Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cyndi Lauper was so hungry she ate a squirrel.

It's no secret that I've been in thrall to Cyndi Lauper since the dawn of my worldly understanding, and I even wrote a piece for Out about being able to thank her that fortuitous time I ran into her in the Lower East Side. It seemed also fortuitous that my editor at DNA should hand me her autobiography.

I was so excited to see what influenced this girl from Queens, and the best part was reading all about her growing up, different, unlucky with men and especially unlucky with work. She was super poor, for many, many years. At one point, she was living up in Vermont and she had a boyfriend and they were so hungry that he went out in the back and shot a squirrel, which she skinned, fileted and cooked. The boyfriend had invited a taxi driver in for dinner and when he asked what kind of meat it was she lied and said it was chicken. He didn't believe her, so finally she said it was squirrel and then he didn't believe her -- so she showed him the skinned pelt in the garbage. The dinner ended abruptly.

Leading up to her fame as a musician and singer, she kept getting fired from ill-suited jobs, each one more absurd than the last and all told in her distinct bubbly voice. There doesn't seem to be any resentment or rancor throughout. At one point, Cyndi worked at a dog kennel and pound. She liked the pound dogs better because they were more loving and appreciative but, "the woman who owned the place used to like to put them to sleep (she had this weird thing going on). Whenever I would see she was coming to put one to sleep, I'd take the dog for a walk. Then she kind of got wise and killed them on my day off."

Later she worked at a sort of general store underneath the elevated subway in Queens with these old ladies during an early 80s recession when the oldies were forced back into the workforce. One of these coworkers was 80-something Minnie, heavyset and wearing all black with nurse shoes and stockings worn above the knee (Cyndi writes that she was punk and didn't know it) and Minnie was a real character who would "start out talking normally - until I kept questioning her about something she didn't feel like talking about. Then she'd say something like, "Look, you seem like a nice kid - but go fuck yourself." Another hilarious aside comes when Cyndi asked what she's doing for Christmas and old Minnie said she'd be lying naked on a bearskin rug with some milk and cookies waiting for Santa to come up her chute.

One of the main reasons behind her gay activism was her friend Gregory, who looked out for her in Manhattan before she hit it big. He was super-creative and lived with his boyfriend downstairs and bedazzled everything, "including me". He was kicked out of his home at 12 years old by his parents and then, just as she rocketed to fame, died of AIDS. Her hit True Colors was a demo Ann Murray had turned down. She writes, "True Colors was kind of a country ballad with gospel overtones. I heard the lyrics and melody and thought, If it's a kind of prayer to feel better then it should be sung like one." And so she did. She has since dedicated this healing hymn, as well as her True Colors residence for homeless GLBT youth in Harlem, to Gregory. 

Read All About It!

I wrote a huge feature on a forty year old mass murder case of Juan Corona for DNA magazine,
The Machete Murders of Sutter County. This was the very first serial killer case in the USA, and its magnitude totally swamped the small town Northern California sheriffs department which kept digging up more and more bodies in the local orchards. The case also had strange gay subplots, like the victims (mainly alcoholic day laboring "fruit tramps") buried with their pants pulled around their ankles and a defense which, pathologizing homosexuality, kept on blaming Juan's gay brother - even though he was in Mexico at the time of the murders. I spent a lot of time researching the case and haven't seen another story as up to date - and the now-demented convicted killer's recent parole-seeking confession gives it all a chilling finality.
Check it out in issue #170 -- plus my recap of the dizzying, dazzling Tropical Fruits NYE festival.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Otherwordly Future Festival

I have no idea how I let Bam talk us into the  FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL. Something to do with, "it's what's next Jess, got to keep up!" and even though it cost $200 and featured a ton of artists I didn't know, I like to keep up.
Sydney's Randwick Racecourse is an amazing, huge outdoor venue and there were multiple music stages with lineups throughout the hot day. What I wasn't prepared for was that what's next - was the generation. I had no idea the crowd would be so... future.
 Out of a hundred thousand millenials, with a median age of 21, we stuck out. To put it gently, they are unseasoned partiers. So at first, I wasn't feeling it. But they weren't causing trouble, everyone was having fun - and just read to see what happens next.
You've got Tinnie Tempeh on stage, and Pharrell Williams, and then comes Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and a couple songs in, they play SAME LOVE and the crowd is still going wild, thousands of millenials rocking out and singing along to an anthem about gay love I already feel like I'm on another planet, because in all my life I could never have predicted such a thing. First that there would exist a song like this at all, let alone win a Grammy, or that thousands of teenagers would be rocking out to it, singing along to it, and not pelting the stage with beer bottles.

And then it really went otherwordly. A shirtless surfer dude, maybe 19, comes up to us during Same Love and says that we're "what this is all about" and that he's "proud" of us and cut to us gay boys completely speechless. We thank him awkwardly and and then a random girl pokes me on the shoulder and asks if she can have a picture with us. It was sweet, well-intentioned if naive; it was tokenism at its finest. And I must admit I'm totally feeling this generation.
Me and Simon representing gen X
the foam dance floor

Lazy millenials resting on the dance floor!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Pee Shy

In his poignant memoir, Pee Shy, Frank Spinelli writes about an important topic so many are reluctant to talk about. He was abused by his boy scout leader as a child and what was unresolved back then he daringly confronts thirty years later and ultimately finds justice.

After confessing the abuse he suffered as an 11 year old at the hands of a boy scout leader, who was also a cop, his parents did not prosecute but let it go and pretended it never happened. Later in life, he discovered his abuser, Bill Fox, had talked a suicidal teen boy from a ledge and then adopted him and wrote a book about it, portraying himself as a hero-cop. When he discovered that Fox had also taken in fifteen other young boys, Spinelli knew he had to take action and he becomes a one-man predator catcher.

The book is a slow burner, carefully setting the stage to show how a Catholic Italian family from Staten Island became convinced that the boy scouts would make a macho man out of their son, while ignoring all the troubling signs of a storm brewing.

Full disclosure: Frank is a friend, and I knew many of the characters in the book and have known his quest for justice has been years in the making. I’m so proud that he has finally found closure, and now his catharsis will be a wake-up call, and also a great help to so many in similar circumstances.

Dr Frank Spinelli
I was able to get Frank for a quick chat about his book, which you can check out here.  

Why do you think – in the era of Sandusky (Bill Fox was such a Sandusky!) and Catholic investigations - we aren't talking about this more? 
Dr Frank Spinelli: The idea of a man having sex with a man is still something that makes people cringe. For any normal person, imagining a grown man molesting a little boy is utterly disgusting, and to think the abuser likely knew the family and the boy makes matter worse. Child molestation is such a complex issue because, unlike rape, it involves a grooming process in which the molester gets close to the child, befriends them and then abuses them. And you have to remember that in most cases, the molester was a highly regarded individual. As with Sandusky, I’m sure most people didn’t want to believe someone like him could do such a thing because then they'd have to question everyone they know who has access to children. Unfortunately, most people would rather live in a state of denial than ask those questions.

It's curious how the abuse manifests itself differently in adults. Do you still speak to Jonathan [Frank's childhood friend who was also molested]? Does he know about the book and his portrayal? 
Abuse and trauma affects people differently. There was an amazing book/film called Mysterious Skin in which two boys were abused. One remembered the event vividly and the other had a vague memory of the event. Johathan has chosen not to revisit the past. He’s asked me not to contact him so I will respect his wishes. I hope one day he’ll read my book. I doubt he will.

 Has your family read the book? Or do they still prefer to not look at it?
My sister, Josephine, and my mother read the book. My eldest sister still hasn’t “gotten around to it”. Afterwards Josephine said to me, How come you don’t hate us? My reply was, I did. For a long time I hated my family. Only after years of therapy and learning to forgive myself first, did I learn to love my family again. My mother’s reaction shocked me. I was very proud of my mother for reading my book in the first place, but she called me after she finished it and said, “Children are like seeds. You plant them and hope they grow into beautiful flowers. Sometimes a wolf comes and destroys those flowers. I’m so sorry, but I didn’t know what to do.” I no longer hate my family and it’s nice to know we’re in a better place.

Are you still pee-shy, or have nightmares?
Less so now, but when I was in the thick of it - during the hearings - I was a mess. I sometimes couldn’t pee in my own apartment. It was torture like I had some urinary warden living inside me parceling out pee time. But in all honesty, if I use a public bathroom, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll dart into a stall if one’s available over a urinal any day. I hate urinals. Wait hate is a strong word. I dislike urinals but I’m growing to like them more and more. Maybe one day urinals and I will be friends.  

Your parents didn’t talk to the police – Bill Fox was the police – and yet you have great respect for the police who acted on your complaint.
I have great respect for the police and the legal system. One bad cop wasn’t going to taint my view of the police. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch… wait, isn’t that a Michael Jackson song and wasn’t he accused of child molestation? All kidding aside, if you suspect a child is being sexually abused go to the police! Child molestation is a crime.  

Do you believe Bill Fox was remorseful? Did you see or have contact with him again after that day in court? 
No, he is a monster

Do you think pedophilia is a sexual orientation? Do you think it can be cured? 
Pedophilia is a pathological condition. I would be careful in labeling pedophilia a sexual orientation. It’s a pathological condition. We tend to use sexual orientation with regard to healthy sexual relationships.  

We have a sex offender registry for sex offenders but not a murder registry for convicted murderers. Do you think in some ways we as a society view violent crime as less horrific than sex crimes? 
That’s an interesting question, and I’m not sure I know the reason why we don’t have a murder registry. I would imagine it’s because if you’re convicted of murder you’ll likely already in jail. But it is public record.

What's your favorite response to the book so far? What is your biggest hope that it will accomplish? 
The reviews have been so great, but when readers take the time to write reviews it is so humbling. In writing this book, my hope was to give voice to all the boys Bill molested who wouldn’t come forward but who reached out to me privately and to all the survivors of child molestation. I want to say with Pee-Shy, you are not a victim. It wasn’t your fault and yes, you can find love and have a life that isn’t defined by something that happened to you when you were a child.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Australia is endearing in this way. Here's a street sign directing you to the "Supacenta" and if you didn't live here you'd think the supacenta is an important geological site or maybe a highway named for a Mayan chief. 

In fact it is a shopping mall, the Super Center, but spelled with the accent and all shoved together. It's cute, it's cringeworthy, honey it's hooked on phonics.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Panti's Impassioned Speech

How much do I love a drag queen named Panti Bliss. Or that Panti Bliss made an eloquent and totally accessible speech at the Abbey theatre about oppression that went viral and was even discussed in the Irish parliament. Or that said speech has now been remixed by the Pet Shop Boys!

So much of what she illustrates I've personally experienced and never thought about in such a nuanced way. Anecdotes about the nice lady at the neighborhood cafe, cringing at your flaming friend, checking yourself at the pedestrian crossing... take a look.

The backstory: Panti appeared on an Irish TV program that asked her if there was homophobia in Ireland. Her answer named a Catholic lobby group, which took offense and threatened the TV station. The station issued a formal apology and paid the Catholics out $100K. This scandal, known as #Pantigate led to this speech denouncing this "neat Orwellian trick" that makes homophobes the victims of homophobia.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Easy Living

Felt for all my friends in the northern hemisphere suffering through that wicked polar vortex, formerly known as winter (drama queens). It's been a gorgeous endless summer in Sydney!
Beach Boys at Bronte: Simon, Jesse, Steve and Jack
Taking a moment out of the mardi gras parade for some press!
At a PR event for Schick with co-worker Brodie. He's got the power gun. I'm riding that bull!
Boys day out... babysitting Noah and Leo!
Heather Numberone brings all the boys to her yard at the DNA stall at Fair Day.
5am performance at Mardi Gras after-party. Or maybe it's the midnight show? Who can say?!
Saw Dolly Parton in concert - from the nosebleeds! Who doesn't love Dolly?

I simply could not get enough of this luscious tranny at the MG party...
We were all meant to go hiking on this day. But it was way too nice out! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yeah Well So.. The Oscars

Whoever thought we'd need to tell the gays to get a life? I'm late on this Oscars recap but seriously, to those queens screaming that miss apple pie Ellen made a "transphobic" joke because she told Liza she mistook her for an impersonator, pick your battles. This need to validate your proud victimhood is not going to make you any happier. More importantly, it is alienating your allies and playing the boy who cried wolf to your cause. Times were when the gays were doing all the offending, so let's try going back to transgressive, caustic and controversial instead of sounding exactly like those noxious idiots who claim Disney's Frozen is somehow trying to turn kids lesbian. 

Speaking of frozen, how about Kim Novak's face?

And the irony of her presenting the animation Oscar to Frozen? I mean, we know that Novak fell down a belltower or two in Vertigo, which will bang a girl up, but what was she thinking? It's spooky because the subtext of Vertigo's plot (man changes perfectly beautiful woman's appearance to turn her into his ideal blonde) is eerily exactly what the woman has done to herself. In fact, she should be busy reanimating Jimmy Stewart's rotting corpse for its sequel, Vertigo Strikes Back. I'm not without compassion for her, especially concerning the way women were treated in the studio era and this great blog post, Let's Talk About Kim Novak, paints a picture that includes Columbia's Harry Cohn and puts it all into perspective with a telling finish, "No wonder Novak, like Tippi Hedren, Doris Day and Brigitte Bardot, has long said she’d rather spend her time with animals."

How sweet and endearing and just full of grace were the speeches of Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o? Even though that 12 Years A Slave was like violence porn with a terribly pat conclusion and Dallas Buyers Club was a movie about the AIDS plague starring a homophobic straight dude - now I'm the one ready to cry victim! Of course I wasn't seething at all with envy as they won their awards and even more as they each thanked their brothers and call them their best friends. I share barely more than a name with my siblings, but they drew me in that lotto, too, so I guess the joke's on us all.

Loving Lupita's rainbow of awards season dresses... 

If it were even possible, I was loving Angelina Jolie even more than ever... seeing her talk about her mother as she received a humanitarian award, and then her coming out with Sidney Poitier to the theme song from The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg? I haven't experienced ecstasy like that since the '90s!

The best was John Travolta getting vertigo of the mouth and not mispronouncing Idina Menzel's name but assigning her a new one, Adele Dazeem. If he wasn't speaking through his sci-fi thetan god Xenu, clearly he was trying to quell gay rumours pretending not to know who Idina Menzel is. His flub has been great for her career, however, and now you can even Travoltify your own name online.

Jesse Archer travoltified is... Jae Allorn!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Gay Panic Radio

My radio show, Gay Panic, has moved to an hour on Friday nights in Sydney…  7-8pm on 2ser (107.3fm). We're getting a re-brand and logo options are below for voting. This week on the show we're chatting Mardi Gras Hangover with Matt Akersten of Tune in!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras

Been rehearsing with Lifesavers With Pride to dance up the Oxford Street parade in our speedos!
We're doing a routine choreographed to the Supremes' "Rescue Me" (naturally).
Fun how all of Sydney get into the spirit of gay Christmas. Across the city, ANZ Bank has glammed up their ATMs into bedazzled, rainbowed GAYTMS:
 Wandering Newtown the other day, I came across their Fire Station and its bold message:
The Queen Elizabeth cruise ship docked in Sydney harbor with this rainbow message:

When I was attending the MG Film Festival, there were several ads before the films and they were all geared toward me, the gay audience member, in one way or another and I thought to myself – this must be what it's like to be normal. The world just conspires to lift up and affirm your lifestyle.

And then you think of what's going on in places like Russia, Uganda and Nigeria. It's shocking how the religious right has lost the battle to keep denying marriage equality in the states – and they now take it to Africa, where they've succeeded in penalizing homosexuality with life in prison now in Uganda. The Ugandan press has again released a spread identifying "top homos" and the last time they did this, the top one was brutally murdered in his own home.

In the USA, the "one-man-one-woman" marriage laws which have been voted in over the last decade are now being systematically ruled unconstitutional. So what are they doing now? They are trying to enact new laws to "protect religious freedom" by allowing businesses to deny goods or services to gays if it contradicts their "beliefs". This is no different than hanging a sign in the window that says "will not serve blacks" or jews or muslims or women or people we don't like.

Make no mistake, religious freedom is not under attack but religious superiority certainly is. A public business is open to all the public and your freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences. The foundations of society are not crumbling, but those foundations are now being acknowledged as not looking all the same to everyone. This gaining of rights, and its inevitable backlash, must be like what white men felt the day women entered the workforce.

And the response - waving a bible and wrapped in a flag - has always been the way of fascists. Jan Brewer the Governor of Arizona who once claimed she had a direct line to God and who looks like a shriveled apple (she might ask him for some UV protection) did not veto the religious protection bill passed in their senate for the right reasons (it's identical to Jim Crow-era discrimination), she did it because several organizations got together and told her it would be bad for business. How far we have come to see that being anti-gay is bad for business (Anita Bryant how your ears must burn)?
Although these kinds of "religious freedom means we hate you" laws if passed (there are more coming up in Minnesota and Georgia) will eventually topple as unconstitutional just like the marriage laws before them, I'm wishing one does go through, that they show the world their blatant true colors as the Republican/Tea party hammers the last nails into its own coffin).

I write all this to illustrate that much as it's awesome that Sydney businesses and citizens are getting into gay pride and bedazzling ATMs and cruise ships, that as we march up Oxford Street we don't forget to show solidarity to those others of us who are being executed in Iran and Jamaica, jailed in Uganda and Russia, or simply buying a cake in America and getting turned away because they don't like our kind.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

United States of Amnesia.. and Armament

Two exceptional documentaries screened yesterday at the Mardi Gras Film Festival... and both providing perceptive insight into America, and I suppose what it means for me to be American looking at America from the outside. 

Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia explores the life of this towering figure - and the director was in attendance last night. Vida's notable spars with the likes of William Buckley and Norman Mailer are far more entertaining and enriching than any of the claptrap reality programs that have replaced it.

Vidal was an acerbic wit and giant intellect who ran for office twice, and lost twice. In his last years, he was often trotted out for his incisive, always biting, commentary on world politics and the frightening "empire" mentality of the US. He said the reason he was able to see so clearly was because he got out of politics, and that Presidents/CEO's weren't even conspiring at the top because they didn't need to: they all think alike. The American public, he said, swallows over and over things that no reasonable person would ever accept.

Of course, Vidal shot himself in the foot with his refusal to play the game. The reason he could never be elected was that his integrity also included openly living with his male partner for 50 years, and having dared to publish the first ever gay novel, The City and the Pillar, way back in 1948. The NY Times refused to review him for decades after that. In 1968, he wrote a novel about a transsexual, Myra Breckenridge. Who but Gore Vidal can do that, and also write brilliantly on the founding fathers, American expansionism and the military industrial complex? No wonder he was bitter. It must be hard to live so far ahead of your time.  More than wishing he had ever been elected to office, I wish we lived in an age where a man like him - not a people pleaser - could be elected to office.

For something much less lofty, we go to Oxnard, California, and Valentine Road. Nobody in Australia understands American's fascination with guns (you don't need Gore Vidal to tell you that the US congress is wholly bought by the gun lobby), but not only do they not understand it (neither do I), they believe everyone has a gun (my family never did). The execution of 14-year-old Larry King by his classmate Brandon McInerny back in 2008 did nothing to quell that belief.


Larry was dressing in heels, wearing makeup, calling himself "La Shonda" and Brandon hated him. Then Larry humiliated Brandon by asking him to be his Valentine. The next day, during computer lab, Brandon shot Larry point blank twice in the head. Valentine Road follows the aftermath. At EO Green Jr High School, Larry's teachers are honestly split on whether he deserved it. One of them, the one who had encouraged him to express himself (who even gave him a dress) was fired. The school wanted the bad press to just go away, and students who were interviewed said they never received any counseling; that the teachers spoke about swine flu, but never about the killing they witnessed that one day in class.

Brandon isn't made out to be a monster either; he had it rough and so did his mother. There is more than one victim here, that is clear, but just when you think this disturbing film is going to wrap up, it goes down an even more disturbing track. White supremacy! And a trial painting Larry King as having asked for it. A few ladies from the jury were horrified by what Brandon suffered at the hands of the gender-bending, unabashed gay Larry King, refused to convict him and went on TV to express their support for him wearing "free Brandon" bracelets. Could there be another instance where suburban housewives join forces to get behind a killer? It was like watching a badly acted farce. Even weirder, Brandon's defense attorney tattoos Brandon's name into her flesh because she "loves him" and his prosecuting attorney (who received hate mail from another juror in a letter that had also CC'd "God") leaves audiences irrevocably and forever damaged when she says in the final scene that Larry King's death was indeed in vain; that the trial was neither here nor there, because Americans still live in a society where our prejudice follows us everywhere – even into the jury box.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Getting all judge-y.

I'm honored to be one of the judges, along with Margaret Pomeranz of the ABC's At The Movies and SBS' film critic Sandy George for the Australian shorts program, My Queer Career, screening at the Mardi Gras Film Festival this year. The films are top quality, well-curated and super eclectic. I'm a pretty decisive person, but this kinda judging ain't easy!
I also got to speak with the Festival Director Paul and Lisa on Gay Panic Radio, who gave listeners the scoop on what not to miss. They've been working hard to make this year a big success and the lineup is spectacular. I'll be checking a lot of the program and it all debuts TONIGHT - get onto it!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Bondi Classic

Almost exactly 1,000 people decided on a particularly perfect day to jump into the water, thwack and be thwacked, gulp seawater, undulate with the rolling tides and compete in a 2km ocean swim race. I was one of them! And maybe it was just me gulping seawater...

I survived!
I'm in there somewhere – the third heat breaking the surf. Results-wise, I placed #437, so in the top half. Looking to improve the next race... if my party schedule allows time to train for it!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Bronte Beach

I'm kind of crazy about my backyard.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Go Seahawks!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just another Saturday in Sydney

The day started off normally enough. We took our friends Noah and Leo to see the movie Frozen
But that evening my straight, lifesaving friend Rhys decided to have a drag celebration for his 30th birthday at the Burdekin. We also had tickets with friends to see a tango concert at Sydney Town Hall that same night. And wouldn't you know – it took so long getting ready that we weren't going to have to change outfits. So this is how we rocked up to Town Hall.
"Mayday will be your hostess tonight in Centennial Hall."
The bevel pose is to die for, no? Such a lady! Simon was none too happy that this kind of exposure was going to happen in front of a discerning live audience and felt all sorts of pressure but somehow, SIMONE got right into it and didn't mind at all!
However, being only her second time in drag, Simon is now losing both big toenails....
With our pal Georgina at Town Hall.
Afterward, we dragged her and her husband back to the party. This below is not them:
Lifesaving pal Nisha with India Schincter.
The very messy Miss Anya Back.
 A step and repeat red carpet... !  Rhys #30 sponsored by Prada, Durex condoms, Range Rover.

Surprising how into it the straight boys were, although some considered spandex onesies to be appropriate drag... not that we minded at all!

 Rhys (below, far right) was far gone by this time. Happy birthday, Legend!
We continued the party up Oxford Street. And then this hairspray thing happened...
Having a blast!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stardust Ballroom

And this, my friends, is my local pub. Witness the big hair, the warm atmosphere, the hint that you might win the lotto. That's just how I feel, having discovered the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club.
These locals RSLs are a very cool Australian thing, created for returned service members (hats off!) - and it's a local community, such an authentic place in a world of pretenders. We are members ($2.50 a year!) and when we enter, the median age drops by several decades. There are often bands, but tonight is karaoke night and there is Antoinette on the stage beginning her number. She is queen of the stardust ballroom and soon she will be putting her foot, minx-like, on one of the old men's laps cooing to Nancy Sinatra's "These boots are made for walking".

Patrons are not only the same every week, they sing the same karaoke songs every week, and there are always people dancing... especially that woman with the big blonde bouffant and her partner. No performance is too terrible not to get her up out of her seat and dancing check to cheek. The other woman on the right in what looks like a nightie? She spins around and around in her own world of interpretive dance. There are toothless old men, in the back behind me, like those old Muppets, but staring at TV and often completely asleep.

We've made friends with the bartenders, Sue and Yvonne, who love it when we come in. Last time we went, they asked why we missed the previous karaoke night. Apparently it was a whopper. A brawl broke out during a performance of "Smooth Operator"!

Now I am usually a performer who loves an audience, but as you might imagine, here I just sit back and watch the show!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Alone At The Top

Just last month, actress Joan Fontaine (of Hitchcock's Rebecca and Suspicion) died, aged 96. She was the younger sister, and bitter rival, of actress Olivia de Havilland, aged 97. Theirs was Hollywood's premiere family feud, a lifelong rivalry supposedly nurtured from a very young age by their mother.
Joan Fontaine.
Fontaine is now dead, but she still managed to get the last word. Fontaine once told the Hollywood Reporter, "I married before Olivia, I got an Oscar before her, and if I die before her she'll be furious I beat her to it."

I'm now concerned for Olivia's health, as I figured it was the hate that kept them alive.
Olivia de Havilland in GWTW.
And then, just after New Years 2014, Alicia Rhett, whose only film role was India Wilkes in Gone With The Wind, died in South Carolina. She was 98.
Alicia Rhett as India Wilkes.
That now means, aside from two bit players, Olivia de Havilland is the last surviving cast member of Gone With The Wind. It might go to figure that the woman playing gentle Melanie would outlast them all, and I wonder if she considers this an achievement. If enduring and epic are positive labels only for films. What's it like to have outlasted all your contemporaries, your bitterest rivals; to be peerless?