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DIARY 4058


I can see how the gay reviewers think it's dreadful, and the straight ones think it's cute and amusing. The specific "Movie House" opening is ENTIRELY true for the hustler, but NOT true for the inTENSE self-concern of the groper. The groper has even more fun than the groped, in real-life. "Women with Women---Men with Men" is terribly simplistic and overly-cutesy, but the tune is SO ingratiating that I find myself singing it to myself the next day. "The Hustler" is just a dirty joke about the professor "initiating" his research student into hustling for a term paper; "I'll Take My Fantasy" is VERY well acted by the secretary of state, but it IS a sad song, but maybe one with which some of the older audience members could identify. "Mother's in Law" cut BOTH ways: the castrating of the mothers, and the comment about how society looks about gays, and the boy lovers. "Hari Krishna" intimates that all the finger-clinkers are gay, and if I were Krishna, I'd sue. Desperation seems a dreadful opportunity for a young kid who is capable of turning cartwheels and do fairly high back-kicks to turn cartwheels and do fairly high back-kicks, nothing more. The song was too garbled to listen to, and the "sister" affecting his life was too much, though "Stereotypes are stereotypes because they DO happen," is a very penetrating thought. The "Gay Bar Cantata" by Marilyn Child was one of the high points, her song being placed JUST for her, and it brought down the house, as opposed to the other songs which caused the pleasant, ingratiating cast to STRAIN terribly and sound DREADFUL through most of their numbers. The Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein and Catherine the Great were the typical name-dropping numbers, though there IS a certain magnetism about Lee Guilliatt which makes her pleasant to watch, and the "THAT'S HOW IT IS" is a pleasant conclusion, and the "What Is a Queen?" is a tour-de-force of drag which REALLY belongs in a Crazy Horse Revue, or across the street at Club 82, and not in a "liberated" musical. David Dursley might have been better than Al Carmines in the part, but I WOULD have liked to have seen him. But at the final curtain call, I really LIKED the cast and thought the play, on the whole, a success.

DIARY 4111


Act 1 from 7:40 to 8:25, questioning their use of "Gays should be human beings first and homosexuals second," as if ANYONE could be anything BUT a human being first, since that's what gives them their FACILITIES to be whatever OTHER terms they've invented. Stonewall quotes from Village Voice, Allen Ginsburg, Kate Millet, Merle Miller, Sue Katz, Marty Robinson, Lois Hart for the BEST statement of the evening from 1969, David McReynolds (whoever HE is, Arthur Evans, Walt Whitman ("In Paths untraveled"). Then back to 1629 for Francis Higginson on boy sodalist (death), and John Winthrop, Manhattan 1647, the sodomist was CHOKED. Another quote from Merle Miller and a definition of "Faggot" from the Oxford English Dictionary of 1914! 1795 statement about Philadelphia lesbians. Willa Cather said that Sappho invented the Saphic meter, long/long/long/terse! Seymour Krim talked about Gay Lib in the Village Voice in 1955! David McReynolds was in the closet in 1955, saying gays were sick, and OUT of the closet in 1969, saying HE was gay---not noted if he said HE was sick. Then Gertrude Stein was talked about by Judy Grahn, Virgil Thomson, and Letitia Abramowitz---VERY anti, in 1971. The "Song of Alice B." was written in 1921, quite gay. Black power brought in Arthur Bell, Newton, Lorraine Hansbury, who said something silly like anti-gay is anti-feminist. Then Whitman again with "I Dreamed a Dream," acting out of "Hands," ANOTHER Merle Miller and Marty Robinson and Judy Grahn. Act 2 was from 8:35 to 9:20, with Whitman's "Once I Passed through a Populous" and "Diary about Middagh Street." Havelock Ellis talked about RED neckties being a sign of "sexual inversion," and police payoffs. Lincoln Steffens, funny, said "Jacob Riis said there are no such THINGS as fairies." You should see your SWIMMING park, Jake. 1922 talk about "Paresis Hall" gay place, at 392 Bowery at 5th Street, more Arthur Bell; women who lived as men, one who married TWICE, second time for 20 years, surprise to adopted daughter when her sex was revealed; Congress to Unite Women: "Lesbianism is a Lavender Herring." Ginsberg's "Love Poem on Theme by Whitman;" George Sokolsky, anti, 1943, Time, 1966, Joseph Epstein, anti, in Harpers in 1970! "Shakespeare ate Bacon." "We gave [in parks] our bodies more easily than our names---suck our love from strangers." Good.

DIARY 4242


"At the River Ford" was EXTRAORDINARILY colorful: silk pennants hanging from the backs of all the warriors, the flags LOOKING like hundreds of battling infantrymen, and then the INCREDIBLE series of single and paired and quadruplicated leaps and tumbles over and under each other, and then the huge pennant whooshing around and around, its more rapid motion making it seem that the tumblers were SUSPENDED in the air for awhile, and then the INCREDIBLE flurry of the encircling swishes of the flag around a somersaulter was just SOMETHING ELSE. The audience HOWLed out of its SKULLS! "The Cowherd and the Village Girl" was cute but static, and the plaster-patch on the upper lip and nose for the clown was strangely effective. "The White Serpent" gave Chiang and Kuo, their leading singers, I guess, a marvelous chance to sound like two cats in rut, but ATTRACTIVELY so, so that it began to sound like something equivalent to OUR operatic style, or maybe even somewhat BETTER, since it seemed quite expressive. Again, the costumes were stunning, and the stage was FILLED with blues of a powdery fineness set off by flagrant pinks, light greens edged in yellows, golds, reds, silvers, all with gold and silver threads, intricately patterned in suns and moons and dragons, every inch covered with design, and every inch spectacular. The facial makeup, even, was remarkable: mask-like perfection for females, skew haphazard splotches for clowns and commoners. "The Paper Man" was cute when he came to life, frightening the servant. "Two Loyal Officials" was somewhat overlong and NOT very aurally attractive. "The Monkey King" is rightly their tour-de-force, with massed tumbling, bevies of flags and parading masses, rolling banners and silver swords and swinging poles and comedy and shrimps and turtles and music and GREAT facial makeup, and staggering tumbling by the slight fellow in green. It was a great treat, everyone seemed to love it, despite the AWFUL head-waving of the people sitting in front of us, and it was FAR more colorful than ANY Indian dancing, with a FINISH and a POLISH that travels well, quite FOREIGN sounds that are nevertheless beautiful, and eye-shattering colors and brightnesses.

DIARY 5260

There had been program entitled "The Elizabethans, An Entertainment devised from the Music, the Songs and the Literature of the Golden Age" at the YMHA. The felicitous juxtaposition of some dozens short poems, sketches, songs, musical selections had produced an evening weighted with laughs, tending at times to tears, witness some selections near the end: Tichborne's Elegy, written in the tower before his execution, followed by Sir Walter Raleigh's last letter to his wife, followed by End of an Age, which described Sir Walter's meeting with the headsman. Then the soprano, accompanied by a virginal and a bass viol, sung sweetly John Dowland's "In Darkness Let me Dwell," and then a quietly tremulous Nancy Wickwire spoke.

DIARY 5390
JOTTINGS, October, 1968

How much MORE the US audience gets out of the comic Kyogen---much like CHILDREN in Japan would enjoy them, much as children fidget (as we do) under the strain of an elongated classical tragedy. And what ARE we to this type of drama but children---taken for the first time to an old worse-then-Shakespeare language to a plot we only know in outline, to which we can only react equally sketchily. Most of the emotion put into a mountainous tragedy like Hamlet or Tosca is brought by the viewer, not so much portrayed by the acting. How ODD some of the effects of Bunraku ARE---the things being lifted and handled as if by magic---a character has merely to lay a hand on (not LIFT) an object and it moves where he wants---the hand doesn't even need to follow through. The attitudes must be tiring for the puppeteers, being held above their heads most of the time. Marvelous, first that the dolls move as a unit, not as three pieces. Some of the poses hit by the Exiled General (manipulated by the master puppeteer) are MAGNIFICENTLY human as though he has indeed become lifelike in the integrity of the overall motion. Rather saddened to find three rows added above the first, and the stage built up into two added tiers. I also forgot the single wood block clank to raise the curtain and the continuous clanks to lower it at Kyogen. But I don't remember the Kyogen as going so VERY funny? The more expressionless the puppeteers the better, otherwise their too-mobile faces distract from the PUPPETRY.

DIARY 4406


The church of St. Mark's in the Bowery is enough to a trip to start with: in through the snowy gates into a grassy enclave right in the middle of the Village, and in through the ENORMOUS wooden painted-green door into a HUGE waiting room with bare walls and I think of this tax-free building used only as a social center, and feel good about churches in general because of it. Up into the dimmed out church body, where I can see the stained glass windows only when I enter, since they're behind the stands set up to face the three-parted stage: orchestra at left end: harpsichord sitting almost on the floor that Michael Smith kneels before, tamboura in the center, and the composer, John Smead, on guitar, the same fellow, John says, who was so wild on the electric piano for the Bill Dunas "I Went with Her"; in the center a candle-lined tilted playing area, and on the left a raised actor-assembly area. We filed in and Charles Stanley, an arrestingly tall figure with a tranquil attractive face and huge halo of hair said "Well, hello AGAIN THIS evening, John Vinton," and he's a DOLL. I sit in a halo of delight in my chair, and the tamboura starts, the harpsichord joins, and then the guitar adds another plectrum of plucked strings, all metallic, to the air, and it's a positively magical sound, and I sit, engrossed in beauty, thankful that John liked it, positive that he IS right, that they WANT to give us their best, and tears flow into my eyes and I feel lifted off my seat, hoping John doesn't look around at me, and later on, again, I feel this corporeal elevation as my spirits soar under the music and the grass. Then Ondine comes on and starts the characteristic speaking-repetition of the speaking, and he's shouting that he has to win people with his words, and I'm impressed by the fact that this is TRUE, and I realize this is one of the things I don't like about modern theater, put into my head by a line from the "Happenings" book: that people aren't appearing as ACTORS, but as THEMSELVES, and now, on the stage, I'm not sure if Ondine is playing HIMSELF or a character (there ARE lines about kings and princes and imprisonments, but it's like the costume on a body, negligible when the BODY is attractive). And then the repetition makes it CLEAR that it's a convention of the STAGE that determines WHAT he says. Later, when the speaking parts are REVERSED in parts, I feel that obviously the "I love you, you don't love me" speeches can't BOTH be true, but then it gets into the skill of the ACTOR. Charles Stanley has a low rich voice and steady gaze, while Jimmy Centola is squeaky and self-conscious and actory, not good at all, so when CHARLES says something, I'm inclined to BELIEVE it, where when JIMMY says it, I think it's just the mouthing of an actor. John later said that he looked at EVERYONE objectively, not even CONSIDERING that someone might play a part better because it WAS his life, only considering that the director fit the lines to the actor, and the actor spoke the lines, in a particularly effective way. Somehow, I feel that I'm opening the possibility of other levels of meaning, an even MORE total theater, than John. In fact, at one part when Charles was directing his intensity directly at ME, I was drawn into his gaze so much that I thought he might step OUT of character (or into ANOTHER character) and talk DIRECTLY to me, luring ME into the production, when I'd be terribly embarrassed because I wouldn't know what to say or how to act, but I was impressed that the two men seemed GENUINELY to share feelings of love in one direction or another, and AGAIN the idea of the play came to me in which the ACTORS echoed the feeling of the CHARACTERS, and the love scene meant to be seductive because ACTUALLY seductive, and the love meant to be portrayed came into actual being between the PEOPLE playing the parts, with the Director as a TRUE God-like creature who SAW that these emotions are those that the ACTORS wanted to portray, but only in the lines of a PLAY would they have the courage to SAY them, and then the possibilities of a break-through to a new understanding FOR THE ACTORS on the stage and even for the AUDIENCE seems thrillingly real. Even Ondine's ineptness seemed more charming when viewed through the eyes of someone saying "That's REALLY the best he has to give us, that's what he INTENDS to do," and I almost feel an affection for his affectation, a love for his loving, a kick from his kick. A highly stimulating, deeply beautiful evening, and I thanked John MOST profoundly.

DIARY 8225


The movies are horrible, and there are only about 5 of us in the audience at the start, and the attendant, I think, gets done in the row behind me by a dirty old man. ONE of the shorts is good, with an Azak-faced pretty boy who fucks a much older blond who is STILL quite sexy with his mustache and affectionate kissing, but the others are JUST shit---"testing" a courier for a $2 million drug shipment by making sure he's gay; "why these people shouldn't be married," with standard slides inserted with "Wow" on red with stars and "5 mins. Later" on blue with circles and squares. But the show starts at 6:15, and it's filled up to about 20, and Yuba comes on, glittery-eyed shaven-headed black with slender definition and a black harem outfit covering much good body jewelry. He takes off the top, bottom, and jockstrap to sidle his feet onto chair arms to flop his cock in the stage-sitter's faces, jewel-like red tongue flicking out as I smile at his cock not three inches from my mouth---rather shriveled and VERY uncut. Then Pepe comes out with a black sequined bodysuit on, cute as a bug, with narrow hips and a nice ass and smooth body, and he throws it around for awhile, pumping the already large cock to make it bigger, and everyone in the audience seems to be enjoying it quite openly, except for a few older men who leave in embarrassment, and I'm delighted it's so open, the people are genuinely attractive and seem TRULY to enjoy doing it, except possibly "Mr. Vincent" who's also VERY handsome, with a bit with a white silk overlayer and a salmon crepe underlayer that he swirls about his body, whips over his head, and twirls in to make himself into a flower. He doesn't throw his cock into everyone's face, a nice change, and lastly is Cock Robin, who's a big ALMOST overweight white in a plastic-glitter suit that comes off to a fairly used-looking cock, but his gimmicks are nice: putting his dog-collar into my hand on my crotch and licking the other end, and I remark about its 12 inches with pleasure and he smiles. Then he goes a BIT far with an unsmiling guy, realizes it, laughs, and pats him reassuringly on the shoulder "I'm coming on too heavy." And THAT attitude and frankness is delightful, and I'm DELIGHTED that such a place has turned out so WELL. A dirty old man ALREADY am I!

DIARY 8331


The FIRST Broadway play since "Company" on 8/20/70 and "Purlie" on 8/22/70! And with the disappointment in the overall play, I probably won't go to ANOTHER soon, either! Though the blurb says 18 actors fill 200 speaking roles, I see just 21 people filling 86 roles, but it's still a tour-de-force for Zero Mostel and Fionnuala Flanagan. His "loud unintelligible speech" and "kissing the bedsores of the leper" are the best personal moments, though some of his not-really-necessary animal impersonations are striking. FF has striking scenes of nudity and tit-rubbing in her soliloquies, and in the famous "Yes" sequence, which DOES NOT close the play, she even rubs down to her cunt and raises her pelvis to the thrust of "Yes." Audience comments ran "I like it but I don't understand it," and "It's not connected." Act I: from 7:40 to 8:50, Act II from 9:05 to 9:57, so it's JUST 2 hours, which is far too LITTLE of Joyce and too MUCH of cutting. Beulah Garrick as Mrs. Breen was a cute old hag, the parade of HATS was good, and New Bloomeusalem funny. Started with "Stately Buck Mulligan" as at the front, ended with Bloom bearing 8 yellow and white children, started with Molly's Honeymoon remembrances and ends with "Rudi, Rudi" and his lament about his lost son. "Goyim nachas" was only one of the MANY Yiddish expressions that got a large laugh from the audience. "Golden apples of the sun" here too. Swen Swenson was an electrifying Bella-Bello with his whip, black silk heavily padded jockstrap, woman's boots, white wig on black crotch, and he in drag and Zero in a pink nightie and cap as a woman were truly bizarre. Boylan's cock is finally bared as he leaps on the nude Molly and starts pumping away. The audience rather quiet during some of the great fuck-shit scenes. But Tom Lee Jones wasn't very convincing as Stephen Dedalus, slipping in and out of his accent, some of the whores had nice tits but the one with the red bloomer-line around her waist was GROSS. The setting was Gordon-Craig looming and dark, the cuckoo-call proclaimed the slip in and out of reverie, and Mostel got applause as he pranced onstage for the first time, so it was surely HIS show, and not the director's Burgess Meredith, and the audience was too put OFF by Swenson to LIKE it. Someone should write a play just FOR Mostel, and immortalize his unique comic and acting talents!

DIARY 8358


Emily Derr is pallid and blond and adequate as Glauce, Richard Gill is mediocre as Jason, though his makeup was pretty good as a gray-bearded Lee Marvin, Jason was BOOED at the end for a weak-voiced fatty performance from Dean Wilder, totally over-made-up to try to give SOME character to his moon face, Frances Bible as Neris got the only secondary applause of the evening, but it was mainly for who she WAS rather than what she SANG, which was merely a tiny bit more than adequate, so the whole performance centered around Maralin Niska as Medea, and I kept thinking through the performance how ELECTRIFYING Maria Callas must have been as Medea, so she couldn't have been all THAT good. From a plain red costume in the first act, where she went around with bent knees as if from the vileness pent within her groin, to the second act where she was acid-green and black as a sort of serpent-woman, to the third act where she was all gold inside and jet outside, her overly-red lips and glaring eyes were proper for the histrionics, but you were aware of a thinking woman ACTING a part, rather than someone THROWING herself into the role as Callas would have done, even though she might NOT have sung as well. The singing wasn't BAD: it had a certain beauty in some of the softer sections, and it seemed well-placed and well-paced---maybe even TOO well-paced, as if she had to sing it every night. Her throaty laughs were very good, and at one point she whirled about the stage in front of the door in an AGONY of frustration, but that was the only time she came ALIVE as Medea. The crown for Glauce was the prettiest thing, shiny sharp silver spires on a hat from which depended a hot-pink veil, and some of the male choristers showed nice calves and shoulders in their off-same tunics, but the set was sci-fi moderne with steps going up the sides of a hexagonally pyramid temple in the center with a statue that would be wheeled out to show a face that was better in MY imagination than in the conception of it. The flames at the end were fiercely disappointing, the children's blood too phony, and Jason just STOOD there when confronted with the deed, too stupid for words. The music wasn't even what you'd call PRETTY, but it was somewhat easier to listen to than the LAST Niska opus "The Makropoulos Affair." Something, anyway!

DIARY 8373


Kubelik gets a tremendous ovation each time he appears, but since the music doesn't have any of the usual Berlioz VERVE (I don't even think the Royal Hunt and Storm music is any GOOD from his conducting of it), I wonder how good a job he's been doing, or how comparable to the GREAT Berlioz (of "Harold in Italy," and the blasts of the "Funebre" "Te Deum" and "Requiem") this is. Nathaniel Merrill's production and Peter Wexler's sets are quite spectacular: one part where a whole amphitheater of what sort of looks like high hurdles wheels around in the dimness of the immense stage opening forcibly remind me of some of the astronomical scenes from "2001"---what's moving is obviously very BIG and it's a privilege to SEE it move like that! Shirley Verrett has only a few good notes, moves like a lump, and Louis Quilico is rotund and effeminate, as are almost all the males in the cast. Jon Vickers is sick (which suggests to someone that that's how I GOT MY tickets) and William Lewis is physically attractive (from the neck up, anyway, his thin limbs are sort of lost in the scrollwork of his costume) and COULD have a good voice, but he seems SO unsure of himself that I get the jitters just looking at him, and there seems to be a strange physical tension between him and Christa Ludwig, who is probably old enough to be his grandmother. Mignon Dunn smiles in a superior and sings in an inferior way, though Kenneth Riegel has a nice ode as Iopas the poet. The ballet in act II is pretty awful except for the short squared-muscled definition of William Badolato, who was replaced by Cesbrun for the Saturday broadcast. The TIMES were enormous: act 1 from 7:05 to 8:30, act II from 9:15 to 10:50!, and act III from 11:10-11:50, and we were OUT at 11:57, so they didn't pull down the house with applause. The great use of the Italian suckling wolf was nicely done, smaller, larger, larger, to go with the constant-changing volume of the "Italia!" maybe? Part of the positive feeling about the evening was the surroundings, described in DIARY 8374, and the chance to see it from the orchestra, though I really thought the sound was somewhat better in the center of the balcony, and surely the STAGE VIEW was better!

DIARY 8384


During the first act I mainly try to remember the third of the "Queen" trilogy with Roberto Devereux and Anna Bolena, and only a look at the Sills poster tells me it's Maria Stuarta. Susanne Marsee is the discovery of the evening, a marvelous mezzo looking rather like Sally Goldberg who acts with more naturalism than most and can hold her own in a duet even with Sills. There really doesn't seem to be much SINGING or MELODY that I care for, though Sills has some nice histrionics when there appear to be THREE men fighting for her love, not to mention the fact that her brother loves her and Jane Seymour ALSO loves her. But there's nothing in what I hear that would lead me to want to get a recording of any of the music. The set, by Ming Cho Lee, is particularly difficult, since the side carved walls are so distinctive that it's rather a jolt when they show up in EVERY act, with only a different background to imply that it's a different setting, but the overwhelming impression is that it takes place in the SAME place. The costumes are marvelously opulent, velvets and puffs and everyone wearing sleeves that look as if they have slits cut at the elbows through which they put their forearms. So that it looks vaguely like they have four arms from the elbow down. The lighting seems quite limited, as if it were trying to duplicate the candle-power of England at the time; with a general drabness of color of the costumes except for the golds and reds of the king, looking like he stepped out of a Holbein painting, the brightest thing on the stage is her red hair, which I'm inclined to think is her OWN. She looks so much more AT HOME in this role of a middle-aged attractive woman than she did as the balding, gusseted Queen in Roberto Devereux, and she has no trouble at all with the high notes as she did with Elizabeth, though there aren't that many of them. I suspect that my perennial cold has something to do with my not very much enjoying the performance, added to the fact that I didn't follow the story for the first half. But there seems nothing to ameliorate the fact that I didn't hear anything of music that I wanted to have a clandestine tape recorder along with me to record. I begin to question going to opera AT ALL.

DIARY 8417


Some of the songs are really quite nice, and Elvira has those two different mad scenes to go though, but when she's smiling, she's really RADIANT and a good actress particularly when she waltzed around the stage in the greatest happiness and then sank to the floor in a flump of cloth when her mind snapped. Was sorry to see that Di Giuseppi wasn't singing, and William Du Pre was Arturo, and I understood the sound that the La Puma writeup called a yelp. I suppose he came SOMEWHERE near the note, but with a voice of such thinness, such constriction, such lack of beauty, that a yelp described it perfectly. Not QUITE a falsetto, but with its unnaturalness and gear-shifting qualities, but when he hit it three or four times in succession, it seemed to get somewhat better, and the audience, getting used to it, didn't rustle and murmur quite so loudly when it took place, and I gave him an ENORMOUS amount of courage to even go ONSTAGE and do such a thing. But how can a modern audience evaluate an opera like this when it's PAINFUL to listen to in parts? Beverly Sills was in her best voice, though her face DOES contort when she hits that high note, and some of the MALE'S songs were really quite lovely, particularly in ACT II, Scene 2, but the singing wasn't impeccable, it just sounded better in contrast with the OTHER male singing on that stage. I went back over the Wagner operas with no helden-tenors, only the soprano, and relished the "Mefistofele" with a good bass AND a good soprano, and the coming-to-life of "Pique Dame" with the acting of THREE of the people, and the magical "La Giaconda" with Milanov and Rysanek when THEIR duet took fire, but so MANY operas are just showcases for ONE voice, or for the PRODUCTION, that I can AT LAST see John's point about not seeing them at this time. I AM glad that Sills is around for her OWN voice, but I CAN'T be happy about the operas that she has done for her that are MISTREATED by the OTHER members of the cast. It STARTED as a benefit, but NOW I see it as a liability. I CAN change; my taste CAN be altered, so THERE! The use of the modular ramps with stairs off one end were interesting in the six scenes.

DIARY 8462


Avalon and I can't figure out who "David Powell" is, but the curtain opens on him sprawled out under the heap of his stomach in an easy chair while the Michael Moriarty character is lounging on the floor. The Moriarty character can't seem to be able to make up his mind and is very UNforceful when he does seem to know what he wants. The stomach is thoroughly unpleasant, and it's only when the remark drops in that the MorChar is "afraid to be alone at night" that there's some FORM to the play. But then it drops out of form again as the former lover comes in and there's the ridiculous lie of the guy as his brother, taking it right back to old Hollywood and its demand for contrived plot-lines. At first the former lover seems like a strong character, but it becomes problematical as to what he sees in the twit of the MC. I keep thinking that Moriarty's tired of the role, since many of the lines seem delivered from a state of exasperation, but it gradually falls into some sort of character characteristic, though I can't understand why it's only in moments of crisis that he sort of lisps and flails about in a faggoty way. He's surely not a closet case, so there's no reason why his faggotry would be hidden. Avalon comes up with the idea that he's hysterical, and then there's the thought that he's a masochist. None of them endearing traits, and I get more and more impatient with his character. The wife, nicely played by Jane Alexander, doesn't help by trotting out ALL the stereotyped platitudes and attitudes about her husband buggering a boy, though when she starts digging into the relationship she has chances for good acting---but the idea they BOTH didn't want children is just TOO much! Then the husband turns into a turd, SHE'S like my mother, arguing both sides of the illogic when it suits her, trying tears and threats and manliness and womanliness whenever it strikes her pea-brain that it might help. The last act is a marvel of uncertainty: starting with what COULD be electrifying as a "La Ronde" type thing when the stomach tries to fuck the former lover, then it looks like the MC is strong, but he isn't, then the husband INTENDED to leave and then he DIDN'T intend to leave, and then he DID intend to leave until I really didn't CARE what his intentions were. The audience applauded like crazy, Avalon thought it was good acting, and I was depressed at another ineffectual evening in the Broadway theater.

DIARY 8634


It had so much going AGAINST it it's hard to know where to start. First, Sutherland's first cadenza as Olympia was complete out of focus, so that started off poorly and though she came up with some marvelously clear, distinct, bellbird tones when she was running down, that was about the best of the lot, the Giulietta scene really never getting off the ground and the Antonia scene, though better, not really deserving the audience cheering that it got. Sills did better for the most part. However, Sutherland's costumes were quite effective: so large of skirt all the way through that it minimized the size of her head, and a huge stylized white wig as the doll, an enormous powder-puff shaped tam as Giulietta, and a more conventional frame of her own hair as Antonia (and a LARGE-brimmed hat as Stella) were pretty good, too. The Comedie-Francaise style of spoken words was great for the marvelous Huguette Tourangeau as the Muse and Nicklausse, but not for anyone else, who had no style. John Alexander was adequate, but not much more, not coming up to his almost-brilliance of "Daughter of the Regiment." Thomas Stewart was facially impressive as the villains, but "Scintille, Diamant" was more a quiet rumble than a spine-chilling flood of chocolate syrup. Andrea Velis was funny though uniformly falsetto as the funny men, and David Holloway was impressively yellow-haired and gray-faced as Schlemiel. The dances were right out of the film, with short bird-beaked light-colored masks making the people look silly, and that was echoes with the LONG BLACK bird-beaked masks in the chorus for the Venice scenes. But in keeping with the tawdriness of the "Manon" sets, THIS set was mainly the Tavern, with raised "wooden" floor, with the other sets thrown on top, so that nothing much at ALL happened around the periphery, and there was NO stage magic. How sad to HAVE it and not USE it! The draperies for Olympia's bed were tattered and musty-looking; Venice was quite BLACK and ungrand, except for a nice touch of black oilskin "water-stains" on the floor, and Antonia's house was sheet-draped and VERY dim and torn-curtainy. Most grim. Putting the gorgeous septet (reduced to a quartet) at the END was most unsatisfying, capping off a GENERALLY unsatisfying evening. The head student was pretty good, and the reprise of the march and the barcarolle before the Epilogue gave me a chance to gaze out from the PERFECT vantage point to see the MET!

DIARY 8676


Being in seat 1 (which means I'm fourth from the proscenium) in box 1 means that I have to go down during intermission to find what was projected on the back screen: prison windows with arms coming out for door 1, World War I soldiers from door 2, flashes that became oil refineries that became tenements for the "jewels" of door 3, (first color) flowers and ferns and palm fronds that became ecologically wasted river edges for the "gardens" of door 4, photos of the earth from the moon growing closer, to be replaced by an atomic mushroom cloud in red for the "domain" and FABULOUS music of door 5, and the sea of faces for the lake of tears was projected on the front scrim (which should really be banned from opera, the voices were TOTALLY lost during some of the orchestral passages---would Ehrling really like to battle these INCAPACITATED singers?) for the 6th door, and the silhouettes of the three past wives and the pedestal-elevated fourth, Judith, were on both screens for the seventh door. My immediate reaction was the Judith kept SAYING that she loved him, but it was obvious from her self-seeking insistence that she DIDN'T, so she deserved what she GOT, and HE was the hero of the piece for letting her GET what she so wanted. The music for the fifth door makes the rest of it pale into a melismatic mush but SOME of the vocal passages were good too, but not enough to see again. "Gianni Schicchi" was as frantic as I remember it from a far-past "Tritico" at the City Center, but the audience just went UNCHARACTERISTICALLY wild over some pleasant singing in a number of places. Frank Guarrera was perfect as a Ghirlandaio "Marlon Brando by Dedini" and his lips were so flat and flexible he looked like a cartoon much of the time. The bed was angled PERFECTLY for my view, however; my seat may have been as PERFECT for this as it was IMPERFECT for the other. Irene Dalis was good as Zita (I should mention that Shirley Verrett and David Ward were excellent as they could be through the scrim, but I'd love to see some real Warnerians belting it out above the orchestra), and Raymond Gibbs got SUCH applause for such SMALL singing that I fear for the future of the Met. The final applause, small, was more in keeping with the evening as a whole.

DIARY 8691


"If Men Played Cards as Women Do" may have ORIGINALLY been a funny play by George S. Kaufman, but it's so DATED that when it's played by gay men it merely becomes a bore. Peter Buffett, one of the upcoming officers of Mattachine, is the dark-haired studentish-looking one, and he's an AWFUL actor, as are the others in the scene. "The Big Black Box" by Clevel Haubold is fairly amusing, and Stuart Lee's Arnold is reasonably effective, though it's still so obvious that he's ACTING. Intermission is thankfully short as I have some iced tea and lemonade and cookies, but there's no one there I know to talk to and really no one attractive that I'd CARE to talk with. People have a tendency to look at me, though, in my flattering khaki trousers. "Trevor" is somewhat more amusing, by John Bowen, written fairly recently, and the quality of the cast varies from incredibly stiff Ellen Franklin as Sarah to the wanting-to-be-professional of Francesca Solano (whom I've never seen at a meeting, and she's courtesy of Actor's Equity), and the Trevor of "Richard Steven Hamilton" isn't THAT bad, but it's not that good, either---you're simply always aware that he's acting. The program notes by Ed Trust are totally illiterate, his comments afterward were awkward, even to the open house on January ("June" shouted from the audience) 29th. It was embarrassing to hear the "canned" laughter and applause coming from the sidelines during "Trevor" and I guess they'd judged "As Women Do" as a disaster anyway, so there wasn't a ripple during the whole thing. The idea of getting involved with this inept organization of total losers is more and more appalling, and it's obvious from the way they treat ME that they've been through the cycle of "being used" before. The lighting, however, as it had to be, was rather nicely done, and there were just two times of awkwardness: someone had to be prompted with her line once and there was a pause before someone delivered HER line. Richard Valentine was pleasing as Mr. Kempton with his British humor, and the mother-duo of Francesca Solano and Jeans Barrie ALMOST came off, but the gay-girls not accepted as more than roommates seemed too trite to mention, and the audience was so gay that the "passionate" kiss between the girls didn't even get the gasps they wanted to get from a "straight" crowd.

DIARY 8783


I move down to the stage-left side, front row, and a bit put off by the orientality of Randall Duk Kim as Pericles, but he's so DIRECT and HONEST in his work, making all the masked others seem pompous and stilted, that he grows on me, meeting his match in the wife of Thaisa, by a plain but natural Charlotte Moore, and Marybeth Hurt as Marina, the daughter. The stage is great with its ship's mast and fluid use of areas, and I start trying to identify all the BEAUTIFUL men playing the knights, and eventually isolate Lenny Baker as a MARVELOUS bawd of Boult, grabbing his crotch, jerking off with a shoot from his thumb, having toned down the fellatio-bit that so offended Avi, and then Gastone Rossilli is Rosetti-pretty with his tall stature and curly dark hair and classical profile and at least he doesn't OVERACT. The clowns are marvelous, Ted Swetz acting the fat buffoon very pleasantly, SOMEONE I'll have to identify has a marvelously Keaton-like stoned-facedness as he juggles, rides a unicycle, and clowns around the stage, and Armand Assante gets laughs from his lips, but his tanned hairy chest and oddly placed feet make him stand out as someone oddly sexy. Can't figure the fellow who kept shouting "Hey" nor exactly the pretty blond who was so great in jumping over people, but I think he was one of the fishermen or the pirates. Again, as with most productions, the setting and especially the COSTUMES (by John Conklin) took over, from the fly-skulls of the Kingdom of Antioch to the oranges of the whorehouse of Mytilene to the pure white of the temple at Ephesus to the STRANGE yellows and greens of Tharsus, and the somber purple of Pericles himself. The aging process was marvelous, things went TOO fast to be bored, and the recognition scene was one of the best I've ever seen them do, with a combination of humor, pathos, and "I don't believe" that came off just right, and I'm curious to see it a second time to see how much it depended on the audience, on timing, or just happenstance to make a fluke greatness, or if they can repeat it again tonight for a consistency that would be marvelous. But I guess I don't want to see it again on Sunday, its last performance.

DIARY 8785


Locate the rest of the people: Michael Hammond is the Keaton-faced unicyclist, playing the servant of Cerimon; Juan Palma is the beautifully smiling fellow who shouted "Hey" to the audience, got their applause, and then juggled balls from the topmost-mast of the ship; and Steven Burleigh is the one at the bottom of the jugglers, with the flowing hairdo and the pink cheeks and large bright eyes. Kenneth Marshall seems to be the pretty blond acrobat, but I couldn't be sure of that, since the Pirates didn't have much to do to distinguish the first from the second from the third. Palma did NOT do the "section of audience pitted against the other" this time, and Rise Collins, the black who skipped rope (much LONGER this time than last), did NOT get the rope caught around her wrist too many times, but the KINDS of things that were done were the same, down to the amusing one-handed juggling of one ball by Tod Swetz. But most of the performance was the same: the speech that was overly hurried by the daughter was overly hurried again, the same expressions that Gower got on his face at various times were repeated, except that he hammed it up a BIT more, with an audience that seemed to be a BIT more on his side. For one thing, there was more of an audience: the seats were pretty well filled when the play started, and people kept trickling in during the performance, so there was a full house. The audience still laughed at odd times, like during the Resurrection scene, but there weren't as many unreasoning laughs during the speeches by Armand Assante, for example, and Gastone Rossilli seemed to be wearing no undershirt, which showed his large dark nipples through his light overshirt this time, and Bob thought he was beautiful TOO. Boult wore a diamond in his navel this time, as he hadn't before, and part-way during the recognition scene it occured to me that I wasn't weeping as much as before, and though two or three tears trickled down my cheeks, and I heard one sob from the audience, I don't think it IMPRESSED me as much this second time, though there wasn't ANY difference in the acting I could see. Randall Duk Kim still seemed very friendly with the audience and cast, and even picked up two items that the "horsemen" dropped off and plunked them into his empty wine goblet.



In at 9:45 and get two seats on the far side in the middle of the second row, and look at the old bleached blond selling tickets and the puff-chested usher, then into the "lounge" for the round bed, the free Sangria, and the OTHER boys sitting around like waiting for a Tsi-Dun, and I figure it's going to be just AWFUL, that I should be stoned, so I gulp down a quick three glasses of Sangria and am quite reeling when we get into the theater, after Bob recovers from the shock of seeing three friends of his in from Chicago, and it's "What are you doing HERE?" all the way. There's the fanfare that goes on too long, the ultraviolet lights, and then the curtain parts to a white-suited (as they used in the gay parade, as he says) boy with lots of potatoes and small meat showing under his crotch who jokes with the male audience and exclaims in some surprise, as everyone did, over the two married couples sitting in (who left at intermission). Gay, gay, gay, as well as boys, boys, boys, and I ask how it changes every week, and he says "It's designed around the talents of those of us who are there," and it REALLY sounds like the bottom of the barrel. They do "Name that Tune" to get his clothes off, and he's not terribly pretty, but it IS a cock, and then there's a dance number with a pretty boy in white fringes which does nice things under the lights, then another joke session with a TV in an OUTLANDISH voice, and some of the jokes are funny "Bloomingdales would be self-SERVICE," getting Bob and his friends to laugh finally. Then there's an awful simulated sex scene where the young flabby kid gets an erection under the abraded-looking blond, and then a group dance and intermission. I gulp down two more glasses, pity me, and there are more group dances, this time with a beautiful boy identified as Eric, who does the final leathery dance, very handsome and quite sexy, but I get VERY sad about this pretty boy who has to sell his body for a living, and some of the couples might ACTUALLY like each other if they didn't have to fuck under the audience's noses. More comics, a MUCH too long "To Tell the Truth" with "Isadora" taking the cake and three dull audience people stripping, more simulated fucking, and it's over VERY late at 1:10, Bob catches a cab home, as usual, and I dash for the subway, hoping I won't be sick before I get home and crawl into bed at 2.

DIARY 8815


George Pentecost is fairly sexy as a Puppling (sic, bubbling) Evans, but Lenny Baker is too good an actor to be obscene as Slender as he was as Boult, Michael Hammond shows his straight face and SEXY body as Robert, one of the servants, the one in green who chases Dr. Caius across the stage in the campy finale, and Barnard Hughes plays a Gower (from Pericles)-like Falstaff more as someone to gain SYMPATHY than as a buffoon, and one thinks he really DOES think he's somewhat a gift to the women. Marcia Rodd is characteristically funny as Mistress Page, Cynthia Harris is nowhere as Mistress Ford, and Joe Bova hogs and hams and eats up scenes as Ford-Brook, getting applause for his set-speeches that are more chewed than delivered. There's a bit of ass-grabbing and a good line by Shallow halfway through "If the sword is out, the finger itches," that comes just after Avi is cruising someone's crotch sitting next to me. Marilyn Sokol plays Mistress Quickly too broadly, if that's possible, and the Hearn's Oak scene is almost INTENDED to be stagy and amateurish, with kids flitting around as if they'd been DIRECTED to do so, rather than actually doing so. There are some nice witches on sticks with arms that fly up and down, and a Goyaesque owl with a light inside that might give kids nightmares. But the remarks about pricks and penises are much too bald, and only Kenneth McMillan as a red-cheeked rollicking Santa-like Host of the Garter Inn captures the slyness of a bump and grind with a knowing grin to make it inoffensive. But it seems not EVEN as good a production as "Pericles" with even LESS of a plotline, and I'm almost GLAD that Bob Grossman didn't see it with me, because he surely would have wanted to walk out during the first intermission, as Avi did, though it took BOTH Dale and me to stop him. Only "Cymbeline" and "King Henry VIII" to go, and they'll probably do the Henry next year, just to clear the boards, and I'll probably have to wait ANOTHER 15 years for "Cymbeline" to come around with their group again. Not crowded again, and NEXT time I hope it's reasonable, for the dance, which is NOT announced on the new programs, but on the OLD it was August 29 through September 8.

DIARY 8817


"Send in the Clowns" in a masterpiece when it's in context, but it just doesn't work outside the framework of the play. Just as "Rose's Turn" was the dramatic highpoint of "Gypsy," "West Side Story" was great throughout because of its music, and "Ladies Who Lunch" was a ripping highpoint of "Company," so this song "makes" the whole evening valid, revealing a person onstage where only an actress (Glynis Johns) had been before. Bob said that Hermione Gingold was playing more broadly than before, but "Liaisons" was pleasantly enunciated and underdone. D'Jamin Bartlet as Petra was a marvel, though Bob was sad that her beau, Dick Sabol playing Frid, didn't sweep Hermione off her feet and carry her indoors as a previous Frid had done. Laurence Guittard was rather unimpressive until he took off his uniform to show broad shoulders and nice arms, Mark Lambert as Henrik Egerman, the son, was pleasant, though the voice that sang "Tomorrow Belongs to Us," isn't very obvious here. William Daniels is pleasant as Fredrik Egerman, though Bob says he'll always see Len Cariou in the part, but since I like Daniels's mannerisms and slightest facial expressions, I think he does well. The dining table scene which Bob said was staged as in the movie from which it was "suggested," and he says taken completely, Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer night" (the night smiles three times, one at the youth, who don't know; one at the fools, who know too little; one at the old, who know too much), I saw only as more spectacular if done spectacularly raked as done in the Follies Bergere with their famous "Impossible to sit in but looks great" angles. Poor Despo had absolutely nothing to do as the maid, I don't see why everyone liked Patricia Elliott as the Countess, she didn't even LOOK well this next-to-the-last night of performances, and I was more put off than enchanted by the quintet that kept singing around, but Bob had seen the show so many times that he had all the motifs and tunes down pat and could quote each person echoing each other person's motif if only a few bars were played. It was nice to see a SUCCESSFUL play for a change, but I can't see WHY he'd want to see it as many as FIVE times, and would like to go to London to see it THERE.

DIARY 8922


The set looks very much like the one for "Anna Bolena" with the trapezium rising to an odd-angled distance, flanked by colonnades that are sometimes balconies, sometimes fences, sometimes removed. Marisa Galvany is quite special in what I take to be the mezzo role of Elisabetta, Queen of England, but all the men fade into nothingness, except Tullio Pane as Leicester, who has more to sing, is shorter than everyone else on stage, possibly even the stupid-looking females masquerading as "mignon" around the queen, giving the impression of lesbian revels more than anything else, and is a tenor. Beverly Sills doesn't come on until the second act, which climaxed in a marvelous duet for the two women, after passing by some awkward attempts at a sextet which never quite come together, whether because of the poorness of the cast, the uninspiration of the conductor, Luigi Martelli, or the writing by Donizetti. But the second act finale is something else from the point of view of skill and accomplishment. The costumes are most sumptuous, and one gown for the queen has red and yellow and white basketwork velvet inside the sleeves, brown velvet outside the sleeves, gray silk down the back, and something else like a vest or weskit in the front of yellow and black. The court ladies are too sumptuous for court ladies, and I hope at least that these can be shared from "queen production" to "queen production," or else the budget for costumes must be enormous. I went in rather depressed, the queen's singing in the first act and the second act finale perked me up considerably, but the dreariness of the third act, except for the gasp from the audience as the head went down on the block, and not only did the ax come up, but it began on its way DOWN before the stage blacked out and the curtain fell at the end. Her voice wasn't at its best: she flubbed a long passage into two short ones with a silence between, some of her top notes were strained, though she did a few roulades of surpassing beauty (and what's the difference between a trill and a roulade?---is it ONLY that a trill is two notes and a roulade is more than two?). The claque started off in high voice, but was strangely silent throughout the third act, as if they, too, were disappointed. But it was better than "Bolena," "Devereaux," and "Puritani."

DIARY 8954


It starts out rather poorly, Colleen Dewhurst the perfect casting of the "big, rough cow" who's really beautiful, and I get a thrill to see that Jason Robards is playing the same O'Neill character that I saw him playing in "Long Day's Journey into Night" so long ago. But this is after the death of his mother, and I don't connect his longing for Josie's breasts until she decides she can't be his lover, only his mother, in the incredible line: "There are different kinds of love, and this must be greater, because it's so much more painful to give," and then she treats him as a boy to be taken, suckled, and forgiven by the all-forgiving, all-nurturing mother. Even the FATHER is a spoiled conniving child, playing pranks on his doting mother, and she cooks his meal and ruffles his head, and I have the awful image of all the strong, important men in the world being little lost boys inside, searching for the placid maternal image who doesn't have to provide anything but boundless comfort, forgiveness, and love regardless of the need. Also, O'Neill had an almost devilish delight in his powers to poison everyone: saying that his father was better off dead, so he wouldn't fight with him; his mother was better off dead and not worrying about him, and that all his female loves were poisoned by his making love to them, and his megalomania is quite revoltingly incredible, except that he seemed to BELIEVE it. Except, of course, O'Neill DID marry, I guess. The play is greatly faulted because FEW women would be so at once self-effacing and no hero would be so self-hating, convinced that no one could love him, and indeed they couldn't if he hated himself so much. Only a mother has the INFINITE love to love someone who hates himself. Great acting, I cried a few times, and recommended that the girls see it too, but Robards was strangely mumbling all the way through, Tom Clancey wasn't the perfect father, and the two smaller parts were almost painfully amateurish. Has the stage really been reduced to song-and-dance people, a few enormous titans, and a bunch of incompetents? Except, I guess, for the national theaters of Warsaw and Moscow and Great Britain---the continuing decline of theater in America.

DIARY 9055


John Stewart and Patricia Wells are competent (and even attractive) as Sali and Vreli, but the major portion of the time for the opera is given over to Frank Corsaro's projections played while the music seesaws back and forth in rippling inconspicuousness. It might make a good background for a stroll in the woods, but as the foreground for grand opera it's rather slight. The first moment is good: tinkly ripply music with a huge closeup of water dripping into a pond. But then it goes into a straightforward evocation of a woods, all shot from the hip, so that when the lights onstage FINALLY come on, the actors are floating about six feet off the "ground." The eyes are so adjustable (vis Buber, Watts, and particularly Castaneda) that toward the third or fourth scene, it actually accommodates to the visual gap and begins to look almost acceptable. David Holloway as the dark fiddler oscillates between being very good and overacting, and lots of other people wander around the stage making absolutely no impression. Of course, for the projections there's a scrim over the stage opening, unusually opaque since there's ALWAYS a scene on it, so it muffles the sound and even the "reality" of what's going on behind it. The orchestra pit is also covered with a scrim to cut down the light (though there's still a gleam of contrasting light in the center where they had to leave a hole for the conductor, looking like a pilot in a flying wing, and the whole thing looks somewhat inferior to a fuzzy TV picture. The "house" is particularly poorly projected, but the music and the singing for the fair is quite good, and the Firebird trains shifting into church windows for the dream sequence (just noticed that scene three is in a POPPY field, "causing" the wild dream in scene four?), is among the best moments of the opera. The scenes for the "Walk to Paradise Garden" which everyone has been talking about are shifted so FAST that there's a terrible busyness given to music which should be flowing and dreaming, and both the image AND the music are altered unfortunately by it. Some of the pieces are much too long and stable, even though the opera is WELL under two hours. An academically interesting evening, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

DIARY 9069


The set is quite spectacular: perfection for the first act outdoors-indoors look, interesting (though puzzlingly un-understandable) during the fog-filled entreacts, and the gasworks are marvelously substantial except when the spiral staircase quivers when someone comes down too fast. But why IS it that I'm not impressed, even though the acting is so good that the audience applauds EVERY entry and exit of every main character, and goes wild with cheers at the end? I simply tell Arnie that I like movies BETTER! For one thing, they concentrate the action: sometime when I was looking through the binoculars I missed something, and even when I WASN'T looking through the binoculars, I STILL didn't see what she did that led him to know the letters were hidden in the seat of the chair. Possibly she goofed and DIDN'T go for them, something that could never happen at the movies: they would have edited it out. Certainly I'm aware of all the arguments for "live" theater, but it seems, with the close-ups on the screen, the silver screen is far more alive and emotional than the distant stage, even with the admirable sweats of a "Scapino" from last week. Yes the movies can't provide a "mandolin-trombone-bass sing-along" as Scapino provided then, but you can always holler at someone else in the audience, as I felt like hollering at the infant who kept popping his gum through "Holmes." Of course the ending was terribly out of character when he kissed her, but I was "finished" with the theater before that even happened. It was a treat to see Zero Mostel, though Joyce suffered in "Ulysses in Nighttown," and it was great to see Katherine Hepburn onstage, but I'm NAME-DROPPING, not enjoying the theater. I was also disappointed in the "lighting effects" that were so popular with the first production: maybe theater has gotten so "perfected" that what WERE spectacular before are commonplace: the fire, the silhouettes on the walls, the gleam in Moriarty's eyes. But for $4 I would rather have seen "Gold" (and maybe sat through the spectacular parts a second time, something impossible on Broadway, too) for the same price. Where I've gone seldom in the past, I'll go even MORE seldom in the future, except for the spectacle that will get me out to anything. Sergeant Pepper?

DIARY 9076


Calvin Culver as Brian is no actor and doesn't even strip, except for his buttocks, though he does partake in the best KISS of the evening, with Bob, played by Dick Joslyn, who had about the nicest body and the pleasantest face (rather like JB) of the whole evening, but he didn't have a biographical note at all. Jake Everett as Wally had the best lines as the dirty old man, followed closely by Walt Holiday as Andy, the black who had the equivalent of the Emery role from "Boys in the Band," and got most of the outrageous laughs, including his funny flip into the pool at THE kiss that ended the first act. Gerald Grant as Tony was the SM guy who turned out to be the psychiatrist, and he looked rather like a Lawrence Luckinbill who would go further from his exposure here (though he's small) than anyone else. Edward Rambeau as Richie, the Wall Streeter who seems to take up with Brian in the end, is about the sexiest, but maybe that's because he never takes off his undershorts so there's no chance to see that he's built on the small side. Michael Kearns as Kevin has the dog-collar part as the SM's roommate and turner-on, and THEY kiss, too, but he's too skinny to be interesting, though his cock flops upward interestingly as he lays on the wet floor---there's a LOT of water splashed around, so it really doesn't matter that there isn't much in the pool, there's a lot around! John Bruce Deaven as Dusty has a nice body, but it a silly red-blond with small meat who won't be able to do much with it. Jade McCall (prize for best name?) is rather hard-faced and over-madeup in his bright-red phony tan and small cock for the part of the lover who needs more action. Ed Byers did the lighting, which was good; Veronica, the he-cat, had a good part, and some of the lines were VERY funny (but not as funny as the TV line from "Monty Python's Flying Circus": what's brown and sounds like a bell: DUNG). But it surely wouldn't be worth the $10, $8, $6 for the weekends that they were wanting, or the $5 lowest price for during the week. Sex-shows just can't GO for that kind of money. But I'm happy I saw it, the price was right, and Jake Everett should get some kind of award for his acting job as the dirty old man, though he DOES appear to have a severely receding hairline---pity.

DIARY 9130


But it ISN'T as I like it. The blurb by Sir Olivier implies that it's the original cast, but some review (in the Times that night, in fact) says that only one small part had been played by anyone in the original cast, and no one seems to like the overly effeminate playing of Rosalind by Gregory Floy, who looks every bit as masculine as a Richard Chamberlain played by a Floy could look---not a bit. David Schofield is more effective as Celia because he doesn't overdo it. The first act, which Arnie sleeps through, is quite dreadful, and Jacques even manages to murder the "Seven Ages of Man" by making it dreadfully ponderous. But thankfully the second act brings on the buffoonery of Gordon Kaye as Audrey, a country girl in a go-go dress and a Stan Laurel face which WORKS in the ludicrous blond wig, and Phebe is incredibly handsome, looking like a Raquel Welch with his broad shoulders, slim hips, and well-formed legs, not to mention a fabulously clean profile, thin well-used lips, and large bright eyes, of Christopher Neame. There was a singer with arresting blue eyes in the first act, but when I stopped some of the cast in the street to ask for his name, they told me Ian Hanson, who was in the program as playing Hymen, an old man, though he could hardly have come from the cast of "Hair," which his VOICE seemed to do with the typical phrasings of his singing, so I'm confused. Anyway, he was a total doll, and there was something nice to look at when he was onstage, almost as beautiful as Christopher Neame. The sets were a disaster: dusty plastic with circles and squares showing through, and the costumes were interestingly textured furs and silks and plastics, except that Rosalind wore the baggiest pseudo-leather suit in creation, and the new laughs by the men playing the women were not at the CHARACTER but at the ACTOR, which is a horrible mistake, and I MUST put "As You Like It" down as a play not to be seen again under ANY circumstances, since even the jazziest attempt to hoke it up can't disguise the fact that it's a silly, weakly plotted, ridiculously over-played piece of work by someone who could turn out greatness and dross in almost equal measure. Measure for measure.

DIARY 9165


Angela Lansbury is total perfection as "Rose." Every motion is exactly what's meant, I don't understand why critics said she wasn't singing strongly, her voice was always going flat out with total control, right at the top of her enormous skill and talent. There were more nuances than I'd ever heard Merman give, and some of the words and phrasings were Merman's exactly. She was acting every moment, except when she stepped out of character to tell the audience to quit applauding at the end of "Rose's Turn" so she could make one bow to the audience in silence so that Gypsy could find her. But the production was sadly lacking the Christmas number and lots of the Minsky other-numbers, and the strippers were absolutely dreadful, the overly enunciated "Tough titty" getting almost no laugh compared with what the incomparable Maria Karnilova had gotten before. Mazeppa was just fat and Electra looked TRULY stupid. The kids were nice, but Rex Robbins looked like a too-young version of Jason Robards, except for a nice period of enjoyable eye-contacts between him and Angela as they were dancing. Zan Charisse was marvelous in the first act as a child, but when she had to take her clothes off, she was awkward and quite ugly, and though her trademark was supposed to be great clothes, hers were dirty and tawdry and VERY unsexy, and then the greatest, biggest appendectomy scar in the world didn't help her stripping, either. The audience talked during most of the overture, but there were a lot of good songs, and "Little Lamb" was sung most effectively. Bob Grossman said that Angela had changed the ending, letting Gypsy walk off first, followed by a now-independent Rose, and it seemed perfectly natural. The audience was crowded, the woman and man next to me kept talking about every play on Broadway, she'd come from Boston, he'd not been in theater, and it was a typical matinee audience, full of loud people and enthusiastic applauders for Angela, and she seemed to be enjoying it much as Zan did during the good first and awful, for her, second act. Steven Gelfer was sexy as Yonkers, but John Sheridan as Tulsa was in a bit over his handsome head with the awkward tap-dancing routine.

DIARY 9175


The sets by William Ritman are as stunning as Arnie had described them, and it's fun watching Maria Karnilova acting stupid and Terry Kiser act like a drunken hippie, but Vincent Gardenia does the best he can with the impossible role of Joe Benjamin who's given a message by a campy Charles Nelson Reilly that his faith is going to be tested. Having the influence of the absurdity of the Book of Job fresh in my mind from my reading of Jung, I keep waiting for some thoughtful exegesis of the thesis from the stage, but the best thing is a line by Maria Karnilova: "Well, WE love you and we would never DREAM of making you miserable because we love you." Or something to that effect. But most of the jokes are quips about RC Cola or Yoo-Hoo or Gucci shopping bags or Hartford Insurance Company, or about his childhood in which he was beat up by fairies because he wore curtain-clothes. There's a rip-off from "Steambath" when Terry Kiser appears, blind drunk without being drunk, in the second act, with the "auto lights" shafting upward from his crotch in the window, taking off from God's transfiguration in the aforementioned Steambath. The younger sons and daughters are complete dunces, and the whole first act of 70 minutes could have been cut to ten if they simply said what they had to say without charades, dumb shows, dumb puns, and guessing games. Kiser's running "We know she's your wife, maid, son, daughter, whatever" was vaguely funny, but otherwise it seemed the exercise of a man who's been sadly written out of anything serious. But maybe it was a bit too much to expect anything serious---except that the strictures of the Book of Job were reduced to a wife that still loved him, a blind son, burned factory and house, and an itch that was more funny than painful, and a ludicrous set of acting when "his mouth is too sore to talk" during the first part of the second act, and he's perfectly lucid during the SECOND part of the second act. Again the audience was amused and fashionable and mostly from out of town, and I'm surely not going to try very much MORE from BROADWAY after I manage to see "Equus." It just isn't worth it: I'd have been happier seeing this as a TV special in a couple of years. Oh, and ALL the "Chinatown" and other MOVIE (and Hollywood Squares) ads, too!

DIARY 9274


Lisa Raggio starts out the entertainment, and though she has all the right mannerisms and looks quite a bit like the female lead in Cocteau's "Les Enfants Terribles," she doesn't have the voice to bring things off, though the audience seems to eat her up. We'd finished the mediocre meal in good time, Bob and Bob seeming to enjoy my conversation about travel to Sete Quedas and Machu Picchu, and she starts at about 12:15 and ends about 12:45, at which time Wayland Flowers, dressed in the "formal tee-shirt" and black pants comes on with a flurry of pink silk and feather boa that is Madame. She has a marvelously nasal face and, to hear her own description, "a nose that's too long and a chin that looks like two balls." Then follows one of the most hilarious series of genitally oriented jokes I've ever heard, starting with the startling "Have you ever been picked up by the fuzz?" "No, but I've been twirled by the tits." Then she goes into the waitress with two hamburgers tucked into her armpits "Dear, why are your armpits so occupied?" "Oh, I'm so busy with the orders, I'm just keeping them warm." "Would you cancel our orders for hotdogs, please?" Then there's Queenie, with a perfectly manic wide-eyed but weary-of-the-world expression in the eyes over a flattened mouth propped over a chinless chin. A black soul singer follows, with the old joke about the Georgia redneck shooting a hole in his plug of tobacco and she tossing up an apple and peeling, coring, quartering, and eating it before adding "And check the oil, muthefucka." Then comes McMoneyHoney, or someone, a Mortimer Snerd type with working hands that smoke cigarettes. Also genital, he talks about laying in bed with "this huge wanger---I don't get them much, but they're nice when I do. This nurse comes in and stares at me for fifteen minutes. Then he says ...."Are you asleep?" "Yep." "Then why are your eyes open?" "I guess I don't have any skin left." Then, in response to audience screams, Madame comes back and talks about Disneyland, finally getting a lay out of Pinocchio, saying "LIE, you fucker, LIE." Bob and Bob crack up with laughing, the audience is marvelous, and I'm looking forward to going back to see Chita Rivera.

DIARY 9296


Michael Zaslow, the reason I'm seeing this, is surely worth the price of admission: a blunt-nosed football-player's face that has the thick-lipped sulkiness of a Brando, the pleading eyes of a young Ben Gazzarra, and he has the nice soft bumpy-ripples that are not quite so extreme as Paul Newman's in "Sweet Bird" but his legs, peeking out of his blue robe, are ineffably more sexy. And his acting seems perfectly adequate, too. Confused with Kate Reid, thinking that that florid face and fat figure can't possible be "Sister George," and Bob later tells me that she was BERYL Reid. Oh. But her part and/or her playing was a bit overdone. Fred Gwynne was the surprise: after every review saying he was lousy, I though he was pretty good, seeing no need for---can't remember the name of that fat folksinger (BURL IVES)---one's person's interpretation of the role to remain definitive. Elizabeth Ashley was quite believable: beautiful enough, yet tortured enough to BE Maggie the Cat. And the supporting actors and actresses were all properly despicable. This play had reputedly been restored to its original form, and it seems to me that there was a lot more obscenity in the play than before. However, sadly, if there had been any PREMEDITATED AMBIGUITY in the play before, it all seemed PERFECTLY clear now: with the insistence that Brick ALWAYS told his father the truth, there was every reason to believe that Brick DID NOT ever want to touch Skipper, but that Skipper DID call him and suggest sex, and when Brick hung up, Skipper killed himself by drinking too much and having a doctor inject him with too much whatever it was. So it seemed clear that BRICK was never really gay himself. And then, at the end, when Brick had to laugh and admit "Wouldn't it be funny if that were actually true?" when Maggie says she loves him---it's quite clear from her performance that she DOES love him, and that she DOES want to go to bed with him DESPITE the fact that producing a child will give them the plantation of Big Daddy---THOUGH EVERYONE KNOWS THEY'LL GET IT ANYWAY, since Big Daddy clearly confesses that HE hates the "no-necked monsters" as much as the other characters and the AUDIENCE do. But it's still a great afternoon in the theater.

DIARY 9309


Some striking quotations that I jotted on my program from the student-seat:
1) What does the horse want (with Strang rubbing his chest sexily) INDEED?
2) In the doctor's dream the sacrifice is a "herd of children."
3) "He hadn't come across a word with two U's together---" never VACUUM?
4) He "pulled the chinkle-chankle (chain in horse's mouth) and the cream dripped off---and later he puts the chinkle-chankle in his OWN mouth. Now it MAY be the chain, but it ALSO could be thought of as something ELSE.
5) "Equus, my only-begotten son" and also the last of his list of "begats."
6) Hopkins draws smoke-figures in the air with his incessant cigarettes, and wouldn't this be a trial for those in the audience who smoke but can't?
7) "Equus" the god, lives in all horses.
8) Horse and man will be one PERSON, like the pagans thought in medieval times.
9) Again "the chinkle-chankle in my hand" while he DECIDEDLY rubs horse's cock.
10) "A passion more ferocious than I've felt in any second of my life," says the doctor, obviously jealous of the boy.
11) "Without worship, you shrink." Since worship ELEVATES someone or something ABOVE you, I would think that WITH worship, you would shrink, unless you worship YOURSELF, and that's a piece of what Strang was doing, worshipping HIMSELF COMBINED WITH EQUUS as a PERSON that was also a god.
12) "Men are people with pricks" is the first thing he thinks of---can tell where HIS sense of importance lies.
13) The horses stamping, during the sex scene, rocked MY seat, producing a tactile vibration and fear that GREATLY heightened the effect of HIS fear.
14) God sees him fail, so he KILLS his god---but I didn't like that, and told Bob about it, and Bob said HE thought they put out the horses' eyes so that they wouldn't see that he even ATTEMPTED to touch flesh that wasn't theirs. That made much more sense to me, but I really don't think that's what the play SAID. I thought Shaffer's STATED PURPOSE in the play "create a mental world in which the deed could be made comprehensible" wasn't fulfilled. Thomas Hulce was dark and VERY fair of skin, but I was still sorry I couldn't see the Peter Firth who had gotten such notices (and a long cock) in the part.

DIARY 9326


Pleased that it had just gotten a GREAT writeup in New York Magazine, but I don't remember much about my first viewing of it at the old Met in 1962 except that it was not memorable. Then there's the announcement that Martina Arroyo is being replaced by Lucine Amara and Cornell MacNeill is being replaced by Matteo Manuguerra. The singing isn't really BAD, though the very strained pinched tones of Barry Morell make it immaterial whether he's on pitch or not; but the only real PERFORMER onstage is Nedda Casei as the Gypsy Preziosilla: great voice, beautiful woman, and an ease and conviction of stage movement that I wish SOMEONE else would have had. Gabriel Bacquier did wonders with the little part of Melitone, but one was more impressed with the SINGING voices of Cynthia Munzer as the maid and Arthur Thompson as the Surgeon than with the three principals. But as New York noted, the production is a good one: the Velletri scene seemed to include the whole village, the costumes were adequate except for the very unhandsome green uniforms that both beetle-shaped heroes won when they were trying to battle (and they never DID battle, obviously the director realized that two such tubs simply COULDN'T make it look real at ALL). The chorus was the star of the show: singing well as monks at the Cloister scene, and drinking wine, staggering around drunk, and running back and forth in the crowd scenes, including even knowing how to gesture in Italian! But who knows how long THAT kind of excellence will last? The orchestra seemed to be doing pretty well, except when it was totally drowning out the singer's voices, but since they were so slight, there wasn't anything much else to DO except remain unheard. The program (awful that THAT has become small) lists all the historical data, making the thing seem even MORE like a museum-presentation, and as I sat, nodding, bored, I really asked myself AGAIN why I would bother to come to one of these things, except on the basis of a GREAT singer or a GREAT new production or opera. Maybe this COULD have been fabulous with the great Arroyo voice swooping through the beautiful (single) melody in the opera, or with 6'3" beauties battling for their honor, but in THIS place with THIS cast, it was barely worth the investment of time for a free ticket.

DIARY 9332


Eleanor Bergquist as the soprano Queen has TOO much vibrato in her voice for any kind of clear, sustained tone that I like, but she manages to get enough emotion and enthusiasm (and volume!) into her voice to make it rather pleasant. Natalie Chudy as Casilda is perfectly average, looking somewhat less than that in her red knit dress and extreme black platform shoes. Rockwell Blake, the tenor of Ruy Blas, isn't as good as Marty had said he might be, giving forth a pinched strained tone that seemed a bit off in places, and physically he was a pudgy ick. The baritone Paul Kotula was a real find, however, I even spoke to him to say that he had a fabulous voice (and body, though I didn't say it, and he used it so well it seemed that even his KNEES participated in some of the stronger tones) and had he made any recordings? No, but he hopes to, and he was in the army and has been only singing operatically for about a year. He died about a year later! A cute guy, too, the gal he was with was quite beautiful and looked at him inquiringly as I spoke to him. Harris Poor was a decent bass, but his part didn't call for that much. The opera was fairly pleasant, though he seemed to be better writing for solos and duets than he was with trios where people seemed more to be fighting against each other than abetting a mood, though maybe that was the fault of Eugene Kohn, who Jerri said didn't want his name associated with the production at all. Jerri was there with a guy, and she's working full time in Manhattan now. Antony and Cookie Gray were there, she with a 42-year-old boy and a 9-month-old girl, he working at Habner, or somewhere on 56th and 5th, asking if I wanted a fulltime job and what was I doing. First heard that Norman Treigle had died last week of internal bleeding from an ulcer, or some such, only 47 years old. Pity. We left at 1:30, having heard most of the music, and they were only going to check if there was anything that needed redoing. Adrian, the Met doctor, was there with his wife, as well as the fat blond from Marty's classes, who ogled me. A bald guy I'd seen before, and some others of Marty's friends were there, and it was the Program Director who was the sexiest crotch in the place. Good show.

DIARY 9336


Seated at the bar with my single vodka tonic for $1.25 at 8:10, chewing on pretzels and chagrined that I had to avoid Ralph Mandelbaum sitting on the next stool. They'd notified everyone that Lana Cantrell had been replaced by Pauline Frechette, and the place was so full of dykes it seems they would be very disappointed. Time went by boringly as I took notes in the back on my book (see DIARY 9337), but then before the show started at 9:30, seeing as how all the tables hadn't been filled, the people from the bar were ushered into the tables that had been left, and Paula and I sat together and seemed to agree on most of the acts, though she said some very strange things about women gays (see DIARY 9339). Pauline Frechette was pretty awful, too cutsy-poo and "I'm from Indiana" in her act, pounding away at her piano. Then Peter Allen was quite GOOD, playing mostly his own songs and looking VERY sexy in an orange polo shirt with a becoming black stripe down the center and the sides, and he was quite openly gay with his songs and his references, though Paula didn't like his Australian rendition of one of his songs that a woman had recorded, something silly like "I love you, I HONESTLY love you." Intermission and we chatted some more, she introduced me to the woman she was chasing, Ginay Vida, and then Rita Gardner came on with the Carousel-Ferris wheel song that took off into mania, which Bob said was from "Jacques Brel," and then did some stupid things, ruining "Soon It's Gonna Rain" by slowing it to a stop, and ended with a dynamite "Ah Marik, Marik," and something about Flanderen Vields. Then Larry Kert came on, still incredibly handsome, and said he had three reasons for being here: 1) NGTF, 2) Reno Sweeney's, and 3) "I wanna find a trick." Bob was floored when I told him. Then he sang "Somethin's Coming," "All My Eggs in One Basket," "Everybody Says Don't, "Maria," "Being Alive" (which wasn't very good), "Don't Leave Me, Baby" (which would be impossible, seeing how cute he was), and "Every Time We Say Goodbye," which he ended with a lovely "Goodnight." I was SO sorely tempted to ask him for an autograph, and Bob said I wanted to trick with him, which was of course true. But I didn't, and left kicking myself for not---what difference would it make? But I don't want to be REFUSED!!

DIARY 9360


Ka-WALL-y means "vocal music" and is performed in auditoriums, not mosques, though the songs attain more significance during religious feasts and during the month after the month of fasting. They appear like dark shadows onstage during the dimness, and they're forbiddingly dark and the leader is long-haired and plump. They chant and play an intro, then start the cantillation, and then the audience starts shouting and waving BACK and they come alive; then they start putting money on the stage apron "when a phrase pleases them" and they applaud the graciousness of foreigners who put money up without really understanding why they do it. VERY social audience, and Sahid talks to me while talking to a friend in forensic medicine with the New York Police Department who had been in NYC 2 years, "senior" to the person here only 6 months trying to get a cricket business going. First part from 8:10 to 8:55, then they start again at 9:10 with an intro and clapping. Horse laughs and THIN sounds from others and Dholak player STRETCHES his cheeks to sing as strongly as possible, his bright eyes showing his great love for the whole thing. Second half: audience reacts louder and more often, shouting, laughing and waving, having a loving time with the players. So much more EQUALITY between singers and audience than in western performances. Every so often a condensed section of the audience would go quite simply mad with gestures, shouts, and handclaps. His tendency to DROP voice until he's not singing, only gesturing, seems to carry on the song without words! Woman in pink sari walks up with $20 bill. Fat Indian woman carries up a baby with a buck in its hand; baby won't release buck, poke and push, laughter, and finally baby lays the buck on the stage. Crumpled bills would easily cover the stage if spread out. Guy comes up and gets change and quickly two more do the same thing: great way to finance your own ticket. Two dancers start up near the stage, and audience applauds until their motions get more frantic, hands waving over their heads, vaguely Greek, and the bills start flying about and one is beating his head against the stage. Friends rush in to retrieve him, hugging and leaping with him, trying to hold him down. The man is BLOODY on his forehead and the others force him out, his body humping and arching in time with the music. The other is made to lie down in the aisle, and then when he calms down is carried to a far-aisle seat, where he collapses, twitching. Announcements after third song ALMOST take my mind off the blood on his forehead. Men SHOUT sentences from balcony and I get chills up my spine. Something about "Jarmille" gets audience echo. When the audience reacts, everyone (who knows) in the audience screams and reacts in the SAME WAY. Encore from 9:55 to 10:32, something with "Armila/Jamila" as the refrain. Apilla armilla; LApilla armilla. Odd choking in throat after prolonged extempore exhortation by singers followed by SPATE of money and FLOODS of shouting. Talking, sharing, loving with audience and tears rise to throat-choke and the claps of everyone. Oh, a NICE chat. The libretto is quite a help, and "Teri Soorat" is terribly romantic in the "Song of Songs" tradition of making the godhead into a person with whom the singer is in love. "I wish to immerse myself in you to such an extent / That anyone looking at me would actually see you." Teri Soorat (your face); Meri Soorat (by the gesture, obviously my face). Lovely. There's really nothing to distinguish songs one from another to someone who doesn't know the words, since the same techniques of cantillation, whirling the fingers around the head to symbolize the entire universe, the voice sinking to inaudibility---all are used for all the songs. But the force of the singing leads me to wonder again about the Sufis, and I might even get the Idris Shah book that John liked so much. The audience was the smallest of the lot, the Pakistanis distinguished by the lamb's wool cut-caps they have on their heads, but there seem to be a lot of saris, which are as much Pakistani female as Indian, I would guess. Ghulam Farid Sabri and Maqbool Ahmed Sabri were the leaders, Mohammad Anwar was good on the nal and the tabla, and Adbul Karim was the transported player of the larger-drum cholak. Only one of the singers, possibly Kamal Sabri, was anything like cute, beating his white-dhotied legs against the platform and smiling from his cross-legged pose.