ZEITBITES: Dec 7, 2017: But I Digress

Since I’m on Twitter-break in what is probably a hopeless attempt to preserve a portion of my sanity (And, too, that of my friends and family who have to bear the ranting and weeping in which my timeline and news-feed cause me to indulge.) I have nowhere to deposit (and I chose the word carefully, make of it what you will) my pithy and pissy and loving and snarky observations. So, I’m going to put them here in this compendium of random-ness.

6:30a.m. I could happily go the rest of my life without ever again seeing a TV featuring — let alone hearing sound from — MSNBC, CNN, FOXNEWS, and all the rest who have built networks and fortunes by serving agendas, chasing ad dollars and ratings, and playing to specific focus groups — drumming up drama so they’ve something to report, and leaving out those “news” items inconvenient to their agendas. It’s fucking exhausting and endless trying to sift through all the noise and repetition and arched eyebrow, Simon Legree’d sneers and “get this” and gotcha bullshit and it is bad for everyone who has any interest in actual truth.

9a.m. I am about to read the New York Times choices for best books of 2017 (while carefully avoiding all other sections and headlines). I have already perused a few “best” lists and thought, “What the fuck?” But, isn’t that always the way? And once again those lists reek of their compilers’ MFA-cult-think; out of the tens of thousands of books published, miraculously a couple of the same ones make nearly every list, and often those are the books about which I thought, “What’s all this noise about? This is NOT that great.” I won’t be naming those books because that’s a level of ugly to which I don’t want to tunnel; even the worst books were toiled over by a human being with a heart and soul, and I have no interest in making anyone feel bad. (Today, anyway. Well, there is that one guy on Grindr who made me feel really shitty about myself and ugly and such, so, him I could make feel bad if I hadn’t blocked his ass. And other parts of him as well.)

9:15a.m. And another problem with “best” lists? For me, like crack. When they include books about which I’ve not heard and the write-up is compelling, I’m helpless. I’m blithely (and with great gratitude) depleting A’s generous present of gift card from my local indie bookstore, Curious Iguana [click HERE], messaging and requesting books from these lists. I am a full-on sucker for book reviews — like they was books. (If reading that sentence didn’t bring to mind one of Rose’s rant lines from Gypsy, and at least three different women you’ve seen play the role, not like you and I will be sharing a cocktail. Or coffee. Or be Twitter pals.) Oh, so, these are the books I’ve so far requested: Sunshine State: Essays, by Sarah Gerard, and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee.

9:20a.m.  And, as I feared, there on one NYTimes critic list of best is that book to which I was earlier referring about which there is much huzzah-ing which is something I Do. Not. Understand.

9:24a.m. Okay, I’d lose myself in this “best” list for the next few hours, but it’s Momma hair day. Today she is getting a permanent. Which means extra time in the hole-in-the-wall salon in the kkk-populated town where Momma insists on going to get her hair done. Weekly. By the same person who has done it for thirty years. Thirty years. Hair done. Once a week. I need to think about that some more. And then, when I have time, tell you about the magazine I stole from the salon last week and why I did so. (See THIEVERY NOTE below.)

12:55p.m. Finished hair day with Momma. She didn’t want to do any shopping today so I was spared excursions through Boscov’s or WalMart, and she wanted only a quick lunch so she could get back to Record Street Home for Movie Day. This surprised me. Momma usually skips Movie Day because, “Some of those women are so deaf, they turn it up too loud, I can’t understand it when it’s that loud.” Says the woman whose favorite word is, “What?” I asked if it was a musical, because, you know, I’m me, and she said, “No, no. It’s the one about flowers and nuns with that black actor. I’ve watched it many times. You know.” In fact, I did. Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field. The film which marked the first time a black man won a competitive Oscar. So, for lunch, she wanted a hot dog and the only place you can get one is Burger King. Correction — WAS Burger King. As we discovered today, they have removed it from the menu. I don’t know how often you spend time with older people, but it has been my experience that when things change — as in a hot dog being removed from a menu — they do not take it well. (Hmm, I guess that makes me an older person, because the changes I’ve been experiencing lately don’t make me too happy either.) Momma eventually settled on the fish sandwich. She was some surprised it had lettuce and a pickle and onion as garnishment. When I asked why she said, “This is NOT how they make them at McDonald’s. A pickle. On fish.” Indeed.

1:15p.m. Well, I’m downtown. Dropped Momma off so she could spend the afternoon with other deaf women, Sidney Poitier, and a bunch of nuns. And since I am downtown, it’s only sensible I should stop by The Curious Iguana and pick up Sunshine State. I picked up The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue yesterday. I don’t enjoy sitting on the shelf waiting to be picked up, I feel sure books don’t either.

1:45p.m. Home. With my new book. Luckily I have the DVR set to record Days of Our Lives. Chandler Massey has returned to play a risen from the (pretend) dead Will Horton. He does not remember his husband, Sonny, who — thinking Will long dead — had fallen BACK in love with his first love, ex-baseball player, Paul, with whom he broke up years earlier because Paul wouldn’t risk his baseball career by coming out of the closet, but who Will — a reporter and married to Sonny at the time and with no idea Sonny had once been in love with Paul —

Christopher Sean as Paul

Chandler Massey as Will

— cheated on Sonny to sleep with Paul that he might get the exclusive on him being gay and out him thus cementing his reputation as a reporter; a move that nearly destroyed his marriage, causing Sonny to leave the country, during which time Will was (we thought) murdered by the NeckTie killer. Once Will was discovered to be alive, albeit with no memory of his life as Will, having been brainwashed by evil, crazy Susan into believing he was his mother’s now dead third or fourth or fifth husband who was, coincidentally Susan’s son whose death she blamed on Will’s mother which is why she wanted to steal Will from his real mother and convince him he was her, Susan’s, dead son. Anyway, Sonny has now called off the engagement to Paul, breaking his heart, because Sonny’s love for Will is just too great. Only, Will, still with no memory of being Will, doesn’t much care for Sonny, but does want to fuck the shit out of Paul, who came to the door dressed in only a towel yesterday and on whom Will made quite the move. Who wouldn’t —

—I have NEVER liked Sonny and I want Will and Paul to end up together because, well, LOOK AT THEM. Chandler Massey won a couple of Emmys before he left the show and he is really and truly amazing — which is really and truly NOT the case for most of the male actors on this show. He’s also ridiculously sexy.

Yeah. I watch it. On DVR. So I can fast forward. And, of course, rewind. And freeze-frame. I like to see just how method the actors are. So to speak.

After DOOL, I watched my DVR-ed Real Housewives of New Jersey. Sue me.

Surely you didn’t think I spent my days reading Proust and contemplating the meaning of all the layers of reality in order that I might solve the problems of the world, all the while performing good deeds and baking cookies and cobblers selflessly for others, did you? Cuz, I seriously don’t. I am basic. Basic as can be as often as can be, baby. Don’t even ASK what that means because you would be surprised (well, not you B.W., but the rest of you).

5:30p.m. For dinner tonight I am re-purposing Sunday’s Chicken and Dumplings by NOT adding dumplings, rather, adding kale and broth to make a new tasting soup/stew. We’ll have some bread, too. And there’s still cobbler. And ice cream. So, that.

8:30p.m. Dinner done. Jeopardy over. Alex Trebek still officious and annoying and flashing around that ridiculous French accent every chance he gets, flaunting his assumed superiority. Damn Jesuit schooling. I’m in my room. On my bed. Pecking away at this. After I hit publish, I’ll be diving into Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner, which I started this morning in lieu of going to the gym — I really needed not to get up at 5a.m. today — and it’s really short, and so far, really good and unique and I think I like it although it has an ominously jaded kind of tone, which doesn’t bode well for a happy ending. I could use a happy ending. We’ll see.

THIEVERY NOTE

As promised, here is the story of the magazine I stole. Last week at the hair salon Momma and I visit each Thursday, I was looking through the magazines and there in Martha Stewart Living was a picture of one of the food editors next to his pie recipe and damn if it wasn’t a boy — now man — who many, many years ago I taught (briefy and I take no credit for his talent) to perform. He had one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard and I wrote a special role for him in a show I authored and designed. I stuck the magazine under my coat and snuck it out of the salon. Or, sneaked it. I took the damn thing.

And, why? If I had told them the story and asked they would have been more than happy to give me the magazine and they would have enjoyed the story with me. So, why did I do the shove it under the coat thing? Once, when I was in my early twenties, I stole food from a WaWa in New Haven when I didn’t have any money, had just moved there literally in the middle of the night, and as yet had no place to live. But, that’s about it. It may have more to do with me being afraid to ask for things I want from people — I live with the expectation of being always answered NO.

Why is that? Something else to think about. A reason to keep journalling, stay off Twitter, read more, think more, re-charge, spend time with me.

Yes. That. So, here I am, basic, and going.

Zeitbites: The Lost Weekend (this is what happens)

Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend

Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend

It’s the Monday morning after my most recent Lost Weekend. Not Ray Milland-y, alcoholic haze lost, but, rather, an existential sort of wandering (and, thus, wondering) around: gym, coffee shops, bookstores, retail outlets, parks, here and there in order to afford some privacy and space to the people with whom I live, who put up with me. And, since most of my friends are fictional, virtual, long-distance, or busy, most of my pursuits are solitary. In the process, I become many different people: these are their stories.

Djokovic 1

Novak Djokovic – not bad for a man his age.

 

WIMBELDON & NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S ASS Serena won Wimbeldon again. I love Serena. I love watching her play. I love that she won. But holy crap, have we not evolved beyond the coded (and blatant) misogyny, sexism, and ageism that suffused the coverage of her win? The New York Times in particular should be ashamed. But, I’m a bright side kind of guy – thus, in an effort to spread the gender-bias-objectification-judge-y shit around, here’s some Novak Dojokovic objectification. He won Wimbeldon too. I was surprised the ass on a man Novak Djokovic’s age was so firm and juicy. Good thing too, because his shorts were tight. No doubt he wanted to show off his rumored-to-be very large package. He’s still hot for someone his age, and, wow, he can still play. Sadly, he hasn’t the Nordic-blonde-Aryan beauty of Lleyton Hewitt, or who knows how much money he’d be making from endorsement deals. (What? He’s worth in excess of 90 million already? That’s my boy! And Djoko – is that dick pic floating around the web really yours? If so, nice one.)

UNEMPLOYED & BROKE & NORMA DESMOND I AM NOT . . .

It’s July and I’m home … this is not good. Not good because the prevailing cultural norm suggests one ought to vacation during the summer months. Well, not only am I not vacating, none of my usual clients are vacating either. So, I am stuck in the batcave during the sunny (although, not so much with the sun this year) summer months generating zero income. But . . . (Another aside: I would be happy to discuss house sitting or pet sitting for you – all you people out there, my people, out there, in the dark.) It’s a life theme, that; Generating Zero Income. So, going with it, here I am, blogging for free. Why the hell not? I hereby promise to Zeitbite you more, darlings, meaning; I shall spread my particular brand – Sure, I have a brand, why the fuck not? – of Love and Light more often. Which means regular doses of dash & aside & idiosyncratically punctuated blathering; sometimes happy & funny & snarky, other times insightful & deep & contemplative, and other times dark & sad & suicidal. (See how I use ampersands/& when grouping adjectives but write out “and” when moving to a new-ish topic? That’s me – idiosyncratic. AND WITHOUT AN EDITOR BECAUSE I WOULD SURELY DRIVE ONE – or, a few – TO DRINK.)

JUSTIN BIEBER’S ASS (is this ass thing a theme?)

Bieber's ass - Summer 2015

Bieber’s ass – Summer 2015

Other things happened this weekend. Justin Bieber deleted his ass pic. He has feels. Listen:

“I deleted the photo of my butt on Instagram not because I thought it was bad but someone close to me’s daughter follows me and she was embarrassed that she saw my butt and I totally wasn’t thinking in that aspect. I felt awful that she felt bad. To anyone I may have offended I’m so sorry. It was completely pure hearted as a joke but didn’t take in account there are littles following me!”

Oh Justin, I know what it’s like to have Littles following you. In fact, just last night JustinBiebersLyrics followed me on Twitter. I blocked it, like all the other bots. Anyway, your Bieber-ass is pretty enough – but you’re no Djokovic. (Notice how easy it is to type the words “Justin Bieber” and “ass” close together? Poor Little Biebs – although – Biebs – is that dick pic floating around the web really yours? If so, nice one.

SPEAKING OF ASSES 3 (or, make that 15 now I think). . . . . .  insert here the name of any of the GOP Presidential candidates. I refuse to type them.

SPEAKING OF ASSES literary . . . . . . I am a book blogger – sort of – so I ought probably to write about the big release tomorrow but my feelings about it are all tied up in having spent a lot of time in my life with people in their eighties – especially those in assisted care, and having a lot of manuscripts and writing of my own packed and boxed away, and how I might be persuaded – should I live into my eighties (and please I do NOT want to) and have need of a trusted someone to manage my affairs, how I might be persuaded by that someone – no matter how good their intentions might be – to reveal/publish/share things I NOW, sound of mind and body (well, sort of, shut up) would choose NOT to share. The whole thing makes me feel dirty and I’m not going to read it. (Confession – I didn’t care much for TKAM anyway.)

SPEAKING OF ASSES . . . mine . . .

July 2015

July 2015

Yesterday at the gym a fellow who is in no way someone with any interest in any sort of shenanigans with me said, “You are really looking good.” That was nice. I have worked hard to lose nearly thirty pounds in a healthy way – a pound or two a week for months, exercise daily, good food. It was nice for someone with whom I have no relationship other than sharing a gym to tell me my consistent efforts were noticeable even to strangers. Thank you, Universe, for that Love & Light. (No ass pics nor dick pics of me floating around anywhere – that crazy I am not.) The pic was one I posted on Twitter. You should follow me there. I’m kind of funny (sometimes) and sad (other times) and I’ve been singing little snippets of songs for my darling, Her Grace, the Duchess Goldblatt (you should follow her, too, because she is the Queen of All Things.) In the past 24 hours I’ve talked about the gym, teens eating all my frozen diet treats, Chet Baker and how I love singing “My Funny Valentine”, my late night trolling of the Algonquin Hotel website, the thickness of mattresses on fold-out-couch-beds, Djokovic’s ass, Troubles by J.G.Farrell, new shoes I want, being judge-y about other people’s depressions, and more. I’m a renaissance man, a flaneur of the interwebs. FOLLOW+ME+DAMMIT+ (and re-tweet me and publish me and stuff – you don’t want to be an ASS entry, do you? Wait . . .  ass entry . . .  never mind. Love and Light, dear ones.

#GoneGirl … false advertising

gone-girl-poster1Spoilers? Look, sometimes they are a public service. Like this one: Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris do both show penis but the shots are so fast, you can barely appreciate the girth and length and width of their talents. I will be purchasing the DVD. Can you say: Stop. Action.

(LATE NOTE: And, if you need ANY MORE proof that we are immersed in a misogynist male-centric culture – all this discussion – AND I INCLUDE MYSELF IN THIS WHICH IS WHY I HAVE ADDED THIS NOTE ONCE I REALIZED WHAT A BIG DEAL I MADE OF THE PENI AND THOUGHT NOTHING OF THE WOMEN BEING ASKED TO DISROBE – about Affleck and Harris penis – and no discussion of the frequently exposed breasts of Rosamund Pike and Emily Ratajkowski. Female nudity is expected. Male nudity is a topic of discussion. It’s STILL okay to measure women by their breasts and still NOT okay to measure men by their penises. Or, make their penises the measure of the men. Well, except at my gym, in the showers and sauna, and . . . never mind. Where was I?)

I read the book and I marvelled at Gillian Flynn’s technical acumen. The structure and the plotting and the handling of the surprises and twists were all quite breath-taking. But, I hated the ending.

Now, I’ve seen the movie. I thought the script was well-done, the casting was phenomenal — and as my friend said, “I never thought I’d ever say this but Tyler Perry was good.” Yup. Same for Mr. Affleck – although I think he should have cried in the final scene with the sister character. I thought Kim Dickens was especially amazing as Detective Rhonda Boney. Still, I hated the ending.

I did, however, love the long exposure of Neil Patrick Harris’ ass. Would I recommend the film? Well, not if you’re going for Affleck and Harris penis (not that I know ANYONE who did go for that reason) but if you read the book and loved it, this is a very faithful, well done adaptation.

alamosI had a glass (maybe two) of wine before I saw the film – and let me say this about that. I had those glasses along with dinner at Macaroni Grill. Not a huge fan of chain restaurants but local Macaroni Grill shares a parking lot with the cinema complex. Too, the LAST time I was dragged there by another loved one for whom Macaroni Grill mac and cheese is crack, it was literally “a kick in the head”; I shared a booth-back with an out-of-control, nine or ten-year-old, barefoot brat who jiggled, jumped, and jolted so much that I spilled my wine. The ultimate affront was when the beast put his BARE FEET on the seat back and kicked me in the head. After my death-ray glare did nothing but get a sort of raised hand, “what can you do” smile from the demon’s grandfather (I think – I suppose it could have been his father, the age of whose rotted, fetid seed would explain the child’s bestial nature). When I very politely mentioned m the ongoing disruption of my dinner to the manager wandering around in his un-tucked, wrinkled shirt, I was told, “Oh, sorry, wish I could do something.” Unlike him, I DID do something. I wrote to corporate. They sent me a $20 gift card. Uhm, here’s the thing. My dinner that night was considerably more than $20. And last night, well, I had a glass of Alamos Malbec – an acceptable red that can be found for somewhere in the range of $9 to $12 depending on the liquor store and whether or not one buys twelve bottles at a time (don’t ask) – so imagine my chagrin to find A GLASS priced at $8.50 and a bottle at $36. WHAT THE FUCK? The bottle of wine at dinner was TWICE AS MUCH as the gift card they sent me for the ruination of my LAST over-priced dinner there.

Worse, the hostess did not get my jokes (and I’m funny, ask my dear-one, A.B.C.) and the waiter kept trying to be amusing but he was not.

No worries. On a sort-of-related note – this is my second under-1000-word – slash – trying to be perky/funny blog entry. Might I mention that the FIRST got about HALF as many hits as do my lugubrious, depressed entries. Hmm, maybe happy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Whatever. Nothing can bring me down at the moment because in LESS than 24 hours I will be watching Ryan Murphy’s masterpiece starring the incomparable Jessica Lange; AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW. I am ridiculously excited. Read about it by CLICKING HERE.

Truth is – and we all already know I’m so shallow I only went to GONE GIRL because I heard I would see Affleck and Harris’ dicks – my PRIMARY reason for watching AHS is Evan Peters. He is my Number One Imaginary Lover. And that is NO SMALL FEAT.

ahs evan crazyEvan Peters CovenEvan Peters Coven 2Evan Peters Coven 3 Evan Peters Coven 4ahs tate gif

Later pals.

My Pigeons (or, more-like: My Pigeons’ Droppings)

I’ve a dear one whose calling it is to lead flocks. The song of her soul and the compass of her faith is such that she radiates that exceedingly rare Light of Spirituality that illuminates with curiosity and inclusion. She believes in a specific God and practices particular tenets but the shape of her personal cosmology does not preclude the possibility of other deities or doctrines, or, in my case, a stubborn insistence on neither.

Yes, I chose quite carefully the phrase “insistence on neither” because at this point in my journey my credo (and please, pronounce “credo” as did Dame Maggie Smith in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for reasons that will become increasingly clear) has much more to do with what is not than it does to do with what is or might be. I was – once upon a time – nearly delusional with the belief that I had some access to a truth needing to be shared, a truth about helping others to find their own truths, truths we would discover through theatre and song and creating works of art built round the girders of our heart-wishes, soul-dreams, and imaginings.

I had a flock. I was, I believed (and, am ashamed to admit, said frequently) like Miss Brodie, “In my PRIME.” Oh dear. I quoted Miss Brodie quite a lot. As in:

Little girls! I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders, and all my pupils are the creme de la creme. Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life.

And finally, sadly, “Assassin! Assassin!” Although only to myself, and only in my Tequila-tainted cups.

It turned out that I was not so much a leader as I was the one meant to change the paper in the cages and supply the feed, and had not so much a flock as an aviary of mostly the broken-winged and mad-as-hatters, who came to me, my safe place of open-doored cages, that they might recuperate or preen themselves until they could soar. I watched my pigeons, fed them, encouraged them, and in many cases, as it so often is with mentoring and the raising of the young, they shat with alacrity all over the coop before flapping away to their personal path of ascension and thought nothing of all the messes they’d made for me to clean up along the way.

I have been revisiting those days because – every so once upon a time – there would be a gorgeous creature of glorious color and song who matured into a feathered phoenix capable of such heights and arias that I would be left breathless, and, too, terrified that I would somehow fail to give her what she needed to discover and believe in and achieve all the levels of her grandeur. Isn’t it funny how it is those extraordinary ones who come back, who send messages from their flights and leave me still to believe that all the shit-scraping was worth it?

This week I have been receiving Tweets and messages from just such awe-inspiring creatures in whose lives I played a small role. I live now in a very small cage in which I – as I said – stubbornly believe in nothing, and so, it is a kindness beyond measure to hear from the ones who soared and did not sour on me. For, I am afraid, in the end, I like Miss Brodie, was rather more often delusional than I thought, and, well:

I will not stand quietly by and allow myself to be crucified by a woman whose fetid frustration has overcome her judgment! If scandal is to your taste, […] I shall give you a feast! I am a teacher! I am a teacher, first, last, always! Do you imagine that for one instant I will let that be taken from me without a fight? I have dedicated, sacrificed my life to this profession. And I will not stand by like an inky little slacker and watch you rob me of it and for what? For what reason? For jealousy! Because I have the gift of claiming girls for my own. It is true I am a strong influence on my girls. I am proud of it! I influence them to be aware of all the possibilities of life… of beauty, honor, courage. I do not, […], influence them to look for slime where it does not exist! I am going. When my class convenes, my pupils will find me composed and prepared to reveal to them the succession of the Stuarts. And on Sunday, I will go to Cramond to visit Mr. Lowther. We are accustomed, bachelor and spinster, to spend our Sundays together in sailing and walking the beaches and in the pursuit of music. Mr. Lowther is teaching me to play the mandolin. Good day, Miss Mackay.

Watch:

I ever did learn to play the mandolin, nor, I think, gain much from my prime, but I did sacrifice myself willingly to an all too eager assassin, even inviting the crucifixion. Overly dramatic? Perhaps. I really am a ridiculous, silly old man. But that was always what made me Brodie. I believe – nay, I know, confess, admit – I am past my prime – a prime, I am afraid, that existed nowhere but within my head, and too, when it came to you — like Sandy, the most trusted of Brodie’s special ones — I treasured and trusted and never recognized what was most your gift: To Kill Without Concern.

 

 

Zeitbites: Clap Hard to Keep the Fairy Alive!

THE MEAN REDS RETURN

july 31 breakfast at tiffany'sIt’s back – my fear. That thing causing a twisting in my chest, that sucking-breath, hands-a-tremble certainty that another avalanche of awful is about to happen, something dreadful is ready to drop, disaster about to descend on me, what Truman Capote’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly, called “the mean reds.” Listen:

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Paul Varjak: Sure.

Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

That’s what hit me yesterday. I had to take action.

ESSENCE OF PASSION FLOWER

Keeping me going is a full-time job and not one the accomplishment of which often seems worth the effort required. I slog, slug, sloth, and slither through life, making do, confused and confounded as to the purpose of all this. It is enough to have a day (or two) wherein I do not hear the narrative voice in my head (which is usually, by the way, Lily Tomlin or Jessica Lange) intoning the final lines of my unpublished novel:

I have no answers

This was The Last of all my stories

So, no, happiness is not something I expect. Making – let alone keeping – me happy would require the lygarde de mayne of an alchemist like Merlin, and since that necromantic enchanter was long ago trapped in the Crystal Caves, in order to avoid one more time disappointing the friends and loved ones I have remaining, I work hard to keep going by arranging my life around moments of joy and methods of distraction. (And when that doesn’t work, I fake it.)

I get joy from reading and writing about books. So, yesterday after my gymming –

NAKED MAN ASIDE

gym guys 5 edit(which falls into the Distracting rather than Joy category– unless, by chance, there is an attractive naked man waggling around the locker room – at which point gymming becomes a Joyful Distraction – until I realize that naked man would NEVER want to see me naked, at which point the Joyful Distraction morphs into a Hateful Reminder of why I ought to just surrender to the Tomlin/Lange narration)

BACK TO THE BOOK(store)

– I visited my friends at The Curious Iguana (CLICK HERE), my favorite independent bookstore. These visits give me great joy. I love books, I love people who love books, and Iguana is owned and patronized by just that sort of people. Win. Win. So, I was making my way to Iguana, strolling up the sidewalk on Market Street, when I was forced into the street by a four-wide battalion of stroller moms, goose-stepping their Vera Bradley accessorized way toward me. The quartet took up the entire span of the sidewalk and rudely steamrolled blithely along forcing pedestrians travelling –

SPELLING CURMUDGEON ASIDE

(Spell Check is telling me that travelling should be traveling. NO IT SHOULD NOT. I am sick and tired of this current purging of required double consonants when appending suffixes to words in order that characters are saved to make it easier for Tweeting and Texting. I did not spend my formative years being abused by the School Sisters of Notre Dame JUST to have everything they taught me eradicated in my dotage. traveLLing. And while we are at it: canceLLed – just so all airports are clear on that.)

BACK TO BOOK(store) & PASSION FLOWER ESSENCE

– in the opposite direction into traffic. Thus, I entered the bookstore saying, “What the hell is wrong with you people?” Marlene, owner and heart and soul of Iguana, knows me well enough to know I was not speaking to her. I launched into my curmudgeonly ranting and we were soon joined by Marlene’s husband, Tom, and I was off on one of my long-winded raving raging wildly furious fits, this one about my recent adventures in the medical profession.

July 31 passion flowerAfter listening patiently, (Marlene and Tom are absolute darlings about letting me rail, as if they’ve nothing better to do than listen to the crazy old man) Tom suggested I hie my way to the local patchouli scented – tofu loving – green market and procure some tincture of Passion Flower, drops of which, he assured me, would calm my anxiety.

ASIDE ASIDE 

I know you thousand or so people who check me daily are saying, “Where is a book review? We are not interested in your existential whining.” Well, true confession: I only started writing book reviews to lure you in so you’d be FORCED to click on my existential whining. So there.

Now keep clicking or I’ll never share my opinion on books again. (I know, I’m hubristic and delusional to think you give a damn. Perhaps, but at least I own it) But, this morning, I’ve a long, full day of writing and gymming and reading and cookie baking in front of me, so, just a fast (for me) and brief (again, for me) few things … I promise.

Peter Pan LIVE!

When NBC presented The Sound of Music, I wrote about it nicely. I was hoping that it would be the first of many live musical theatre presentations and they had sense enough to fill the supporting cast with genius actors Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, so, one made allowances for other casting misfires.

And I don’t like The Sound of Music. But, now, this has gone too far. They have announced that — yet again — they have eschewed casting an actual Broadway musical actress in the iconic role of Peter Pan (CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT IT – I’m not typing the name. I don’t want to trash anybody – not really – it’s not her fault.). Mary Martin — even dead — can only be expected to take so much and when the second of her iconic roles is repugnantly miscast with someone who has NO BUSINESS BEING ENTRUSTED WITH THE LEAD IN A MUSICAL, it reeks of such disregard and disrespect for the art of the musical that surely, something MUST be done.

marymartin_peterpanOh, wait, I wonder if THIS miscasting tragedy was the disaster I was intuiting yesterday? Ugh(a-wug) indeed. Of course, that number will be cut. And, this isn’t like Carrie Underwood with her huge country fan base meant to boost the ratings; this actress has a mostly hipster/gay man following and the hipster contingent is never going to watch the show — they don’t do television — and the gay man population was ALREADY going to be on board so, uhm W.T.F.? All I have to say (well, left to say) is that Tink is hardly going to be the only fairy pissed off and poisoned by this piece of shit disastrous-ness.

PASSION FLOWER (again … I keep forgetting)

So, I did get some Passion Flower essence and I have been swirling the muddy swill into two ounces of water and downing it like crazy and, I don’t know, maybe I am better? I’m having such strange, horrifying dreams of late and really not sleeping well, terrorized by that fever-like, half-awake, delusional thing that goes on. Which has NOT been helped by reading Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California (CLICK HERE), about which I will soon be blogging.

After I go to the gym (I hope there are pretty naked men) and hurry back here — I’m housesitting out in the country — and make cookies. Because, like I said, I went to the health food place and I got some pure natural butter because it was the only ingredient (I thought) missing here for my world famous chocolate chip cookies, and, like I said, I need to do things to make me feel better and/or distract me and making cookies does that. And I feel like shit and can barely breathe — something bad (besides Peter Pan casting) is DEFINITELY HAPPENING. So, I’m going to bake.

THE DOG IS ANXIOUS TOO … could it be 20-something hottie?

I would, normally, drive my Mom around on Thursday, but, I can’t be away from my Judah for that long. Judah has anxiety too. I’m usually MUCH calmer when I’m out here in the middle of nowhere but for the past few days I have been sharing the house. The tenant who lives in the in-law-ish apartment was here. And not only was she here, but both nights she brought in her 20-something boyfriend who was RIDICULOUSLY good-looking and seeing the two of them together — even for those few brief seconds when she walked him by me in his really worn, tight white t-shirt and cropped, dark, black hair and unbelievable ass — undid my vow to myself to feel okay about being un-partnered, un-dated, un-anythinged. I felt all un-wanted and un-all-over again and it sucked. Thank goodness she has now left for the weekend.

BRING ON THE BAKING AND THE BOOK BUYING AND READING! But first, I have to get to the gym and back.

NOTE:  I understand that this generalized anxiety and dread is very likely due to all the horrifyingly hateful energy roiling in the world at the moment; I cannot discuss — rationally — all the wars and the bombings and the borders and the children and the hate crimes and the disregard for life and dignity going on, let alone the suing of our President while ALL THE SHIT GOING ON IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON, and all our Congress can do is bicker? If the end is nigh, good, because if this is the middle, I have had enough.

 

No Words … (well, it’s me, so, a few) … (hundred)

You’d think I’d find this funny by now, right?

Because I’m fucking crazy. I can’t even give the details. Today, however, I am at the gym. Still having vertigo. So, an hour on elliptical. Fine. Move to recumbent bike, long about minute 33 (lol) I am watching Venus Williams lose at Wimbledon and it is making me sad and all of a fucking goddamn sudden I realize my sister died eight months ago and I have a ridiculous breakdown, start heaving on the stupid machine, I have to run to the bathroom — or, well, stagger, trying to seem normal — I’m insane. This is what I did with my aunt. And Steve. And Allen. I was FINE FINE FINE until like nine months later and all of a sudden — BANG BANG THEY’RE DEAD.

I don’t believe in love anymore. Not really. And, you know, some days … I think in some ways I have spent most of my life doing things in an effort to please people who don’t exist anymore … or, never really did … my youth was spent living in a family that circled around a phantom, my absent father, and it was his disappearance and subsequent martyrdom that imbedded in me my ideas about “Men” — he drove into that telephone pole, everyone circled around the myth of him, and I, pre-verbal, learned that Love equaled Absence.

It was an easy leap to become a rabid Roman Catholic child, determined to become a religious servant and dedicate my life to the good works of — another myth, this time, a trinity. Escaped that early on, never made it to confirmation because I knew what I was, and in my early adolescence I fell for Heathcliff, of course, Wuthering Heights, what else?

The romance about running away, about the people you cannot have, a story around which I managed to build my entire life. To. This. Day. I am still missing Heathcliff. But things keep going. Don’t they? Damn fucking right they do.

And every empty liaison with another someone who is lying to any number of someones — me included — although, by another name — but, a Charlie is a Sebastian is a Cyril is a Ryan is a Rose (but never Mama) — every one is punishment for not saving him when I had the chance. But I didn’t. And so, I’d be alone. I was alone. Always alone. I WAS GREAT AT IT.

Because I couldn’t possible — no, not another one, like my father and that idiot Heathcliff who was so tortured about who he was and how he felt he hid inside — HE HID and he drank himself into oblivion. I haven’t the balls for that. So, I’ll just drink enough to land me somewhere with someone who doesn’t exist except for being on the other end of beating me to death. Happy Endings all around. Elegies.

Don’t worry. No one will ever know.

I was an actor once. For 53 years.

And I wish that I believed in heaven … or something … because I would like to see some of these people again … the ones I made up and am making up now.

I miss you every day.

Oh well, it’s always the leaving isn’t it … all that looking back … all that looking back …

 

 

A Single Man … and the vampires who killed him …

Christopher Isherwood.

I have vacillated my entire life between worlds, in the beginning I thought I’d be a musical theatre star. I first heard of Christopher Isherwood, then, as source material for Cabaret. At that point, my main literary influences were not those likely to have read Isherwood, and so, I hadn’t. I didn’t. Not then.

I aged. I realized I would not be a musical theatre star.More and more, without my noticing, my focus changed to writing. I had always been a reader, but as theatre faded away, and as I became less and less happy, I started my own course of study, looking — not so much for answers, but rather like some cosmological Jeopardy game, instead, the questions I ought to have been asking that explained how I’d arrived at the horrid answers I had.

I wondered, worried, how had I never – why had I never loved someone with whom I could share rare and recherche jazz recordings a dog and Kafka and Capote … someone who got me and wanted to touch me. Oh, Isherwood’s A Single Man broke my heart. Then. Even. When I wasn’t yet the old (really old) man.

Getting older, well . . .

… it’s a load of shit. I think I’ve actually got sillier and sillier. … Experience is not what happens to a man, it’s what a man does with what happens to him.

Can we go back to your place sir?

Of course, where else?

Where else.

Are you out of your mind?

What’s the matter?

You can’t go home like that.

We’re invisible, don’t you know that? You know, Sir, they ought not to let you out on your own; you’re liable to get into real trouble.

Oh, I excel at it.

By which time I was, sadly, this symbol to people rather than a person … and I was, fooled and foolishly, half in love with those half in love with half of who I was, none of us, neither of us, less than fools, able to navigate the sorrows of what we were not, could not, would not be. And so, I accepted being made a fool of.

I think we should get you out of those wet clothes.

Yes, Sir.

And finally, I realized, with a horrifying lucidity, the complete rotting of my heart, un-nourished so long, thanks to the emptying of my once Light and Love filled soul by the vampires I had invited to feed on me, the last of whom had ruthlessly stolen from me all that I was, all that I had, and then staked me through the heart, laughing as the ashes of me hit the ground, waltzing through the detritus of me and wiping off their shoes, complaining about the mess I’d made.

I was, and am, alone: A Single Man.

A few times in my life, I’ve had moments of absolute clarity; when, for a few brief seconds, the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp, and the world seems so fresh, it’s as though it had all just come into existence. I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but, like everything, they fade. I’ve lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present. And I realize that everything is exactly the way that it’s meant to be.

And just like that, it came.

 

Saturday’s child works hard for its living . . .

April 15. It wasn’t JUST my birthday.

Da Vinci nude sketches

Da Vinci nude sketches

1452: Leonardo da Vinci born

1755: Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language first published.

1865: Abraham Lincoln dies having had a bad seat the night before at a show at Ford’s Theatre.

1894: Bessie Smith born

1907: George Platt Lynes born

1912: The Titanic sinks.

1916: Helene Hanff born

George Platt Lynes

George Platt Lynes

George Platt Lynes photo of Dorothy Parker

George Platt Lynes photo of Dorothy Parker

George Platt Lynes, 1943 Untitled

George Platt Lynes, 1943 Untitled

1947: Jackie Robinson plays for the Brooklyn Dodgers breaking the color barrier in baseball.

Jackie Robinson April 1947

Jackie Robinson April 1947

1980: Jean-Paul Sartre dies

The Genet bio by Edmund White, famous photo by Brassai, 1947 Paris

The Genet bio by Edmund White, famous photo by Brassai, 1947 Paris – Click pic for book info at Mr. White’s website

1986: Jean Genet dies

1990: Greta Garbo dies

Somehow, all of those things seem relative to me. Then again, when it comes to relative and my life, dysfunction is sure to closely follow, so, there’s that.

Whatever the case, another April 15, come and gone, this one a Tuesday. There was sleet. Yes, sleet. And by 7:30 in the evening I was wonderfully curled in my room, reading. I am truly happiest wrapped in a blanket and a good book. Long around 10 I had a glass (or four) of wine and some lovely text convos with some dear ones. I meant to stay awake until midnight but didn’t QUITE make it.

This morning I am looking back, quickly, on what April 15’s before and after that one Saturday long ago on which I was born have wrought — or writ large — or small — or . . . oh look, just some fun. April 15 has been full of events all of which feel — like I said — related to me.

Helene Hanff

Helene Hanff

Now, it’s all so obvious how each is related to me I won’t insult your intelligence with exegesis, rather, I’ll just be visual about it. And you’ll read a book or listen to a song and … well, there we will be, as in, here we are, going.

But, darlings, you know — or should, by the fact I was in bed, by myself, and so content so early last night, much as I love you . . .  well . . .

Garbo I Want To Be Alone

All I have left to say is . . . well, already said by Bessie.

 

 

“FUNNY GIRL” is 50, too! (Not that I am)

Are you following me on Twitter at MiracleCharlie? CLICK ME AND FOLLOW!

UPDATE ON MARCH 27 – FOUND THIS ON QUEERTY – ACTUAL FOOTAGE – HORRIBLE QUALITY BUT – WOW! If I believed in god or heaven – I would think that death and ascension involved being able to see Broadway musicals and stars I missed – and, too, ones that never happened and I just imagined – IN ANY EVENT – check here too!

http://www.queerty.com/50-years-ago-today-barbra-streisand-became-the-worlds-greatest-star-in-funny-girl-20140326/

March 26, 1964. FUNNY GIRL opened on Broadway [CLICK HERE].

Now, please, theatre queens, I KNOW that song was NOT in the Original Broadway Production. But it is the ICONIC number from the film, so, please, back off. Try this:

Or, this;

And surely you DID NOT think I would post about Funny Girl without posting my favorite version EVER of People by the inimitable, amazing, gorgeous, brilliant, genius Julia Murney?

And I kind of loved this too – I know – but, well, Idina Menzel from Glee – I wish I could find the scene. It was beautiful.

But this . . . never ever will anyone even come close to equaling this.

 

Here comes the sun(set) … come look at the freak(show) …

sunset blvdFor the second week in a row this blog has broken visitor AND view records three days (so far) – I don’t know who you are, but I’m glad that this faded, failed, delusional diva’s scabrous scribbling about just this, my life, and nothing else, is entertaining all you wonderful people out there in the dark.

I’m ready for my close-up now, even though I’ve been through de’mill(e). It would be even MORE exciting if you would follow me on Twitter [CLICK HERE: MIRACLECHARLIE on TWITTER] and SHARE me with your friends. I know that my blog entries are rather LONGER than people say they ought to be — but here’s the thing, I come from another time, really. I’m of a different era and zeitgeist and … well, perhaps it is NOT that my BLOGS are BIG, but, rather, that your ATTENTION SPAN is too small! Yes, that’s it. I am big! It’s the attention spans that have gotten small. Oh dear . . . I’m fading more and more into this imaginary world of mine, follow me quickly, I haven’t much time left, you see . . .

gif sunset blvd2. . . because it’s fast approaching my birthday(month). I’ve no intention of discussing the details – although, there’s nothing tragic with being fifty, unless you’re trying to be 25 — but, I heard somewhere that stars are ageless, and I used to be BIG – before going to the gym and staving myself made me smaller – and so I freely exploit the “subtract 10” theory when it comes to age (and weight) (holy crap, I’m feeling awfully parenthetical today) I still LOVE having a ridiculous to-do to-done about and around my birthday. Once upon a time, I would make a solo Manhattan pilgrimage each year and celebrate there. Not alone, but, rather, at the Algonquin Hotel, surrounded by the spirit and energy of all those who had stayed there before, and, my dear aunt, Sissie, who had never gotten to stay there but who had in her decline, immobilized by blindness and illness in a senior-facility, made me promise not to wait until it was too late — as she had — to “visit the Algonquin”.

I think she meant something else, something more. She had spent her life — mostly — doing for others, serving the needs of others, sacrificing her wants for the wants of others, and to the casual and uninformed observer it might have seemed she was living off of the largesse of others, but that was not the case. Without her, many of those “others” would not have been able to have the freedoms and lives they had, and many, like me, would never have come to know themselves without Sissie being there to encourage and see and support us in our quest for self-dom. The only self she got was the one who put herSELF aside so others could thrive and bloom – she never got to be in love, she never got to go all the places she wanted to go, she put away her own scribbling and exploring so as to take care of others, make others happy. She saw what I was doing, recognized how unhappy and unfulfilled and unseen I was, and felt — I think — that I was her greatest project, the work of her life, and if I ended up as miserable as she had become at the end, she would have failed.

sunset blvd gifI promised her I would go. I did. And don’t you know she was right. I should have gone. And too, rather than get that and understand it, the people who claimed to love me didn’t “get it” or see me and celebrate it, rather, they resented that what I needed and wanted and deserved for ME, putting me first once in a while, cracked the crazy-mirror into which they looked each day like Snow White’s wicked queen asking “Who’s the ONLY person who matters at all?”

Trust me, Snow White I am not and never have been, but I also don’t eat any apples proffered. And I am ALWAYS on the lookout for dwarves eager to take me in and party.

Speaking of, Ryan Murphy has announced that the upcoming season of American Horror Story is going to be called FreakShow. I am a HUGE fan of carnivals, sideshows and freaks — as in Come Look at the … from the musical SideShow … which I never got to see on Broadway, the actual non-seeing of which was the event that prompted Sissie to give me the “don’t wait for the Algonquin” lecture and extract my promise. I used to go visit her on Thanksgiving morning and watch the parade — well, I watched, she listened while I described it — and when SideShow was in the parade and I was describing Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner and weeping because I couldn’t see the show — Sissie started in.

I’m expecting big things from Ryan Murphy on this. And given that he is PRACTICALLY my spiritual doppelgänger and has a fondness for musical theatre divas as deeply embedded in his DNA as do I, it would NOT surprise me (feel free to take this idea, Ryan) if he hires the Ripley and Skinner to play the aging Hilton Sisters who were still alive in the 1950’s when the show is rumored to be set. PLEASE!?!?!

Speaking of SideShow, I was informed last night that I am to keep the date of July 6 open as I will be seeing the tour of the revival of the show at the Kennedy Center that night! HUZZAH!

But before then, I’ve a LOT of birthday partying to which I must attend. For example, next Friday BEGINS the Month of fun. I am seeing CHER in concert!  Yes, it’s true. As if that wasn’t enough, I am being taken out to dinner beforehand at Voltaggio’s D.C. restaurant, PROOF. SO EXCITED!

Then, later in the month, making a daytrip to NYC with a group of my nearest and dearest friends for two — yes, TWO Broadway shows in one day! Seeing Jason Robert Brown’s new musical, The Bridges of Madison County, and Terrensunset boulevardce McNally’s new play, Mothers and Sons. YEE-EFFING-HA!

And then, in early May (which- technically – is outside the birthday month, but, OH WELL) I am being taken to see Megan Hilty at the Kennedy Center. I mean, really, could a birthday month be much better for a dilapidated, desiccated diva descending that final staircase, confessing his sins and nearing death?

MAX, WHERE AM I? WHERE THE FUCK AM I, MAX? And when is Joe Gillis coming back? I wish I’d had the good sense to shoot the bastard — but, unlike in the film, he never really had the balls to turn his back on me and walk away. He just sort of snuck out and pretended he wasn’t going. LIGHTS! CAMERAS! STAIR-FUCKING-CASE!

(Do I REALLY have to tell you AGAIN about the time I saw Miss Betty Buckley in SUNSET BOULEVARD – and how kind she was to me in the alley afterward? OR HOW I HAVE TWICE SEEN HER IN CONCERT AND DECIDED – though I do not believe in God or Heaven – that if I DID – it would be an eternity of Miss Buckley singing.)