Friday, August 31, 2018

A Day That Saddens Me Each Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Summer ends on September 20.  Labor Day is called the Unofficial End Of Summer.  But no one mentions August 31, which is a sure signal that the end of Summer is coming, and cannot be stopped.  And, as this pic suggests, once we enter the "ber" months, the year begins to wind down.  And each year, as I age, it seems to wind down faster.

                               And so, we have come to August 31.  It certainly wasn't a dull month.  From the 49th Anniversary Of Woodstock, to a bout with prostatitis, and trying to nurse a pinched nerve, not to mention anticipating "The Nun," having the satisfaction of Lauren Ambrose being kicked out on her butt after the disaster she made of Eliza Doolittle, and my finding a potential Book Of The Year already, August has certainly kept me on its toes.

                               So, now, soon comes Autumn, the days get shorter--they are, already!--and the Winter Of Our Discontent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Hope you all had an exciting Summer.

                        the song says, "See You In September!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                 Here is the original song, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, My God! Not Only A Karen Cooper Doll, But A Barbara One, That Looks Like Judith O'Dea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               This post is specifically for our (David and I) friend, Judy, as she begins to settle into her new life at an old location--Pittsburgh, PA, where she was born and raised.

                                 Judy, congrats!  Especially since the temperature of your moving day felt like an approximation of Death Valley.  We felt for both you, AND the movers.

                                  Now, as I told you, I want a Karen Cooper doll.  She was memorably played in the 1968 film, "Night Of The Living Dead," by Kyra Schon, and I just LOVE her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Especially when she stabs her mother, with the garden spade!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  BUT, once I saw there was a Barbara doll, I knew I had to have it, too.  That total look of anxiety she displays throughout the film, from the opening scene in the cemetery, to rushing into the arms of her sibling, Johnny, whom, so mentally rattled by this time, she has no idea is a zombie and is going to kill her.  She would make a cool member of the Living Dead!!!!!!!!!!!  Just that hair alone, is worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   So, Judy, we love you, we miss you, lots of luck in Pittsburgh, and keep an eye out for these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     They would just liven up our apartment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Fun, But Ultimately Unsatisfying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       "King Lear" just happens to be my favorite Shakespearean play, darlings.  I mean, all that family dysfunction and tension.  We have all lived through it, haven't we?  I know I have!

                                        This is not the first redo of 'Lear,' nor will it be the last.  As far as I am concerned, Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres" is still the gold standard.

                                          The set-up is simple.  Henry Dunbar, owner of a billion dollar media empire, is duped by his duplicitous daughters, Abby(Goneril) and Megan (Regan).  Added to the mix is a suspicious character named Dr. Bob, with drugs and sex aplenty in this present day version.  Wilson is the lawyer/ servant, as well his son Chris, in love with Dunbar's daughter Florence, who was disowned by her father.  Get it? She is Cordelia!

                                            But who is the Fool?  He seems split between two characters, one being the aforementioned Wilson, the other being, Peter Walker, a mentally unstable, down on his luck former celebrity comedian, whom Dunbar meets in the institution his monster daughters place him in.

                                             These daughters are monstrous.  They are sexually avaricious, and they seem to have a quasi-incestuous relationship.  Abby's hubby, Mark, wants to be a hero, but is a wuss,
and the famous storm scene goes on much too long here, as though to drag the story out.

                                               Edward St. Aubyn is the author of the Patrick Melrose novels, which I have always been curious about, but I have too many series I am committed to now, and, with the Fall season approaching, the lists will be coming up, but one can get an idea of how the Melrose novels are from this.  "Dunbar" reads like a suspense mystery; the problem is, especially if one knows "King Lear," the outcome is not satisfying.  Yes, Dunbar and Florence perish, but how and by whom Florence's death was engineered is never revealed.  And Abby and Megan are still on their feet at the end of the novel, so where the hell is their comeuppance?  Shakespeare meted out justice to those who deserved it; St. Aubyn settles for ambiguity.

                                                So "Dunbar," while fun, does not do the justice to 'Lear' that it should.
Jane Smiley's retelling is still the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                 But don't let me stop you from reading it. And if you are completely unfamiliar with "King Lear," then all the better for you!

                                                  That Abby and Megan should have been slapped!  But good!!!!!!!!

Just Sixteen Days Left To Experience Heaven On Broadway, With The Most Glorious Company Of Actors, Singers, And Dancers, Currently Assembled!!!!!!!

                              I am talking, of course, about the revival of "Carousel," at the Imperial Theatre.  Those sixteen days will pass before you know it, and then the show will become the stuff of theater legend.  Thank God for the cast album.

                               But wait!   There is more!

                               Only two days remain, technically, to see the ORIGINAL cast.  That is because Renee Fleming will give her last performance on Sunday, September 2.  She has a prior commitment she has to honor, which was always known, but, of course, it was expected, that once completed, she would return to the show.

                                Except it will not be running then.

                                 Those who have seen it will cherish it in their hearts.  Get there fast, so you can do the same, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a picture of Amar, Justin and some dancers!  Love you, guys!

And here is a montage of the recording of the current cast album!  That is Garett Hawe, center.  Wait until you hear this, darlings!  This should get you to "Carousel" fast!!!!!!!!  Oh, my God, and when Renee tears into "You'll Never Walk Alone!!!!!!!!!"

Thursday, August 30, 2018

"Better Coffee A Millionaire's Money Can't Buy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Ever since I was a child, darlings, I loved the radio and TV commercials for Chock Full O'Nuts Coffee, with Paige Morton Black, singing its praises.  There was a brief time, when I wanted to be Paige; she was so Fifties, and I loved, as my idea  of the Fifties then was, the idea of an era devoted to proper dress, and drinking coffee.

Once I became a coffee drinker, I became a confirmed Maxwell House user. because, after all, it really was good to the last drop, and who could forget Margaret Hamilton, as Cora, advertising it, during the Seventies?  They even aired a Cora commercial during one of the annual broadcasts of "The Wizard Of Oz."  How brilliant was that?????????

I always swore I would never drink decaff, because doing so would turn me into a bitch!  But, once I recovered from my recent bout of prostatitis, I was determined not to have to face that again!  And so, I switched to decaf!  The surprise was I had no trouble with the transition. I can tell it is decaf, because the kick is missing, but I do enjoy the taste of hot coffee!  Which is the main reason I drink it, especially in the morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The other surprise, much to my dismay, is that while Maxwell House does make a decaf coffee, it is hard to find, either in the regular size, or large size cans.  But Chock Full O'Nuts large size decaff seems more available in places we shop, and the more I drink it, the more convinced I am it is "The Heavenly Coffee."  It makes me feel just a little like Paige Morton Black!

So, here I enter a new era--decaf, and Chock Full O' Nuts!!!!!!!!!!

Darlings, as in all things, when the time is right, you know it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Broadway To Dim Its Lights Tonight, In Honor Of Neil Simon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                Having done so, for last year, it is quite moving to attend a Broadway lights dimming.  The occasion, last year, was to commemorate the passing of Barbara Cook.  Now, at 6:45PM tonight, people will gather as the lights dim in memory of probably the last century's most prolific, and comic, playwright, Neil Simon.

                                  Breathes there a member of my generation who has had NO exposure to any Neil Simon?  I doubt it; some of his works and lines are in our bloodstream.  He was one of those theater folk I never expected would die, but, alas, he did.

                                     Heaven must be a laugh riot, what with Neil up there, now!

                                     Those on Earth will miss him dearly, yet cherish his work, always!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darlie Routier Not Only Wins Bitch Of The Week, She Gets The Susan Smith Mother Of The Year Award!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             Both Darlie and Susan were pieces of trash who wanted to ride the gravy train.  Susan, better known, drowned her kids in John D. Long Lake, in Union County, South Carolina, back on October 25, 1994.  She thought if she got her children out of the way, she could be with her paramour, Thomas Findlay, scion of a wealthy family, so she could ride the Gravy Train!!!!!!!!!!  Today, you are lucky if gravy is poured on your biscuits, Susan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             At the time Darlie Routier killed her sons, Damon, six, and Devon, 5, she was a cheap blonde floozy, living with loser husband, Darin, who, when the deed was committed, was upstairs, asleep with the other child, seven month old Drake.  Both survived the onslaught.

                              Now that she is in prison, she has dyed her hair black or brown, but she still looks and talks like cheap trash,  a beautician slut, you know the type, girls!  Even "The Help" in the story would be accorded more respect than she!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               The crime took place late at night on June 6, 1996, in Rowlett, Texas; again, not a good endorsement for that state.  You see, Darlie was a materialistic bitch, with no taste--these types never have any--and all she cared about was spending money on goods for herself.  She probably, had she had the chance, would have killed Darin and Drake, so she could wend her way into some rich guy who could support her the way she wanted.  But she would have to pull off a considerable act to be convincing, because if it is one thing the wealthy can spot right away, it is low class trash.

                                 She sneaked into the boys' rooms, with a knife, and furiously stabbed them to death.  The poor innocents did not have a chance.  Just because they were taking money out of her mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Then don't have kids, bitch!   Don't marry a loser, even though it is the best you can do!  Ever hear of birth control, darling??????????????????????

                                   So, Darlie gets this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award.

                                   She is also on Death Row, at the Mountain View Unit, Of The Texas Department Of Criminal Justice. She was charged with murdering Damon, on February 4, 1997.  She is still destined to be toast, but why wasn't she charged with murdering Devon, because she did??????????

                                     This is some witch who deserves to be burned at the stake!
May this be the fate of Darlie Routier!!!!!!!!!  You baby killing bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Time For Us To Welcome A New Reader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   My God, darlings, I almost forgot!  I see, by the follower indicator, that it is up to 79, which means a new reader has joined us.  I don't know who you are, but, after the posts I wrote this morning, I hope that gives you an idea of what this blog is all about here--everything!  At everything in my rather twisted, but fun loving, mind.

                                    Of course, as I tell all, reading it goes great with coffee, which is always by my side, while I write.

                                     So, welcome to the world of The Raving Queen!

                                      The welcome would not be complete without this blog's unofficial theme song!


"Just Where Did You Think You Were Coming Today????????????"

                               This is my favorite line, that I wait to hear, each time I watch "Judge Judy."  The trash that she says it to are so idiotic and stupid, they deserve it.   Because, they don't care about settling whatever dispute arises.  They have this deluded notion that appearing on "Judge Judy," and being as manic as they can is their ticket to fame and fortune in show business.  That is right, darlings. This is why those who appear on "Judge Judy" do so.

                                 But I am digressing a little.

                                 The more I hear this line, the more I want to say it to certain people--people who bother me.

                                   The subway--forget it!  It is SO nutso there, that to do this would be taking one's life into one's hands.  The longer I am retired, the harder it is for me to get on the subway, because the more nut jobs I notice.  And I want nothing to do with that.

                                    But please, once you come up into Manhattan, it seems no better!

                                    Young girls, dressing like tramps!  Tramps!  That whole Jodie Foster/Iris thing was dated, decades ago!!!!!!!!!!  Why do young girls want to look like prostitutes?  What about civilized, elegant graciousness, in a flowing Laura Ashley, or said type, dress??????????

                                      When I walk down a Manhattan street, don't walk like you are going to walk into me, like I don't exist!  Get the hell out of my way!  I am NOT invisible!  I belong here, too.  And remember, if I don't already know you, who cares?  This is MY world, and you just live in it!!!!!!!!

                                        Don't block my way at bookstores!  You think yourself more literary than I??????????

                                          Movies and Theater--too many go who should not, as they have no idea what they are seeing!  "The Sound Of Music" is too sophisticated for them!   Don't waste my time in line, when I am trying to meet a time schedule, deciding then what movie you are going to see.  Plan ahead, assholes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           When I walk into a designer shop, and I snap my fingers, that means I want service!  So, give it to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!  INSTANTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              So many good reasons to use Judge Judy's line.

                                              But I don't, in order to survive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"I Had Some Dreams, They Were Clouds In My Coffee, Clouds In My Coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                Actually, my dreams have turned out just fine, darlings.  But every so often, I get on a Carly Simon kick--I mean, she's brilliant--and the one I find myself singing the most is "You're So Vain."  Like Carly, I have my own lineup of who it is about, and I am not about to reveal that...just yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 I also have a hankering for Carly's early hit, "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be."  The understated power of her voice is extraordinary in this very haunting song.

                                  And, what should be my mantra, when I go to the doctor, at least, is "I Haven't Got Time For The Pain."

                                  But no matter what, darling, there are NO clouds in MY coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Here is Carly, doing "You're So Vain" live, at Martha's Vineyard, back at 1987. The "son of a gun" at the opening is missing, but then it is Carly at the piano, and Martha's Vineyard!!!!!!!

                                   And here is "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be!!!!!!!!!!"

                                   Wish we all looked as good as Carly, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who Is Vanessa Ray? And Why The Hell Was She Cast As Crissy In The Diane Paulus "HAIR Live??"

                              Poor Diane Paulus!  She is really heading back to the Island Of Lost Directors.  First, she gets it SO right with the 2009 "HAIR," wherein Allison Case, brilliantly cast as Crissy, did the best rendition of "Frank Mills," my favorite song from the show, this side of Shelley Plimpton. Allison has, over the years, become the Shelley Plimpton of her generation.

                              It wasn't just the beauty of her voice that made Allison's performance work. It was the quality of innocent vulnerability, she brought to it, matched by her innocent look.  Crissy is SUPPOSED to be innocent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Who the  hell is this Vanessa Ray?  "Pretty Little Lies," like, who gives a shit? And now SHE is going to do Crissy in "HAIR????????"  Looking like one of the slutty TV housewives??????????  THIS is who gets to sing "Frank Mills??????????"

                               You know, Sarah Hyland, from "Modern Family" did not do too bad a rendition, when the show was staged at, I believe, the Hollywood Bowl. Why couldn't she have been used?

                                 You've screwed it, Diane!  Nerts to you!

                                   As for "HAIR Live!," forget it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Now, to prove my point, here are Allison Case and Shelley Plimpton to show how "Frank Mills" should be performed.  And catch my doing it, on September 12, in front of the Waverly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   There is Allison!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    And here is Shelley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Don't Understand All The Fuss, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                          People have told me that "The Incendiaries" is their Book Of The Year. Some reviewers compared it to Donna Tartt's "The Secret History," and while I can see structural similarities, it lacks the sweeping dramatics of the Tartt classic.

                                           Actually, the story is pretty ordinary. At a college, somewhere in New England, two kids, Will and Phoebe, fall in love. Will is a disgruntled Christian, having transferred from a Bible college--good for him--while Phoebe is torn by her Seoul origins and her American life style.

                                             But as soon as a character named John Leal enters the story I said--cult, Cult, CULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                               And thus begins the tale of Leal's manipulations versus Will's efforts to get Phoebe out of his clutches.  But things take an uncertain turn, and not everything is resolved, though I have my ideas.

                                                I thought of Roth's "American Pastoral" when I read some of this brief, but well written novel.  It just tells an all too familiar story.

                                                  And, good a writer as she is, there is nothing that innovative about the way R.O. Kwon tells it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                   Better luck next time, dear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It May Be Too Early To Call This The Book of The Year, But, I Am Telling You, Girls, From Where I Stand, It Looks Like A Contender!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    After reading the 800+ pages of "A Little Life," I was hesitant to take up a massively heavy volume of over 600 pages, especially one covering a subject I know absolutely nothing about--football.

                                     But "Lost Empress" turns out to be this massive, Altmanesque novel.  It has the scope, but not the density of Thomas Pynchon, and it covers football, the criminal justice system, while referencing everyone from Salvador Dali to J.D. Salinger, to Joni Mitchell.

                                      What more could one ask?  How about a history of Rikers, and Hart Island, and the examination of the prison system?

                                         Plus a cast of characters ranging from the Gill siblings, fighting over football rights (Sister Nina is a laugh, a real Cruella De Ville type, with the one liners to go with it); a disgruntled switchboard operator named Sharon, convicts and guards in Rikers--name it, this story has it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           For four days I was glued to my chair by the scope of this story, which I could not tear myself away from.  So far, this is my Book Of The Year,  but that could change, by the time the year ends.

                                           Still, if you have a taste, as I do, for big, epic works of fiction that are well written, and keep both plot and character in focus, this is THE ONE to read, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Isn't The "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" Baby Just So Cute?????????????

                                Darlings, not since the iconic embryo that closed out Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterwork "2001: A Space Odyssey," has there been a baby to equal its cuteness.  But now comes "American Horror Story: Apocalypse," to give it a run for its money.

                                  But since this is the AHS universe, you know this petit enfant is going to be an enfant terrible!  I hope it gets some scene stealing one-liners, and I hope it is explained why the show is going apocalyptic, when I already know there will be a season following this one.

                                   I can't wait, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   It happens Wednesday, September 12, which is also Frank Mills Day.  I will have to do an early performance that day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Most Surreal Dining Expereince We Have Ever Had!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                Our apartment situation is still unresolved.  They have replaced the pipe, patched up the hole, but an inspector needs to come and inspect things, before gas can be turned on.  And we supposedly have no gas meter.  What gives?  Don't ask!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   What that means is David and I have been eating out most of the time.  Now, Bay Ridge has no shortage of places to do so, but doing it all the time not only gets boring, it adds up!  So, this past Friday, when I asked David where he wanted to go, he said "5 and 9," located at 7026 Third Avenue.  The place is full of mystery.

                                    First, when it opened, maybe a month or so ago, in a space that has gone through a lot of restaurant overhauls in the six years we have been living here, I was not sure what kind of a restaurant it was, because, I swear, they had photos of both Chinese and Italian entrees depicted on the windows.  By the time we ate there, it had been relegated to Chinese.

                                     Second, the correct title of the place is "Ginny's $5 to $9," suggesting the entrĂ©e prices are between five and nine dollars,  Au contraire, darlings!  Not high end, to be sure, but not the bargain the title promises.

                                     And just who the hell is Ginny????????????????

                                     When David and I ate there, we were the only ones in the place.  Sitting to our right, by the side, was this older man and woman, whom I am not sure were husband and wife, or mother and son, but I can tell you, they were very Right Wing, espousing praise for Trump, which did not meet with our approval.  I think they are the owners.  The only staff member on the premises, who has to take orders, cook and serve, is this cheap blonde dye job Suzie Wong type, with the most buxom chest I have ever seen on an Asian woman.  Hey, I may be gay, but when it is noticeable, it IS noticeable.

                                       Amid this quasi romantic--or attempt at--atmosphere, we had Frank Sinatra classics blaring on the speakers, while we ate meals that were worthy of the Chung King or La Choi junk they still sell in supermarkets, to morons who actually buy this, thinking it is REAL Chinese food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It is not!

                                      And to my left, staring at me, was the most gorgeous technicolor photo of Marilyn Monroe I have ever seen.

                                       Surreal, indeed!  An experience, but one we will be sure not to repeat.

                                        I will be curious to see how long this one lasts. And what will come next!!!!!!!!!!!

Sadly, The Broadway Era Of My Time Is Swiftly Vanishing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          Just last year, on August 8, we lost Barbara Cook, which killed an era of Musical Theater that will never be seen again.  You know how saddened I was by the death of Barbara Harris, but I would be amiss not mentioning Brian Murray, and Craig Zadan, who, while not my personal icons, may have been such to others.

                           Now, the saddest of cut of all.  The end of a playwrighting era.

                           Neil Simon--a name all us boomers knew from childhood--died yesterday, at the age of 91.  My heart goes out to him, his children, Marsha Mason, first wife, Joan, and anyone privileged to work with him.

                             In the Sixties and Seventies, especially, Neil Simon was IT!  He had four plays running on Broadway simultaneously, during the Sixties, a feat I would guess is unequaled by any other playwright.

                               When he switched to movies, "The Out-Of -Towners" got it SO right about New York,  and "The Goodbye Girl" was a gem.  Even schlock like "Murder By Death" was fun, because it came from Neil Simon.

                                He wrote the book to the musical "Sweet Charity."  And one of his 70's plays, "God's Favorite" (with Vincent Gardenia, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Maria Karnilova, which I saw!) was directed by then up and comer Michael Bennett, who was putting something together called "A Chorus Line."  And Neil Simon had his hands in that.  It was he who humorized and humanized the character of Sheila, and it was his then wife, Marsha Mason, who finally convinced Bennett that Donna McKechnie's character, Cassie, had to get the job, because to not do so would be cheating the audience.  And Bennett agreed, even though he knew, in reality, someone like Cassie would not get that job.

                               I saw my share of plays on the Broadway stage.  Let's see if I can list them.  Here,
they are, in order.

                                1. "God's Favorite" (1974)
                                2. "California Suite (1976)
                                3. "They're Playing Our Song" (1979)
                                4. "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1983)
                                5. "Biloxi Blues" (1985)
                                6. "Broadway Bound" (1986) (With Joan Rivers, no less, who was wonderful!_)
                                7. " Lost In Yonkers" (1991) (His best!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
                                8. "The Dinner Party" (2000)
                                9. "45 Seconds From Broadway (2001)

                                10. "A Chorus Line" (1975--and countless times afterward!)
                                11. "Sweet Charity"  (1986 revival, with Debbie Allen)
                                12. "Sweet Charity"  (2005 revival, with Christina Applegate)

                                13. "The Out-Of Towners" (1970)
                                14. "Murder By Death" (1976)
                                15. "The Goodbye Girl (1977)
                                16. "Only When I Laugh" (1981)
                                17. "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1986) (With Blythe Danner!)
                                18. "Lost In Yonkers" (1993)

                                 My God, I did better with Simon vehicles, than I thought.  Especially on film!

                                 Rest In Peace, Neil!  Keep writing in the Great Beyond!  Your passing marks the irrevocable end of an era here on Earth!!!!!!!!!!!!

Were Frances Bavier, As Aunt Bee, On "The Andy Griffith Show," And Madge Blake, As Aunt Harriet, On "Batman," Sisters????????

                                Just look at the two of them, darlings.  They could have been Separated At Birth!!!!!!!

                                 If they had been sisters, it would have made quite a story.  Especially consider that the Aunt Bee persona Bavier projected on the show, was far from what the actress was.

                                  Not only was she difficult to work with--yes, darlings, a bitch!--in later years, according to an article I read Andy Griffith and Ronnie Howard both went to visit the actress, who was  living in some rural dump, a hoarder, slovenly, and very much like "Grey Gardens," minus the charm and glamour of the two Edies, who, after all, were Bouviers.

                                   I can't say much for Madge Blake, but putting them in the same room as sisters would, I guess, be similar to putting Bette and Joan together for 'Baby Jane.'

                                   Between these two, I would fear for Madge.  But maybe she has a trick or two up her sleeve none of us know about?????????????

                                    But isn't the resemblance amazing???????????????????

I Know We're In For A Scorcher, But Before The Summer Is Gone, We Have GOT To Have A Victorian Summer Outdoor Tea!!!!!!!!!

                            What a lovely inspiration isn't it, girls?   It's just like Helen Hooven Santmyer's novel, "...And Ladies Of The Club," which I would actually be willing to read again, if I could only find the pink, mass paperback edition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               I mean, isn't it the ultimate in femme, girls?  We could all read it--if we had time enough, and discuss it, especially which parts we cried over, and which parts actually shocked us. Because old Helen does shock us some with some explicit topics I never expected to find in such a book, which are there, but go unmentioned.

                                What a sparkling way to end the Summer.  But not today!  I am going out, briefly, this evening, but meanwhile, I have a lot of reading to do, and more posts to write.

                                  Have GOT to get going!  But let's try for that Victorian Outdoor Summer Tea?

                                   Huh, darlings?

Friday, August 24, 2018

Broadway Will Finally Get The "Fair Lady" It Deserves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                Didn't I tell you, time and again, girls, that Lauren Ambrose could not cut it, dramatically, OR vocally--especially the latter--in the role of Eliza Doolittle???????   Then, what happened?  Lauren lost the TONY, the show only won for its costumes, and the downward trajectory began.

                                First, Lauren claimed overwhelming exhaustion in the role--which she should never have attempted to take on--and next thing we knew, understudy, Kristen Anderson, starting July 8, is doing the Sunday performances.  Diana Rigg rightly expressed her disdain at Lauren's inability to do eight shows a week--which is standard for a Broadway performer--so her shows were reduced to seven, with the rest of the cast doing eight, and not being informed of the change.  Rigg was supposed to exit the show in December, when her contract was up, but now she is mysteriously leaving September 9.  Rosemary Harris--good choice!--will take her place.

                                 Laura is scheduled to step into the role on October 23, playing it through February 17, 2019.  I don't know if a new Eliza will step in, or the show will close; that remains to be seen.  Ambrose will give her final performance on October 21.  She is leaving to return to dramatic acting, which is a wise choice for her, as she will never grace the musical stage again.  But she is doing some Apple series for the director, M. Night Shyamalan, and you know, darlings, most of his projects tank.

                                  The word is Benanti will be doing only seven shows a week.  Why?  She HAS the chops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Frankly, I think this is all a matter of convenience.  Those who know the show were scandalized by Ambrose's inability to perform it, and I know I was not the only one.  I can still recall her having to gasp, and then just make the final notes to "I Could Have Danced All Night."

                                  When Laura played Louise in "Gypsy," she was moving.  And her rendition of "Dear Friend" in the 2016 revival of "She Loves Me!" broke my heart.  I can just hear her on "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "I Could Have Danced All Night," and her other classics.

                                    I bet the company is thrilled to be getting rid of Lauren, who was a fly in the ointment from day one.  She may get a going away party, but it will be more of the company celebrating her departure, than missing her.  They should have another one to welcome Laura, a real singer, on board.

                                     Bartlett Sher's goose is sure cooked, and deservedly so.

                                     If only it did not have that ending, I would go again.  Even if it was tweaked to what I suggested, in my original post, it would be OK.

                                      But to have a singer like Benanti in the role--who should have been cast in the first place--would be almost worth it.

                                       Staring October 23, the show, vocally, will be simply "loverly!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Sad, Simpering, Acceptance Of Spinsterhood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, what have you done?  Now, that I have read ALL your books, I can say you really hit a Sophomore Slump with "The Man Of My Dreams."

                                          The characters are all lackluster and pathetic.  The boys are worse than the girls.  You try to develop something out of Hannah Gavener, as you trace her almost twenty year trajectory from whining teen to accepting spinster, which I did not care for at all.  I could not stand her at the beginning, and the Hannah at the end was more self-defeating than empowering.

                                           What the hell were you trying to do?  Lose readers????????  If I had read this, when it first came out, I would not have gone on to the others, which more than made up for this.

                                              Hannah's sister, Allison, and her cousin, Fig, are pigs!  Fig's transition at the end is utterly superfluous, and unconvincing.  I did not believe a word of it.

                                               But to leave Hannah, at the barbecues, with her police woman roommate, accepting her spinsterhood, is to leave her defeated.  Even during my spinsterhood period, I never stopped believing I would find someone.  And I did.

                                                Maybe I don't get it, because I am not a woman.  But, if I were, I would have felt sold out by Curtis, who is telling girls, if you don't find someone, then stop believing you will, and accept your spinsterhood.

                                                 What a rotten message to convey.  You might as well tell them to go into the convent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                   If you like Curtis Sittenfeld, and want to keep on doing so, but have not read this, then please skip it.

                                                    As for me, I will be wary of her next novel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You Might Say, To This Bitch, "Go, Granny, Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                I have to confess, darlings, I was ready to write a column on Barry and Fran Weissler, whom I am not afraid of, at all, but they have been given such good press for the bitches they are, I really don't feel I need to throw another log into their fire.  They will burn, anyway, baby!
Burn, baby burn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Now, Anna Mae Blessing, of Fountain Hills, Arizona, is something else entirely.  She is a very special winner of The Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award, because , she may be the oldest person designated, in the history of this column--92 years of age!  She looks old, but pretty good! And feisty--which she had to be, to do what she did.

                                This woman wanted to live her life, independently.  So, Granny Got Her Gun, and shot her 72-year-old son, Thomas, because he wanted to put her in either a nursing home, or assistant living facility, and she would have none of that.

                                  Justifying her deed to her son, she said, "You ended my life, so I am taking yours."

                                   Some part of her knew what she did was wrong.  She calmly waited for the police, and when she was asked what should happen to her, she said, she should be "put to sleep."

                                     There is something achingly poignant about this bitch, who only wanted independence.  Still, do not mess with a pistol packin' Mama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     Little sister is not the only one who don't miss, when she aims her gun!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I Could Not Resist This, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                   These are the Winston-Salem Debutantes of 1956, recalling an age of graciousness and glamour that should be brought back, when girls were taught how to be ladies.  As well as Plantation Princesses.   The breathtaking effect, you have to admit, darlings, is quasi-Southern.  I guess I am still reeling from the "Swanee" number in "A Star Is Born."

                                     But how, like Blanche Du Bois, I long for more civilized elegance and graciousness.  Let me tell you, girls, since I have retired, and am not riding the subway every day, it has become an odious experience, because, while I do read my way in and out of the city, I cannot help notice the increase of wackos and nut cases on the trains.  Or people who look like they could turn into such in an instant.

                                     All this talk about making America great again.  The answer does not lie in politics.  The answer lies in Nancy Drew, by Caroline Keene, where you learn the importance of stylish dress, white gloves, and having luncheon.

THIS is how we should all strive to look, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, My God! Not Barbara Harris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                I was shocked to learn, yesterday, that Barbara Harris had left us.  She passed away, at the age of 83, in Scottsdale, Arizona, of lung cancer.

                                If "Nashville," Altman's 1975 masterwork, had been the only thing she had done, she would have been iconic.  But Harris was also a TONY winning Legend Of The Musical Stage, thanks to "The Apple Tree."  She also sang the ravishing score in the original production of "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," opposite none other than John Cullum.  This cast album is the treasure trove of anyone who calls themselves a Theater Queen!  I LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                She also originated the role of Rosalie, in the original production of Arthur Kopit's "Oh, Dad, Poor Dad...Mama's Hung You In The Closet, And I'm Feeling So Sad," and she and "Nashville" colleague, Karen Black, also deceased, appeared together in Hitchcock's very last film, 1976's "Family Plot."  I still have not seen it.  I must.

                                The kookiness that Harris brought to a lot of her characters carried over into real life.  One of theater history's most famous stories is how, during a matinee performance of 'Clear Day,' she finished a number, walked off the stage--and kept on going, right through the stage door.  The understudy had to do the rest of the show.

                                  But when Harris was focused, as in "Nashville," she was funny and brilliant.

                                  Her other musical number, in that film, "Gestures," is hilarious, because she and the band are performing at near a drag car race, and are completely drowned out by those sounds.  Yet the sequence is both hilarious, and brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  I also know she lived in Chicago for a time, where she taught acting, privately.  Lucky the ones to have studied with her.

                                   Barbara will be missed, but not forgotten.

                                   Rest In Peace, Barbara!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Pictured is Ronee Blakley.  But then comes Harris' rendition of "It Don't Worry Me!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Judy Garland Triptych Necessary For Healthy Gay Development, And Growth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          I was just saying to my beloved, David, the other day, how many times do we stay in, and watch the Saturday night movie, on Channel 13?  It seems like, if lucky, three or four times a year, so when I discovered, late last week, they were going to air the Garland classic "A Star Is Born"--the one and only, as far as I am concerned, and released in my birth year, 1954--I knew we would end up watching it.  I had not seen it in years--last time probably on a screen at a revival house--but the whole thing still packs a wallop.

                           Now, let me explain about the triptych.  If these images were framed together as a photographic triptych, it would go like this--'Oz' to the left, 'Star' in center, and 'St. Louis' on the far right.  It is almost a framework of Garland's career--her two greatest MGM movies bracketing the most famous film she made for Warner Bros. And in two of these films, she played a character, named Esther!!!!!!!!!!!

                            For parents of a burgeoning gay child, and to all burgeoning gay children, I maintain that these films, even in this millennial age, are required--even more so--viewing for healthy gay development.  As long as they are seen at the right stages, which goes something like this.

                            If you are feeling out of touch with the familial fabric into which you have been placed, it is key "The Wizard Of Oz" is seen at an early age, say in the lower (4,5,6) single digits.  If you are aroused by any of it emotionally, if the need to escape from what is around you is instilled by an initial viewing, you are well on your way to becoming a member of the gay community.

                              "Meet Me In St. Louis," however, should not be seen until the age of 10, and before hitting puberty.  It darker childhood sensibilities are now capable of being handled by juveniles, who will develop, from this film, an appreciation for color composition and visual detail.  And the duo drama fest--Garland's heartrending performance of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," followed by Margaret O'Brien's award winning hysterics, as she goes out into the yard to symbolically show how her own family is being destroyed by smashing the snow men--should have you sobbing copiously.  And how about when Harry Davenport, as Grandpa, dances Garland behind the Christmas tree, and she emerges, with Tom Drake in her arms????????  Oh, my God, I am tearing up, right now!  Art, color, tears and romance--the perfect gay intro to one just on the cusp of puberty!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Now, once puberty hits, there stands one last film to see!!!!!!!!!!!!
While, sadly, this was the last truly grand, Garlandesque film she made, it was a stunner.  This was to Judy Garland what "Funny Girl" is to Barbra Streisand, because, in telling the story of Esther's Blodgett's transition to Vicki Lester, it is, in essence, telling Garland's story of her emergence as a star--from the vaudeville circuit to MGM.  

And the film has a number of key gay developments, all of which are important to notice.
The first is Garland's opening number, "Gotta Have Me Go With You," which, if one is a burgeoning gay, will make said individual want to stand up and do the number, along with watching it on TV.  This was the case with me, the first time I saw it, around the age of 12.  Of course, I wanted to be in the center, like Garland-- who wouldn't????--and backed up by cute chorus boys--with whom one has a bite, after the show--this is enough to get any emergent gay's fantasies going.  And the younger, the better!!!!!!!!!!!
The Glamorization Scene-- Where Norman makes up Esther to look as natural to herself as possible.  This is key gay fantasy--self acceptance, and a transformation into beauty.  It also symbolizes the escape emergence of the gay from the suburbia he longs to escape into the big, citified, sophisticated life he wants to have!  At this point, there is no turning back.  This scene makes it clear, for the young gay, that this is who he is, and to go forward!  I can tell you, I did, darlings!
And how I still want to wear that pink gown she is in!!!!!!!!!!!

"Born In A Trunk"/"Swanee"--This is the musical number of a gay man's dreams.  Being princess of a plantation, dancing up a storm, in a vehicle guaranteed to make anyone a star!  But how that young gay youth seeing this for the first time wants to do that number.  You  know I do!!!!!!!!  In fact--

"I'd give the world, if I could only be,
Sittin' on my Mammy's knee!"
This is what puts Vicky over the top in the film, and hardly a gay man out there does not react to this sequence in the same way.  Which you won't get from "La La Land."

The whole thing--"Black Bottom," "As time went on, I looked for jobs..." is like a montage of Garland's professional emergence.  It is fused with her story, the way "Funny Girl" fuses Fanny Brice's with Barbra Streisand.

Oh, my God, I want to get up, and dance "Swanee" now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As if all this were not enough, the film has something extra--James Mason, giving one of the best performances by an adult actor seen on film.  Not only was I touched and moved by him throughout, and I was devastated, as Esther was, by his death, I recognized at once I had the hots for him!!!!!!!!!
I have admired James Mason in every film I have seen him here, but his Norman Maine is almost his signature role, and I am sure I was not the only emerging queen to swoon for him!!!!!!!!!!  Who wouldn't be charmed by the urbane sophistication, cultural air, and sexiness Mason projects?  I am telling you, if you are hot for either Jack Carson or Charles Bickford, you've got problems!  Tommy (Tom) Noonan may be kinda cute, but he pales beside Mason.

To think Marlon Brando took the Oscar for his Strasberg antics in "On The Waterfront?"  He should have won when he used them to better effect in "A Streetcar Named Desire!!!!!!!!!!  And Grace Kelly?  I love her, but the only reason she beat out Garland--inexcusable!!!!!!--was for the two  Hitchcock films she made that year--"Dial M For Murder," and her truly greatest one, "Rear Window!!!!!!!!!!"  Otherwise, Garland would have had it!!!!!!!!!!!!

How about the dressing room scene, where she breaks down, trying to deal with her husband;'s addiction, while still loving him?  It's not bad enough she looks like Liza here, but it represents, for gays, the price each pays for their freedom and individuality.  That price varies from person to person, but I can tell you, I have paid mine.  I will not share that here...yet.  But you know me, dolls, sooner or later, I let it out!!!!!!!!!!!

So that is the Garland triptych.  Essential for healthy gay growth and development.  It will do for you what Wheaties supposedly does for straight men!!!!!!!!!!!!

But stay away from Lucky Charms!  You can flame brightly, darlings, but don't be an acetylene torch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oops!!!!!!!!!  I forget to add--

"I love the old folks,
    I love the young folks,
I love my honey lamb, and everyone in Alabammy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mammy! Mammy!  My dear ol' Mammy!!!!!
Your wandrin' chile' will wander no more,
When I get to that Swanee shore!!!!!!!!!!"

I Want To Do The "Big Boy" Prank That Is Done In "Marlena!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                 Throughout the history of twentieth century adolescence, I am certain that somewhere, sometime, something of this sort has been done.  Who knows; Julie Buntin might have based on an experience she had, or knew about.  It would not surprise me.

                                   Reading about is caused me to laugh out loud--something that does not happen often!!!!!!!!!!

                                    I would love to do this prank, and add my own touch to it.

                                    But it would require ingenuity, artistry, and a lot of people to make it work.

                                     The first thing to do would be to find a Big Boy nearest to where I live.  Being that is Brooklyn, this may necessitate going out of the city, and upstate, because I am not certain there are any Big Boys in the metropolitan area.  Even in Jersey.  I could be wrong.

                                       Once found, a sneaky trip has to be made to Big Boy--in the dead of night--to measure the height of the effigy.  Size and proportion are key to the success of this prank.

                                         Having measured the height of Big Boy, you need someone artistic to construct a giant sized dildo and testicles, plus someone who can mathematically determine how large said items should be, in proportion to the size of Big Boy.

                                          I guess a ladder, and tape, glue, or whatever is required to hold the dildo and testicles in place will be required on the next trip.  Again, this is done in the dead of night, where,  as near to the crotch area as possible, the dildo is attached to the Big Boy effigy.

                                          Now, he really IS a BIG Boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                           That is as far as they go in the book.  It makes the papers.

                                            Now comes MY own, added touch!

                                            I stand beside the Big Boy effigy, point my leg out, like Claudette Colbert in "It Happened One Night," lift up the end of my shorts, high as I can go, and take a photograph, with, underneath, those immortal words from Philip Roth I always invoke--

                                            "Oh, do it to me, Big Boy!  Oh, shove it in me, Big Boy!
                                              Big Boy!  BIG BOYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                               Wouldn't that just be precious, dears???????????????????