Downloaded on my Kindle for about $10. A slim volume but obviously heartfelt. I finished it in a few hours. After viewing a YouTube clip from Carrie Hamilton's guest appearance with her mother on the short-lived Carol and Company, I was curious about this book. After beating a crushing drug habit in her teens, Carrie moved to a remote cabin in Colorado, toured as a musician and singer, and traveled to LA for acting gigs. She developed lung cancer and died at the tragically young age of 38. The first half of the book consists of Carol's reminiscences and email exchanges with her daughter as she takes a cross-country road trip to Memphis to visit Graceland while writing a story about a young woman making a similar journey. The second half of the book is that unfinished story, "Sunrise in Memphis." The story is sentimental and reads like a proposal for a TV-movie. The heroine Kate finds herself driving to Elvis' home in the company of a mysterious, super-polite cowboy. Along the way, they meet--briefly bump into would be more accurate--a covey of the usual colorful characters. There are flashbacks to the last night she can remember--clubbing with friends in Hollywood--and to a dream of a plane crash. After a few pages, you can guess where the plot is headed. Think "Highway to Heaven." It must have been painful for Burnett to work on this project, so I won't criticize any shortcomings. It's a sweet valentine to her departed child.
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Friday, February 24, 2023
Book Review: The Critic's Daughter
Bought at Barnes and Noble: full price of $28. Priscilla Gilman's moving memoir of her relationship with her father, critic-essayist-teacher Richard Gilman, is incredibly detailed and specific in her memories of her dad's flaws and triumphs personally and professionally. The heart of the book is the bitter divorce between her parents, her dad the famously acerbic theater critic and her mom the powerful literary agent whose clients win Pulitzer Prizes and other awards like most people eat breakfast. Priscilla documents her painful role of acting as the "good, mature" daughter who holds it together while everyone else is falling apart. Richard Gilman emerges as a complicated, brilliant, but stubborn father and husband. What sticks with me are the little details--when he takes his daughters to lunches, the cash-strapped Gilman collects condiment packages. Here is a revered critic, feared by the likes of Tennessee Williams and David Merrick, hording ketchups and sugars. Gilman also recreates a world of literary New York that no longer exists. The internet has destroyed the traditional print media in which her father and mother thrived. She also gives us the harrowing final days of her dad's death by cancer as he is lovingly cared for by his third wife in Japan. A thorough, meticulous accounting of a daughter's love. We are friends with Priscilla's half-brother Nick and I feel I know him and his family better now.
Reconstructing the Carol Burnett Show: Part 37: Carol Channing, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, and Others
Sept. 30, 1968: Carol Channing
|Carol and Carol|
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
B'way Update: Laurie Metcalf to Star in Grey House
Thursday, February 16, 2023
B'way Update: The Cottage, Jerry Mitchell Is Busy, Betty Boop, La La, etc.
|Eric McCormack will return to Broadway |
this summer in The Cottage.
Saturday, February 11, 2023
Book Review: Olive, Again
Taken out of the Jackson Heights library. After reading Elizabeth Strout's Lucy by the Sea, where Olive is briefly mentioned as living in a retirement community, I took out Strout's sequel to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge and enjoyed it. The writing style is very different from the Lucy book which is almost Hemingway-esque in its spareness. The third-person narrative is from Olive's point of view, at least in the chapters where she is the main character. In several others, she appears only tangentially. The structure is a collection of interrelated short stories of the residents of the tiny coastal town of Crosby, Maine, some of them have been the protagonists of other Strout novels such as The Burgess Boys and Isabelle and Amy (perhaps I will get to those books later). Everyone in town has secrets and Strout unsparingly shares them and their keepers' humanity and vulnerability. A teenage girl has a bizarre but tender relationship with her teacher's husband. A warring elderly couple attempts to understand their daughter's work as a dominatrix. The brutally honest, undiplomatic Olive examines her life and attempts to mellow as she negotiates relationships with her second husband, her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren, and finally with her fellow residents in the retirement complex. Strout expertly depicts the indignities of aging, including incontinence. All the everyday details are here, both unpleasant and endearing.
Sunday, February 5, 2023
Observations of a vanishing culture:
The DVD section at the Union Square Barnes and Noble is now only a few shelves. It used to be a whole room.
When people go to the movie theaters, there are usually only a few attendees in the audience. At the last film I saw in a theater, Tar, we were among a handful in the seats. Cinema chains are shutting down including the Cinepolis on 23rd street and the Regal Union Square.
On the subway, I was the only one reading an actual book. Everyone else was staring into their phones.
No one sells photo albums anymore. No one writes checks. I can't listen to CDs in my car anymore because there is no CD player. I prefer CDs to streaming music because I have more control.
It happens to me every time. I want to sit down somewhere public to read while I kill time before an appointment, but I can never find a seat and I wind up wandering through the B&N or the Strand for hours.
When visiting my mother, I noticed that the Philadelphia Inquirer no longer runs a grid of TV listings.
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Reconstructing the Carol Burnett Show, Part 36: Carol and Company
|Carol and Company: Carol surrounded by|
regular cast members (l. to r.)
Jeremy Piven, Anita Barone,
Terry Kiser, Meagan Fay, and Richard Kind.
Peter Krause later replaced Jeremy Piven.
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
B'way Update: Leslie Odom, Jr. to Star in Purlie Victorious
|Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee|
in Purlie Victorious