Friday, August 31, 2012

Girls, I Have Seen The End Of Civilization!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 There is this program on, I believe, TLC Discovery  Channel, called "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo!"  I couldn't believe the title when I first heard it, but then, when I saw the show, I was more disbelieving than ever.  I mean, when I was little, I used to love Honey Bunch, of the "Honey Bunch And Norman" books!  But, at least, SHE was Middle Class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    The family and goings on of 'Honey Boo Boo' would make Goat Alley in Highland Park, New Jersey, seem, by comparison, the creme de la creme of Society!!!!!  It is like "Raising Hope" taken to the next extreme, except "Raising Hope" is entertaining and witty.

                                     You have to hand it to Honey Boo Boo!  She is still a cute kid, and she knows how to play to the camera!  But look at this family portrait; she doesn't stand a chance!!!!!!  The Whitest of White Trash, darlings!  Not only that, the parents are alleged felons (great role models!!!) and the blonde girl on the far right, Sister Anna, gave birth in the episode I saw, and I had to wonder--just how old is she?  She had no breasts to speak of--especially unusual in a childbearing woman--and she was so hipless I wondered how they were gonna prod that kid outta her!  And she barely had enough flesh on her bones to do a Cesarean!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        There is no  doubt that Honey Boo Boo and Family are making the most of their proverbial Fifteen Minutes of Fame!!!!!!!!!!!  What will they do after she outgrows her cuteness?  Will Mama have another kid????  Remember, lambs, even Shirley Temple grew up, and was said never to be the same, the day after she bought her first brassiere!!!!!!!

                                        Even more disturbing about 'Honey Boo Boo' was the fact I was watching it!  I have to place the blame for this one on Monsieur, who was bugging me to look at it. Well, one night, with no other viable options, I gave in!!!!  It was worse than I thought!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         Between this, and people reading "Fifty Shades of Gray," our civilization is going down the shower drain, like the blood in "Psycho!"  Hell, it is going down the toilet!!!!!

                                           Then, add to this, the Republican National Convention!  Sweeties, don't get me started!

                                            And just wait till I tell you--and I will!--about "Toddlers And Tiaras!!!!!"


Time For That Last Blast Of Summer, Darlings!!!!!!

                                        Remember the scale model, pictured above, "Beach Bunny Catchin' Rays?"  Prepubescent straight boys went crazy over this, anticipating the hormonal surge they knew would follow, as they put it together, while burgeoning gay boys primped and posed, wanting to be as beach sexy as possible; never mind, if she looked a little slutty!!!!!!!!!!   And what of Beach Bunny today, lambs?  Bet several decades later, a little thing called melanoma caught up with her!

                                        But I can't think of a more visually apt symbol for my girls, as we launch into the end of Summer.  Seems we just  get started, and...oh, excuse me!  That is Carol Burnett!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Summer does not technically end until September 21--that is three weeks from today!!! But for many, this Labor Day Weekend is the  end.  For all intents and purposes, houses are shut up for the rest of the year, amusements are closed down, and thus begins the long exodus Indoors, where, by February, everyone has more or less succumbed to Cabin Fever!!!!

                                          So, make sure you catch those final rays this weekend, like Beach Bunny here!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Who, I am pretty certain, is the cousin of Dumb Bunny, of the Inferior Five, whose mother was Princess Power, of the Freedom Brigade!!!!!!   There is a definite resemblance!!!!!!!!!!

                                             See you in September, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Was Jeffrey Johnson An Urban Fantine??????????

                             I know what you are going to say, girls and you are right--Fantine never killed anybody. If anything, she did more harm to herself than anyone.  But, the more that emerges about Jeffrey Johnson, the Empire State Shooter, the more I cannot help but view him as a tragic figure, with something rotten in the state of Hazan Imports.

                             Steven Ercolino  was buried recently.  I wish nothing but peace and condolences to his family and friends. But how much did Ercolino,  and/or Hazan Imports, contribute to the problem, and why don't they face it?

                               Jeffrey Johnson, it appears, grew up in a town in Georgia, where his parents, who are still alive, reside. He was not an only child; there is at least one brother.  By all recollections he was happy, but in sixth grade he suffered a biking accident--I think he was struck by a truck--and suffered blunt head trauma.  He was hospitalized, in a coma, and not expected to recover.  But he did.  I know what all you Screen Queens must be saying right now--"Shades of 'Shadow Of A Doubt'!"  And you may have a point.

                               Johnson was a Petty Officer in the Coast Guard which is how he acquired his gun, and skill in using it.  He was also, during this period, married, but the union only lasted four years. He enrolled at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida,  then shortly came to New York.  Had it not been for the personality clash between he and Ercolino, we might not be discussing this today--and Johnson might still be alive.  But, to be fair, they did NOT get along, and NEITHER backed off.  Ercolino was just as complicit in lashing out physically at Johnson--and did.  Why the organization never dealt with this is something I cannot understand.  When two people in a workplace take a dislike to one another--honeys, the things I could tell you--well, it happens!  But if it escalates to physical violence in front of everyone, something needs to be done. And it wasn't.

                                 Perhaps both families should jointly file wrongful death suits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Except, for Jeffrey, it was more tragic.  He was let go, sometime last year, and did not take it well. I mean; who would???? But his self-esteem dropped, to the point where he was torturing himself by periodically returning to the place, trying to get his job back.  Again, a sign of troubled behavior.  He lived a life of social isolation; his beloved cats his only companions. And when one of those felines died, it was too much for Jeffrey.  He was also faced with eviction, or, as one story goes, having to leave the apartment, because the owner (he was subletting) wanted to do renovations. Which left  him with not many  options.  True, he could have gone to his family in Georgia, but, remember, by this time, he was not thinking rationally.  And, through all this, his blame of Ercolino for all of it, built to the boiling point, where he knew he had to do something, and, unfortunately, made a decision to end not only Ercolino's life, but his own. The morning of the shooting, when Johnson left, he turned in his keys to his Super, saying he would not be back.  I am sure the man was genuinely puzzled, until........

                                Was his death self-engineered?  Was it suicide by cop? Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Again, I am not defending Johnson's actions, or mitigating the pain of Ercolino's family and friends. But underneath the surface is a sad and disturbing story that seems to happen with much more frequency in our society.  The dispassionate complacency of corporate honchos, the economic situation, the powerlessness of workers, creates scenarios of sorts that can unite in one fusion, as it did with Johnson.

                                 Clearly, Johnson needed help. And it was incumbent upon him to get it. If not able to think clearly, it should have been incumbent on his company to order that he get it!!!!!!!!!!  Perhaps if he had, both he and Ercolino would be alive.

                                   It is a tragedy all around. Moreso, because it ought not to have happened. And unless actions are taken and heeded, it will occur again and again.

                                     Society must offer compassion and aid to the countless Jeff Johnsons out there!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, Justice Is Finally Meted Out To A Child Killing Fiend!!!!!!!!!!!

                                Levi Aron was named, and it was no contest, last year's Bitch Of The Year!!!!  Imagine my thrill, when I got home last evening, to discover he had been doled out a sentence of  40 years to Life for what he did to sweet, innocent Leiby Kletzky.

                                    Actually, he cut a deal. By pleading guilty to lesser charges--while still admitting what he did--Aron avoided a public trial, and the possibility of Life Without Parole. But, let's face it, girls, he is DONE.  When eligible, if he makes it, it will be 2052!!!!!!!!  He will be 77 years old, and pretty much done. But, of course, parole can always be denied, and it would not surprise me if it were denied to this fiend.

                                        None of Kletzky's family was present, at the sentencing.  Neither was Aron's. Interesting.

                                        And they are going to put him in some sort of protective custody, knowing full well how the general criminal populace feels about child killers.  However, it would not surprise me, if, down the road, Aron is murdered in prison.  Things can happen, guards can look the other way.  I have two words to support this--Jeffrey Dahmer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Personally, I think he should have gotten Life Without Parole. But a trial would have put both families through so much emotionally; they have had it, already!!!!!!!!!  And, as far as I am concerned, Aron is out of society for good.  I really don't expect he will know freedom again in his lifetime.

                                            Need I remind you what he did?  Little Leiby Kletzky, of Boro Park, Brooklyn, was walking home from his Day Care Center by himself, for the first time, on July 11, of last year, very soon before what would have been his ninth birthday. But the eight-year-old got lost, and he happened to ask someone for directions.  Unfortunately, he asked the wrong person--Levi Aron,  disturbed hardware store clerk, who lived in the neighborhood.  Perhaps Levi recognized Aron as a neighborhood figure, and so felt safe.  Aron agreed to give Leiby a ride, which he gratefully accepted. They drove to Aron's place, and he fed the boy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, that had been allegedly drugged.  He planned to take the boy home the next day, but while out shopping saw the posters, the community searching, and the ensuing media frenzy. Supposedly out of panic, he decided to kill him, which he did by suffocating him with a towel. Despite little Leiby putting up a valiant struggle.  But this was not all. To get rid of the evidence, Aron dismembered parts of the child's body, leaving some in his fridge, and more in a dumpster in Sunset Park. Both were found, and retrieved.

                                           Even after a year, its heinousness and senselessness endures.  Who knows what more this fiend may have done, if not apprehended???? Fortunately, he has been, and will harm no one else in this lifetime.

                                              Take the key, and lock him up!  But, mark my words, darlings, if he DOES end up being murdered in prison, you heard it first here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, Those Trail Blazing Clementis Are At It Again!!!!!!! But Their Cost Can Never Be Repaid!!!!!!!!!

                                         Within twenty three days, girls, we are coming up on the Second Anniversary of the tragic passing of Tyler Clementi.  Ridgewood must be rocking with this latest news, because, from there, comes the story that Tyler's family, longstanding members of Grace Church, a Christian Evangelical denomination, are going to leave the church, because of its prohibitive stance on homosexuality.

                                             I can only support them, and say "Good for you!" But what a journey it has been for them to this point, and what a price!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                               And I wonder what alternative religious venue they will choose.  I mean, for all its Post Vatican II changes, the Catholic church, save for the Dignity organization,  is not exactly overflowing with love and kindness to those who happen to be gay or lesbian!!!!!!!!!!

                                                   It places the Clementis in an interesting situation, after what they have been through, after having been placed through so much following that tragic date of September 22, 2010.

                                                     This move on their part, and the Foundation they have established, shows signs of progress in moving on.  But can they ever really get over it?  Somehow, I doubt that.

                                                      The only thing different between hetero and homosexuality is a matter of plumbing, darlings; that is all it comes down to.  Hung up heteros, for all their proselytizing, I don't really think care about the plumbing or the actual sexual aspects. I think they fear that, if condoned, and with Gay Marriage gaining in advocacy, it will somehow take away from what they feel they are God given entitled to. Well, to those who think that I say--Sweethearts, get over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                          The Clementis continue to be the Class Act they have been from Day One onward.  Let us wish them well on their journey.  Tyler would have been proud of each and every one of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                             As we all are on here, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With Friends Like This Bitch, Darlings, Who Needs Enemies?????????

                                        Girls, I am telling you, when I saw the story of Lula Young this past Monday on "Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets," I knew I had found this week's winner.  Only it is not Lula.  It is Linda Leedom, who murdered Lula, supposedly, her best friend, on December 19, 1994!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           And, get this, lambs--Lula was already dying from terminal cancer!!!!!! She had not long to go--within a year, I am sure, she would have been gone, but this bitch could not wait.

                                             In De Soto Village, in the state of Mississippi, Lula and Linda seemed the best of friends. Lula, in her "voice over," said they were like sisters.  Linda infiltrated herself into Lula's life, making Lula believe this so much, that, with death rapidly approaching,  she named Linda Power of Attorney, and I suppose she left a large share of her estate--nearly $1 million--to her.  What abut her daughter, I wonder?

                                               Maybe Linda wondered about that, too. Because she just could not wait for Linda to die naturally. So, she hired this piece of scum, Charles Wayne Dunn, to spread propane gas and light a heater in Lula's house, while she was asleep--and the house went up!!!!!!!!!!  Mercifully, Lula died of smoke inhalation. She never felt the flames.

                                                 Not that it made any difference to Linda.  The program called her a sociopath, but you know what?  I wouldn't honor her with even that distinction, because  it does all true sociopaths an injustice!!!!!!  I think Linda Leedom was just a plain old, dumb, White trash, greedy pig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                   Well, this pig got poked, but good, and ended up in the slammer for Life, as did her accomplice Dunn!!!!!!!  Good riddance to them both!  But,  murdering one's best friend is the
height of lowness, so  Linda gets this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                      Don't invite her to your next barbecue, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Darlings, What Could Have Happened To This Poor, Sweet Child???????

                                   Here we are, girls, on the cusp of the Second Anniversary of Tyler Clementi's tragic passing, when comes word of another university suicide. Different circumstances from Tyler, to be sure, but one leaving in its wake heartbreak for the students, faculty and the suicide's family.

                                       Marta Corey-Ochoa seemed ready for success. She was accepted at Columbia University, where she planned to major in English and Math, and made it through the hassle of checking in to her dorm room.  She was from Dobbs Ferry, and had been the valedictorian or her high school class there.  Her future was bright and unlimited.  Her parents were successful; the father was a writer, and the mother worked at Mercy College. She was their only child.

                                          One account said, without going into detail, she was said to have psychiatric problems.

                                             And something in her changed.  On Saturday evening, she went to a social orientation session on her dorm floor.  Two hours later, she threw herself out the 14th floor window of her room!!!!!!!!!   And all that remains is sadness, and questions which may never get answered.

                                                Weren't these problems spotted in Dobbs Ferry?  Or in the screening process at Columbia?  How could she make it to this point, and what happened that led to her tragic demise?  How does one make sense of a senseless act?

                                                    More to the point, and this relates to the tragedy of Jeffrey Johnson, the Empire State Shooter, why didn't Marta seek out whatever mental help she might have needed?  Or did she?  Or did her parents urge her to?  One has to be fair to all sides, but the fact remains there is help out there for the mentally ill.  Yet too many fail to seek it, mainly because they are so clouded they cannot see it, or peers don't notice, or choose not to get involved, and then there are tragedies such as this!

                                                       What a pall over those in that dorm, just beginning the start of their freshman year at Columbia, the rest of their life, really!!!!!!!!!!!  They too will have to deal with the trauma of Marta's death, and I hope they avail themselves of any help offered to them.

                                                            Youth has always been said to be society's best resource, as the future belongs to them.  So how about helping them through, so that they may be able to have a future????

                                                                I truly feel for everyone connected to Marta, and for Marta, most of all.  I can only pray we may be spared more senseless tragedies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                Life may go on.  But a campus, and a family, suffers!!!!!!!!!!!

"Mother, She's....Well...She's Not Quite Herself, Today!!!!!!!!"

                                       Darlings, let me make it clear--since those of us who have were old enough to first read Robert Bloch's novel, "Psycho," or see the Alfred Hitchcock movie, one was never the same afterwards.  I recall first seeing it, in my teens, one late Friday night on Channel 9 (WOR-TV).  I had heard so much about it up till then I knew everything, except the experience of seeing it.  And that experience did live up to expectations.

                                         But, when the film ended, I never forgot its initial effect on me.  I turned off the TV, ran through the rather large house I lived in at the time, ran madly up the stairs, and practically dived onto the bed, pullling the  covers over me, shivering in terror!  And for the next week, whenever I showered in the upstairs bathroom, I made sure the door was locked, and something propped against it.
And  if I heard a sound, or a creak...oh, boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          Not uncommon, one's first time out with "Psycho."  To get currrent, several weeks ago, I was waiting for Monsieur in that haven for sophisticates--the Strand Bookstore, and what did I see on a table, but the Robert Blcoh novel???  I had not read it in ages--at least twenty years; and darlings, it is scary, I am telling you, being in a postion to measure off increments of time such as ten, fifteen or twenty years so blithely, reminding  me of my own age and mortality--and I had long ago lost the mass market paperback copy I had.  I even thought it had gone out of print.  But there it was, and I thought, " would be fun to reread this."

                                            And so I did.  Coming on the heels of "East Of Eden," you might think I am rereading classic novels turned into clsssic movies. Well, let me just say, the book I am reading now I have yet to read, and am doing so for very spectfic reasons, which will be discussed, when I complete it.

                                            But back to "Psycho."  Yes, it is all here--the Bates Motel, the Shower Scene, the discovery in the fruit cellar,. the psychological explanation, right down to that final line about not even hurting a fly!!!!!!!!  It's all there, just like in the movie.

                                               It is what is not there, and what is not in the movie that makes "Psycho" faacinating to read.  For example, it does not open in a Phoenix, Arizona hotel at 2:43 PM, with Sam Loomis and Marion Crane, finishing a tryst.  Marion and Sam are in the book,  to be  sure, but here she is called Mary Crane, and has a backstory--she was the older sister, sacrificing much of her youth to care for an ailing mother and see that her younger sister--yes, Lila!!!!--gets through college. Being a good sisiter, Lila returns the favour by gifting Mary with a cruise, where she meets and begins her long distance relationsship with Sam Loomis.  He still has his debts, but due more to his father's profligacy; there is no mentnion in the novel of a wife, or alimony.

                                                 As for Norman Bates, one of fiction's most famous psychotic characters, he is as different in the novel as might be imagined.  For one thing, he opens the novel; sitting in his living room one afternoon, reading and musing.  In the novel, Norman is quitte welll read on all sorts of things from the occult to psychology; he practically diagnoses his own disorider.  When he is"normal"  enough to recognize it.  But he is not a trim, good looking fellow, like Anthony Perkins in the movie; rather, he is a 40ish bespectacled, schlubby (meaning stoop shouldered and heavy) guy.  As bad as Gus Van Sant's reamke was, Vince Vaughn's Norman was actually physcially closer to Robert Bloch's!!!!!!!!!!!  For the film, Hitchock came up with the brilliant idea of Norman, at times, nibbling from a bag of candy corn.  In the novel, he actually drinks liquor, and, under the influence, goes into his fugue state, where he blacks out and "becomes" Mother, and she does the dirty work!  Then, he comes to himself, and has to clean up "Mother's" messes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                  There is more dialgoue in the book than the movie. For example, the famous climactic scene in the fruit cellar, is done all to Bernard Herrman's score!!!!!!!!!  When Norman appears, finally, dressed as "Mother," we hear screams in the background.  But, in the novel, when that entrance is made, he screams out, "I am Norma Bates!!!!!!!!!"   Norman, Norma, get it????????????

                                                     In case anyone comes to "Psycho" unknowingly, Bloch makes the duality credible.  It is possible, I think, someone uninformed, would be convinced, for much of the novel, that Norman and Mother ARE two different people.  It reminds me very much of what Thomas Tryon similarly did with twins Niles and Holland Perry, in "The Other"--another one of my faves, both in print, and on film!!!!!!!!!!  Maybe he was influenced by Robert Bloch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                        A boy's best friend may be his mother, but not when she is like Mrs. Bates!!!!!!!!!  Anyone interested in "Psycho" is well adivised to read Robert Bloch's orginal novel.

                                                          "Put me down!   Norman!!!!!!!!!!  Put me down!"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

As Far As I Am Considered, Girls, This Is The Great American Epic Novel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         Even after five readings, I am convinced that this novel earns the above designation.  I know many would cite Steinbeck's other epic work, "The Grapes Of Wrath."  It is wonderful, but is more evocative of a time and place in history; one could say the same about "East Of Eden," but its scope and themes are more sweeping and universal.

                                          Sixty years later, the book is still something of a sensation. With four suicides, even more deaths, theft, prostitution, sexual perversion, and the most evil woman in American literature, even today it still has the ability to shock.  Imagine this--on September 18, I am going to attend a Book Group discussion of this, by a group of congregants at the Catholic church in my neighborhood--St Andrews!!!!!!  What will die hard Catholics, no matter what generation, have to say about such a book, and how did it come to be selected?  I will give you a full report, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           On a fifth reading, Catherine/Kate, who epitomizes Woman As Satan, is, as has been noted by some, the most static character in the book  That she is, but without her, the novel would lose all of its driving force. .  This time, I found it interesting--with no redeeming qualities--she is what today would be called a sociopath--this woman, towards the end of the novel, starts going to church (she doesn't seem inclined on making amends!!!!!) and when she elects her death, by suicide, before doing so, she writes out a document, wherein she wills everything to her son, Aron Trask, whom she abandoned, with his twin brother, Cal, upon birth.

                                               Girls, if you know "East Of Eden" only from the James Dean movie, you are in for a surprise.  That film covered only the last third of the book; what comes before, in fact, helps one to understand what the movie never explains, not to mention it is compelling reading. And this time around I took pleasure from characters I usually took for granted--Chinese servant Lee, Abra Bacon, Sam Hamilton, his daughter Dessie, and Sam's wife, Liza!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                 The novel is chock full of Biblical allegory from the first page on; I am certain this will figure in the Catholic book group discussion.  And these allegories transcend the period the story takes place--from about Civil War to World War I-- to seem as relevant today, as when it first appeared.

                                                  But that Catherine/Kate!!!!!!!!!  "East Of Eden" must be beloved by misogynists!!!!!!!  Steinbeck, at the time he was writing it, was going through a rather acrimonious divorce. No doubt he had planned to make the Eve figure evil, but perhaps this experience colored his judgment, causing him to really up the ante!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                     I have no doubt I will read it again down the road.  And each time, I am convinced it is the Great American Epic Novel!!!!!!!!!  Let others dispute me, but the Raving Queen has spoken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                        Off with their heads--but not yours, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Oh, My God, Darlings!!!!!!!! When Gene Tierney Walks Down The Stairs, In The Black Gown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       Girls, I am telling you, this moment alone is enough to see the 1946 film version of "The Razor's Edge!"

                                         This story has a cast of all-star proportions, and a story that pulls out all the stops!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Tyrone Power plays Larry Darrell, a middle class Chicagoan, who is traumatized by the death of a friend in the war (WWI), who sacrifices himself to save Larry.  Larry then embarks on a lifelong quest for spiritual fulfillment. Meanwhile, back in Chicago, the upper crust, headed by Elliot Templeton (Clifton Webb, playing a devout Catholic; honey can you believe it???? You better believe HE has seen "The Song Of Bernadette!!!") is enthralled with Larry, especially as he and Templeton's niece, Isabel Bradley, are in love, potentially engaged to be married.  Hovering around the fringes of their circle is a childhood friend of Larry's, Sophie Nelson (Anne Baxter, in what turns out to be her Oscar-winning performance!!!!!!!!!!!).

                                            Well, Larry goes off to the Himalayas, Isabel marries Larry's handsome, luggish, but wealthy and socially connected (which is what Isabel wants, darlings!!!!!!!!!) friend, Gray Maturin (John Payne), while Sophie hooks up with Bob MacDonald (played by Frank Lattimore).

                                                But Trouble comes a knocking.  Gray and Isabel lose their money in the stock market crash of 1929, and Isabel has to--oh, think of it!!!!!!--pawn her jewels!!!!!!!!  Not ME, honeys, NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!  Meanwhile Sophie, Bob and their baby daughter are in a terrible car accident; only Sophie survives, leading her on the most tragically downward trajectory since Fantine!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elliot, who has made a killing in the stock market, goes to Paris, takes in Isabel and Gray (not a bad situation for someone who is destitute!!!!!!!).  Gray, because of the loss of his money and pride, suffers a nervous breakdown, and chronic migraine headaches!!!!!!!!!  I know just how he feels, darlings!!!!!!!!!!

                                                  Larry comes back into their lives.  He cures Gray of his headaches, and gets the man back onto his financial feet.  When they encounter Sophie, who has now descended to alcoholism, hanging out in opium dens, and promiscuity because of her inconsolable loss, Larry decides to marry her.  You have got to see the scene, girls, where Sophie is found in the opium den, and runs out into the rain... the last we see of her.  This is after Isabel, claiming her reform is temporary, proves it, by luring Sophie to her apartment, and tempting her with alcohol, which she ingests, and insures her final ruin.  Her body is found in a French river, with her throat having been cut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                      Meanwhile, Uncle Elliot is dying, his last request being to be invited to this very high end party. He gets his wish, when Larry stops by and procures an invitation card from her assistant, played by Elsa Lanchester!!!!!!!! This scene is a riot!!!!!!!!!  Elsa walks away from her table, singing "On The Banks Of Loch Lomond," while Larry swipes a card!!!!!!!!! Sweeties, it is just TOO much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He gives the card to Elliot, who dies a devout Catholic, having been assured a high Mass and funeral, and a place in Heaven, having donated TONS of money to the Church!!!!!!!!   Who says money doesn't talk!????????????????

                                                        But Larry has had it with Isabel, the bitch, who has been pining for him the whole movie.  He confronts her with how he thinks she is responsible for Sophie's death (which, technically, she is!!!!!!!!) leaving her high, dry, and remorseless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                          That Isabel Bradley is one piece of work!!!!!!!!!  A real ice Princess!!!!!!!!!!!  But she proves one thing!!!!!!!!!  If you are going to be a successful bitch, you have got to look like Gene Tierney, and have money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                             Which leaves me out of the running, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                               But, then, really, who would DARE to call me a bitch??????????

Cookin' Daddy's Johnson, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Now, girls, let me explain!  The idea and thought is certainly not appetizing, but I am telling you, you have just GOT to hear this!!!!!!!!!  And, second, that is REAL beef steak, sizzling in the frying pan.  It is standing in for........well, lambs, as you know, I may be outrageous, but, trust me, there are some lengths to which even I will not go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Poor Brigitte and Carlee Harris!!!!!!!  It was tough enough having to grow up in Staten Island, but even tougher with a scumbag sex abuser for a father.  Brigitte got the most of it, but
Carlee got her share.

                                       But you have to give Brigitte credit.  She somehow survived this, outgrew Daddy's interest, and went on her own, working as an airport security guard. Pretty good for someone with such a traumatic past!  In the meantime, Carlee was on Staten Island, raising two young daughters.

                                         Well, chickens come home to roost, darlings, and in 2007 the Harris family came in for some confrontation.  Eric Goodridge, the abusive Daddy, was visiting Carlee and her daughters in the year 2007.  On a visit over there, Brigitte noticed Eric showing more than a familiar interest in Carlee's daughters, which their mother chose to deny. But Brigitte could not forget.  And when she heard that he intended to take them on a trip with him to visit relations in Lebanon, she had his number, good, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!  And she decided to do something about it.

                                           Now, to this day, she maintains she did not intend to kill him--just physically maim him!  Inviting Daddy over to her place, in Far Rockaway, she confronted him about the abuse, which he chose to deny.  That got Brigitte good and mad, so she knocked her father down, tied him up, stuffed a towel so far down his throat he ultimately suffocated, and then....having read about Lorena know where this is going, loves....she took a scissors, and went  snip!., only that did not remove the appendage, so she sliced it off with a knife!!!!!!!!!  Had the towel not been so far down his throat, leading to suffocation, Eric might have survived the mutilation and been restored with surgery.  But Brigitte was out for blood!!!!!!  She took that thing, tossed it into a frying pan, and cooked it on the stove!!!!!!  No, I do not know whether she used olive oil, garlic and onions....this was traumatic revenge, not the Food Channel!!!!!!!!!   And once the thing was cooked, she wrapped it up, and tossed it into the ocean!!!!!!!!!  Bye, bye, Daddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                               Brigitte was found guilty of second degree  manslaughter on  September 30, 2009. She did her time, and was just released two weeks ago, on August 13. I don't know what she will do now, but I am telling you, darlings, do not take any barbecue from her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                  You just can't be sure of what you will be eating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just What Is The Mystery Of This Screenplay, Girls????????????

                                 The screenplay, in question, being the one George Seaton wrote for "The Song Of Bernadette," a film, which, if you have read this blog long enough, you know how much I feel about.

                                   With so many screenplays, past and present, published, I have always, quite obviously, wanted to read this one.  But trying to get one's hands on it is a mystery.

                                       Several years back, I came across, in red binding a collection of screenplays, all of the best Hollywood films in the year, 1943.  Conspicuously absent from the collection was 'Bernadette,' and in the introduction, the compiler explains why--it had something to do with not being able to acquire publication rights.  Which is funny, because one of the world's best known films of that year, "Casablanca," is in that anthology with no problem; 'Bernadette' is known, but is definitely for more specialized tastes, and known to more discriminating (and not just Catholic) viewers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         Within the past year, I began looking into the whereabouts, if any, of this script, and I found two locations--one which makes perfect sense, the other not.

                                            Seaton's own personal copy of the 'Bernadette' script, was donated by him to the library at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, as a tribute to his home state and home town of South Bend.  But there is another copy of the script, housed in the archives of the library at Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire!

                                               The mystery surrounding this is fascinating.  Why would Dartmouth own a "Song Of Bernadette" script? Whose copy had it been? And how did it turn up there?  The story behind this would be as fascinating as going up to Dartmouth--the locale I am nearest--and reading the script myself.

                                                  Which I hope to do. I am curious to see how it reads, if there are any scenes in its pages that did not make it into the final print of the film, as I know it.  I can picture the whole thing, like that scene out of "Citizen Kane," with the prune faced librarian ordering me about, limiting my time, coming in at the end, so I do not abscond with a valuable artifact--which I would be tempted to do, but know I never would--and the light streaming in.  Just like in the Orson Welles classic!!!!!!!!!!

                                                      Whether this turns out to be true or not is something only time will prove.  I assure you, if I go, darlings, I will provide a full report.  Meanwhile, there seems to be  an aura of mystery surrounding this film--not only the script, but in the fact that, in the nearly 40 years I have been going to movies on the revival circuit, (and in the days when there were more revival houses, and more movies shown!!!!!!!!!!) the only time this was EVER shown as on May 8, 2008 (a Sunday, of course!) at the Walter Reader Theater as part of a Jennifer Jones retrospective.  Ironic, considering that just bout 19 months later, she died.

                                                           There is more here than meets the eye!  And I intend to get to the bottom of things!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                             Even if I have go up to Dartmouth, dressed as a nun! Heaven help me; I"ll probably look like Gladys Cooper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tovah And Randy Are Two Of The Best, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     That is, to be exact, girl, Tovah Feldshuh and Randy Graff!  Both have been around for, in what theater parlance, might be termed forever, and never once have they made the bright lights of Broadway dim.

                                        Let's start with Tovah, whom I actually discovered by accident. In the fall of 1975 (yes, dears, that far back!!!) BAM presented the play "Yentl," based on the story "Yentl, The Yeshiva Boy," by Isaac Bashevis Singer.  Now, you have to understand, loves, at the time I had never heard of either, and I was still practically a virgin!!!!!!!!!!!  That is how long ago it was!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Well, "Yentl" was such a success it moved to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, which is where I saw it, back in the Spring of 1976.  Now, at that time, I was highly into Musical Theater--always had been, still am--but at this point in my early theatergoing life, I ONLY saw musicals.
One of the reviews for "Yentl," which was a rave, compared it to "Fiddler On The Roof" (which, as it turns out, it does not resemble!!!!!!!) and I somehow got it into my naive head that this was a musical. So I purchased a ticket. People tried to tell me otherwise, and even the photos outside the theater, as I waited for the doors to open that Saturday matinee, suggested such.  I got in, took my seat, and, as the lights went down, somehow it sunk into me that I would not be seeing a musical.  It was terrifying; what would I do???? How would I sit through something I really was not interested in seeing?  Plus, I was in the center, on the aisle, and very close to the stage. I could not just walk out; that would be rude to the performers, and, having a bit of performance background myself, I had a high respect for them and a high degree of good theater audience manners.  I decided to grin and bear it.

                                        Lambs, Tovah took care of everything.  The lights blacked out, and there, onstage was Tovah, as Yentl, delivering her opening monologue. She was so mesmerizing and compelling as an actress I could not take my eyes off her. And by the time she ran backstage, and the main thrust of the play began, I was hooked!!!!!!!!!!  Thank you, Tovah!  And, because of that experience I then expanded my theatergoing horizons to non-musicals.

                                          Several years later, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, Tovah starred in a show called "Sarava!". which was a musical version of Jorge Amado's novel, "Dona Flor And Her Two Husbands."  I regret not seeing this one, but its run was helped immeasurably by the TV commercial at the time, which had Tovah and Company singing the title song.  They would be dancing about, in the most colorful costumes, and singing "SSSSSSSSAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRAAAAAAVAAAAAAAAAA!"  I could not help myself,
darlings!!!!!  Whenever this would flash onto the screen, I would get up in front of the screen, and do this!!!!!!!!!  I am sure it drove my parents crazy!  Especially since I was then a young man in my 20's!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Suffice it to say, Tovah has inspired me in ways even she could not imagine.
Recently, Playbill did an online interview, profiling several actors on their worst theatrical mishaps.  Tovah's (and Randy's, which I will get to!!!!!!) were the two best.   Tovah spoke of appearing regionally--maybe Philly--in a production of Neil Simon's "The Star-Spangled Girl.'  There was a moment in the show that called for a very quick costume change--and it had to be done onstage with the curtain down.
Well, either Tovah and the dresser weren't fast enough, or the curtain master rung up too early, because when the curtain came up, there was her own words, "The rest I leave to your imagination."

                                              Just think, dolls!!!!!!!! She sort of did "HAIR," without ever being in it!!!!!!!!

                                              Now, for Randy Graff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              Back in 1987, when "Les Miserables," was arriving on Broadway, it was as anticipated then, as say, the Rapture is today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Through a mutual friend, Stephen Manashowitz, who had gone to school/college, with Randy, I, and my colleague/friend Suzanne, were able to see the show at its almost freshest--the very night after it opened!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                  It was a magical evening.  Because Randy was in the enviable position of having the role I still desperately want to play--Fantine!!!!!!!!!!  And I am ready any time one is needed;  you hear that all you "Les Miz" producers and directors??????????  I still do a killer "I Dreamed A Dream."

                                                     When Randy opened in "City Of Angels" I bought the recording as soon as it was released.  To this day, while vacuuming, I sometimes still sing, "You Can Count On Me,"  and "What You Don't Know About Women," which were Randy's songs--and one that was not--"Lost And Found."

                                                         Randy had a wonderful story in this article, involving "Les Miz."  During the Fantine Death Scene, she starts out on the floor, singing, and then, at a certain point, Colm Wilkinson, as Jean Valjean, is supposed to enter, pick her up, and carry her to the bed, where she finishes the rest of the song, and dies!   Well, one night, Randy got to that point, and there was no Colm!!!!!!!  What could she do?????????  I am not sure I would have been as resourceful, as  Randy.
She began, while singing, to crawl across the stage, till she reached the bed, and threw herself in it!!!!!!
By that time, Colm ran onstage, and, in between vocal notes, apologized to her profusely!!!!!!!!  Pretty strong for Fantine, who, at this point, is supposed to be dying of consumption!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                            Don't you just love it, darlings??????????  And, like I said, no matter the mishaps, Tovah and Randy are two of the best!!!!!!!!!!!  Keep it up, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                             I know what you want, darlings!!!!!!!!!  You want to know some of my own stories herein!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, if I can think of any, I will share!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                               Meanwhile, I look forward to playing the Andrea Leeds role in "Stage Door!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Tell Me, Girls, Can A Burgeoning Icon Also Be A Rival???????????

                                       This is the quandary I am in, darlings!!!!!!!!!!  I certainly have waxed rhapsodic on here enough about Jessie Mueller--pictured above; my God, isn't she gorgeous, and wouldn't we just love to have that hair????--and I certainly have not changed my opinion.  But Jessie and I have something (well, actually, several somethings, if you go by the Six Degrees principle!!!!!) in common,  but I am  just going to focus on one.

                                        Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I saw Jessie being interviewed by Paul Wontorek, in a twenty plus minute segment of "Show People."  Just around the time she got her TONY nod for 'On A Clear Day,' and right before she started her current gig, "Into The Woods."

                                           Well, during this very informative gab session, Paul asked Jessie the question most interviewers ask up and coming performers; indeed what most performers ask themselves.

                                               What is your dream role?

                                                  Having just done one of mine, darlings,--Homer Bolton in Paul Osborn's "Morning's At Seven"-- I can attest to how satisfying it can be.  I was fascinated to hear what Jessie's answer would be, and when she stated it, I was shocked!!!!!!!!!

                                                      Her dream role is Fanny Brice in the musical "Funny Girl!"

                                                      Not that that does not make sense. And not that Jessie would not  be marvelous in it!  I would be one of the first in attendance to cheer her on, and you know damn well if she did a Cast Album of it, I would buy it!  And listen to it with rapture!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                          But, Jessie, dear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                           I was nine years old, when Barbra Streisand first stepped onto the stage of that packed Winter Garden house on the night of March 24, 1964, and since then I have wanted to have that same experience. At night, in my bed, before falling asleep, I would project myself into nighttime Manhattan, imagine I was inhabiting Barbra's body and having that experience!!!!!!! Which made me only want to have it all the more!!!!!!!  That role was MINE!!!!!!!!!!  By high school, I would spontaneously burst out into renderings of "I'm The Greatest Star!"  Even now, I will suddenly break out into "If A Girl Isn't Pretty," or "Who Taught Her Everything She Knows?"  And just wait till you hear MY "Coronet Man!!!!!!!!!"  Though I would certainly love to hear Jessie's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                          But what can be done when you have not just one but two Toasts of the Town wanting to play the same exact role????????????????????????

                                                             Well, Jessie, I guess we will just have to combine somehow. 

                                                               The one thing I MUST stipulate, though, is that we HAVE  to play the Winter Garden Theatre.  "Mama Mia!" has been thee long enough! Time to get a classic in there, even if it is a revival!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                  Perhaps Jessie could do the evening performances, and I could do the matinees.  Or perhaps, just like John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman in "True West," we could switch nightly!!!!!!!!!!!!  When not playing Fanny I would (as long as the show is kept exactly in its ORIGINAL form; none of these film embellishments!!!!!) be happy to do the role of Mrs. Brice!!!!!!!!  But what would Jessie do on her nights off????????  Wait; Lainie Kazan understudied Barbra; what was her actual role in the production???? Oh, yes, Vera, and a Showgirl!!!!!!! Which Jessie could pull off better than I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                     Just think, darlings, the first major revival of this show, and you get two Fannys for one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  More bang for your buck, dears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                        Speaking of bang, girls, what was that line from "The Producers?"

                                                                          Who do I have to fuck, to get a break in this town??????



New York Can Sometimes Be A Lonely Town, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Now, girls, let me just back up to little over a month ago.  On the morning of July 20, 2012, as Monsieur and I were getting ready for work, the TV set firmly fixed on New York 1,  he called out to me, "Come hear this!  There was a shooting in a movie theater at the 'Batman' movie!"  My first thought, honestly, was "Great!  Some nut has gone off his nut here in New York!"  Imagine my shock when it turned out to be Colorado--again!--that state bearing forever the imprint of Columbine.

                                 And then there was yesterday.  I was blithely going about my business, morning  coffee, writing my blog posts, when my friend, Harvey, called. "Did you hear about the shooting?, he asked. "What shooting, " I replied. "Near the Empire State Building," he explained.  "Oh, my God!," I thought, Now it has happened HERE?"  So, after finishing business, I turned to the news spots for information, of which there was very little.  I knew immediately I would eventually blog about this, but something about this whole thing bothered me, and I knew my blog would be done in my own, inimitable, unconventional way.


                                     While I feel deeply for the victims--all of them--and their families, I do a feel a sense of compassion for the shooter and his family.  And even though there is enough information out there, enough discrepancies and questions still abound.

                                       What IS known is that the shooter was Jeffrey Johnson, who worked at the Hazan Import Company at 10 West 33rd Street, for about 15 years.  It is known that Johnson was laid off from his job there, after 15 years, and that he had ongoing disputes with Steve Ercolino, also at the company.  Yesterday morning, Mr. Johnson, who apparently knew his coworker's routine, arrived at the building, impeccably dressed in a grey busienss suit, as though showing up for work (which was part of his daily routine, anyway, according to his Super; clearly the guy had OCD!!!!!)  where he saw Ercolino leave to get some coffee and such.  He followed, the two got into a verbal confrontation, and then Johnson shot Ercolino, 41 years of age, living with a girlfriend in Jersey, to whom he was apparently engaged,  in the head, and then again, for revenge sake.  He then walked off, as calmly as though going to a business meeting, but was spotted by at least one construction worker, who alerted cops to what had happened, they shot at Johnson, and he went down.  But not before eleven others were injured and grazed.  And not necessarily by shots from Mr. Johnson!!!!!!!!!!!

                                             This is what is known.  But so many questions remain, which I hope will get answered. 

                                               Why do some stories say Johnson was 53, while others say 58?  Why do some say he was fired a year ago, some two years, and some say just the day before?  What made Johnson snap on that particular morning?  This was a man who lived alone, in a well kept apartment on the sixth floor of an East 82nd Street walkup.  According to his downstairs neighbor and Super, he was neat, fastidious, constantly cleaning and vacuuming, had two cats, and was a creature of habit, from the way he left each morning for McDonald's, coming back with breakfast, and spending the day indoors.

                                                   According to what I read, the ongoing dispute centered over Ercolino's unwillingness to sell the products Johnson designed. The reason is not known.  It is known that each threatened the other; Ercolino physically grabbed Johnson once, and Johnson pointedly said to him, though who could have known, "Someday, I am going to kill you!"  Which he did.  Some say Johnson's being laid off was due to simple economics and downsizing.  Others that he was spending too much time working on his own personal website and design business, and not enough on his job at Hazan.  The former is probably how he spent those days indoors. That, maybe putting out resumes, but definitely brooding over Ercolino.

                                                   Now, here is where things get dicey.  I don't like what I see in the faces of either.  In Mr. Johnson I see a sad, lonely soul, who for whatever reason was not able to reach out to people. He had two cats; but honeys, don't start on me about sexual orientation, because when it comes down to things in this case, it does not matter.  What matters is that Johnson, from losing his job, and his loneliness, was in a great deal of emotional pain, which it sounds like he did not seek help about. You can see it in his eyes, which have the look of both sadness, and a coldness suggesting him well capable of doing what he did.  Clearly, a dangerous combination!!!!!!!   He and Ercolino were said to have mutual harassment on both sides, but what kind of harassment?  Not sexual; probably more like personality.  Or maybe even workplace bullying; Ercolino seems the type!!!!!  Because the photo of Ercolino shows someone whom I consider an arrogant, testosterone fueled Alpaha Male, who thinks they are God's gift--the kind of person I would despise myself.  Again, some stories described him as just a coworker; others an office manager; still others as the Vice President of Sales.   Someone I would  not be able to work with.  But I cannot imagine killing them.  For one thing, I have rationale and impulse control; for another, what would I know about using firearms, and I have no  interest in doing so!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                    Johnson came to NYC by way of Sarasota, Florida.  He has been here since 1992, and owned hs gun since '91.  Why would a fashion designer, who is NOT high end, like Ralph Lauren, say, need a gun????? And where would he get the skill to use it?  Which brings up the question of how do these people learn to use these things oh so skillfully?  What of those who go to practicing ranges?  Are they going there for legit reasons, or not?  Is there any way to screen them, driving out the loonies??? The time ahs come when I think this is necessary!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                      And why didn't Hazan Imports, who clearly must have noticed the animosity between these two workers,  deal with it?  Mental illness is all around us, and the workplace can sometimes be a breeding ground for it. Perhaps, while still employed, Mr. Johnson should have been forced to seek help!  Perhaps if this had been done, he and Ercolino would be alive.

                                                         I am not about to defend Corporaton America, which, in part, is responsible for bringing down both Johnson and Ercolino. Nor am I going to defend killing someone for animosity's sake.  My best approach to dealing with the latter has been--out of sight, out of mind!  But aparently, it was not enough for Mr. Johnson, and we may never know why.

                                                            The only visitor he ever had to his apartment was his mother.
How sad that is, how sad his frustration and loneliness drove him to this, and how frustrating and sad for
Mr. Ercolino's family.

                                                                 What else?

                                                                   Mr. Johnson graduated from a college of art and design in Florida.  Considering how things turned out yesterday, one has to ask--was his death a suicide by police?  It cerainly sounds like it.

                                                                     What is scary to me is that there are other Jeffrey Johnsons out there, not just in New York, but everywhere. They are alone.  And waiting.  The
majoirty of them may not snap in this way, but they are in painful isolation.

                                                                        Our society at large needs to reach out to them!!!!!!!!!!