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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Somewhat disturbed that I had not heard about the disappearance of Spalding Gray until now. (Link from Maud Newton.) Doesn't sound good.

Episode of Suspense on radio last night featured Ethel Barrymore and Gene Kelly; the last as a psychopath. "They told me there was something wrong with my mind..." This was a little over the top, though I don't in principle mind Kelly in 'darker' roles; he has a good (speaking) voice for it. This is reminding me of 3 things.

1) The time I mentioned Gene Kelly to Robin [last name?], a mildly swing-revivalish gal from Claremont. Immediate response: "Best ass in Hollywood." On some accounts, Vicente Minnelli agreed.

2) Another recently heard radio line: "It's wonderful what you've done with monkeys, doctor, but that's as far as you should go right now."

3) The husband of a cousin of Bree's just moved here for a play at the Ahmanson -- "The Royal Family," by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman, based loosely on the Barrymore clan. He's playing the businessman beau of the Ethel B.-equivalent; tries to get her to leave the theater. I'll see that. (Bree always claims that Drew will look exactly like Ethel when she's older.)

The Business of Strangers just ok. Read as a distaff The Company of Men (similar unity of place/time, lifeless business hotel setting, gendered vengefulness). Stockard Channing watchable, of course -- 'iron lady' racked w/ 'self-doubt' and 'control issues.' But, as MF says of Ida Lupino in High Sierra, she's a specific woman in a cliche role. (Tempting to digress on Lupino.) Julia Stiles has tolerable moments, and very fake ones; the performance is saved by the fact that the character is an annoying Dartmouth (unless she's lying) student -- one can assign the actress' self-satisfaction to the character. A more appropriate vehicle than Twelfth Night (a couple years ago, my one and only visit to Shakespeare In The Park).

No idea why this post is so actorcentric; though it reminds me that I don't have to take a six block detour around the rehearsal tents on Hollywood anymore, now that the Oscars are over. Company town.

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