Monday, September 27, 2010
patti lupone, a memoir

This is a glorious book. Funny and touching and everything I look for in a 'memoir'...It is inspiring in such a full and complete way---I almost don't have words for it....Patti LuPone's full-on love letter to Broadway, and "Gypsy", and Arthur Laurants--the Book Writer of the Original production, and the Director of the 2008 production in which she starred and for which she won her second Tony Award, and to the entire cast of this incredible revival is sweet as it can be and so very inspiring....!It had me in tears. Tears of Joy and Recognition. It is everything one wants a "theatre" experience to be, in every way....This part of the book, (the last chapters) is the culmination of a career in The Theatre that was never easy and has had many many bumps in the road--not the least of which was the Andrew Lloyd Webber London production of "Sunset Blvd", in 1993, which I was lucky enough to see......I count it as a true highlight in a Lifetime of going to The Theatre and seeing some very great great productions and some fantastic and stunning performers and out and out true Theatre Stars. In this case, it wasn't so much the show as it was Patti Lupone's performance. At the end of the first act of "Sunset Blvd", I was sobbing and was inconsolable, I was so moved by what Miss LuPone had done as an actress and a singer.....I wish I could have gone back and seen this show and her performance many times. But, we left London almost immediately after and of course, I knew I would go to New York when "Sunset Blvd" opened on Broadway with Patti LuPone, once again, playing 'Norma Desmond'. Well, that did not happen for either of us. And there in lies the lowest point in her truly glorious career....Read the book. I did not see her play "Mama Rose", in the revival of "Gypsy" in 2008 because I can no longer travel or go to the theatre--I did see her perform on the Tony's that June and was blown away by her performance. I shouted and screamed and hooped and hollered 'Bravo' right here in my bedroom, all by myself, and I was thrilled, once again, by this talented complete Actress/Singer/Star.....And, I saw Ethel Merman in the Original Broadway production of Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's "Gypsy"....And I also saw Angela Lansbury play it and Tyne Daly play it and Betty Buckley perform this monumental theatre part in what I consider is probably the Best and Greatest Musical ever written for the stage, and with one of the most memorable Overtures you will ever hear.....By way of my Theatre Pedigree---I saw the Original Broadway Productions of "Pal Joey", with Gene Kelly and Vivienne Segal, 1941......I saw "Oklahoma", a Landmark Musical if there ever was one....I was lucky enough to see it two weeks after it opened on Broadway; And there was "Carousel", and "South Pacific", with the Great Mary Martin---these three Musicals were all by Rodgers & Hammerstein....."West Side Story"...another landmark musical in the Golden Age of Broadway, (along with all of the other ground breaking unique Musicals of the one and only Stephen Sondheim)....And no, I'm not talking about the films that were made of these great great shows---they could not and did not hold a candle to the experience of those Original Stage Productions...Sorry, but there is just no comparison.The point of all this is that I have been going to the Broadway Theatre since I was a child, and have seen just about every great play and performer working on Broadway since 1936-37, plus, I have dedicated my life to working in the theatre in every capacity one can name and had the unique experience of playing on Broadway, too. So, in my personal opinion, Patti LuPone is one of the Special 'Greats' of The Theatre. Trust me: She is the real deal!And Ms. LuPone's book is so filled with the true richness of the 'theatre' experience---I honestly don't remember reading a memoir that captured the hard work and dedication and love that goes into the creation of these 'events'---even the failures are filled with the long long hours and days and weeks and often months and years that often go into this process. The payoff, of course, are those few and rare Theatre Experiences that transcend everything and become Theatre Legend.I truly laughed out loud any number of times while reading this wonderful book, and again, was moved to tears too.....How many books can do that to me? I'm not sure that I can even count them on the fingers of one hand.I have a few pictures that I took of this truly great great "star".....The first one was backstage at The Belasco Theatre, in May of 2001 when my dear friend Betty G. was doing Stephen Sondheim's "Follies". Betty shared a dressing room with the wonderful Marge Champion (the very same dressing room that Betty had lived in during our residency in "Spoon River" so very many years before) and between the Matinee and Evening performance of "Follies", we were going out to celebrate Betty's Birthday with a special Birthday Dinner, across the street from The Belasco....Betty, her two sons, Garrett and Andrew, her Cousin Carol and me. But before we left to go to dinner Betty and I had trudged up to 'my' dressing at The Belasco on the floor above---(We had moved to The Belasco in "Spoon River", having opened originally at The Booth Theatre--surviving JFK's Assassination and a move from one theatre to another that might have destroyed any number of shows----) and after visiting my old dressing room we came back down to Betty and Marge's room. And as we were getting ourselves together to go to dinner, this small compact ball of talent knocked on Betty and Marge's Dressing Room door....It was Patti LuPone. She had been to the Matinee, too, and wanted to tell these two wonderfully talented old warhorses how GREAT they were.....I took a picture of the three of them standing there in the Dressing Room....Patti said she would love a copy and indeed, I mailed her a lovely 8 X 10 print.....It was a bonus on this special day of Celebration and of course, after dinner both Carol and I and 'the boys' came back for the evening performance of "Follies" so we could see Betty's performance, one more time----GREAT!.That summer of 2001, Patti LuPone played The Hollywood Bowl and a good friend gave me the ultimate Hollywood Bowl "experience". Parking in the 'Gold' section----Valet Parking, my dears, and a real table with a linen tablecloth and silverware, etc., in what used to be called the Pool Area right next to the Hollywood Bowl Stage, where you can order your dinner from Patina and then, enjoy the performance---Up Close & Personal! What a fabulous treat this was......You can see below---It is called, 'The Pool Circle'.I took some pictures of Miss LuPone performing, which I don't think you are supposed to do, but I couldn't help myself....This concert and a second concert the following year, where Patti Lupone shared the stage with the incredibly talented Audra MacDonald---(to see both of these women together was thrilling, beyond words---THRILLING!...). These are just two Highlights of a life spent being thrilled by talent and being lucky enough to have seen some truly GREAT one-of-a-kind people, like Judy Garland, and Marlene Dietrich--Live & In Person, to name just two. I treasure these experiences as very special memories and I wouldn't trade them for anything. That I no longer am able to go and have any more experiences like this is sad, indeed, But I count myself truly lucky that I was able to go and have them all, when I could!Reading Patti LuPone's book brought back many memories for me and I urge anyone who loves talent and truly dedicated 'artists' to run to the bookstore and get this wonderful special memoir. For me, I wish it had been four times as long....I hated that it was over, but again, I feel so happy that Patti LuPone wrote it in the first place and that I had the privilege of reading it and savoring every word!
We've not heard the last of this wonderfully talented "STAR"! And if you are ever lucky enough to be close to a venue where she will be playing---Run, don't walk, to get your tickets. Meanwhile, give yourself a real treat and read this very very special book!








More To Come............



NOTE: 4:05pm....It was 113 degrees at 12:15pm today in Downtown Los Angeles....which means it could be five degrees hotter where I am. This is the Hottest Day Ever Recorded In Los Angeles ever since they started tracking these things---A Very Very Long Time Ago.....




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Thursday, September 23, 2010
more about gordon

Here is my dear brother at about a year old....Isn't he cute? I am continuing my Birthday Post Tribute to Gordon...hoping my Modem is working right now.....We'll See! Anyway......this picture above was taken, I believe, in Florida, in 1930......Below, Florida again, but a few years later........Gordon is the second from the right---there in the forefront, or one could say, in the middle in the forefront....I believe this was at the Lear School in Miami Beach......And below....Gordon and me. Around 1934-35.....Weren't we cute? I know I have posted this picture before. But....many of you may not have seen it........I have always loved this picture. Gordon is two years older than me, and always acted as my protector when we were young. It made us very close and we still are...... Here we are....the four siblings. Me, far left. My oldest sister Robin, who was eight years older than me and who died in February, 2005. Next sister, Gene, who will turn 84 in October, and Gordon, who, as I said, is two years older than me. Losing Robin was a hole that has never been filled nor will it ever be---I know Gordon feels the same way....Robin was the "unconditional love" giver for me and for Gordon too. I'm not sure if Gene feels that way, but I know both Gordon and I do. When I look at a picture like the one above and this one below, I think how young we all were and how everything was 'ahead'. And now, here we are---I'm almost 80 years old...(WHAT?????), and Gordon is 81 and Gene will be 84! How the hell did that happen? Here are the four of us on a funny little balcony that was outside my mother's bedroom in the house in Great Neck, where we all grew up and where my mother lived for 40 years until she died in April, 1966. My parents bought that house in 1926. That is Robin, Gordon, me, and Gene.... This picture above was taken, I think, at Christmas time, 1960. Gordon, Gene, Daddy Joe, and me. I'm not sure why Robin isn't in this picture, but it may be that Robin and Bobby hadn't arrived yet....This was at Daddy Joe's house in Greenwich, Conn. Soon after this---on February 1st, 1961---I moved to Los Angeles. I've written before how Gordon has always loved being out on the water---even as a tiny little boy. He made himself a 'pretend' boat out of a big cardboard box---it sank, of course, but soon after that he had a little dingy....And he has always had a small boat, ever since....Below, me on Gordon's Boat....One of my favorite pictures, taken by Gordon.....In the late 1950's, we used to go from Long Island Sound in Port Washington where Gordon kept his boat, to the East River and and then around the bottom of Manhattan and up The Hudson and then back to Port Washington...... It was pretty daunting going around The Battery, etc....The currents were pretty rough and Gordon's boat was very small...But, we always got through it and then, it was smooth sailing going up The Hudson.....Below...one of my very favorite pictures of Gordon, much later....At The Marina where he kept his boat in Connecticut....... This was taken sometime in the late '90's or early 2000's......Gordon still loves the water, and even though he has very limited mobility he doesn't let that stop him....Being out on the water is healing to him--it's like a deep meditation and something he needs as much as he needs air to breathe..... Gene, Robin and Gordon, at Gordon's 75th Birthday Party....I wasn't able to be there---my Health problems already prohibiting my getting on a plane and traveling, etc.....His party was in Connecticut, of course.....
Below......One last picture that is a favorite of mine---Gordon must have been Eleven, maybe.....Such a sweet face...... So....a very Happy Birthday, dear dear brother.....And I pray you will have oodles and oodles more, my dear Gorga.......




More To Come........





Note: Hooray! My Modem problems are finally solved and so here above is the Birthday Post I wanted to write....


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Monday, September 20, 2010
happy birthday, my dear brother


My dear brother Gordon turns 81 years old, today. How did this happen?
We were just little kids, a minute ago....?
I wish you the most WONDERFUL of Birthdays dear 'Gorga'.....and many many many many more.....I love you with all my heart......!

More To Come........
NOTE: I have not had any Internet connection for almost 24 hours...I am going to try and post this now---I PRAY it gets posted and I pray this Internet problem gets solved.....Grrrrrrrrr....


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010
hollywood tours

This is a Tour Trolley....you see these all over the place if you are out and about driving around Los Angeles. This is a big big business here....On one of my "outings" with Shawn---we were in Beverly Hills at the time----here was this very charming looking Trolley/bus you see above and below.....They take people out on these Tours of The Stars Homes. You see them in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, etc., etc., etc.....They drive all around the different neighborhoods and give a running commentary about who's house is "who's"....sometimes they stop and if you are traveling on that particular street, you have to go around them.....There are all sorts of Vehicles that are used for these Tours, besides this type above, and as I said, the Tours are everywhere. This type of Van above, seems to be a very popular size and I see this type all the time up in my neighborhood---in fact, they seem to be on a "every Half-Hour" type schedule.....When former blogger Wendy W. was visiting here in Los Angeles a few years ago from New Zealand, she and her husband took one of these tours the day before they visited me....That next day, we were out front taking some pictures when one of these Starline Tour Vans came by..... So, I got a picture or two of Wendy talking to the Driver/Guide----he was not the same gentleman that had conducted their tour---they have a lot of these Vans and Drivers.....The Tour they were on originated out of the Starline Tour place right near Grauman's Chinese Theatre---at least, that is where it used to be located......Below. a picture of Wendy and me....that was four years ago and quite a few pounds ago, too....lol. In other words I was younger and thinner.....! It was while we were out here taking these pictures that the Starline Van came by......There are many other Vehicles and Company's that do these tours of The Stars Homes.....Like this one below. This one above is quite a colorful "open-air" long Truck....This was taken the same day as the pictures of "Linda", the Map seller....It turned out that just down the street was the house that Michael Jackson was living in when he died....There were a lot of 'looky loos', including this Open Air Truck....... They had been stopped in front of Linda's stand...but then moved on to Michael Jackson's house......We talked to Linda for a bit and I took some pictures...Then we moved on and there was the Michael Jackson house---another post for another day..... Above.....there is an Open Air Truck and a closed Guideline Van, behind it---stopped at a red light on Sunset and Fairfax....I'm telling you, these "tours" are ev-er-y-where.....! And all these pictures are tours that I saw happening when out for a drive....... This is a good size Open Top Bus that was on Sunset Blvd near Sunset Plaza Drive.....I love how they paint these vehicles so they reflect who the particular Tour Company is.....This bus above was really big.....! I don't have any idea what the prices are for these different tours and how the vehicle used may effect the prices. I've never taken one of these and no doubt, never will. Though, it looks like you can "hire" a private-type tour, if that is what you want and need, and given my Health Issues, that is what I would definitely need. It would be interesting for me to hear the running dialogue that goes with these tours, mostly because I wonder if I would hear anything I don't already know. Below is what I think might be called the "economy" Tour-Vehicle.......And it is in what might be considered the 'economy' part of town, too.....Beachwood, which would be East Hollywood, sort of.....And it is where the Hollywood Sign resides. I'm sure that is why this Truck was there. And the Beachwood area does have an interesting history..... You can see what I mean about this being the economy truck......! Below, another Tour Van..... I cannot get over how many different sizes of Vans there are--some have four windows and some have five, like this one above.....Starline must have so many kinds of vehicles...It is simply amazing....! But, I think my favorite of these vehicles is that Red Trolley. It is probably not the most comfortable, but it sure is the cutest looking one, to me.......!

I cannot believe this is already the middle of September....where has this summer gone? A better question: Where has this year gone?


More To Come..........













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