Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Now, darlings, I am not talking about Connie Stevens, or even Connie Francis!!!!!!! No, I am talking about Conroy "Connie" Smith, the sociopath perp played by an actor with the prosaic name of "Billy Lush" in the "Law And Order Criminal Intent" episode from 2003, entitled "Sound Bodies."
What a hoot this story was!!!!!! First, it is set in some isolated inlet community off Long Island Sound (sort of like a version of City Island), which is so insular it would make the men of Stepford seem like forward thinkers!!!!!!!!!
Of course, all things social in this little hamlet revolve around the church, an innocuous place, until someone decides to do a Jim Jones, spiking the punch so that some adult parishioners are poisoned!!!!!!!!!!!! Which attracts the interest of Goren and Eames. One of these parishioners lost a son in a boating accident, as did two others. The boys went out on the Sound in a rowboat, and mysteriously drowned. They called 911 but were not heeded. When Goren and Eames view the vessel, it becomes apparent the boat was tampered with. This was no accident; the boys were murdered. But why???????????
An autopsy reveals that the boys were all infected with gonorrhea!!! This leads to the discovery of a promiscuous teenage sex ring on the island, which the teens are very likely using to rebel against all the small town religiosity being shoved down their throats. The only one who does not seem to participate is Conroy "Connie" Smith, nephew of the church's Reverend, who espouses a righteous tone of superiority at not participating in these acts, even though it becomes immediately apparent to Goren and viewers that he really wants to!!!!! With his loner status, and his claims that his mother left him with relatives because she is out doing "important work," he is looking good to the detectives as a suspect in something.
The story then dovetails into a combination of mind control, and Arthur Miller's "The Crucible." A group of tightly knit teenage girls seem to be closing ranks, keeping too many secrets. When one of these, Claudia Goodman, ends up hospitalized, surviving a suicide attempt, her veneer of propriety slips and reveals a seething hatred toward the other girls, and Connie Smith, who she says acts as some sort of controlling ringleader. She tells them Connie spun them this story of all of them going to Utah and being their own community. Uh, huh!!!!!!!!! Do I hear the word CULT, darlings?????????
Connie is very well read--Herman Hesse, Kahlil Gabrain-- and spouts aphorisms from "Siddhartha" and "The Prophet" to fit his own sociopathic, murderous, control ridden, sexually exploitative agenda. He got the girls to spike the punch with poison, leading to those deaths, and Tina, another girl, confesses to rigging the boat, resulting in the drowning of the boys. They all insist they are guilty, but will do ANYTHING to protect Connie from being named as perp!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This Connie is a piece of work, and Goren has had just about enough!!!!!!!
And, frankly, so have I!!!!!!!!! I may be well read, darlings, but I never used it to kill anyone. I read all that Hesse and Gabrain crap as an adolescent, but once you move beyond that, you come to see, like Salinger, that while the writing may be brilliant, the messages are not especially timeless down through the ages!!!!!!!
The scene in the Interrogation Room has GOT to be seen to be believed!!
Goren goads Connie, telling him his mother is NOT doing important work; she is a tramp, who abandoned him, and is just screwing around, waiting tables, out West. He starts to crack, and when Goren finally gets him to admit it was Tina who betrayed him, he stands up and delivers such a stinging blow to Goren's cheek that he actually turns!!!!!!! But, honey, with just an almost inaudible "Ouch!" he grabs and pins Connie by the arms, giving him a dose of his own medicine, until the cops come in to haul off the maniacally screaming teen ("You all deserve it!" (death)) to the prison or loony bin, where he, presumably will be imprisoned for life.
This episode is a good warning against communal insularity, religious fanaticism, and the fruits of knowledge being used for evil purposes!!!!!! While the story may seem contrived and derivative at times, stay with it to see the scene between Connie and Goren!!!!!!!!!!
And don't allow this show to promote burning your library card!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Girls, remember looking forward to Advent Calendars, when we were children????? You bought one, oh, maybe a week in advance, and could hardly wait until December 1, when you could start opening one door at a time, leading one, on a day-by-day basis to Christmas, helping the time go faster for us, and giving us a nice ritual to look forward to, each morning.
Which fostered for many of those my age, that the Holiday Season began on December 1. Today, it seems like Thanksgiving is the starting point, and oftentimes, Halloween seems to mark it. But what I am about to report tops anything yet!!!!!!!!!!
Coming up on the first weekend in December this week, I figured it was about time for MY favorite New York City Christmas Tree, the Neapolitan Creche at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, to go up. Along with my birthday and the Mermaid Parade in June, this signals for me personally, the passing of another year. And, even more than New Years Eve, signals for me the end of the present year, and that I am grateful to have made it to seeing another tree.
In the Medieval Room, darlings, they mount an artificial tree, decorated with the most striking Victorian angels (just like what appears on the original dust jacket of "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice), with cherubs, a manger, Mary and Joseph, and a circular creche that tells the entire story of the Nativity. Forget Radio City, lambs, this is the real thing!!!!!
Beautiful, choral sounding Christmas hymns are piped into the room, giving the place a decidedly spiritual aura. If you are fortunate enough to be there on Friday afternoons, say between 4:30 and 5:00, there is a moving, magical ritual, where the lights go out, the music stops, and all is silence. Then, slowly, inexorably, the music slowly pipes up, and the tree is slowly lit from the ground up. Several years ago, I witnessed this by accident, and, girls, I am telling you, it was like experiencing a miracle at Lourdes!!!!!!!! Jennifer Jones, and everything!!!!!!
No other place in the City centers me more for Christmas than this. So I am telling all my girls now to make sure you get yourselves up here to witness this most beautiful sight, and to provide a memory which you will cherish!!!!!!!!!!!
Yule Tide Greetings, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, last night marked the triumphant return of those girls all MY girls want to be--Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, or Angie Harmon, with the hair that just won't quit, and Sasha, with the hair and wardrobe to match.
Last night's episode was exciting, what with them trying to bring down a Ghetto gangster kingpin named Little T, via a witness named Dante, who is mysteriously killed. The perp turns out to be a real bitch--this on-the-make attorney, who is actually an underling for Little T, and does his bidding, not so much because she believes in him, as she believes in upping her record of never losing a case, so she can soon make ADA. Well, it all comes crashing down on her, thanks to Maura's prowess with a tire.
The tire changing sequence was VERY important, girls!!!!!!!!! It showed how you CAN maintain your wardrobe and hair while performing back breaking labor. And that to succeed in the world of glamour, you had BETTER!!!!!!! What leads Jane and Maura to the perp turns out to be a nail mark on a set of tire tracks.
Let me tell you, lambs, even before she was caught, that Attorney/Aspiring ADA was one firecracker!!!!!!!!!! A real hot tamale, who thought she was the greatest thing to graduate from community college law school. I have seen better legal degrees from a comic book correspondence course!!!!!!!! What this sly piece of baggage does is tell Dante the officer watching him is dirty, lures him outside to the park, and shoots him!!!!!! Nice!!!!!!!! I hope he called her a bitch, before he died!!!!!!! And now the gals in prison will give her a hard time; they will probably cut off all her hair, till she is as bald as a bowling ball, which is the least she deserves!!!!!!!!
Then, there was Lorraine Bracco, as Mama Angela!!!!!!! I LOVE that is she is still working for Mr. Stanley in the precinct coffee shop. BUT to have the hots for right winger Bill O'Reilly????? With his so-called nice, Irish eyes???? Maybe Angela is developing cataracts; Jane should take her and have her checked. Even if he were not right wing, O'Reilly, who played a more benign version of himself on the episode, could never be construed as being HOT!!!!!!!! Girls, I am telling the show's writers right now--Angela can do much better than THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!
But it was so good to have the Girls back, after such a long absence. You can bet I checked myself extra carefully this morning, before leaving for work!!!!!!!
And I know all MY girls did, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Glamour is all around us, girls, what with the Holidays coming in, but what I am specifically referring to is the return, tonight of "Rizzoli And Isles!" Honey, it has been too long!!!!!!!!!
A whole new set of adventures! You just know Angie Harmon's hair will be as perfect as ever, while Sasha Alexander's tresses will be as textured as ever, with a colorful wardrobe to match!!!!!!!! Will brother Frankie still be around???? Will troublemaker Tommy turn up????????? And, most important, will Mother Rizzoli, played so wonderfully by Lorraine Bracco, still be working in the cafeteria, serving up coffee??????? I guess we will just have to wait tonight to find out. Though I would love to sample some of her bruschetta for lunch!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, tune in tonight girls, because you know, tomorrow, over coffee, we will not be dishing about anything else!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, practically, depending what turns up in my life, darlings!!!!!!!
The Girls are back tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy them, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, We'll Raise A Glass And Sip A Drop Of Schnapps In Honor Of The Great Good Luck That Favored You!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am sure, darlings, that I do not have to tell you that that line comes from the "Fiddler On The Roof" Song" "To Life!" (L'Chaim!!). And remember the Peter Lorre film "M," Fritz Lang's first sound film, made back in 1931 (that in now 80 years, darlings!) where Peter Lorre plays Hans Beckert, serial child killer, based on the Dusseldorf murderer?????
Somewhere in my reading on this film, I learned that the original title was going to be something like "The Murderer Within Us," Or "A Murderer Among Us."
I cite this, lambs, because the title was used in a recent "Law And Order Criminal Intent" episode I saw, dealing with anti-Semitism, which, in the Germany of Fritz Lang's 'M" was beginning to, if not already had, reared its ugly head prior to the horror that was to follow.
In this episode from 2003, guest star Thomas G. Waites plays Lance Brody, a blue collar type guy, whose Argentinian born wife, Lena, is found murdered. But once Goren and Eames arrive on the scene, and from the ligature marks and such on her body, it becomes apparent that she was not murdered. All of the wounds were self-inflicted. As the investigation digs deeper, it becomes apparent that Lena committed suicide. The problem is, no one knows why.
But this becomes apparent as, probing further, the detectives find that her injuries are exactly the same as those inflicted on a series of Jewish men, who were murdered over the course of several years. But what connection does Lena have to them? Is she trying to frame somebody???? And why??????????
A sad, and twisted story unfolds. Lena and Lance have a daughter, Claire, but something about Claire has been kept both from she and Lance. Years before, while working, Lena had an affair with her boss, who was a Jewish man. She became pregnant by him, but was able to pass the child off as Lance's. Added to that, it is discovered Lena's family name was changed, that she is of Jewish origin!!!!!
Lance, who found about the affair (though he denies it, saying she was raped) also denies his wife's ancestry, because he is a rabid anti-Semite. The episode with the boss and his wife was given as the reason, but sweetheart; I disagree. This may have triggered Lance for what follows, but that anti-Semitism was in place long before this. Too bad the story had no time to explore that.
Now, it was not clear to me whether Lance murdered the Jewish boss, though it is likely he did, but after that, to vent his rage and violent tendencies, he became something of a serial killer, with regard to Jewish men. Maybe he did this as a way of directing these impulses away from his wife and daughter. Lena found this out over the course of time, and killed herself to frame her husband!!!!! When he is finally apprehended at the end, and he understands the truth for himself, he is hauled off, screaming at his daughter "You are not a Jewess! You are not a Jewess!"
The way he spits out that word in particular indicates how much he now hates his daughter, much as he would try to deny it. I cannot remember the last time I heard the word "Jewess" used, but I have never heard it spit out with such venom!!!!!!
This was quite an episode, girls!!!!!!!! It went WAY beyond "Gentleman's Agreement!!!!!!!"
Now, for some personal interjections, loves!!!!!!!! First, having been born and raised in Highland Park, New Jersey (sometimes known as Little Israel or Israel On The Raritan!!!) I was surrounded with Jewish culture to the point where I, to a large degree, considered myself Jewish!!!!!!! Especially being a gay purveyor of Barbra Streisand!!!!!!!!!!! Even though I resented the attention others seemed to get, which deflected from me, I never made it an anti-Semitic issue. I made it a neighborhood issue--they were from the President Streets--which basically it was.
Yet, in the face of so much past, and especially current, associations with Jewish folk, the idea of being considered anti-Semitic would anger me considerably. Yet, back in eighth grade (again, the worst year of my life!!!!!) I was accused of such!!!!!!!!!
Once again, it seemed to happen in Mrs. Dubin's French class!!!!!!! Why does it seem everything revolved around French class that year???????? One of the many mistakes teachers made during these years was to put us into group projects, when none of us wanted to work together with each other, I would have been better off working independently, and no one wanted to work with me, or I them!!!!!!!!!!
It was the Holiday time--Christmas and Hanukkah--and we were to come up with some festive ways to celebrate. I loved the idea, but, as it turned out, in my group everyone--Debbie Kaplan, Michael Bassoff--were Jewish. I was all for celebrating Hanukkah--I love the candle lighting and other rituals to this day. However, when I suggested that we also include something featuring Christmas, for balance, oh, BOY, was I met with derision!!!!!!
"Are you prejudice?" Debbie Kaplan sneered at me. Let me tell you something about Debbie Kaplan. She was one of the fattest and ugliest girls, I ever saw back then. Putting on airs about herself being "upper upper class," when she lived on South First Avenue!!! Honey, come on!!!!!!! She ended up somewhere in Florida--the really rotten ones deserve Florida--and she managed to get married, which surprised me, considering how ugly she was. Unless her husband is as ugly as she is, so they both deserve each other. Maybe their children are ugly, too! Or, as is sometimes the case, ugly parents have the most beautiful children. If that is the case, I hope the kids call their parents ugly!!!!!!!!!!
But who did Miss Debbie think she was, back then, calling me prejudice???????? When all I wanted to do was add Christmas on to Hanukkah, not take the latter away in favor of the former!!!!!!! It was not a question of my being anti-Semitic, but they being anti-Christian!!!!!!!!
Then that rotten little pudge, Michael Bassoff, who should have stayed in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he came to us from, starts repeatedly cackling, "You're anti-Semitic! You're anti-Semitic!" I wanted to kick him in the teeth then, and I STILL DO NOW!!!!!! And that goes for Miss Kaplan Bitch!!!!!!!!!!!
Brandon Ross, not Jewish, but Black, refused to work with me, because no one else would!!!!!!!!!! Choke on it, Brandon; then and NOW!!!!!!!!!!
I don't think Roberta was in my group for this, but I am sure she glared at me!!!!!!!
Anything that would give her a perfect opportunity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I mean, this was the year I first read "The Chosen" by Chaim Potok, which went on to become one of my faves, so much so I considered wanting to convert and go to a Yeshiva school, because they respected scholarship, which some of the white trash members of my family could not understand or appreciate, and still can't!!!!!!!!!!!! That previous summer, I had read "Exodus," by Leon Uris, so who were these people to label me anti-Semitic????? Especially when they were unwilling to even ADD Christmas to the project!!!!!!!!
Well, I am sure Debbie Kaplan is just as ugly as she ever is, and now with the Florida sun drying out her skin, she will look like a ravaged old crone!!!!!!! And I am sure that Michael Bassoff is still a pudge!!!!!!!! While I am fabulous, darlings, and outrank you in sophistication!!!!! So there!!!!! I was never anti-Semitic, I was only anti-IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But this episode was certainly thought provoking, girls!!!!!!!
That nasty anti-Semite got HIS in the end!!!!!!! Just like the nasty anti-Christians mentioned here, have gotten theirs--or, more important, WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy Holidays, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Darlings, I know you will wonder, what in the world could have possessed me, after more than 40 years, to reread "Animal Farm?" Well, here goes.
I just recently bought Haruki Murakami's newest novel, "1Q84," which, in ways other than its title I understand, references George Orwell's "1984"!!!!! Now, inconceivable as this may sound, as of this moment, I have never, EVER read "1984," though I had always meant to. I thought at some point along my academic route I would get it, but I never did. Then I got the bright idea of actually reading it IN 1984. Well, loves, that was 27 years ago; it came and went, and I still never read it.
But, in light of the Murakami book, I thought it was time to read the Orwell work, prior. So I picked out a copy. Then, I thought, if I am going to read "1984," why not reread "Animal Farm"?????? I wonder which had come first, and I discovered it was "Animal Farm" (1945), followed by "1984" in 1949!!!!!!!!!!
When I first read this book, back in eighth grade (worst school year of my life!!) the emphasis was on anti-Communism, especially since we were studying a unit in History on Russia, where you better not say anything positive about Russia as a nation--not even its outpouring of great authors, like Tolstoy, Chekhov and Dostoevsky!!!!!! That is NOT what those teachers and administrators--especially that fat cow, Mrs. Geoffrey Nunez!!!!-- wanted to hear from us!!!!!!!! Remember, ours was a class who was FORCED, at graduation, to sing this Right Wing tribute to the USA called "I Like It Here!!!!!!!" What bull!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, several decades wiser, and even more acerbic now than then, I came to "Animal Farm," with a whole different outlook, and what a revelation!!!!!! It is beautifully written, and its pseudowhimiscality deservedly earns the subtitle Orwell gave it, "A Fairy Story." But this is no charmer, girls, this is a tale, meditating on the Dangers Of Extremism. What I discovered from this reading is that the extremism may change; it was Communism back then, now it is the Corporate Technological Dehumanization of our society which the Occupy Wall Streeters are protesting. Which points to the timelessness of Orwell's book, if not the cheesy cartoon film version made of it, back in 1955!!!!!!!!!!
That nasty pig, Napoleon!!!!! That tragic one, Snowball!!!!!! And the horror of the outcome of Boxer, the workhorse!!!!!!!!! How many Boxers are there out there today who refuse to recognize what is in store for them and do not heed those signals, when they appear????
So, girls, I urge you to give "Animal Farm" a second look. It may not be as fun as, say, "We Have Always Lived In The Castle," but as an adult you can appreciate it on its own merits, as well as as its being an ideal text to teach the young how to think philosophically and individualistically!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Quack, quack, you Extremist Bitches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, let me tell you, as my life can attest, being fabulous is not always easy!!!! And while many of us, including moi, have had past issues with school--like with me being passed over for Advanced Algebra in 8th grade, the National Honor Society in 11th and 12th--these pale in comparison when you look at the "Law And Order Criminal Intent" episode, "Bright Boy," which will make you stop and think, with gratitude, that you weren't pushed much by adults while in school.
The story is deceptive, because it starts out being one thing, and leads to another!!! A social worker is having an affair with the City's Deputy Mayor. When this began, I thought it was going to be about City politics, because the Deputy Mayor is shown being Mr. Corporate Sleaze, cheating on his wife with the social worker, living the High Life, while telling the rest of the city on TV, "We are all going to have to work harder, for less money!" Yeah, right! We've heard that, and I say fuck you!!!!!!!!!!
The Deputy is so concerned with his reputation, he cannot be seen going to buy a newspaper. So, the social worker does, and when she brings it to him through the car window, an invisible attacker appears out of nowhere, grabs the social worker, and shoots the mayor. I thought, "OK, the scum deserved it, so it will be about the solving of this murder."
Was I wrong!!!!!!!! Because later, uptown, the body of the social worker is found!!!!!!! And as Goren and Eames investigate, they find that it was actually she, not the Deputy Mayor, who was the target. The sleazebag was just collateral damage!!!!!!!
Things don't get interesting, until it is discovered one of the social worker's clients was a young, alleged math prodigy named Robbie Bishop!!!!!! They are tipped on to Robbie, and this gifted program at an exclusive school, he is trying for, by a dropout from the program, now a teenage, Goth type musician, who, while gifted, did not want any part of the program, and opts for his art!!!!!!!! He does tell them about this one kid, Robbie Bishop (Liam Aiken), whose father, David (Tim Guinee) seemed to be pushing him obsessively.
Basically, dolls, it turns out to be "Gypsy" in Academia!!!!!!!!! David Bishop is the pushy school parent, home schooling his son, trying to get him into this prestigious school for the gifted, which will land him a spot in the Ivy League, all because Bishop, while bright enough, suffered from dyslexia, which kept him from realizing HIS potential (and in his day it wasn't a noted problem!!!), and causing him to bounce from career to career--rock star, business magnate, whatever!!!!!!!!!
So, he is DETERMINED to the point of OBSESSION, that HIS son is going to be accelerated, and get the breaks he should have had!!!!!!! Which I can relate to, darlings, and might have done myself, had I had a child. However--
As Goren and Eames investigate further, (brilliant work here by Vincent D'Onofrio, the consummate Actor's Actor) Goren, having been a bright and sensitive child himself, connects with Robbie, discovering they have a mutual interest in baseball, and that he had tried out for, and made, a Little League team that would meet on Saturdays, when he would be in school, if accepted into this program. It becomes clear that not only does Robbie NOT want the program, he does NOT want any part of his father's dreams; he is basically a bright kid, but NOT a genius, but his father is after him all the time with coaching for tests, reviewing SAT's of past years with him, to foster the notion, both in his son and himself, that Robbie is a truly gifted child, because nothing else will do. A journal Robbie keeps, which he shows to Goren, reveals, not only is Robbie uninterested in the program, he is terrified of disappointing his father, to the point of being depressed and suicidal over it. He recalls how his mother, now deceased, appreciated his gifts, but not to the point of overwhelming him, and that his father has gotten out of control.
What the father does not know, is that, just before she was killed, Robbie confided in the social worker, his dissatisfaction, suicidal thoughts, which was going to lead her in to not recommending him for this program. Somehow, David, Robbie's father, finds out about it, and it is he who goes out and murders the social worker and Deputy Mayor. But the social worker was always his target, especially if she was going to get Robbie dissed from the program!!!!!!!
This guy is one piece of work; it is all about HIM!!!!!! Thank God, Robbie is young enough, or maybe a diaphragm would have been found in his drawer, like Janice Gonnella. But Robbie is not old enough to know about either those, or dildos!!!!!! Neither am I, darlings, but that is for another time!!!!!!!!!!
A picture of Robbie with his aunt, uncle, and cousins, reveals a shot of him being truly happy!!!!!!! So when his father is arrested and hauled away, as he should be, we learn these loving relations are on the way and will assume custody of Robbie as his father serves a long prison term!!!!!!!! What is most sad about the episode is that neither father or son are going to miss each other. Now that Robbie is going to live a NORMAL life, the father is not interested, and Robbie, free from his father's prestige tyranny, is happy as can be!!!!!!!!!
You can bet this episode pressed all MY buttons, darlings, because of my past, but it also pointed out something disturbing to me. Had I had children, I might have become a David Bishop; however, I think my difference would have been, if I noticed the child was unhappy, let alone depressed and suicidal, I would have had sense and compassion to know they were not suited for this, and would stop. David Bishop never got that message, because he did not care enough about his son to heed the signals Robbie was sending him.
So, darlings, if you are bemoaning your past, or your tot does not get into that accelerated program you wished him to, take a look at this episode before you freak out!!!!!!! It is a real wake up call!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And wasn't Vincent D'Onofrio just SO cute, darlings??????????????
Friday, November 25, 2011
Girls, I just don't know what is happening with The New York Times!!!!!! Several years back, the Sunday Book Review featured, on its cover (the most coveted spot of that publication, lambs!!!!!) Kings's then newest novel, "Lisa's Story!!!" Which compelled me, of course, to go out and give it a glance. I don't think I made it to page 50. The writing was strictly remedial, and, as for the story, I did not give a farthing for it!!!!!!!
Now, I want you to pay attention here, loves, because this is not only going to be a very literary discussion, but will feature lists, lists within lists, and commentary thereon!!!!
You can tell the year is coming down the Home Stretch, because, earlier this week, the New York Times printed its list of the 100 Most Notable Books Of 2011. What always makes this interesting, is that it is followed shortly thereafter (usually two weeks later!!!!) by the 10 Best Books Of 2011 list. The fun, during this time period, is to guess which of the 100 will end up on the shorter, more valued list. All the selections in the 100 are eligible, and the Ten are always chosen from them, so the list is already there. The guessing game is--where is it????
Which means any reader can make up their own list, based on these books, and see how well you do, when the Ten Best is actually posted!!!!!!
But before we go further, I have to say--Stephen King????? The Times has this year put on its 100 list, King's newest work, entitled "11/22/63." What I want to know is--why???? Has King improved as a writer???? I doubt it!!!! And how many times can what happened on that date be mined by writers, let alone one of lesser stature???? Does King imagine he is Don Delillo???? I think NOT!!!!!!
What is interesting about this year is how astute my literary acumen was, because on this list, I have actually heard of 14 of the titles, and read--yes, darlings, actually, read already!!!-- 5 of those titles!!!!!!
Now come the Lists. Let's start with the shortest!!!!
The Ones I Have Read!!!!!
1. The Art Of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
2. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell
4. The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht
5. This Beautiful Life, by Helen Schulman
The Ones I Have Heard Of!!!!!!
1. The Art Of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
2. 11/22/63, by Stephen King
3. The Grief Of Others, by Leah Hager Cohen
4. The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan
5. Lost Memory Of Skin, by Russell Banks
6. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
7. The Leftovers, by Tom Perotta
8. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
9. The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace
10. The Stranger's Child, by Alan Hollinghurst
11. Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell
12.This Beautiful Life, by Helen Schulman
13 The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht
14 Blue Nights, by Joan Didion
Before we list any further, let us get one immediate observation over with--Joan Didion!!!! Honey, I have read enough of her to maintain a little of her goes a VERY LONG way!!!!! Yes, "The Year Of Magical Thinking" was readable (which cannot be said of something like "A Book Of Common Prayer," which, nevertheless, I DID manage to get through!!!), but, honey, if you have been through it in any way, you know it, so, well before halfway, her point, though competently stated, becomes moot!!!! I will say this--at least you could put the book down, and come back to it, if the grief, and/or Didion's prose, got to be too much for you. Compare that to the torment of sitting in a darkened theater and FORCED for two intermissionless hours, to stare at Vanessa Redgrave (the Joan Didion of the acting world; when you need someone to play a dying hag, call Vanessa Redgrave!!!! Or so her career has seemed, of late!!!) in the dramatization of "The Year Of Magical Thinking" !!!! You gotta hand it to Joan; there is no shame to her mining personal tragedy!!!!! Added to which, like Philip Roth, the Times goes crazy over her, every time!!!! Both could defecate on the New York Telephone Directory, publish it...and the Times Book Critics would rave!!!!! And, then, some say, I AM crazy???????
But more on Joan; have you seen her lately????? Granted, she was never a great beauty, but she did have that bohemian, literary look that helped land her a career!!!! Now, she looks even more grotesque than that OTHER Joan--Rivers!!!! Who, at least, can be counted on to make you laugh!!!!! Not Joan Didion!!!! Being locked in a room with her would be like spending time with Sylvia Plath--sooner or later, you would slit your OWN wrists!!!! And while one might feel compassion and empathy for Joan, mine goes out the window, with the commercialization of her tragedy, and her medicated existence, so my sources tell me, on alcohol and cigarettes. No wonder Joan does not look long for this World--I don't think she is!!!!!!
And what is she going to do???? With everyone in her life dead, there is no one
left to write about!!!!!! Are you kidding, darlings?????? I bet you anything, within next year's time, she slits her writs, survives, and writes about it!!!! And, of course the Times will go ape shit over that, and put it on its Ten Best List!!!!!
Enough with Joan!!!!!!!
How about another author I see on here, Tom Perrotta???? His novel, "Little Children," I never got around to reading, because it made such a wonderful film. Instead, I read his next work, "The Abstinence Teacher," from 2007, which I could not tell you a thing about now!!!! Which gives you an idea of how compelling it must have NOT been, and why I am going to avoid his current work, "The Leftovers."
Then, there is Alan Hollinghust!!!!! Oh, my God, what is to be done with him???? He is the most mixed bag author since Zaidie Smith; both you cannot decide whether to read, or avoid like the plague!!!! Alan, may, I admit, cut a dashing Brit figure, and I confess to still not having read "The Swimming Pool Library," which I am told is actually good. I got through "The Folding Star," which says something, but it certainly was not as retentive inducing, as, say, "Valley Of The Dolls!!!!"
Then there is what is still thought of as his Signature Book--"The Line Of Beauty," the most God awful pretentious piece of crap, and a pitiful attempt to write in the vein of a contemporary E.M. Forester!!!! To see how that CAN be done, read Zaidie Smith's "On Beauty!", which will erase for you the over hyped, disappointing experience that is her earlier work, "White Teeth!"
Let's see...who else???? Oh, yes, Michael Ondaajte, who has a book "The Cat's Table," on the list. I did not include this on my "Heard Of" list, as I knew of him, but not this latest book. Darlings, this is the man who wrote "The English Patient," which should say enough, right there, because I refuse to either read it or see the movie. Via a book group, I was forced to read his 2007 work, "Divisadero," and all I can say now is--who cares??? And that Ingmar Bergman did it better in his film, "Persona"!!!!!!!!
My stars, girls, what a literary tangent we are on!!!!! Getting back to lists, here are two more. The first is Books On Here I Want To Read!!!!!!
1. The Grief Of Other, by Leah Hager Cohen
2. The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan
3. Lost Memory Of Skin, by Russell Banks
4. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
5. The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace
Not to mention, girls, that several of these books made my posting for Fall Literary Events, which speaks of my prescience, lambs!!!!!
1. The Art Of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
2. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. The Grief Of Others, by Leah Hager Cohen
4. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
The other one I mentioned did not make it to any list--Erin Morganstern's "The Night Circus." Come on; it HAS to be better than Stephen King!!!!!! The other, Adam Levin's "The Instructions," was published last year, in 2010!!!!!! And before going any further, a word about Helen Schulman's "This Beautiful Life!" Darlings, I read it, but I am telling those who haven't--DONT!!! What a waste of time!!! In the face of cyberbullying and Tyler Clementi, I was expecting a serious, meditative literary exploration of these issues, not the Candace Bushnell sugar coated "We-Live-In-Manhattan"-New- York-Confection" it ultimately turns out to be!!!! Gag me with a spoon!!!!! Of course, when it comes to the Ten Best list, I am SURE this will be on it!!!!!
Like the 100 list, the Ten Best one is divided between Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry!!!! If you read me darlings, you KNOW what interests, and what I read, MOST!!! That said, let me give you six of what I THINK will turn up on the Times Ten Best List. The Five Fiction selections, and Joan, because we know she is inescapable.
The (Hypothetical) Six Best Books Of 2011
1. The Art Of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
2. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. This Beautiful Life, by Helen Schulman
4. The Cat's Table, by Michael Ondaatje
5. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
6. Blue Nights, by Joan Didion
Not only is this post SO long, I have been writing so much, I can NOW spell from memory the unspellable names of some of these writers. So, happy reading, darlings, and may the best books win!!!!!
Which won't be true, with Joan on the list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, let me reassure you, I had never heard of this book, or its author, till several weeks ago. But one night, Monsieur walked into the house, with something he had found on the street, which caught his eye, in terms of both of us, but especially moi--a mint condition of a book from several years back, by Plum Sykes, called "Bergdorf Blondes!!!" As I was fully committed at the time to a slew of rather highbrow literature, I told Monsieur to give it a try!!!!! He did, but quickly put it aside, saying he could not handle the acronyms, or its faux tone!!!!!! So, it went on my immediate "To Be Read" pile.
Let me backtrack, and say that several years back, having just seen the movie version of "Advise And Consent" (where Don Murray plays a suicidal homosexual--back then, in the early Sixties, was there any other kind???--and which is recognized historically as marking the screen debut of the Gay Bar!!!!!) I was all psyched to read the Alan Drury book, on which it was based. It made me think of a high school classmate of mine, also named Alan, who, consigned by his religion to spend Yom Kippur in his home, would commemorate spending that day during his teen years by annually reading an Alan Drury novel in his room!!!! Back then, in the 70's, you could find more of his books around. Today, about the only one that survives is "Advise And Consent."
Several summers ago, I was walking down a street with my friend, Harvey, en route to our then current dining spot, the world famous Malibu Diner, when I spotted something yellow, staring up at me. Picking the object up, I noticed it was the dust jacket of a hardcover book--and that book happened to be "Advise And Consent"!!!!
I mean, how serendipitous can you get??????
But the book Monsieur brought home wasn't anywhere on my Reading Radar, which posed the question of how or when I would fit it into my vast reading schedule. Providence came to the rescue, because, after reading "The Art Of Fielding," with all its referencing of Melville's "Moby-Dick," I started to think about doing a reread of that, which I did!!! As reported, it was work, but well worth it!!!
Now, the thing about reading books that take work is, it is like eating a rich, savory meal. Afterward, you need something light, to cleanse your palette. So, once I finished "Moby-Dick" I knew I needed something light, and what better option could there be than...."Bergdorf Blondes?????"
First of all, its author, Plum Sykes (her real name is Victoria; Plum is a nickname and her chosen nom de plume!!!!!), is a staffer at VOGUE, darlings, and this book has actually BEEN ENDORSED by....oh, my God!!!!!...ANNA!!!!!!!!! On the back of the jacket, you will find, amid the random quotes, one from Miss Wintour!!!! How do you like that, Lauren Weisberger???? You might have fabulous hair, and your first book became a Meryl Streep movie, but neither it, or your subsequent works, have ever been endorsed by Anna!!!!!!!! I bet even Grace (Coddington) read this one, right in front of Anna!!!! She wouldn't have DARED to do that, with "The Devil Wears Prada," though I am sure Grace went home at night, poured herself a drink, picked up that book, and, in the privacy of her home, laughed out loud over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How about that game board cover, loves???? It just brings back certain memories to me, like Milton Bradley and "Mystery Date"!!!!! This is a game we ALL want to play!!!!!
Besides, being entertaining, the book is vastly educational. Just as "Moby-Dick" was almost an historical text on whaling and its history, circa, 1851, "Bergdorf Blondes" is a manifesto on How To Survive In Present Day New York. Some of these may be familiar to you, but others may not.
1. You cannot get by in this town, without an oxygen facial!!!!!!
2. Breakfast is not breakfast, unless it includes a Bellini or an orange
presse!!!!! In fact, the importance of Bellinis at all times cannot
be under emphasized!!!!!
3. You are nobody in this town, if you do not get a hair appointment with
Arriette!!!! She is the main stylist at the Bergdorf Salon, and,
darlings, there is just no other place to get your hair done!!!!!!
4. When your party calls for flower arranging, your arranger has just
GOT to be Lexington Kunnicutt!!!!!
5. You cannot function properly without a few Personals--
a.) Personal Assistant
b.) Personal Stylist
c.) Personal Shopper
d.) Personal Trainer
6. You absolutely cannot sleep on sheets with LESS than a 400 thread
7. When it comes to wedding gowns, only Vera Wang will do!!!! But,
haven't you heard that from me, already, darlings??? You know,
Vera is designing MY gown right now, even as I speak, and I haven't
even asked her to, yet!!!! But that's Vera!!!!!!!!
8. Your place of residence is always open for discussion, or
relocation, but, in addition, you MUST have a suite at The
9. Your clothes closet is not complete without at least one piece
by Marc Jacobs!!!!! And your living room is not acceptable,
unless it has a Christian Liagre table!!!!!!
10. You must accept that while you may indeed find True Love
(as I have, darlings!!!) the other important man that
will figure in your life is going to be Harry Winston!!!!!
I am telling you, I learned SO much from reading this book!!!! It added enormously to what I already do know in MY close to 28 years of Surviving In New York!!!!!!
Now, excuse me, darlings!!!!! Having been turned down by Westbeth, I
must find, for Monsieur and moi, that suite at The Pierre!!!!!!!!!!
Here is the story, girls, and I got it from our nice, attractive, and very competent, server yesterday at One If By Land, Two If By Sea!!!!! It seems they have acquired a new interior decorator, and, if memory serves me right, I think he said she was a woman???? What???
Couldn't they afford a GAY male interior decorator??? Everyone knows the best ones in this town are!!!!! I mean, it started way back with Vincente Minnelli!!!! He was a window dresser, you know?????
So, the environment is trying a few new things, like moving the Reservations desk forward, and removing the curtains from the floor to ceiling downstairs windows. I am still not sure about the latter, though, the more I looked, with the plants outside, the more the place seemed to take on a New Orleans feel, reminding me most of the Court Of The Two Sisters in that city, one of my favorite dining spots there. But that look would work best in the summer, when the heat is fetid here, though not quite as bad as New Orleans. With the cold weather just beginning to set in, I am not so sure. My sister, who had never been before, happened to like it, and, after awhile it grows on you, though I hope they get to the point where they at least go back and forth, from this to the curtains!!!!
But, I know what you girls really want to know is how things went, yesterday!!!! We all had a fabulous time!!!!!! Monsieur and I met my sister and father (who, at only 96, can still walk faster than any of us; he sailed right ahead of us, like he was a native New Yorker, with nary a look back!!!!) at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Due to holiday traffic, they were about a half hour late getting in, which gave us time to kill, so we got to the restaurant (by cab), One If By Land, Two If By Sea, in time for our 1:30 reservation!!!!! The charming and cordial staff seated us on divans in front of the fireplace, while we waited for our seat. I then had the most fabulous Bellini, darling, because, let me tell you, by that time I needed one!!!! A Bellini is essential for survival in New York, and especially for a Thanksgiving like this!!!!!!
We had no idea where Uncle Ernest was, since he had not arrived, or phoned, and we were getting worried. So, Monsieur went outside to look for him, and found him wandering up and down the street, trying to find the restaurant, which, to be fair, can be difficult if you don't know it, because the title is printed so small outside, and you have to know which door to open, or you could walk into the Boxer Ale House, next door. Uncle Ernest entered, dressed in a white outer jacket, blue shirt, dark pants, looking very Uncle Ernest. His shirt was open at the collar--I am surprised he did not wear a garish chain!!!-- which I deduced was for the benefit of revealing his decolletage to my sister, because, lambs, I am telling you, he certainly chatted her up, like it was nobody's business!!!!! While my sister, who has been through a 43 year marriage, raising children, caring for our aged father, and grandchildren, tended to view Uncle Ernest with detached bemusement. As did us all!!!! Though Uncle Ernest did choose this occasion to give Monsieur his funeral instructions!!!! But that is Uncle Ernest!!!!!!
As I said, the service this time was vastly improved over last week. That cute little thing, Daniel, was still on staff, but we noticed he was not waiting tables that day, just chores like retrieving wine from the cellar!!!!! And the food was superb!!!!
We started with Appetizers. My father and I opted for the caramelized apple pork belly, Uncle Ernest for the squash bisque, Monsieur had a veggie concoction of some kind, and I think my sister had either the soup or pork belly.
Everyone had the turkey dinner, with the white meat being so flavorful and tender, gravy, shredded dark meat, stuffing, cranberries, and pureed squash. And not too large portions, so one did not feel stuffed. It was scrumptious!!!!!!
Then came desert!!!! Of course, there was coffee, though my father and Uncle Ernest had tea!!!!! For desert, both my sister and I had the Floating Island, which was good, but not the like the REAL thing, which you get at La Grenouille, Monsieur had what looked like a fruit and custard assortment, my father had (I think!) the carrot cake, while Uncle Ernest had the Black Forest. Monsieur was worried that Uncle Ernest would not eat anything, but, honey, let me tell you, he chomped down on everything in sight. He puts on this act of not liking fancy food, but you get him to a high end place, and he goes wild!!!!!!!
We ended the meal with gingerbread and pumpkin pie petit fores!!!!! Then we put Uncle Ernest on the subway train, and cabbed my father and sister back to Port Authority, where they took a 5PM bus back to Pennsylvania, making such good time they were in the house by 7PM!!!!!!
What a day, and what a Thanksgiving!!!! A good time was had by all!!! But, thinking of that Court Of Two Sisters decor, I have already suggested we do next Thanksgiving in New Orleans, at Galatoire's or Commander's Palace. It would just warm the cockles of my Southern heart!!!!!
And Uncle Ernest can camp out with the Little Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Bitches come in pairs (the Papin Sisters, Ravi and Wei), so why not Ensembles????
As I was clearing my head, trying like anything to find a winner for THIS Thursday, especially it being Thanksgiving, it hit me that Groups could be eligible, too!!!!
I mean, look at Nazi Germany!!!!! Or Rwanda!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This week's winner may not be as lethal as the above, but when it comes to nastiness, they are hard to beat!!!! And perfectly appropriate for this Holiday!!!!!!
The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is....Black Friday Shoppers!!!!!
These are the slugs who crawl out of their trailer park holes, or Goat Alley dwellings, with no sense for fashion or decorum, and venture out--in the middle of the NIGHT, darlings!!!--to the nearest Walgreen's or strip mall, hair still in curlers, dressed in declasse PJ's--so they can be the first when the doors open, upon which they literally flood the store, stomping anyone who gets in their way (remember several years back, when a retail worker on Long Island, got trampled to death, in this melee???), so they can feel they have beaten everyone else to Christmas shopping, and Christmas shopping bargains!!!!!! When it comes to white trash, I am telling you, they have Tonya Harding beat!!! And have you ever noticed how so many of them are overweight and obese???? These are the types who should be barred from such places on this day, but God forbid retailers don't make any money; they would rather have a person stomped to death, than show a non-profit!!!!!
The answer to these cretins is to lock them in a fenced pen, hold the most valued Christmas item this year, toss it into the air, and then let them tear themselves to death in a fight to the finish over it!!!!!
When Erich Von Stroheim made his epic film, "Greed," back in the 20's, he was barely tipping the iceberg!!!!! He could not conceive of such bitches!!!! Well, honey, I can, because each year it gets press coverage, and each year it only gets worse!!!!!!
You wouldn't catch me near a store tomorrow!!!!! And I don't want to catch any of MY girls there, either!!!! I don't want you to wind up dead!!!!!!!
So, hats off to the Communal Bitch Of The Week..the Black Friday shoppers!!!!!
I bet these folk are exactly what Shirley Jackson had in mind, while she was writing "The Lottery"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy Shopping, Bitches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, girls, it is Thanksgiving, so a happy one to all!!!! Honey, I am thankful for so many things, from just being able to get out of bed, to Monsieur!!!! How many of my girls out there can/are going to do "Turkey Lurkey Time," the Michael Bennett dance number from "Promises, Promises"????? You know I am set to do the Donna McKechnie part, and stop the show, so let's all get in formation, now!!!!!
Back when I was a child, Channel 11 would always kick off the Holiday Season on this day, by running "Miracle On 34th Street." The scene that most impressed me was little Natalie Wood, sitting in her apartment window, overlooking Fifth Avenue, and having a live, front row view of the MACY's Thanksgiving Day Parade!!!! I knew THAT is what I wanted, darlings, and why Natalie, as the story went, wanted to live in some tract house on Levittown, Long Island, I could not understand!!!! It made me puke!!!! Gag me with a spoon!!! I'd as soon have a colonoscopy!!!!!!!!
But these are my Thanksgiving associations, girls, and I know you all have yours!!! Now, I am going to tell you to go easy on the meal, but at least wash it down with a couple of Bellinis!!!!! And some Grand Marinier for desert!!!!! As essential to the day as turkey!!! Don't let anyone fool you; those Pilgrims knew how to make Bellinis!!!!! It is just the whitewashed American history books do not record it!!!!!!
So, whether you are dining in, or out (as I am, dolls, what with Monsieur, my farther, sister and.....Monsieur's Uncle Ernest!!!!, and what an account THAT will be), the Raving Queen wishes you all a joyous Thanksgiving!!!! We made it to another one, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gobble, gobble, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
With Thanksgiving just one day away, and Black Friday, two, darlings, we are now at the time of year where everything speeds up, like a silent movie played at the wrong speed, till it all comes to a crashing, grinding halt on January 2!!!!!
I mean, just think! Right now, the Rockettes are performing at Radio City Music Hall, and, loves, you just know I would love to be up there, with them. But this is also the Season of the Nativity, and I am telling you, the Nativity in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular is SO stunning, I don't think the real thing could have been better staged. I recall seeing it years ago as child, and, I am telling you, when that angel dropped from above, hovering over the manger, and a soprano began to trill "O Holy Night," well, girls, I was SO verklempt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And in just two days, "The Nutcracker", which keeps the NYCB going all year, arrives at the State Theatre, complete with that giant tree, and Mother Ginger and Her Ponshinelles!!!!!! These are all signs of the Season, along with my favorite, the Christmas tree and Creche at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, which should be going up in the next week or so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, when I think back to what triggers and triggered Christmas thoughts at the earliest time of life, two things come to mind--the illustration of the candlelit Christmas tree in the edition of "My Book House" that featured the Nutcracker story, and the Little Golden Books edition I had for years of "The Night Before Christmas," whose illustrations put the Holiday in a perpetual stage of Victoriana, which led to my fantasies and interests in such, and still is my overall view of the holiday.
LOVE the picture of the huge canopied bed, a gowned-up-to-her-neck Mama, complete with kerchief, sleeping under the covers, and Daddy, in his night shirt and cap, waiting to get into bed. Just like me, loves!!!!!!! The antiquated toys from another era, the period decor and costumes, created an impression of the Holiday that has lasted me my entire life. If only I had kept that book; I would bring it out on Christmas Eve. Certainly, more sophisticated, darlings, than watching Mystery Science Theater's presentation of the K. Gordon Murray former 60's matinee classic, "Santa Claus," complete with the greatest Technicolor Expressionistic set design this side of Georges Melies, the little Mexican girl, Lupita(!!!!) and the most flamboyant Devil this side of Christopher Street!!!!!! Some things were just better in the old days, darlings!!!!!!!!!!
Nevertheless, the Time IS upon us, so whatever stirs your heart the most, cherish it, and cherish those around you with whom you can share it!!!!!!!!!!!
Season's Greetings, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Darlings, with Thanksgiving just two days away, and that dreaded Black Friday three, it may seem an odd time to confess the following, but things pop up where they may, with me!!!!! About Black Friday, let me ask--who are these people out there at 3am to get into a store, be it Neiman Marcus or Walgreen's???? You can be sure the crowds that do this each year tend more to the latter than the former, as they are all residents of whatever version of Goat Alley they crawl out from each year to do this. I would not be caught dead in either on this particular day, and thank God each year, especially on THIS day, I do NOT work in retail, and pray compassionately, for those who do. In fact, Black Friday marks the official day when I will NOT set foot in a store of any kind until January 2, when all the hoopla has died down. Which is funny what I am going to muse on, with this time so period so near!!!!!!!!!
But, girls, I have to be honest, I am the Raving Queen, have lived in New York City 28 years (as of December 1) and.......I have never been to Bergodorf Goodman's!!!!!!
I mean, I have never even walked through there!!!!!!!!! Let alone had my hair done in their salon, which, by next year will be corrected, I can tell you!!!!! Nor have I ever dined in their restaurant, which is SO unique, darlings, it is where the Ladies Who Lunch actually lunch, because you can actually get things like dishes made with truffles on the menu!!!!!!!!! So, you know, darlings, I just HAVE to be seen there, and ultimately WILL!!!!!!!!!!
I am told there used to be a spectacular Books Department on the top floor, and if that is still true, you know I will go and hang out there. Probably spot Joan Didion, leaning against some magazine rack, looking to see what masochist buys her latest work, because, let me tell you, a dose of Joan is about as cheering as a dose of Sylvia Plath!!!!! Not to minimize Joan's grief; it is amazing she lived through it all to be still here, even though, subsisting on a diet of alcohol and cigarettes (she wouldn't be the first to do this; hell, half the people in theater do, only they take other meds to keep them energetic!!!!), she looks like a corpse!!!!!!! Even worse than Joan Rivers!!!!!! But if there IS a book department, I would expect to see Didion there, after nursing down a Bellini from the restaurant/bar!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course, how do I squeeze this in to everything else I have to do??? This is a challenge to be met, darlings, even if it can be only met with a Bloody Mary or Bellini!!!! Maybe both!!!!!!!!!!!!
And Monsieur and I may need BOTH to get through Thanksgiving with my Father, my Sister, and.....Monsieur's Uncle Ernest!!!!!!!! Stay tuned here, lambs for a full report!!!!!!!!!!!!
And may your only Thanksgiving Parade be the one you watch in the comfort of your living room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, November 21, 2011
Darlings, Who Would Have Thought A Synagogue On A Sunday Night Would Be The Hottest Ticket In Town??????
Girls, I swear, I would not have believed it, if I had not witnessed it with my own eyes!!!!! For weeks now, Monsieur has been reminding me how I was EXPECTED to go to the Actors Temple Musical Benefit, which was held this year last night. Frankly, I was looking about as forward to this as a colonoscopy, because last year's was lacking in pace and drive, and seemed to drag on interminably, and the Comedy Benefit was so amateurish as to be truly embarrassing. Honey, in my time, I have seen plenty of theater, and certainly plenty of BAD theater, so I do not need to subject myself to any more, if I do not have to!!!!
So, all day yesterday, I was warning Monsieur, I might get a pain, a migraine, hot flashes--anything that would prevent me from attending this event I was dreading. By the time we got to West 47th Street, and were nearing the Temple, he was literally dragging me along, just to get me there. I said that only for his sake, and the prospect of seeing Dan and Norma (SO sweet, darlings, and they should do "Rain On The Roof," from "Follies"!!!!!) would get me there. As soon as we marched in, I made a beeline for the bathroom, because, having ingested a huge amount of coffee in order to stay awake during the performance, I needed to relieve myself fast!!!!! While there, I planned going up the stairs, and beating a hasty retreat out of the theater, but when I got to the top, Monsieur was craftily waiting, anticipating my every move! We settled down in our seats, and waited.
And, you know what, darlings?????????? The show turned out to be WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!
The host (or hostess, darlings!!!) for the evening, was also the show's producer, Randie Levine-Miller!!!! She looked fabulous in her power suit, and she has the most gorgeous hair and skin!!!! One wonders how she does it; being the Raving Queen, I cannot help wondering if that skin comes naturally or by what we all know as cosmetic enhancement, darling!!!!!!!!! However, Randie looked stunning!!!!
In true opening fashion, Lee Roy Reams stepped forward, and with a voice to show he is still a pro, delivered the perfect anthem--Irving Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show Business." Now, I have loved Lee Roy since back when he was starring at the Winter Garden with Wanda Richert (remember her, dolls??) in the first production of "42nd Street." Back then, he was also known as Lee Roy "Reamed," because the word out there was he LOVED to get...guess what, dears?????? In fact, I once heard this story, where was home and got this important phone call, from either Lauren Bacall or Angela Lansbury, but could not talk, as he was flat on his back, legs in the air, otherwise occupied. Not only that, being a professional hoofer, back in the day, Lee Roy had the best male dancer posterior, second only to Wayne Cilento!!!!! Now, Wayne has become a big time choreographer!!!!! So it was nice to see Lee Roy last eve, but oh, my God, girls!!!!!!!!! He has gotten heavy!!!! (Not that some of us haven't, including yours truly, but being a dancer, he could afford a trainer, a class, a gym, something!!!!!!!) I am telling you, I was shocked!!!!!! And, darlings, coming from a Raving Queen, what a Big OLD Queen!!!!!!! I had forgotten, until I watched Lee Roy last eve, that he had, at some point done Albin in "La Cage Aux Folles." I am sure he was perfect!!!!!!!! But Lee Roy was great last eve!!!!!!!!
The other treat was Jackie Hoffman, still plugging away as Grandma in "The Addams Family" (which I have no plans to see, besides; it is closing on January 2, and going on tour!!!). She was a scream, and her song about men was hilarious!!!!! She was also plugging her one-woman Holiday show, "A Chanukkah Carol," which I am sure is going to be a hoot!!!!!!!! Jackie was the best comedic thing up there, especially in comparison to Lisa Lampanelli, who was being hawked and hyped all night, but by the time she got up onstage, it was, like, "Huh?" She is funny and brassy, can sell a joke, but not worth the hype!!!!!!!!!
The surprise of the evening was Stephanie D'Abruzio, formerly of "Avenue Q", who delivered such a dead-on rendition of "Don't Rain On My Parade" that it caused ME to worry about my chances for being cast as Fanny Brice. When I heard Stephanie, my first thought was, "Where the hell is Bartlett Sher????? He should be seeing this!!!!" You can bet Stephanie put that Lauren Ambrose to shame, and I am glad someone stepped forward to show that there ARE those out there, who can play Fanny!!!!!!!!!!!
I have to confess I was all psyched for Jill O'Hara, a Legend Of The Musical Stage (not only was she in the Original Cast of the Michael Bennett "Promises, Promises," back in 1968, but when "HAIR" first opened to the world, on October 7, 1967, at the then new Public Theatre, Jill was the original Sheila!!!!!), but who has not been heard from in some time. It was great to see her; I know over the years, Jill had gotten VERY heavy; she still is, but has slimmed down from when I last saw her, and she occasionally teaches at HB Studios on Bank Street. She was still in great voice, though I have to say her rendition of "I Can Cook, Too" (from "On The Town") was not as spirited as it could be. Randie had said something about Jill being afflicted with bronchitis earlier in the week, so that may have had something to do with the rendition, and only doing one song. But it was great to see Jill!!!!!
And it was great seeing Brent Barrett, whom I am dying to see play Hannibal Lector in "Silence!", the musical based on "The Silence Of The Lambs!" Brent should have quit while he was ahead; he opened with a great rendition of "Come Back To Me' from "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" (which is pulling into the St. James Theatre, even as we speak, only don't start me on THAT now; I am sure I will be saving that for another post!!!!!!!), but finished with a song from the flop Leonard Bernstein-Alan Jay Lerner musical, "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," a show about the White House over the course of history. The song was about the house, and the hope it has offered down through the ages, which I understood was a lead-in to the Actor's Temple. The sentiment was lovely, but it was just NOT a good song!!!!! Brent's voice did the best with it, to be sure, but certainly another, better song, could have been found, to make the same point!!!!!!!!!!!!
But the pacing, the staging, were so polished this year, as compared to last. We were out of there by 9PM, which, considering the type of show it is, is what should happen!!!!!!! Kudos to Randie and everyone for providing an unexpectedly polished and entertaining evening. The only problem they are going to have is holding to the same standard, next year!!!!!!!!!!
Which is when they will need ME to do "I'm the Greatest Star!!!!!!!!!!"
It was a busy Sunday, darlings, so I had not turned on the TV all morning. Nevertheless, around 1PM, I decided to check if there was an "'SVU' Marathon" or anything, and discovered they were airing a very special episode, "Closure," which introduced the unforgettable character of Harper Anderson, played by Michael J. Fox's wife, Tracy Pollan, in an award winning, Emmy-nominated performance!!!!
How I wish, with the state the show is in, currently, that Harper would come back and work for SVU as a Victims Advocate, because, when it comes to taking care of oneself, honey, Harper shows us how!!!!
I love Harper for her beauty, sophistication, vulnerability, and toughness!!!! Just like me, darlings!!!!!!
Structurally, the episode is one of the best written, and the first half is done in a semi-documentary style. The time of night appears on each scene. The story opens, with the camera panning an obviously broken into apartment. It comes to an attractive young woman (Harper), robed and disheveled, smoking a cigarette, staring into space, shocked and frightened. A telephone is in her hand. She eventually picks it up, gets 911, and then says into the receiver words no one ever wants to say, "I've just been raped."
From here, the episode takes the viewer step by step through what procedure a rape victim has to undergo, in the wake of emotional trauma. Olivia arrives and begins questioning Harper, and her rape kit is assembled--DNA swab, vaginal smear, combing of pubic hair, and meds to prevent pregnancy, HIV and STD's. Not the way anyone wants to spend a Saturday evening. Elliot is there, too, but, honey, let me tell you, this is Olivia's call.
Harper is taken back to the precinct, where they get her story. She lives downtown, and a street fair was going on nearby, so she put in ear plugs to sleep. She awoke, and saw a man standing in her room. He told her to close her eyes, pulled her nightgown up over her head, splayed her apart with his knees, and did it. But he ejaculated onto her stomach. Harper says she was in shock, but could see her clock; the whole thing took about 42 minutes. She describes the assailant as tall, sandy haired, around her age, wearing expensive cologne. During the rape, he kept saying, repeatedly, "Is this how you like it????" When it was done, he kept her eyes closed, pointed what he said was a gun at her, and steered her to the shower, where he proceeded to wash her. He then tells her to count to 20 after he leaves, and not to call the police. The important thing here, darlings, is that Harper survived.
Olivia takes Harper to her boyfriend's place. Then Harper's apartment is searched. It is discovered she was smoking a joint, and Brian Cassidy (a hot YOUNG Dean Winter, in the days before he became the aged All State guy, and who has just had a one-night stand with Olivia!!!) hypothesizes that perhaps, while high, Harper imagined the rape. He finds evidence in her bathroom suggesting she might have staged the rape, which Olivia vetoes vehemently!!!! She and Elliot go to Harper's boyfriend, Ben, who says she was restless, could not sleep, and went to work, at Le Poeme, a restaurant where she waits tables.
While there, they question Harper about the joint. She says she needed to mellow out, because of a job interview, acerbically adding that NOTHING happening the night before was part of her routine. Now, they, and we, know how spirited Harper is; I love how bitingly Tracy Pollan delivers her lines, here!!!! Go, Harper!!!!
A family heirloom ring was taken from Harper that night, which she described, and her wallet, too. The latter turns up near her apartment, cash intact, but a credit card missing, and discovered having been used!!!! They find the thief, a low life, and try to pin Harper's rape on him!!!! He says her has done some things in his time, but he never raped anybody!!!!! They are stymied; they thought they had a perp, now they have nothing!!!!! And Harper is becoming frustrated; she has said she could identify him in a lineup, shows up at the precinct believing they collared the man, angry that they had to let him go. She is frightened; as she says, "Then he's still out there!"
We jump ahead six months. Olivia is going out on a date, and Cassidy is still nursing wounds over his thwarted affair with her. Suddenly, Captain Cragen calls her into the office, where it is revealed another victim has been attacked; a woman, named Jane Tyler. Same motive, same approach, right down to the words, "Is this how you like it?" Olivia is sure it is Harper's guy, but when she goes and talks to Jane, she discovers that, while Jane was raped, she was too scared to report it.
That leaves Harper, but she cannot be found. Her building super said she moved out soon after the incident, with no forwarding address. Her boyfriend, Ben, says they broke up a few months ago. She could not sleep, was becoming hyper vigilant, lost her job...and finally left. But he does provide them with an address, where they find a newly coiffed, hostile Harper, who orders them not to come there again!!!
But Jane's attack leads them to a potential new perp, a wealthy tax accountant named Kenneth Cleary. Not only does he fit the description Harper gave, he is as slick and sleazy as can be!!!! I love the scene where the Clearys come to the door--the sweet, clueless wife, and Kenneth holding his son in his arms!!!! Oh, brother!!!! Darlings, this is NOT "Father Knows Best!!!!"
What clinches Cleary is that Olivia notices his wife is wearing Harper's ring!!!!! They drag him in, and he gives them one song-and-dance story after another!!!! Finally, Olivia and Cassidy go to Harper's again. This scene is classic!!!
Harper lets them in, but she is just as hostile as before. Olivia says it is obvious she is not over this, but Harper asserts she is. That she did the counseling, the Yoga, the haircut, the candle lighting, and she is fine. But you can see she is NOT. Then, to make matters worse, while Harper is out of the room, Cassidy, talking to Olivia, refers to the perp as the guy who "did her." This is classic Harper, darlings, and why I love her!!! Hearing that, she confronts Cassidy--
"DID me???? DID me???? He RAPED me, you ass!!!!" Go, Harper!!! Just what I would have said.
Recognizing Harper's vulnerability, Olivia delivers a great speech about closure being a myth, how everyone changes a little each day, and nothing is EVER the same. It gets to Harper, and she agrees to come with them, and identify her attacker in a lineup!!!!
The group of men, Cleary included, are led into the room, and asked to say the words, "Is this how you like it?" They all do, with the camera focusing on Cleary. But Harper, with certainty, says he isn't there. Olivia, with a bluff face, says she has something to show her.
Another classic scene, darlings!!!! As they go to Olivia's desk, Harper says she is glad he wasn't there, that she was afraid of seeing him. Olivia takes something out of an envelope, and gives it to Harper. It is her family heirloom ring. Harper's armor cracks. She realizes the perp WAS in the room. She says she always thought she would recognize the man who did this to her. She thanks Olivia for the ring, then tearfully delivers the following-- "My mother died a long, slow death. And after that, I thought nothing bad could ever happen to me anymore." She embraces Olivia, sobbing, Olivia holds her, (you know I am sobbing, too, darlings!!!) and the scene and episode ends on a blackout!!!!
Wow!!!! What a script, and what performances, especially Tracy Pollan as Harper!!! She is brilliant in the role, deserved every accolade for it, and serves as an inspiration to all of us.
I have the Harper episodes on DVD, (She comes back to the show, in an episode called "Closure, Part 2," which I will report on another time!!!!) and let me tell you, over time, Harper's inspirational story has gotten me through some rough times. In fact, something quasi-Harper just happened to me the other night.
It was this past Friday, which just happened to have been my birthday. Monsieur and I were walking back to his place, along Bleecker Street, just past the record shop, coming to Christopher. Two guys were walking in our direction, and as they approached, I could see that one of them particularly, had a very hostile look on his face. Monsieur clearly said to me, "I hope nothing is going to happen to us," and as soon as he said that my left hand went to the keys in my pocket. We got real close to the guys, when they, to our relief, sidestepped us, and continued on their way, as we did ours. We were tremendously relieved, but, I am telling you, darling, if, at that moment of passing, there had been so much as a hand movement, I would have taken the keys out, and, in true Harper fashion, gouged, scratched, bit--whatever it would take to defend us from an attack. Which goes to show how even in
places where one feels safe, the unexpected lurks. Fortunately nothing happened to us. And I thank God for that!!!!!
Just like I thank the airing of the Harper episode yesterday, and thank Tracy Pollan for her brilliant, memorable performance. If you have not seen it, girls, you must!!!! Harper takes action, and shows us all how to do it!!!!!
May you all be spared her experience, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
It just goes to show girls, that even a jaded, aged, ex-Jerseyite like me, can still learn things about my Home State. Last night, Monsieur and I, with my friend Tom, joined by Joe and Mike, met for a joint birthday dinner at Tops Diner, which was quite an experience. The building does stand out for miles, but if you try and Google it, its location becomes confusing. It is listed, respectively, as being in either East Newark, Harrison, or Kearney. Good thing I was not driving or navigating, otherwise we never would have found it!!!!!
Back in 1996, author Peter Genovese did a picture/text book, called "Jersey Diners." Supposedly, the Garden State has more diners than any other, and some are quite famous for their design and decor. Others are famous for other things, like the Blairstown Diner, which appeared in the original "Friday, The 13th," and which, of course, I have been to.
While busing out to Joe's, riding along Route #3, I have always been struck by the sight of the Tick-Tock-Diner!!!!! And you all know how, for nearly 20 years now, I have simply ADORED the Nevada Diner, in Bloomfield!!!!!
But, for sheer, grandiosity, decor, and Jersey crowd, you cannot beat the Tops. I mean, darlings, we had to wait 20 minutes for a table!!!!! At a diner????? It got to the point where I was thinking of telling them we knew Meryl Streep; maybe that would count for something!!!! And I would just bet Meryl has dined here; albeit incognito!!!!!
The size of the parking lot is staggering!!!! The route from our table to the bathroom was at least an entire street block!!!! The mobs of people waiting to get in suggested this is THE area hot spot!!!!!!
As for the food? Well, the menu was so overwhelming it was hard to make a decision. But we did--Monsieur went for Eggplant Parmesan, Mike had a Cheeseburger Platter, Joe had the Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli (pretty creative, for a diner!!), Tom had Barbecued Chicken Breasts, with the largest bowl of Creamed Spinach I have ever seen, girls!!!! A regular laxative, darlings!!!! As for me, I had something called the Mulberry Street Baked Ziti, which consisted of pasta, cheese, sauce, crumbled meatballs, and sausage bits, and, honey, it was good!!! Add to this, all I had eaten that day up till now was a bowl of oatmeal, so I was ravenous!!!! And the salad was fresh, and the loaf of bread, which we sliced, was warm!!!!!
Only because it was my birthday (and Tom's) did I gorge on desert after such a meal!!!! I opted for the Bananas Foster (can you believe that??? on a DINER's menu??? in New Jersey), which was as good as anything in NOLA!!!! You could go there just for this and coffee and come out full!!!! Tom had a scrumptious Red Velvet Cheesecake, which, on him, darlings, did not show; Joe, true to his roots, had Tiramisu, which looked scrumptious, and Monsieur had a luscious Banana Cream Pie, which I sampled, and found perfection!!! Oh, and plenty of coffee, girls!!!!!
You have GOT to go to the Tops Diner, loves; it is an ultimate Jersey experience. My only question is, where was the Bottoms???? No, girls, I am not talking about men!!!! Here is what I mean!!!!!!
Back in the Golden Days of my childhood, when my parents and I would dine at Snuffy's Steakhouse in Scotch Plains, there was an auxiliary establishment right across the street called Snuffy's Jr!!!! It was a small place, child friendly, that offered burgers and such. So families that wanted a quick meal, or whose children were not ready for a full-fledged restaurant experience, could partake of Snuffy's fare. And, of course, it was cheaper!!!!!
So, I think Tops should have an auxiliary place, too, called , what else?, Bottoms!!!! They are doing so well that, in time, I think they will have to!!!!!!
I am telling you, NOTHING beats a Scenic Saturday Night In Northern New Jersey!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, among other things I did the other day, on my birthday, I finished the Melville epic, "Moby-Dick." Technically speaking, it was my THIRD reading (I had to read it for a college course in American Literature), but the SECOND one on my own!!!
I had read it within the last 5-10 years, and never expected to pick it up again. It is indisputably a great work, one of the GREAT (if not the GREATEST) novels in American literature, but it is not something I would be instinctively drawn to, like, say, "Middlemarch" or "Wuthering Heights." But this year happened to be the 160th Anniversary of its publication, and with that came Nathaniel Philbrick's "Why Read 'Moby-Dick'"?, which I have not read yet, but will. He is also the author of "In The Heart Of The Sea," which chronicles the actual incident Melville based "Moby-Dick" on. I have to read that one, too, darlings. Only, not just right now, because after twelve days with this book, my nautical cup runneth over!!!!
Then came Chad Harbach's much heralded first novel, highly recommended by me, darlings, entitled "The Art Of Fielding," which references Melville and his masterwork throughout. It was really reading this that decided me it was time to give "Moby-Dick" another look. And the discoveries were interesting.
It is a difficult book, and it takes work to read, because, despite its surface story, which even those who have not read it know, it is not about driving narrative. It is about language and its uses, and is a meditation on the forces of human nature that shapes this group of whaling men, and in turn the American psyche. Yes, at times it is so bogged down in its own details, that it seems like you are reading a textbook. The tendency of most people is to skip over these parts, but don't; just read them, and let the words wash over you. Even if you are not especially proficient in literature, you will be surprised how much you pick up, along the way. And it does inform the rest of it, especially when you get to the apocryphal battle between the maniacal Captain Ahab, and his White Whale adversary.
Thank God for Chad Harbach, I say! Without his book, it is very unlikely I would have picked up "Moby-Dick" again. And, honey, don't let anyone kid you, there is no mistaking the touching, emotional attachment that develops between Ishmael, the narrator, and the so-called cannibal, Queequegg!!!! They may not get it on, but theirs is a real and abiding love that humanizes an otherwise obsessive and demoniacal work!!!!!
The rewards of reading "Moby-Dick" outweigh its difficulties. Whether you read it straight through in twelve days, as I did, or take it in sips over the course of several months to a year, once you are done, you will have a sense of accomplishment, and insight into how American values lasting into the present were formed and honed.
"Moby-Dick" is a reading experience, unlike few others. It may exhaust you, it may deplete you. But it will challenge and stimulate. And yes, as the jokesters say, it is a "whale of a book!!!!"
Now, girls, I am not telling you to cancel hair appointments over this. And I am quite aware some of you may have to go into the attic, and get out your thumbed copies of the "How To Prepare For The AP English Exam" book, to get through the novel. But I am telling you, darlings, whatever tack you take with this book, it is well worth it!!!!!
Thar she blows, loves!!!!!!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Girls, the rest of my natal day went, as expected; a visit to Three Lives Bookstore, where I got two for the price of one--the last two literary events mentioned awhile back--"The Night Circus" by Erin Morganstern, and "The Grief Of Others," by Leah Hager Cohen. And I DID finish "Moby-Dick yesterday, which I will do a separate report on, for my darlings!!!!!!
But last night we dined at one of my favorite places, "One If By Land, Two If By Sea." It is still a romantic spot, the best restaurant in the Village, and the cuisine was superb, but something seemed very off kilter. I don't know if new management has taken over, or what, but something was just a tad amiss.
Now, let me first say, Monsieur and I had, as usual, a superb meal there!!!!
But the menu seemed, now, somehow more Pan Asian, rather than strictly American, from when I was there last!!!! And there seemed more an emphasis with fish on the menu than I had been accustomed to on previous visits.
Nevertheless, we plunged right in. Monsieur had the beef tartar, which looked delicious, and came with the most adorable little brioche!!!! I had the Maine Black Bass, in a glazed sauce, with fruit and vegetables. Not something I would go out of my way for, but it was flavorful!!!!! For the second course (we both had the Prix Fixe Menu, which is four courses!!!!) we switched--Monsieur had a fish dish--Maine scallops in a cauliflower puree, and I the meat--Duck Confit Cannelloni mixed with assorted fruits and veggies in a savory brown sauce. But this was nothing, compared to the Main Course. I had a Braised Short Rib, with sticky rice, in a Korean glaze, with local radishes!!!! Girls, I am telling you, the Korean glaze was SO unexpectedly spicy, my eyes popped on the first taste. My taste buds very soon adjusted themselves, and the meal was delicious, the meat fork tender!!!! Monsieur went a more traditional route, having the Grass Fed Lamb sample, with crispy Brussels sprouts, an argo Dulce, and a vanilla bourbon salsify!!! It looked luscious, which he said it was!!!!
This was capped off by desert. Being my birthday, I opted for a 'Smores Souffle, in creamy chocolate marshmallow sauce, which took 15 minutes to prepare, but was heavenly. And it was served with a candle, the Happy Birthday song, (how lovely!!!) a lit candle, and the words "Happy Birthday," written in chocolate on my plate!!!!! Monsieur opted for more traditional fare, a three flavored plate of ice cream--vanilla, caramel, and the unusual sassafras. He seemed pleased.
Lastly, I had coffee, and we were served some light, luscious petit fores!!!!! Maybe because of all the chocolate in the souffle, I found the lemon meringue one the best!!!!!
It was a perfectly romantic, birthday evening!!!!! And yet... I couldn't help feeling that something was amiss at this favored spot.
The atmosphere is still indisputably Romantic!!!! I was SO surprised, as we went in, to see a "Grade Pending" note on the window!!!! Darlings, this has always been a high end, A-list place, which made the notice even more troublesome!!!!
Next, we discovered the Reservation Desk, which had always been towards the back, by the bar, near the stairs, had been moved right up front. In this time of year, and with what is ahead, those workers are going to be pretty cold!!!! Next, the service seemed off; our waiter, Daniel, was cute as a button, but a bit flustered. Maybe he knew he was serving the Raving Queen, so he was a bit intimidated. Nevertheless, both he and our Entree server, reversed our selections when serving, and, after the Second Course, Daniel comes at us with the Desert Menu, thinking we had finished, already!!!!! Were we being given the bum's rush, darlings???? Guess Daniel was hired for reasons other than waiter skills; I fully understand, darlings, but at a venue like this, you expect impeccable service.
And something else. The place was dimly lit, candles aglow, but the downstairs windows were minus curtains of any kind. It didn't hurt the atmosphere, but it did make it less warm and enclosing. I seem to remember red curtains on them, unless they take them off for the winter months.
Is One If By Land, Two If By Sea under New Management???? Also, the pleasant older woman who always greeted is is gone; hope she is OK, and wasn't booted out of there. The changes were just noticeable enough to say I honestly did not like them--I want tradition and continuity!!!--but not enough to ruin the evening!!!! But if more things continue to be implemented, this nearly 40 year old romantic spot might cease to be no more, and that would be sad, indeed!!!!
So, One If...this is the Raving Queen SAYING--get rid of these frou frou Pan Asian cuisine changes; go back to traditional American!!!! Let us see some curtains on the windows!!!!! And move the Reservation workers back to their original spot, so they do not freeze!!!!
Because, if you don't darlings....well, just ask the staff and management of the NOW former Paris Commune!!!!!!!!
Friday, November 18, 2011
Darlings, I am telling you, when I first heard they were reviving "Godspell" this season on Broadway, I was psyched for a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane!!! Back in the 1970s, when it was new, it seemed like every theater group out there--high school, college, and community--was doing this show. My college, Seton Hall, did a production of it, back in the Summer of 1976, which I still recall fondly, and can still summon up memories of that cast. A fellow named Chris Parker (who really wasn't big in theater there) doing a perfect Jesus, Superman T-shirt and all; Bill Yates (of the Jersey theatrical family) and his booming voice, which stood out in any ensemble number; Letty Fores (Seton Hall's answer to Alexis Smith) blowing me away with her rendition of "Bless The Lord;" and our school's designated Musical Theater Star, Audrey Witko (a nursing student, but with talent beyond the ER!!!!) who movingly rendered the beautiful and haunting "By My Side!" It is like that production is videotaped inside my head!!!!!
There was a revival, either in the late 70s, or early 80s, on Broadway, at the Broadhurst. I saw it, and while it sounded wonderful, it was limited by the strictly proscenium staging. But the big treat was seeing and hearing Robin Lamont, one of the Original Cast Performers, render what is still the show's most recognizable song,"Day By Day." When it came to score, "Godspell" had "Jesus Christ Superstar" beat by miles; the latter really only has "I Don't Know How To Love Him," whereas this is an evergreen assortment. Not surprising, since the composer was a then young Stephen Schwartz; and look what he has gone on to do!!!!!
So, honey, I was primed for this "Godpell," which was put in the perfect venue, Circle In The Square, with arena staging that allows the actors to run through the theater and the audience. This is as perfect a venue for "Godspell" as it is NOT perfect for "The Miracle Worker," which was staged there, about two years ago!!!!!
But, then, the HORROR of that New York Magazine review, which, basically said this production has been revamped and reconstituted towards the "Glee" and "Spring Awakening" crowd. "Glee" I can handle, but spare me "Spring Awakening", please!!!!!
According to the above, some numbers have been reworked. "Save The People," one of my favorites, (and a song I would occasionally use at auditions) has been given a reggae beat!!!!!! Say what?????????????? Add to that, the big Gospel type number "We Beseech Thee!" is reimagined as a country and Western number (maybe they should have brought back Mary Kay Place, as Loretta Haggers!!!!)--and it--get this--is
performed on trampoline!!!!!
The review also states that "Bless The Lord" (ALWAYS a guaranteed show stopper!!!) is the first number to bring down the house!!!! What about "Day By Day"??? It is still the show's most recognizable tune!!!!
To paraphrase Edward G. Robinson, "Mother of Mercy; is this the end of 'Godspell'"???? And you know who made these changes???? Stephen Schwartz, himself!!!! Hey, Steve, isn't "Wicked" and your Disney work bringing in enough bucks????? Why do you have to sell out your genuinely artistic achievement?????
I wonder, even with all this, if the "Spring Awakening" crowed will come to "Godspell"? A musical about Jesus????? If the actors onstage don't Tweet or Twitter, I don't know how this demographic will handle it. Which tells me, and is my way of saying, "Godspell" should have been kept the way it was, for those of us who remember it in its purest form!!!! We were the ones who made it a hit, and we are the ones who would want to see it. But not when it has been monkeyed around with!!!
The answer is simple. Inspired by Margaret Hamilton in "The Wizard Of Oz," I am going to "send a little insect on ahead, to take the fight out of them!" Maybe then, the actors will go back to performing it the way it SHOULD be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, Bless The Lord, my soul, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!