Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Yes, a lot of awful things happened this month, that should be remembered, and will, but good things happened this month, too.
I saw the new "Halloween" film, Blythe Danner's movie, and Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel.
I am in the eighties in my book reading, so I should be able to make a hundred.
November is coming--where the year speeds up--my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then David's birthday. It all seems a blur.
Be kind to all the animals in your life, owned or not.
We saw "A Chorus Line" at The Gallery Players, in Park Slope!!!!!!!!!!!!
Still waiting for that Hot Chocolate Volcano!
Baby Gojira looked cute, as always, in his Halloween outfit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's it, for October! See you in November, with news a'plenty!!!!!!!!!!!
The best to all of you, for next month, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't think of a better musical out, than Aretha singing "Think," with its cry of "Freedom! Freedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Oh, hons, do we need it today.
October whizzed by, bringing us tragic disaster, in Pittsburgh and beyond. The remembrance of those are now implanted in our consciousness for years to come. So, it is easy to look on this as a downer month.
Now, this is clearly the case being done, but the show will put its own spin on ii. A nanny, named Delores, figures in the investigation. But it seems, from what I have ascertained (and I could still be wrong) that not just children, but other family members, are murdered.
Sash Alexander plays Anna, the grief-stricken mother.
But I can tell you already, the potential for this episode will be mired by Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson. From the first moment, I saw Olivia clutching herself, trying to look pained, and utter phrases like, "Never, in my entire career...." I knew this would be another hoot, where non-actress Hargitay detracts from the real drama of the story.
Still, I have got to watch. At least Kelli Giddish is back, as Amanda.
But, I am telling you, if they botch this story up, the show is certainly headed for the septic tank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, I could not even stand the book, "Call Me By Your Name." It was just a redux of Thomas Mann's much superior "Death In Venice." And when the recent book became a film, so many of these older queens went bat shit crazy over Timothee Chalamet?
Why? He is not bad looking, but so generic, he would avoid notice on a crowded street. The ones who extol him as an actor have no idea what acting is; they are obviously thinking with their crotches, though why is still a mystery, as he is not that hot.
Obviously, he represents something to these types. I would sure as hell like to know what.
He is hard working; I give him that. But so is another fine, young actor, who has much more skill and is deserving of admiration. I am talking about Lucas Hedges.
Lucas is on stage right now, in "The Waverly Gallery," demonstrating more of a range than Timothee. Lucas will last, but once Timothee runs his course as flavor of he month, you will see him along sleazy used car spots, in commercials!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wipe that smirk off your face, Timothee! You are not as great as your followers make you out to be.
As all of you will find out, eventually!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know several people who were born on this day, so, first, I want to wish them a Happy Birthday, and the same to those I may not know.
Today is a day of fun and schemes and screams, but be careful out there, dolls! No cookies, cake, or anything not wrapped. Don't go to the dark, creepy houses on your block; there is simply no telling what awaits there.
Halloween is sometimes called the "Day Of The Dead," to clear the way for the saints, on All Saints Day, which is tomorrow.
Here is the nightmarish "Halloween" theme, composed by John Carpenter, and Debra Hill! Maybe not as much fun as "Monster Mash," and such, but SO haunting!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Trick or Treat, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
It may be too early to call "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" the film of the year, but I can tell you, it is a contender. But I can say, with certainty, that Melissa McCarthy delivers the performance of the year, in the role of literary forger, Lee Israel. The only other performances that come close--and they were not shown in theatres--was the feminine trifecta of Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, and Eliza Scanlen, in "Sharp Objects."
Last week, I wrote a post of my own, on the real Lee Israel, and my being on her periphery. In a way, I am too close to the subject to view it objectively, and there are many things the film does not get right. But let me start with what it does.
Look at Melissa McCarthy's face. Here, and in so many moments, she catches the desperation of the free-lancer, the hanger on of wannabe success, and the loneliness of being a lone creative artist in the still often seamy Manhattan of the 1990's. One commentator called this story a "New Grubb Street" (a novel by George Gissing, about those on the same fringes, a century before, in 1891) for the 21st Century. Having read said novel, I would have to agree.
Melissa may not look ethnic, Jewish, or have the New York, Brooklynese twang of Lee--and why she did not perfect this is one problem I have--but what she conveys is the loneliness of a spinster lesbian, clearly not comfortable in her own skin, using abrasiveness and stand-offish-ness, as a defense mechanism, to keep people away. The best scene in the entire movie, and I don't know how accurate it is to Lee, is a scene between McCarthy and Anna Deavere Smith. Smith plays an ex of Lee's, named Elaine. Apparently, the relationship got contentious, then impossible, due to Lee's drinking, personality, and her dependence on Elaine to consistently keep, to borrow a phrase from the film, "talking her off the ledge." This parallels a story I heard about someone I knew, who is a lesbian, of a similar personality type, who had the exact same problem. So, in many ways, this film connects with me, as it mirrors so many aspects having surrounded my life.
These include Julius', the city's oldest gay bar, and seeing those types, like Jack Hock, hanging out there, whether they were talking to Lee, or not. Library research is another area Lee and I crossed paths, especially, as I said before, during the time I worked at the Library Of Performing Arts, at Lincoln Center, where Lee was often a frequent patron and abductor.
The film gets so much right, it is sad it does not get all. Lee's cluttered, filth ridden apartment was on a par with her, as was her pilfering a coat and shrimp at a literary party. But when I have listened to people connected to the film, the message they seem to convey is that they want audiences to love Lee, and feel sorry for her. Audiences at the screening David and I went to clearly did. If I were not so close to the subject, it would not bother me. But it does.
Lee would not have wanted anyone's pity or sympathy. I would love to hear from those better acquainted with Lee, to tell me things like, was there ever a real Elaine? Because the Lee I observed never seemed able to get that close to anyone.
Plus, as a non-conformist and bona fide New York character, Lee was a mess, visually, socially, and hygienically. More than her personality drove folks away from her.
The only time I felt sorry for her, and McCarthy plays it for all it is worth, was when her cat, Jersey, dies. The scene where she clutches the dead animal to her in one last, loving embrace, is the only time I felt genuinely sorry for her, and may have been, in reality, the only bit of humanity Lee ever showed.
The film also recalls the New York of another era, the kind of thing Woody Allen once did so well. I have to wonder what this film might have been like, had he gotten his hands on it. I recall that time, barely 30 years ago, so well. Now, it seems the Manhattan today, the one I came to as a youth, has all but vanished. So, I have to wonder how much of Lee Israel is there in me, in all of us. During the time I observed her at Julius', I would either read, or write in my journal, an act, which, I could not have known, would foreshadow my blog. At my lowest periods of self esteem during this time, I saw myself as a Lee Israel type. Fortunately, as emotionally desperate as I might have been, then, I was together enough to keep myself going financially, and practically, and never once did I think of doing what Lee did. Fame may never kiss me, but if it did not come to me honestly, then I was fine with that. I could live with it. And still do.
All these thoughts and memories passed through my head, as I watched this film. McCarthy's husband, Ben Falcone, is terrific, and so is Dolly Wells, Stephen Spinella, Jane Curtin (whose bitchy handling of Lee is made clear in the entire scene's context), and, even Richard E. Grant, who does an excellent job, but whom I found annoying. A gay man of the 90's, in New York, who did not know who Fanny Brice or Marlene (Dietrich!) was? Come on; are you kidding me??????????????
I am not familiar with Marielle Heller, best known for "The Diary Of A Teenage Girl" (2015), which I did not see, but her mastery of film locales and actors is clearly displayed. And it looks like she is guiding Melissa McCarthy not only to an Oscar, but other critics' awards.
Still, because of my proximity, it bothers me this is how Lee Israel will be remembered. The movie is a study of loneliness in New York, loneliness of the arts seekers, and those who blend, unnoticed, in the general populace. The film had me looking more, at those around me, walking about, and I am sure it will do so, for others.
But I just can't help thinking there was more to Lee, than this.
I suppose, now, I'll never know.
See the film, and read the book. I intend to do the latter, but I may even visit for a second viewing.
It has been ages since a film made me do that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had to laugh when a reviewer compared writer Liane Moriarty to Maeve Binchy, saying she was a "Maeve Binchy, with edge." Now, I have only read one Binchy book, "Circle Of Friends," which became a movie with Minnie Driver, but my father, while still alive, read countless others, so I can tell you I am fairly certain Binchy never lifted the tea cozy from the pot, if you know what I mean. Her novels were almost pastoral, hardly edgy.
Moriarty is not afraid to go out on a ledge, and then some. What is most fascinating about "The Husband's Secret," is not the revelation thereof, (which I, by the way, figured out) it is how what follows is played out. And that is a horrible combination of confluence and consequence.
But then Miss Moriarty is not through. She offers an Epilogue, which is a deus ex machina of her own making, musing on what might really have happened, had things occurred differently. It is a tantalizing tease, but no big shock, as other reviewers thought. In fact, I thought it was not necessary at all, because the novel gives the reader so much to think about.
And it moves at a fast clip,, while being well written.
I was so impressed, I look forward to reading more of her works. She offers entertainment of a rather high grade.
Which I really was not expecting, when I began the book.
So, kudos, to Miss Moriarty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here are Jackie, and her sister, Lee Radziwill, in a photo, taken 48 years ago, as they emerged from the Alvin Theatre, after the opening night performance of Prince and Sondheim's musical, "Company."
Imagine, a time when glamour was glamour. When musicals were musicals, and not miscalculated and miscalibrated junk.
An age of gracious living, elegance, and sumptuous dining at high end, hart to get in restaurants.
Unlike the mess we live in today.
As Ben Hecht said in his forward to the film,
"Look for it only in books, for it is no more
than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone
with the wind."
But, because of such photos and memories, we can still look, and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"....But gather together, to greet the storm,
Tomorrow belongs to me."
"Cabaret," 1966, by John Kander and Fred
Last week was a week of horror. Sicko anti-Semite Cesar Sayoc was bad enough--and I am not sure there are not things of his still floating around out there--but the incident at Tree Of Life Synagogue this past Saturday, called up for me the most chilling moment in "Cabaret," pictured above. There have been enough pictures posted of the Pittsburgh horror, so I went for something different, wondering, "Is this happening all over again. Will it?"
This hurts me personally. My husband, whom I adore, is Jewish, and I could not be prouder of him. Growing up in Highland Park, New Jersey, a part of me, while living there, always wanted to be Jewish. Or at least to go to Hebrew school.
Even more timely, five weeks before, a friend of ours, packed up and left New York City, moving back to Squirrel Hill, where she grew up, and her elderly mother still resides. I had no idea she would walk into a place that became not only a focal point of horror, but would register as the most deadly attack on the Jewish people in United States history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What is going on? What are the answers? Who or what is to blame?
I just know there are too many like this Robert Bowers out there. These people, when I was growing up, were known, collectively, as "The Silent Majority," because they kept their opinions to themselves. But social media has made it all too easy for these types to voice their opinions outright, working them into a frenzy, which they then act upon.
And this goes beyond being Right Wing. I may disagree with such, but those I know who are would not advocate such behavior.
Social media is a good starting point for examination, but something else out there is giving these types permission to vent in destructive and disturbing ways.
And the question must be asked--who will be next? More Jews? Other minorities? Obviously, these types think only they who are white and have their same views are the true Americans. The rest of us are minorities, and chump change!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Washington does not help any. So, each state, each community, must ban together, and be responsible for the safety and rights of one another.
In just ten days, is the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht.
Don't let stones come crashing through glass windows, again!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Now, girls, everyone on here knows that Gwyneth Paltrow is Blythe Danner's daughter, and cannot hold a candle to her mother's looks, or acting talent. That has been a given, even before this blog was born.
Recently, this past September, she married Brad Falchuk, who, with Ryan Murphy, is responsible for many creative ventures, especially "American Horror Story," one of my faves.
So, does this mean that Gwyneth will eventually turn up on the show, during one of its seasons? I cringe to think of it. Though, giving credit where it is due, she was not half bad on her appearance of the earlier "Glee," and displayed a vocal prowess I never imagined she had. Plus, on "Saturday Night Live!," she displayed some comic talent, and a sense of humor about her Hollywood Princess image.
But princesses age, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The plus side of this is, if Gwyneth gets an appearance on AHS, maybe Blythe will, too. Now, that would be something to look forward to!
I am certainly happy for the newly wedded couple, and wish them bliss!!!!!!!!
But, Gwyneth, dear, make up your mind, which path you want to take. And what can happen, if you go down the wrong path!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I mean, look what happened to Little Red Riding Hood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is charming and antiquated. A mailbox library! How charmingly retro, harking back to the days of Ben Franklin. How sadly ironic that, instead of moving libraries forward, technology is moving them backward, meaning no jobs, but charming spots like this where the artistically talented and literary inclined can combine skills.
What technology can do, along with the librarians' personal tastes, is set up a route where these can be located, and which "branch" features what type of literature.
It is also very Cormac McCarthy, ala "The Road." And looks like it would have to be relegated to the suburbs. So, what are city dwellers supposed to do?
Still isn't this charming girls? Maybe, during the Summer, a table and chairs can be placed alongside it, where the owners can serve tea and savories!
This is where we are headed, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Another potential casualty of the Manhattan realty market is The Drama Book Shop, a place I have a long personal history with.
Darlings, as an aging queen, I can remember when the shop was located next to the 21 Club, still at 21 West 52nd Street. This was so far back in the day, I cannot recall how young I was, but can still remember I had not enough money to scrape together to buy a play there, then, so, like other theatrical aspirants, read them there. I also, by the same token, could not afford a visit to 21, nor ever imagined I would get there. But I did. As for the theater, I am still working on that one, girls! But, aren't we always???????????
My real relationship with the shop came in the 80's, thanks to my late friend, David Semonin, who worked there for at least a decade, before taking the helm of the library, over at East Side's Neighborhood Playhouse theater school. During his shop time, thanks to David, I knew the owners, Arthur and Rozanne Seelen, and their nephew, Allen Hubby, who now runs the shop, and has been doing a brilliant job. Allen had a sister (and, hopefully, still does!) named Donya, who was married to this dancer, whose first name was Carl, danced with one of the companies, and I recall a night we all went to City Center (I think that was my first time there!) to see Carl dance. I also recall a guy there named Jon Dwyer, and another named Joe Millett (whom I had a crush on, but he turned out to be straight!!!). I recall him as a talented guy, who lived in Woodside, where I eventually ended up, and who (Joe, that is!) went on to stage manage the play "Perfect Crime," during its original, Off-Broadway run!!!!!!!!!!!
So, I have a vested history with this place. From my one time perch at the Library Of Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, I used to refer patrons to this place, if they were unsuccessful in obtaining a script from the library.
Alas, Life moved on, and so did those I mention. While I admittedly have not visited the shop much at its 40th Street location (my memories come mostly from its having been on the second floor, at 723 West 47th Street), those memories, and the continuity of the place, remain embedded in my heart.
So, Alan, if someone should refer you to this, post it in the shop. If you need me out front to sing protest songs, let me know. I still have my folk voice!
The Drama Book Shop is a cultural bastion, that must be saved!
Here is Laura Nyro, singing "Save The Country!" Perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All of the above are bearable. And, hell, for me it would be fun to have some witchy-poos in our building. (Though I am not on the Upper West Side.) But what is to be made of what has been going on there, just this week????????????
The bombings have been bad enough, as it is, and I don't mean to minimize them. But the murder of Susan Trott, and the bodies of two young women pulled from the Hudson, make me wonder what is going on? Is a serial killer prowling the Upper West Side? Are all of these things somehow connected? And what will the eventual outcome of both be?
Let's start with the two women, who were pulled from the Hudson River, at 2:30 PM this past Wednesday, around West 68th Street, and Riverside Park. They have been identified as sisters. One is Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22. The girls hail from Fairfax, Virginia.
Which even raises more questions. But first let us dispense with the notion, voiced by some, that this was some kind of suicide pact. The sisters were even said to have jumped from the GW Bridge.
Now, darlings, how could anyone tie themselves to another, and go far enough out on the bridge, or anywhere, for that matter, to make a successful suicidal jump? Clearly, these girls were murdered; but by whom, and now, where, comes into question.
Were the girls killed in Virginia, or New York? If the latter, how and why did they come to be up here? Who got their hands on them to kill, and why? And, where exactly, were their bodies dumped? Though I believe they were dead when thrown into the water, I cannot yet rule out they were not, so that has to be examined. Were they tortured before being killed? That will require some examination. And, lastly, were they killed by a stranger, or someone--friend or family member-- they knew and trusted? Sexual assault, or abuse? The pool of both suspects and potential scenarios is wider than a policeman's net can be thrown.
My heart goes out to the sisters, and their families who did not deserve this. But, then, really girls, does anyone?
Then, there is the murder of Susan Trott, who, on first glance, looks like an older combo of Joni Mitchell, and Cher!
Now, Susan's murdered body was found, around 5AM, this past Sunday, at her apartment at 710 West End Avenue, between 94th and 95th Streets. It is a co-op, and I believe she was on the board. She had been an advertising copywriter since the 1960s, and was what is becoming a dying breed--the New York Career Woman. Once, girls clamored to be such. Now, they want a quick way out, especially the Millennials. This cannot be blamed on Glenn Close and "Fatal Attraction" anymore. Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow????????????
The most fascinating aspect of the murder is the notion that Trott was killed by a female neighbor, living several floors below her. Trott resided on the building's 14 floor; it had 16 total.
Like the Farea sisters, the net of questions is open wide. Did the women know one another? Was this some kind of lesbian outrage? Or outrage at Trott, who annoyed many with her eccentricity, and propensity to feed birds near the building, luring rats, and rescuing animals, like pit bulls.
Now, there is nothing wrong with animal rescues, darlings! But I guess the entitled of 710 WEA, who feel they all worked to get there, feel differently. Hey, could Trott become the next Kitty Genovese? Judging from neighbors' comments, I would not be at all surprised.
How did said woman gain access to Trott's apartment? Was the act premeditated by she, or in a conspiracy of neighbors, and others? The woman, who is having a psychological evaluation, is said to be mentally ill, but the nature of that is not known, and not everyone with mental illness commits murder. It takes a special kind of aberration to do that, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, I have to wonder what is going on, along the Upper West Side. In my youth, I spent much time in that area. Now, I would think twice about going up there. At least, until both mysteries are cleared up!
When they are, darlings, I will let you know. So, stay tuned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Will 'SVU' Ever Stop Being "The Olivia Show?" Not As Long As Mariska Hargitay Has Creative Control!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Exile," this past Wednesday's "Law And Order, SVU" episode, had some good moments; actually some great ones. But none came from Olivia Benson. Still, Benson did her Joan Didion downer thing, and got the last shot. Too bad, because Peter Scanavino and Philip Winchester were really good in this one. And where the hell was Kelli Giddish??????????
Speaking of Amanda, is Kelli really pregnant, (as she was the first time around) or is this another trope for Amanda? I am sure we shall find out, in time.
The REAL performance of the evening came from the actress, pictured left--Aimee Spring Fortier, as Grace Walker/Sophie Simmons. Judging by her work here, this young lady could become another Celia Keenan-Bolger. Hers was the best guest star performance I have seen on this show, since I can remember.
Even more interesting, the notch is being turned up on Carisi and Stone. When you have two gorgeous looking guys, like Peter Scanavino, and Philip Winchester, there is NOTHING wrong with that. I wonder if Winchester's character is being used to explore sexual addiction, because he sure seems headed down that road. As for Carisi, he is emerging as a masculine presence with a sensitive soul; a toned down version of Chris Meloni's Elliot Stabler, whose character was a loose cannon. Which is what made him fascinating.
As does Carisi's not being such. But Elliiot balanced out Olivia. With everyone--actors and creative staff--being held at psychological gunpoint by Mariska Hargitay's over inflated, egocentric sense of herself as an actress, no one else on this program stands a chance. Maybe Kelli was off the show, because she has had it and is looking for another show. Hey, with the right gig, she could become the next Kathryn Morris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The scenes with Scanavino, Winchester, and Miss Fortier were, by far, the best. I was happy the program reunited Sophie with her true self, and gave her some form of closure. But did Olivia have to so conspicuously cling close to her, to make sure she gets in the picture? And her little homily was sickening, because the last word in this episode should have gone to Miss Fortier.
So, why did it not? Because everyone is petrified of Mariska Hargitay, whose Olivia Benson is the personification of--and every workplace has one--the Office Dragon, whose time has passed, and should be put out to pasture. Come on, 'SVU' people, send this bitch/horse to the glue factory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No wonder my David cannot stay awake during these shows. Though he has made several good points. First, there is really no more "Order" in the show. As satisfying as the closing was, in spite of Olivia, it would have been more so, had the Professor Adams and Sophie been allowed to confront one another in court. Instead, with him being dead, he gets away with something he has probably been doing all along, before and after Sophie, so where is the justice in that. And this is supposed to be a police procedural show. Second, even though Fortier gave an exceptional performance, few A-list guests appear on this show anymore. Oscar winners used to guest star on this show; now all they get is Central Casting. I am of the opinion that A-listers, who want to show their stuff in a juicy role, are blindsided when they see how the show/scripts center on Olivia, and no one else. There was a time when everyone clamored to be on this show. Not anymore.
If this show is to survive, it had better restrain Mariksa/Olivia from taking over the show, or else she will ruin it! She is clearly out acted by everyone around her, she has no chemistry with anyone but herself. Even Noah is turning into a psycho; living with this downer egotist, who can blame him????????????
Get over yourself, Mariska/Olivia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Retire, and do yourself, and the show, a great, big favor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, October 26, 2018
I don't know why this film was re-titled "Halloween," because it should not be confused, nor should it, with the original 1978, John Carpenter masterpiece. At the very least, it should have been called "Halloween-2018!" Or even "Halloween--40 Years Later!"
My personal choice, though, would have been "Granny Get Your Gun!"
Not since Ethel Merman on stage, or Betty Hutton, on film, has there been one pistol packin' Mama, like Jamie Lee Curtis, as Laurie Strode. Now a grandmother, her adult daughter is played by Judy Greer, so good as Miss Desjardin, in the recent "Carrie" movie, and a surprisingly ancient looking Will Patton, as the sheriff. There is even a cameo vocal, by original cast member P.J. Soles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But don't mistake this film for art! It is a hoot!
The thing I wanted to learn from this film is--how did Laurie Strode, who was born Laurie Myers, come to be taken in by the Strodes??????? Parental abandonment? Protection--thinking that hiding her with another family would keep her from Michael?
Only I would question this. What everyone else, I am sure, wants to know, is whether or not Michael Myers is really dead!
My answer is--probably not! And that is judging not only by the film's grosses, but how my neighborhood theater jettisoned the screening of "A Star Is Born" I wanted to see, for this hoot of a film!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The best moments are Jamie and Michael going at each other. I am glad, in the beginning, (a wonderfully staged scene, on a checkerboard floor, reminiscent of a macabre Lewis Carroll!) there is a glimpse of Michael Myers real face, showing, like Laurie, that he has aged! Because, before I saw this, the trailer led me to ask--how come Laurie has aged, but not Michael? Which would explain his "bogeyman" status, though they keep calling him a human in the film. Personally, I think the doctor who wanted to study Michael, Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) is more deranged than Michael. Doc is wacko; Michael just wants to do his thing!
It is why Michael wants to do his thing that makes him dangerous. He is a sexual psychopath. He is neither straight, gay, nor bi! He has a pathological hatred of sex, which started, as far this post is concerned, back on Halloween, 1978, when these impulses first kicked in, and he killed his tramp of a sister, Judith! Sex disgusts him; in a sense, he is puritanical run rampant!!!!!!!!!! An equal opportunity moralizer, who just happens to murder! And that he murders the most hormonally charged among us--youth--proves my point. Oh, he murders others who get in his way; no denying. But his main reason for killing is out of a pathological hatred of sex!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With Laurie living in isolation, a replicated dollhouse in the place, it s clear the writing staff was also watching "Sharp Objects," and wanted to give a nod to it. The conflagration at the end, which presumably kills Michael Myers, reminded me of the burning windmill at the close of Universal's 1931 "Frankenstein."
It should be recalled--the monster there did not stay dead. Much as I don't wish it, I don't think the screen has seen the last of Michael. But I think Jamie is done!
She is the reason to see the whole thing. To coin a phrase, made famous by Pauline Kael, "Kiss! Kiss! Bang! Bang!"
With Elizabeth Strout's "Anything Is Possible," I now have done something I haven't, in my entire life.
I read a book that I did not realize I had already read.
Always, when I re-read a book, I have a special craving for it, or a need to revisit it, like I did this summer before viewing "Sharp Objects.'
I never would have re-read "Anything Is Possible." But I am happy to say, the book does hold up.
Part of the reason lies in Strout's narrative technique, which is to interconnect characters and their stories. As I hit certain details in this book--a man caught masturbating behind a barn, a sibling visit that turns sour, and results in the traumatized one having to be driven back to the security of the city, where she feels safe, and a sequence, which I cannot interpret as being real or hallucinatory, where a man of means goes backstage after a holiday performance of "A Christmas Carol." to retrieve the stuffed pony his granddaughter left, and converses with the embittered, gay actor, playing Scrooge, prior to the man's passing away--each struck me as familiar. Had I read all this before? Or was I just recalling things referenced in Strout' earlier books--"My Name Is Lucy Barton," and "Oliver Kitteridge"--which have a similar narrative flow?
David kept telling me to check my book lists. I was so mired in the book, fascinated both by the characters, the writing quality, and my own, personal mystery, that I could not be bothered, wanting to see things through, to the end.
Still, once done, I checked my lists, and--lo, and behold!-- I had read the book, in hardback; I recall taking it out of the library, last year in 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Am I losing it, darlings? Let's hope not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But I am telling you--the book holds up! So it is worth reading, even if you haven't already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Or, like me, if you have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think I have a handle on why I am not enjoying this season of "American Horror Story" as much as I should. The acting is gold standard, the set pieces fantastic, but all we get are little tangibles, not full out participation from folks I would like to see more of--like Stevie, Misty Day, and Constance Langdon. Everything is one big tease.
Still, it was great to see a reappearance by Papa Legba, played marvelously by Lance Reddick. While I love Emma Roberts' bitchiness as Madison, well, it's all she can do, so why is she getting so much overplay this season? Let's see more of Billie Lourd, who, clad in angel wings, and looking mythological, is clear indication the writing staff has taken note of "Sharp Objects," and was channeling Amma Crellin.
As for Adina Porter, as Dinah, the voodoo priestess, portrayed by the wonderful Adina Porter, " You go, girl!" I don't practice voodoo; it was never my calling, darlings, but I do know if I did I would at least charge $100K to summon Papa Legba, if not other sundry favors.
Those faggy warlocks, Ariel (Jon Jon Briones), Baldwin (B.D. Wong), plus Kathy Bates as Miriam Mead get theirs, in a beautiful Felliniesque sequence, just like in "Coven," with Myrtle Snow's death, recalling "Juliet Of The Spirits." It was smart of Cordelia to bring Myrtle back, because Frances' line delivery livens things up.
I also want more of Evan Peters, naked or not. I also think, with John Henry (Cheyenne Jackson) being brought back, there is going to be a tug of war between he and Mallory over who is the next Supreme. It sure as hell will NOT be Diana Ross! That bitch, hons, is through!!!!!!!!!!!
I LOVED the return of Jamie Brewer an Nan! What a sweet bitch she has turned into!!!!!!! I guess Hell taught her a lot!
All these vignettes are great, in and of themselves. But with the season to end within the next month, I still have no idea where it is going. Still, it is wonderfully entertaining, and not the colossal mistake "Roanoke" was. Even "Cult" was better.
And Joan--Joan Collins! How about the riff on her own performance with a killer Santa, in "Tales From The Crypt?" I have got to go and look at that again. The season is coming for holiday horror very soon, and it is time to think about getting ready for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am unofficially on Team Witch! I want to join the Coven.
Myrtle and I could design some brilliant haute couture!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is the wonderful Lance Reddick, as Papa Legba! Papa, don't preach!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, October 25, 2018
As a Baby Boomer, dolls, I know more than most, that Bob Dylan wrote, "The Times, They Are A' Changin'." These days, I feel it would be more like "The Times They Do A' Scare Me."
Well, let me offer up some hope. And also a testament to enduring artistry.
Barbara Cook has not been with us for over a year, having died, on August 8, 2017. "The Grass Harp," which had a short run, back in 1971, at the Martin Beck Theatre, was her last "book show" on Broadway. From photos, then, it appeared she was adding on the weight which would plague her the rest of her days. And after this show that she seemingly vanished, re-emerging, and reinventing her career, at that now historic Carnegie Hall concert, in 1975, which has been preserved on recorded form.
As has "The Grass Harp."
The other day, I was thinking of a song she sings in the show, called "Chain Of Love." It should have been one of her signature numbers. Barbara's voice is gorgeous to be sure, but the song is a moving tribute to positive thinking, and appreciating the beauty around you. In the song, spinster Dolly Talbo (Cook's character) muses that even if she has never been in love, conventionally, with all the beautiful things surrounding her in this world, then she has always been in love the whole time.
The beauty of this sentiment is matched by Cook's voice.
Get out the hankies, girls! Enjoy, and reflect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know I am famous, on here, for voicing annoyance over TV commercials I dislike, though, lately, I have been writing about those that, surprisingly, impress me.
One of these is the ad for Hendrick's Gin. Now, I could care less about gin; I mean, I don't think I have ever consumed it, but the commercial is an artistic gem--a multicolored animated spectacle of surreal images, incorporating, Jules Verne, Georges Melies, and the books of Brian Selznick.
Kudos to the advertising team that thought this one up! It restores my faith in a profession I felt, like so many others of a creative nature, was going down the tubes.
Maybe this fellow (ie; the Moon!) could do with a spot of Hendrick's Gin!!!!!!!!!!
Now, darlings, for all who are gay and/or love tearjerkers, few things top Barbara Stanwyck as "Stella Dallas," back in 1937. The final scene is happy and heartbreaking, but who can forget, earlier, the scene where Laurel (Anne Shirley) awaits her birthday party guests, and--due to class differences, exhibited by her mother--no one shows up.
Teddy Bollinger, pictured above, is this column's version of Laurel Dallas. His story does have a happier ending, though.
Teddy invited 32 of his classmates, and their parents--which adds up, approximately to 96 people--to his sixth birthday party, at Peter Piper Pizza restaurant, in Tuscon, Arizona. Teddy must have been excited and ready, as were his parents, who planned the whole thing.
As can be seen from the picture of Teddy, above, like Laurel, no one showed up for his party! It may be his party, and he can cry if he wants to, (I mean, "You'd cry, too, if it happened to you?") but why should he have to?
Consequently, we have a record 90 plus winners of The Raving Queen's Bitch Of The Week Award. Those unidentified (and are now probably too ashamed to admit it; what excuses could they give?) classmates and their parents, who dissed Teddy and his parents on the day of the party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Two sets of families did decline, with excusable explanations. But what about the rest? With not even an explanation? What is wrong with these people? If I were Teddy's parents, I would remove him from the school pronto! If this had been back in the days of "The Bad Seed," Miss Fern would never have tolerated this. And if Teddy had been a very different kid, well...all of a sudden those classmates would disappear mysteriously.
But Teddy is a sweet child, and his story has a nice ending. His birthday, which was October 3, was a washout. But when this hit the media, word got to the Phoenix Suns Basketball Team, and they invited Teddy to celebrate his birthday with them, inviting he, and I presume, his family, to their game, in town, against the Los Angeles Lakers.
For Teddy, it was like a dream come true, better than what he could have imagined. It was nice to see this child get a compensation beyond his dreams that was so deserving.
Alas, I was a different kind of kid. For me, Celeste Holm would have had to fly in as the Fairy Godmother, sing "Impossible!," and whisk me off to Manhattan, shop at Lord And Taylor's, then to Serendipity, and a Broadway show!
But that's me!
To those no show bitches, I say what kind of people are you? What is wrong with you? And what do you think this is teaching your children?
I would hold them all accountable!
Teddy, you just hold your head high, and walk past these social morons, like Audrey Hepburn did, at the close of "The Children's Hour." It would be the classiest "Fuck you!" you could ever give!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is a pivotal shot of Anne Shirley, as Laurel Dallas, getting ready for that ill-fated party. Thank God Teddy's story had a happier outcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like the song says, "You Gotta Have A Gimmick," but, over time, those gimmicks have changed.
When I was a child, the gimmick was that "elderly" actresses like Bette, Joan and Olivia, played psychotic women. What fun! Now, the level of "elderly" has been raised higher, and the gimmick now is Alzheimer's. Both Julie Christie and Julianne Moore have had their turn. And now--the reason I went--Blythe Danner! Which makes me wonder, when will MERYL jump on the band wagon? A friend of mine posed, when she gets to play Sandra Day O' Connor. I wouldn't be at all surprised.
"What They Had" is based on Elizabeth Chomko's experience of her grandmother's sixteen year battle with Alzheimer's. She has assembled the perfect cast, who are so assured in their roles, one wonders how much direction they required. Even Michael Shannon, who does his usual Michael Shannon thing, (and who does it better?) somehow offers another standout performance. Hilary Swank has improved with age; a little filling out has suited her, especially about the face. Taissa Farmiga takes a break from AHS to play the rebellious daughter, though exhibits much compassion for her grandmother's situation, sometimes when others are thinking elsewhere, and I found her performance (Taissa) here very touching. But the two most heartbreaking performances come from Blythe and Robert Forster, who are husband and wife, but at opposite ends of the line--she is declining into Alzheimer's, while he has to watch.
The work of all, especially the last two, is reason enough to see the film. Blythe and Forster play their roles with great understatement, and the acting choices she makes are subtle enough to indicate what is being gone through, without making it unbearable by shoving it in the viewer's face.
The film actually takes a hopeful approach, and ends on what, at best is as hopeful a note as can be found, but there is no escaping that this is a tale that has been told before, will be told again, and, so, has much predictability. If the Fifties Golden Age Of Television Drama were still in vogue today, this would be the kind of material written, and product turned out.
You could say this is what one gets on the Lifetime Channel. True, but the film is way too good for that venue, and elevated by a superb cast, all of whom, especially Blythe and Robert Forster, merit Oscar nominations.
I was so afraid to see this film, because of the subject, and because of my age. Were I in my twenties, I would feel nothing to fear; now, in my sixties, it is a very different scenario.
Blythe and company make it worth your while.
And, damn, I still want to know who does her hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
When I was a child, someone gave me a book called "Myths And Enchantment Tales." It featured a blue background, with Pegasus, the winged horse, flying up into the sky. It introduced me to the world of Greek mythology, which, in my younger years, fascinated me. The illustrations were striking.
"Circe," by Madeline Miller, has no illustrations, but, to this generation of say, junior high and up readers, it is a wonderful way of introducing them to classical mythology. It even has a glossary in the back, explaining who's who.
After reading this, I have to read her earlier, "The Song Of Achilles."
The narrative, which is pretty much Circe herself telling her story, from birth, to disobedience, to exile, to her emergence as a witch, demonstrates that the quote alluded to in my headline, should have been in vogue back then, and may have stemmed from that time.
Long before Jackie married Aristotle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And, if you are reading this blog and do not know who Jackie and Aristotle are/were, you are in serious trouble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Medea pops up in this book. So does the monster Scylla--my favorite here!!!!!!!--and a woman with a scorpion's tail! Now, that is one bitch to avoid!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a bunch of bitches and pranksters those gods and goddesses were! If you are old enough to remember "The Mighty Hercules" cartoons on TV, this book will blow your mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It gives a reality to mythology that other books, short of the actual texts of Homer and others, do not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Circe" is loads of fun, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And. believe me, she would know how to handle Harvey Weinstein, and his ilk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is the childhood book I was talking about. Wish I could find a copy now!!!!!!!!!!