Archive for July, 2022|Monthly archive page

Sirakian Makes The Kite Runner Soar

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2022 at 9:17 am

The younger fellow you see here in the photo is Eric Sirakian, and he is the best reason to see The Kite Runner. The task he faces with every performnce is monumental, for he is required to break your heart not once, but twice, in each act of a decidedly mixed bag of a play.

And, glory be, that is exactly what he does, bringing mysterious commitment and untold passion to two roles: first, of Hassan, a boy who is the best friend of Amir (Amir Arison), the story’s complex narrator, and then playing Sohrab, the son of that boy. Without him, the play, set first in oppressive, strife-torn Kabul and then Los Angeles, refuge of the newly free, by Matthew Spangler, adapted from Khaled Hossein’s beloved book, and directed with spotty panache by Giles Croft, would be a sometimes turgid, heavy-handed and quite manipulative piece – the type of thing which cheaply wrenches tears from the audience over a false alarm death scene. The cast is led by Arison – recounting certain turbulent events of his past, – whose slick and glib TV-inured acting reads as just that – acting, and the synthetic histrionic torrents he calls up, instead of simply BEING, is in marked contrast to Sirakian, who merely but signally exists truthfully onstage with such organic aplomb. Two other cast stand-outs are Faran Tahir, effectively forceful as Amir’s ever-disapproving father, and Azita Ganizada, who has a fresh and charming appeal as our narrator’s wife.

But I keep coming back to Sirakian, who, like no other actor in all my long playgoing experience, had me holding back embarassngly loud, wracking sobs during his big scene of rejection by Amir, which called up every betrayed friendship I’ve known personally, or even read about. And damn it, if – just after I’d sufficiently composed myself during intermission – this kid didn’t rake me emotionally all over the coals again, with another desperately pleading, thwarted moment with Amir in that aforementioned second act.

It all just verified once more the true power of acting when it is this great. Moments like Brando with Rod Steiger in the back seat of that car in On the Waterfront, or Hepburn, so ravaged and terribly alone in the house in Long Day’s Journey into Night, as the sun sets, leaving her to face all those excruciating hours in the dark, or, earlier in her career, as poor Alice Adams, being so desperate at a party to make an impression among rich snobs who will never accept her. Onstage, there has been Francis Conroy as the terrible alcoholic, Mrs. Constable, in the Lincoln Center revival of Jane Bowles’ brilliant In the Summer House, proving that she was the only one involved, including Director Joanne Akalaitis, who even knew from the play. I recall Irene Worth in Sweet Bird of Youth, facing the house from the stage and using the audience, instead of co-star Christopher Walken, as recipient of her gaudily magnificent monologues, one more theatrical moment which destroys you with its consummate truth and beauty, and will vividly live on within you forever.

And you, too, can experience this rarest kind of miracle, which is happening on a regular basis, at a theater named after a woman who was herself capable of such wonder, Helen Hayes. Gloriously abetted by handsome tabla virtuoso Sala Nader, a 20-something RADA/Yale-trained marvel making his Broadway debut, whose bruised voice, huge poignant eyes and performing genius evoke the young and quite beautiful Peter Lorre, long before he became Guignol fodder – and was then, after the empathy he was somehow able to muster as the child murderer in M (1930), possibly the greatest living actor – is doing this eight times a week.

Mabel Garrett, Harlem Jazz Age Entertainer

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2022 at 9:09 am

Not Just Another Sloe-eyed Vamp

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2022 at 7:40 am

happy birthday Lenore Ulric

Sadly forgotten now, she was one of the brightest stars on Broadway n the teens and 1920s, Belasco’s muse who starred in hit after hit, with her smouldering appeal, Armagnac voice and unqiquely exotic look with slumbrous eyelids over those enormous orbs of hers. enabling her to play everything from a south sea island princess (Bird of Paradise), a French coquette (Kiki), a mulatto nightclub hostess (Lulu Belle) to Garbo’s rival and 2nd Empire courtesan-nemesis OLympe, in Camille.

Dear Ruth Gordon, brilliant superintendant of our theatrical past, honored this supernova a few times in her memoir, once recalling a time in the upstate facility where Ulric wound up, when Camille as on TV in the common room.

“That’s me, talking to Garbo!” she announced but none of the other residents would believe her.

looks like William Haines and maybe Walter Pidgeon are in these charming home movies

Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2022 at 4:43 am

It was around 1978 when journalist Bob Weiner took me to a Joffrey ballet company party in the Village on 6th Avenue. It was a small affair in terms of the intimate space and number of guests, but it was PACKED with star power because THEY were there. Woodward was quite involved with the dance, on boards and such, and even took ballet class when she was middle-aged. At this soiree, she radiated her stock in trade: glowingly fresh and natural, a total people person, exuding warmth and realness, mingling easily with all the guests.

He was a different story and, yes, along with Marvin Gaye, Kris Kistofferson, Issey Miyake, a boy I met in San Francisco named Kevin Kalihi, with the body of a quarterback and Brooke Shields’ face, who went crazy, and my Edward, quite the handsomest man I ever saw. Shorter than I expected but gorgeously compact and perfectly proportioned, he wore that God-given face someone once likened to Praxiteles’ Hermes, like any miracle of nature, say, a panther, would, with unaffected, unconscious ease, those electric blue eyes registering 20 feet away. His navy suit and baby-blue shirt fit him with razor-blade precision, as Heineken in hand, he remained apart from his wife’s schmoozing and just prowled around this loft space, checking it out – the furniture, what was hanging on the walls – with an interest that didn’t seem feigned.Of course everyone was too timid to approach this living god somehow fallen into our midst, although you know they were all – myself, incuded – CLOCKING his every move from the corner of their eyes. It’s funny when you think of such a jaded been everywhere/done everybody Manhattan crowd being so quiveringly agog in the presence of true sublime pulchritude, but it does happen here every time there’s a unicorn in the room, nothing enslaves le gratin more than sheer, mere beauty.


And I realized that night that I am the biggest, saddest, most hideously predictable cliche in the world. Because I went home, fell right asleep from a surfeit of chablis, and immediately had the most intense erotic dream about him.

Shouldn’t She Give It a Rest Already?

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2022 at 8:47 am

These days, Christina is grateful that her story is reaching new audiences through platforms that did not exist when she first started to write.

“It is thrilling that Mommie Dearest is now an ebook…I wanted to make sure that each new generation of readers would be able to access the original work,” she said. “Now, there is a new generation of readers who use social media and ebooks as their means of information gathering. Welcome!”

Christina Crawford – facebook

Another thing the author is thankful for is one of her upcoming projects, a two-act musical adaptation of Mommie Dearest, which is currently in its planning stages.

Christina shared some of the details with Open Road Books, “Since I began my career as an actress, my first love was the theater; it is a joy to see this work come alive. Now we are working on the next stage of development, which leads to actual production. There are various steps to climb, including finding a lead producer and funding, but we believe it will happen.”

Christina is also working on the final installment of her memoir series.

“The final book will begin with leaving my home state of California in the early 1990s, traveling briefly to Maryland and Washington DC, and then spending 20 years in beautiful rural north Idaho,” Christina explained.

She did not confirm when the book will be released, but she encourages fans to stay tuned.

Happy birthday, Isabel Jewell

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2022 at 8:25 am

the most special of character women – such was your vivacity, commitment and passion that you made even the smallest of roles, like your one-scene seamstress in A Tale of Two Cities (1935), seem novelistic in their rich sensitivity and observant detail.

I love this unusual shot of you, because you look as though you have assumed the exotic guise of a great dramatic actress, like Garbo, Elisabeth Bergner, Paula Wessely, Alla Nazimova or Asta Nielsen. Because, in your smaller way, that is exactly what you were.

Celebrity Mothering

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2022 at 3:11 am

Cardi B. just threw a mermaid-themed party for her daughter Kulture

Their matching togs recall those of the most infamous Hollywood Mom and her precious little one.

George & Linda, before Death & Disfigurement Took Their Toll

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2022 at 3:05 am

The Murder of Ramon Novarro

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2022 at 9:47 am

read this wonderfully researched article by Jonathan van Meter

Why Jane Austen Died at 41

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2022 at 8:59 am