Thursday, 31 October 2019

Glorification of Chernobog

Hallowe'en. Samhain. Hop-tu-Naa. Día de Muertos. Calan Gaeaf. The Season of the Witch is upon us once again...

More about the "Chernabog" sequence and its origins courtesy of the Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy blog.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Not my father's legs

"My mother said to me, ‘You’re no oil painting, my girl, but you have the spark. Thank God you’ve got my legs and not your father’s!’”

"I have always resented the comments that it was I who was the homewrecker of Larry's marriage to Vivien Leigh. Danny Kaye was attached to Larry far earlier than I."

"Nothing is so sexy in a man as talent."

Sharing a birthday, as she does, with another mixed bag of luminaries including Hank Marvin, Dame Cleo Laine, Elsa Lanchester, Joaquin Phoenix, Francis Bacon, Caitlyn Jenner, Auguste Escoffier, Edith Head, Suzy Parker, David Dimbleby, Matt Smith, Bill Gates and Julia Roberts, the lovely Dame Joan Plowright blows out 90 candles on her cake today!

All hail.

Many happy returns, Joan Ann Olivier, The Lady Olivier, DBE (née Plowright; born 28th October 1929)

Read about our Audience with Dame Joan back in 2014.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

On the Jukebox this weekend at Dolores Delargo Towers

[More over at Dangerous Minds]

Yes, Hallowe''en is almost upon us. Much more scary, however, is the fact that the clocks go back an hour tonight - that is it, folks; the official end of British Summer Time...

Monday, 21 October 2019

Señorita Cruz...

...Queen of Salsa.

Queen of Style!

Celia Cruz (born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad, 21st October 1925 – 16th July 2003)

Much more Celia here.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

He helped put the ‘wood’ in Hollywood

"Sex was a major industry during those lean and troubled years. It not only provided a welcome relief from the harsh reality of everyday life but was also a lifesaver for many young people who simply could not find legitimate work elsewhere. I wasn’t the only kid in town turning tricks."

"I became the go-to guy in town for arranging whatever people desired. And everybody’s needs were met. Whatever folks wanted, I had it. I could make all their fantasies come true. No matter how outrageous or offbeat people’s tastes, I was the one who knew how to get them exactly what they were after."

From The Guardian:
Scotty Bowers was a 23-year-old petrol station attendant on Hollywood Boulevard when the actor Walter Pidgeon pulled up to the pump and asked the dimpled blond to jump in his Lincoln. It would be the ride of his life. Pidgeon was gay, claims Bowers in his autobiography Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, and that afternoon they became lovers. Bowers himself transcended labels. Years later, he startled sexologist Dr Alfred Kinsey by checking off every sex act on his list (and took him to orgies to prove it). Guys, girls, spouses, kings, consorts – and a three-way with Ava Gardner and Lana Turner. Bowers had done it all.

So, farewell then, Scotty Bowers - the man (if his endless tales are all true) who bedded everyone from J Edgar Hoover to Bette Davis to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to George Cukor to Vivien Leigh to Spencer Tracy to Cecil Beaton to Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, and pimped found illicit liaisons for the likes of Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson, Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton, Cole Porter, Gore Vidal, and... Katharine Hepburn!

From an article by Michael Strangeways in Seattle Gay Scene:
Though Scotty Bowers has been backed up and verified by many, including authors Gore Vidal and Armistead Maupin and historian William Mann, there were still many who screamed “no proof!” and “Scotty Bowers is a liar!!!” and “NONE OF THIS COULD POSSIBLY BE TRUE!!!!”

Personally, I don’t know how the naysayers can prove that THEY are any more “correct” than Mr. Bowers. How do THEY know that Kate Hepburn wasn’t a lesbian? Because of her VERY carefully controlled image, which she worked very hard to maintain, for the duration of her professional life, promoting her and Tracy as THE Romantic Couple of the Golden Age of Hollywood…despite the fact the pair didn’t actually ever live together and spent YEARS apart from one another. Or the fact that Hepburn lived the majority of her adult life surrounded by lesbian women...

...There’s also those who poo poo the need for the rich and famous to hire some guy who worked at a Richfield gas station and as a part time bartender to service their needs, or hook them up with other sex workers. But, there weren’t very many options for anyone if they were seeking out gay or lesbian encounters in a pre-Stonewall world. Straight men could go to madames (and Hollywood has always had them; still does!) with great ease but if you were a female seeking a male or female bed mate, or a gay man, it wasn’t easy. Picking up people at work/on the street was very dangerous and any bar or club that identified as a queer business was prone to being raided with all the customers thrown in jail. Scotty Bowers, and others, provided a vital service to Hollywood professionals (as well as non famous names including behind-the-scenes people in the industry) seeking companionship and discretion.
I have not read the book, nor seen the film documentary of Mr Bowers' life story, but of course I knew of the man, his notoriety, his "hinted-at" contributions to Hollywood Babylon and numerous other "scandalous exposés" in the gossip columns. He straddled two worlds - the post-War era of moral paranoia and domestic idealism, and also its dark underbelly, where the most outwardly clean-living citizens and stars alike sought to satisfy their secret desires. A remnant of a naughty "hidden society", we mourn his passing - there are so few left to tell the tales any more...

...and speaking of those tales, and that film documentary:

RIP George Albert "Scotty" Bowers (1st July 1923 – 13th October 2019)

Monday, 14 October 2019

Unlikely conversations, #548 in a series...

Elsa Lanchester and Ruth McDevitt

Kim Novak and Vampira

Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin

Dolly Parton and Henry Kissinger

Joan Collins and Liz Taylor

...wouldn't you just love to have been a fly on the wall?

Friday, 4 October 2019

Ciao, Miss Dominique Devereaux

"If you're not invited to the party, throw your own."

"For each and every performance, I was always on time, always prepared, and always, always coiffed and dressed."

“You cannot be a legitimate nightclub performer, as far as I’m concerned, in sensible shoes. To me, high heels have always been symbols of sensuality... I like the way I feel in them. And when you become a senior citizen, there’s great pleasure to be had in the fact that even when the tummy isn’t as taut as it used to be, the legs are still shapely and slender. They really are the last things to go, you know.”

"I like to think I opened doors for other women, although that wasn't my original intention."

"All I ever wanted to do was sing. What happened was more."

RIP, Diahann Carroll (born Carol Diahann Johnson, 17th July 1935 – 4th October 2019)

An inspiration.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate

“The immensity of her voice struck like a thunderbolt... It was like an eruption of primal power.” (Jerusalem Post)

"...a huge, dark, rich, glorious voice that can roar like thunder one moment and whisper like a zephyr the next. It is a voice of many colours, many facets, many inclinations.” - Martin Bernheimer (LA Times, 1992)

The black armbands have been dusted off again, with the sad news of the death of one of the world's greatest ever operatic sopranos, the glorious Jessye Norman.

There are few words to express our feeling of loss. Let us instead wallow in all her magnificence:

And finally, I make no excuses for playing this again - one of my favourite videos, ever:


  • Miss Norman made her debut in 1968 as Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser in Berlin, and from that point she was in demand all over Europe throughout the 70s - with leading roles in Covent Garden in London, La Scala Milan, Maggio Musicale in Florence and more - yet did not star in an operatic production in her native USA until 1982.
  • She studied the languages of the music she sang, and was acclaimed for her performances of Mussorgsky songs in the original Russian, the German Romantic lieder repertoire, and French music from Berlioz to more modern composers.
  • Anmong her many honorary doctorates and awards, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, National Medal of Arts, Kennedy Center Honor, Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, the French Légion d'honneur, and was a member of the British Royal Academy of Music.

RIP Jessye Mae Norman (15th September 1945 - 30th September 2019)