Friday, June 29, 2012

"Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah!/Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah!"

                       Remember those eight notes, darlings?????  During my formulated Sixties childhood, Saturday was THE big television night!!!!  And each Saturday, around 8:30, on CBS, would appear the image of Fred MacMurray, sitting in a kitchen, saying, "Hi!  Welcome to our show...for Quaker Oats Company," and the like.  The image would dissolve into the cartoon above, the music would start, and the foot farthest right would start tapping.  Often, mine too.  Over all this, an announcer would announce the title--"My Three Sons," following that with, as words appeared on the screen, "starring Fred MacMurray...
pause...and, as Uncle Charley, William Demarest."  Followed, unvoiced by the boys ..."And Don Grady as Robbie....Stanley Livingston as Chip...Barry Livingston as Ernie."  Saturdays were just not complete without this!!!!!

                     So, it was multiply sad when I heard of the death of Don Grady.  Not only was it like  bookmarking the end of an era, it revived memories of the death, in 2001 (can you believe it has been eleven years already????) of the passing his younger sister, Lani O'Grady, who was about my age (!!!!) and, of course, best known for playing eldest, intellectual daughter, Mary Bradford, on the TV series "Eight Is Enough," with Dick Van Patten, who, at 83, is still thriving!!!!!!  Darlings, I am telling you, when Lani played Mary, it made me want to go into the sciences!!!!!  And I never even came close to taking Advanced Placement Biology!!!!!!!

                    But, back to Don!!!!  His passing is sad, not only for the  above, but because, in many ways, it does mark the end of an era.  Not only was Don Robbie; earlier, he and another "My Three Sons" alum, Tim Considine (who played oldest OLDEST son, Mike) were both Disney Mouseketeers during the height of
TV's "Mickey Mouse Club" craze!!!!  How historical is that?????

                    Actually, I related more to that, than Robbie.  There was something novel about "My Three Sons" at its time--an all-male household, ruled by Uncle Charley, in an era when the kitchen was No Man's Land, for men!!!!!!!!!!  Especially as represented on TV, then!!!!!!!!!  I never felt like one  of these boys, or wanted to be (though Ernie and I were close to the same age!!!!) but, like so many of those shows back then, it was comforting to children struggling to grow up in a world where they could see problems ahead, but where, here, those problems could be eradicated in half an hour.  And some may have been fractured by this, psychologically!!!!  But, for me, it was a chance to unwind and relax after a long week; rather like what I do  now; only, in an interesting change of times, I have gone from sitcoms to serial killers!!!!!!!!!!

                  Don Grady's passing leaves a void in the memories of those of us who grew up watching "My Three Sons."  And it is a poignant reminder of our own, encroaching mortality.

                    So, a fond farewell to Don, and, again, to Lani!!!!  Footsteps on Heavenly clouds will be tapping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More Fantine, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               How much more can be said about Fantine?????  I know what you must be thinking, girls--page for page, I have probably written more on her than her creator, Victor Hugo.

                                Well, now it is time to lighten up a bit, if such a thing is possible, with a subject like Fantine.  As can be seen, Anne Hathaway is on the cover of the current Allure Magazine--doesn't she look fabulous, darlings???? Like, when is it she doesn't????--and in the article she talks about taking on this emotionally wrenching role, and the diet she went on in order to look her most emaciated, which one must, if one is playing Fantine!!!!!

                                 According to Anne, she lived on a diet of hummus and radishes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                Oh, really?

                                I wonder how long she had to do this.  Or if you can mix other veggies--broccoli florets, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes--with it?  And what did she drink???? No Sauvignon Blanc, I am sure!!!!   Just water???? How Fantine fitting!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Girls, I am telling you, this bears looking into.  Because, whether you have aspirations, such as I, to portray Fantine, or whether you just want to lose some weight and look better, if not your best, this is sure one tasty diet to follow!!!!  The problem, of course, will be its repetition; you could start out enjoying it, but by the end be so tired of putting this in your mouth you will be ready to gorge on chocolate cake!!!!  Even Hostess!!!!!!!!

                               We can only hope Anne talks about all these aspects, so those out there will know how to follow what she did.  Meanwhile, Monsieur has stocked our fridge, with hummus and veggies, on the chance that I am stage cast as Fantine!!!!!  Because, if I am, I will have to get started right  away!!!!  I have a lot more poundage to lose than Anne!!!!!

                                "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables???"  No, darlings, "Empty Inches On The Waist!!!!!!!!"

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chick Flick Queen Has Croaked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       "I'll have what she's having."
                                          --Woman in "When Harry Met Sally"

                                  Estelle Reiner, mother of Rob, wife of Carl,  spoke that famous line, but, more importantly, Nora Ephron wrote it.

                                    No, darlings, I have not lowered my standards to that of the New York Post, judging from the above headline.  I just wanted to get your attention quickly, because attention must be paid to Nora Ephron, who passed away this week from a leukemia very few
(though I bet Meryl was one!) knew she was suffering from.

                                       Nora may have written some great chick flicks, but she was more than that.  She also parlayed her own personal misery into a book and film ("Heartburn") and she was responsible for one of Meryl's early groundbeaking films, "Silkwood," which examined the case of Karen Silkwood, and established Cher, in the role of a lesbian (!!!!!) as a dramatic actress!!!!!!!!

                                          And, of course, there was "Julie and Julia."

                                          I felt such a sadness when Monsieur burst into the room the
other night saying, "Nora Ephron just died."  I could hardly believe it.  Then I found out
it was true.

                                           Nora Epron was a smart, talented woman, who made it in a place (Hollywood) where smart, talented women are sometimes ignored.  But her quality could not be.
It will be remembered, along with her work, as she is missed.

                                              Rest In Peace, Nora!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, I Am Telling You, The Anguish Just Keeps Going On!!!!!!!!!!

                            Darlings, I don't know how an actor does it. If you perform nightly in "Les Miserables," and, moreso, if you are  doing the role of Fantine eight times a week, how does one stay sane?  I have recently completed that secton of the novel, I am not even a quarter of the way through, and, as expected Fantine hangs over me.  The more I read this book, the more I feel I am
living it, becoming Fantine.  Yes, I may be able to do a killer "I Dreamed A Dream," but I am telling you, if I were cast, I am not sure I could do eight performances a week.

                            However, for getting into character, I also freely suggest that any actor in any of the musical's roles, read the entire Victor Hugo novel to get an idea of what they are truly creating. It can only help inform your performance, whether you are playing Fantine, or in the Ensemble.

                              "And so Fantine was placed in the farthest corner of the
                               cemetery, which belongs to everyone, and no one, and
                               to which the poor are lost.  Hopefully, God knows where
                               to look for a soul. Fantine was placed  within a public
                               grave; she suffered the promiscuity of dust. Her tomb
                               resembled her bed."

                        That is how Victor Hugo finishes off her story.  No wonder I wanted to close the book, and not go on.  And no wonder this is so fear arousing.  Yet I must continue, for it is what
Fantine, who did her best to survive at all costs, and it did cost her, would have wanted, and because it is one of the masterworks of literature, and deservedly so.  And while other characters come into play-Jean Valjean, Cosette, Marius Pontmercy, Eponine, all of whom can be empathized with-- the spirit of Fantine hangs over all, as shall be seen at the end.

                         Re reading "Les Miserables" is a gripping, almost painful experience.

                          One does not just read "Les Miserables." One lives it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           Can't wait for something more cheerful, girls!!!!!!!!!  But I know it will come!!!!!

Make Sure You Tune In Tonight, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           The Clementis are speaking out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           For the first time, since the absymal sentencing of Dahrun Ravi, they will be
heard, tonight, on NBC's "Rock Center With Brian Williams," where they will be interviewed
by verteran reproter Lester Holt.  The program airs at 10PM, so I want all my girls to catch
this important airing.

                            Among the topics discussed are their changing attitudes toward homosexuality.
With storng , Christiian (but I never believed homophobic) beliefs, Tyler's coming out threw them for a loop, Jane particularly.  Which has led to a guilt she deals with every day; Tyler's remark that
his mother "rejected him."  I don't believe for a minute she did, but when your child tells you soemthing as momentous as this, it has got to be a surprise.  Even I, as a gay adult, had I raised a
child, and that child were to come out, I would advise being proud, but cautious.

                            They mention Tyler was grappling with demons in the days before his demise.
Probably normal teenage demons, coupled with struggling with his sexuality.  The latter which helped trigger his demise, when the airing broke on cyber. Not only was he humiliated by what Ravi had done, he was devastated by the lack of support--any--he received from his dorm mates.
That to me is inexcusable.  Not one came up to Tyler in those days, and said, "I am sorry they did this to you."  It might very well have made a difference.

                              And of course the sentencing comes in for questioning, the most incisive remark being that the message sent to future prosecutors is that such matters are of no consequence, that they are not important.

                                Well, with their speaking out, and the foundation they have established, the Clementis are seeking to change all that, and I applaud their efforts.  Especially since, as I have kept saying, this very ordinary couple from Ridgewood, who had no right to expect anything more than to live an ordinary life seeing their sons grow into adulthood, have been thrust into a spotlight which, to their credit, they are not shirking, but which I am  sure, with Tyler present, they would rather not be in.  Which makes their actions doubly admirable.

                                  So, tune in tonight, darlings!!!!!!!!!  It is important to all of us who remember Tyler Clementi's tragedy, and as a beacon for the future that such tragedies, while maybe not being completely eradicated, may be reduced by causing others to think of the consequences of their actions!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     See you at ten, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, We Have A Bevy Of Boy Bitches This Week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           You may not recognize the still above, darlings, but it is from Disney's 1940 classic, "Pinocchio."  It is the scene where the coachman is driving Pinocchio, Lampwick and
his cronies to Pleasure Island.  Pleasure Island, you may recall, was this fabulous, magical
amusement park, where every child could enact his fantasy--ride as much as he wanted to,
eat as much, or even drink, smoke or play pool, as the boys here do.  And it was just boys,
there were no girls in evidence.

                              As demonstrated, everything has its price.  The camera, at one point
focuses on the donkeys driving the coach, as if foreshadowing the boys' fate.  And fate it
is--eventually, the boys are turned into donkeys to either pilot the coach, or be sold off,
or killed.  A fitting end for those who choose to make jackasses of themsevles!!!!!!!!
If you remember, Pinocchio is partially changed, Lampwick destroyed, and, with his
conscience, Jimminy Cricket, the puppet boy and he escape the island.

                              Now, what has this to do with Bitch Of The Week???????

                               Well, this week's winner happens to be a group of boys!!!!!  The
winner (or winners) of the Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Awqrd are those whom  I call
the Bus Boys Of Greece, New York.

                                  No, they do not work in restaurants, and I cannot vouch if they are Greek.
I can vouch they are scum!!!!  They are the group of  upper New York State school boys (near Rochester) who relentessly taunted and verbally, almost physically, brutalized bus monitor Karen Klein, a 68 year old woman.  Calling her everything from "ugly" to "a fat fuck" (!!!!!!!),  the boys were caught on video, which lasted a good ten minutes, making this poor woman miserable, and streamlining it to the entire cyber world at large!!!!!!!!

                                    I know, because I saw this video myself, and I was disgusted.  My first question was who the hell was filming this?????  My guess is  the filmmaker did it to be bullying, but, ironically, it had a counter effect.  Because when it got out to cyber, there was an outpouring of support for Ms. Klein, to the point where a six figure was fundraised to provide her with a vacation she otherwise might not hav been able to afford.  One of the boys' fathers went to her house and apologized; hats off to him!!!!!!  Some of the others are seeing themselves as victims, because they received harassing phone calls and death threats!!!!!!!  Aw!!!!!!!!!!!!!  But maybe if you had been better parents, instead of morons, you wouldn't have raised such monster children, who now threaten your very existence.

                                     I can understand the anger that inspired those phone callers, but I myself would not choose to do that.  In fact, the school system itself may be acting--there is talk of expelling these boys from school for the remainder of next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      If there was an award for Most Disturbing Video Of The Year, this would certainly be a contender.  To the world at large, it does not cast a good light on American school children in general, or, more specifically, those in Greece, New York.

                                        You couldn't ask for a more apt group of bitches, than these boys!
I say, take them to Pleasure Island, and turn them into the jackasses they have been acting like!!!!!!!!

                                            Hee Haw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Girls, This Was Nothing Like Todd Solondz' 'Dollhouse!!!!!!'

                                   Last night's episode of "Rizzoli And Isles" had the same title as Todd Solondz' famous signature first film, "Welcome To The Dollhouse."   But what a world of difference, darlings!!!!!!!  For this was a serial killer story, with some surprises, and a  back story that proved more fascinating than the one at hand.

                                     Things begin in the present, in an enclosed space, filled with all sorts of
dolls.  I first thought I was watching an outtake from "Dead Silence."  Amdist macabre lighting, an anonymous, terrified woman is tied to a chair, being admonished by a mysterious, menacing man.
"Will you tell?" he keeps asking her.  "I'll never tell," she replies.

                                        Tell what? I wanted to know.

                                        Later, a bus stops at a bench to pick up a supposed passgenger. But
said passenger turns out to be dead, a young woman, arranged like a doll, and dressed in clothes that not only do not quite fit her, but were in fashion 20 years ago--the 1990s.

                                           What are Rizzoli and Isles to do????? They look their most glamorous, and Angie Harmon is sharp and on the job, while Sasha Alexander is a font of intellectuality.  Someone I would love to have a drink with.  Bet she knows who Fantine is!!!!!!!!

                                              Two more victims emerge--both near bus stops, and both dressed in 1990s garb.  Maura Isles finds slivers on one of the victims that is about twenty years old--and has blood type of someone twenty years ago.  Korsack recalls that it matches the material used in police nightsticks at the time, and wonders if the perp is a cop.  The discovery is made that all the
victims were found within georgraphic range of a set of defunct storefronts, one of which used to be a store twenty years back, known as Libby's Dollhouse.  And Libby had been married to someone still on the force--Artie McMurphy.  Is he their guy?????????

                                                 They talk to Libby's mother, who reveals what a scumbag Artie was, an abuser who beat his wife and kid with his nightstick. Libby used to come in the store, hiding and lying about it all.  Because she still loved Artie.  Then, one day, she mysteriously disappeared, and was never found.  Artie was left to raise their son, Jonathan, who was so traumatized he was eventually incarcerated in a mental institution.

                                                    So, it would seem Artie is riding buses, trolling for young women, to reduplicate the murder of his wife he comitted twenty years before.  This is sort of half  right.  Because, when they track Artie to the set of abandoned store fronts, where they believe the victims are being killed, they find Artie--but the killer turns out to be his son, Jonathan!!!!    Jonathan, it seems, has been released from the mental institution, against the wishes of his father, who informs them his son is a monster.  Again, this is only half right. Jonathan is seen holding a young woman tied and captive, chanitng "Will you tell?"  So we know now that it is he who has been trollling the buses, killing the women, and Artie recognizes this, and has gone after him.  Before, anyone can do anything, Artie shoots his son.  As he dies in Rizzoli's arms, he tells them his
father "hurt" Libby, and to look in the house.  Scumbag Artie is not off the hook.  They go to his house, dismantle the fireplace, and there, bricked up behind it, is what is left of Libby's body.

                                                      As Rizzoli explains, Artie murdered his wife with the night stick, but did in riight in front of Jonathan, when he was a child.  He was the one who asked Jonathan, "Will you tell?"  Which of course went on to unhinge the son, who grew up to reduplicate the actions he saw.  Or, as Rizzoli said, "You killed his mother in front of him, and made your son into a monster."  Scumbag Artie is led away!!!!!!!!

                                                       This was so fascinating, darlings, it took a back seat even to Angela's (Lorraine Bracco) bunny pancakes, and her attenpts at online ordering, and a blog!!!!!
We just love Lorraine, and the girls looked fabulous,. That ending, with Jane weeping, as she watches Casey walk out of the bar, was unbearably poignant, but I still think there is a future there.

                                                          But the evening belonged to scumbag Artie and his son, Jonathan.  An abuser who turns his son into a serial killer!  Give this guy the needle fast!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                             And, girls, we cannot wait to see what happens next week!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Darlings, We Love Sister Simplice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                Now, you may rightly ask, "Who is Sister Simplice?"  Well, getting back to
"Les Miserables," she is, basically, the male counterpart of the Bishop of Digne.

                                                  In the very beginning of the classic epic, before meeting Fantine, Jean
Valjean is a convict just released from a 19 year prison term. He is on the run, and has to stay such, because
no decent place will receive him.  Until he knocks on the door of the Bishop of Digne.  This man not  only
puts Valjean up for the night, but when apprehended the next day for having some stolen some items, the Bishop sets him free by denying he is a thief and giving him two silver candlesticks, claiming he forgot to take what was given to him as a gift.  And this puts Jean Valjean on the path to redemption.

                                                   Later, when he rescues Fantine from the streets, he places her in a
hospital, staffed by the Sisters of Charity.  Sister Simplice is more charitable than most.  Her other peers
pull that Gladys Copper routine, expressing their disdain over having to care for someone like Fantine, a denizen of the streets.  Only Sister Simplice administers care to the dying woman equal to that given also by Jean Valjean.

                                                   Sister Simplice cannot bear to tell a lie.  And she never has. But she is put to the test for the greater good, when she is forced to lie about Jean Valjean, in order to help Fantine.

                                                      Now, I am not asking any of my girls to take the veil--unless, of course, you want to--but Sister Simplice is a nun among nuns.   None of that Debbie Reynolds jazz, just pure, undistorted and straightforward simplilcty. And--emphaiss on this--non-judgemental!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                          How can one not love Sister Simplice????? She may not rate a TV show, like Sister Bertrille (played by Sally Field) but she is a role model for all us to follow.  She is a minor character in Hugo's tapestry, but like so many others, she is unforgettable.

                                                            As we say in the theatre,darling, there are no small parts--only small actors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, I Don't Know How I Can Bear It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Just as I did 25 years before, to prepare for the upcoming musical, so now am I rereading the Victor Hugo classic, "Les Miserables," to prepare me for the upcoming film version.  I thought, what with a quarter of a century passing, me being older, and somewhat wiser, I would be able to handle it better, but I find I cannot.

                                    Yesterday, I found myself beginning the section, dealing with the figure who propels the story and everyone in it forward, who hangs over the work long after she has left it--Fantine.

                                       Fantine is done in by the social circumstances of her time. This is France of several centuries ago.  Priests may still have been buggering boys, but were not paid attention to, as they are now.  Women had it worse.  Someone like Fantine, who was unmarried and trying to raise a child, not only had no options--there were no day care centers, darlings!!!!!!!!-- if her status is found out, she can be fired, from any job she takes. Which is what happens.  She has left her daughter, Cosette, to the care of the Thernardiers, to whom she is sending money presumably for her care, but which they are spending on themselves!!!!!!!   She takes in patchwork sewing by the most minimum of light and lives in the most destitute way.  The Thernardiers keep demanding more, and Fantine, knowing nothing, has no choice but to believe them, leading her to sell her furniture, her hair, her teeth and then...herself!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         There is a passage, after Fantine has given Cosette to Madame Thernardier, presumably leaving her in her care, where she is seen by a wayfarer, walking along the street, sobbing in such desolation.  I am telling you, unless you have a heart of stone, like if you are a Republican, you cannot help but be moved by Fantine's plight.  I found myself weeping on the subway, as I read this.  And, of course--there but for the grace of God, go I!!!!!!!  How many actual Fantines of this age are there still out there, and what help is available to them??????  And, of course, the fear that keeps gnawing at me--that I will end up like this, a denizen of the streets, dying alone in a doorway of destitution.

                                             I may be pouring it on thick, darlings, but so does Victor Hugo. And to a purpose!!!!!!!!!  But there is hope!!!!!!!  Jean Valjean finds and rescues Fantine from the streets, and while it is too late for her, she at least dies in a state of grace, in the comfort of a hospital bed, and is delivered to peace after the Hell she lived on earth.  With someone to care for the daughter whom she cared about so much she literally sacrificed her being for.

                                               Which is why, much as she breaks my heart, I just love Fantine.  She is the better in all of us, whose virtues outweigh her sins.  One cannot help but admire her, while lamenting the society that created her situation.

                                                  A society which still needs some eradicating, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Was NO "Flower Drum Song," Darlings!!!!!!!!!!

                                Tanya Nelson might very well be called the Asian Alexander Forest, after
Glenn Close's character in "Fatal Attraction."  Except this Dragon Lady would have made Close's character seem rational.  For, in pursuit of an obsessive relationship that was strictly one sided on her part, whom does she murder???  The boyfriend who, in her mind, was spurning her???? No, she murders her personal adviser--a fortune teller, yet!!!--and her daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Like the saying goes, honeys, you can't make this stuff up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Tanya Nelson was a married woman, with a husband and several children of her own, whom she presumably loved.   She fell for her brother-in-law, her husband's brother, and they began a torrid, adulterous affair!!!!!!!  Tramps!!!!!!!!!  Eventually, he came to his senses, or wanted out, and of course she pushed him obsessively!!!!!!!  "I love you!" she would scream.  "Come back to me!' she ranted.
True "Fatal Attraction" mode, darlings.

                                    For years, Nelson had sought the advice of Ha "Jade" Smith, 52, and the two had struck up something of a friendship.  Bur things began to fall apart, because, while Smith could recognize the dilemma Nelson was in, her practicality even told the distraught woman it was time to cut her losses, and move on!!!!!!!  But this was not what Nelson wanted.  "I hired you to help me get him back," she countered.
Smith could not do this.  She may have been a spell caster, darlings, but she was not Glinda of Oz!!!!!!!!

                                      So, Tanya builds up a grudge against the fortune teller.  The more it builds, the more she feels Smith is to blame for her inability to get her beau back. She decides to take revenge, but, unlike Alex Forest, who did everything on her own, Smith enlists a ready made accomplice, whom she is able to manipulate by enabling.

                                         That man was Phillipe Zamora, a great big "closet case."  He was married, with children, but desperate to explore the gay lifestyle--ie; have sex with guys!!!!!!!  Except he was too conflicted, or inadequate, or probably both, to take the initiative and seek it himself, so Nelson hooked up with him at a bar, listened to his plight, and told him she would find him partners--in essence pimp for him!!!!--if he would do a favor for her.

                                           The favor involved flying to a section of Orange County, California, which was known as "Little Saigon."  There, she said, she intended to rob Ha Smith, who had a fantastic jewelery collection.  Nelson went into the house, while Zamora talked outside with Anita Vo, Smith's daughter. When they heard screams, both went inside, to see Nelson, furiously stabbing Smith to death. In the midst of this, darlings, she looks at Zamora, and orders him to kill the daughter!  And, like a mindless zombie, he does exactly what she says!!!!!!!!!!   For some man ass??????  Philippe, honey, you have problems!!!! You are not ready for gay sex, yet, darling, if you have to stoop to this!!!!!!!  Stick to listening to some Barbra Streisand records!!!!!!!!!!!

                                            The double murder, which took place on April 21, 2005, shocked the small community.  When they were apprehended, it looked like both would get the needle. But Phillipe was terrified, so he copped a deal, testifying against Neslon, and getting a Life Without Parole sentence.  Tanya Neslon is now one of the few women sitting on  California's Death Row!!!!!!!  No "Happy Talk" for her!!!!!
Chop her up, put her in a wok, and cook her!!!!!!!!!!!  Then throw it to the dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                Not only is this duo two pieces of work, they have to win prizes for stupidity!!!!!  Killing your fortune teller, because you don't like her advice????  Going along with murder, because you are too frightened to seek the gay action you want yourself?????  These two deserve to be put behind bars for stupidity alone; it is just unfortunate that this ignorance led to the murders of two innocent, respectable women.

                                                   Hey, Phillipe, you won't have to look much for action now!  You'll be getting it, whether you want it, or not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                      Just think of the musical Rodgers And Hammerstein could have made out of this!!!!!!!  It would have been called "Miss Fortune!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Girls, To Thiink This Won The National Book Award!!!!!!!

                                             One might say that "Salvage The Bones" is the greatest Hurricane Katrina novel.  But, then, at this point, it is also the only Hurricane Katrina novel.  It has some gorgeous language, and the chapter on Katrina is the most powerful one in the novel. This depiction of the Batistes, a poor Black family in Mississippi, is given scope by embellishment of all sorts of literary references, from Greek mythology to Faulkner.  And yet, I was not, pardon the expression, blown away.

                                              I found it engaging and absorbing. But I also found myself wanting to know
what the other works of fiction it beat out were.  I mean, "The Art Of Fielding?"  I would have voted for that, in a minute!

                                                There was enough of good writing in the book to make me want to read more of Jesmyn Ward.  But this one just did not do it for me.  The Batistes, while individualistic, and with their own strengths and weaknesses, seemed to be like too many other inhabitants of Southern fiction. Granted, there is a tradition there, but I found myself wanting something more from the story.  That's it.
The book lacked narrative drive.  It had language and characterization, but took too long in building up to Katrina, and, once that was done, you might as well call it quits.  Perhaps "Salvage The Bones" would have worked better as a short novella.  It just seems too padded out, and takes its time in getting where it wants to go!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                Unlike my girls, who are always sure of where they want to go!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, Who Would Have Thought Such Cuties Would Be Working In Corporate America???????

                                 Even though we were all paraded out from the Mermaid Parade the day before, Monsieur and I felt obligated to show our communal support by showing up for at least some of yesterday's Gay Pride Parade, and I have to say, I am glad we did!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   We stood on the corner of 28th Street and Fifth Avenue, and were joined by Auntie Alvin, and his friend Gerry.  Auntie looked quite chic for this occasion; I wonder if he has secretly
obtained a fashion consultant?????

                                     Much of what we saw impressed me. The throngs of NYPD members--all hotties, darlings, not to mention the members of GOAL (the Gay Officers Action League, whose meetings are conducted with such exclusivity and secrecy, for good reason; because, if they were open to everyone, throngs of guys would be lining the Center to get in, just to be in the same room with the gayest and hottest of New York's Finest!!!!!!), and, what I could not believe, darlings, Commissioner Ray Kelly himself, father of serial rapist and broadcaster Greg, who marched with all the aplomb and profession of someone who actually knows who Joan Crawford is, even though I am not sure he does!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       Of course there were the muscle boys and those flaunting as much  as they could, and didn't we just all ogle, darlings!!!!!!!!  Not to mention those who might be better off not flaunting, but, then, this is Pride for everyone, so no visual discrimination here!!!!!!!!  But what impressed me the most, for their color and enthusiasm, was the contingent of employees for, of all things, Master Charge; you could not get more corporate than that, and here they were, marching for Gay Pride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         So many cuties; who knew they were out there in the corporate world?????
For some of us, moi aussi, who renounced that world years ago due to its feeling of exclusion towards homosexuals (not to mention I was not the corporate type!), as I watched this procession yesterday it occurred to me that maybe it was time to change preconceived notions of this world.  Or maybe, with the marchers parading, those changes have already occurred, and welcome they are!!!!!!!!!!  It was a revelation to a lot of us, not just I, and, while we missed the gay military folk, I was proud of the people here mentioned I saw, not to mention two GMHC'ers--Janet Weinberg, whom I graduated high school with, and Jeff Rindler, whom I have known for years, as well as so many of my fellow Dignity members.  It was a triumphant day for all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Onward and upward, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"When The Parade Passes By!!!!!!!!!"

                              Honestly, dolls, I felt like Carol Channing in "Hello, Dolly!"  Imagine if I had been singing "Jazz Baby" from "Thoroughly Modern Millie!"   Though my girls, who have read me long enough, have known I have always wanted to be Miss Dorothy!!!!!!!!!!!

                               This was my 22nd--count that, honeys!!!!!--Mermaid Parade.  When I first attended, in 1990, I had been living in Bay Ridge for about eight years, and when the banner came down Stillwell Avenue, it said "8th Annual Mermaid Parade."  Now, it is 2012, I am again living in Bay Ridge, but the banner now said--"30th Annual Mermaid Parade!!!!"  I could not believe it!!!!  Where will we all be, 30 years from now??????

                               And what a difference those 22 years have made, not only in terms of my ability to endure this event, but in terms of what the event has become.  At my initial visit, and for many years after, it was this funky, VERY Brooklyn, well-kept secret event that only a group of, basically Mermaid Parade Cultists, knew about.  But, like the Breck commercial, those cultists told their friends, and they told those friends, and so on, and so on!!!!!!  Not to mention the encroachment of technology--ie; the Internet, which cast a wider net in terms of making this known more to people out there than ever before, and those people responded by turning out in droves that have now made it not only one of Brooklyn's major cultural and social events, but, at the same time, has destroyed the wonderful intimacy of those early years, that allowed for a more relaxed and leisurely parade.  As well as a chance to see more, visually.  I mean, I have not seen the Naked Devil (how many girls out there remember him, hmmmm?????) in ages!!!!  And if it is because he feels outdone by the size of the crowds, I do not blame him!!!!!!!

                            But such is Progress--you win some, you lose some!!!!  I am telling you, between this and Gay Pride yesterday, I saw more boobies than I ever expect I should!!!!!  No wonder I kept yelling Patty Duke's famous line from "Valley Of The Dolls"--"Boobies, Boobies Boobies!  Who needs them!  I did great without them!!!!!"   There were some colorfully decadent costumes and floats, as can be seen above, but my personal favorite, was this little mini float by a husband, wife, and their baby, with the carriage acting as a float on which the baby was paraded, while all were dressed up like Maurice Sendak characters, in a float entitled, "Where The Wild Fish Are!"  Which says a lot for keeping it simple, dolls!!!!!!

                           No matter, it would not be the first Saturday of Summer without the Mermaid Parade!!!!
So, may it thrive in whatever incarnation it goes on to become!!!!!!!!!

                             As the song in "Follies" says, "On, then with the dance!"


Darlings, THIS Is The Place For Stuffed Escarole!!!!!!

                            On Saturday, girls, that almost half year milestone was reached--the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island.  It  is something the group of us--Kris, Gerry, Judy, Mr. Mayer, Monsieur and myself--look forward to, not only for the event, but to see each other, and catch up!!!!  It always starts with a leisurely, sumptuous Italian lunch (it is in Brooklyn, after all!!!) and our place of choice of late has been Fiorentino's, just off the Avenue U stop on the F train.

                            How subtly time has altered the occurrence of this event!!!!  While Fiorentino's scores, as always, in the culinary department, the encroachment of, shall we say, maturity, has curtailed the ability to indulge.  Bottom line, dolls--I can't eat as much as I used to!!!!!!!

                            Which was evident, because while the stuffed pork chop, potato croquette and spinach were all luscious, the chop was so stuffed I could eat about half of it.  I don't do doggie bags, dears, and we were not  going home right away,  so I had to be content with what I ate. Which I certainly was.  And, of course, before that, there had been bread, wine, calamari and that special stuffed escarole!!!!  I am telling you, darlings, the next time I am here I will go with something light--like the linguine in white clam sauce!!!!

                             Meanwhile, what did others have??? Kris had the linguine in lobster sauce, which looked scrumptious; Judy had pasta with broccoli ,  Gerry had the stuffed flounder, and my Monsieur had the stuffed shells.   We were ALL stuffed, believe me!!!!

                              The one regrettable thing was the absence of Mr. Mayer, who was at home with a cold. Apparently, he vacillated for about an hour, over whether he should go, as I know he looks forward to it every year.  But I think he made the right decision. And we all agreed, when he is recovered, and things at Coney are less frenetic, to do an event with him at Fiorentino's and such!!!  All the fun, without the inconvenience of crowds, darlings!!!!!!!!!!

                             Fiorentino's is a little oasis in this industrial wasteland section of Brooklyn!!!!
If you want quality off the beaten path, this is it!!!!

                               Mangia, Abundanza, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, June 22, 2012

"Mahhhhhhhhh Firrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrst Excluuuuuuuuuuuusive!!!!!!!!!"

                                     The question has got to be asked, darlings!!!!! Can two nationally known bloggers
dine together in civil tranquility?????  Actually, it seems they can, because, last eve, Monsieur and I dined at
Kuchter's Tribecca with those two Gents About Town, Frank and Mark.  I never realized before how strongly Frank resembles Jamie Buffalino, the author of TimeOut's "Get Naked" column.  Could he be moonlighting?????  While Mark, who is Louella Parsons to MY Hedda Hopper (because I am the one with hats, darlings; for God's sake, I am a fashion icon!!!!!!!!) boasted more tattoos than I have seen since the days I used to occasionally pop in to leather bars.  Where I was promptly laughed out of the place. And that was quite awhile ago, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    So, did "Hedda and Louella" diss???? Not really.  I was more fascinated by tales of a burgeoning media empire, as Mark strives to set out on new career goals; you have to admire anyone who instigates career change (especially being a non-risker, like moi!!) and in this particular economy.  While Frank entertained us with is ribald wit and humor.

                                      But, of course, since we were dining at a new establishment, talk and action soon centered around food.  Monsieur and I arrived there first, where I--can you believe it, girls--was forced to sit at a bar, as though I was a common hooker waiting for my latest john!!!!!!!!  I am a member of the SECOND oldest profession--the theater--and NOT the world's oldest!!!!!!!!!!  I had a glass of white wine, which, with the minuscule lunch I had, promptly got me buzzed, to where I was singing "Runaround Sue," while Monsieur had something called "Bugjuice," which looked like it should have been cool and sweet, but was kind of.....tasteless!!!!!!!!!   We shared an appetizer of pigs in blanket, which are still hot dogs encased in rolled bread.  The mustard was alleged to be spicy, but, honey, this was hardly stronger than French's; you could palm this off at a Little League game!!!!!!!

                                         Our two raconteurs arrived, and we sat down and began our culinary exploration. Honestly, I am telling you, my favorite thing of the entire evening, was the prickled vegetables appetizer!!!!!!!!  Bar none!!!!!!!!!  The others shared salmon and herring, which I just would not touch, and my main course was barbecued beef brisket with caramelized onions and new potatoes, on polenta, which was luscious, but too much to consume on a scalding hot night like last eve.  Flavorful, tasty, but much more suited for a cold winter night, than a sizzling one in June.  Maybe a visit six months later would make the difference!!!!!!!! 

                                          Let's see, what did others have?  Frank had the same thing as I and seemed to enjoy it immensely; Mark had the trout, while Monsieur, I believe had the lamb brisket, which looked delicious, and which had asparagus.  I would order that next time.  Between bread, appetizers and the meal, we could not do desert justice, so we each had liquid deserts--Monsieur and Mark a root beer float, Frank a vanilla egg cream and I a chocolate.  My egg cream was light, frothy, and just what was needed to top off a heavy meal.  I was surprised by the scarcity of ice cream in the root beer floats, let alone the size; I  have had them served in beer sized glasses, chilled to the max, with plenty of vanilla ice cream. I thought such was the standard with root beer floats. But the ones here, frankly, were...chintzy!!!!!!!!!

                                           But they were the only thing that was.  The atmosphere was pseudo modern and trendy in that faux Tribecca way, but not too noisy that one could not converse.  Would we return again??? Maybe, though I was not made an avid fan.

                                              And what of Hedda and Louella??????  Will you be seeing us scouting out scoops at the latest premieres or Broadway openings?????????  Don't count on it, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!  I love dining with Louella (and Frank), but frankly, darlings, MY turf is MY turf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                 How's that for an exclusive, loves????????????????

Divinity Turns Another Year, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Girls, I am telling you, you just cannot believe what a momentous day this is!  What was in the stars around now,  I wonder?????

                                   First, today is what I understand to be the Longest Day Of The Year.  After that, they start getting shorter, till we are back to darkness at 4:30PM.  But that won't be for awhile.  What I am
always confused about is-if there is a Longest Day, there has to be a Shortest Night???? So, which is it???
Was it last night??????  Or is tonight???????  Actually, at my age, darlings, all nights seem short, as when
that workday alarm goes off, it just seems I do not want to get out of bed, and it seems like I just got into
it, minutes before!!!!!!!!!!

                                   It is also the 43rd Anniversary of the Death Of Judy Garland. A milestone in
my life. Having just graduated from the horror that was 8th grade, and getting hit with this--the death of an
icon before I even understood she was an icon or that I was gay; all I knew was I adored her voice and talent--it was all too much for me to bear.  I still recall being unable to move from the news coverage, my parents so concerned that they took me--that day--to a screening of "Ben-Hur," which had been reissued that year, at the Clairidge Cinema (before it became a Multiplex) in Montclair, not far from Cedar Grove, New Jersey, where my Aunt Martha and Uncle Jack lived, with their backyard swimming pool, to which I was taken after the film.  I can still recall this vividly.

                                     The above incident is also indivisibly associated with the Stonewall Riots, and may very well have been one of the catalysts for them, although, while it would be poetic to think the first one took place on this day, that did not actually happen till six days later, on the 28th. But if  one is gay, and of a Certain Age, you think of Stonewall on this day!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         But, the happiest of all, is that this is also the birthday of the Divine Meryl Streep!!!!!!!  An icon for all--gays, actors, feminists, humanity in general--whose artistry is unequaled, and whose classiness cannot be beat.  Miss Streep turns 63 today, and, honey, we should all look as good as she at that age!!!!!!

                                           My girls on here and I, of course, wish Meryl the best!!!!!!!  Wonder how she celebrates??????  And what can we do to celebrate????????  I say, keep it simple; have a nice meal tonight, and drink a toast to Meryl!!!!!!!!  Or, go to the theater tonight, and acknowledge Meryl silently, as the lights go down at the start of your respective show.  However you do, we are graced with Meryl for anther year, and that is happy news indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                             And Divinity is ageless, dears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Honestly! How Much Can One Performer Be Put Through?????

                                   Poor Audra McDonald!!!!!!  After winning a precedent setting fifth TONY Award for her spellbinding Bess in what is now entitled "The Gershwins' Porgy And Bess" (because, who knows, some today may be so ignorant, they have no idea who wrote this classic), she is now out of the show--at least until July 3. The reason given is, I believe, inflamed vocal cords.

                                     Well, honey, what can you expect???????? Singing a killer role eight times a week--sometimes twice a day, at full vocal throttle--and in a piece that is actually an opera and is generally performed in opera houses all over the country, what do you expect????  The one I blame is that Diane Paulus, for not only reimagining something that did not need to be reworked, but putting her cherished star through such a grinding pace.  Gifted as Audra us, as strong as she is, even she has to succumb to weakness in what is one of the performing arts' most demanding roles.  While Audra recuperates, someone should bring that Paulus up on charges--where is this show's Equity Deputy????   This is the second time Audra has had to take a break from doing Bess due to vocal exhaustion.  Honey, not even I would step into this role, not because of gender or color--when would that stop me, loves???--but because I would have to vocally train several months for it, before I would even sing it in front of an audience!!!!!!!!!!

                                       I wish Audra a speedy recovery, as I am sure do my girls!!!!!!!  But what is further wished is that alleged artists like Paulus stop exploiting their more talented peers, to their physical detriment.  Audra is in her vocal prime, and she needs to preserve her carefully tuned instrument.

                                         It's like when Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft once had a fight. According to the story, Mel was shaking Anne for emphasis, and she said, "Let go of me!  My body is my instrument!" To which Mel replied, "Oh, yeah? Let's see it play 'Begin The Beguine!"  Performers need to be tended to as well as anyone else, and it is disgraceful to see someone as strong as Audra be exploited by Paulus, or allowing herself to be!!!  Come on Audra, you are stronger than that!!!!!!!!!!

                                         And speaking of disgrace, you know what Paulus wants to tinker with next????
Are you ready, darlings????? "Pippin!"  I can just imagine what she'll do with that!  Probably set it at Rikers!

                                         Even Ellen Stewart (RIP) would not allow that at La Mama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, This Bitch Set The Gold Standard For Bad Second Marriages!!!!!!!!!!

                              Some of my darlings out there may very well recognize the winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award.  It is none other than Lady Tremaine, better known as the Wicked Stepmother from Walt Disney's "Cinderella."  Now, when it comes to the story of "Cinderella," I, of course (being a confirmed Theater Queen) prefer Rodgers and Hammerstein to Disney.  But Mr. D's set the standard for imperious wickedness,not unlike his Wicked Queen in "Snow White."

                                Because of this character in this particular movie (not to mention the fire sequence in "Bambi," but let's not go there, loves!!!!!) more children grow up afraid of losing their mothers.  You can't deny there was an element of sadism to some of Disney's classic children's fare that put many, as they aged, into  a state of PTSD!!!!!!!!!

                                  Lady Tremaine was a widow with two daughters.  Cinderella's father was a widower with one. They combined families, but it was no "Brady Bunch," honeys. Things moseyed along all right, until Cinderella's father died. Then the child was actually relegated to the cinders while the sisters were the Top Dogs--and boy, were THEY dogs!!!!!!!!!!!  I much prefer the pairing of Alice Ghostley and Kaye Ballard or Pat Carroll and Barbara Ruick to those in Disney.

                                     What a bitch!!!!  Sweep the floor!!!!!!! Clean the pots!!!!!!!  And cannot even go to the Ball???????  This bitch needed to get balled in the worst way, believe me!!!!!!!!! But look at her!!!!!!!  Who the hell would want to???? Same for the daughters!!!!!!!!!!

                                        But, this being "Cinderella" and Disney, this bitch and her kin get their comeuppance. Maybe incarceration in a third rate brothel!!!!!!  It is what they deserve!!!!!!!!!!

                                          Anyway, here is a winner to set children's, and even some bitter queens', teeth on edge!!!!!! Lady Tremaine may have been a Lady, but she had no class, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!

                                            Unlike MY girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are You Ready For The Summer, Darlings?????

                                   Well, girls, here we are, the first day of Summer, 2012!!!!!  Can you believe it is here already, and we are  just plunging right in, what with this sweltering heat wave that is sure to test the endurance of every Easterner on the coast.

                                     These next 84 days should be sheer magic, with swimming, Tilt-A-Whirls, comfy clothes, cool drinks, and relaxation the rule!!!!  Well it be this generation's "Summer Of '42", lambs???? Only time will tell, though we hope today's youth is well beyond that unsophisticated crap!!!!

                                      I mean, Sandra Dee in "Gidget" was more with it!!!!  And James Darren as Moon Doggie....Mmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!  

                                      So, here is to a Great Summer 2012, with the Moon Doggie of your choice, loves!!!!!!!!!

                                       Hail the Solstice, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Success Is Swell, And Success Is Sweet, But Every Height Has A Drop!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                      Darlings, when I dream a dream, it goes way beyond Fantine, and last night, maybe due to my medical ordeal of yesterday, I concocted this mixture of the present and the past.

                                        The location was a lakeside summer camp, with water walkways squaring in
an area  of the lake, and high diving platforms with steps, not unlike Camp Crystal Lake in the original
"Friday The 13th."  But the stairs were more like steps in a musical--think "Follies," above.  A group of
us were putting on a lakeside variety show, and the director was a former high school classmate of mine, whom I have not seen since our 25th reunion--Michael Jacobs. Who, in real life, has achieved some notable success in the biz, for which I salute him!!!!!!!!

                                          But in the dream, I was back to my younger--teenage or young adult--self, which means I was not treated very well during that period. People tended to either berate or ignore me.
In this dream, everyone was assigned a part in the show.  Mine was of a butler, whose sole activity was to walk down the steps to the foot of the lake walk, stand there till the end, and then walk back up again.  I remember feeling in the dream a mixture of bitterness and resentment--as Monsieur says, these dreams are always about trying to prove myself, and, in this case, he is right.  I was pretty disgusted with the role I had been cast in, especially as everyone else around me had good lines, and show stopping numbers.  I knew I was as capable--if not more--than they, but what should I do?????

                                           Then, the idea came to me, just like Barbra in the "Funny Girl" movie!!!!!!
No, darlings, I did not stuff a pillow under me to appear pregnant, but, when the dream had me perusing the Time Magazine story pictured above, I got the idea of doing a "Follies" motif. So, there I emerged, off the platform, in a red top hat and tails outfit, with cane to match, same as the white ensemble John McMartin wears in the show.  As I came down the steps, I did "Waiting For The Girls Upstairs."  When it was time for me to go back up, I did "Live, Laugh, Love."  When I got to the top, and was singing "Hey, up there?  Way up there?  Waddaya say up there?"  I heard the ghost voices answer, Hi!....Girls......Ben?.... Sally?......" and then the closing notes. The applause was thunderous and Mike Jacobs was shocked!  As I planned he would be!! !!!!!!!!

                                            What a dream!!!!!!!!  And why would I want to shock Mike now?  I am sure nothing I would do now would surprise him at all!!!!!!!!!    I guess it was just emotional toxins, working off the stress of yesterday!!!!!!!!!!

                                               Because, darling, like the song says, "Beauty can't  be hindered, from taking  its toll!"  You darn well better believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Darlings, A Jail Bird Has Flown The Coop!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            Girls, I am telling you, you might as well just have slipped Dahrun Ravi one of these, as he was released from jail yesterday, after spending barely twenty days in the slammer.  Now it remains to see
if he does the 300 hours of community service allotted to him, the hours of lifestyle tolerance classes, and if
he will benefit from such, though I doubt it.  As for the $10,000 fine he has to pay, you can bet Daddy and Mommy have that on tap for him already!!!!!!!!!!

                               What I really hope for Dahrun Ravi at this point is that he simply disappears.  From the media, from the spotlight, and into an obscurity he better belongs in, and we are better for having him in, having unfortunately gotten to see what he was like in the first place.  I have my doubts there, too, as he seems to crave the spotlight too much.  And while we may not hear about any more criminal activity on his part, it IS fairly certain, reports of his future exploits will be charted--either to deride or, as seems to be the case, glorify him.

                                His jail sentence was a farce.  So is his mandatory punishment, which I am not so sure he will fulfill.  What kind of fate would have been meted out by the court had everything about this case in place be the same--except that the victim was straight???? Even if you add the suicide factor, would it have made a difference???? You better believe it would have--this guy would have had the book thrown at him???  But a burgeoning gay young man  of artistic sensibility????? Why do we need one of those in this world?, according to Judge Berman.

                                 So, yes, I am angry.  And spent.  Yet there is something Dahrun Ravi can do for all
of us, himself included.

                                   He can banish into obscurity, and keep his mouth shut!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meanwhile, How Is This For Jamesian Ambiguity?????

                                   When it comes to brevity of text, girls, "The Sense Of An Ending," by Julian Barnes, ranks right up there with Henry James' "The Turn Of The Screw."  As it does, for sexual and moral ambiguity!!!!  But, is it as good????????

                                      Alas, no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      The problem is Barnes plays around with the readers too much.  For starters, he gives us not one, but two, suicides!!!!!!!!!  I mean, honey, not even Virginia Woolf went that far.

                                        Tony Webster is one of a boyhood trio, into whose midst walks the mysterious, enigmatic, Adrian Finn.  During their early years, Rowan, an Upper Grade boy, hangs himself, over his girlfriend being pregnant, and his not being  able to handle it.  The boys mature, and go their separate ways--Tony to Bristol, the brighter Adrian to Cambridge.

                                         In middle age, one of the chums contacts Tony, whereupon he discovers Adrian, too, committed suicide, by slitting his writs in the tub.  But why?  Was it because of a libelous letter the young Tony wrote, berating Adrian and Veronica (a girl Tony once dated, who in youth dated Adrian!!!!)?  And why does Veronica's mother, who met Tony only once, leave him 500 pounds upon her death????  Did she seduce him???? Did Tony sleep with her????  Was there a child????  Or was that child (who turns out to be handicapped and in group care) Tony's--or Adrian's????  Or who is the mother--Veronica, or HER mother????

                                       All of which is too much for a novel of novella length.  The most challenging question James delivered his readers was "And where, my pet, is Miss Jessel?  Where is she, Flora??"  A piece of cake, compared to this!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       What do I think?  I think Adrian had a child, but Barnes wants us to guess, for ourselves, by whom.  I tend to favor Veronica having him young, not telling him she is his mother, but his sister (just like Olivia De Havilland tells her son she is his aunt in "To Each, His Own"), and wanting to keep the whole thing a secret.   Makes sense to me.  But remember, I am the one who still insists a baby was thrown off Tallahatchie Bridge in the song "Ode To Billie Joe."

                                          "The Sense Of An Ending" is beautifully written, not Gothic, and designed to make you think.  Its only flaw is, unlike with James, there is not all that much to think over!!!!!!

                                              On to another one, kiddies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!