Friday, August 26, 2016

LIZ SMITH: New York delicacies

She came, she saw, she wore red, and she stayed for the whole movie! 
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

The Sensational Diary of Melania Trump! (Via Paul Rudnick) ... Mystery Meals ... Donald and Hillary Inspired Poets ... Elton John's Greatest Hit — EJAF! ... "90210 The Musical" and Madonna at MoMA — Surprise! 

“AS A stepmom, I worry about Donald’s older sons, who remind me of Teletubbies dressed up like stockbrokers. I once asked Donald,’ With all your money, can’t you buy those boys chins?’

Eric and Donald Jr., love to go hunting in Africa and slaughter beautiful animals for sport.  As I told my trainer, ‘They keep trying to make their father notice them. But he still calls them Thing One and Thing Two.”

That is a portion of Paul Rudnick’s imagining of how Melania Trump’s diary might read.
Rudnick’s one page of Melania musings in The New Yorker is likely the funniest thing I’ve read this month. (With the possible exception of the guilty-pleasure gossip site D-Listed, describing Lindsay Lohan’s purported demands before she embarks on a trip to Russia.)

Other Rudnick delights, from his view over Mrs. Trump’s make-believe bridge include:

“Ivanka told me she’d converted to Judiasm because Jews don’t have Hell” ... ”Donald says I will also need to help fight radical Islam, but I tell him, ‘Donald, you already made me shake hands with Scott Baio, so I think I’ve done more than enough’” ... ”I think about writing a series of children’s books — ‘The Beautiful Princess and the Ogre With No Friends’, ‘The Beautiful Princess and the Orange Baboon Who Doesn’t Pay Taxes’ and ‘The Beautiful Princess Who Misses her Old Boyfriend Vanko, from Slovenia.’”

And this: “I’m feeling doomed.  I wish I was back in Slovenia, modeling polyester cardigans and telling our goat, ‘Someday, I will sail to America and marry a rich, handsome man.’ I should have listened when the cow who was eavesdropping and said, ‘Bloomberg!’”
THE NEW Yorker also offered two other fascinating articles. One, by Nick Paumgarten, is titled “The Country Restaurant” and it is a fairly massive, salubrious ode and investigation to a specific, special, mysterious restaurant in upstate New York, Damon Baehrel, that may or may not be a semi-figment of the imagination of its owner, Mr. Baehrel himself. 

It was the kind of story that the more I read it, the more I thought, “movie rights!” (It really would be a fascinating film.) Also, strangely, despite the endless descriptions of delicate, complicated, delicious, strange, slight-of-hand meals, all I wanted to do when I turned the last page was — go to Burger King and pig out on a Double Whopper with cheese. 
The other New Yorker delicacy was how the candidacy of Mr. Trump has enlivened the online site, “Hello Poetry.” (You write in with a poem you’ve submitted.)  Since Donald’s descent down the elevator last year the site has received upwards of two thousand poems dedicated to the candidate. (As opposed to a mere four hundred, for Hillary Clinton.)

Writer Charles Bethea notes that the majority of the Trump poems tend to be negative, although Clinton’s odes aren’t all unalloyed tributes by any means. 

I liked this one, as it best sums up the terrible frustration so many voters feel right now:

“It’s a bitter pill (more like pilloried)/So shall we now be Trumped or Hillary-ed?”
SPEAKING OF reading, one of PBS’s long-running programs devoted to books and authors, Barry Kibrick’s “Between the Lines” is facing extinction, “unless” as host and producer Kibrick notes: “corporate and audience funding, the first we have ever sought, materializes.” The show, broadcast over 160 PBS stations for twenty years has won three Emmys and promoted works from authors as varied as Anne Rich to Erin Brockovich. Our friend PR master Dick Guttman is scheduled to talk about his memoir “Starflacker” on one of the programs final airings on the 27th.

“Between the Lines” is broadcast from KLCS in Los Angeles. Mr. Kibrick will speak to anybody who can offer a solution or a bit of funding. Call 213-241-4082. 
THIS N’ THAT: Big congratulatory shout out to The Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has received its 11th annual 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

EJAF scored a 96.2% overall rating and 100% for accountability and transparency. EJAF is one of only six organizations to have received five consecutive 4-star commendations. This is a role model for how to do charity right!

Elton John is a musical genius, an icon, an occasionally prickly person and a man who has put his money and his heart where his mouth is, building EJAF into a monolith of good-deed-doing in a naughty world. Bravo, Elton!
... ON September 8th, performances begin at Theater 80 of “90210! The Musical!”  This is from the collaborative team of Bob and Tobly McSmith, who have already delivered musicals dedicated to the Kardashian family and the movie “Showgirls.”

“90210” will give melodic life (courtesy of Assaf Gleizner) to the teen angst of Brenda, Dylan, Brandon, Steve, Donna, David, Andrea and the old guy who ran the Peach Pit. The cast includes Landon Zwick, Alan Trinca, Seth Blum, Alexis Kelly, Caleb Dehne and Thaddeus Kolwicz. Donald Garverick directs.
The cast of "90210! The Musical!"
The press release warns, tantalizingly: “Contains dramatic situations, dramatic drama, unnecessary drama, strong and dramatic language, partial nudity from Dylan McKay, and drama that may not be appropriate for people under the age of 16 or over 101.”

For tix info visit
SHE CAME, she saw, she wore red, and she stayed for the whole movie!  I do mean our girl Madonna. The iconic M put in a totally surprise appearance at the special screening of director Alek Keshishian’s classic documentary, “Truth or Dare” at The Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday night. (Alek, choreographer Vince Paterson and two of Madonna’s dancers, Salim Gauwloos and Jose Guitierez, stayed for a Q & A after.)
Causing a Commotion — The Queen Arrives.
MoMA’s Joseph A. Berger, who had put together the event — along with other Madonna-themed tributes this month — was totally flabbergasted by La Ciccone’s presence. But that stop didn’t stop him from sticking to his original remarks, which were funny, fierce, personal — he was a 12-year-old gay boy struggling, in 1991, when “Truth or Dare” hit screens; the daring glimpse into Madonna’s life — her matter-of-fact embrace of her gay dancers lives and issues — altered his own life and perceptions.
Joe delivering his personal remarks about Madonna.
AIDS was still pretty much a death sentence in 1991.  There wasn’t much positivity for gay youth. The freewheeling, vibrantly liberated 1970s and early 80s had devolved into fear, loathing and religiously sanctioned indifference. Madonna brazenly danced, sang, spoke up and finger-snapped away a great deal of that darkness.

As for the great star, she looked gorgeous, and upon leaving, she appeared pleased, having watched herself at the white hot pinnacle of her fame. The movie is as political, powerful, funny, cringe-inducing, sexy, gritty, without vanity, totally self-obsessed, artful, artificial, genuine and as awkwardly practiced as ever. It’s a genius slice of life.  And not just her life, or her particular career.
“Truth or Dare” is fashioned as a vehicle to display fame at its most intense, pleasurable, invading and isolating.

A hundred years from now, the “Vogue” segment alone — Madonna onstage performing, interspersed with scenes of her being mobbed and adored — will be introduced thus:  “This is stardom. Please stand back."

Contact Liz here.