|Vertner depicted in A Woman of the Century|
Sunday, November 26, 2023
Saturday, November 18, 2023
"When Leslie Jones walks into a room, she's always out of breath and mad about something," writes Chris Rock in the book's foreword. Rock suggested Lorne Michaels give Jones a tryout when he was looking to add a Black woman to the cast of SNL in 2013. "She's too funny not to be everywhere, in every movie, on every TV show, with ten Netflix specials," Rock opines, adding she should also play a Marvel villain and Harriet Tubman.
Jones writes in the introduction, "Some of the stories about my childhood are vague because a bitch is fifty-five and I've smoked a lot of weed." Her stories about weed all start with NOT using it, since it seems that was more unusual for her. When asked if she was would mind rooming with some Rastas, Jones writes, "OK with Rastas? I would never not have weed."
Starting with the opening story about how she insisted on being paid as a headliner at clubs when male comics made excuses to put her on last so that they didn't have to follow her, the book is full of illuminating and empowering stories from her many years on the road.
Monday, November 13, 2023
Wednesday, November 8, 2023
UPDATE: Barbra Streisand's new memoir also mentions marijuana. Read more.
Marijuana is mentioned early on. In describing the young singer spending time during the summer between 8th and 9th grades at her grandmother's house in Bay City, Michigan, Gabriel writes, "Her grandmother's idea of child-rearing was liberal in the extreme. Madonna said she could go out with boys, drink beer, 'have twelve desserts...and stay out past ten.' Nanoo, as they called her, let her sons, Madonna's uncles, smoke pot in the basement and practice their rock band in her garage. 'I thought they were the coolest people in the world,' Madonna said."
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
That it is, but with an unexpected twist: Baez opens up in the film about how she has suffered from severe anxiety attacks all of her life, including when she burst on the international stage at the age of 18 as a voice from heaven, practically the new Virgin Mary.
Replete with footage of Baez's performances and actions as a folksinger and activist, the film also features excerpts from hours of audiotapes, home movies of her childhood, her drawings, and her diaries.
Her connection with Bob Dylan, who supplied the protest songs that her voice demanded, is covered, including how deflated she felt when she was basically rebuffed by him while touring Europe, as documented in the 1967 film "Don't Look Back."
As Baez tells it, she "couldn't" participate in the drug taking that the Boys in the Band were doing on the tour, and she was soon excluded in other ways. Since Dylan turned the Beatles onto marijuana, one wonders why he didn't do the same for Baez. Perhaps because she was a woman, she wasn't invited to the boys' pot parties.
Friday, November 3, 2023
After writing an obituary for Judy Balaban, who tried LSD back in the day when Cary Grant was doing it, and co-wrote an article interviewing Grant’s wife Betsy Drake and others for Vanity Fair in 2010, I looked up her co-author Cari Beauchamp, a film historian currently at the Mary Pickford Foundation.
Beauchamp’s book: “Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood” details Marion’s illustrious career during the years of the Fatty Arbunkle trial etc. and the coming of the Hays code.
After Marion (who was also a painter and sculptor) painted a portrait of actress Kitty Gordon showing off her much-admired back to promote Peg O’ My Heart, posters for the play were vandalized and leaflets signed by “Conscientious Citizens" went out shouting, “We must protect our innocent little children from seeing such pictures of half-nude women. And we keep them away from the evil influence of the nickelodeons and the lawless people who have forced themselves upon our beautiful city to make what they call movies. Only if we all unite can we drive them out.” Marion and a friend attended a meeting of the group, dubbing them “The Constipated Citizens.” (p. 27).
Marijuana is mentioned twice in the book:
Monday, October 30, 2023
"Her father was head of Paramount, she was one of Grace Kelly’s bridesmaids, and she shared an LSD experience with Cary Grant," ran the obituary in the Hollywood Reporter for Judy Balaban, who died on October 19 at the age of 91.