Thursday, November 30, 2017
All months come to an end, darlings, even my birthday one, November, which is filled with the spirit of Musical Theater. And, I dare say, establishes some kind of record, because this marks 80 plus posts for this month, and I am not sure, even with the past Decembers over the years, I have done that much. I could be wrong. All I DO remember is that one December 31--I cannot recall the year--in summarizing the events of that year, I set a record by writing 19 posts in one day!
Whether that will be seen again can only be hoped. As for November, it was certainly exciting with a birthday celebrated, dinner at Harry Cipriani, books to read and keep reading, (The Times Ten Best Books Of 2017 List came out this morning, and don't get me STARTED; it will take days before I can actually process and write about it.)
November was a nice month. May December be even nicer.
Because after that, begins a new chapter for us all!
I have special plans on here, for December, which I will share with
Till then, girls, it's been ducky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey, I haven't shared a dream on here, lately, and like most of the nicer ones, it was about the theater. Though, having recently listened to the Broadway "Sound Of Music" children from 1959 sing the title song, I thought one of my dreams would be ending up on stage as one of them--hopefully as Kathy Dunn as Louisa, or the late Marilyn Rogers as Brigitta.
The Winter Garden, until "CATS," always stood for quality. The record is still unblemished--BARBRA played there in "Funny Girl," in 1964, Angela Lansbury was "MAME" in 1966, Sondheim's "Follies" opened there in 1971, and Liza did a stint there around 1973, or 1974.
So, the bar is still high. Hence, my dream.
I was walking along the street, behind the Winter Garden, where I saw the stage door. Now, I know, in reality, "School Of Rock" (ugh!) is still playing there, but in my dream the place was empty. I saw a worker lounging around, told him my obsession, asking if I could walk onto the Winter Garden stage, and just stand there, gazing out for awhile. This being a dream, my request was granted, and the next thing I knew I was walking through the stage door.
I emerged on the left side of the orchestra, and took a seat in front, positioning myself, like BARBRA at the opening of "Funny Girl," and said, with enough resonance to echo throughout the theater, "Hello, Gorgeous!" Then, with the Holidays coming up, and, with all the timing of a seasoned trouper, stood backstage right, as the Overture to "MAME" played mentally in my head. When it was over, I entered from stage right, and, as soon as I hit the performing area, began singing "MAME's" opening number, "St. Bridget."
That done, I stood center stage, stared out, and even though the house has a 1,532 seating capacity, up on stage, it did not seem large, at all. Of course, it was empty.
I then followed up with "The Music That Makes Me Dance," from "Funny Girl."
And then I woke up. so sorry, I did not have time to do something from "Follies."
But now, I can say that I have played the Winter Garden!
Or can I?
If only life could sometimes be a dream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Remember when the Ice Capades would play, each year, at Madison Square Garden, back in the Sixties???????? And those great posters of the leggy women on skates, pointing upward? How I wanted to be one of those women, and be able to do things like that with my legs. These days, I thank God for allowing them to just get me out of bed.
Which brings me to "Holidays On Ice," by David Sedaris. It is so....David Sedaris. It has two standard favorites, the now classic "Santaland Diaries, and the Dunbar family Christmas letter, where the Vietnamese refugee--or grifter--they take in, comes to the Christmas dinner table, dressed in a stringed bikini, and sits on the oldest son's lap! Did this give ME some great ideas for Christmas dinner, this year! Thanks, David!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I also loved "Dinah, The Christmas Whore," which managed to evoke the spirit of Dickens and still be completely David Sedaris. It must be a riot at their house.
This is a perfect stocking stuffer, darlings. It will get people to read, and is not at all complicated.
But don't let the title fool you. There is no mention at all of Sonja Henie!!!!!!!!!!!!
See what I mean, darlings????????????????????
Yes, girls, we have, all too quickly, it seems, come to that time of the year.
Only 25 days till Christmas. The countdown begins. And I have no idea
what I am getting anyone.
It's not like I have oodles of money, but I can get a few baubles. I have tried to talk David into us making craft gifts, for everyone, inspired by Amy Sedaris, but David is not too keen on the notion--though Baby Gojira is--and my crafting ability amounts to the skill of folding a piece of construction paper evenly in half.
So, that means some shopping will have to be done. Which I hate.
I guess it will be gift cards again. What else can you get for folks that would seem to have everything.
If this were the best of all possible worlds, I would like the gift of a week's stay at the Chateau Marmont, in LA, while I test for some roles, preferably on "American Horror Story." As well as explore the Cecil Hotel.
I mean, I am not greedy. Am I?????????????????
Happy Holidays, everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The first question I have about this episode is who the hell are Melora Walters and Joanne Going, as their performances as the Linwood Sisters, Laurel (Walters) and Leah (Going) livened up an otherwise dull episode, because, when it came to the one-on-one scenes, poor Melora, having no one to play against, had to do all the work. And she rose to the occasion superbly.
I wish more had been made of Going as Leah. Because, the minute she entered the story, I saw what was going on--Laurel was acting out killing her sexually abusive father, with a bar pick up as stand in, because she was jealous of Leah, who she felt was loved more, because the father chose Leah over Laurel.
Laurel is pretty screwed up. But so must be Leah; even though she became a high price lawyer and all, I would have loved to have known her back story, and picked away at the issues. These two sisters have a rivalry to equal Jane and Blanche Hudson, because, while Leah may be fucked up, she, nevertheless, managed to become the more successful of the two! Why? That is what I would like to know.
But 'SVU' is only interested in playing things fast and easy, not psychological exploration. The more I watched Melora Walters play Laurel, the more she reminded me of Natasha Lyonne, as Gia Eskas in the 2011 episode "Educated Guest." That one involved Gia being hospitalized for mental problems, an uncle who had raped her since the age of 14, and two sisters living next door to each other, one played by the wonderfully malevolent Carrie Preston, who was faking cancer to get attention....oh, it was just wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am sure the executives of this show sat Melora down, had her watch "Educated Guess," pointed to Natasha Lyonne as Gia, then said, "We want you to duplicate that."
Which she did, wonderfully. Trouble is, like much of this season, it has all been done before.
Another doggie downer that I am sure Joan Didion could have written drunk, and have it come out this way.
Hey, Dick Wolf, why don't you just give up, already??????????????????
It was precious girls, simply precious! And brilliant the way it referenced the diverse likes of Richard Matheson, Charles Dickens and Frank Capra. And, like most Christmas specials, it was NOT maudlin or cloying. It was an Amy-dote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't know how far in advance this show was written, planned, or filmed, but I could not help noticing the brilliant parody of the Richard Matheson story, "Prey," written about in a post on here, recently, with Amy, like Karen Black, giving it her all. I would like to think someone on the show has seen this blog, but the concurrence of the two things was just too close. I don't think things on this show are done THAT fast. Not with the kind of quality this show has.
The Dickens trope was so cute, with Amy peeking out of the window in her hat and Scrooge jammies. She is simply adorable!
And Patty Hogg as a librarian? Believe me, after some I have dealt with over the years, she would be an improvement to the profession!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I wish I could show you a picture of Amy grappling with the Voodoo Doll! You will either have to take my word, or see it for yourselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Amy, you've done it again! A perfect Christmas show--even without Neil Patrick Harris, or The Rockettes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is not from the Christmas show, but I love the Christmas theme. It looks like a Veggie Tree, made from Kale and Shrimp. Hmmmmmm......I wonder how long it would last (and when it would start to smell?) if put out as a decoration??????????????
Love you, Amy, and Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For starters, dears, I have never liked Prince Harry. Sure, he can be dolled up, but put him in rags, and I swear he would look one step up from the gutter, with no trouble at all!!!!!!!!!!
But that is not why I think Meghan Markle should not marry him. In my previous post, on Matt Lauer, there was a question I never asked, and which many have, but I will ask now--
Who will be next? By that I mean, who will be the next man to be accused of allegations of sexual misbehavior????????????????
I can give you two answers. Michael Feinstein and Prince Harry.
It doesn't take much looking at Harry to tell that he is a big old pussy hound. Already, there have been accounts of him, in youth, cavorting naked at sex parties. Do you think such behavior has stopped? Or will?
Meghan, get out while you can. I know you are Catholic, but have you seen "The Song Of Bernadette?" I am telling you, it is actually possible to be a princess, without marrying British royalty. Just look at me, darling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Again, just look at Harry. He is destined to go sexually groveling in the gutter his entire life. So, Meghan,why allow him to have his cake, and eat it, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Make this pig squeal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, take a good look at that face! The smugness! The arrogance! He is not sorry for anything he did. He only regrets being caught, and losing it all.
Let me tell you. Ever since he arrived at NBC, there was speculation about Matt Lauer. Back in the day, I knew someone who actually worked at NBC, and while the word on Katie Couric was that, while she was portrayed to the public as "America's sweetheart," to those having to work with her, she was "America's **nt!!!!!!!!!!!"
Matt was a different story. Undeniably good looking, and thought by many to be "hot," he was the object of many gay men's fantasies, with hope and speculation on the possibility that Matt was gay. Albeit a Great Big Closet Case.
When he married Annette Roque, in 1998, I thought it a marriage of convenience, to please the higher ups at NBC. And when the kids came, I thought it was the old turkey baster routine!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, when I learned, as we all did, yesterday, that Matt was fired for NBC, and why, the only thought that ran through my head was, "Well, now we know, for sure, that he is straight." The behavior did not surprise me, because there was always something covert about Lauer's on air presence; acting as though he had something to hide, which was clearly visible on his face!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a pig! Exposing himself in his office? If I had been one of those women, I would have taken a reticule scissors, snipped around his pubes, then--Oops! Stab! Stab!
Wipe up the blood! Problem solved!
I have no sympathy for Lauer. I have sympathy for Annette and those kids!
Take them and run, hon!!!!!!!!!!!! And take this shit to the cleaner's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone on "The View" said after his treatment of Ann Curry, back in 2012, she was done with Lauer! Frankly, so was I!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One last thing--and this is not about Matt, but Charlie Rose. Several years ago--at least fifteen years-- he did a live interview, at the 92nd Street Y, with Blythe Danner. Because I am such a fan of Blythe's I went. I still recall being taken aback by Rose's introduction. He first cited all of Danner's major accomplishments, her skill at interpreting certain playwrights, but then said that, and I am paraphrasing, she is someone a guy would love to bring home to his parents, but especially if they were not there. The audience applauded at Blythe's entrance, and while she remained gracious--in true Blythe fashion--the instant she hit the stage, I could see she was flustered and embarrassed.
So Charlie does not surprise me, either.
My. The NBC Peacock must be downcast, and the CBS eye must have conjunctivitis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We are supposed to be easing into a joyous and spiritual time of year, yet there is more bitchery at large in the world at this particular time than I would like to admit. Nevertheless, murder trumps all, so the winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award is Christopher Gattis, 58, of Dogwood Ridge Court, in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
What he did was, on Thanksgiving day, to murder his wife Jeanett, age 55, and daughter Candice L. Kunze, age 30, and her live-in-boyfriend, Andrew E. Buthor,n, at 36.
All three were shot by gun fire.
Examples have emerged to show that Gattis was a problem--violent, prone to drink, and domestically abusive.
The perfect combination for a family annihilator--a pillar to his community, a hypocrite in his home.
What I found off was that the daughter's boy friend, Andrew E. Buthor, was living with the Gattises. Neighbors had reported disagreements within the family, over the past few weeks.
I would bet it stemmed from the boyfriend and daughter, living openly, though not married. And in his house. Like John List, the Gold Standard for this type of crime, who was upset his daughter, Patty, was beginning to emerge as an individual.
Change like this is too much for these hypocrites. So, why not just have the couple live elsewhere? Did the boyfriend have a job? Did the daughter? Clearly, the living arrangement, at least for one person, was not working out, and considering who that person was, and how his behavior is prone to violence, if the couple had found another place, I don't think there would have been a murder at all.
I always cringe when I hear the phrase, "Youth Pastor." Like they are supposed to be so "squeaky clean." But are not. Just like the chances are low of a male church organist being straight!
Christopher Gattis fit a classic profile. The tragedy is nobody saw it in time.
After seeing the incandescent "My Fair Lady," this past Sunday, David, Dan, Norma, and I walked uptown to West 4th Street, passing the IFC Center, which, for me will always be "The Waverly."
Directly outside, marked center, was something I had never seen before, a square of light surrounding this central area, designed as if it were a spotlight for someone to step into, and perform.
Which I thought about doing; it would have been a perfect moment to do "Frank Mills." But, alas, that I do only on September 12.
Now, I know this movie, called "The Square" is playing there, so I wonder if this feature is to highlight that, or if it will become a permanent fixture?
I hope the latter, because, when the September date rolls around, in 2018, I can step into the spotlight, sing "Frank Mills," and maybe, finally someone will get it on film! YouTube, come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was quite a revelation, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, then, so am I, when I do "Frank Mills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
No one loves the Holiday season better than I, having been born just prior to it, after all. But this year takes the cake.
"The Nutcracker" is already performing at the New York State Theatre, at Lincoln Center. The Neapolitan Tree is up and showing at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. I just found out that this evening--THIS evening--the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit. Hey, between that, and the firing of Matt Lauer, don't you DARE go near that sure to be overpopulated area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Added to this, on Fifth Avenue, in my neighborhood of Bay Ridge, my quiet little hamlet, the overhead decorations above the street have been up since late October! Late October!
All these Xmas events used to take place early in December. People were allowed to get through one holiday before segueing into another.
But once Halloween comes, it is just one big rush through all the holidays, and to end the year! Who has time to take the time to enjoy anything?????????????
Is it money? Well, of course. But things have gotten so out of control, propriety has gone out the window!
Why, I bet, right now, at Macy's Santaland, hidden behind some pillar or post, the Easter Bunny is now lurking, awaiting his turn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Believe me, I know all the negative stories; hell, I have even written about some of them too. While the axiom, "There would not be any gay people, if it weren't for straight people" still applies in our lifetimes, believe me, that is going to change with evolution. Too bad we won't be here to see it.
No one said being gay is easy. My adolescence speaks for that. But I have discovered ways in which being gay can be fun, and would like to share them with you.
1. One of the most important--being called on last in
choosing teams is not worth a shit, because, if you
are gay, you really don't give a shit about it, anyway.
2. You become such an arbiter of taste and fashion
that girls who once scorned you, are now women
coming to you for advice.
3. You can get through the bad times by finding
unexpected sources of inspiration. Mine were
Vivien Leigh and Jennifer Jones.
4. You grow up feeling different from everyone
around you, only to discover, as you grow older,
that this difference is a kind of superiority--damn
5. Your important decisions--what clothes to buy,
what amusements to ride, how to paint that room,
are made solely on the basis of color. BRIGHT!
6. You discover the value of cologne before your
straight male contemporaries do. And gay
fragrances smell better.
7. You will NEVER have to worry about
8. For a mantra, you replace the downer
that is "The Well Of Loneliness" with the
more empowering "Valley Of The Dolls!"
9. With that empowerment comes acceptance.
Like the right to have castration fantasies,
regarding the character of Jack on "Will And
10. Finally, maturity comes when you stop
wishing that James Brolin--who is much too
mature, nowadays--is your Primary Care
Being gay can be a blast! So, think positively, darlings, go out, and do it! Our time
may have come, but we have to keep on fighting!
Amen, to Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
"Does Tina know she was not wanted?"
--Bette Davis, as Charlotte Vale, in
"Now, Voyager" (1942).
The most surprising thing about reading this novel, after having grown up with the film, is that much of its iconic moments, which I thought Hollywood invented, are right here in the novel. Besides the Tina line, the cigarette lighting scene, and one of the great closing lines in film history--"Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon! We have the stars!"--are in the text by Olive Higgins Prouty.
The movie is actually faithful to the novel, though structured in a different way. The reader does not meet Mrs. Vale face to face, until halfway through, when Charlotte returns home. That is because the earlier sequences of the story--done linear on screen--are seen as flashbacks in Charlotte's memory, as most of the first half of the story takes place on her cruise.
The novel, like the film, dwells on that telling picture of Jerry Durrance's family. Tina is instantly recognized by Charlotte as the infant version of herself, but what is surprising in the novel is that Isobel, Durrance's dreaded wife, becomes more of a visible, manipulative, and not nice character, through words alone, and that Durrance himself has had a nervous breakdown--and after reading about Isobel, it becomes apparent why. Characters that appear briefly in the film--Lisa Vale, her daughter, June, Elliot Livingston, and Mack and Deb, are fleshed out and developed fully, so that, going back to the film, one can do so with the knowledge of who these people actually are.
Those only having seen the film must read the novel. And vice is very much versa. I used to say all gay children were Tina, all gay young adults are the pre-transformed Charlotte. I know I myself felt that way about myself at those life stages. But, then, consider the tenor of the times. Hopefully, that has changed today, but for those emotionally trapped in loneliness and isolation, "Now, Voyager" could be not just a boon, but an inspiration for said individuals to grow and change.
In the film, Mrs. Vale (magnificently played by Gladys Cooper) remarks how all late children are "marked." I always wondered about that, being a late child myself. The novel actually digs deep with an explanation for this, saying, in essence, that such children are born with old souls, so that very early they become juvenile versions of the adults around them, hence never quite fitting in to their own age group. Which was my situation, exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The "Tina" section still breaks my heart. The reassurance comes not only from Tina's transformation, but that it is coming earlier, being surrounded by people with love and insight; something the younger Charlotte never had.
I must also site the glamorous plain this novel exists on--just my kind of world--one of luncheons, bridge parties, club meetings, and charity work. Who, but June, works?
Who the hell has to? And why should they? If "Now, Voyager," had been set in New York, it would undoubtedly had taken place on the Upper East Side.
Oh, yes, June, first Charlotte's tormentor, then her champion, is nicknamed "Roly-poly" by her aunt, in the novel.
Girls, it is a story for the ages! Now that it is available in print--at one point, it was one of the most difficult works of fiction to find--you have simply GOT to read it!!!!!!!!!!!!
You will never watch the film in quite the same way, again!!!!!!!!!!!
Back in 1964, before "The Sound Of Music" shattered all box-office records, the most important film property of the day up till then, and as far back as 1956, was the musical "My Fair Lady." It was, to us Baby Boomer children, what "Gone With The Wind" must have been to our parents. Not only that, it became a cottage industry, with a Soundtrack Album-- biggest selling of its day, I believe--Colorforms sets, board games, coloring books, and the like. Children of 1964 were not aware then, but I do realize now, how subtly and skillfully they were being molded to appreciate elegance, sophistication, language, and style. Unlike today's Millennials who would never tolerate this film, but, instead, go ga-ga over a piece of crap like "La La Land!!!!!!!"
I hadn't seen this film on the screen for about twenty years, so when the opportunity came, I grabbed it. My David had never seen it on the screen. How could I allow such cultural deprivation???????????
Girls, I am telling you, from the moment the first note of the Overture sounded, and those floral images appeared on the screen, tears began cascading down my face, and I went through the clouds, not returning to Earth, until the film was over. The whole thing is a stunning visual and musical collage, knit seamlessly by the talents of George Cukor, Cecil Beaton, and the team of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe. I just gasped at the stunning costume display of the patrons exiting the opera house in Covent Garden--my God, the hats!!--as well as Ascot, where one of Audrey's two most exquisite outfits is first seen!!!!!!!!!!!
Doesn't this sight just take one's breath away???????????
"My Fair Lady" is one of the most perfectly structured musicals ever created. For once, the score was tampered with, or changed, and while there is dubbing, it goes virtually unnoticed. Except for Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway, recreating the roles they originated on Broadway, and now own forever, no one else, I think, does their own singing. Including Jeremy Brett, as Freddy, whose "On The Street Where You Love" is an indisputably classic moment!!!!!!
Now, about Audrey Hepburn. When the film was being put together, there was controversy over her being cast. The Original Cast Album had become something of a national treasure by then, so even people who had never seen the show on stage, knew Julie Andrews' voice, and thought she should have been cast. But Jack L. Warner dug in his heels, saying the film needed at least one name in the cast to draw audiences. This was when Cary Grant, who was being considered for the role of Henry Higgins, told Jack L. Warner, to his face, that if Rex Harrison was not given the part, he would refuse to see the picture. Which told Warner how important casting was to this film, and that he damn well better get it right.
Which he did, even with Audrey. Marni Nixon, of renown, fills in for her here on the vocals, though one can hear a little of Audrey in "Just You Wait," and can tell when she segues into Marni. But her acting is exquisite. No one, and I mean no one, could have worn the Cecil Beaton clothes as captivatingly as Audrey. Beaton had a dream assignment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When the music starts, the camera moves, and Eliza appears at the top of the stairs, dressed in the ball gown, I burst into tears, and there were gasps from the audience. There is no more breathtaking moment in this film, but here, and I think all burgeoning gay children should see this film, to learn, as my generation did, about style, color, elegance, and language. More than to be found in "La La Land."
There are any number of stunning moments--Eliza gliding down the wheelbarrow on the high notes of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," the entire "Ascot Gavotte," the return to Covent Garden, where Audrey delivers the famous line, "No, Freddy....I'm all finished here," with just the right note of truth and regret. Audrey enacts this character superbly, from start to finish. If you want Julie, darlings, by all means put the cast album on at home, and give it a listen!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The film version of "My Fair Lady," after 53 years, is as loverly as work of art as ever. I keep saying there are certain films that need to be seen on screen. This is certainly one of them.Here is the ball gown! What perfection! Not to mention Gladys Cooper, Mona Washbourne, and Wilfred-Hyde White, the definitive Colonel Pickering!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who could go to bed, after watching "My Fair Lady?" As one of the songs says, it could have gone on "all night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
You understand, dears? It's all so grand, dears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, November 27, 2017
My, it must seem like I am on quite a morbid tear this morning, darlings, but really, I'm not. I knew that, after November 19, when Charles Manson finally died, I had to face the above question. I was sure I had the answer dead to rights, for I was ready to post on here Ian Brady. For those who may not know, he and his acolyte, Myra Hindley (who died in 2002) committed a series of five murders on innocent children--the oldest being 17--between July 12, 1963, and October 6, 1965. They even pioneered snuff killing, because some of the murders were taped, so they could listen to them. Girls, if you have been on here long enough, you have seen that haunting picture of Myra, the dyed blonde glaring at the camera in absolute evil. If you have not seen it on here, I am sure you are familiar with the image--even if you don't even know it.
That Myra; I am telling you, if "A Christmas Carol" were updated today, the Scrooge figure (maybe Bernie Madoff) would be visited by the spirits of Serial Killers Past, Present, and Future. As the scariest looking of the bunch, Myra would be perfect for the Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, I was all set to name Ian Brady the sickest person now living.
Except, in researching this post, I discovered he wasn't. He died on May 15 of this year, in Ashworth Hospital, in the United Kingdom. He was 79 years old.
He outlived Myra by fifteen years. I have to feel a bit sorry for Satan, now; he must be wringing his hands in exasperation. He has had Myra for the past 15 years, and now, in the span of six months, he gets Ian Brady and Charles Manson! Even he doesn't want them! What is a Prince Of Darkness supposed to do????????????????
With Brady gone, I had to really give the matter some sort. Not that there was a shortage of contenders. There was Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, Alice Crimmins, Jeffrey MacDonald, and James Robert Duke, of Green River, Wyoming, who pushed both his wife Liana, 22, and son Erik, 5, off a 200 foot cliff. And I could go further.
But, like something bobbing up from the water, one name kept popping into my mind--Susan Smith.
Many of these others also murdered children. Child killers are the worst. But Susan, who drowned her infant sons, Michael, 3, and Alex, 14 months, gets the prize, because of all the additional circumstances surrounding the murder,
It was mostly the crime that gets Susan this label, but also the web of deceit she wove around it--claiming she was high jacked by a Black man (the race card) denying she knew where the boys were, when, actually, she did, failing to see her then cute husband, David, as an option for custody, and, most of all, pinning her hopes that this would land her marriage to local businessman Tom Findlay, who was a pig himself. Bluntly stating he did not want to raise Susan's children--because of the background they came from--he broke off the relationship, sending Susan into the tailspin, resulting in this wrong headed notion, and tragic outcome.
But, to give Tom some cred, he did not tell, or intend, Susan to kill her own children, or saying that doing so would land him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She cried neglect; she cried sexual abuse by her father. Cry me a river, Susan!!!!!!!!!! Even if it was true, it does not justify murdering two innocent boys. Nothing does.
And the way she did it. Seeing their horrified faces as the lake engulfed them, and there stands Mommy, unwilling to help.
There is nothing dumber than White Trash with ambition, especially when that ambition has no place to go. Tonya Harding, thankfully had talent, and that talent enabled to get her somewhere, for a time. Susan's ambition was all about HER--without a sure plan to pin things on. How about education, Susan? Or a better job??????? You Monster Medea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John D. Long Lake was where the crime occurred. It has since become a kind of shrine to remind us murderous pathology.
Here it is!
So, Susan Smith, until you die, you get my designation for the Sickest Person Still Living! And you brought it on yourself!
Hey, Sue, hon, give Satan a break. Stay up there, awhile. Having just recently received Brady and Manson, he can't take much more excitement, for awhile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
During the height of "Glee's" run, when I would actually watch it, often with David, I wanted so much to be Santanna Lopez. She was the Varsity Bitch on the show, and the perfect antidote to that phony, Rachel Mayberry, portrayed by the equally phony Leah Michelle, who was doing little more than playing a heightened version of herself.
Well, it looks like the same idea applies to Santanna's portrayer, Naya Rivera.
Because, this past Saturday night into Sunday morning, Naya, who is 30, and I can't believe it, she looks so good, was arrested in Chesapeake, West Virginia, for domestic battery; that is, assaulting her husband, Ryan Keith Dorsey. He claims that, while they were out walking their child, she went at him, belting him in the face and about the head. She was arrested and charged with domestic battery.
Ryan, hon, I am telling you what most abusive wives are told--take that child, and RUN! Get away from her as quick as you can and divorce with a capital D. And make sure you get custody of the kid, because it would not be surprising, if things do not change, for Naya to start wailing on the kid, too, when it (I don't know if they have a son or daughter) gets older.
Of course, if someone gave Naya a good smack in the face, maybe she would shape up. But I think she would hit back. I think on some level she gets off on this, as most abusers do. I also wonder if she comes from some cycle of abuse, because that is customarily the case.
The one I feel sorry for is the kid. In the end, he or she will be the one to bear the emotional brunt of it all.
This last was inevitable, but it must be said--
Santanna, you've got to change your evil ways, baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She may have been "America's Sweetheart," at one point, but I think Mary Pickford was naughty. Now, look at this shot. From the settings, furnishings, set design and lighting, one might take this for a silent version of "The Song Of Bernadette." But this was 1922; a good twenty years before Franz Werfel wrote his book. Hollywood, I am sure, at this time, had never heard of Lourdes.
No, this is a scene from a silent version of "Little Lord Fauntleroy." Pickford is 28 here, and the whole thing looks ridiculous. Stick with the 1936 version, with Freddie Bartholomew and C. Aubrey Smith.
Around fourth grade, I developed a fondness, not only for this story, but for the two other famous works of Frances Hodgson Burnett--"The Secret Garden," and "Sara Crewe" (also known as "A Little Princess," which became "The Little Princess," when 20th Century-Fox filmed it with Shirley Temple, in 1939; her last good childhood film, by the way--because all these stories portrayed children who were lifted out of their dismal surroundings into greener pastures. Now, my surroundings were hardly dismal; banal, is how I would describe it, so to go from that to an inherited Earl, or the mistress of a Victorian manor house with a magical, secret garden, seemed pretty good to me.
"Sara Crewe" was more heartbreaking; it was like a female version of "Oliver Twist." With a gaggle of school matron bitches and students! Who get theirs, thank God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For a brief period, I was taking "Little Lord Fauntleroy" out of the library, reading it again and again. The illustrations in my edition drew the character similar to Mary, although while the body and features were perfectly masculine, the hairstyle was perfect and feminine. The kind girls and queens would pay to have! Maybe this is what also set me on my propensity to notice hair styles. Right now, I would like to have Amy Sedaris'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If Mary's 'Fauntleroy' turns up at, say, the Film Forum, I might go see it. But I bet now it would be a camp hoot! Stick to Freddie.
Yes, I did love stories of children being lifted out of banal situations. From here, it was just a short step to the cast album of "MAME."
And, then, of course, to that ambitious bitch we all know and love--Veda, in "Mildred Pierce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I mean, darlings, if you want the spooky and macabre, the city itself offers up enough horrors for you to explore. If there is one element of horror I love, it is an abandoned amusement park; I would actually love to walk thorough one, in the day, or night.
When I saw this photo for the first time, I thought it one of the best abandoned park photos I have seen. The blackness of the sky and track combine with the fading yellow to give it an eerie, yet irresistible look.
They are a staple of horror literature, by the great, and lesser so.
My idea would be for someone to build, from scratch, a park that looks abandoned in the first place, so mavens like myself could walk though.
I bet it would do business!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, November 25, 2017
I just LOVE this ID commercial for "Married With Secrets," girls, because it is the fastest moving--and quickly remedied--narrative about adultery I have ever seen.
The actors are unknown, but nail their roles well. The distraught wife, and the smug, arrogant husband. Who do these guys think they are? I would love to see the tramp he is two timing her with.
Well, she fixes him, but good! As he says "Wait!," she pulls that trigger, and then he is gone! Hope that insurance policy is in order. She deserves every bit of it.
As Candace says, on "Deadly Women," "If a psychopath isn't menacing someone....they aren't having any fun!" Well, what happens when the fun goes awry?
Someone always loses! Heh! Heh! Heh!
So ironic, isn't it girls????????? After my last book post, where I express my hesitancy with short story collections, along I come with one that actually demands to be read.
As a horror maven from the sand pile up, I was aware very early of Richard Matheson. The surprise starts with the brilliantly designed jacket cover; it took me days to recognize the illusion in the background. As for what is inside, well, most of us know the famous "Nightmare At 20, 000 Feet," dramatized so memorably on "The Twilight Zone," with William Shatner. It is even better on the printed page. Then there is my favorite, "Prey" which became the basis for the famous short film pitting Karen Black against a Voodoo doll, doing her actress all not to be upstaged by the object! On print, it is even more terrifying.
Some of the stories, like "Blood Son," are sparked with genuine humor, and many of them feature ghoulishly funny, or ironic endings. While they may also sound familiar, and the influence of other writers--like Ray Bradbury--can be seen, this is one anthology where every story resonates. And that is a rarity.
Perfect reading for a dark night, in front of the fire, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, November 24, 2017
Settle back, dears, because this post is going to be a long one. On November 22, "The New York Times" published its list of the "100 Most Notable Books Of 2017." This is one of my favorite times of the year, because I know that soon the Ten Best will follow. Also, with this list, I get to see how astute I have been all year, and what I still have to catch up on.
If I had read every book on the Fiction list I should have, the total would be something like 25, instead of a mere 12. So, I am practically halfway there.
For those who may be new to this, the way this works is I first list the books I have read. All of those have been reviewed already on this blog, when it first appeared, so I do not comment, unless I feel an extraordinarily good or bad reason for doing so. And these are pithy and short.
Next, I will list the books I need to read. Same thing.
From there, I will list what would be MY five Fiction selections for "The New York Times Ten Best Books Of 2017." Then, I list what I think The Times will.
Once the Ten Best list appears, I do another post, comparing mine and theirs, seeing how I did, and really commenting then.
Ready? Here we go!
1. American War, by Omar El Akkad
2. Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
3. The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry--Fun, but ultimately disappointing.
Should not be on here.
5. Exit West, by Moshin Hamid--Forgettable, but highly political so, of
course The Times lists it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6. Ill Will, by Dan Chaon--A thriller I cannot remember. How the hell did
this wind up, on here?
7. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer--Less, indeed! Over hyped, the biggest
disappointment of the year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
8. Lincoln In The Bardo, by George Saunders--A masterwork! I knew it
would be on this list, instantly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
9. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Saunders--Literary heaven! What more
can I say????????????
10. A Separation, by Katie Kitamura--Absorbing while reading it,
forgettable afterward. Who is the author trying to be--Daphne
Du Maurier, or Elena Ferrante?????????????
11. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward--Need I say more? A thrilling
and surprisingly Gothic exploration of impoverished life, in rural
12. White Tears, by Hari Kunzru--A fascinating exploration of the Blues
music scene, and a quest for the Holy Grail of the art.
13. Home Fire, by Kamila Shansie--So recently read, I forget to list it. A
political novel, deserving of its place on here.
OK, that is what I have read. Now, here are books I either cannot believe I missed, or that they landed on here, and that I have GOT to read. Same format as above.
Fiction I Have GOT To Read
1. A Boy In Winter, by Rachel Seiffert
2. The Dinner Party, And Other Stories, by Joshua Ferris--He is a favorite
of mine; I should have trusted my instincts. Now, I will read it.
3. Forrest Dark, by Nicole Krauss--Hey, it's Nicole! I have had it in my
pile, for some time! Now, I really have to get cracking!
4. 4-3-2-1, by Paul Auster--This was recommended to me, throughout
the year. Its density made me hesitate. I should have listened.
Length has never stopped me before!
5. Fresh Complaint: Stories by Jeffrey Eugenides, by Jeffrey Eugenides--
I thought his "The Marriage Plot" was the book of that year. I
always hesitate with short story collections, now I HAVE to read this.
6. History Of Wolves, by Emily Fridlund--Another recommendation I did
not listen to, but should have. I must get right to it.
7. Homesick For Another World, by Ottessa Moshfegh--I had my eye on
this one all year. Now I am obligated to read it.
8. A Horse Walks Into A Bar, by David Grossman--How stupid I
sometimes can be? Like 'Homesick,' I thought this was a short
story collection, and hesitated. Now, I am filled with regret.
9. Mrs. Osmond, by John Banville--Wonderful writer, but a sequel to
"The Portrait Of A Lady," by Henry James? Give me a break, John,
and get over yourself! If this makes the Ten Best list, I am screwed!
10. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent--Waiting to be read, even as
11. New People, by Danzy Senna--Have to get cracking on this one, which
I put off for much of the year. And here I thought it was "Danny!"
12. The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott--Hey, it's Alice! That's all there
is to it!
Hmmmm....Had I forgotten to list "Home Fire," the lists would have come out even. I am still pretty astute, darlings. Now, without comment, come the lists of what I would select and then what I think The Times will choose. This is the fun part, darlings, and then the comparisons a week or so later.
What I Think The Times Should List
1. Home Fire, by Kamila Shansie
2. Lincoln In The Bardo, by George Saunders
3. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
4. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
5. White Tears, by Hari Kunzru
What I Think The Times Will List
1. American War, by Omar El Akkad
2. Exit West, by Moshin Hamid
3. Fresh Complaint: Stories by Jeffrey Eugenides, by Jeffrey Eugenides
4. Lincoln In The Bardo, by George Saunders
5. New People, by Danzy Senna
So, that is how thinks stand now. How many on here have you read, or need to read? Anything you wish The Times had included, but did not?
See you for another round, kids, when the final list comes out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!