Saturday, September 22, 2018
Darlings, if you have reached your teens by now, or are beyond them, and do not yet recognize this sadly now iconic photo, then what planet have you been living on? The millennials have been living on Planet Entitlement, but what is everyone else's excuse?
This, of course, is Tyler Clementi, the bullied Rutgers University freshman, who took his life eight years ago this evening. I do this post each year, not to pain the Clementi family, but to remind myself and others that Tyler will not be forgotten. He brought bullying to a chilling attention, but, sadly, it has not stopped. Things are being done, but I doubt if it will be completely eradicated in my lifetime.
So, I will say to those who are in Tyler's situation--and they are out there, make no mistake about that--don't do what he did. If Tyler could speak today, I am sure he would tell kids the same thing.
I will add--whomever is abusing you, even if it parents or other family members, tell someone who can intervene and help, or get the hell away from them as fast as you can.
Those of us who are gay have an obligation to live the life Tyler wanted for himself, with dignity and freedom. Do not deny your chance to do so. If there is some kind of legacy his tragic death left behind, this is it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Stand up for yourselves, and never back down to anyone!
Rest In Peace, Tyler!!!!!!!!!! Never to be forgotten!
And my heart goes out to the Clementis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also known as Persephone, as interpreted brilliantly by Eliza Scanlen as Amma Crellin in "Sharp Objects." Girls, I am telling you, if Persephone actually did look like Amma, it would scare the living daylights out of folks, so maybe, then it is a good thing she is back in Hell.
At least, for the next six months!
In an upcoming post, I will list things to look forward to, this Fall!
For now, enjoy the change in weather. But remember, as Grace Metalious said, in her opening to "Peyton Place," "Indian Summer is like a woman." So I think we will get one more dose of heat before the really cool weather settles in.
As for Grace, why did she have to pose for her publicity photo, looking like a beans n' franks lesbian????????????
May we all have a happy Fall, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, September 20, 2018
This is the first year I have felt like this, because, from childhood on, Summer was always my favorite season. That I am rejoicing in the end of Summer 2018, which, as I was taught, is today, because, again, as I was taught, the first day of Autumn is September 21, is a combination of age and exasperation.
Consider the many song lyrics about the end of Summer--
"They say that all good things must end, someday. Autumn
leaves start to fall."--Chad and Jeremy, "A Summer Song."
" Across the morning sky, all the birds are leaving."
--Judy Collins, "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?"
"Another Winter, In A Summer Town!"
--Christine Ebersole, in "Grey Gardens."
And, if I worked harder, there are more I could list.
The highlight of the Summer, was, and always will be, "Carousel."
But between heat so blazing one did not dare go out, alternated with rain storms so torrential it put a damper on all things outdoors--Coney Island, the Delacorte--that this had to be one of the worst Summers, for lack of fun, that I can remember.
So, now it is time to put it behind, with MY favorite lyric--
"One last caress, it's time to dress...for Fall."
And here is Frank Sinatra's rendition of "The Summer Knows." The best of the end of Summer songs.!!!!!!!!
Here is "Club Ecstasy (or X-Tasy!!!!!!!!!) at 785 Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Darlings, I have never been here in my life, but once I get chummy with all the guys in the nabe, I am sure we will be going here regularly.
To think there is still a gay bar, in Brooklyn!!!!!!!!! Now, this one is very Latino, so one has to make do with what is available. But the merchandise appears to be choice. Look!
I mean, even when "Saturday Night Fever" was first running in theaters, back in 1977, that whole disco Odyssey/ Spectrum scene was dated. But at least some gay life still thrives over in Sunset Park.
As David often says, he does take me to the strangest places!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If I get inside, darlings, I will give you a full report! And talk to the young man, pictured!!!!!!!!!
This past Tuesday, during that monsoon of rain, David took it upon himself to do errands. One was to the Spectrum place, on 25th Street and 4th Avenue, in Brooklyn. First, you gotta see the neighborhood! Just blocks from Bay Ridge, it is as different as another planet. Industrial buildings. cheap motels, working class businesses--come on over for a different social experience.
The highlight is the Dunkin' Donuts, at 737 4th Avenue. Now, every Dunkin' Donuts has it own set of regulars and cultural flavor, but this one beats all! You see, there is a homeless shelter nearby, and when the doors open, and the guys are sprung, they all gather for a morning coffee klatch at this place, where they talk of everything, including conspiracy theories!!!!!!!!!!!
David could not wait to get out. I was fascinated. After all, like Eva Peron, "I came from the people! They need to adore me!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I may have found a new social hangout. If I am going to be in that vicinity, I will let you know!
You all come around now, you hear????????????????????
I have to say, between "A Gentleman In Moscow," which I read this year, and this absorbing novel, Russia is having something of a literary renaissance. Only it isn't Russian authors writing about their country, but Americans writing about Russian experiences through their own observations, which, most likely, are vastly different from the residents themselves.
Of course, the greats--Tolstoy, Dostoevsky--a referenced, but "A Terrible Country" is, at heart, a rather simple story about two brothers, Andrea and Dimar, born in Russian, but who came to the States with their parents and were raised there. Now, Andrei, a failed academic, has been ordered, by his more capitalistic and successful sibling, Dimar, to go back to Moscow, and care, for at least a time, for their aging grandmother.
The relationship that Andrei and Granny develop is touching, and the plight of caring for someone losing her grasp on reality--she has dementia--moves Andrei deeply. He also, during the course of things, finds brief romance, a political group, a hockey team, and a life of his own in a country the grandmother keeps calling "terrible." By the novel's end, Andrei comes to realize that Russia may not be such a terrible place.
The scenes between Andrei and his grandmother are the most touching, as are those between she and her still remaining friends. She laments throughout, the idea of being alone, since most people in her life have left her, and her lamentations touched me; with my parents both gone, and contemporaries getting older, and some gone already, I am coming to that point. I understand how she feels. It is a point one thinks will never come--until it does!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yet, for all I have said, it is not depressing. Witty, hopeful, but unbearably poignant, it could foreshadow an American-Russian literary renaissance. We shall see what develops over time.
Don't miss this very different literary Russian experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is so nice, for a change, darlings, being on time, with Bitch Of The Week! I have not been lately, but, once I heard about Ian Watkins, I knew I had found this week's winner.
Ian Watkins--the name pains me! No sooner do we get rid of Moors Murderer Ian Brady, on May 15, of last year, then along comes this sicko named Ian with some sort of sick agenda to carry out. Some may know him as the lead on the rock group Lostprophets. I do not know what the hell that is, and, thanks to Watkins, I do not care. Besides, with all his trouble, and scandal, the group will probably disband. It might as well right now, because it does not stand a chance.
He is a pedophile, with a special predilection for babies.
Two mothers, groupies of his, allowed him to molest their children. One was an eleven month old, boy, whom Watkins raped, and the other was a two year old girl. This was back in 2013, and I am sure Watkins has been continuing; he has been grooming women from prison, where he is held, and he and these mothers were placed on trial.
The mothers are not worthy to be BOTWs. They are sick, pathetic monsters, who never should be near children, who watched what Watkins did, and did so because they were so
taken with him they wanted to be his groupies, even at this cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Child Welfare, or whatever England has in place, hopefully has removed those kids from their moms. Whom, I believed, were charged with Watkins. This had been going on, as far back as 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, Ian, welcome to Hell! The hell you put those babies through will be dished out to you, once your inmates find out what you are in for. And gossip travels fast in prisons. Faster than at a society party, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As for the moms, if this were Salem of 1692, I would say they deserve no less. And they still do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May this trio suffer for what was perpetrated upon innocent babies!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, it has been days since I have been on here, and so much to catch up with! Imagine my surprise, when I noted the follower indicator now at 82, meaning we have a new reader.
Her name is TyTy. Welcome! I hope what you find on here is as enjoyable and informative as what made you discover this blog. As I tell all, it goes great with coffee, which is always by my side, when I write.
I have a lot to get to, so we welcome you warmly, TyTy.
Monday, September 17, 2018
"Hi, Welcome To Wal-Mart!
"How may I help you?"
"Service with a smile--or get the hell out of here!"
"Beat it, you old bitch!"
I mean, darlings, wouldn't I just be perfect for this position? I could be like Gloria Garayua, as Vita Chacon, who worked at Blue Market, in the "Cold Case" episode "A Dollar, A Dream." As has been said of me, many times, my middle name is service!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am actually thinking of doing this. I would explode the customer service business, because I would not suffer fools gladly, while giving them exactly what they want...even if they do not know it is what they want!
And that blue uniform! Oh, boy! A glam outfit to fake my act as one of the masses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, I am telling you, here and now, if I actually do this, I will let you know, and you must come and see me!
It will be a performance, beyond your wildest imaginations!!!!!!!!!!!!
People have been recommending this one to me, for months, and now, having read it, I must read more Alice McDermott. Having been raised Catholic, it resonates, but even non-Catholics will find it revealing and informative. It's no "Song Of Bernadette"--what is?--but its miracles stay within the earthly, rather than celestial realm.
Set in early twentieth century Brooklyn, a time when the Catholic Church RULED, the novel starts out with Annie, a woman widowed by a horrible tragedy, who becomes the laundress to a group of nuns in a convent, and raises her daughter's around them.
The forward thinking begins when one of the nuns takes it upon herself, to handle the tragedy and overlook church doctrine. She succeeds. Raised among nuns for so long, Sally inevitably wants to become one, but obstacles put in her path force her to reject that decision at a crucial moment.
Her mother, out of loneliness, embarks on an adulterous relationship with a milkman whose wife, I would say, is psychologically disabled, as an excuse for not performing wifely duties; that is, she cannot abide sex. While having rejected the lifestyle, Sally still has the values of a nun, and is determined to save her mother' soul. But what she comes up with to do this, as well as the reveal of the narrator near the end, really plays fast and lose with church doctrine. I was genuinely shocked!
I will not say any more, except it is gorgeously written, and I must read more McDermott. It will also provoke great discussions among book groups and readers, Catholic or not.
Sister Camille, if you have not already, I encourage you to read this!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Katya becomes Kate, Teddy becomes Tinker, and there is actually, in here a character named Bitsy Houghton. It is 1937, and young people are flocking to New York to find, or reinvent, themselves. What Amor Towles' novel, set in 1937 and 1938, proves is that not only was this going on before our times and some, his chronicling of such is on a plane comparable to Mary McCarthy or Dawn Powell, surpassing that of Candace Bushnell or Lauren Weisberger.
How I wanted a Sidecar while reading this, darlings! Once I learned what it was. It also has a bit of the flavor of Somerset Maugham's "The Razor's Edge." While not nearly as philosophical, or tragic, its characters, by novel's end, have all learned a bit of truth about themselves.
Which is what living in New York is all about. Running about, when young, telling yourself you have a life, then coming to terms with what you have or can have, once age begins to slow you down. I wouldn't trade my wild times for where I am now, for anything.
Readers who love New York Novels--which could be a whole genre, in itself--will love this novel. As will those who love good writing. Even if Towles' second novel, "A Gentleman In Moscow," is better, his debut shows promise, and a writer worth keeping up with.
And read the actual Rules Of Civility at the end, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!
And make sure you practice them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Marin Mazzie's death was a horrible tragedy that she, to her credit, worked to the last to prevent. If only Amar Ramasar had followed her example, he might not be in the situation he is in.
Mr. Amasar, also HOT, dazzled audiences, and myself, particularly, playing a more nuanced, dancing, and manipulatively appealing, Jigger Cragin, in "Carousel," than is usually seen in most productions. Due to Jack O'Brien's and Justin Peck's influence, Ramasar created a Jigger whose dancing was phenomenal, and enhanced the role enough to have potentially earned him a TONY nomination, which he deserved, but did not receive.
Thursday, Ramasar, who was in "Carousel" while on hiatus from the New York City Ballet, learned he was suspended without pay. He missed Thursday's performance. Yesterday, it was announced Ramasar was fired from the company, leaving open the question if he will play the closing performance. I hope he does. What a way to end a Broadway run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, before I am attacked, let me say, I am keeping an objective eye on all this. I do not dismiss the devastating impact on the victims, if the allegations are true. And, if Ramasar was fired, there must have been reason to think they were.
He is an attractive guy, and I never knew he was 36. Which is the tail end of life for a professional dancer, though, thanks to "Carousel," he could have had his pick of roles, or projects to choreograph himself.
Where he did not follow Mazzie's example was to focus on his career, and think he could get away with such high jinks. As Olympia Dukakis said, as Rose Castorini, in "Moonstruck," "Don't shit where you eat."
I feel for the victims. But I also feel for Amar Ramasar. Such a bright future, all that training, and now cast aside for misbehavior he himself could have prevented.
It is a sad day in the performing arts world, today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"At The End Of The Storm, Is A Golden Sky, And The Sweet, Silver Song, Of A Lark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
When in college, I had a professor, Dr. James McGlone, who always ended each and every class with the words, "It's been a little bit of heaven, right here on earth, being with you today."
That is how I feel about the departure of Broadway's "Carousel." My June 24 visit can never be topped, and with Renee Fleming gone from the cast, and the question of whether or not Amar Ramasar will play the final performance, the departure of "Carousel" is even sadder, indeed!!!!!!!
That is Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry, who led the production, and made these roles their own. Their future is bright, but to think "Carousel" may not play again for another twenty years--if ever it does--is heartbreaking. Such beauty and artistry in this dance conceived production, thanks to Justin Peck, whose future afterwards promises to be as bright as Henry's, Mueller's, and, of course, Lindsay Mendez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I adored everyone in this cast of "Carousel." They deserved a longer run, and did some of the best work they ever did. If you got to see it.
I am closing this chapter, as I have before, with Garett Hawe and Company in a montage of recording the Cast Album. A better ensemble of voices will not be seen for a very long time to come.
Farewell, "Carousel!!!!!!!!!!!" I loved you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was saddened to hear of Marin Mazzie's death on September 13. I had been aware of her three year struggle with ovarian cnacer, but when she and her husband, the wonderful singer and actor (and HOT!!!!!!!!) Jason Danieley, started doing concerts together, I thought she had the cancer beat.
As I read more about her, I learned it had returned, despite removing her ovaries, and having a hysterectomy. She reportedly suffered abdominal pains, bowel blockages--my heart goes out both to she and Jason.
Not only was Marin gorgeous. She had a gorgeous voice. Even in a not so great musical, like "Carrie," which David and I saw, she could make the most of mediocre material. And when she was given something to sink her teeth into, like Sondheim's "Losing My Mind," which was shown on PBS, to commemorate Sondhiem's 80th birthday, back in 2010.
And here are Marin and Jason doing a "Sondheim Suite." His voice and looks matched hers; their was a real Broadway love story, the kind often now only found in books.
But it was real. And Jason, it will endure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Last night, I was so psyched, darlings, I am sorry to report that I was not at all impressed by the season premiere of "American Horror Story: Apocalypse."
Maybe because the opening, apocalyptic sequences, scared me. Well executed, they engendered in me a cultural feat that is present in all of this--that this someday could be real, and we pray it is not in our lifetimes. I thought Ryan Murphy was trying to engender paranoia among viewers, or challenge the sickos out there to copy this. I don't need this kind of anxiety. I have enough of my own, thank you!
After Evan Peters' star turn in last year's "Cult," it was lovely to see him as gay hair dresser, Mr. Gallant. And Billie Lourd as assistant to Leslie Grossman's Coco, who was, essentially, Leslie Grossman.
The show was enlivened when Sarah Paulson appears, in one of the best hair styles she has had since my favorite of her characters, Hypodermic Sally on "Hotel." Her entrance here seems to channel Judith Anderson, as Mrs. Danvers, in "Rebecca," and I could tell she was having a rip roaring old time, doing this role! And her name is Wilhemina Venable--what a hoot!
She is the spokesperson for The Cooperative, some organization that has assembled the best and the brightest, for survival. It also assembles the liveliest--Kathy Bates, who, as Ms. Miriam Mead, is the nightmare embodiment of every Victorian housekeeper. But, then there is Joan Collins' as Evie Gallant, Peters' grandmother, who is just a hoot, going on about white meat chicken! You just gotta LOVE Joan, darlings, a trouper, all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As is everyone with this show. But the script offered me no clues as to where this might be going, nor how such listed performers as Emma Roberts, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy, let alone Jessica Lange, are going to step into it.
Every season has the chance of being the best or the worst. "Hotel" held such promise, but, for my money, turned out to be the worst, with Lady Gaga and all that blood.
On spec, "Apocalypse" looks to be the worst, but, it just might surprise us!!!!!!!!!!
"We'll meet again," darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank God, darlings, for my "Sound Of Music" post! Had that not been there, many would think this Evil Child Month--first Amma Crellin on "Sharp Objects," then those awful real life bitches Lindsey Moss and Dallas Baron, and now Emma Grossman.
Who the hell is Emma Grossman? Well, she was always better known by another, and better name, Rhoda Penmark. Yes, darlings, it is yet another remake of "The Bad Seed," and this, I have to say is the worst. When will they stop trying to outdo this story? The 1956 film, campy and dated as it is, is still the gold standard. With its cast, and hysterics, it still reaches a level of suspense that this version does not begin to approach.
The bare bones of the story is maintained--the framework, that is. Some characters have been eliminated, and new ones created, under a different gender, which really does not work. The story is so condensed, it provides no narrative context.
That said, I have to say McKenna Grace as Emma/Rhoda is the best thing in the show. They cast her strong, unlike in the 1985 version. The trouble is, everyone around her, with the possible exception of Sarah Dugdale, who plays Nanny Chloe, the stand in for Leroy, is up to her level. She and Grace get some sparks going, but how much more satisfying, campy and ironically fun it would have to have had Rebecca DeMornay play this role, much in the understated way she played Peyton Flanders in "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle." That is the kind of wit, coupled with suspense, that this show needs.
Rob Lowe is so ineffectual and clueless as the father, I almost wish the child had done him in. Well, she does get a chance to try, but he is then shot, in a contrived last moment, at
the cabin (the climax takes place at a vacation spot) caretaker, where father David is shot to death, and Emma/Rhoda, sneeringly, goes off to live with his sister, Aunt Angela, whose family has no idea what they are soon in for.
So, yes, the ending is not censored. But it almost doesn't matter because Lowe is so passive, works up no emotional concern or frenzy, and doesn't engender the kind of sympathy Nancy Kelly did, even with her histrionics. A little more of those was needed from Lowe, instead of endless shots of him emerging from the shower, showing how good he can look in his Fifties. Who the hell cares? You never did anything for me, anyway, Rob!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Forget the whole Claude Daigle-Eileen Heckart trope. The child's name is Milo Curtis, and, until he beats her out for a Citizenship Medal (??????), they seem to be cordial friends. But when the camera pans Milo overlooking a cliff, plunging down into the water, it becomes obvious what is going to happen, at the hands of Emma. And it does. His mother, here called Maggie Curtis, is played by an actress named Shauna Johannesen, who has one screaming scene, but is not the fleshed out, devastated mother Eileen Heckart was, whose performance tore at the heart. Her, hers is just a throwaway role.
Save for the almost gratuitous scene, where original "Bad Seed" herself, Patty McCormack, now 73, is seen as a child psychiatrist, evaluating Emma, where she delivers the pithy line, "She reminds me of myself, when I was her age." there is really no need to see this abortive remake. In fact if one is not a "Bad Seed aficionado, one will not get the irony of that scene, or the one where Emma lovingly runs both sides of her hands, across her father's cheeks.
So much for your great idea, Rob! As for screenwriter, Barbara Marshall, what the hell did you think you were doing? This should be a template for not to remake something having been done so perfectly in the first place.
And no piano playing? No "Au Clair De La Lune?"
How dare they?????????????????
Sooner or later, darlings, no matter how difficult, I find a bitch. This week, I found two, Lindsey Moss, and her friend, Dallas Baron. Wait till you hear what they did.
All the players in this drama hail from Aztec, New Mexico, where this took place.
Amanda Greehaus has an eight year old boy, with Down's Syndrome, named Brican. He is a sweet, loving child.
Moss and Baron, both 19, and one of whom was actually pregnant, were asked to babysit for Brican, but what they did was to torture the young child, forcing him to smoke marijuana from a bong, as they thought it funny, and then striking him in the head, with an empty gallon sized can of water, whose plastic, nevertheless, had an indelible impact.
I have seen the videos of these events, but refuse to post such horrors here. They can easily be found on line. Brican's father posted it online on Facebook, and these girls have been charged with child abuse. I mean if they had continued babysitting Brican , a tragedy like the real life Jamie Bulger case, or the 'SVU' episode, "Lost Traveller" might have resulted.
Charging these girls, slapping them across the face is not good enough!
The Aztecs had their own way of dealing with sickness like this. They would send, to get folk like these girls, a vicious and dangerous goddess. A goddess who hungered for, and would devour, these girls' blood--
I say, go get them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
My. lots of things are certainly happening today. Who knows what this AHS season will be like? But with so many of the old gang back--including Lily Rabe and Evan Peters, among others--it should be exciting. Some early scenes suggest a "Purge" like sequence, which is only fit, as last season's "Cult" kind of foreshadowed all that.
My favorite season, "Coven," is being combined with the initial one, "Horror House," so the combine should be very exciting to watch. Then, there is that baby. Will he/she get some cute lines?
Tune in, and find out, girls, and we will all talk about it, afterward!!!!!!!!!!!!
What better film to see after "The Nun," than "The Sound Of Music?" And in the big screen glory it was meant for.
It was also meant to be, because this came about by accident. Occasionally, on Google, I type in titles of my favorite movies, to see if any are being screened in the New York area. Last week, when I typed "Sound Of Music," I saw Fantom Events were having screenings Sunday and two today--at 2 and 7PM. I knew I had to be there, not only because it may be my last chance to see it onscreen--it does not get revived as often as other classics--and as a tribute to Charmian Carr, who died two years ago this September 17, and Heather Menzies, who will have been gone a year, this December 24!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To think Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer are still alive and kicking, but two of the Children, from this film, have already passed on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My special relationship with "The Sound Of Music" began when I did not even know what it was, or who, or anything about Nazis. The only thing I knew about the film were Julie Andrews, and Angela Cartwright, who had grown up before my eyes on television .
The summer of 1965--the film was released on March 2 of that year--I had a children's picture magazine, called "Jack And Jill." They did a feature story on the film, and the visual quality of the alps, Julie, and the kids, just captivated me. I had to see it. I was given the soundtrack album as a gift, and memorized all the songs, but I desperately wanted to see the film.
When my birthday came around, that November--I turned 11--my parents told me I would not get my present right away. I wondered what was going on, and did not find out till the day after Thanksgiving, when, after leaving my Aunt Jane and Uncle Donald's, in Linwood, where we had spent the holiday, I was told we were not going home right away, I could not imagine what was going on, and, not until I saw that now iconic poster plastered on the wall of a theater on the Atlantic City boardwalk, did I realize that seeing "The Sound Of Music" was to be my birthday present.
Two things I can share from that first viewing--
The next day, when we were home, found me in front of our house, which had steps, doing the following.
Because, in this movie, I saw, then, the childhood I so desperately wanted, as opposed to the boring suburban banality I was raised on. Already I knew I wanted so much to be Angela Cartwright and Heather Menzies, who, always attractive, were just so perfect looking at the time. I wanted to be THAT perfect looking!!!!!!!!!!!
As the film gained stature over time, and my viewings mounted, these Children, became, in a sense, my emotional siblings. I am sure I was not the only one who felt that way.
I was so engrossed in that initial viewing, that, at the climax, when the audience sings back "Edelweiss" at the Salzburg Festival, I stood up in my seat, and did it, because I thought that was what you were supposed to do!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seeing the film Sunday made me appreciate it all the more--the opening, which cannot be topped, the camera placement of Robert Wise in the Wedding Scene, and the wryness, which I had never noticed before, of both Christopher Plummer's and Richard Haydn's performances.
I was in fifth grade when I first saw it, so this was how I became aware of the Nazis, the holocaust, and why the Von Trapps had to leave Austria. I did some reading up, afterwards.
Over the years, the film has acquired a camp reputation, particularly in the scene leading up to the "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" song, where the Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) asks Maria, "What is it you can't face?" Only, since the actors speak in aristocratic tones, it comes out like "What is it you cunt face?" I was so absorbed in this viewing, I did not even notice!
Peggy Wood! Oh, my God, what a wonderfully moving and nuanced performance. When, hiding Maria, Captain, and The Children, in the Abbey, she says to Julie, "I lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my strength," I cried real tears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And Anna Lee and Portia Nelson! Oh, my God! Portia gets the best line, when she sings, "And underneath her wimple, she has curlers in her hair!" Not to mention a visible Marni Nixon, singing on screen!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then, there is that opening. I tell you, when the theater goes black, and the alps first appear on the screen, you can feel the electricity of anticipation in the audience. And, as the visuals get more beautiful, the music builds, and the camera first spots Julie from the distance, applause breaks out in the theater. Then, as that iconic twist is done, someone in the audience--me, this time--invariably shouts out--"Sing it, Jules!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
And "The Sound Of Music" is off and running!
This movie always elicited tears, but this time in the most unusual places. Like, when after Maria returns, and the Captain says, "You never said goodbye. Even to the children."
However, I have to say the scene that did me in the most, was the end, with the choral accompaniment of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain." Because my viewing was meant as a tribute both to Charmian and Heather. As they walked up the mountain, I kept my eyes peeled on them, and then, as they reached the top, and went on down, presumably to Switzerland, I cried outright, as I knew I was saying goodbye to them, and the innocence of my first viewing, when the world lay ahead of all of us, and is now a time gone forever.
Here is that scene. May I get another viewing in of this film before I depart, like Charmian and Heather.
And may all of you out there, who have never experienced it, this way, get to do so!
Really, it is the ONLY way, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Rave is a long non-existent Sixties journal, full of all kinds of bon mots. It is also the starting point for the song, "Frank Mills," used in "HAIR." Long before Shelley Plimpton took her place on stage at the Biltmore, and became a Legend Of The Musical Stage," the following text appeared in the journal's section called "Boys And Girls Lost And Found--"
"I met a boy called Frank Massey on
holiday at Rhyl, but unfortunately
lost his address. Last seen with his friend.
drummer with the Sidewalkers.
Lives in Manchester, and goes to the Twisted
Wheel most Saturdays. Please help me find
him.--Cindy Hines, Bartley Green,
The similarities are so striking that I cannot help presenting this on what today is known, in my world, as "Frank Mills" Day. Yes, I will be going to the Waverly, and doing a special rendition to honor Shelley, but Rado and Ragni must have been aware of this item when they dreamed up the song. So, there is a kernel of truth to it, but not like the truth Shelley brought to it.
Here it is! Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Since its publication, in 1928, "The Well Of Loneliness" has been both the mantle and bane of the lesbian's existence. Its heroine, called Stephen, would seem out of place even in our time, and the final plea, "Give us the right to exist!," while impacting, does not justify how generations of lesbians have used this text as an excuse for beating their breasts or gnashing their teeth in anguish over this book, which, at one time was all they had, and, while possessing a degree of advocacy, still goes on to generate even more anxiety and anguish. Is this all lesbians have?
Fannie Flagg eased things up a bit, with "Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Café," but Amy Bloom's "White Houses" goes even further. This is the poetically evocative, yet subtly erotic lesbian love story that beats Hall by miles. And its two characters are real, Eleanor Roosevelt--yes, THE Eleanor--and her companion/lover, Lorena Alice Hickcock.
The lesbian world painted here is one of subtle, Thirties glamour, shopping, wearing white gloves, undoing skirts, luncheons, kisses on the sly, and trying to look one's best going about their business. Anyone looking for lesbian graphics is advised to skip this one, although I had no idea that the euphemistic phrase, "See You Next Tuesday," went this far back. After all, I only discovered it for the first time, in "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" And I never thought of its meaning, till about ten years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, next Tuesday or not, girls, this is a fiercely poetic tale of love between two very independent and intelligent women. Lord knows, Eleanor was no beauty, and I guess Alice was not, either, but love from the heart and soul is more what Amy Bloom (did I read "Away?" I cannot recall!) writes about with such poetic lyricism the book cannot help but be moving.
Interesting for me, personally, was the appearance of a speech writer named Joe Lash. I imagine this was the Joe Lash, (or his son?) who wrote the dual bios "Eleanor And Franklin," and "Eleanor:The Years Alone." I struggled to get through them, one summer between high school years; they were both so lugubrious, and idealized both to the point of sainthood. Bloom's book, while fiction, humanizes both women to a point where both can well be tolerated.
The book has its own brand of feminine enchantment. I am telling you, girls, when the reading is done, you will want to don white gloves, and have tea with them both!
Even if, like me, you are not a lesbian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Oh, darlings, what a fun time was had at "The Nun." This may not have been Colin Hardy's first film, but it will be the first to establish him some actual street cred.
Bonnie Aarons, in the title role, may not get lines, or much screen time, but when she shows up, she steals the show! I only wish there had been more of her.
Colin Hardy helps out with some spectacular shots of Romania, both inside and out. I swear, had this film been shot in black and white, he might have been channeling Mario Bava.
Everyone in this hoot of a film seems to be channeling someone. Early on, in the convent, Taissa Farmiga, as Sister Irene, passes a nasty nun, who disses her. Obviously a nod to Gladys Cooper in "The Song Of Bernadette."
Demian Bichir, as Father Burke, easily channels Jason Miller in "The Exorcist," while Farmiga, as the not quite nun novice, Sister Irene, tries for something serious--Jennifer Jones as Bernadette, or something. She does succeed in bringing some gravitas to the film, but camp is what is highly needed here.
Bonnie Aarons in the title role, and Gabrielle Downey, as The Abbess, have the best, campy moments, and make this a nun fun film!!!!!!!!!! Downey actually has the best lines, although how I wish her role had been played by the one actress who could have raised this role to the heightened camp needed--Sylvia Miles!!!!!!!!! I kept thinking of Sylvia all through Downey's scenes. Just look at her work as Madame Zena in Tobe Hooper's 1981 film, "The Funhouse," to see what I mean.
The film ends with an image from the first "Conjuring" film, as if to suggest the franchise has come full circle, and is done. But don't you believe it, darlings! This was the top grossing film of the weekend, because nuns sell tickets. And both Aarons and Downey were having such a good time with their roles, I think they, and viewers, are not through with them yet. The actresses want to play them more, and viewers want to see more of them.
So, don't be surprised if they team up, for a double nun whammy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Only time will tell!
I am telling you, even Sister Camille would laugh her head off!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, September 10, 2018
Girls, if merchandisers were smart, "Sharp Objects" would become a cottage industry. There would be Amma T-shirts, Amma dolls, and yes, Amma dollhouses!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, my God, the minute I saw that dollhouse, I wanted it. Kudos to whomever built it. Along with everyone else deserving of awards for their work on "Sharp Objects," I include the designer and builder of this set piece, and Amy Adams' hair stylist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Relating to "Sharp Objects" itself, the question I pose is--how did Amma come by the dollhouse? I am not sure this is even explained in the Gillian Flynn novel. Did her wussy father, Alan Crellin, buy it for her, or build it, himself? Did Amma construct it? If so, then she is some kind of engineering genius. And when she is shown examining the floor, tiled with teeth, and Camille makes the discovery Amma tiled the floor of Adora's bedroom--clearly love/hate--with her victims' teeth, it shows, at the very least, Amma has good renovation skills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, it is no wonder, with its beauty and detailed intricacy, the dollhouse fascinates me, and I wanted it. But how does it relate, specifically, to me?
When I was a small child, of the dollhouse age, I had, in our TV room, a solidly constructed desk, made out of strong cardboard, with a bench strong enough to hold a small child, and it acted as my "first office space!" Hah! Hah! Even that early, I saw myself as Buddy and Sally on "The Dick Van Dyke Show," working in an office, dreaming up comedy! Hey, SNL, I am still available!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Instead of drawers, the right side of the desk had little openings, where I could put things--books, paper, whatever. However, I left them blank.
Now, I also possessed at the time, when they were in vogue, these miniature plastic replicas of famous Disney characters. They were called "Disneykins," and while I never had a complete set, I know I had Captain Hook, Snow White, some of the dwarfs, and my two favorites, Alice, of "Alice In Wonderland," and Tinker Bell, from "Peter Pan." I probably had Peter Pan, too. I have never seen the Disney version to this day, but had the storytelling record, and was captivated by Mary Martin . The idea of flying off to Neverland, or whirling away to Oz, was key to me at this point. So, I would insert the Disneykins into the top opening on the right side of the desk, and use it as a stage, moving them back and forth, acting out little dramas. And as I grew older, and gravitated from Disney to dinosaurs, thinking I might become the next Willis O'Brien, I did the same thing.
What I was actually doing was exercising my control and theatrical instincts. I was staging little mini dramas, or monster battles, where I controlled everything that happened. I did not have this control anywhere else, so it was important to me. And this came back to me as I watch Amma interact with her dollhouse.
It instilled an early interest in theater in me, which, while not making me an international star, took me to acceptable and satisfying places in my life. Unlike Amma!!!!!!!!!!
Still, I want that doll house now! If only I had Amma's innovation skills!
But, I mean, darlings, I am a queen! It would never occur to me to renovate a real floor myself, let alone a dollhouse one!!!!!!!!!
And I would never have thought of using teeth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After all that murder and mayhem, darlings, let us talk about something a bit more pleasant. After the debacle that was "Ginny's 5 and 9," we--David, our neighbor, Jennifer, and myself--were delighted to discover, thanks to David, Lombardo's pizza place at 271 71st Street, on the side of Third Avenue.
Darlings, the staff is friendly, the food plentiful and freshly made; they even have a Children's Night, which I believe in on Tuesday evenings, and they have all kinds of board games! I was anxious to play Candy Land, myself!
They have pizza, they have bruschetta, they make calzones, so huge and stuffed with fresh ricotta cheese. Served over tomato sauce, it is a tasty meal, and we eventually opted for that, rather than pizza. But we will return for that, for sure.
Our calzone was the biggest I have ever seen, and their bruschetta is delicious. So is the coffee, and oh, my God, the chocolate mousse cake was melt in my mouth treat.
I mean, even Blythe Danner might gain weight here!
But it is the latest Bay Ridge find!
Girls, I am telling you, you simply have GOT to try it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It still haunts me, and Amma continues to fascinate, so I still feel the need to write about it. And I feel some readers may still be confused by, especially, the post ending proceedings, so eventually I am going to dissect each and every murder for you.
But, first, let's get a little more acquainted with Amma. She may be the richest girl in town, which factors in on her meanness, but so does her being part of a generation of women who pass down their need for attention in a sick way, and act on that need equally so. We know it did in Marian, Camille knows it would have done her in, had she stuck around, and Amma is unsafe with Adora. While the town, who knows about Adora, but, because of her money and prestige, chooses to look the other way, are unaware of is Amma's coping mechanism--yes, they may know about the wildness, and the roller skating, and the partying coupled with drugs. But no one--ABSOLUTELY NO ONE--would suspect Amma of murder--especially not when she is forced to wear that overtly childish get up at home.
Which is part of the reason Amma acts out. Why she chooses murder may puzzle some, but there is so much anger and rage, not to mention adolescent hormones, bursting in Amma, she has to release it all, somehow. Her psychosis probably manifested itself early, with animals; there are no pets, in the Crellin house, and, if you go back into Amma's past, I can guarantee there will be some mysterious animal deaths. The whole scene with Amma at the pig farm, holding the baby pig, is a clue in to all of this. "Sharp Objects" is one of the better presentations I have seen, demanding careful attention to each and every thing in it.
But, as with all budding serial killers, animals eventually become not enough as victims. Larger, more challenging fare, is sought, and Amma, inheriting her mother's pathology, takes it to the extreme, starting with her first victim--Ann Nash.
The murder of Ann is done months before the story we know as "Sharp Objects" starts. Adora, trying to pull off appearances as a pillar of the community, joins the local elementary school tutorial program, where she begins tutoring Ann. In time, she becomes genuinely fond of the girl, which is bad, considering this is Adora; who knows what she might try. But Amma beats her to it. Because, once she sees how Ann is detracting from HER attention, Amma's killer impulse is triggered, and she has to, in her rationality, get rid of Ann.
The sequence above is quick. But I can surmise what happens. Based on Ann's bicycle eventually turning up in the pond by the pig farm, it is my belief that Amma used her power of charm to lure, or maybe take a walk with Ann, out there. Ann and Amma would have had a slight acquaintance through her mother's tutoring, so it would not be unusual for them to cross paths.
My contention is Ann was out riding her bicycle, going to a friend's house, like her parents said. But somewhere before that, she was accosted by Amma who, with the charm she can exhibit when warranted, enticed Amma out to the pig farm, where her acolytes, Jodes and Kelsey, were waiting. Once there, Ann was ambushed by them, held down by the other two, while Amma furiously tore into Ann, destroying her, but allowing her body to be found as a challenge to the town, and dumping the bicycle in the pond.
Anyone who diverts attention from Amma is in danger. Best never to cross paths with her. But people find that out too late.
Natalie Keene--Natalie's murder has just about happened when "Sharp Objects" begins. At this point, she is missing, but is eventually found, propped dead in that alley way, with all her teeth extracted. I love that Amma and the girls are on hand at the discovery, displaying such genuine shock over the horror they know they caused! Sick!
Teeth extraction is important to Amma, as is eventually found out. As for Natalie, she was another one of Adora's "projects." She came from the Goat Alley section of Wind Gap, and Adora wanted to help her, both in school, and socially, as Natalie was such a lovely girl. Again, both women are drawing her into their clutches. But, again, Amma beats Mama to the kill. What looks like happened was Amma, in one of her "goddess" moods, dressed as the Woman In White, and lured the curious Natalie out to the shed in the woods. Again, Kelsey and Jodes were waiting there, and from the film, if one looks closely, this seems to be where Natalie was killed. Beating, rope, choking, orgiastically screaming with sadistic delight, this is the most fun Amma seems to get out of life, but let us not forget, that, in killing these girls, she is also acting out on her desire to kill her mother, whom she does hate, but, as is seen when they visit in prison, Amma and Adora still have a sick dependency on one another. If only someone had told Natalie to avoid the Crellins in Wind Gap!!!!!!!!!!!
Mae--Mae is the briefest killing in both the book and film, because her murder is used to eventually reveal Amma as the Wind Gap killer, and to demonstrate that, as long as she remains at large, Amma will kill again. Though brief, Mae's, in some way, is the most important of the murders.
In the book, Mae was a white girl named Lily Burke. She was an outcast, and a black girl in a St. Louis school, where the presumably bright Amma goes, would be an outcast, making it easy for Amma to glom onto her, and train her as an acolyte. Mae, I am sure, is thrilled with the warmth and friendship that Amma exudes, so she has no reason to fear expressing thoughts of her own, like she does to Camille and Frank Curry, But this does not sit well with Amma, and the viewer already knows what Mae is in for, when Amma does that joke hanging routine. Eventually, it becomes all too clear, as Amma lures Mae to the alley where they skate, and kills her singlehandedly, with killer strength, strangling her through the fence--trapping Mae, who is held in place as Amma wraps the rope around her neck, so she can kill this one herself. And she has the strength to extract teeth, even if kids' teeth are weaker, and easier to pull.
Wind Gap has no idea how lucky it was. Jodes, who is treated throughout by Amma as a third wheel, I can tell you would have been Amma's next victim, had she remained. And who knows how long Kelsey would have been around, after that? Not a good idea to make friends with Amma, as it usually ends in the friend's death.
Meanwhile, what about Amma and sex? Is she just precocious, or has she had experience? The line where she talks about how letting boys do it to her is doing it to them, that she exerts control, suggests Amma's chastity vanished as fast as she matured, which makes her even more dangerous. If left free to grow into an adult, she would become an equal opportunity serial killer--murdering both men and women. And heaven help them were Amma to have children herself! Not only are they in for sick treatment, they may go psycho themselves.
Or not, because Camille didn't!
So, that is my take on the murders. The ending reminded me of "The Other," from 1972, where Niles is at the window, imprisoned in his own world of insanity.
I would hope, when it all comes out, Kelsey and Jodes are charged, as accomplices to murder.
I would love to see Adora's face when the truth about Amma is revealed. Or did she know already?????? Then Adora, though not guilty of murdering Ann, Natalie or Mae, is guilty of protecting a psychopath, impeding an investigation into the truth!!!!!!!!!!!
I have no doubt I will keep coming back to "Sharp Objects." It is that kind of story!
And talk about type casting--wouldn't Amy Adams and Eliza Scanlen make a terrific Constance and Merricat in the never filmed Shirley Jackson novel, "We Have Always Lived In The Castle????????"