Friday, January 13, 2012

Streep May Be Best Film Actor of Our Time!

I beseech all deities and benevolent cosmic beings to secure an Oscar for Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. Great film. And while my politics are very different from someone I used to refer to as Reagan in drag, the film showed a very sincere and human side of Lady Thatcher and I may be forced to refer to the former PM with only respect and even a little admiration from now on (even while still disa...greeing with many of her political views). Her political philosophy might not have been my cup of tea, but her leadership skill and courage are pretty undeniable. When an actor (Streep) can make you love a character that in real life you have not cared much for (Thatcher), an Oscar is definitely in order!!!

Happy Birthday to the Last of the Red Hot Mamas

If you've known me more than 20 minutes you know that i WORSHIP Sophie Tucker (whenever you say "thank God" it is Sophie who says, "You're welcome"). NOT the Soph character that Bette Midler does (though, Bette is also divine), but THE Sophie Tucker - the Last of the Red Hot Mamas! She died 9 months before I was born (draw your own conclusions), but she was born today in 1886. Happy Birthday dear Sophie.

born Jan. 13 - 1886
died Feb. 9 - 1966

Durrell born Nov. 15, 1966 (sometimes the life wheel spins around quickly, no?)

Sophie (a stage name) was born Sonya Kalish in Imperial Russia (actually the Ukraine). When she was a baby her family moved to the US (Connecticut) and opened a restaurant. Her career began singing for tips in the family restaurant. She married when she was 17 (Louis Tuck) and they had a son. The marriage did not last long. She would go on to marry twice again.

She went on to develop an act which she did in Vaudeville and Burlesque theatres. She sang risque songs and since she was a woman of some size, she even acknowledged this while affirming herself in the process (one of her great songs was "Nobody Loves a Fat Girl but Oh How a Fat Girl Can Love!").

She also became famous for songs such as "Last of the Red Mamas" and "Some of These Days" as well as for the mournful "My Yiddishe Mama".

Sophie was sensitive to the racism of the time because in a way she was victimized by it. Theatre managers, early in her career, told her she was too fat and too unattractive for theater audiences, so they would only allow her to perform in "black-face." She was such a dynamic performer she became popular enough to be able to ditch the minstrel style black face performances, but she continued to sing songs influenced by the African American blues and ragtime traditions. For a while, she was known as the Mary Garden of Ragtime (referring to a famous opera singer) of the era.

Sophie was also a union organizer and a supporter of Israel. Additionally, she endowed a theatre arts chair at Brandeis University.

In addition to Vaudeville and Burlesque, Sophie appeared in 4 Broadway shows, made supporting and cameo appearances in numerous films, had her own radio show for a year, and made many talk/variety TV show appearances toward the end of her life.
She is credited with influencing some of the "brassy" female comics and singers that followed her, such as Mae West, Mama Cass, and Joan Rivers. And of course, she is the inspiration for Bette Midlers' famous "Soph" character.

Dear Sophie - you are still in my heart the LAST of the Red Hot Mamas!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Joel Osteen and gays

Joel Osteen has unenlightened, non-progressive views about same-gender loving people. What annoys me isn't that he's homophobic, but that gay people are pretending to be surprised about it!