So There’s “No Right or Wrong in the Theater,” Is There? Time’s Up!

Today’s Pervert: Grandma the Clown!

Years ago I knew a talent agent who had what I thought, at the time, was a rather bizarre outlook on the entertainment business.  He would regularly shriek,  at clients, producers, moguls or employees, anyone who may have dared to say this or that was wrong, “There’s no right or wrong in the theater!  There’s NO right or wrong IN THE THEATER!”  The volume of this could escalate.  And escalate…

On his worst day, the agent was talking to a very nice young actor who said, “I’m going to propose to my girlfriend.  It’s the right thing to do in my relationship.”  Uh-oh!  Red alert!  Wrong choice of phrase, kid!

I was there.  I heard the conversation.  The actor wasn’t saying everyone on the planet needs to propose to his girlfriend.  He was merely saying it’s the right thing for him to do with regard to his relationship, period.

Well, the agent went ballistic.  He went on about this mild mention of a proposal for days afterwards, all the while screeching his favorite line about there being “no right or wrong IN THE THEATER!!!!!”  He said he even had to talk to his therapist about the actor who was proposing to his girl because he felt it was “right.”  (Oh, to have been a fly on that wall!)

I have never quite witnessed such a marathon, several-day-long conniption fit quite like it, before or since.  I wonder if the therapist had as much trouble as I did, keeping a straight face.

Finally I could not stand listening to it any longer.  The whole idea of there being no right or wrong in the entertainment business is ludicrous.  It always was.  It always will be.  I finally spoke up.  I had to speak up.  If I hadn’t, it would have been like remaining silent whenever some nut says the world is flat.  I remember saying, “Oh, for God’s sake! Why don’t you go into a theater, any theater, bring a gun, shoot somebody in the foot, and then see what happens?  I guarantee you, you’ll find out there is right and wrong in the theater, because within ten minutes the cops are going to show up and haul you away!”

Many years later, I took an acting class to have some fun and meet new people.  The acting teacher made a similarly weird statement.  It was along the lines of declaring, “When I was young I decided I’d be an artiste.”  This was said with the French pronunciation, yet.  “I wasn’t going to live by normal rules.  Normal rules don’t apply.”  Her tone of voice was maddeningly rational, her statement absurd.

Well, it looks like those two weren’t alone in their assessments of what does and doesn’t constitute normalcy in the entertainment industry, doesn’t it?  Bill Cosby.  Harvey Weinstein.  Kevin Spacey.  Dustin Hoffman.  Who am I missing?  Every day the news yields  more viable accusations about sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, and as it turns out, most people do not believe there’s “no right or wrong” in the theater, or that “normal rules don’t apply” in the entertainment industry.  It’s been amazing to watch the groundswell of women and men standing up and declaring that the “anything goes” era is finally over and will be withstood no longer.  There’s the #MeToo Movement, the #TimesUp Movement, and there’s definitely a new day dawning.  Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, the mother of the teen Kevin Spacey zeroed in on – brava and bravo to the entire list of all those who happen to be mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.  Sing out, Louise!  The list of those making accusations continues daily.

So does the list of perverts.  Today’s latest sicko turns out to be Grandma the Clown from the Big Apple Circus.  You read that correctly.  “Grandma the Clown,” in case you’re not local, is a guy, real name: Barry Lubin.  He was beloved by the people of New York.  He had a great act!  It was a joy to see him perform…

But Barry Lubin/Grandma blew it, the way these egomaniacal narcissists who think they can declare themselves above the law so often do.  Grandma the Clown resigned from the Big Apple Circus after he took pornographic pictures of a sixteen-year-old acrobat.

A sixteen-year-old acrobat?  How brainless can this clown be?

I will say this about Grandma the Clown: it was a decent move for him to resign, but it’s still hideous he thought he had a  license to be a predator in the first place.

Guess, what, Artistes?  There is right or wrong in the theater!

And in the circus.

And in Hollywood.

Time’s Up!

Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein: two among many Reigning Perverts.  #TimesUp!




Dr. Larry Nassar’s Newest Low: Listening to Victim Statements is “Too Mentally Taxing!”

Self-pitying Serial Abuser Larry Nassar, who could dish it out but can’t face hearing about it.

Just when you think the situation with this Dr. Larry Nassar pervert who molested 150+ girls can not possibly sink any lower, guess what?  Today, it did!

Now, the Nassar creep, who first was sitting in court hanging on to rosary beads – something that, as a Catholic, offended the Hell out of me – wrote a six-page-long letter to the judge.  He claimed that being subjected to the victim statements of girls he molested was “too mentally taxing” for him!

Oh, so it’s one thing for him to unprofessionally assault over one hundred and fifty girls, destroying their trust and having a terrible effect on their lives,  but then he can’t “handle” hearing them state the consequences of his actions?

I have heard some ridiculous lines of bull in my life, but this one is so bad, it clearly belongs in the Guinness Book of World Records.  Dr. Larry Nassar shouldn’t be sitting there in his prison jump suit clutching the rosary beads.  He should be wearing diapers with a pacifier in his mouth.  He’s that infantile.  Over a hundred and fifty assaulted girls later, he’s trying to paint himself as the victim here, when he isn’t.  He’s the victimizer, and one of the worst ones in criminal history.

Many of his employers/enablers, in my humble opinion, need to be hauled into courtrooms and prosecuted as well.  They don’t deserve a free pass.  Today USA Gymnastics finally announced they would no longer let the US Olympic Gymnastic Team train at the Karolyi Ranch, one of Nassar’s preferred places for finding children to prey upon.  I have read numerous scathing books and articles about other situations that were ongoing at the Karolyi Ranch as far back as the 1990s, so USA Gymnastics, your move today is good, but what took you so long?  

Nassar also worked at Michigan State University, where fourteen (14) officials were notified about his behavior over the years.  All fourteen did nothing.  They should be rounded up immediately and spirited away in handcuffs, each and every one, starting with the President of the college, Lou Anna Simon, who didn’t even show her face in the courtroom to hear the girls’ statements until there was an outcry about her absence.  Earlier today, despite calls for Lou Anna Simon to be fired, the Board of Directors at the college decided they should keep her on as President.  They couldn’t look worse.

I was never sexually abused as a child by an adult, but I was used as a scapegoat by a particularly vicious teacher, one who had a problem with a relative of mine that she took out on me.  I  didn’t realize that she had a serious substance abuse problem; years later, after I was out of her clutches, that finally came to light, and it turned out her co-workers had known about her instability all along but did nothing to stop her.  What useless, gutless people they were!  Contemptible.

At the time, I spoke out about her, but whenever I tried to be heard, I got treated dismissively. That’s the worst possible thing anyone can do to a child who is trying her level best to raise a red flag about an erratic and dangerous adult.  Note to the World:  children don’t make these complaints up.

Brava to the girls who are speaking out against Dr. Larry Nassar, the Karolyi Ranch, and Michigan State University!

As for Bela and Marta Karolyi, and Lou Anna Simon and the rest of the officials at Michigan State University: what the hell is wrong with all of you?

Disgraced: Marta and Bela Karolyi, Dr. Nassar’s employers.

Also disgraced, yet given a free pass to remain a college President: Lou Anna Simon of Michigan State University.  Reprehensible!

Guts and Glory: BRAVA to the Gymnasts Who Took On Dr. Larry Nassar in Court

Get a load of Dr. Larry Nassar now! He can’t even look his victims in the face.

Sometimes poetic justice gets a rare chance to shine.  Today was one of those days.

This was the day the gymnasts who were victims of pervert “Doctor” Larry Nassar began facing him in court, making their victim statements.  This is the creep who was the doctor for USA Gymnastics and had access to far too many underage girls.  His abuse was done in the guise of “treatment,” yet.  He abused others as well, including friends’ daughters and more.  Oh, and he also was convicted on some kind of pornography charges.  What a guy!

Larry Nassar isn’t going to be having a wonderful week.  There are NINETY-EIGHT girls scheduled to confront him in court, to his face, and tell him what his abuse did to their lives.

There Larry Nassar sits.  His head is in his hands, now that he’s caught.  He can’t face these same young women that he once abused, now that he’s caught.  He’s a total mess, now that he’s caught, but if the girls had not spoken up, you can be sure he’d still be “doctoring,” still have the wrong kind of access to kids, and still be busy abusing a whole new set of innocents.  These wonderful girls stopped this monster.

To every single one of those girls, and to the rest of his 150-something victims, the world needs to say a resounding BRAVA!   You know the saying, “No guts, no glory?”   What you girls have done already, just by filing charges, takes an enormous amount of courage.  You stopped him!  You’ve got guts well covered, and glory, too.  Blessings of Love and Light to all of you!

Read on for more:

The Book “VULGAR FAVORS: The Assassination of Gianni Versace”

A shocker on every page: VULGAR FAVORS by Maureen Orth.  Soon to be a series on FX.

If you’ve got a strong stomach, and I mean one made of steel, then have I got a book for you!

For quite some time I’ve been seeing VULGAR FAVORS: THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE by Maureen Orth on the table at a local bookstore.  When I heard it was soon to be a series on FX, I picked it up and flipped through it.  I read enough to decide I wanted to read the whole sordid tale.

I remembered the case: in 1997, Andrew Cunanan, a serial killer, had been on a murder spree through several states.  His last victim was Princess Diana’s favorite designer, Gianni Versace.  She and Elton John went to his funeral.  I recalled there had also been several murders before Versace, and people were delighted when the rampage ended, but that was about it.

Yet what interested me as I scanned the book in the bookstore were the passages about Cunanan’s having been a world-champion pathological liar.  We’ve all known a few of those, sure, but this looked like the most extreme example of one on record.  The psychology of such people rather intrigues me, since it’s always a given that lies can be found out, so why would anybody in their right mind bother to tell a pack of them in the first place?  I purchased the book – and have been unable to put it down ever since.

Cunanan, apparently, came from a middle-class home but wanted to look rich.  Very, very rich.  And since he wasn’t, from childhood on he told one utterly ridiculous tall tale after another after another after another about his totally false, self-invented high-class background that did not really exist…

Andrew Cunanan was a piece of work even long before he started killing people.   The lies he told are just the beginning of the level of muck he mired himself into, and they’re the most incredible collection of whoppers I’ve ever heard, so that’s saying something.  I don’t want to add spoilers here, but if you can stand the more sordid elements of this story, of which there’s also an eyebrow-raising collection, and enjoy a read that can shock you to the gills, check out the book.  Suffice it to say that VULGAR FAVORS is a very apt name for it.

Here’s the trailer:

The Movie I, TONYA – Was the World Wrong about Tonya Harding?

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, left, and the real Tonya, right.

Tonya Harding was considered one of ice skating’s “bad girls,” but after seeing the movie, “I, TONYA,” I’ve got to wonder about that.  I came home from this movie yesterday wondering about everything I’d ever heard regarding Tonya Harding.

Obviously, the movie is very pro-Tonya, helped by Harding herself, who participated in numerous interviews to help get her side of the story covered correctly.  Maybe it’s time people started to pay attention.

Harding came from a very poor background, but in my humble opinion, that in and of itself does not render a child who wants to skate as much as Tonya did either “bad” or “trashy.”  She couldn’t afford the same costumes as the other skaters.  She couldn’t afford a fur coat.  She wasn’t a little rich girl.  Personally, I couldn’t care less what kind of socioeconomic background an athlete hails from.  The girl was a great little skater from the age of four, period, and that should count for a lot more than what kind of an image she might project if she, heaven forfend, wasn’t coming to and from competitions in some certain “approved” coat.

Please note: this is hardly the first time I’ve heard less than stellar things about the powers that be in the skating community.  They weren’t too fond of another terrific skater, Surya Bonaly, either.  She was also branded “bad,” and also didn’t fit their preferred image of a sweet little skater.  This is ridiculous!  If these kids can skate, they can skate!

Margot Robbie is wonderful in her role as Tonya Harding.  The movie portrays Tonya’s mother Lavona as a real monster, one of those awful parents who believes if they belittle and smack the child around, they’ll make her care more about her performance.  Allison Janney won a Golden Globe Award last night for the role, and she certainly deserved it.  The movie is excellent, and even has lots of funny parts to it, believe it or not, given it’s not only about skating but child abuse, spousal abuse, and criminal behavior.

For those who may be too young to remember, Tonya Harding was an Olympic Team hopeful back in 1994, as was her rival, Nancy Kerrigan.  All hell broke lose when a man attacked poor Kerrigan at the rink where she was practicing by hitting her in the knee with a baton.  It soon came to light that Harding’s husband, Jeff Gillooly, and his ultra-whacked best friend, Shawn Eckhardt, had hired two idiots, Shane Stant and Derrick Smith, to carry out the attack.  Watch for the scenes with Eckhardt, played by Paul Walter Hauser, in them.  I won’t add spoilers, but whoa…!  What a performance!

Harding claimed to be innocent, although the FBI alleged that her handwriting was found on a plan of attack written on a restaurant napkin…

According to this movie, Tonya had no knowledge of the attack.  But it was her career that was ended over it, just the same.  Following an Olympic competition where she came in 8th, a show that went on because the ratings were through the roof when Nancy and Tonya had a skate-off, Tonya wound up banned from skating.

So I’m thinking…did the world view Tonya correctly way back when, or did every reporter who covered this admittedly strange story make a horrible mistake?  Was the FBI right or wrong about the notes on the napkin they said were written by Tonya?  Perhaps the world should take another look at the whole situation.

I, TONYA: one excellent movie!


Ridiculous and Sublime: Julie Andrews in “STAR!”

Julie Andrews in “STAR!” singing “The Physician.”

Yesterday afternoon, with virtually nothing on the television since it was Christmas Day, I watched Julie Andrews in “STAR!” with my parents.

I remembered the movie from when I was a little girl.  I must have been about seven years old when I saw it in the theaters.  It was strange then, and it’s strange yet.

The musical numbers are fantastic.  I doubt there’s any such thing as a bad Julie Andrews musical number.  She knocks all of them out of the ballpark.  Every song in this movie is a sublime treat.

But then, there’s the dialogue.

“STAR!” tells the story of an English actress named Gertrude Lawrence, one who was way before my time.  Aside from this movie, I know very little about her.  After seeing this movie, I wouldn’t want to know much about her, since she is portrayed as a shrill manic lunatic of a woman.  I know she was “Anna” in the original cast of “The King and I” with Yul Brynner on Broadway in the early 1950s, right before she passed away, and if that had been the main thing she was remembered for, it would have been preferable to this strange film.

If this movie was meant to be a tribute to Gertrude Lawrence, it falls flat.  She’s portrayed as ambitious, but not in a classy or admirable way.  From her starting days in the chorus, she cares more about upstaging the other actresses than anything else, walking all over them.  It’s hard to watch that and feel too much sympathy for her.  The Gertrude character is a colossal jerk.

Then there’s the scenes with the men in her life.  “Honestly,” I said to my father during one of the blessed commercial breaks, “it’s hard to watch a movie where you not only don’t want to see the girl get together with the guy, but hope the guy runs like Hell away from such an awful, self-centered, impossible girl.”

Dad agreed.

See what I mean?  It’s sublime in terms of the musical numbers and ridiculous in terms of the dialogue and plot.

Daniel Massey is very cute as Noel Coward, and many of the songs in the show were written by Coward.  They’re great.

I recommend the soundtrack album of this movie wholeheartedly, had it on vinyl as a kid and got it again on CD later, which tells you how much I love the numbers, but unless you want an ear ache bar none from the shrillness of the spoken scenes, give viewing this turkey a pass.

Andrews performing well-done but tragic rendition of the song “Limehouse Blues.”

The Spirit of Scrooge and The Pingry School

Albert Finney counting his money in “Scrooge.” The character’s spirit seems to be running a private school in NJ…

I recently read some terrible articles, and then a full book, about the child sex abuse that went on at the Horace Mann School in New York City.   The abuse was widespread and horrific.  More than twenty losers on the Horace Mann faculty abused the children and this went on over tree decades.  The abuse was later followed by Horace Mann’s appalling treatment of the adult survivors of that abuse by their failure to properly compensate the victims.

I had no sooner finished the book when I found out that The Pingry School in New Jersey is trying to pull the exact same type of stunt with regard to compensating their victims of sexual abuse.  The school is  trying to use what appears to be a loophole in the NJ statute of limitations regarding such cases to get out of paying what they should to their students.  This comes directly after the school first “made sure” they went all over the media claiming “they’re sorry, they’re sorry, they’re sorry” for what happened to the boys who should have been protected while going to their school, but weren’t.

Pingy’s crying “sorry” on the one hand, yet looking for a loophole to get out of making recompense on the other?  Sorry, my foot!  This is ridiculous!  Who is running this Pingry School, anyway – indecent money-hoarders like Ebenezer Scrooge?

For some reason that thought popped into my head as I woke up on this bright and pretty Christmas morning: that The Pingry School clearly has more in common with the “Spirit of Scrooge” than it does with peace, light, and people of goodwill everywhere.  Remember, it took four ghosts to convince Scrooge to part with some of his money and assist Tiny Tim so that the child’s health could improve, but hey, at least Scrooge wasn’t the initial cause of Tiny Tim’s condition.  Scrooge had a change of heart in the end, too.  What does it take to convince the greedy powers-that-be at Pingry to cut the crap and help the children their own staff members went out of their way to hurt?

Note to Pingry, Horace Mann, and any other lax institution where students were victimized and grew up to shout it out loud: decently run schools do not hire rapists!

In the spirit of Christmas, and Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, and the Solstice, and being the change we wish to see in the world – not to mention helping to create a Happy New Year for the students who were victimized at Pingry – won’t you please sign this petition in their support?  And God bless us, every one!

Sign here:

The Pingry School.  A place of no respect for their students!