Diane Paulus may be making room for Bart right now on the Island OF Failed Directors. Unless he pulls off something of quality, heeding wiser sages, he is headed for more than a tropical island vacation!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey, BARBRA, can you get ME cast?????????????????????
Saturday, August 20, 2011
It seems only yesterday like we were wishing the radiant Amy Adams a Happy Birthday, and here we are wishing her another. May we all look this good when we get to her age of 37!!!!!!! With a movie career, a baby, and that gorgeous red hair, Amy would seem to have it all. Not to mention inroads with Meryl, which count for just about everything in Hollywood, let alone the world!!!!!!!! Which is why I cannot figure out why they were not at BARBRA's concert!!!!!!!!!!! But if I do one, they will be at mine.
So have a nice slice of cake to celebrate Miss Adams' natal day! As is true of all my girls, on you it won't show--just like Amy!!!!!!!!!!!
Yummy, yummy, yummy, I got love in my tummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, I Am Telling You, The Line To The Men's Room Was Out The Door!!!!!!!!! Well, What Do You Expect????????? It's "Follies"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, I have to tell you, a new gay bar has opened in Midtown. It is called the Marquis Theatre. And it has been deemed such by yours truly, as it is currently housing the acclaimed Kennedy Center revival of the Holy Grail of Sondheim classics, "Follies," so every queen from both sides of the Hudson and beyond (Connecticut, and such!) are flocking like pilgrims to the shrine at Lourdes. And like those pilgrims they are coming away spiritually salvaged. For, I am happy to say, THIS "Follies" gets it right.
Before I go any further, let me answer what everyone wants to know. Yes, the "Who's That Woman?" number DOES blow the roof off the theater!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How appropriate this is happening in what happens to be "Follies'" 40th anniversary year. Now, there have been many attempts in those years to mount a production that always had its original as an obstacle to any others. Those who were fortunate enough to see it, those like me who cut their teeth on the Original Cast recording, who have studied photos and footage of that production, know it cannot possibly be duplicated. But certain things have to be in place for "Follies" to work--an uncut rendering of the score, with the original Jonathan Tunick orchestrations, a vocally and dramatically strong ensemble, down to the smallest bit players, and a top production design team whose set and lighting work can mime both a ghostly, decrepit theater, and recreate the lavishness of shows during the Ziegfeld age.
Oh, and ghosts! It HAS to have ghosts!!!!!
This production has everything mentioned, and then some. It took me several minutes to adjust, as I walked into the theater. For, a good half hour before the curtain goes up, we are witness to a theater set that looks like the remnants of Miss Havisham's Satis House. Moreover, it takes awhile to register, that on the loudspeakers, are being piped in ghostly sounds of performance excerpts and applause from a long vanished theatrical past. This is a brilliant move on the creators' part, to prepare the audience for what it is to see. What is also brilliant, and takes some time to realize, is that the ghosts are already strolling about the stage, peering out at the audience that has come to watch their manifestations. But, believe me, the queens who are flocking to this, darling, know damn well what they are seeing. And they demand, and did demand, absolute silence once the lights went down. During the two hours and forty minutes of this "Follies," you literally could hear a pin drop. I have seldom seen so attentive and intense an audience.
The lights go down. The drum roll begins. And suddenly, those ominous, discordant three notes, with the strings lifting upward, are heard. Then, slowly, a ghost starts moving across the stage, followed by others on this three level set. We are watching a ballet of phantoms, who seamlessly blend in with the arriving party goers for the evening. And what an evening! With one of the darkest books ever for a musical, and a score that is one gem after another, "Follies", at least as it is presented here, is not only a perfect evening of theater, but the BEST musical revival I have seen since Lincoln Center did "Carousel" back in 1994. Yes, darlings, it is THAT good. And I remember I went back to "Carousel" twice. I have no doubt I will be returning to "Follies."
The big surprise, and the one I most worried about, was Bernadette Peters. Now, I love her, and Lord knows, she can handle a song, BUT--could she dig down deep enough to portray Sally's sadness and desperation????? She does; not only that, even though she is Bernadette, she blends into the ensemble, never pulling our focus. Her rendition of Sally's songs are genuinely moving as they should be. And if Dorothy Collins still owns them (as anyone having heard the original recording can attest) I think she would have been pleased with what Bernadette has done with Sally. I also think Alexis Smith, if here, would be equally impressed with Jan Maxwell's Phyllis; she does the most scorching rendition of "Could I Leave You" this side of Alexis, and she breaks lose in 'Lucy and Jessie' with a skilled abandon I did not know she possessed. And the men, for a change, are up to the women; Ron Raines superbly sings Ben; when he and Bernadette begin "Too Many Mornings," and those opening reeds come in, that is when I dissolved in tears. This was due partly to the song and performance, but also to the fact that, with this "Follies" I finally have someone to hold my hand during this number, and who understands--my own, beloved, Monsieur. Buddy, the least interesting of the "Follies" quartet, is heightened by Danny Burstein's manic energy, and his superb line readings belying the hurt he feels at the roots of his marriage, and who delivers Buddy's songs more compellingly than many I have heard.
You have already heard me, loves, on "Who's That Woman?" But Jayne Houdyshell honors the great Ethel Shutta with a rendition of "Broadway Baby" that has the crowd cheering from its opening vamp. Miss Houdyshell lives up to the anticipation, delivering a belting tribute to this theatrical anthem.
It is also clear to me that director Eric Schaefer, and choreographer Warren Carlyle have done their homework; they have studied "Follies" carefully, from the original on, making decisions based on a knowledge of how the show should operate if it is going to work. I can see flashes of Michael Bennett's work in Carlyle's, which is a nice homage, and the "Loveland" sequence, while not as lavish as the original, is certainly not done on the cheap. It is a burst of colors that manages to convey the lavish escapism that was the entertainments of its era.
But "Follies" is at heart a dark musical, which is why only, shall we say, more refined souls, get it. And it can be interpreted both literally--a party taking place with invisible ghosts that only the audience sees. Or the sounds one imagines one hears when walking past a deserted theater in the dark. I see it as a bit of both. I am telling all my girls right now--THIS is the "Follies" to see; there will never be a more perfectly realized rendering in our lifetimes. Who knows, you may see me there, as well, as I am planning on going back. And judging from last night's audience, so are many others.
And, of course, if you are gay and single, THIS is the place to show, if you have hopes of meeting someone. Not since Patti Lu Pone's "Gypsy" has there been such a venue. I daresay the next one will be when--or I should say IF--Barlett Sher's "Funny Girl" comes to town! That will be both a meeting place and a feeding frenzy!!!!!
"Follies is in town now, and I am urging all my girls to go! For those like me, having prayed for a perfectly realized production, those prayers have been answered!!!!!!!!!!!
Mirror, Mirror, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, August 19, 2011
Poor Tyler Clementi. Denied dignity and privacy in his all too short life on Earth, it would seem as if this world were reaching all the way into the next to deprive him of it there. For, in its sleazoid way to secure clemency for the detestable Dahrun Ravi, his defense team is seeking to besmirch not only Tyler, but anyone associated with him, in the latest development his mother.
The latest allegations state that, about three weeks before heading off to Rutgers, Tyler Clementi came out to his family, about his sexuality. Which immediately strikes me as pretty gutsy and self-confident; in MY day, I can't think of anyone brave enough or secure enough to come out to their parents at that age. Certainly not yours truly.
If what went down is to be believed, the Clementi men--father and brothers--took it OK. Mrs. Clementi was rather negative. In Tyler's own online words, "My mother has completely rejected me."
I would like to state right here we do not know either side. Only Tyler, and, in his wake, the rest of the Clementis, know that for sure. But I can hazard a hypothesis.
Tyler, for all his self confidence, was still a tender and inexperienced 18. While his mother was for sure not thrilled with the news (few parents are) perhaps this negativity stemmed from a bit of concern. Tyler's mother was a nurse, and knew full well the health concerns affecting the Gay community, and I am sure she did not want to see him succumb to these. I can tell you, from personal experience, that, at 18, no matter how enlightened one is, you do not yet have a true sense of your own mortality; a feeling of invincibility and "it can't happen to me" still prevails. I would guess Tyler, to some degree, possessed this.
Not only is it important not to demonize Tyler, but his mother, as well. As one source pointed out, with this allegation she is unwillingly about to become the poster child for what not to do when your Gay child comes out, and she may not merit that. She is carrying the burden of her son's suicide; how much worse can it get????
After all, when things started tanking, and Tyler went noticeably missing, it was she who called the school to find out what was going on. Which does not sound like an uncaring parent to me. Nor do the lines of grief I see forever etched into every photo having been taken of her.
I think of several personal experiences in particular.
The first is, what if I had been a parent; how would I have handled a coming out? I can tell you, though gay, it is not easy. I think my response would be the same as the child telling me they wanted to go into show business; I would tell them to make sure they are certain--about both. What I am about to say next (at least some) has been debated interminably, but I am going to add further--I believe one does not choose homosexuality, it chooses you. And that goes also, darlings, for show business!!!!!!
The second-- well, my ongoing readers know the tale of my interfering, homophobic White Trash uncle, and the outcome of all that interference, which I still carry to this day.
But I don't think I have mentioned my cousin, Patty, several years older than I. Back in the late seventies, in her mid-twenties, she married this fellow, named John. Patty, like me, had been raised Roman Catholic. John had not. He was not interested in converting to the faith, nor was he even interested in being wed in the Catholic church. But her own parents (may they Rest In Peace) told her that if the wedding were not done in a Catholic church, they would disown her!!!!! And, of course, this, and what more I have to relate, came out years after the fact, as this was a family where, God forbid, anything should be talked about!!!!!!
So Patty and John were married, bought a house, and settled down in their local Florida area. Several years later, we learned, John had been transferred north--to Georgia or the Carolinas--and went on ahead. Patty would sell the house, then join him. Before I knew it, too much time had elapsed for this to be plausible, I wondered, so did everyone else. I once asked my father, and when he asked her parents (her mother was my father's sister) was told "We ask her, too, but she never tells us anything!" Uh-huh!!!!!! That statement, and pieces I was able to piece together from contact over the years, told me what I needed to know--Patty was/is a lesbian. OK by me. BUT if her parents would disown her for marrying outside the Church, you can imagine how this scenario would have played out. Even my own father eventually said to me, "I think Patty is 'that way.'" Like...yeah????????????
No one ever really talks about Patty Or myself. But as far as things are concerned, her parents just went on maintaining a relationship, with her keeping silent, and them looking the other way. I am convinced this aunt and uncle went to their graves knowing, deep down the truth, but that to verbalize it would in some way destroy the illusion of their family!!!! Or at least their illusion of their daughter, and firstborn!!!!!!
Which goes to say that no parent, no matter how enlightened, handles such intimate knowledge of their child well. Getting back to Tyler, the defense team would have one believe that matters beyond the Rutgers Busch campus had been on his mind, leading to his tragic demise. I have no doubt the first part of that statement is correct. But you cannot refute that the webcam spying was the added fuel that set off the fire. Every gay youth crosses this point with parents eventually, often with both parties coming to terms, even if it takes awhile. This would surely have been the case with the Clementis. What it tell me about Tyler was how, at that point, he was looking to the future; one when he might meet someone he liked, enough to bring home to the family, and he wanted them prepared. But then you have Dahrun Ravi, cast here in a role similar to--for comparison sake--with my interfering uncle, stepping in, uninvited, which was enough to push this young man over the edge. In my case, it only earned my everlasting anger toward this man, thankfully deceased, and his second daughter, who is just like him!!!!! At least, I am still here.
Blame, blame, blame! Tyler, Mrs. Clementi--when does it stop???? Parental or familial homophobia can have all sorts of consequences, as I have shown. The Clementi case has presented the most dire. Tyler was denied the right to his own individuality in this Life; give it to him, in the Next!!!!!!
Stop demonizing the victims, and examine the victimizer. I have, and what I see in every photo is smug arrogance that needs to be knocked out of him. If an acting coach told Ravi to facially portray arrogance, he could not give a better performance than what he is giving now. Except it is not a performance; it is the way he is!!!!!!!
How much more will Tyler and the Clementis be made to suffer???? How much more will it be allowed? I say it stops RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!! Give them all the justice they deserve!!!!!!!!!!!
And wipe that self-satisfied smirk off your face, Dahrun!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, I am telling you, the episode "Acts Of Contrition" (what a title!!) was stunning. Here, I just wanted a quiet evening in with Monsieur, a nice relaxing dose of "L and O," and what do I get--a murder mystery, set in a church and convent!!!! I was wide awake at that point, especially, as I so clearly recognized, the producers, to cut back on costs, used as location exteriors, various sights around the Cloisters!!!!
You can't fool me, loves!!!!!
Poor Amy Wright! From an up and coming ingenue to bit parts. If you blinked, you did not see her, because early on she is murdered by someone springing out of the confessional, and knocking her against a pillar, spilling a pool of blood. Bye, Bye, Sister Dorothy!!!!
For many years, she had been mentoring Sister Olivia, played by Susan Misner, as though butter would not melt in this sister's mouth!!!! But some Sister she is, sisters!!!!!!!! As Goren and Eames delve into things, we learn that before she become a nun, Sister Olivia was some big ghetto crack ho' named...Angie Di Marco!!!!!
That has got to be the best moniker since "Grease's" Cha Cha Gregorio, who, all my girls know, was voted the Best Dancer at St. Bernadette's!!!!! Sister/Angie was no better than the girls she is tending to, humanitartian style, like a White Sister Peg!!! But, honey, she ain't no Sister Peg!!!!
Seventeen years before, this rotten, racist tramp witnessed the gang beating of a Black man, whom she set up with two guys, one of whom she wanted to like her. She not only witnessed the beating, which left him a vegetable, she kicked him, and used the "N" word!!!! Of course, she runs off, and somehow ends up in an upstate convent, where she is turned around, and mentored by Sister Dorothy. But once she gets murdered, Olivia knows the past always closes in on one, and not only does she repent (though crocodile tears, I thought--too little too late; has this nun even seen "The Song Of Bernadette?"), if the beaten guy dies, she will be charged with murder!!!!! Too bad this was not a two parter--a nun on the stand, with a lurid past, taking the rap--this goes WAY BEYOND "The Trouble With Angels!!!!"
I am telling you, this was grittier than "The Sound Of Music," with a smaller body count than "Dialogue Of The Carmelites!" And then, there is always Goren and Eames; love Kathryn Earbe's no nonsense, which cut through all the Catholic bullshit she saw, having been raised on it. And, of course, Vincent D'Onofrio's Goren, the admittedly lapsed altar boy, whose suit size changes every week, and isn't that fun to watch!!!!!!!
Girls, the next time it is on, you have GOT to see "Acts Of Contrition." Believe me, dolls, you will not heartily sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!