Wednesday, May 18, 2016

LIZ SMITH: "Detour" To The Top

by Liz Smith

Cyndi Lauper Takes a "Detour" To The Top of The Billboard Charts ... Sally Field Faces Aging, Truthfully and Artfully ... Seth Sikes — He's One of The Smart Ones.

“I’M AN aging actor, and my face and body — I have to be able to play what I am.  If I play a character who is attractive, I want to be attractive, but I am also on my way to being 70, so my face is drooping and falling, and my body isn’t what it was. Good Lord in heaven! It’s all hanging out there in ‘Hello, My Name is Doris.’”

That’s Sally Field, talking to Taffy Brodesser-Akner in AARP magazine.

Ms. Field was referring to her latest film, in which she plays a distinctly quirky woman of certain years, fantasizing over a much younger co-worker (sexy Max Greenfield.)
I wasn’t wild about this film, but I was and I am, impressed by the lengths Sally went to build her character, and how she allowed the director and cameraman to search out every unattractive feature of a mature face and body — all those inevitable things that one privately is annoyed by, but are magnified ten-fold in photos, and hundred-fold on screen.
In person, Field looks considerably fresher than she does in “Doris” (the contrast at the premiere last month, was noticeable) but Sally is nothing if not a committed actor.

The movie’s director, Michael Showalter, who allowed Sally to create her own look for the movie, and inhabit the  character as she saw it, tells AARP: “She established for everyone involved a bar about the kind of work she was doing.  She didn’t have a trailer; she sat on the floor between takes.  She was all about the work she did in front of the camera. We were really inspired by that.”
Sally also recalled that in the kissing scenes with Max Greenfield, she would say to him, constantly: “I’m really sorry, I’m really embarrassed ... we are taught as females in this country that when we have an older face or body, we should feel shame.” (Mr. Greenfield, it is pleasant to report, felt Sally’s apologies were totally unnecessary.) 
The Oscar-winning actress, still musing on older/younger pairings onscreen remembered that when she did “Absence of Malice” with Paul Newman, who was 20 years her senior, it was he who apologized to her!  That seems like a very Paul Newman story.  He never gave the impression that he took his sex-symbol status seriously, or that he was looking to impress his audience by bedding fabulous, younger women in movies. He embraced character roles as soon as he felt he was ready for them. He never tried to look younger, thank God. (Plastic surgery on men — almost never a good idea!)
With Paul Newman in “Absence of Malice,” 1981.
As for “Hello, My Name is Doris” it had a nice success, for a small indie, most reviewers were kinder than I, and it will likely do brisk business on DVD.  I’m glad, because I really, really like Sally Field, and her art, as an actor of maturity, is in full flower. 
Chris Craymer

... Cyndi Lauper’s debut on the country music road, a CD titled “Detour” has rocketed to # 4 on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart. The record has also hit #29 on the Top 200 Albums chart.  Impressive. And deservedly so. Lauper takes great material, classic songs, and makes them her own, without messing them up. I love this album and agree with one of the many rave reviews, that it is “triumphantly amazing.”
Lauper is on the road now, touring for “Detour.”  Yesterday she was at Cleveland’s Hard Rock Live and she’ll hit everywhere from Boston to Atlanta to Austin to Denver to Boise to Saratoga, ending her raucous “funnel of love” at The Joint in Las Vegas on October 8th. Cyndi Lauper, an 80s icon who has never confined herself to one decade or one genre — long may she belt it out!
... ONE OF our favorite cabaret entertainers, handsome Seth Sikes, returns by popular demand to his “second home” — Feinstein’s/54 Below on June 8th.  He’ll reprise his acclaimed set of Liza Minnelli songs.  (Seth began his cabaret career doing songs associated with Judy Garland, now he’s moved on to Liza.  I still say, if he can stand it emotionally, he should do a one-man version of the famed Judy/Liza 1964 Palladium concert.  He might need a rest cure/cleansing/padded cell after that, but one must suffer for one’s art.)
... FANS of the '60’s pop group The Monkees will be interested to know that the surviving members of the foursome — Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith — have a new Monkees ablum, ready for release later this month.  It’s called “Good Times” and apparently sounds remarkably like the sunny pop they produced back in the day. (Music that made them, briefly, even more popular and hysteria-inducing than The Beatles.)
Davy Jones, the diminutive sex-symbol of the group died in 2012, but there’s a track on the CD with a Jones vocal, so all the boys are together, again.  They will tour in the summer.  Even the highly principled Nesmith will go on the road, for at least a few dates. One of the new songs, “She Makes Me Smile,” is already available on YouTube.
ENDQUOTE: “You are right about the Davis-Crawford ‘feud.’ Joan told me it never happened, totally made up. But, yes — they did not like each other!”  

That’s a little note from my friend, the elegant, legendary ad-man Peter Rogers, who knew Joan Crawford very well.

With Denis Ferrara

Contact Liz here.