Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LIZ SMITH: Making it your business

Clara Hale, Chita Rivera, Bobby Short, and Lena Horne.
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Will It Ever Be "The Bobby Short Room at The Carlyle"? ... Also Bill Clinton and James Patterson's novel to go Hollywood? ... "King Arthur" ... All-Beatles Radio ... Patti LuPone ... Julie Andrews ... Broadway Barks Again.

“LIZ ... we need to launch a campaign to re-name the Cafe Carlyle the "Bobby Short Room at the Carlyle." He made that room world famous and played it for 35 years. I am surprised it has not been re-named.  I am honored that I produced the last New York tribute to him in 2005 at the Waldorf”

So says our  Theater Hall of Fame friend, Terry Hodge Taylor.  And he is not alone in this sentiment. 

Last week, at Chita Rivera’s opening night at the Café Carlyle she spoke of how honored she was to play the room, but added. “This is the Bobby Short Room. That’s how I think of it. It’s his.” She paused and added, “And he’s here now. I can feel it.” 

So, the ball is in your court, you powers at the Carlyle!  And, again — make it your business to see Ms. Rivera, at the Café.  She is there in all her glory until Saturday.
Bobby and Chita in 1987. Photo: Roxanne Lowit

... ON June 18th a novel titled “The President is Missing” will debut.  Its authors? — thriller-maestro James Patterson, and politician par excellence, former president Bill Clinton. (The book will be published jointly via Knopf and Little, Brown and Co.) “Plot details are scarce” says The Hollywood Reporter, but the magazine also reports that (unsurprisingly!) movie studios are already taking an interest in optioning “The President Is Missing.”  Clinton is a big fan of Patterson’s books. Indeed the author has a framed copy of a photo of Clinton carrying one of his novels. Stay tuned for what will likely be a mega-millions deal.
... LOVED  this take on Guy Ritchie’s new “King Arthur” movie, by Entertainment Weekly’s Kevin P. Sullivan: “Arthur goes into hiding and is raised by kindly prostitutes on the streets of ancient London ... while growing up to become Charlie Hunnam — which is to say, haunted and cocky with zero-percent body fat and snug leather pants.”  The movie opened the bad reviews and limp box-office. While I can’t argue too strenuously with the film’s flaws, I enjoyed it nevertheless — I’ve certainly seen worse, and I’ve also seen all of Mr. Ritchie’s movies. He doesn’t change up his style.  (I think it was those leather pants that relaxed my high critical standards.)
... THIS Thursday, SiriusXM Radio launches its all-Beatles Channel.  It’s the first-ever Fab Four channel, and it means all-Beatles, all eras, all the time.  Perhaps like the famous Siriusly Sinatra channel, they will throw in other artists of the time, but at the start, it will likely be a 24/7 showcase for John, Paul, George and Ringo.  Sirius is a subscription channel, not inexpensive, but worth it, I hear, from fans. Go to www.siriusxm.com
SAVE the dates!  We will remind you closer to the events, but no harm in advance word.  First, on Sunday, September 24th, Patti LuPone and Seth Rudetsky will present their acclaimed “Deconstructing Patti: An Evening of Songs and Stories.”  (Rudetsky is at the piano, “prompting” colorful and intimate anecdotes — and singing, of course — from the legendary LuPone.)  This will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and was originally supposed to happen last Sunday.  For info visit Broadwaycares.org
... ON October 7th, at the Hamptons Film Festival, there will be a special screening of  the 1982 movie “Victor/Victoria” and its great star, Julie Andrews will be on hand to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Something to add to her shelf containing Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globes, Kennedy Center Award, SAG Lifetime Achievement honor. Incredibly no Tony Award!  She was nominated for both “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot” but lost — to Judy Holliday in “Bells Are Ringing” and Elizabeth Seal in “Irma la Douce” respectively.  In 1995 Julie sensationally declined her Tony nomination for the stage version of “Victor/Victoria”  because she felt the show itself had been slighted.  I fondly recall the front-page drama of all that, made more so because Miss Andrews is one of the least “dramatic” show-offy persons in the biz. 
And on Saturday, July 8th, it is time again for the annual “Broadway Barks!” event in Shubert Alley (Broadway and Eighth Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets.)  This animal adoption happening, which benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, is inevitably star-studded and lively. However, there will be some inevitable melancholy. Broadway Barks was founded 19 years ago by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore. The causes — animal rescue and the AIDS fight were close to MTM’s heart.  The event begins at 3 p.m.
Rick Edwards
ENDQUOTE: “If you’re sending a child away to college, Steve Bannon is pretty much the worst-case scenario of what might come back — someone who will spend a lifetime inspired by literature to be more in touch with his inner troglodyte.”

Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone
That is Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, writing his now monthly essay on what’s what in the new presidential administration. It’s always advisable to take a deep breath before tackling Taibbi’s prose.  His words are vivid, accurate (at least from our point of view) and of course, deeply depressing, as each and every day brings some new flouting of democracy’s standards, and a weary, sad shrugging, because these 100-plus days already seem more like a thousand.

The president’s base remains infatuated, and Republicans, now in complete control of everything, have no incentive to fight him — why would they?  Constantly, there is talk of impeachment. (The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos, in the May 8th New Yorker, put out a fascinating, detailed history of the impeachment process itself.)  But really, that seems unlikely.  Better to fight on the firm ground of policies than in the air of “collusion,” right now.

I will close with this from Taibbi: “Steve Bannon and Gary Cohn, two bilious, overweight, ex-Goldman bankers, now sit on either side of the throne, each whispering his respective villainous ideology into the president’s ears.” 

Ah, well.  There’s never been a better time for cinematic comparisons.  It’s “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones,” “One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest,” “Triumph of the Will,” and “The Shining” come to D.C.  We’d throw in the Three Stooges, but there are far more than three!

Contact Liz here.