Wednesday, February 29, 2012
With this day, darlings, the period I refer to as the longest of the year comes to an end. I am talking about that period from January 2 to today, which is when Winter Blues sometimes set in, some years more than others. The last have been less so, thanks to you know who, girls!!!!!!!!!
Still, I cannot help feeling some relief that this period has come to an end, as we segue into March, which means Spring for sure, and longer days. That late December period where daylight ends at 4:30 PM has come and gone, so we can move on!!!!!!!!!!
Farewell, February!!!!!!!! You were quite a month, and provided a lot of drama!!!!!! On with March and the advent of Spring!!!!!!!!!!
La Sacre Du Printemps, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, you really did not think I would let February slip by, without another Celebrity Profile????? I had planned one more in-depth, but time and circumstances warranted I go with what I have. But I am delighted to profile this next subject, who is both delightful and admirable.
One of my favorite people in New York City happens to have been in one of my favorite films. And, no, I am not talking about "The Wizard Of Oz," or "The Song Of Bernadette," darlings!!!!!!! I am talking about the 2002 documentary "Cinemania," (I cannot believe it has been TEN years already!!!!!!!), which profiled the lives of five, shall we say, impassioned and dedicated moviegoers.
I will never forget my first viewing of this film. It was in the Cinema Village over on East 12th Street, and I sat next to the great filmmaker, Tod Solondz. When the film came on, I recognized, Roberta (now deceased) the Queen of the Cinemaniacs, as a fixture I had seen at revival houses for years!!!!!! When Eric came onscreen, I did a double take--because I knew this guy, he being a frequent purveyor of my workplace.
So over the last decade I have become more acquainted with Eric, who, in addition to being my Favorite Cinemaniac, is something of a survivor, which I admire.
Eric had been living for ages in an apartment in Forest Hills, Queens. Circumstances intervened, and that was lost, and now Eric resides uptown in Manhattan, but dedicates himself by day to the Senior Center in his former nabe of Forest Hills. What Eric has been through would have destroyed me; more power to him, I say!!!!!! He is a Steel Magnolia!!!!!!!!!!
Because of his cultured, educated manner, I figured Eric hailed from the West--like San Francisco. But, according to him, he actually grew up in Boulder, Colorado. During the height of the Viet Nam War, he moved to Canada in 1971, to avoid the draft (right on, Eric!!!!!!!). By 1976, with his brother, a musician, established in New York City, he moved here, being enamored with those Sixties films, "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and "The World Of Henry Orient." And who wouldn't be????????? He supported himself for many years as a proofreader, which surprises me none, as Eric is one of the most perceptive and intelligent souls out there. His favorite film is "Stage Door" (which I happen to like, too!) and a close second is "Ruggles Of Red Gap," which I have yet to see, though no doubt I will at some point.
Eric is one of the unsung celebrities of New York, and deserves this profile!!!!! I look forward to every encounter I have with him!!!!!! And I trust his critical instincts more than I do most professional critics!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Congratulations, Eric on being the Raving Queen's Celebrity Profile for February!!!!!!!!!! My girls, and I, salute you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This day happens only four years, girls, and for those born on this day, it is truly special, as it is their REAL birthday, as opposed to yesterday or tomorrow, when some celebrate it. My sister, Penny, happens to be a Leap Year baby, and let me tell you, she has had to have the most protracted adolescence, because, by individual count, she reaches the age of 18 today!!!! You can figure out how old that really makes her!!!!
She is the mother of my niece, Jennifer, the internationally renowned author, and Matthew, internationally known illustrator, and Jonathan, internationally known patriarch of Downingtown, PA.
What are we supposed to do with this extra day, darlings???? I say it should be made a National Holiday, and we kick back with some Bellinis!!!!!! And a high quality meal!!!!
So, here is to my sister and all the Leap year babies out there!!!! One birthday every four years makes one forever young!!!!!!!
Four times the fun, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Well girls, the Tyler Clementi case, or what its sanitizers are calling the Rutgers Spy cam Case, in order to deflect from the tragic death of this young man, to benefit the defense of the heinous Dahrun Ravi, is now full swing, and testimony by Ravi's alleged cohort, Miss Molly Wei, has begun.
What is fascinating to me are the machinations of this slant eyed Miss. I still say she should, as punishment, work in a Chinese laundry, or wash dishes at the Wo Hop restaurant in New York's Chinatown!!!!!!!! She made a plea deal, in which she agreed to cooperate with the prosecution, thereby, testifying against her classmate and cohort, Dahrun Ravi. But what has been coming through in articles, and what I heard on the radio, sounds suspicious to me. So far, every word out of Miss Wei's mouth suggests more help for the defense rather than the prosecution.
Could she be adding perjury to her charges as well? How is this serving the prosecution, and how does it meet the standards of the plea deal???? I want to know.
The one thing I will grant credence for is her assertion that when Tyler Clementi was first discovered missing from campus, and it became at the time a possibility that he may have committed suicide, she states she was genuinely upset, so much so, she went home to her parents.
Are these crocodile tears, or is she telling the truth???? Actually, a little of both!!!!! I think the possibility of Tyler's death did disturb her, and arouse in her some guilt for her complicity. And her plea deal, while calculated, showed she recognized, to a degree, that the charges against her were serious enough that jail loomed. She at least had some understanding that what she did and what went down was wrong. Ravi has not made any sort of statement, outside of refusing to take a plea deal on the ground that he is innocent.
There was a "Law and Order" episode (I think it was the Original, not 'SVU'), where a general from a South American country is put on trial for war crime atrocities. He sits there, arrogant and self righteous throughout. When the jury comes back with the verdict, and he is asked, as the defendant, to rise, he refuses outright, saying he does not recognize the judge's authority to judge him!!!!! Honey, I can see the same thing happening with Ravi, and it would not surprise me if he pulled the same act!!!!!!!!!
I am sure the Clementis are there each and every day. My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I know all my girls send them the same!!!!!!! The thought of Ravi walking away from this is too heinous to imagine, because the message it sends about how society regards its more vulnerable is unimaginably contemptible!!!!!
Some kind of retribution must be handed out to Ravi, not just for Tyler and the Clementis, but as assurance that such behavior, no matter how immature, will NOT be tolerated.
Which remains to be seen. But I want to know how the prosecution can think what Wei has said so far can help them. More like nailing them into a coffin. They need to set their strategy or else grill her mercilessly to get her to admit what we all know--that this was more than a prank, it was a hate crime!!!!!!!!!!!
The world is watching this very closely. A political powder keg is about to explode, and when it does, darlings, do NOT get caught in the line of fire!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, February 27, 2012
That is right, girls, another year has passed, and Shelley Plimpton, mother of actress Martha, and forever Crissy singing "Frank Mills" in "HAIR" to those of us of a Certain Age, turns 65 today, which means now she can collect Social Security!!!!!!!!!
To think a "HAIR-ster" is now Senior Citizen!!!!! It just boggles the mind, darlings!!!!!!!!!
Nevertheless, I could not let the day pass by, without wishing Shelley a Happy Birthday, and many more. Looking fabulous, I am sure, and could easily step out tonight and sing her signature song onstage!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope to see my girls in front of the Waverly, when I do it, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!
You all read my post awhile back about "Final Destination 3", darlings!!!!!! Well, I decided I wanted to see the others in the series. So, I checked out the Original, the Second One, and the last, which, I believe, is the Fifth. I watched the Original yesterday afternoon, and there is one important thing I learned from it.
My girls--if ANY of you out there aspire to be actors and actresses, do NOT go up for one of these movies--and there will be more made--because, if you are cast, and take the job, it will be the Kiss Of Death to your career!!!!!!!!!!
Honestly, it has been 12 years since I first saw the original, when it came out, in 2,000, and as I looked over the cast list NOW, I realized that none of these young actors ever went ANYWHERE!!!!!!!! The same for the cast of "Final Destination 3." So, I am telling you, these movies are to avoid, if you want to hang on to any kind of acting career!!!!!!!!!!!!
As to the Original, how did it stand up???? Pretty much like the third; the first twenty minutes or so--that is, the Disaster that sets the whole thing up--is unquestionably the best. It maintains a steady creepiness till about halfway through, after which it kind of peters out. And the ending is rather anti-climactic.
Maybe this is due to its not being conceived as a movie in the first place. The story that became the movie "Final Destination" was written by Jeffrey Reddick as a spec script for the TV series, "The X Files." Much in the same way that James Dearden first conceived of what became "Fatal Attraction" as a short film for British television, entitled "Diversion," made around 1980!!!!!!! I would be curious to see both scripts, and see how they played out. Might they have been better than their outcomes as feature films???????? I highly suspect the answer is yes!!!!!!!!!!!
There was something else that bothered me about the film, as it unfolded. The set pieces for the opening death--the plane crash, inspired by the real life incident of TWA Flight 800 in 1996-- are spectacularly staged--so much so that I am not planning on getting aboard a plane anytime soon. BUT it is a genuine catastrophe; the deaths that follow all seem to be accidents that are TOO contrived. The same holds true for FD3, where the roller coaster opening is the best part.
And two of the deaths in this original film are just too dwelt on in an almost sick way. The first is the death of Tod, who, through a series of grotesque coincidences, fundamentally hangs himself in his bathroom. It looks to everyone, like suicide, but, to the audience, and to Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) and Clare Rivers (Ali Larter), who know what is going on, it is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then there is the death of Miss Valerie Lewton, the schoolteacher, played by Kristen Cloke. Of course, she is a spinster who lives alone, though her manner suggests more of a bitch gym teacher, cheerleader squad instructor, which makes her come off as abrasive and dislikable. Maybe that is why the filmmakers take so much pleasure--sadistic, really--in setting up her death, and then disposing of her.
It begins with her heating some tea in a pot. Is something going to happen, because we see the black specter of Death mirrored in the pot???? Then a chink in the glass leaks water out of the tea, and shatters the liquid all over. Then Miss Lewton resorts to vodka, which tells us she is not a REPRESSED spinster, darlings, and the drippings of that find their way into the computer, which causes it to fizzle, leading to her being stabbed by one of her kitchen knives, culminating in the entire house exploding!!!!!!!!! Another great set piece, but was it necessary??????
Then there is Kerr Smith, as Carter Horton, who deserves to die!!!!!! And almost does, several times. You go from hating him to liking him as the film progresses. But his implied statement to Miss Lewton before her death that he finds her hot is just....gross, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!
The interesting thing is that in lots of these deaths, Alex always happens to be on the scene, which causes two FBI guys investigating Flight 180 to wonder if he in any way has anything to do with all this. And if you are coming to this as a first timer, that is easy enough to believe.
But somewhere--after I think the train tracks sequence, where Alex intervenes and saves Carter Horton, the film sort of peters out. And the ending, which has the three survivors making it to where they intended, Paris, is rather anti-climactic. Necessary, maybe, but I expected something more clever, especially as the early part has such promise.
As was the case with the third one, and I am sure the others, much of the films are pretty much the same. Though Number 3 has a momentum that does not give out. One thing is certain--as long as people will watch, these films will continue to be made, which leads me to expect that when we get to the final "Final Destination" movie, there is only one way to end the series!!!!!!!!
The last survivor dies at the very end of watching a "Final Destination" movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Meryl Streep. MERYL STREEP!!!!!!!!! MERYL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Such were the sounds heard emanating from the residence of Monsieur and moi, as La Divinity picked up her third Oscar, for "The Iron Lady."
First, darlings, when it came to fashion, MERYL was the indisputable queen of last night!!!!! But, then, when isn't she???????????
All charm and graciousness, she thanks first her tender husband. Believe me, I know from where she speaks, for it is the non-artists living with us artists (like Monsieur) who keep us artistic types in check and on track. Not that Meryl needs any help, though I am sure her hubby and kids give her plenty. But I certainly need it, and I get all that and more from Monsieur. Even if he refuses to watch "Final Destination" movies!!!!!!!!!!!
When the entire auditorium arose as one to acknowledge HER MERYLNESS, as I bowed down on my knees before the TV, it was the emotional highlight of an evening full of emotional highlights. Though I completely diss Meryl's claim "I will never be up here again!" Don't count on it, darlings!!!!!! As long as there is breath in her body, that cannot be for certain!!!!!! Just wait till she plays Violet in the film version of "August: Osage County". She will define THAT role for the ages, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!
Because Meryl is an Actress For The Ages, and anyone worth their salt as an actor/actress who has followed in her wake owes her a debt of gratitude. So it was fitting that the Oscar was awarded to her last night!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, how about the Great White Way getting smart, and netting Meryl a TONY Award??????????????????
That is the first question I have to ask, girls, about last night's Academy Awards broadcast!!!!! Guess those two old broads are no longer wanted, so stayed home, like Monsieur and yours truly, to watch it on TV!!!!! How they were needed on the Red Carpet!!!!!!
I mean, who was that TOQ (That Old Queen) interviewer???? I thought it was David Hyde Pierce, who is getting to look like an Old Queen, himself!!!!! And that Brian Grazer!!!!! Hey, Mr. Producer, I'm talkin' to you, sir!!!! That hairstyle???? Oh, my God!!!! I hate to sound nasty, but even by the standards of a Raving Queen, that spiked hair said F-A-G!!!!!!!!! And over aged, to boot!!!!!!!!!!!
The best onscreen display of male homosexuality--no, it was not George Clooney kissing Billy Crystal!!!!--was that male screenwriter, who was definitely channeling Stanley Tuccci (who he is probably hot for, and understandably so!!!!), doing that fabulous leg parody of Angelina Jolie!!!! It was priceless, darlings, and, take it from me, only a TRUE homosexual could have executed that move so skillfully!!!!!!
Speaking of Jolie, when she did that, it was scary. For about five seconds, I thought she was going to start singing "At The Ballet" (from "A Chorus Line") and then fall over backwards!!!!!!
Can we talk about Jenifer Lopez' lack of taste????? Not to mention, dress, for that matter????? Too many hanging boobies, I say!!!!! But Jen wasn't the only one; how about Viola Davis???????
How gawkier could Emma Stone have looked???? I thought that red thing around her neck was going to choke her, like Isadora Duncan's scarf!!!!!!!
Wasn't Octavia Spencer enchanting, darlings????? I cried real tears for her; I was so happy for her!!!! She and Jean Dujardin (Best Actor for "The Artist") made the most heartfelt speeches.
Christopher Plummer--Damn it, it is about time!!!! The man was all suave elegance and taste in accepting his award, which, by the way, broke Jessica Tandy's record for being the oldest actor awarded an Oscar!!!!!!!
Meryl--MERYL!!!!!!!!!!!! What more can be said???? There will be a separate post for this one, girls!!!!!!!
Was it just me, darlings, or weren't "The Artist"'s men especially hot looking????? That Jean Dujardin was certainly appetizing--until I remembered he was French, which means he is uncut, and does not take a bath!!!!!! Yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Henry Higgins was absolutely right--"The French never care what they do, so long as it is pronounced properly!!!!"
Uncle Marty--Scorsese!!!!! Didn't he look FAB, darlings????? After all those luscious shots of "Hugo," I have GOT to see this!!!!!!!!
A split shot of deceased Elizabeth Taylor?????? After all SHE gave???? She deserves much better!!!!!!!
My head is spinning, from all the champagne after hours at the Chateau Marmont!!!! I just got in on the Red Eye--even if it is the one in my head!!!!!!
So, that is my take on Oscar 2012, girls!!!!!! (Oh, Natalie Portman and Colin Firth were class!!!!) Now, I have lots of film catching up, to do!!!!!!!
And who will design my gown next year??????????????
As any respectable Theater Queen in Manhattan knows by now, the most anticipated upcoming theatrical event is the Summer outdoor revival, at the famed Delacorte Theatre, of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, "Into The Woods." Well, I just recently found out that one of its key roles--the Baker's Wife--has already been cast, and wait till you hear this!!!!!
It says something about tradition and continuity with this production, because the current Baker's Wife originated another role in the original production. I am talking about Danielle Ferland, who played Little Red Riding Hood in the Original (which you know I saw, girls!!!!), and coined the phrase "Isn't it nice to know a lot? And a little bit not." Well, Danielle is stepping into the role immortalized by the great Joanna Gleason, who won a TONY Award for her efforts. This would not be a problem, my pets, but have you seen Danielle lately?????
Do you know it has been 25 years--a quarter century, loves!!!!--since this show first opened on Broadway???? And in that time, Danielle has grown up, married, and given birth to some children!!!! Nothing wrong, there, either, but....let's face it, Danielle has not exactly blossomed into Blythe Danner, nor, with her cute, spunky young looks, did I ever expect she would!!!
But the cuteness and spunkiness are gone. Instead, Danielle now looks like a pug nosed Roseann Barr, (with the girth to prove it!!!) and this is how they pay tribute to the great Joanna Gleason??????
There are plenty of good Baker's Wives out there!!!!! How about Ann Morrison, back in town, fresh from celebrating the ENCORES 'Merrily'? Or Martha Plimpton??? She could do the role justice!!!!!! While it might be fine honoring the Original by having a performer of it, like Danielle, in it, (she would now be great in the Barbara Bryne role of Jack's Mother) if this is how the casting is going, I hate to think what we will end up with. So, I am going to offer some suggestions, if I may.
Marc Kurdish should be in here somewhere!
I think Joanna Merlin would be FABULOUS as the Older Witch!!!! But who could she morph into???? How about Blythe Danner, darlings??????
He's little, he's cute (especially as Roger Kressler on 'SVU') but can Ned Eisenbeerg sing??? If he can, he would make a marvelous Baker!!!!!!!!!!!
I still think Cinderella's Stepmother and Stepsisters should be played by New York's leading Drag queens--Charles Busch, Hedda Lettuce, Brini Maxwell, and maybe Varla Jean Merman!!!!!
The Princes need to be hot and vocal!!!!! How about Colin Donnell, late of ENCORES "Merily', as one of them??????
Who will play the coveted role of Milky White??? Will they do the old actors-in-a-cow routine, like Caroline in "Gypsy"???? I hope not, because Milky White deserves better representation!!!!!!!
I am still hoping for Sutton Foster as Cinderella!!!! She could do an enchanting "On The Steps Of The Palace"!!!!!!!!
Are there any good Rapunzels out there??????
And what about the Narrator???? How about Jerry Stiller???? Or Jerry Seinfeld????? Or even Jason Alexander???????
But, I am sorry, girls, Danielle as the Baker's Wife just does not cut it!!! Let us hope good casting intervenes in this very anticipated upcoming show!!!!!!
Or else, this show, darlings, will be LEFT in the dark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Girls, you would not believe where Monsieur and I were last night! Huddled in warmth, on a cold Winter night, amidst the cavernous canyons of apartments on West 30th Street in Manhattan. Huddled in one particular apartment of real 1940's style and charm--just like the one occupied by Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood in "Miracle On 34th Street"--hosted by two charming chaps, named Solomon and Merle!!!!!
That Solomon; he is a wild one!!!! But he is also a wiz in the kitchen, for out of this tiny room came a festive endive and beet salad, with scrumptious Matzoh Ball Soup, followed by the most tasty meatballs (the size of some hot guys' testicles, darlings!!!!!) and tenderest juiciest turkey, accompanied by delicious string beans, European style!!!! Capped off by a luscious bread pudding and ice cream!!!!!
Oh, and Challah bread--my favorite!!!!!
And the table was set so impressively, I swear I thought the Ghost of Gene Tierney was going be our surprise guest. Or that Dorothy McGuire would walk through, with a pot of coffee!!!!!!
Joining us were those two Queens cut ups, Eddie and Brian!!!!! They were just SO cute, darlings!!!! NOT joining us, but supposed to, was Bruce, who hang over the place the way Rebecca hangs over Manderly in the Du Maurier novel, and Selznick movie!!!! But who would have been Mrs. Danvers????? Your guess is as good as mine, loves!!!!!
The real surprise of the evening turned out to be Solomon's charming and accommodating partner, Merele, who regaled us with vocal and instrumental renderings on his guitar, proving he is ready to bring back the Village Folk Scene!!!!!! Who could have known??????
The evening spun by so fast it was all a blurr. My only regret was I was not energetic enough to perform myself, after the stressful week I had, and then working a full day, which, for technological reasons, turned out to be one of the most stressful ever!!!! So, I promised one and all that, by my next visit I would learn the the song "Solomon (He Had A Thousand Wives!!!!)", which is by Cole Porter, and from his 1933 London premiered musical, "The Nymph Errant!" That's "nymph," not "nympho," and, darlings, I am NOT!!!!!!!
But what an evening we had!!!! Solomon here may not have a thousand wives, but he does have an abundance of hostessing skills!!!!!!!!!!!!
Queen DO know how to entertain and BE entertained, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, this still is from one of my favorite "Little Rascals" shorts, "Our Gang Follies Of 1938!" This is the one where Alfalfa gets on his egotistical high horse, as true divas do, (and believe me, girls; I know!!!!!) and feels he is too good for crooning, so he is going to sing...opera!!!!! He has this dream, where he makes a Deal With The Devil, this opera impresario named Barnaby (the villainous Henry Brandon, who essentially played the same role in the Laurel and Hardy classic, "March Of The Wooden Soldiers), who enslaves him for Life. Which Alfalfa finds out, after his opera debut as "The Barber Of Seville" gets him pelted with fruits and veggies from the audience!!!! Poor Alfalfa, no matter how much he wants now to croon, cannot, because
of his Eternal opera contract!!!! Which has Barnaby popping out from alleyways occasionally to remind him of!!!!
Reduced to the streets, Alfalfa and Porky, his lackey, encounter "Club Spanky," where Spanky produces shows, which Darla performs and sings!!!!! This is why this segment is remembered, loves, and why I love it so!!!! Because, when Darla comes out in her winged sequined outfit, and sings "Love Bug Will Get You, If You Don't Watch Out!," well, honey, from the time I was a tot, that is what I wanted!!!! To wear that same sequined outfit, and get paid to sing in a Thirties Art Deco nightclub!!!!!
I love the line, when Darla says, "I sing, and make hundreds and thousands of dollars!!!" You know I want that, dolls!!!!!!!
Alfalfa is so entranced by it all, he decides to go back to crooning. But just before he starts, Barnaby, at his most chilling and menacing, emerges from the shadows, to throw Alfalfa back onto the streets. Henry Brandon is at his most villainous here!!!! There is a tug of war between the two, whereupon it is then revealed the whole thing was a dream, with Alfalfa now fully appreciative of his crooning gifts--such as they are. The joke was, for all that he sang, Alfalfa was never really much of a singer!!!!!
But, girls, with this I learned that sequins and nightclub fame can bring you happiness!!!!! Well, to a degree!!!!!! This short is a must for lovers of the series, and for future gay divas, because, darling, this had to have been one of my starting points. That, and the "Debbie Reynolds Dress Designer Kit" from Colorforms!!!!!!
The Love Bug did not get me, till a much later age!!!! The Performer Bug got me much earlier, and this was one of the reasons it did!!!!!!!!
I go on in five minutes, darlings!!!!!!!!!!! Two shows nightly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
When I was just a young thing, darlings, my good friend Mary Anne (who, like the movie title is a "Young Philadelphian"; you better believe it, darlings!!!!) and I used to spend endless time on her front porch, playing the string game known as Cat's Cradle.
Mary Anne was something of a champion at it, (especially adept at the difficult "Pinkies Move"!!!!) and she taught me.
I reached high school, where I discovered that all the Honor Seniors were reading this book called "Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (I used to have the Dell paperback edition, with the red cover, which I preferred, but it got lost in the March Of Time, or moves!!!!!) It dealt with nuclear holocaust, the string game, and something called Boko Maru, a game where two people lay on the ground away from each other, raising their legs, with both soles of their feet touching. This is what I carried for years as my memory of it.
And these memories pretty much held up. I had forgotten how Boko Maru used to fascinate me; I would try and do it all the time. And I haven't picked up a string to do Cat's Cradle in a long time, but I am confident I can still do it!!!!!!!!
However, having just read the masterwork "Slaughterhouse Five," this may have been a little too much Vonnegut. It is not nearly as good as the aforementioned, and seems to repeat ideas and themes in the other book. Though I am sure this is simply characteristic of most of Vonnegut's work.
This novel was written originally in 1963, but it has a distinctively 70's brand of cynicism, right down to the final sentence. And the 70's is when I first discovered it. If you have not read "Cat's Cradle," it is well worth your time. If you have already, cherish those Boko Maru memories, and move on to something else!!!!!!!
Like it says at the end of "Dr. Strangelove", we'll meet again, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, girls, it has finally happened!!!!!!! The Case Against Dahrun Ravi, or the Tyler Clementi Case, call it what you will, has finally come to trial, and, believe me, plenty are keeping their eyes peeled on this one. If I were still living in Highland Park, you bet I would be over in New Brunswick, because this has to be the equivalent of the Tom Robinson trial in Maycomb from "To Kill A Mockingbird."
Civil rights were at stake in that trial; here, all kinds of rights abound--civil, certainly, but also the right of privacy, the right of the individual to their own sexual orientation, be that what it may, and where to draw the line on what is appropriate and not cyber behavior!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course, Steven Altman and the Defense Team are not so much going to smear Tyler as paint a rosy picture of Dahurn--that he is NOT anti-gay, homophobic, or out to do anything beyond an immature prank. Now, walking in on them and shouting "Boo!" could be construed as immature, especially since the only players in that scenario, would have been Tyler, Dahrun, and the mysterious "M.B." But, with the use of the Internet, it became an almost global thing, which humiliated Tyler--would, indeed, humiliate most anyone--in the most brazen manner possible.
It cannot be ignored. If Tyler had been straight, this would not be an issue. But once it was established that the encounter was homosexual, Mr. Ravi became titillated by the idea of exposing his roomie, who, even before they met, he had expressed strong reservations about, because of the fact that Tyler was gay, and was both honest and courageous enough, to let him know.
Actually, Tyler's doing such speaks not only of honesty; he may have been doing Ravi a favor, so that, if he truly was uncomfortable rooming with someone gay, he was given an immediate chance to do something about it.
But he didn't. Instead, he posted his reservations about this more than once, had to be coerced by his father into speaking to Tyler, when they first moved into the dorm, and was so discomforted, he had to open the closet door, and go behind it, to undress, if Tyler was in the room. Sounds like someone has some gay issues to me, darlings!!!!!!!!!
Which is for the jury of 16 peers and four alternates to decide. I have never heard of a jury that size. Perhaps this is how things are done in Jersey; what do I know, having lived in NYC nearly 30 years??? Whatever the outcome, it is sure to set off sparks--and believe me, if I do NOT like the outcome, I will be so angry I will have to take the day off!!!!!!!!!! But, let us not get ahead of ourselves, darlings.
Everyone seems to be waiting, with baited breath, on what Molly Wei will say when she shows up. She struck a plea deal, to get a lesser charge, and while she is no angel, I read that she was not exactly close to Dahrun when they attended the same high school, and that when she saw the name Dahrun on her dorm door, once arriving at Rutgers, she groaned, because, as she said, she knew only one person by that name, and was not happy being in his proximity.
Yet the two acted together. So, how does she wiggle out of it, and what will she say of Dahrun that will favor the prosecution????? Inquiring minds want to know.
Even more, these minds want to know how "M.B." will be utilized in court. Will he show???? Testify on tape, or behind a screen? What can he say?????
And will his true identity actually leak out???? I believe, with time, it will!!!!!!!
So much is riding on the outcome of this case. Yet whatever social parameters it touches, first and foremost are Tyler and his family. It is they who seek justice, and I sincerely hope what is meted out is what they deserve and can live with, rather than what we, the public, may want!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, how I would like to be called, and get on the stand and testify on behalf of the prosecution!!!!!!!! Because I got just one thing to say, and then I ain't gonna say no more!!!!!!!! Just like Mayella Violet Ewell!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Girls, I am telling you, someone on the writing staff of 'SVU' must actually be literary. Because this past Wednesday's episode, "Hunting Ground," in addition to basing itself on the Long Island Serial Killer, or the Gilgo Beach Murders, which were brought
to prominence last Summer, took as its source, one of fiction's best known short stories, "The Most Dangerous Game," by Richard Connell. Which has been one of the most filmed properties ever, most famously in 1932, when RKO shot its version at night on the Skull Island "King Kong" set, with Joel McCrea, and a pre-Kong Fay Wray!!!!!
And the serial killer in this one, a guy named Graham Winger, whose alias is "Brewster", was fascinating. He was played by Fred Arsenault as a young, bespectacled, Janmes Spader type. The alias he used was given an interesting back story; referencing the Robert Altman film, "Brewster McCloud," in which Bud Cort, whom the killer also suggests, is obsessed with flying like a bird. And his (the killer's) profession turns out to relate to birds and animals. The deal was he uses escort ads for "dates," because he wants the "girlfriend experience," even if he has to pay!!!! In the opening, he wines and dines Hayley, a young pretty thing, who gets more than she bargains for, when she is led to the perp's car, drugged with Ketamine, and locked in the cage seemingly intended for "Brewster's" dog, Orion, who gets star treatment--prime beef scraps form four star restaurant dinners, and a seat up front by the killer's side. One wonders how Orion keeps his dashing dog figure. We find out.
"The fun is in the chase," "Brewster" says, early in the dinner. We all think he is talking about the pursuit of amour. But it is much more. For this guy like to literally chase women, hunt them like prey, and kill them. Just like General Zaroff, the Cossack aristocrat on his own private island, in "The Most Dangerous Game."
Speaking of dogs, the most haunting sequence in the entire segment, is when they go out to the beach (was it actually filmed at Gilgos???) which in this becomes Manhattan Beach, and all the dogs, in unison, seat themselves in areas where bodies are believed to be buried. And there are lots of them--all women, and all prostitutes, women living life on the edge, making way by advertising themselves as escorts in a paper called here the "Downtown Voice," who are either estranged from their families, or whose families have abandoned them. The perp knows how to select his victims--the kind whose disappearance can easily slip under the radar.
Except, he misjudges somewhat, with Hayley, who is not only underage, but lives with her mother (hardly abandoned) and raising a baby of her own. Her mother and the team start receiving a series of disturbing messages from her, that they hope will
lead them to Hayley.
But meanwhile, in between all this, something else is going on.
Apparently, to beef up the show now that Chris Meloni as Elliot Stabler (a departure still bemoaned) is gone, the writers have concocted a love interest for Olivia. It is not this idea that is necessarily bad, but guess who they come up with, darlings???? Executive ADA David Hadena, played by none other than Harry Connick, Jr.!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, come ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For one thing, Mariska/Olivia towers over Connick, like an amazon!!!! Darlings, even the Raving Queen can see Olivia is attractive and sexy. Which Connick, believe me, is NOT!!! And, sweeties, after seeing him in 'On A Clear Day', I can tell you he has no acting chops whatsoever. Not that 'SVU' is as demanding as Chekhov, but come on, when you have A-listers like Rosemary Harris on, who CAN act, it is demeaning to us viewers to have to watch a non-entity like Connick play a role that should have gone to so many better looking and more skilled actors out there!!!!! Darlings, if I were Mariska, I would be gargling with Scope, after each scene was shot!!!!!
Get rid of this guy, and fast!!!! They may have to; the characters themselves have indicated that if their involvement is found out, it creates a conflict of interest!!!!! So, I can see no future for this guy!!!! Finding a love interest for Olivia Benson is fine, but give her someone worthy. If I were Mariska, with all my years and clout on this show, I would insist on casting control for this proposed love interest!!!! You better believe it, honey!!!!!
But back to more important matters!!!! They get a lead, when they find Miranda, a married woman, who, unknown to her husband, escorted for a time to help out financially. She mentions having dined with this "Brewster," but, as they walked back to his car, when he proposed a romantic ride to the beach just 30 minutes away, she got a funny feeling. And was creeped out even further when she saw a pair of shovels in back. Pleading illness, she gets away. A second lead, Lizzie, a girl in a mental institution, gives them even more. She describes being chased by "Brewster"
in the outdoors, near water, as some sort of hunting game. She says he threatened to kill her if she did not play. And she had tried to escape several times, but was always caught. One night, during what turned out to be Hurricane Irene, which downed electricity in the area, she made it over a wire fence, to freedom. But when she told her story, no one, even cops, would believe her. Olivia says she does, and Lizzie counters she does not want to go back into the real world yet, as she still does not feel safe. Scary.
ME Warner (the wonderful Tamara Tunie) has been working overtime, with all these bodies. Soil, and the presence of ticks, indicate areas way outside the city, upstate, and in Ulster County. They narrow the area down to the Hammond Island Wildlife Preserve, in the Catskills, which is owned by the city's own Hudson University. A phone call establishes that no one lives there except the gamekeeper, a late 30's man named Graham Winger, who lives there with his dog!!!! His dog!!!!
Bingo! They have him!!!! Now, things get really interesting.
The first interesting thing is when next Graham is seen, he is minus his glasses, and is not quite as nice looking as when wining and dining the girls in the city. But not unattractive; it was like at the end of "Theater Tricks," where they purposely uglied up roommate Holly Schneider for the final scene. Same here.
Graham and Orion are seen running about (now we know how Orion keeps his dashing doggie figure; he is forced to act as a hunting dog, and he does LOTS of chasing!!!! Poor Orion!!!!), Hayley is heard screaming in the distance, so she is still alive!!! As the Squad stormed onto the place, I prayed Orion would not be shot in the line of fire!!!! He was a cute dog; it is not his fault what his owner is. Like a battered wife, with an abusive spouse. Besides, I think Orion, who I am sure they took to a shelter, should join the 'SVU' team; he could work with Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins, and, honey, those two could butch it up!!!!!!
Olivia finds the residential shed, and there, tied to a bed, is Hayley!!! She begins to free her, and when Hayley frantically signals to her, Olivia turns, and guess who is in the doorway???? You got it; an armed Graham!!!! Olivia is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. Unfortunately, what should have been the strongest scene, turns out to be the weakest!!!!!!
When you are dealing with serial killers, the one thing that has to be gleaned is their motive. Fred Arsenault, in the role of Graham, delivers a speech, giving such, but it is pretty tepid--it seems all Graham wanted was for women to pay attention to him, but they didn't. "I held doors, I treated to dinner..." citing he did all the right things, with no payback...until he started paying for these attentions. "Then I was good enough," he said, coming to the generalized conclusion, giving him his motive, that all women are nothing but whores!!!!! Graham, honey, why don't you go back and live in 1950s America???? I am sure there is a town like Stepford somewhere in this country, especially in Republican territory. Why not ask Harry Connick, Jr., a big old Republican, himself????? And another reason he is unsuitable for Olivia!!!!!!!
Hey, Graham, did you ever stop to think it wasn't the women had a price, but your lousy personality that got you nowhere???? But that's just it; these types typically do not see themselves as being at fault--it is EVERYONE ELSE!!!!!!
Olivia tries and talk him down, and the stage is set for a big heroic scene here. But then in comes cliche, when Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) bursts in at the right moment, and, protecting Olivia, shoots Graham dead!!!!! The viewers deserve better, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But this was a fascinating episode. For one thing the REAL killer is still out there. Airing this show did not help his capture any, for now it gives him further evasion ideas he may not have had before. For another, Fred Arsenault's preppy look in the beginning was just too pretty; you know the real perp is some sleazy looking, overweight Philip Seymour Hoffman type, with zero social life!!!! At least Graham had Orion!!!!
Does the name Joel Rifkin ring a bell????? At one point, cops were thinking some of the Gilgo bodies might have been his, but Rifkin, from prison, denies it. And he is enough of an egotist, that if they had been, he would have been damned proud of it!!!!!!
If only the climax of this episode lived up to everything having gone before!!!!! Instead of that cheap, cliched, fairy tale ending, with Amaro. But it offers a sign of hope--
That the writers will get smart, get rid of Harry Connick, Jr. and make Orion, the dog, a part of the show!!!! Orion is a better actor, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I have always had a special relationship with roller coasters, darlings!!!!!!! As a child, I thought the most thrilling thing was the Kiddy Roller Coaster at Point Pleasant, New Jersey, which, when I was kiddy sized, was big enough to be thrilling, without being overwhelming and scary. I remember my first glimpse of a BIG roller coaster, which was the white one in Wildowood, New Jersey. Having less fear, and being more venturesome, then, I instantly wanted to go on that. But my mother put a stop to that by her abject hatred of roller coasters. And, as it turned out, she had good reason.
Back in the 1930s, when Coney Island was the amusement center of the world, and my mother a young nursing student, she, and two friends went on the Cyclone at Coney. I have never forgotten this story. They got on, were strapped in, the ride started--but by the time it pulled in at the end, my mother had fainted!!!!!! She literally had to be carried off the ride.
Once I reached adulthood, I conceded her point. Roller coasters are thrilling enough to watch when others ride them, bur as for getting me on one....no way!!!!!!!!!!
So, when I discovered that the movie "Final Destination 3" started with a Roller Coaster accident, I felt I just had to see it!!!!!!!!
Now, back in 2,000, with my taste for horror, I went to see the first "Final Destination" film. It offered an interesting premise--survivors of a catastrophic accident gradually die off, as they were meant to, originally, because Death cannot be cheated. At the time of this film, I had no fear of my mortality (like I do NOW) but I DID have a fear of airplanes. And this film begins with a group of people dying in an airplane crash; which so freaked me out, I think I blocked it from my memory. I know I saw the film, but if you asked me to describe this sequence, I could not.
There was a second, third, fourth and fifth film. The premise seems always to be the same, which is why Monsieur harrumphs that they are little more than "snuff" films. Except no one is being killed for real; to me it is like the live action version of the old cartoons, where the Road Runner would drop an anvil on the Coyote, and, save for an anvil-shaped head, which is back to normal by the next scene, the characters survive.
One night last week, "Final Destination 3" was accidentally starting as I tuned in. I saw it from the beginning, up to the tanning salon sequence. I knew I had to see the whole thing, so, when I found it for $4.99 at a Best Buy in Elmhurst, Queens, I felt lucky. I went home, and watched!!!!!!!!
Girls, what a hoot!!!!!! The opening credits and sequence in the amusement park with the roller coaster, are the best in the film. They are brilliantly lit and photographed. The tanning salon deaths ARE a hoot because the two girls (Ashley and Ashlyn; don't you just LOVE it?????) were right out of the Diane Dykeman School Of High School Typicality. Grossness, plus!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The colors, the bedazzlement; it all overrides the rest of the film, which includes a gruesome death on a weight bench, a scary train ride, and a truck crashing into a car, complete with head decapitation.
Actually, the most scary thing about the film is its clever use of that Sixties song, "There Is Someone...." Once you see this film, honey, you will never hear that song in quite the same way, again.
The DVD set I got actually came with another disc with some Special Features, among which is a documentary detailing the making of the film (ie; how the deaths were staged and shot) that is almost as long as the film itself!!!!! The Roller Coaster Sequence took 3 solid nights to film, during which each night the actors had to take a total of 22 rides on the coaster. So that by the end, they had to sit on cushions, and suffered headaches and shoulder pain from the ride and restraints. I may want to act, girls, but I will stick with musicals, not this!!!!!!! Thank you very much, Heather Locklear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, honestly, you have got to see "Final Destination 3". No one likes to think about Death--because we don't know what happens after. I am just as scared as anyone--probably more!!!!!! But the theatricality of it all somehow distances one from being scared--unless one of the deaths depicted turns out to be one of your worst fears--like mine being a plane crash!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, take a ride on the coaster, loves, with "Final Destination 3!!!!!!
Or rent the DVD five film box set, and have yourself a good old fashioned Marathon one of these weekends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See you at the End, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This column, girls, which will reach the age of 2 years around March 17, began with dual bitches--the Pappin Sisters!!!!!!! So, this week, a time honored tradition of sorts is being honored. Have you ever heard the song "Leapin' Lesbians?" Well, look out, my pets, here come the Lethal Lesbians!!!!!!!!!!
Lesbians have been getting a bum rap, ever since Lillian Hellman wrote "The Children's Hour," and probably even before that. I am sure many out there know that famous lesbian joke--
Q: What is the difference between a lesbian and a killer whale?
A: Three thousand pounds.
A flannel shirt.
And the whale has a better sense of humor.
OK, OK, I know! Just like I know lots of lesbians out there in the LGBT community who work hard every day to overcome this stereotype. But every so often, something comes along, where you just have to shrug and say, "What is it with these folk?"
The winners of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award are Tracy Lee Poirer and Tamara Marie Upton. They earn this honor not for being lesbian lovers, but for what the two of them did on July 3, 1990, in Roseburg, Oregon (which just happens to be the birthplace of Shelley Plimpton, who sang "Frank Mills" in "HAIR." Only do you hear it here, darlings!!!).
These were a pair of lesbian lovers, who weren't above picking up, then robbing and rolling straight men. They traded on the fantasy many straight men seem to have of wanting to share two women, or watch them indulge in lesbian sex. (Just like two straight men sometimes fantasize about sharing the same woman, but are they in any way homosexual????? Oh, NO!!!!!!! Yeah, right!!!!!!!!!!!)
Well on that July 3 night, Tracy and Tamara, robbed, rolled, then murdered, Donald Fish, who was, get this, a 4 foot dwarf!!!!!!!!!!!!
I mean, how low can you go??????????
These two bitches enticed, robbed, then overpowered Fish with their size, and killed him by stoning him to death, like Parker and Hulme did to Parker's mother in "Heavenly Creatures." For sheer cruelty, I can't think of anything more despicable--taking advantage of the victim's size, to exert power and dominance?????
Even Aileen Wuornos had compassion for one of her potential victims, and set him free!!!!! But these two are a pair of cold fish, no pun intended.
And their post prison history is spotty. Both were convicted and sentenced to life without parole. Poirer was considered the more lethal of the two, as she had been a former mental patient, and committed this crime while out on parole for another. They are behind bars, now, but in 1998, Poirer, with a fellow prison guard, Pamela Kay Trimble, escaped and went on a road spree! They were apprehended, and Poirer is now in a maximum security facility, Upton is still imprisoned, and Trimble is out, though I wonder if she should be.
There is no question that these two bitches--Poirer and Upton--deserve what they got. Next to murdering a child, the killing a of a size handicapped adult is pretty low on the scum pole, even among criminals. Perhaps the gals in the pen have been working them over. Unless they are in solitary.
But, as soon as I heard about them, I knew I had found this week's "Bitch Of The Week." They set a new low for crime, and raise the bar higher on negative attitudes toward lesbians that need to be overcome.
Where is Kathy Griffin, as Babs Duffy, when you need her???????????
That line, darlings, of course, was the ad logo to the original movie, "Sister Act," with Whoopi. But it also applies to yesterday, which I missed with my girls, due to being under the weather, and which happened to be Ash Wednesday. I managed to refrain from meat yesterday, but the dilemma of what to give up during Lent has one haunting me for well over 50 years. And I don't want anyone out there to use Lent as an excuse to "give up" your virginity. Lent is only 40 days, lambs!!!! You have the other 325 for that!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am preaching on March 4, so that will be a Lental offering, I suppose, especially if I get through it. I suppose I could give up coffee, but, honey who would want to live with me, then????? You think you have seen bitch???? Try me without caffeine!!!!!!!!! Of course, as things are going, my doctors may tell me to, anyway, but till then, no way, Jose!!!!!
All of which is just my way of saying sorry I missed you all on Ash Wednesday,and joyful wishes for a happy and healthy Lenten season!!!!!
And Jesus WAS cool, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Fiddle Dee Dee, girls!!!!!!!! After noshing down at the Second Avenue Deli with Uncle Ernest, to celebrate his 81st (OK, OK, 66-plus!!!!!!!) birthday, Monsieur and I headed out to--can you believe it???--Elmhurst, Queens, where the world famous Georgia Diner, complete with Peach Logo, is located. This is one of those great diners that recalls the ones in Jersey--hell, lots of Queens recalls Jersey--with the inside seeming bigger than out, spinster patrons that you just know are regulars and eat there every night, gangster wannabes noshing down at the soda fountain, and a group of us at a round table in a special dining room that made me feel like Alexander Wolcott at the Algonquin!!!!!!!!!!!!
If I had not eaten so much earlier, I would love to have partaken of the menu, which was delectable, indeed. But, then, so were our hosts, Eddie, Brian and Larry, a full bodied crew of queens, in Queens, that did the place proud with their humor and erudition. To think such people live in Queens. Compared to what I have seen living there, they are HUMAN!!!!!!!!!
The salads looked fresh and scrumptious, Monsieur's soup (all he could get down) looked rich and luscious, and the meals were mouth watering. And how many diners still put condiment dishes on the table?????? Not many, I can tell you!!!!!!!!!!
It made the whole trip worth it. That, and finding "Final Destination 3" (the roller coaster one!!!!!!) at Best Buy for $4.99!!!!!!! For Nothing Monday, leading into Shrove Tuesday, it was pretty exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wonder what Lent has in store for us, girls????????????????
Darlings, I know, I know, you all want to know what "Carrie" was like. Let me start by saying the entire audience, including yours truly, and Monsieur, entered the Lortel Theatre last Saturday night on an anticipatory high. But just what were we anticipating???? A campy send-up, recalling the 1988 Broadway original, a serious straightforward masterwork, or a little of both????? Speaking for myself, I would say a little of both. And what one ultimately gets is serious and straightforward. Unfortunately, it is no masterwork.
There are several reasons to see "Carrie." Let's start with three excellent performances by Marin Mazzie, Molly Ranson and Christy Altomare (who SO recalls Amy Irving), in the role of Sue Snell. And the Prom Sequence. But more on that later.
"Carrie" starts with Sue, stage right, a harsh light on her, being interrogated by an unseen voice, about the Prom Incident. So the show follows the concept of Stephen King's original book, which was written in an epistolary style as a series of book excerpts looking back on, or analyzing, the Prom Incident. And it ends like it begins, with Sue in this pose.
In the pivotal mother and daughter roles, the Misses Mazzie and Ranson elevate this show to Grand Opera, whenever they are onstage alone or together. Unfortunately, the score does not support them; they rise above it. Everything fits the story and characters, but there is too much of a sameness to it all. Whatever passion that breaks out comes from the acting of the two leads.
I know you all want to know about the Prom, and I promise I WILL tell.
But let me first say that, as talented as the Ensemble is, they suffer the same fate as the music. They are all stock Mean Teens, whom we have seen before--hell, if you have gone through high school already, you've KNOWN them!!!!--so that when the time comes and they get their comeuppance, who can care, as these are more caricatures than characters. So one is never able to develop any emotion--even hate--for any of them.
Nevertheless, the Prom Sequence is stunning; a series of lighting and choreographic feats I can only call Robbinsesque. When it concluded, it got a deserved round of applause from the audience. For a sequence that necessitated scaling down, the creators found ways to still preserve its dramatic impact.
Which had to have been hard, and I am sure this was worked on a long time. If only the same could have been said of the music. For with its two leads, and skillful staging, having a luminous score would have made this, if not one for the ages, then one for the Season.
"Carrie" instead is merely good, rather than great. And it has to have one of the most unsatisfying endings ever. This poor girl gets brutally tormented by her peers, with no solace at home, due to a fanatically religious mother, who is trying to assuage her own sexual guilt. The girl gets a taste of acceptance, only to have it literally splashed in her face, goes berserk, destroys her classmate population, only to return home, get stabbed by her mother, and die.
I don't know what Stephen King's original intention was here, but one comes out of "Carrie" with no sense of hope, only overwhelming sadness. Even the darkest of musicals offer something. Maybe my age is showing here, darlings, but I just cannot invest myself in an entire evening, without some kind of redemptive factor. "Carrie" provides none. Yes, it is good Sue survives, but one wants something more from the ending. As we do from the show.
But see for yourselves, darlings!!!!!!! As long as the Misses Mazzie, Ranson and Altomare are onstage, one is in good hands!!!!!!!!!!!!
See you at the Prom, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, can you believe we have made it to another Shrove Tuesday???? I know, darlings, you are all anxious to hear about "Carrie," and I promise you WILL, but how could I not ignore this very special day????? Make sure you eat your pancakes, sweeties, because that is what Shrove Tuesday is about. Not just pancakes, but the idea of using up all the fattening stuff in the house, in preparation for the alleged fasting one will do, during the forty days of Lent. Which is why this is also known as Fat Tuesday. Or, as in New Orleans, Mardi Gras!!!!!!
So, here we are on Shrove Tuesday!!!! Eat all you want, while you can, darlings!!!! But look at it this way, at the end of it all, we have the Easter Bunny,
Mary Magdalene carrying spices to the tomb, and the annual screening of "The Song Of Bernadette"!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, February 20, 2012
Darlings, I always used to set store by such things, but, as I grow older, cooler thoughts prevail. I am always interested in what the Times puts on its Ten Best Books List--or, specifically speaking, what they consider the five best works of fiction in a given year, this being my literary venue.
Well, one of the books that made the list in 2009 was "A Gate At The Stairs" by Lorrie Moore. Now, as stated, I had read her signature short story collection, "Birds Of America", and while I admired the writing on a technical level, the book did not blow me away.
So, when the 2009 list came out--with books I intended to read, but never did; Moore's book being among them, I chalked it up to fate. If the book were put in my path at any point, I would read it. Well, last summer, it was!!!!!
While walking along West 12th Street, en route to Monsieur's, someone was having a sale outside their apartment building, and one of the items catching my eye was Moore's book. So I purchased the paperback copy.
Having read the book recently, I can say Moore is fluid in her writing technique; the book has a very lyrical style that is smooth reading, and the language just flows off the page. What she cannot do is maintain narrative development, for this novel goes off in so many promising directions, without offering a payoff in any.
Set in the Midwest, the novel concerns a young college student, Tassie Keltjin, who hails from a farming family. She becomes both employed by and embroiled in, the lives of Sarah Brink, and her husband, Edward Thornwood. Both are problematic characters; Sarah seems desperate to have a child, to the point she adopts a Black child, Mary Emmie, with the expected racial controversies. Hubby Edward seems the corporate type who is having a field day with young college girls on the side. Things get dicey, when their marriage is revealed not to be what it seems, and Mary Emmie is taken away. All of which could send the story taking off in any number of exciting ways that could make this book so compelling as to be impossible to put down. But Moore's narrative style is as controlled as her technique--TOO controlled, if you ask me-- resulting that it builds in any number of ways, but there are never any payoffs. Even the ending is tepid. Though it confirms I was right about Edward.
The trouble is Moore constructs interesting potentials, then drops them altogether. We never learn as much about Sarah and Edward, no much how what is presented or revealed, and Tassie, at end, seems little changed by her experiences.
While, as stated, I was not blown away by "Birds Of America," maybe, I have to conclude, the short story is more her venue. "A Gate At The Stairs" often seems like a string of potentially interesting ones that are begun, but go nowhere.
What kept me going was the discipline of the writing, and Tassie's character. But I would never have put this on a Ten Best list. Would I give Moore another chance?? Yes, because I think she might write the book that could deserve a place on the Ten Best list someday!!!!!
But, girls, it is NOT "A Gate At The Stairs."
First things first, girls!!!!!!!!!! Despite rumors to the contrary, I was NOT at Whitney Houston's funeral!!!!!! I was afraid if I went I might bitch slap that Bobby Brown!!!! Besides, I had my own set of dramas going, this weekend!!!!
And I am not just talking about Monsieur and my viewing of "Carrie" (where I did get my special "Carrie" coffee mug, darlings!!!!!) though we did go, and you WILL hear about that, loves!!!!!!
The drama began when we arrived at Monsieur's from my place, where we had spent Friday eve!!!! We had just gotten in, I was settled down for a little bit of "Law and Order," when my cell phone went off. It was my sister, who was in California, having just flown off there on Thursday. She wanted me to call her, so, darlings, I knew something was up!!!!
It seems Friday eve, my doctor went to the nurse at the Front Desk of his facility, near Downingtown, PA, complaining of chest pain, pain up and down an arm (don't know which one!!!), and back pain. They examined him, his pulse was low, and after a call to my nephew Jonathan, who is nearby, and then one to Jonathan's mother (my sister!!!) the ambulance came and took him to nearby Brandywine Hospital!!!!!! The doctors thought (because no one KNOWS) he might have had a "cardiac incident!!! So they kept him there.
My sister, meanwhile, was frantically trying to get a flight back East for yesterday (Sunday). She succeeded, arriving in Philly at 5:30 PM. Meanwhile, I had spoken to my father, in his room; he was lucid, if groggy (from having been on a morphine drip!!! Just what I need, honey!!!!!) He attributed the whole thing to stress and fretting, as he called it; I have to wonder if my sister being out of range in California, had something to do with it.
This morning, he is scheduled (probably undergoing right now, loves!!!!) for a heart catheterization, to see if his stent is all right, or what is the matter. He expects to be out of there sometime today or tomorrow; only Time will tell!!!!!!
Meanwhile, I had some attendant drama of my own!!!!!!
Around 2PM, yesterday, Monsieur and I ventured out, to meet my friend Judy at Manatus.
On the way, we stopped in at one of the chi-chi shops on Bleecker Street, where I had my eye, girls, on the most stunning little castle shaped purse, with sparkles!!!!! I would be the toast of the Mayfair set, loves!!!!!
Anyway, when I walked out of there--Monsieur was in front, his back to me, so he did not see--I thought the ground outside was flat. It was not; there was a step there, so, before I knew it, down I went, tumbling into a group of Asian tourists, who screamed, as if I was attacking them, when I was finally on the ground (having my fall cushioned by them) in abject pain, because the outside part of my left foot had come down hard on the ground, and I was not sure if I could walk!!!!!
As you would expect, darlings, I was hysterical!!!! Monsieur and I made it to a stoop nearby, where he comforted me, and I manged to hobble my way to the restaurant, where we met Judy, gave her the gift copy of "The Instructions," had a lovely time, then hobbled back home. I made it up the stairs of Monsieur's walk up, got onto the bed, and thank God for "Law and Order," because oh! The Pain! darlings!!!!!! That section of my foot swelled up something fierce, and I could barely make it to the bathroom in this very small apartment!!!!! We had decided that if there was no improvement, I would go to the doctor today. We iced it, and I stayed off my feet. By the middle of the night, when I awoke for my nightly visitation, I felt tenderness, but I could walk better. I did not need a cane. And, this morning, I feel better, though still tender. No doing "A Chorus Line," darlings; so Baayork, if you need a Cassie this week, I am not available!!!!!!
And this was just a fraction of the weekend!!!!!! Drama just seems to follow the Raving Queen, no matter what!!!!!
Take it from me, darlings--watch your step!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, February 17, 2012
Girls, I have always had a weakness, architecturally, for anything Victorian. When I saw the movie "Mary Poppins" at the tender age of 9 (though that was the Edwardian period) I wanted so much to redo my room as the nursery in that film.
Well, darlings, being an adult is no exception. Wouldn't it be FABULOUS to redo my bedroom like the nursery pictured above????? You better believe that tea table and set is all important, and the white trim, honey, I am telling you!!!!! But there will have to be some adjustments. I am not so sure about the rocking horse, although, for picturesque effect it cannot be beat. Though it is not like I am going to ride it!!!!!
But adjustments will have to be made. Much as I would love to have a big picture window, where I can sit and read, that is not possible, unless I want to spend a ton of money, though it would be worth it to have Mary Martin fly in, as Peter Pan, though, with my luck, I might get end up with some social deviant.
Not in MY bedroom, darlings!!!!!!!! And not in MY nursery!!!!!!!!!!
Mind you, decisions are not final. The color scheme in the picture is nice; but I have always wanted to have one in blue and white, where all the walls are blue, and clouds are painted on them, and especially on the ceiling, with stars, so it is like looking up at the sky. Maybe then, Mary Poppins will fly in!!!!!!! I could handle that!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, let me know what you think, darlings!!!!!!!!!!! I will say one thing--it is a big improvement over when I wanted to redo my bedroom like the comic book character Little Dot, and have the walls painted with polka dots; not black, as in her case, but orange, as in mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chanel must be turning in her grave, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Girls, while I am still wiping tears from my eyes, thanks to 'Merrily' the other evening, comes word on the Great White Way, that the much anticipated preview performance of "Death Of A Salesman" will be cancelled, due to Philip Seymour Hoffman having the flu!!!!!!
Methinks, perhaps, Mr. Hofffman may have bitten off more than he can chew (though from the looks of things, darlings, he can certainly chow down!!!!!!) in tackling the 'Lear'-esque role of Willy Loman. Hey, Phil, if you can't stand the heat, get outta the kitchen!!!!!!! Where is Marian Seldes when you need her??????? The woman played the entire run of "Deathtrap," never missing a single performance. Maybe Marian should step in as Willy!!!!!!!!!
Or, better yet, is Meryl available???????? Didn't I tell you, here, darlings, when this project was first announced that Meryl, who can do anything, should just go ahead and play this role. Bet she wouldn't miss the first preview!!!!!!!!! Maybe Mr. Hoffman is nervous about having to perform for Meryl!!!!! OR the Raving Queen!!!!
Phil darling, you have a point, there!!!!!!!!!!
This is not an auspicious start to reviving a classic. I recall when Brian Dennehy did the role--I missed him, unfortunately!!!!!-- I recall him having a heart attack one night, after the show, and he was back on the next night!!!!!!! After a heart attack!!!!!!!!!
Come on, Philip; what ever happened to the show must go on?????? Listen, back in high school, at one point, I took the SAT's with a 104 fever!!!!!! So, if I can do it, you can do it, Philip!!!!!! Have tables placed backstage, both sides, with fluids and meds, and keep taking in between times onstage. That is how you do it, darling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"On with the 'Forgotten, Man' number," loves!!!!!!!! Bring in MERYL!!!!!!!!!
Shine on those bright lights, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, girls, I did not want to use the "S" word, because how would that fit in with a social tea????? Not very acceptable, I can tell you. So I chose the less harsh word, because no matter how you look at it, it still amounts to a hill of...Ooops!!!!!!!!!!!
The winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is...Tyrirk Harris, of Tacony, Philadelphia!!!!!!!
Too bad "Cold Case" went off the air; this would have been something!!!!!!!!!
It seems Harris and his girlfriend, whom he had had a history of abusing, as well, had a reputation about their neighborhood for being rude, disrespectful...generally, the Neighbors From Hell!!!!!!!
And poor Frank Santana, their next door neighbor, was the tragic casualty of all this. It seems the Harris' two dogs, a German Shepperd and a Chihuahua, were allowed to come and go--that includes relieving themselves, darlings!--anywhere they pleased. So, when the two dogs defecated on Santana's front lawn, the man politely asked his neighbor if he would simply clean it up. Harris response was to say,, "Are you getting cocky with me?" Then he pulled out a gun, shooting Santana directly in the face, and, once the poor man was down, fired several times at the body, till he was dead!!!!!!!!!!
What is wrong with people, darlings????????? More to the point, what is wrong with this guy? If doggy doo was all it took to set him off, God forbid a bigger catastrophe did not come along.
Harris definitely has issues. Maybe they are drug related, who knows? I hate to see what the outcome would have been if the offense had been more dire. Then, perhaps, the entire Santana family (who had recently moved to Philly from Yonkers) would have been wiped out!
Instead, this guy wipes out a decent man, with a lovely family, and a promising future!!!!!!!! Including a six week old daughter!!!!!! I think the slammer is in this scum's future!!!!!!!!!
When I read about Harris, I could think of no better choice this week for Bitch Of The Week. Even seasoned criminals might be incredulous over the absurdity of his offense. And I would not blame them.
We will all feel better when Harris is locked up. Pity it will not bring Frank Santana back. But you can bet, darlings, this bitch has got things coming to him, and I bet, once he hits prison, he will receive plenty!!!!!!!!!!!
Another week, another bitch, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
That line, darlings, was not heard in last night's reworking of "Merrily We Roll Along" at ENCORES, City Center, but it has always been one of my favorites, so I could not resist. Let it be said no one can accuse The Raving Queen of being without timing, because, when Monsieur and I bought the tickets originally, we did so, thinking it would be a nice thing to do on Valentine's Day, especially considering my special relationship to this show.
So, before discussing last night, let's start there.
Back in 1981, I was working on my Master's in Drama, at NYU. While there, I worked by day in the bookstore, where also worked a young student by the name of Maryrose Wood. Definitely talented and theatrically bound, but none of us could imagine how fast. Well, word got out, as it did, that Maryrose would disappear on certain days because she was off "auditioning for something." As time drew closer, and the publicity mills started grinding, it turned out the project was this new Harold Prince-Stephen Sondheim show, to be called "Merrily We Roll Along." I remember the day Maryrose told everyone she was cast! I was so excited--that someone of such youthfulness could be bound for Broadway. It would have been like had I been discovered sitting at a soda fountain, like Lana Turner!!!!!!!!
So, off Maryrose went on her Broadway adventure. With my interest in theater, anyway, and actually knowing someone in a Broadway show (the first time experiencing this!!!!!) I followed every story and rumor pertaining to this show. So, when I kept hearing that people were consistently walking out on the most aniticpated theater event of that season--in previews, yet!!!!--I wondered what was going on, and had to find out.
I first saw 'Merrily' on Halloween night, 1981!!!!!!!!!! Trick or treat, darlings. It changed my life in an important way; behind me, in line getting tickets at the Alvin, was a man named David Semonin. We started talking, and that was the beginning of a friendship that lasted 29 years, until David departed from this life in 2010. If any show could be called "our show", it was 'Merrily.' David and I worked on shows together ourselves--"Merton Of The Movies," 20 years ago at the Atlantic, which was written by 'Merrily's' orginal playwright--one of them at least--George S. Kaufman, whose play of the same name was the basis for the musical.
Confused? OK, back to David; the other thing I attribute to him is my coming out; he gave me the courage and conviction to do so. Which I do not regret for a minute, darlings; you better believe it.
Years later, I found out another gent, whom I later became acquainted with, and still am, Tom DiMaggio, was at the same performance!!!!!!! Serendipity just surrounds me with this show.
By the time I saw the Halloween preview, Jim Walton was now playing Franklin Shepard. And when I saw it again, two weeks later, after it opened, and before it closed, what I saw pretty much matched my preview performance, which meant the show was pretty set then. At least, as much as I can recall, going back 31 years.
I remember when Intermission broke, right after "Now, Yoo Know!" everyone was talking about Ann Morrison!!!!!!! Here was the Star Of My Generation, darlings!!! Well, about a year later, for something that I was writing for a class, I contacted Ann, who graciously sat withh me to chat about 'Merrily'; something for which I am forever grateful. A lovelier person in the biz I have yet to encounter.
And I did see her in "Goblin Market," which was brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!
I was of a performer bent, from the time I could walk, but thanks to the inspiration of the show, David and Ann, I followed my theatrical path, which took me through voice lessons, HB, and an appearance in the VLOG production of "The Pajama Game" a decade back. I recall singing "Not A Day Goes By" at a friend's Memorial Service, and, for awhile, could not face singing it. I was not looking to be Meryl Streep, so I have to see my theatrical adventures contented me.
And remember, dears, it ain't over, till it's over! So, who knows?
But back to 'Merrily.' In some ways, I feel with this show, as my parents' generation must have when they first went to "Follies" originally, in 1971. This may very well be "Follies" for baby boomers.
What a difference 31 years can make in one's reaction to a show.
I was overjoyed by the Original; I embraced "Opening Doors" and "Our Time," as though speaking to me and for me. I was young enough (25) back then to have been in 'Merrily', and looking a lot younger then, who knows?
Last night's performance was so heartfelt. I was glad my beloved
Monsieur was with me, to guide me. When the Overture segued into "Good Thing Going," I am telling you, I cried REAL tears!!!!!!!!! And when I heard "Opening Doors" and "Our Time," with all MY life experience behind me, they broke my heart in ways that would not have been possible before. Hearing the score, that orchestra, the actors, was a magical experience, capped off by something I had only heard about the day before.
It was Kismet, for me, I guess. For at last night's performance, a good many of the show's Original Cast was to be there, and join the current onstage at the close, for a rendition of "Old Friends." Yes, the show's Holy Trinity--Jim Walton, Ann Morrison, and Lonny Price were there. And so, too, darlings, was Mr. Sondheim!!!!!!! I even passed Lonny in the men's room line; a ritual I hardly pay attention to, but he would stand out, anywhere!
I sailed home on a cloud, and like Liza Doolittle, who "Could Have Danced All Night," it took yours truly a bit to wind down. I just had to send an email to Ann Morrison, who looked so smashing last eve, and,, honestly, when the casts began singing, I could clearly hear her voice. And I was upstairs, darlings!!!!!!
So, 'Merrily' was, and will continue to be, special for me in ways other shows cannot. And now I hear Lonny Price is doing a documentary film on the cast and its growth over the years. Hey, Lonny, as I am sure you know, "Merrily' has a tremendous fan base!!!!!! If you want to use viewers of the Original for the project I am more than willing!!!!!!!!!!!
Ready for my close-up, Mr. Price!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, thank you, 'Merrily', past and present! May we keep going along, and may the dreams never die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, darlings, I admit I never thought "The Lovely Bones" was a world beater as a book or film. BUT, Alice Sebold's writing, and some of the film's performers, (Stanley Tucci and Rose McGiver in particular) gave the film some emotional resonance.
So, I have to admit I was intrigued by the prospect of the Investigation Discovery Program, "Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets," which, conceptually is "The Lovely Bones", with a different case, redesigined as a weekly TV show.
You would think this would be a sure fire thing. I have to admit the concept ostensibly pressed all my buttons. But a major mistake is made, which does not prevent the show from working. The bottom line, is, this show is done on the cheap, and it needs a bigger budget, for reasons I will explain.
All of these true crime shows involve some sort of dramatic reenactments. They are usually done by unknown, and not very good, actors, and are a series of quick, flashy sketches. Which is fine, if the presentation is limited.
BUT when the whole show is, basically a reenactment. and you are using, basically unknown, and not very, shall we say, skilled actors, for the entire duration, the show falls flat. "Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets" COULD work; it could be a cross between, again, "The Lovely Bones," or "Touched By An Angel," but, in order to achieve that, you have to employ A-list, solidly skilled actors, to make you empathize with the killers, victims and their families. The situation is emotionally engrossing enough, but with mediocre actors, it does not have the emotional resonance it should. I caught the case of Laura Salmon, who was murdered on May 13, 1984. She had been beaten to death by a jilted boyfriend, in one of those "if-I can't-have-her-no-one-else-will" scenarios. I found out this by doing some research on the case, because, after about 20 minutes of the program (or maybe 15; up till the first commercial) I knew I could not watch this. The dramatic execution (no pun intended) was unsatisfactory.
Which is why 'SVU' is still such a Gold Standard. The high calibre of actors appearing on that show, and on something like "Cold Case", made those shows work. The makers of 'Stolen Voices' have a great formula, but they need to surround themselves with higher calibre talent, or else this show will tank!!!!!!!!!!!
I mean, it takes a lot for a true crime show to disengage ME. This show achieves that distinction, and, darlings that is NOT a compliment!!!!!!!!!!
Get your act (and ACTORS) together, folks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Darlings, if I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed it!!!!!!!!!! On her way up to the stage, to collect another of the many awards she has received for her film, "The Iron Lady," Meryl Strep, La Divine Meryl, tripped, lost her shoe, but had it slipped back on, in true Cinderella fashion, by that Prince Charming of a guy, Mr. Colin Firth.
If I had been Meryl, honey, I would have tripped just to have Colin fit my foot!!!!!!!
But what does this mean????????? That the Divine Meryl is human????????? Perish the thought! After all, La Divinity Herself, consults with ALL Things Divine; like Mary--that's right, darlings, THE MARY, Queen Of Peace, Queen Of ALL--who talks over world affairs AND fashions with Miss Streep!!!!!!!! And both learn a lot in the process!!!!!!!
I am telling you, tonight being Valentine's Day, lots of my girls are going to follow Meryl's example--shoes are going to slip off, and then go right back on!!!!!!
Only the Divinity that is Meryl could get away with such a thing, darlings!!!!!!!!
The rest of us, including yours truly, simply aren't THAT Divine. Which means when we receive our awards, our shoes had better be secured!!!!!!!!!!
I think I will wear Gucci, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!