Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Seven months, down the drain. Can you believe it?
It started on such a high note, coming down off of being transported by "Carousel" in late June. And thrilling to Lindsay Mendez and "The Carrie Diaries."
Not to mention movie fun, with the Mister Rogers documentary, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?", the horror hoot, "Hereditary," worth it just for the histrionics of Toni Collette, and, of course, the spirited fun of "Mama Mia! Here We Go Again!"
How about the annual visit to the Spumoni Gardens? A delight, as always!!!!!!!
The heat, and the rain! Oh, my God!
And then prostatitis. Thank God, I feel completely in contrast to how I felt that Saturday, several weeks back. I pray I don't have to face much more, in that area.
Still, I am here, reading and writing. And I will have more to report in August!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See you next month, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fashion, Darlings, Fashiion!!!!!!!!!!!! I Would Just LOVE To Wear These Creations By Elsa Schiaparelli!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She seems to me to be one of the underrated and neglected of fashion designers. Who, except queens like I, talk about her, anymore. So I have put together an assembly of outfits I would like to be seen on, based on color and pattern, of course. When you see these, girls, you will realize it is time for Schiaparelli Renaissance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, my God! Look at the red hands designed on the white fabric. The muted neck collar and sleeves. Red and white is an infallible color combo. I would wear this on a visit to Sag Harbor, my favorite hangout in the Hamptons!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, this--this is perfect for Fall! The hat is fresh and pert, and gives one a fun, irreverent look that matches the spirit of the dress, even though it is brilliantly structured. Perfect for a gala or fundraising evening.
I just love the semi-Victorian pattern? Or is Commedia Dell'Arte???????? Anyway, isn't this gorgeous? Rather Summery looking, I think it would enliven the dog days of August. Don't you, dolls??????????
These two are classic. On the left, I LOVE the creamy white, mixed in with some blue, the red waist girdle, and is that a lobster on the front???????? Perfect for a barbecue. I am going to one, Sunday. Wish I could wear this. To the right, we have a very period, almost medieval look. The white with patterns again dazzles, and the flowing hood can compensate for anything you do, or don't do with your hair. I would wear this one, at home--if hostessing--not going out. But everyone will talk about it, dolls, I am telling you!
So, that is a Schiaparelli sampling. Hey ANNA, how about an issue or an exhibit at the Costume Institute, devoted to this adventuress in color????????? I would be there immediately.
Which is your favorite, girls?????????????
I don't know what put "The Four Skulls Of Jonathan Drake " into my mind. This B movie, if that, I have not seen since I was a child, but I always thought there was more to it. For starters, this character, Zuria, (played by Paul Wexler) who is the zombified spirit of an ancient tribal witch doctor, I always used to refer to as The Psychotic Voodoo Man. He knocks on several doors, but don't you answer to him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You see, the Drake brothers, Kenneth and Jonathan, are under a curse, brought upon by their grandfather, when he infiltrated a South American Jivaro Indian tribe. Kenneth falls prey to the curse, and at his funeral--open casket, of course--the corpse is found to be beheaded. Apparently, Zuria needs four skulls from the Drake clan to end the curse. His mouth has been sewn up; but whether he will talk again is moot, as he is now a zombie.
And here I thought they were going for something reminiscent of Wilkie Collins! Did I have it all wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!
This piece of crap should be seen once, for all its voodoo stereotypes. Even worse than my Pressman Toys Witch Doctor Headshrinker Kit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The director, Edward L. Cahn, directed other B films like "Curse Of The Faceless Man" (1958), and the semi-classic "The She-Creature" (1956).
This movie falls short of delicious trash, like "Daughter Of Dr. Jekyll" (1957), which was directed by a comparative master, Edgar G. Ulmer. With some sort of known players--John Agar, Gloria Talbot, and Arthur Shields. Now, that is something that deserves to be seen.
Nevertheless, 'Skulls' is a cautionary tale. If you expect no one, do not answer the door.
It might be Zuria!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, My God! When The Divinity That Is MERYL STREEP Comes Down From Heaven, And Sings At The Chrisrening Of Her Granddaughter, I Cried REAL Tears!!!!!!!!!!
The first thing I have to say about "Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, " is that I cannot believe it has been ten years since the first film. And everyone from it, looks so good.
The second is that, attack me if you want, it is better than "La La Land." This movie keeps moving at a breakneck pace, in time to the musical numbers. Yet it covers so much story.
Cast with younger actors, strongly resembling the elders, in a sort of "Merrily We Roll Along" homage, the story of how young Donna came to the island, with her young friends, stayed, gave birth to Sophie, and evolved into MERYL is told.
Juxtaposed against this is the present day. MERYL has left the world, for the purposes of this film, though Christine Baransksi, Julie Walters, and the guys--Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, and Christopher Firth are back, and as fun as ever. And Amanda Seyfried looks marvelous. Darlings, what make-up and a camera can do.
The locales are gorgeous as always, and I loved the bicycle number, a homage to "The Sound Of Music," and don't tell me it was not intended that way.
Now, about Cher, playing MERYL'S mom. She gets away with it, because both do not appear on the screen, at the same time. She does not show up till almost the end of the movie, but she has three scene stealing moments--her arrival to the island by helicopter, facing Granddaughter Sophie, who says she was not invited, and answering, "That's the BEST kind of party, little girl!" And, finally, when she spies former boy friend Andy Garcia, and launches into the song I missed so much being in the first one--"Fernando!" One of my favorites, and it gets full justice here!
Like the first film, this is a feel good movie! Don't bother trying to analyze it, just check your brain at the door, and enjoy it.
Will there be another one, in ten years? I don't think so, because, between these two films the complete ABBA oeuvre has been exhausted!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, if you need an afternoon, when it's sizzling hot, or raining hard, and you need to check your brain at the door, this is just perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was so disappointed, as I reported, by Jessica Knoll's "The Favorite Sister," I almost swore off all thrillers. Which, for me, is saying a lot. But "The Woman In The Window" has been staring me in the face in bookstores for months, and, having spent some time with eighteenth century literature, ("The Castle Of Wolfenbach") I wanted to return to contemporary times for awhile. So, I bit the bullet, and started reading A.J. Finn's novel, prepared to be disappointed. Instead, it was like riding a roller coaster! For three days I was captive to my chair, because I had to see what was coming next. The surprise was that I couldn't foresee what was coming next. And I loved that!
Yet, the premise is familiar. Anna Fox, a former child psychiatrist, has suffered trauma so unbearable, she has become an agoraphobe. She is laid up in her palatial East Side Manhattan digs, very much like Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window." And she is a neighbor watcher. She is also obsessed with black-and-white noir movies, and Hitchcock, all of whom are referenced. When The Russells--husband, wife, and teenage son, move in across the street, she has her eyes on them.
Then a woman comes to visit after helping Anna, as she struggles, falling, having briefly ventured outside. This is only the beginning of the mystery, as the woman Anna thinks her visitor is, really isn't. But who is she? And what did she see that night, she thought she witnessed a stabbing??????
I really cannot go any further without ruining things, and I will not. But I will say, just when I thought I had things dead to rights, I discovered I turned out to be completely wrong.
The last thirty pages I read in a heat, desperate to find out how it all ends. I will say, in the end, I felt sorry for the Russells, as much as Anna.
Though Finn writes often in quick spurts, much is revealed, plenty of exposition is given, and we get to know the characters, even the minor ones, like the cops.
This is the best thriller I have read since "The Girl On The Train." And now, A.J. Finn has a tough act to follow. May she have better luck on her second novel, than Paula Hawkins on her second, which I never bothered to read.
But Finn's debut novel is stellar. It restored my faith in the thriller genre.
Prepare for a wild ride, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, July 30, 2018
It was quite a surprise, especially to Baby Gojira and myself, when Sister Camille did not deliver her usual commentary yesterday morning on 1010 WINS, around 8:35 AM. And without a word or explanation from the staff.
Then, my beloved David, reminded me something like this happened around last year, which must mean Sister Camille D'Arienzo is on vacation.
I would be the last to deny Sister Camille a vacation. In fact, I hope she is whooping it up. Like the nuns pictured here, who just wanna have some fun. And let some aggressions out. But in ha healthy way.
So, here is wishing Sister Camille a gem of a vacation, wherever and whatever she goes and does. But your faithful following look forward to your return to WINS.
You go, Sister C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It used to be, when an epic novel appeared that was so compelling, it would automatically be compared to "Gone With The Wind." I don't know how acceptable that is in today's world, and, after all, what care I for social conventions, just like Scarlett? So, I am going out on a limb by saying that, girls, you must read this, It is the Beijing "Gone With The Wind." To be fair to the times, however, Madeline Thien avoids the racial stereotyping that many detractors find in the Margaret Mitchell novel, and that are even present in Pearl S. Buck's, still noteworthy "The Good Earth."
And it she does it all in less than 500 pages. Four hundred sixty six, to be exact. But each packs a wallop!!!!!!!!!!!!
How to describe this book? It is structured like a Chinese puzzle, a series of stories within stories within stories, within.... Imagine looking into infinity at a Land O' Lakes butter cover, and that is what you get here.
Two families, one in Canada, the other in China, are torn apart by the political regime, and their love of music. References to other cultural works of literature abound, but music is what binds all these characters together. And leads, in some cases to destruction, like Jiang Kai and
Zhuli. But they are balanced by Marie and Ai-Ming, Big Mother Knife, indisputably the "Aunt Pittypat" of the piece, and Wen The Dreamer, and his wife, Swirl, sister of Big Mother Knife. These are true survivors.
The novel takes these characters through seven decades of social upheaval, including all the troubles surrounding Tianamen Square, the rise of Communism, and Chairman Mao. I am telling you, I sat in a chair spellbound, for three days, unable to tear myself away from the scope and poetic beauty of this masterful piece of fiction.
Having longed for a good piece of fiction for awhile, now, I can report this is one to sink into. Had I read it, when it first came out, in 2016, it would certainly have made my Ten Best List. But this is the best piece of fiction--or one of them--you will read this year, no matter the year it was first published.
You will not soon forget this moving novel by Madeleine Thien.
Now, I want to read some of her other work!!!!!!!!!!!
Keep writing, Maddie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, July 27, 2018
But I have wondered about what is coming out in the Fall. Here are a few things which caught my eye.
I could be wrong about this one, but if handled properly this could be the Book Of The Year. An examination of the love affair between Martha Gelhorn and Ernest Hemingway. If successful, it would be the first time Hemingway got my attention. But, then he did not write this one, did he?
Keep your eyes on this one, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am not familiar with Kate Morton, but a novel about how a murder committed in the past haunts down to the present day is a must for my reading list. This could shape up to be a major surprise.
Another political romance epic, but set against the conflicting background of North Korea. Asian fiction is getting more and more interesting, as time goes by, so I cannot wait for this one!
Hey, how long has it been since I read Tana French? I have read and liked so much of her work, I am not sure which I have not read. But I love the title "The Witch Elm." While caring for his dying Uncle Hugo, at the ancestral estate, a man named Toby makes a series of discoveries about his past? Wonder what those are? Sounds like a blend of Dickens and Wilkie Collins to me! In which case, hold me a copy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Need I say more than Barbara Kingsolver? That is reason enough to read it. But so is its setting, Vineland, New Jersey, and how a woman becomes linked to the history of the home she is dwelling in, and makes outward connections to today. Kingsolver is said to tackle all sorts of social issues in this book. I cannot wait to read it.
This could be a mixed bag. Perry's previous novel, "The Essex Serpent," had great cover art, and a story that kept me going, until the whole thing copped out as a sham. Now, she is back with someone seeking another mythical creature--hence the title! Will it be real this time? Please, let it be!
I have also heard the name Kate Atkinson bandied about, with a novel called "Transcriptions." Kate is always worth reading. And how about Richard Powers? I have heard good things about his forthcoming book, "The Overstory."
So, that is what I see, on the literary horizon. I am sure there will be some big name surprises--REALLY big names--before The Times List comes out.
Happy reading, everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In fact, for those of us who have seen the film, it is even better than the actual film. I don't know if the actors here are actually singing, but, if dubbed, they sound better than the feeble attempts by Ryan Gosling, and especially that no talent Emma Stone, in this over inflated film.
The other brilliant thing is that it covers the visualization and vocal homage of "La La Land," without being the length of the film. I know it did not run four hours, but, sitting through it, sure felt like it.
It is just short enough to be acknowledged as skillfully made, which is more than can be said for "La La Land."
For those having seen the film, you will get it.
And for those who have not, this ad saves one the trouble of sitting through something so unbearable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wonder what will be spoofed next?????????????
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Just because we are in the midst of Summer, does not mean one cannot do a Summer bedroom makeover. Isn't this the most scrumptious looking thing, dears!!!!!!!!!! Just the right blend of white and pink, making it more a little adult and not too Sandra Dee-ish--though there is nothing wrong like that.
Baby Gojira, our resident home fashion coordinator, loves it, and wants it implemented immediately!!!!!!!!!!!! I told him I would see what we can do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He is so cute, but, let me tell you, his tastes are so exacting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If This Photo Were A Grant Wood Painting, It Would Be Titled "American White Trash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The whole thing is perfectly White Trash, darlings, because it happened at some sleazy motel in Wrightstown, New Jersey, where these two losers, William Herring, 42, and Brianna Brochhausen, 22, suffocated their four month old son, Hunter, on Valentine's Day, of this year.
Needless to say, they are joint winners, this week of The Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award, and that Brianna looks more than 22. She is a REAL tramp, hons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hunter was taken to a nearby hospital, but died on March 3, of suffocation. His death was pronounced a homicide, and these two bitches are the scum who did it. I hope they are locked away for Life, and tortured, because when the other inmates find these two are guilty of child murder--not just a child, but baby!!!!!!!!!!-- they will deservedly be torn to pieces.
If "Psycho" did not demonstrate, one cannot trust sleazy one horse motels, this story certainly does. When you get out of the cities, you find America is virtually a nation of sleaze motels, with losers of all sorts hanging on for dear life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That may be fine for some. And, there, but for the grace of God, go I.
But it is time for these two to let go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Sharp Objects" explores female violence through a cycle of family abuse in the Deep South, that would make Tennessee Williams turn in his grave, in shame that he did not write this himself. Or Carson McCullers, though even this might be too Gothic for her.
What is important now is, if you have not read the book, then stop reading right now, as I am going to discuss this on here, as those among us who have read the book. And if you are watching the series, carefully observe how each section follows the story. And share those comments on here!
Now, we are off and running on a wonderful tale of sickness!
Amy Adams is perfectly cast as Camille Preaker. She hates her hometown, Wind Gap, Missouri, and the only thing she hates more than this town, is her mother, played, as only she can, in that understated, Mother From Hell way, by Patricia Clarkson. Adora Crellin is married to a taciturn, passive man, named Alan Crellin. They have a thirteen-year-old daughter, named Amma.
Camille has fled to Chicago, where she works for a second tier newspaper. Nevertheless, when two little girls, Ann Norris and Natalie Keene, go missing, several months apart, and are eventually found dead, strangled, stabbed and beaten horribly, with--get this--their teeth pulled out--Camille's editor knows a story when he sees one, and, knowing she hails from this burg, sends her there. Wind Gap, Missouri, is the kind of place that would make my hometown--Highland Park, New Jersey--seem classy--though, like Camille, I could not wait to get out of there. Thankfully, not for Camille's reasons.
Adora Crellin turns out to be a typical Southern woman, a contradiction in terms. She dresses, drinks, and speaks softly, like Blanche Du Bois, but has the control freak instincts of Amanda Wingfield. Even if she did get knocked up at seventeen, with Camille, she managed to become the wealthiest woman in town, owning a hog farm! And when Preaker took off, after giving her another daughter, Marian, well, then Adora found her milquetoast lackey, Alan.
But the one to keep your eyes on, darlings, is Amma Crellin, played by Eliza Scanlen, whom, I hear, is walking off with the entire show. Amma is written that way, so, good as Scanlen surely is, I am not surprised, as Amma is that kind of part! I wish I had been seen for it!!!!!!!!!!
Imagine Rhoda Penmark on hormones. That is Amma. At home she is all dresses, knee socks, and ribbons down her hair. She plays with this replicated dollhouse of her home, where she controls all residents inside, because control is something Amma desperately needs. There is a tragic side to her, too, but boy, when she gets out of the house, she is mean! Getting off on watching hogs slaughtered, laughing at the town with her Mean Girls friends, drugging her own half sister at a party, and acting one stop short of the town slut. I got the impression Amma has not had sex yet, though she makes no secret of wanting to. Give her time, and she will be the town tramp! A 21st Century update of Ginny Stamper in "Splendor In The Grass."
Amma hates the town, and her mother, as much as Camille. but, at thirteen, there is little she can do about it, Which is why she plays the hellion outside, because, inside Adora's house, she has to play the role she is expected.
That role happens to be a sickly, fragile child, whom Adora dotes her attention on, showing herself and the town what a good mother she is, in spite of older daughter Marian's death, by nurturing Amma. And here is where we get into technicalities.
If "The Bad Seed," in struggling with the nature vs. nurture concept, chose "nature," it is decidedly "nurture" here, in "Sharp Objects." Amma may be a monster, but she is one made by her mother, Adora. Camille comes to discover that her mother, in raising she, Marian, and Amma, is an attention addict, using Munchhausen By Proxy--making them sick, so she can lavishly attend to them until they get healthy enough till they get sick again. Camille was subjected to this twisted regimen by her mother, whose own mother, Joya, showed Adora no maternal love, and this was the only way Adora learned to express it! Sick, right? And passed down, generation from generation.
So, on one level, it is no wonder Amma is the way she is. But no one realizes how far gone she is. Through her own observations, and talks with her mother's friend, or ex-friend, Jackie (wonderfully played by Elizabeth Perkins), Camille comes to the realization that Adora, out of love, killed her own daughter, Marian, by carrying the sickness thing too far. Camille, as she is constantly told throughout, was willful, and could not be controlled, so she was not loved, like Marian. Or Amma. Lucky Camille. Apparently, Marian never acted out, but Camille does--she drinks, and she is a cutter, scratching the surface of her skin, writing words on there, because the physical pain makes the emotional feel manageable. That is what Adora has done to Camille.
Camille is convinced not only that Adora killed Marian, but that, in turn, she also killed Ann and Natalie. A boy witness, James Corliss, says he saw Natalie being abducted by a woman. But how, or why, would she get to them? It seems Adora, the community activist, was tutoring the girls in a student aide program, and became very fond of them, inviting them over for tea and such, lavishing on them loving attention they lacked in their less than classy homes, but before the attention turned lethal. For it is not Adora who killed the girls, although she deservedly gets arrested, and put away for murdering her own daughter. Natalie and Ann's killings remain unsolved.
Now, this is the novel's twist ending. Whether the mini series has this, I am not sure, but they have to do something key to revealing the truth about Amma.
With Adora in prison, and Alan packing up the house, moving nearer to her, where he can visit her, like the dog he is, never mind his own psychologically disturbed daughter, Camille takes Amma to Chicago, to live with her. Amma is enrolled in school, fits in, and becomes just what she was in Wind Gap. Especially when she befriends a lesser popular classmate, named Lily Burke. Before long, Lily and Amma are spending time together, and that is fine, until Camille takes a liking to Lily, which Amma dislikes. You guessed it! Lily goes missing, and is found dead, with teeth extracted. That is when Camille, going through Amma's pink school knapsack, and finding weaponry as well as textbooks in there, realizes Amma killed not only Lily, but Natalie and Ann, back in Wind Gap. Amma is a piece of work. She did not like the attention her mother was directing on those girls, so, she and her Mean Girls friends, cornered the victims, and held them down, while Amma strangled them, and then used a plier to pull out the teeth. The teeth, by the way, were used as tiles in Amma's doll house, where everything had to be controlled and perfect. Amma was some piece of work. She was on her way to being the next Ed Gein!!!!!!!
Notice the slight resemblance, as I stated earlier, to the 'SVU' episode , "Totem." Camille seems as broken as June Frye (Elizabeth Mitchell) in that episode, having lost an entire family. But, face it, these were not families worth cultivating. My sense is that Camille moves on; Amy plays her a bit hard edged, which is inevitable, having been raised in a horror house like she was.
Re-reading "Sharp Objects" was as fun as at first. I had forgotten how Camille discovered Amma killed the girls, and I hope it is faithfully rendered in the series. Which I probably won't get to, till long after it has ended.
If you have yet to read or see "Gone Girl," forget it! This is the REAL thing, and Gillian Flynn's best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She has a tough act to follow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We just LOVE Amma!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
What Is This????????? An Outtake From A Fellini Film????????? A Catfight In A New York Lesbian Bar??????? What Lies Behind This Photo???????
Well, cats figure, to a degree here, darlings, because this is a scene from the 1953 classic--which I have GOT to see, girls--"Cat Women Of The Moon."
This shot demonstrates so many things, First, that the film can't be taken seriously, but is more campy, "catty" (pardon the pun, dears!!!!!!) lesbian exploitation flick. I am sure this gets screened regularly, at Henrietta Hudson's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Look at those costumes. They me be cheesy, but, I am telling you, if I were to take this shot to ANNA, this would be the fashion look for this coming Fall. Not to mention that hair and make up. And fingernails, reminiscent of Vampira!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It almost makes me want to be a Cat Woman Of The Moon! Pay close attention to what is unveiled, during this year's Fashion Week.
If I am right, remember, you heard it here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It took me awhile to follow the structure of Tommy Orange's first novel, which has all the perfections and imperfections of a first novel.
At first, I thought it was a novel just connected by strings of short stories, or character viewpoints. But, then, as I read further, I realized something--this book is structured in much the same way Joan Tewkesbury and Robert Altman structured their 1975 masterwork, "Nashville."
Like "Nashville," "There, There" covers a group of disparate American Indian characters, living in the Oakland area. The reader eventually learns they are all on their way to attend a pow wow at a convention center--similar to Javits in New York, but on the West Coast--but everyone has a very different agenda. And when those agendas come together...well, think of the Parthenon sequence in "Nashville."
I wonder if Mr. Orange had ever seen, or was influenced by "Nashville." Because its structural similarity is unmistakable, Yet he is able to tap into the emotional viscera of each of these very different characters, to demonstrate the plight of the American Indian through the centuries. His depiction works very well, and shows some fine writing. His culmination, I am not so certain about, though it has relevance for today.
In a year where fiction of quality stands few and far between "There, There" could stack up, by year's end, as one of the best. It remains to see what literary events await us, in the Fall.
If, indeed, there are any!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, my God! I cannot believe it! Here I have not been writing as extensively as I have, due to health reasons, and lack of subject matter. But that doesn't worry me. A dry spell of sorts is often, so the pattern goes, quickly followed by a torrent of creativity. So, keep your eyes peeled.
Our new reader is Scott Tardy. Welcome, Scott, to the wacky world that is portrayed on here. I will do my best to live up to what drove you here, and, as always, it goes great with coffee. Even if I now must drink decaf. Hey, it's still hot, black, and tastes like coffee!
So, welcome Scott, on behalf of The Raving Queen, and all other readers. Hope you enjoy yourself here.
Enjoy, and welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, July 23, 2018
Ivo Van Hove, the radical "deconstructionist", who reduced "A Streetcar Named Desire," to a bathtub set, "The Crucible," to where a brief appearance by a wolf, Lutka, stole the entire show, reworked Arthur Miller's other play, "A View From The Bridge," yet managed to do an excellent rendering of Lillian Hellman's "The Little Foxes, aided and abetted by a brilliant Elizabeth Marvel as Regina, is at it again. Not only does he plan to do "All About Eve' for the stage, and a stage adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara's "A Little Life," he is planning to take on one of America's most iconic, and beloved, musicals, "West Side Story."
Hey, Ivo, just keep your filthy hands off "Carousel," "Follies," "Gypsy," and "A Chorus Line!"
I thought this was his first venture into musical theater, but he has also mounted "Rent" in 2000, in Amsterdam, and "Lazarus," Off-Broadway, back around 2015-16 (the show closed on Januray 20, 2016) but, like who cares???????????????
"West Side Story" is a show many care about and I dread to see what Hove will do to it. Even more disturbing, he is going to deviate from the Jerome Robbins. The dance numbers. some of the most brilliant of the last century, will be staged by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Who dat?
I mean, who the hell is she? And how does she and Hove have the audacity to think one of the great choreographic pieces of all time, the "Somewhere Ballet," can be reinvented, or improved upon? Are they crazy? What about the Bernstein score? Will it be left intact? How about time, place and city? Will it still be late Fifties Manhatttan, or what? The Gowanus? What about the gangs? M13's?
The possibilities are dreadful. The results would be even worse. I pray this does not come to fruition. But, I am warning you, if it does--
"The Rumble" will not just be on the theater stage! The audience will have at the performers, for destroying a classic!
Oh, darlings, the perils of Matilda! From Castle Wolfenbach, on a dark and stormy night, winds rattling the trees--yes, it is that kind of Gothic girls--a young girl flees from an avaricious uncle who would claim her for his own. A loyal servant, friends, trips to Scarborough and Vienna, murder and grotesquerie--all within 203 pages of this neatly written Gothic, first published in 1793. Jane Austen read it, the first of her Northanger Horror novels, and I would not be surprised if those Bronte sisters got their hands on them since, more than Jane, it foreshadows so much of what came to figure in their work.
Granted, Eliza Parsons is not the stylist either Jane or the Brontes were, but she can tell a story. Because of stylistic deficiencies, and the time period, keep in mind that this is not a quick read. It won't galumph like "Drangonwyck," by Anya Seton, or the Susan Howatch "Estate" novels ("Penmarric," "Cashelmara") , all excellent examples of twentieth century Gothics. This one is verbose, lugubrious, and densely written, so it is a more difficult, challenging read. But to go with it, is to discover an eighteenth century pleasure that helped in the evolution of English literature.
I did not have an easy time with "The Castle Of "Wolfenbach," yet I would not have missed reading it for the world. I look forward to further exploration of Gothic literature, by reading the remaining seven. I would have finished this sooner, but for illness.
Don't dress Goth, girls! It is SO last year!
Reading genuine Gothic, however, never goes out of style!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, July 21, 2018
The last time I sat through this film, I was the same age as Sandy Descher, in the film. The first thing to startle me, was, while the film is in black and white, and benefits from that, the title is emblazoned onto the screen in the color of blood red! Now, that is interesting, and different.
Warner Bros. made this, which meant it had a bigger budget, and a better cast, including an Oscar Winner, and some rising up and comers.
Like the best of the monster films, the action before the creatures are seen is the best. I think "THEM!" can be traumatizing to children, because it puts them in Sandy's shoes right away. Clutching a doll, for protection, wandering aimlessly through the desert of New Mexico, she has seen something so horrible, so beyond her comprehension. Her family is dead, she survived, but is all alone in the world. It is enough to make anyone zone out, but for a child, it is like losing one's life. And "THEM!" ably plays upon this fear.
Even when the iconic scene happens, and Sandy, going for the Oscar gold, screams out the titular word, only her mind can envision what "THEM!" is. The poor thing has no way of comprehending something that should not be the size it is.
The first appearance of "THEM!" is the best. The fifties spinster, in a two piece suit, and matching hat, perfect for the desert--no wonder the ants are intrigued!--is, of course the first person they spot. Joan Weldon screams her guts out, but picture Sandy in this scene, because the attack on her family's place was not depicted. No wonder the poor thing was traumatized!
And how about Los Angeles, and the two boys, Tommy and Billy Lodge, trapped in the sewers? Though not given as much screen time as Descher, their roles require little more than reacting, and moving from place to place, so they know their blocking, And this reveals another
disturbing thing about "THEM!"
More than any other of these films, children are put in place as victims. Who cannot feel for that? But for the child watching this, who does not yet comprehend the fullness of death, or is ready to take on the fears of seeing things beyond one's comprehension, or being alone and trauamatized, this film can have a devastating effect.
I can see how and why "THEM!" stuck with me all these years. It really did a number on me. And, as an adult, I can see how it does.
I am not sure I would let a young child watch "THEM!" It is not the ants that are just frightening, but the psychological fears they arouse.
It's one time where RAID can't help, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The investigation into Jeff Loeffelholtz' tragic and unfortunate death is still underway, and I say good. Jeff's family has become proactive, wanting a yearly scholarship of $30K (the amount it would have taken to buy out his contract) to be given yearly to a deserving theater student. They also want to have a plaque in the lobby of the theater, celebrating Jeff.
I am with you, all the way.
Let me tell you, those two vultures, Walter Bobbie and Leslie Stifelman, have more than Jeff's blood on his hands. For I have recently discovered, Jeff's suicide at "Chicago," may not have been the first.
Consider the following. In 1997, a swing dancer, named Mark Anthony Taylor, joined the company. Swings cover track roles assigned to them when the principle dancer is out. The stage manager, at the show, then, Terrence Witter, said Taylor saved many a performance with his versatility at being able to take on so many roles. This is what a dancer is trained to do.
Witter and Taylor were both fired from the show, though not at the same time. Taylor had been with the show for a decade; so his firing happened in 2007. Like Witter, on his day off, he got a call at home from the production staff, telling him not to come to work anymore. Just like that. Nice. At least Taylor was allowed into the building to retrieve his personal things. Witter, a stage manager, wasn't allowed; his stuff was just packed up and sent off to him. How magnanimous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Taylor never worked in the theater again. Three years later, his body washed up on the shore of Sandy Hook, N.J. The cause of death was "undetermined," but come on, we know it was a suicide, and we know "Chicago" precipitated it, To quote Walter Bobbie, "I'm just sayin'...……"
So, Jeff is actually not the show's first suicide. Which means his investigation had better be a good one, because it seems to me the death rate at "Chicago" is higher, than at any other show in town. Evil is running rampant, tampering with the fragility of workers, who by virtue of what they do, are fragile and vulnerable.
If nothing comes of this, shame on everyone! But if crises still happen at "Chicago"--and, now, following Jeff, if they do, believe me, they will be reported!!!!!--and nothing further is done, then I say shut the show down!
All the workers, afraid for your jobs? How would you feel, then?????????????
Friday, July 20, 2018
Today, We Bid A Sad Farewell To Lindsay Mendez, And "The Carrie Diaries!" But Hey, Lindsay And The Gang Are Still Around, At The Imperial, Where They Can Be Seen, Live And In Person! Don't Miss The Chance!
I have my copy, darlings, and let me tell you, it is gorgeous. It just envelopes you in its grip, the way seeing it in theater does. Few shows can equal that.
I must have been out to lunch when Lindsay started the project. I did not realize there would only be 8 episodes, so that was a bit of a shock. This last features the cast at the Barnes and Noble promotion of the CD, with everyone there, and beautiful singing from everyone..
And, as Lindsay says, at the end, "Come see 'Carousel.'" I cannot emphasize this strongly. See what is the Toast Of The Town, and why. And if you have already been, go again.
I may do that, as soon as I heal from my illness.
So, here is Lindsay and gang with the final episode. But, remember, they are not going away--just going to stay at the Imperial. So drop by, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I finally got an answer to what is going on with me. I have prostatitis. I last had an attack in 1992, and let me tell you the feelings are different this time. Maybe because I am so much older, maybe because I can bare more. I have to say the anxiety over not knowing was making me loony, and, in, some ways, is worse than the illness.
This applies only to guys, but, girls, let me give you an idea. Take a bad day on which you suffer from a urinary tract infection, and that is a pretty good idea.
The good thing is I can urinate. When the prostate is enlarged that cannot be done. My David has gone through that, and I pray I am spared that.
So, I am watching what I eat, taking my meds. Let's see if there is a difference by Sunday.
Wish me well, darlings! Getting old can be a bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But then what is the alternative????????????????????
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Girls, Can You Believe It???? Anna Wintour's Daughter, Bee Shaffer Was Married, And I was NOT Invited To The Wedding???????????
I mean, what has happened, darlings? Have I been dropped from social lists? Or have I simply gotten on to the wrong ones????????????
Being the daughter of ANNA means having not one, but two weddings. Not that I would not have minded the trip to Portofino, Italy, but really the Long Island estate of ANNA is where I belonged, when Bee married Francesco Carrozzini, who is actually the son of VOGUE Italia Editor-In-Chief, Franca Sozzani. Remember, darlings, in the world of ANNA, everything is VOGUE!!!!!!!!!!!!
The event took place Saturday, July 14, which was also Bastille Day. Her husband, is also VOGUE connected, being a photographer for his mother's mag, Italian division.
Darlings, this simply HAD to be the wedding of the social season!
But questions remain unanswered, and I want to know.
Who exactly was there??????? And why wasn't I??????????
Was MERYL there?????????????????
Who designed Bee's wedding gown? And how about that ravishing red dress she was seen in?????????
What actual designer were there?
How about Grace Coddington????????????
Inquiring minds want to know all this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Really, there was no excuse to my not being invited to this.
I mean, I have dined at Harry Cipriani, for God's sake. Doesn't that count for something?????????????????
I have to live in the universe, and carry on, darlings, so it is Thursday, and that means Bitch Of The Week. This week's winner, Diana Haun, is one cold piece. She is the insecure spinster, one of the most dangerous of the female species. Because they will do anything they are asked.
Michael and Sherry Dally were the imperfectly married couple. Which meant she raised their two boys lovingly, while Michael thought so highly of himself, carrying on with women, with complete disregard for Sherry. He also indulged in drugs and cocaine. He thought he was some hot shot wheeler dealer, and Diana was his dirty little secret. I am sure she thought so, too. A grocery clerk. Some piece of cheap goods.
What she did not know was she was not the only one.
Dally had reached a point where he was tired of Sherry, and wanted out of the marriage. Being a psycho-narcissist, he couldn't just simply eliminate Sherry. She had to be eliminated, so that he would profit from it.
Many of his girl friends, two of whom testified to this, said Dally had asked them to kill Sherry for him. These girls were smart. They got up, walked him to the door, and slammed it in his face. Diana was the only one to acquiesce. She had no self-esteem, being an insecure spinster. So, she agreed to do it.
The deed was re-enacted on a recent ID program. Haun cornered Sherry in a mall parking lot, dressed as some blond, butch cop. She was no Kathryn Morris. as Lily Rush, I can tell you. In fact, she looked like a fat blob of nothing from a third rate comedy act.
Yet she handcuffed Sherry, drove her to some secluded spot, and shot her in cold blood. Bitch may be a grocery clerk, but she sure knows how to use firearms! Of course she does! Because this is America, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, now Diana, Bitch Of The Week, is in prison for life. Bet she is somebody's bitch there. These acolyte types always need someone to follow.
Not only did Sherry lose her life, those two boys lost a beloved mother.
The good point is their never having to suffer Diana as stepmother. Which might have happened, had Diana and Michael gotten away with their plan. She would, at best have been a neglectful stepmother, because all she cared for was clinging to Michael. And as her obsession grew, she might have killed the boys.
Or she might have gone all Alex Forest, and killed herself.
Hey, it's not like she did not deserve it.
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!