January 11, 2020

Francesca and I saw *Hadestown* on Broadway on 1/8/20.  It won the Tonys for Best Musical and Best Score last spring - - I wasn't impressed with the number I saw on the Tony Awards show, so I thought I'd let it slide.  But then Francesca saw it a few weeks ago and raved about it.  I trust her opinion, so I bought a ticket.  I'm so glad I did because the show was AMAZING.

*Hadestown* is a musical with music, lyrics, and book by Anaïs Mitchell, a version of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth.  It's rare that I see a show where all of the elements work together so beautifully - - the music, the story, the performances, the arrangements, the design, the choreography, the staging, it was all woven together in such a powerful and thoughtful way.  The show had serious momentum and still gave the audience to applaud like mad at the end of each number.

André De Shields played the pseudo narrator, Hermes.  He walked onstage wearing a sleek silver suit, greeted the five mem...

January 10, 2020

I'm featuring the great songwriter Jimmy Webb in the Fabulous Fridays in January.  First off, three recordings of "Wichita Lineman."  We're starting, of course, with Glen Campbell:

Next, a super groovy rendition by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66:

And now for something completely different.  My dear friend Bill Lutes made me a compilation CD years ago and included this recording by The King's Singers.  It's so hilariously wrong!  The shimmering strings, the noble trumpet, the harp!  I played it for my friend Jim, who said, "Whoever wrote this arrangement has clearly never been to Wichita and has no idea what a lineman actually DOES."

January 9, 2020

I see Buck Henry's most important credit as the screenplay to *The Graduate,* but he also wrote or co-wrote *Get Smart,* *What's Up, Doc?* and *To Die For.*  Here he is in his brief and hilarious role at the hotel desk clerk.  The whole clip is, of course, worth watching, but Henry comes in at 1:15.  I wish they had started the clip earlier, to when Benjamin first arrives at the hotel.

BUCK HENRY: Are you here for an affair, sir?

DUSTIN HOFFMAN: What?

BUCK HENRY: The Singleman party, sir?

DUSTIN HOFFMAN: Ah yes, the Singleman party.

January 9, 2020

The challenge - - the designers needed to make an upcycled look for Karlie to wear at a CFDA event in Paris. Their source for fabric was not Mood, it was Goodwill! And they needed to please celebrity stylist Karla Welch. Very interesting combo platter. I was impressed with Welch, she was articulate and honed right in on what the designers needed.

Christian visited the workroom and announced that the guest judge would be the one and only Laverne Cox. And did I mention it’s a one-day challenge?

ON THE TOP

Chelsey: they loved the denim, thought it was fabulous Americana, and they were into all the innovation in the construction.

Victoria: Nina pointed out that she gave them Karlie but still stayed true to her aesthetic.

Nancy: I loved the skirt but thought the blouse was a throwaway. I would have put Brittany on the top instead, I thought her look was super cool.

ON THE BOTTOM

Marquise: so dreadful, badly made, ugly, horrid.

Tyler: oh, it wasn’t a critique, it was a massacre! And he didn’t help t...

January 8, 2020

Today I'm highlighting Pat Hitchcock's work in *Psycho.*  She is so adorable.

Diva: Janet Leigh

Mensch: Pat Hitchcock

January 6, 2020

John Baldessari has been one of my favorite contemporary artists since I saw a retrospective of his work at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis sometime in the 90s.  Thanks to my brother Howard to introducing me to him (he might have introduced me to Julie London and Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 around the same time).  Baldessari is seen as the Father of Conceptual Art.  He was a teacher and mentor in the Los Angeles art scene in the 60s and 70s and continued doing meaningful work into this century.

If Warhol got us to see ordinary objects (soup cans, Brillo boxes, movie stars) as suitable subjects for high art, then Baldessari took it one step further and got us to see not just what Art is, but what an Artist is.  My favorite painting of his is "A PAINTING THAT IS ITS OWN DOCUMENTATION."  It's a gray canvas with black block lettering.  It says:

A PAINTING THAT IS ITS OWN DOCUMENTATION

JUNE 19, 1968 IDEA CONCEIVED AT 10:25 AM

NATIONAL CITY, CALIF. BY JOHN BALDESSARI

JUL...

January 3, 2020

Hello there - - at long last I finished my work on the London travelogue, from the trip that Richard and I took in March.  Here's how to access it:

1. From the divamensch home page, click on "Travel etc," the third tab from the left.

2. From the drop-down box, click on "Travel."

3. Click on "London: March 2019."

4. Click on the first button, "London: trip there."

That will bring you to the first page.  I helpfully added a button to the bottom of each page, bringing you to the next page.  How thoughtful am I?

Enjoy!  The trip there was one for the ages.  The mind reels.

January 3, 2020

Two appearances by Lena Horne as the mystery guest.  First in 1953, she appears at 14:20:

And again in 1958, she appears at 14:15:

January 1, 2020

Happy New Year, darlings!  I hope 2020 is full of marvelous things for all of us.

Did you know that I watched nearly all of the Hitchcock talkies, in chronological order, last year and the year before?  It was a fascinating project, I feel like I understand the medium of film so much better, having watched so much by one of its undisputed masters.  His use of the camera is so pure.

I'm dedicating the month of January to pairs in Hitch's movies, with the first two weeks highlighting his daughter, the adorable Pat Hitchcock.  First, *Strangers On a Train:*

Diva: Ruth Roman (the glamorous brunette)

Mensch: Pat Hitchcock (the cutie in the glasses)

December 31, 2019

Richard alerted me to the death of Sue Lyon.  She had a decidedly minor career, but her one important screen credit is so important (and so beloved by me) that it's worthy of mention: she had the title role in *Lolita.*  It's my favorite Kubrick movie, though far from his best.  It's just more FUN than his other movies.

I read in her NY Times obit that she won the part over 800 other girls!  There was some grumbling that she was too old for the role - - she was 17 and the Lolita in the book was 12, but please, this was 1962, we're lucky that a somewhat contemporary film of *Lolita* was made at all.  There's no way that they could have made the movie with a pre-teen, maybe not even today.  Or maybe for HBO or Netflix or similar.

Here's a delightful compilation of Lyon's moments from early in the movie.  There are many subsequent collections on YouTube.  Collect them all!  Or watch the whole movie, it's really quite something.

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