Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lovin' or Leavin'

"Darlin', I love ya but give me Park Avenue!”
Justin Bieber, Hubby? ... "Green Acres" The Musical ... Renee Taylor's "Life on a Diet" ... Farewell to the First Mrs. Sinatra ... The Grim Foolishness of Cable News.
by Denis Ferrara

“THE MAN who says his wife can’t take a joke forgets that she took him,” said Oscar Wilde.

Justin -- God and Hailey Baldwin Have Got a Grip on Him Now.
... SOME people doubted that pop star Justin Bieber had really given himself over to the Lord — as if all that bad-boy behavior, crotch-grabbing and nude posing was somehow anti-religious. But now he is engaged to model Hailey Baldwin, daughter of unconvincing actor and committed born-again Christian Stephen Baldwin.

Hailey is very much in touch with her evangelical spirituality and wishes to “teach and inspire” what she believes in. She often posts Bible quotations on her social media. (Listen, depending on which quotes and how she interprets them, it is probably more palatable than selfies over a vegan lunch.) The happy couple sent out a pic of the two of them smooching in a hottub. Nothing nasty was revealed except Mr. Bieber’s tattoos which have ruined his body, but he likes it, and apparently so does the future Mrs. Bieber.  Best of luck, kids.

... ”Neeew York is where I’d rather stay/I get allergic smelling hay/I just adore a penthouse view. Darlin’ I love ya but give me Park Avenue!”  Everybody of a certain age and/or a certain sensibility remembers those lyrics from the theme song of the sitcom “Green Acres” which ran for six successful seasons on CBS (1965-71). It starred Eva Gabor (famously known as the “nice” Gabor) and Eddie Albert, as wealthy city folk transplanted to a hardscrabble country farm. (The comedy sprang from Albert’s character loving his new life and Gabor, wearing a series of evening gowns and negligees, not so enamored with the meager accommodations, simple townspeople or Arnold the Pig.) 
Anyway, get ready, because “Green Acres” is going to be made into a stage musical. Why not? Hell, if they can make a musical about French peasants and  a stolen loaf of bread (“Les Miserables”) where’s the oddity of a woman milking a cow in Balenciaga — and singing!

This show will be part of a new entertainment company, Center Stage Capital.  They are planning two more musicals, “Mother Eve’s Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood” and “Empyrea.”  No word yet on cast or theater for “Green Acres” but the director will be Thomas Caruso, and the book, music and lyrics courtesy of Tor Hyams and Lisa Rothauser.
... SPEAKING of amusing theater, on July 25th Renee Taylor steps onstage at the Theater at St. Clements (423 West 46th Street) with her one-woman show, “My Life on a Diet,” written by Taylor and her husband Joseph Bologna. (Joe died last year. He and Renee had been married since 1965.)
Movie mavens recall Taylor and Bologna for their films “Lovers and Other Strangers” and “Made for Each Other” but Renee entered the realm of immortality with the role of Sylvia Fine on Fran Drescher’s series “The Nanny” playing Drescher’s mother. When Drescher, Taylor and the late Ann Morgan Guilbert (as Yetta) were onscreen together, the word sublime doesn’t even come close.  Renee Taylor riffs about the pros and cons of being a zaftig lady at St. Clements for six weeks.  Call 212-246-7277 for tix info. 

P.S.  Drescher recently said she’d be up for a re-boot of “The Nanny.”  Yes!!
... Chita Rivera and Bebe Neuwirth will be honored on July 20th, at East Hamptons Guild Hall.  This is the third Annual Dancers for Good East Hampton Benefit for The Actors Fund.  The evening, which promises “thrilling performances” is to be hosted by Stephanie Pope, veteran of ten Broadway shows.  (It’s more than a “promise” — I saw the first Dancers for Good a couple of years ago.  I was thrilled!) Visit www.dancersforgood.org.
... MY thoughts are with Nancy and Tina Sinatra as they mourn the death of their remarkable mother Nancy Barbato Sinatra Sr., who passed away at the great age of 101.  Nancy, who I am certain considered herself the ONLY “Mrs. Sinatra” never remarried, lived quietly and without ever “telling all.”  Or even some.  Her life without Francis Albert was a good one, until the death of her son, Frank Jr. two years ago.  In that big Rat Pack casino/nightclub in the sky, Ava Gardner hasn’t left the table, but she has very likely changed her seating just a bit for the first and most patient Mrs. S. who will surely arrive with one of Frank’s favorite pasta dishes.
Courtesy of ACC Publicity
MAIL: “I’ve always liked reading you and Liz Smith, but after your ‘morons at MSNBC’ comment, you’ve revealed yourself to be an intolerant right winger. Sad.” 

I received this email — the subject line of which read “Your True Colors” after commenting that the arrest of adult film performer and stripper Stormy Daniels would encourage CNN and MSNBC to give Ms. Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, more unwarranted airtime.

In responding to this note, I pointed out my very liberal leanings and my distaste for the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I see no real messaging from Democrats that will ensure the vaunted “blue wave” in the midterms, nor do I notice the party grooming anybody palatable for 2020.  And the liberal press that is supposed to be helping us?  Bleh! “Morons” might have been a bit harsh — but all the smug preaching and self-importance is pretty hard to take.

Of course I don’t tune into FOX because I’d rather my head didn’t explode. (Although I’ve been told that watching Screaming Jeanine Pirro while stoned can be vastly amusing.)  Sense and sensibility is to be found on the BBC. But that’s cold comfort in these — as the Chinese say ominously — “interesting times.” 

If impatience with Democratic, progressive messaging — which needs to be concise, on point and have something more going for it than “let’s all hate the president!” — leads some to believe me to be an “intolerant right winger” so be it. 

I was sadly alone when I told friends that Hillary was going to lose, and I’m more alone now because I don’t think yelling at Mitch McConnell in restaurants does a damn bit of good.  (I wouldn’t refuse to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders either.  I’d just suggest salads.)
Contact Denis here.