Tuesday, July 17, 2018
I will try and not to go all Joan Didion on here, but I feel I owe my girls an explanation for why I have not been on here, of late. The reason is not good, and the possibilities scare me.
Here's the thing. I don't know how it happened.
It started last Saturday. David and I had to get up to go to a funeral. The mother of one of his colleagues had passed, and I wanted to go and support him.
Th day began normally. There was nothing to suggest anything would go wrong. But it did.
Now, I am sure we can all agree there are certain areas of the body we would rather not talk about. And we can agree those areas, front and back lie below the waist line.
I got up that morning, had my breakfast, faced my issues, showered, dressed, and marched out the door, with David.
There we were, at the train station, waiting for the R train to arrive. When it did, that is when things changed. Because, in the second it took to transition from station platform to train, something in my intestinal tract or abdominal region, just shifted, like a switch being turned on. Suddenly, I felt such pressure in the anal area, as though, any minute, I would have an accident. The feeling lasted, and we made our way to the Grand Concourse Brooklyn Public Library, where I expunged Friday night's meal. I felt better, but not relieved.
The funeral was a nightmare, because this feeling persisted. I expunged more, at the bathroom there. I felt tired, weak and went home to rest. David took my temperature, which showed I had a slight fever.
I even took three Dulcolax, which released nothing but water.
Since then, the bowel situation has been touch and go--sometimes something, other times dribs and drabs. I have never felt like this. Constant pressure on the anus, as though I have to go all the time. Oh, and when I urinate, while I am successful, there is pressure when I go, so it is not a relaxing experience. Not painful, not unbearable so that I almost don't want to go, but not the routine I take for granted.
I don't know if my prostate is involved, or not. All this came upon me, seemingly out of the blue.
I made a doctor appointment for tomorrow. I want to know what exactly is going on, and what to do about it. I always felt I was in control of my body. It is horrible when the body tell you it is in control of you.
Wish me luck, girls, as I am having the most dire of thoughts, from surgery to things stuck in places I don't want to imagine.
So that is why I have not been on here. I just haven't been upbeat enough to write about the fun stuff I want to write. I hope to be back to that soon.
And healthier, for it!
Pray for me, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have not been on here recently, for valid reasons, girls, which I will share with you, in the next post. But, with follower indicator now at 77. that means a new reader has joined us, and I say let us all bid them welcome. I hope what led you here was entertaining, and that you find both humor and information on here.
You know, there is so much I have to write about, but I don't have the motivation right now. But just doing this gets me back in the flow, so who knows what may come out of this.
So, welcome to the wacky, and, for now, uncertain world, of The Raving Queen. Hope you stick around, feel free to comment, and remember it goes great with coffee.
Friday, July 13, 2018
Over the years, there has been talk of remaking "THEM!," which I think is a bad idea. First, the movie has only grown in stature over time; financed by Warner Bros, it is better made than most films of its type, and boasts not only an Oscar winner (Edmund Gwenn) and a brilliant child performance (Sandy Descher) but more future film or TV stars than any so-called B film I can recall.
I actually think "THEM!" belongs in the "A" category for its cast, cinematography,
and, above average for its time, special effects.
Leave it alone. Do not remake it.
But why not redo it?
Here's how it would work--the giant bug concept remains, but the setting now becomes, not New Mexico or Los Angeles, but New York City, particularly the Upper East Side.
Instead of a brilliant child, like Sandy Descher, there is a young, flamboyant queen, wandering the streets of Manhattan in the early hours, a look of trauma and uncertainty upon his face. What is wrong? Is Starbucks not open yet??????? Was he rejected from one of the fashion houses??????? Is an understudy replacing his favorite musical theater star?
These are, indeed, major traumas for a young gay man in New York City! And when he is faced with the iconic scene, instead of screaming "THEM!,
he thinks he has seen a giant cockroach.
Because, yes, darlings, if one is going to do a redux of "THEM!" set in New York City, the insects in question must, inevitably be cockroaches.
Cut to a crowd scene. People, to the tune of "Windy" on the soundtrack, are rushing to their self-important meetings, in a city. Suddenly, from off to the side, emerges a giant, human sized, cockroach, sporting a designer prop. Slowly, inexorably, more cockroaches appear, with all sorts of designer gear, slowly evolving into complete outfits. Soon, the screen is filled with people, mystified, walking along giant cockroaches, who are better dressed than they! One is even sporting Helmut Lang, for God's sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is discovered that a colony of cockroaches has mutated from all the hair chemicals, used over at Sally Herhberger's on East 71st Street. If they aren't stopped, the city will be overrun with fashionably dressed cockroaches, who will be hocking every item from the East Side fashion houses!!!!!!!!!! Which is what they have been doing! Clerks have been attacked in the name of a pair of designer shoes!!!!!!!!!!!
The cockroaches are out for empowerment. They are sick of being regarded as the slugs of this city, scurrying for crumbs, so now they will dress elegantly, and make others scurry!
How can the city be saved? Only one person can save the city--
It is ANNA's idea to mount a huge billboard ad in Times Square, summoning the cockroaches to her office, for a supposed VOGUE cover shoot! They may be roaches, but they cannot resist the lure of fame. The creatures, dressed in individual designer haute couture, are summoned into a room, against a nature backdrop, where they expect to be photographed. Only, the doors slam on them, they are trapped, and, like a gas chamber, massive quantities of RAID are pumped into the venue. You can hear their screams of "RAIIIIIIIIID!!!!!!!!!!!!" ANNA is triumphant, having saved the city
Of course, the movie ends on a twist. The flamboyant queen seen at the beginning is now in line at the TKTS booth, sipping a Starbuck's. He gets a ticket for what he thinks is his favorite musical, but when he gets to the theater designated, he sees what is playing there is---
"Straight White Men!"
The camera moves in for a closeup, as he screams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Isn't this all so brilliant, darlings? Better than a remake. And full of such New York touches!
It would also give Julie Taymor some needed work. I would have her design human sized cockroach costumes for each actor playing one, rather than use puppets, as was done, albeit to great skill, in the original "THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The premiere would have to be held at a fashion gala, at the Met. With ANNA hosting, of course!
And the Guest Of Honor would be Sandy Descher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not only how do I do this, girls, but where. I mean, Gisele has left the city, with hubby Tom Brady. They sold their stunning East 22nd Street apartment--if only I could have bought it, loves, and I think have moved out of the city. Boston, maybe?
So, like, where does one go to have lunch with Gisele these days? Does she still come to the city, now that she is raising a daughter? If she does, I favor Casellulua, on West 52nd Street. Only, that is an evening place, so perhaps we could chat there in the early evening hours.
Not like back in the day, when it was hanging out all night with Gisele and Leo, at Bungalow 88???????? You think I could do that, anymore???????? Or Gisele?????? As for Leo, well he is sort of benched! Everyone thought Gisele was just a cover for him, because of all the gay rumors. Like, when both had careers, how he and Tobey Maguire were an item! Tobey was a better actor than Leo, but now he is raising kids! What happened? Too bad he stopped acting. As for Leo, well Martin Scorsese is still alive, and Leo had better thank his lucky stars, because it is only through him Leo will get a job! Leo is NOT gay! Why? Because the only one Leo loves is LEO!!!!!!!!!!
But back to Gisele! Now, hon, I am sure you are still in touch with ANNA; I mean you two were a fabulous team! And that little bit you did in "The Devil Wears Prada" shows a strong sense of humor, which I just loved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, how about a visit to Casellula? Just give me plenty of advance notice, so I can find the right designer, stylist, and foundation! Oh, my God! Lunch with Gisele demands that I look my best!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And, unlike Gisele, that takes a LOT of work, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Two people I hope are not seen there, are Walter Bobbie and Leslie Stifelman. Now, maybe they will be under obligation to attend by their producers, but I am telling you, they better not show their faces too conspicuously, or else mob mentality could triumph, and they could be stoned to death, like Tessie Hutchinson, at the end of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."
It's not like they don't deserve it.
I am anxious to hear who speaks, and what they say. I hope Jeff's family comes to Manhattan to attend this event. And I hope it begins a healing process for not only the "Chicago" company, but the theater community.
Bullying is bad, no matter where it takes place. And it can take place anywhere.
I hope the Memorial is healing and helpful for all of us.
And provides closure for Jeff's friends and family!
But, like Marcia Kramer, I am STILL looking for answers, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See you on the 7tth, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is always so great to look forward to another "Carrie Diaries" from Lindsay Mendez, of "Carousel," which everyone, on here, by now, knows is the show I cannot stop writing about. But, during it, I was saddened to hear that next week's episode will be the last. I am curious to see what note it will end on, but, geez, Linz, all us Theater Queens want you to continue you it throughout the run. Please?
Anyway, this week is very informative, because it is all about health. The key word throughout is "Water!" Hydration is important for all of us, but when doing eight shows a week, and in the Summer, oh, my God! I feel so guilty for missing my morning walk, but I try and incorporate more water in my diet. Besides, with all the meds I take, especially for diabetes, I feel thirsty more often than not.
There weren't as many physical warm-ups as I expected, though what was shown were inspiring. And seeing Jessie Mueller getting a back and foot massage with the scariest looking equipment was amazing! Though I felt for Jessie; I, too, would have been a little apprehensive.
The handsome Amar Ramasar stressed the importance of water; if only that alone could get us to look as good as he, and dance that well. But there is more to it, than that!!!!!!!!!
The most eloquent turned out to be Joshua Henry, who, by the way, wears what is destined to become the most iconic sweater in show business, since Betsy Palmer's white fisherman one in "Friday The !3th," back in 1980!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt like I was listening to a mini Master Class, as he explains caring for his voice. I must try to incorporate all he says into mine.
As for Lindsay, well, she is just indefatigable! I will miss her "Carrie Diaries," though it does give me another reason to re-visit "Carousel."
Enjoy, everyone--and LEARN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Those perfect teeth. Betsy Palmer must have excellent dental coverage!
Yes, dears, there is no question what movie I will be watching on this day. The maniacal wholesomeness Palmer brings to the role of Mrs. Voorhees, makes her lovable, as well as camp!
All those years of work, including raves for Tennessee Williams' "The Eccentricities Of A Nightingale," on Broadway, and this is what she is best remembered for. That is the irony of show business. You often never know what role is the one of a lifetime.
So, enjoy today, however you may, and don't forget to utter, at some point, those magical words--"Kill her, Mommy! Kill her!"
Betsy died May 29, 2015. I cannot believe she has been gone three years.
All who love Mrs. V still miss her dearly. There will never another mom, like her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy Friday The 13th, everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, July 12, 2018
When Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb murdered Bobby Franks, within an affluent Chicago suburb, on May 21, 1924, they coined the concept of "thrill kill." But others followed in their wake.
One of the more disturbing, which caused me not to sleep well last night, was the murder of Daniel Sorenson, who, at the age of 25, was tragically murdered on November 7, 2007. He was, when it came down to it, a "gentle giant," like Lenny in "Of Mice And Men," or Spiros Anonopoulous, in Carson McCullers' "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter."
It wasn't just the murder, itself. It was who and how did it, and how the formula all came together to create a perfect storm.
First, I have something to say about Dan. Despite what I am writing, I feel sorry for him. He did not deserve what happened to him.
Dan was no angel; in fact, he was a problem kid. Petty theft, drugs, and even a sex offense charge. This is where things get murky.
My impression of Dan was that he was socially immature. Today, this might be labeled as autism or Asperger's, but I sure don't know enough to designate that. But it seemed as though Dan related better to those younger than he. When he was 17, he took up with a young girl, who was 14--both were minors. After a parental fight at home, he moved in with the girl friend, and lived with her as a couple. But--get this!!!!!!!!!--her mother allowed it! Now, right away, I said to myself, something has to be the matter with her.
In a way, there was. Because, once Dan turned 18, the mother's boy friend talked the women into charging him as a sex offender. He was, had to register, and, of course, found it impossible to get any kind of work. Though there was never further evidence of any predatory behavior, though I feel bad for Dan making a stupid choice--and that mother!!!!!!!--technically, the boy friend was right.
So, Dan became a kind of local itinerant. picking up jobs and money where he might, crashing with friends from time to time. All within the confines of Plymouth, Michigan.
Not far from there was the Inner City of Detroit. Going from Plymouth to there was like going from my Brooklyn neighborhood, to Manhattan. And it was in Detroit that Dan was seen at, and often hosted parties, with beer and other things procured for guests, who were often teens younger than himself. One evening, Dan had the misfortune of meeting two teen boys, J.P. (for Jean Pierre) Orlewicz, and Alexander James Letkemann, both in their late teens.
J.P., was from an affluent family, knew it, and was full of himself. Alexander was not from wealth, and became Orlewicz' acolyte. They began a friendship with Dan, who was invited to J.P.s house, and later his grandfather's, (whom the boy was supposed to be taking care of) where they hung out, partied, and thought themselves the coolest of dudes. Dan, unfortunately, was on this maturity level, and he craved the social acceptance, but he, like Alexander, under estimated the lethality of Orlewicz.
J.P., like Richard Loeb, had grandiose plans for being a gangster, which he shared with the two others. Dan showed them some easy petty theft tricks. What he did not know was that J.P. also harbored fantasies of wanting to kill someone--which Alex did not--and, in time, came to focus on Dan Sorenen as his target, because, even though his parents were still alive, he figured no one would miss him, or care that he was gone. Very much the same thinking as Lili Reinhart as Courtney Lane, in the 'SVU' episode "Lost Traveler," based on Brooklyn's Leiby Kletzky case.
On the evening of November 7, 2009, J.P. invited Alex and Dan over to his grandfather's house, ostensibly to hang out, and plan an extortion. Alex arrived first, and when he went with J.P. into the grandfather's garage, and saw how it was set up, that is when he was told Dan was invited over, not knowing J.P. was going to kill him, because he "wanted to." Alex went into shock, and before his eyes, witnessed J.P. luring Dan into the garage, pulling out a knife and slitting his throat, and then stabbing the man over thirty times!!!!!!! Overcome with disgust, Alex went outside and threw up. But he witnessed everything. Why didn't he run? Was it shock? Fear for his own life? Probably a bit of both.
With Alexander unable to function, J.P. called another friend, Isam Ayyash, who, with his help and, I believe, finally Alex's, moved Dan's body, wrapped in a blue tarp, dumping it in an isolated spot along the highway, in a field.
Oh, but there was a trophy kept in the grandfather's house, on the top shelf, for a time. In a cylindrical tube, covered, contained the severed head of Dan Sorensen, which J.P. delightfully had chopped off. The head was later moved to an isolated spot, where a distraught Alex, finally tracked by police, led them to it, so that Dan's family could give their poor, unfortunate and misguided son, a proper burial. And closure for them.
This was a trio of human scum. Though Ayyash helped in disposing the body, he was not charged or convicted, maybe because he was not actively involved in the murder. Alexander Letkemann, who at least had some remorse, was sentenced to 20-30 years in prison, on April 23, 2008, because of active involvement in the murder.
And J.P.? Well, scum rich kid's Mommy and Daddy couldn't buy him out of this. Though I think they should have been charged with raising and enabling a monster. A sociopath, clearly. That poor grandfather. Neglected while his grandson was supposed to be taking care of him!!!!!!!! Bad enough, but who knows? Had J.P. gotten away with Dan, he might have killed again. And Gramps might have been the next victim. Or Alex. Or J.P.'s parents. Or anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
J.P. got his on April 16, 2008. He got LWOP, and ten additional years, for the mutilation of a corpse. Judge Annette J. Berry told him she had no doubt, that, if paroled, he would kill again.
Why didn't J.P.'s parents, teachers, doctors, or other authority figures in his life, not see signs of his sociopathy?????????? Sad as Dan's death is, it was mostly due to his misfortune in crossing paths with Orlewicz. Had he not, he might have worked things out for himself.
But then someone else would have been Orlewicz' victim!
This future Ian Brady is right where he belongs!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am still trying to make sense of Jeff Loeffelholz' tragic death. An investigation is under way, and I hope someone, or ones, is held accountable.
But his death also, unfortunately, says something about shifting cultural attitudes, today, which do not benefit anyone.
Our society expects individuals to earn a living, and support themselves, and/or others. Unless, of course you're the Baroness Pauline De Rothschild, which, believe me, I would love to have been, and, in spite of it, try to do my best to live up to such standards. Just read what I write on here.
I think I can understand the place where Jeff was coming from. He had been raised with a strong work ethic, as was I. When I was growing up, in the Sixties, around me, the message given was if one got a job, one did not leave it, unless for extraordinary reasons. By the time I was of age to look for a job, prospective employers focused on two things--work experience, which, if one was young, was limited, meaning one had to prove oneself, or too much experience; in vulgar parlance "job hopping." Too much of this was on looked on unfavorably.
Today, it seems the opposite applies. People are regarded as disposable, yet are still expected to support themselves. It gets more difficult to blend the two. The job situation today is one is looked upon as less than, for staying with a job for a long time. Nowadays, job hopping is considered a virtue, favoring the employer, who can hire the next person for less, and the worker, who now is regarded as "ambitious" rather than "non-committal," for hopping around.
I learned that Jeff was offered the role of Mary Sunshine full time. Now, I have to be honest, that might have been something I would have leapt at. But, I have to hand it to Jeff--he was as practical as he was artistic. He knew if he took the role full time, his contract would be rewritten. Instead of a run-of-the-play document, he would be up for renewal, every six months to a year. Which meant, any time the contract was up, he could be let go. He made the smart choice--for him. He stayed with the show.
Had he assumed the role full time, I am sure as soon as the contract was up, he would have been out. That was not part of his plan. Let's face it, few shows run 22 years, so Jeff knew he was lucky. Had "Chicago" been a limited run, or closed sooner, Jeff would have been out, but I think he would have kept up a career. Combined with our culture's now prevailing attitudes, and Walter Bobbie's cruelly admitting to Jeff he disagrees with Equity and run of play contracts, plus his and Bitch On Wheels' (Leslie Stifelman), treatment of Jeff being pointedly vicious and abusive long before that June 22 rehearsal, someone needs to be brought up on charges.
There is nothing wrong with staying in a job you love. People have to work. They have to survive amidst a culture that, sadly, devalues them, no matter what the profession.
What is the poor, singular individual, supposed to do?????????????????
Now, darlings, I have to confess, me wandering through Soho is like Sandy Descher wandering the New Mexico desert in the opening scenes of "THEM!" I always get lost, and feel like I have gone out of New York. This is definitely not on my comfort zone.
Nevertheless, I am told that Balthazar, in Soho, is a place to be seen. And, as The Raving Queen, you know how much I just LOVE being seen abut town, darlings! It keeps me in circulation, and enables me to tell my girls what is going on, out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
However, I have my suspicions. The menu at this place is decidedly French. But, as far as I am concerned, it is "faux French." I come from the era of La Grenouille, which is still operating, uptown, on the East side. If you want real, haute French cuisine, go there!!!!!!!!!!
My take on all this is that those who have cited Balthazar as a "destination place" don't know any better. They have never heard of La Grenouille, or that type of cuisine, so, to them, this is high end, French cooking. Are they in for a surprise! Such folk are badly in need of a trip to New Orleans, which, as far as I am concerned, is Cuisine City!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Still, the atmosphere at Balthazar's looks tasteful and elegant. It is possible the place gets buy on its looks. Because, let's face it, they can call them "pommes frties," but they are still French fries!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Which is the level of French, at this place. Strictly junior high.
Nevertheless, I feel obligated to pay a visit, and when I do, I will give you a full report!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don't I always, dears???????????????????????????????
Let us talk fashion, girls, a much more cheery subject, than Oedipal murder, and, if you care about such things, there has just GOT to be some Christian Lacroix in your closet!!!!!!!! I don't care how simple, as long as it has the label!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don't you just love these creations????????? The middle two, with their light pastel colors, especially the greens, are just perfect for this season! I prefer the top one, better suited for Fall or Winter, because of its tailored cut, and color blend. I would even wear the hair style that goes with it. But I would need LOTS of extensions!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The last is SO Marie Antoinette, isn't it, girls??????????? Better suited for a gala than every day.
I would just LOVE to walk into a room, wearing Christian Lacroix!!!!!!!!!!!
Shouldn't everyone own at least one?????????????????
You have to feel sorry for Christi Jackson, of Burnett County, Texas. Her husband, Rusty Jackson, was a scumbag loser, so Christi moved in with her mother, who lived in the neighborhood of Deer Springs Drive. She discovered that a former classmate of hers, Linda Cowan, lived behind them, and, at first, she was pleased about this.
Now, I don't know how well Linda and Christi knew each other in school. I did not get the impression, from the ID presentation, they were close friends, just classmates who knew each other well enough to say hello, but nothing more.
With school behind them, Christi thought she and Linda, with their shared pasts, might develop a fast friendship. They did, but it soon crumbled, thanks to the behavior of two people--Linda and Christi's ex, Rusty.
But Linda went farther, which makes her the winner of this week's Bitch Of The Week Award.
The trouble began when Linda overheard Christi telling her mother she did not want to go over to Linda's, because it was filthy, and there was a festering cesspool in the yard she never did anything about. And it was stinking up the entire neighborhood.
Linda, who was also divorced, had a son by a previous marriage, Vinson. He lived with her, but, at 19, went off to serve in the military. Linda counted on him to do things around the house--God forbid, she should lift her fat ass-- and, let me tell you, the actress who played Linda was perfectly cast, but that I was not able to find a picture of the real Linda tells me she was even uglier than the actress.
Was this mother-son relationship Oedipal? I found myself wondering about that. Anyway, with Vinson gone, Linda's place became more of a pig sty. But, to pile it on, Rusty, Christi's ex, who also knew Linda when they were in school, starts taking up with her, in such close proximity to Christi and the kids, that the girls, especially the elder daughter, were both aware of what Daddy was up to.
This pig would shuttle from house to house, wanting sex with Linda, but keeping favor with his girls, by bringing them Christmas presents, and trying to be a good father. How about not parading your sex life in front of the girls?????? From the tone of my writing, you would think Rusty would be the Bitch Of The Week. The only thing I can accuse him of is being dumb.
Of course, Linda always played the victim. So, when Vinson came home, from his time in the military, she felt protected once more, by having him there. She accused Christi of harassing her, when it was her trash--literally--that was harassing not only Christi, but the entire neighborhood. When Rusty, who could not stand the drama, called it quits with Linda, because he finally manned up to his kids coming first, Linda went off the rails. And what follows is why she makes Bitch Of The Week.
On the evening of December 18, 2009, Christi and the girls were in her bedroom, saying goodnight to each other, when a shot came through and broke the window, hitting Christi in the head! Though rushed to the hospital, still alive, and worked on, to try and save her, she succumbed.
The shot was fired by Linda's son, Vinson. But Mama told him to do it!
The sentences both got were far too lenient. Linda should have gotten LWOP, and had her hair torn out, by female inmates. Vinson, who killed Christi, certainly should have gotten Life. Instead, she got a maximum sentence of 20 years. Vinson, on April 29, 2013, was sentenced to only ten years in prison. What is wrong with the criminal justice system? If they get paroled they could be the next Sante and Kenneth Kimes. Only Mary Tyler Moore is not around to play Linda.
But you need someone really fat and ugly to play Linda, because she was truly ugly on the inside and out. And you need a young psycho looking sick kid to play Vinson, whose sense of military justice is skewered at best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Poor Christi! All she wanted was peace, and this is what she got!
No one counts all the charms about this Linda, darlings!!!!!!!!!!
She hasn't any!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
I am doing everyone on here an enormous favor. Save yourselves the trouble, and don't bother reading this. Or you will be disappointed as I was.
This is one of the worst cases of second novelitis, I have come across in quite a while. And I was not expecting it, because Jessica Knoll's first novel, "Luckiest Girl Alive" was so compelling--and has been optioned for production by Reese Witherspoon--I could not wait to read her next one. I had such high hopes for this.
But it is so derivative. Remember the 'SVU' episode, "Assault Reality," where Michael Gross and Wendy Malick played a pair of sleazy Reality TV producers exploiting young girls and their sexuality, where a rape occurs? Well, this is almost the same thing, except it is known, from the outset, that a girl named Brett is killed. The novel goes back and forth in time, but that is not its problem. The problem is Knoll cannot decide if she wants to write a suspense thriller, or a chick lit piece, in the tradition of Lauren Weisberger. Much of the book is the latter, and she is not nearly as good at it as Weisberger, so when the plot does ratchet up, the reader doesn't care a bit, just as long as the book gets finished. I did manage to finish it; but some may not have my patience, and won't. At 343 pages, I thought I could make it. Had it gone 400 pages, or over, I am not sure I would have completed it. Nor would I have cared.
There are two problems with second novels. They never live up to the first, especially if that book has been lauded. And it makes one avoid the next work, which could end up being as good as the first. Maybe better.
Get your act together, Jessica. Or you will soon be out of the writing game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Something is needed to go with those Lily Pulitzer outfits! Because of my peaches and cream complexion, fair skin, and partiality to pink, I am going with the pink Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture lip stick. With accompanying rouge and/or foundation, to match. Just perfect for a screening of "Mama Mia--Here We Go Again!!!!!!!!!!!!"
For a night on the town, we have to look our best, dolls! And I know you will all do me proud, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As for me, I have a lot of shopping to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lily Pulitzer is a dress designer, not an award!!!!!!!!!! If you love color, as much as I do, girls, Lily Pulitzer is the next best thing to Laura Ashley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And, at least it is not J.C. Penney! Or--God forbid--K-Mart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Those are for down and outers, like Kate Hudson, to plug their amateur crap! Not much better than at a suburban crafts fair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, I am telling you, these would be perfect for the "Mama Mia!" night out! I favor the blue and pink strapped thing, above. That is what I have my eyes on! And I know I will look gorgeous!
Which one do you like, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just perfect Summer frocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is there no integrity? Was everyone so afraid of their jobs they did not stand up for Jeff? Didn't they realize Bobbie and Stifelman might gun for them, if they so chose? How stupid are these people?
Actually, Bobbie and Stifelman are the most stupid. They should have done this behind the scenes, not publicly, in front of the company. They probably thought no one would talk, out of fear. And, at the time they were right.
But, hey, their story and behavior got out, and I have a feeling we have not heard the last of it.
Stand up for Jeff. Or any coworker who is being openly intimidated by higher ups in ANY work situation.
Because the next one on the chopping block, could be you, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MERYL and Cher, playing daughter and mother? That alone would get me into this film.
But the whole "Mama Mia!" gang is back. They will sing some new songs. They will sing some same songs. I know, from the trailer, "Fernando" is in this time, but couldn't they work Cher doing "Dark Lady," or "Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves," into it? Or how about her arriving at one of the parties, dressed as Loretta Castorini???????????? She could still do it.
I cannot say if the locales are the same, but they look just as ravishing.
Girls, this is our Summer Night On The Town! Frocks, margaritas, and everything!!!!!!!!!!!
How can we resist it????????????????
Monday, July 9, 2018
Not Since Andrea Leeds Took That Fatal Walk Up The Stairs, In "Stage Door," Has There Been Such A Broadway Tragedy--Only This Time, It Is Real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This one really bothers me, because, unlike the situation in "Stage Door," things don't add up.
So, let's start with Andrea Leeds, and her brilliant, Oscar nominated (Best Supporting Actress) performance in "Stage Door." This is a curiosity of film, boasting the greatest female all-star cast, beside "The Women," which it preceded by two years, in 1937. Shocking as it may be to say, I actually prefer "Stage Door." Maybe because of its dark turn.
The setting is the Footlights Club, a boarding house for young women trying to break into show business. Andrea's character, Kay Hamilton, was the toast of last season, in a show she won high praise for. Alas, the show closed; apparently, it did not do much for Kay's career. Unlike the other girls, who have familial and other help, Kay has no one; she is this story's Fantine. Though she does not resort to prostitution, but starves herself, and not telling the other girls, saying she has friends in town, social obligations and auditions. She needs every cent she can hang on to, in order to travel to auditions.
Kay is desperate. She faints from exhaustion and deprivation, and, when this happens, the girls try and help her along. In a cruel and unwitting twist of fate (because who knew what the result would be?) Katherine Hepburn, as Terry, gets the lead part. Kay helps her with opening jitters, and the monologue she does about holding the flowers, because the experience of wanting a child "happened to someone I know" is a key revelation of Kay's past. In a tragic foreshadowing of what is to come, she tells Terry to go on--no matter what happens. Terry is appreciative of Kay's kindness, and tells her she wishes she (Kay) could be there at the performance. Kay says she will--in spirit. Uh, oh. Terry moves on, and Kay glances at the stairs. As a look of shock comes over her face, she advances upwards, hearing in her head, the voices directing her on her opening night, just the year before. She advances up the stairs, and out of camera range, and then one of the girls is heard screaming. She announces Kay has just jumped out the window. She has committed suicide.
Can anyone be blamed for Kay's death? Not really. Though the girls are saddened, no one suspected she was that desperate. Katherine Hepburn only got the part, because her wealthy father (Samuel S. Hinds) wanted her to experience the humiliation of a Broadway flop. Instead, Kay's death sort of turns things into a triumph as Hepburn delivers one of her most moving monologues on stage, and to the audience, as she grieves for her dead friend. And allows us, the audience, to do so, too.
The situation surrounding Jeff Loeffelholz is altogether different. If the world were a right place, I would never have heard of him. Unfortunately, because of this incident, I now have. Seeing the revival of "Chicago," which opened at the Shubert, in 1997, having moved from ENCORES! at City Center, and, then, to its current venue, the Ambassador, in 2003, was never on my radar, once Ann Reinking and Bebe Neurwith left it. Jeff was with the show for its entire run; years ago, there was a dancer, whose name I cannot recall, who was in "CATS" for its entire 19 year run. I have to give her credit; to be able to do the same role for almost two decades, attests to her strength, what with "CATS" being a such a dance-centric show. Jeff's work in "Chicago" was vocally challenging, and it is remarkable his voice sustained itself for over two decades, as he, too aged.
Now, Jeff was a stand-in, for the role of Mary Sunshine in "Chicago," and let me tell you, that character is a coveted role. I don't know if he worked in the ensemble when not doing Mary, but he was always available for the role, when needed, it would seem. Age is a factor here; he went into this show, at 35, his big break, at the age when most actors who have not "made it" stop, and was doing cabaret acts, and other performances while in "Chicago," up until his tragic death at the age of 57.
Here is where things get dicey. Like Kay Hamilton, in "Stage Door," Jeff committed suicide. The cause was a toxic mix of painkillers and alcohol. The impetus for this was stage bullying by director Walter Bobbie, and musical director, Leslie Stifelman. But, had the bullying been going on, longer than reported??????? That is what I suspect, and what I want to know!!!!!!!!
Jeff went into the show with a "run of the play" contract, meaning he could not be fired, unless for due cause. So, he works 22 years, and then they want him out? What gives here? I will tell you.
Money, baby. That is what it is all about. The producers of the show thought Jeff was costing them too much money, so they roughhoused Walter Bobbie, the director, and Leslie Stifelman, the Music Director, into being the bad guys.
Here is Walter Bobbie. I have admired his work, and have, until now, never heard a bad thing said about him. If the director here had been Joe Mantello, Julie Taymor, or Diane Paulus, well, I would not have been at all surprised. And we all know how mercurial and dangerous, Jerome Robbins, Michael Bennett, and Julie Arenal (who was a bitch on the orginal "HAIR") could be, so this kind of behavior does go on. But I have never heard anything said about Walter Bobbie. He may have been doing the producers' dirty work, but he should have said, "No, I am not going to destroy and strip an actor of his dignity."
Now, I find myself looking at him, differently. To think he and I share the same birthday--November 18, except he is 9 years older--that makes me ashamed.
The story goes that Jeff was called in for a fresh-up rehearsal on June 22. Nothing wrong with that. I get it, and I have been through them. It never hurts to review the material, to make sure things have not been forgotten, and to keep lethargy from sinking in. Nothing Bobbie or Stifelman did, in this respect, is wrong. But turning the rehearsal into their own personal destruction session, where they cut down Loeffelholz , by having him relentlessly sing "A Little Bit Of Good," Mary's big number, was cruel and unusual punishment. First, the song was in the actor's bloodstream, and he probably knew it better than anyone there; second, it is vocally demanding on the voice, and to have him repeat this again and again was inhumane. Loeffelholz, a sensitive type, wanted to merely cooperate, and stay with the show; but he must have been aware this was a trap to goad him into leaving. And just look at that smirk on Bobbie's face; he knew what he was doing, the producers probably promised him more money, if he would destroy Loeffelholz.
Which brings us to Music Director Leslie Stifelman. I had never heard of her, till this incident, either. Now, I am sure she is a talented musician, knows her stuff, and I am certainly not going to fault her, for being a lesbian! But, I am telling you, just looking at that face, I can detect, right away that she is a Bitch On Wheels!!!!!!!!!!! And she just loves it! Which means Bobbie may have a trace of remorse for Loeffelholz, but she didn't!!!!!!!! She LOVED it, because she LOVES being a Bitch On Wheels!!!!!!!!! Don't EVER work for one of these types, girls!!!!!!!!!! Step right up, and puke, when you see them!!!!!!!!!!!
The greater blame falls on her. I am sure she played the music right, and I am sure the actor sang it correctly. She was just trying to goad him. And she knew it!!!!!!!!
Now, while I despise these two for what they did, I don't know if they can be held accountable. And this is where some questions of mine come in.
Was this one incident enough to unhinge Jeff? Or had things been building up to this? My suspicions tell me the latter. No one, unless with serious mental problems, takes their life after one bad rehearsal. Or a bad work day. There is more than is not being told.
Here is Jeff, with his lovely partner, Peter De La Cruz. My heart goes out to Peter, who I am sure is devastated. How could, I ask, Jeff leave this world, when he had so much love beside him??????? Other things had to have been going on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The rehearsal was on June 22. Jeff died exactly a week later, on the 29th. Obviously, something had been building, because I cannot believe the rehearsal alone pushed him over the edge. It was the rehearsal, PLUS what ever had come before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And just what was that, anyway?
Obviously, the rehearsal rattled him, though he stood his ground, in the midst of being humiliated like this, in front of other cast members. Who, by the way, should have stepped in, and called Bobbie and Stifelman on their shit!
What I am getting at is, when Loeffelholz left that rehearsal, was he then officially out of the show, or not? That's what I want to know.
If I seem angry, it is not only because I am saddened for Jeff and his loved ones, but I have known such behavior myself, in both the theater and the workplace. At the last, several years back, I was subjected to the same sort of treatment, by those who know whom they are, and whom I will reveal in the coming years. I had a loving partner, but I did what Jeff should have done. I adapted the attitude of Neely O'Hara, and, in effect, said, "I'll leave this stinking show, with dignity!!!!!!!!!!"
What I am getting at is, I wish it did not have to have been this way for Jeff. And if "Justice For Jeff" sees this, you have my permission to reference me.
As for Walter Bobbie and Leslie Stifelman, they are not out of the woods yet. I hope they are brought up on charges, especially that Bitch On Wheels! Bobbie at least expressed token sorrow to Jeff and his loved ones. Bitch On Wheels said nothing! Which is why she is what she is!
It is a pity these two did not work with me. They would learn what a bitch REALLY is!
Rest In Peace, Jeff, and may you get justice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But Broadway, these days, seems caught up in the midst of scandal!!!!!!!!!!!!! You already know about the debacle over at "My Fair Lady," where Lauren Ambrose cannot cut it, so she is not doing the Sunday matinees, now it seems the play "Straight White Men" cannot keep a cast member, within a particular role. What gives???????????????
I will tell you, this play was not even on my radar, but, after all the scandal, it has peaked my interest. Downtown doyenne Young Jean Lee is having her first play produced on Broadway, which is exciting enough, but is making history as the first Asian woman to do so. That alone is interesting, because, considering the titular subject, I wonder what her take on things is?????? And it is being directed by Steppenwolf alum Anna D. Shapiro, who brought "August: Osage County" to Broadway, and who can forget that??????????????
Both David and I became aware of the play, on June 24, when we walked past the Hayes, (why not Helen Hayes, anymore????) after being transported by the magic of "Carousel," the show I refuse to stop writing about. We walked past, and both remarked that Tom Skerritt, who was then pictured, was in the play, and what a good actor he is, and isn't it nice for him to be on Broadway?????????
Well, it seemed like barely a day later, I heard Tom was out, and Denis Arndt, who was so good, opposite Mary-Louise Parker, in "Heisenberg," was in. I loved Denis with Mary-Louise, and thought he would be an excellent actor for the show. Then, it seems I barely turn around, and Steven Payne, another fine actor, who has been understudying the role of patriarch Ed all along, is going on in the role. Payne is still with the show, so let's hope things have settled down.
But, girls, what the hell is going on? Arndt cited "creative differences." I don't know about Skerritt, but that coined term means the actor(s) was having trouble with the playwright, director, or both. According to what I have read, the plot is deceptively simple--a patriarch gathers his three sons for a Christmas dinner. The mother has passed on, and none have been under the roof, without her, for ten years. Sparks fly, and, I guess "straight white men" issues come up, and are examined.
Maybe Skerritt and Arndt did not like the way Lee was examining them. Or that Shapiro was directing them. I can only speculate. Shapiro's track record is impeccable, she has directed straight actors before, to marvelous results, so what is it about this play and role that gets folks in a tizzy???????????????
Did Skerritt and Arndt find the material offensive to their orientation, as I find "The Boys In The Band" to mine? Only they can tell, and they are free to comment on here. Gentlemen, I invite you to pour your hearts out, on here!
Or is this all a publicity stunt? Because, suddenly, I am curious to see a play that was not on my radar.
Considering the acting caliber of Skerritt and Arndt, I am sure this was not a decision made lightly.
What gives, gents? Do tell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, girls, this post may get involved, because the subject is someone I have barely written about, being so unpleasant a topic, that only, when I have the occasional reason to, I write about "Despicable" Despina.
Whom, may you ask, is "Despicable" Despina???????????????????
Let's start with this picture, which will explain what sparked this post. David and I were in this very area on Saturday, and, if you look very closely to the far right, there is a small blue awning, which houses a small real estate office. It's been there for a long time, but what caught David's eye was there being a "Store For Rent" sign in the window. "Uh-oh, I thought. People are finally catching up to Despina."
This Despina character bills herself as a "Licensed Real Estate Broker!" Hah! More like a scam artist is what I say. She also calls herself a landlord, menacing and harassing tenants at 6647 Bergen Place. I know, because, decades ago, I resided there.
This store of hers is a front for something. Maybe money laundering, though, I suspect, Feta cheese!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She is fat, and ugly, and never has a pleasant look or a kind word for anyone. A real stereotypical Greek fishwife. I bet she takes the laundry down to the bay, washes it kneeling on the rocks, and then dries it by beating it on said rocks. Like a peasant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I first wrote about her, she was keeping a bag of kitty litter in the office, and a litter box under her feet. I still maintain while working she liked to rub her bare feet in the litter box, and eat kitty litter. I called her Madame Kitty Litter. Shortly after that post was up, I noticed the box and bag had been removed, and that someone online had posted, "Despina Poulakakis Is Not A Jerk!" Like, anyone would believe that, right????????????? She is so damn dumb!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, no matter how she dresses, neither she nor her clothes look clean. Her house is probably a false front façade, but an indoor cesspool of filth. She probably defecates in the hallways!
Don't let this fat, ugly thing get near you. She used to try and storm her way into tenants' apartments, and then tell them what to do! As if she had any right! Common troll!!!!!!!!!!!
It just occurred to me. The store mentioned earlier is for rent, not sale. Does that mean the one renting it out is Despina????? For anyone even thinking of renting this spot, which is otherwise a nice spot, do not rent from Despina, or life will be hell for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know what I would LOVE to do, darlings? I would love to walk right up to her, and, rather than smacking her across the face, present her with one of Minnie's pies, from "The Help--"
Eat my shit, Despina!!!!!!
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Old traditions are often exchanged for new, over time, and the latest one, having been incorporated into both our lives (David's and mine) is the annual Summer trek to Spumoni Gardens.
This visit was a quick one, with a smaller than usual group, David, Allen, Paul, Steve, and myself. The wait was unusually short for this place, where, on a Summer's night, the limos, paparazzi, and Mafiosi are out in such regalia that little old me--The Raving Queen, can you imagine?????????--goes virtually unnoticed! But, as the saying goes, in Brooklyn, Saturday is for the wives, and Saturday for the girl friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was quite the social event! But the food! This is why one goes!
We all shared a House Salad, with the restaurant's special Lemon Dressing.
I stuck to my Rigatoni Bolognese in cream sauce. The best, anywhere! But I found myself eating only half, and feeling that was enough. Age and health has forced me to compromise, but I still enjoyed every morsel, and did not leave hungry or unsatisfied.
Paul had Veal Francese, while the others all had something called Chicken Empandas, a dish that does not often appear on the menu, but if you know they have it, they will make it for you. I may have to try that, the next time out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a lovely, Saturday evening, and the preservation of at least one great tradition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where I grew up, in New Jersey, there were two drive-ins, one being the Brunswick, pictured above, off of Route 1, in North Brunswick, New Jersey. It had been around since the late 40's, but by the time I was old enough to go, the outline around the marquee was red, not black. This I always found alluring. The Turnpike Drive-In, way out on Route 18, was more elaborate, considered the better of the two, and both were fun experiences.
Of course, like the Tunnel Of Love, drive-ins were places for family, and, as the evening wore on, the hormonally charged. I never got to that latter stage of my drive-in going years, because by the time I hit puberty, and was going to movies on my own, it was always as a self-proclaimed "critic," who wouldn't be seen at a drive-in.
But I hadn't these standards, as a child. Going to the drive-in was an exciting event; like the Jersey shore amusement parks, there was a built-in sleaziness to them. Plus, when real young, there were playgrounds, in front of the gigantic screen, where kids could go and work off some energy, before the movie started.
There was one unwritten rule of thumb to going to these places. Never go to an artistic film there, because it cheapens the experience. The drive-in was for child centric movies, like Disney, (though the first film I saw at one was the trashy "Snow White And The Three Stooges," starring then Olympic skating champion Carol Heiss, as Snow White, back in 1961!!!!!!!!!!) or horror films, like "Curse Of The Werewolf," with Oliver Reed as a werewolf, whose ears were accurately placed, and quite wolfish looking. My parents would never take me to these. Not even "The Thing That Couldn't Die!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Only once did I see what I shouldn't, and that was back in 1963, when the projectionist mixed up the films. And this was at the classier Turnpike Drive-In!!!!!!! The main feature, Walt Disney's "Summer Magic," with my idol, Hayley Mills; the second was--get this!!!!!!!--Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window!!!!!!!!!!!" My parents had seen it, and were determined to go home, because I was not going to watch it, but I carried on so--after all, if we did not see "Summer Magic" tonight, we would have to return another evening. And so we stayed. Most of the classic I did not get, though Grace Kelly impressed me in ways it would take me years to understand--as a gay man!--and the scene with the dog being found dead still upsets me to this day. Whenever I have seen this film, over time, and that moment comes on, I am carried back to the drive-in!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Such fun, darlings! I could wear my PJ's, sleep if I was tired--but never through the movie I wanted to see-- drink Kool-Aid, and eat popcorn! All in the back seat of the family car, which I had all to myself!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a princess, I was! You better believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How sad these Summer fun spots are now things of the past! But I am glad I never made it to the hormonal stage, here, anyway!
My artistic sense was active, and how did guys manage with the stick shift???????????
I wish someone would do a Retro Drive-In, showing those trash Fifties horror movies we all love.
And don't forget the dancing refreshments, who, at Intermission, sang, "Let's all go to the lobby, to get ourselves a treat!," which so many of us imitated, as children!
Ah, another hymn to simple pleasures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!