Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Vera Miles flooring the gas of her DeSoto in “Back Street," 1961.
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Wild Wednesday — Miss Kardashian ... Taylor Swift ... Madonna ... Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper.

“YOU can say a lot of things about me, but you cannot say I don’t work hard. I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I don’t act. But I am not lazy.”

That’s Kim Kardashian talking to Interview magazine’s Janet Mock, for a story on Kim, in which she is styled as Jackie Kennedy, during the White House years.

Kardashian is on the cover, with her absurdly named child, North West, and is declared “America’s New First Lady.” 

It’s actually a well-photographed essay (by Steven Klein.) Although in the world of celebrity I’d have thought Beyonce was a more likely choice, if such a layout was in the works.  But hey, Kim’s pretty honest — see opening quote.  And as somebody at the E! network remarked recently, “America has more troubles than the Kardashians.” 

I came across this while glancing at my favorite guilty pleasure gossip site “Dlisted — Be Very Afraid.” It’s a wildly non-PC, fasten your safety belts dish-fest.  The writer who posted the story and photos, credited only as Ben, opines that the issue “couldn’t have been conceived while sober.”

Oh, I’d say everybody was as sober as a judge. Given the controversy Miss Kardashian always generates, pro and con, gussying her up as Jackie — not even later Jackie O, the jet-setter, but prim First Lady Jackie — was a little stroke of genius.
SPEAKING of divas, I skipped the MTV Awards in favor of “Game of Thrones” and no I didn’t bother to DVR the music show because let’s be real — I wouldn’t be familiar with most of the acts and music.  There’s attempting to keep up, and then there’s being ridiculous.

However, like the rest of the world, I’ve seen Taylor Swift’s new video “Look What You Made Me Do.”
It is an impressive thing, and already a huge hit (the most views ever on YouTube.) But with its perceived references to past slights and giving shade, etc, I wonder if she is at that Madonna turning point.  You know Madonna’s favorite theme was the distorting effects of fame, with sex and religion thrown in. Fab and unique for quite a few years, not so much now.  As the years rolled on, nobody cared how fame affected or afflicted Madonna, and in time — possibly a short time — nobody’s going to care about Taylor’s grievances and revenge.
Oh, and if you think Madonna will be mad at us, don’t worry — she already is. Some months back, right after the inauguration of the man who occupies the White House, Madonna appeared, famously at the Women’s March, cursing and making some inflammatory statements.  We wrote to her, gently, admiring her passion and appearance but cautioning on her language which overshadowed an excellent intent and admirable passion. 
She was not wooed by our measured criticism. She ended a terse note with “Thank you for your concern.”  This was interpreted by someone M has known for over thirty years as:  “You are dead to me!”  Despite sending her notes of congratulations on the adoptions of two more children and her recent birthday, there’s been nada, silence.

A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on

But that’s fine. We’ll always love and admire La Ciccone and consider her a special kind of genius and innovator, whose best work, I predict, is yet to be. And, she looks very happy with her brood of six. She doesn’t need our unflagging support — not that she ever did!  I always found her to be a far more amusing, intelligent and vulnerable person than she has generally shown to the public, and I will always think of her like that — a good girl.
KATHY GRIFFIN, “comedienne,” declares that she and CNN’s Anderson Cooper are no longer friends.  She says her longtime New Year’s Eve partner didn’t get in touch with her for months after the infamous severed Trump-head debacle.  Now their precious times are over. (Although Cooper recently told his other good friend, Andy Cohen, purveyor of the worst in reality TV,  that he and Griffin were still buds.) 

In a way it’s too bad because that once-a-year gig on December 31st was the only time Griffin seemed amusing, goading Cooper to blushing and giggling over her antics.  I’ll actually miss that. (But we can always depend on Don Lemon to get drunk in New Orleans and have some body part pierced or otherwise behave ridiculously.)
I always doubted they were “really” friends anyway.  It just seemed they were profitable props working off one another for that one night. 

Listen, even though CNN had no choice but to let her go, everybody deserves a second chance, and she’ll have hers, if she can work it correctly — stop being so self-righteous! 

And she does have a point in that why should she continue an apology tour when the guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, doesn’t know the meaning or spelling of the word?! 

She’ll be back, with hopefully better material and no visual aids. 

... I’VE yet to hear one good word or reasonable excuse for firing actress Erinn Hayes from the second season of Kevin James’ sitcom “Kevin Can Wait,” killing the character off, and then replacing her with his old “King of Queens” co-star Leah Remini (now a famous anti-Scientologist.) The original James/Remini show was amusing, but lightning rarely strikes twice, and surely there was another way to get Leah on the show as a regular.  “Leaves a bad taste in the mouth” is an understatement. 
... I WAS amazed and amused to find an old Johnny Carson show on the Decades channel the other night, with none other than Susan Sarandon as his guest.  I couldn’t figure out the year, but Sarandon looked dewy (and braless, as usual). She was nothing like the formidable actress of today; she seemed to be channeling some dizzy version of Goldie Hawn, mixed with Madame Arcati from “Blithe Spirit.” Twirling a daisy for security — “I get all atwitter when I’m here,” she went on and on about her aura and chakra, and I was just mesmerized.  Carson was his genial bemused self, and Leslie Uggums, also on the celeb couch rolled her eyes a few times.  Fascinating to see how people change over the years, or what they felt obliged to project at an early stage in their career. 
MAIL!  From Christine DeSouza on Ricky Martin (she checked out his famous 1999 Grammy appearance on YouTube). “I had no idea he was so terrific!  Sexy as hell too!  Love, love, love your columns.” (Come on, we have to brag on ourselves a bit.)

Our item on the movie “Back Street” resulted in quite a bit of mail, this being a prime example, from Matthew Harris: “Honey, it’s one of my all-time favorites!  Too many great moments to list, but Vera Miles’ gorgeous high-heeled gam flooring the gas of that wonderful DeSoto is right up there!”
Paul Ross cited it as “one of my favorite bad movies — mesmerizing.”  Paul even recalled years ago we’d written that, in an earlier time, it was Susan who would have played Vera’s vicious wife role, citing the justly famous fashion show scene (“Send it to Miss Rae Smith, care of my husband!”)

Bette Davis and daughter B.D. Hyman on her wedding day in 1964. Courtesy The Bette Davis Collection at Boston University
Paul also remembered Bette Davis’ excuse for making the movie — she played Susan’s dragon-like mother.  “I had a wedding to pay for” Bette said, adding, “If you think that’s bad, you should see what I turned down!” 

How unfortunate Bette didn’t realize that daughter B.D., whose wedding she was paying for, would reveal herself sharper than any serpent’s tooth and turn on Bette, after Davis nearly died from strokes and cancer diagnosis. 

B.D. penned an unflattering tell all, “My Mother’s Keeper,” hoping to publish after Bette died. But the indomitable star went on and on, like the champion fighter she was.  B.D. was compelled to publish while Davis still lived and the star was more than able to defend herself. This considerably muted the effect. 

Davis was far luckier than Joan Crawford, whose reputation is still shadowed by “Mommie Dearest” which appeared after Crawford passed away.
"No wire hangers!"
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