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Monday, July 31, 2017

Oh, My God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! July Is Over Already????????????????????


                                       Can you believe it, darlings.  Like the song says, "the Summer knows."  I haven't yet had times to warm myself on "the sands on which I lie."   God forgive me, for quoting Michel Legrand, so I will switch to Freddy Cannon.

                                          I gotta make the most of what remains of Summer.  "Time to lay out in the sun, get some beach tan, beach tan, party on the run........WHOO!!!!!!!!...June, July and August."

                                         It has been a productive month, on this blog.  I have completed my "Cold Case" project, and now I begin my Independent Bookstore Project, which take me beyond Summer.

                                          And I cannot wait to see this David Berkowitz documentary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          But, for those who need a reminder, let me bring in Freddy again

                                           See you next month, dears!!!!

"Less" Than I Expected!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                            Sometimes my enthusiasm runs rampant, darlings.  When I read Christopher Buckley's glowing review in The Times of Andrew Sean Greer's latest novel, what it dealt with, and that I had read his earlier "The Confessions Of Max Tivoli," I felt I just HAD to read "Less."

                                             While it dealt tangentially with a failed novelist, the world of literature, and such things dear to me, what surprised me the most was it was not the laugh-filled experience Buckley made it out to be.  It was insightful and, at times, downright philosophical, in a downbeat, almost Joan Didion, kind of way.   I had a hard time getting through it, not for lack of writing skill, but because it was not conforming to my expectations.

                                               Now, maybe Buckley and I just have different senses of humor.  Mine is on display here most of the time, dears, so one knows what one is getting.  And I do not blame either Buckley or Greer.  "Less" could end up being one of the more noteworthy books of the year, it can be admired for its structural brilliance, and yet, the reader, as I did, may come away with the feeling that, for all its merit, he/she really does not LIKE it, all that much.

                                               I have to do a bit of wondering, darlings. With Ms. Kakutani dismissed, and her not liking the restructuring of the Times Book Section, does such restructuring require reviewers to go out and sell book?  Because, it seemed to me, that is what Buckley was doing.  I am not denying his palpable enthusiasm was genuine, enough to have me seek this book out, but did he not see the downside to this book, or was he just blown away by all the intermittent cute and pithy phrases that would pop up now and then, as if to justify the book's humor?

                                                I congratulate Mr. Greer on a worthwhile book.  Maybe if someone else had reviewed the book, or Buckley could have been more objective, the reading public could have been alerted to what was really going on within these pages.

                                                A gay man's midlife crisis could be funny.  Here, it is achingly poignant.  Not what I was looking for.

                                                For all that I have championed Jonathan Franzen on here--and still do--I am the first to admit that "Purity" disappointed me.

                                                 I think Mr. Greer set out to write what he wanted, and did.  With Mr. Buckley, intentional or not, it was a case of the reviewer misleading the reader.

                                                   Happy Reading, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The First Stop On My Bookstore Tour--Books Are Magic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                How often do I get into Cobble Hill?  Not much.  I had heard, for months, about this store, run by author Emma Straub, and have longed to check it out.  I did so yesterday, having realized that, if the independent book store is to survive, one cannot just frequent The Strand and Three Lives.

                                 First, I would like to commend Emma for her bravery,  So many of us, myself  included, were devastated by the loss of Court Book Store.  I had not realized Emma had worked there, so when I heard that she opened Books Are Magic as a response to the community's loss of Court, I immediately cheered for her.

                                   I love the name, because, for those of us who care, books ARE magic, and do magical things for many, from keeping some sane, to luring others to areas not otherwise explored.

                                   But I was on a bigger mission.  I wanted to check out their stock, buy some books in conjunction with something else I am working on, as well as getting a general feel for the place.

                                     I loved the arched windows and entrance; so much more inviting than plain rectangularity.  There seemed to be a lot of light, so books could be seen prominently displayed in windows.  I like to peruse a store's window first, to get a feel for what they have, and to see if there is enough to lure me in.  The books were luring enough, but even more were the floods of people passing through the doors.  I had to wait in a mini-line, before I could get in.

                                      The store has much going for it.  Light, space, and an excellent fiction collection.  For those who prefer non-fiction, it gets its shrift, though my David said he did not see a biography section.  Could it be in among the others?  Because one of the books he found for me was memoir.

                                       I am on a mission of reading all the works I have not read, by the group of writers, once known as the Literary Brat Pack.  I have read a good deal already--"Bright Lights, Big City," (Jay McInerney), "Less Than Zero," "The Rules Of Attraction," and "American Psycho" (Bret Easton Ellis.)  I may even have read his "Glamourama," though I cannot quite recall.  Or was that McInerney?  See the problems these writers cause?  Maybe that is why they are out of vogue, and why I do not desire to re-explore their earlier works.  Jill Eisenstadt, too.  The only one of the group who still rates is Donna Tartt!  And I need to read Tama Janowitz.

                                      At the same time, I am wondering if there is a cluster of writers who are the Brat Pack of today?  I have some ideas, and will post them, at the appropriate time.  And where is the place to hang out?  Nell's is gone, and the Odeon might be passe.  Has the online world replaced the status of being seen at such places, if any still exist????????????????

                                      The store also boasts a Children's Section, the size of which would make any elementary school teacher, or school librarian, envious.  I did not search carefully there, because my interest in children's literature stems more from the past than present.  I do not troll kiddy lit as a rule; I do with toy stores, but only because I am trying to find the Boggle game.

                                       Their staff is the best of young, hipster, literary Brooklyn, and all were abundantly helpful.  I wish the staff could be larger, but financial constraints prevail I am sure.

                                         They did not have what I was looking for--"Less," by Andrew Sean Greer.  But it is on its way.  Nevertheless, I told one of the staff, a girl who reminded me of a hipster version of Celia Keenan-Bolger, what I was doing, and what I was looking for.  She spent a great deal of time recommending books to me, as well as helping me find them.  I don't know her name, but I am assuring her now, I will return.  Many books she chose I had already read, which impressed us both, but , at the end, I came away with--
                                                          1. Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson
                                                          2. Swell, by Jill Eisenstadt
                                                          3. Scream, by Tama Janowitiz
                                                          4. Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead
                                                           And, of course--

                                                          5. Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub

                                             How could I not?  Besides, it has been on my radar for some time.

                                             All in all, I loved Books By Magic.  It is charming, the staff are friendly and knowing, and there is a real sense of community among the patrons, one I hope to get to know in future visits there.

                                               So, that is my fist book store stop.  Who knows next, or when?

                                                Meanwhile, I have a lot of reading--and writing--to do.

This Is The Big Summer Read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                          Just when I thought I would never read anymore Holocaust stories, along comes one well worth reading.  Now, "The Nightingale" may not make the list of great works on this subject, like Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Enemies: A Love Story," or William Styron's "Sophie's Choice," but, for this summer, at least, it is the big, sprawling "Gone With The Wind" type read all us girls, including me, have been waiting for.

                                            The author can write, though not on a par with the aforementioned.  What she delivers is a sweeping, driving, narrative, about two sisters, Isabel and Vianne, their father, and loved ones, and how the war tears these three apart.  Isabel goes to work for the French resistance, while Vianne starts out as a cowering simp, and evolves into a woman stronger than even she could have imagined.  There are a couple of surprises near the end, that I never saw coming, and one scene, of separation, had me devastated.  After all the loss the sisters faced, must there now be this?

                                             The title refers to Isabel's nickname used on her missions to get pilots across the Pyrenees, and across the Spanish border.

                                              I devoured this book in a short time.  So, I am telling you, pull up a chair, have some tissues on hand, and prepare to be absorbed in this book.  It is the MUST read of this summer, not easily forgotten.

                                               Hope springs eternal, in literature, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here Is What Happens When You Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                            Well, girls, yesterday David and I commenced my Independent Bookstore Project, which I shall report on.  But, first, we walked along Smith Street in Brooklyn, which I want to tell you is an experience.

                             It may not have been, had we gotten off at an earlier stop--like Carroll Street.  But we got off at Bergen, and I want to tell you, for the first couple of blocks it was pretty dicey, like walking through a war zone.  Or the East Village, in the Seventies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             During our sojourn, we heard this wonderful dialogue exchange--

                             "Well, she's certainly no saint!"
                             " She called me, from prison!"

                             Now, if I were so inclined, I could take these two remarks, and run with them.  The things one inadvertently picks up are inherently fascinating.  You don't hear talk like this, all the time.

                              As the street began to get more business-y, I felt comfortable.  We stopped at a charming Danish eatery, and had a very light lunch.

                              Would  I come back to this nabe, again?  Maybe if I got off at Carroll Street.

                               Or is there was an event big enough to lure me there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Independent Book Store Project!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                If there is one thing I care about, in this town--and I know I am not alone--it is the independent bookstore.  When I am not in my apartment, I live at Three Lives and The Strand, but it has occurred to me there are more stores at large than that, and attention should be paid.

                                 Now, I don't know if this is going to make me into a bibliotheque Julie Powell; really, I have not thought that far ahead.  But, my plan is to intermittently visit a different indie store, of course purchase a book, and get a sense for what makes them different from the rest, and write about it here.  I plan to start with Books Are Magic, in Brooklyn, and finish with The Strand and Three Lives.

                                 So stay tuned, as I do my "New York Literary Pub Crawl Of Indie Book Stores!"

                                  Maybe I will see you there, or get you to go there!

                                  We're going to have fun, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What Does This Mean To You???????????????


                                   No, darlings, I am not being facetious,  I know what it means.  More to the point, you know I love outrageous pics, and this one is great, but what should I do with it?

                                   I first thought of using it as a logo for my Bitch Of The Week column, but that would do an injustice to the real bitch being honored.

                                    Maybe when I get a response to some of my ID comments from the nut jobs who post them, instead of responding, I will simply post this.  One picture does say a thousand words, girls, and this particularly says two.

                                     Frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn to whom you give the finger.  But there is absolutely NO excuse for anyone's hair to look like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      Make sure yours looks fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Homosexuality In "Sleepaway Camp?" You Better Believe It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



                               There was a point I wanted to bring out about this film that I thought would fit the Meg post, but I discovered it deserved its own.  And that is this 1983 film's take on homosexuality.  And the questions it raised for me, on my recent viewing.

                                 I will be frank.  If you have never seen this film, stop reading, or else a lot of surprises will be ruined for you.  If you choose to read on, remember, I warned you!

                                  Everyone talks about the final scene in this film.  Many, including myself, go into it knowing what it is, but nothing can prepare one for the actuality of seeing it.  Secret revealed or not, the final image is a guaranteed freak out!

                                    What raised my eyebrows the first time, and gives me a  kick out of it when I view it again, is the nature of homosexuality in the film.  It is almost--pardon me--camped up!

                                       Of course, during the opening scene, before the boating accident, when the man pictured above calls to Peter and Angela's father, John that they have to meet "the Doc" (who turns out to be Aunt Martha!!!!!!!!!) it is not out of line to wonder who this guy is, and what is he doing here?  I know I did!

                                      Later, when Angela and Paul are making out on the beach, and she has conflicted thoughts about sexuality, the flashback image of two giggling children comes on, followed by what they are giggling over--John and his lover making out, in bed.  I love the contrast of the giggling kids, and the lovey dovey couple; this is not porno glam, and the homosexuality is so G-rated, it could be an outtake from a Disney film!

                                       But this time around, I had to wonder about something.

                                       Aunt Martha is a diabolical, but lovably eccentric bitch, who changes Peter into Angela, destroying a child's sexual identity, saying how much she has always wanted a little girl. To this day, I am not sure even cousin Ricky knew.

                                        However, in her opening scene, which is almost a monologue, Aunt Martha relates that her husband left her.  Could the man who is John's lover have been Aunt Martha's husband?  Did he leave her for him?  If so, one can understand why, but one can also understand Aunt Martha's motive for revenge, once John was out of the way.

                                         It is a whole new way to look at this film.  Many may disagree with me, or accuse me of over analyzing a piece of trash--but it such glorious trash, darlings!!!!!!!!!!--but I am now convinced the lover in the opening is Aunt Martha's ex-husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   What better way to end this post than Felissa Rose's haunting Angela stare?
                                    Look at it long enough, and it goes from annoying to chilling.  Great work,
Felissa!

                                    And what I also want to know is--what ever happened to Willy Kuskin, who played Mozart???????????????????

Oh, My God! Michiko Kakutani Is Leaving "The New York Times?????????????"


                               The news hit me with a shock, as I read it this morning, girls.  After 38 years--my entire adult life, if you consider this goes all the way back to my mother's death.  And it has taken me about that long to learn to pronounce and spell her damn name.

                                 Unlike the writers who both feared and revered her, I had no relationship with Kakutani.  I did not realize we were the same age, which is why The Times should pick me up for her job!  But, if any of them read what I write on here, I bet they would be VERY afraid to do so.

                                  She told it like it was.  She was an excellent writer, so I enjoyed reading her reviews.  I did not take them seriously, or agree with her all the time.  But, whenever a new book came out, I did wonder what she would eventually say about it.

                                   According to "Vanity Fair," she is taking a buyout, because she does not like the way The Times has restructured its Book Section.  That last part has a familiar ring, doesn't it, darlings????????  "'Et tu?' 'New York Times'?"

                                  Ironic this news appeared days after I posted musings on the 1980s Literary Brat Pack--some of whose works I am currently exploring, and will reveal my findings when done--and the lack thereof of one today.  Maybe, with Kakutani gone, and her replacement settled in, a new Brat Pack or Literary Scene will emerge.  Make sure I am on the cusp of it, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   The end of an era?  The start of a new one?

                                   Only The Times will tell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

An Annual Summer Tradition Is Finally Given Its Due!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                    Summer would not be complete, for some of us, without a visit to the Spumoni Gardens restaurant, in Brooklyn.  So, last Saturday, the girls and I trooped out there to chow down on the best this place has to offer.

                                     I am telling you, the cars were lined up, double parked, just waiting to get in, something I have not seen since May 16, 1975, when "A Chorus Line" opened downtown at the Public Theatre.

                                      The level of flowing testosterone was as high as the olive oil, judging from the array of chefs and waiters on display.  Too bad they were not on the menu!  But, I wager some of them could be had...for a price? Hmmmmmmmm?  Wink, wink!

                                        On an older episode of "America's Test Kitchen," which I watched recently, this place was featured.  Why it does not get more commercial airing is beyond me.  I mean, it is better than Jaiya!  I would love to do the Ethnic Babe's role here, saying, "You have GOT to try the Rigatoni Bolognese!"  Next to Manducati's, in Long Island City, it is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        My guess is they are so good, they do not need to advertise!!!!!!!!!

                                       And the parade of people on display.  It is better than a Fellini movie!  So many over aged Anita Ekberg wannabes, the girl friends, the mistresses, the gangstas, the garden variety Brooklyn tramps, who fervently believe tastelessness in dress is art!  Well, maybe for them, it is!  After all, what else do they know?

                                        It takes a year to recover from a meal here!  But it is worth the visit!!!!!!!!!!

                                         It is open all year round, but it is best in the Summer!

                                         Abbondanza, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls, You Have To Read The New Maria Semple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                      Toward the end of Semple's novel, the mother of the story's lead character, Eleanor Flood, is dealing with a cancer diagnosis.  It is here that my mind was blown.  There is a passage written, where, to deal with this horror, the mother,  a former Broadway actress, copes by repeatedly listening to Shelley Plimpton singing "Frank Mills," from "HAIR."  Plimpton's name is never mentioned, but the song title and show is, and anyone  who knows "HAIR" knows the definitive rendition of this song is Plimpton's.

                                        And, of course, many of you know I use this song for comfort, as well, And that I perform it, each September 12, --where else?--in front of the Waverly.  Excuse me, IFC Center!

                                        This blew my mind.  But so did the book, a mixture of Joyce and Virginia Woolf.  Imagine "Ulysses Meets Mrs. Dalloway," and you have the idea.  Only, for those with not enough time or skill to read them, Semple's book is much more accessible, yet not lacking in insight.

                                          Eleanor Flood is a woman who seemingly has it all--a hot, hunky surgeon husband, named Joe Wallace, an 8-year-old son (who might grow up to be gay!) named Timby.  She is a former animator from New York, whose environment she thrives in, who has moved to Seattle, because of her husband.  And, like all of us, she has come to question those choices.

                                          It is remarkable how Semple manages to balance vast worlds--Manhattan, Seattle, the animation scene, the publishing/literary scene, Time going back and forth, and still tell a very cohesive and compelling story.  When this novel ended, I wanted to know more.  Especially about Timby.  He is a bright kid; will he start reading "The Member Of The Wedding" in fourth grade?  I want to find out.

                                       Finally, a book that restores my hope in fiction.  Like the Joyce and Woolf classics, it is all covered in a single day.  Which means she could have used the Beatles song, "A Day In The Life."  But I am thrilled she used "Frank Mills."

                                         Let's hear more from Eleanor and Timby, Marie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         Finally, my apologies.  I SO wanted to end this post with Shelley Plimpton's rendition of "Frank Mills."  I found the Off-Broadway version, but it is at too fast a tempo.  So, if you want to hear the song, go on to the YouTube site, and find it there!  Shelley Rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even Bitches Can Be Over Aged!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                             For the first time, in quite a while, I watched the 1983 horror classic, "Sleepaway Camp."  Years ago, I made Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould) a Bitch Of The Week.  But, as I watched this film closely, it occurred to me this film has more than its fair share of bitches.  It is a camp (in both senses of that word) bitch fest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Now, the winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is Meg, from "Sleepaway Camp," superbly played by Katherine Kamhi.  She was just 19 when she did this film, but, let me tell you, Meg is getting a bit long in the tooth to be a Mean Girl.  Maybe that is why she is such a bitch.  I mean, she does align herself with resident Camper Bitch, Judy, played by Karen Fields, sporting the longest side pony tail in film history!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Kamhi's performance makes Meg interesting.  It is clear she is slowly evolving, due to maturity, from Mean Girl to Control Freak.  If Meg had hit the workplace, she would have been the perfect Careerist Bitch for the Millennial Age!  And/or the Yuppies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 But how could she be so tasteless and stupid to sleep with camp owner, Mel!
Ewwwwwwwwwww!  Grossness, plus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               However, she never got that chance.  Because, like all movie bitches, Meg gets her comeuppance.  Hers is the film's most grisly death; not quite as bad as Kevin Bacon's Jack in the original, 1980 "Friday The 13th," but, certainly on a par with that.

                                Meg is a grade A bitch, which is why she wins this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award.  It is a pity the screen writer did not give her some famous lines.  Most of those went to Karen Fields as, Judy.  Meg would not have liked that, at all.  Though she is memorable, in the dinner scene, for saying, of Angela, "If she were any quieter, she would be dead!"

                                Meg is all about Attitude.   If you know one of these types, steer clear.  But not to worry; they will get theirs--just as Meg did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meet My Friend, Bocci!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                  Girls having been on here long enough have seen Cujo, heard about Stinkie, Roxie, Seamus, and, of course, Miss Chloe!

                                  Now it is time to meet my friend, Bocci.  She is a white, orange crested cockatoo, and she is the prettiest and sweetest bird.  She is owned by a pair of brothers (I think)
who live on 77th Street, just off of Third Avenue, in Bay Ridge.  The same owner(s) of Roxie, and our late, little lion, Stinky.  Following the latter's passing, Bocci has become more and more dear.

                                 Bocci and I have our own little routine.  When I pass the house, if she is out, the owner will put her on the far right railing, of Bocci will move herself, and crawl right up close to me.  She will then make soft, cooing sounds to me, while I tell her how pretty she is, and, once hearing that, Bocci puts on quite a show, preening for me. uplifting her head feathers, like a Ziegfeld show girl, showing me that gorgeous orange crest.  She turns, poses, and sometimes spreads her wings, which also show orange.  Then she stands on one claw, and extends the other out, as though waving to me.  I wave back, while talking to her.

                                Much as I love Bocci, I don't want to push it.  The owner has warned me she can bite, and look at that beak.  It could do some damage.  But I feel Bocci gets it; we understand one another, and respect our boundaries.

                                  Once she showed off for me, going to the mail box, and removing mail!

                                   Love to you, Bocci!  Maybe you should work for the U.S. Postal Service!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Now, This Book Snapped Me Out Of My Funk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                  Although "Vinegar Girl" is Anne Tyler at her most....Anne Tyler, I kept being reminded of the movie "Moonstruck," as I read it.

                                   Even though the novel is a re-telling of Shakespeare's "The Taming Of The Shrew."  Tyler not only updates it superbly, she makes some characters more interesting than they were in Shakespeare.

                                   The play literally was a taming, with the macho Petruchio, trying to bend the shrewish Kate, to his will.  Here, Petruchio becomes Pyotr, Kate's father's brilliant lab assistant, and with the father doing a kind of back handed Dolly Levi, he gets them together.

                                     Pyotr is less sexist ogre than clueless romantic.  Charming.  What was more fascinating was the character of Kate's sister, Bunny.  I do not recall Bianca being that dumb and vapid.  And, of course, she ends up marrying a personal trainer, and living in New Jersey.

                                      The novel follows the Shakespeare trajectory, without being overly literal.  Tyler stick to things, but has some fun along the way.  And she provides the reader with much fun.

                                        When I heard about this whole Shakespeare update thing, I was skeptical.  Someone has even done "King Lear," which should not be, as nothing surpasses Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres."

                                          But Anne Tyler does a great job.  And makes me curious about some of the others.

                                          If you are stuck with the blues, or a Summer rut, this book is a sure cure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pass On This One, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                      It's not so much that it is unreadable; it is quite readable.  It is just that it is look too many other dystopian works I have read.

                                      Obviously, this is 2017's big Literary Theme, but I am getting a bit tired of it.  Until the type of book comes along that breaks this thematic mold, I am staying away from books of this type.  And, let me tell you something, should this work turn up, at year's end, on The Times Ten Best List, I will be as shocked as anyone on here.

                                       I really have nothing to say about this book, except to say I should be thanked for saving all of you the trouble of slogging through it.

                                        Just doing my job, dears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, This Is An Issue Of TIME I Would Have Loved To Have Seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                     There is no question that Betsy Palmer, whom everyone on here loves, should have received extensive media coverage, for her iconic portrayal of Pamela Voorhees, in the original "Friday The 13th," back in 1980.  I must salute the person who designed this cover; it could not be more perfect than it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       Poor Pamela!  She just wanted someone to watch Jason.  That damn horn dog , Barry, and that slut, Claudette!  They got theirs!  But the others really did not deserve it, having had nothing to do with Jason's death.  Especially Janine Taylor as Marcie, forever remembered for those pink panties, and her Katherine Hepburn speech from "The Rainmaker."

                                       Yes, Pamela should have been featured on TIME!   And, now, see for yourselves, she is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                 

"A Spinster Aunt Is An Excellent Person To Select Presents For Young Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


                           Darlings, when I found out that "Now, Voyager, " which I have not seen in a long time, will play the Film Forum sometime in October, this line just popped into my head.

                             Once I was in this position, girls.  So, this blog post is a rally for all out there who are struggling with spinsterhood--gay or straight--to set your sights, and go about your business, as if you owned the world.

                             Let's face it, Charlotte had it rough from the start, having sprung forth from the vaginal teeth of Gladys Cooper!  That is enough to do in anyone!

                             But, helped by an eyebrow job, and an Orry-Kelly wardrobe, Charlotte flung off the mantle of spinsterhood, and, girls, I am telling you, you must, too.

                               The scary thing is, in just ten years, Davis really would look like this, when she played a town librarian in "Storm Warning."

                                 But beauty products were not so abundant, then.  There is no excuse to look this way, now, unless one is just pathetic.  There is a lot of that out there, though!

                                  I know none of my girls are that way!  Always look your best!

                                  Spinsterhood may not be empowering but they have more taste than most.  Hence those nieces' gifts!
                              See this film in October, and be inspired, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Kindest Thing I Can Say About The 2017 "Beguiled" Is It Reaches A New Level Of Screen Awful-Ness For This Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                           From the first time I saw the film's trailer, I knew what Sofia and Company were going for.  Either Sofia, or someone on her staff, had seen, and been captivated, by Peter Weir's 1979 melodrama, "Picnic At Hanging Rock."  That film was also visually stunning, and featured groups of school girls, dressed impeccably in white, who never got mussed, even while on a bug-filled, woodsy picnic, beneath an Australian mountain.

                                            Here, the white was a visual metaphor for sexual repression, and the mystery of what went down up on that mountain is subject to many interpretations, but I stand by mine.  The girls were consumed by their own sexuality.  Save for that survivor--or was their more than one?--the vanished girls, literally, devoured one another.

                                             Well, Sofia Coppola has dressed everyone in white for this film, but the end result is like a Vanity Fair photo shoot.  Oh, and let us get some important points out of the way, first.

                                                Nicole Kidman no longer has a face to act with.  She is Botoxed beyond belief, and the way her character psychologically unravels is, for each progressive scene, her eye make-up becomes more severe.  This in contrast to the consummate Geraldine Page, who could chill with just an upturn of her eyebrow.  Kidman, from the neck up, is immobile.

                                                  Oona Laurence is no Pamelyn Ferdin!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As Amy, she is a bit large, anorexic, and, like her costars, is simply Central Casting's idea of what dissipated Southern women should look like.  Ferdin's Amy was almost the moral compass of the film, and turned things on its head, with the pivotal death of Henry, the turtle.  Here, the scene is just thrown away.  And Laurence lacks Ferdin's acting chops!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                   Actually, much of the story's juices are tossed away.  The inexcusable omission of Hattie, the Black character,  is matched by Sofia's presumption, and I hate to say she may not be too far off the mark, of the present-day audience's lack of historicity, by having a title explaining, at the start, that the film is set in rural Virginia, three years into the Civil War.

                                                    Where was Darleen Carr??????  Probably hiding her face in shame, if she had the tolerance to sit through this mess.  You can be proud, Darleen and Pamelyn, of the work you did in what was far better a film.

                                                      I had hoped Colin Ferrell, who can be a hottie, would bring some tension to the Clint Eastwood role.  Not only was Clint a better actor in the original, he was better looking. Except for an Irish brogue, Ferrell, like Elle Fanning, walks through the film in a fog, apparently having been directed that their only job was to pose nicely, and look pretty for the camera.  If the girls are at a Vanity Fair photo shoot, Farrell is at one for either that or GQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                       Someone please tell me, when did Kirsten Dunst get so old?  I know she is no longer a little girl anymore, but she looked ready to play Katie Nolan in "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn," someone beaten by life, who still rallies, rather than a repressed Southern spinster.  Oh, and by the way, Miss Coppola, who gets blamed for the script, too, breaks a cardinal rule of Southern literature--sexually repressed Southern spinsters do NOT find sexual fulfillment.  Someone should have referred her to the works of Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, or Truman  Capote.  But does Miss Coppola even care?  I doubt it!

                                                        Adding insult to injury, she claims to have been drawn to the story by giving the women more empowerment.  How, Sofie?   By having them pose in tableaux vivantes??????????   Do you even know what that means, dear???????????????????

                                                        It took me so long to write this post, because I did not really want to.  Now, with the flood gates loose, all the vitriol comes out.  Now, how to end it.

                                                        The only reason to see this "Beguiled" is to steer one to the original.  And to serve as the best example, now extant, of lesser directors remaking movies that were better in the first place.

                                                         Beguiled?  Simply boring, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Vastly Underrated Film Is The Dark Underbelly Of "La La Land!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


                                     It was that recent episode of "Cold Case" that led me to this film.  In tracking down "Targets," I came across this online.  I had always wanted to see it--why I did not when it was first released is a mystery to me, as it was, and is, right up my alley.  Maybe I was too busy, that same year, going gaga over Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees in "Friday The 13th."

                                      Seeing "Fade To Black" made me wonder what ever happened to Dennis Christopher, who, incidentally, is my age.  He exploded onto the scene in 1979's "Breaking Away," then did this film as a vehicle of his own, but what after that?  Was he in "Chariots Of Fire?"  If he was, I have forgotten, for, save the haunting theme, I have blocked that film out.

                                       In many ways, "Fade To Black" is similar to the "Cold Case" story.  Eric Binford lives with his Aunt Stella in a Freudian house of horrors, with only his love of movies to fall back on.  I get it, but someone should have told Eric, or the writer, that having the character chain smoke and have butt-filled ash trays all over the room is a fire hazard, with all that film material around.  I guess writer/director Vernon Zimmerman was too busy getting his film references accurate, though I spotted one glaring error.  If one is going to make-up Dennis Christopher as a Bela Lugosi inspired Dracula, why show Christopher Lee in the film clips?  Maybe it was a rights problem.

                                      Nevertheless, I bet Dennis Christopher, the set and costume designer, and, most of all, the make-up crew, had the time of their lives making this film.  As critics said at the time, it is an ordinary revenge story, but, with its inventive background settings of sleazy Hollywood, the brilliant make-up, and Christopher's empathetic performance, it should have been one of the major films about Hollywood.  When "La La Land" eventually hits the revival circuit, at places like the Film Forum, this should be shown with it.

                                        Surprise of surprises!  This film features a--you'll never believe this, girls!--a baby-faced, hot looking, Mickey Rourke, as workplace bully Richie, who gets his, in a brilliantly shot noir sequence, where Eric Binford guns him down--impersonating Hopalong Cassidy!!!!!!!!!!  Though horror characters are mostly used, Cassidy, and Cody Jarrett, James Cagney's brilliant acting turn in 1949's "White Heat," are prominently featured.

                                         But my favorite sequence is the one that redoes Richard Widmark pushing his mother down the stairs, in the 1947 classic, "Kiss Of Death."  As one of the screen's underrated bitches, Aunt Stella, played by Eve Brent, just about steals the show!  Looking like an obese Elizabeth Taylor wannabe, especially with that wig, it turns out she has her own back story.  She was a Hollywood hanger-on, a promising dancer; no Donna McKechnie, certainly, just a dime a dozen in Hollywood, especially in the Forties and Fifties.  What Eric does not know is, she is actually his mother, who, though she resents having given birth to him, and blames him for the accident that put her in the wheel chair, still lives with him, and has a quasi-incestuous relationship with him, via some nightly back rubs she makes him give!  Oh, honey!  No wonder this kid is guaranteed to be messed up!

                                        Aunt Stella's malevolent glory is displayed early on, when she speaks her first words to Eric--

                                        "Eric!  Get up!  Well, lookie here, Mister Smart Mouth fell asleep
                                          with his nose buried in the screen again!  Your one-eyed monster
                                         is gonna soften your eyes, much less rot your brain!  You spend
                                         all your time daydreaming, and watching those silly movies on
                                         the TV, and on your projector."

                                        What a hateful bitch!  I was ready to rank her up with Shelley Winters as Rose- Ann D'Arcey in "A Patch Of Blue."  Actually, Aunt Stella is not quite that bad, but her words really resonated for me.  You see, my father had two uneducated sisters, my aunts, whose husbands were distinctly blue collar, and, once I reached adolescence and it was clear I was not going to follow the family program, said pretty much the same words to me.  And, along with the movies, I actually read books, seriously and scholarly.  So, I can relate to Eric, in a way, just as I could to Paul Shepard.  I wish I  had his make-up ingenuity!  The Dracula drag is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          Everyone in this film pretty much gets their comeuppance--and so does Eric.  The confrontation with his boss unintentionally echoes the famous Ernest Borgnine scene in "Willard," but minus the wit and humor.

                                          Maybe the film was too gimmicky for a mainstream audience.  Or maybe only the more cinematically attuned would get it.  I know I did.  And, as the film really did fade to black, itself, a thought struck me.

                                           Eric wouldn't have had the emotional problems he had, if he had been raised by Aunt Ida!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                           Aunt Stella is the one in blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do NOT Take This Challenge, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                        "A matchmaking site for suicides.  It was bound to
                                          happen."--Kathryn Erbe, as Alexandra Eames in
                                          "No Exit" on "Law And Order, Criminal Intent,"
                                            2005.

                                          Recently, girls, I wrote about that episode.  In it, a Mr. Smythe, played by Jason Antoon, runs a website called "Terminal Decision," for those looking for ways to end their lives. It is how the victims in the opening, as well as Edie Elverson, found their way to their respective deaths.  I had heard of The Hemlock Society for years, but, naturally curious, after viewing this disturbing episode, I hunted around to see if a real life version of "Terminal Decision" existed.
In a way, like Eames, I really should not have been surprised.  Because, in a sense, it does.

                                           When I first heard the phrase "The Blue Whale Challenge," I thought it was some kind of cyber shaming of obese people.  This would have been bad enough, but things sometimes go from bad to worse, which is the case here.

                                              The challenge turns out to be some kind of online game, where the participant is encouraged to perform a series of injurious acts on themselves--fifty, to be exact.  Each act accelerates in severity as the numbers increase, culminating in suicide.

                                              Parents of teens should beware; this sounds like something directed at their state of impressionability and vulnerability.  However, in Wichita Falls, Texas, on July 4th of this year, a 32-year-old woman, Natasha Cadena, hanged herself in her home--and her mother Sandy cites this medium as being responsible.

                                               On July 13, in San Antonio, 15-year-old Isiah Gonzalez, took the challenge--and his life!

                                               What is going on?  There are more questions than answers

                                                Why would some sick thing create such a thing?  This is pressing Freedom Of The Press way too far,  just like the site in "No Exit."

                                                  The instructors operate under anonymity, but they are real people.  How to track them down, and shut this down?

                                                   The points of origin are said to international.  Why?

                                                   Now, some of you may ask, what about simply resisting the challenge?  Well, for those of us who ask that question, it is a no brainer; I , for one, would simply not tune in to such a thing.  But those affected are vulnerable to such influence, and are highly at risk.  This site finds them as much as they find it.

                                                   If any out there think this is a joke, watch the "No Exit" episode online, and then reread this.  Think of all the recent suicidal tragedies, dating back to Tyler Clementi.
And then ask yourself how such sickness can be perpetrated.

                                                   But, more important, how it can be stopped.

                                               

"Cold Case" Comes Up With An Almost Classic, In Its Seventh Season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                      Looking at the show, retrospectively, it was apparent the show was winding down.  Like 'SVU,' only handled better, "Cold Case" started delving into the personal dramas of some of its lead characters, and they even brought on a tough, officious FBI gal, named Diane Yates, who reminded me of when Sharon Stone appeared on 'SVU.'

                                        However, with the two parter, "The Last Drive-In," and "Bullet," the show delivered what was to be its final burst of glory.  This was a brilliant amalgamation of "The Last Picture Show," John Steinbeck's "East Of Eden," Bogdanovich's earlier film, "Targets," and the famous Texas sniper, Charles Joseph Whitman.

                                         Let's start with the title, which echoes Bogdanovich's 1971 film.  William Shepard owns and loves this drive-in, as he does movies,  However, he is a vet with serious PTSD, and really does nothing about it.  His mantra is "Nobody Cares."  He feels society has done him wrong, though he does suffer from poor business acumen, and feels his drive-in is a last ditch effort to maintain a world he has seen enough change in, and wants to preserve something of what he feels is truly good.

                                          I get it.  I loved drive-ins as a child, and so much of what I loved then has vanished.  People are forced out of jobs they would rather not leave, because the generation replacing them does not want to be reminded that eventually they will be, too, nor do they care about the knowledge such folks can offer to the workplace.  I get it.

                                           As early as 1980, a series of killings begin, and the "Cold Case" team, with FBI agent Diane Yates, who has a personal stake in this not yet known.

                                            The first victim, Barry Jensen, was killed, in front of his girl friend, at the drive-in's annual showing of the 1955 classic, "East Of Eden."  By the time of the ending of this installment, I knew who the real killer was--Bill Shepard's son, Paul, now almost 45, and whose murder career, at the drive-in, began when he was sixteen.

                                              Now, Paul was irrational; I grant you that.  But I sort of get him.  His mother died when he was young, and father and son were left to fend for themselves.  Here is where the "East Of Eden" aspect comes in.  Cal Trask grew up feeling his father Aron, did not love him.  Paul's father is so overcome, mentally, he cannot really give Paul what he needs.  He passes on his love of movies to him, a good thing, but also the mantra that "Nobody cares," which will backfire on Paul, later.  Just before the first murder, William Shepard commits suicide, by gun fire, and Paul finds the body.  Already traumatized by his upbringing, the kid is sent over the edge.  The father leaves a note, once again citing those who have done him wrong.  Shortly after that, Paul goes to the drive-in, and things explode.

                                              The drive-in which has fallen on hard times, but Paul will not give up, is showing "East Of Eden."  At the film, are a young boy named Barry Jensen, and a girl who will grow up to be Diane Yates.  You might say her career got its start here.

                                                 Barry goes to the concessions stand to get some drinks and food. He crosses paths with Paul, who derides him for missing the artistry of the movie--and he is right!  The two get into something of a physical fight, with Barry, not knowing what it will trigger, uttering the words, "Nobody cares."  If that had been me, I would have just decked him, but Paul walks out, defeated.   Later, he comes back, as a sniper; cue in Charles Joseph Whitman, and "Targets," and shoots Barry dead.  Barry deserved to be decked for being stupid, but not killed.  Paul, were he smart, should have split that small-minded burg, while he had the chance.

                                                  In the present day, twenty seven years later, agent Ryan Cavanugh, who is working with Lily on the case, discover, with Diane Yates, the decomposed body of William Shepard in the basement of the cabin he owned, and Paul still uses.  Paul now runs a video/DVD store, and, with streaming, Netflix, and whatever, he is in the same position as his father--the world is just moving too fast for him.  I get it.  As Cavanugh says, the closer offspring of suicides get to the age their parent was when the deed was done, things can get dicey.  And this is where Paul is at.  After laying low, running a business, marrying a woman who loves him, and wanting to start a family, to atone for what he felt he missed, the otherwise good hearted Paul goes psycho, after an interval of twenty-seven years, killing not only those who did his father wrong--though the guy who made snide remarks about the store and movies deserved it, and Paul did not touch his sweet dog!!!!--but those who did him wrong, like the
fertility clinic worker who offered Paul no hope of being able to conceive a child.  With his father's mantra of "Nobody cares" understandably ringing in his ears, Paul goes on a rampage.  He is almost taken down by Diane Yates, who has her own psycho moment when she wants vengeance for Barry.
But, in a surprising turn for this show, a serial killer is taken alive.

                                                 J.B.  Blanc gave a moving performance as Paul Shepard, and, while his deeds were inexcusable, the world did do him in, in a way, with his poor upbringing (abuse) leading to violence (animal hunting) resulting in a serial killer.  I get his feelings; what Paul needed, that both he and his father did not get, was a more constructive way of releasing them.  Paul was on the right track with a loving wife, but he needed more than even she could give.  He needed professional help.

                                                  Which is why the creators, I believe let him live.  There are also two ghosts seen--Diane sees Barry, and Paul sees his father, happy his son has been apprehended, may get some peace, and brings the whole "East Of Eden" thing to a close.

                                                      A last blaze of glory for "Cold Case," and one I could relate to.

                                                      I may not be a serial killer, but I will say---

                                                      Don't denigrate us artistic types.  We don't deserve it.

                                                       As for what the denigrators deserved, well I handled things the old fashioned way.

                                                        I let Time do its work.  It always does.

Let's Start Light--With Beyonce And Mme. Tussaud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                 Now, girls, you know I just love Beyoncé--but really!

                                 This whole controversy goes way beyond what they call "white" washing.

                                  Beyoncé was at her peak when she played Deena in the 2006 film, "Dreamgirls."  But that was eleven years ago, and let me tell you, with all the chowing down she has been doing at Burger King, Beyoncé could not even fit into the costume pictured, or any of the ones she wore as Deena.

                                   If the Beyoncé statue is to be fixed, the hips have to be enlarged.

                                   Oh, yes, because,

                                    "I seen Beyoncé at Burger King,
                                      I seen Beyoncé at Burger King,
                                      I seen Beyoncé, at Burger King.

                                      And she was eatin'.
                                      Huh?
                                      And she was eatin'.
                                      What?
                                       And she was eatin'.
                                      Oh."

                              Beyoncé has made Burger King iconic.  Which has done wonders for the company, but not her figure.  One more Whopper, and she will be doing a bus-and-truck tour as Effie Melody White!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               So, if Beyoncé is to be made accurate, enlarge those grease and fat engorged hips!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 And dress her in a Burger King uniform!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Another Reader Joins Us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                   I see the follower indicator is at 58 today, which means a new reader has hopped on board.  I welcome you warmly, as do all my girls, and hope you enjoy, or find interesting, what you read on here.  Great, as always, with morning coffee.

                                  Between doctor appointments, and emotional ups and downs, it has been hard to keep up, this week.  I relish the time when I do write, because it puts me in a realm where I feel at peace, even if I am writing about the most grizzly things,

                                   Which I have to warn you--there will be more coming that is grizzly, but then we can look forward to the cultural milieu of the Fall.

                                      Enjoy these pages, and let us all welcome out new arrival, with this blog's unofficial theme song!

                                       Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't Let This Baby Faced, Sociopth Serial Killer, Fool You!!!!!!!!! His Youth's Gone, And He Is Out On The Street!!!!!!!!!!


                                  On Halloween--October 31, 1985, Joseph Fordham, at sixteen, hunted and killed 11-year-old Mary Stiles, in Baytown, Texas, near Houston.  This sick kid, whose sister was a friend of Mary's, which is how he most likely got the idea, was linked also to another killing of another same aged child, a girl, in an adjacent town.  Which proved he had not only killed, but he would kill again.

                                   He was convicted, and given a twenty five year prison sentence.  This was bad enough--far too lenient.  But what happened was worse.

                                    Fordham was released after eight years, due to Texas prison over crowding.

                                    Mary's older sister, Carrie, now a journalist, got in touch with Fordham's grandmother, who helped her keep tabs on him.  Soon enough, he was on the lam, found by investigators in a hotel, where the adult man now tried to kill himself.

                                      If they hadn't found him, he would be gone, now.  As it is, let us hope he is off the street.  Permanently.

                                      This last event happened in 2014.  If Fordham was 16 in 1985, he would have been 45, then.  To journalist Carrie Stiles, he revealed a bit of remorse.  When asked why he wanted to end his life, he replied because the punishment for what he did to her sister, was not long enough.

                                        Which caused Stiles to forgive him.  You are better than I am, Carrie.   I would be wondering about the cold comfort dished out.  Was it calculating?

                                          Even if not, Fordham deserves to be behind bars permanently.  Who knows what triggered him to kill, when young?  It only indicates he could be triggered, again!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Rest In Peace, Mary Stiles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!