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My back pages

Film, My back pages, Television, Theater, Vespers

Alan Sues, Comic Actor 1926-2011

There was Liberace, Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly and on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, Alan Sues.  What a quartet of flamboyant personalities who blazed on prime time when I was coming of age.   In the 70s their very names were punchlines, code for every euphemism of that other f-word even as the longhaired hippies and…

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Film, My back pages, Television, Theater, Vespers

Jane White, Actress 1922-2011

“Who is that?” I recalled thinking as a child when I first saw Jane White in a television version of Once Upon a Mattress.  As the imperious Queen Aggravain, her performance was a lesson in comedy and drop-dead stylishness; she was something special, and I looked forward to seeing her again. But sightings were rare—hers…

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Film, My back pages, Short Cuts

Funny Boy

Cancer bulletin: nothing relives the doldrums of my birth month like a good laugh.  Good luck finding anything resembling that at the movies; sure, it’s air-conditioned but “rom com” beware.  The term alone guarantees the absence of wit, or for that matter, anything resembling human behavior. Which means us humor-mongers must reach back to the…

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Art, Current Affairs, Gay, My back pages, Politics, Travel, Writing

Another Page

Live from New York: this morning as a family of starlings chirped me into cognizance, I thought, the past is present again.  Funny—it remembered the first day of my Woodstock residency almost a month ago, less evocative of home than a clue to the sheer volume and diversity of bird stock in that neck of…

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Art, My back pages, Writing

Retrieving My Enthusiasms

It’s a chipmunk world, and I’m just living in it.  At the Byrdcliffe Colony in Woodstock where I’m doing a month-long residency, the animals have it: with their rust-colored coats, those cute chipmunks ripple through the grass like glints of bright copper; cats (domestics named Celeste and Bob) strut across the lawn at night, their…

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Music, My back pages

Lady Sang the Blues…Phoebe Snow 1950-2011

Were any of us prepared for the phenomenon that was Phoebe Snow?  In 1974 I was a senior in high school; along came Phoebe with her magnificent debut, a bouquet of tunes (Poetry Man, Harpo’s Blues, Either or Both, I Don’t Want the Night to End, Take Your Children Home, It Must be Sunday, No…

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Music, My back pages

Thibaudet Among the Philistines

Was looking forward to my first Jean-Yves Thibaudet last Wednesday at Carnegie Hall, but things got off to an unpromising start.  A man who’d bought the orchestra seat next to mine arrived and barked, “Get that bag out of the way,” as if my briefcase and I had plotted some inconvenient coup.  I take rudeness…

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