Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goodbye, January!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, today we can officially say farewell to my least favorite month. Despite that my favorite person out there, Monsieur, is a New Year Baby, which helps things enormously. But that post Christmas letdown in the early part of the month is a killer. Something you know you have just got to live through, but when it lifts, what a relief.

And speaking of a lift--I just got done with my taxes! So now I am free to pursue even more adventures, and report them to all my darlings.

Not that January was without adventure--dinners, 'On A Clear Day,' "We Need To Talk About Kevin," "Strait-Jacket", a strawberry martini....pretty exciting stuff for a month I posit as my least favorite.

So, darlings, we have made it through 1/12 of 2012. Hope all my girls have an exciting February!!!!!!!!!!!! Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then We Came To The Re-Read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, girls, I actually LOVE Joshua Ferris, as a writer. After all, I have read his first two books. I recall all the attendant hoopla, surrounding his first, "Then We Came To The End," and I enjoyed it thoroughly, particularly his smooth, lyric prose style.

About two years ago, when Jonathan Franzen first came out with "Freedom," there was a slew of commentary about White American male novelists; who was the Old Guard, and who the New. The New turned out to be Franzen, courtesy of "The Corrections," Michael Chabon, with 'Kavalier And Klay', Joshua Ferris with his book, and Junot Diaz, with "The Brief Life Of Oscar Wao."

After scanning all these lists, I made a note of them, and resolved to read or reread these books, to see if they were as good as purported, or whether or not they held up. Having found an inexpensive paperback copy of Ferris first book at the Strand, I decided to give it a reread, to see how I would react, now that the media frenzy over he and his book has died down.

It was interesting, to me, that the strongest memories I carried from this book, was the episode where Janine, the grief stricken mother, whose child is abducted from her bedroom a la Elizabeth Smart, but, who, unlike Smart, is not found alive, copes by going to the local McDonald's and sits in the play area amidst all the colored plastic balls. Or when a disgruntled laid-off worker, named Tom, returns to the office, toting a gun, and shoots at everyone. But what should have been an office carnage turns out to be nothing more than colored paint pellets staining people's clothes; though it does land him in the slammer on an assault charge.

Tom is also the character who got on my nerves--Mr. Straight Man, who resents that his wife left him, when maybe she had good reason. In what is supposed to be humorous, Ferris writes of a heated domestic exchange between the couple, where he says--I kid you not, and in caps, just as I will demonstrate--"I HOPE OVARIAN CANCER EATS OUT YOUR CUNT!" This, when one of the other characters, Lynn, the supervisor, is facing her own battle with breast cancer, and later passes on from ovarian. Ferris handles Lynn's situation so well and with such humanity and sensitivity that, while one may interpret Tom's remark as criticizing such blatant insensitivity, it just comes off--when you add into the mix the idea that all the women do on their weekends is shop and all the men do is watch sports on television--as too much testosterone being thrown around, just to show off. There is just a hint of homosexuality, via one, enigmatic character, but, God forbid there should be an actual one, which is ridiculous, when you consider, whether in New York or Chicago, where the novel takes place, the ad industry is bound to have a sturdy gay population. I guess Ferris was more interested in throwing around his testosterone than offering a balance to the satire.

Which is why, for me, this book did not hold up on a second reading. I admired the writing, but I just could not wait to finish the story. I really did not care about the people that much; what kept me going was Ferris' lyrical writing technique, which he honed even finer, in his better, though, not as well received, second novel, "The Unnamed."

However, the dripping testosterone is not nearly as bad here as in Joanthan Tropper's "This Is Where I Leave You," which I covered several years back.

What is it with these J writers?--
Jonathan Franzen--the King
Jonathan Lethem
Josshua Ferris
Jonathan Tropper
Jonathan Tollins--playwright
Jon Robin Baitz-playwright

If I ever publish under a REAL name, it makes me wonder if I should adopt a pseudonym with "J." Hey, my Confirmation name is "John," so there you are.
I was ahead of my time, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As the Raving Queen always should be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Isn't It Nice To Know A Lot? And A Little Bit Not"!!!!!!!

Darlings, I just found this out! Can you believe that this summer will mark the 50th--yes, 50!!!!!!!!--Anniversary of Free Shakespeare In The Park, at the Delacorte Theatre???????? And just what is the NYSF going to serve up this Season?

Well, for starters, that old Shakespeare comic standby, "As You Like It."

And--this is the real reason for excitement--the Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine musical, "Into The Woods"!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, my God, girls!!!!!!!!!!! Get ready for a media feeding frenzy!!!!!!!! Because this production is going to be THE thing to see in New York THIS Summer, and the Delacorte will be THE place to be!!!!!!!!!!!! Theater Queens of all shapes, sizes, and ages, heed me well--you better stake out your waiting spot NOW, because, no matter who they cast in it, (and I am sure there will be some interesting casting choices, as every actor worth his/her salt in NYC is going to want to audition or be submitted for it!!!!!) this is going to be the HOTTEST ticket of the Summer, and the HARDEST thing in the city to get into!!!!!!!! SO, you better start calling in your favors, NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

As for me, I just don't know where to begin. I am dying to audition for this--but as what????? My coworker Steve would make a perfect Baker (the Chip Zien role), and, while I can still do, verbatim, the Witch's Rap, I have always had my eye on the role of Jack, because I know I could do a heartrending rendition of "Giants In The Sky." That's right, you bitches; at my STILL professional age of 24, and with the dark, natural and unnatural lighting as only can be provided by Summer at the Delacorte, you know damn well I would make a first rate male ingenue!!!!! I would even love to do Red Riding Hood, because I LOVE her song; there are so many decisions to be made. But the decision to do this show is one of the smartest moves the Delacorte has made in recent memory, because, next to "A Little Night Music," this is the Sondheim show that would be perfection if staged outdoors!!!!!!!!!!

Naturally, I am doing my vocal warm ups, just for that important audition, but I am also calling in my connections, because if I am not IN it, I have at least got to SEE it!!!!!!!!!!

Now, some of us remember how fabulous Bernadette Peters was as the Witch, morphing from a crone to a glamour queen. I can just visualize the Beautiful Witch played by Blythe Danner, but how do you get her to look ugly???????? It is just impossible!!!!!!!! Not that Bernadette was easy--she wasn't--but Blythe?????????

Dare we dream of Martha Plimpton as the Baker's Wife?????????? At an earlier point in her career, Martha would have nailed Red Riding Hood, but I think she is ready now for the Baker's Wife.

What about Meryl??????????? She could certainly do the Witch, but would she also be willing to do a sort of cameo as Jack's Mother, the Barbara Bryne role???????

How about the Princes????????? They have to be hunky and can sing!!!!!!! Who do we have that can encompass both???????? And how about Cinderella--dare we hope for Sutton Foster???????? And how about Cinderella's Stepmother and Stepsisters--honey, I would be willing to play a bitch in drag!!!!!!!!! I do one out of drag, all the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or even better, how about some of the top Drag Queens in town-_Charles Busch, Hedda Lettuce, Brini Maxwell--stepping into those roles??????????

But what a coup for the 50th Anniversary Summer!!!!!!!

"Look at your nails, look at your dress, people will laugh at you, nevertheless, you
still want to go to the Festival?"

Darlings, you BETTER believe it!!!!!!!!!! See you all there!!!!!!!!

Just Some Odds And Ends, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, can you believe we have already arrived at January 30????? The slowest month, and least favorite of mine, is at an end. As of tomorrow we are officially 1/12 through 2012.

What a weekend of ups and downs it has been. If you were suburban raised, like me, I am sure your mothers got "Woman's Day" magazine (is it even still published???), which had that famous column, "It's All In A Woman's Day." Well, honey, with me, "It's All In The Life Of The Raving Queen."

We--Monsieur and I--spent the entire weekend in town. What did we do Friday night? I am not even sure. Saturday, we dined at Mappomondo, a small, nice Italian restaurant near Monsieur, which has fabulous Bruschetta, and the most fabulous salad, called, appropriately enough, the Mappomondo. Endives, artichokes, celery, apples, a delicious dressing...we always scrape the plate over this one. Monsieur had a special veal dish, while I had a wonderful pasta with Lamb ragout!!!!! Luscious! And wine, of course, darlings; after the day I had, where, at work, I felt like I was Anne Bancroft playing Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker," I was drained. And at least Anne got an Oscar AND a TONY for her efforts!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, we had to get up and at 'em, because Monsieur's cousin, Jodie, was coming in from Connecticut, with her daughter, Mia!!!!!! Wouldn't you know I awoke with what turned out to be a migraine?????? Thanks to Excedrin Migraine, it turned out to be a very mild one, which enabled me to make it through the visit with Jodie and Mia, which included lunch at the Chelsea Diner, where I had the broccoli quiche, with rice, peas and carrots, and a salad. Hold that thought, for the future, darlings. After the meal, we strolled along 14th Street, going in and out of shops, making a stop at Whole Foods, where Monsieur brought some items, and then, since we were not that far, making a beeline for the Strand Bookstore. Mia made for the Children's Section, which I approved of, while I hunted for something. I hardly ever come out of the Strand empty handed, and yesterday was no exception--a hard-back copy of "In The Garden Of Beasts," by Erik Larson (author of "The Devil In The White City," which I simply adored!!!!!!!!!!!) and a paperback of "The Emigrants" by W. G.Sebald, which is highly thought of in the realm of literary fiction. Plus, years before, I had read Sebalds's "Austerlitz" so I think I know what I am in for.

After that, honey, things just caught up with me. We walked back to Monsieur's street, bidding Jodie and Mia farewell, and we went to D'Agostino's for some staples. Then we settled in for the night, when I could finally crash into bed with my migraine, while watching the "USA Law And Order SVU ADA Marathon," which featured plenty of our favorite ADA, and legal glam role model, Alex Cabot, played by Stephanie March!!!!!!!!! Girls, I am telling you, if I ever need a lawyer, and they do not look like Stephanie, that is IT!!!!!!!!!!

But it wasn't so much what happened on screen, as what happened off. Monsieur made a lovely at home dinner, which included his famous salad, cream of carrot soup (which was yummy!) chicken cutlets, couscous, and this ugly looking thing, resembling a horror movie monstrosity--a cross between "The Tingler", and one of those bat things that flew out from beneath Cucumbo in "It Conquered The World," bit them on the neck, died, but consigned their victims to alien domination. It was something called Celery Root, and,at first, I refused to eat it. But, it turned out to be edible, bland though it was.

And that was that, I thought.

But then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No sooner had I gone back to the bedroom, cozied up, and settled in, to watch more of the 'SVU' Marathon, than my stomach began to cramp up like it was nobody's business, and I curled up into a fetal position. It passed, so I thought it was just some lingering gas, but when it happened again, and I felt like an "accident" was about to happen, I made a beeline for the bathroom, and, by the time I got situated there, I was not sure if I was going to throw up, or void at the other end. The latter decided for me, and there I was, doubled over, as wave after wave of cramping and diarrhea hit me. Though I have to admit, when it was done, I felt much better, I took some Pepto before bed, and here I am today, writing to all my girls. But no Mexican tonight!!!!!!!!!

I still maintain it was that ugly Celery Root. But Monsieur ate everything I did, and not a reaction from him. On which he concluded it was the quiche, earlier in the day. But that was seven hours ago. Considering Monsieur ate the same meal and did not get ill, I have to conclude the same.

Social gallivanting, migraines, stomach attacks--it is all part of being the Raving Queen. Guess my constitution is still strong and healthy, as I am here, upright, to tell you all about it.

I also want to go back to some earlier points in January, to tell you about some equally interesting adventures (though not nearly as hazardous) which I have not yet had a chance to report.

Several Saturdays back, Monsieur and I, with the honorable Herb, dined at a fairly new nightspot, Donatella's. The cuisine was excellent--the salad delicious, the appetizers tasty, and the pizzas various, and meals in themselves. This was no street corner pizzeria, honey!!!!!!! And it was filled with trendy sorts, wannabes and hangers-on, whom this Raving Queen could not help but notice were striving to get somewhere, but, of course, were getting Nowhere fast!!!!!!!!! And while the staff steadfastly denied their Donatella was NOT Miss Versace, lambs, how many Donatellas do you know??????????? Not too many from my end, I can tell you. So I would not be a bit surprised if Miss Versace is branching out. But whomever is the real Donatella, the restaurant visit was a success.

Then there was our visit to the Hurricane Club, several Thursdays back(a really cold January night!!!!!!!) an elegant looking, Polynesian (so we were led to believe, though it seemed more to me like Pan Asian) place that was visually impressive in several ways. The subdued lighting and walled elegance, gave it a look
of depth and palatial splendor; it actually seemed larger on the inside than the outside. The crowd was young and trendy; like casting types at a cattle call for "Sex And The City." Darlings, I think we were the most mature, and sophisticated there. So, of course, the atmosphere was loud and raucous, which, with the sylph like waitresses, still managed to keep it all withing the context of "Flower Drum Song," where I expected Nancy Kwan, as Linda Lo, at any second, to walk over and pop her "evil spirits" in my face!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our hosts was this charming and quite happy gay couple--a testament to the joys of male domesticity, darlings!!!!!--whom I shall call......Mame and Vera!!!!!! Mame, whom Monsieur had known for awhile, is a good natured, ranconteurish record exec, with an outgoing personality. Vera, his partner, is equally good natured, but a bit more the passive, pensive, poet soul. Maybe this is why I cottoned to him. Imagine my amazement, once I discovered we were both writers, of a sort--he has published, online a collection of short stories, and is now working on a gay mystery novel. which I, for one, cannot wait to read. He also maintains several blogs, all of which seem to stem out of something called lgbtSr (at which I urge you to look at. It is obvious he cares about the gay community and what is going on in the world around him, and I applaud him heartily. True, I had my reservations about whether the blog sphere was big enough for two such keyboard divas as us, BUT, hey, we each care and observe in our own distinctly different ways. Put it this way--we are as different as Hedda (Hopper, not Gabler) and Louella (Parsons). With me being Hedda, and he Louella. I can picture him on a radio show, going "Mah first excluuuuuuusive..."

But, as I said, they are a charming pair, and a good time was had by all, especially with that strawberry martini and those Samoan deviled eggs. So a good time was had by all, and I urge you to visit lgbtsr. com.

So, for such a blase month, January was hopping more than I would expect. No wonder I was felled yesterday; when you are on the social schedule I am, darlings, sooner or later, something has to give!!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile check out Donatella's and The Hurricane Club. Yummy, yummy, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Darlings, I Have Got To Weigh In On This!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, it seems like hardly any time had passed, before 'SVU' churned out an episode, based on last summer's tragic killing of little Leiby Keltzky. Now, I sense the keyboards are pounding by the second, as they work to construct a plausible scenario based on the (alleged) Greg Kelly rape!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The bare bones are this. A 30-year-old unidentified office worker in Manhattan (who is also described as an aspiring model and actress--how cliche, dolls!!!!!!) claims Greg Kelly raped her. According to the woman, who already had a boyfriend, so she was two timing him, they hooked up on October 8 of last year, met for drinks, then went back to her office (notice--HERS, not HIS) since the boyfriend was at home. There was sex, which Kelly says was consensual, but she says NOT.

According to sources, it was more like an ongoing affair, with texts, and involved her having an undisclosed abortion. Undisclosed both to Kelly and the boyfriend.

Apparently, the boyfriend found out about the abortion, and this set the Wheels Of Accusation in motion. Let's hope, darlings, he had enough sense to toss her out in the street, tying, in the words of the great Helen Lawson "a can around that little broad's tail"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The first thing I want to say to my girls is that rape is rape, no matter how morally lax the victim may be. Let's face it, she was no Bernadette, but then, neither was Kelly. Right now, we have a "he said, she said" situation, but you can bet Daddy Commissioner Raymond Kelly is working behind the scenes, to cover Sonny Boy's ass!!!!! And I do not mean, with a towel!!!!!!!!!!!

Ooooooh, Greg Kelly!!!!!!!!! Hunky right wing TV anchor (FOX news!!!!!)
Big tough Marine!!!!!!!! Do it to me, big boy!!!!!!!!!! Whether the encounter turns out to be rape or not, it is clear, that while our office worker is no angel, Greg is a big old pig!!!!!!! Judging from the office encounter, he definitely has some fetishes; one, apparently, is doing it in inappropriate places, where he is always at risk of being caught, because that is what gets his willy to stand at attention. And speaking of willies, I think Mr. Marine Greg is just a little too free with his. From what I have heard, his willy runs his life, and he goes with it, wherever it takes him, with no regard for the consequences.

And you know what that means, darlings!!!!!!!! It means there are at least a score or more of queens who have been pounded by Greg, though they would be the last to admit it, and they will NEVER report it, because, the stupidity of some gay men is that, even if you are violated, if your attacker was a hottie, you should feel damn lucky!!!!!!! Which is why there is such a need for the Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am certain Greg Kelly's mantra for sexual relations is "The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin, which explains one reason why, at 43, he has never married. He probably fornicates with the woman under him, so he can see straight ahead to the TV screen, as he watches the Sports Channel, while the woman beneath, having been coerced, is forced to call him "Big boy!" over and over, to make him feel like a REAL man!!!!!!!!! Or what he and Daddy think is such. Because you know Daddy has controlled him, honey. I would not be surprised if he videos his encounters and sends them to Daddy to get his rocks off, because, let's face it, Ray Kelly would not even score on the Silver Daddies website, and probably can only make it with exploited, illegal immigrant girls, working as hookers!!!!!!!!!!

Or, better yet, maybe he was in the room with Sonny Boy, looking on, while pounding his pud!!!!!!! As Dorothy Parker once said, "I wouldn't be at all surprised"!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lambchops, I have not lived in this town long enough not to have seen REAL sleaze at work!!!!!!! Whether the outcome is rape or not, let's call the kettle black--neither participant is any Babe In The Woods.

And mark my words, loves!!!!! Before the season is out, we will see this on 'SVU'!!!!!!! Casting suggestions, anyone????????????

"After All, We Girls Have To Look Our Best!"

And, of course, darlings, the problem is compounded even further, when you are Joan Crawford, past your prime!!!!!!!!!

Sweeties, no matter how many times it is viewed, something can always be learned from "Strait-Jacket". Thursday evening's screening at the Chelsea, featured Hedda Lettuce at her most ribald, and was filled with so many green kids fresh from NYU, who probably had no clue that movies existed before they were born! Or who probably thought in the 1960s, movies were still silent! Anyway, you could tell who the novices were--they all seemed to be sitting dead center--because when it came time for the Battle Of The Dueling Joans, you never heard such hooting and hollering. And when Joan pulled the mask off, revealing the culprit to be daughter Carol (brilliantly played by Diane Baker!) the screams of surprise and puzzlement shook the rafters. It's wonderful how today's youth can still be so naive.

Nevertheless, there are always lessons to be learned from a viewing of "Strait-Jacket," and I want to share some of those observations with you now.

That Carol, I am telling you-- I am surprised no one caught on to her act. And that she knew, after a twenty-year absence, her mother would be the exact same dress size she was before she went into the loony bin. Because Carol had to run in to town to a dressmaker, to have not only Joan's dress duplicated, but one in her size as well. It is amazing someone--the proprietor, a seamstress--was not aroused with suspicion by this request. Added to that, the Cutlers, Aunt Emily and Uncle Bill. They were as clueless about Carol as, say, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry were about Dorothy in "The Wizard Of Oz." All I can say, in Carol's case, where was Miss Gulch when she was needed??????

George Kennedy as Leo Krause--You never would have thought, three years from then, he would have gone on to win an Oscar!!!!!!! Not that Kennedy is bad in this film; not at all; in fact, his confrontation scene with Carol livens things up. Kennedy was just a working man's actor at the time, was probably glad for the job, the pay, and the presteige of not only a William Castle film, but one with Joan Crawford, whom he had a scene with!!!!! It is just too bad, when confronting Carol, that Leo did not smack that White Trash upstart in the face, sending her flying across the way!!!!!!!!! He is the Velma Cruthers of this film; he may be low class, but at least he knows his place, and knows when someone is getting a little too Miss Uppity!!!!!!!!

John Michael Hayes as Michael Fields-- What a hunk!!!!!!! No wonder Joan and Diane both went for him. I bet, once the cameras stopped, Edith Atwater jumped him, too!!!!!!!! Must have been some action, back at the motel/hotel, where they all stayed, during the shoot!!!!!!! But you have to feel sorry for Michael at the end--walking back into the house, after searching for Lucy, finding two women dressed alike, being handed a mask by Joan, and having Diane/Carol admit she planned the whole thing, which included killing his parents. She knew she was White Trash, and she wanted to rise above it. Lucky for Michael; if Carol had succeeded, they would have married, sooner or later her derangement would have shown through, and he would have a real albatross on his back!!!!!! Unless he could get her committted, too!!!!!
As it turned out, no problem!!!!!!!!!!!

Edith Atwater as Mrs. Fields--Oh, brother! In a film that abounds with bitches--everyone in this film--even George Kennedy-- seems to be one, Mrs. Fields takes the cake. She is just so plug ugly; this old heifer is definitely ready for the canner's!!!!!! Which I am sure is what hubby Raymond had been planning, the way he cottons up to Carol, saying "It's all in the family, isn't it?" He is one big horn dog, just like his son!!!!!!!! But, can you blame him; look what he is married to!!!!! You have to hand it to Edith Atwater; she must have learned her performance from outtakes of Faye Bainter in "The Children's Hour"!!!!! But with a much better figure, and dress designer, suggesting she was definitely a graduate of her world's version of Miss Porter's. And that she was right to watch out for Michael, what with all that trash coming sniffing around. She may indulge Michael in allowing him to date Carol, but when it comes to marriage, the real thing, she knows the score, honey!!!!!! And cool as ice, this one!!!!!! If she had been revealed as the ax murderer, I would not have been a bit surprised. She looks ready to ax Lucy and Carol, when they come for dinner. She cannot be topped in the Dueling Joans scene, where she has two campy psycho bitches having a quasi lesbian fight on HER bed in HER Master Bedroom, and she just calmly walks out the door, and phones the police, as blithely as though she were ordering a take-out pizza!!!! Much as I wish this old hag had been killed, maybe Carol was doing Raymond a favor by killing him first; now he is out of his marital misery!!!!!!!!! As for his wife, well, darlings, let me tell you, she is going on to become the Jewel Mayhew of her neighborhood. She and Lucy will become fast friends; she will have Lucy over for tea, and evenings the two gals will get dolled up, go out on the town, drink, and get laid!!!!!!! And.......Michael most likely will bang them both!!!!!!!!!! But let me tell you, marriage is now out of the question for him, forever, after his poor judgement with Carol. Now that he inherits the entire business, his mother will tell him how to run it....and she will sleep with him!!!!!! And if he should refuse...well, with Lucy's help, she will ax him, too, but sleep with his head next to her!!!!!! Just like Jewel!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, Darlings, How Could I Forget?--There is this fascinating 15 minute documentary you can see on YouTube called "Battle-Ax--The Making Of 'Strait-Jacket'." It was filmed about ten years ago, and there are some very insightful comments made by Diane Baker, then 64, who looked pretty damn good!!!!!! The most fascinating revelation was that the picture was SUPPOSED to end with her big hysterical scene--her ranting and hitting the mask at the door, a montage of images, and then a fadeout!!!!!! It would have made for a highly impacting end! Joan was on the set when they filmed it, and, impressed by Diane's acting, but, being Joan, knew, fond as she was of Diane, she could not throw the final moment to her. So, she let Diane have her Big Moment, but then we cut outside, to a shot of Joan clutching one of the house pillars, and sobbing tremulously. As Diane says in the present, "That was not in the script." Then she got it, about Joan. Which is why Robert Bloch, who created "Psycho" let Joesph Stefano add an explanatory lecture to his script, so that audiences, who hadn't a clue then about psychological disorders, being they were so intellectually and emotionally repressed at the time, would understand what was going on. Same with "Strait-Jaacket"; Bloch writes an almost identical scene, featuring Joan and Leif Erickson, where she details all the machinations of Carol's plan; right down to the photograph book, the heads, and the tape recorder of the children's taunting rhyme. With the last shot, being one of Crawford!!!!!!! Oh, no, darlings, SHE was the star, and she was determined this picture would end with THE STAR!!!!!
Which it did!!!!!!!!!

But no matter how you slice it, there is always something to be learned from "Strait-Jacket," no matter how many times it is viewed. We just LOVE that crazy bitch, Lucy Harbin, but then Lucy is not so crazy, as it would seem, and this is one of the few Crawford films, where you can feel sorry for her. I hope those NYU students took away with them the idea that no matter how bad a day you have had, a good stiff drink, or a viewing of Joan Crawford in "Strait-Jacket" can cure just about anything!!!!!!!!!

And that hair band of Diane Baker's is almost as annoying as Joan's bangles, and fools absolutely no one. Just like my grade school variant on Carol, (who at least was from the right side of the tracks!!!!!) Diane Dykeman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How I would LOVE to see this remade, with another Joan...Rivers, and her daughter, Melissa!!!!!!!!!! Wouldn't that be something??????????

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hope To See All My Girls Here Tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Everyone will think Lucy is the murderess! Oh, Mommy, I love
you, I hate you!!!!!!! Oh, Mommy, I'm so sorry, I hate you,
I love you, I hate you, hate you, love you, hate you!!!!"
--Diane Baker as Carol Harbin in "Strait-Jacket"

Here being, of course, darlings, the Clearview Chelsea. That night we have so longed for in January has finally arrived--the semi-regular screening of the Joan Crawford classic, "Strait-Jacket!"

Now, for those of you who have been with me awhile, no intros are needed, regarding this film. And no surprises in store, either. So, let's just take some time, and bask in the pleasures of seeing this film, accompanied by a group of screaming queens, and led by Impersonator Extraordinaire, Hedda Lettuce!!!!!!!!!

Poor Joan Crawford!!!!!!!! Both onscreen and off, she never had any luck, when it came to daughters. Sweet little Kay (Joanna Marlowe) dies early on in "Mildred Pierce," leaving her saddled with...Veda!!!!!!! Then there is Angela (Judy Geeson), in "Berserk," who is more trouble to Joan than the circus she has to run, and whose death by electrocution (Angela's) is the stuff of Grand Opera!!!!!! And Joan looks so fabulous in her scanty circus costume and fishnets, I am surprised she was not cast as "Ilsa, She-Wolf Of The SS"!!!!!!!!! She could have nailed that one, let me tell you.

And we all know about real-life daughter, Christina. And Diana Scarwid, a once promising actress, who played her in the film of "Mommie, Dearest," and whose career after that dried up faster than swampland in Florida!!!!!!!!!

No, Joan's track record is not great, when it comes to daughters!!!!! But none can compare, with Carol Harbin, played like a blushing schoolgirl by Diane Baker, in "Strait-Jacket."

You have to feel a bit sorry for Carol. First, she witnesses hunky Daddy Lee Majors being decapitated with an ax, by her mother in 1940's regalia. So, she grows up, knowing she cannot compete with that!!!!!!!! She then turns out to have been raised by two singularly unattractive relations--Uncle Leif Erickson, who, at least is not as bad as, say, Ernest Borgnine, and Ice Queen Aunt Rochelle Hudson, barely able to stay encased in her over sized Playtex girdle, and seething with resentment over Joan, because she can still pull that glam act, while Rochelle will never look as good as when starred opposite Shirley Temple in "Curly Top," or portraying Cosette to Frederic March's Valjean in "Les Miserables." Two former Thirties ingenues cast in the same film, with one more the worse for wear than other! And that happens to be Rochelle!!!!

Who knows what negative crap her aunt must have filled Carol with, regarding her mother. And as Carol became older, and more attractive, morphing into Diane Baker, at her Sixties loveliest, Carol had aspirations of moving up the social ladder. And having a mentally unstable mother just wouldn't cut it; the farm relations can be smoothed over, but not a lunatic Mom.

Added to which--and Auntie may have had a hand in this, too--Carol is just SO repressed that, even though she lands hunky diary heir John Michael Hayes, (as Michael Field) how long is questionable, because it is plain he is getting none from her, and looks so horndog he is ready to bang Joan--or even Edith Atwater as his mother!!!!!!! The only character who, though looking ready for the canner's, is the only one with sense and social propriety; she knows what kind of White Trash is creeping into her house, and while she may offer cordiality, she does not want these visitors on a permanent, familial, basis. As it turns out, darlings, she is right!

Don't you love that final scene with Carol up against the door, clutching her Joan mask, screaming incessantly, while Mommy and Michael look on!????? This social climbing bitch gets exactly what she deserves. The film may end officially with the decapitated Columbia Pictures statue, but I prefer my own followup--Michael, Joan and Mrs. Field go out to the local club, and he bangs them both!!!!!!!!! Much to his relief!!!!!! After all, what has he got to lose????????? His career went nowhere!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I want to meet and greet all my Girls there tonight, as we revel with carefree laughter over this Joan classic; one of the few she made where you CAN feel sorry for her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, we just LOVE Lucy!!!!!!!!! Harbin, that is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, This Bitch Shoud Have The Entire Oeuvre Of Philip Roth Stuffed Down His Throat, Till He Chokes!!!!!!!!!!

That would be as good a start as any for today's Bitch Of The Week, who is in need of a lesson in humanitarianism, as well as good grooming.

The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is New Jersey resident, Anthony Graziano. He is the 19-year-old youth charged with setting afire that synagogue in Rutherford, recently, which almost killed some people, and there are allegations he has done the same thing to others.

Obviously, he has some issues with those of the Jewish faith, so a strong does of Philip's novels and BARBRA's CD's would be a good start!!!!!! Hey, Anthony, how do you think you would have handled growing up in Highland Park, New Jersey????? Are we former Parkites lucky he did not live there!!!! He might have torched the entire town, not unlike, Carrie, after the prom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This bitch is no prom queen or king, that is for sure. And his father, who looks like William Hickey in "Prizzi's Honor", (and does not live with his son or the boy's mother, which speaks volumes there) doing an "O Sole Mio", saying his son could not have done anything. After getting a look at Tony in his prison togs, I am convinced he could have done just about anything. What I would like to know is, where does his anit-Semitism come from????????? Daddy???????????? It has to come from somewhere, because children may be born bad, but their particular badness--like prejudice--is generally learnt within the family unit.

I wonder, with his surname, if Anthony is related, in any way, to former boxer Rocky Graziano, whom Paul Newman portrayed in the 1958 film, "Somebody Up There Like Me." Hey, Rocky, if you are up there now, and this thug IS a relation, I think, even from the Afterlife, you need to knock this guy in the teeth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But cheer up! Maybe in prison he will be assigned a Jewish cellmate, and learn how to keep Kosher. Or maybe said inmate will take a knife, and act like a real moil!!!!!!!!!!

So, here is to Anthony Graiziano, this week's Bitch Of The Week!!!! Watch out, honey; you may get out of prison, with less than you went in with!!!!!!!!!!!

Mazel-tov, you prick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Darlings, The "Survivor Classic" Is Back!!!!!!!!!!!!

"I am the daughter of a father who has been married five times.
Mother killed herself. My sister killed herself. My brother
has been in a mental institution. I'm twenty-three and divorced,
with two kids."--Brooke Hayward
Tom Mankiewicz--"I said, 'Brooke, either you've got to open
the window right now--we were on the tenth floor--either you've
got to open the window right now, and jump out, or say, 'I'm
going to live,'because you're right, it's the worst family history
that anybody ever had, and either you jump out the window, or you
---From "Haywire" by Brooke Hayward

Girls, I cannot begin to tell you how many times, during periods of duress, I have read this passage aloud, or recited it to myself, and it has kept me centered and grounded. As Eleanor of Aquitaine said in "The Lion In Winter, "What family doesn't have its up and down?" Mine might not have matched the Haywards, though we had our own. And then there was my own stuff. Which the above helped me to reign in
and kept me balanced.

After thirty years in the Business, loves, people sometimes call me a Survivor. But, Brooke, honey, has endured through the death of her entire family, which included the suicides of her mother (actress Margaret Sullavan) her sister (aspiring actress Bridget Hayward), and, nearly fifty years later, her brother, Bill (an actor and producer) who shot himself, on March 9. 2008. And she survived not only to tell about it, but, in a way, to recount it again, via the republication of this classic memoir, which set the gold standard for such, and remains still the best memoir, let alone the best one written by a celebrity's child, I have ever read.

For years, I carried the Knopf hardback of Brooke's book from place to place, when I would move, like it was some psychological extension of the Holy Grail, which, I suppose, for me, it was. But things get lost in moves, as will happen, and this item did, and remaindered copies eventually dried up. So I am thrilled Vintage Paperbacks has chosen to republish what I call this Survivor's Classic, for all my girls, who need help, from time to time, and for yours truly, whose memory of clutching this firmly to my bosom, like a lesbian holding "The Well Of Loneliness", is embedded deep in my consciousness. So it would be a nice memento to have.

Brooke Hayward is such a brilliant writer, it is a mystery to me why she never wrote anything else. Yet she has, in a way; this edition of the work contains two features the original Knopf one did not. The first is a Prologue by Brooke's friend, Buck Henry, who, when she was writing it originally, urged her to finish it, even though she was devastated by the sudden death of her good friend Johanna Mankiewicz (Josie) Davis. The second is an Epilogue from Brooke herself, relating some things having happened in the years following her book's initial 1977 publication. My God, can it be 35 years????? Including her reaction to her brother's death, and an account of his service.

Darlings, it is so good to have Brooke and "Haywire" back. This survivor will make you into one. And far more inspirational than that Joan Didion!!!!!!!!

I mean, not even I, girls, had Diana Vreeland pass through my house!!!!!!!!!

Girls, What About "Dance Moms"?????

Darlings, I am sure some of you must be wondering why I have not written on line about this show. The truth is, for one, I have not seen an entire episode, only the trailer. The second, is, do I really want to????? I mean, let's face it, the dance instructor is no Donna McKechnie or Kelly Bishop, but looks more as though she should be cast in opera ss Brunhilde. I bet you, Donna, Kelly, and Baayork took one look at this concept, and were glad they were not a part of it.

From what I can tell, you might as well call this "Bitch! Bitch! Bitch!" There does not seem to be much variation. Either the Instructor is bitching at her juvenile divas, the divas are bitching at each other, the Instructor is bitching at the Divas' Mothers, or the mothers are bitching each other. You would expect this to get rather repetitious.

Camp bitchiness is one thing, but we have to have variety, girls. I mean, if you think these bunheads from Pittsburgh are going to land in New York, or grow up to be as cast as extras in things like "Burlesque" or "Smash"--forget it!!!!!!! They will end up opening dance studios of their own when adults, doing their barre moves in front of the TV, to the accompaniment of "The Turning Point." Now, THAT might be something to watch!!!!!!!!!!

I promise, darlings, I will this one a look see. But, until, mark my words. "A Chorus Line" I am sure it is not. And where is Debbie Allen, when she is needed????


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Darlings, Where Was Bryce Dallas Howard??????

Girls, I bet this morning Miss Howard is royally pissed!!!!!!!! And I do not blame her one bit. The point-counterpoint between she and Octavia Spencer is what truly makes "The Help" sizzle, not just in the famous "pie scene," but anytime either of these actresses is on the screen. Bryce perfectly nails racist Queen Bee Hilly Hollbrook; with that faux Jackie Kennedy look, you know we all want to look like her, darlings, and that house--oh, I am telling you, that house!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, then, listen to what comes out of her mouth!!!!!!!!

And thank God that Leo was not nominated, or that abysmal film, "J.Edgar." And that includes the overrated Judi Dench, who, while having been brilliant in other films, is less animated here than the decayed corpse of Mrs. Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." Maybe now Leo will crawl back to his hangout spot at Bungalow 8, where he belongs!!!!!!!!!

What about those two Michaels-- Shannon and Fassbender-- for their standout turns in "Take Shelter" and "Shame?"

And how about Albert Brooks as the villain in "Drive"? The word on the street was he was going to practically walk up and tuck away that Best Supporting Actor Oscar!!!!!!!

Not to mention NOTHING for "The Ides Of March," nor any of its stars, including Ryan Gosling? This has to be the most piss poor assortment of Oscar nominees assembled. Who was doing the nominating, anyway???? Republicans???????

At least Meryl was nominated. But, I am telling you, if the Oscars don't start getting with it, when it comes to genuine merit, and at least look outside the Mainstream, they are going to find themselves as extinct as the once glamorous Miss America Pageant!!!!!!!!!!!

There He (Oscar) goes, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, Cut It Out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, there is just no telling which way this blog will go. From celebrity tributes, to the Oscars, to....male circumcision??????????

That's right, darlings!!!!!!!! An article I recently read in the gay publication "NEXT", alerted me to the fact that there is a movement afoot among the Gay Male Community, regarding this practice. In essence, they are taking the same stance as women who are Pro Choice--it is their body, and they have the right to decide what is done with it.

But reproduction is quite a bigger step than circumcision. Added to which the act of reproduction is something a woman will experience while fully cognizant, and is capable of remembering. Those, such as moi, who were circumcised, were done so as infants, shortly after birth, so, of course, who can remember anything??? Even me, with my razor sharp memory, cannot go back that far! And thank God!!!!!!!!!!!

Growing up where I did, in Highland Park New Jersey, which was mostly white, and predominantly Jewish, it never occurred to me then that anyone would NOT be circumcised. Would you believe my first experience with such came from....a French poodle??????????

No, dears, I was not indulging in bestiality; I detest the idea. But let me explain.

While growing up, we visited, quite often, Aunt Martha and Uncle Jack, who was my father's brother. They lived in Cedar Grove, NJ, and had a lovely split level house, with a beautifully landscaped garden, into which eventually was put a swimming pool. They also, around the time I reached puberty, acquired a black male French poodle, named, appropriately enough, Pierre.

Pierre was the sweetest thing, and I loved playing with and petting him. But he was also a big old hound for attention, and let me tell you, when a crowd was gathered, and rapidly conversing, Pierre had a unique way of gaining attention. He would lift himself up on his hind legs, and, with one paw, begin frantically rubbing his testicles with said paw, until someone, usually Aunt Martha, would clap her hands at him, and say, admonishingly, "Stop that!" And naive as I was, I really had no idea what Pierre was being ordered to stop.

Until one Sunday, when we were there, Pierre did his thing, and only I noticed. Curious, I decided to see what might happen if I let Pierre go as far as he could, so I stayed quiet. Until, until, darlings, I saw something suddenly protrude, and, before I could stop myself, screamed out loud to all and sundry, "Oh, my God! The dog is getting a hard-on!!"

You never saw such hysteria! The women screamed, Aunt Martha got on Pierre's case, the men harrumphed, and my father marched me upstairs, to get on MY case, saying we do not talk like that in front of people. Of course, I said I was only telling what I saw...and I had never seen such before. Nor did I understand why Pierre's looked so different, aside from he being a dog. It was because he was, in the vernacular, uncut!!!!!!!

As for the human male, not once do I recall anyone who might be called uncut. If they existed, they were certainly outnumbered by all of us who were cut. It wasn't until I got to college that I saw such, and I am afraid my reaction was bad. This Princess had to share bathroom and shower facilities with a whole floor of young, horny teen boys, and, darlings, if you think that sounds fun, let me just say when you are a teen yourself, not to mention shy, insecure and raised in a house where it was like having your own apartment, such an experience may prove rattling. I mean, I had not so much as been to summer camp. Anyway, I was going in one morning, and I saw this guy, drying himself. I have no idea who he was, but now I wish I did, so I could apologize, for, as I noticed his anatomy, I saw a similarity to Pierre. Know what I did, darlings???? I screamed!!!!!!! In fact, I screamed so much that it scared him, and he ran out of there! I don't think he ever used that space again!!!!!!!!!!

But that was me back, then, darlings, innocent as a rose! Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies, what did I know of those?????? Today, it is a whole different story, darlings!!!!!!!!!!

I figured it all out eventually. But once I began the gay dating scene, or whatever you want to call it, I found myself judgemental. I just could not cozy up to those who were uncut! It was so foreign to me, and something about it seemed unhealthy. As I became more aware, and would read various literature, I found a school of thought who maintained that those uncut experience greater sexual pleasure. I have no basis for comparison; in fact, in that department I have never felt lacking, and have done just fine, thank you!!!!!!!!! But being uncircumcised places a hygienic burden on the possessor, and the literature states that men who are such are at greater risk for STD's.

Which goes to say, I have never felt dissatisfied being circumcised. And with all the things out there to rail about amidst the gay male community, this is specious, at best. And just how do these proponents expect this movement to gain support??? Confiscate male babies from hospital wards???? Keeping older boys uncircumcised , so that, if when of legal age, they might decide to get circumcised, it puts more of a burden of pain and risk upon them??? This to me is as heinous as the practice of female circumcision.

If parents mutually decide they want their male child to remain uncircumcised, that is fine. Pressure to do or not do that should not be exerted. But I think, in a world where sexual issues, pressures, and diseases abound, putting a child at hygienic risk is not a viable option. I can tell you, were I to have children it would be--sorry, dears!--snip! snip!!!!!!!!

As Neely might have said in "Valley Of The Dolls,"--"Who needs it? I did GREAT without it"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rooney Mara????? Nick Nolte?????? "Bridesmaids'??????

These names, darlings, are just a few of the annual surprises known as the Academy Award nominations. First, and foremost, for all my devotees, yes, Meryl is in the lineup!!!!!!! How could she not be???????

But, really, Rooney Mara?????? She may get "A" for effort, but the film was overlong and ponderous, and what did she really do for two plus hours but act spooky???? Honey, back in the day, Jennifer Jason Leigh could do the same thing with just an upturn of her eyebrow. Rooney's role is attention getting, but hardly what I would call award calibre.

Ditto Nick Nolte. I had no idea he had come out of the tank long enough to make a movie, let alone utter anything coherent. I never heard of this film, "Warriors," so it must have come and gone faster than the Witch Of The West departs Munchkinland!!!!!!

As for Melissa McCarthy, she may be a delightful comedienne, but "Bridesmaids?" Even by comedic standards, we are not talking art. I don't know, with the nominations sinking this low, it could turn out the Oscars might be held, not at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, but the nearest Olive Garden in the area!!!!!
Is that what we really want, darlings??????????

What else? Well, Meryl, thank God!!!! But where the hell is Tilda Swinton???? And why is Jessica Chastain singled out for "The Help," instead of her better work in "The Tree Of Life"???? Thank God Octavia Spencer got in there; she and Bryce Dallas Howard's point-counterpoint routine is what really made "The Help" sizzle!!!!!

Who the hell is this Demian Bichir, and what on earth is "A Better Life?" That one came so far from left field, it never registered on my Oscar radar.

And I really have my issues with "Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close." A well written work by the great Jonathan Safran Foer, turned into a maudlin piece of treacle; just like "War Horse," except the Spielberg film is at least well made!!!!!!!

Mark my words--Best Actress is going to be the Battle Of The Lifetimers--Meryl Streep vs. Glenn Close. Much as I am in Meryl's camp, Glenn just may win; she has not been up for awhile, and she has never won at all. Watch out, Meryl!!!!!!!!!

I hope Christopher Plummer wins, not only because his was an interesting performance, but because he is still acting at a point when most of these nominees will be hung out to dry by the time their first wrinkle appears!!!!!!

And where the hell is Charlize Theron?????????

And don't even start with me, darlings, on the entire cast of "Carnage" being shut out, not to mention Roman Polanski!!!!!!! Guess literate
bitchfests have gone the way of all flesh!!!!!!!!!!!!

So there are some of my off the cuff remarks about this year's nominees. Feel free to dish, dolls, and of course, as things proceed, you can bet I will give you a full report.

Maybe, by the time the actual awards roll around, I will be on the red carpet with Joan Rivers!!!!!!!! Gown designed by Valentina!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Darlings, It's Daisy, Not Maisie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Long before my time, girls (that's right, you bitches!!!!!!!) Henry James wrote a short--which is saying a lot for Henry--novel called "What Maisie Knew." Of course, I have read it, lambs! It is all about a perceptive and sensitive little girl, who witnesses the debacle of her family's dysfunction, culminating, inevitably, in their divorce.

Just look at this painting, girls, particularly the little girl pictured therein. Doesn't she suggest Maisie, from James' novel?????? Well, the truth could hardly be any different, for there is no family dysfunction in this young lady's life. For the young lady in question grew up to be the subject of this blog's first Celebrity Profile. I figured it was about time for some sort of expansion, loves, and, while celebrities such as Meryl, Blythe and others, have gotten enough of their share of printed attention, including from yours truly, I thought it time to acknowledge those deserving, but who do not often get, the attention they warrant.

So, I am delighted to report that the Raving Queen's first celebrity profile will be the radiantly lovely, socially gracious, and loved by all, arts raconteur, Daisy Pommer!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me tell you, darlings, not since Amy Adams, has so much been done for red hair and radiance as Daisy!!!!!!! She is an inspiration to all of us. And, along with everything else, she just happens to be intellectually brilliant!!!!!!! Believe me, I know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How many of us aspired to be Figures Of New York, while growing up??????
But Daisy, is, herself, a true Child Of New York!!!!!!!!! And the most captivating one, since Kay Thompson first created Eloise!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She was born, some 28 years before, to Richard Pommer, the late, distinguished, architectural historian, and Linda Nochlin, the brilliant art historian!!!!! With such a pedigree, how could Daisy be anything less than fabulous?????? Kind of like Elizabeth Taylor!!!!!!!!!

Daisy has had quite a history, let me tell you. While her parents taught at Vassar, she was, so legend has it, conceived during a monsoon on a romantic trip to Rangoon, while Buffy Sainte- Marie was playing on the stereo. Her mother, girls, hardly had time to register being pregnant, when Daisy sprung into the world full force at, of all place, the Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel. While Mrs. Pommer was being served tea and such by my favorite erstwhile waiter, there, Boris, (I wonder what ever happened to him?) her water broke, she gracefully slid under the table, and, before taking her next breath, Daisy had emerged with such grace and expediency that she landed en pointe, executing a perfect fourth arm position. Her path in the dance world was instantly mapped out for her.

Daisy began to dance while most of us were still being potty trained. It was said Jacques D'Amboise was so awed by her, he gave her private lessons for free. Daisy was not one, however, to rest on these laurels; being too high powered and brilliant, not to mention socially endowed, she was not content to become a proverbial "bunhead," but set her sights high, following in her parents' distinguished academic footsteps.

Did you know, girls, that Daisy attended Brearley????? Yes, darlings!!!!!
I cannot tell you how charmed they were by her there, and she of them. And this is coming from yours truly, loves, who graduated from Miss Porter's!!!!!!! So, you damn well better believe both Daisy and I know what to do with our pinkies, when it comes to tea!!!!!!

This was no Henry James Maisie, sweeties. This was a force of brilliance, unleashed upon a world desperately needing her guidance and inspiration. Daisy was next seen on the campus of Northwestern University, where she, of course, studied Dance--her pirouettes became the stuff of legend--and history!!!!!! I told you she was brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!

But New York was in Daisy's blood, and when school wrapped up, she came back to the town she loved, and conquered it singlehandedly. She did a stint at Channel Thirteen, where she was adored by one and all. I am telling you, darlings, I have seen ex-coworkers come in and bestow Christmas gifts before her!!!! Just like the Magi, with the Infant Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Channel Thirteen, Daisy jumped up the career ladder, where she now holds court at a large cultural emporium in the city. And where she is the most notable person on the dance scene in her division. I have it from good authority that when dance companies know Daisy is going to be in the house, members tremble, for, with her extensive training, came an ineluctably high set of standards, which she brings to every performance she observes. It is said that the sphincters of master choreographers in the city inwardly clamp up at the mention of Daisy being in the house. And this is saying a lot for choreographers' sphincters, most of which are so pliable you could drive a jackhammer in there!!!!!! But that is for another discussion, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daisy was featured in the book, "Redheads," by Joel Meyerowitz, in a stunning bathing beauty shot, (which belies her intellectual brilliance) the like of which has not been seen, since the iconic photo of Elizabeth Taylor in the white bathing suit from "Suddenly, Last Summer." Daisy's photo, has, indeed, been compared to that one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, darlings, I am telling you, there is no one to compare with Daisy!!!!!!!!!! Whether she is critiquing dance, reading any of the several volumes of Edward Gibbons' "The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire," or William L. Shirer's "The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich," or watching a Leni Riefenstahl DVD while executing a perfect move on the dance barre, (and Daisy is equally adept at the social scene in New York's better bars, loves!!!!!!!) she brings with her an inspiration and joie de vivre that is infectious to whomever is fortunate enough to come into contact with her.

So, here is our first Celebrity Profile, Miss Daisy Pommer, one of the unsung social treasures of New York. The Raving Queen and His Court are unanimous in their verdict---

We simply ADORE you, Daisy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Men????

"My children, surely, are innocent of their misfortune."
--Francois Soubirous in "The Song Of Bernadette"

No, darlings that line was not delivered by actor Roman Bonhen (who played Francois) in the 1943 screen masterpiece, of course starring Jennifer Jones, but by Francois himself in the opening pages of the Franz Werfel novel. And as I was reading
Timothy Benford and James Johnson's "Righteous Carnage--The List Murders In Westfield," this line passed through my head, because, as I read the mounting tale of how suburban sicko John List murdered his entire family--wife, mother and three children--my heart went out especially to the three children, for whom I copiously wept, and who, of all the figures in this case, were truly the innocent ones.

It is grisly to recall that this incident, which put New Jersey on the map in a way unseen since the Lindbergh kidnapping, took place only 20 miles north of where I grew up, (Highland Park) in Westfield. And, as I read further, I came to realize that the List children--Patty, John Jr. and Frederick (oldest to youngest) would, give or take years on either side, be about my age, if alive today. Furthermore, Patty, whose birth date was January 8, 1955, had she been at Highland Park, or I at Westfield, would not only have been in the same graduating class as I, but, with our mutual interests in theater, we would certainly at least have crossed paths.

In the face of such tragedy, and lives of such promise that never had a chance, I feel incumbent with gratitude for the time I have been given, and am continued to be given, even at my ripe old age of 57. Though my professional age is STILL 24!!!!!!

These were my first reactions upon reading this book. The other is wanting to commend Benford and Johnosn for getting us inside the mind of John List, so that we come, to understand--though certainly not condone--bit by bit, his curious reasoning that led him to this twisted outcome.

If it were not for that outcome, or--I am sorry to say--if List had killed himself with his family--one might have felt sorry for him. But what he did makes that impossible. And, secondly, much as I hate to say it, I think the murders were inevitable, that they would have happened, no matter where or what.

It was a perfect storm just waiting to happen. By the time the Lists arrived in Westfield, it seemed as if their fate had been sealed, for already John List's abilities to maintain family support and authority were on shaky ground. And when they finally began to collapse, in Westfield, somewhere around 1970, despite smoke signals of red, hive-like blotches that would appear on List's face when truly angered, or List's overturning a family dining table during a meal early on in his marriage, his glaring malevolently at teen party goers at his daughter's Halloween party, even his kicking a couple on the couch necking, to stop them, speaks of a simmering rage that would inevitably boil over and erupt.

Add to that a checkered history with women; not so much fooling around, as having been fooled. List's mother was extremely domineering and repressed him in classic Norman Bates fashion. His marriage to wife, Helen, was a sham from the start; trapped into it by allegations of pregnancy, which later proved false, and with Helen hiding her history of tertiary syphilis, contracted from her first marriage, which, by the arrival in Westfield had begun to eat away at her physically and mentally, the Norman Rockwell American ideal List had been led to expect, was crumbling all around him. As was, according to neighbors, Helen's sister, and those party goers, the house itself, which was barely furnished, as the Lists could not afford it, and was falling apart around them; even to water leaking from an upstairs bathroom above. The Cunicks, nearby neighbors, were always taking in and feeding the List children, who were often described as wild and disheveled; not surprising, really, since they had no real parental guidance at all. The Lists Of Westfield were slowly turning into that town's version of the Beales Of Grey Gardens!!!!!! And there was nothing pretty or glamorous about it.

Despite that Patty and Frederick worked part time jobs, despite Patty's active interest in theater, and a close, working relationship with her drama teacher, Ed Illiano, no one heeded the signals needed to save the Lists. Patty had told her teacher her father planned to kill them all; the night before, for reasons now unknown, she begged him to come over to their house that evening, in some kind of intervention.

But no intervention would have worked, because List would not listen. As one psychiatrist said, having felt God had abandoned him, he took it upon himself to become God. The only way things might have changed is if the children had been removed from the house the night before. But where might they have gone??? As for the women, while not as innocent as the children, they were also undeserving of what befell them.

It was interesting to me that List had planned to murder them on November 1, which was All Saints Day, and which, to a religiously righteous person like List, would have made sense; especially as, from his POV, he was sending "innocent souls" to Heaven. But a delay in acquiring a stock option led to an eight day delay, which, when time came for him to be tried, decided one juror on his guilt--that despite the rampant OCD that was blamed for his deeds, he nevertheless DID have an ability to change his mind when he felt warranted.

That last phrase is key, for List was a chilling mix of repression and narcissism; the first allowing his rage to boil over and do what he did, the second allowing him to seek escape, never to turn himself in, till captured. Despite the myriad problems mounting up on him, it cannot be overlooked that List killed everyone in that house to get on with his life, because he did not want to be tied down. He is someone who should never have been married in the first place.

Which is ironic, considering that, when found, List had married again, to Delores Miller, and that evidence showed patterns which had surfaced in the first marriage were appearing again, leading many, and I am one, to believe, eventually, Delores would have found herself in danger, if not being offed by List himself. Or that, if List had married when young, there might have been a whole string of family annihilations across the country.

The crime of family annihilation was not a first with the John List case; it nevertheless crystallized it, and I believe List and his crime is the case that coined the phrase. He certainly set the gold standard for it, a dubious distinction, at best.

The book is so good, in fact, I was surprised two questions were left unanswered--what of Brenda, Helen Taylor List's daughter by her first marriage, who did spend some time within the List house before striking out on her own, and what of List's second wife, Delores Miller, whom many regard as his sixth victim. After he is extradited to New Jersey, she is never heard from again. Did she divorce, him I hope???????? And how horrifying, having come to terms with someone you chose to marry being a notorious sociopath.

That last word is never mentioned, but there is no doubt in my mind that that is what List was. Nearly four decades after his death, his precedence of evil remains unbroken. And I imagine, even after 40 years, his is still a negating presence that haunts the bucolic town of Westfield.

Add this book to your book list, darlings, and cross List off as scum!!!!!!!!!!

And, John, darling, too damn bad--you aren't notorious enough to be among a deck of Serial Killer cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Burn, baby, burn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, We LOVE Joan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"You miserable tramp!"
"If you have a crush on me, you must be gay!!!"
--Joan Rivers

Darlings, I have loved Joan, since I first saw her, as a child, back in the Sixties, on television, in something called "The National Trivia Test," where you better believe I got all the answers right, especially those questions dealing with child stars, as I could have been one, myself!!!!!!!!

When I got older, and could stay up later, the only time I would really watch "The Tonight Show," was when Joan was Johnny's guest host. Though iconic, Johnny Carson was as bland as the Nebraskan cornfield he must have crawled out of. Joan was genuinely funny--and a big old fag hag!!!!!!!

You have to hand it for Joan, for maintaining her sanity during the tragic period of her husband, Edgar's, suicidal death. And you have to give her credit for raising Melissa, who, if such a thing is possible, is even more homely than Sarah Jessica Parker, and has made more of a career out of being a celebrity's child, than any celebrity's child I know. Thank God her mother was Joan, else she would probably be outside hospital ER's, copping doses of meth!!!!!

And even though Joan, having had more face lifts than the six my late, lamented Aunt Katie, had, may look grotesque enough to portray Miss Havisham, her rapier wit and biting voice can still cut through the air with brilliant comic precision. I hope Joan goes on forever, because there is no one else like her!!! Not even yours truly, darlings, though I have to acknowledge a debt of gratitude and influence to Joan, whose ability to maintain a schedule (as evidenced in the documentary film, "Joan Rivers--A Piece Of Work") is uncanny; honey, some days, I have trouble just getting out of bed, never mind flying to Salt Lake City at three in the morning. Not me, loves!!!!! I am in curlers by then!!!!!!!!

Some twenty years back, Joan surprised the hell out of me, in the only time I have seen her live. She was portraying a character, having taken over for Linda Lavin in Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound". I was curious as hell to see how she would handle not only material not her own, but a straight, dramatic role. Well, Joan pulled it off with all the aplomb of her doing her comic act at the Sands in Vegas!!!
It was truly amazing and very moving. So, let me tell you, there is even more to Joan than...Joan!!!!!!

Joan Rivers has been with me throughout almost every stage of my life. So has Elizabeth Taylor, but, alas, Liz has gone to her reward, that great Cartier's In The Sky!!!! I expect Joan will be with me for a good deal longer. And as I transition from Middle Age to God knows what, Joan, I hope, will be along to supply me with laughter on the journey!!!!!!

I love you, Joan!!!! What a tramp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Darlings, It Was Dinner With Schmucks The Other Night On "Law And Order"!!!!!!!

From camp bitchery to male schmucks, there are no lengths to which the "Law And Order" franchises will not go. The other night, 'SVU' and 'Criminal Intent' featured two episodes with such pieces of scum, I just wanted to put my fist through the television set. You know that feeling, girls!!!!!!!! Though at least one of the scumbags had a point!

Let's start with 'SVU'. The episode shown, "Conscience", featured Kyle Maclachlin as Dr. Brett Morton, and let me start by saying if Isabella Rossellini were to catch him hiding in her closet now, she would scream and call the cops!!!!!!!! And I would not blame her, because Time has not been kind to Kyle. He will never be Jeffrey in "Blue Velvet" again.

But, as Dr. Morton, he has more pressing problems than age and career decline. The action starts at a children's birthday party, held in one of these commercial NYC juvenile party venues, with hundreds of prepubescents running around silly. What a nightmare, already! One of these kids, Henry Morton (Dr. Morton's son), runs off, followed by a woman (presumably his mother) chasing after him. Suddenly, she turns--and Henry is gone!!!!!!!!

Now, this being 'SVU', it isn't long before Henry's murdered body turns up in a construction site. Shades of the regular "Law And Order" episode, "Killerz", featuring Jenny Brandt. Keep your eyes peeled, darlings, for, while this one is similar to the Jenny Brandt story, it examines the issues therein in an altogether different way.

There are suspects a' plenty to choose from, and that includes the Good Doctor. But the best candidate is Billy Turner, a known pedophile. Meanwhile, across the street from the Mortons, live the O'Haras (not of Tara), namely Jake (played by Jordan Garrett, in a performance to keep your eyes on), and his mother, played by Johanna Day. Young Jake is all empathy and condolence to Dr. Morton for Henry's death, and he just laps it up, but let me tell you, after a few minutes of young Jake's butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth routine, I was beginning to wonder.

It turns out Jake has behavior problems, and, thinking it would help, his mother sends him to one of these Tough Love camps for problem kids, where he alleges the others abused and sodomized him. But when the SVU team talks to camp officials and members, guess who they discover did all the abusing????? Jake!!!!!!! So, at the very least, they know Jake is a pathological liar.

If only it were that easy. For, under interrogation, Jake chillingly reveals his true colors, saying how Henry saw him in the act of killing a neighbor's cat (red flag, darlings--serial killer aspirant on the prowl!!!!!), and threatened he was going to tell. So Jake followed Henry to the party, where he lured him away, and did the dastardly deed. When asked what was the last thing Henry said to him, before he was killed, Jake gives a chilling response--"I want my Mommy!" Sick kid!!! Dr. Morton is devastated, but still thinks the troubled Jake still deserves a chance.

Everyone wants to try Jake as an adult--including myself--but he is remanded to family court. Due to his age, and the fact that he is a cute kid who knows how to manipulate everyone in sight (I am telling you, if Jake had been less than cute, it would have made a difference, because American justice, especially when it comes to children, goes only skin deep!!!!!!), Jake is going to be remanded to a juvenile psychiatric facility, where he will remain till the age of 18, when he will be released. Things take a turn here, when Jake turns, stares Dr. Morton straight on, giving a look, indicating he is not a bit sorry. You can see the horror on Morton's face, as the truth registers--Jake is a dangerous sociopath, a textbook serial killer in the making, (just like Jenny Brandt) who, given the chance, would kill again.

Dr. Morton weighs his options, and, in a scene, where things almost happen too fast, Jake and his mother walk out of the courtroom, followed behind by Morton. Before we can register what happens, he grabs a court officer's gun, aims, and point fires at Jake, killing the boy on the spot!!!!!!!!! Darlings, this was something I did not for a second see coming, and, if I were hooked to a shock register machine, I am sure, I would have broken the apparatus, at this point!!!!!!!!!

And--get this, lambs--we are only halfway through the episode!!!!!!!!!

Now, it is Dr. Morton who is on trial. Among the evidence prosecution tries to work against him is an article he wrote years before, detailing his beliefs, and why, that sociopathic children are incapable of being cured. That they should be given lifelong incarceration, because, if released, they will go on to do their dastardly deeds again and again.

Let me say up front, I am with Dr. Morton on this!!!!!!!! I am not a bit sorry he gunned down Jake, though I do not advocate vigilante execution. Unless, of course, I am directly attacked, darlings, because no sick bitch is gonna get the best of ME!!!!!!!!! But Morton is right--if released at 18, Jake most certainly would have killed again. As proof, I offer the real life South Jersey case of Sam Manzie, whose parents recognized early on how disturbed he was, and who correctly tried to get him housed somewhere, for both his and society's good. But they were turned down, and as a result, Sam, at 15, went on to murder and sodomize his 11-year-old next door neighbor. Now he IS incarcerated for life, but, due to bureaucratic negligence and denial (no one ever wants to believe that minors can be evil!!!!!) an innocent child had to die, before the correct action was taken!!!!!!!

The jury here has to decide--did Morton act as a grieving father, or as a psychiatric vigilante?????? I guess they felt his grief was palpable, which I did, and they issue him a "Not Guilty" verdict. I would have voted the same way, let me tell you!!!!!!

In the telling final scene in front of the courthouse, Elliot Stabler goes up to Morton and asks him just when he decided to kill Jake. Knowing he cannot be retried, Morton is forthcoming, saying he decided to do it in court, when Jake gave him that evil look, and, measured against the evidence, he realized truly what Jake was. "Even though you knew it was wrong?" asks Elliot. Morton's answer provides for one one unforgettable ending. "Yes," he says, rightfully. "But one things is certain. Jake O'Hara would have killed again. And I never will." Then he walks off!!!!!!!!!!!!

All I can say, darlings is--WOW!!!!!! Go Dr. Morton! Again, neither I nor this episode is advocating vigilante style execution; what it is pleading is the need to recognize the signs and dangers of juvenile socipathy, and that such an illness cannot be cured with a Band Aid, or even psych medications. Had Jake been permanently consigned, he never would have been killed, and he might have gotten some help.

So, who are the schmucks, here????? Jake, of course, Dr. Morton, to a large degree, Jake's mother, to a lesser, who really cannot be blamed for her inability to discern her son's true nature, as she hadn't the tools or guidance, plus he was pulling the wool over her eyes, too. The bigger of the schmucks I maintain was the entire Justice System, who cannot see beyond the visual innocence in a child, and thus comes down easy every time, despite indications that warrant the opposite.

What a story, darlings! Then we turned to 'Criminal Intent' in continuance of our Dinner With Schmucks!!!!!!!!!!!

This episode, entitled "Yesterday", featured two pieces of scum, Rick Morrissey (Danton Stone) and Jay Lippman (Jim True-Frost). And Johanna Day, featured in the aforementioned story, also appears here as Jay's wife, Ann.

A woman's body washes up along the Bronx River. It is two decades old, but carefully wrapped, and well preserved. Marks on the women's body indicate she was tortured, and the autopsy shows she had been raped. Chemical residue on the body leads Goren and Eames to discover this body was placed in the river, after being moved from somewhere else. Their search leads them to a deserted house, once owned by the Morrissey family. The parents have moved away, but their adult children, Rick and Sally, still live in the area. Sally is a functional adult, trying to put her life together, or maybe keep it so. Her brother, Rick, is a problem to her and everyone--a drug addicted loser, who cannot keep a job, drifts from place to place, and is not above being dependent on others, chiefly his sister, for monetary handouts.

But there is another figure in this story--Jay Lippman, an arrogant, snarky corporate type (you know the kind, girls!!!!) who works for a high powered engineering company, with the wife, the suburban house--all the trappings America says one is supposed to have, and which he fervently, almost pathologically, believes. It seems Rick and he met during college, when both were in their Chess Club; Jay was Chess Master, and Rick his protege. An unholy, and unbroken, alliance, was formed between them, when Sally, then still in high school, said she wanted to date a college man, and Rick fixed her up with Jay. Not knowing what the outcome would be, Jay drugged and date raped Sally, word got back to Rick, and, while no real charges were pressed, and Sally never said anything, Rick was given something to hold over Jay.

As it turned out, he had a good deal more. Once Rick began with Sally, it unleashed in him a sexually sadistic side that was used to calm him whenever stress became too much. So, Rick was enlisted to help Jay find, and then dispose, of these series of victims, binding one to the other in a kind of Leopold-Loeb connection.

Once they hear Sally's story, Goren and Eames go talk to Jay at work, and Goren gets his number right away--all about entitlement and control!!!!! Uhm, hmm!!!!!!!!!!! The tables are turned once Rick turns up dead. Jay, tired of having this twenty year albatross around his neck, decides it is time to cut Rick loose. So, he lures the gullible, addicted, brain-addled Rick, to the top of a building in construction (and Rick is dumb enough to go!!) and pushes him off, making it look, as it does to most, that Rick committed suicide!!!!!!

Goren and Eames are not buying this for a second. They have spoken to Jay's wife, Ann, and learn of his little flaw--when things get too much for him, he goes off missing for several days, and returns, as relaxed as having been at a spa!!!!!!!! What I want to know is, how come Ann takes this so blithely???? She just matter of factly thinks Jay is working off steam with an affair somewhere????? And that is OK, with her???? If only it were that, darlings!!!!! Well, girls, if she wants to keep the house and ride the gravy train with Jay's money, it had damn well better be OK with her, which is how Jay gets away with it.

But now, with Ann's admissions and Rick's murder, they can haul Jay into the interrogation room, where things get really interesting. The minute this arrogant prick takes his seat and scowls, it is apparent he is on the verge of cracking, any second. And Goren, in his best Vincnent D'Onofrio fashion, splits this guy wide open, psychologically, saying how he was nothing but someone who was unloved and abused by his family, and had no friends; at least till he got to college, and discovered two things he was good at--math, and chess, which, incidentally, are both about manipulation and control. How the only person he was able to hook up with is loser Rick, whom he used as a patsy. And how, whenever Jay would go mysteriously wandering off, suddenly a young woman somewhere would go missing, only to turn up raped,tortured, and murdered. Jay is a serial killer-rapist.

Poor Jay! Boo Hoo! He breaks down, crying, "I couldn't help it," "You have no idea what it was like," meaning his life had been so hard; he had done everything to make it perfect and eradicate his imperfections, but he just couldn't!!!!!! Yeah, Jay, I feel real sorry for you!!!!!!!! Roll up his sleeve, stick the needle in his arm, and good riddance to this arrogant schmuck.

Brett Morton, Jay O'Hara, Rick Morrissey and Jay Lippman. Real pieces of work; genuine schmucks, superbly embodied by the actors who played them.
Dinner was served up well, girls, but I wouldn't want to eat the leftovers!!!!!!!!!

See you in court, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

We Have To Check Again, Darlings!!!!!

What is it with this damn computer???? Will it publish. or what??? Get your act together, bitch!!!!!!!!

Girls, What Is This, All Of A Sudden, With Every Actress Wanting To Play Miss Havisham??????

I am telling you, how many times can they film "Great Expectations?" Doesn't anyone realize that David Lean got it right, back in 1947???? Recently, I spoke about, and showed you a photo, of Gillian Anderson, looking far too Cate Blanchett and Tolkeinesque in the role!!! Actually, if the still had not said otherwise, I would have said Gillian was portraying the title character in an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen." Which, actually, would be a good role for her, and is a story whose adaptation can always be improved upon, as none that I have seen have yet gotten it right. And just happens to be this fairy's all-time favorite fairy tale!!!!!

Well, now comes word another "Great Expectations" is being planned, and guess who is playing Miss Havisham THIS time?????? Are you ready, darlings??????

Helena Bonham Carter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have got to be kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Poor Miss Carter. At one time, say twenty years ago (at least) she was one of the freshest faced ingenues we had, in films like "A Room With A View" and Howards End." But something happened along the way. Not just age, and marriage to Tim Burton, she got inexplicably blowzy, her bosom expanded (due to pregancy, and its aftermath). No longer an ingenue now, and having played Mrs. Lovett more like the Beggar Woman in her husband's abysmal film version of the great Sondheim musical, "Sweeney Todd," it got to the point where, if you needed someone to play a harridan on film, call Helena Bonham Carter!!!!!!!!

But Miss Havisham is not a harridan. And, being British born, I am sure Miss Carter has a working knowledge of Dickens; it must be in her blood.

Miss Havisham is a revenge seeking repressed spinster, hellbent on breaking the hearts of the male sex, which she wants to do, but cannot, as she has become a withered recluse, virtually a living corpse. So she uses her beautiful ward, Estella, which, while I have always wanted to play Miss H, darlings (honey, I lived it!!!!!), I wouldn't mind a crack at Estella, as it would be such delicious fun to break men's hearts!!!! Heh! Heh! Heh!!!!

With Carter cast as Havisham, I dread to think who is going to play Estella!!!
Lady Gaga, maybe????? Casting is so moronic these days, it would not surprise me one bit!!!!!

But, back to matters at hand! Anyone who knows their literature knows that repressed spinsters do NOT have ample bosoms!!! They are flat and angular!!! Especially so, in Miss H's case, as she has been living for decades isolated from th daylight, wearing the same tattered wedding gown she was jilted in, and having stopped those famous clocks of Satis House at 8:40. For Noel Coward, life began then; for Miss Havisham, it ended!!!!!!

The casting of Helena Bonham Carter here is completely wrong!!!! Now, if she were playing Madame Thernardier in "Les Miz," I think she would be perfect. I hear they are casting that one, Helena, why dion't you go up for it??????

And, truthfully, how many "Great Expectations" and Havisham interpretations, beyond Lean's, have gotten good reviews???? None!!!!! You think filmmakers get smart, but, with this, the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth coming up, they figure Charles is now a cash cow again!!!!! Wrong!!!!!!!

Hey, I just had an idea!!!! How about Joan Rivers as Miss Havisham???? I mean, with those face lifts, she looks it!!!! Besides, she's got no bosom--never had--and she IS a withered crone!!!! (But we love her!!!!)

What A Tramp, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Darlings, We Need To Talk About This Film!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, I wish I could say I was genuinely blown away by Lynne Ramsey's film, "We Need To Talk About Kevin," but, truthfully, I was not. I was more blown away by Lionel Shriver's novel of the same name, which I read several years ago. I think it works better on the printed page, because she uses an epistolary style. The novel is a series of letters Eva writes to her ex-husband, Franklin. Within these letters, you see what happens. And there is a tradition here. Within the realm of child pathology fiction, "The Bad Seed" in many ways set the gold standard. In the novel, the little girl's mother, Christine Penmark, writes a series of letters to her husband, delineating the situation as it progresses, but never mailing them. When she decides to do what she does (overdose Rhoda on sleeping pills, and then shoot herself) she gets rid of the letters, so that her husband will never know the truth. Which was her big mistake.

If any of what I have said in the above, darlings, sounds familiar, it casts a pall over the film, for as I watched it, I had this chronic, nagging feeling of "been there, done that." Even without having to read the book, one can sense what is coming, although the final atrocity (which Eva discovers only after she returns home from the school shooting) elicited genuine outcries from the audience, whom I could tell had not read the book--but these same outcries were raised by me when I did. If there is any novelty to the film, it is its visual style--which abandons the epistolary form of Shriver's novel, for surreal, snippets of distorted time, that, in the beginning, seem too gimmicky and confusing. As we settle in for what we know will happen, this style, combined with the sterile setting of the house--especially the interiors--this family lives in, keeps the viewer at a clinical distance, so the film is not nearly as horrifying in its impact as Shriver's book.

Moreover, with three different actors playing Kevin at three different stages of his life, there is no way for the audience to develop a relationship with the character, and offering an acting performance for us to judge. Each of the young actors ably go through their motions as required, without being especially penetrating or compelling. This would include, too, Ezra Miller, the nearly grown Kevin, who commits the heinous deeds the film leads up to. He is all externals, not letting us see what lies beneath, which is a poor choice, because the denouement is all the more incomprehensible. But maybe that is the point Ramsey is trying to make.

Or maybe that is the point she is trying to make about the audience. Having been saturated with similar enactments on the "Law And Orders," or "Cold Case," or "CSI," I have to wonder--have we become so immune to human horrors that, when they do occur, we are now able to react with a kind of detachment, rather than shock or outrage????? If so, this says more disturbing things about our society, and perhaps one's reaction to this film is proof of that. Ironic to me, was that, at the time I viewed this film, I was reading Timothy Benford's book on the John List case, "Righteous Carnage", which did elicit the shock and horror this film did not, not only because I was responding to something that had been a big deal in my New Jersey based past, but because, by today's standards, List's act still epitomizes cold and calculating evil. Not that the evil of Kevin is not apparent; the film simply does not offer any insight into it. Which begs the question of whether that is indeed the intended point, or an otherwise specious excuse. I leave that one to you, darlings!!!!!!

The real reason to see the film is a riveting performance by Tilda Swinton as Eva, the mother. Who, interestingly, despite Swinton's hardened looks, comes off as a more sympathetic figure than she did in the book. Eva clearly made every effort to bond with her child, even if she wasn't the warm, fuzzy, Mary Poppins type. It just did not take. And we are made to feel her frustration and horror on all levels.

The film examines also the suburban underbelly. Losing just about everything, forced to sell her affluent home and downsize to a house in what is obviously the Wrong Side Of The Tracks, Eva, in remaining in her community, becomes the town scapegoat. The scene where she is walking down the street, and a townsperson chats her up, then smacks her hard across the face, saying, "I hope you rot in Hell, you motherfucking bitch!" struck me as disturbing as the shootings at the school. Evil flourishes in all guises.

It may sound like I am highly recommending this film. I do, but with caution. Swinton's performance is the glue holding it all together, but the film is unsettling due more to its detachment than to its ability to provoke.

Nevertheless, when you come out of it, you are going to want to see "The Sound OF Music," or something along those lines!!!!!!!!!!!

The hills are still alive, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!