Thursday, February 23, 2017

LIZ SMITH: Comic Tributes

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia on the cover of TidalWave Productions Tribute comic book series.
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

How Political Will Oscar Night Be? Also: Carrie Fisher's Comic Tribute ... Tyne Daly's Big Irish Birthday Party and how did American weddings get so big?

“IF YOU ever forget you’re a Jew, a Gentile will remind you,” said Bernard Malamud.

I recalled this bulls-eye of a remark the other say, when some people were saying (reading off a piece of paper, actually) that they were not anti-Semitic. Saying that one hates and deplores is not enough. One might as well simply go with “Some of my best friends are ...”

... THE big speculation from Las Vegas odds-makers is how many times Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel will mention the name of the president, if the Commander-in-Chief will be the subject of Kimmel’s first joke, and just how politically charged the show itself will be?   I’d be the last person in the world to give an opinion (pause now for the laughter to die down) but I’d advise all those who wish to make political statements, do so without mentioning names. 
People who love themselves obsessively don’t simply want to be referred to, or implied, they want their name mentioned!  Anything else causes tremendous frustration.  And don’t think it can’t be done my friends, because it can.

Carrie Fisher has been in the public eye since birth, and her life has been a whirlwind of fame, fortune, and heartbreak as well. Who is she? Where did she come from and where is this woman going? Let's find out together ...
... THE late Carrie Fisher (four words I still have a hard time grasping) is being honored as the latest subject of TidalWave Productions Tribute comic book series. Carrie is on the cover as — but of course — Princess Leia.  The 28-page collectible item, “Tribute: Carrie Fisher” is written by Michael Frizell and CW Cooke. The artists are Nathan Webb, Ryan Paule and David Frizell. (Other tribute issues have devoted themselves to such as Lucille Ball, John Lennon, David Bowie, Christopher Reeve, Frank Capra and Whitney Houston.)

Michael Frizell says: “I wanted to pay homage to what fans loved about her: her sense of humor, her persistence in the face of adversity, and her spirit.”  A percentage of the proceeds from the comic will be donated to the Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut, well-respected for its treatment of psychiatric disorders. (Fisher, who suffered from bi-polar disorder and issues with substance abuse sought treatment at Silver Hill.)

Print copies of this comic can be ordered at For those who are e-readers, the book can be found at sources as varied as iTunes, Nook, Kindle — wherever e-books are sold.  And surely, the next TidalWave comic should be a tribute to Fisher’s iconic mom, Debbie Reynolds.
... BEGINNING Saturday you can see the great Tyne Daly in a limited run of Jerry Herman’s “Dear World” (York Theatre Company, St. Peter’s Church, 54th and Lexington Ave.)  On March 17th, shortly after she ends her run, you can help celebrate Ms. Daly’s birthday at the Gingold Theatrical Group’s annual Golden Shamrock Gala. (Tyne’s actual natal day was this past Tuesday, but, close enough.)

The festivities for Daly happen at the 3 West Club at 3 West 51st Street.  There will be corn beef and cabbage, ale, whiskies, music and dancing. And if that’s not enough, you also get Charles Busch, Joel Grey, Liliane Montevecchi, Kate Mulgrew, and Robert Osborne.  The press release declares, “We Need to Celebrate Something!”  I’ll say. And the divine Tyne is a more than worthy “something.”  If you want to get in on this — why wouldn’t you? — call 212-355-7823 or go to
... FROM March 10th to the 26th, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa (66 East 4th Street) there will a rare revival of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.”

The play presents an imagined court case, debating the fate of the man accused of betraying Jesus. Testimony is give by such varied types as Sigmund Freud, Saint Monica, Mother Teresa and Satan. (The playwright’s other works include “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” “In Arabia We’d All Be Kings,” “The Little Flower of East Orange,” and “Between Riverside and Crazy” which won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.) 
This production (pictured above) will be directed by Estelle Parsons.  Best known as an Oscar-winning actress (“Bonnie and Clyde”) and four time Tony Award nominee, Parsons has moved in recent years toward directing. (“As You Like It,” “Macbeth,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Salome: The Reading.”)

Estelle made her major stage debut in 1961. (In 1956, she was part of the ensemble in Ethel Merman’s “Happy Hunting” musical, one of Merman’s lesser efforts.) Parsons was also a writer, producer, commentator and reporter for “The Today Show.” 
In that capacity, she made her mark as somebody who wasn’t afraid to jump right in and ask what others wouldn’t.  In 1956, Parsons was part of a horde of reporters who cornered Marilyn Monroe in Manhattan, after the announcement that MM would marry playwright Arthur Miller. As the others asked when it would happen, why was it happening, was Miller writing a play for her, etc, Estelle—with that unmistakable, impossible to ignore voice—jumped in: “When are you going to have some babies, Marilyn?”  Monroe, who had been all dewy and shy and uncertain answering the others, turned to Parsons and said in a much deeper voice, “Well, I’m not married yet, dear.”

Call 212-352-3101 for tix info on “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.”
A flustered Marilyn, flanked by NBC's Gabe Pressman and "Today Show" producer/reporter ... Estelle Parsons!
... DID you ever wonder how the concept of American weddings got so “big?”  It wasn’t always so.  But as David Patrick Columbia tells us in the wedding issue of Quest, we can blame our current extravaganzas on the nuptials of Caroline Schermerhorn Astor to Marshall Orme Wilson in 1884.  The New York Times proclaimed the happy occasion, “the principal social event of the season.” 

Fathers of the brides have been paying for it ever since. 
The marriage of Caroline Schermerhorn Astor and Marshall Orme Wilson at the Astor mansion on Fifth Avenue.
Contact Liz here.