Saturday, March 31, 2012
Girls, I am telling you, those Nazis were NASTY!!!!!!!!! Not only that, but they
keep being written about, analyzed, and made into narrative and documentary films. The
Holocaust is still a very hot topic, and it is amazing how hot under the collar it cam still make
some of us.
I certainly felt this way while reading Erik Larson's book. I felt a sense of
dread for the Dobb family, who were there simply by circumstance, the father having been
appointed to an ambassadorship there for a year. The account of Germany's transition is as
harrowing as ever; and I will say I was glad that the Dobbs made it out of there safely when
the time came. It was also interesting to read the end, in the Acknowledgement, how repugnant
Larson himself found the whole thing during his writing of it.
Nevertheless, I actually liked this book more than his highly popular, "The
Devil In The White City." Not that that was without its merits. And, darlings, with a serial
killer lurking in the background, you know my interest was going to be peaked. But reading
that book was like reading two separate books joined side by side. Each chapter alternated
between Chicago World's Fair and Serial Killer, so that, if one chose, one could read one,
without the other. Larson never successfully fused the two together. Thus, the connection between
the two which he was trying to establish was, for me, not done successfully.
Not so with this book which is as tightly structured as can be. It is also
harrowing, and, while I recommend it highly, I also recommend that, upon completion, like Old
World Italians who cleanse their system by eating salad after the big meal, I suggest following
up with some lighter material, after tackling this one. Don't go too far, darlings; I mean, Barbara
Cartland????? Please!!!!!!!!!!! But something to take the unpleasantness away.
A walk in a Spring garden, darlings! Followed by tea, afterward!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Sweeties, I am telling you, you would not believe how rough it has been on the domestic
front. Last night I arrive home, where I am informed by Monsieur that due to their being a
neighborhood service outage at TimeWarner, we had no telephone, computer, or television!!!!!!
I mean, how am I supposed to survive????? And what am I going to do about all of you???
So, I am writing frantically, or dancing as fast as I can, as the case may be. As of this morning, when
I left for work, we were without service, and had been for over twelve hours! I know what I would'
like to tell TimeWarner, and I know Monsieur will express his dissatisfaction in terms of financial
Could you believe I had to get through an evening with no "Law And Order," "Snapped", or
even Judge Judy????? As Monsieur said, now he and I would have to talk to each other, which is
easy enough, anyway, as we do a lot of talking. I was so desperate I went hunting for a deck of cards,
board games; you know, entertainment antiquities of the kind we had when I was young, and none of
these techno diversions existed. But there was nothing to be had! I am telling you, I may go the store
tonight, and bring home a RISK game. And I never even liked RISK!!!!!!!!!!
TimeWarner, I am telling you to get your act together. Thank God, we had the DVD of the
original "Paradise Lost," the 1996 documentary detailing the case of the West Memphis Three. Like
watching a surreal Altman film. Not the most upbeat thing in the world, darlings: I think we will settle
for "The Sound Of Music" this evening. Hell, I will even settle for one of Monsieur's entries in the "Another
Gay Movie" series!!!!!!!! Time will pass, and the items at least will be cute!!!!!!!!!!!
How spoiled and bourgeois we have become by our conveniences. My ancestors must be
laughing their heads off. And me, who at one time was content to do nothing but sit in a chair all
evening and read!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As Oswald said at the end of "Ghosts," "Give me the sun." I say, TimeWarner better give us what we are paying for, or there will be riots in the streets from disconcerted patrons who do not otherwise know how to amuse themselves.
Which makes RISK a more valid option. Though, personally, I would prefer Mystery Date!!!!!!!
Keith Haring, he of the tubular, phallic artistry, who first began surfacing as scroll on
subway walls in the 80's, and on the wall of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Community
Center (the original room it is in was once a cruisy bathroom; now it is a staid meeting room--go figure!),
is now on display at the Brooklyn Museum. They are running a show of his early work from 1978 (when he first moved to NYC) to 1982, and I am urging all my girls to go. I don't know how Monsieur and I will
fit this into our schedules, but this is certainly one exhibit I would love to see. In addition to the
aforementioned imagery, his sense of color was superb, like many artists. Of course, his life was cut too
short by AIDS, as were so many of the great creators (like director Michael Bennett) who, were they
here today, might have gone on to make a difference, and bring a sense of hope to those of us who lament
this "Spring Awakening" phase of our cultural era.
The Haring exhibit opened last week, and runs through July 8. So, there is plenty of time for
Monsieur and moi, not to mention all my girls, to get out to Brooklyn, and view this. Don't give me any excuses, like Spring cleaning, or a face lift!!!!!!!!!!!! You can still make time to traipse out and see the
exhibit. An afternoon of looking at Keith Haring could be restorative to the soul, let alone be eye catching.
Plus, darlings, for those of you who may be single, the Gay Factor for this is tremendously high, so you could end up meeting the man of your dreams here. But just remember--good girls do just what Mama says, when Mama's not around!!!!!!!!!!
So, here's hoping I see some of you there! Since it runs through July 8, it is a given it
will be on during Pride Week in June. What better way to honor the community and Haring's artistry
than to visit this exhibit then!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And make sure your toes are painted, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, not really, sweets, because the Delacorte shows, which take place in the
Summer, do not go up till after dark, which is part of the fun of watching. Anyhow, I
just got word that Jessie Mueller, one of the two reasons for sitting through the otherwise
abysmal recent revival of 'On A Clear Day' (the other being the sparkling Mr. David
Turner, which begs the question of why he has not turned up on the cast roster yet. Dare
we hope for him as the Baker????) is going to step into the role of Cinderella in the much
anticipated Summer production of "Into The Woods." This means she will be delivering
the Sondheim song "On The Steps Of The Palace," and after seeing what she did in 'Clear
Day,' I can assure you this will be at treat for Theater Queens, and their subjects, alike.
Some of the minor roles--like the Narrator, Jack, Granny, Cinderella's mother--
have been cast, and I am not all impressed with the lineup. Jack Broderick, a young actor
featured on Broadway in "Billy Elliot," is slated to do the Narrator, which is an interesting
concept, as that role is usually done by a much older actor. Like Tom Aldredge in the
However, the big, pivotal roles--the Witch, the Baker and Wife, Little Red
Riding Hood--still have yet to be cast, or at least announced. You all know whom I
am holding out for, in the role of the Witch, in which case, when the play runs--during the
period of something like July 23-August 25, the grounds near the Delacorte could become
sleeping quarters for just about every theater maven in this city, who hope to get themselves
a ticket. And since I predict (based on our unusually warm winter) that this will be a sizzling
summer, you can bet there will be plenty of sleepers camped out.
Honestly, camping out for a live event at my age???? I did not even do this
during the rock concert era!!!!!!!! But if I must, yes I must. Maybe I will see some of
my girls there, and we can dish!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nevertheless, Jessie Mueller is a fabulous casting choice! Let's hope the major
roles follow suit!
Including Milky White!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know the saying, girls--there is no bitch like a New York City bitch, and
Mr. Beauchamp more than qualifies. This 33 year old, allegedly homeless individual,
said to be connected in some way to the Occupy Wall Street movement, got into a
skirmish last Friday eve at the Bedford Avenue L station, with a young college student
named Joshua Basin, a 20 year old psych major at LaGuardia Community College.
Now, as all my girls know, the milk of human kindness flows in my veins. I am
a Christian humanitarian, like Sister Peg on 'SVU'. At least, I try to do my best. No
way would I judge the homeless, but in this particular case Mr. Beauchamp--who is
not a French aristocrat or movie star--seems to have overstepped some boundaries.
Having no idea of his diagnostic status, I cannot say if he was not on meds he
should have been. But when he pushed into Joshua Basin, as soon as he stepped from
the train, what I cannot understand is why Joshua did not keep going, and find a police
man--even if he had to go outside, and report this. Somehow, Beauchamp kept
harassing him, the two got into a physical encounter that resulted in both of them
tumbling off the platform and onto the tracks. Mr. Beauchamp made it back up to
the platform; Mr. Basin, unfortunately, did not.
Should this Bitch Of The Week be charged with murder???? You better believe
it, but in legal land, where supposedly cooler heads prevail, he is getting off with only
harassment and attempted assault. The first I will grant you. The second--excuse me???
He caused Basin to tumble onto the tracks, from where he never escaped. I think that
constitutes a little more than attempted assault. Not only was it successful assault, it resulted
in a promising young man getting killed.
Just wait and see--Beauchamp will probably get his own reality based episode on
"Law And Order SVU." Maybe he will even make a guest appearance. The only appearance
this guy needs to make is at a court hearing for his sentence, and then some time in the
So, here is to this week's winner of the Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week
Award, Ryan Beauchamp. What is it about this city that brings out the bitch in
Until next week, all my bitches and bitch lovers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Want a cheap meal, dolls???? Then come to the WestWay Diner, on Ninth Avenue,
in the West 40s. You won't believe what you can get away with. That's because the staff
is so incredibly lazy and disorganized.
I really cannot blame Monsieur, whose idea was fundamentally good. Having
sped straight from work to the theater, for a 7PM curtain, we had no time to chow down.
So, he figured we would dine in the area, prior to going home. If only he had listened to me,
where we would have been served expeditiously by the enchanting Cesare at the Bus Stop
Cafe, he of the youthful visage, and impressive upper arms. But how was I to know what
we were in for, uptown????
What happened was, no sooner were we seated in the not surprisingly empty diner--
a rather large one, if you will-- when a group of 30 or more tourists barnstormed the place,
and, in its haste to satisfy them, the waiting staff just about ignored everyone else. Including us.
Hear me up, WestWay!!!!!!!! You do NOT ignore the Raving Queen. You think
I am content with half a salad and dressing, a cuppa soup, and some rolls????? Go scratch,
you bitches!!!!!!!!!! When I get done with you, no one will set foot in your place again. Or,
if they do, you will lose so much money, because everyone will be getting basically freebies,
like us!!!!!!!!!! Just ask the manager of the defunct Paris Commune downtown!!!!!!!!!!
There is no excuse for such shoddy service!!!!!!!!! Where are all the job seekers who
want to work???? Looks like there are plenty of waiter jobs needed here???? And what was
the owner/manager doing, drinking tea behind the register, acting as though he were Eve Arden
as Ida Corwin, when patrons were not being served?????? I've seen better business management
from students at local community colleges!!!!!!!!!!!
This diner may have played us for fools once, but we will not be burned twice! I am
urging my girls to avoid this place, unless you really need to grab something cheap. And I don't mean
some of the sleazoid, low class patrons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You better watch your way, WestWay! Or else, as Liz Taylor said in "Butterfield
Especially, girls, when that gift includes free theater tickets. Which is how, after what seemed an
ungodly length of time (but only since Valentine's day, with the Encores 'Merrily') Monsieur and I found
ourselves on the aisle--that's right, honey, you better believe it, at the Booth Theater, seeing the Lincoln
Center Theatre production of Jon Robin Baitz' "Other Desert Cities. It was a truly satisfying evening of
The satisfaction came from a first rate ensemble of actors, headed by Elizabeth Marvel, as daughter
Brooke Wyeth, whom I could certainly relate to. A font of confrontation and individuality, Brooke has arrived home for the Christmas Holidays, intent on publishing a memoir, which will lay bare long dormant family secrets. But are those secrets as dormant, as one would suppose? Or aren't they? This is the dramatic conceit that the play, well, plays around with, and when the curtain comes down, it is a matter of interpretation as to what we have just seen take place. I know how I feel darlings; all I will say, is that I think the parents got what they wanted, and I don't think they deserved to. Brooke would have been better off having told her version of the truth, which, I suspect, is truer than her parents' notions.
As stated, Miss Marvel is a force of nature as Brooke. You cannot keep your eyes off her. And
the same goes for the marvelous Judith Light, with her pointed delivery, and wry archness. I will go out on a limb and say she is far superior to how I am sure Linda Lavin played the role, with all those customary Lavinsims that some find so brilliant, but I find just so damned annoying. And unless she has a director who is able to restrain her, Lavin will run rampant. Not so Miss Light; she creates a lovely characterization that never oversteps the boundaries of her script or costars.
A thrill too, darlings, to see Stacy Keach onstage, after having seen him in the movies. Has anyone given thought to hims as Willy Loman???? Has he ever done it? He seems right for the picking for that plum role. Here, he is all bluster and annoying right wing swagger, but with an underlying vulnerability that keeps one from hating him.
"Other Desert Cities" is a finely structured family drama that gets at issues today. It is as
well crafted as plays from the past, but its contemporary ring is unmistakable. You have got to see
it, darlings; it is an exercise in fine direction and acting!!!!!!!!!!
With Miss Marvel's Brooke the standout!
It may not be a musical, darlings, but take a break and watch a finely tuned, almost choreographed drama in action, performed by a quintet of actors at the top of their game.
You will just eat it up, darlings!!!!!!!!!!! Yum!!!!!!!!! Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
You all know how much I love "Snapped", darlings!!!!!!!!!! Well, the other night they almost went too far when they broadcast the case of Nicky Puddicome and Ashleigh Pechouk. These two were lesbian lovers, except Nicky, who was 36, about 13 years older than the young and vulnerable Ashleigh, was some piece of work-- I bet she is some kind of first cousin to Dahrun Ravi--carrying on with her boyfriend Dennis Hoy, not to mention her cute 19-year-old roomie Fitzpatrick, while pulling the wool over poor Ashleigh's eyes.
This Nicky is one piece of work, darlings, and when she was finally convicted, I said, take the damn key and lock her up. Playing Ashleigh for a fool, and Kilpatrick for that matter, although if he was dumb enough to go along, he deserves whatever he gets. He should have gotten a jail sentence, because I think he had something to do with Dennis Hoy's death--I think he actually did the hitting. But that Nicky was one sly piece of psychotic calculation, and no jury was going to melt from her. Especially with Ashleigh looking so pretty and vulnerable in a Hillary Swank "Boys Don't Cry" kinda way--but lots prettier. Hell, in a dress, Ashleigh might be able to be turned out!!!!!!!!!!!!
It gives one pause walking past lesbian bars late at night. You never know what you are in for. Like when I lived in Brooklyn, and these two lived next door to me, and, as I sat reading in bed, I could feel the walls pounding, with one of them yelling, "Where the hell is my birthday card? Gimme my goddamn birthday card!!!!" This doll had more birthdays than Lewis Carroll's Alice, from the sound of things!!!!!!! Was I glad when they moved out. It took the entire building to evict them. And you know what they did before they took off in--what else?--their pickup truck???? They took lipstick (not that they ever used it on themselves) and wrote "Fuck you!" over all the walls, mirrors, and such.
Compared to living by Nicky and Ashleigh, I was lucky!!!!!!! "The Killing Of Sister George" may not be the whole story, but I am telling you, this sick sex trio up in Toronto were pieces of work. Each got what was deserved except Kilpatrick--who should be jailed.
But he has time, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"The sun on the meadow is summery warm.
The stag in the forest runs free.
But gathered together to greet the storm,
Tomorrow belongs to me.
The branch of the linden is leafy and green.
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea. (Gold to the sea.)
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen,
Tomorrow belongs to me.
Now, Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see.
The morning will come when the world is mine.
Tomorrow belongs to me.
Tomorrow belongs to me.
Tomorrow belongs to me.
Tomorrow belongs to me."
--"Cabaret" (John Kander, Fred Ebb)
No need to tell my girls what show that is from. So, what on earth prompted me to dig this up now??? I am well into Erik Larson's "In The Garden Of Beasts", detailing one family's experience living in Berlin just at the time of the upheaval, and it is an eye opener. So, I had to revisit what is still the most chilling sequence in the entire film version of "Cabaret." The beauty of the tenor voice contrasted with his political garb, the robotic quality of his rendition, and, worse, the fervid way the people, especially the young, join in so spiritedly. Except for the old man, who seems to know what is coming, as he has seen it all before. He seems to speak for we the audience, who know too what is coming, and shudder collectively at this moment in the show/movie.
But Larson's book and the song beg the question--how could the German people be taken in so???? Was it smug complacency????? Because, if it was, then we are in trouble. There are all kinds of extremists afoot in our society and those who would seek to do harm to it, and until people get out of their confounded smug complacency--which in spite of economic upheaval still is present, and seems to be given wide birth in the guise of such extremists as Rick Santorum and his ilk, who clearly feel tomorrow belongs to them and the rest be damned!!!!!! Is this forward thinking? No, it is dangerous thinking, the kind that allowed people to be taken in before, or seduced by a pretty song. Tomorrow belongs to all of us, not just a select few deemed by a bunch of what at bottom line are White supremacists.
By the time the German people woke up, it was too late. And look what resulted!!!! Could it happen again? Yes; maybe not the same way, but with equally devastating effects. If tomorrow belongs to anyone it belongs to the freedom of individuals everywhere, not just those who would dole out that freedom to their friends whom they consider most deserving.
Screw you, Santorum and your ilk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"And as for me, as for me,
I made my mind up, back in Chelsea,
When I go, I'm goin' like Elsie!!!!!!"
--Sally Bowles ("Cabaret")
Monday, March 26, 2012
The first thing, darlings, is that it has nothing to do with Memphis, Tennessee. Rather, this happened in West Memphis, Arkansas. The second is the designation stated refers to the alleged assailants. I personally feel it should refer to the victims, who were young, innocent, and, in the ensuing mess have, to a degree, I think, been forgotten. Another misconception is that this was not an interracial crime, like the murder of Emmett Till. With the exception of the mysterious Black man known as "Mr. Bojangles," all of the main players in this sordid drama were, plain and simple, "po' White Trash!!!!!!!!!
Here are the basic facts. At 6:30 PM, three eight year old boys--Stevie Branch, Michael Moore and Christopher Byers--were seen playing outside. Branch's stepfather, Terry Hobbs, called for the boys to stop, and for Stevie to come in, but the boys wanted to spend more time outdoors, so they did not listen. They proceeded to the the Robin Hood Hills area nearby, and were never heard from again.
When they did not return home late that evening, a tentative search of the area turned up nothing. The next day, May 6, a more extensive search was done, and at 1:45 that afternoon, a patrol officer, Steve Jones, spotted a little boy's black shoe, floating in a muddy creek, near a drainage canal. In a nearby ditch were the bodies of the three boys. They had been stripped naked, their right arm and leg, and left, tied behind their backs. One boy, Chris Byers, displayed lacerations and evidence of sexual mutilation. The other two were found to have died of multiple injuries, combined with drowning.
Stevie Branch, who lived with his mother, Pamela and sister Amanda, happened to be the stepson of Pam's current hubby, Terry Hobbs. This name will become important later.
In a White Trash, backwoods scenario, right out of "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" ("And the judge said guilty in a make-believe trial/ Slapped the sheriff on the back with a smile/Said supper is a'waitin' at home, and I gotta get to it.") three teenage boys--Damien Echols, 18, Jessie Misskelley, 17 and Jason Baldwin, 16, were arrested, tried and charged with murdering the boys in a manner suggestive of a Satanic ritual. Each boy had a series of legal and emotional problems, but nothing that indicated they were capable of this. These boys, not the victims, became the West Memphis Three. They were tried and convicted, not only because of previous records, but because they did not fit the mainstream norm of redneck, conservative West Memphis, Arkansas. And there are some who seem satisfied that the right offenders were apprehended. But not me, darlings!!!!!!!!!!
Terry Hobbs was real scum. Driving an ice cream truck--yeah, real Ivy League; what else can you expect from Arkansas???--a drug addict and child molester who abused his daughter Amanda and physically abused Stevie--he is considered the real killer by many, including me. And what kind of trash is mother Pamela, to cohabit with such filth??? Why wasn't Child Services called in to remove Amanda and Stevie from these slime buckets??? It is said when the boys refused to heed his warning, he followed them into Robin Hood Hill, and beat Stevie so severely that, fearful the other boys would tell, he had to silence them all. Within his own family, his deed is known as "the Hobbs family secret", and yet this piece of scum is still at large. Well, what goes around comes around, and if Terry is not convicted by the law (he was said to be intentionally shielded by police for being a drug informant, though he was an addict/user himself), something or someone sooner or later will reach out and get him, and good riddance, I say!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The case has inspired several books and a series of documentary films, with the title "Paradise Lost." For sheer Southern White Trash, you cannot beat this story; it has everything, down to the mysterious Black man.
Reason enough not to visit Arkansas. Because if you are not True Blue American White Bread, then you stand a chance of being strung up, whether you are guilty or not!!!!!!!!!!
Why doesn't lightning strike this Bubba, Terry Hobbs??? And Pamela too, as far as I am concerned!!!!!!!! Do us a favor and rid the world of scum!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What is wrong with the West Memphis Three, girls??????????????
Just about everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Readers like moi, girls, have piles and piles of projects on the back burner. Two mammoth undertakings staring at me for a while on my main table are "The Instructions" by Adam Levin, and "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace. The first I thought I would tackle as a build-up to the second, but the second I cannot read without having read any DFW in the first place. You wouldn't start out reading James Joyce by selecting "Ulysses." It is the same thing.
So, awhile back, I picked up what was Wallace's debut novel from the late 80's, "The Broom Of The System." I began it with hesitation, for I had heard from a colleague how it had not done any thing for them, and, of course, Wallace is considered a daunting writer to read.
Well, darlings, the Raving Queen was blown away!
Maybe because I have read so much more Thomas Pynchon, (though not "Gravity's Rainbow" yet) I found Wallace easy to handle. You basically have to take the same approach as with Pynchon--just let words, impressions and images wash over you, rather like viewing a high quality Robert Altman movie--and everything will come together.
Wallace's novel, told from an existential, almost abusurdist perspective, tells of a group of people in East Corinth,, Ohio. All the characters interconnect at various points and the story is remarkably structured, while skewering small town life in a style as far removed from Sinclair Lewis or Grace Metalious as one could get. To describe the outline of the town as being the same shape as Jayne Mansfield's head is unorthodox and brilliant. One of the most important businesses in town is Bambi's Den Of Discipline, though you only get a smidgen of what goes on there; it is really all in the name.
I found myself absorbing this absuridity head on, accepting the improbable, wacky world Wallace creates, amazed it was done so by a young man in his early 20's. Obviously I will be reading more, before I read his magnum opus, but I am telling you, "The Broom Of The System" by David Foster Wallace is superior literary fiction!!!!!!
Though some of my girls may feel the need for a Harlequin Romance afterwards!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, March 23, 2012
Well, darlings, let me tell you, the first thing is the town is named for a low class form of steak. You know, the kind companies like Swanson and Armor used to manufacture as TV dinners, back in the day when those of us who were young and inexperienced thought TV dinners and such were SO sophisticated. The meal often came with this piece of steak, which I wasn't sure what it was, but it looked like a piece of..well, you know, dolls! Always accompanied by a dollop of dehydrated potatoes and corn. And until the advent of New York TV and radio broadcasts, and then being turned on by Jacqueline Susann, so many of us thought this was sophisticated. Until we discovered nightclubs, loves!!!!!!!
Apparently, the citizens of Salisbury are at this same low level of sophistication. It seems there is a Divinity living among them--named Meryl Streep--and they just do not know how to behave among such upper echelon citizenry.
Scandalous rumors have been emerging from this town--not really confirmed by anyone, of course--that Meryl, who won an Oscar last month for "The Iron Lady" is known in Salisbury as "the Nasty Lady." They claim she is mean, disdainful, and will not associate with the townspeople.
Now, I can just imagine what is going on. These are townspeople, who, when they see her go by, call out so everyone can hear, "Hi, Meryl!!!!" I mean, who would want that???? Let me tell you something, when the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette, back in 1858, she didn't exactly say, "Hey, Bern, how's tricks?" or "Honey, I hear those nuns are REAL nasty!" She just quietly and unobtrusively appeared. Which is how Meryl wants to appear in town, and should be accorded such.
Instead of of shouting out to her like common louts, suggesting to everyone that they are on a first name basis with her, when in fact they are not, they should simply, if she happens to be seen, prostrate their bodies on the ground in adoration, until she passes!!!!!! That is how to accord the Divine Meryl, until, like the Virgin with Bernadette, she deigns to visit you! I mean, honey, I haven't had lunch with her, yet, but do you see me pestering poor Meryl??????
You would think people in Connecticut--the home of Yale, Miss Porter's and Darien--would know better. Either those Salisbarians practicing this behavior are real low end, with no honest to God class, or they are simply fools, embarrassing themselves, their state, community, and Meryl!!!!!!!!!!!!
And then there is this unfounded rumor that no one is to send anything to the post office addressed "Meryl Streep;" it has to be "Meryl Gummer." While I am sure Meryl loves to be referred to as "Mrs. Gummer," considering her professional name, I cannot imagine her turning down professional mail, when she has to look at it for business purposes. Guess that post office's version of Selma Plout (a character from "The Andy Griffith Show") is cooking up that rumor, because they all want Meryl to be Just Folks, when in fact she is......Meryl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You gotta hand it to Meryl for living in a burg like this. And Salisbury ought to be glad for the value and prestige she brings the town! If Meryl should happen to say "Bye Bye," Salisbury can kiss all that revenue goodbye!!!!!!!!!!
Get with it, you idiots!!!!!! If you expect Meryl to live among you, treat her with the deference she prefers. Otherwise, you deserve to be treated as the idiots you are!!!!!!!!!!!
So much for my living in Connecticut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Of course that is casting coup, girls!!!!! With all the attendant hoopla surrounding the upcoming Summer production of "Into The Woods" at the Delacorte comes another casting suggestion I think is inspired, concerning the small but coveted role of Milky White!!!!!!!!!
Milky White, in this production, should be played by.....the Skinny Cow!!!!!!!
That is right, the Skinny Cow, whose ice cream and candy products have helped to trim waistlines, and whose slinky cover figure has helped define anew bovine glamour in the entertainment industry. I can't think of a better star choice for Milky White, in a cast that is sure to be laden with stars, theatrical or otherwise.
Which brings me to another important casting matter. There have been rumors going out about who may be playing the Witch, and I have vowed not to reveal that star's name until it is absolutely confirmed. But, for the record, I will just say, it concerns the Divine, and, by that, I do not mean Bette Midler. I leave you to draw you own conclusions as to whom I am speaking of. My girls who read this have figured it out already.
But I am not going to make any announcement, until I hear it for sure!!!!!! Meanwhile, I am cheering for Skinny Cow for Milky White. Lots of protein on that stage, you can bet!!!!!!!!!!
And, hopefully, audience members will not lactate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The winners (yes, there are 2) of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award can only be identified by the names given, because at the time of what qualified them for this distinction, they were only 12 years old. Age has no premium or limitation on bitchery, loves!!!!!!!!!
The names are Raymond H. and Jeovani R. They are the two young lads, who back, in November, hoisted a shopping cart over a railing 50 feet above ground. It landed in the parking garage below, striking Marion Hedges, New York mother of two. blinding her, and sending her into a coma, from which she has miraculously recovered. And now she is saying she forgives these boys, even though she has not had an apology from them.
The incident took place at an East Harlem Target store. Hedges' grandson was with her, and witnessed the incident, so you can imagine the psychological trauma this poor child has to deal with.
And what are the culprits dealing with? They are incarcerated in group homes, which may not be country clubs, but which are far from the institutionalized reformatory they should have been sent to. What kind of scum is allowed to run lose these days? I can't wait to hear someone say these boys were just doing a prank. Just like those who still claim that about webcam sleaze Dahrun Ravi!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have these boys been assigned therapy????? Community service????? Made to issue an apology to Hedges for the tragedy they created for her singlehandedly???? And to what end????? To amuse themselves???????????
Darlings, you could not ask for better winners for Bitch Of The Week this week. Maybe they need to be dumped into the prison system. It sounds like they are on their way!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then they will be the bitches, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Now, do not get excited, girls, I am not dissing on my mother, nor am I operating on delusions of being a celebrity's child. I am referring to that famous Summer of 1964, when I was the tender age of 9, and we took our famed Trip To California, doing all those touristy things one is expected to do when visiting the Golden State, where my sister was living at the time.
The trip was captured in a series of slides, which were in vogue at the time; home movie night--or slide night--was very popular inn our time, as well as an interesting record of that portion of my childhood. It is even more interesting now, as that time becomes even more distant.
One thing I remember being impressed by was Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Its Pagoda shaped facade and celebrated footprints, I knew even at such a young age. I remember my mother trying to steer me to Judy Garland, who had implanted herself there shortly after making my favorite, "The Wizard Of Oz." To this day, I am surprised I did not stand in Judy's feet; today, I am certain I would. But back then I had a special yen for monster and horror films; I was searching for someone associated with that genre, which is why I chose to stand in Charles Laughton's footprints. Having played Dr. Moreau in "The Island Of Lost Souls," and Quasimodo in the 1939 "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame," (with Maureen O'Hara) he certainly qualified.
Yes, girls, there I was standing in the footprints of one labeled to be a known homosexual, a good decade or more before it became apparent to me that I was one!!!!!!!! Did I have prescience, darlings????????? Or was I just monstrously precocious?????????????
But my mother!!!!!!!!! Oh, my God!!!!!!!!! How I wish I could find the slide of her standing in the immortal footprints of.......Joan Crawford!!!!!!!!! And this was years before we knew anything about Joan!!!!!!!!!! While we may have had our moments, my mother was no "Mommie Dearest!" There were never any wire hangers waved at me, I can tell you!!!!!!!!!! Plus, you can bet, if my mother had had a studio contract, back then, I would have been bugging her like Hell to get me one!!!!!!!!!
So, no, my mother was not Joan Crawford. But the image of Joan as mother that has emerged over the years, coupled with my mother innocently standing in her prints is just too funny and ironic for words!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Truly the foreshadowing of a future queen, Raving or otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!
After something heavy like Sebald's "The Emigrants," it is always nice to lighten up with something fun. Like when one cleanses one's palette with salad after an elaborate Italian meal. In rare cases, the fun items turns out to have a heft of the substantial to it, which is why William Landay's novel, "Defending Jacob" is such an unexpected surprise.
And it continues to surprise in many ways, right up to the shocking (though not altogether unfamiliar) conclusion on the last page.
If, like me, you are hooked on "Law And Order," this story's premise will grip you from the first. A fourteen year old boy is found murdered in a park, near where he goes to school. The boy, Ben Rifkin, is a classmate of the one who is charged with his killing--Jacob Barber, the son of prominent DA Andrew Barber, of Newton, MASS.
This is a very complexly structured narrative; told clearly from Andy's point of view, it alternates between how the events leading up to the murder and trial happened, and veiled references to a Grand Jury testimony, which the reader discovers is taking place after the central events. But why? That is part of the surprise.
All of the expected issues are explored--bullying, pedophilia, even family criminal genealogy. I don't want to give the twist away, but readers of mine familiar with either or both "The Bad Seed" and the movie "The Good Son" will recognize similarities in Landay's startling denouement, which never for a second did I see coming.
The most interesting thing Landay does is give us no conclusions about Jacob. Did he kill Ben Rifkin, or not? Is he guilty or innocent? Who actually killed Ben Rifkin? Much as I like things tied neatly in packages of resolution, I have to hand it to Landay, whose narrative gives one something to think about, long after the last page has been turned.
This is an author worth keeping an eye on. "Defending Jacob" may explore already familiar turf, but its execution thereof is skilled and masterful!!!!!!!!!!
Have fun, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ah, the First day Of Spring!!!! Le Sacre Du Printemps!!!!! And how do I celebrate it???? Going to the doctor!!!!! Welcome to Middle Age, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!
But the days get longer, you can sit outside, and the long (or seemingly long) months of Winter are past. Listen to the classic Stravinsky composition, or have a Cecil Beaton festival, watching "Gigi" and "My Fair Lady." Dance among the meadows, like a wood nymph!!! And that is wood nymph, girls, not nymphomaniac!!!!!
Whatever you do to celebrate, welcome Spring into your heart and your life!
One of my favorite times of year, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Think you have it bad, darlings??? Here I am complaining about the loss of my Garland voice, and look what Mary Pickford and the Children have to contend with in the 1928 melodrama, "Sparrows."
My paternal grandmother, who had a gift for description, used to tell me in great detail about this movie, a sad meller where Mary tries to save a group of children and help them escape from a baby farm. The nightmarish sequence where they flee by escaping into the swamp, is the stuff of legend, and I never forgot how my grandmother vividly described this sequence. It was like I was seeing it take place before me, even though I have yet to see this film.
The next time you feel like having your own Pity Party, rent "Sparrows," and you will stop your complaining. Or you will be crying tearfully in support of Mary and the Kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Remember, girls, things could be worse. Unless you get discovered, like Lana Turner!!!!!!!!
TV ads are meant to be both informative and entertaining. I just love the Geico lizard, and especially Maxwell, the cute little pig who goes "Wheeeeeeeeeeee!" and reminds me of my own, beloved Monsieur. Then there is Dean Winters (who I used to be hot for, when he played Brian Cassidy on 'SVU') as Mr. Mayhem in the All State commercials.
But two particularly annoying guys getting what I consider overexposure right now, make my skin crawl every time they appear on the tube. I don't know the actors who play them, but they are not endearing themselves to me, though I am sure they are making a name and fortune for themselves, so I cannot be unhappy for them. But they are unbearable to watch!!!!!!!!!
The first is the Nationwide Guy. With that buttoned down look and unctuous manner, he suggests a 21st Century version of Uriah Heep. I swear, I haven't seen anyone with hair in such perfect place since the days of Ann Miller, but whereas she looked sexy, this guy looks like a mass of repressed sexuality. Which makes sense, because White Bread and white washed is exactly what American advertisers like.
Even worse than him is the guy known as Ronald, the Karaoke Dating guy, on the Geico Commercial. He takes center stage in a karaoke bar club, and uses the Bonnie Tyler classic "Total Eclipse Of The Heart", set to his own inane lyrics, as a dating ploy. What saves this commercial from being completely awful, is the shot of the two disgusted women watching him; the look of disgust on the Black woman is especially palpable. And when he does that falsetto on "getting a weeeeeeeeeave!" it makes my skin crawl.
I have no idea who the actors are impersonating these guys, though I am happy for them, as their exposure is laughing them all the way to the bank. Do we just have to see them so much??????????
What happened to the great commercial days--Jan Miner as Madge, Jane Withers as Josephine The Plumber, Ann Miller and the Great American Soups--these were actors at the top of the their game, whose creators knew how to use them to elevate their mundane products to the status of art forms. Can we count among us such talent today?????
Not from what I have just described. It is enough to make one turn off the tube.
But at least they stopped airing that Credit Score ad about the daughter in her sophomore year in college!!!!!!!!!
Sweeties, some people are saying today is the First Day of Spring, but I am going by what i was taught. That happens tomorrow, so today, we say "Bye Bye" to Winter. Now, really, it was not as bad as all that, but the unusually warm weather made for illness, a degree of discomfort (because Winter is supposed to be cold, after all!!!) and anxiety about the Summer. If we had such an unusually warm Winter, I am predicting, this Summer is going to be a sizzler!!!!!
But, after today Winter 2012 is History. On to Spring tomorrow, and get ready to welcome the return of Prosperina!!!!!
Just one more day in Hell, darling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, March 19, 2012
Girls, let's face it, I was raised Catholic, where a funeral means a viewing, a Mass, a burial, noshing afterwards, and maybe a quick screening of "The Song Of Bernadette."
I had never been to a Jewish funeral service in my life, but after talking with Monsieur, I am not sure if what I was at yesterday actually was.
For starters, I had to suffer PTSD by spending most of the day in suburban Jersey!!!!!! Heeeeeeeeeeelllllllllllpppppppp!!!!!!!!! For another, there was nothing distinctly Jewish about the service. It was distinctly sad. The deceased was younger than I--56--and died of a heart attack at work brought on, it would seem by a combination of genetic predisposition, weight, a fondness for cigars, and a back breaking daily commute by car--from Monmouth County to Long Island City, NY, each day. This would do anyone in, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!
I also did not realize shopping was a part of the tradition. Imagine my chagrin, when we ended up, after the service, at a nearby Lord and Taylor. Our host, Larry, found some fabulous buys, girls, and let me tell you, he really knows how to shop!!!!!!! But Monsieur and I were not in a shopping mood, not did anything we see jump out at us!!! And you know how particular I am about my designers, darlings!!!!!!
It was a full day, and when we crawled home at 6PM, we were both physically and emotionally exhausted. But Spring is on the way, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!! La Sacre De Printemps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Toute de suite, darlings! Toute de suite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"When the swallows come back to Capistrano,
That's the time I'll be coming back to you!"
Well, girls, here we are, a sure sign Spring--which arrives Wednesday--is on the way. Today is the Feast Of St. Joseph, and the day, according to legend, that the swallows of Capistrano, CA, return to their mission.
I can recall news stories of people sitting out in lawn chairs, watching for this event. It was a big deal, darlings!!! Today, I think it survives as a quaint piece of folklore, but one that is nice to remember, and a gentle reminder that Spring is definitely on the way.
So, watch those skies, darlings!!!!! Not for UFO's, but for those arriving swallows!!!!!
And try to look as glamorous as Tippi Hedren!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
"Cut The Song? Listen, That Song Is The Best Piece Of Music In This Show! Why Don't You Take Out One Of Miss Lawson's Numbers? She's Got FIVE!!!!!"
Now, darlings, as I said several posts back, I may be Neely, but there are distinct differences between myself and the Jacqueline Susann character.
First, no one would dare--or has EVER--taken a musical number away from me. In fact, I can recall one show I was on, where I DEMANDED to have my own number, and you damn well better believe I got it! And it stopped the show!!!!!!
So, yes, I can be a barracuda, a monster...but only when I have to. Like if I am fighting for something or standing up for something I believe in. Or if someone should attack me--watch out!!!!!!!!!!
Neely, however, is a 24/7 monster. Due to personality, alcohol and drugs, she cannot turn off the monstrousness. And as a result she turns it on not only those who screw her, but those who have been kindest to her, like Ann, and even Lyon.
I have never, nor will ever do that. I am grateful to my friends, appreciative of every kindness having been shown and bestowed upon me in this wild and merry life.
Which is where Neely and I split off! Would we get along? Probably not; she would attack, and I would eat her alive! We would probably claw each other, just like Patty and Susan Hayward in the movie.
I may be Neely, darlings! But I am Neely with a heart!
Kiss kiss, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, I just want to thank my girls, who supported me and Tyler Clementi by reading the reams of words I wrote covering this case, ever since the story broke back on September 22, 2010. Maybe now, healing can begin for the Clementi family, and Tyler can truly begin to Rest In Peace.
But there is one more thing I would like to see.
The day of his sentencing, I want to see Dahurn Ravi stare the Clemetis in the face, and tell them that he is sorry. He owes them that. And for him to not do so speaks of how right the jury was to convict him, and what a poor excuse for a human being he truly is. In my book, he is a sociopath.
But for everyone who stood by me--Monsieur, the walkers over the GWB back on 10/16/10, the people in my Dignity community, the creators of last summer's Brooklyn Pride play "...sorry...", I just want to say thank you.
It is, as one sage said, a watershed moment. Ironic it happened on what turned out to be the 49th Anniversary of my First Holy Communion!!!!!!!!!!
Despite the victory, I am sure a sense of weariness prevails. Now it is for us to see how influential this case will be as future situations of such similarity crop up--or are stopped.
For all the Tyler supporters out there, I thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, loves, we have made it to another St. Pat's Day, and there are all sorts of ways to celebrate this day, whether you are Irish, or not. In my nabe, Woodside, when it falls on a Saturday, like today, naked Irish boys run through the street, showing off their Lucky Charms. Never mind how hung up and homophobic they may be when sober, once having tossed those three sheets to the wind, they do not care who or what sees anything on them!!!!!!! Kind of cute, darlings!!!!!!!!!
You could just also eat a bowlful of Lucky Charms for breakfast!
Or, like some of my girls, will, you could spend some time in the mirror, trying today to look as ravishing as Maureen O'Hara in the 1952 film, John Ford;s "The Quiet Man." I am sure we all wish we could look like Maureen, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chowing down on green colored Sno-Balls--perfect for this day--is another celebratory tribute.
Drinking Green Beer, of course!!!!!
And, inevitably, a dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage. Maybe topped off by
a glass of Bailey's Irish Cream, or better yet, the whole mixture poured over vanilla ice cream.
So a Happy St. Pat's to all my girls, no matter how you celebrate it!!!!!!!
How Are Things In Glocca Morra, darlings???????????
Friday, March 16, 2012
In the end, it seems somehow surreal and anti-climactic, darlings. Starting with a tragedy beginning September 22, 2010, and concluding with a court verdict, nearly 18 months later, the Tyler Clementi matter has been put to rest. That rest was a "Guilty" verdict, handed down by a jury, which, while skirting some of the 15 counts, nevertheless included convictions of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering, and hindering arrest.
To put it bluntly, this goose, named Dahrun Ravi, is cooked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, why am I not jumping for joy??? Oh, believe me, I am happy about the message the jury sent--that harassment of an individual, for any difference--be it sexual orientation, physical appearance, personality flaws, whatever--will absolutely not be tolerated. And that is the most important message here, loves!!!!!!
Yet, I am tinged with sadness. Sadness for the Clementis, for whom this chapter is over, but now have to still make it minus Tyler, whom I am certain they would prefer to any of this. To Ravi and Wei, and their families, who, from this day forward, are permanently tinged by this. Whatever time Ravi does serve, he will always be on record as a convicted criminal, all caused by indiscriminate acts he himself set in motion.
And, honey, while I am sure no one would admit it outright, the fact that Tyler Clementi did end his life had something to do with the outcome. I can say that, with no stigma attached.
This case now becomes one for the ages, the law books; it will be discussed for decades to come, and source material for future Alex Cabots/Stephanie Marchs.
Is Tyler smiling from above? Is anyone? In the end, while there is satisfaction, there is also sadness for the sheer amount of lives and potential that were wasted here.
Which can only impact on all of us permanently. But some, unfortunately, more than others!
All right, girls, it's time to talk!!!!!
When it was first published, on February 10, 1966, no one was prepared for the cultural zeitgeist that Jacqueline Susann's "Valley Of The Dolls" would become. It certainly did not start out that way; in fact, it actually took a couple of years for its impact to be realized.
At the start, the author's intended target audience--disgruntled soccer moms and frustrated beauty parlor matrons--lapped it up. After all, with their limited lives, they were for the first time given a glimpse into worlds they had always fantasized about, or secretly wanted to be a part of. Though you have to hand it to Jackie, even at the time; when it came to depicting that world, no punches were pulled on showing the more negative aspects.
All of which soared the novel to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list--where it remained for twenty eight weeks--eight weeks longer than "The Group" or "Exodus," ten weeks more than "Peyton Place" or "Hawaii," fifteen weeks more than "Marjorie Morningstar."
Eventually, of course, the book came out in mass market paperback, and everyone, it seemed, was buying it. Even my parents. And parents like them. Which also meant that curious Baby Boomer children like myself were partaking of forbidden pleasures. I knew where to find the book in our house, and, darlings, you better believe I found it, and read it!!!!! I mean, that drawing, on the back, of Susann, leg extended, in that slinky white gown!!!! Darlings, it was all the sophistication I wanted for myself!!!!
Honey, I am telling you, it was a revelation!!!! Now, some people might have thought such a grim story would have shied people away from show business, but, let me tell you, ever since I stuck my first dress onto Debbie Reynolds in her Colorforms Dress Designer kit, I knew I was headed for show biz!!!!! Like Ann Wells with Lawrenceville in the novel, I already knew that my province--Highland Park, New Jersey--had its limitations for me!!!!
So, there I was, coasting along on a sea of bliss, reading about the life I knew I wanted, until I hit a rock. That rock was the now famous exchange between Ann and Neely, when the latter tells Ann that "he (Mel Harris, her fiance) went down on me!"
While Ann shrieked a chagrined "Neely!" I cried out to myself, "Down on what?" I had absolutely no clue!!!! And there was absolutely no one I could ask. Not my friends; who may not have known any more than I did. Not my parents, who then would have discovered what I was reading, added to which I am not quite sure they would have known what this meant. And not my teachers, who would not have known either, and would have been appalled I was reading such "adult" literature. But, remember, I had teachers who tried to stop me from reading Dickens!!!!!
It was quite a revelation. The show biz stuff I got. The sex topics (which I somehow knew this was related to) I did not. And it would not be several more years, and several more readings, before I did.
But the book offered other pleasures to me. Like the realization of my show biz precocity, because I knew then (as I am sure my peers did not) exactly whom each character was based on. And with that went an interesting party game I would play with myself (not realizing, till years later, that others were playing, too) called "Who-Am-I-In-"Valley-Of-The-Dolls"?" For me, it was a no brainer--I was Neely O'Hara!!!!
Neely O'Hara--the lovable kid from vaudeville, who became a star, and a monster--was unquestionably based on Judy Garland, whom I had identified myself with, ever since first seeing her in what would become my all-time favorite movie, "The Wizard Of Oz." Like her, I had a deep, soaring, emotional talent, with my voice. And like she and Neely, I knew it!!!!! What those dumb teachers and students in Highland Park did not realize at the time was I had a more than healthy ego. Most back then would describe me as a mass of low self-esteem. Au contraire, you morons!!!! I was simmering with bitterness and resentment, because I knew I was superior to all of you, from the moment I was born!!!!! And STILL believe that! But, with the upbringing I had, the message was one did not call attention to oneself, which was one reason grades 7-12 were so troubling. If I had acted out how I really felt, I probably would have been kicked out of the Highland Park schools, which might have been better, anyway. Actually, I tried to, in fourth grade, but Mitch Frumkin was too dumb and limited (as I am sure he is today!!!!) to understand. I told him I was from superior stock, which I was, because I lived on the North Side, while all the dummies I was forced to traffic in school with, lived on the Wrong Side Of The Tracks!!!! Is this one of my life's themes???? You better believe it!!!! And Mitch just laughed!!!! Well, keep on laughing, bitch...I mean, Mitch!!! You're stuck in Nowheresville, while I am now at the center of my own Self-Imposed New York Fantasy!!!! Fuck you!!!!
Revenge is sweet, which is another thing "Valley Of The Dolls" taught me in droves. Picture me--the resentful adolescent, locked in my room, supposed to be doing my Algebra II/Trig (screw THAT!!!), pulling Susann's book (which I now owned!!!!) off my shelf, and reading aloud my favorite part..."Neely closed the script wearily. No use going over it again. She knew it cold!" Just like ME, darlings!!!! And this is what gave me the courage to debase myself in school each day--the conviction, instilled in me by Neely, that I would get through this mess, because I was BETTER, and I also had one of the greatest voices in the biz!!!! I mean, back then, how many teenage boys could do "Love Child" in Diana Ross' key?????
That is right, darlings!!!!! You damn well better believe it!!!!!
The novel, "Valley Of The Dolls," was a life force. But it was MY life force--or so I thought. But, slowly, things began to happen, that would change all that. One was the inevitable movie version. When it was purchased, VOTD was the top film sale of the year. Financed by an A-list company, Twentieth Century-Fox, it was designed to be a Prestige Production. Mark Robson, who had directed the beautiful adaptation of "Peyton Place" just ten years before, was chosen to direct, and a cast consisting of two Oscar winners (Patty Duke and Judy Garland, who was subsequently replaced by Susan Hayward; three, if you want to count Lee Grant, who would win an Oscar eight years later for "Shampoo"), a TV actress at the top of her game (Barbara Parkins), a bewitching glamour gal (Sharon Tate), and a gaggle of character actors (Naomi Stevens, Robert H. Harris, Martin Milner) recognizable enough to the public at large, everyone, as Parkins and Duke have attested in interviews, approached the project in as serious a manner as possible; Patty Duke, then, was convinced she was going for the Oscar gold!!!! Until they all saw the rough cut!!!! And then the reviews!!!! From that moment on, everyone connected to the film, including Susann herself, deemed it the lowest mark of their lives. But this would eventually change!! What brought about the change??? Several events simultaneously.
In 1969, two things directly connected to VOTD happened. Judy Garland, on June 22, died from what is still considered an accidental death of overdose by barbituates. Less than two months later, on August 9, a very pregnant Sharon Tate, with several others, was murdered by a group of deranged cultists, headed by Charles Manson. The repercussions of both events are still felt today.
Garland's death meant the Gay community had lost one of its icons. Now, Jackie, in her book did not shie away from homosexuality, but, characteristic of her time, demeaned it, by using the word "fag." If I had money for every time that word appears in the book or film script, I would be sitting by my own pool in a bikini, right now!!! Well, things began to change, right after Garland's death; in Manhattan's gay watering holes, in Greenwich Village (where else, kids??) a group of disgruntled homosexuals, impelled by Garland's death, and frustrated by how society had been treating them up till then, fought back in a police raid that became the Stonewall riots. And changed the scope of those living this so-called on-the fringe lifestyle. Slowly, it was brought beyond the fringe, and front and center, where it damn well belonged!!!!!!!!
Tate's death marked the end of some kind of California innocence; the Mamas and Papas Sixties fantasy had been permanently eradicated!!!!!! Culture was at an impasse, and the climate was right for change. Now, what did VOTD have to do with all this??? Well, with Garland gone, homosexuals began reaching out for role models, wherever they could be found. At some point--I would theorize in the early 70's, after the flop of "Myra Breckingridge"--gay men began taking a more pointed look at VOTD, finding kernels of both Camp and truth in it. Its campy dialogue represented every snappy comeback they had wanted to give to any bitch who had mistreated them. Ann's dissatisfaction with Lawrenceville, and that iconic image--oh, my God, here come the tears, girls!!!!!--of Barbara Parkins, face pressed to the train window, as she journeys to New York, while Dionne Warwick shrieks "Is thissssss a dream?" on the soundtrack, gave many the courage to escape their own personal Lawrencevilles, and flee to whatever city they chose for solace and reinvention. Whether one saw oneself as Neely, Helen, Ann, or Jennifer--because who wanted to be the men here, anyway???--
this movie gave gays something to latch onto as a community, an emotional catharsis laced with humor that serves as a template, or permission given, for gay men to live their lives exactly as they please!!!!!!
Which, I suppose, is the work's abiding legacy. But note, it took the movie, with its camp, and surrounding life events, to crystallize it all together, until, today, book and movie seem to many inseparable from the other. Except that they really are. Anyone who comes to Susann's book initially, looking for the movie's campiness, is in for a rude awakening. What surprised me the most, after a ten year absence, was how morally centered the movie actually is. It is designed to be a cultural cautionary tale to mainstream America about show business. In some ways, it turns out to be anti-showbiz. Ann goes back to the suburban bullshit she came from, because the movie wants you to believe that is where everyone belongs. Neely ends up screaming in the gutter; this is a reprimand for those of us who society deems think too much of ourselves, while Jennifer, buying into America's regard of Women as Sex Objects, gives up, offing herself when faced with no longer being one. The movie almost says, "Girls, if you aren't a sex object, what is the point of living?"
Fuck all that! Which is why one needs the gutsiness of Susann's book to balance this out. Taken together, VOTD, book AND film, can be both hilariously entertaining and enervating self-help experiences!!!! Look at all they have done for me, and continue to do, darlings!!!!! The thing to remember, all you newcomers, is that, while you will come to either with already preconceived expectations, try to leave those expectations on your psychological doormat, relax, embrace text and celluloid, and let them speak for you, as they will. That is is what this book has done for changing the face of America. And once changed, we can NEVER go back!!!!!!
And who would want to, anyway???? If only Jackie were around today. (Or maybe it is good she's not, because, were she to write it today, I am convinced she would have done it as a memoir. In 1966, no one would have believed it.) Yet, because of VOTD, she somehow still is. While writing a novel to make money, she set in motion the myths and legends of show biz that fed into the desires of gay men everywhere--an enduring legacy that would eventually surpass Susann's own fame!!!!!!
Take a doll, and sparkle, girls!
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Darlings, This Bitch Should Be Slapped By Every Theater Queen, Only I Am Afraid He Would Like It!!!!!!!!!
This bitch, girls, has been the bane of Theater Queens for several seasons!!!! I had hoped he had gone into some kind of career hibernation, or ended up on the Island Of Outcast Directors, like Diane Paulus and Julie Taymor, but now I hear he is at it again!!!!!!!!
I am talking, of course, about this week's winner of the Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award...John Doyle!!!!!!!!!!
Now, I know a lovely man named John Doyle, whom I always see when I go to Dignity services, so let me reassure everyone, this is not he!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John Doyle is the British director who singlehandedly began ruining musical theater for us Theater Queens, by using the most potent master of them all--composer Stephen Sondheim. And just how old is this coot, anyway??????? Take him to the canner's!!!!!!!!! In 2004, in London, he restaged a "Sweeney Todd" which gave the show a 'Caligari' like air by imagining that all the performers acting it out are inmates in an asylum. This was actually not a bad idea. What got in the way was Doyle's gimmick to have the actors play their own instruments--not only having to sing the score, but play it. Of course, it detracted from the power of the work. When this was brought over to Broadway in the Spring of 2005, I was appalled. I can still recall, at Intermission, some people walking out, and I do not blame them. To this day I have never seen Patti Lupone more uncomfortable onstage than when she was trying to master the timing in when to strike her triangle. Like an over anxious grade schooler in a band recital!!!!!!!! And, girls you know this is NOT Patti--she breathes confidence the way Gojira breathes fire!!!!!!!!!!!!
Doyle, obviously had, at some early point in life, heard the song "You Gotta Get A Gimmick." He thought he had found one, and stuck with it. So, when "Company" came over next, I was prepared to hate it, but somehow, the chamber nature of the piece already made it somehow work. I still would have preferred the actors minus the instruments, but in this way they did not impede the show.
And, in the back of my mind, that was that, I thought. Though I always feared, with Henrik already playing the cello in "A Little Night Music," it would not be long before Doyle tried this trick on that show!!!!!! Or--horrors!--subjecting middle-agers and beyond to dancing full out to something like "Who's That Woman?" while playing, too, in an instrumentally revamped "Follies"!!!!!!!! God forbid!!!!!!!
But I just found out Doyle has something more insidious planned. He is going to do the same stale act with Sondheim's most soaring score--"Merrily We Roll Along!!!!!!!!" Not only that, it sounds like he is going to deconstruct the entire show--using a cast of only 13, once again making the mistake of not using "The Hills Of Tomorrow," and making judicious edits in the songs and text. I think all the actors, like in "Company," will be played by those in their forties, which could work. But then you have those damned instruments again!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, if you go to London, stay away from this one!!!!!! And producers--don't let this piece of truncated desecration come over here. Enough is enough. Hey, John, go take your stale act to the provinces, where no one knows anything, then maybe you will be called a genius. At best, now you are just a gimmicked hack!!!!!!! Hack this, you bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, here is to John Doyle, this week's Bitch Of The Week!!!!!! Like I said he should be slapped silly, but you know those Brits--they like that sort of thing!!!!!!!!!
See you at teatime, sweeties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Deliberations have now begun in the case of the State of New Jersey vs. Dahrun Ravi, or what those of us who really care call, more euphemistically, the Tyler Clementi case. Day One ended without a verdict, which does not surprise me in the least. And I do not envy these jurors, who are on one of the highest profile cases ever known, and the most renowned they will ever be associated with. The Gay community is hanging on their word. So is the Straight Community. So, most importantly, are the Clementis themselves.
What I find interesting is what I read about how this jury was chosen. A collective mixture of middle aged boomers and Gen Y or Z, or whatever they call themselves technonuts to guide the more challenged through the hazardous world of cyber space. On some level, this seems like a good idea. But when I hear how they also chose a jury who would not be afraid of a public backlash, should a Not Guilty verdict be handed down, I bristled.
Listen, you better believe there will be a public backlash, and I will damn well lead it!!!!!!!! I order the Gay Community to march in protest of what such a verdict would mean. And I am not just saying this for Gay rights. After all, the specter of homosexuality just happened to be the particular nature of Tyler Clementi's--to use a word--handicap. If the verdict handed down gives someone like Mr. Ravi the right to abuse someone like Tyler, by saying what he did was not wrong, then this gives carte blanche to all kinds of social persecution. What about humiliating the physically handicapped? Or the intellectually/emotionally retarded??? The harassment could just as easily have gone down that way, and with a Not Guilty verdict, the path will be clear to an Abuser's Field Day!!!!!!!! Which is why such a verdict must not be given, and which is why it is important, above and beyond even the issues at hand, that Ravi be held accountable for his miserable actions.
Let him get deported. I don't care. Because, let me tell you, I may not have the qualifications, and I do not know if the defense or prosecution ordered a psychiatric exam on Ravi, but as sure as I am the Raving Queen, he exhibits all the classic behaviors and mannerisms of the sociopath. And you know what happens there--you let them escape, and sooner or later, they are heard from again. Unlike most sociopaths, Ravi has no particular charm. He does not how to schmooze or manipulate a room, which is one reason why I am sure his lawyer did not put him on the stand. Does it mean he is not a sociopath???? No, it means that his lack of empathy is more deeply embedded. Trust me, if Ravi skates, we will not have heard the last of him!!!!
So, I want this jury to take its time!!!!!!! And it sounds to me like they are wise enough to do so, knowing all the implications that hang in the balance!!!!!
But Justice For Tyler and Closure for the Clemetis is our biggest concern here, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Any theater companies doing "Julius Caesar" this evening???? Better they should do "My Fair Lady," because, yes, darlings, that musical theater classic opened on this very night, back in 1956. And its reception and history should put to rest the myth about this day, yet that myth--its negativity--still hangs over it. Even after a highly successful movie last year with the title, starring the highly successful, and equally delicious, Ryan Gosling!!!!!!
Darlings, there is just something about "this day," no matter how one looks at it, that makes you feel cautious!!! Now, I think the best way to combat this would be a shopping spree at Bergdorf's, maybe a hair appointment with Ariette, and a quick luncheon with the Girls!!!!! For those of you who have the time--go right ahead, dolls!!!!!
As for me, it's just another day, but one to remember. Time to beautify, glamorize, and try to look some semblance of gorgeous before hitting the streets once again.
Remember, girls, "You've got to climb to the top of Mount Everest to reach the Valley Of The Dolls." But no one ever told us how long that climb would be!!! Or that it might be shorter for some, longer for others!!!!!!
Happy Ides of March, everyone!!!!!!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Now, darlings, as we all know, homosexuality has been with us since before Thespis stepped out of the chorus line. It was just a matter of how it was presented down through the ages, which, of course, has changed over time. By the time I was a growing baby boomer, the Television Generation, you bet I knew all the theme songs, not to mention owning the "Debbie Reynolds Dress Designer Kit" from Colorforms. And, of course, by the time I elevated to Parker Brothers' games, especially "CAREERS," you knew I always opted for Hollywood, and the chance to win an Oscar. Guess I was off and running, girls, but what did I know??????
Long before any of us knew the words "homosexual," and what it meant, let alone the word "gay," there were certain TV characters and types who stood out, just for their, to be polite, eccentricity. Like Wally Cox, of "Mr. Peepers." Or Maynard G. Krebbs on "Dobie Gillis." And how about that male English teacher on "Our Miss Brooks?"
Like Tennessee Williams and his dramatic masterworks, TV found a way of having homosexuality creep in, without offending the Masses.
Now, what triggered all this was a discussion between Monsieur and myself, as we readied for work. Coming across a reference to Lizzie Borden, on Yahoo, I recalled the 70's TV movie, "The Legend of Lizzie Borden,", with the ground breaking performance of Elizabeth Montgomery, who had been known for an altogether different role, a mere decade earlier.
That role, of course, was Samantha Stevens in "Bewitched," and let me tell you, darlings, when I get through here, you are going to realize that this was the first true openly gay sitcom on television!!!!!!!!!!
Let's start with Liz. She was plunked down in suburbia, married to straitlaced ad exec Darrin Stevens (played originally, by Dick York). Samantha had glamorous hair, fabulous Sixties outfits, and, when it came to housewifery, glamorized things in ways Margaret Anderson or June Cleaver just could not. Added to which, she did not have to lift a finger to do anything--because she was a witch, and she had powers. Darrin, the traditionalist, tried to put the kabash on their use, but that never stopped Samantha from exercising her Witch given right!!!!! And we loved it!!!! It was all us burgeoning girls wanted--like Mary Poppins--to get chores done with a snap of the fingers, or a wiggle of the nose. Even the household help I have does not work this fast!!!!!!!!! And Liz looked glamorous all the time!!!!!!!!!!!
Then, there was this FABULOUS supporting cast--an A-list of gay icon-icry!!!!!! Starting with Agnes Moorehead, as Endora, beautified to the max, and looking for all the world as though she were going to do Hermione Gingold in "Gigi."
And how about Maurice Evans, as her father????? And Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur--need I say more????? That great Theater Queen figure, Alice Ghostley, playing Esmeralda??? And, how about Jane Connell (Broadway's original Agnes Gooch in "Mame"), as Queen Victoria??????? People to this day still talk about THAT episode and performance!!!!!
But my favorite of all had to be Doctor Bombay, portrayed brilliantly by Bernard Fox. Now, I have no idea if Fox himself was gay or not, nor do I care, BUT he played the character as if he had just arrived from spending an evening at a gay bar!!!!!!! No wonder he loved being surrounded with Fag Hags like Endora and Esmeralda!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then, there was the Question Of The Darrins. Dick York originated the part, and he was brilliant. Contrary to rumor, he was NOT gay, though he had appeared almost ten years before, in what is still thought of as a gay play--Robert Anderson's "Tea And Sympathy." The reason York left the show was tragic--he had suffered debilitating back pain for years, and it began to impact on his career and led to an addiction he worked hard to overcome. He was eventually replaced by Dick Sargent, who, ironically, had originally auditioned for Darrin, but turned it down to do a sitcom called "Broadside." Sargent had a history of homosexuality, and lived with a domestic partner, Albert Williams, until his death in 1994. Sargent did not officially "come out" till 1991, but during those "Bewitched" years, he made plenty of producers nervous, plus he was surrounded with the gayest sitcom cast imaginable!!!!!!! Those of us who watched him as Darrin, somehow "knew," and we just adored him for it!!!!!!!!!!
But most still wanted to be Samantha. Or Endora!!!!!!!!!!!
And, of course, the one I most wanted to be was Serena!!!!!!!!!!!
See you later, cuz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!