Monday, December 31, 2012

And So, As We Sail Out Of 2012......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    The image above, darlings, represents the short story, "The Wastwych Secret," by Constance Savery, which appeared in my childhood anthology, "Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful."  The moment I re-discovered it on line, I knew I wanted it to be my end of the year image!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       To begin, I close with a grand total of 739 postings.  Sorry I could not make it an even 740, but that is creative muse, for you.!!!!!!!!!  And I am up, by 124, from last year's grand total of 615!!!!!!!!!!!  Which means I have an bigger goal to shoot for in 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         But back to the short story. It was always one of my favorites, and is a Gothic story, which seems supernatural, but actually turns out not to be.

                                           On a Victorian estate in England, called Marigolds, live three children--
Estelle, (who narrates the story), her sister, Nonnie, and their brother, Tawny.  They are being raised
by their Grandmama and Grandpapa Wastwych, as their parents are in Africa, doing missionary work.  One afternoon, they have a play date with the girl, pictured above, named Jessica Fairlie!  I can still recall Estelle's words about her--"Jessica was neat and ladylike, with delicate features, and pale gold ringlets.  We feared her, at first, and, by the time  tea was over, we knew she was,  indeed,  a person to be respected.  She attended a school for young ladies, she was fond of needlework, she thought all games rough, and most boys objectionable.  She was trusted to pay long visits, all by herself, without a nurse.  In fact, our possession of a gay and gracious grandmama was the only point in our favor; in all else, we were hopelessly inferior to our visitor."

                                           This description, and the picture above, reminds me of someone from my past--and not anyone whom you have heard about, like Diane or  Roberta.

                                              I am talking about Lois Jackson.

                                               Lois was tall and angular, like Jessica. In temperament, she was more like Chris Hargensen, in Stephen King's "Carrie."  But, in her own way, so too does Jessica turn out to be, as the Wastwych children find out.

                                                To entertain her, they try to show Jessica how talented their grandmama is.
They first show her a superbly crafted sampler, done by Grandmama at the age of six, with the following words on it--"Worked by me, Jane Caroline. In the year Eighteen Hundred And Nine.  They show her some hand crafted items, from things like, I think, feathers, that their grandmama made, as well as jams made from sloes, elderberries and crab apples.  There is also parsley jelly, some of which they give, to Jessica, on a piece of bread.  She shudders, and puts it down in haste.  Then Jessica asks to see their grandmama.  They observe her, out in the garden, from a window overhead.  The older woman is sweeping leaves with a broom, wearing a black cloak, with a peaked hood.  Jessica's eyes grow large, and she counters that she is going home, at once.

                                                 The children are puzzled, but, while out for a walk the next day, they run into Jessica, with her governess. Tawny asks why she left so quickly, and Jessica, with certainty, replies it was because of their grandmama.  She tells them, "Your grandmama is a witch, and I do not like witches."
She then cites the reasons--the attire in the yard, the hand crafts, the "witchy" jams.  And she says herself she knows all abut witches, because there used to be one in her village, and because her father has a large book on witchcraft in his study, which she, obviously, has perused!!!!!!!!!!  But she really gets to them when she cites the family name, which she pronounces "was-a witch."  When the children counter it is pronounced "was-tuh-witch," Jessica replies, "Then, that is even worse. Because Wastwych must mean "was-the-witch," as if she were a particularly dreadful kind, who was more important than the rest."  Butter just flows from this kid's mouth, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                    The rest of the story concerns the children's efforts to prove, or disprove, Jessica's accusations.  Their suspicions increase when they notice that, on evenings, shortly after seven PM, Grandmama disappears.  One night they watch her, and see her going out the gate, carrying a basket, a broom, dressed in her black cloak and peaked hood, venturing out onto the marshes, which is forbidden to the children, seeming, as they put it, "to glide over them."

                                                      Estelle and Nonnie are convinced they are living with a witch.  But not Tawny. .  On Grandmama;'s next trip out, Tawny literally tails her.  When Grandpapa discovers Tawny not only missing from home, but missing his Latin lesson, he questions the two girls, who blurt out "He has gone to find out whether or not Grandmama is a witch."  The old man screams at them, asking where they got such an idea, and they tell him about Jessica.  He is livid!!!!!!!!  But, when they tell him Tawny has followed Grandmama out onto the marshes, his anger turns to fear.  "Tawny????  On the marshes at night?  He will be sucked under and drowned."

                                                       And, forgetting his age, the old man runs out the house, in pursuit, as Estelle says, "like a young man."  When he gets just outside the gate, he finds a marsh soaked Tawny, who very nearly did suffer his  prescribed fate.  And, slowly, the truth comes out.

                                                         Grandmama is not a witch.  She was venturing out each night to a cottage on the marshes, inhabited by a man hiding out there, named Humphrey.  Who turns out be Grandmama  and Grandpapa Wastwych's son, who, for reasons not given, the father put estrangement between he and the family.  But, with the safety of Tawny, the mystery solved, the old man forgives his son, who is the children's uncle, and henceforth comes to live with then.  When Nonnie asks if she can go to Jessica's house, and tell the truth, the old man tells her to go to bed, saying, "I will tell Miss Jessica myself." And Estelle adds, "His face wore a most peculiar expression."

                                                           I think Jessica got told off, but good, because she was never seen by them again, and things were expected to be kept a secret.  Nevertheless,things leaked out, because,  as Estelle ends, "Once we had the supreme mortification of hearing the Misses Forrests say to their new governess, 'Look, there are the silly children, who thought that their Grandmama Wastwych was a witch.'"

                                                          And so, like a Good Witch, darlings, I get onto my broom, and sail off, bringing this chapter, and 2012,  to a close!!!!!!!!  But stick around, girls, because 2013 is literally around the corner, and a new chapter has yet to unfold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                            It starts tomorrow!  Happy New Year To All!!!!!!!!!!!!


Before I Wrap This Up, Darlings, A Word From Victor Hugo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             "Will the future ever arrive?  Should we continue to look upwards? Is
                             the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be
                             extinguished?  The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the
                             depths, small, isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threatened on all
                             sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more
                             in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds."
                                                           ---VICTOR HUGO                                          

Meanwhile, At The Movies..................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               What domesticity has reduced me to, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!  Not that I am complaining; girls, take it from me, I am ready to become a housewife!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 However, when it comes to lists, my Moviegoing one reached an all-time low!

                                 In 2012, I went to the movies--are you ready????--only 8 times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 I know what some of you must be thinking--this is unheard of!  And you would be right!

                                 But, remember, I am not single anymore!!!!!!!!  And, let me tell you girls, when single you DO get out more, not only in the hope (however unconscious) of meeting someone, but to get out there and distract yourself from, well,.....being single!  At least that is the way it was with me!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Not that, during that time, I went to things I did not WANT to!!!!!!!! Au contraire, my dears; I am not that shallow!!!!!!!!!

                                   But, I have to say, with domesticity, a lower quality product, and my stamina, which has changed in time with age, I am simply not going to  the movies as much anymore, first, because there is often not much out there I want to see, (interesting that many movies gone to this year were revivals of classics I have seen before!!!!) and, second, I just don't have the emotional strength for stuff I know I should see!   Like "Zero Dark Thirty."  I know I SHOULD see it, but I just don't have the stamina for it, I had in my youth!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    I mean, look how "Les Miserables" wiped me out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Which brings me back to it.  Because of my limited screen exposure this year, I cannot say if it is the Movie Of The Year, but I can tell you, in all honesty it IS the Movie Event Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      Speaking of stamina, and "Les Mis," back in 1987, when it opened on Broadway, and I knew it would run for a long time, I had the idea, just as I did do with "A Chorus Line," that I would see it multiple times, wanting to see every actress who played the  role of Fantine!!!!!!!!!!

                                        As it turned out, I saw only two--Randy Graff (the original), and Melba Moore (years later, when, by this time, the show had  moved from the Broadway to the Imperial Theatre, where it remained till closing in 2003.  Melba was wonderful, and, having been through some Fantine-like travails herself, I wanted to see how she would put it all to use in the role!  She was fabulous!  And she still had that voice!!!!!!), because, as the years wore on, my stamina lessened, and so did my pocketbook, as ticket prices soared higher and higher.  Meaning, even if I had the stamina to carry this out, as I might have, had this show opened when I was in my twenties,  I could no longer afford to!!!!!!!!!!

                                      So, when word began leaking out, around May (again, that emotionally fraught month!!!!!!!!!!!) that the film version would open in December, there was much for us to anticipate.  No matter how you stood or felt on the issue, or the outcome, this stood to be the Movie Event Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Which it is, and, as I also reported, a satisfying one!  With ticket prices here cheaper than stage, if younger, I might have seen this multiple times.  But, having been so wiped out by my recent viewing, I am not sure, if I can handle a return visit!!!!!!!!!!  At least, not right away!!!!!!!

                                          But make sure you all get to  it, my girls!!!!!!!  Allons-ons, mes petit enfants!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And What Of "Life Upon The Wicked Stage," Darlings?????????????

                              We saw a wonderful production of "A Chorus Line," out at Paper Mill Playhouse, girls!!!!!!!!  But I really cannot recall any singular production I could pinpoint as the Theatrical Event Of The Year!  Not like last year, with "Follies!"

                                Many of us looked anxiously to the Delacorte "Into The Woods" as being that event!  But look what happened there!  And, to paraphrase, the acrimonious Julia Phillips, the creators thereof will never eat lunch in this town again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   When I look back on theater during 2012, the highlight of it all boils down to two people.

                                     Jessie Mueller and David Turner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Both, as I said, were responsible for lifting the Harry Connick (but forget HIM, honeys) billed revival of "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" out of the mire it was stuck in.  Both Jessie and David were such presences that, each time they appeared, I found myself asking, in highest complimentary fashion, "Who the hell is this?", they were so good.  And David's rendering of the classic "What Did I Have" was fresh, and the only one I've ever heard  that moved me to tears!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Jessie consolidated her status by making "Into The Woods" the theatrical event is SHOULD have been--whenever she was on stage!!!!!!  And right now, she is giving a brilliant performance
as Helena Landless in the Roundabout's "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood."  Backed by a flawless production and company!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      I will say this again--as the curtain went down on 'Clear Day,'  and I watched Jessie and David, hands held, walking off stage together, I saw the two REAL stars of that show exiting the stage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       So, no production dominated my memory in 2012, but Miss Mueller and Mr. Turner did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          I can't wait to be on hand to see what both do in 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Something Too Serious NOT To Be Forgotten!!!!!!!!!!!

                                May was certainly an emotionally fraught month, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!  Just two days before I would move out of Woodside, sentencing was handed down on Dharun Ravi, cyberbullyer of Tyler Clementi.  You would think this would have finally put things to rest.  But the outcome actually will keep this debate, and Tyler's memory, going for years.

                                   On the one hand, Judge Glenn Berman harshly chastised the arrogant Ravi, so arrogant, he refused to stand while being sentenced!!!!!!!!  Can you believe that???????

                                    "I have heard this jury say 'Guilty' 288 times--12 jurors, 24 counts, that is the multiplication.  And I have not heard you apologize once!!!!!!!!!"

                                     But THEN he sentenced Ravi to--get this--a mere 30 days in jail!!!!!!!!

                                     True, Ravi  is on probation for three years, has to perform community service. and pay $10,000 in increments of $300 a  month towards bullying related factors.  Which is fine enough. But the brevity of the sentencing stunned everyone; even, I am sure, Ravi himself!!!!!!!!!

                                      As Steven Goldstein, chairman of the Jersey gay rights organization, Garden State Equality, said--"Dharun Ravi got one-third the jail time that some shoplifters in our state get. Stunning!"

                                      James Clementi, Tyler's extremely articulate gay brother, said, "The  minute a computer paired my brother and Dharun Ravi to live together, his fate was sealed."  He is right.

                                      Ravi's father said Dharun was not raised to hate gays.  Which, you know, may actually be true!  But, since when do children do everything they were raised to????????  If you want to accept the father's statement at face value, then Dharun certainly had other thoughts of his own, which countered and deviated from however he had been raised!  Which speaks of a personality easily mallable and corroded by the twisted demands of mainstream cultural conformity.

                                       Jane Clementi, with brevity, said with the 30 day sentencing, Judge Berman was sending the wrong message.  I agree, because, now, does this mean, for future cyber, or other bullies--"It's OK, all I will get is a slap on the wrist?"  It certainly seems that way.

                                       On the other hand, whether he meant to or not, the controversial sentencing handed down by Berman, insured that this case, these issues, will not be put to rest, but will be debated for years to come!

                                           Which is not an altogether bad thing. But not at the expense of justice for Tyler Clementi and his family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Time To Lighten Things Up Here, Girls!!!!!! So, Let's Start With Book Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          According to my Book List for 2012, I clocked out at 56 readings!  Which was actually down from the 58 in 2011; I am telling you, if the R train had not gone down, as a result of Hurricane Sandy, I think I would have at least made it to 60!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           But, when I read "Beautiful Ruins," by Jess Walter, I knew I had found the Book Of The Year.  For a change, the book measures up to the beauty of the cover.

                                            A novel that seamlessly weaves the interconnected lives of a little boy, whose family runs an island pensione, with an actress appearing in a bit role in what would be the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor "Cleopatra," and that uses real life Taylor and Richard Burton for fictitious purposes, is almost too hard to believe.  And yet, it is, because Walter, with a gorgeous prose style, melds all threads seamlessly.
When I reached the end, I felt such a sense of narrative satisfaction.  And I knew, then, I had found the Book Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Also noteworthy, as I said on my original post awhile back, this was the first book I read on Kindle! But, I am telling you, no matter how you read it, it bears reading.  This is no cheesy paean to Hollywood, but a meditation on cultural history and the universal fascination, if not obsession with Fame.  And how it elevates, brings down, and is fleeting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              I have not seen this on many Ten Best Lists, but, girls, honestly, whom will you believe--those Out There, or yours truly????  This IS the Book Of The Year, and I stand by it proudly!!!!!!!!

                                              Who would have thought?????????????????



Just When I Thought The Prize Was Snagged......!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        This has been an interesting and unsettling year for the Bitch Of The Week Column, which celebrated its Second Birthday this year, on March 18.  When the Colorado shootings at the 'Batman' movie happened on July 20, and the entire country was introduced to Mr. James Holmes, not only was h e automatically Bitch Of That Week, I was firmly convinced I had found my Bitch Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!   What other horror could top this?, I thought.

                                          I should have listened to Dorothy Parker.  Her famous quote, "What fresh Hell is this?" was brought to mind on December 14, when I  learned of Adam Lanza and his shooting rampage at the  Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                            Suddenly, it was like--who is James Holmes????????  He automatically was relegated to second place!  Not, for the sake of the people of Aurora, Colorado and  those most directly effected by Holmes' evil, to minimize their tragedy, but going after one's mother, and then--THEN!!!!--gunning down twenty innocent first graders and six caring adults--kind of trumps Holmes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                            I mean, he was bad enough, but Adam Lanza was worse!  When I first heard about this horror, I thought of an earlier tragedy in Dunblane, Scotland, which also involved the gunning down of innocent school children.  But the body count here was much higher!  Including the shooter, who, in killing his mother, and finally himself, killed pretty much any chances of getting some firmly conclusive insight into what triggered it all, though therapists and behaviorists will be pondering this for months to come!!!!!!!!

                                             So, sad to report, Adam Lanza wins the Raving Queen's 2012 Bitch Of The Year Award!!!!!!!!  And I just bet if that sick thing, Holmes, were reading this, he would be fuming with rage, the egocentric bastard, over the idea that someone actually upstaged him!!!!!!!  I never expected anyone would!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                               Sadly, someone did, with the people and families of Newtown suffering something they certainly did not deserve, nor see coming, for years to come.  My thoughts and prayers go out to them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                               And, Adam, you bitch, had you survived, let  me tell you something, sweetheart--mental illness or not, you would have FRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

An Equally Important Event, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Actually, even more important, for those who were effected by it, as pictured above, was Hurricane Sandy.  Which hit this area the evening of October 28, which I shall always remember--because it was the afternoon of our housewarming!!!!!  I still remember everyone having to leave early--folks were gone by 5:30!!!!!--because the entire subway system was about to shut down!

                               I missed an entire week of work because of it all, but the situation was so aggravating, I could not just relax and enjoy it.  And on one day--Thursday, I think--we had to make an emergency run into the city for my meds, which was a Trip From Hell that took us two-and-a-half hours by bus!!!!!! (But, at least, we got seats!!!!!)    I have never seen the Village or Chinatown so devoid of people, and hope never to, again!  It was like a scene right out of "On The Beach!"

                              In comparison with above, we were hardly effected at all!!!!!!!!  We never once lost power, there was no building or tree damage to us (though some in the neighborhood at large) but not nearly the devastation seen on Staten Island or the Rockaways.  And who could forget that apocalyptic roller coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey??????????

                             No, next to our move, Hurricane Sandy was the biggest event, and we are thankful we came through it all pretty much unblemished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              And with plenty of facial cream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Biggest Event Of The Year, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Unquestionably, girls, for yours truly, the biggest, most memorable event of 2012 was, and will forever be, the May22-23 move from Woodside, where I had resided for the past 15 years, back to a place I had lived in earlier, and always longed to return to--Bay Ridge.  With Monsieur, of course, leaving his place on Bethune Street in the Village, to make this now a two person household.

                                   The funny thing is, when I moved to Woodside in 1997,  (partly out of inexperience and naivete!!!)  there was a sadness, and a longing for Bay Ridge that was painful for years, and, though subsiding, never fully went away.  I always looked back on Bay Ridge during my years in Woodside.  So that, when I finally pulled out of Woodside, and came back here, there was NO looking back; I do not regret leaving Woodside, and haven't the remotest curiosity about going back to have another look.  As I told Monsieur, the only thing that would get me on the Number 7 Train to go back to Queens would be to dine at Manducatis , which is in Long Island City!  Which we have not, for ages, and which I plan to do in the forthcoming year!

                                   We have been in Bay Ridge now for just over seven months.  We have been through a housewarming, and a major hurricane!  With bizarre commuting experiences for me, as a result!  But when both of us return to the neighborhood, we feel we are in civilization!!!!!!!!!!!!  And have no regrets.

                                     May we continue to live here for a long time!  Longer than when I lived in Woodside!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     No other event topped it for us, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can You Believe That After Today, We (2012) Are History?????????

                              Just think, darlings, today is the last day of 2012!!!!!!!!!!!  How did we get to this point, so fast????????  As we get older, girls, it seems, more and more, that the years speed up.  So 2012 just whizzed by!!!!!!!!!!  There were plenty of memorable events and happenings during, and I will talk about these, as the Raving Queen wraps up the present year, and makes ready for the next!

                               Was 2012 a good year??????????  It sure was, and my hope for 2013 is that it be just as good.  I am not asking for miracles, here, just stability!!!!!!!!!!  And for all my girls, as well!!!!!!!!!

                                 And tonight we take that cup of kindness yet, for Auld Lang's Syne!!!!!!!!!

                                Drink from that cup, but not too much, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Girls, I Am Telling You, That Will Chase Has Got SOME Nerve!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Amazingly, enough, darlings, this post, in a way, relates to the previous one. Though what I am about to relate happened yesterday, before we left home to see "Les Miserables!"

                                   I was watching the Saturday edition of "On Stage" on New York One, hosted by that Queenie guy Frank Di Lella, who surely escaped from a blue collar Italian family on Staten or Long Island, as  sure as I am now breathing!!!!!!!!!!  His two guests were Stephanie J. Block and Will Chase, lead players in the Roundabout's wonderful production of "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood," which you have heard me on.  And Miss Block, charming and gracious as always, had the presence of mind to mention Jessie Mueller.

                                   But it was something towards the end that aroused my ire.  Di Lella asked the two what three non-gender roles they would like to play, if given the chance, in musical theater.

                                   Stephanie made some interesting choices.   She said Sweeney Todd, in the show of that same name, Papa Ge in "Once On This Island," and Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables."  As she said, of the last, "Who wouldn't want to sing "Bring Him Home?"

                                     Will Chase was next.  Now, understand, I like him. He is nice to look at, he is a marvelous John Jasper in 'Drood', and he was so wonderful, along with Malcom Gets, in "The Story Of My Life," even if the show was so awful.

                                        I was curious as to what roles Will would cite.  I honestly expected him to say "Evita," because it is a big, juicy, musically challenging role, and there are plenty of actual queens out there who do want to play it.  Just ask Ricky Martin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Mr. Chase cited two interesting roles.  He instantly said Mrs, Lovett in "Sweeney Todd," stating how great it would be to play opposite Stephanie's Sweeney.  Which she concurred with, and which is something, lambs, I would LOVE to see!!!!!!!!!!!!! He also mentioned, I think, Laurey in "Oklahoma!"   But then he said something which set my teeth on edge.  The NERVE of him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          He said he would like to play Fantine in "Les Miserables!"

                                          Let me make one thing clear, not only to my girls, but to Mr. Will Chase.  When a man is finally given the opportunity to play this role, it is going to be ME!!!!!!!!!!  Fantine is MY part, and no Broadway upstart is going to take it from me!!!!!!!!!!  You can bet I am better than Daphne Rubin-Vega!!!!!!  Well, hell, so is anyone!!!!!!!!!!

                                           I want to offer a direct challenge to Mr. Will Chase here and now!  You get us in front of a piano, with accompanist, and let each of us do "I Dreamed A Dream."  Then whomever is there can judge.  You think you can play Fantine, Will??????????  MY Fantine will knock the role and that song out of the ball park, leaving you all by yourself on home plate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You want Fantine???? I'LL give you Fantine!!!!!!!!

                                             Since Mr. Chase is so delectable looking, why doesn't he opt for something that allows him to use that  and his musical theater talents--like Lola in "Damn Yankees?"  Now, that is something I would LOVE to see!!!!!!!!!!!!  As would all of my girls, I am sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              But Fantine??????????  Don't you DARE mess with it, Will!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Put that idea from your mind, right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                 You hear me, Will?  Stick to Cosette, you coquette!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, This Is "The Anne Hathaway/Fantine Show!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                              As was planned for yesterday, Monsieur and I saw "Les Miserables."  We saw it under the best conditions, at Manhattan's premier show place, the Ziegfeld Theatre, whose gigantic screen and sound system, plus my propensity for always (at the Ziegfeld!!!!) sitting fifth row on the aisle, made us feel we were part of the action.  Though the theater was full, it was not packed, being the biggest movie theater in Manhattan, (a former legit house, seating 1500!!!) so no one sat in front of us, the result being like a private screening.  Which is how it should be.

                              But I know what you want to hear, girls, so let's go!!!!!!!!!!

                              When the musical version of "Les Miserables" opened on Broadway, at the Broadway Theatre, on March 12, 1987 (and I saw it the following night, March 13!!!!!!!!!!!) a quote from Frank Rich's review stuck (and sticks today still!!!!!) in my head.  He said, "Randy Graff....delivers Fantine's go-for-the-throat ballad, "I Dreamed A Dream," like an actress being handed a show stopper, rather than a pathetic woman in ruin."

                              Well, forget that now, honeys!!!!!!!!!!  Because, with Anne Hathaway as Fantine, you get the pathetic woman in ruin, and then some!!!!!!!!!!  I never thought I would be defending a change of song placement in a movie, but the decision to move "I Dreamed A Dream," from where it is in the stage show (Fantine being fired from the factory!!!!) to where it is here (after she has experienced the degradation of being a prostitute) is brilliant.  She starts the song softly, a cappella, which is arresting, but, I am telling you, when she went into "I dreamed a dream in time gone by," the tears started pouring down my cheeks.  They are, just writing this now!!!!  And when she got to "As they turn your dream to shame," the phrase, her voice, the look of naked emotion on her face was so palpable, I WAS Fantine myself, and began sobbing outright!!!!!  Good thing no one was sitting near me!!!!!!!!!

                                Anne Hathaway does not just play Fantine, darlings, she IS Fantine!!!!!!!!  On her career trajectory, when it comes to remembrance, Fantine will be for her what Bernadette was for Jennifer Jones!!!!!!!!!!  Two performances where the actresses inhabit, not just enact, their roles!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                There is  more at work here. Because, in all versions of this story--musical and non--this is the grittiest telling of Fantine's story.  Not only are no bones made about prostitution here, but this may be the only version of the story (unlike onstage) that depicts Fantine selling her teeth!!!!!!!!!

                                 Throughout the film (which I will get to) there is more Victor Hugo on screen here than there was in the stage musical. I mean, Marius' grandfather is here!!!   And like the Hugo novel, the first section, from the Opening, and concluding with Fantine's Death, is the most powerful and lyrical.  Nothing else matches it.  I know if I eventually buy the DVD, I will watch this section again and again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, yes, darlings, this IS "The Anne Hathaway/Fantine Show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                  That does not mean, however, that the rest of the film is not good--it is. Overall, it is a remarkable achievement, with so many surprises along the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Save for what I have just written about, I expected to be disappointed. Having seen Colm Wilkinson on Broadway in the Original Cast, and with his performance available to one and all on DVD and You Tube in the Tenth Anniversary Concert, his performance and his voice are firmly fixed in my head.  So I was not expecting much from Hugh Jackman.  But, I am telling you, from the visually sweeping opening shots, to an almost unrecognizable Jackman, I was pulled in.  And when Jackman got to "My sister's child was close to death! And we were starving," the tears started, not letting up for most of the rest of the film, and I knew Jackman was going to be fine.  Sure, they had to transpose down "Bring Him Home" for him, but he gets the emotional level of the song.  Like Anne, his performance is impassioned, and truly award calibre!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Speaking of Mr. Colm Wilkinson, I am showing my age; (and so is he, though his vocal prowess remains!!!!) you could tell I was old by my being the only one to applaud, when he came onscreen as the Bishop of Digne!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     There was no applause during Anne's "I Dreamed A Dream," more I think due to people being moved, and not wanting to disturb the mood or that moment!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       But there are so many other surprises!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       The cinematography and editing, which make the transitions seamless!!!!!!

                                        Daniel Huttlestone as Little Gavroche!!!!!!!!!  Who is this kid?  He is terrific!  On stage, Gavroche was just a prancing Broadway babe, because onstage most of the soloists stand still.  Gavroche here moves about so naturally that his songs flow organically out of him.  And Huttlestone is a natural in the role.  I had forgotten how effective this part can be.

                                         Isabelle Allen  as Young Coette. Just perfect. Too bad they cut out the middle verse of "Castle On A Cloud!!!!!!!!!"

                                         Who the hell is Samantha Barks????????  Because I was absolutely blown away by her performance as Eponine!  Again, Frances Ruffelle was always locked in this role for me, but Barks brings a naked emotional freshness to it.  I am not surprised that there was applause after her crystal clear rendition of "On My Own."  We want to hear more from Samantha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Mr. Cohen and Ms. Carter were unbeatable choices for the Thernardiers, and they do come across as the monstrous and evil couple that they are.  Yes, there is that dollop of humor, but it does not override them, as sometimes happens on stage.  Even if, on some level, they still seem to be channeling their work in "Sweeney Todd," and even if Ms. Carter looks like she came to the set, straight out of bed, dressed in character, they work!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                            Even Amanda Seyfried is good--lovely and virginal as the grown Cosette, and when she puts her voice to the 'Heart Full Of Love' triplet, it melts the heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              As for Russell Crowe, I honestly did not think him as bad as expected.  He has a voice, but it is very limited.  Almost monotone, no adeptness at vocal phrasing, and yet his effort, and acting skill almost make his Javert work, except in one glaring instance--he does NOT have the voice for "Stars."  That song, Javert's showpiece, should soar, and here it doesn't.  Mr. Crowe cannot even  hold the notes!!!!!!!!!

                                              Was there anything I did not like?  There were lyrics I wanted to hear, but didn't--that middle verse of "Castle On A Cloud," Anne singing "Look, Monsieur, where all the children play!," and Eponine's final line on "A Little Fall Of Rain," the heartbreaking, "I'll sleep in your embrace, at last!"

                                                But these are quibbles. "Les Miserables" works, and it stands, and will continue to, as a fine example of a film version of a Broadway show. Kudos to Tom Hooper.

                                                  I warn you, darlings, at 157 minutes, and with no Intermission (which it could have used, after, of course, "One Day More!"), it is an EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTING experience. I came home, took a Tylenol, and went to bed.  If you plan to see this film, make it your ONLY plan that day.  In my younger years, I would have seen this multiple times.  I am not sure now, at my age, I have the emotional strength to see it again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                  The Finale, and how it is handled, is beautiful.  And the return of Anne/Fantine is moving--Fantine is now what she was always capable of being, and when she leads Valjean to the Beyond, walking towards Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop, I thought, we should all be so lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                   Overall, a remarkable achievement!  But it is still "The Anne Hathaway/Fantine Show!"  Not only is Fantine her best performance, she is the best Fantine portrayed on film, and the greatest one I have seen, since the great Ruthie Henshall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                    Dream the dream, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

This Book Is Gone, Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Darlings, let me tell you, I had heard about "Gone Girl" for months, and it was always on the periphery of my Reading Radar!!!!!!!!!!  But after it started turning up on a lot of Ten Best Books Lists for this year, I decided it was time to give it a serious look. And I am glad I did!  The problem is how to describe the book without revealing too much that could ruin it for the reader!!!!!!!!

                               Gillian Flynn's beautifully written, almost calculatedly constructed novel, is both a thriller and a dissection of a 21st Century marriage.  Girls, all I can say is, wait till you meet Amy Elliott Dunne!  She is SOME piece of work!  Fascinating, brilliant, but someone you do NOT want to mess with!  And her poor husband, Nick, is married to her!  "Gone Girl" is a perfect title for this book, because Amy is GONE in so many ways, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!  The reader keeps reading trying, like Nick, to fathom Amy's mind, to see what she will pull next!!!!!!!!!!!

                                This book demands you keep reading--for character progression, plot resolution, you can't put it down!!!!!!!!!  Is it satisfying??????????  I leave that up to the individual, but I will say that it is chilling and disturbing.  And good enough, in its own way, that, having never heard of Flynn before, I would like to read some of her other books!  What higher praise could there be!!!!!!!!!!

                                "Gone Girl" will most likely be my final book of 2012.  I have not started my next one, yet, and, with things to do, I am not sure I will finish it in just two days.  But what a way to end the year!  With a bang for your buck, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   You have GOT to read "Gone Girl," girls!!!!!!!!!!!  It will send all MY girls over the edge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, Is There A Gay Counterpart To A Man Cave????????????

                           Sweeties, there had better be!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           But what is it?????????????

                           The answer should be fairly obvious, darlings--the Queen's chambers!!!!!!!!!!

                            I mean, just look at that plush design and decor!!!!!!!!!  Much more tasteful and refined than a Man Cave! The Queen's chamber, of course, has a floral washbowl and pitcher, for one to keep fresh at all times!  And, like the Man Cave, there is an entertainment component system; the big difference being, instead of ESPN, it is strictly MGM!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Did you hear me, darlings???????  MGM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             No Jersey Devils DVDs!!!!!!!!!!  But you can bet "Gigi!!!!!!!!" And "The Wizard Of Oz!"  You damn well better believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Instead of a crass beer cooler, with Cheez Doodles, or something, there is an elegant, 1950s style bar cart, on wheels, for the Queen to wheel out whenever she pleases!!!!!!!!   All kinds of ingredients for sophisticated drinks--Brandy Alexanders, Bloody Marys, Margaritas, and, of course, plenty of red and white whine!  Plus the most stunning canapes and hors d'oeuvres!!!!!!!!   Just like Truman Capote, dears!!!!!!!!!!!  Whom you might want to do research on, to see what to serve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Sometimes, the Queen may want to be alone.  For that, there are elegant bookshelves, stocked with the Important Stuff--Jane Austen, the Brontes, George Eliot, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Shirley Jackson, Truman Capote, of course, and Important Biographies--"Haywire" by Brooke Hayward,
"Bittersweet", by Susan Strasberg, "Hello, Gorgeous--Becoming Barbra Streisand," by William J. Mann, and "Grace--A Memoir," by none other than Grace Coddington!!!!!!!!!!  Perfect for those cold, afternoon, Winter retreats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Oh, and add, somewhere on the walls, the famous portrait of Gene Tierney from "Laura." And, of course, one of Jennifer Jones!!!!!!!!!!!

                               I am telling you, it is every gay man's dream!!!!!!!!!   Including a pink Princess Telephone!!!!!!!!!

                                Perfect for all my Princesses out there!  So, when your man goes to  his cave, you can go to your chambers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Queen For A Day, every day, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Where Is Casey Anthony?????????????????

                           Well, girls, with the year starting to wind down, certain things  on the back burner of one's mind are bound to come to the fore, and this is one of them.  Where, indeed, IS Casey Anthony????????  Don't think I haven't an answer, darlings!!!!!!!  I am, after all, the Raving Queen, and I would be shirking my duties, if I did not venture into this realm.

                             First, where Casey Anthony SHOULD HAVE BEEN was extradited to Salem, Massachusetts, where, in her honor, they could have resurrected the Witch Trials, and sentenced her to hanging, or, more theatrical, a burning at the stake!!!!!!!!  Believe me, I would be there to light the match, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              But that Casey is too slick for this.  She is a Florida gal, and so she has not ventured far from the crime.  Casey is still in the Sunshine State, but no one can find her, because she is unrecognizable.  If you want to find Casey Anthony, look for a blonde, Botoxed Bitch In Boca Raton!!!!!!!  That's right, girls--a Blonde Botoxed Bitch In Boca Raton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              No more trash for our Miss Casey, oh no; she is much TOO GOOD for that!!!!!!!!!!!!  Even though she was little  more than trailer trash to begin with.  If you hang out at some of the social spots, and drinking holes, in Boca, you will find Casey, I guarantee it!!!!!!!!!!!  And now that I have the goods on Casey, I am sending the word out, so that this slatternlyy Baby Killer is apprehended.  I am telling you, she could share a cell with Susan Smith!!!!!!!!!  Those two have a lot to talk about, when it comes to selfishness and greed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            Don't let greedy Casey gobble up all the fun in Boca!!!!!!!!  Don't be fooled by her peroxide look!!!!!!!!!!  Just look for what I am telling you, and nail this cheap piece of baggage!!!!!!!!!

                              And let those female inmates tear out her hair!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What A Season Finale, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          Christmas Day happened to be on a Tuesday this year, darlings, and Tuesday nights have meant "Rizzoli And Isles!"   And this episode happened to be the Season Finale!  And, oh my God!!!!!!!!!

                           First of all, Sharon Lawrence (looking stunning!) returned as Dr. Hope Martin, to try and patch things up with Maura, and she hopes to get a kidney from her to help her other daughter, Kaylen!!!!!!!!  Maura is adamant, about not helping, not because she has issues with Kaylen, but with how Hope has treated her.

                            There is a "theater murder." A gun goes off during as play scene in rehearsal, and one of the actors does not get up.  The play's director is this corrupt wife of a corrupt councilman!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Tommy has T.J. and he and Frost go to take him to Lydia.  On the way, Frost wants to do an investigation into some cutting-the-corners building of a particular structure, which has resulted in accidents and collapses--small ones, but which should not happen!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Well, guess what, girls???? A bigger one happens, trapping Frost and Tommy, who awakens with a "head injury"!!!!!!!!  Uh-oh!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And Tommy is not too bright, anyway!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Jane and Maura rush to the scene!  Jane is frantic and hysterical about Tommy, Frost, and of course, Baby T.J.!!!!!!!!  But we have seen that the debris fell on the front of the car. T.J. was in the back, and we can hear him crying, so it looks as though he will be OK!!!!!!  But what about Tommy and Frost??????????

                                   Everyone shows up in this big set piece of a scene!!!!!!!!!  Hope shows up, to help with those in need, which impresses Maura enough to melt her heart, and grant her kidney to Kaylen!!!!!!!
The highlight of it all is when they pull out  Frost, who is injured, but limping, and Tommy, who is on a gurney, and Lorraine Bracco, as Mama Angela, rushes over, and as Tommy is being placed in the ambulance, screams out, "I love you, baby!!!!!!"  And Tommy knows T.J. will be OK!!!!!!!  I am telling you, girls, I cried REAL tears here!!!!!!!!!  REAL tears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   Oh, and the sleazy councilman and his rotten wife, who are responsible for this mess (and the wife is held responsible for the theater murder) are arrested, and hauled off  to the slammer, where they belong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                    Even Casey, Jane's gimp, but hunky lover, and ex-soldier in Iraq, makes his way to the scene, which I found hard to believe!!!!!!!  But, even on crutches, he looked great, and Jane's heart melted, so I don't know what is in store for them!!!!!!!!  He says he is having the high risk surgery, but will  he?????????????  Actually, he has to!!!!!!!!  Because, if Jane got married, what would Maura do?????????

                                    Of course, things ended with Jane and Maura having each other!!!!!!!!!!  Their new season does not start till next Summer!!!!!!!!!!!  What am I going to do??????????????

                                     Guess I will just have to have my own adventures, darlings!!!!!!!  And not to worry, you will all hear them  on HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Perfect Christmas Holiday Bitch, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Now, girls, just because it is Christmas Week, do you think I would forget Bitch Of The Week???????  What better time to do one!  Not only is it Christmas Week, it is also the last Thursday of  2012, so I have to end with a REAL winner!  And, honeys, have I found one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       The winner of the final Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award for 2012 is Mother Superior (played by Lilyan Chauvin) in "Silent Night, Deadly Night!"

                                        I am telling you, even by the standards already set by evil nuns, this Mother Superior breaks new ground.  If you thought Madeline Sherwood looked scary in that wimple on "The Flying Nun," you ain't seen nothing yet!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         First of all, have you ever seen "Silent Night, Deadly Night?"  Years back, Channel  9 in this area used to show it all the time!  Believe me, if you want a break from "It's A Wonderful Life," this is the one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         It is Christmas Eve, and little Billy, and his younger brother, Ricky, are on their way home with Mommy and Daddy.  Who stop at a gas station, which is robbed by a murderous robber in a Santa suit, who delivers the howler, "Merry Fucking Christmas!"  He sees Mommy and Daddy out front, kills Daddy with a gun, and does the same with Mommy,  (with Billy witnessing all this, as he and Ricky are hidden inside the car, so the villain does not see them!!!!) but not before he rapes her in front of her son!!!!!!!!  Nice, huh????????????

                                         For Billy and Ricky, things only go from bad to worse.  They are put together--which is unusual-- in a Catholic orphanage, run by our malicious Mother Superior.  Ricky is kept from harm, but for some reason (abusers always target particular ones), this Nasty Nun focuses her rage on Billy, beating him, tying him up, slapping him, and verbally harassing him with phrases like "Naughty!", "Punish!" and "Punishment is good!!!!!!"  Don't worry, dolls, because, let me tell you, what goes around comes around in this film!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Now, Billy has been traumatized enough by the whole Santa Claus Murder!  So, he has issues with Saint Nick, which is why he acts up, each Christmas, when Santa comes to visit the orphans!!!!!!!!!  And, of course, gets it from Mother Superior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Well, Billy grows up, hits puberty, and those hormones kick in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, guess what?  First, having been "raised" by an evil nun, forget sex--he views it as BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!
He doesn't even have a chance to be gay, because you can bet this Mother would never allow Barbra Streisand albums into her orphanage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              The result, of course, is that Billy has all this suppressed rage--which has to come out sometime!!!!!!!!!!!  Which it does, when, triggered by being forced to get a job as a department store Santa (or maybe assistant????) , Billy turns into a murderous killer--going after people he thinks need to be "Punish-ed!!!!!!!!!"  Of course, the one who really needs to get it is that Mother Superior, and all during the other murders, we are cheering Billy on, to get to that orphanage, and take out that scurrilous

                                                It looks like we are going to get our wish!!!!!!!!!   But there is also a sympathetic nun, Sister Margaret, whose sympathy for Billy's plight still does not stop him from becoming a killer, but who works to keep the orphanage safe, when Killer Billy comes on the scene!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                  Just as it looks like Mother Superior is going to get the axing she deserves, authorities arrive on time, and shoot Billy dead, ending his killing spree.

                                                 If the movie had ended this way, it would have been an outrage!!!!!!!
But, of course, the filmmakers have something else in mind.

                                                   Guess who witnesses the murder of his Santa-dressed brother?????
You got it, it is Young Ricky, now the age Billy was, when the film started.  When Billy drops dead in front of him, as Sister Margaret looks on in horror, Ricky points his finger at glowering Mother Superior, saying, in a chillingly, childhood voice--


                                                Yep!  Right then, you know there will be a sequel, who will be the next killer, and that if Mother Superior didn't get it in this film, she will in the next!  No "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", here, darlings!!!!!!!!!

                                                  "Silent Night, Deadly Night" is a film you just have to see!  It is a hoot! Though, when released in 1984, many parents were outraged by the idea of a killer Santa, even though the film was rated "R," which meant their little tykes should not have seen it, but whom are we kidding???? So, the film was banned in many communities!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                     And just recently, 28 years later, it was!  BAM (Brooklyn Academy Of Music) had put together a film program of "unusual" Christmas movies this year--and this was scheduled!!!!!!!!  But, (I am sure this was the reason) after the Newtown Tragedy, it was removed from the roster!!!!!!!!!

                                                      But see it, anyway, loves!!!!!!!  I am telling you, forget Little Orphan Annie and Miss Hannigan!!!!!!!!!  THIS should be the next big, hit Broadway Musical!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                       With MERYL STREEP as Mother Superior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                       Just the PERFECT Holiday Bitch, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


"Christmas Time Comes Once A Year!"

                              And, darlings, let me tell you, though the childhood part of me still wishes it would last forever, maybe only once a year is a good thing!!!! Yes, we are back from our Christmas Adventure, but what an adventure it was!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              It started with being on line for the bus at Port Authority, where this woman tried to push her way to the front, was hooted back by everyone in line, but, when the line began moving, cut in front of everyone, anyway!!!!!!!!!  Bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!  Then the bus ride was from Hell!!!!!!!!!  There was no ventilation, so the air was like a sauna, and with people snorting and coughing, I will be lucky if I don't get consumption!!!!!!!   Added to which, for the first part of the trip, this harridan was screaming into her cell phone about a phone of hers that was stolen????????  Then, how come she can talk???????  The people around her told her to shut up, and there was so much attitude thrown at us, plus the bus driver was either so passive, or oblivious, I am not sure he would have done anything, if gun fire had rung out!!!!!!!!   What a way to start the Holiday!!!!!!!!!

                             Somehow, things quieted down, we made it to Norristown, PA, where my sister picked us up, and drove us to her Festively-Decorated-For-Christmas House!!!!!!!!!   A relaxing evening was had by all, with me even getting in some "Law And Order!"

                               Then came Christmas Eve Day, when, after lunch, we all drove to scenic Villa St. Martha (which I am sure Sisters Simplice and Camille would LOVE!!!!!!!!), to pick up my father!  I wanted to stay, because, the library room was setting up tables and chairs for the 2PM Event--Tea With Sister Barbara!!!!!!!!!!!!  I would have loved to stay, and have tea with the girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 But I was enticed with a visit to Barnes and Noble, where you know I did not emerge empty handed.  I found two books I have been meaning to read--"The Likeness," by Tana French, her follow-up to "In The Woods," and "The Interpretation Of Murder" by Jed Harris!!!!!!!  Perfect for those cold, Winter Nights, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  We got home, settled in, had dinner, and were all set to go to our usual Christmas Eve Mass at St. Teresa's, when it began to snow at blizzard speed, coating the road with such wetness, we were all afraid to drive over those country back roads!!!!!!!!  Even my father, a super-devout Catholic, said not a word!!!!!!!!  He went farther, in fact!!!  Because, at 10 PM I began to watch the service from the National Basilica in Washington, D.C.!!!!  I am telling you, this was a revelation!!!!!!!  This was NOT "The Song Of Bernadette," girls, this was like a $100 million dollar super crowded spectacle!!!!  I never saw so many priests, for a service!!!!!!!!!!!  One looked like Philip Seymour Hoffman!  Nor have I seen so many dour looking, and well fed, nuns!!!!!!!!!!  No Sister Simplices here, loves!!!!!!!!!!   The choir looked pretty well fed, too, like they had been dining on roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, before singing!!!!!  What ever happened to the days when I sang in choirs, and we all looked ascetic????????????  It was a traditional Mass, but there were so many deviations in between, that my father got disgusted, and went up to bed!!!!!!!!!   They were going all out, because the Vatican's Representative, the Papanunziio, was there to officiate!!!!!!!!!!  I stayed for the whole thing, and when the priest was giving the Final Blessing, I looked at my watch--12:20!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I couldn't believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!  Santa was tapping his foot on the chimney top, just waiting to get in!!!!!!!!!!  We finally went upstairs, and gave him a chance!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Them, it was Christmas morning!!!!!!!!!!! Hooray!!!!!!!  I felt just like little Cindy Lou Who!!!!!!!!!!!!  Everyone got bounteous gifts, although where was my Manhattan pied-a terre????????????
Then came down time, while I did some reading, Monsieur did some napping (of course!!!!!!!) and we awaited the arrival of my nephew Jonathan, his wife, Mandy, and their children, Fiona and Alexander!!!!!!
They arrived, at about 2PM, and what a merry time it was!!!!!!!!!!  I saw toys and games I had never heard of, before!!!!!!!!  My sister made a lovely meal--ham, roasted potatoes, the famous broccoli casserole, string beans, Jell-O mold, and baked goods for desert!!!!!!!  A perfect holiday meal!!!!!!!!!!!!  After resting up, the others packed up, and took my father back to Villa St. Martha (Jonathan lives only ten minutes away from there!!!!!!!!!!!), and that was Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Girls, I am telling you, I was EMOTIONALLY exhausted!!!!!!!!!!  Still, with a storm on the way, we agreed to scramble for the 8:45 AM bus yesterday, which we made!  The rule of thumb always is--if the trip down is hellish, the trip back will not be!   And so it was!  We got back to NYC, at 10:50 AM, and with the R train now running, and a stopover for lunch at The Lighthouse, in our neighborhood, we walked into our apartment at 1 PM!!!!!!!!!!!!  Where we rested for the remainder of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Now, our biggest challenge is to try and see "Les Miserables!"  We are hoping for Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Merry Christmas, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!  I will keep you posted!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"When I Awake At Seven, I See You, And The Angels Sing!!!!!!!!!!"

                                      Sweeties, this may be the last time you hear from me for a bit, as we--Monsieur and I--are scheduled to leave for Pennsylvania tomorrow, for Christmas, at my sister's!!!!!!!!!!  To cut down on the stuff we have to carry, we decided to give each other our Christmas presents in Bay Ridge, and would you believe it??????????  We both gave each other the same gift!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Both of us received from the other, "Grace--A Memoir," the book written by VOGUE creative director, and which is the book for all MY girls this season!!!!!!!  You know, as I was purchasing this book for Monsieur, I had a feeling this would happen.  Good thing I gave him another gift, which is "The Tucci Cookbook," by none other than Mr. Stanley Tucci!!!!!!!!!!  We are going to have so much fun, in the kitchen, cooking all the wonderful recipes in that book!  It should take us at least through all of 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        And I got this second  gift, which I wish I could show you, darlings!!!!!!!!!
It is this pencil drawn sketch of Jennifer Jones, as....Jennifer Jones, superimposed over an image of her as...Bernadette, with a signature signing of Jennifer Jones!!!!!!!! I am telling you, it was so beautiful, I burst into tears!!!!!!!!!  And you better believe it went up on the wall as soon as I saw it!  Monsieur helped me find the perfect place for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         So, lambs, wherever or whenever your Christmas is, I wish you the Merriest, until I return on here, with more mirth, merriment, gossip, and fashion tips!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                            Yule Tide Greetings To All!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                            Burn that log,, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, What A Delightfully Twisted Tale!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                               Girls, I just finished reading "The Sculptress" a few minutes ago, and just HAD to tell you how thrilling this was.  I had never heard of it, or its author, Minette Walters, till about two weeks ago, when a coworker passed it on to me, with highest recommendation.  I have to say she was right.

                                                 Olive Martin, a grotesquely obese woman, has been imprisoned for six years, accused of the murder and dismemberment of  her mother, Gwen, and sister, Amber.  Enter Roz Leigh, a freelance writer, seeking to write a book about Olive.  Olive is self-righteous, in an almost defensive way, about the fact that she did do it.  But did she?????????  That is the voyage the reader takes with Roz, to find out the truth!!!!!!!!
                                                 I am telling you, this story has everything--familial hate, sexual hypocrisy, homosexuality, possible schizophrenia, legal corruption, plus a gallery of some of the most despicable characters depicted with in the confines of a book.  And I am not talking about Olive.  By the time the reader gets to the end, there are so many characters one want s to string up by the neck--and none would be a wrong decision!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                  Minette Walters' first novel, "The Ice House," was acclaimed within its genre, and after reading this book, I want to read this earlier work, as well.  She is a writer to keep one's eye on, and she spins compellingly readable yarns!

                                                    Sometimes the unplanned can be a delightful surprise!  If "The Sculptress" is not part of your plans, darlings, make it one!  You will be enraptured by the fireplace on these cold Winter nights!

                                                      With a bowl of wassail by your side!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Shortest Day Of The Year, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  According to what I was taught, today, December 22, is the SHORTEST day of the year.  Which is good news for those of us who deplore this time of year, when it starts getting dark at 4:30 in the afternoon.  Then, slowly, the days get longer, till we culminate with June22, which is not only the LONGEST day of the year, but also Meryl Streep's birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  I only have one question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  If today is the shortest day of the year, when is the LONGEST night?????????  Is it tonight?????????  Or was it last night????????????  If it was the latter, it sure didn't seem like it, because I sailed through on sleep, so the night did not seem long at all.  Back in childhood, sleeping, or trying to on Christmas Eve, was always the longest night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  But now, with adulthood, and the telecast of Midnight Mass, all that has changed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    So, enjoy as much of this day as you can, darlings, as we segue into longer and longer daylight periods!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      And only six month's till Meryl's birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

"Won't You Turn Me On, Like The Neon, That You See On....BROADWAY!!!!!!!!!!"

                                "It's great to be back , Back, BACK ON BROADWAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                   That, of course, is the great opening sequence of "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol," where Quincy is driving in (against the traffic, of course), probably from his home in New Jersey, because he was a Rutgers grad!!!!!!!!!  It is brilliantly performed by the late, great Jim Backus, and it always set the tone for this great Holiday classic whenever I watched it.

                                      Well, darlings, amidst much fanfare, "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol" is going to be shown on some NBC affiliates tomorrow night!  I am not sure if New York is one of them, though I should hope so.  After all, it was us Baby Boomer Metropolitan Area kids who made this a classic!!!!!!!

                                        Much has been made of the fact it has not been aired for decades!!!!!!

                                        But guess what, darlings???????????????

                                        They are going to still fuck it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         How?  Well, according to what I have read, they are going to cut this opening from the broadcast!  You will get the entire onstage play (which means "Winter Was Warm;" thank God, because, over the years, that too has been cut!!!!), but not this absolutely brilliant opening, which sets the tone for what is to follow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           This is not only robbery, it is desecration of a classic!!!!!!!!!!!!!  How to get even?????????????

                                           I will tell you how, darlings!  At the time this is aired, all of you who own a copy, pop your DVD edition (which WILL be complete) into the player!!!!!!!  Not only will you see this classic the way it was MEANT to be seen, you will screw up NBC in the most viable way by cheating them out of the high ratings they are expecting to get from this!!!!!!!!!!!

                                             Heh! Heh! Heh!  I am such a fiend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                             The REAL fiends are those who would DARE to cut this brilliant sequence from this classic!!!!!!!!!!!!  To quote Scrooge, "they should be boiled in their own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through the heart!"

                                                But you show them ,darlings!!!!!!!!!  You watch your DVD, so you can cheat NBC out of ratings!!!!!!!  That way, like Quincy, you will be able to say--

                                                  "Oh, Magoo, you've done it again!"