Joan Rivers’ funeral today was filled with surprises and disappointments. The surprises were the great wonderful celebs that showed up on a moment’s notice, many by foot sauntering up 5th Avenue! I was 1st row behind the reporters but they …were all on ladders and mostly barricaded a good camera shot, but between the elbows and butts I saw:
To think I saw in one hour: Kathy Griffin (very shaken) and Rosie O’Donnell arrive together, Howard Stern, Judge Judy!!, Rachel Ray, Andy Cohen (by foot, one of the few to wave to the crowd), Geraldo, Barbara Walters, Michael Kors, Ivanka Trump walking up 5th, Carolina Herrera, Donald Trump (by limo), Sarah Jessica Parker who you could see kept saying “amazing, amazing” with a big broad smile, Whoopi Goldberg (in tears) coming on foot from around the corner, columnist Cindy Adams, reporter Deborah Norville, Letterman’s Paul Shaffer, Joy Behar very upset, Marlo Thomas and husband Phil Donahue walking hand in hand up 5th, Glenn Close (she’s tiny!), Hugh Jackman and Audra McDonald who both sang in the service, Wanda Sykes, Hoda and Kathie Lee arriving in same car, Dr. Oz, singer Judy Collins, Clive Davis, the complete cast of Fashion Police including Giuliana Rancic, and Kelly Osbourne looking fabulous in her purple meticulously curled mohawk hairdo. The only photo I got was Whoopi and Ivanka 😦
The Gay Men’s Chorus sang “There’s Nothing Like a Dame.”
The disappointments: NO red carpet or craft services! WTF?! That was exactly what Joan had requested! Biggest disappointment of all – NO Meryl Streep. The least she could have done was to send in a tape of her “crying in five different accents.”At least my friend Susan Godwin was there to show support from animal and dog lovers and me making it clear I was saying ‘thank you’ for her support of the gay community her entire career long. Thank you Joan.
Best quote from the service: Howard Stern paid tribute to his friend, joking, “I hope Joan is somewhere chasing Johnny Carson with a baseball bat,” and added, “Joan was a best friend for the world.”
Butts n elbows
Photo of the day: Paying my respects to Joan Rivers. How could I not leave flowers for a woman who fought for AIDS funding before it was popular? Who worked in ‘Gods Name We Deliver’s soup kitchen and made the meals, and surprised some homebound guests by delivering them personally. Who fought for gay rights and equal rights? Whose NYC comedy club appearance proceeds all went to charity? I left a rainbow colored assortment of roses for Joan & Melissa, thanking them both.
Joan Rivers – a true New Yawker. Brash, bold, in your face, a fighter and . . . she made it. Living on 5th Avenue. Still relevant at 81. Gone way to soon, New York will be a sadder and emptier place without her. “Can we talk?”
Photo of the day: INGRID BERGMAN DIES – This was the startling headline New Yorkers were greeted with on August 30, 1982. Bergman had died at the young age of 67 in a London hospital of breast cancer leaving us with incredible memories of “Casablanca” and “Gaslight”. I had spent a wonderful evening alone with her ten years earlier in 1972 at the Ethel Barrymore Theater as she was appearing in the play “Captain Brassbound’s Conversion.” I just gazed at her as we talked. Her face had not changed, her voice was exactly the same, her eyes still sparkled. I was so mesmerized realizing I was looking into the actual eyes of Ilsa Lund….
Marilyn Monroe June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962: the ethereal eternal beauty.
This stunning painting is one of my treasures by friend and artist See Tf.
Harvey Fierstein & Hans Von Rittern and Casa Susanna/Valentina
Photo of the day: HARVEY FIERSTEIN AND HANS SEE “CASA VALENTINA” TOGETHER – well….kinda…
Harvey came to see his show last night and I was sitting right near him.
THE SHOW IS FUCKING BRILLIANT! It is based on a cult book “Casa Susanna” which contains flea market find photos of women in the Catskills in 1962 – the women were men. Not drag queens, but men who simply had the desire to express their feminine side on the weekend and go on doing ordinary household chores leading an ordinary life for two days…as a ‘ordinary’ woman. All were married with children. It is not sensationalist Fierstein drag. It is a dramedy of social mores and sexual politics of the sixties,
To be very honest – I didn’t want to see this play. I thought,’who are you to further expose what was to have been private?”
My mother has always said to me, “please destroy all family pictures if there is no one left in your family. I don’t want to wind up in some flea market and have total stranger pawing over my photos and doing god knows what with them.” I sadly agree. So I felt, who is Harvey to do this – how is he to know what really these people were about and what went on, sorry theater fans, this is how I felt. Yet the book haunted and fascinated me of the sadness yet sensation of this secret world revealed. Reluctantly I bought the cheapest discount ticket possible. I brought my treasured copy of the book along with me.
Almost full house. Curtain rises. I am sitting there with arms folded, negative Nancy. ‘Ok, what did you do with this?’ After 5 minutes I was riveted. The visuals, the acting – breathtaking. I abandoned all doubt and negativity and realized I was watching something intensely personal and brilliant. Half way though act one, I kept thinking to myself, ‘where and how did Harvey come up with this, how did this come out of his head?’ Each actor is cast to perfection for the part. I flipped through my book trying to guess who was who. After a while it didn’t seem to matter, there were real people onstage.
It’s story is of intrigue, mystery, politics, raw emotions, sharp wit, great humor, 1960’s sexual politics, being exposed, homophobia, buried secrets, gut wrenching moments, great sets, superb lighting. Mare Winningham and Reed Birney are FUCKING BRILLIANT! Birney channels Margo Channing/All About Eve yet does not imitate her, it is her fiery essence – it is riveting sheer brilliance at what a strong determined (calculating) woman he portrays. He should have won the damn Tony award he was nominated for as best actor in a play. Mare’s voice projects to the upper balcony even in her most quiet sad moments – that’s technique! (They were not micked.) John Collum is everyone’s grandmother of the period.
The setting is the Chevalier d’Eon, a Catskills resort where button-down married men from the city can slip into something more comfortable for the weekend. This sanctuary is run by George (Patrick Page) and his infinitely accommodating wife, Rita (Mare Winningham). And if the place is a bit run down, for its guests it remains “our own Garden of Eden.” But Harvey being the brilliant Harvey, he has set a serpent loose in their garden of Eden, and you are hooked.
During intermission I asked to buy the poster. The head usher saw I was carrying the book. He tells me several of the men are still alive and the man who took the photos actually had come to see the play! I come further to find out, that of the men/women who are still alive, Harvey (I think) felt it his duty (and privilege) to interview them. So some of the mystery was gone, but yet all the more heightened. Who are they and what has become of them?! I was obsessed with the fact that the usher knew what the photographer of most of the photos looks like! I am even more energized for act two for now I know how much more ‘real’ the story is and I was watching also a history lesson unfold.
As I am waiting for the curtain to go up, coming up my aisle is an unmistakable figure of man – it’s the playwright himself Harvey Fierstein! He sat 1 row across from me! I had to go over to him to ask to sign my poster. “He’s got the book,” he growled to his friend. I grabbed his wrist and kept babbling “it’s brilliant! It’s brilliant’! Hans tongue tied = not often. Back to my seat. I now watched the show and out of the corner of the eye watched this Broadway royalty watching his own show. Surreal. He laughed at the jokes, was stoned faced at the serious moments, just like the rest of us.
Harvey’s reactoin to Jonathan Groff (blue t-shirt) being there
After the show I ran to the stage door and got the cast to sign the poster. Glee star Jonathan Groff was there, a girl next to me nearly died. Harvey was saying goodnight and I asked if I could have my picture taken with him and the book since he had made it come alive along with preserving gay history. “Sure with the book!” We hugged and the guy I gave my camera to couldn’t figure out how it works. Harvey growled, “Heterosexuals! They can’t even figure out how to work a camera.” We all laughed and that is the moment captured in this wonderful moment. I am still on cloud nine.
The ladies who lunch
GO SEE THE PLAY – it has a limited run and is closing June 29. Tickets sometimes available 50% off at TKTS nightly.
CASA web site: http://www.manhattantheatreclub.com/2013-2014-season/casa-valentina/
New York Times review: http://online.wsj.com/articles/like-earlier-hot-spots-williamsburg-adds-gloss-1402620838
Cast signed poster
Jonathan ‘Meres One’ Cohen, Hans Von Rittern
Photo of the day: 2 CHOIR BOYZ ARE WE
– During our “Whitewash” exhibit Meres and I were given the task to assemble and Ikea choir bench for an artist’s talk we were to give later that evening. Quite proud that we had both assembled it successfully and that it held our weight – we posed like the two little choir boiz we are
Two little choir boyz from school are we
Pert as a choir boy can be
Filled to the brim with boyish glee
Two little choir boyz from school are weEverything is a source of fun
Nobody’s safe for we care for none
Life is a joke that’s just begun
Two little choir boyz from the Factory Phun
Two Little choir boyz who all unwary
Come from a boy’s seminary
Free from his genius tutelary
Two little choir boyz from school
Two little choir boyz from school !One little choir boy is the painter handsome
One little choir boy has photos done
Two little boyz in attendance to the art show come
Two little choir boyz from 5 Pointz come
Not under any politician’s thumb
Not liking that Wolkoff scum
nor that Van Bramer bum
Here to make your hood not so glum
Here wishing we had a (paint) gun
LET’S GET THIS DONE !
(With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan.)
Photo of the day: THE CYCLE OF ART AT 5 POINTZ – Come see the magnificent art work for these last two days and celebrate with us that life and art always prevail. Artists and writers will be on the scene.
If you would like to see more expressions by great artists on canvas and in photographs (mine included) from today till this final weekend – come to the Jeffrey Leder Gallery this weekend and view the brilliant art by artists: Auks, Cortes, Hans Von Rittern, Jerms, Just One, Meres One, Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad, all brilliantly curated by Marie Cecile Flageul! A catalog is available for sale as is all the art.
The Jeffrey Leder Gallery: 2137 45th Road, L.I.C.
#7/G subway stop. One block away from 5 Pointz and PS1 Moma. Admission is free, open Saturday: 12-8pm. Artists will be present from 5-7 today!
Photo of the day: ART IS TRA$H – This art work by street artist Francisco de Pájaro was discovered on a mattress late at night at 5 Pointz Graffiti and Street Art Museum which is now destroyed. So, the art at 5 Pointz is now sadly trashed. Or, is it we as society that are the trash? Come see the ‘Whitewash” exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery in it’s last days till June 8! Closing party Saurday June 7: 12 -8. LEDER GALLERY: 2137 45th Road, L.I.C.
#7/G subway stop. One block away from 5 Pointz and PS1 Moma. Admission is free
Here is an excerpt from an interview on Francisco de Pájaro from the blog: ‘Street Art Mecca’: “Francisco speaks about the absurdity in society, our hideous selfishness, our capacity for self destruction and our ridiculous behaviour towards weaknesses. Pajaro’s “Art is Trash” speaks directly at you and says “you are the art, the lie and the trash of society”, and we love him for it. I realised in hindsight that he is just as wonderfully satirical and humorous in conversation as his art is on the street. He sees society with the stark reality you find in many great artists. He points out our imperfections and makes us laugh at them. He converts our waste into grotesque reminders about who we are and what we do. His style of art might be named naive if it wasn’t so harsh to look at. The gallery is on the street, among our discarded belongings that we so often like to ignore.
On previous mini filming excursions with Pajaro I noted that the artwork doesn’t last long on the streets. In Barcelona
there are specific nights when people can put any type of trash on the streets. Each neighbourhood has it’s own day and we met in Gracia on a Tuesday. It doesn’t take long to find an attractive pile of crap and he gets to work. The street is dark and desolate and there’s only Pakistani immigrants competing for recyclables. They stop and watch the performance. One couple walk past and recognise him from “that documentary”. On a different occasion I’ve seen people take some of the art as soon as we leave. “It’s a Barcelona thing” says one neighbour, as he takes a mini monster sculptor back into his house.
Each piece is unique. Each piece is improvised on the street, in the moment. Each piece has the shortest of life spans, much shorter than other types of street art. Each piece interacts with the environment and creates a new perspective. There’s no catch, it’s pure street art. It’s rebellious and punk. The motivation is sincere also, to communicate with everyone. To make you think, to make you smile or laugh. To bring something new to the routine of everyday life. There’s nothing on sale, no money is involved.
Art is Tra$h: Nobody can put me down.
How true that is…..