quiet nights and slow mornings of writing inspired deliciously by others.

darlings

there’s something so completely delicious about turning-in-early and waking-up-rested.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwe had no idea how well we could feel.

you see it took So Long to get here since you-know-what.

but we regret nothing (well, there are a Few Things, but even those most probably Built Character – *coughs*)

cultural note:

just in case you were wondering what we are listening to on that digital device to the right of the photograph above….

it was Jennifer Saunders on a vintage edition of Desert Island Discs from 1996 and YOU can listen to that here.

because Jennifer Saunders has influenced us Almost as much as Noel Coward and Anita Loos.

for reasons that might not appear obvious at first but when you take-a-moment (and possibly scratch your nose or take what Eddie Izzard calls “strokey-beard-time”) you’ll see why.

or not.

sometimes we’re not sure why or who or what we’re doing at all.

and on other days (like today) it all seems delightfully possible and Most Delicious.

especially when we do a little Light Consulting (and pitching writing work) in the Morning and have an  e n t i r e  afternoon and evening ahead (interrupted most deliciously at 3PM with tea with-a-new-LA-acquaintance) with the Muses of the classical ancient world fallen-to-modern-day-Hollywood.

the adaptation is beginning – we’re still reading through the screenplay we wrote but today we start to flesh it out into a Novel.

EXT. DONAL BAY BEACH – NEXT DAY

Calliope emerges from the surf and walks up the beach, past couples making out on the sand, past the lifeguard station.

CALLIOPE
Donal Bay – center of the life coach business – where new muses are born, apparently.

She raises an ironic eyebrow, grins, and looks around.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
It’s time for the big reveal.

She touches the emerald bracelet on her wrist and one of the stones lights up.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
Showtime, baby.

A lifeguard stands up and sees her.

LIFEGUARD
Hey man, where did you spring from?

CALLIOPE
Man?

She looks down at her body and confirms she is female.

LIFEGUARD
It’s like you just appeared out of thin air.

CALLIOPE
The air isn’t thin. It is multi-dimensional.

LIFEGUARD
Do you want to grab a beer later? Can I have your number?

CALLIOPE
My number? First of the Nine.

She walks up the beach and into the grove of palm trees.

INT. DONAL BAY LIFE COACH INSTITUTE LOBBY – MOMENTS LATER

A very perky receptionist is trying to create order.

RECEPTIONIST
Everyone please take a number and wait your turn.

Calliope ENTERS. Everyone in the reception area is carrying a copy of the magazine with the “ARE LIFE COACHES THE NEW MUSES?…” headline

CALLIOPE
Good news certainly travels fast.

She walks up to reception.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
How do I become a “life coach”?

RECEPTIONIST
Please take a number and wait.

Calliope opens her hand and has the next number being called.

CALLIOPE
Bingo.

The receptionist giggles and points down the hall.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
A relief to see the charm still works on modern humans.

A man and a woman walk down the hall and do a double-take at how beautiful she is. Calliope beams.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
I simply adore being visible.

She checks her emerald bracelet. The light is flickering.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
I had no idea it would take so much energy.

She looks sad and turns the big stone off.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
Perhaps a little undercover work wouldn’t hurt.

People walk by her and don’t see her. She sighs.

EXT. DONAL BAY LIFE COACH INSTITUTE – LATER
Calliope has an armful of text books and CDs. She sits down outside the yoga studio next door and puts her hand on top of each book to draw out the knowledge, nodding occasionally.

CALLIOPE
Interesting principles. Remarkably familiar.

A couple of people walk by.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
No wonder they are not listening to us anymore. They are now pretending to BE us.

She leaves the text books on the table and turns around to see the yoga studio behind.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
At least yoga is still popular.

She looks around Donal Bay’s now almost deserted street. A pretty scene, twilight falling, twinkle lights in palm trees.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
I’m going to stay in Donal Bay a while.

INT. LAUNDRY ROOM – DONAL BAY APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

A laundry room inside a partly covered garage under an apartment building four blocks from the ocean. JOHN, 35, is watching LIVY, 35, pretty but understated in yoga gear. Calliope ENTERS – unseen.

LIVY
You can tell we live in Donal Bay, there’s always sand in the dryer.

LIVY stuffs the laundry bag, dreamily.

CALLIOPE
She uses words – like music. I haven’t heard a human do that for so many years.

JOHN
So, back to dating…..

LIVY
I’m still a Venus Fly Trap for the Twisted and Depraved, remember?

JOHN
I do regret saying that. But I heard you had a crush.

LIVY
You did?

JOHN
I did. So spill.

They all EXIT, LIVY carrying her laundry in her arms.

EXT. BACK STAIRS OF APARTMENT BUILDING – MOMENTS LATER

At four blocks from the ocean, the view is inspiring.

LIVY
I am so embarrassed.

JOHN
This sounds promising already.

LIVY
She’s not real.

Calliope listens, with interest.

JOHN
You’ve lost me.

LIVY
She’s on television.

JOHN
What channel?

LIVY
Sci-Fi.

JOHN
Deeply interesting. Playing a human or an alien?

LIVY swats him with her laundry bag. Calliope gets closer.

LIVY
Human.

Calliope shrugs and looks up at the sky with a smile.

JOHN
Well, that’s a relief.

LIVY
But I can’t have a crush on someone on television!

JOHN
We live in Los Angeles. Everyone we know is on television.

They walk inside the apartment building.

poetic license over beirut coffee then fun and spangles with anita loos.

darlings

oh we do love writing a weekly column.

and sometimes it’s adorable to re-read and realize that one Can get Rather poetic over a cup of strongly aromatic Beirut coffee.

*smiles*

indulge us. 

do.

of course we haven’t actually eaten anything as sweet as the Outhmaliyyè since we went to rest awhile at Pi On Sunset due to the (gulp) stats provided by our new doctor *coughs* but there you go – fiction is sweet – and we did get to have a Lovely Nap after eating there.

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talking of fiction (moving swiftly on) – we Happened to find ourselves between appointments at the Academy of Motion Pictures Margaret Herrick Library yesterday – as one does.

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we adore a library.

especially one that has Actual paper clippings in Manilla Envelopes and is Very Strict about only bringing in pencils (and it has been Years since we swooned over the sound of an electric pencil sharpener darlings) and no digital-devices (bliss).

we poured over the Envelopes that we requested and thought we’d share a few Quotes with you here.

yes – quite naturally we spent Some Time lingering over the Anita Loos cuttings (as we know, we adore Ms. Loos)

(The Fun and the Spangles, July 10th 1974, New York Post, Eugenia Sheppard interviews Anita Loos)

“When I see today’s movies with sordid plots and much less pretty girls, I remember the fun and the spangles.”

“Most of the stars just read their own lines to find out what kind of clothes they were going to wear.”

(on the occasion of Ms. Loos’ 80th birthday: April 26th, 1973)

“She wouldn’t stay in bed,” Miss Loos said, sipping coffee at the Russian Tea Room. “She’d be up hustling, getting to a job in some public relations organization.”

(talking about a modern Lorelei Lee)

“I can’t wait to get to my desk each morning. As soon as I found out there was money in ink, I dropped acting and stocked up on ink.”

and we thought our friend The Perfumed Dandy would enjoy these moments-in-beauteous-words from our friend Lorelei herself, helped by Ms. Loos of course, from Harper’s BAZAAR April 1964.

Perfume and what it means to girls like I 
by Lorelei Lee

“But if, on entering a taxi, a girl fails to inspire the Driver with a compliment about your perfumery, I always feel the trip is a failure from the start and she really ought to go back home and consult her perfume bottles.”

“For I always find that the perfume most adored by a Taxi Driver of distinction will also intreege (sic) the more affluent types of gentlemen on Wall Street.”

indeed.

what fragrance are you wearing right now?

and are you impressing a Taxi Driver or a gentlemen on Wall Street at the same time?

gosh.

you are clever.

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and deeply glamorous.

sleep calls.

darlings

a good day – and all-clear on the immigration-medical-front – so That’s Done – and delivered to the Attorneys (in a sealed envelope – not sure why – we weren’t at all tempted to add notations, notions and corrections).

and now sleep calls………..

would you mind just a Picture Post to represent today?

viewer-1 viewer-2 viewer-3 viewer-4 viewer-5 viewer-6 viewer-7 viewerScreen shot 2013-03-14 at 10.50.23 PMblimey.

no Wonder we’re Exhausted.

many miles covered…….

some by foot, others by train, mostly flights-of-fancy too, of course.

(breakfast) haiku and a week-with-a-windfall (fantasy roadtrip to Portofino in two delicious vintage cars)

darlings

there’s a Haiku moment over at subliminal coffee today and we decided to join in (a rare occurrence, for us, but we Do Try from time to time to be more of a “team-player”).

here’s ours (the theme is ORIGIN):

marmalade begins
oranges and sugar sweet
ends on toast chez nous

20111209-204049

now – to be Entirely honest – we wrote this because we have an unfulfilled desire.

we can’t have marmalade in the House because we’d get up in the middle of the night to eat it with a spoon* – nor toast – or a Toaster (even a Breville that Sloane Ranger brides put on wedding lists from The General Trading Company – look at all those Royal Warrants)

so, once again, the realm of the inspirational brings forth hidden desires and heals, darlings ;-)

and we order Toast and Marmalade (usually in the company of friends) at 5-star hotels, instead.

like here – at the St. Regis (the toast had not yet arrived).

20111209-204049

*was this too much information? *askanceLookToCamera* we do hope not.

a moment of Vulnerability never hurt anyone, apparently.

*nervouslookintomiddledistance*

gosh.

we Rather enjoyed writing that haiku.

here it is again:

marmalade begins
oranges and sugar sweet
ends on toast chez nous

perhaps we’ll go for a more Pastoral theme next time.

who knows.

Life is very mysterious right now.

one never knows What will happen.

in Other News (as they used to say on the BBC), we saw this “daily prompt” over at wordpress HQ and thought – “in-ter-est-ing…..” (which was possibly what Eddie Izzard used to call “strokey-beard-time” but we don’t have any need for epilation creams due to our pale creamy complexion).

the “call to action” as they probably still say in digital media meetings *looktocamera* is this:

Daily Prompt: Seven Days

by michelle w. on March 7, 2013

You wake up tomorrow morning to find all your plans have been cancelled for the next seven days and $10,000 on your dresser. Tell us about your week.

now here’s what Victoria Wood and Julie Walters might suggest for a week in the sun with a windfall (dear American friends and others Further Afield – this is a comedy sketch based on truly dreadful British Daytime Telly and we giggle at it A Lot even today, many years later).

and us?

*lookstomiddledistance*

well – let’s see – assuming we have the green card *sighs* by this week-with-a-windfall (and can thus Leave The Country).

1. Hiring an Aston Martin DB5

2. Drive up Highway 1

3. A night in San Francisco in homage to Anita Loos who was born there and wrote This

4. Fly to Europe (said very vaguely – hopefully Someone Clever will be making the Arrangements – not one of our skills – how we miss our Assistant, the splendid Olga *sighs* from the last day job) and get a Train through the Alps in homage to Sybille Bedford

“True, when the train had crossed the Alps and engaged its slow descent into a sunlit fruitful valley, I had experienced a state of sheer joy, a fulfilment of a longing that lies dormant in many of us whose birth has been into the rain.”

Sybille Bedford | Quicksands | P.194

5. Pick up a 1953 Sunbeam Alpine and continue on for a few days until arriving in Portofino – spend one night there and drive all the way along the coast to Cannes

maps

6. final night in Cannes at Hotel Splendide before taking Le Train Bleu (we know it doesn’t run anymore but Tis Fantasy, non?) all the way up to Paris and flying back to Los Angeles (at the front of the plane please, with the nice linens on the back of the headrest).

To complete the fantasy of a week off with 10K to spend?

A commission from a wealthy and capricious editor, probably foreign, possibly titled, so we have an entree to the finest and make back the 10K in writing and syndication fees……

delicious.

*sighs*

what would You do with a Week Off and 10,000 in your currency? 

if you don’t succeed at first…..

darlings

We were Mortified at the department of motor vehicles today.

You failed the written test, please try again

Eek!

We got so confused by having a Picture taken (as you’ve probably noticed, we are Terribly photo shy) and the different windows and the clicking numbers and the Forms and everyone was So.Nice because we had gone on the interweb to make an appointment First (actually there was a long line/queue of people who didn’t look so friendly because they had Not gone online to make an appointment and nor did they seem to be Carrying a Book like we were, ready for a long wait.)

No.

We were WHISKED through and suddenly given a Written Test which had So many Questions that we had Not thought about (situations involving questions regarding carpool lanes and whether people in convertibles can use them if they have an adult and two children but Not – trick question if there’s a carpool Driver with no passengers Or an adult, a small person and the family Pet – clearly confusing to an English person as we consider animals most definitely fully fledged family members if not actually Human).

So – ahem – there were a few we got wrong and we had to Take the Test again (we have Never had to do this – even with A Level Latin).

Mortified.

But now the owner of a California driving license (they renewed our original one from when we lived here before but sadly needed a new picture.)

Still.

Luckily there was a bookshop en route to our next appointment so we could realign our chakras again and had the lovely experience of seeing the owner go a little Pink when neighbor popped in to give him a pie to say thank you for something.

Of course it was an Angeleno pie so the neighbor made sure to tell him that it was gluten and sugar free.

The owner appeared to be from the Continent – most probably from France – so looked a little bemused at the Tarte tatin sans tout.

image

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We found a Treasure.

M. Cendrars and his visit to Hollywood for Paris-Soir in 1936.

A splendid translation.

Excerpts soon.

Rest of the Day?

Well.

Let’s see.

Some special advisory work.

A lot of driving.

image

Buying roses for the vases we inherited from lovely Alexia’s aunt. 

image

A most excellent chandelier was spotted.

#weadoreachandelier

And we spotted a Landmark while heading West – this bank with the oddest mural at 26th and wilshire was once the site of an apartment building…….where Frances Marion lived.

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Frances was the sine qua non of screenwriters of her day – along with our other gem lady scribe extraordinaire Ms. Loos.

Who would probably have appreciated all the twinkle lights strung between apartment buildings in los angeles today.

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Divine.

It certainly took the Sting out of the embarrassment at the department of motor vehicles earlier in the Day, darlings. 

Did you have a seriously delicious Thursday dear?

*concernedlooktocamera*

Any twinkle lights in your ‘hood?

Pictures please!

#twiceoverlightly on the baby pink princess phone with astrologer lynne palmer

darlings – – –

do you recall that we are re-enacting the 1972 book “Twice Over Lightly” written by the glorious Anita Loos and the fabulous Helen Hayes before we say goodbye (as a Resident) to NYC?

if you’ve just tuned in, we have already visited the Village, Joe Papp’s Public Theatre and St Paul’s Chapel to take photographs, muse on where Anita and Helen stood and indulged in conversation and observation over thirty years ago (so much has Not changed in New York we are thrilled to see).

well.

we got to the chapter where Ms. Loos and Ms. Hayes visit The Lynne Palmer School of Astrology.

BLOWING OUR MINDS
The Lynne Palmer School of Astrology is on West 72nd Street in one of those offbeat neighborhoods that look like steel engravings of New York in 1880. Our destination was a ten-story office building which, in its heyday, had been a skyscraper. It frankly shows its age and the elevator wobbles.
We entered a room so immense that there was space to spare for twenty-five large round tables, each one of which accommodated four armchairs and a sizable ashtray. There was enough wall space for any number of astrological charts representing signs of the zodiac. At the end of the classroom stood an easel on which were placed horoscopes of the famous for study by the class. (Napoleon’s was there that day, with an astrological alibi for Waterloo, no doubt.)

we were intrigued by the concept of re-enacting this chapter and decided to see if there was a school-for-scopes that We could visit.

……..we did a search on the Interweb and found out we didn’t need Another School

we could talk to Lynne herself!

so we made an appointment To Call (of course we called her on the baby pink princess phone, darlings).

and last night we spoke with the lovely Lynne (who was on her own telephone in her Las Vegas abode) and we talked for ages about the day that Anita and Helen dropped by.

Firstly, Lynne told us about her scrapbook online which contains the Original Telegram (well, a digital snapshot, of course) that Ms. Loos sent.

look!

here’s another snippet from Twice Over Lightly that records that day.

In no way did Miss Palmer conform to our visions of an astrology teacher. She looked not more than thirty, was feminine, cute, and pretty as a postcard. She wore not a smidgen of batik nor even an amber bead. On the contrary, her pink suit possibly came from Chanel and she sported a few tasteful jewels that looked hot off the workbench of Van Cleef and Arpels. The only manner in which she fitted our idea of an astrologist was that she hails from the capital of the world of whim-wham, Los Angeles. Where else?

we asked Lynne about the suit (because it did sound glorious) and she said:

“It was a tweed suit, yes, in pink, with a fur collar and cuffs and I wore an emerald ring with diamonds. I do love sparkly things.”

we do, too. #sigh

Lynne has had an extraordinary Life – full of the nicest serendipities and unseen hands guiding – from a start in Showbiz as a dancer on the border, in El Paso, where the choreographer was obsessed by astrology magazines so Lynne read them in order to make conversation with the audience during show breaks (one had to be charming and congenial) which lead to taking classes on erecting charts (“I wasn’t the least bit interested at first, especially in the math that is needed for astrology,)” and on to Hollywood, being photographed as a model by Harold Lloyd and becoming chums with Mickey Rooney and going to parties with a certain Mr. Sinatra and being Lauded as the first astrologer invited onto Mr. Carson’s show.

wowzer.

take a look at more bits from her scrapbook!

more from That Day with Anita Loos and Helen Hayes….

Lynne apologized for her premises, saying that only in an old building could she find a room large enough for her classes. Hers is the only school in our nation, she told us, where astrology is taught en masse. Classes are held all year round with sessions for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. “I have a special seven-weeks marathon course,” said Lynne, “during which the entire subject is covered in depth and detail. All ages and types attend that class. I have a seventeen-year-old hippie whose special interest is Tarot cards and a professor of psychology from the College of the City of New York.”

“When could one enroll?” I asked and learned that no enrollment is necessary. “One merely shows up at will and pays six dollars a day.”

The beginner’s course deals mostly with “chart erection.” The intermediary course features advanced math but also includes a study of special horoscopes of, for instance, twins, psychics, astrologers, dogs, traitors, murderers, homosexuals, transvestites, people who changed their sex, prostitutes, madams, sadists, nymphomaniacs, con artists, liars, drug addicts, movie stars, and writers. Among the last, Lynne’s students learn all about Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Billy Rose, grace Metalious, Hedda Hopper, and Stephen Foster.

gosh.

we adore Hedda Hopper.

quelle chapeaux.

Lynne went on to build a career (spanning over 50 years, isn’t that a splendid achievement?) and wrote many, many books and lesson tapes

She was Utterly Discreet on the telephone with us, but hinted at some of the glittering celebrities that swear by her Charts and Predictions and guidance.

we took a sneak peek again at the scrapbook and saw Another gloria is a Fan, for one (on a side note, darlings, we live Not Far from her Very Attractive son in his newly refurbished fire house – what fun!)

we talked for such a long time and realized that we must let Lynne enjoy her evening, for it was getting Rather Late.

but we remembered to ask for her postal address so we can send a thank you card.

just like Ms. Loos did all those years ago after that fateful visit.

but just before we said our goodbyes, we told Lynne (for we felt we had gained some measure of intimacy and friendliness by this point in our Conversation) that we are Moving (back) to L.A.

“I loved living in Los Angeles!”

she said, winsomely.

and so we talked a little while about her favo(u)rite haunts back-in-the-day – she remembered parties with Esther Williams and nights at the rose-pink-loveliness of the Beverly Hills Hotel, living on mid-Wilshire at one point, Hollywood another, and having decent tacos at El Coyote and typing it all up on her IBM typewriter (still, darlings – isn’t that glorious – someone else comes over to pop it on the Interweb, although she’s a dab hand at email as we found out).

so – memories-of-Los-Angeles came pouring out and we drank them in over the telephone wires between off-the-neon-strip-Las Vegas and inky-dark-night-fall of Manhattan.

glorious.

we may have to ask Ms. Palmer to have tea at the Beverly Hills Hotel sometime (she visits annually) to write about her Time in Hollywood more fully.

wouldn’t that be delicious?

we. think. so.

such interesting people in the world.

so ripe to record for An Exhibition (ahem).

deciding Not to start all over again.

we woke up at 2AM.

hasn’t happened for a while.

not since we stopped travel(l)ing for La Vie JetSet.

perhaps there was something about not wanting to be as devil-may-care about the move (back to Los Angeles if you’ve just joined us, darlings).

we are Tired of starting all over again – again – so we’re not going to.

we are going to Take all the Furniture (instead of doing some Grand Gesture of giving away one’s Possessions – yet again – and packing a few items to be sent via the Post Office).

maybe it was the prospect of almost fifteen years of scrapbooks (one needs a Legacy and the memory is not what it was so they always make for Curiously good Viewing – did we really go to INDIA, CHINA and Korea in such a short space of time? gosh) and nine years of journals/theraputicRelease/materialForMovies – we just couldn’t do it.

so they’ll all be coming with us (apart from the large framed pictures we already promised to certain people – they needed to stay in NYC anyway and they’ll have Such a good home there).

that feels better.

we don’t feel Great having only got a few hours sleep last night but the Furniture seems to be smiling this morning at the prospect of seeing Los Angeles (it has never been and often wondered what it might be like).

oh.

we almost forgot.

yesterday was splendid-with-consultancy-meetings and we had pockets of time to Walk everywhere (downtown to chelsea and back to almost the Tip of manhattan).

pictures?

bien sur.

the day was Crisp and Very Cold (but excellent for walking with upbeat music in the ears).

after chelsea we walked almost to the tip of the island and had to pause for thought when seeing so many medical military personnel (in the city to head out to Long Island for the disaster site post-hurricane).

a quiet moment.

we thanked them for being there (it felt only right) and headed upstairs to our meeting (which was Splendid, thank you for the questioning look).

Presently, a blast of icy wind chilled our curiosity and blew us right into the Chapel. Anyone who looks on the religion of colonial times as gloomy would be astonished by the cheery interior of St. Paul’s. Sunlight was streaming through enormous windowpanes of clear glass; none of those Biblical scenes designed to inspire awe. The Waterford chandeliers, huge though they are, manage to seem dainty. The altar and pulpit are painted ivory, picked out with gold; the walls are pink, the ceiling sky blue. “A perfect color scheme for a young girl’s debut party!” said Helen.

Twice Over Lightly
Anita Loos and Helen Hayes
P. 25

yes! we looked around upon leaving the meeting and realized where we were – next to St. Paul’s chapel – which Anita Loos and Helen Hayes visited in 1972 for Twice Over Lightly (the book that we are re-enacting to say goodbye to manhattan).

it has not changed a bit (apart from the sadly necessary place of grieving for 911 memorial which now lines the walls)

as you know we Adore a chandelier. and there are some Truly Beautiful ones at St. Paul’s.

manhattan was in fine form yesterday – and looked a lot like it was doing a sly impression of Paris……

or Rome….

or 1972.

or Indonesia….

or mexico….

but but as we headed home, nose burrowed into a cashmere scarf, cloche hat firmly down over the ears, manhattan looked like manhattan again – and full of possibility.

Twice over lightly part 2: Joseph Papp and the Public Theatre

Darlings

Do you recall our fun project about re-enacting Twice Over Lightly, the 1972 book from Anita Loos and Helen Hayes, that we started before the storm hit?

We have not forgotten it.

To jog your memory banks, we set out our intent here and then went to re-visit the famous writer and her glam blonde sidekick, the famous actress and benefactor, as they tripped gently around the (then) scary east village.

And then, last night, we went to Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre for something of a cabaret setting but Victorian style Improving Lecture crossed with a live Radio program(me) on the BBC talking to a Writer and a Writer/Performer about Art and The City.

It was marvel(l)ous.

But firstly, let’s look at what Anita and Helen found at Joe’s Pub (as it is now called).

Remember this was 1972 (or just before as the book was Published in That Year). How brave and enterprising and glorious Anita Loos and Helen Hayes were. Read on for their adventure into the heart of downtown hippie-and-hip-cats territory where they probably saw more bell bottoms (if there are young people reading, and we know a few of you are from your kind emails and texts and ‘re-tweets’!) these were trousers. If you are an American Young Person you would call them pants (no sniggering from London, please) and they had swoopy flared bottoms usually in engaging carpet-like textiles.

The party in honor of Joseph Papp’s birthday would be at his Public Theatre on Lafayette Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. Joe’s theatre is much more than one mere theatre. It is the ancient Astor Library which he, backed up by generous theatre lovers, has converted into a theatrical complex.
P. 248: Twice Over Lightly

On this occasion, Anita and Helen had charming male companions……let’s read on…..

On the evening of any large supper party in New York, the custom is for guests to attend small private dinners before the main event. Our dinner before the Papp party was really small. There were four of us: Helen and me with our escorts, Mort Gottlieb (the successful Broadway producer, taking a look at how off-Broadway lives) and our host Guy Monypenny, who is editor of a stylish magazine of interior decorating.
P. 249: Twice Over Lightly

Yes. We stopped dead at the mention of Guy Monypenny. For a start – delicious name (very teamgloria, we think).

The honour of being the first U.T.S. Old Boy to make his name in the world of the Theatre belongs to Guy Monypenny. Guy was a graduate of ’24 U8 years at the time and, after several years of further study, settled down to make his living by selling hand-made lamps in a store in Toronto’s Greenwich Village. He made a trip to New York in June, 1933 with the intention of staying two weeks, to sell some songs which he had written and to write new ones. But while he was there he became interested in the Group Theatre, which in its turn became interested in him and gave him a part with Philip Merivale in “Valley Forge.” When the run of this play came to an end, our young actor had so impressed the Group Theatre that he went, with Mr. Merivale, into the cast of Maxwell Ander- son’s “Mary of Scotland,” in which was starred that great American actress Helen Hayes. While visiting Miss Hayes last summer, he met Noel Coward, and that amazing and Versatile gentleman took a further…..

sadly the online scanned excerpt from the 1935 Yearbook of the University of Toronto ends there! But oh! how tantalizing…….and how Unsurprising that our guardian (for tis how we like to think of Noel) was Involved….

We digress.

Their dinner ended in Little Italy where they drank a cappuccino (which must have been surprising enough to ladies up Uptown – or midtown as Anita Loos lived opposite Carnegie Hall by this point) to mention.

After….we strolled in true Italian contentment along West Fourth to Lafayette Street and there came upon the Public Theatre, ablaze with floodlights. Helen stopped us to view it from afar. “Look! Just look at this truly great example of turn-of-the-century elegance!”
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We presently learned Joe’s party had already begun in the largest of the four playhouses which comprise the Public Theatre. It had once been the main hall of the old Astor Library and is still crowned with a great domed ceiling of stained glass. This is, moreover, the historic location where HAIR began – minus its silly nude scene.
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We forgive Anita here, of course, knowing that she was a fan of Paris Couture and probably not of seeing the Young and the Beautiful weaving in and among each other enjoying Free Love and a strangely potent enjoyment of what must have been imported incense.

This next bit gave us a hoot.

Tonight the great auditorium had become a Viennese cabaret, with tiny candle-lit tables spotted among the rows of red plush theatre seats.
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As. It. Was. Last. Night!

It was So Dark (and atmospheric) that we could not take a good shot – and we did not have the grown-up-camera as we were sure none were allowed so this is the best we could do – forgive.

We weren’t sure what to expect from the Event. But we’re a Huge Fan of Anna Deavere Smith (we saw her show Let Me Down Easy about the state of healthcare previously and was struck by her Talent and force and general genius). Friends of ours who own Televisions adore David Simon (as you know, we do not own a telly – far too distracting – and we should tell you that – as who we are in RL – we got Very Far into the interviewing stage for a Big Job in Television before we had to pull out when a friend said, “when are you going to tell them you don’t own a TV?” oops…excellent point.)

Apparently David Simon’s work is utterly brilliant if rather Real (and we’re not big on Real unless it’s set in Paris and perhaps has an interlude of a musical number) but we feel it’s our Duty as a Popular Culture reporter to watch it so we’ll let you know.

The discussion on stage ranged gloriously from Cities to Creating Art to writing Television in New Orleans and somewhere called Baltimore (isn’t that where Mr. J. Waters is from?) and Storytelling and Disasters (we had a silent moment and paused to reflect, perched on the stool at the back as Anna D-S and Mr. Simon talked about visiting Rockaway and NJ shorelines which have been devastated and destroyed this past week).

The two performers embodied compassion and Empathy and Anna boldly proclaimed about the creativity unleashed when re-making your life after a disaster and the room became silent and slightly uneasy but she had a good point. She also talked about how she embodies her characters:

“I desire them – or there’s something about their world that I desire”

We feel the same about the characters who have written themselves into our screenplays through our fingers. Sometimes we think about calling them up, to chat, to see when they’re in Town next – and then we take our hand off the baby pink princess phone and remember that it’s not that they don’t exist – they do – its just we don’t know their phone number. We say this because we’ve written out characters and then met them in real life – not them, exactly, but people that have a similar Feel to them. It’s rather odd and best not to share this information at first, if ever.

Back to Anna DS – she told us the three questions she asks people when she starts to create a show around a theme using monologues drawn from Real Lives:

Have you ever come close to death?

 Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do?

 Do you know the circumstances of your birth? 

We were almost going to answer these questions for you – about us – but we paused. Two of them are not suitable (no bright spots or Doris-Day-like pastels shiny memories to impart – just a cold reality that we’d rather Not remember) and the other we already shared with you about Tobias. For if Tobias had grown, undetected, and found his way up and into and through our main artery. Well. Heads would have exploded. Shudder.

It appears Mr. Simon is Terribly Dark himself and writes a blog (quelle joy!) called: The Audacity of Despair (tres Rimbaud). It’s here.

We move on……..back to the Theatre.

Actually we can sum up now, just in case you’re wondering if there’s time to make tea and come back – no – we’re almost Done.

The most exciting part of the evening was not just the sheer joy of watching fascinating people talking about Smart Things in a very intellectual and yet also Visceral blood-filled-and-Real way but the bubbling up gorgeous feeling that here were two people who make their living as Storytellers.

Anna D-S and Mr. Simon pay close attention to Life and to People and their pain and joy and the Feelings that they have and the Adventures and the Sorrows and the sheer excitement at being ALIVE and they share it, through their Craft and their Art into stories which bring these small pockets of humanity to people across the planet (we heard that Mr. Simon does awfully well in Foreign Syndication you see).

Paid to tell stories.

Isn’t that the most delicious way to spend a lifetime?

thank you to Joe’s Pub aka the Joseph Papp Public Theatre for a Most Engaging evening of thought and ideas and storytelling.

divine.

another in a series of goodbye to new york from teamgloria.

cue titles.

fade to black.

(yes, we’ve been re-watching The Hour, over and over again – it’s Jolly good).

oh! we just realized – Mr. D. West is not just in The Hour, he’s also in Mr. Simon’s rather Shocking expose of the underbelly of Baltimore. how clever.

twice over lightly.

in 1972, Anita Loos and Helen Hayes (then both in somewhat Advanced ages of life but having had a Most glorious set of Lives between them – Broadway, Hollywood and the odd “cure” in a Swiss Clinic to boot – we cast no aspersions, anita was doing Research for Hollywood) wrote a book called: Twice Over Lightly.

now Twice Over Lightly is the Most Entertaining results of two smart, sassy and curious women who wanted to discover the hidden nooks and darkest most strangest secrets of New York City.

they had both lived here for many years.

but their lives had revolved around the Theatre and the movies (and we’re talking D. W. Griffiths and the Silent movies not just Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and Helen even has a theatrical establishment named after her (where Rock of Ages is currently playing – we can just imagine Anita and Helen grabbing their glorious winter coats and heading for the exit as soon as the final crescendo of heavy rock ensues and giggling gently as they walk, arm in arm, to Carnegie Deli for a slice of dry toast).

so Anita and Helen (may we call them that?) decided to explore the NYC that they didn’t already know – and had great adventures.

you know where we’re going with this post by now, we assume?

yes.

we’re going to take a Few Chapters out of Twice Over Lightly and re-enact them.

with some of our friends.

and – darlings – with you.

isn’t that glorious?

well.

the Clock is Ticking on our time in this dark and strange yet bold and beautiful city (10 weeks and counting) so we’re going to Celebrate it to the max.

won’t that be delicious?

we thought so.

any tips for us?

where would You go in NYC if you had a free afternoon or twenty?

do. tell.

gentlemen prefer blondes – or sometimes other gentlemen…..

we are a Tiny Bit disappointed with this evening’s entertainment……………..it turns out that the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes night opposite the Ziegfeld was more of a “concert performance” (no glorious sets flown in and some actors still “on book” carrying the score) and despite being set in 1924 or thereabouts, the costumes were more of the mid-50s (they flatter no one, darlings) with a bit-of-spangle-ness.
BUT! (we cannot be sad for long) – Top Marks to the Delicious Megan Hilty for an Awfully pretty and fruity rendition of Lorelei Lee. And the Very Toned dancers in the Olympiads-dancing-scene with Dorothy (don’t you just Adore an Olympian? We met one the other day – swim team – strapping lass – gorgeous tattoos) were Awfully butch and glorious.

Of course we’ve always had a passion for Anita Loos who was one Smart Cookie and a sassy brunette with a kiss curl of a bob and a million-dollar-brain.

Confession: we got the idea of an alter-ego with a cute voice and a kick-up-the-kitten-heels-and-giggle from Anita.

Oh.

And the little girl at the hotel, of course

Kay Thompson was a force to be reckoned with – “not an act, more of an experience” said a critic from Variety at the time.

That sounds like a good thing to be, darlings ;)

The alter-ego is not something to hide behind, it’s something to either use while “one” is finding out whom one is becoming next. Or a “device” (as they say in the movie Studios) to let Quite the Nicest bits of oneself Develop. While one is – perhaps – waiting for the Scar to heal, the Synthroid to get stable, the cake-desire to wane (oy vey) and the green card to arrive.

If You Know What We Mean.

we nearly blew it the other day.

All tired and scratchy and grumpy, we nearly let slip in a most inappropriate way – less of a Reveal than a petulant “This is who we Are”.

Luckily there’s a delete button on the interweb.

Not so in RL.

As you know.

Sorry?

The letter from England? That was a Very funny one from William

Oh – the Typewriter?

We saw it at the Perry St street fair today!

It looks like something Anita Loos or Kay Thompson might have used – non? Very excited.

The pearl bracelets?

Oh!

Those are new-to-teamgloria.

We bought them in honor/honour/celebration of Anita Loos to wear to see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Aren’t they delicious? And the ballet slipper pashmina (very soft and pretty) was to go with the pearls.

Darlings we were a Little shocked that some people were in Cargo Shorts (and they weren’t members of the Armed Forces) at the Theatre this evening.

Kay Thompson would have raised a perfectly arched eyebrow.

Anita would have tossed her tiny liitle bobbed hair and very small satin pumps and made a little sigh.

But there again, she was More Worldly than one would think – towards the end of her life she was interviewed and asked if Gentlemen Still Preferred Blondes and she laughed and said something along the lines of “don’t Gentlemen Prefer Gentlemen these days?”

giggle.

Lorelei wouldn’t have got that one.

Or maybe she would.

The alter-ego is not necessarily as bubble-licious as one might expect ;)

We must wend our way downtown again – we have breakfast at a 5 star Hotel with someone Very glam and fashionable and from Abroad.

Isn’t life divine?