Friday, October 31, 2008

Marilyn Maye, Part Two

We just came from The Paley Center, where Charles Busch hosted a once-in-a-lifetime screening of rare clips from The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Jackie Gleason Show, featuring the incomparable Miss Marilyn Maye, spanning 1967-1979. Eight of these, of course, came from the Carson show, where Marilyn guested a record-breaking 76 times.

Beyond Maye's absolutely phenomenal pipes (her highly personal, idiosyncratic renditions of "Maybe This Time" and "Cabaret" made us all but forget Liza What's-Her-Name), her innate jazz sense and timing set her apart from other big-voiced dames who made the Vegas/nightclub/variety show circuit during the Polyester Era. 1970's shlock like "The Need to Be" and "This One's for You" sound like profound truths when interpreted by Marilyn Maye; and when she gamely tackled such unsuitable material as "Spinning Wheel" (!) or "I Will Survive" (!!!), she still managed to A) keep her dignity intact, and B) make the material sound ten times better than it should, through her impeccable phrasing, timing, swing and rhythm. One of our least favorite songs, ever, is "Bad Leroy Brown"; but would you believe that Marilyn Maye not only gave a knockout performance of it on Merv Griffin, but even made it swing like a Chicago blues?! We kid you not.

Seeing these clips (most of which haven't been viewed since their initial airing) was a joy and a thrill, with the audience applauding spontaneously before, during and after each number; and having Miss Maye interviewed by Mr. Busch was an exercise in humility, gratitude, well-deserved pride, wit and warmth. Incidentally, we saw Mr. Busch at Miss Maye's sure-to-be-legendary performance at The Metropolitan last night, with his dapper and handsome partner, author
Eric Myers.

For ayem8y: we wore an aubergine fine wale corduroy sport coat; white cotton poplin shirt; camel cashmere V-neck; cream colored flannels; and perforated maple colored brogues. We complimented Miss Maye's wonderfully chic black-and-copper ensemble quite nicely, and were delighted to once again be seated next to, and have a lively chat with,
Maxene Andrews' adopted daughter, Lynda.

As Cindy Adams might say,
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby

October 31, 1963

We suspect that this is what the newly-buffed-and-manicured
Marc Jacobs aspires to be, but we'll take the original, thank you very much.

Just a Quick Reminder...

...that Marilyn Maye is a saint, a goddess, and a force of nature. Going to one of her performances is better than drugs; we're still on a high from her phenomenal, 2 hour set at The Metropolitan Room tonight. She torched through "Lush Life" and "Something Cool"; roared through "Just for a Thrill" and "Mean to Me"; and wound everything up with a completely roof-raising "It's Today," and Chelsea is still reverberating from her seismic power.

We sat next to another legend,
Margaret Whiting, at dinner next door at Allegretti, and then again at the show; we met Maxene Andrews' (of The Andrews Sisters) absolutely charming and vivacious adopted daughter, Linda, in The Metropolitan's lobby; and we chatted with Lee Roy Reams about (what else?) cocktails.

We feel compelled to also inform you that we looked just smashing in our cream-colored silk velvet sport coat; baby blue shirt; pumpkin hand-woven wool tie; midnight blue trousers; oak colored cap-toe lace-ups; and mink scarf. Marilyn Maye deserves nothing less than our very best.

Trick or...

Your choice.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We're Just Wild About Harry

October 30, 1951

Yes. We totally would.

What Not to Wear


Not only should your bag and shoes match, but also your collar and cuffs.

Happy Birthday, Mario Testino (October 30, 1954)!


We even forgive her for Melanie Griffith, such is the divinity of Saint Tippi of Hedren.

You Can't Get a Man With a Gun

That's what a man-tilla is for, silly!

Of Course We're Smiling...!

...We're Thin, Blond, and Gorgeous!

Such Good Friends


We're sure the recipes they traded were perfect poems.

Great Guns

Guess who this unlikely daddy stud is!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Auntie Maimed

As Halloween fast approaches, let us reflect on the most terrifying of screen creatures ever unleashed on an unsuspecting public. No, not Dracula or Frankenstein or the Wolf Man. Jason and Freddy? Pfffft! Kids' stuff.

It's Lucille Ball as Mame, shot through so many layers of Vaseline, you wonder how gay men in Hollywood managed to schtup at all while they were filming this fascinating mess.

Nice Muff


Miss Dina Merrill

October 29, 1925)

She was the blue-blooded heiress to the Post cereal fortune, who became a movie star as a lark; a more talented Lee Radziwell, if you will, or a real life Grace Kelly. We're talking, of course, of the divine Dina Merrill, whose life as a celebrity socialite is remarkably unmarred by scandal or bad behavior; Paris Hilton, she certainly ain't. We see her around town fairly often, always on the Upper East Side; still impeccably tailored and coiffed, looking lovely, slim, and (gasp!) aging naturally and gracefully.

Ms. Merrill's second husband, incidentally, was the yummy Cliff Robertson; his rugged handsomeness and nonchalant elegance made him the perfect foil for her more brittle brand of chic; didn't they make a perfectly perfect couple?

Happy Birthday, Dina Merrill! We look forward to (surreptiously) enjoying our crab cakes and white wine at Barneys with you again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Dean of Dance

The production team of Stock-Aitken-Waterman were geniuses at taking the irresistibly cheesy genre of dance music known as "hi-NRG" out of the gay club scene and into the pop mainstream. If Kylie stood alone at the megastar end of the SAW spectrum, and The Dolly Dots teetered on the lowest rung of transient pop ephemera, then Hazell Dean was SAW's reliable workhorse: earthier than the pop-star-glossy Rick Astley, less self-consciously camp than Bananarama, with the kind of sturdy professionalism which meant that she could, and would outlast, say, Brother Beyond. (Despite the unfortunate mom jeans.)

But no one who came into contact with SAW was immune from the terminally clumsy 1980's video treatment; here, you can practically smell the trepidation as Hazell gamely "dances" in excruciating closeup. "The Dean of Dance" celebrates her 52nd year on this earth today, and we're sure that she's made peace with this endearingly naff blast from the past.

Yes, Yes, Nanette!

October 27, 1920

Simultaneously perky and no-nonsense, wholesome and womanly, Nanette Fabray first entered our realm of consciousness for her recurring role as Bonnie Franklin's mother on the oh-so-Seventies sitcom, One Day at a Time. And, being the precocious gaylings that we were, we were more fascinated by this vaguely glamorous, intensely professional lady than the younger, rather cardboard "stars" of the show.

Soon, we learned that, like fellow Seventies sitcom moms like Nancy Walker and Nancy Dussault, Nanette had a long and acclaimed list of golden age Broadway and film credits. Her most famous movie role, of course, was as the Betty Comden-esque playwright in The Band Wagon (1953), where Nanette more than held her own against the formidable talents of Fred Astaire, Oscar Levant and Cyd Charisse. For her stage work, Nanette won the Tony in 1949 for Love Life, and was nominated again for the 1962 flop, Mr. President. She was also no stranger to classic television, having come to national attention by replacing Imogene Coca on Sid Caesar's eponymous program, and winning a remarkable three Emmy Awards for her efforts.

Nanette Fabray began performing in vaudeville at age four, so she can be forgiven for having slowed down a bit in recent years -- although, in 2007, she was onstage again, in a Los Angeles revue called The Damsel Dialogues. Miss Fabray belongs to the grand old trouper tradition, one of the last of a disappearing breed. We love her, and salute this terrific lady on her special day. Happy Birthday, Nanette Fabray!

Black Don't Crack

MISS RUBY DEE (October 27, 1924)...

...circa 1959...

...and at the 2007 Oscars.

Dignified, divalicious, de-lovely.

We Want You As a New Recruit

Here, two able-bodied seamen demonstrate the Blue & Gold naval colors. Which, if they were able to fit any coordinating hankies into their skintight pants, means that they're two tops looking for a third. Just so's ya know.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's Sunday!!!

Be fabulous. Wear a hat.

Weekly Feature #6

F is for... FASHION

The above images are all from Versace's S/S 2009 line, and are as good an example as any of why an elegant gentleman's mantra should always be, "I am above fashion. I am beyond fashion. I am not a slave to fashion."

Being stylish and elegant has nothing to do with fashion, per se; it is very possible to spend exorbitant sums of money at high-end designer boutiques, and wind up looking even less stylish or elegant than you did before. Buying something strictly because it has an expensive label, or because a magazine or celebrity told you it was "this season's must have," is a common yet grave error. For one thing, not every fashion or trend will be suitable for every type; and, since trends are by nature very ephemeral, it is also quite likely that you will be spending quite a lot of money on something which will very soon be decidedly un-fashionable, when the fashion winds change once again.

The hoary old phrase, "To thine own self, be true," was never more applicable than when it comes to personal style. In Terrence McNally's brilliant play, Master Class, an impeccably tailored, severely elegant Maria Callas sternly and wryly addresses a member of the audience. "You do not have a look," she says. "Get one." It is advice worth following, rather than merely following fashion.

The Gay 90's

1991, to be exact. We had just come gayly out of the closet, and this was the perfect soundtrack to our debutante years.

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall...

...who's the most fabulous of them all?

October 26, 1946

October 26, 1947

Although there must be angel playing with our hearts, our vote has to go to Miss Woodlawn. The whole K-Mart thing is a bit distasteful, don't you agree?

We're Back...

Our brief fling with Chris Meloni left us feeling cheap, tawdry, confused, lonely, and hungry for seconds. We shall seek solace in your always-bracing wit and fabulosity.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sorry For the Inconvenience...

...but our prison moment with Chris Meloni is taking longer than expected. Thankfully.

Seriously, darlings, we'll return shortly -- hopefully by Sunday, the latest.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


We're having raunchy prison sex with Chris Meloni right now; Stirred, Straight Up, with a Twist will return shortly.