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June 21, 1999 - #89
For those who didn't believe that pruning the roses was making my roses bloom beautifully (now there is a segue!), here is an activity photo of a pruned rose.
I still feel as if I'm in a void because of the lost column of last week. I feel as if I'm making up for lost time and whatnot. And yet, the lost column was not my fault so why do I feel I need to make up for lost time and whatnot? Shouldn't it be Mr. Mark Bakalor who should be making up for lost time and whatnot? But is Mr. Bakalor making up for lost time and whatnot? No. He is in Barstow or wherever the hell he is, singing and dancing and whatnot. And even though he's now home he still isn't making up for lost time, at least not with this here column. He's making up for lost time with Julie, that's who he's making up for lost time with and the devil take the hindmost. Let's just look at an activity photo of Mr. Bakalor and his ever lovin' Julie, shall we?
I recently went to McDonald's because I had a craving for my beloved Filet o' Fish sandwich. And so off I went to my local McDonald's. Now, normally, unless you go at prime lunch or dinner hour you never have to wait very long. But on this particular day at this particular hour there were more people in line than you could shake a stick at. I know this, because as soon as I saw how many people there were in line I shook a stick and the rest, as they say, is history. It was certainly not prime lunch or dinner hour so I simply couldn't understand The Great Lines. But, I was there, I wanted my Filet o' Fish sandwich, and so I took my place at the end of one of the long lines. Here is what I noticed whilst in line: Everyone seemed very impatient for the line to move. People were craning their necks (no mean feat) and tapping their feet impatiently. Now I like McDonald's as much as the next person, but I see no need to crane my neck or tap my foot impatiently. I leaned forward (it is difficult to lean backward without falling over, hence I leaned forward) and asked the person ahead of me what was going on. They told me that McDonald's had just put out the first of the Beanie Bears, Brittania. I'd heard of Beanie babies and bears because the daughter of a friend of mine collects them. And apparently McDonald's was having some sort of Beanie giveaway. If you bought a Happy Meal you got a free Teenie Beanie. Or, if you didn't buy a Happy Meal you could purchase a Teenie Beanie for a nominal fee. But the McDonald's Beanie Bears could only be purchased, and only if you also purchased a menu item. This, of course, explained the long lines, craning necks and tapping impatient feet. Then an interesting thing happened: A big fat lady started yelling, saying "Can't you move this line faster? They're going to sell out of the bears"! This woman was clearly agitated. Then another person took up the chant, "C'mon, move this line along, they're going to sell out of the bears". I thought there was going to be a riot. But, soon enough, the line moved along and soon enough I was at the counter to order my Filet o' Fish sandwich. Next to me was the big fat lady. She seemingly ordered everything on the menu and then purchased ten Brittania Beanie Bears. It became obvious to me that this woman intended to sell these bears, or to horde these bears and perhaps even auction off these bears on eBay. This woman intended to make a profit selling these bears to little children who couldn't get them because the big fat ladies had bought them all. Well, I took exception to this and I gave that big fat lady a nasty look. I looked at her as if she were a large fetid wart. Now, she wasn't really a large fetid wart but she was doing a mighty fine impression of one. Other people were doing the same thing, purchasing many bears by ordering many menu items. Having a collector mentality, I of course purchased a Brittania with my menu item. One. I also purchased all the Teenie Beanies for a nominal fee which was around fourteen dollars, a very expensive Filet o' Fish sandwich if you ask me. I then ended up going back on three other occasions and buying the other three bears, and it's a good thing I did. First, they sold out of the things immediately because of all the big fat ladies. Second, my friend's daughter didn't get to McDonald's in time to get all four bears and so I was able to make her a happy girl by donating my bears to her. I want it known here and now and also now and here that at no time did I order a Happy Meal. One must draw the line somewhere. As a matter of fact, I'm drawing the line right here.
I attended a new revue recently, entitled Too Old For The Chorus. This was, as you might have surmised from the title, a show about people who are too old for the chorus. But it was also a show about people who are gay and too old for the chorus. I thought that was one too many things to be about, frankly. I thought the "gay" things were tacked on and not really necessary to the evening. But the show was playing in a theater that only does gay-themed shows, so tack it on they did. It was a pleasant evening, nothing terrible and nothing terribly special. The performers were all fine, but the treat of the evening was seeing Mr. Sammy Williams perform again. For those who don't know, Mr. Williams won a Tony award for his performance of Paul in A Chorus Line. He was quite wonderful in that show, not only his heart-rending monologue which he delivered with subtle brilliance, but his dancing, which was joyous beyond belief. But work was not forthcoming for Mr. Williams after he left A Chorus Line and Mr. Williams ultimately retired from the theater and became an award-winning florist. He has now retired from being an award-winning florist and is back where he belongs, doing what he does best, singing and dancing up a storm. He is no longer the young fellow he was when he did A Chorus Line, but he looks and sounds well, and the few times he lets go and dances it is a joy to behold. The show also features Wayne Moore, a very good singer and writer, who did a nice job despite having extreme laryngitis.
Here is an activity photo of the very airplane on which I flew to New York. Originally this activity photo was to have been in the column following that trip, but here it is three weeks later which renders said photo totally meaningless. We print it here nonetheless because we believe that totally meaningless things have their place.
Several dear readers have pointed out to me that I made a heinous (heinous, do you hear me?) mistake in Column 88. All throughout the column I wrote, "tinkling the ivories". Of course, the Real Expression is "tickling the ivories". I knew that, and yet I wrote, "tinkling the ivories" ad nauseum. I suppose I was thinking of that rare Merv Griffin record "A Tinkling Piano In The Next Room". That darn Merv Griffin is always causing confusion. Anyway, it's "tickling the ivories". So, the question then becomes, if you "tickle the ivories" do they laugh uncontrollably? Do they guffaw wholeheartedly, or do they just lie there like so much fish? I shall ponder that question while I finish "tickling" the rest of this here column.
I recently met a really ugly dog. This dog whose name is Sushi, is a female dog. When I met her and was told that her name was Sushi, I, of course, immediately said, "What is it, fish?" after which the dog just looked at me quizzically. Here is a picture of Sushi looking at me quizzically.
Wasn't that nice of Stephen Sondheim to write Sushi that little ditty?
Miss Meryle Secrest has been off in the Bahamas frolicking to and fro and also fro and to on the sand and in the sea. But she is now back and ready to resume her endless probing of my Real Life. She recently asked me if the radio had played any part in shaping my life. I thought this a fairly obscure question, but she's writing the book, not me, so I suppose she has her rhymes and her reasons. She often carries her rhymes and reasons with her in her purse, which makes for a very weighty handbag, let me tell you that, which I just did. She showed me some of her rhymes and reasons the other day. She had "June-moon" with her, and also "together-leather" and she also had the reason "I felt like it" with her, too. What the hell am I talking about? Is there a rhyme or reason to it? I feel it is time for a rhyme, and the season for a reason. Where was I? Oh, yes, the radio play and any part it might have played in shaping my life.
I have always loved the radio. I used to listen to it quite often as a young sprig of a twig of a thing. Yes, quite often my brother and I would sit around the radio (no mean feat) and listen to The Lone Ranger and The Cisco Kid, which were in their final death throes when I was very very young. I also liked scary radio shows, too, shows like Inner Sanctum and Lights Out. Anyway, when I got older, my mother used some S&H Green Stamps (which of you dear readers remember S&H Green Stamps?) and got me a nifty transistor radio. I just loved my nifty transistor radio and late at night I would put the accompanying earphone into my accompanying ear and surf the channels. One thing I found while surfing the channels was a broadcast of some wacky English comedy show entitled The Goon Show. Well, I was immediately taken with The Goon Show. The humor was right up my alley, although how they knew where my alley was is another story altogether. The station that broadcast The Goons did so once a week, and so it became a weekly ritual for me. The Goons were three English comedians, one of whom, Peter Sellers, had already achieved movie stardom. I'd first become aware of Mr. Sellers in the delightful comedy The Mouse That Roared and was already a big fan of his. His two cohorts were Harry Secombe (who is in the film Oliver! You remember him after Oliver says "I want some more" Mr. Secombe bellows "More?") and Spike Milligan. They were quite brilliant and quite mad and once a week, tucked safely under covers with earphone in ear, I would roar at their antics. I would try to remember all their inspired routines and then quote them for friends at school the next day, although my schoolchums were not quite as attuned to their humor as I was. I still remember my favorite Goon Show joke to this very day. They were doing a spoof of war movies, which took place on a German ship. At one point we hear a loud scream. One of the Goons says, "Ah, I hear someone screaming in agony. Fortunately, I speak it fluently". Without the Goon Show I don't believe there would have ever been a Monty Python, as that show was a direct descendent of The Goons.
But the best memory I have of radio has nothing whatsoever to do with radio programs. It has to do with an actual radio, which resided in my father's restaurant. It was a giant Grundig World Radio and I was totally mesmerized by it. It received broadcasts from all over the world, and I'd spin the dial and hear things from France and Italy and Japan. It was magical to a mere sprig of a twig of a youth such as I (sounds like a Gilbert and Sullivan song, doesn't it?). Oh, how I wanted a Grundig World Radio of my very own, but it was not to be. I had to be content with the one in my father's restaurant. I have, ever since then dreamed of owning a giant Grundig World Radio. So, naturally I went to eBay, and there they were. The Grundig World Radio. But interestingly, all the Grundigs up for auction were much much smaller than the one that had been in my father's restaurant. Eventually one came up for auction from somewhere far off in the Netherlands. I bid on it and won it and several weeks later it arrived, in mint condition and working perfectly. It's quite large, but I don't think it's as large as the one in my father's restaurant, unless that one just seemed larger because I was smaller, and now that I am larger this one seems smaller and whatnot. Anyway, it brought back many feelings of nostalgia and I really love having it. Now, if I could only take it under the covers, put an earphone in my ear and hear The Goon Show. Here is an activity photo of my new handy-dandy Grundig world radio.
Of course I will be answering letters which were written weeks ago because Mr. Mark Bakalor and this fershluganah system of his precludes me from getting your new letters until they are old letters like yesterday's cheese slice. So, while I am certain I will have many new letters I will not receive them in time to answer until next week when they will be old letters. Thus is the letters conundrum, and all because Mr. Bakalor is off doing shows in Oxnard or wherever the hell he is, singing and dancing and whatnot like nobody's business. Even dogs are perplexed by Mr. Bakalor's behavior, to wit:
Pitgirl asks what "cherce" means. It's the way Spencer Tracy said the word "choice" in one of the Tracy/Hepburn classics. Pitgirl thought it strange that here I was talking about Ty's Restaurant in the last column, and then she attended a party and saw a person named Ty whom she had never expected to see again. She also tells me that she had a four-day garage sale, and that she will be selling some non-garage sale items on my beloved eBay. Perhaps I will bid on them and they will be cherce.
jon, who is twenty years of age, asks if I saw the original production of Company and do I have any memories of seeing it and other Sondheim shows of the 70s that I can share. I've actually shared all those memories in columns past, so if you search through them you will find those bits. I actually went through and talked about each show over four or five weeks. Perhaps Mr. Bakalor can point the way to those columns by using his handy-dandy search mechanism. That is if he isn't already using his handy-dandy search mechanism on his ever lovin' Julie.
Fambf (yes, Fambf) asks what my favorite dish is at Joe Allen. I presume what Fambf means is what is my favorite thing to eat at Joe Allen, unless Fambf is looking for my opinion on their china. My favorite things to eat at Joe Allen are the following: The caesar salad (simply yummy); the steak; the eggs with chorizo and beans (simply yummy); the fried catfish (when they have it, which isn't often); and my favorite dessert, the coconut cream pie with whipped cream on top.
Rebecca feels that everyone who appeared in Into The Woods has disappeared, with the exception of Bernadette Peters. This is shocking news. An entire cast (with the exception of Bernadette Peters) has disappeared. This sounds like an episode of The X' Files, doesn't it? Rebecca asks if anyone else was in anything after the show closed. Well, certainly Joanna Gleason and Chip Zien have been in many things post-Woods. Ms. Gleason was on Broadway in the short-lived musical Nick and Nora and also on a recent television series. Mr. Zien has been on Broadway and has also been on a recent television series. Danielle Ferland has done several things since, including something right now which I can't remember. Tom Aldredge was in Passion. Robert Westenberg has been in several shows after Woods, as has Chuck Wagner, who is currently on tour in Jekyll and Hyde. I'm sure others have done things as well, but those are the ones I can think of right now.
DeeDee points out that I have indeed been to The Apple Pan since I was sixteen. She points out that I was there several years thereafter, after attending a Sneak Preview of the motion picture entitled The Happening, which starred Miss Faye Dunaway. DeeDee knows this because she happened to be there with me. I bow to her obviously superior memory.
Well, well, well, dear readers, so many people, so many answers. You all know your Sondheim trivia, I'll say that, although why I need to say "that" is another question for another day. The question was: Name the songs that mention "Sondheim" in them. The following people got at least one of the following songs sara, Felix (aka cheshirecat), Alina, Elan, Robert, Michael, Prouvaire (formerly Jon), jon (formerly jon), Drew and grehf. The songs:
This week's trivia question: A major Broadway composer wrote several songs on spec for the musical Gypsy before Mr. Styne and Mr. Sondheim came on board. One of the songs they wrote was recorded and became a minor hit. Name the composer, the song, and the artist who recorded the song.
Until next time, I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be...
Until next time, I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be...
Assassins is about how society interprets the American Dream, marginalizes outsiders and rewrites and sanitizes its collective history. "Something Just Broke" is a major distraction and plays like an afterthought, shoe horned simply to appease. The song breaks the dramatic fluidity and obstructs the overall pacing and climactic arc which derails the very intent and momentum that makes this work so compelling...
- Mark Bakalor
Which is not to say that it is perfect...
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