Tuesday, June 25, 2013

 my 2 great nieces  --growing like weeds. fortunately, i love weeds.....

Monday, June 24, 2013

Drop Dead Diva review

for those of you breathlessly awaiting the news....it was so good!  much as i love the show, it can get gimmicky and silly at times; i hated the finale last year [yes, i can finally say this publicly, since we got our new season and it started off so well].  it was crammed with silliness, gimmicky to the hilt, etc.  last night's episode, by contrast, was clean, crisp, clear: the right combo of funny and serious,  and it  moved the plot in what i hope remains a sensible direction.  i hated the idea of the original jane coming back in a new body; it's enough that the show is premised on one dead person coming back in a new body--are we suddenly to believe that the earth is populated with people who are actually dead while other people live in their bodies?  but given that they were going to do it, they did it interestingly.  old jane--fat, bland, humorless old jane--is now in the body of a sassy young model-type beauty: the perfect reverse image of shallow model deb in the body of fat jane.  if they do it right, this can actually add to the complexity of the original idea of a conventionally sexy woman suddenly trapped in the body of fat and brilliant woman. we've seen 'new jane' [and since we've always known the character as jane, 'jane' will henceforth here mean that character] grow into her combination-sensibility role--how will 'old jane' do that?

  the wonderful lex medlin, who had looked forward to what had been more than hinted at --having the original jane's soul in owen's body--got to do that briefly, in jane's dream.  medlin had felt that as an actor it would be fascinating to play a woman in a man's body, sans camping. in the moment he had, he showed he could do it: a gem of a tiny part.  and we still have him as the beloved owen.  as always his acting was stellar: his stoical, honest anger at what jane has done to him combined with his equally honest pain was, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, 'awesome.'  i do think, though he would deny it, he's the best actor in the cast.  but everyone else was terrific.  the star, brooke elliot, was the best i've seen her--and that's saying a lot.  her brief scenes with medlin were perfect, her contrition, heartbreak, and confusion a perfect complement to his emotions.

even the new guardian angel--played by a young tv hunk actor--was less silly than i thought it would be.  jane confronts him with the question that had bothered me: if the guardian angel is a narcissistic young man, what can he offer to a sophisticated woman who's been through  a huge range of experiences, and grown from them?  his answer: i was the only one who'd take the job; you have a pretty scary rep in heaven. and his involvement in his new body is fun. he's only just figured that he has a physique women go for.  he's clearly never been embodied before, and is confused though pleased about the whole idea. jane's response to him is, finally, good. just leave me alone; i don't want an angel hanging around interfering with my life anyway.  again, if they continue handling it well, this could be a lot of fun.  (and i was glad to see the last angel, luke, allowed to leave gracefully.  fans couldn't stand him; i thought he was fun and well acted].

so we're off to a good start. and we fans, who helped them get revived, can feel even prouder of our work. like the writers and cast, we have justified our faith in the show.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Thought

Sometimes you just have to shake hands with your inner jackass.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day--Remembering my Dad

he died in 1994, and there is not a day passes that i don't think of him, and miss him.  he had flaws, god knows, and my brother Warren and i speak of them often.but mainly we speak of the enormously good things about him, and one of us ends up saying, 'i'm just grateful he was my father.'  this is a picture from the 1950s, maybe early 60s, when he was a model ['a male model??" people would ask in amazement, and i would try not to snap, 'no, he's a female model, can't you see?'' his disliked modeling, having chosen it  to pay for the acting jobs he kept trying to get, and kept with it because you don't change professions with a wife and 3 young kids to support.  but he'd likely have hated anything else even more: at least this wasn't 9 to 5, every day, five days a week.  and it's hardly a coincidence that warren and i both ended up as freelancers.  pop was the one who first helped me try to understand human evil, and though no activist himself, his compassion for people was my first step toward activism.  not because it was 'politics,' but because it was about human beings, it was about caring.  once when i was very young we were at the beach, and some teenage kids had dragged out of the water a very large but harmless fish, and were beating it with boards that had nails in them.  i was horribly shy, but too upset not to confront them, screaming at them and crying.  they laughed at me, and pop gently pulled me away.  'you shouldn't interfere, they might try to hurt you,'' he said softly, but the tone in his voice and look in his eyes were pure pride.  his little girl was fighting for justice, even toward a fish being tortured.  he loved that i joined the civil rights movement, the anti war movement, the women's and gay movements.  having been in theatre, he had a lot of gay friends who became family friends, beginning when we kids were too young to know about sex and which kind was 'good' or bad.' i somehow understood that these men were couples like mom and pop, or single friends with specific personalities, so by the time i learned about homosexuality it seemed pretty routine to me.  my brother keith one day in the car said something about 'faggots,' and pop stopped the car, turned around to keith, and said, very softly and calmly, 'you do know when you use that word you are talking about uncle walter and ti and paul and other people you love.'  keith looked startled, and that was how he learned about homosexuality.  he also introduced me to P.G. Wodehouse novels, and to reading as a pleasure: he would often stop off at a charity place called the Opportunity Shop in Manhattan, and pick up second hand books for himself and for me.
this was meant to be brief, and yet it seems only a tiny bit about this man who shaped my life and beliefs.  but i do hope he is somewhere now where he knows his kids still love him, and dream of him, and know that if there is an afterlife we'll find him there, and all will be well....

Saturday, June 15, 2013

my oldie but goodie on Henry viii

reading more on Henry's wives, specifically the new bio of anne bolen, and decided to give a plug to my 1980s  DIVORCED, BEHEADED SURVIVED, about all the wives.  remarkably, though it was never much of a seller, they've never dumped it, and it's still around.  i think it's really good!  wanted to add a photo of the cover but [a] it won't scan the whole cover, no matter what i do, and [b] when i had the same problem getting it to facebook, 2 of my friends separately sent it and looks beautiful.  but blogspot doesnt think it's a picture, presumably b/c it also has words, and won't print it here, which seems ridiculous.  so if i've captured your interest, you'll have to check it out under the title, and there you'll see a wonderful picture of the book.   [hint: in the book, i show anne bolyen as a victim of what we now call 'sexual harrassment,' or even 'stalking,' and offer pretty good evidence for why, whatever henry's problem with anne of cleves, she could NOT  have really appeared ugly to him in her picture.]

so if you're looking for some cool summer reading, check my cool book.

this advertisement has been endorsed by me.

Another Gorgeous Baby

the practically newborn son of my dear castle colleague Rene Pijles---wonderful expression!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review of ''The Fosters''

ABC Family network sounds like it should offer Disney-wholesome fare, like the Hallmark Channel.  And indeed, it's owned by Disney.  But although Disney's contract with the original owners requires that they air the right-wing fundamentalist '700 Club' at least twice a day, the rest of the programming is far more varied.  The newest show is a summer series called "The Fosters."  In many ways,  it sounds like a standard  wholesome TV show.  A couple, conveniently named the Fosters, is raising a collection of kids--adopted, foster, and in one case the biological son of one of the Fosters.  And in its opening episode, it sounds like a Hallmark Channel show: all the kids have various troubles which the parents work hard at helping them solve.  The catch--and it's a great one--is that the Fosters are a loving, happy, hard-working lesbian couple.  So far, we haven't seen the Foster moms in bed or even in heavy kiss-reasonable for a pair with fulltime jobs and seen always surrounded by a bunch of kids.  At the same time, they don't come off as your average straight couple in semi-drag.  For one thing, they're biracial as well as gay.  For another, there's a slight but definite sexual chemistry between them.

The opening episode plot itself was fairly unoriginal, but the acting was good, and it will be interesting to see how the show plays out over the summer.  ABC is predictably getting furious letters from the right-wing groups pushing ''family values,''  which are presumably being destroyed by this pleasant depiction of good, happy lesbians creating family for battered and abandoned kids.  I think the rest of us should watch and support the show. It's as good as 90 percent of network television, and certainly there's no other network where the heroes are a biracial lesbian couple.  That is very original--and very important.