Those rumors about a gay affair with Eddie Murphy were affecting Johnny Gill's love life, so he took a lie detector test to put his girlfriend's mind to rest.
Last month, a group called Coyote & Crow performed a cover of "Me & My Uncle" by the Grateful Dead on the Bedford Avenue subway platform in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A little girl danced. This video has gone viral. Maybe you could use some cheering up.
Director Mike Nichols died on Wednesday at age 83. He was born in Germany and moved to the United States at age 7. He was a member of the comedy duo Nichols and May with Elaine May. In his long directing career, which encompassed stage, film, and television, he won about every award that could be won in his profession: Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Drama Desk, Golden Globe, Grammy, and Britain's BAFTA. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003, and an American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Nichols seemed eternally young, always with another project. He was working on a production of "Master Class" with Meryl Streep for HBO when he died. Fortunately, much of his work remains available for viewing. I remember seeing "The Real Thing" in 1984 in Broadway, featuring Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close. That he was adept in so many media put him in rare company. The partial lists of his work below convey his incredible range and output. At the bottom is a famous scene from "The Graduate" featuring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. He is survived by his wife Diane Sawyer and his children Max, Jenny, and Daisy. May he rest in peace.
On Broadway: Barefoot in the Park (1963), The Odd Couple (1965), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971), Uncle Vanya (1973), Streamers (1976), Annie (1977), The Real Thing (1984), Hurlyburly (1984), The Seagull (2001), Spamalot (2005), Death of a Salesman (2012), and Betrayal (2013).
On film: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Graduate (1967), Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Day of the Dolphin (1973), Silkwood (1983), Heartburn (1986), Biloxi Blues (1988), Working Girl (1988), Postcards from the Edge (1990), Regarding Henry (1991), The Birdcage (1996), Primary Colors (1998), Angels in America (2003), Closer (2004), and Charlie Wilson's War (2007).
Bill Cosby has entertained generations of Americans with his comedy. He is an educator and has created memorable children's programming. His creation "Little Bill" always says "Hello friend" because that's what Ennis, his murdered son, always said. Cosby is a great philanthropist. One does not want to believe that such a beloved and respected figure is a serial rapist. But 14 alleged victims, one of whom he settled with out of court, coupled with his silence, make it hard to credit his lawyer's dismissals. Sadness is all over this; but the seriousness of the accusations raises troubling questions about wealth and fame putting someone above the law. I sure could have done without this news.
Here are several relevant items:
Update: A thoughtful essay from Katie McDonough at Salon.
The enchanting 1987 Sondheim musical based on Grimm's fairy tales appears from these glimpses to have received a beautiful film adaptation. In cinemas December 25.
A Starbucks commercial, no less.
This came to mind for perfectly arbitrary reasons. Jason Robards, Jr. addressing his neighbors in A Thousand Clowns, 1965.
Yeah, sort of, says Towleroad.
I confess I am having trouble caring. But it appears to be a thing.
The latest from Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian.
I was looking for something else, and came upon this clip from the HBO version of Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Justin Kirk as Prior Walter, hospitalized with AIDS, tells his friend Belize, played by Jeffrey Wright, about the angels who are visiting him. Prior and Belize are former lovers and dear friends.
I saw both parts of Angels on a Saturday in 1994 on Broadway. I vividly remember Wright delivering the line, "My jaw aches at the memory." Wright's performance in that production won him a Tony, and his HBO reprise won him an Emmy. I appreciate having the TV version (though it lacks another Tony winner, Kathleen Chalfant, whose roles were given to Meryl Streep), because in 1994 I was in the balcony. TV gives you a front-row seat. This landmark drama was the first time I saw Wright. He has played a wide range of characters since, from MLK in HBO's Boycott to a CIA agent in the James Bond movies, to a Dominican drug lord in the Shaft remake, to the dangerous Dr. Valentin Narcisse in Boardwalk Empire. He is always compelling. If you know of a more gifted actor currently working, do tell.
Another clip, this one facing off with the dying Roy Cohn, played by the man whose performance in Dog Day Afternoon convinced Wright he must be an actor. Imagine Wright's thrill at this collaboration. If you are unfamiliar with Angels (something which you ought to correct), the ghost standing next to Belize at the end (when he says "I am the shadow on your grave") is that of Ethel Rosenberg.
Bi-curious whales do it, quails do it,
New hermaphroditic snails do it.
Let's do it, let's fall in love.
Below, though sadly without benefit of my special lyrics, Billie Holiday gives her rendition. Use your imagination.
Tim Hauser, founder of famed close harmony group Manhattan Transfer, has died at age 72. As a fellow former member of the Villanova Singers and Spires (though I never had the pleasure of meeting him), I tip my hat to our illustrious alum. Well done! I expect he is meeting another alum, Jim Croce, on the other side.
Geoffrey Holder, the dancer, choreographer, actor, composer, designer and painter who used his manifold talents to infuse the arts with the flavor of his native West Indies and to put a singular stamp on the American cultural scene, not least with his outsize personality, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 84.
Charles M. Mirotznik, a spokesman for the family, said the cause was complications of pneumonia.
Few cultural figures of the last half of the 20th century were as multifaceted as Mr. Holder, and few had a public presence as unmistakable as his, with his gleaming pate atop a 6-foot-6 frame, full-bodied laugh and bassoon of a voice laced with the lilting cadences of the Caribbean.
In the clip above, Holder dances with the original Scarecrow as he receives his Tony for directing The Wiz. Below, a glimpse of his work for Alvin Ailey. May this great artist rest in peace.
Ian Frazier in the Sep. 29 issue of The New Yorker writes about photographer Artie Raslich of East Rockaway, who took the wonderful photo above.
Ynet News reports:
Drek – one of Tel Aviv's most popular gay party organizers – has inspired a massive wave of criticism and anger online after using imagery inspired by the Islamic State group's executions on a number of posters promoting the club's parties.
Here are a couple of the offending images.
It does seem in dreadful taste. But dark humor generally is. As I do not live in the Middle East, I am not inclined to judge the Drek promoters too harshly.
Comedian Joan Rivers has died at age 81. Here is a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, her trademark style on full display. May she rest in peace.
Samantha Bee normally annoys me, but this is funny. Michael Sam outclasses the people who persist in trying to marginalize him with their locker room fantasies. Rooting for you, Mike.
Beautiful New Yorker cover this week, by Eric Drooker. Hands up, don't shoot.
An odd piece that cropped up today. The music is Mozart's Turkish March.
Churchill said this alleged security risk should have gotten a peerage. He needed to break an unbreakable Nazi code, so he invented the modern computer. Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing. American release November 21.
Another great one passes. In this scene, accompanied by Hoagy Carmichael, Bacall sings to an adoring customer I imagine was her first gay fan.
Years ago, I worked a column around "How Little We Know" and the movie it's from, To Have and Have Not.
It seemed we would have Betty Bacall forever. She was 89.
I was looking around for something that would make you smile amid all the horrors going on in the world, and here it is in the form of an unorthodox marriage proposal. Be sure to watch to the end.
(Note: the title of this blog entry is a line spoken by Diana Muldaur in an episode of the original Star Trek. Extra points if you guess correctly to whom she said it. And no, I did not look it up, because I've had this silly stuff in my head for the past 46 years.)
Genie, you're free. pic.twitter.com/WjA9QuuldD— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 12, 2014
The Motion Picture Academy posted the above tweet yesterday after the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams at age 63. Below is a performance Williams gave in England after Barack Obama's first presidential election victory. May he rest in peace.
Our friend the comedian Sampson was back in town over the weekend. For those who missed him, here is a clip from his 2013 show at the historic Howard Theatre.
The Daily News today reports that the NYC Medical Examiner has ruled that Eric Garner was killed by a police chokehold, a restraining tactic that is still being used despite being long forbidden.
Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in 42, stars as the James Brown. This looks like fun. Opening in cineplexes on August 1.
Quick, hide under a picnic blanket!
Pretty well sums it up. Lovely singing by Andy Williams.