The Lady Who Lunched : Elaine Stritch

73 PodcastAs soon as the final chords were played at Elaine Stritch sings Sondheim at the Carlyle Cafe, I got up from my front row seat and made my way to the back of the bar.  I had spent a month’s salary to get to see Broadway legend Elaine Stritch sing my favorite composer’s songs in New York City.  That was not enough for me.  I was bound and determined that I was going to meet her as well.  As I stood with my program in hand, here she came.  She smiled at me with that smile that only Elaine could give, then she whipped her head around to her assitant and yelled, “Where the hell is my pen, people.  I can’t sign without a pen.”  I held out my black marker and she signed her at that time 85 year old name to my poster.  She never gave me my pen back.

imageOn Thursday, July 17th Elaine Stritch passed away.  The world of show will never be the same again.  If you don’t know the name you will recgonzie the face, the voice or the pantless legs.  You might know her from The Cosby Show, Law & Order or 30 Rock.  I knew her as Joanne from Sondheim’s Company.  Her version of the Ladies Who Lunch will live on just like The Beatles’s Twist and Shout or Billy Joel’s Piano Man.  Some things are imprinted in pop culture for ever.

Elaine’s last year of life is documented in Elaine Strich Shoot Me.  I was lucky enough to interview the director of the movie Chiemi Karasawa for Episode 73 of The Red Room Podcast.  That interview was later published in the magazine The Sondheim Review.  Elaine pushed Chiemi into directing and shaped her life.  Elaine indirectly helped me get published.  She inspired people with her bravery of alcholism, diabeties and aging.  She braved the stage in her final years not knowing if the words would come to her or not.  Any performer will tell you that is an amazing act of bravery.  Her life and stories are also documented in her one woman show, At Liberty.  If you even have a passing interest in Broadway or old time Hollywood, I know you would love it.  She pulls you in with a story teller’s abilty that I will be jealous of for life.

There are really only a handful of performers that truly amaze me.  Most people in this era of acting confus fame with talent.  Elaine was someone who had more talent than fame.  Her view on acting, the stage and what it means to be a “Star” has passed on.  But her songs, her performances and her standard is captured on film.  She will not be replaced.  It reminds me of when we lost Johnny Carson.  You just know a bridge to the past has been permantly closed.  I shutter to think of what will replace it.  But when it worries me, I will watch her performance at the end of the Sondheim Birthday Concert.  After two and half hours of show stopping performances, a 86 year old woman stood up and sang I’m Still Here to close the show.  It was the only standing ovation of the evening up to that point.  She stood surrounded by today’s leading broadway stars all at least a quarter of her age and she stopped the show once again.  “I’ve run the gamut, A to Z, three cheers and dammit, C’est la Vie.  I got through all of last year, and I’m here.”  She may be gone, but she will always be here.  And I’ll drink to that.

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Listen to Scott’s Interview with Six By Sondheim Editor, Miky Wolf here.

New Twin Peaks Promo

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Here it is.  The new preview for the Twin Peaks Blu Ray set.  Watch it and pre-order it here.

 

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81 Twin Peaks Reflections Interview

81 PodcastSeason 3 comes to a close just like it began, with us discussing a new Twin Peaks Book. In episode 81 we welcome Brad Dukes, author of Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks.   Click here to order this book. He interviewed everyone you can think of from Twin Peaks.  From Mark Frost, Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Angelo Badalamenti, Julee Cruise, Kyle MacLachlan, to the executives, directors, set designers and probably the mail man that brought your TV Guide to your house back in the 90′s.  Brad takes you through the roller coaster ride that was Twin Peaks not with his opinions but the actual opinions of the people who created the show.  We also discuss the upcoming Blue Ray release with the Holy Grail of Twin Peaks, the deleted scenes. (Order the upcoming set from the link below)

We then wrap up this podcast with a quick TV discussion as this episode serves as our season finale.  We discuss Orphan Black, Fox’s Cosmos and HBO’s Last Week With John Oliver.  We will be back for one summer episode when the Blue Ray of Twin Peaks is released.  Thank you so much for listening to 22 episodes of the Podcast this season.  It was our most ambitious year and we really appreciate every listener.

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Orphan Black Episode 2.7

417168-orphan-black-orphan-blackOrphan Black silently turns in amazing episodes week after week.  In a script by Aubrey Nealon episode 2.7 called “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things” BBC America’s Orphan Black slips into that rare league of a show that balances multiple stories as well as actress Tatiana Maslany balances multiple characters.  After struggling all season with Mad Men, where I was forcing myself to justify why I was still watching the show, I found myself totally enjoying this week’s episode of Orphan Black.  It just moves from scene to scene with humor, horror and consequence.  I have been thinking about Joss Whedon’s universe over and over while I have watched two and half seasons of this show.   My favorite thing about Buffy/Angel was that each action caused a reaction.  This show follows that philosophy.  Every time Allison tries to get out of her situation her way out causes a new wrinkle.  The show also takes a page from Scandal in that it moves at a fast pace.  If you were a little annoyed with the musical sub plot, no fear, that story is gone.  Just think if The Lost writers had this show, you would still be having Sarah pretend she was Beth.  They move the plot and it is a pure joy to watch.  If you are not watching this show, get on amazon prime and watch season one and catch up.  This is hands down the best show that you are not watching.  If you are already watching, read on because spoilers are about to burst.

Just as we are losing our first villain, Dr Leekie, we are gaining a new one, Ensign Ro, Admiral Cain, Michelle Forbes.  I think the writers knew they had to bring in a female villain that was going to have the acting chops of Tatiana. I am guessing that all those smiles that Michelle gave us in her first scene are merely hiding an underlying sense of danger.  This show always excels when the men step aside and let a female plot take over.  When Cosima learned that her niece’s stem sells were stolen and implanted in her uterus without her knowledge, we get the opposite of an abortion story.  It is the strong female centric stories that work every time.  Allison fighting an over protective husband.  Sarah combing through her male bimbo rolodex for someone to use.  Cosima wearing the pants in her lesbian relationship.  Having a female bad guy is going to help the show over all.  Michelle Forbes is the Heather Locklear of Sci-Fi.  Coming in to shake up Trek or Battle Star and now Orphan.  She will rattle our main hero, Sarah Manning, in a way that Dr. Leekie just couldn’t.  Even the maternal character of Mrs. S is sinister.  This show takes what Buffy brought to television, a female super hero, and has upped it with an all female show.   There is no male protector to help any of our female’s and it is great.

So let’s talk about the cliff hanger.  Leekie gets his head taken off and not by who we would ever imagine.  What will the consequences of Donnie’s action be?  I don’t know, but I am confident there will be one.  With only 3 episodes to go in this second season, Orphan Black has accomplished what few “concept” shows have been able to do, they have gotten better with each episode.  I don’t know which story I am more interested in.  Rachel’s company, Cosima’s illness,  Helena with the “Big Love” people, or how Sarah created Kira.  I jump from story to story and am totally enjoying the ride.  I expect the final three episodes will up the ante to a place I haven’t even considered yet.  I trust this writing staff to make me laugh, scare me and surprise me.

I can’t finish this blog without ranking my clones.  If Tatiana does not win the Emmy this year, then they should cancel having them.  In this episode when Allison took the head band off Sarah I realized that I had forgotten that it was the same actress playing both parts.  The gimmick is fun, but the story is king.

1. Helena – Her singing Sugar, Sugar this season was adorable.  She is funny and scary, the perfect character.

2. Cosima – Come on, the poor sweet adorable lesbian is dying, if you can’t feel for her story, I don’t understand you.

3. Sarah – Sarah is the glue that holds it together.  Her character isn’t as flashy but her new romance with her baby daddy is very cute.  Also her and Fi’s scenes are what we love about television most: Friendship.

4. Allison – This is where Tatiana earns her Emmy.  You just know Allison, you have seen her at your kids school plays and you hated her immediately.

 

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Podcast: Mad Men Season 7 Mid-Season Finale

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Today we welcome our friends Ron Simon and David Bushman from the Paley Center to discuss the Mad Men Season 7 Mid-Season finale. The Best Things In Life Are Free and so is this podcast.  We have an indepth discussion on every character from this season.  Pete Campbell’s change?  Don’s re-birth, Roger’s big moment and even a discussion of a song and dance man.

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Check out the latest Scott Luck Story about Parenting.

The Best

The Season Finale Ticket

Season TicketThe third Season of Scott Luck Stories comes to an end.  We finish this season with a story of Family, Football, Fathers and Ghosts.  I am now off to write a book of Scott Luck Stories. Please be sure to like the Facebook page for information on the upcoming book and the return of Season 4.  Share the stories and spread the word.  Thanks again to listening.

Scott tells the tale of his family owning season tickets in the same seat for the Massillon Tiger High School Football team and how he battled for those tickets.

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Growing Up in Twin Peaks

creepWELCOME A GUEST BLOGGER

Creep Creepsin

I must have been about 11 or 12 when Twin Peaks went on the air. My family was pretty boring and very much routine based. So, every night at 6pm dinner was ready on TV trays in the living room so my stepfather could watch the news while eating and reading the paper. Then at 7pm Entertainment Tonight with John Tesh and Mary Hart came on. This was my life Monday through Friday.

I would sit quietly doing whatever it was I was doing, hoping John and Mary would talk about something that related to me, which did happen, but not very often. Then I heard one of the strangest things I ever heard. “I think the log did it.” I remember looking up from whatever I was doing being really confused. I knew they were talking about some show. They were interviewing people on the street and asking them a question, according to Mary Hart it was The Question on Everybody’s Mind… Who killed Laura Palmer?

I didn’t understand how a log could commit murder. The person seemed very set in their belief. I turned to look at my folks and they were chuckling on the couch. Then when the reporter on the street went back to John and Mary, they were chuckling too and one of them said, “I think they’re onto something there.”

What the hell was going on? Was I the only sane person in the room? How the hell could a log murder someone. I asked my parents what the that meant and they very nonchalantly explained that there was a woman on the show who talked to a log that she carried around with her all the time. They said it like it was no big deal. My parents were not like this. They watched 48 Hours and 60 Minutes. The craziest they got was Murphy Brown and even that caused uproars of anger throughout the house when it was on.

I told them I wanted to watch this Twin Peaks thing and they said absolutely not before I even finished asking.  Of course, this made me want to watch it even more. My stepfather watched it without my mom but he talked her into watching an episode of it. So with both of my parents downstairs on the couch, they couldn’t know that I was sitting on the landing of the stairs, not watching, but listening! I heard my first episode of Twin Peaks and was hooked. I would try to sneak my head around the corner to see a face every once in a while but it far too risky.

For weeks, going to the grocery store with my mom was murder. We would get to the checkout line and I would see all these different magazines and tabloids with Laura Palmer on them or Agent Cooper. It was driving me crazy. That lasted until Fire Walk With Me came out on video. I grabbed it and ran home. I waited until everyone was asleep, and put it on.

BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!

600full-twin-peaks -fire-walk-with-me-posterI was so horrified. Everything about it scared me. From Lil, to the man asking twice if they were asking about that poor girl who was murdered, to flickering lights, to David Bowie, to ‘this would look good on your wall’ to BOB. Everything in that scared the crap out of me. Laura’s face when it changed was horrible. Backwards moving anything was too much. Even at the end, while I sat there in my pissed pants, and spent far too long on a smiling face, I thought for sure it was a set up.

I couldn’t sleep. I thought I had done something bad, something wrong. One by one, I showed it to my friends. Watched it over and over. Thought for sure that there were deeper meanings.

Once I found out that some local video stores had the show, I was constantly tracking them all down. I had accounts at four different video stores so I could watch the series. That was a pain in the ass. Then the next amazing thing in my life happened… the Season 1 DVD.

I was anti DVD’s until this happened. There was BONUS features! Are you kidding me?!? I was I hog heaven. My friend bought it and then about a week later needed money and I convoked him to sell to Music Plus and then I went in there and bought it for $10 bucks under retail (my friend wouldn’t sell it to me). I then met a large scary man behind the shopping center selling DVD players out of the back of his truck. $10, score!

The next few weeks were a blur of my life. That DVD set changed me.

Around that time, I started putting together a story I was working on that had elements of Twin Peaks in it. I was afraid that it was too Twin Peaks or Lynchian. So I tried to expand my search. The Prisoner was first on my hit list. That show blew me away but it didn’t have the same ‘canon’ feel as Twin Peaks did for me. I even got hooked on a reality show that I felt was very close to Twin Peaks called Murder in Small Town X and then much later found out that Robert Engels was a writer on that. Show after show I would watch and nothing would feel right to me.

As the years went on, more shows came and went that would come out saying they were ‘the next Twin Peaks’ and it never really worked for me. When Lost came out, I felt that I was getting close to something that might be what I want! By this time in my life, I had been already working in the film industry and as much as I liked Lost, I felt that they never really knew where they were going with it. The biggest problem on Lost was that if they communicated with each other, it seemed like 90% of their problems would go away. They also relied too much on flashbacks as far as I was concerned. That turned into the new hot thing and then every show was doing it. That drove me crazy.

The difference with Twin Peaks was that, it didn’t really matter if everyone communicated or not, something was out in those woods. Something that no one understood. Just like Harry said to Cooper, it’s the price they pay for living there, and they don’t mind it one bit.

One of the most striking things for me with Twin Peaks is the whole duality of man thing it has going for it. Every single character on that show was given the opportunity to do something great and do something horrible. Things that everyone goes through. A lot of shows do this too, mainly soap operas and WWE, but for some reason, they just do it better in Twin Peaks. Lynch characters are different than any characters out there. They aren’t tested by executives or focus groups, they are real people it seems. That is something that most television misses.

As I went back into writing my Twin Peaks type story, years would go by. One because I was making around 7-10 films a year. I just didn’t have time to work on it, but the characters were always doing something in  the back of my head. After making films for about 7 years, one thing started to pull on my heart. I was making all these characters and creating all of these places and then I would make the movie and they were done. They had to go back into the farthest part of my brain and never come back out.

I started to really feel guilty. I felt that I owed it to my characters to watch them grow old, make mistakes, celebrate victories, etc. But most of my characters were now tied up with other companies or locked away in distribution hell where I had no control of when they would come out or not come out.

I decided that I would take my Twin Peaks type of show, that was now called Black Star Canyon (named after a place near where I grew up in Orange County, California that was surrounded by weird legends that I always heard while I was a kid) and I would make it a serialized book series. I have had all the story arcs down on most of the characters for years. This would be a fun thing for me.

Once people started to hear about it, some producers I worked with tried to set up meetings with me and other producers and networks. I really wanted to put this out though and get a fan base for it before handing it over willy-nilly and have it turned into something it should never have been. So I dragged my heels with those and finally was able to put out the first episode on Christmas 2013.

I did a free promotion and pushed the hell out of it. Then every week a new episode would come out. I did that for 5 weeks and then put out the Complete First Season as a novel. It worked out great and I got a ton of super positive response for it. It was great to see people falling into like like they would a TV show. Every week the next episode would get eaten up by my readers and the cliffhangers would have them sending me hate mail then the next episode would come out and they would write me fan mail! It was amazing for me to be able to ride that with people. It was a totally new experience.

For those of you that don’t know, Black Star Canyon is about an investigation of a mysterious young woman who had been murdered and found by the mayor. The detectives on the case start unraveling dark secrets about almost everyone in town and each time they do it seems that another person either goes missing or ends up dead. The surreal and otherworldly elements play hard in each episode. It’s cliffhanger after cliffhanger.

The thing that I want Black Star Canyon to be, is the fun, quirky small town feel of the Twin Peaks television show mixed heavily with strange unnerving elements of FWWM. The show had moments of this but they were way to limited and far between each other. I think now with the ground that has been broken by shows like Lost, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, I might have a pretty good chance of getting this on television very close to the way I envision it.

I had more meetings with TV people and after knowing not to hold my breath, I finally decided to go ahead with Season 2. Season 2 starts Sunday, June 1st. We are having a live launch party on Facebook all day with previews, games, giveaways, contest, reveals and much, much more. You can RSVP to the event here

To keep in fashion with Twin Peaks, if you get the first episode on launch day (for only .99 by the way), you will also get a bonus book called Welcome to Black Star Canyon: Tour Guide of the Town along with it. This fictional, non-fiction book is ‘written’ by town historian Earnest Wilson and has facts and secrets about the town.

Season 1 is on sale now for $2.99 and the first episode you can get for free to try out at amazon, iTunes, kobo or at my site, www.creepersin.com. We are also getting paperbacks for those of you who prefer those to ebooks and they will be available next week.

I was also going to tell you the story about when I put together a Lynch hunt and tracked him down in a basement at the University of Oregon! Maybe the guys will have me back to share that tale.

I really want to thank the amazing Red Room Podcast for letting me share with you here. If you ever want to take a vacation from Twin Peaks, I hear Black Star Canyon is nice this time of year.


creep

 

Creep Creepersin is an author of over 25 books, a filmmaker of over 50 titles and the frontman of the horror punk / goth rock band Creepersin. He is a homeschooling father and lives in North Hollywood, California.

 

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