Film, Music, My back pages, Vespers

Dory Previn, Lyricist, 1925-2012

  All ten year-old tragedians need a soundtrack.  Mine was the Theme from Valley of the Dolls, that heartbreaking ballad from the film that starred Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate and Patty Duke.  I had no idea that the song was meant to underscore the film heroine’s descent into pill addiction (I thought Parkins, Tate and…

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Film, My back pages, Television, Theater, Vespers

Alan Sues, Comic Actor 1926-2011

There was Liberace, Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly and on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, Alan Sues.  What a quartet of flamboyant personalities who blazed on prime time when I was coming of age.   In the 70s their very names were punchlines, code for every euphemism of that other f-word even as the longhaired hippies and…

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Film, My back pages, Television, Theater, Vespers

Jane White, Actress 1922-2011

“Who is that?” I recalled thinking as a child when I first saw Jane White in a television version of Once Upon a Mattress.  As the imperious Queen Aggravain, her performance was a lesson in comedy and drop-dead stylishness; she was something special, and I looked forward to seeing her again. But sightings were rare—hers…

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Film, My back pages, Short Cuts

Funny Boy

Cancer bulletin: nothing relives the doldrums of my birth month like a good laugh.  Good luck finding anything resembling that at the movies; sure, it’s air-conditioned but “rom com” beware.  The term alone guarantees the absence of wit, or for that matter, anything resembling human behavior. Which means us humor-mongers must reach back to the…

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Art, Current Affairs, Gay, My back pages, Politics, Travel, Writing

Another Page

Live from New York: this morning as a family of starlings chirped me into cognizance, I thought, the past is present again.  Funny—it remembered the first day of my Woodstock residency almost a month ago, less evocative of home than a clue to the sheer volume and diversity of bird stock in that neck of…

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Art, My back pages, Writing

Retrieving My Enthusiasms

It’s a chipmunk world, and I’m just living in it.  At the Byrdcliffe Colony in Woodstock where I’m doing a month-long residency, the animals have it: with their rust-colored coats, those cute chipmunks ripple through the grass like glints of bright copper; cats (domestics named Celeste and Bob) strut across the lawn at night, their…

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