574 posts categorized "ME"

Aug 13 2014
Golden Age Screen Legend Lauren Bacall Dies @ 89 Comments (0)

BacallSeptember 16, 1924—August 12, 2014

Bacall-lookThe look...the voice...Lauren “Betty” Bacall, one of the last remaining bona fide stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood and one half of its most famous film team with the late Humphrey Bogart (December 25, 1899—January 14, 1957), died today of a stroke.

She was just over a month shy of her ninetieth birthday.

Bacall first became a star in 1944 with her silver-screen debut, To Have and Have Not, delivering one of the most famous lines (at 2:53) in film history to the man who was 25 years her senior but who would become the great love of her life, the father of two of her children and whom she would outlive by nearly 50 years:

Bacall-big-sleep-slinky-black-evening-gownIn a series of indelible classics—The Big Sleep (1946), Key Largo (1948), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Written on the Wind (1956), Designing Woman (1957)—Bacall became an icon of cool sensuality and sophistication, one with a razor-sharp tongue. She worked steadily but never to excess, preferring to do films and, later, TV and theater, that drew her in. She was only nominated once and never won a competitive Oscar [and indeed was the victim of perhaps the worst-ever case of bait-and-switch when she seemed destined to finally win for The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996, only to lose unexpectedly to The English Patient's Juliette Binoche (b. March 9, 1964)], but was awarded one for life achievement in 2009 and won two Tonys, for Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981).

Birth-2004-05-gBacall's last work appears to have been a voice on The Family Guy (2014) this year. Her last on-screen appearance was the teen drama The Forger (2012), starring Josh Hutcherson (b. October 12, 1992) and Hayden Panettiere (b. August 21, 1989).

Some of her more interesting later works would include Paul Schrader's (b. July 22, 1946) The Walker (2007) with Woody Harrelson (b. July 23, 1961), and a pair of films with Nicole Kidman (b. June 20, 1967): Dogville (2003) and Birth (2004).

Bacall iii

For sheer fun, check out Bacall in Murder on the Orient Express (1974). For unpleasant camp, it's gotta be The Fan (1981).

Lauren-Bacall-liberal-quote

Bacall was an outspoken personality, not known for suffering fools, gladly or otherwise. She denounced the House Un-American Activities Committee during its Communist witch hunt at great personal risk to her career.

After Bogart's death, she was married to fellow actor Jason Robards (July 26, 1922—December 26, 2000) for several years in the 1960s, and had a son with him, actor Sam Robards (b. December 16, 1961).

Lauren-Bacall-Matthew-RettenmundMy shot of Bacall in 2012

I was lucky enough to have seen Gore Vidal's The Best Man (2012) the same evening as Ms. Bacall, and was ballsy enough to approach her for a photo. I did not in a zillion years expect her to acquiesce, so my interaction with her was not disappointing!

Lauren_Bacall1Still out and about, at an event in 2013

...and finally, since I have so many Madonna fans on this site, the passing of Bacall means there are now no living stars name-checked in “Vogue” (released March 20, 1990).

The 16 stars are (listed in order they were mentioned, numbered from first to last to pass away):

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Aug 06 2014
Penn Pals: 25 Years Of Madonna, Music & Men Comments (0)

Matthew-Rettenmund Matthew-Rettenmund-Mauro-BramatiTop: Mauro (L) & me (R) today. Bottom: Me (L) & Mauro (R) “yesterday.”

Madonna-ModaHad such a lovely experience this week—after 25+ years, I met in person for the first time a guy who was my equally Madonna-obsessed pen pal in college. I think I first found Mauro Bramati via Madonna's fan club. In those days, it was essential to find pen pals in other countries if you wanted to collect rare foreign items, and Mauro was a goldmine—he would not only send me all the latest Italian magazines with Madonna covers in exchange for all the American ones I could dig up, he would also run around Milano tearing promo posters off of walls to send me. Some of my favorite posters I own came neatly folded in envelopes from Mauro.

I write a lot about this rag-tag operation in my upcoming memoir Starf*cker (May or June 2015).

Italian-mix-tape-1980s

While we traded Madonna loot, we also schooled each other on our burgeoning gay-sex lives and ranted and raved about all the latest, greatest dance music. He sent me countless Italodisco audio cassettes with music from artists who were not common in the U.S., like:

This was back in the day, when receiving free music meant something! It saved me tons of money at the import store.

His cassettes (and mine back) were lovingly titled, decorated with glue-sticked images from magazines and contained expressions of affection from abroad. Well, from a guy, but from abroad.

This week, Mauro brought his lovely young partner on their first trip to the U.S., and we made a point of meeting for the first time. It took forever, but thanks to the postal service and, later, to e-mail and Facebook, two kindred spirits finally met face to face.

And what do you suppose Mauro handed me? A CD with his fave '70s, '80s and '90s tracks, like this:

Lucky that we bonded over an artist who's still so topical. Would we have kept in touch had we started out as the Pointer Sisters' biggest fanboys???

 
Jul 30 2014
Hilary Duff Is Only 26, Already Launching A Comeback! Comments (0)

Hilary-Duff

Hilary Duff's comeback single “Chasing the Sun” is a pleasant summer song. It sounds a lot like Sheryl Crow, but big fans of Hilary's kid-pop might recognize, as I did, that the background melody is very reminiscent of her single “I Can't Wait”'s infectious bum-bum-bum refrain (1:00):

When Hilary was a kid and I first started working with her, I remember telling her and her mom she was a dead ringer for Kylie Minogue. I think she only looks more and more like her over time.

Video to come...

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Jul 23 2014
Buona Sera, Ms. Grant: Attending Lee Grant's I SAID YES TO EVERYTHING Book Signing Comments (0)

Lee-GrantGrant's story of freezing on a Broadway stage in 1972 was gut-wrenching!

Lee-Grant-bookI spent a nice evening at the 82nd Street Barnes & Noble, attending the booksigning for the memoir I Said Yes to Everything (Blue Rider, $28.95) by Lee Grant (b. October 31, 1925)...though it did have some ups and downs.

First, getting there 20 minutes before the start time, I was nonplused to find the entire seating area filled. The crowd was older, and the event free, which made for an interesting time when it came to the things one overheard:

“Who exactly is this person?”

“She was in everything in the '60s and '70s.”

“How old is she? Eighty-eight? That's a very flattering photo on the cover.”

“What's she going to talk about? A book? What book?”

Joy Behar (b. October 7, 1942) had a ringside seat [later asking a loaded question about Grant's Broadway co-star Peter Falk (September 16, 1927—June 23, 2011)], while the rest of us just stood around like groupies. Grant was there early, off to the side, eyeballing the attendees and excusing herself silently to find a bathroom. It was cute that she looked so pleased by the big crowd.

Lee-Grant-audienceThey said yes to Lee Grant.

Grant was engaged in a conversation by well-known biographer Tom Santopietro, who repeatedly joked about Grant being the star. Grant was very comfortable doing the same, cracking jokes, cursing and openly reflecting about her early career, her experience being blacklisted for a dozen years and her transition to directing mostly documentaries.

Of her experience on the blacklist, she recalled stumbling into it after doing a Broadway play with J. Edward Bromberg (December 25, 1903—December 6, 1951) and many others who'd fled the House Un-American Activities. She was asked how she felt about his death of a heart attack and said she felt he'd been hounded to his death...and that quote wound up in Red Channels.

One highlight was when she reminisced about walking down the aisle to receive her Oscar and thinking it was a big fuck you to the McCarthyites who'd tried to keep her down.

For an 88-year-old woman, she looks and acts far younger, and has not only her wits but also her wit about her.

The questions were—shocker!—really great. These things usually have at least one or two embarrassing queries, but this time, Grant fielded thoughtful questions about stage fright, making diverse projects like her Columbo episode (March 1, 1971) and the '90s gay-themed movie It's My Party (1996) and how she felt when her sitcom Fay (1975) was axed after eight episodes.

Barbara-Cook-Barbara-BarrieCook (L) and Barrie (R) catch up. Barrie was going into The Prisoner of Second Avenue in 1972 when Grant was leaving.

After, we lined up. I spotted the fabulous actress Barbara Barrie (b. May 23, 1931) off to the side, chatting, but she gave off a vibe of, “Don't.” So I hesitated. After I saw her sign an autograph and then receive an intro by Grant, who'd begun signing in earnest, I knew I would go for a photo. By pure luck, Barrie was with the legendary singer Barbara Cook (b. October 25, 1927) when I got over to them. I asked politely for a photo with them both. “With? Yes,” Barrie said, implicitly saying no to a posed shot of just the two of them.

Barbara-Cook-Barbara-Barrie-2The room was filled with talented ladies.

“Oh, is it your birthday?” Cook asked, why I had no idea. Turns out she'd misheard something I said, but I didn't want to correct her. Barrie was amazed that Cook had guessed that just from seeing me. I felt guilty taking advantage of birthday positivity, but it was just an oops. The pic is cute.

Barbara-Cook-Barbara-Barrie-Matthew-Rettenmund-starsWith a great singer and a great actress. Hopefully, I'm a...great writer?

When I got up to Grant, I told her it was nice to be able to admire her both as an actress and as a person, because so many major stars are—and then the guy behind me was snapping our photo, so I smiled. “What? So many are what?” Grant wanted to know, ignoring the camera. Click. So that's why the photo is less than ideal. But oh, well, we look engaged in conversation.

Lee-Grant-Matthew-RettenmundAre we deep in conversation about Warren Beatty's sexual prowess?

“Sorry, so many are right-wingers,” I finished. She pooh-poohed that until I clarified, delicately, that I meant so many who were making movies in the '40s and, like she was, the '50s. With that proviso, she agreed.

I was able to get her people/the store's rep to approve my getting a posed shot of Ms. Grant—and I do mean one—posed shot in-between the umpteen fans who were queued up to buy her book.

Lee-Grant-2Ms. Grannnnnt!

It wasn't ideal, photo-wise (though my shots of Grant and of the Barbaras turned out great!), but it was still a thrill to be able to meet an Oscar-winning, one-of-a-kind actress and director whom I truly thought I'd never get to see.

I can't wait to read her book. If you've never seen The Landlord (1970), recommended to me by my pal Gordon not so very long ago, seek it out.

 
Jul 19 2014
We Should Be Dancing Comments (0)

Karen-Lynn-Gorney-Matthew-RettenmundYes, I wore the shirt on purpose.

My pal Bob, who is a great photographer and a starfucker after before my own heart, casually mentioned a Karen Lynn Gorney appearance to me, probably not realizing I'd be as interested as I was—but I was. She was appearing at a small memorabilia show in NYC, and it turned out to be at the very hotel in whose basement gym I work out! (Yes, I work out.)

Madonna-Karen-Lynn-GorneyBack when Madonna was hung up, hung up on Karen Lynn Gorney.

I was happy to get a chance to meet her; I think Saturday Night Fever (1977) is an American masterpiece, one that would easily make my list of 100 best films. She could not have been nicer and was very chatty. When I asked her which photo she liked best from among the ones she was selling, she had no favorite, but agreed that the one I chose was “happy.” (Her character was not exactly fun-loving!)

Madonna-Karen-Lynn-Gorney-Saturday-Night-FeverYou gimme Saturday Night Fever: I loved the photo Ms. Gorney signed 'cuz you don't have to see Travolta!

She told me she'd finally decided to turn down a movie she was offered (“Not because of anything I had to do in it, but because of what other people were doing in it...”) and was taking the summer off. 

 If you do nothing else, watch the above video!

I would like Entertainment Weekly or Vanity Fair to assemble the entire surviving cast for a reunion shoot...wouldn't you?

One more pic of Gorney from today is after the jump...

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Jul 15 2014
Need To Know: Bright Eyes, Dark Lies + It's The Life In Your Mermen + Native Blood Libel + Castro Cop Doffs His Top + Kenneth In The (310) + MORE! Comments (0)

Credence-sci-fi-gay-LGBTCheck out the trailer for #Credence at the end of this post.

*widget boy cultureBoy Culture name-dropped on hilariously named Face4Radio show.

*widget boy cultureBright Eyes singer's rape accuser recants, says she lied.

*widget boy cultureGerman national soccer hero sporting full wood.

*widget boy cultureSingapore's highest court hearing challenge to gay-sex ban.

*widget boy cultureMusto comes clean on addiction to prescription Golden Girls.

*widget boy culture1989 BONER: Creating one of Madonna's “Cherish” mermen.

*widget boy cultureTea Party movie argues Native Americans were never massacred.

*widget boy cultureComedy series based on Robbie Rogers coming from Craig Zadan & Neil Meron.

*widget boy cultureFirst black woman to win Olympic gold medal (in '48) dies @ 90.

*widget boy cultureShirtless shots of Hot Cop of the Castro, Chris Kohrs, appear.

Hot-Cop-of-the-CastroTopless cop of the Castro

*widget boy cultureMissouri's sane Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoes bill allowing teachers to pack heat.

*widget boy cultureHoller If Ya Hear Me closes on Broadway on July 20.

*widget boy cultureNever hire again any photog who lets stuff like this leak:

Tumblr_n8n6usYlYr1r90m4vo1_500Jesus, they even though the bag looked too fat.

*widget boy cultureWho would pay for a mold of Farrah Abraham's holes???

*widget boy cultureJames St. James interviews Kenneth Walsh, who is newly single but no Truvada whore.

*widget boy cultureAfter the jump, check out #Credence, a sci fi film with an LGBT core...

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Jun 28 2014
It's Raining Divas: Martha Wash, Melba Moore, Billy Porter, Kevin Aviance & The Cast Of MIGHTY REAL On Gay Music History @ Sirius XM Comments (0)

I had so much fun during my visit to Larry Flick's Sirius XM radio show today, during which he was counting down the top gay anthems ever as part of Proud & Loud:A Celebration of Gay Anthems. Spoiler alert: “I Will Survive” came out on top, and yet as we all know, those on the bottom are often just as interesting, if not more.

Martha-Wash-Melba-Moore-Billy-PorterMs. Wash, Ms. Moore and Ms. Porter—3 divas 3

Martha Wash-Melba- MooreMartha's 60, Melba's 68—don't they look good?

Anthony-Wayne

Anthony Sylvester Wayne

Anthony Wayne as Sylvester

Anthony Wayne performing

Anthony Wayne plus backups

Anthony Wayne-black white

Anthony WayneAnthony Wayne, Anastacia McCleskey & Jacqueline B. Arnold slaying their star-studded audience.

Case in point, the countdown also featured songs by The Weather Girls and Melba Moore, and both Martha Wash and Ms. Moore were in attendance. It was especially cool that Martha was there, because Larry had invited Anthony Wayne, Jacqueline B. Arnold and Anastacia McCleskey, the cast of Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical, to sing two of the late, great disco diva's best-ever tunes. Martha being one half of the original Weather Girls meant she'd be watching people acting out a sliver of her own personal history.

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Jun 15 2014
Lights Out: Warhol Superstar Ultra Violet Dies @ 78 Comments (0)

UltraVioletDuchampMeadMarcel Duchamp, Dufresne & Taylor Mead in the '60s

Original Andy Warhol superstar and Salvador Dali protégée Isabelle Collin Dufresne, aka Ultra Violet, has lost her battle with cancer at age 78.

Dufresne appeared in a number of Warhol's films, including The Life of Juanita Castro (1965); I, a Man (1967);  and **** (1967); plus several other films teeming with Warhol's clique. She had a small part in the Oscar winner Midnight Cowboy (1969).

Ultra-Violet-Jim-HerringtonA 2009 portrait of Dufresne by Jim Herrington

Ultra Violet-flagI had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Dufresne during the book tour for her memoir Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years with Andy Warhol in Chicago in 1988. I can't be sure, but I believe she was one of the first celebrities I went to see at an appearance, in search of an autograph. I had read up on her, so I arrived with a lightbulb for her to sign (so it would be an Ultra Violet light) as well as an American flag (in homage to her famous flag bed sheets, a picture of which adorns her book's back cover). She was charming, if surprised at my interest. I will never forget her asking, Did you know Andy? I was like 19 years old.

Ultra-violetDufresne had a Hedy Lamarr-like movie-star beauty.

Not many of the major Andy Warhol superstars are left alive...Billy Name (74), Brigid Berlin (74), Gerard Malanga (71), Baby Jane Holzer (73), Jayne County (66 or so), Joe Dallesandro (65), Holly Woodlawn (67), Mary Woronov (70—just met her!) and Viva (75) come to mind, though fans could argue forever which are the most important.