Thursday, May 12, 2016

LIZ SMITH: Femme fatales

MM faces the ravenous press, as she is released from the hospital.
by Liz Smith

Selena Gomez — Don't Cry For Her, GQ! Also — New Books From Holly Peterson and Julia Reed ... "Norma Jeane: The Musical" ... and Nobody's Really Trying To Stop Trump, No Matter What You Read.

"I DIDN'T have an opportunity to figure out my life without people having an opinion every step of the way. But I chose this. So I'm not gonna sit here and say, 'Oh my God, poor me. I didn't have a normal childhood. I don't give a f**k about that."

Victor Demarchelier
That's Selena Gomez, talking to GQ magazine's Zach Baron. Gomez is the former Disney princess-turned-pop-star femme fatale.

This is a very interesting article. Gomez, a real pro from top to toe, is nobody's fool and the vibe throughout — and writer Baron senses it — is that the young actress/singer is testing him, wrestling for control of her career, her image and the interview she has agreed to sit down for. At certain points, Gomez appears to be remarking on the media in general, but the author feels keenly that she is directing her slightly irritated, exasperated responses to him, personally.

There's also a moment when Gomez excuses herself to go the bathroom, leaving her cell phone on the table. Baron writes: "There's something so trusting about the gesture, so simple and nonchalant, that I find myself thinking about it days later. It's guileless in a way that's almost frightening, and at the same time a kind of deeply considered 'F**k you — I dare you.'"

A few years ago, after catching a few episodes of Disney's "The Wizards of Waverly Place" I thought she was unusually adept and interesting. At 23, I think Miss Gomez is headed for a long, hot career — a decade from now, she'll be peaking.
Victor Demarchelier
HOW can one resist an invitation to something called A Bad Ass Media Bitches Buffet where two of the busiest women on the planet kicked off their worldwide food and fun new books this week? It happened last night, and I couldn't resist!

Manhattan's Holly Peterson of the Hamptons calls her book the "Smoke & Fire" tome on feeding people out of doors. And Julia Reed of New Orleans offers her latest titled "South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long." (Julia also means "out of doors.")
Julia with our other pal from New Orleans, Peter Rogers.
Long ago, I wrote my own book "Dishing" about deep fried anti-diet eating out doors from Texas to Paris. After I finished dissecting the appetite of Elvis Presley, I was left with total respect for feeding people in unusual circumstances.

I know both of these writer-hostesses and they are amazing women! You won't want to miss buying either of their books on food and fun.
Click here to order Smoke & Fire: Recipes And Menus For Entertaining Outdoors. Click here to order South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long.
"WHY ARE you so unhappy?"

"I've been paying the best doctors in the world a fortune to find out, and you're asking ME?!"

So went a testy exchange between Marilyn Monroe and a doctor at the Payne Whitney psychiatric clinic, where she was being held, against her will, in early 1961. Marilyn had been placed there by her New York therapist, concerned about the star's extremely depressed state. However, unlike previous hospital stays, MM was placed — to her horror — on the "highly disturbed" ward, stripped, locked in a bare room, ordered to engage with other patients, perhaps do a bit of basket weaving. (Marilyn said, "The day you see me weaving baskets, you know I really have gone nuts!")
Uh ... no basket weaving, thank you very much!
After a nightmarish week, ex-husband Joe DiMaggio demanded her release, and took her to Columbia Neurological hospital, where she stayed for two weeks. DiMaggio said, "I want my wife, and if you don't release her right now, I'll tear this place apart brick by brick!" Joe, despite their 1955 divorce, still considered MM his wife.

Now, coming on June 1st (MM's 90th birthday) in Britain, a new show will premiere, based on Marilyn's horrible experience at Payne Whitney. It's called "Norma Jeane: The Musical." Yep, a musical. I honestly can't imagine a more grim subject, nor can I envision what kind of music will accompany the sorry tale. Director Christopher Swann says: "It's a dark show, but has a big heart." (I guess this means no lavish production numbers with MM wearing sequins and a big smile — mournful ballads in a hospital gown?)
Oh, well, it's just another example of how this woman's image and influence show no sign of abating, more than half a century after her death.

But if anybody wants to know what MM went through, you don't have to go to England and see this show, just find, online or in one of the hundreds of biographies, Marilyn's long, lucid, often funny note to therapist Dr. Ralph Greenson, telling of her experience in detail. This document contains my favorite quote from Marilyn: "Men are reaching for the stars, but they ignore the beating human heart."
Marilyn and Lee Strasberg.
P.S. This letter will be sold off in November at yet another big auction of MM items at Julien's Auction House in L.A. Monroe left all her personal belonging to Lee and Paula Strasberg. Anna Strasberg, Lee's second wife and widow — who never knew the star — has certainly benefited from the unending cult of Monroe.
Dr. Ralph Greenson, with his wife and children, at Marilyn's funeral.
ENDQUOTE: "They are sending in Ben Carson to kind of warm up Ryan and others, before Trump arrives." That's what one of TV's cable pundits said, in the matter of Ben Carson acting as a buffer before Donald Trump meets with House Leader Paul Ryan and other GOP big-shots today. "Warm up?" I love that. Put them to sleep is more likely! Maybe Ryan and company will be so bored, that by the time Trump arrives, they'll do anything he wants.
The truth is — as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has pointed out constantly — the GOP will do as Trump wants no matter what. They are falling in line day-by-day. There's no great "stop Trump" movement or hysteria amongst Republicans. By the time Le Donald is officially crowned at the convention everybody will be toadying for his attention and approval and a place in his cabinet. And I bet that will, in good time, even include Lindsey Graham and Jeb and W. Bush. (Just about the only Bush who'll openly harbor a grudge is matriarch Barbara Bush.)

The "excitement" of the Republican primary race is over. Trump has won. The real nail-biting stuff is on the Democratic side, Hillary vs. Bernie. I think that Dem convention has more potential for drama than anything the Grand Old Party will offer.

With Denis Ferrara

Contact Liz here.