Archive for the ‘Actors’ Category

Zwicky on the Art of the Skateboard

February 28, 2023

Notified via Google Alert on Saturday: on the Jenkem Magazine (skateboarding) site, “Allies: Calder Zwicky of MOMA” (with a YouTube video) by Alexis Castro & Ollie Rodgers on 10/2/18. Another chapter in the story of artist Calder Zwicky — previously reported on in this blog back in 2016, so this is an update, but not actually up-to-date (though it gets skateboarding into CZ’s story, which is a good thing).

(#1) Screen shot from the video: CZ talking about a work of his from the Lonely Thrasher series — slang thrasher, roughly ‘excellent skateboarder’, also the name of a skater magazine — showing a cover of this magazine with the skater removed, to yield an image that, CZ argues, is still a skateboarding image, of the huge space and the complex physical structure that offers a challenge to a serious skateboarder; the skater is implicit in the image


Angela goes to dance camp

February 2, 2023

(It’s the morning of Groundhog Day 2023. American families: do you know where your marmots are?)

The late Angela Lansbury, starring in a glitzy television production as the introduction to the 1973 Academy Awards show: a 7-minute extravagant celebration (in three parts) of show business glamor.

Now, the Academy Awards shows are already spectacles of Hollywood’s rapturous self-congratulation, always teetering on the edge of self-parody, but for a while in the 1970s and 1980s, the brakes on spectacle were off, and we got Oscar openers that could, just barely, be read as fabulously glamorous, but were always open to being interpreted as camp — earnest, usually unintended, but definitely camp.

Sometimes, as in 1973, surely intended.

In any case, the star vehicle for the 1973 opener was Angela Lansbury.

(#1) AL’s 1973 Oscars apotheosis: Star Descending a Staircase, packing into a few moments a whole fabulous universe of allusions to stage musicals, extravagant choreography, movies, stylized glamor, carnival, and flagrant camp

I’ll start with a brief 2016 review of the show, go on to some chat between Aaron Broadwell and me last October on the show as profoundly gay, and take it from there, with a special tribute to AL as one of the great character actors of all time.


Death of a character actor

February 2, 2023

A death notice for Angela Lansbury (last October) and appreciation of her achievements: in The New Yorker, “Angela Lansbury Shimmered Through the Decades: The actress, who died this week at ninety-six, revealed every facet of her talents” by Michael Schulman on 10/12/22 — which I reproduce here so that I can refer to it in a separate posting I’m doing on an AL performance from 1973. I would like readers of the other posting to read Schulman’s piece and take it to heart, because it makes such an important point about AL — that AL was one of the great character actors of all time, her genius being her ability to fully inhabit whatever part she was playing, to be that character, with no hint of showing off how wonderfully she was playing that part.

It follows that if she appears to be guying us, wink-nudging her acting ability at us (something that Meryl Streep, for one, is inclined to do), then that’s because that’s the character she’s playing, that’s who she is in the scene we’re watching; she’s showing us that her character is an impersonator.

Schulman’s piece is an extended appreciation of this genius of hers, so I want it in my AL-1973 posting, but it’s much too long to just insert into the middle of that posting, so I’m providing it here as auxiliary material.

From here on, it’s all Schulman.


Zed of Zardoz

January 3, 2023

A personal note: I’m just barely hanging on here, with extravagant hip pain and cramping up of my hands — both apparently connected somehow to the current weather — plus DoE (dyspnea on exertion) so severe that I’m exhausted by walking from the bedroom to the living room, and recurrent narcoleptic episodes with elaborate, hard-to-shake visual hallucinations.

But along came this remarkable image of Sean Connery as Zed in the film Zardoz, which despite being a Z-person (note boldface) and a longtime fan of Connery’s, I missed completely when it came out in 1974. Material from the film is being distributed in the mistaken belief that it’s set in 2023 — it’s actually 2293 — but this is what we get:

(#1) Connery, hot as hell and giggle-inducing too,  hypersexual and, oh yes, ridiculous


New Girl in Town

December 30, 2022

This follows up on my 12/28/22 posting “Building wealth”, with its section on Princeton in 1959-60 and musical theatre (and Clark Gesner), mentioning New Girl in Town (which I learned about first from my roommate Frank (Franklyn J. Carr III), and then talked about with Clark). My old friend from those days (and still) Bonnie Campbell (Benita Bendon Campbell), also Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky’s godmother, responded to this in e-mail to me on 12/28 (quoted here with her permission):

Your poignant look back at Princeton years, especially the importance of Broadway musicals as background, carried me back there, too.

At my request, you gave me the cast album of New Girl In Town, for a birthday present in 1961. I had seen the show in New York, including Gwen Verdon and Thelma Ritter, in September of 1957, the night before I sailed to France on the Mauritania. Thus, the night before I met Ann.

The song “It’s Good To Be Alive” became a sort of mantra for me.

The Ann here is Ann Walcutt Daingerfield (later Ann Daingerfield Zwicky), who became Bonnie’s roommate during their junior year in France (1957-58); and a bit later her roommate when they were both working in Princeton. Thereafter, Bonnie was Ann’s best female friend (from among a number of such friends), until Ann’s death in the bleak midwinter, 17 January 1985. Many of the things in (as I put it in that earlier posting) “the giant album of Things I Learned at Princeton” came from Ann and Bonnie, together and separately. So: New Girl in Town, from Frank and Clark and Bonnie and Ann, over 60 years ago.


A kiss before dying

November 6, 2022

My interpretation of Susie Bright’s complex feelings before Election Tuesday, as she reported them on Facebook yesterday by re-posting her FB image from 11/5/14 (cropped here to focus on the crucial bits):

(#1) From a theatrical poster for the 1969 cowboy dinosaur movie The Valley of Gwangi: on the one hand, exhilaration (above, on being kissed by, omigod, the young James Franciscus in cowboy gear; in the election, on exercising the power of the vote, which has been a big thing for me since 1961); on the other hand, fear of looming devastation (above, in that rapacious death-dealing giant reptile, a vicious allosaurus; in the election, on what could happen if (delusional and malevolent) brutes and bullies take over the government) — is this a kiss before dying?


Agador, and his flagrant Guatemalan-ness

August 14, 2022

Agador, today’s morning name, which I quickly expanded to Agador Spartacus. Calling up wonderful images of Hank Azaria’s character in the comedy film The Birdcage:

In the movie, Agador is male couple Armand and Albert’s flamboyantly gay Guatemalan housekeeper / maid, who poses as a Greek butler named Spartacus for the purposes of a family charade on behalf of Armand’s son Val; you can watch a short clip of  a bewigged Agador dancing while feather-dusting here


Colonel Flaque

March 5, 2022

… aka Ememem, le Flaqueur de Lyon. The artist came to my attention through a piece on the My Modern Met site, “Pavement Cracks Become an Opportunity for Colorful Mosaic Art”, by Margherita Cole on 2/24/22, beginning:

Cracks on the pavement are a common sight in cities. And while most people choose to step around them, one artist is using these gaps as an opportunity for urban beautification. French artist Ememem — sometimes known as “the pavement surgeon”— fills street fractures with dazzling mosaic art, which transforms the decay into something beautiful.

From large potholes to unsightly chips on a cobblestone path — Ememem fills all shapes of crevices with colorful designs.

(#1) An Ememem street mosaic, before and after


Follow-up: on punctuation

February 18, 2022

From my 2/13/22 posting “On punctuation”:

Encountered recently in an interview, by writer I, of actor X, about X’s approach to their craft. The exchanges below are about punctuation, specifically in scripts; X reads other things, of course, but scripts are the central reading material of an actor’s life, the stuff they use to transform, through a collaboration with a director and other actors, into performances.

… punctuation can be a stumbling block, so they take it out. I’s note at this point:

This seems to be the master key to understanding X’s highly idiosyncratic line readings.

This is David Marchese interviewing the actor Christopher Walken in The New York Times Magazine, in print 2/13/22, p. 14.

Now, on Walken.


Vincent Price and his sushi at the Boulevard

February 17, 2022

Today’s Zippy strip has Griffy and Zippy inside the Boulevard Diner in Worcester MA while snow falls outside:

(#1) The two men exchange opinions about their two favorite things, which are definitely not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens: Griffy’s (diners and snow) are more conventional, and are linked to their context; while Zippy’s (Vincent Price and sushi) are decidedly eccentric, and have no connection to the context or to each other

And now the time has come to speak of many things.