Sunday, September 30, 2018
Girls, can you believe it? Now, we are three fourths of the way through 2017. The last quarter is upon us.
I watched the Summer washed out by the surf on Block Island, our trip to which I will post about next month. We lost our friend, Bruce Friedman, earlier in the week, branded indelibly in our memories. The eighth anniversary of Tyler Clementi's passing was observed on here. I think (note I say "think") I finished my Dawn Powell project. I saw "The Nun," which was a hoot, and "A Simple Favor," which is a perfect Girls Night Out!!!!!!!!!!!!
And then, there was "A Chorus Line," as heavenly a production, and as merciful a deliverance, if temporarily, from out sadness, as could be asked.
Hey, wait! Don't forget about the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings!!!! Not only may lose the nomination--I hope!--he may be the first Catholic to have his Confirmation Sacrament revoked!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now October is upon us. I mean, I know I can't wait to see Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode forty years later!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, may October be good to one and all, and my prayer to all is no more tragedy this year.
Haven't we had enough?
See you next month, with coffee--dears!
For me, darlings, whenever I am down about anything, but especially theater, if "A Chorus Line" is being done somewhere, I can always count on it to react on me, like a blood transfusion.
The production David and I saw yesterday, at The Gallery Players, in Park Slope, which is closing today, did just that--give me a transfusion. "A Chorus Line" is just about as perfect a musical theater piece as a Theater Queen could want, and the company performing it here, does it full justice.
It is a pity this production cannot be extended, or at least, moved to another venue to run, because the show is a reminder of how much this show is needed and means to so many of us.
Everyone onstage is superb. The space it is done in, and the smallness of the house, comes as close as showing what it might have been like to have seen the original down at The Public, back in 1975. This is as intimate a staging as I have ever seen. In fact, David and I were the first in the house, so we got to see cast members doing Baayork's (that is Baayork Lee, for the uninitiated) warm-ups . I wanted to get up there, and do them, myself. I had to restrain myself.
The company was handpicked; everyone suited their role, and many had done the show before, which does not surprise me. Of course, Shiloh Goodin (Cassie), Melissa Glasgow (Sheila), Sarah Reynolds (Val) Tara Kostmayer (Diana) and Steven Rada (Paul) all stood out, as they should; the roles are written that way, and these performers superbly embodied them. But I was also touched by Elizabeth L. Worley (Maggie, who superbly did the crescendo in "At The Ballet"), Caleb Schaaf (Bobby), and Emily Cochrane (Judy).
If I sound like a "Chorus Line" aficionado, well, I am. My father and I saw the Original Company at the Shubert Theatre, on October 25, 1975. He passed earlier this year, so, if I cried, and I did, part of it was because of this memory.
But it was also how much the show resonates as one gets older. I never used to weep during "What I Did For Love," but this time, I did. And I was struck by how many characters, thanks to director, Tom Rowan, gave fresh line readings, in rhythms I was not used to hearing them read, but gave a freshness to the show. Just as Sheila's exit, revealing her vulnerability, made one sit up and take notice.
I have only two, but minor, caveats. "A Chorus Line" should NOT be performed with an intermission. This is the second production I have seen that does it. I understand it is for the benefit of the audience, who may be older, but, come on, elders go to Broadway, where it is always done straight through. At least, the production broke at a sensible spot--the ending of "Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love!" In the abortive Heights Players production, years back, not only was it mistakenly done on a non-proscenium stage, but the first half broke here when Zach tells Cassie he wants to see her on stage alone. A bad point to do so.
My other caveat is with Cassie. Oh, no, Shiloh Goodin nailed the role perfectly, and danced like a dream. But, at the end of Paul's monologue, when the cast comes on to rehearse "One," Cassie should be seen without the red skirt. She wears it at the start to establish her better than average abilities, and red is the most noticeable color on the stage. But, during her segment, she has just made statements about how she can blend in, fit in with the chorus, "dance like everyone" else, and returning skirtless underscores those points made. But wearing it here is simply wrong; it defeats the purpose of Cassie's speech.
As I said, these are caveats; they don't hurt the production. But details must be adhered to, if one is doing "A Chorus Line." Why didn't Cassie remove the skirt?
No matter when or where I see it, some part of me is up there. I will never do the show--I cannot even do the opening steps; I need someone to take me in hand, and teach me, no matter how much work it takes. My dream, even at this age, would be to be one of the ones eliminated, so I could go backstage, or downstairs, and do what I do best--sing. Sing the ensemble numbers, to enlarge the sound while dancers onstage are so full out they may lose breath control.
Honestly, I almost stood up to sing "What I Did For Love" with the cast.
"A Chorus Line" has never stopped speaking to me. It never will. And, girls, in just seven years, its 50tth Anniversary is coming up.
May the show, as this production here, get the treatment it deserves, then!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am ashamed to admit "A Simple Favor" was not on my radar, nor had I ever read the Darcy Bell novel. I am tempted now to do so, except, while the story is outrageously fun, it does not have the gravitas of something like "Sharp Objects."
When one of my most brilliant friends recommended this film on the grounds of not only quality but recollections of high school tales I have told about the esteemed Roberta, whom I always wanted to be as she, then, as I thought, had everything I wanted, and felt I should have, I was curious to see it. And so, needing escape from a sad week, I went to see this, on Friday.
The parallels are there, without doubt. But honestly, girls, there is nothing to worry about. If you put the two of us--Roberta and I-- together, we would probably just have a drink, and laugh about ourselves during those years.
"A Simple Favor" opens with a perky Anna Kendrick, as widow Stephanie Smothers, doing a vlog (that is a video blog, something I refuse to do, as I feel I come off better in prose.) As I watched this, I wondered if this was going to be some kind of "Julie and Julia" redo or rip-off.
Stephanie takes her vlogging and domesticity a little too seriously--it borders on being creepy. And when sophisticate Emily Nelson, enters the story, as both their boys go to the same school, you can see how Stephanie yearns for her friendship, while Emily, in the guise thereof, yearns for an acolyte.
Both Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively are obviously having such fun, doing these roles. Blake has a model's looks, making her ideal for the part of the frosty sophisticate, but I had no idea she could be such a skilled actress. I am not talking MERYL here, but it is a wonderful surprise to see Blake Lively go at Emily Nelson with such tongue in cheek malice. She is a bitch to love.
But it is actually Anna Kendrick who walks off with the film, as mousy Stephanie, who, as the film develops, turns out to be more than what is first thought. Her transition is so subtle than when it fully hits one, the impact is startling. And Kendrick pulls it off with considerable acting skill. This girl has depths one would never imagine? But, then, darlings, don't we all?????????
When it gets to the point where Emily refers to Stephanie as "Nancy Drew," I was reminded of myself. Often, I have been seen as something I am not, and, like Stephanie, I have a fascination with solving mysteries, cold cases, and the like. Anyone who has done considerable reading of these posts, can attest to that.
I guess it is obvious now I am not telling much of the story. In a sentence, "A Simple Favor" tells what happens when these two women coalesce--and then don't!!!!!!!!! That is as much as one needs to know, because its pleasures of filmmaking, acting, set design, lighting and costumes, are as much of a revelation, as the plot.
If this were the best of all possible worlds, I would suggest that all the "Stephanies" out there go see this film with their "Emilys," or vice versa.
"A Simple Favor," is, at heart, a simple thriller. But it such delicious, nasty fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just for us girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, September 28, 2018
First, I have to confess, I was terrified I would miss it, not because of anything I did, but, prior to the show, NBC said it was going to broadcast a special broadcast on the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings. This was supposed to be a two hour episode, so how would they do it--break off at ten, then show it at eleven, or delay the second part till next week?
Someone's head is rolling at NBC, because a mistake was made, in viewers' favor, and the entire two part 'SVU' entitled "Man Up" and "Man Down" was shown in its entirety.
The story benefitted from several strong performances--Bryce Romero as the abused Sam Conway, Dylan Walsh, as his father, John Conway, Richard Meehan as older brother Brian, and Sally Murphy as mother, Molly Conway.
The underlying tale was of this dysfunctional family living under John Conway's toxic masculinity, which he imposed on his sons, and, boy, did this press my buttons! I had an uncle who was just like this, and while his boys turned out masculine, and straight, heaven help them if they had been like me! The scene where Sam could not shoot the rabbit was excruciating to watch, because I understood how Sam felt. I would not be able to do it, either. And when blood appeared on Sam's underwear later, indicating rape, I knew the father did it. And when Sam, terrified, lied about going with a strange man in the woods, I thought, "Well, Daddy could have done it in the woods," but when Sally Murphy broke down and admitted what she saw, I realized it was done at home as a punishment. And has been used as this for years, along with abusive name calling!
The entire family is terrified of John. No one will do anything. Sam and Brian even get into a fight over it, at school; Sam wants to break the silence, Brian wants to keep the familial abuse a secret--because I am convinced John had done it to Brian, when he was Sam's age, while Molly, with no skills or education, looks the other way out of fear--typical spousal abuse.
I just want to say that my uncle counterpart to Conway did not molest anyone. He just spoke and did things out of turn--arranging a phony job interview for me, where the personnel representative, Lauren Schor (I don't forget!) belittled me for my homosexuality.....without mentioning the word. He also penned a letter to my terminally ill mother, saying he hopes her death will make a man out of me! Nice, huh? Now you can see why I am down on self-righteous Catholics and right wingers!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't say the Conways were Catholic, but I bet the father is a White Supremacist, Trump Supporting, sexist pig!!!!!!!!!!!! Why he and Molly ever got married is beyond me!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unless he needed someone he could control.
Things go from bad to worse. Dad is found not guilty, Sam is scared, but still fueled with anger. So, going to school, as soon as I saw that oversized gym bag, I knew what was in it, and what was about to happen! Yup! Sam brings in a gun and randomly fires, killing two classmates, and wounding at least five.
When Dad first sees him at the precinct, he punches him in the face! This kid is on his way to a mental breakdown. He gets a Life prison sentence, but, I am telling you, getting away from this family, is the best thing for him. Finally, Sam breaks out in anger on the stand, and the father sort of understands what he did, though he disagrees with his now being guilty of criminally negligent homicide verdict. He got what he deserved, he put his son in prison, and as for Brian and Molly, they are left to fend for themselves, as no one seemed interested in their plot threads.
More time should have been devoted to Molly and Brian, Instead, time had to be devoted to the leads' personal problems. Olivia is realizing her mortality, and does not like it. Amanda is pregnant again (by sleazy Dr. Al) and not sure what to do about it. And Peter Stone, the new ADA, played by Philip Winchester, is grieving for his deceased sister, Pamela, by binge drinking and becoming a garden variety sex addict, with threesomes. I have to say, he has the body for it.
But the best is saved for last. While the episode blessedly keeps Olivia at low key, she gets two scenes to air her Debbie Downer approach to life. Except Debbie is funny, while Olivia is just dour. The first, shown here, is when she launches into Molly Conway, basically belittling her as a mother, which does no good, as Molly, I am sure, already knows and feels guilty. And this is revealed when she finally screams back at Benson, "It was my husband!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The other, final scene, involves Noah, who looks bigger than ever, though still prepubescent. Here, he shows his criminal roots--remember, his mother was a trashy drug addict, his father a professional criminal, and Grandma Sheila, whom he prefers, is in jail.
Olivia thinks it is time for Noah to go to bed. He refuses, and pushes her hard. She is shocked, and says not to do that again. She tucks him into bed, says they will discuss this in the morning. Then she says, "Noah, I love you." But the kid turns his head to the wall and does not say a word.
Future Rhoda Penmark in the making! Olivia's saccharine do-gooder act, combined with her downer Joan Didion persona, is going to crash in on her, as Noah gets older, more assertive, and finds out what she is REALLY raising. "The Bad Seed" will be redone as an 'SVU' episode! Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will Olivia take the same out as Nancy Kelly??????????? I can only hope so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There were so many options this show could have taken. I am sorry they went with the school shooting, leaving Sam a prisoner for life! It would have been more interesting had Sam killed himself, which would have been a tragic lesson for all. or have Sam or Brian kill the father, which I would have viewed as justifiable homicide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A for effort on this one. Those playing the Conways were compelling, and made the show work.
But its impact on me was more due to the personal associations I brought to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There is this TV commercial, currently being aired, that starts with two small kids selling lemonade. A woman comes along to buy a cup, and the mother buts in, pouring the entire pitcher into a cup big enough to hold the entire contents. The customer has got her lemonade, but, boy, she is a little puzzled as to how she is going to drink so much. Even I, whose diabetes makes me thirsty, would have found this a challenge.
The woman walks away, and the commercial switches to Mom and kids going into the house, to watch a Sunday football game. Which I could care less about.
My interest is in the first half. From the time this ad was aired, I kept looking at this actress in recognition, as having known her--not personally--from somewhere else. Last night, I finally figured it out.
This is Gloria Garayua, who played Vita Chacon, back in 2007, on that most heartbreaking of "Cold Case" episodes, "A Dollar, A Dream."
Gloria has enormous credentials, but the impact she and everyone in that episode made on me was indelible. To know more about it, look for it on this blog. I have written about the episode extensively.
Nice to see you again, Gloria! Looking good! Loved you as Vita, but would love to see more of your work!
Go, Gloria, go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This has been an unusually bitchy week, dolls, what with the death of our friend Bruce--such a sad event! Then there is Bill Cosby--no more cute Jell-O pudding commercials for him!!!!!!!!!!! And Brett Kavanaugh--you know, I would bet, dollars to donuts, he has never even seen "The Song Of Bernadette?????????????"
But Yu-Fen Wang, at 52, wins this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award. She is the psycho nanny who worked as a caregiver at some birthing-tourist babysitting place at 161st Street between 45th and 43rd Avenues, in Flushing Queens.
On the morning of Friday (September 21 or 22; I am not sure) at around 3:40 in the morning, she went ballistic, attacking a 63-year old coworker, a 31-year old man, who was only injured, and--get this!!!!!!!!!!!--three infant girls. One was three days old, another two weeks, and a third, one month old. Nice, huh???????????? These girls were stabbed. There was a fourth baby girl, only three weeks old, who suffered a fractured skull.
The woman then fled to the basement, where she cut her left wrist.
Obviously, the woman has psych issues. But, what is it, with all these Nannies From Hell? I mean, this one, and then how about Yoselyn Ortega, who killed those kids on the Upper West Side, back on October 25, 2012. She also won The Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award!!!!!!!!!
I thought Nannies From Hell went out of vogue 26 years before, after Rebecca DeMornay so iconically defined one in "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle," back in 1992. And now, this year, trying to resurrect Mary Poppins, with Emily Blunt trying to pass as Julie Andrews, which is impossible, come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What does all this say about the nanny profession, and those who go into it today? Or how about vetting candidates better for such crucially needed positions??????????
Psych problems regardless, Wang should not have been hired. She is the bitch, the baby killer, but those running this establishment had better learn to screen candidates better.
I am sure they will....now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, it is tragically too late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Baby killing bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This Was The First Episode Of "Apocalypse" That Made Me Think The Show Is Heading Somewhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Which does not mean the idea tank is low, because to bring back favorite characters from past seasons, as pleasurable as it may be, I call a desperate move!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let's talk about Leslie Grossman--she IS Gross! Her character is mannered, annoying, and my biggest disappointment was that she came back from the dead. She should have stayed dead, and then been carted off the show.
It was hilarious to see Sarah Paulson die in her Ms. Danvers get up, and then return, glammed up as the Head Supreme.
And when the Supremes came crashing through that door, it was, as that Supreme bitch, Diana Ross, might have said, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
This moment was needed, because the "Halloween Party" was trite, and the vomiting was disgusting. And did it have to be shown so graphically! Grossness plus!!!!!!!!!!!!
Even Emma Roberts' signature line--"Surprise, bitch! I bet you thought you'd seen the last of me!" was welcome, after the past two episodes.
Now what? Do we get out of the compound? Do we go back to the witch academy in New Orleans????????????? Will Kathy Bates return, as Madame Lalaurie?????? I hope so!
As for Frances Conroy, I want to know how she was brought back, after her fiery, iconic death, when she yelled "Balenciaga!" at the end of "Coven!"
Things are starting to happen. It is about time.
Only tine will reveal how much of it we really like!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My beloved, David, knew Bruce for thirty eight years; it was my privilege to know him only for eight. I can tell you, like me, he was opinionated and impassioned. And he put himself into the socio-political fray, rallying for LGBT causes, helping out at the Queens LGBT Community Center. As a former Queens resident, myself, when I did not know Bruce, and felt the borough did not even acknowledge the existence of gays and lesbians, now I can say Bruce did more to undo that misconception than anyone I know. Or knew.
He had an outrageous sense of humor, which is why I always said, "Bruce, you are a legend!" He LOVED din sum. Thanks to him, I ate more din sum in my life than I probably ever would have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As David said, from diagnosis to the end, not one word of complaint! He died from complications after a three year battle with leukemia.
David and I visited Bruce a week ago Thursday, and, while he did not look good, he knew us, and because of his strong constitution, I thought his passing would take longer. I was readying myself for October, or November. But late September???????????
His legend will live on. Anyone who met Bruce would never forget him.
I certainly won't. And, though I am Catholic, when it is my time, I expect to cross over, and see and hear Bruce say to me, "Good Shabbos."
Rest In Peace, Bruce. You are missed, but remembered, by so many who loved you!!!!!!!!!!
"Come On, Virginia, Don't You Wait! You Catholic Girls Start Much Too Late!" But What About Catholic Boys????????
Which brings us to good Catholic boys. Once puberty sets in, there is no such thing. Oh, there are degrees, but name me any one who has had an easy time getting through puberty. It was the worst transition yet of my life!
The most amount of time children are good (unless one is raising a Rhoda Penmark, and we all know real life cases!!!!!!!!!!) is prepubescence.
Which brings us to Brett Kavanaugh, presented initially as a good Catholic. But, you know something, darlings, I saw right through him! I knew something like what is happening would occur, and I am not a bit surprised. And I feel there is more to come.
It fits Trump's rhetoric to have the nation led by a big bunch of White, straight pussy hounds!!!!!!!!! After all, what is he??????????
This arrogance on Brett Kavanaugh's part, even before the trouble started, and now amidst, said to me, at once, that he was a self-righteous Catholic. If one comes from a Catholic family, trust me, they are in your midst. I have some relations who fit the bill.
These are people who think that just because they go to church every Sunday, they are doing the right thing. Even if they beat their wives and children during the week. Or secretly hide porno in a desk drawer, and jerk off to it. Or play fast and lose on their income tax or any form of money.
Many are power mongers, like Kavanaugh, but not all. They do share arrogance and an inflexibility that the only way is THEIR way, and that those who don't follow are worthless sinners!
One reason I love this scandal is it is showing up these type of people for what they exactly are. And it is about time they got exposed. Kavanaugh is not alone; there are many out there. Whatever the outcome of all this is, his name will irrevocably be associated with the scandal surrounding him.
He should not be confirmed. But if he is, remember he is just another Trump Pussy Hound Puppet!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pity the unfortunate wives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
There is absolutely no question the love David and I have is blessed, and I thank God for it, every day. But love gets tested in the most unusual ways. Recently, David has expressed an interest in seeing the musical "King Kong" on Broadway. My reputation could be ruined!
Out of love, I will go. But I will have to travel incognito, because if I am recognized, my tenuous membership in the Theater Community will be seriously questioned!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know this show will set my teeth on edge! How in the world are they going to do it? "King Kong" set to music? It sounds trashy already. But Ann Darrow, being played by a Black actress named Christiani Pitts (any relation to ZaSu?????????)?????????? What is that all about? Is this some kind of reverse racism show? Will the natives of Skull Island be White? And how will the island be depicted? The dinosaurs? The spider? Kong's lair? Kong's demise????????
Most important, will Noble Johnson's role, as the Native Chief, be retained. And who will play it? And how? Equally important, will he get to say the iconic line "Ana saba Kong!," from the film????????? Which, of course, means, "She is the bride of Kong."
Stick with the RKO 1933 classic. It is an artistic masterpiece.
If this should happen to be a hit, does that pave the way for more giant movie monsters being musicalized????????????????????????
Meaning the post I did, years back on Julie Taymor staging a musical "Mothra" for Broadway, may not have been far off the mark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Heaven help me (and forgive me!) if I am dragged to this one!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don't Be Fooled By Christine Quinn's Softened Glam Look! She Is Still A Goddamn Beans N' Franks Lesbian!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, honestly, hons, I am not one to say all lesbians are ugly. Some lipstick lesbians can be SO glam. But Christine Quinn, one of the butchest of the butch, is not fooling anyone with her glam look, which does not work on her. Besides, she still works for Bloomberg, so she is probably a puppet on a string for Trump!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The only one butcher than Christine is Lea De Laria!!!!!!! Doesn't she look awful? Once she was a funny butch broad, good for a few laughs. but now? Oh, my God!!!!!!!!!!!
And how about the perennial Fran Lebowitz? Oh, her lesbianism has been questioned for decades now, but come on! Until these two came along, she led the butch pack!
I would like to see Christine and Lea arm wrassle some Saturday night at Henrietta Hudson's. I am sure that is what they do. Then, they all stop over at Fran's for drinks, and spend the Saturday night man fucking each other!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, will be girls, I guess! Have fun! But not me!
Was The Snake Soup Sequence In Last Week's "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" Meant To Have Been Some Kind Of Belated Tribute To Heather Menzies??????????
MY tribute to both Heather, and Charmian Carr, came with my September 9 on screen viewing of "The Sound Of Music." But it was not the only film Heather was famous for. The other, eight years later, was a 1973 sci-fi thriller, also beginning with "S," called "Ssssssssssss….."
I have to make an effort to see this film sometime. Meantime, I am still making an effort to figure out where this season of AHS is going. Will viewers be in the compound all season???????? What is with Kathy Bates being a robot?????????? And killing off Joan Collins, the liveliest one on the show??????????????
Where is everyone else? I keep hearing actors will be playing different characters, so maybe Joan will come back. Why isn't more use being made of Billie Lourd?????????? And isn't Evan Peters luscious to look at????????????????
But now tonight, we face another episode. I will discuss it with you, girls!!!!!!!!!!
Please, Ryan Murphy, give us some clarity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My patience wears thin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joan Silber Writes Triumphantly In "Improvemet!" But Her Narrative Structure Is Off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Improvement" is about the lives and relationships of two women--Reyna, a single mother, raising her son, Oliver, in New York, and her aunt, Kiki, living there now, but who had a wild past in Istanbul and Turkey.
Joan Silber tries to bring these two times together. Her prose is stunning as always, but the blending is not too successful. This is one of those novels where it cannot be decided if it is novel or a series of short stories strung together.
My feeling is it was the latter. Characters come and go too quickly for readers to connect, and it seems like the author is in a rush to finish the novel itself.
There is nothing wrong with a book being short. But there has to be some kind of structure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joan Silber's "Improvement" almost makes it! But it is a very near miss!!!!!!!!
This is John Ashley, and just two of the bevy of girl dancers in the film "How To Make A Monster," back in 1958. From what I have written before, this scene is almost out of place with the rest of the film, except to show the kind of trash musicals the new regime wants to make! Girls, they are SO stupid!
The scene stands out, because it is the only time the film actually goes campy. Maybe to prove the point that the new regime is wrong.
This is John Ashley singing the song "You've Got To Have EE-OO!" I kid you not; that is the song's title.
What I am interested in are the dancers. Are any of them still alive. And, more important, were any of them part of the Diana Nellis dancers, in the most camp classic of 1958--"She Demons???????????" If this is true, or any are still alive, I want to hear from you, on here!
"She Demons" is a masterpiece!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AIP may have been cheap, but they sure provided a lot of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not to overlook "The Bachelor Party," "Marjorie Morningstar," and, of course, Morticia Addams, Carolyn Jones' moment in "House Of Wax," as Joan Of Arc, is her best screen moment.
Just look at this shot. Is it real, is it Carolyn, or a dummy. My guess is it really Carolyn, made up to look like a wax figure, She plays it without moving, which is brilliant, but if you haven't already, darlings, I have to urge you to look at this scene on the earlier post. Because, when Phyllis Kirk, as Sue Allen, first spots Carolyn, she is drawn to the figure, like one having a vision, and as she approaches and stands beside it, I swear the music score shifts to a riff of the opening notes of Alfred Newman's score, for "The Song Of Bernadette." It sure sounds like it!!!!!!!!!!!!
When Phyllis pulls off the black wig, Carolyn never bats an eye! What a performance! As many of you may know, this is a remake of the 1933 RKO chiller "The Mystery Of The Wax Museum," made twenty years before, in 1933. The early Thirties technicolor is impressive, and it was directed by future A-list director, Michael Curitz. And starred Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray. But whether there was a scene as impressive as this, I cannot recall.
Talk about movie immortality. Had they known Jones' future career, this might have been called "When Morticia Met The Mortician!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
You just GOTTA love it, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Dance Night," at this point, completes my Dawn Powell project, though I must confess, if I can find "The Wicked Pavilion," I might read that one.
But for those who have never read Dawn Powell, this is the point to start. All the other novels posted on here are about people making some kind of life--bohemian or upper crust--for themselves, in New York. But this is after they have arrived, and settled. "Dance Night" shows how small town life can stifle some, drive others to New York ambitions, or trap people into remaining there.
The town is Lamptown, Ohio, and let me tell you, the Dance Nights refer to Saturday night, where a Mr. Fischer, in an upstairs room, holds dances on Saturday nights. He officiates over them, and the townspeople flock to these events, because there is nothing else to do, but dance sedately.
Poor Morry Abbott. He lives with his mother, Elsinore, and can't make a go of anything, even girls! His father, Charles, is hated by his wife, and believe me, when I say that gets dealt with, it does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Morry yearns to get out of Lamptown, but never will. Is he a great big closet case? Only testing the waters of New York will enable him to find this out; alas, he never will. Sadly, neither will Jen, adopted by the Delaneys--Mama and her son, Bill--now that's a combo there! Only common in small towns!!!!!!!!! Jen has the same yearning as Morry; the mother who abandoned her is some kind of actress--and probably prostitute--and Jen wants to take her younger sister, Lil, and go on the road, to have that same kind of life. Morry idealizes Jen in that way all gay men seem to idealize straight women--I can vouch for that one, dears!!!!!!!!!!!--but the reader begins to realize that both will forever be trapped in that town. The ones who I think will get out are those not suspected, like Morry's mother, Elsinore, who has more than a hat business as a reason to flee, and Mr. Fischer.
Small town entrapment and big city yearning are a story staple; has been over the course of the last century. Dawn Powell does not sugar coat; she makes the yearning and entrapment real. When you read her later novels, you will see how successfully or not such people succeeded in escaping where they came from!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This could be my last Dawn Powell--or not.
Should I find "The Wicked Pavilion"--stay tuned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The answer is Yes....and No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let's start with the differences. "House Of Wax" was released in 1953. "How To Make A Monster" was released five years later, in 1958! Hey, that is 60 years ago! Who knew I was having an unconscious anniversary screening???????????????
"House Of Wax" was made by a prestigious studio, Warner Bros., and given the A-list treatment--lush color, 3-D, Vincent Price, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones...oh, my God!!!!!!!!!!! And it was directed by Hungarian master, Andre De Toth!!!!!!! Whereas, 'Monster' was made at that cheapie AIP, under the aegis of James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff, who were not David O. Selznick! It was shot on the cheap, in black and white, until the last scene, where it goes all "Wizard Of Oz," and the screen becomes ablaze with color. Wait till you hear about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best known actors in this film are Robert H. Harris, who actually gives a good performance, and would give an even better one, nine years later, in 1967, when he played agent Henry Bellows in "Valley Of The Dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!" Whereas, in 'Wax,' Vincent Price plays....well...Vincent Price! But no one did it better! And both perps have borderline intelligent assistants--Price has Igor, played by Charles Bronson in "House Of Wax," while Harris has Rivero, played by Paul Brinegar, in 'Monster,' with just a suggestive tinge that theirs is a homosexual master-slave relationship. Like Dwight Frye and Colin Clive in "Frankenstein."
Speaking of "Frankenstein," Gary Conway, who played the monster in AIP's classic "I Was A Teenage Frankenstein," is on hand, again, in 'Monster.' Michael Landon was wanted to recreate his Teenage Werewolf here, but had moved on to more verdant pastures. His replacement was Gary Clarke.
Despite the differences, there are similarities. Both Harris and Price play characters out for revenge. Both are artists who take their work seriously, and do not take kindly to those who don't.
Vincent Price plays professor Henry Jarrod, in "House Of Wax," which takes place in turn of the century Manhattan. He takes pride in his museum of carefully crafted wax models of historic figures, but his partner, Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts) wants to go commercial with a Chamber Of Horrors, which he says will bring in crowds. Jarrod does not want to go that crass, and, in the end, he is right. Jarrod has art critics coming to look at his work, so he can buy out Burke, and, when that falls through, Burke suggests arson and collecting the insurance. No go with Jarrod, so Burke goes about it himself, leaving Jarrod, he thinks, to die in the fire.
Don't wish too hard for something, darlings, because, as this film proves, it comes true, but in a mangled way. Jarrod survives, builds another wax museum, where the figures look SO lifelike...could it be?????????? Yes, he is killing people, and dipping them in wax, then putting them on display. Some, like Burke, deserve to die, but not Carolyn Jones, as his fiancé, Cathy Gray, but, girls, wait till you see her waxed up as Joan Of Arc. And Phyllis Kirk, as Cathy's friend, Sue Allen, has her suspicions, but Jarrod is obsessed with molding her into Marie Antoinette, which he considers his best creation. It almost comes to pass, until the cops break in, and Jarrod, a face of fire unmasked, falls into the boiling wax. He will NEVER look as good as Carolyn Jones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, in "How To Make A Monster," Pete Dumond is the studio's top make-up man. Has been, for 25 years. His make-up creations are precious to him; he calls them his "children." Well, when one is a closeted homosexual, with a special needs assistant, what is one to do?????????
In a scene right out of Rod Serling's "Patterns," the new regime breaks in, and tells him after this picture, Dumond is out. Monster pictures are finished, and people, they say, now want trashy teenage musicals--the forerunners of Frankie and Annette!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dumond arrogantly turns down severance pay; he is not going to be tossed out onto the street. So, he cons the Teenage Frankenstein and Werewolf actors, in their make-up, to kill all those who have done him wrong. He almost gets away with it. But, let's face it, he has the hots for the two young actors, and invites them one evening to his home for a "party"--yeah, sure. As soon as Dumond lights a candle, the film becomes aglow with color almost too lavish for AIP, who poured a good chunk of this film's budget into just this scene. The actors are first impressed; on the walls are head models of all AIP's classic monsters--the Saucer Man; my favorite, and cutest, Cucumbo, from "It Conquered The World," and the She Creature, who, next to "Voodoo Woman" was the biggest boobed monster! Poor She Creature! All she wanted was a date!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alone with his young actors, Dumond kills Rivero, which is sad, after years of....devotion. Meanwhile, the actors are getting antsy, because they have real dates! They try to leave, but get into an altercation with Dumond, which sets the place on fire. The one moment I felt sorry for Dumond is when he sees his creations burning up, and plaintively cries, "My children! I have to save my children!" The cops arrive to save the actors, but it is too late for Dumond. Whether he is trapped in the fire, or suicidally remained, out of loyalty to his children, is not made clear. But I prefer the latter interpretation; it gives the end a degree of poignancy.
Creativity versus Business, Art versus Commerce, Revenge On The Oppressors...old stories done here in very similar, yet different ways!
Here is the climax of "House Of Wax!" Catch Carolyn Jones, girls!!!!!!!!!!!
And here is the Technicolor makeup sequence from "How To Make A Monster." Too bad I could not get Harris' poignant last scene; it truly is Shakespearean, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Darlings, if you have reached your teens by now, or are beyond them, and do not yet recognize this sadly now iconic photo, then what planet have you been living on? The millennials have been living on Planet Entitlement, but what is everyone else's excuse?
This, of course, is Tyler Clementi, the bullied Rutgers University freshman, who took his life eight years ago this evening. I do this post each year, not to pain the Clementi family, but to remind myself and others that Tyler will not be forgotten. He brought bullying to a chilling attention, but, sadly, it has not stopped. Things are being done, but I doubt if it will be completely eradicated in my lifetime.
So, I will say to those who are in Tyler's situation--and they are out there, make no mistake about that--don't do what he did. If Tyler could speak today, I am sure he would tell kids the same thing.
I will add--whomever is abusing you, even if it parents or other family members, tell someone who can intervene and help, or get the hell away from them as fast as you can.
Those of us who are gay have an obligation to live the life Tyler wanted for himself, with dignity and freedom. Do not deny your chance to do so. If there is some kind of legacy his tragic death left behind, this is it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Stand up for yourselves, and never back down to anyone!
Rest In Peace, Tyler!!!!!!!!!! Never to be forgotten!
And my heart goes out to the Clementis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also known as Persephone, as interpreted brilliantly by Eliza Scanlen as Amma Crellin in "Sharp Objects." Girls, I am telling you, if Persephone actually did look like Amma, it would scare the living daylights out of folks, so maybe, then it is a good thing she is back in Hell.
At least, for the next six months!
In an upcoming post, I will list things to look forward to, this Fall!
For now, enjoy the change in weather. But remember, as Grace Metalious said, in her opening to "Peyton Place," "Indian Summer is like a woman." So I think we will get one more dose of heat before the really cool weather settles in.
As for Grace, why did she have to pose for her publicity photo, looking like a beans n' franks lesbian????????????
May we all have a happy Fall, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, September 20, 2018
This is the first year I have felt like this, because, from childhood on, Summer was always my favorite season. That I am rejoicing in the end of Summer 2018, which, as I was taught, is today, because, again, as I was taught, the first day of Autumn is September 21, is a combination of age and exasperation.
Consider the many song lyrics about the end of Summer--
"They say that all good things must end, someday. Autumn
leaves start to fall."--Chad and Jeremy, "A Summer Song."
" Across the morning sky, all the birds are leaving."
--Judy Collins, "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?"
"Another Winter, In A Summer Town!"
--Christine Ebersole, in "Grey Gardens."
And, if I worked harder, there are more I could list.
The highlight of the Summer, was, and always will be, "Carousel."
But between heat so blazing one did not dare go out, alternated with rain storms so torrential it put a damper on all things outdoors--Coney Island, the Delacorte--that this had to be one of the worst Summers, for lack of fun, that I can remember.
So, now it is time to put it behind, with MY favorite lyric--
"One last caress, it's time to dress...for Fall."
And here is Frank Sinatra's rendition of "The Summer Knows." The best of the end of Summer songs.!!!!!!!!
Here is "Club Ecstasy (or X-Tasy!!!!!!!!!) at 785 Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Darlings, I have never been here in my life, but once I get chummy with all the guys in the nabe, I am sure we will be going here regularly.
To think there is still a gay bar, in Brooklyn!!!!!!!!! Now, this one is very Latino, so one has to make do with what is available. But the merchandise appears to be choice. Look!
I mean, even when "Saturday Night Fever" was first running in theaters, back in 1977, that whole disco Odyssey/ Spectrum scene was dated. But at least some gay life still thrives over in Sunset Park.
As David often says, he does take me to the strangest places!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If I get inside, darlings, I will give you a full report! And talk to the young man, pictured!!!!!!!!!
This past Tuesday, during that monsoon of rain, David took it upon himself to do errands. One was to the Spectrum place, on 25th Street and 4th Avenue, in Brooklyn. First, you gotta see the neighborhood! Just blocks from Bay Ridge, it is as different as another planet. Industrial buildings. cheap motels, working class businesses--come on over for a different social experience.
The highlight is the Dunkin' Donuts, at 737 4th Avenue. Now, every Dunkin' Donuts has it own set of regulars and cultural flavor, but this one beats all! You see, there is a homeless shelter nearby, and when the doors open, and the guys are sprung, they all gather for a morning coffee klatch at this place, where they talk of everything, including conspiracy theories!!!!!!!!!!!
David could not wait to get out. I was fascinated. After all, like Eva Peron, "I came from the people! They need to adore me!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I may have found a new social hangout. If I am going to be in that vicinity, I will let you know!
You all come around now, you hear????????????????????
I have to say, between "A Gentleman In Moscow," which I read this year, and this absorbing novel, Russia is having something of a literary renaissance. Only it isn't Russian authors writing about their country, but Americans writing about Russian experiences through their own observations, which, most likely, are vastly different from the residents themselves.
Of course, the greats--Tolstoy, Dostoevsky--a referenced, but "A Terrible Country" is, at heart, a rather simple story about two brothers, Andrea and Dimar, born in Russian, but who came to the States with their parents and were raised there. Now, Andrei, a failed academic, has been ordered, by his more capitalistic and successful sibling, Dimar, to go back to Moscow, and care, for at least a time, for their aging grandmother.
The relationship that Andrei and Granny develop is touching, and the plight of caring for someone losing her grasp on reality--she has dementia--moves Andrei deeply. He also, during the course of things, finds brief romance, a political group, a hockey team, and a life of his own in a country the grandmother keeps calling "terrible." By the novel's end, Andrei comes to realize that Russia may not be such a terrible place.
The scenes between Andrei and his grandmother are the most touching, as are those between she and her still remaining friends. She laments throughout, the idea of being alone, since most people in her life have left her, and her lamentations touched me; with my parents both gone, and contemporaries getting older, and some gone already, I am coming to that point. I understand how she feels. It is a point one thinks will never come--until it does!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yet, for all I have said, it is not depressing. Witty, hopeful, but unbearably poignant, it could foreshadow an American-Russian literary renaissance. We shall see what develops over time.
Don't miss this very different literary Russian experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is so nice, for a change, darlings, being on time, with Bitch Of The Week! I have not been lately, but, once I heard about Ian Watkins, I knew I had found this week's winner.
Ian Watkins--the name pains me! No sooner do we get rid of Moors Murderer Ian Brady, on May 15, of last year, then along comes this sicko named Ian with some sort of sick agenda to carry out. Some may know him as the lead on the rock group Lostprophets. I do not know what the hell that is, and, thanks to Watkins, I do not care. Besides, with all his trouble, and scandal, the group will probably disband. It might as well right now, because it does not stand a chance.
He is a pedophile, with a special predilection for babies.
Two mothers, groupies of his, allowed him to molest their children. One was an eleven month old, boy, whom Watkins raped, and the other was a two year old girl. This was back in 2013, and I am sure Watkins has been continuing; he has been grooming women from prison, where he is held, and he and these mothers were placed on trial.
The mothers are not worthy to be BOTWs. They are sick, pathetic monsters, who never should be near children, who watched what Watkins did, and did so because they were so
taken with him they wanted to be his groupies, even at this cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Child Welfare, or whatever England has in place, hopefully has removed those kids from their moms. Whom, I believed, were charged with Watkins. This had been going on, as far back as 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, Ian, welcome to Hell! The hell you put those babies through will be dished out to you, once your inmates find out what you are in for. And gossip travels fast in prisons. Faster than at a society party, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As for the moms, if this were Salem of 1692, I would say they deserve no less. And they still do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May this trio suffer for what was perpetrated upon innocent babies!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, it has been days since I have been on here, and so much to catch up with! Imagine my surprise, when I noted the follower indicator now at 82, meaning we have a new reader.
Her name is TyTy. Welcome! I hope what you find on here is as enjoyable and informative as what made you discover this blog. As I tell all, it goes great with coffee, which is always by my side, when I write.
I have a lot to get to, so we welcome you warmly, TyTy.