Thursday, December 31, 2015

"And In The End...." As Always, Tara!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Farewell To 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             Tara....the symbol of safety, for Scarlett, and us all!  Make no mistake about it loves, we all have our forms of Tara--our coping mechanisms--whether it be a house, a person loved, a priceless pet--whatever is loved most by us, and  keeps us going.  In my case, it is MY beloved--far more valuable than a piece of property, though I would NEVER say that to Scarlett.

                            So, the little bit of Scarlett that rests in me bids you 2015.  It has been an interesting journey, and my pleasure to make it with you all.  And I will be with you on the next one, starting tomorrow, when 2016 arrives.  Till then...........

The Most Satisfying Theater Experience Of The Year--"Fun Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                           Darlings, I had never read the Alison Bechdel book, but when I saw Sydney Lucas do "Ring Of Keys" on the TONY Awards, I knew I had to see "Fun Home."  My beloved and I saw it in July, with the original cast, which is indeed fortunate, though, for actors wanting to tackle these roles, I am sure the show will have a long and lasting life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            Oh, my God!!!!!!!!!!  Just to hear Judy Kuhn--JUDY KUHN!!!!!!!!--sing "Days And Days" is worth it alone.  But there is so much stimulation and brilliance awaiting one at the Circle-In-The-Square that I will just sign off with the highlights and say get there ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              It will never be forgotten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Movie Highlight Of My Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           After all the bitching I did, this year and last, about not seeing this classic on the big screen during its 75th Anniversary, when, along with "The Wizard Of Oz," (which I still have not seen on the screen yet this year or last!!!!!!!!) it was virtually ignored, I got to see "Gone With the Wind"--and with someone I love --at the Film Forum on November 29, 2015.

                            Would the film hold up?  Having seen it more than three dozen times, and, with advancing age, and the demise of revival screenings, I had to face that this might be my last viewing of it, as I refuse to see it anywhere but on the screen.

                               Well, dolls, it holds up beautifully.  I am not sure the audience we saw it with understood it, but it worked its magic on me once again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 And made me yearn for a more gracious way of living!!!!!!!  Oh, honeys!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Movie Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             Now, girls, I know some of you are going to be disappointed.  After all, I wanted "Carol" as much as you did.  In fact when the New York Film Critics chosen it Best Picture, I had not seen it yet, but thought it was a done deal.

                               But, hons, "Carol" just did not cut it.  It had so many things right, yet something went wrong.  See it for the visuals, and Sarah Pauslon, then go ut and restock your closet, and live your fashion and social fantasies.  Just like I do!!!!!!!!!!!

                                However, "Spotlight" is the Film Of The Year!

                               And not because I am some catholic grinding my ax in glee over exposed pedophile priests.  I, for one, was never abused, so I never had any ax to grind.  And the film is as much a fascinating study of investigative journalism as it is of the issue at hand.  Which is one reason why it works.

                               The other is the film's cast.  Who knew Rachel McAdams could act???????  And what a male ensemble--how often do we get those??????????  With every performer giving an award caliber performance, "Spotlight" will be the film hardest to dole out the acting prizes, come Oscar time.

                                And it is as compelling as a fast breaking news story, and moves at the speed of news being printed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Sorry, "Carol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Here Is The Book Of The Year--The Jane Smiley Langon Family Triology!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Or, as it is more familiarly called, "The Last Hundred Years Trilogy."  Whatever one chooses to call it, this three-in-one accomplished everything to keep me engaged in an emotionally and intellectually stimulating way.  But, then, it is Jane Smiley; why should I be surprised????????????

                              I was even surprised there wasn't a fourth one; I so wanted there to be.  But Jane can only push Time so far, or else she would be going into sci-fi, which is not h er realm.

                             The measure of our lives is, and no one measures better than Jane!  Three For One is my choice for Book Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              I mean, really, New York Times!!!!!!!!!  Get with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Literary Disappointment Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       I had hoped Jonathan Franzen would pull a triple play, with "Purity," which I highly anticipated.  Instead, it seemed to come and go, too.

                                        Maybe because Franzen never realized the Dickensian aspirations he had, because he was getting too muddled in the world of technology. How ironic that a man so down on technology--which I agree with--has hs  novel defeated by so much emphasis on it, in the first place!!!!!!!!!!

                                         I finished "Purity," but it was not a keeper in this house.  Still, I cannot get rid of it, because I could loan it to, wants to read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         Clearly it was an experiment that failed.  Will I stop reading Franzen?  No!!!!!!!!

                                          But his next book had better be a winner, or I might!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Literary Event Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    No matter what the reviews were, I knew I was going to have to read "Go Set A Watchman," by Harper Lee!!!!!!!!!  That's right--HARPER LEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Which is why it was such an event. The author who, for over a half century, had been content to rest on the laurels of her masterwork, "To Kill A Mockingbird," was again speaking in her authorial voice.

                                        I knew it could never equal the first book--what could???--but I knew I had to read it.  My greatest fear was that my love for 'Mockingbird' would be diminished by it.  But, it was not.

                                         Instead, it was an interesting footnote into elements of the story that did not make it into the final work, and into Harper lee's history.

                                         It came, and it went. But there is no denying, future generations, once having read "To Kill A Mockingbird," will have to read "Go Set A Watchman."

                                          Harper Lee still rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The Most Inspirational Person Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            Saints come in all shapes and sizes, and some even walk about the Earth.  Sister Camille D'Arienzo, of the Sisters Of Mercy, is one of them.

                            For the past five years, she has given me hope and courage through her broadcasts.  I felt a call to respond to her plea, this season to socks for the needy, and so my beloved and I sent some. And we got, unexpectedly, a most gracious reply from Sister Camille, with a message about forgiveness.  It sits proudly next to our statue of Mary.  Yes, dears, THAT Mary!!!!!!!!!!!

                           I felt compelled to send her a Christmas card this year, which I hope she enjoyed.  With those elegant earrings, wise words, and encouraging smile, Sister Camille has done for humanitarian work, on behalf of Catholics and non-Catholics, than many in the Metropolitan area.

                            I am not sure how you feel about following Betsy Palmer/Mrs. Voorhees, but know, Sister Camille, you are loved and admired by The Raving Queen and my readers!

                            Blessings on you, in 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Saddest Loss This Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                It is always sad whenever an icon of ours goes, so I was especially saddened by the passing, on May 29, of Betsy Palmer.  I had known her for years as a reliable working actress, but she earned, icon status, albeit unpredictably, for her signature turn as Mrs. Voorhees as the original "Friday The 13th," back in 1980.

                                Betsy was always candid about the film, but came to embrace it, and her iconic status.  Not since Lana Turner has a sweater been such a fashion emblem.  And who can forget her immortal delivery of that line, "I"M not afraid?????????"

                                 Your legacy will live on Betsy, as long as "Friday The 13th" is viewed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  "Kill her, Mommy!  Kill her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The Highlight Of My Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 I cannot look back on 2015--which just happened to be the 40th Year Anniversary of "A Chorus Line"--by mentioning that memorable August 9th evening, with my beloved, at 54 Below, where we unexpectedly had dinner with the legendary Baayork Lee, and saw the Greatest Show Stopper In Broadway History--Donna McKechnie--perform her one-woman show.  And then to be recognized  by Donna; oh, my I am getting faint, just like Aunt Pittypat, remembering it.

                                 So gracious of Baayork and Donna both, saying a great deal about why these pros still endure!

                                   Blessings on you both, for 2016!  May our paths cross again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Stories Of The Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    "How many deaths will it take, till we know?That too many people
                                       have died?"
                                                       --"Blowin' In The Wind," by Bob Dylan

                        Now, it is time to review 2015 on here!  I hate to begin on such a down note; after the last two posts, it may seem like this will be a day of writing about bitches, but, let me assure you, it is not!!!!!!!!!

                        The  November 13 attacks in Paris, and the December 2 shootings in San Bernardino, CA shootings by the Couple From Hell, Syed Rizwan Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were both, in such rapid succession grim reminders of the threat of terrorism, as long as gun accessibility is  so easy.

                          I really thought about the December 14, 2012, Newtown shootings, with innocent children victimized, this would be a wake up call, but perhaps not.  It is the saddest post I will write on this blog today, but it deserves mention.  As long as it is kept in our hearts, and not forgotten, maybe, though I do not expect in my lifetime, such incidents can be eradicated.

                           Yes, these were the stories of the year!!!!!!!!!  But is that anything to be proud of???????????

This Housekeeper Was No Ameila Bedelia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            Even an affluent Chicago suburb, like Buffalo Grove, can have its share of trouble, and Trouble came calling on June 29, 2005, when Pastor Ivon Harris, and his 24-year-old daughter, Sarah, were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

                              They were murdered by a man they had helped-- Russell H. Sedelmaier, a 44-year-old down and outer, from the wrong side  of the tracks, whom they helped by hiring him as a house cleaner.  They trusted him, for years.

                                But, he had a history of robbery and violence, and leopards do not change their spots so easily. On the date in question, he decided to rob the Harrises, thinking them so affluent.  As it turned out, both Sarah and Ivon got home early, disrupted the robbery, and so were used as collateral damage that had to be covered up. But not before they were brutalized, tortured, and left for dead, dying, while still alive, of smoke inhalation, when Sedelmaier set the house on fire!

                                  This is some sick thing!  Imagine, he had more than one wife!  Who would marry this scum???????  Well, we don't know what they look like!  Probably like Mama June!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    The Harris matriarch, Eileen, survived, because she got home late--just in time to see the house in flames, though the sweet dog was spared.  At Sedelmaier's sentencing--where he was expected to get Death--Eileen impressively and magnanimously argued for a Life sentence for him, and forgave him!
Talk about strength of character!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Now, I want to talk about character some more.  As all my girls know, I welcome and answer all comments on here.  Some are laudatory, others vitriolic with anger!  What is interesting to me, is that the most angry, off the wall comments, come from when I do a posting, based on something I saw on ID.  This story I saw on "Your Worst Nightmare."

                                       I get attacked for calling people "trash;" some saying I am practicing hate speech.
Well, to those folk, I say--what do you think THIS guy is, a hero???????????  Are you all dumb???????  I guess  so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Otherwise, you would read other posts on my blog that aren't at all like this. But those might be too sophisticated, for you!

                                          Go ahead; attack me!  I know you will!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           This has been a Public Service message from The Raving Queen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These Two Would Be Rejected As Pig Slop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      When I set out to post the final Bitch Of The Week of this year, I had no idea I would come up with two.

                        Michael Jones, and his plug ugly, White Trash wife, Heather Jones, are charged with murder for, specifically, killing Michael's 7-year-old son, Adrian, and then feeding him to the pigs!!!!!!!!!!!!  I mean, doesn't this beat all, darlings???????  I don't blame the pigs; I blame these two; they are the REAL pigs.  And if someone were to chop up Michael and Heather--and "Good riddance!" if it was done!!!!!--I bet the pigs would have enough sense to reject their rancid flesh.

                        Michael is 44, and Heather is 29.  He has a history of violence toward her, though she looks like she could come back at him,

                          The house was filled with everything from porn films to rat poison.  It was filthy and disgusting, like they are. The pigs' sty was probably cleaner.

                             There were other children on the premises of the nearby Kansas City property; hopefully Child Services removed those abused offspring at once!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             So, we end the year with REAl scum!

                             Judy Garland's Dorothy Gale survived the pig sty.  These two will NEVER survive prison.

                              Inmates have a way of evening the score with child killers!!!!!!!!!

                              So long, you trash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Fascinating Study Of The Despicable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       When I saw Lauren Groff's "Fates And Furies," staring at me in the bookstore, something about her name was familiar to me.  "Of course!" I thought, looking at the jacket.  She was the one who had written "The Monsters Of Templeton," in 2008, which I kept meaning to read, but consigned to my literary back burner.  Well, this would make up for it.

                                        "Fates And Furies," whose title and text is replete with literary allusions and references, but used wisely and judiciously, is the story of the marriage of Lancelot (Lotto) Satterwhite, and Mathilde Yoder.  It starts out as your basic young couple in New York arts scene story--Lotto is an arrogant lug, and Mathilde is some Fay Wray thing who, like Fay, is attracted to gorillas.  She must be, if she marries Lotto.  Although the narrative tone is omniscient, "Fates" is pretty much things from Lotto's viewpoint.  There is tragedy in his past--the suicide of a friend-- and he never makes it as an actor, but becomes a successful playwright, only to die, like the heroine of Kate Chopin's "The Awakening," swimming,  not from suicide, but an aneurysm, at the age of 46.

                                          All of this is nicely done, but kept me asking, "Where is the author going with this?"  My dears, you have to read "Furies," and read it completely, to find out.

                                           "Furies" is Mathilde's point of view.  Again, the tone is omniscient, but she ins not the dumb fay Wray thing of "Fates."  She turns out to be one of literature's newest, and best, psycho bitches, starting when she is four, and pushes her baby brother down the stairs, thinking it will net her more family attention, with him out of the way.  She gets abandoned, instead, and is sent to live with an uncle, whom she mooches off of, then she prostitutes her way through college, with an art dealer named Ariel, and marries Lotto as much for being able to control him as his gorilla attractiveness. Maybe that is why women attracted to gorillas are.  In any case, like Eve Harington, and without Lotto knowing a thing, it is Mathilde (who has changed her name from Aurelia) who engineers his success--practically writing his plays for him.

                                             But chickens come home to roost, and when Mathilde and Lotto's childhood friend, Chollie, cross paths late in life,t he kid gloves come off.  And wait til you meet a mysterious young man named Logan!  Think Oedipus and Jocasta!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              No one--even Lotto's seemingly naive Aunt Sallie and baby sister, Rachel--have a spark of decency in them.  And they all come with agendas.

                                             "Fates And Furies" is a world filled with malice, deceit and betrayal, and I enjoyed every page of it.  But don't be put off by the first part.  It sets thing s up for the psychologically charged second part.

                                               What a twisted mind Miss Groff has.  The bitch in me loved every delectable bite of it!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, and Lotto's mother, Antoinette, is a wonderful piece of work, too.

                                                 Thus ends my book year.  On to other pastures, but one thing is for sure.

                                                  On the basis of "Fates And Furies," I will, sometime this year, be reading "The Monsters Of Templeton."

Old Man Year Runs Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            Yes, dears, today is the final one of 2015, and there is a lot to do on here.  So, Old Man Year better stop soaking, and hit the road--fast!  Because 2016 will be here before he knows it, and then he is history!!!!!!!!!

                             And there is a lot to do in covering the happenings--at least on here--that made 2015 special.  Some good, some bad.  But all interesting.

                             So, off we go!  But mot before wrapping up, with some current designations!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Hopes For You All, In 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       "I only want to talk about the nice things!"
                                          --Bette Davis as Baby Jane Hudson, in "What
                                         Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" (1962)
                       I know just how Jane feels, darlings.  And so I want to wish you all Happiness and Hope for 2016.  May we all look as Vivien Leigh as Scarlett, walking in front of Tara.  I SO wanted to find this shot in color, but I just was not able.  Just like it would be a miracle, if I could fit into that dress.

                         Not to worry!  I will be with you tomorrow to wrap up the year, and then on to another!

                          Oh, and Bitch Of The Week, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!              

What Happened To That Tea With Hayley Mills??????????????????

                                    It did not happen, this year, darlings, and that is the simple truth of it.  But that does not mean it will not, and let me tell you, it would be better if it happened in 2016, because girls, I  know you are not going to believe this, but on her next birthday, April 18, Hayley Mills will be (gasp!) 70!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Can it be possible that my childhood icon has reached such an age?  And what does that say about myself, and others my age, who "grew up" with Hayley????????????

                                     What it says to me is that this would be the year to have that tea, as it would be a milestone birthday for Hayley, and a milestone for me.  Wait till she hears me do "Cobbler, Cobbler!"

                                        So, Hayley , the invite is still on!  Let's wait , though till after  your birthday, in April!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          Ready when you are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy New Year, From Gojira!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Isn't Gojira cute, darlings?????????  He just wants to get in his wishes early, because I know he will be busy tomorrow evening.

                                  And even busier in 2016, as he has one, and possibly two, movies coming out.  So, it was sweet of him to take time from his busy schedule, and wish us all happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    He loves us all, and we love him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"What Are You Doing New Year's??????????? Neeeeeeeeeeeeeew Yeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrr's Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve??????????????"

                              Girls, can you believe it is time again to ask ourselves that question???  Where  has the time gone?

                              Everyone has fun at the New Year's Eve party in "Splendor In The Grass," but the year that follows for those pictured is one of hell.  The only one, not pictured, who had fun at the party, was Mrs. Stamper; she wore a party hat, got rapped among the streamers, and was flat out drunk.  And she survives.
So, let us try and follow Mrs. Stamper's example tomorrow evening.

                              I expect things to be quiet at our encampment.  Maybe we will have some folk in, or maybe it will be just an early movie and dinner.  But whatever your plans, remember what was good about 2015, and hope for the best in 2016.

                               And stay tuned for tomorrow, when I wrap up 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, hons, I am telling you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                Meanwhile, here is that song classic by the one who delivers it best--the late, but always great Eydie Gorme!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How Low Can One Get??????? What Is It With Newark, And Stealing Baby Jesus?????????????????????

                              Nothing is worse than the abduction of s child.  But how about when that child is an effigy--specifically, the Baby Jesus?????????????

                               Have these thieves no shame????????  Every year, at Christmas time, it seems one hears about a Holy Infant being taken from a creche.  But  New Jersey has gone overboard!

                                 Within  certain areas of Newark--what is wrong with that place????--and at St. Clare's in Clifton--Clifton, where I have relatives!!!!!!!!!--there have been  multiple abductions of the Holy Infant.

                                   A saint I ain't, but I have never stopped this low.  To those perps, I say put the statues back, or else!!!!!!!!!!!!  You should be bitch slapped by all the parishioners!!!!!!!!!!  Consider this blog post the initial slap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  I wonder what Roseann Roseannadanna and Mr. Richard Fader, from Fort Lee, New Jersey, would have to say about it????????????????

                                  As for me, this is just another reason why "The Song Of Bernadette" should be shown more often, and be seen by more people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, This Week, I Want To Have Luncheon, Like "Carol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                         You know we all want to do it, girls!  I want to don my French ingenue number, and go to some white linen tablecloth, Fifties style place, with table lamps, and just dine and gossip.   Just lie is done in the movie, "Carol," which, while flawed, as I have said, serves as a template for how we should all live lives of glamour!!!!!!!!!!!

                            But where to go?????????  And who to dine with????????????  Such decisions I have to make!!!!!!!!!  Kind of like Hillary Rodham Clinton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Who, by the way, needs to beef up her glamour if she is going to win,.  She's no Cate Blanchettt!!!!!!!!!  But, she surely isn't a pig, like Trump!!!!!!!!!!!

                             But, girls, remember, if I accomplish this mission, I will give you a full report!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Ta  ta, loves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It Wasn't Exactly "Les Yeux Sans Visage," But....................

                          For those who did not take French--and remember, only the smart kids took French-- this translates into "Eyes Without A Face, which is a 1960 French film, directed by Georges Franju..  Some of us, who grew up in the Metropolitan area, were exposed to it at too early an age, and missed its poetry and artistry. Some of you may recall that, during the 1960s, there was a period when Channel 9, the city's lowest rated station then, would show a reconstituted, dubbed and retitled version  of it, called "The Horror Chamber Of Dr. Faustus."  My first sense of confusion came the first time I saw it, when I realized the title had nothing to do with anything.  And, as a then unsophisticated kid, was pretty disappointed about it.

                         It wasn't until several years ago, seeing the film as an adult, at the Film Forum, that I realized what a haunting, poetic work of art it was.  But not, without its moments of camp--and a bit of lesbianism, which went over my head, years before--as shall be revealed.

                          Pierre Brasseur plays Dr. Genessier, a noted surgeon--until he gets into a car accident, where his daughter, Christiane (brilliantly played by Edith Scob),  is horribly disfigured in her face.  And she had been a beauty, in that French ingenue, borrowed-from-Audrey-Hepburn style.

                          The doctor is understandably riddled with guilt, and determines that he will make his daughter lovely again through skin graft surgery.  But he needs volunteers, or, in this case, victims.  So--get this--he makes the daughter wear a mask, making her look like a female Phantom Of the Opera, and he sends out his attractive lab assistant Louise, played by Alida Valli--yes, dears THE "Valli" from the Forties--to do lesbian pick ups on young girls, who are lured back to the doctor's to become surgical victims.  And if they should die?????????  Too bad; they're dumped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          The pick up scenes are unintentionally humorous, because the viewer knows when they are going to come.  As soon as Louise sets out in her car, a tinkling little theme is struck up on the soundtrack, and she is off and running.  Who knew lesbianism had humor???????  It does here, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          The film has a tragic climax, but visually beautiful ending.  Christiane reaches a point where she becomes disenchanted with what her father is doing, and being imprisoned in a physical, as well as psychological isolation.  So, she sets one of the potential victims free, stabs Louise in the neck, and turns her father's killer dogs on him.  Strong resolve, that Christiane.  Then she walks into a poetic image of birds flying around her, telling the viewer she is done with all this, and telling me that, with that mask, and what she knows about skin care, she will establish the House Of Christiane, in Paris.  She will be her own Estee Lauder.

                           Girls, I am telling you, has any horror film had such a positive message????  I cannot recall when.  But, what has all this to do with me?????????.  I will tell you, dolls, right now.

                            I had cancer surgery, below my left eyebrow.

                            Now, first let me say, there is no word I dread more than cancer.  It killed my maternal uncle, at 51, and my mother, years later, at 64.  But both cases were lung cancer, and both were heavy smokers.  Nevertheless, especially in the face of my mother's death, which has haunted me the rest of my life, I came to fear cancer.  I recall a time I almost walked out on Meryl Streep's film, "One True Thing," because it hit too close to home.  To this day, whenever I see "Sweeney Todd," I sob copiously on the triplet "Johanna," when the song gets to the lyric "If only angels could prevail, we'd be the way we were."  That is because my mother was dying when I first saw the show, back in 1979, and I simply wanted everything to go back to the way it was before she got sick.  And now, when I hear it, I am reminded of that awful time.

                             So, on November 11, when the dermatologist took some tissue for a biopsy, I thought nothing of it.  When he called a week later, and mentioned cancer, I was riddled with fear.  But inside, I felt stoic.  I felt, with my background, it was inevitable.  I also labored under the fear, once it is present in your body, cancer comes back to bite, until it gets you.

                             On December 8 (a day of good omen, because it was the Feast Of The Immaculate Conception, and the 61st Anniversary of the Broadway opening of "The Bad Seed,") I had the procedure.  They covered my face, localized me, and, of course I kept my eyes shut.  So, while undergoing this, I thought of myself as Christiane in "Eyes Without A Face."  You know me!!!!!!!!  It just came to me, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            The only really bad thing about the experience--and neither I, nor my beloved, were really prepared for this--was the waiting.  We were there eight hours.  Understandably, you have to wait for the lab results to come back negative, once they have removed skin.  But what was grueling was waiting on the slab to get things done, because Tuesday was the only day for Mohs Surgery, and others were being worked on simultaneously.  And I am just too Anna Wintour, darlings.  When it comes to surgery, I do not like to share.  It is all about me.

                             Someone once told me if one has to get cancer, skin cancer is the best to get, as it is so easy to treat.  And Fran Drescher beat an even worse form of the disease, which she recorded in her book, "Cancer, Schmancer."

                               I feel lucky to be able to discuss this with you all.

                               And I am thankful Valli did not come to pick me up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, December 28, 2015

The Murder Of Todd And Annette!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 I have not written about murder on here in awhile, sweeties, but that does not mean it is not out there.  I had seen the Todd and Annette story earlier, on another ID program, but when I saw a recent airing of it on "Your Worst Nightmare," it got me to thinking.  Two innocent, sweet kids; the George and Emily of their community.  The heinous cruelty of this crime is disturbing, but so is the idea of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Few exemplify this better than Todd and Annette.  And they paid with their lives.

                                 This is what happened--

                                 Todd and Annette were actually Todd Schultz and Annette Cooper.  Annette was the stepdaughter of Dale Johnston, with whom she lived, and he was one of the first suspects in the case.

                                  Apparently, Todd and Annette had had a fight, around September 24, and went for a walk in a cornfield, in Hocking County, near their town of Logan, Ohio.  They were out for the day, making up, having a wonderful time, in what should have been a safe p[lace for the young lovers.

                                  But Doom was out to get them.  Wandering that same area were two drugged out pieces of scum, Chester McKnight, and Kenneth (Kevin) Linscott, in their twenties, and high on whatever they could get.  They crossed paths with the couple, and Linscott decided, "I'm gonna get a piece of that."  So they ambushed the couple, shot Todd in front of Annette, then chased her down, raped, and killed her.

                                  As of September 24, they were a Missing Persons case.  But what no one had realized was that, at Linscott's insistence (he had no remorse, at all!!!!!!!!!!) they got weapons, re turned to the spot, and dismembered the bodies.  Ten days later, on October 4, 1982, their torsos were found in the secluded corn field.  Nice, huh??????????

                                  Both men are in jail, awaiting the Death penalty.  They are scum, Linscott especially, though McKnight admitted to doing much of the killing and dismembering.  When I hear about scum like this, it gives me pause about the Death penalty.

                                    I mean, none of us should decide who lives and dies. But that is what these two did, and being high is no excuse!

                                    So, how does one rectify that????????????????????

Just When You Thought Television Was No Longer Annoying.......

                        .......Along come two new Connie and Jack commercials for Consumer Cellular.  That Connie; you can just tell she is some controlling bitch.  And Jack; from this picture, he looks as though he has lost weight, and not in a good way.  More like from illness.  Well, I guess that is what living with Connie has done to Jack.  She'll kill him, and collect all the residuals.

                                Why are these two so popular on the airwaves?  It is as unfathomable as Donald Trump.  This is the most self absorbed married couple I have seen, since George and Martha in "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?"  And I have no doubt Connie could easily play Martha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 As if this isn't bad enough, Geico keeps airing that annoying Peter Pan commercial, featuring this obnoxious kid named Thomas Barbusca, who is just some 12-year-old Italian kid, from New Jersey!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, he will be aging out soon, and that will be the end of his career.  But get that ad off the air, please.

                                Or, at least let the actress playing Joanne slap his face!  You can tell she wants to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Death Of A Musical Theater Legend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             When my father and I saw "A Little Night Music," back in February of 1974--I was all of 19, can you believe it???? I can't!!!!!--I knew, when I saw Patricia Elliott as the Countess, that I was seeing a Musical Theater Legend.  And, once her soaring, resonant voice, which taught me a lot about vocal projection, launched into what became my favorite song in the score, "Every Day A Little Death," I was hooked--on her, musical theater, everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            It is remarkable to  know now that this was her Broadway debut.  And she won the TONY Award for it.  So, it was with sadness I learned of her passing on December 20, at  the age of 77.  Like another 'Music' costar recently deceased, Victoria Mallory--with whom she duets on 'Death'--she found a career niche in soap opera; to be specific, "One Life To Live."

                              But any self respecting Theater Queen will always recall her as Countess Charlotte Magnus Malcom, and her clarion voice that taught many of us how to sing.  Let me see if I can find this vocal gem.

                              'Night Music' has suffered its female losses.  Hermione Gingold--well, she was 74 when she did the show, Victoria a few years ago, only in her sixties, and now Patricia.  Yet Glynis Johns still fares well into her early nineties!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Here are Patricia and Victoria!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Listen, and learn, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elena Ferrante Is Not Quite What You Think She Might Be, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        These novels have been staring me in the face for years, at my local bookstore, but I would pay them no heed.  From the design of the covers, they looked, to me, like Italian chick lit, and I had no interest in reading that!!!!!  Then, when the fourth, and final, volume of The Neapolitan Novels made The Times Ten Best List this year, it gave me pause.  And when a very literary coworker, whose taste and intelligence I highly respect, recommended the above book, I could not ignore this author any longer.

                                         Having read "The Days Of Abandonment," I cannot wait to read more Ferrante.
When Mario walks out on Olga, his wife of eighteen years, for some young chippy, she begins a downward spiral that, at times, is as disturbing as viewing Roman Polanski's "Repulsion."  And Ferrante has a brilliant translator, Ann Goldstein, which makes things all the better.

                                           To be sure, Olga does a turnaround, and regains her psychological footing. But reading her journey is depressing at times, inspiring at others, because Ferrante's writing style is not chick lit, but emotional exploration of her characters, which makes for a read so satisfying I could hardly stop reading. I finished this one quicker than I actually wanted to.

                                             I am now sold on Elena Ferrante, and after  reading one of her books, you will too, girls!!!!!!!!!!!  She plummets the depths of our experiences!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              Who would have thought?  There are surprises  out there, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Kate's Latest Is Impressive, But.................

                              I must be getting jaded, girls.  I love Kate Atkinson, and when I heard her newest, "A God In Ruin's" was a follow up to her wonderful "Life After Life," I was excited to read it.  I also kept hearing about its heartbreaking ending, and kept readying myself for that, as I read the novel.

                               "Life After Life," told in non-linear terms, was the story of Ursula Todd, of the Todd family.  In the same vein, "A God In Ruins" is the story of her brother, Teddy.  Teddy's story is just not compelling, or maybe the novelty of the first book has been lost, but I smell a series.  I think more Todds will be coming forth to tell their stories.

                               Which is not a bad idea.  I have enjoyed all of Kate's detective novels, and I am sure I will enjoy more of the Todds.  But it cannot be overlooked that  "A God In Ruins" does not measure up to the previous book, and I think the fault is Teddy's more than Kate's.  Her writing, as always, is solid and impeccable.

                                I was surprised to see this book did not make the New York Times Ten Best List.  It would have made mine, girls!!!!!!!!!  But, then I hold to a higher standard than The New York Times, and I have ego and nerve enough to say it.

                                 Kate Atkinson may not have written the Book Of The Year, but, in one episode, she writes what is the Fictive Sequence Of The Year, and it had me howling with laughter so much, that people on the subway must have thought I was a nut having some kind of psychotic break.  Well, it wouldn't have been the first time.

                                 What happens is this--

                                  Teddy's daughter, Viola, who blames him for the death of her mother, Nancy, and is estranged from him, marries a loser artist named Dominic Villiers, who, of course, is from a wealthy family, so he can afford to be a loser artist.  After they produce a son, named Sunny, Dominic dies in a questionable suicide.  Sunny, who has been living with Teddy, and loves it, is removed to the Villiers estate, and forced to live with his other set of grandparents, where the hate runs both ways. His mother, Viola, abandons him, running off to join a commune.  Sunny is reduced to a psychological wreck, because, I am telling you, Grandma Villiers is several steps removed from the granny of "Flowers In The Attic."  If "A God In Ruins" is ever filmed, get Louise Fletcher on the phone immediately!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   The reader would like to see Grandma Villiers get it, and boy does she!!!!!!!!  They hire this fag tutor for Sunny, whom they insist on calling Phillip, and the abuse is such that, during lessons, Sunny cannot go to the bathroom, and he reaches a point where he cannot control himself!!!!!!!!!!!  Wait till you hear this one, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   Because he feels he will have an accident, he runs from the tutor, and makes it to the living room, where he knows he is going to lose it.  He decides it is better for him not to soil his pants, so he pulls them down, and, just in time, Granny enters, to see her grandson taking a dump on the expensive rug!
Of course, she has more concern for the rug than the child, so she calls him all kinds of names, but Sunny has had it, and, in retaliation, pushes Granny against the wall, screaming at her, "And you are a cunt!!!!!!!!!!!!"   After that, of course, Sunny is swiftly back with Teddy!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  This was the highlight of the book!  It is unforgettable, and while I would never dump on the rug, I wouldn't take crap from some Louise Fletcher bitch wannabe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Now, about that heartbreaking ending.  For me it was like, "ho hum."  A group of children, whom the reader has gotten to know at length as adults throughout the novel, are reading a children's book, at Christmastime, musing on their futures, which the reader knows by now will not be rosy.
I took a breath at its poignancy--until I realized the same idea was accomplished, and with even more precision and poignancy, in the Sondheim musical, "Merrily We Roll Along!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                    Still a not so great Kate Atkinson is better than, say, Jodi Picoult!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  There is enough in "A God In Ruins" to make it worth one's while, but it is not the masterwork it should have been.  But read it for that sequence!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  And get me Louise Fletcher, on the phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Nut Was Hard To Crack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Anyone who has been on here, reading me long enough, knows I am no lightweight, when it comes to culture.  I am very up front about when I cannot understand something.  For example, there are two movies whose comprehensibility still elude me--"2,001--A Space Odyssey," and "Last Year At Marienbad."

                             Now, add to these Mark Morris' "The Hard Nut."  Or, at least the second act of it.

                              I was all set for a spoof of "The Nutcracker." I could have handled that.  And the first act is pretty straightforward--an updated version of the party scene, in a twentieth century house, guests walking in like they just came from the East Village, partners simulating sex, gender switching, and a slutty teenage daughter.  I loved her.  No house should be without one.

                              I also loved the evil, psychotic rat, and how the tree growing sequence was accomplished by the old fashioned use of breakaway scenery; something I had not witnessed in a long time, and had forgotten how wonderful it is when put to good use.  As it is here.

                               But once this ballet gets to the dream sequence of Act Two, all sense goes out the window.  There is no variation on Mother Ginger--a major disappointment for me--but the story concocted is so confusing; something about a baby who is disfigured, and can only be made beautiful, by someone cracking the hard nut.  At least, this is how much I got out of the story.

                                It is beautifully danced, costumed and choreographed.  The set design actually blew me away--a mixture of styles from Georges Melies to David Lynch.  But to what purpose I found myself repeatedly asking.  And so did my beloved.

                               I thought, from the title, "The Hard Nut" would have gay male connotations.  They are hinted at, but I think Morris spread himself too thin in trying to parody a classic.  Parody at its best has to make sense, and this one does not.

                              A person would have to be nuts, to sit through this one, again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, It's Time To Talk About "Carol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                           I went to this film with such anticipation, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I expected "Carol" to be the Picture Of The Year!"

                            I am afraid it's not.

                             The most important thing I learned from this film is--if you are going to be a lesbian, you had better be a lipstick lesbian, and you had better look good, like Cate and Rooney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Let me tell you, for a lowly Fifties shop girl, Rooney's Therese has some wardrobe!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Todd Haynes, to be sure, has given this film a cinematic style.  The period recreations are fabulous; this was an era when men and women knew how to dress, and behave socially.  Though they were not socially enlightened, which was one of the points of the Patricia Highsmith novel, and one the film misses.  For one thing, the whole story is done as a flashback, which worked against things, for me.  For another, during the custody hearing, Carol delivers a histrionic speech that is almost a plea for gay rights--something no one would be voicing, in 1952.  Plus, if she were trying to gain custody of the child, this would have ruined it for her.  And it does.

                                So, darlings, I was not blown away by this film.  I admired the gorgeous visualizations, the exquisite details--places I would love to dine, clothes I would love to wear, houses I would love to be a wife in--but beyond these surface pleasures, "Carol" is disappointing.

                                And so, to a degree, is Cate Blaanchett.  To be sure, her customary acting skill is on display, but I think she is done in by Haynes' direction to play Carol less enigmatically than she is in the book.  In other words, she is too "Hollywood-ized."

                                 However, there are times when one is blown away.  And that is whenever Sarah Paulson, as Carol's friend, ex, and confidante, Abby Gerhard, is on the screen.  Her entire performance should merit an Oscar nomination, and the scene where she confronts Carol's husband, Harge (wonderfully played by Kyle Chandler) should net her the Oscar.  Whenever Sarah is on the screen, the film comes to life in a way it does not when is absent.

                                  And Rooney Mara makes Therese her own.  She is so annoying in the book; Rooney gives this young ingenue type some spine, much in the same way Olivia De Havilland did when playing Melanie in "Gone With The Wind."

                                  Everyone is as good as can be, except the one who needs to be, and that is Cate Blanchett as Carol.  To be sure, this will go in the books as one of her best performances, but, had Haynes been truer to Highsmith's portrayal of her, it could have been truly iconic, and central, the way it to be.

                                  But, see the film for its visual gorgeousness, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Because, once you have seen "Carol," you will throw out that over thumbed copy of "The Well Of Loneliness!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                  "Carol" proves lesbians can be pretty, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can You Believe It, Girls???????????????? No "Song Of Bernadette???????????????????"

                       Now, girls, of course I know the Nativity and the Tree symbolize Christmas.  And for many--most, really--the Christmas movie of choice is either "Miracle On 34th Street," or "It's A Wonderful Life,."  But, for me, of course, who has to be different, it is "The Song Of Bernadette," whose spirituality and artistic religiosity round out any holiday!!!!!!!!!!!!

                         But there was no sign of it, on any of the hundreds of channels to choose from!!!!!!!!!!  Would you believe one station did a 24 hour marathon of "A Christmas Story"--showing nothing , but that!!!!!!!!!!!--so why couldn't the same have been done with "The Song Of Bernadette????????

                        What is wrong with programmers?  "The Song Of Bernadette" should be shown every chance it can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           But, that was the least of it!!!!!!!!!  Our bus trip down to PA--on Bieber, a company whose name means "Bitch"-- was from Hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            We were forty five minutes late, getting out of Port Authority.  First, you have to understand--with the exception of us, darlings!!!--the  lowest of New York life forms travel this bus.  Drugged out sugar brats, crack ho' moms who spend most of their afternoons passed out on couches in project developments, while their husbands, who don;'t work, go out to basketball courts, looking for a kid to beat!!!!!!!!!  That is is the sort of trash you have riding this bus, the only way for us to get to the destination we need--Norristown.

                             So, just with the clientele, there are problems.  But, additionally, we had a young inexperienced driver, who could not handle their moronic stupidity.  It seemed a group of people thought the bus was stopping in Reading, PA, and it was not.  The driver clearly informed them of that, saying he needed seven people to get off the bus, and he would take them to the Reading bus, and see they got on.  But no one would move, and it took pulling teeth to almost calling security, before this was done!  I mean, can you believe it??????????????

                               But, wait, it gets better!  A woman hysterically thought someone had stolen her suitcase from under the bus, and her husband got up, and delivered a dramatic monologue, about how he dreamed this would happen, there would be trouble on the trip, and no one was going anywhere till the suitcase was found!  So, we were imprisoned on the bus by this nut, and the male ingenue driver couldn't handle the situation.  It took two enterprising and compassionate young people to help the riled couple out--and the suitcase was where it should have been, after all.  But, in the meantime, there was a hysterical exodus of passengers worried about their own luggage!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, my God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              So, believe me, some "Song Of Bernadette" would have been welcomed!

                              But, once more, we were all together, and things went rather smoothly from there. My centenarian father made it into the house without any mishaps, and chowed down on everything .  The children behaved superbly.  Santa was good to all.

                              And we remembered other Christmases, as the elderly tend to do.  Yes, dears, in the words of Joan Walsh Anglund, I have reached that point!  Give me a rocking chair and quilt!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              I hope your Christmas was as fun and event filled, with no journeys from Hell!!!!!!!!!!

                              But, at least the trip back was a breeze!  The travel always reverses in variation every time on this route!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              So, that was the Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!  May we have "The Song Of Bernadette" next year!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Krampus, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          Krampus wants me to tell all of you how honored he has been to be a part of the Christmas festivities on here.  He hopes he gets invited back next year, so what do we tell him?????

                             "Yea, Krampus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                              Take a well deserved rest, Krampus!  It has been some year for you, what will naughtiness the world over, a big Hollywood movie, and more popularity than you are used to having.

                                And, of course, he is a part of our own holiday family, since we have our own Krampus doll!!!!!!!!!!

                                 You will see Krampus again, I am sure.  Meanwhile he,  as well as I, wish you the Merriest of Holiday Seasons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And a Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Is The Ultimate, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        Well, the Advent Season is drawing to a close.  It h as been fun, sharing Christmas music with all of you, and , of course, my traditional ending song is that most dramatic of all carols, "O Holy Night!"  The deeply reverential melody, the dramatic lyrics that can be enacted, it is the closest thing, lambs, to Jennifer Jones, as Bernadette!!!!!!!!!!!   I am telling you.  When the song gets to "Fall on your knees....," everyone wants to, I can tell you.

                        And tradition dictates Andy Williams!!!!!!!!!!!  Forget Mariah Carey, and Josh Groban!  His is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          You will feel as if you are present at the Nativity, darlings!!!!!!!!!!

                           Merry Christmas To All!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Krampus Gets More Excited, As The Holiday Draws Nigh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     You can bet, girls, he is anticipating how pleased Saint Nicholas will be, when he sees all the naughtiness Krampus has rounded up!!!!!!!!!!!   It is something Krampus just LOVES to do, and he is so good at it.

                                     Because Krampus is essentially good hearted.  He wants the world to be a good place, not a naughty one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       Like when he toasted those Nazis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Getting Holier, Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          One of the most beautiful, and reverent, carols is "O Little Town Of Bethlehem."  Darlings, it is so quiet and moving, but it sends the message of the Lord!!!!!!!!!!  So, before the big windup, I am including it, for its spiritual beauty.  But whose track to use???????????

                              Here in Nat "King" Cole doing his tender rendering of this song!  A great solo piece!
                              Happy Holidays, everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lots To Do Today, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           We are about to kick off to my sister's home in Pennsylvania!  So, that means I will not be on here, for awhile.  So, that means I have several days to cover in one.

                            Yesterday, I survived my Day Of Trauma, thank God!  But it was also the Shortest Day Of The Year, which means that, now, they start getting longer!  We built up to one thing, now are building to another!

                             I have to do my Advent Salutations on here for December 23, and the 24th, as I will not be here, on the latter.  So, let's get started, girls, because, once all that is over, I have so many books and performances to report on!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              2015 is not over, yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Time To Hear From Krampus Himself, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          Here, in "A Krampus Carol," the lovable Krampus speaks for himself, showing how truly good he is, being aligned with Saint Nicholas, and shows how the two established the tradition of meeting at the Beer Garden, after their duties.

                          Both earn it, I can tell you!  And with this being a big year for Krampus, due to his rising popularity, I think it is time we heard the big fellow speak for himself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            We love you, Krampus!!!!!!!!!!!!


Getting Bigger, As We Get Closer, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        Is any carol more comforting and soothing, than "Silent Night?"  I don't think so, which is why IO am including it now.  The sere melody, the imagery--"round yon virgin mother and child/holy infant so tender and mild!!!!!!!"--it just makes you gasp at its serene joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Which is more what the celebration of Christmas is about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        So, "Silent Night" is the emblem for today.  But whose rendering?  Just about everyone has done it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                           Hard to top BARBRA, isn't it??????????  Haven't heard from her, all month, so here she is, doing this classic from her classic  "Christmas Album."

                            Peace, everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

                            Hard as it is to believe, girls, the way I was taught, today is the first day of Winter, and tomorrow is the shortest day of the year.  Which makes tonight the longest night?  Make the most of it, sweeties, whatever you do.

                             This is one season where the song "Winter Was Warm" is more than applicable; it is  a living reality.  I understand Christmas Eve day, the temperature could go as high as 70?  What is going on?  Now you know what it was like for actors in 40's Hollywood, making Christmas films!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              The Longest Season is here!  May it be a comforting one for all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!