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….
Photo of the day: THREE FACES OF GRIEF – Three mothers, three dead sons. Today at the Justice For Eric Garner Rally on Staten Island, led by Rev. Al Sharpton, the mothers of three slain boys made a surprise and very powerful appearance. Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown’s mother (right) barely able to speak through her tears, Kadiatou Diallo (center), the mother of 22-year-old Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo, who died in a hail of 41 NYPD bullets in 1999, and the mother of Ramarley Graham (left) an unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed by NYC police in 2012.
They spoke in support of Eric Garner and accountability the police must take for brutal unjustified shootings that have become common place in this country like the old Jim Crow south. Name after name from the last two decades, including Trayvon Martin and Eleanor Bumpers were read off, it sent a chill through me. These are gestapo Nazi racial murders like that of Berlin 1939. There are taser guns, tear gas and mace – none used, shooting point blank is out and out murder. (Whatever happened to ‘shoot to maim and stop’?) Yet no Teflon police (or George Zimmerman) are in jail.
Choke-hold victim Eric Garner’s entire family was present: Esaw Garner, Eric Garner’s widow and Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr and their children. To see so many faces of grief on one stage has left me shaken and is something I will not forget.
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.
Postcard story from New York – “A GRANDE DINNER FOR TWO in 1914- 100 YEARS AGO TODAY”
New York, July 30, 1914
“Churchill‘s,” Broadway and Forty-ninth Street, New York.
To: Mrs. Wm. A. Johnson
250 N. Water
Have just gotten back from having dinner here. A Mr. Barkus from South Carolina to me and little Miss Blair to dinner. He sent us both roses – mine were two dozen cream tea roses. He left on the train for S.C. and sent us home in a taxi,
With lots of love,
A grande evening was had by all 100 years ago to the day. It seems Mr. Barkus from South Carolina was quite a gentlemen sending the two ladies home in taxis and roses the next day!
In Times Square things were still ’rosey’, but World War I had just been declared and two days later Germany had declared war on Russia.
Churchill’s was ’the’ place to be at the time. Lobsters! Champagne! Showgirls!
For the decade before Prohibition, Churchill’s Restaurant and Cabaret was one of the largest and swankiest of the “lobster palaces” along the Great White Way.
The eponymous establishment was the creation of ex-NYPD Captain Jim Churchill. Located on Broadway at 49th Street, the eatery could accommodate 1,200 patrons and employed a staff of 300. Guests could dine on the special for a mere buck-twenty five, listen to live music, dance and rub shoulders with denizens of the theater district like actress Anna Held and philanthropist and nightlife fixture Diamond Jim Brady.
Attempting to refute the notion of the scandalous, sinful “Broadway Life” popular in the fictions of the day, Churchill said “Broadway is simply the Coney Island of night-time New York, where some of the people play a bit, eat a bit, drink a bit, talk, sing and laugh a bit—and get a bit dizzy. But the dizziness imparted by Broadway is no more fatal than the dizziness that comes from riding on a gaudily-painted merry-go-round…”
Shortly after the passage of the Volstead Act in 1921, which established prohibition, Churchill shuttered his business, leasing the ground floor to the Toy Yoeng Syndicate of America, which converted it into a Chinese restaurant – today known as the popular Ruby Foos.
(Note the bandshell in the way back above the crowd, that’s Maurice Levi and his orchestra. Kinda like the Harmonia Gardens in Hello Dolly, 2 girls out for dinner on the town.)
PHOTO OF THE DAY: Writer’s Block
PHOTO OF THE DAY: GERMANY 2014 WORLD SOCCER CHAMPIONS – JAWOHL ! ! !
Photo of the day: This morning’s subway breakfast is now served . . . bagels, assorted fruits, coffee and fresh orange juice. You never know what to expect in a NYC subway 🙂
Photo of the day: Gone far away . . .
From Liberty Island…
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY !
Photo of the day: Gay Pride means…never being too old to wear your favorite blue sparkly dress
Photo of the day: Gay Pride means . . . never being too old to stand up for your rights
Photo of the day: WAKE ME WHEN IT’S TUESDAY… Monday morning blues
Photo of the day: A HEEL IN NEED OF A SOLE
– Ok, I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve seen people beg for travel money, beer money, drug money, food money or just the food or cigarettes, etc. . . but begging for money for new shoes because your feet hurt – – – well then why isn’t almost every
woman in town sitting next to him?!?!? “Need money for more comfortable Pradas”, “Low on Louboutins”, “Need a new pair of wedgies”, “Brother can you spare a Croc?” “Hungry for Harley boots.”
Photo of the day: BABY JANE HUDSON LIVES! – Walking along Abingdon Square in Greenwich Village I came across that unmistakable shock of white unkempt damaged hair, tiny little old lady frame and the dark sunglasses to hide behind. There she was, listening to big band music outside of Injera Restaurant. Perhaps she was humming her favorite tune….”I’ve written a Letter to Daddy…”
(For those of you too young, the reference is the scenery chewing performance by Bette Davis as a fading demented film star in the 1962 film “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?”)
Marilyn, Mozart (Kugeln chocolates) and Mom
Photo of the day: THE SPECIAL FATHERS DAY THAT MARILYN MONROE CAME TO DINNER – I had the most extraordinary fathers day! Mom celebrates fathers day for me every year since I am the ‘daddy’ to our dog Noel, so ‘Noel’ throws me a dinner party every year 🙂 To my surprise mom (age 88) had gone all the way uptown to 86th Street to go to Schaller & Weber delicatessen and got the ingredients for my favorite German dish: Rouladen with dumplings, gravy and green bean salad. I was in heaven, because I usually only just get this treat for my birthday and Christmas, but mom and I have started to work on our her/family’s memoirs together (finally! Its a page turner!) and she felt I deserved it, for all the research and writing I am doing.
But I had an extra special surprise guest, Marilyn Monroe came to dinner last night – in painting form.
To my great shock and surprise a very dear friend of mine gave me the painting as a present that I treasured and coveted from our “Whitewash” exhibit. Carlos (See TF) had painted a two story tall sepia tone Marilyn in the stairwell at 5 Pointz, sadly unseen to all visitors. I was in absolute awe of it. When 5 Pointz was destroyed they vindictively painted over the amazing mural as well – twice, despite the fact she was inside away from everyone’s view. I came to discover the amazing artist Carlos (See TF) and who he is and we developed a wonderful friendship.
This was almost two stories tall, done in sepia tones. here sadly whitewashed.
For the exhibit Carlos brought back some of his famous ladies that he had painted at 5 Pointz, the fantastic geisha girls, a ‘Metropolis’-like masked woman and…Marilyn. I coveted that painting, and for those of you who came know how I feel about that MM painting!
It is so mesmerizing that when my own mother came to see my photos on display next to the Marilyn painting, she was so transfixed by it she didn’t even see/acknowledge her own sons photos at first. “Mom! My photos are here!…” LOL. “I know,” she said, “but I have never seen this magnificent Marilyn you have told me so much about.” The whitewashed Marilyn was one of the photos I included in the exhibit and one of the first to sell. They purposely hung side by side, corner to corner to tell the story. Mom gazed at her the rest of the night, oh and, my photos too.
This Sunday was my day to pick up my remaining photos from the exhibit. As I was packing them up, I remarked to my friend Meres that it was sad to see Marilyn gone. “Oh she’s downstairs all wrapped up…Carlos wants you to have her,” he said with the biggest grin. I froze and just exclaimed “What!” several times, still frozen I wasn’t sure I had heard right or if it was a joke. It was not, I right then and there received the most touching phone call from ‘the artist’ telling me why he wanted me to have the painting, I teared up. “She’s going to the right home.” And so my friend…she did.
I revealed Marilyn to mom at dinner and she was also stunned. “She’s so haunting, it draws you in,” and mom, as on opening night, starred at her the rest of the night.
There are people that cross your path in life, that are such unexpected treasures that make you so much richer. 5 Pointz brought many of these people together and even brought Marilyn Monroe to dinner and she stayed.
Thank you my friend.
What is so haunting about it, is that it is not ‘wet lip Marilyn’, or ‘skirt blowing Marilyn’. It beautifully sad reflective 1962 Marilyn portrayed as a human being – not symbol. Notice the painting goes from light (right side) to the dark side (on the left).
FLORAL MEMORIAL TO A LOST TUNE
– Sadly one of New York’s most beloved recent attractions has been destroyed. First by taggers, then (supposedly) by the sea itself. See my post of June 2nd when I discovered the Mason and Hamlin piano there on the shores of our East River/Atlantic Ocean right under the Brooklyn Bridge. It became fodder for every news reporter, tourists loved it and New Yorkers adopted it. The police and harbor patrol looked the other way as people hopped over the gate to be photographed with the piano, the ‘beach’ there is not for public access especially since at high tide the water reaches the West Side Highway. But flock they did, as did I several times. Check out the Internet and you will find some of the most creative and joyful photos taken with it.
I did some research myself. The serial number under the key board, 335 26661, according to Mason & Hamlin’s web site, places it around the year 1915. Mason & Hamlin was founded by Henry Mason who was actually a direct descendent of the pilgrims of the Mayflower!
As to it’s mysterious origins, a so-called ‘street artist’ named HEK TAD took credit for it. Not until 2 weeks later when he tagged it with his spray painted logo all over it, did he lay claim. If you try to find photos of him, he is this skinny little kid, I sure hope he had plenty-a-help lifting that heavy baby grand over the 30″ gate and onto the beach and that tow truck musta been expen$ive. IF, if he indeed is responsible – he should have just left a sign taking credit, not destroying it’s melancholy beauty with his garish white spray paint markings. Many, including me, sought to paint over the markings and gladly finally someone did with what seemed to be some “oops paint” bought cheaply at hardware stores.
One of the last people to be photographed with the piano, is my friend and model Diana Amirova in an early morning photo shoot. I am so glad her beauty did it justice.
So finally now this proud 99 year old piano is giving up it’s ghost and surrendering to the mighty sea.
When I arrived this past Thursday to check on the piano, someone had left a floral memorial tribute to the beautiful graceful grande treasure from the past. Adieu, farewell, your songs played stay in our hearts.
The sea, the sea, calling out to you and me
Waves rush in to caress the sand
Only to roll out again
The sea, the sea, calmness in its water
But in one fowl swoop
The clam has tourned sour…
by Lillian B. Rose
Photo of the day: FRIDAY THE 13th SPECIAL $31 TATTOOS – Rushing along St. Mark’s Place this past Friday, I came across this colorful tranquil scene in the window of Whatever Tattoo. It reminded me immediately of the many old master paintings of reclining nudes I have seen in museums and books. This handsome tall hunk was just in the perfect classic pose, eyes closed, so peaceful and at rest while getting a giant tattoo on his back.
Now some people if they suffer from triskaidekaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) they stay indoors, away from ladders, avoid making decisions and all possible harm – others go to tattoo parlors. I think though, that this tattoo will cost more than the $31 advertised Friday the 13th special.
Modigliani’s ‘Reclining Nude’ 1917
17 St. Mark’s Pl, New York, NY 10003 (212) 777-2430