Sunday, November 12, 2023

Media: MY NAME IS BARBRA, my game is pity party

MY NAME IS BARBRA was released last week, the autobiography Barbra's spent years writing. It's entertaining, occasionally illuminating and completely dishonest and unfair.



As two who think THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES is a solid and entertaining film worthy of praise, we were especially interested in that section of the book and it's filled with trivia and details.  For example, she was looking for "a Pierce Brosnan type" and mentioned that in a conversation with "Dick Guttman, my press rep" who also represented Pierce and took the idea to Pierce who happily agreed. That was interesting as was the fact that designer Donna Karan wanted to play the role Brenda Vaccaro ended up cast in.  Barbra wanted Gena Rowlands to play her mother but Gena turned the role down because she was doing another film.  Lauren Bacall ended up cast in the role instead.

As she continues describing the casting and filming, people may admire her honesty -- or what passes for honesty.  Repeatedly, she tricks Lauren Bacall to get what she wants from her on camera.  She manipulates her and doesn't let her know the camera's rolling.  

Now there are directors who work that way.  They're usually the type who quote Alfred Hitchcock on actors ("All actors should be treated like cattle").  You don't usually get that kind of manipulation from someone who is supposedly committed to art.  They might try something like that with a child but with an actor in their fifth decade of a professional career?

It was underhanded and sneaky.  But Barbra can't be honest -- not on the set and not in the book.  So she uses the anecdote to present herself as wonderful and smart and the best and, of course, the kindest.

She's nothing of the sort.  As a director that was a cheap move and it goes to the fact that she's actually not that good at her job on the set since she's unable to convey what she wants and instead wants to trick the performer.

It's not a minor point.

She writes, "And then George Segal, my old pal from THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT, took over the role of Gregory's best friend when Dudley Moore sadly couldn't continue because of health reasons."

Do people know this story?  If they do, they know she's lying.  Dudley was hired for that role.  And George did play it in the film.

But there's a whole world of information between those two facts.

In 1995, for example, he was fired from THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES. A few years later, he would receive a diagnosis that explained why he was having problems remembering lines.

But there's also the period where he was fired and he was fired by Barbra for being drunk.  That's why he couldn't remember his lines, she insisted.  But he wasn't drunk.  

That didn't stop the word in the industry from being that Dudley was such a drunk he could no longer remember his lines.  Barbra was the star of THE MIRROR HAS TWO and a producer and a director.  Barbra denies spreading the rumor (we don't believe her) but she could have stepped up and stopped the rumor.  She didn't.  And Dudley couldn't get cast in a feature film again.  He played himself in a mockumentary and he did voice work.  But that was it for feature films.  (CRAPAPEDIA wrongly bills the TV movie A WEEKEND IN THE COUNTRY as a feature film.)

Again, she denies it but most people (including us) believe she did put that negative word out on Dudley.  But even if she didn't, when it became the rumor and made it impossible for him to be cast in feature films, she could have stepped up and clarified.

She didn't.

This is the woman who got the crew of YENTL to sign a letter to the editor of a newspaper over their report that she was difficult on the set.  For that, she demanded the crew sign off on the letter (they did not write the letter, though it was presented as though they had) because she thought the press report made her look bad.  But when Dudley's career was destroyed, she was too busy to do a damn thing.

We know Jackson Browne and the singer-songwriter loves to talk about how, as a songwriter, he sometimes has an unfair advantage because he gets to write the story, he gets to record it and say what it is.  Jackson will discuss this and wonder about the fairness of it and reflect on it, even struggle with it.  

Barbra has no such compulsion.  

And she's unfair and not at all about a free press.  Please, Liz Smith would run the most innocuous item on Barbra and the singer-actress would be on the phone insisting Liz tell her where she got the story (Liz would never tell her).

What does that have to do with the book?

A whole hell of a lot.

Howard Zieff.  

He's in the book.  He shouldn't be mentioned in the book.  

Where's Will Smith to slap Barbra and tell her to keep Howard's name out of her damn mouth?

Howard directed a lot of films including THE MAIN EVENT starring Barbra and Ryan O'Neal, PRIVATE BENJAMIN starring Goldie Hawn, MY GIRL, HOUSE CALLS . . . 

In MY NAME IS BARBRA, she writes about THE MAIN EVENT:

So I liked the cast, and I loved the cinematographer, Mario Tosi.  But I never developed much of a rapport with the director, Howard Zieff, who was oddly detached. He didn't get that involved with the script, while I was usually working with the writers, Gail Parent and Andrew Smth, trying to punch up the dialogue, often right up to the moment we filmed it.

More than halfway through the shoot, we still didn't have an ending.  I spoke to my friends on the set and asked them to share any ideas with me.  The first person who responded was the sound man, who gave me an interesting suggestion.  When I mentioned this to Howard, he said, "The sound man?  You want me to listen to the sound man?"

"Yeah," I said.  "Why not?"

I've always felt you shouldn't be dismissive of anyone, because you never know where an idea is going to come from.  Even my driver wrote up a four-page treatment, but I got nothing from Howard.

I guess he and I were not fated to connect.

First off, the supposed work she did on the script?  People laugh at Barbra for saying things like that.  And the ending?

It's the same ending.

That was always in the script?


Well, yeah, but we're not talking about that.  We're talking about the same ending that was always in the 1936 film CAIN AND MABEL starring Marion Davies and Clark Gable.


Barbra never acknowledges that film despite the fact that THE MAIN EVENT ripped it off.  (Laird Doyle wrote the screenplay for CAIN AND MABEL -- and it's all there including Marion throwing the towel into the ring just like Barbra does at the end of THE MAIN EVENT but let's all pretend it was an original screenplay and that Barbra added new and novel elements to it as they filmed it.)

As for Howard?


People who worked with Howard praised him.

Barbra's not bound by any rule to praise him if she didn't like him, we're not arguing that.

We're saying that she was obligated to keep her damn mouth shut.


Howard couldn't talk about Barbra to the press.  He was legally bound to stay silent.  She demanded an NDA from whomever directed the film.  It was her follow up to 1976's A STAR IS BORN and that director, Frank Pierson, right before the film was released, published a lengthy article detailing what a nightmare working on that film was.  

So Barbra refused to allow Howard to ever speak to the press about the film but now that he's dead, she's talking and it's not kind about him.  Doesn't seem fair.  If she wouldn't let him talk about it while he was alive, she shouldn't be able to write about it now.

Fair really isn't a word that features in the day-to-day life of Barbra Streisand; however, victim must pop up at least every hour.

If the above hasn't made it clear to you, maybe these two sentence will, "And then I got a call from Sue Mengers.  She wanted me to take over Lisa Eichhorn's role in the film Sue's husband, Jean-Claude Tramount was making, ALL NIGHT LONG."  Isn't Babs addicted to the comma, by the way.  We're accused of being addicted to the double-dash -- accused frequently.  And we'll gladly cop to it but does Barbra know any other punctuation than the comma.  Semi-colon even?  It doesn't appear that she does.

ALL THE NIGHT LONG is rarely seen today which is too bad because it's a good movie.  Barbra didn't make a lot of good movies.  THE MAIN EVENT is a good popcorn movie.  It's not a great film and it's not even one of her top ten films.

Her top ten?











And here's a little secret, it's not that difficult to come up with the top ten.  The non-stop homophobia of THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT renders it unwatchable.  HELLO DOLLY is a hideous film.  MEET THE FOCKERS and LITTLE FOCKERS?  The woman who constantly insisted she wanted to play Shakespeare and do films about Sarah Bernhardt  is playing a Focker -- granted Barbra's the best thing about both movies but those are pretty awful movies. FUNNY LADY is really lousy.  NUTS needed Debra Winger and not 45-year-old Barbra playing a call girl making $500 an hour.  The aging hooker doesn't get paid more with each year of tricking.  No one's stupid enough to believe that.  And A STAR IS BORN is the worst film of its year and of its decade.  (We've left out FOR PETE'S SAKE which has its pluses and minuses and would require more than a single sentence to analyze.) 

But back to ALL NIGHT LONG.  She writes about it, about turning down ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE years prior but this time she thought she could play an untalented singer-songwriter.  She thought Gene Hackman was a great actor and was attracted to him.  Sue failed her as a friend and agent -- the rewrites she had told would be done never came through and she hated the sexist poster of her sliding down a fire pole as her skirt flew up and the men stood around looking at her.  As her agent, Sue should have protected her but the rewrites weren't done and the studio told her she had no say in the poster for the film.  Sue had made her mad before (she told Peter Bogdanovich that Barbra objected to him giving her line readings) but this time she had failed her.  But she was happy that Sue stood by the promise to get her "a deal that was more lucrative than any actor, male or female, had ever had" -- four million dollars.  We'll tell you it was four million because Barbra never manages to.  Why be coy over the figure when you're the one bringing up money and talking about doing a movie just for the money?

She goes on and on about this and that.  But let's go back to those two sentences we quoted earlier.  "And then I got a call from Sue Mengers.  She wanted me to take over Lisa Eichhorn's role in the film Sue's husband, Jean-Claude Tramount was making, ALL NIGHT LONG."


She insists that the money only mattered because she "liked the idea of achieving that milestone for women."  The sisterhood, you understand.  But where was the sisterhood in her taking part in the firing of Lisa Eichhorn?


The studio wasn't planning on stopping the shoot.  Not until Sue said she could get Barbra to take the role.  So a movie that had already started filming was now losing its leading lady because Barbra wanted four million dollars.  Lisa's career never recovered from that setback. 

She could have written a biography about sisterhood.  If she wanted to, she could have.  She might even have been able to be honest with that as the theme.

GYPSY is not going to happen with Barbra.  She poured years and years into that project but Stephen Sondheim finally told her that she could star in the film or she could direct it but he didn't think she could do both jobs and do justice to them.


That's a story to tell.

Not in the way she tells it.  She read the short story "Yentl: The Yeshiva Boy" and got the rights to it in 1969.  It took pushing and working and bartering and bargaining to get the 1983 film made.  In 1972, Jane Fonda purchased the rights to Harriette Arnow's THE DOLLMAKER.  No one wanted to make it.  In 1977, she -- like most of the nation -- watched the TV mini-series ROOTS on ABC and began seeing a TV movie as a possibility for THE DOLLMAKER.  In 1978, the day after she won her second Academy Award for Best Actress (for the film COMING HOME), she met with ABC and they agreed to it.  Script issues and filming commitments added six more years to the clock but it was a critical success, a ratings hit and she won an Emmy for her performance.


Sally Field rightly gives -- and has always given -- Jane credit for leading the role for actresses in producing their own films (with IPC and FONDA FILMS, Jane's company made COMING HOME, ON GOLDEN POND, 9 TO 5, ROLLOVER, THE DOLLMAKER, THE MORNING AFTER and OLD GRINGO and IPC also co-produced THE CHINA SYNDROME).   Sally went on to become a producer of her films as well.  In fact, the 70s and 80s saw a revitalized era of women onscreen due to Jane, Sally, Barbra and other women such as Goldie Hawn.  Goldie produced PRIVATE BENJAMIN, SWING SHIFT, PROTOCOL, WILDCATS, OVERBOARD, MY BLUE HEAVEN, DECEIVED, CRISSCROSS, HOPE (she also directed HOPE), WHEN BILLIE MET BOBBY, THE MATTHEW SHEPARD STORY and SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.  

Did Sally, Goldie, Jane and Barbra make it look too easy? In 1986, the four actress-producers were featured on the cover of LIFE with Jessica Lange who had recently gotten into production as well with COUNTRY.  

Other actresses would decide to become producers as well -- Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Ross, Cher, Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock and Bette Midler are just a few.  But the bulk of them would not produce many films.  To be sure, Meg's continued to produce and also started directing -- and is currently on the screens in WHAT HAPPENS NEXT which she also directed.  But the other women?


Michelle left production because it was too much work.  She was spending all this time developing properties and few ever got filmed.  DANGEROUS MINDS, ONE FINE DAY and A THOUSAND ACRES were filmed.  Jessica Lange and Michelle teamed to produce A THOUSAND ACRES.  There are many things wrong with that film -- but Michelle's performance isn't one of them.  Both Jessica and Michelle loathed (and still loathe) the finished film.  But it's a good film and Michelle is amazing in it and probably gave the best performance by any actress that year.  


Cher struggled with producing as well.  You have a bad experience with a director and/or you aren't offered scripts you're interested in and you start thinking maybe you should go the producer route.  But Cher really couldn't get any projects going beyond the talking stage.  She and Michelle were supposed to act in a film -- a comedy -- that Cher was developing about a star and a tabloid reporter.  The script wasn't the problem -- and, in fact, there have been two other actress pairings since Cher walked away from it that almost saw the film produced.  Cher had several films that she was trying to develop including the one closest to her heart, a remake of 1945's THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE.  Now during this, Cher also had Epstein-Barr virus which depleted her.  Then came the infomercial and the mockery of it that cooled off her film career.  That makes it much harder to for an actress to get a film produced.

But if anyone thought it was easy to produce and act, they were kidding themselves.  

Diana Ross tried for years to get her dream movie produced (she'd star as Josephine Baker) and when film wasn't working out, she moved to television.  Despite interest from HBO, there wasn't enough  interest to result in filming it.  (And to be sure, Diana being African-American impacted that reluctance for cable or broadcast TV to get behind it.)  So the fact that she produced her TV film OUT OF DARKNESS -- and delivered an amazing performance -- should be considered a success, a very huge success. Bette Midler had plans for so many films that she and her company were going to produce but, in the end, it was just BEACHES and FOR THE BOYS.  That is worthy of applause.


Because the odds are always against you.  


Goldie Hawn and Barbra Streisand tried to produce and star in SISTERS (with script by Patricia Resnick) and that never got a greenlight.  It later was reworked into BIG BUSINESS starring Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler. Bette tried to develop a film for herself and Barbra based on the play DIARY OF A MAD PLAYWRIGHT: PERILOUS ADVENTURES ON THE ROAD WITH MARY MARTIN AND CAROL CHANNING.  Jane Fonda and Barbra Streisand tried for years to interest the studios in a film produced by and starring them about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.  Jane and Sally Field worked on developing a film about a wife who learns her husband is cheating on her and befriends the mistress.  Jane tried to develop a film about Vaclav Havel.  Jane worked on developing a remake of ALL ABOUT EVE (with her niece Bridget Fonda in the Eve role).  She worked forever on developing A BRIGHT AND SHINING LIE (she later let her former film partner Lois Bonfiglio develop it into an HBO mini-series).  She also worked forever trying to get a film about Karen Silkwood made and the problem there revolved around the rights to portray the various people in the film.  COLUMBIA had given it a green light but as legal issues piled up, they instead asked Jane to merge the production with one Michael Douglas was developing -- the film then became THE CHINA SYNDROME.  And let's talk about the first film Jane ever tried to develop -- it was about a young socialite/heiress, named Jane, who gets kidnapped by an armed activist group and becomes radicalized.  Studios took a pass -- wasn't realistic.  They'd feel differently after Patty Hearst was kidnapped.  

The films she did get produced?  INTRODUCTION TO THE ENEMY was a documentary and no problem.  COMING HOME took a bit longer.  THE CHINA SYNDROME took a long time.  9 TO 5, ON GOLDEN POND, and THE MORNING AFTER were fairly quick to get a greenlight and begin filming. But, as noted, THE DOLLMAKER took 12 years.  Almost as long to get developed and filmed would be OLD GRINGO which Jane became interested in before Carlos Fuentes had even written the novel published in 1985.  In 1980, she became interested in it after a conversation with Fuente and she would be among the first to read it -- in manuscript form, before the book was published.  

Actresses producing films was never going to be easy.  Joan Crawford and Katharine Hepburn found that out years before.  And it remains true.  And, it is hard to get any film produced but it is even harder to get a film with a female lead produced.


The actresses who produced films in the 70s on through today deserve applause and recognition -- Jane, Sally, Goldie, Barbra, Diana, Bette, Meg, Sandra, Julia Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Lopez, Anne Hathaway,  Whitney Houston and many more.  But it was never going to be easy.

Jane Fonda knew that better than anyone before she ever got a film produced.  While married to director Roger Vadim, she witnesses his  interaction with studios and was there by his side in developing BARBARELLA -- which probably had the easiest path from idea to development to filming (easy because the character was well known internationally and because Jane would be starring in it).  She was also there when he tried to develop THE BLUE GUITAR -- even pursuing Edna O'Brien to write the screenplay.  That film never got made.  (It would have starred Jane and her brother Peter Fonda.)

In her autobiography, Barbra notes the trouble developing GYPSY and also details some of the trouble she had trying to develop THE NORMAL HEART.  But a better book would have been her focusing on producing films -- focusing on what she got to the screen as well as what she didn't and providing a historical context since so many people -- not just actresses, even film historians -- have little idea of the difficulty that this involves -- even when, as these women did, you have a production deal with a studio.

She could have really celebrated sisterhood with that book and maybe she wouldn't have left everyone with the impression that she's lived a miserable life.  She confesses she's never really been happy.  Maybe that's what happens when all you focus on is yourself -- and maybe when all you focus on is yourself, you tend to 'revise' actual events to make you out to be the good person even when you weren't even close to being a kind person.


Truest statement of the week

Voters across the U.S. delivered a stinging rebuke to Moms for Liberty, rejecting the majority of the candidates endorsed by the conservative group in school board elections this week.





Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)



As we did in 2021, we're attempting to again increase book coverage in the community. After a review posts, we try to do a discussion with the reviewer.  This go round, we're talking to Stan about  his "Sam Staggs' FINDING ZZA ZZA: THE GABORS BEHIND THE LEGEND."  And in a nice change from the last few book discussions, you liked this book.


Stan: I really did.  Sam Staggs is a talented writer.  It's not just that his research turns up interesting information, its also that he knows how to write and present it so that you care.  He makes it come alive.


And this was your first time reading about any Gabor?


Stan: Yeah.  Like everyone, I watched GREEN ACRES in syndication growing up so I knew Eva Gabor who played Lisa Douglas on GREEN ACRES.   I think most of us all know her through the DISNEY cartoon movie THE ARISTOCATS.  She was the youngest of three daughters.  Magda was the middle sister.  She was a celebrity in her time.  And the oldest was Zza Zza Gabor who acted on TV and in movies.  Zza Zza?  I know of her from WILL & GRACE.  Jack gets into trouble with the law and needs Will to represent him.  Why?  As Will says, "You Zza Zza-ed a meter maid."  He slapped a meter maid.  At the end of her life, Zza Zza was most famous for slapping a police officer who pulled her over.

So you learned more about Zza Zza and the other Gabors.

Stan: Yes, including about their mother Jolie.  Very interesting lives.  They are Hungarian and all end up in the US.  Zza Zza's married to a Turkish diplomat and that allows her to get to the US but she has to spend a month in Iraq first.  She was married to Conrad Hilton as well.  All of them had very interesting lives.  It's a wonderful  book.  And now I've got a question -- for C.I.  You know Sam Staggs?

I've spoken to him a handful of times.


Stan: Is he a nice person?

Yes.  Very smart.  He can debate film for hours.  We disagreed about archival footage.  I think it's historical and useful and he was of the opinion -- at that time -- that the film should be what the film was.  He also felt that Bette Davis or Gloria Swanson should have won for Best Actress and not Judy Holiday.  I think that dismisses comedy and what Judy did in the role.  That said, Bette Davis would have also been a strong choice.  Gloria Swanson was a cartoon in her film and, no, she didn't deserve the award.  She should have been thrilled just to be nominated, my opinion.  And one of his best traits is that he's not afraid to share his opinion or to make the case for it.  I really don't think most of us, when we're talking films, expect or want to hear 'I agree with you 100%' over and over.  Sam's very smart and has a well thought opinion when he offers it.  And he's a great writer.

Stan: He really is.  The book of his I knew before this was ALL ABOUT ALL ABOUT EVE.  If there's time, I might do a review of it this year.  If not, I'll do it next year.  He's a really strong writer. And I recommend this book on the Gabors 100%. 


Previous book discussions this year.


 "Books (Ty, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Elaine, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.),"  "Books (Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Ann, Mike, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.),"  "Books (Ann, Elaine, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ann and C.I.)," "Books (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)" and "Books (Ava and C.I.)."




Jim's World


This is a brief edition.  C.I. posted the following at THE COMMON ILLS:

3rd note

Putting this up here so everyone knows ahead of time -- community members and Jim who doesn't seem to believe me on this.  THIRD will post tonight.  It may just post Ava and my piece, but it will post tonight.

a number of e-mails are aksing if i'm going to review barbra streisand's autobiography?

probably not and surely not this weekend.  it's very long and i'm not a speed reader.  

you know who should review it?


we were talking on the phone and she has read it and she offered the best critique and i told her she should review it.  she doesn't want to but i'm going to stay on her.  i think i can sell her on doing it with just one decade.  her remarks on what barbra included from the 70s and what she ignored from the 70s.  

I didn't want to write about it. 

Ava and I went over topics late last night for our piece at THIRD.  That book wasn't one of them.  But Jim begged us to write it.  So we agreed.  And we've finished it.  It took a little over six hours and that includes editing.  We didn't edit out A STAR IS BORN but we may go back in and link to Frank Pierson's article about directing Barbra in that film -- that awful film.  I've shared that before here, my opinion that it's an awful film. It was a popular film in its day but that doesn't mean it was worth anything.  TITANIC starring Barbara Stanwyck was a popular film of its day and today most people don't even know the film.  

Ava and I focused on the lack of honesty and the lack of fairness.  

If we were going to add anything to the piece -- and we're not other than link to Frank's article -- we'd address Barbra's portrayal of her mother.  Oh, no, she didn't want to spend New Year's Eve watching you perform in Las Vegas!!!  Oh, the horror!!!  Get over your damn self.  Diana Ross is doing the farewell performance with the Supremes in Las Vegas and they're introducing everyone's mother and Ernestine  Ross was not present.  Diana has never turned that into a sob story or tried to use it to create sympathy for her and turn herself into 'poor Diana.'  But Barbra can't stop trying to be 'poor Barbra.'  It's really too damn much for a whole book but that is her theme. 

You're elderly mother, in a motorized wheelchair, with bladder problems didn't want to sit through a concert.  Stop being surprised and stop acting like it was a tragedy -- and, honestly, shame on the person who told you while you were working on the book.  There was no reason to share that with you.

Did Barbra's mother do bad things as a mother?  Absolutely.  But that whine, which opens her chapter on her mother, is just beyond stupid.  Her mother was needing a bathroom every thirty or forty minutes at that point in her life.  No, spending New Years at your concert -- when she knew you wouldn't know she wasn't there (and you wouldn't have if the busybody bitch 'friend' hadn't told you) -- and having to go to the ladies' room in a wheel chair repeatedly during the concert was asking too much of her and it was not her trying to be mean.  If she wanted to be mean, she would've told you, "I'm not going to your concert."

There are real injuries and real hurts in Barbra's life.  She doesn't need to go looking for more.

And what a sad and pathetic life it is.

We focus on that and we focus on the book that should have been written instead.

It's 3,610 words.

We've written it, we've edited it.  It's way too much for my eyes, I'm going to take nap because everything's so blurry.  (I've already put videos in the queue to go up regularly over the next few hours.)  

So, to recap, I didn't want to write about the book (I do know Barbra and we do greet each other -- in fact, I once greeted her when it was Sally Kellerman -- Sally dropped by unexpectedly one night and it was really dark and I was convinced she was Barbra before she spoke).  Ava and I didn't want to write about the book.  But we did and we worked forever on it -- and called a number of people to verify a few things (these are not things about Barbra, when it posts, you'll see we were trying to clarify credits on film producing -- I'll leave it at that).  It is done.  It took way too much time.  It should be posted now.  I'm not regrouping for any more on THIRD again this week.  Not tonight, not Monday, not Tuesday.

Maybe Jim [will] believe it since I'm posting this note here.

I read the note and I do see the point -- Ava and C.I. didn't want to write it but did do it and now there's a lag between when it goes up?

I could round out the edition but I'm just posting what we've got done that's ready to go up.  So it's a short edition.

I could pad it out with C.I. scraps.  We do that sometimes when certain pieces aren't working.

C.I.. dictates the Iraq snapshots that run Monday through Friday at THE COMMON ILLS.  And there are always some things that get edited out -- C.I. thinks they distract or that the snapshot is too long or whatever.  

And we'll go through and pick up the scraps sometimes.  We might add to it or we might just grab the idea.  There's a thing about one person on a college campus (a professor) that we might swipe in the next edition and there's also a thing about reading and libraries that we might swipe as well.

But I wanted to note that this is a short edition and why.

2023 passings




These are the deaths community members found worth noting this year.


Lisa Presley -- Elaine noted her passing.

Christine McVie -- Kat covered her passing.


Adam Rich -- Marcia noted his passing.


Jeff Beck -- Kat noted his passing.


Lance Kerwin -- Rebecca noted his passing.

Barrett Strong -- Ruth noted his passing.


Lisa Loring -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Burt Bacharach -- Rebecca noted his passing.


Raquel Welch -- Elaine noted her passing.


Stella Stevens  -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Richard Belzer -- Ruth noted his passing.  


Kevin Alexander Gray -- C.I. notes his passing.


Pat Schroeder -- Kat noted her passing.


Lance Reddick -- Mike notes his passing.  


Darcelle XV -- Elaine notes his passing.


"Mark Russell" -- Ruth notes his passing 


"Elizabeth Hubbard" -- Trina notes her passing.


"Mary Quant and more Peabody nominations" -- Elaine notes a passing.


"Harry Belafonte" -- Kat notes a passing.

Gordon Lightfoot" -- Kat notes a passing.


"jacklyn zeman, rose schlossberg, john travolta and..." -- Rebecca notes the passing of Jacklyn Zeman.


"Iraq snapshot," "Tina Turner (1939 to 2023)," "The groundbreaker Tina Turner," "Tina Turner," "Lauren Boebert gets burned by AOC," "MAX and NETFLIX, Eva Longoria," "Tina Turner, Eric Swalwell, John Roberts," "They've ruined their reputation," "Hate merchant Tulsi Gabbard," "tina turner passed but the hideous gop lingers," "Tina " and "The wrong people are dying" -- The community notes the passing of Tina Turner.


 "Gay actor George Maharis has died" -- Stan notes the passing. 

"10 great songs that Cynthia Weil co-wrote" and "Cynthia Weil" -- Marcia and Kat note Cynthia Weil's passing.

"Hate merchant Pat Robertson has passed away" -- Kat notes the end of Pat Robertson.

"Glenda Jackson" -- Ruth notes the actress's passing.



"Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. notes the passing of Daniel Ellsberg.


"Andrea Evans" -- Kat notes the passing of a soap opera icon. 


"Tony Bennett" -- Kat notes the passing of a great singer.


"Paul Reubens," "Pee-Wee's Big Holiday" and "One more time on Pee-Wee Herman" -- Betty and Marcia note the passing of Paul Reubens.

"Robbie Robertson" -- Kat covers the passing.

 "David Jacobs" -- Kat notes the passing of a TV creator. 


"Arleen Sorkin" -- Marcia notes the passing of a voice, sitcom and daytime TV actress.


"billy miller has passed away" -- Rebecca notes a passing. 

"DiFi dies" -- Betty notes the passing of an elderly fool.

"David McCallum led a long life" -- Stan notes the passing of an actor who starred in two huge TV shows. 


"rudolph isley " -- Rebecca notes the passing of a music legend.


"Phyllis Coats -- TV's original Lois Lane" -- TV's first Lois Lane remembered by Kat.


"Piper Laurie" -- Marcia remembers the late actress.

"Suzanne Somers" -- Isaiah notes the significance of Suzanne Somers.


 "Mailbag" -- noting the passing of Mark Goddard.

 "lara parker" -- Rebecca covers the passing of Lara Parker.


"Carla Bley" -- Marcia notes the passing of a jazz pioneer.


"Gregg Sutton" -- Kat notes the passing of a musician.


 "Matthew Perrry" -- Ruth notes the passing of a sitcom star.


 "Tyler Christopher" -- Betty notes the passing of a popular soap opera actor.


 "Peter White has passed" -- Ruth notes the passing of a soap opera icon.








"Mafia Wives (Susan Williams' WHITE MALICE)" -- C.I. reviews this book.


 "The Sewing Circle" -- Marcia reads Axel Madsen's THE SEWING CIRCLE.


 "Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed" -- Trina reviews this book.

"Phyllis Diller 1917 – 2012: News, Quotes, Interview" -- Ann reviews this book.

"Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.)" -- Ava and C.I. review this book.

"Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays" -- Marcia reviews this book.


"Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" -- Kat reviews HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.   



"SCREAM VI and THE BOYS" -- Stan reviews Ron and Clint Howard's THE BOYS.



"the world according to joan" -- Rebecca reviews this book.


 "Elton John and Whitney Houston" -- Kat reviews Elton John's autobiography and a biography on Whitney Houston.

"DON RICKLES: THE MERCHANT OF VENOM" -- Isaiah reviews this book.




 "Vincent Price and Universal" -- Marcia reviews John L. Flynn's 75 YEARS OF UNIVERSAL MONSTERS and Vincent Price's I LIKE WHAT I KNOW: A VISUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.







"JOAN BAEZ: THE LAST LEAF" -- Ruth reviews  this book by Elizabeth Thomas.


 "A JOYOUS TRANSFORMATION: THE UNEXPURZGATED DIARY OF ANAIS NIN, 1966 -1977" -- Ruth reviews a book by Anais Nin.


"An aging queen writes a bitter book about The Way We Were" -- Marcia reviews a bad book about THE WAY WE WERE.



"Travis Stewart's bad book supposedly on Stevie Nicks" -- Kat reviews a bad book supposedly about Stevie Nicks.


"Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day"-- Trina strongly recommends this cookbook.

"GET LOST" -- Isaiah looks at this comic magazine

"Lucille Ball and HERE'S LUCY" -- Stan reads up on the second half of Lucille Ball's life.

"Melody Thomas Scott's Always Young and Restless: M..." -- Ann reviews this autobiography.

"ROCK AND ROLL NIGHTMARES" -- Elaine reviews this book about crime in the music world. 

"ALL THE LEAVES ARE BROWN" -- Kat reviews this book about the Mamas & the Papas.

"SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND" -- Mike reviews a science book.




"Split Image: The Life of Anthony Perkins" -- Ann reviews a biography about Anthony Perkins.


 "Andrea Warner's BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY" -- Mike wonders why he bothered to read this book?

"Worst summer read ever is by Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince" and "'the fondas: henry, jane and peter' is a very bad book" -- Marcia and Rebecca review Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince's THE FONDAS: HENRY, JANE AND PETER.


"Cookbooks and Air Fryer Cauliflower in the Kitchen" -- Trina reviews two cookbooks.


"Do not read ENDLESS HIGHWAY at AMAZON" -- Isaiah lays it out for AMAZON's KINDLE. 


 "Naomi Klein's DOPPELGANGER" -- C.I. reviews Naomi Klein's latest book.


 "Demetrius Sherman's BLACK COMIC BOOK HISTORY" -- Isaiah reviews a book about the history of comic books.

"Stefan Kanfer's Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball" -- Marcia reads up on one of her favorite entertainers. 

"Anne Edwards is a waste of time and a killer of trees" -- Elaine reviews Anne Edwards' A REMARKABLE WOMAN: A BIOGRAPHY OF KATHARINE HEPBURN.  

"Howard Zinn's A PEOPLE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES" -- Elaine reviews Howard Zinn's book.

" robert dance - a lousy writer - knows damn little about joan crawford" -- Rebecca reviews a really lousy book about Joan Crawford. 


"REBELS ON THE BACKLOT (Ty)" -- Ty reviews a book by a lousy writer.


"Sam Staggs' FINDING ZZA ZZA: THE GABORS BEHIND THE LEGEND" -- Stan's review of a book on the Gabor sisters.







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