Monday, April 30, 2012
You think it is tough being the Raving Queen???? Not that is is easy, darlings, but it sure beats being a Kennedy!!!!! Even with all that money, and those Bouviers, this family has been cursed, and cursed again!!!! Sometime, deservedly so, as in that case of rat bastard Michael Skakel, who decades after the fact, was finally convicted of the murder of Martha Moxley!!!!! But this latest, is just too sad to bear!!!!
In America today, there are two reigning Princesses!!!!! You know, I am one of them, darlings, and the other is one who was my role model, indeed was many of our role models for a generation...Princess Lee Radizwill!!!!! She did only one bad thing in her life, loves, and that was starring in a bad TV drama remake of the Gene Tierney classic, "Laura." First, it should not have been remade, because why tamper with perfection, but, second, while Lee had the look and breeding for the part, unlike Miss Tierney, she simply could not act!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But Lee is loved, anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
However, the sad news comes in that, at 79, Lee is suffering from Alzheimer's!!!! She goes in and out of lucidity, at 79!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does she deserve this, girls??????????? Absolutely not!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Adding insult to injury, her daughter-in-law, Carol (who was married to Lee's only son, Anthony, from 1994 till 1999, when he died of cancer) is lowering herself and the family status by appearing on the Reality Show, "Real Housewives Of New York," and not only is Lee furious, but so is Cousin-In-Law, Caroline Kennedy!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course, we are concerned with Lee here. What a thing to do to her, at this point in time!!!!!!!!! Who does this upstart think she is?????????? Does she think she can hold a candle to REAL Reality Stars, like the two Edie Beales????? Because, let me tell you, girls, when the Maysles brothers did "Grey Gardens," back in 1976, THAT was the pioneer reality show!!!!!!!!!!! And to this day, the Two Edies are unmatched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone should smack bitch Carol silly, and pull out her hair!!! She's only an in-law to Lee, so it would not be an insult to her. Lee, darlings, would very likely utter a gracious "Thank you!"
Bet Carol didn't go to Miss Porter's!!!!!!!!!! I want all my girls to get behind Lee and wish her the best, and cross this hag, Carol, off the Social Register!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, I cannot wait till Fourth of July, loves!!!! All this talk has inspired me to replicate Little Edie's July Fourth American Flag Sparkler Dance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Ku ru ru frog
On the river bank.
When he sits there croaking,
Bayana says that he feels cold.
Playing with a sling shot is good
for those who like it.
I don't like it, I don't care."
----Old Childhood Rhyme
Back in those ever distancing days of when I was in grade school, we used to sing this.
I wanted to share it with you loves, to show there is a big difference between Ku ru ru, and Curucu.
Darlings, in the world of "The Sopranos," which so many loved to watch, and some of us who lived in Jersey knew more about than one might think, the rules wee clear--Friday night was for the wives, while Saturday night was for the girlfriends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And what better way to spend a romantic Saturday date night than to cuddle close, and enjoy a cheesy 50's horror flick??????? Well, let me tell you, few are cheesier than "Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon."
You know you are in for something special, for starters, because it stars one of the era's B-movie Scream Queens, Beverly Garland, who, less than twenty years later, would turn up, remarried to Fred Macmurray, as Steve Douglas, on, of all things, "My Three Sons."
Now, this film has its moments, but nothing that can top Beverly's big moment in "It Conquered The World," where she physically attacks the paper mache Cucumbo, the Cucumber Monster from Venus, whom Beverly not only towers over, but looks as though it could be knocked down by a child.
Pounding her fists on it furiously, as she screams, "I'll see you in Hell, first!" at it, I wonder how Beverly failed to get an Oscar nomination for this stellar moment. It cannot be beat, girls; you have to see it!!!!!
But...back to 'Curucu'. This one is a hoot, as a group of explorers venture into the darkest jungles of Brazil, where they are threatened by voodoo practicing natives, who shrink heads and throw poisoned darts. The NAACP probably ruled them racist back in 1956; think what they would say now!!!! Which may be one reason why you don't see 'Curucu' (pronounced "Ku-roo-cue") being shown much these days!!! Too bad, because it is a hoot!!!! The monster is supposed to be a native legend, that lives up the river, where no white man has gone before, but is more of a ruse to keep the natives in their place. When the fabricated monster does surface, it looks like a cross, as one sage put it, "between a toucan and a wart hog!!!!!" Personally, I think it was just a big old puppet, cooked up, uncredited, by a then little girl named Julie Taymor!!!! Yes, girls, I am convinced 'Curucu' is where old Jules got her start!!!!!! Like an outtake from "Juan Darien"!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He ( referred to as "Beast Of The Amazon," and always going after women, you know the monster not only has to be a He, but is also heterosexual; who ever heard of a gay monster, anyway????) has to be seen, to be believed!!!!!!!
And Beverly has a great moment here, where a boa constrictor wraps itself around her, and she struggles with it. For real!!!!! When the scene was done, she was told that if the boa had fastened on to her, they would not have been able to save her life!!!!!!!!!! But the boa (I pet one in New Orleans, darlings, and they are really sweet!!!!) was probably just as scared, wondering what the hell this crazy woman was doing, anyway!!!!! It probably fled from Beverly faster than she did, once the scene was finished!!!!!
They don't make 'em like this, anymore.....and there is a reason!!!!!! But there is plenty of
reason to curl up and watch "Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon." You can be each other's boa, loves!!!!!!!!!!!
And I don't mean feather boa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course, in order to do so, darlings, you have to have a reason for being in Pennsylvania, because this restaurant is located at 902 Village At Eland, Phoenixville, Rt.113, Pennsylvania. Since my sister lives not far from there, and my father is ensconced nearby, at swinging Villa St. Martha, this elegant, romantic eatery was the scene Saturday night of my father's wild and crazy 97th birthday celebration.
You turn off from the road into this charming period village, and the restaurant is right at the end, with the same, charming, period feel. When you get inside, the mood is dark and romantic, a stately, but modernistic dining room, with dim but modern looking orange lighting, tables well spaced, allowing for plenty of intimacy, and a lovely bar.
It had been a long day, with my father being the one to shop till the rest of us all dropped, so I really needed that glass of Merlot wine I was given. But what a glass! In New York, this single glass would have counted for two!!!!! You can bet I was singing show tunes that night!
The cuisine seems to be all done on premises!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The bread served to us was hot--not warm, hot!!!--each time it was served. The meals were scrumptious. My father fared the best--a tender filet mignon in wine sauce, with asparagus and mashed potatoes, followed by a huge piece of chocolate birthday cake for desert; of course, the staff, the patrons, all of us, sang "Happy Birthday;" both my sister and Monsieur had the half portion chicken breast and risotto, and let me tell you, this half was whole enough for both of them. The same went for my meat loaf, which, while half portion, was plentiful, with mushroom wine sauce, mashed potatoes and broccoli. I needed a light desert at that point, darlings, so I opted for lemon sorbet and berries, with coffee. My sister had the same desert, and let me tell you, not only were the berries fresh, the texture and taste of the sorbet convinced me it was home made. Monsieur had some kind of sponge cake drizzled in lemon sauce--oh, my God!!!!!!!!!!!! It was good enough to serve to Meryl Streep!!!! On whom, not an ounce would show!!!!!
It is a wonder we were able to make it out of the restaurant, after a meal like that. No one goes hungry at the Epicurean. My best advice to you, loves, is, if you want to enjoy the full experience, do not eat anything beforehand. And that includes lunch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cannot wait to go back to the Epicurean, maybe for my father's 98th birthday, which, the way things are going, will be here before we know it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old age may be a bitch, girls, but it can get you to some great restaurants!!!!!!!!!!! Milk it for all it is worth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, I will tell you.
It is my father!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, girls, today is my father's birthday, and he reaches the grand old age of
97!!!! Not to brag, or count one's chickens, but on a recent visit to the doctor, he was told he could easily
Good thing, because I cannot imagine anyone of my generation reaching that landmark. I want to make sure I am here for his, because I intend to plan the biggest centennial party ever!!!
Strictly the Pierre, in New York!!!!!
And my father will most likely in three years' time, have what he has now--a full head of hair that still mixes black with gray, a sharp mind, eyesight good enough to read, watch TV and do
crossword puzzles, the ability to walk distances at a time, almost perfect posture, and unflagging energy.
Darlings, I am 40 (all right 39) years younger, and my energy is worn, especially from all the book hauling I was doing today, over at my apartment. Too bad I did not bring my father over; he could have done it all, and then some!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, here is to my father, on his 97th birthday!!!!! I guess it is a testament to clean, Catholic living!!!!!!
Wonder where that leave me, dolls?????????
Friday, April 27, 2012
Kindness flows through my veins. Nevertheless, if you wanted to use this post as an acting resume of sorts, or were I to be asked, what is my specialty, I would have to say, it is evil children and nuns.
In dramatic readings, I have done literature's two foremost evil children--Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed," and Mary Tilford" in "The Children's Hour." Believe it or not, even though she is a murderess, Rhoda is more understated; I found I had to underplay with her, in order to let the malevolence shine through in light of the picture of innocence I seemed to be presenting. Mary was much more straight forward; there is nothing understated about her, from start to finish; nevertheless, I found summoning up the required amount of venom needed to portray her, physically and emotionally draining.
As for evil nuns, I haven't officially had a crack at it, but I can do all of Gladys Cooper's dialogue from "The Song Of Bernadette." On occasion, I have rendered the opening classroom scene ("What is the Holy Trinity? I said, WHAT IS THE HOLY TRINITY?") to people,. with heightened effect, and much success. I may need to do it to prove myself worthy; if I end up journeying to Dartmouth College (in New Hampshire) where, my research indicates, they have a copy of the George Seaton screenplay of this film, I will not hesitate to recite things from it verbatim, in order to gain access, after driving the staff crazy. And I bet I am the only one who can recite 'Bernadette.'
Evil nuns, in some ways, are the most fun of all. No matter how over the top you go, there is
never a right or wrong way to play it. It might be fun to wear that wimple and habit, but even Gladys said that wearing it for the film was constricting to her back. So, I don't know.
But I am sending the word out there--if you need someone to play an evil child or nun, I am always available. How I would have loved to been in Dante Tomaselli's film, "Desecration." The whole thing seemed a homage to evil nuns!!!!!!!!!!! How I would love to work with Tomaselli, anyway.
I know what you are thinking, darlings. With my unflagging attachment to "The Song Of Bernadette," how come I would not want to play Bernadette. Well, for one thing, I do not want to compete with Jennifer Jones. For another, it is a very difficult part, because, unlike the aforementioned, it has to come from within--it demands the use of internalization--rather than without. And, lastly, I did dress as Bernadette for a costume party several years back, and was quite successful. Pics taken at the time showed me to be truly beatific.
But it is just more fun to play evil and nasty! I think the sweeter one is, the more enjoyable these types of roles!!!!!!!!!!!
Just ask Morgan Fairchild! Her whole career has been such! And I hear she is a real sweetie!!!!!!!!
And you know I have always had the hots for her brother, John. With him playing
Edgar Alan Poe in "The Raven," opening today, and it being about a serial killer--well, this was practically made for me!!!!!!!!!!
Nevertheless, I was disturbed by what I read this morning. It seems that Gabourey Sidibe, the full figured, Oscar nominated star of "Precious" and other films, and now a regular on "The Big C", was taken aback by Joan, several years back at a social function. Miss Sidibe had not done "Precious" yet, but she was on the up and coming track. She was thrilled to meet Joan, who, like so many of us, is an idol, and was taken aback when Joan told her she should quit the business because it is "so image conscious."
I certainly cannot argue with Joan. She is right; Hollywood especially, less so than Broadway, is very image conscious. But to disillusion a promising young artist???? And as for Joan herself, we love her, but the fact that she is no glamour puss, that there is a naturalness to her, is precisely why we do!!!!!!!!!
I am surprised at you, Joan!!!!!!! Shame on you! Bet Brother John would have something to say about that! And, if you had thought things out carefully, you might have guessed that it is very likely Miss Sidibe will follow in the footsteps of other full figured gals, like ex-"Dreamgirls" Jennifers Holliday and Hudson, who, after their career breakthroughs, shed some of that weight, and, with Hudson visible constantly on Weight Washer commercials, not only does she look fantastic, she is probably the best spokesperson the organization had! I never believed Fergie, anyway!!!!!!!!!! I bet she was scarfing down ice cream sundaes!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, Joan may just live to eat her words. And come to think of it, with Gabourey on "The Big C" right now, what is Joan doing, lately???? I cannot think of a thing since her memorable 'SVU' turn, and that is going on almost two years!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe Joan did not mean it the way it sounds. But the way it reads is how it sounds. I credit Gabourey with being gracious enough not to diss Joan any more than she does in telling the story.
Stick to what you do best, Joan, onstage or in front of the camera! You are not a
And my girls can always consult me, though they will never get such shoddy advice!!!!!!!!!
This place, girls, is Villa St. Martha, located near Downington, PA. It is the facility
where my father is happily ensconced, and where we are all converging this weekend to celebrate what
will be his--are you ready, loves??--97th birthday!!!!!!!!! Yes, dolls, 97!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know how many
among us can claim the same longevity.
The plan is to visit him at the place, and then take him out for a nice birthday meal, near Phoenixville. My sister, so organized, has already made the reservation, so I cannot tell you where it will be, but needless to say, I will provide a full report on the celebration proceedings.
Because the actual birthday is not until Monday, April 30. But with the weekend off, it is the perfect time to shoot down to PA for a visit. Maybe even make my already pain wracked body (from stone floors, loves!!!!!!) even moreso, by scrubbing floors at a nearby convent. Or at least going for Tea With Sister Berenice, getting in some girl talk, there!!!!!!!!!
However, the focal point will be my father, who has made it to 97!!!!!!!!!! His father made it to the same age, and his mother made it to 102!!!!!!!!!!!! I am hoping my father reaches the Century Mark, and I hope I am here for it, because, I can tell you, we are going to have SOME big party!!!!!!!!
And with me being gay, darlings, it will be I running the show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had to wonder about that, darlings, when I first saw this. With all that is going on with me, lately, it seems like my mind is a hodgepodge of imagery. Actually, I came across this pic when I was
researching that 1969 camp classic, "The Mad Room." The pic above bears the same title as the film, though one has nothing to do with the other.
"The Mad Room" stars Miss Stella Stevens ( formerly Miss January of 1960, in Playboy)
and Shelley Winters! What a combo right there; you know you are in for it. She works for Shelley, and when her brother and sister come to stay with her, has to keep their secret--they have been released from an asylum, for having murdered their parents 12 years before. This story would have you believe that a 2 and 4 year old had the strength and cunning to pull off such a stunt. It does not take long to figure out that the real murderer is evil bitch, Ellen (Stevens) who was 14 at the time, and fully capable.
Needless to say, when I saw the pic, featured above, it was a perfect amalgamation for what was going on inside my mind--my father's birthday, trip to my sister's this weekend, the upcoming move to Bay Ridge, which Monsieur and I are undertaking, work, reading....all the minutiae that make up my life. Sometimes my mind gets as cluttered and disturbed looking as this picture. But that does not mean I go wacking off people, or trying to pin it on others, like that nasty Stella Stevens as Ellen. I forget if she gets her comeuppance; she should have had her Centerfold status revoked.
Nevertheless, for those who might want to take a gander as to what is inside my head (wait till my therapist sees this) feel free to take a look!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I can't wait to see my favorite Woody Allen film--"Annie Hall" onscreen at the Film Forum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
When it came to playing bitches, darlings, especially later in her career, no one excelled
at it, like Shelley Winters. From Ma Parker on the "Batman" TV series, to Rose Ann D'Arcy in "A Patch Of Blue", (which Shelley played to an Oscar-winning turn, creating a character who was so despicable, once
I saw this film as an adult, I knew I could not watch it a second time) where her treatment of her daughter, played by the tragic Elizabeth Hartman was heartbreaking to watch.
Nevertheless, Shelley seemed to be having a high old time of it when she played the
role in the film, whose character merits mention as this week's Bitch Of The Week.
The winner of the Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is....Auntie Roo!
She is, of course, the title character of the film, whose title is often misquoted.
Most refer to it simply as, "Who Slew Auntie Roo?", which I personally prefer, because of the marvelous
alliteration. However, the correct title of the film is "Who Ever Slew Auntie Roo?", which establishes it
firmly in the genre of "What Ever Happened To...?" films, pioneered by 'Baby Jane'.
Honey, you have to see this one to believe it. The opening scene is a real howler!
Shelley's Auntie Roo is actually Mrs. Forrest, a wealthy American widow living on
the outskirts of an English village on an estate that reeks of the Universal back lot, called Forrest Grange.
Each Christmas, Auntie Roo invites ten specially selected orphans (not unlike the National Honor Society, back in Highland Park High School) to be invited to the estate on Christmas Day, where they are given nice presents and a bounteous feast.
Being invited is, of course, a highly coveted honor (not unlike the NHS), and so when two kids, Christopher (a post-"Oliver!" Mark Lester) and his friend, Kat, are not selected, he arranges for them to sneak onto the bus, so they can go to the mansion with the others.
However, this being the opening scene, the audience learns up front that Auntie Ross is not wrapped too tightly. The opening shots of a thunderstorm blasting the estate, which is right out
of "Bride Of Frankenstein," continues with the camera panning through the house, and up the stairs, where we hear a woman singing a lullaby to a child. Opening the door into the attic room, we discover a child in a crib, and Shelley, dressed in red like she is impersonating Belle Watling in "Gone With The Wind." Hey, I guess she just wants to look her best!!!!!! The child in the crib seems unusually still, even for a well behaved child, a bit large for the crib stage. As the camera pulls in, we discover the child's face to be...skeletal!!!!!!!
The child in question is/was Auntie Roo's real daughter, Katherine. She died in childhood, and what I want to know, which we never seem to learn, is how. I have a feeling that, as delusionally loving as she may be, Auntie Roo, who, of course turns out to be a big, old Control Queen, had something to do with it. Hence, her guilt, and her delusion that the child is safe in her crib, and she can love it.
Now, the way, I understand the rest of the film (directed by Curtis Harrington, who has come a long way, baby, from this!!!!!!) , the kids arrive, and Auntie Roo is especially charmed by Christopher and Kat, especially the latter, whom she sees as resembling her dead daughter, Katherine. That is right, girls; before you can say, "Die! Die! My Darling," she wants Kat all to herself, imprisoning her so she can have her to love forever. But of course Christopher sees things differently, and, of course none of the adults will believe him about Mrs. Forrest/Auntie Roo!
What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse, or maybe a grim variation on the fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel," with Auntie Roo cast as the witch. Things work out well for Christopher and Kat, and Forest Grange, with Auntie Roo, are destroyed in a big conflagration, but what I want to know is, was Auntie Roo, like the witch, pushed into an oven by Christopher, because, how, in God's name, I ask, does one get a witch the size of Shelley Winters--Shelley Winters, for heaven's sake--into a standard sized oven???? This alone would make the film worth seeing.
But nothing can top that opening scene, with Shelley hamming it up all the way, and chewing through every bit of scenery there must have been on the set!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You just have to LOVE Auntie Roo, darlings!!!!!!!!! Which is why you could not ask for a more fun Bitch Of The Week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bitch, bitch, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Nevertheless, girls, Rosa Dartle is one of the most fascinating of the Dickens
characters. Unlike Miss Havisham and Estella, who dominate "Great Expectations," Miss Dartle
takes up not nearly as much space in "David Copperfield." She is the spinster companion to
Mrs. Steerforth, plain to begin with, as befits a nineteenth century spinster, but ugly as well, due
to a disfiguring scar on her face, made by young James Steerforth, when he threw something at her.
Nevertheless, Miss Dartle nurses both a bitterness and a yearning for him, especially as he grows
into young manhood, so sexual repression is called into play here.
I have always wanted to tell "David Copperfield" from Rosa Dartle's point of
view, or, even better, tell her story alone. As Dickensian as I claim to be, it would require a complete
immersion in all things nineteenth century British, and I do not know if I am up to the task.
But Rosa Dartle continues to fascinate. As I approach her presence each time
I read "David Copperfield," I can feel my nerves bristling. She is one of Dickens' most tragic and
darkest characters. What stops me from loving her, girls, is her lack of style, which is what Miss
Havisham and Estella have plenty of. Rosa Dartle pales beside them. She is almost the Alex
Forrest of "David Copperfield," a kind of "Fatal Attraction" spinster.
Approach with caution, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
As girls and queens of all sorts--Raving, Theater or otherwise--know, today is
the birthday of Barbra, La Streisand, La Strident. But it is not just any birthday.
Today, girls, Barbra turns 70!!!!!!!!! That is right, darlings!!!! The big 7-0!!!!!!
Can you believe it? I hardly can. It seems like only yesterday I was a small tyke, curled up in my bed back in Highland Park, listening to tales of New York on the radio, picturing Barbra doing "Funny Girl" at the Winter Garden nightly, and imagining myself doing the same thing someday.
Well, that "Mama Mia" thing is still there, and while I am not adverse to singing a few ABBA songs, my terms are known. I will NOT do "Mama Mia" onstage, unless Meryl does it with me! That is right, darlings, Meryl!!!!!!!!
As for the recent "Funny Girl," revival, well you saw how that fell flat. Time is waiting for the
right performer--ie; moi-- to deliver the goods, and I will only do it at the Winter Garden.
Paying tribute to Barbra this morning, I ran through some of her classics myself--
"The Way We Were," "Evergreen," "Coronet Man," "I'd Rather Be Blue," and "Who's Afraid Of The Big,
Bad Wolf!" Just ask Monsieur, loves! He had to listen to me doing them! There is no doubt my voice has returned. Let's hope it lasts long enough for a long run!!!!!!!!!!
But look how long a run Barbra has had! Seven decades, and her voice is still in amazing shape--so much so that she is still considering doing Grandma Rose in a movie remake of "Gypsy." If you ask me, dolls, she should do a "Gypsy" album, record the entire score with she and a whole new cast.
But not appear on film. It simply would not work at this time.
That is for the future to determine. Today, we love our Barbra, and she loves...
Barbra!!!!!!!! So, Happy 70th Birthday, Miss Streisand, and many more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because, darlings....People who remember Barbra
Are the luckiest People in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, April 23, 2012
Girls, after reading this collection of short stories by the late David Foster Wallace, I am convinced he may very well be the male counterpart to Sylvia Plath. Both were the greatest literary minds of their time, and both were deeply troubled souls, who took the irrevocable path to suicide to ease them out of their miseries. With Plath, her writing was what she was, as much of a lyrical treat as an insight into her trouble mind. As reported awhile back, I was blown away by "The Broom Of The System," and while I found it buoyant and stimulating, the same cannot be said of this book. Oh, it is stimulating all right, darlings--the best story is one depicting a group of elementary schoolers being held hostage by a psychotic
teacher. But some of the stories reveal much about the inner workings of Wallace's troubled mind, and touch upon suicide. As rich a reading experience as this was, I was glad to come to the end, because sometimes, too much is too much. And, having read a Wallace novel first, I am convinced he paints better on a larger canvass, which is the problem with lots of novelists who turn out short story collections.
Am I telling you to avoid "Oblivion?" Of course not, especially if you want something highly literary and challenging. But if your emotional grasp on things is not at its best, I would shie away from it. Otherwise you opt for masochism--like reading "The Bell Jar" with a bottle of Scotch and a razor blade on your bedside table!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Only cold cream, darlings, I keep telling you, only cold cream on those night tables!!!!!!!!
Do you see this photo, darlings?????????? That is how the floor of my living
room in my apartment looked yesterday afternoon. And while things have improved, you can be
sure I have come to a realization I never had before. I may be an omnivorous reader, but, sadly
to say, I am a book hoarder.
I have more books in my apartment than I will ever read again, and those I have which have not been read, I am not sure I can get to in my remaining time on this Earth. But I have always been
pathologically afraid of being in a position of not having a book to read. It has happened to me a couple of times on the subway, where, I am riding to and from work, reading, finish the book, and then discover I have forgotten to pack another. Thus begins the longest subway ride in my travels; what is generally some down time becomes excruciating.
My fear, which, of course, is highly irrational, comes, I think from that Twilight Zone episode, starring Burgess Meredith. He plays a mild mannered bank clerk, with a demanding job, and, it is implied, if I recall, a domineering wife. On lunch hours and breaks, he goes into the vault below to read in peaceful contemplation--every reader's dream. Apparently, something happens, the ground below shakes, and when he emerges, alive, he discovers a world decimated by some kind of nuclear holocaust. But--there are all these books lying around, and, now, free of earthly obligations, he has all the time in the world to read. But, alas, this is Rod Serling, and in a cruel twist of fate, his glasses fall and smash. Now he has all the reading time he wanted, but no way to see the print on the page.
This is the nightmare of every true reader, which is why I am sure Serling crated it. I have never forgotten it; having seen it once, I could never see it again.
Which brings me to my current situation. Monsieur and I are moving; soon we will be ensconced in the wilds of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where I lived so innocently from 1983, till 1997. I am going back older and wiser, to a nicer area and building, and I pray fervently to God that he blesses us there.
But, in order to make due, I had to get rid of 15 years of books in my apartment, and what an arduous task. Talk about one's body being pain wracked! And the emotional pain! But, so help me, once we settle in, I am making a vow here and now to limit my book intake; that is, I don't intend to let up on reading, but I intend to limit what books I actually keep. My God, darlings, I am actually contemplating getting a Kindle. It hasn't happened yet, girls, and if it does, so help me, I will report it here.
But as a new chapter begins for Monsieur and yours truly, The Raving Queen, there will have to be some changes made, as the Forties song, once said.
So begins my Battle To Keep Books At Bay!!!!!!!!! But I still will not allow trash on my shelves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Four decades ago, today--I can hardly believe it, darlings!!!--it was a Sunday. Families all across America were scrambling to the neighborhood store, after church, or not, to get the Sunday paper; in many cases that included the New York Times.
For those of my age--I was 17 at the time--that Sunday was about to become
apocryphal. On the cover of the Times Magazine, pictured above, was a young girl about my age--about a lot of our ages, in fact. She was not only featured on the cover of the Magazine, she was not only THE cover story, she had written it herself. Her name was Joyce Maynard, and with this piece, not only did Joyce's life change, but so, too, did a lot of us, who read it at that age.
I will be frank. I read it with a flat out envy that rivaled Gladys Cooper in "The Song Of Bernadette." "Why isn't this ME?" I asked, then, and, to an extent, still feel. However, time, and having a voice, like with you, my girls, has reduced that initial sting.
The article was, I gave it credit, fairly comprehensive, in covering the minutiae that shaped the members of my peer group. But there was something underlyingly phony about it that I could detect. It seemed to paint too rosy a picture of our generation's journey through adolescence, which was one I certainly did not share.
And this article came back to bite me. I recall, when I became a college freshman (which Joyce was at the time) I took a course in the Theology Department called "Contemporary Moral Values." It was taught by the chair, George Devine, who looked like something out of Dickens, and had an ego so pervasive every textbook we used in the class was either written or edited by him. Nevertheless, Maynard's article, which had become famous by that point, and made her so, was the first outside reading we were assigned, and it triggered quite a bit of discussion. Some agreed with it, some did not. I was vociferous in dismissing it as not an accurate reflection on my generation, and when Devine condescendingly fired back with "Well, you are not going to Yale," which Joyce had been at the time she wrote it, I was bitch enough, even then, to fire back, at him, "Well, if I am not going to Yale, then you are not teaching there, either!" Which caused a stir you can imagine, and resulted in the only grade of "C" I got during my post high school education. Even though I turned in all my assignments and nothing bad could be said about them.
Inspired by the then rebutting of Jack Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander on the CBS
program, "60 Minutes," I saw Joyce and myself as the youthful coutnerparts to this, and I wanted my air time. So I fired off to the Times my rebuttal, which was quite lenghty, entitled "A 20 Year Old Looks Down On Life," stating I felt not so much superior to my generation, as that our lives had become desensitized to the point where we were the most selfish and uncaring group of youth one could imagine. I remembeer showing the esssay to one of my English teachers, who helped correct and edit it. I also recall him stating to me, "Your outlook on life is somewhat precocious." I sent it off to the Times, where it took so long to come back, I thought it would be published, and I started to feel excited. Alas, it came back, but with a nice personal note by the Editor (I want to say I think it was Arthur Sulzberger) who said they gave the article very careful consideration but unfortunately could not find a way to fit it into their schedule. I was disappointed, but, as some pointed out at the time, it appears I was taken seriously, and given a more personal rejection, rather than the "Thanks-No Thanks" writers usually get.
I took comfort from that, but since my purpose was to rebuttal Joyce herself, I decided to send the piece to her. I tracked her down. I believe to this day I spoke with her by phone, though she would not identify herself. I sent the piece to her then address of Hillsboro, NH, and I even enclosed a SASE, because I wanted her to send it back. She never did. To this day, I wonder what she thought of it, and if she still has it.
About twenty years later, I had the good fortune of meeting Joyce at a book reading and signing of her book, "At Home In The World." In that book, she owned up to a lot of the phoniness I and others sensed in her 1972 Times piece. Joyce graciously acknowledged me, and signed my book--I cherish it--but there was no time to bring up this time of our respective lives.
Yet, I think about all this, on today, the 40th anniversary of Joyce's piece.
It launched Joyce as a writer, may have launched a desire in me to be one, and while I am not nationally known, I am proud of what I have done with The Raving Queen, and grateful to all my readers for following my often frenetic exploits with me.
And, Joyce, darling, feel free to tune in! You just might get a kick out of it!
Can you believe, girls, that today happens to be the birthdays of the two very disparate individuals, pictured above? I am talking about William Shakespeare and Shirley Temple!!!! Can you guess which one is still alive?
Shakespeare, I am told, would have been 448 years old today. At a mere 84, and still living, Shirley is, comparatively speaking, young enough to do her signature song, "On The Good Ship Lollipop." Not that I am sure she is planning to, but you never know.
One was arguably the world's greatest dramatist, the other the greatest child star. Both were geniuses in their own way, and while Shirley does not perform anymore, but Shakespeare's stuff gets done all the time, they have endured with time. Imagine if they had been able to collaborate.
Poor Shirley. Her stardom was destroyed by what does in many child stars--puberty. And just when she was being considered for "The Wizard Of Oz." Well, cooler heads prevailed there, because we know who got that role, don't we, girls?????
Not that Shirley did not make an effort. In fact, once she matured, Anita Colby, Hollywood hanger-on, and personal confidante to none other than Jennifer Jones (who played Shirley's older sister, Jane, to her younger, Brigid, in Selznick's "Since You Went Away," her best post-child film!!!), declared Shirley to have the best breasts of any star in Hollywood. Now, as to how she harbored this info, I don't even want to guess!!!!!! Lesbian encounters for Shirley Temple???? Horrors!!!! It must have been humiliating enough
to have both yourself AND your mother chased around a desk by Arthur Freed (that lech!!!!) as Shirley
and her mother did. And it must have been frustrating not to land the illusion bursting role of Veda in "Mildred Pierce", which, of course, became Ann Blyth's signature role. But when you were stuck with the same chubby cheeked look you had as a child, it was not becoming to branching out in more sophisticated parts. Shirley was , by no means, unattractive; it was just that, to a degree, she never lost her childishness, and it worked against her, as an actress!
But not as a political right winger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't know if Shakespeare was a right winger, and I don't care!!!!! So, happy birthday to Shakespeare and Shirley!!!!!! Two icons born on the same day!!!!!!!!!!
It may not have been the Age of Aquarius, darlings, but something was definitely going on!!!!!
Saturday, April 21, 2012
I know what you are wondering, girls; how come there has been nothing on here, about the engagement of Brad and Angelina!!!!!!!! Well, consider that done. That about covers my interest in the subject, because I simply don't care. And, frankly, I am of the camp that feels Brad would still be better off with Jennifer Aniston!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But let us move on to happier things!!!!!!!! Today happens to be the birthday of one our Theater Icons--namely Patti Lupone. Miss Lupone, at 63, is just about two months older than Meryl Streep, so it must have been a great time in the constellations, for then to have emerged two such
And both are clearly indefatigable. I saw Patti do "Gypsy" twice, and
at about a ten month interval, and let me tell you she gave 110% as much the second time, later in the run, as when I saw her earlier, the first.
Fortunately, for us, there seems to be no sign of her letting up!!!!!!!!!
So, happy birthday, Patti!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ciao, bella!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, Edith Head Was Said To Give Good Costume, But Tania Head Gave Nothing But Grief To The Already Grief Stricken!!!!!!!!!
"What a cool liar you are, Melly," said Scarlett to Melanie in "Gone With The
Wind," after Melanie distracted her father and sisters from finding out Scarlett had shot a Yankee deserter. Well, that pales beside the machinations of the woman, pictured above.
One thing I will say up front about Tania Head--she is no Blythe Danner!!!!!!!!
Maybe insecurity, or dissatisfaction with her appearance, was part of what caused her to do what she did. Miss Head, who hails from Barcelona, and is really named Alicia Esteve, created something of a media sensation (though how I missed all this when it happened, girls, is beyond me!!!) when she became almost the spokesperson for the survivors of the tragedy of 9/11 at the World Trade Center. When an organization called the World Trade Center Survivors' Network was founded, Tania eventually became its president. But, as willing as she was to speak to and with survivors, she seemed uncomfortable with the media, a fact that was initially chalked up to shyness and modesty, but, which, after an investigation six years after the attacks, showed that nothing that she had said was true. Well, actually, some of it was. When younger, she had been in a car accident that left her with burns, treatment thereof, and almost losing an arm, and she took these fabrics of truth and incorporated them into a story involving herself in the fiery inferno of the World Trade Center. She claimed to have been on the 78tth floor when the plane hit, and to have been an employee of Merrill Lynch, as well as an undergrad from Harvard, and a graduate degree holder from Stanford!!!!!!!!!!!! Uh huh!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, none of it proved true.
Miss Head may not have physically harmed anyone, but she has done more psychological damage to as large a group of people as I can imagine. Trust violation alone does not begin to cover it. What is unfathomable is why--especially, as I am sure, by her careful avoidance of the media, who
understood that someday she would be found out. Which she was.
Sad to say, with the documentary "The Woman Who Wasn't There," which I
have recently seen, Tania Head will get more recognition and fame, which is what she seems to have wanted in the first place. How said that such a worthwhile project as this film will give this fraud exactly what she wants, but does not at all deserve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, imagine this, yesterday I was just beginning to come awake, as the radio was broadcasting the 6am news, when, out of the blue, I heard a name, which caused me to bolt upright in bed!
What on Earth was going on, I wondered? Well, once I was up, fully awake and heard the complete story, I discovered that police dogs sniffing around 127 Prince Street, found evidence of human decomposition, leading investigators to wonder, since the location was only a block from Ethan's then home, might these be his remains??????
I will be honest with you--I am not so sure. Partly that is because I read Lisa Cohen's fairly recent book, "After Etan--The Missing Child Case That Held America Captive," and I was
pretty satisfied with its detailing Jose Ramos, onetime boyfriend of the Patzes then babysitter, as the
perp (he had bragged about it to cellmates) as well as the explanation for why the child was never found--Ramos was also the superintendent of an apartment building on East 10th Street, and it was alleged he took Etan's body to the basement, placed it in the incinerator, and, in effect, cremated him.
Makes sense to me, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not only is it now being said these alleged remains may be Etan, but that two new
gentlemen--a handyman who knew the Patzes, and a friend of his, who were working in the basement at this location (and which was sealed up soon after Etan vanished) may have been involved. At the time of the disappearance, on May 25, 1979, they were looked at, but not found to be suspects.
Stan Patz, Etan's father, according to Cohen, each year on Etan's birthday (April 9) and his disappearance (May 25) sends Rameros one of those famous eight by tens we know so well, writing to him on the back, "What did you do to my little boy?" Patz believes in Ramos' guilt, and, will not let up until he gets a response. Which he has not yet.
I tend to agree with Patz, and with Lisa Cohen's findings. However, if tests are done, and revealed inconclusively that the remains are Etan Patz, so be it. But it will take a lot of testing and even more waiting in a case that has spanned thirty three years.
As Lisa Cohen says up front, Etan's name has become code for every child rearing urban mother's nightmare. Even though I was going through a crisis of my own back then--just seven weeks before, my mother had passed on from lung cancer--I was disturbed and touched by Etan's story. As young and naive as I was back then, it seemed to me unfathomable that someone could just vanish without being found. Now I see how all too possible that is.
This latest development reminds me of an episode I saw on "Law And Order" about repressed memory, called "In Memory Of." It was said to be based on the George Franklin case, but the bare bones of the plot touch on here--in a building across the street from other residents, some skeletal remains are found, and proven to be that of a young boy, Tommy Keegan, who vanished in the neighborhood, and, like Etan, was never found. Mary Joan Negro played a troubled young woman who had buried memories of Tommy's demise, as she had been friends with him. One of those memories involved seeing her father washing blood off his hands. He behaved monstrously to her, to get her away from him, and she could never figure out why.
It turns out the father was a compulsive pedophile, who was able to keep it in check, preying only on boys while traveling or commuting, fortunate enough never to be caught. He lost that control with Tommy, and when the boy protested in the basement, hit him with a wrench, killing him. Once he was dead, the guy put the boy's body inside a wall that was to be bricked up, till it was discovered some thirty years later.
This latest development sounds just like this episode. Let us hope the outcome has as much closure as it did on the episode. If it does not, that is, if the remains prove to be that of someone else, then I am satisfied with the Rameros thing.
It also reminds me of the "Cold Case"episode "A Perfect Day," which opens with the body of four-year-old girl, Vivivan Mulvaney, being found in the water after four decades. At least water helps slow down decomposition.
So, once again there is interest in Etan's case, and I am as curious as next as to what the findings reveal. While life may sometimes imitate art, the way things have gone in this case, I doubt if there will be as much closure or resolution as one gets from art.
But, then again, you never know!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, April 20, 2012
No sooner have we lost Dick Clark, then word comes in on another TV icon. Yesterday, I learned that Jonathan Frid, who, to those of a certain age, once again, folks, will always be Barnabus Collins, vampire par excellence, on "Dark Shadows", passed away at the age of 87!!!!!!!!!! With Dick Clark's passing, I felt positively old!!!! Now, I feel mortality closing in on me!!!!!
I had a peculiar relationship with "Dark Shadows." For all that I embraced horror elements, especially in my early years, this show did not do it for me. I would glance at it now and then, fascinated by the actors--like Frid, and the great Grayson Hall, who, of course, played, to a Oscar nominated fare thee well, Miss Judith Fellowes in the film version of "The Night Of The Iguana", (and you better believe, lambs, I am just anxious to play onstage) but I never hung around long enough to follow the story threads.
However, there was one moment I just loved--and never missed.
Each afternoon, after school, for several minutes, I would sit, transfixed before the TV, until the black-and-white shot of waves cascading over a deserted beach would appear, and mysterious music and "Woooooooooooo" voice would appear, as the words, "Dark Shadows" flashed onto the screen. I just LOVED this, girls, because, I could do, on pitch, the mysterious voice. And so I would, much to the annoyance of my mother and grandmother. But, darlings, how could I resist? It was "Dark Shadows"!!!!
I even remember the "Dark Shadows" game by Milton Bradley, though it was one of the few games I did not own!!!!!! And who could have known then that the program would have boasted such up and comers as Kate Jackson and Donna McKechnie!!!! Yes, darlings!!!!!!!!!!! Donna McKechnie!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, all this is remembered in the wake of Jonathan Frid. Whom I had the good fortune to meet, some fifteen or twenty years ago. He was as nice and gentlemanly as one could hope. Not a diva, nor a bit vampiric!!!!!
But there was no mistaking those eyes
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Not that, at 82, when he died yesterday, Dick Clark was a baby boomer. But his impact on that generation was iconic. I can remember, as a small, precocious child, twisting to Chubby Checker, or doing the Mashed Potato with Dee Dee Sharp, while watching "American Bandstand" on TV. Dick Clark was synonymous with the rock music movement in this country, and he introduced so many trailblazers on his show.
Later, when an icon of my parents' generation, Guy Lombardo, passed on, the torch of New Years Eve was passed from him to Clark. The only time Clark missed was the year he had his stroke.
For eight more years, he persevered each December 31, and while the sight of him was somewhat discomfiting, his uplifting spirit and unflagging determination could not help but be admired.
So, it was sad news yesterday when this icon of the Boomer Generation passed on.
Not that it was wholly unexpected. And not that he will now be at peace. But there is a sadness for those of us of a certain age. Having witnessed the demise of Lombardo, and now of Clark, I have to wonder who will fill the void this coming New Years Eve???? Ryan Seacrest has been named, sort of, to fill the bill, but, honestly, can anyone point to him as some kind of icon? Will he ever be??? Of course not; he will just be some good looking flavor of the month, whom, once age sets in, will vanish into obscurity.
Want to hear whom I think should take over? Someone truly iconic and out there--film director John Waters!!!!!!!!!! Now, THAT would be something, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, for now, let us mourn for Dick Clark and the loss of his impact. But while he was here, darlings, he made it count, like it was nobody's business
I swear, girls, when I recently discovered Judith Ann Neelley, I knew I had found prime bitch material. Don't be fooled by that innocuous look, honey, this woman is as venomous and deadly as a black widow spider.
I would go so far as to call Neelley the American Myra Hindley. You may recall her, dolls. Back in the 60s, she and her colleague, Ian Brady (still alive, imprisoned, in his 70's) inflicted a reign of terror on the Yorkshire countryside where they resided, when they kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered five young individuals. The genders varied, but the cruelty went so far as to record one of their victims screams (this was pre-Internet, darlings!) on a reel to reel tape.
They were scum, who got what they deserved, and I would be the last one
to support Myra Hindley. That said, however, I have to say that, compared to Judith Ann, Myra had a couple of salient points going for her. For starters, she was not born bad. She was raised in comfortable, middle class surrroundings, and was responsible enough to gain a reptuation as one of the best babysitters out there. Ironic, isn't it? But Myra was a personality who needed to coalesce with someone, and she found that someone in Ian Brady. (Who know, if she hadn't found someone, none of her crimes might have happened. Or she could have met up with someone else.) Judith Ann never had this to contend with; she was an Alpha Female from the word go. Born in Tennessee in 1964, to an alcoholic father and a mother about whom little is known (which is certainly not good) Judith Ann was pure Southern White Trash. When she met Alvin Neelley, in 1979, at the age of fifteen, it was clear she was the leader, and he, the follower. Alvin Neelley was as sick and depraved as Judith, except he was like Myra Hindely; without Judith to call the shots, his crimes might not have been so bad.
And Judith Ann was BAD. For some reason, she had it in for her own sex; all the victims were women. She enjoyed torture; in one case she injected cleaning fluid into a 13-year-old girl, whom she abducted, so she could see how slowly someone in that situation dies. Josef Mengle would have LOVED her. Even Judith, at the last, wanted to hasten her death; but it seemed more out of impatience than a kind of mercy. Mercy was something Judith Ann is completely short on.
When convicted, she was the youngest to ever receive the death penalty. Later, in what I consider a mistake, her sentence was reduced to Life, though she supposedly will be eligible for parole in 2014. That is just two years, darlings!!!!!!!!!!! Let;s hope the witch never gets outta there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Her partner, Alvin Neelley, died in prison in 2005. But Judith Ann, this week's Bitch Of The Week, is still going strong. She is one tough, cold blooded bitch!!!!!!!!!! She deserves to have done to her what she did to her victims.
And she better watch her back in prison, because, if she doesn't, she just might!
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Girls, I am telling you, you just cannot keep Meryl Streep away from the Delacorte.
Having made the unfortunate mistake of not casting her as the Witch in "Into The Woods," she nevertheless will be appearing in a special gala at the famed outdoor performance spot, when she and Kevin Kline will be performing--are you ready, girls???--the balcony scene from "Romeo And Juliet"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, my God!!!!!!!!! Swoon!!!!!! Swoon!!!!!!!!!!! La Divine Meryl as Juliet, and don't tell me she is too old to do it!!!!!!!!!! Listen, honey, if Buckwheat could do it back in the 30's, this should be a piece of cake for La Meryl!!!!!!!!!!
The Delacorte opened to the public on June 18, 1962, so it is reaching the half century mark?????????? Can you believe it, darlings????????? I mean, I was in grade school!!!!!!! Talk about feeling old!!!!!!!!!!
Being that this is a gala benefit, are you ready for this, loves????????? Ticket prices to this event START at $1, 5000 dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!! For that price, I would expect Barbra Streisand to emerge at some point from backstage, with she and Meryl performing "A Boy Like That" from "West Side Story"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is going to be a tough summer for us theater mavens at the Delacorte. First, trying to get into "Into The Woods," and now this!!!!!!!!! They better have cops stationed, because those younger, or with more verve, are going to be scaling those fences, just so they can get in, and see!!!!!!!!!!
Meryl Streep at the Delacorte! It was inevitable, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!
And as the Divine Juliet!!!!!!!!! Not even I could outdo this one, dolls!!!!!!!!!