Wednesday, October 4, 2017

LIZ SMITH: Love is all there is

by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Love is all there is. Also — Bruce Willis, Kathleen Turner, Betty
Buckley, Roy Orbison, Jr. and celebrating Lena Horne.

“THERE IS only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved,” said George Sand.

This column always opens with a quote.  Sometimes it bears relation to our lead story, sometimes not.

We struggled here today over what would be an appropriate opening quote or thought. 

Something about the senselessness of violence? The mystery of a mind gone mad? Guns? Laws? The creepy newsgathering that seeks to exploit people at their most vulnerable?

Should we repeat a quote from somebody else about how the horror in Las Vegas is “the price of freedom” — and then go off on this insensitive idiot?  (No point there.  That quote and that person has already been adequately scourged.)

It seemed more important to recall that every one of the 59 Nevada fatalities were loved, and loved others. All we can do is send whatever emotional/spiritual/religious vibes, thoughts, prayers out into the world, however we see it.  (If we have no particular spirituality—which is fine--ponder the wonder of human life that exists for however long we’re here.)  

Connect with your loved ones. Repair faltering or neglected friendships. Forgive your parents. Vivere in momento. (live in the moment).

Love and be loved.

... The great Betty Buckley will soon return to Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street) with her “Story Songs” act, from October 12th-15th.  But you knew that.  What you might not know is that Ms. Buckley has been cast in a recurring role on the CW hit “Supergirl.”  She will play the adoptive mother of Supergirl’s nemesis, Samantha (Oddette Annable.) Supergirl herself is Melissa Benoist. 
... KATHLEEN Turner is set to headline The International Human Rights Arts Festival on October 15th, in the Grand Hall at Saint Mary Church (440 Grand Street.)   This will be a melding with the esteemed Culture Project, introducing a new space for the arts, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  Both organizations work overtime to affect social change through arts-activism.  There will be performances by Angela Polite, Jacqueline Dugal, Alika Hope, Tom Tsai, Maybe Burke and others.  The event promises to be fascinating and one of those-boy-do-we-need-it-now nights.  Visit
... BRUCE Willis is putting on his producer hat, for the upcoming limited engagement of a new play, titled “MUST” about Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett.  Written by Charles Cissel, and directed by Gabriel Vega Weismann, the play presents a restless and contemplative Billy, ruminating over his life and those who have had major roles in it — Garrett, his mother, and (perhaps) his father.  The play features Brendan Dooling, John Clarence Stewart, Meredith Antoian, Mark Elliot Wilson and Sally Ann Triplett.

Previews begin at the Theatre at St. Clements (423 West 46th Street) on October 30th.  The official opening night in November 6th. For tickets go to I might go to opening night just to catch up with Bruce, always a great favorite here.  The last time I saw him was at his 60th birthday party, two years ago, in New York.  He was as charming and sexy and amusing as ever. And didn’t look a day over 49.
... LENA HORNE never got her due as a MGM movie star.  Well, back in the bad old days, she couldn’t.  Lena was mostly relegated to “specialty” numbers that would be cut for audiences down South.  She remade herself as a dazzling nightclub performer, in Europe first, and then in the U.S.  But even in this guise, she was sometimes dismissed because of her great beauty and sex-appeal. She was a song-stylist rather than a great singer, some said. (I almost “had words” with another famous lady singer — a woman with a powerful ego — who disparaged Horne in this way. We’d been having a lovely conversation. Lena’s name came up. When I argued the “song stylist” label this lady said, “You wanna argue with what I know about singing, honey?” I did.  But I also wanted the rest of her interview.)
Much later, at the Nederlander Theater in New York, the fullness of Lena’s power and passion was unleashed in “The Lady and Her Music.”  But, I still don’t think Lena is as appreciated as she should be.  So I’m happy to announce that the very talented Vivien Reid will present, at Feinstein’s/54 Below, a special centennial celebration of Miss Horne — the grand lady and her fabulous music.  Reid will offer her own soulful and fierce renditions of Lena’s great hits — “A Fine Romance,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Stormy Weather,” etc. Four shows only — November 8, December 7, February 7, and March 7.  Call 646-476-3551. 
... On November 4th the heroic Tom Hanks (as per his standard movie roles now) travels to Austin Texas and the Texas Book Festival, to present and promote his book of short stories, “Uncommon Type.” (The seventeen tales are described as “intelligent and heartwarming.”)  Hanks will talk up his literary effort with Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright. The conversation will also be live-streamed around the country, courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse. (This is a cinema chain, not a brewery!)  Tix are now available, and if you travel to Austin — a divine city — to see Tom, you’ll also receive a signed book. Go to
... ROY Orbison Jr., now has a weekly podcast over iTunes, called “Roy Orbison Jr.’s Rock & Roll Circus.”  The first three podcasts — not surprisingly — recall the life and music of his iconic dad, Roy Orbison.  But he will also focus on other artists and a wide spectrum of music history.  He says, “I grew up knowing Johnny and June Carter Cash — our neighbors — as well as the Beatles, U2, The Traveling Wilburys and many others.  I have so many stories and facts — and questions, too!  I’m really excited to share this with my listeners.  I honestly feel this is something I can give back.  In a way, it’s almost a responsibility.”  Visit his site at
Contact Liz here.