Thursday, September 29, 2011
That is, unless you are going to see her on screen, where she belongs!!! Which I had intended to this evening, loves, till I got a better invite to a sumptuous holiday dinner!!! This week, the winner of Bitch Of The Week is fictitious, but, more importantly, she does not have a name, though everyone who has seen the film remembers the actress who played her!!!!!
The winner of the Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is Hysterical Woman In Diner, from Alfred Hitchock's film, "The Birds." She was memorably played by Doreen Lang, and this big moment became her signature role. And, to a certain extent, her classic line, "I think you're evil! EVIL!!!" has become something of a campy catch phrase!!!!
Honey, this woman is so tightly wound, you wonder from the beginning just what she was doing driving through Bodega Bay. My guess is her husband threw her out, because he could not take living with her anymore!!! But, then, could anyone???? You have to feel sorry for her children; they are going to be traumatized for Life!!!! Never mind bird attacks, their mother will do the job!!! In fact, as the scene progresses, the kids aren't phased a bit!!! Only this hysteric is unhinged from the start. In fact, next to her signature line (stated above) the boy has the second best line, when he states, more with excitement than fear, "Are the birds going to eat us, Mommy!" Like he's looking forward to being pecked!!!! Hey, kid, stay on the West Coast, because, once you grow up, you can ditch PsychoMom, head for San Francisco, and find yourself in a sling in some sleazy S and M bar!!!! You can tell his future just from this scene!!!!
As for the other patrons, I think they wanted to throw her to the birds!!!!! Hell, I would not have blamed them.
As an actress, Doreen Lang appeared in several other films (Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man," among them), always with professional panache, but she never shined more brightly than here!!! Her Hysterical Woman is one for the Ages, and we salute her as Bitch Of The Week!!!!!
But all MY girls want to wear Tippi Hedren's green suit, and long fur coat!!!!!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Darlings, I cannot tell you how sick to my stomach this TV commercial which is always being aired makes me. It is what I call the "Geico Sushi Commercial." It features a set of despicable parents, both of whom are disgustingly unctuous, but the father especially so, who confess to the camera that they have become so addicted to sushi that, due to hard economics, they have resorted to eating their daughter's pet fish!!!!!!!!!!
Part of what nauseates me comes from the (again) unctuous way the actors as the parents deliver their lines. Someone must have thought this was a great concept, and maybe it looked great on paper. But acted out it is a horror--parents betraying a child, eating something which should not be consumed, and risking potential health damage in the face of it. Let me tell you, if this ad ended with the parents dying on camera of food poisoning, it might have made me feel better.
And they don't stop airing the damn thing. The minute I see these two actors (whom I am sure are reaping heaps of residuals!!!) my stomach turns!!!!!!!!!! I am certainly not against irreverence and occasional poor taste, but this is a violation!!!!!! Get it off the air soon, before someone tries to outdo it with an even more disgusting commercial!!!!!!
Which has been done, anyway, with that sewer cleaning commercial showing sludge of human waste!!!!!!!!!!!!
What have we come to, darlings!!!!!!! Have American consumers been reduced to inmates in Dr. Moreau's House Of Pain????????????????????????
Bring back the days of Betty Furness and Westinghouse!!!!!! At least, she knew how to dress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Girls, even though we are still coming down from "Pan Am" fever, which I guarantee will mark the Return of the Girdle, I just had to point out this 'SVU" I saw last night. Not only was it one of the few I had never seen before; it made me question our Justice system!!!!!
The episode was "Juvenile," from 2002. In it, a woman is found raped and murdered in her apartment. It is also found she was a cancer patient, undergoing chemo and supporting herself by growing huge quantities of marijuana in her apartment, but in a room that looks like a lab, or an outtake from "The Day Of The Trifids." A key element was vomit on the floor, which pointed to the deed having been done by a child!!!!!!!!
Two, actually. The boys, Zachary Connell, 12 (pictured, above) and Jeremy Brice, 14. But there is a difference. The younger of the boys is a confirmed sociopath, but due to his age can only be tried in family court. The older boy, played movingly by Shane Lyon, CAN be tried as an adult, but his capacity is so questionable I was wondering if, based on how he was playing the role, the kid was retarded or had Down's Syndrome. In the end, he is just slow, socially speaking. He was a loner, with no friends, and, since Zach pretended friendship with him to get him to go along with whatever, Jeremy complies, even if he doesn't always think what Zach does is right.
It is a slippery slope. Jeremy understands right and wrong; he doesn't understand that he is being used, so when Zach tells him to get a knife, he gets it, and when Zach rapes and murders the woman, Jeremy's response is to throw up on the floor, because he is truly repulsed by it. But he is afraid to leave, for fear of losing Zach's friendship or fear of what Zach will do to him.
Which is exactly what Alex Cabot understands, so she removes herself from the case. I am telling you, Alex and I are on the same page, because this child should NOT have been tried as adult!!!! So Elizabeth Donnelly (Judith Light) prosecutes Jeremy, though it sickens her to do it. The worst, though, comes from Jeremy's mother (Becky Ann Baker), who is so ignorant, she thinks the jury will let him walk. Both Donnelly and Alex try to tell her otherwise, but no. The jury DOES find him guilty, and for her ignorance, Jeremy is issued a Life Sentence!!!!!
This was one of the most heartbreaking shows I have ever seen. Jeremy should not have been tried this way; he is the best case for diminished capacity I have seen! Zach, the sociopath, gets a free ride in Family Court, and will come out to kill again. Jeremy, who would have been innocent if not for Zach, is incarcerated for life. This episode pointed out how seriously the Justice system needs to be reexamined!!!!!!
You have to see this one, darlings! It will leave you shaking!!!!!!!!!
I recommend a chilled Margarita to relax with afterwards!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, September 26, 2011
Darlings, of course, I am talking about ABC's premiere episode of "Pan-Am", which, this evening, is going to be discussed in gay and lesbian (but especially gay) bars throughout the entire country!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, my God!!!!! From the opening shot, with the pinkest sky I have seen this side of the sunsets in "Gone With The Wind," to the pristine airline terminal signalling brilliant set design and art direction, to the clothes, back in the days, when men, women and children KNEW how to dress!!!!!!! I am telling you, by the time this show was over, I wanted to reach for my Pan-Am bag, my Playtex girdle, and run off to see the world!!!!!!!!!!!!
For this was the Sixties, darlings, which I lived through and even traveled during, loves!!!!!!!!!! When, to be a Pan Am stewardess was the most glamorous thing, what with the blue uniforms, white gloves and seeing the world!!!!!!!!!!! This show is going to do a lot for the Playtex company, because before you know it women AND men across the country are going to start demanding orders on the "I Can't Believe It's A Girdle Girdle"!!!!!!
Darlings, we LOVED Kelli Garner as Katie!!!!!!! How nice to see her playing something else beside a sociopathic bitch; you can tell her she is relieved!!!!!!!!!
The scene where she in the red gown, and Margot Robbie, as her sister Laura, in her bridal dress, break out from the imprisonment of suburban Connecticut domesticity, by running over their parents manicured curbed lawn, and driving off to see the world, symbolized the Sixties rebellion that all us Baby Boomers went through in some form or another!!!!!! And this was SO glamorous!!!!!!!!! You just had to LOVE Katie and Laura, even if Katie did resent her sister being featured on a magazine cover. And what a cover--the future!!!!!!! Oh, darling, remember???????? When we all wanted to wear those blue uniforms, white gloves fly out and see the world????????? Not to mention having sex with hot pilots, and weren't they hot?????? We just loved Karine Vanesse as Colette, with that faux French accent acquired through endless watchings of "Gigi!" And we just adored Veanne Cox in the campy role of lesbian spinster stewardess instructor, Miss Havermeyer!!!! When she slapped those girls butts to make sure they were wearing girdles, you can just tell she LOVED her job!!!!!!! Wish someone here would slap my butt about wearing a girdle!!!!!!! I say bring back girdles!!!!!!!! Well, this show will do it!!!!!!!!!!!
The premiere episode left me breathless. The little boy, Tommy, drawing pictures on the plane; you knew he was going to be gay when he grows up--hell, he wanted to see the pilots in the (wink! wink!) cockpit, already!!!!!!!!! Bet he knew his BARBRA back then!!!! And the final shot of the little girl watching her heroines get on the plane, brought tears to my eyes!!!!!! Their almost choreographed walk, which I so want to do here at MY job, darlings, was one of the best moments in a show of best moments!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But the best thing about this show is what it MIGHT do. It might restore glamour to air travel. It might restore glamour to those who travel, as well as those now working, who cannot hold a candle to these gals!!!!!!! And all of my girls are gonna want to sign up to become these kinds of Pan Am stewardesses!!!!! My blue uniform and white gloves are ready, right now, you better believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, welcome to the world of Gay Television, darlings!!!!!! Buckle up! Adventure calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's not easy being the Raving Queen, darlings. It is a lot like being Anna, because sometimes you have to be in several places at once, and while that may be possible for Anna--a stretch limo can work wonders--for yours truly who has to rely on public transportation, it just isn't possible.
So, when I heard that my book group, long dormant for nearly six months, was reconvening at Steve's elegant new pensione, I was dying to go, bringing with me, of course, the traditional housewarming gift--an African violet!!!!! But it also turned out to be the weekend Monsieur and I were supposed to go to Buford, Georgia, for a wedding. AND it turned out that my friend Mary Ann, and her friend Leslie were coming in to town for some shows, most importantly, "Follies." What was I to do?????
Well, Georgia I left to Monsieur. It was entirely his call, because while I love weddings, where the hell is Buford, Georgia??? I mean, I didn't want to get violated by some of those "Deliverance" type rednecks!!!!!!!!! Please!!!!!!!!!!!!
We backed out of that one, due to cash being strapped; understandable enough, and after the report we got on the high drama that took place at the reception, I can tell you I am glad I was NOT there, because you can bet, had I been, THIS bitch would have put a stop to THOSE bitch shenanigans!!!!!!!!!
The book group was tempting; I would have loved to seen the group, Steve's new place, and Steve, who is such a charming host, and always plies me with wine!!!!!! I had even read the chosen book months before--"A Visit From The Goon Squad," by Jennifer Egan, and, while I was not all that crazy about it, I would love to have heard how the discussion went.
But with Mary Ann coming to town, I knew this had to take precedent. So Monsieur and I got dolled up, and met she and Leslie (whose hair was fabulous!!!!) in the Paramount hotel lobby for drinks. No Bloody Marys on the menu....hmmmm, they better do something about that!!!!!!! But a good time was had by all, and Mary Ann, looking her most Amy Adams-ish in blue with blue pearls, did not look a day over 19!!!!! Like me, loves, at 24!!!!!!!!!!!!! From there, we high tailed it to Becco, which I had heard of but never tried. Well, everything there was superb. I sampled some of Leslie's stuffed peppers, and they were luscious. Monsieur and I had the pasta special and the selections, and Caesar Salad, were superb! The mushroom ravioli was my favorite, though the pesto spaghetti was good, as they did not overdo that ingredient. Mary Ann's lambchops were tender and inviting. Just like me, darlings!!!!!!! A lambchop, that's ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! And with the wine, who needed to see "Follies?" I could have done the whole thing right there! I am sure the place would have appreciated saving the expensive ticket prices!!!!!! The deserts,. ranging from chocolate mousse cake, to vanilla gelato, to gelato selections, to custard, were perfect, and the coffee was strong, the way I like it. The ambiance was glamorous, darlings, with all of us setting the tone, and the evening just flew by!!!!!!! We would definitely go back there, again!!!!!!!!!!!
It all comes down to making the right choices, darlings!!!!!!! And when you have been at this as long as I have, you know how to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Though, next time I will have a Veuve Cliquot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, I am telling you, what turned out to be a fabulous weekend started out the pits!!!!!! Let me explain that the true meaning of the acronyms TGIF or FTG (the latter coined by Bel Kaufman in "Up The Down Staircase") is that when that end of day time comes, we just want to get the hell outta there, kick off our heels, have some drink, and, most of all, get home, where we can slip out of our girdles!!!!!!! Imagine what I have to go through, loves!!!!!!!!
So, this past Friday, I was ripe for this. Monsieur met me at work, and we were planning to high tail it to my nabe for a relaxing eve at my place. Then we got below to the subway.
The whole past week has been a bitch on the IRT #1 Line! Every day, after 6, there are just too many people for my satisfaction if the trains are running on time. Friday was the worst--wall to wall, meaning you would be lucky if you got on the third car that went by, except nothing was coming. Something about an ongoing investigation at Christopher Street (someone having sex on the subway, again??? Hmmm?) so there were backups and delays. I had had a draining week, and I felt like such a bitch!!! And this only made me feel worse!!!!!!!!! After a half hour--I am NOT going to tolerate this!--we had enough, and wisely caught a downtown bus above ground, which got us to 42nd Street, on board the #7 Train, and out to my place in Queens. We lost a whole hour; by the time we sat down for dinner it was 7PM.
Let me just say it was a good thing this did not happen on Wednesday, or else the MTA would have been looking at being named Bitch Of The Week! As it is, I have them on the back burner for future postings!!!!!!!!!!!
Nightmare commutes happen, granted, but they should not happen that often!!!! Why must they always come at the end of the week, when everyone has had it???? I guess it is just Murphy's Law!!!!!! Well, Murphy, you know what you can go and do!!!!!!
But by eight o clock, we were, settled, comfy and reading, and looking forward to the rest of the weekend!!!!!!! Which you will hear about presently!!!!!
I should have listened to the cast album of "Subways Are For Sleeping" that night, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, September 23, 2011
Darlings, I always knew I would be what the young call "older" when I reached a point in time where 15, 20, even 30 years, could be remembered. But that was for a distant, some unknown, future.
Well, sweeties, let me tell you, it happens sooner than you think! Because, here we are! Three decades ago, I walked through these hallowed halls called Work, not having any idea what I would be in for, much less that I would be around three decades later.
I mean, what I thought, then, was that three decades later, I would have my own theater casting office on Fifth Avenue! If not getting cast in things myself.
Honey, it still could happen! Never say never! But what a thirty years it has been--everything from True Love to the Internet!!!!!! From Highland Park to Bay Ridge to Queens to Bethune Street (I spend so much time there, darlings, I might as well include it in my Life Locales!!!!) and who knows what is next?????
My wish? For another thirty more, and that the thirty you have had and will have prove to be as rewarding as mine, darlings!!!!!!!!!!
Tennessee Williams wrote of "the enemy, Time, in us all." Not that he wasn't write, but sometimes Time can be a friend.
And Monsieur and I will commemorate this milestone at my favorite Italian restaurant. Stay tuned for just what that establishment is!!!!!
Keep that clock ticking, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Darlings, let me tell you, the fact that THIS was the highlight of last night's Season Opener of "Law And Order SVU" speaks volumes about the impact felt by Chris Meloni's absence, and could signal the show's beginning to tank. I hope not.
But wasn't Stephanie stunning, loves???? I mean, not since Laura Weisberger's cover photo from "The Devil Wears Prada," have I seen such a shining example of hair as a career asset. Long, lustrous and thick--take your cues, girls, because good grooming on the part of Alex saved this show.
Alexandra Cabot, the gutsy ADA, has always been a favorite. But now, with Elliot Stabler gone, Stephanie's performance and appearance has gone up several notches. Honey, it almost became HER show! Which would not be so bad. Even Mariska's crying scene in the interrogation room--which I felt was forced--couldn't hold a candle to Miss Stephanie March!!!!!!!!!!
The episode was based on that recent case involving the French diplomat and
the maid here in NYC. In this, he was Italian, and what a shock, darlings, when we saw he was played by Franco Nero!!!!!!!! Oh, my God!!!!!!!! Has he aged!!!!!!!! I mean, I remember him as Lancelot in the movie version of "Camelot," with Vanessa Redgrave, back in 1967, and he was a hottie then!!!! Not that, for an older man, he didn't look GOOD, but, how time has flown!!!!!!!!! Franco, honey, was that a hair transplant, or what??????? Heaven help us!!!!!!!!!!!
But the real mystery did not involve this case. It centered on--
Where was Dr. Huang (B.D. Wong)??????
Where was Joanna Merlin as Judge Lena Petrovsky???? I want Joanna!!!!!!!!
Where was Ned Eisenberg as cute Defense Attorney Roger Kressler? Ditto!!!
Will the still cute Linus Roache be on all season?????
Ditto Tamara Tunie, as ME Warner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The only consistent thing was the sad look on Dan Florek's face--fewer staff, and he still in NOT the cute one!!! Even with his newly polished chrome dome!!!!!!!!
Thank God for Stephanie March!!!!!! But can we count on her to singlehandedly
save this show???? The pressure must really be on her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And now it becomes encumbered on all of us to get a hair appointment SOON!!!!!!!!
Actually, girls, they will have my head for lots of other things, but let's not go there. The reason for the subject bar is that this weeks's Bitch Of The Week has a relation to the Catholic church, albeit a cinematic one. She is fictitious, but representative of a sub-species of Catholic.
The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is Mrs. Tredoni, of the 1976 movie "Communion," which, in 1978 became known as "Alice, Sweet Alice," and then in 1981 as "Holy Terror." I prefer the original title, so, for purposes here, that will be used. It is also known as the movie that launched the acting career of a young up and comer named Brooke Shields. Actually, had Brooke not scored in "Pretty Baby," this movie might have gone forgotten, but with her ascendancy it was rediscovered and has become a minor sort of camp cult classic.
In the late 70's, early 80's this movie was often shown on New York's Channel 9, and it is a hoot!!!!!! No pedophile priests here (this was made long before that scandal broke!), but plenty for church detractors, or those who just question, to chip away at!!!!!!!!!!
This is a film fraught with sibling rivalry and repressed sexuality, a hotbed for disaster.
Set in Paterson, New Jersey, where it was filmed, "Communion," along with the Paterson Falls and its regular location appearance on the reality show "COPS" are the city's only claims to fame. At St. Michael's Roman Catholic Parish, trouble abounds. Sisters Karen (Shields) and Alice (Paula Shepard) are making their First Communion, but Alice is so Miss Bitch, thinking herself better than everyone, and lording it over poor innocent Karen. Alice exhibits some disturbing behavior, including a penchant for sneaking around dressed in a yellow hooded rain slicker and wearing a grotesque mask. On the day of Communion, Karen's murdered body is found in the church, and hysterics abound. The girls' mother, Catherine, is inconsolable, and
her sister, Annie comes to stay with her. But Aunt Annie and Niece Alice take an instant disliking to each other, which hints at trouble to come.
And come it does. Along comes Catherine's ex-hubby, Dom to help track down the killer. But it proves to be difficult. We see Alice, in secret, hovering over an altar containing, among other things a jar of live cockroaches, lighting candles, and delivering some kind of evil incantations. I am telling you, the stabbing scene of Annie has got to be seen! Alice gets into the rain gear and mask, and hidden beneath the stairs, ferociously stabs her aunt in the leg, to the horror of others in the building, including the landlord, Mr. Alphonso. Annie runs out the door, cowers in front of the church screaming....honey, this is a classic!!!! They didn't cover this in "The Sound Of Music." Alice is taken away for psychiatric evaluation. So should have half the characters in this movie!!!!!!!!!!!
Meanwhile, Dom receives a call from Angela, another girl under suspicion, who asks to meet him in an abandoned building, so she can give him Karen's crucifix, which was not found on her body!!!!!!!!!!! Dom goes, meets up with the killer, and is knocked unconscious. Now, we are getting to the fun part!!!!!!! Having been stabbed, knocked unconscious and tied up by the killer, he regains consciousness and discover the killer is NOT Alice, but....Mr. Tredoni!!!!!!!! Our Bitch Of The Week, a neurotic, sexually repressed Catholic, obviously paralyzed from the waist down, who thinks SEX IS BAD!!!!!!! She says she killed Karen because children have to pay for the sins of the parents, namely Dom and Catherine, who sinned by having premarital sex!!!!!! Mrs. Tredoni is played by the great Mildred Clinton (who also played Al Pacino's mother in "Serpico") as a true, rosary swinging harpie!!!! The kind you see in front in church each Sunday, uttering whispered prayers, which are probably incantations for those they hate!!!!!!!!! Yes, sir, you have to hand it to Mrs. Tredoni!!!!!!!!!! A REAL dyed in the wool Catholic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The film climaxes with the realease of Alice from the loony bin. She and mother Catherine go to church. Dom is dead, and the examiner is played (in one of her final roles) by none other than Lillian "I'll Cry Tomorrow" Roth! Work was tough in those days, honey!!!!!!! The church scene is like grand opera. Father Tom is conducting Mass. Meanwhile, Mrs.Tredoni has been sneaking around, stabbing the landlord, Mr. Alphonso, who looks creepy, but is really a sweetheart. Police see the obssessed and deranged housekeeper running out the door, and heading to the church, where they follow. During the Mass, Mrs. Tredoni approaches for Communion, but Father Tom is on to her, now, and denies her. She flies into a rage, screaming he gave Communion to "a whore!" and pointing at Catherine. Then--what a bitch!!!!!--she stabs Father Tom, whom she was fond of, in the neck!!!!!! The police haul her out, but it is not clear if she lives or not!!!!!! Hopefully they locked her in a cell with hookers, who wouldn't stand for her repressive crap, and beat her to a pulp!!!!
Alice walks out of the church, with Mrs. Tredoni's shopping bag and mask, looking ominously at the camera!!!!!!!!!!
Mrs. Tredoni is the perfect BOTW--a self righteous, repressed Catholic who gives practitioners a bad name, but thinks she is in the right! You can bet her views on homosexuality would tend towards Anita Bryant, and if there had been a sequel, she would probably have gone after Gay Catholics!!!! but you have to love her for her zealousness and the way Mildred Clinton (no relation to THOSE Clintons, I am sure!!!!!!) plays her to the hilt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So a salute to our Bitch Of The Week, Mrs. Tredoni!!!!!! Another black mark on the image of the obsessed Catholic housekeeper. And, with Mrs. Danvers, on domestics everywhere!!!!!!!!!!
Good help is SO hard to find these days, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Where are those sweet Septembers?
The joy my heart remembers?
Lost in the shadows of the past....
Why did the dream go by so fast?
Was it too beautiful.........
Was it too beautiful to last?"
Was Tyler Clementi too beautiful to last? I find myself asking this question on this, the morning of the year Anniversary of his tragic death. Was he too good and gentle for the world at large, and so he had to leave it? Was Tyler Clementi doomed from the very start?
I wonder. But on this very sad day, I can only revisit the sadness that I am sure all my girls who I know are Tyler supporters feel. And that sadness can only be felt with greater intensity today by those--family and friends--who actually knew Tyler. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.
And I have to ask--what must Ravi, Wei and their families be thinking or feeling, if anything? For today they cannot escape their irrevocable link to this tragedy, which they themselves helped to engineer.
But this is a day for remembrance. So let us remember Tyler--the bright, talented, musically gifted young man, whose eyes in that iconic photo were so filled with hope, looking out on a larger world you could see he wanted so much to be part of. I daresay, if, when I cross over to the Other Side, I see Tyler, I expect that is how he will look. The gentle soul whom family members say always wanted to help others. The fun loving Tyler, who knew how to ride a unicycle! Hey, Tyler, I am STILL impressed by that.
Tyler Clementi had to have been in such pain to do what he did. He could not have foreseen what followed in his wake. The outpourings of love and support from total strangers, including yours truly. The Trevor Project. Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" videos. The plays, "The Bullycide Project, and "...sorry". And governmental laws being enacted under his name.
He did not plan it, but his name has now become code. For gay harassment and cyberbullying. Which is why it is important to remember today those other, unnamed Tylers. In the wake of this past year, they now have options to turn to, so that, hopefully, they will not take Tyler's. And once again, I offer this blog as a forum for the Tylers out there, who are free to say anything on here, no matter how outrageous. Your comments will not go unanswered.
So--however you choose to observe this day--walking over the bridge, praying in church or your favorite safety haven--ask the Almighty to have mercy on Tyler's poor, innocent soul. And to save future Tylers from peril.
That is Tyler Clementi's legacy.
"Oh, very young
What will you leave us this time?
You're only dancing on this Earth for a short while....
And though you want to last forever
You know you never will
You know you never will
And the goodbye makes the journey harder still
......will you carry the words of love with you?"
Dance on, Tyler, dance on. And know you carry our love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Well, lambs, according to what I was taught, today, September 21st, marks the first day of Fall. So leaves will fall and snow will come as Ceres mourns for her daughter forced to spend six months below ground with the Prince of the Underworld!!!!!
And, no I am NOT talking about John Gotti!!!!!!!!!
What a Fall it is shaping up to be. Between "Follies" resuscitating Broadway, my father planning to move up North (at 96, yet!!!!!!!!!), not to mention what promises to be the Literary Event of the Season, "The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides (author of "Middlesex") the spell of Autumn should prove to be anything but boring. If only my teeth could still tolerate toffee or caramel apples!!!!!!! Now, I wouldn't dare!!!!!!!
So, a sad temporary farewell to Prosperina, and don't cry, Ceres, as she will be returning to us in six months!!!!!!!!! No need for my girls to cry, as the Raving Queen will be right here, darlings!!!!!!!!!
Bring on those falling leaves past the windowpane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Darlings, can you believe it?????? Today, Sophia Loren (yes, Sophia Loren! She of "Two Women," "Marriage--Italian Style," even "The Countess From Hong Kong"--"So loooooooooooove, this is myyyyyyyyy sooooooooong!") turns 77!!!!!! And doesn't she look fabulous???? Let me tell you, lambs, I am about twenty years younger, and I have moments where I feel like I am ready for the canner's!!!!!! I am sure Sophia never felt that way in her life!!!!!!! And her deportment, darlings!!!!!! Even the gayest among us--you know who that is, dolls!--can notice that!!!!! If my deportment holds up even to 57, I will be grateful. By the time I reach Sophia's age, Heaven help me, I might be concave!!!!!!!!
So a Happy Birthday to Miss Sophia Loren!!!! If this is what pasta and sauce does for one, I say, pile it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ciao bella, darlings!!!!!!!!!
No, girls, I am not talking about Paulette Goddard, I am talking about Paulette Bartol, who happens to be one of the more fascinating perps seen recently on "Law And Order--Criminal Intent!" But let me tell you, the episode she appears in, entitled "Delicate," proves that she and the rest of the girls in it are anything but!!!!!!!!!
You have to hand it to the writers of this one, who pulled out all the stops, incorporating into a one hour framework key plot ingredients to three noted films--
"The Turning Point," "Heavenly Creatures," and "Single White Female."
"Delicate" starts at the prestigious Schumann School of Music and Dance, which, dolls, for anyone who has lived in or near New York, knows is clearly a stand in for Julliard. That poor school, all it wants is to maintain high standards, and it get it stuck to all the time.
Anyway, things are really competitive and tough in Ethan Johns' ballet class.
Queen Bee Alona, who is also sleeping with Ethan, bitches it to the other girls, and, honey, I am telling you, none of them like it one bit. Especially Paulette Bartol, who, at the start of things, seems to be Alona's friend. So much so that she sabotages her rival, Jessilyn Kerr, by planting glass in her dance shoes, causing Jessilyn injury. But when Alona finds out, instead of being grateful, she calls the disturbed, codependent Paulette "a crazy freak," which you better believe freaks out Paulette. The next thing you know, she has hitched her star to Jessilyn, and the two begin a relationship of such intensity it borders on, but is not quite, lesbianism--rather like the girls in "Heavenly Creatures" and "Single White Female." Paulette even echoes Pauline Parks in the former film by keeping a detailed jouranl of her actions and her fondest wishes. And, like Jennifer Jason Leigh's Hedy in "SWF," Paulette constructs a shrine of worship to her friend Jessilyn, which looks more like a voodoo altar to me. I am telling you, this girl has some serious issues!!!!!!!!!
Things get even more intense at school, when girls start falling mysteriously ill with stomach ailments...all but Jessilyn and Paulette. Paulette is so happy being at the center of Jessilyn's world, living vicariously through her, even if she herself is not as good a dancer, and is sometimes relegated to the role of piano accompanist during class. Before you know it, Alona and Ethan have broken it off, and before you can say oops!, Alona is found at the bottom of some stairs...dead!!!! She would appear to have been pushed.
By this time, Zach Nicolls (Jeff Goldblum) and Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrowns) are hot on the trail, and their primary suspect is Ethan. But he soon peters out, when one of the students, Riley, reveals not only a relationship with Ethan but a series of stomach ailments afflicting the girls. When the detectives sniff her breath, they discover it is laced with anti-freeze; someone has been systematically poisoning the other girls, keeping them afflicted just enough so their dance skills wane...all but Jessilyn and Paulette!!!!!!!!!
Jessilyn, meanwhile, is thrilled about taking the lead, and her parents caution her, which causes the girl to blow up at them. Paulette provides her with emotional comfort, and while reading Paulette's journal, spots something she (Jessilyn) should not have seen. Paulette smoothly covers things up.
But things are beginning to not look good for Paulette. Nicolls and Stevens discover her troubled history, which includes being thrown of a school for stalking another girl, and having a penchant for obsession, and then violence, if the object of her obsession does not comply. Paulette also plays fast and loose with reality, and even Jessilyn's parents are on to this. They forbid the girls to have any more contact, but Jessilyn becomes hysterical, smacking her mother in the face, and spitting in her father's!!!!! Honey, when was the last time we saw such hysterics???? Inconsolable, she has retreated to her room, and is all but ready to kill herself, when Paulette magically appears at the window, and it seems the girls are reunited, but then the parents and cops break in and haul them off screaming.
Confined to their own interrogation rooms, at first, the girls desperately want to be together. Nicolls says let them be, then bring reality into the picture. This is done, and when it does, the relationship falls apart, as the more adjusted Jessilyn realizes Paulette has been using her all along. Poor Paulette; she just wanted to be noticed!!!!! I mean, who doesn't???? But unlike gay men, darlings, Paulette cannot call on BARBRA and LIZA to rescue her through CDs and imitating them for catharsis!!!!! Then Paulette's mother shows up, and she screams out her hatred at her. It seems Paulette's mother had wanted to be a dancer, but when Paulette happened and lessons became too expensive, she gave up those dreams for child rearing and solvency. But not before Paulette, accompanying her mother to classes, got a taste of the arts would and wanted its adulation. You can tell Mother is a has been dancer; her body is still trim, but her hair is a mess, and her skin is yellowed, from years of smoking, which is what I am sure she used to keep off the weight. Mrs. Barton says Paulette has always been "sensitive." Well, hell, yeah, so have been a lot of us--including yours truly--but we are not lethal!!!!!!! After Jessilyn leaves, Paulettte breaks down, and before being hauled off to the slammer, she and her mother reconcile. But not before Stevens recognizes the pain of a life in the arts, which she learned from someone she dated in college.
This is one episode you cannot miss, girls, and our heart goes out to the deranged Paulette who just wants what we all do; it's just her means of getting it are a bit skewered. But I am sure she will find lots of friends in prison.
Kudos to Vivien Cardone for a masterful portrayal, and the writers for extracting every ounce of juice for the story. I prefer "A Chorus Line" myself, but for sheer malevolence, you've gotta hand it to Paulette!!!!!!!!!!
We love you, darling!!!!!!! And I love all MY darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"They say that all good things must end someday,
Autumn leaves must fall."
Lambs, I am telling you, it seems like yesterday we were getting ready for the Summer--Gidget, Moondoggie, the Great Kahuna and everything. And now the Great Kahuna (Cliff Robertson) himself has left us, the flora and fauna on nature are beginning to lose their luster, the dusk of night falls upon us sooner than we like, and us career gals are getting up in the dark to make that coffee that propels us into our glamour ridden, power jobs! You better believe it, darlings!!!!! And tomorrow, I don't care what you say, marks the First Day of Fall, when Prosperina officially goes back to Hell, and her mother, Ceres, (Earth Mother supreme!) is sad, so leaves fall from the trees, and snow bedecks the ground.
And, Lord, we have a theater season upon us, which has kicked off with "Follies" and tomorrow a reconvening of the LPA Playreading Group, so, as far as Autumn is concerned, we are underway!!!!! But not before we say a fond farewell to Summer.
Girls, it was the Summer of my Inner Southerness--a trip to New Orleans, where a most romantic time was had with Monsieur, a reading of three, key Southern texts--"The Help," "The Witching Hour" and "Gone With The Wind," the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island, trips to Morris Plains, and months of comfortable clothes wear. This last I love best, darlings!!!!!! Now it will soon be time to layer up, think about turning older (a November birthday), Thanksgiving, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas Tree, and, before we know it, watching that ball drop in Times Square, with or without Dick Clark!!!!!!!
And one anniversary I have kept somewhat quiet about but cannot go without mentioning it to my girls. This Friday, darlings, yes, THIS Friday, marks--gasp!--30 years I have walked through these hallowed halls to work!!!! I can't believe it! When I first started here, I was all of 26 (and SO tender, loves!) but I remember thinking, "If I am still here in 30 years, I will be....well, never mind!" The point is, I never expected 30 years to go by so soon, or I fully expected to be in Hollywood or on Broadway. Instead, I chronicle it to all my girls out there, which I am SO proud to do.
Since we will be in town this weekend, I can tell you Monsieur and I will be celebrating this august event with a dinner at Manducatis, to also open their Fall Season!!!!!! The best Italian restaurant, located in Long Island City, and one of the best kept secrets in town!!!! So, don't breathe a word, darlings!!!!!!!!
So, a fond farewell to the Summer of 2011!!!!! You were good to all of us, and we look forward to the Fall!!!!!!!!!!
See you for drinks, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, September 19, 2011
How dare she, I am telling you, girls, how dare she, steal the limelight from Joan Crawford?????? Last night, Kate won as Emmy as Best Dramatic Actress In A Series, for her portrayal of the title role in the redo of "Mildred Pierce." For some of us on here, including the Raving Queen, this is completely unacceptable. To so many of my girls, Joan Crawford, who won an Oscar for it, has owned this role since 1945, and as far as I am concerned, always will! You damn well better believe they did not give Evan Rachel Wood the award; she had no right playing Veda, anyway, because that role is owned by Ann Blyth. And that is Ann Blyth, darlings, NOT Blythe Danner!!!!!! Much as I would like a chance at playing Veda, I would have turned the role down, had it been offered. Which was why it wasn't; the producers knew I would not dare take on Ann Blyth's signature role.
If Joan were here, she would be having a fit, while Bette Davis would be doing her maniacal 'Baby Jane' laugh!!!!!!!!! But both of Joan's nasty "screen daughters,' Ann Blyth and Diane Baker (from "Strait-Jacket") are still alive, and if I were Kate, I would be fearful they would come after me!!!!!!!!! I wouldn't blame them!!!!!!!!!!
I was so happy when Kate won the Oscar for "The Reader." She is a fine actress, and it was about time!!!!!!! But THIS????????? How dare she???????? I am ordering every one of my girls to go home tonight and watch the REAL "Mildred Pierce!" Accept no imitations, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am telling you, I am so overcome, I may have to take to my bed!!!!!!!!!!
But not before I watch "Mildred Pierce!!!!!!!"
Let's hear it for Joan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For sheer breadth and emotional scope, darlings, this weekend ran the gamut.
It started with Monsieur and I at Gate 2 at Port Authority Bus Terminal, waiting to get a 6PM bus to Norristown, PA, to visit my sister. Now, this is a trip I have made many times in over 30+ years, but never at night. I am telling you, I felt like a serial killer on the lam!!!!! Even with the tiny lights overhead, it was so dark outside there was not enough light spill for me to read!!!!!! Which means there was nothing else to do but doze off on the ride, which, on some level helped, but which cut down on some serious reading time I was looking forward to. We did get some going back, as we returned yesterday in the daytime.
In between, on Saturday, we went on a tour of the St. Martha Manor, a Catholic senior residence run by the Philadelphia archdiocese. Darling, we were so impressed; the grounds looked like exteriors from "The Song Of Bernadette!" I was ready to move in, and so was Monsieur, who is not even Catholic. But he has seen 'Bernadette,' which counts for something. And if there, I could hold my annual Easter screening of it for the entire facility!!!!!!!
But this was not for me, this was purportedly for my father, who, at 96, claims he cannot live alone in Florida, even though he drives his own car!!!!!! He suffers from loneliness, which is understandable, but what he REALLY wants to alleviate it, is for my sister and I to move down there, where our apartments are just doors away from him.
First of all, I have no plans for Florida, and if I end up there, it will have to be in a house like "The Golden Girls." And I am Rue McClanahan!!!!!!!!! But this is not likely to happen. Nor, for that matter, is my father coming up here; for when we sounded him out about it on the phone that night, despite him having filled out the necessary paperwork, he hemmed and hawed, wrung his hands in supplication and quaked with such indecision, you would have thought he was being tortured. He definitely missed his stage calling; forget Sam Waterston doing "King Lear" at the Public this season, it should be my father!!!!!!!!!
And a visit to Target, where the stores have been cleaned out of Mesoni clothes!!!!!! What ever happened to Jaclyn Smith's fashion line???????? The cuisine was superb, and so was the coffee!!!!!!!
But I am telling you, Pennsylvania is wild! The backyard, where all sorts of creatures, from yellow jackets, to raccoons, to deer, walk right into my sister's yard!!!!!!! Sure, we have rats walking on subway platforms, and nut cases we have to ride the trains with, but you get used to that!!!!! With deer coming in to the yard, you feel like you are watching the final scene of "All That Heaven Allows!!!!!"
Which is why our return to NYC was almost like coming back to civilization, which meant settling down, with a nice meal and some SVU. But, oh, my God!!!!! I was SO emotionally exhausted that I developed a migraine. And 'SVU," I am telling you! It was supposed to be a viewer's choice marathon, but who picked these episodes???? Not one of my faves was shown, and some, like "Zebras", with Dale Stuckey, played by Noel Fisher, who looks as though he has not yet made it to puberty, I had never seen yet!!!!!! Then there was the one where Olivia goes undercover in the women's prison, and of course all the inmates look like Dyke Central, not to mention Olivia practically shows off her assets on TV, and we practically have oral sex depicted. And it remains ambiguous how far Olivia was forced to go, before rescued. Then there was that dreadful "911" episode, where she talks ad infinitum to that annoying voice named Maria, who is supposed to be a child, but was actually done by an adult actress with the most offensive Spanish accent this side of a white man impersonating Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo!!!! They should have had this role done by Rita Moreno. Feel like running and dancing for joy, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!
By the time this one came on, with the migraine I had, I was ready to turn in. So, here I am today, girls, able to report on it and the week ahead which includes--
a play reading, the coming of Fall, with Prosperina going back to Hell, the anniversary of Tyler Clementi's death, and maybe a weekend trip and wedding in Buford, Georgia, a town I never heard of, but where I am sure they do not take too kindly to homosexuals, and where we may get shot at by those "Delivierance" guys!!!!!!! Heeeeeellllllllp!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, but did I tell you I saw a piece of film history???? The Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, which was used in the 1958 film classic "The Blob," looks pretty much the same, and where a "Blob Festival" is held every summer!!!!!!!!!! I have got to go!!!!!!
Sometimes, loves, Life spins merrily out of control!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, September 16, 2011
Just imagine, girls, if Ryan Gosling and I did a stage or screen redux of "Driving Miss Daisy." He would drive, and I would be the passenger. In this version, of course, Miss Daisy would somehow have managed to drain the gas tank, so that, at some point, we run out of gas. Preferably in a remote woods, with a secluded cabin that is centrally heated and beautifully furnished, because, I am telling you, not even for Mr. Gosling, am I going to throw myself upon leaves and twigs!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am sure Ryan drives as good as he looks. And what a joy ride he would be for all of us. Sweeties, I am getting car fever just thinking about it.
So while we are waiting for that ride, check out his latest oeuvre. With three movies this year, Ryan's star seems to be in ascendancy. First, "Crazy Stupid Love", now "Drive," and soon the one I am looking forward to, "The Ides Of March," which could be a really thought provoking story. For those of my girls who simply cannot get enough of Ryan, this is HIS season!!!!!!!!!!
And Prosperina has not even gone back to Hell, yet!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Well, darlings, after an almost 45 year wait, I have finally read "The Rain Forest" by Armstrong Sperry. I can tell you, this is one book whose cover lives up to expectations. Not all that versed in children's literature these days, but knowing that, Harry Potter aside, there is a lot of junk out there, I can proudly say this is heads and shoulders above the rest.
The plot concerns a 14-year-old New York City boy named Chad Powell. His father, an ornithologist, is doing scientific research in New Guinea, near the forest of the book's title, searching for a rare bird known as the King Of Saxony. Sperry's story follows Chad and his friend Natua ( which recalls the relationship between Johnny and Hadji on the old cartoon series "Johnny Quest") as they travel by boat to meet Chad's father--and there are plenty of adventures along the way, some which would impress even the likes of H. Rider Haggard.
With so much talk about getting boys to read, here is a book where the two main characters are believable. The story is literate without being condescending, and is decorated with the most gorgeous black and white line drawings, all done,, like the famous book cover, by Sperry himself.
The real mystery is, with all the junk out there, why this overlooked gem is not in print. That is exactly why; it HAS been overlooked. Well, darlings, it is time to get "The Rain Forest" out of the dust bin and onto book shelves again. If a middle aged adult can glean this much excitement from a rediscovered children's book, think how exciting it will be for the children themselves!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sometimes, you CAN judge a book by its cover, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No, darlings, this is not going to be another diatribe about Diane or Roberta. They may have peaked, but turned out to be fundamentally harmless, just your ordinary, garden variety suburbanites. Unlike this week's winner of Bitch Of The Week.
That distinction goes to Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, of Erie, Pennsylvania!!!!!!!!!!
Marjorie started out being a high achiever; she was, after all, Valedictorian of her high school graduating class. Though, in Erie, PA, you have to wonder--how big was the class--5? 10? It might not have been much of a contest for Marjorie. Nevertheless, she was named!
From what can be gathered, Marjorie did not do much after that. There is no evidence she went to college, but simply rested on her high school laurels. She drifted from job to job, never lasting at one long enough to keep it together, having to have her father bale her out time and again. So far Marjorie is nothing more than your garden variety lackey loser.
But then she ups the ante. Her mother dies, of natural causes, leaving behind a $500g inheritance. Her father gives her $50K of that, telling her he is keeping the remaining $450k. Which does not suit Marjorie at all. She wants the entire thing, but I am telling you, the way it appears this woman goes through money, even if she were given $1 million, she would be out of dough before long. Daddy refuses to give Margie another cent--this is not Margie Albright and Vern, darlings!!!!!--insisting she should be able to make do with what was left to her. But Marjorie has other fish to fry.
How a valedictorian could be so stupid is anyone's guess. If anything, it proves being such does not necessarily hold up. And while the aforementioned Diane and Roberta, may have peaked, they have managed to retain (especially Roberta!) their looks. Get a good look at Marjorie. As people have asked, how did she manage to manipulate all these men, let alone have boyfriends???????
It is not enough Marjorie wants to kill her father. It is not enough she could simply do it herself, like good old Lizzie Borden!!!! Oh, no, she wants to hire a Hit Man to do the deed!!! Well, honey, they do not come cheap!!!! And Marjorie certainly does not have that kind of cash.
So, in a caper that become known as the Pizza Bombing, she coerces two men she knows, Brian Douglas Wells and Kenneth Burns into robbing a bank with her, in order to get money for the Hit Man!!!! Girls, I don't know what she promised these guys to get her to do it, but if it was sex, let me tell you, I hope for their sakes they were blind, or at least put a bag over themselves or Marjorie's head!!!!!! Both guys were rather average looking; wouldn't a hooker do??????? But, no, they team up with Marjorie to do this, and just like everything else with her, things go awry. Brian is assigned to wear a wired bomb timed to go off at a certain point; to get him to agree, he is told it is not real. Well, guess what, Brian??? It is, and your number is up!!!!!!! Brian goes Ka-Boom!, thanks to Marjorie and dies. Kenneth Burns get imprisoned for 45 years, while ugly Marjorie gets Life. Without parole, I am sure. And Daddy gets to keep the money, since he is still alive.
With Marjorie now in jail, one has to wonder what will happen once he goes. Will she reap what she sowed???? Or will it go elsewhere??????? I hope she never sees a red cent!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, congratulations to Bitch Of The Week Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong!!!!! Even for Erie, PA you are pretty stupid!!!!!!!!! The next time you decide you want something done, dear, do it yourself!!!!!!!!!! One thing, though--you could not ask for a better example of what goes down in high school not mattering a bit than Marjorie!!!!!! She may have been Valedictorian, but where did it get her??????? And the way she looks now, she sure won't make Prom Queen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She won't even get on the decorating committee!!!!!!!
Almost time to start thinking about Halloween decorations, now, darlings!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Darlings, remember Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha on "Bewitched?" She was a genuine witch, married to stodgy ad exec Darren Stevens (first Dick York, then Dick Sargent) who was so stodgy that, instead of allowing her to make prosperity materialize for them, let alone meals to be cooked without lifting a hand to the stove, he consigned her to pretty much the same stereotypical sitcom housewife stuff of the day. Or rather, the producers and writers did. Sometimes, Samantha's efforts, like Lucy Ricardo's, in a different way, got her into trouble, but she basically trod the straight and narrow.
It had to have taken a toll on Elizabeth playing the role. Which was apparent to any viewer who watched/watches those episodes when she steps into the role of her free wheeling cousin, Serena. When the doorbell rang, and you heard, "Hi, Cuz!!!!" and saw her in the black Serena wig, it was a guarantee the show was going up a comic notch or two. Too much of Serena--like a spin off--would have been a bad thing, but on here, she was just enough with her surprise appearances. And someone had to step in and give Agnes Moorhead and Maurice Evans the break from being the comic relief.
And you could just tell Elizabeth Montgomery was having the time of her life, playing Serena!!!!! She was the relative we all wished we had!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, how many you out there had Serenas growing up????? Or, how many of you out there ARE Serenas!!!!!!
See ya, Cuz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can you believe, darlings, we are almost halfway through this month???? What is about it that makes it so disparate in its happenings???? Is it the way the planets are aligned???? You have to wonder.
For the events and anniversaries of this month are indeed disparate. Starting with Back To School, the bane of every child's existence. But September is also the Feast Of San Gennarro in New York (which starts tomorrow, darlings), "Frank Mills" day, and the Coming of Fall, when Prosperina Goes Back To Hell!!!!! Then there are of course, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and, last year, the death of Tyler Clementi on the 22nd.
But today is a nearly forgotten day, one maybe still remembered by those of a Certain Age who grew up, or still live in, Middlesex or Somerset Counties in New Jersey. For, eighty nine years ago tonight, out on De Russey's Lane, what today is now Franklin Boulevard, the Hall-Mills murder was committed.
The facts can be barely stated. The Reverend Edward Hall, an Episcopal church minister in New Brunswick, was found to be having an adulterous relationship with one of his congregants--a Mrs. Eleanor Mills, who also sang in the church choir.
Honey, let me tell you, first off, the players in this drama, were not much to look at. To my parents' generation, this case became, in a way the "Black Dahlia" of its time and area--it was sensational, gruesome, and is still an unsolved case.
While he was still an up and coming lawyer, William Kunstler wrote a book about it, called "The Minister And The Choir Singer." In it, he cited the couple were murdered by a New Jersey chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, who were on a moral crusade against the rather conspicuous adulterous couple.
I heard plenty about the case from my elders growing up, and my paternal grandmother, who made it to 102 (may she rest in peace!) always maintained Willie Stevens did it. I have to agree with her.
Willie Stevens was Mrs. Hall's brother. He was what might be termed a "poor relation," not so much financially, but mentally; Willie did not work because he was what today would be called "slow." And today he would either be institutionalized, or placed in some sort of group home allowing him some semblance of normality. Or as much as he was capable. But in those days, families kept such people who were kin in their homes, looking after them themselves. Shades of Rochester and Bertha in "Jane Eyre."
What has never been clear, even to those who believe Willie was responsible, was if it was intentional, or something that got out of hand.
According to the story, Mrs. Hall discovered a series of letters alluding to the lovers' romantic relationship. She became aware of their trysting place, beneath the crab apple tree, out on De Russey's Lane. She and Willie went out there to confront the pair. "Explain these letters!" she is said to have asked. But what happened next has always been murky--did Willie lose control, or did Mrs. Hall direct him what to do. What we do know, is, as a result of this visit, two people were dead beneath what was to become the most famous crab apple tree in the nation.
The trial was a media circus--with the star of the day being Jane Gibson, who lived on a farm not far from De Russey's Lane, and, because of her livestock, was known as the Pig Woman. No one was convicted, and it was the contention of many that Mrs. Hall and Willie skipped due to familial connections--she was an heiress to the Johnson and Johnson fortune, already a powerful organization in New Brunswick.
Another September event. Will they ever stop coming???? But for sheer durability, you cannot beat this one. It even spawned a silent film based loosely on it, called "The Goose Woman," and starring Constance Bennett. The answer may never be known, and what I have related could be altogether wrong. But, as far as I am concerned, the Raving Queen is satisfied!!!!!!!!!
Papa don't preach, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Girls, I am telling you, not since "Hush..Hush, Sweet Charlotte," have I seen the importance of social class distinctions played out to such a campy fare-thee-well. I am talking about what I always used to refer to as "The Private School Episode" of "Law And Order--Criminal Intent," but which actually has an interesting history. Just as Peter Weiss' play "Marat/Sade" is the longest play title in theater history (the full title is--are you ready, loves--"The Persecution And Assassination Of Marat As Performed By The Inmates Of The Asylum Of Charenton Under The Direction Of The Marquis De Sade." What a mouthful! Try saying that in one breath, dolls!!!!!) The CI episode referred to on here is abbreviated as "Please Note..." or "Kissinger," but its full title is, "Please Note We Are No Longer Accepting Recommendations From Henry Kissinger," and boasts the distinction of being the longest episode title in the history of the entire L and O franchise.
This is the one where guest star Jessica Walter, in her campiest performance since Libby MacAusland in "The Group," not to mention Evelyn Draper in "Play Misty For Me,' plays Eleanor Reynolds, an Upper East Side matriarch who gives new meaning to the word doyenne. With looks that could kill, she certainly comes across as deadly as her character in 'Misty,' but it is not she who turns out to be the perp. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The writers of this segment were out to stick it to everyone--corporate Yuppies, closet gays, expense account Moms, and the Manhattan private school scene.
Things start out mysteriously enough with Skip Lowe, an all round corporate honcho and sexual hypocrite who does more than work out at the gym, walking through the tunnel in Central Park with his two-year-old son, Leo, at what appears to be ten o'clock at night. Now, the first thing I have to ask is, what kind of parent walks their kid through such dangerous terrain at so late an hour???? Huh???? And while he is out walking, he runs into someone he knows, for he says, "Oh, it's you!" Just like Steve Christy and Mrs.Voorhees in "Friday The 13th!" Only with almost the same results, for Skip is shot, rather than stabbed, but he ends up dead, the toddler in the carriage left screaming beside him. What a fabulous opening!!!!!!!!
Things get even better when Goren and Eames interview Marla Reynolds, wife of Brian. Oh, brother! Brian may be a corporate honcho type, but his mother has him by the gonads! I mean, call him Norman Bates!!!! He may be making a six figure income, but you can bet Mommy foots the bill for a beyond-the-means lifestyle that Brian could not otherwise do on his own. Which is why, instead of moving out on his own like everyone else, he and Mama share the dwelling--she has the upstairs and he the down. However, poor Marla, his wife, has it even worse. She is constantly being harangued by Eleanor for not being good enough for Brian. I mean, not only is she White Trash from Kentucky, but Brian met her in New York, while she was working as...a cocktail waitress!!!!! That's right! A cheap cocktail waitress!!!! Guess Brian was so hard up, living with Mommy, he thought he could do no better. Or maybe he was so desperate just to get some. These corporate types tend that way, you know. So Brian and Marla get married, have Baby Henry, but with the Gorgon Eleanor hovering, the marriage is far from perfect.
To compensate for her son marrying White Trash, Eleanor wants her grandson to have the BEST--would you believe he is only two years old, and is taking piano and Chinese classes???? Henry did not strike me as very precocious, but he did strike me as someone who is growing up in a problematic household and, once older, is going to start exhibiting some very interesting acting out behavior.
But Granny is doing all the acting out right now. More parents are shot, till it becomes apparent that someone--who, now???--wants to get their precious darling into the prestigious Carnegie Hill Day Pre-School, and is bumping contenders off the waiting list. Granny looks to be the best bet; Goren and Eames find she has a gun in her purse, she suffers from sweat attacks, due to blood pressure stress, and, worst of all, she cultivates a friendship with Janeen, the school's administrative aide, played at the most campiest next to Miss Walter by the great actress Isabel Keating, who played Hugh Jackman's mother on Broadway in "The Boy From OZ," and is currently playing Aunt May in "Spider Man--Turn Off The Dark." At least, she is getting a paycheck. But here, Keating is from the Miss Fern School of Academic Administration--tight lipped, sexually repressed in a way that would do Claudia Fern (the great Joan Croydon) proud. She is so hateful as Janeen, you just want to belt her in the teeth.
Leave it to Goren to get to the heart of things. For Granny does not turn out to be the perp--it is Marla!!!! Marla, who nursed White Trash dreams of escaping the boondocks of Kentucky to come to New York and become a dancer, despite the fact that, with her looks, she is just another blonde trying to make it in New York!!!!! She ends up waiting tables, but develops a big chip on the shoulder about that, till she snags Brian Reynolds into marriage, thinking she will ride the gravy train, but not knowing the price to be paid--living with Mommy!!!!!!! You have got to see the scene where Marla holds the entire classroom prisoner, even tying up the headmistress and Janeen!!!! Too bad she did not shoot the latter!!!!!! Her shattered dreams, resentment, and the constant bitching of her mother-in-law have finally unhinged her, and it is at the eleventh hour that Goren saves Marla from offing herself. Off she goes to prison, and you can bet, as soon as the door is locked, Mother will see that she and Brian are divorced, he gets custody of their son, Henry, and she makes sure he marries someone who is GOOD ENOUGH for him!!!!!!!!!
You could not get any campier than this, darlings!!!!! It has to be seen to be believed!!!!!! This is truly the "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" of the "Law And Order" franchise!!!!!!!!!!
Next time it is on, loves, have yourself a good old time!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, September 12, 2011
I have to wonder about this, girls, after reading Alfred P. Doblin's carefully balanced and nuanced essay with regard to the the Tyler Clementi situation. While a good deal more subtle than Mr. Marc Poirier of yesterday, I have to wonder at some of what Doblin is thinking.
He says Dahrun Ravi deserves a vigorous offense. Now, to me this would seem a no brainer, an understatement, not worthy of mention. Of course, EVERYONE on trial deserves a vigorous defense. But Doblin stating it in this instance smacks of an opinion that Ravi is not getting his share, that, he, somehow is more deserving of our consideration.
What about the fact that this guy calculatedly filmed and broadcast a young man engaged in sexual intimacy, and the consequences that followed in its wake???? All Doblin seems to offer up is that Tyler Clementi is guilty of posting too much information about himself on the Internet???? Is he, really???? I mean, in this Internet age, Tyler's school records, test scores and medical records are available to those that might need access to them. Whatever Tyler chose to put out with regard to himself, was his own selecton, so how does this become his fault???? And doesn't it just deflect from what Ravi did???? Of course it does.
Doblin has a point about the Internet being pervasive in today's society, and he draws distinctions between his generation (very likely mine, the Baby Boomers) and Tyler's who grew up not knowing what it was like to have no Internet. Tyler was a product of his peer group and times. Why should he be held accountable for that???
I have to admit Doblin was right on the mark in one instance. He said when Ravi was Googling for info about his prospective roomie, that if he had found Tyler chatting on a forum for, say, New York Giants football fans, we would not he having these discussions right now!!!! Damn right!!!!!!!!! But is that Tyler's fault?????
No! It is not even entirely Ravi's. It IS the fault of the still pervasive climate of homophobia that comes through in this country, fueled in part by the Internet, but still handed down and fed to young people like Ravi. If you want to blame anyone, Mr. Doblin, blame this culture's climate. Of which, no matter how smartly you may think you cover it up, you are a part!!!!!!!!!
I am sick to death of these homophobic assholes weighing in and blaming Tyler Clementi, who has nothing to be blamed for, and cannot speak for himself. If these goons want to express these views, go over to websites for Rush Limbaugh or Dr. Laura, and chat all you want there. Don't waste your time with allegedly legitimate journalism.
Which begs the question of how homophobic the media is????? But that is for another time, perhaps. The issue here is that blaming Tyler Clementi, who cannot defend himself, is as damaging as when Tyler was getting picked on while he was alive. Give this child some rest!!!!! And keep the focus on what the real issue at stake is--violation of a person's individual rights, not what they choose to write about themselves online!!!!!!!!!!
Mr. Doblin, may you get smacked with BARBRA CD's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
.....if any of my girls wish to meet and greet the Raving Queen, then be in front of the Waverly Theatre in Greenwich Village, at six thirty, or thereabouts, where a time honored tradition will take place!!!!!!!
Yes, darlings, we have made it to another September 12. And what so many on here know, that means it is "Frank Mills Day." Since 1978 (2001 being the only year omitted, for obvious reasons!!!) I have been convening in said location and singing that song from "HAIR" in honor of the show, the day, the Waverly, and, of course, Shelley Plimpton (Martha's mother), who immortalized the song in the original.
I did my vocalizing this morning, and am ready. In past years, I have had people stare at me incredulously, but the best was when the wino looked at me and threw away his bottle. I probably reformed him, and now he is a Wall Street CEO!!!!!!!!
If only my friend, Angela, could be there to share the triumph with me. But, alas, she is in Alaska!!!!!! Nevertheless, tradition and continuity will be maintained tonight, and if you want to meet and greet, or get an autograph, I will be more than happy to accommodate!!!!!
See you tonight at the Waverly, dolls!!!!!!
PS--The Waverly is now the IFC. But to those of us of a Certain Age, it
will ALWAYS be the Waverly!!!!!!!!!
So, for that matter, girls, was yesterday. Which is why Monsieur and I trooped out to Rego Park, where the two of us, in true Sister Peg fashion, acknowledged another milestone.
That milestone happened to be that Monsieur's mother's still surviving friend, Bea, today turns a hearty....99!!!!!!!!
You better believe it, dolls!!! And didn't Miss Bea look glamorous, though a bit wearied from all the celebrating and action she must have seen over the weekend. Songs were song, cake was served, and Queen Bea reigned over all. I just have a feeling that next year we will be returning for her Centennial!!!!!
So, now that it is the actual day, Bea, Happy Birthday!!!! You are just one year away from acknowledgement by Willard Scott!!!! Hell, you just might outlive him!!!!!!
May all my darlings have such Happy Birthdays!!!!!!!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Girls, I am telling you, things have just not been the same in this post-BARBRA age!!!! I cite this, because, last Tuesday, while I was getting a wisdom tooth torn from my mouth, La Strident paid a visit to my workplace, and, suddenly, nothing is the same!!!!! Imagine--staffers just sitting around public areas, masquerading as patrons, while waiting to call out "Hello, gorgeous!" in unison, as BARBRA steps off the elevator. And step off she did, looking freshly emerged from the "What's Up, Doc!" era.
Honey, I am never too far from my inner BARBRA!!!! If I could have just been there to do "I'm The Greatest Star," you can bet that would have taken care of Miss Lauren Ambrose!!! And if YOU think BARBRA can be demanding???? Hah--try me!!! If I do "Funny Girl", I want the Winter Garden, so kick out that tin can of a show called "Mama Mia!" Why bother, when you have Meryl on film??????
I have been singing the "Funny Girl" score all week--and people have noticed!!!!! Because I am as good as BARBRA!!!!! If only BARBRA knew it!!!!!!!
But next visit, she will!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who the hell is this Marc Poirier, and who does he think he is?????
Well, he is a professor at Seton Hall Law School in New Jersey, and claims to be openly gay, but after some of his remarks, I have to question his communal standing.
While he does maintain that Dahrun Ravi should serve some time related to the Tyler Clementi tragedy, he seems to feel the Gay Community is going overboard, and that his should not be really looked as a hate crime or bias intimidation!!!!
Well, Marc, if not, what, then???? And if you feel Ravi should do some time, just what do you feel he should be charged with???? Where is your conflicted thinking guiding you????
I guess, Marc, though you are gay, you may have been one of the so-called lucky ones; those who could "pass" for being straight! It got you into the male dominated profession of law, and Seton Hall Law School!!!! Try living life as one unable to pass, or maybe not even wanting to, and you will see how rough things are out there.
Instead of worrying about Ravi, how about some concern for Clementi's plight????? And those of others like him????
Let me tell you what I think, darlings!!!! This Marc Poirier is a big Andrew Sullivan type case who hides behind a veneer of hetero self-righteousness and sexual hypocrisy. You know, the kind who think if they don't suck, then they are not really gay!!!! Honey, these types are just as, and sometimes more, dangerous, than the homophobes out there, because at least with them, you know what you are dealing with up front!!!! With Poirier and his ilk, they can be proverbial wolves in sheep's clothing!!!!!!
Hey, Marc, you wolf, you are free to think whatever you want!!!!! But so am I--and what I think is maybe you should stay inside more, especially during the full moon, not just because of the hair on your palms, but because someone might go gunning for you with a silver bullet!!!!!!! It is a wonder the defense team has not tried to get hold of you!!!! Though, after reading some of your comments, maybe they will!!!!!
You just better pray I don't get hold of you!!!! Take away your gym membership and colognes!!!!! As the title goes, You Will Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again!!!!!!!
Our community has enough problems without people like Marc Poirier adding to them!!!!! Bitch slap him to Kingdom Come!!!!!!!
Who's the bitch now, Marc??????????????????????
Girls, can you believe it has been 10 years???? I can hardly comprehend that so much time has gone by, but, then, I was in no shape to comprehend what took place on that Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001.
There I was, coming out of the subway at West 14th Street, en route to a doctor appointment. It was a gorgeous day. And my mind was more on the next day, September 12, when, since 1978, I would stand in front of the Waverly Theatre, and sing "Frank Mills." Which I still do!!!!
I remember passing St. Vincent's hospital, when, on cue, bursts of medical workers streamed out of the ER doors, like a movie being shot. Ambulances and fire trucks began tearing pell mell down the street. Making my way further down, I passed two electrical workers, who informed me a plane had knocked into the World Trade Center. A wind accident, I thought. And still thought, as I reached Christopher Street, where people gawked at the flaming left tower. I still did not get what had just happened. But I soon did; for, shortly thereafter, a plane came out of nowhere, and suddenly the second tower was ablaze!!!!! People began to scream, and then a woman on her cell phone yelled, "They just got the Pentagon!" That is when I knew we were under attack.
I went to the doctor's appointment; they knew nothing at that point. I was so shocked I never even mentioned it. I finished, and went back out. When on the street, I looked downtown...saw one tower, but the left one was a mass of fog! I asked what happened, and was told the tower had fallen!!!!! Then, before my eyes, the second tower fell, and people screamed. I went into some form of dissociative shock, as I made my way uptown to work--forget about the subways now, because nothing was running!!!!! It was as though I was an extra in a giant monster movie, being told to run from the creature. Except I could not see what the creature was!!!!!!
Thus are my memories of that benchmark day. For baby boomers of my generation, it was enough we had November 22, 1963--Kennedy's assassination--to remember; I never expected another in my lifetime!!!! But, even as I slowly walked uptown, I knew this, too, would be another. And so it is!!!!!
The best thing I can say about ten years later is we are all still here, and there has not been another attack!!!! May there never be!!!! It was enough we had this one!
So, girls, I am telling you, as Auntie Mame said, live life to the fullest!!!!! Whether that includes Manhattans or milkshakes, make the time count!!!!!!!
Because there are just gonna be some times when you simply CANNOT get a beauty appointment!!!!!!!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Girls, let's hear it for Middlesex County Judge Glenn Berman!!!!!!! He is holding fast to the decision that the charges made against Dahrun Ravi relating to Tyler Clementi should NOT be dismissed, and that Ravi should be held accountable for all 15 indicted counts. This is good news for those of us who want justice for Tyler, and it indicated Ravi is certainly not off the hook. I saw one photo, where it appeared he was biting his nails, and I think, for the first time, this smug, arrogant punk realizes at last the seriousness of the situation he is in!!!! About time!!!!!!!!!
It has also been decreed that prosecutors must turn over to the defense the name of Tyler's "companion," hitherto known only as "M.B." And I am sure that does not mean Milton Bradley!!!!!!!! How the defense thinks this can help its case seems like grasping at straws, even if they cross examine him mercilessly. What are they going to contend? Tyler Clementi forced this guy???? I hardly think so!!!!!!!!!!
For one thing, while it is not directly relevant to the case, but certainly relevant toward understanding Tyler Clementi, is clarifying whether this was to be Tyler's "first time." Based on all I have read, I would fathom a guess that it was.
During the short time he was on campus, he had sought out the University gay community, gone to a support group meeting, so he was out and proud!!!!!!!! From there it would be just a short step to losing his virtue. But then Dahrun Ravi stepped in and intruded on what should have been Tyler's, and Tyler's alone, Rite Of Passage!!!!!!! While it is true one never forgets, this memory should have been left to Tyler exclusively, not to anyone else--Ravi, Wei, or the cyberspace community!!!!!!!!
When it comes to destruction, you have to admit-_Dahrun Ravi is a train wreck! First, three families have been altered by him--the Clementis, the Weis, and his own. One wonders if he has any sense of that. While the Clementis certainly bear the worst of it, the other families will have the shame of this around their necks evermore, like the proverbial albatross. At the time of the incident, and in the early aftermath, I don't believe Ravi had enough empathy to form these realizations.
And what of Tyler Clementi? Honestly, the more I learn about him, the more I wonder. As independent as he seemed, was he truly ready for a college environment?
Was Rutgers the right school for him, and what were his other choices? Would this have happened had he gone elsewhere? And, most of all, how did Rutgers, at least at this point, match up their roomies, because, it seems from the get-go this was a gigantic mismatch. Not only was Ravi, even before they met, questioning Tyler's sexuality, he was making fun of his health issues. Apparently, Tyler Clementi was an asthma sufferer (having had it myself as a kid, this is another point on which I can relate myself to him), so naturally he would talk about it and treating it. But Ravi eschewed it, to the point of putting him down for mentioning it. These were two people who never should have come together, and, had they not been roomed, probably never would have. In this case, Rutgers does hold some culpability, for, while it could not have known the tragic outcome of this pairing, it clearly indicated, even before the incidents we know came into play, that this was a mismatch, so something is amiss with their, for want of a better word, matchmaking system.
Poor Tyler Clementi. From the start, it seemed his destiny was being set up to be a sacrificial lamb. But to what cause? Certainly not one of his own choosing!!!! And, as the anniversary of his death quickly approaches faster than might be realized, it would seem this kid never got a break. Because what should have been his coming-of-age years--socially, sexually, artistically and professionally--were violated by poor authoritarian choices and a still predominantly homophobic American culture. Mr. Ravi was a product of that culture, his actions bespoke of a belief in it, and his still very visible lack of remorse indicates he has yet to understand what he has done--even to himself!!!!!
I am sorry, but I could care less about him. I am more concerned with justice for Tyler Clementi.
One could easily ask where were these people who cared about him when needed???? The answer is, they were there, they were always available, but Tyler could not think clearly enough at that point to avail himself of these options. It cannot be stressed enough--if only he had.
Meanwhile, a promising life has been snuffed out, and three families destroyed by the calculated ruthlessness of one dispassionate individual. On the day of Tyler's Anniversary, honor his memory in whatever way you see fit, but hold fast to the belief that there is indeed a justice for him.
And may that justice save another family from what the Clementis have had to go through!!!!!!!!!!
Damn right, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!