Tag Archives: Gore Vidal

New York City Blog – June 5 – June 11


Documentaries: Down Memory Lane

I thought Weiner was odd. Why would anyone allow filming of his private life after he had indulged in social media sex, especially if you’re dependent on the public. Ask Anthony Weiner. One of the first shots was in the House of Representatives. Weiner was screaming at other members, selling himself as the fearless liberal. His wife and kid were props. I feel sorry for the kid but wonder, once again, why the wife went along with it. But I was there, gobbling up every scene of this side show.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave Joseph Stalin a film of the musical, Oklahoma! Stalin liked it so much that he ordered the Soviet Union film industry to make musicals. And they did! Years ago, I saw this wonderful documentary, East Side Story, at the Film Forum:. There were interviews with frustrated directors who had to work with electric blackouts on a regular basis. One of my favorite scenes was buxom, blond girls driving tractors across a field like a chorus line and singing lustily about the father/mother land.
Best of Enemies, in which William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal smack one another around rhetorically, is hypnotizing. Although Vidal is better looking and has more measured opinions, I couldn’t take my eyes off fascinating, skittish William Buckley. Is it his voice? Is it his constant motion? Is it his resemblance to Richard III? Both men speak a quality of English that has been lost in public discourse.

I applauded Edward Snowden actions and consider him a brave and honorable man. So I went to the documentary as if I were going to a religious service. Although Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald focused on themselves more than on Snowden, it is  fascinating. If only William Buckley were alive. Imagine him ranting about Snowden.

Did you see the documentary about contrary, contentious Robert Crumb, the off beat cartoonist who lived in a cluttered (polite word) house with his equally weird cartoonist wife? It’s a sad, riveting show and tell.

New York City Blog Dec. 7 – Dec. 13

On Dec. 7 I met old friends at Jing Fong Restaurant for dim sum. The entire world poured onto the escalators that went to the 700? 800? people restaurant. It stretched a city block. Lots of fun and very Cantonese. Afterwards we, along with the rest of the world that hadn’t been at Jing Fong’s, walked across Brooklyn Bridge.

Among the many at Jim Sungs
Among the many at Jing Fong’s
Brooklyn Bridge, looking toward Manhattan
Brooklyn Bridge, looking toward Manhattan

That evening we went to see Judson’s Sarah Bernhardt, Ruby Rims, give his last performance. After twenty five years, Ruby and his teddy bears are hanging up their paws. Ruby was in full regalia – Dusty Springfield hair and yards of shimmering blue cloth, but he copped out on the heels. I spotted comfortable sneakers between the folds. It was essential cabaret fare: funny and bitter sweet. Rick Crom, Maureen McNamara and Jeff Harnar brought the house down. Throughout the years, Ruby has been accompanied by the terrific pianist, John McMahon.

John McMahon
John McMahon

Thursday was Dawn Powell night. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation sponsored a talk at the Jefferson Market Library. In spite of its unwieldy name, the GVSHP is a smartly run organization that presents enticing talks, lectures, walks about NYC. Dawn Powell, a novelist championed by Gore Vidal, lived in Greenwich Village from the late 1910s to the 1960s. She lived and breathed the NYC atmosphere. We met in a vast room with Willa Cather staring down at us.

Dawn Powell
Dawn Powell