Monday, February 28, 2011
remembering.........

Betty....at one of our "Ladies Who Lunch" Birthday Celebrations---this one was for Kim's Birthday in 2009.....She is showing off her "bling"....one of the silly but fun rings that I had in the Gift Bag......No one enjoyed a gift more than Betty---whether big or small, she would take all of her goodies home and spread them out on the table so she could see them all and savor each one---she always retained that child-like wonder...... Christmas, 1989, New York......Betty is holding up a painting that I had painted and given to her.....It was Christmas Eve, and Betty was performing in "Meet Me In St. Louis" on Broadway....She had done a show that day and was still in her make-up.....Here below, in her dressing room in her finale costume.....I was in New York four times while Betty was doing "Meet Me"....I came for Christmas and then came back to visit a relative who was dying, and then came back again for his funeral....Of course I saw Betty each time....And, I had also come in for the Opening of "Meet Me" in November.....Here below, we are about to go to the Opening Night party....this picture was taken in her dressing room, too..... So many wonderful memories....Such special times, always. Betty was amazing in "Meet Me In St. Louis"...dancing on top of a small table, at not-quite 70 years old....! No one loved performing more than Betty and I've never known anyone who had such 'joy' in the act of performing...It was her life's blood; her 'plasma', if you will.....and the audience loved her. Whatever that IT factor was, she had it and it translated on the stage and on the screen, too....the audience "got" her.....she was her authentic self and that always came through...... "My One And Only", on stage.....just a few years ago at Reprise, here in Los Angeles.....And, at Theatre West a couple of years ago--on stage...."Betty Garrett, Closet Songwriter". This was a show that encompassed original lyrics that Betty had written over the years, many with different composers, including me..... And, below, back in 1963....."Spoon River Anthology", Betty and Joyce Van Patten----the only other person I know who loves performing as much as Betty did, and who has devoted her life to acting, (She is rehearsing a show right now in New York that will open at The Roundabout....) Here they are, on stage together.... 'Daisy Frasier' and 'Aner Clute'.....playing these two drunken fallen women......They were soooo good!!! And here we all are, below....at Synanon, the first drug rehabilitation center run by recovering addicts. It was in Santa Monica right on the beach.....this was back in the summer of 1963 when we did one performance of 'Spoon River' for the group before we went to New York and Broadway.... There we are....the six of us, standing behind some of the Synanon residents.....(I'm at the very end on the right...Betty is over on the left next to Hal Lynch, and next to her, Bob Elston, and next to him, Joyce...and then an unknown person to me and then, on my right side, Chuck Aidman, who did the adaptation and also was in it, as well as directing it.......) What a glorious time this was......Such wonderful memories. Here below, Betty and me and Joyce........ This was snapshot taken by a fan of Betty's......We were in Betty's dressing room----between shows on a Matinee day. This was at The Belasco Theatre on West 44th street, where we had moved because something else was coming into The Booth Theatre and our show had been extended.......I love Joyce's make-up....it looked very white and kind of Kabuki-like in this picture, but actually it really wasn't.....And here we are above.....sometime in the early 1990's, I think, at some Theatre West fund raising evening. The whole idea and concept of Theatre West was Joyce Van Patten's, and Betty was there from the beginning---(I came in to Theatre West some 8 months months after it began in January 1962.....!) It was an amazing place in those first 6 years or so. That is where "Spoon River" started......Up until February 12th, 2011, the three of us---Joyce, Betty and myself, were the three remaining original cast members, all the men had died----now, it is just Joyce and me---hard to fathom.......And here below, Betty & I, in her dressing room at The Belasco Theatre in 2001 when she was doing Stephen Sondheim's "Follies"..... The very same dressing room that was hers when we were doing "Spoon River" in 1963-64, where the whole cast---all six of us----would meet and sing "We Shall Overcome" before every show. Amazing. It was the first time I had been backstage at The Belasco in all those years.....We went upstairs to visit my old dressing room..... It was only later that we both realized we had gone up one flight too many....But, it pretty much looked like my old dressing room, anyway, and I sat down in the chair in front of the big mirror, as I had back in the day.....And another coincidence, Joyce actually was housed in my old dressing room sometime on the late 1990's or early 2000 when she did another play at The Belasco....It many ways, the Broadway theatre world is a small and wonderful world.....Here below, Betty, with Marge Champion---her dressing room mate during "Follies"......It was Betty's Birthday and it was between the Matinee and evening shows....And we went out for dinner.....Both her boys were there and her Cousin Carol, too......Another very special time.......Like I said, so very many wonderful memories....I will always treasure them, but it's hard to realize we won't be making any more now.......



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



Note: Still in 'the recovery room' here....but I wanted to thank everyone for all your loving and caring words....It means a lot--believe me! Please forgive my absence, but I'm just trying to process this stunning blow........




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Friday, February 18, 2011
more betty....

The Beautiful Betty with her dear Godson, Jeff Bridges......I've been thinking a lot about dear Betty these last several days. I've been thinking about that open loving smile that you see above....I've been thinking about how she saved my life back in 1946, before I actually knew her 'in person'---when I saw her on Broadway in "CALL ME MISTER", and knew that I was watching someone who was incredibly special--that show made her a "star" and MGM saw what we all saw on Broadway, and scooped her up .....I've been thinking about the almost 50 years of friendship, and the incredible amount of time I spent with her over all these almost 50 years---working together and sharing good times, as well as bad....precious, precious memories, all......I've been thinking about how she is now with Larry, once again. Here they are below, on their Wedding Day back in the 1946......And how happy they must be now, to be back together again, finally---He died in 1975----after they're 31 years of marriage.....They were a 'True Love' pair...the really were.......I've been thinking about Betty's dear sons---those incredibly devoted "boys"----they will always be 'the boys', though both are such incredibly stellar men.....And I've been thinking about Betty's special daughters-in-law---Karen and Katy.....And her cherished and special Granddaughter, Maddy---who has a lot of her Grandmother in her...And I've been thinking about how bereft they all are right now because Betty is gone......And I've been thinking about a song I wrote about 47 years ago, called "GONE", and it was about a love that was lost, through death: ".....Gone....is that smile that awakened me, Gone is he....Gone from my side and he's gone from my sight, and no more is he.....".....Betty could have been singing this song in 1975 when dear dear Larry died......I've been thinking about how very many lives this incredible woman has touched---How important she was to so very many people....I've been thinking about her ability to give unconditional love. Unconditional Love....Wow! The 'generosity of spirit' that was just who she always was......I've been thinking about how much I miss her and how I truly cannot bear the fact that I can no longer call her on the phone---I can no longer hear her voice, that voice that was disappearing over these many months, though I could still hear her---We All Could Still Hear Her, even when she was only able to whisper......I've been thinking about what a loss her death is to the world....Betty brightened up the world---wherever she was and whoever she was with---Everyone was better off for her being right there with each of us and all of us. Ask anyone, and they will all say the same thing. Believe me, we were all better for having known her----for having had her in our lives.....We are better people because of her. She truly made us all better people by just being who she was.....! What a gift!To have a friend like this---for all of these years----How lucky was I? How blessed was I? That she continued to "save my life" over these fantastically rich wonderful almost 50 years.....It breaks my heart, yet, I am so grateful for this dear sweet friendship.....There are no words....



More to Come..........


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Saturday, February 12, 2011
betty garrett 1919-2011

Such a sad, sad day. As Joyce Van Patten said..."This is a hard one....The world will never be the same now that Betty is gone...." I can hardly believe I am writing these words. Dearest Betty died early this morning. She was such a positive life-force, for so very many people.... To say, my heart is broken and a light has gone out in me, doesn't really even begin to cover all that I am feeling....

So very many people loved dear Betty.....Truly Loved Her! What was not to love?

My heart goes out to her boys----Garrett and Andy---her dear sweet devoted sons...And to Karen & Katy......her two splendid loving daughters-in-law....And to the greatest "happening" in her life, her talented and amazing Granddaughter, Maddy.....

I cannot say any more right now.......





More To Come.......


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Friday, February 11, 2011
west hollywood jesus.......

So, there he was---walking rather swiftly past The Pacific Design Center---A man that walks the streets of West Hollywood who everyone calls "West Hollywood Jesus"......It was quite extraordinary. I was unfamiliar with this gentleman, but Shawn knew who he was and said...."Oh Look, there's West Hollywood Jesus".....This was after I had taken quite a few pictures of the Red Glass Tiles of the new building......So, I began snapping pictures of him......(He told me he was on his way to the bank.....) He had no problem with me doing taking pictures of him---in fact, he was incredibly personable and seemed to very much enjoy the attention.....He was looking at the Red Tiles in the picture above...At least, it looked like that is what he was doing, to me....Here are a few pictures of those Red Glass Tiles, below..... They sure look pretty.....One wonders how pretty it will look when the entire enormous boat-like building is covered in these Red Glass Tiles.....Back in 1975..The "Blue Glass Tiles" of The Blue Whale were very very bold and rather startling....Then, in 1988, the "Green Glass Tiles" were pretty bold, too, but we were accustomed to the idea of an ALL one color building .....Now, in 2011...we have Red....WOW! And, we have 'West Hollywood Jesus'......! I took some video of him.....But dear Blogger wouldn't let me post the longer one of these---The BEST of these two Video's...But, here below, is the other one that they did let me post. WeHo Jesus had a camera and he was taking pictures of me---and some other people that came along....He then, he directed these other people to come over to me! Well, you will see what took place.......

video

A friend of his came by and I got a picture of him with 'Kevin', Weho Jesus' real name.......When I asked him if he had a job, he said, "It's been lovely meeting you....!"...LOL!He told me on the longer Video to go to isawjesusinla.com, and see other pictures of him.....Give it a look see.....And below, here are two pictures that Shawn took of the structure of the Red building with his Blackberry one day, while walking his doggie in West Hollywood....He said to be sure to tell you all that he is not a professional photographer....I think they are pretty damn good...... It really does look like a boat that has docked on San Vicente Blvd. and Santa Monica, right there in the heart of West Hollywood.....Below, a farewell from 'Kevin".....he sure is an interesting man....Only in L.A.


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


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Friday, February 04, 2011
pacific design center

The Pacific Design Center is a very interesting complex here in West Hollywood.....The first building, The Blue Building, opened in 1975, and was quite controversial....It was nicknamed 'The Blue Whale' because of it's size and because there were no obvious windows, though the people inside can look out. The 'Blue Whale' name has stuck for those of us who have been around since the very beginning of this amazing complex of buildings.........It is difficult to show the true size of the building....I took these two pictures above...But not this one below..... This picture above, (taken by someone else) gives you a tiny idea of the size of this building....This view and the ones above are all taken from San Vicente Blvd....The picture below, which I did take, is a view from Melrose Avenue..... I remember when it was being built---it looked like an industrial warehouse, or something equally as horrific in this rather unlikely mostly residential area, until the bright blue glass began to appear and at least then, you knew this was going to be some kind of special building, though it still looked like this huge all Blue warehouse....... And, indeed, it is some kind of 'special' building. It houses a huge number of wholesale home furnishing shops including beautiful expensive Fabric stores---everything for the home--"to the trade only", all under one roof! It is a fantastic place. There is also a theatre and some other spaces that are used for 'special events'. Elton John, holds his Academy Awards Party here, each year, which is a very big Fund raiser for his AIDS Foundation, and which raises waaay over a million dollars every year, just from this one Event.....Lots of other events are going on there, every day of the week---it is a very busy active place in every way....Then, in 1988, the second building, The Green Building, opened...... I find the Green Building particularly fascinating because of the design, and what that design creates artistically speaking....Let's take a closer look at The Green Building.... Whereas the Blue Whale has no windows that show from the outside, The Green Building has these little square windows that allow us to look inside just a little bit....Plus, the building has these wonderful side facets that are on an angle on all four sides....And by the way....the two buildings are connected by an enclosed walkway which you can see below...... Although I have been in the Blue Whale many times, over the years for various functions and other business reasons, I have never been in The Green Building....But, I have always taken great notice of it because of the previously mentioned 'facets'. Depending on the kind of day it is--sunny or not---and the time of day as well as where you might be standing...these amazing visual abstractions are often visible...... I absolutely love these!And then, below, there are these abstract reflections, as well..... The above, is not on one of those facets, but on a straight up and down part of the green glass. What is pictured in an abstract manner, is what is in the immediate foreground and also, the Hollywood Hills, which are way behind the whole thing.....Two more strange and interesting reflective abstractions are below......Some of the things reflected in the glass---the construction equipment which is in evidence because of the next phase of the Pacific Design Center Complex-----The Red Building.....! This building has been in the works, so to speak, for quite a few years. And below, a different view of some of the construction back in the fall of 2009, when I took all these pictures..... And one more, below.....you can see some of the equipment at the bottom of the picture. But, more interesting to me is what the light does on the glass of the Green building and on that see-through glass cylindrical passage, attached to it..... The play of light creates some fascinating shadows and an almost optical illusion, too....I find all of this so incredibly creative and so visually interesting.....Below, are a few pictures of what the Red Building is projected to look like in the context of the entire campus and with the two other buildings...... And one more rendering, below...... In some of the 'projections', it looks like a boat, and it is huge! Next time I will show you some pictures I took very recently, at the end of January, 2011, and you can see some of the progress of this exciting building.....Below, a little preview....... And next time, along with the progress of the Red Building, there is a very interesting person who happened to be walking by on San Vicente Blvd.........








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




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