Saturday, March 29, 2014

Alan Rickman and John Kennedy Jr. - Blast From The Past

For two years, I worked on an autobiographical show, "Size Matters," at the then super-hot Westbeth Theater Center.  Eddie Izzard did his first major show, "Dressed To Kill" there.  Many, many celebrities came to see it.  I found this email to my sister from 1998:

We went downstairs for a drink after rehearsal [in the lobby].  And who should come in but the English actor Alan Rickman (tall, huge face, very obvious dyed chestnut hair).  He was accompanied by a guy who I was sure was William Kennedy Smith--the rapist Kennedy--and it seemed too weird, as if the main reason they knew each other was some club for the famous.

And then I see all the women around me go spastic, and I turn and I'm next to JFK Jr.  Sweaty and in workout gear!  I swear to God, I have never seen anyone have the effect on women he does.  I bet his dad had a similar effect.  Our bartender, Beth was the only one unaffected and was really annoyed as one woman after another came in and collapsed against the bar.  It was JUST like Elaine on "Seinfeld"! 
After he went into the theater, I watch the ushers and waitresses collapsing against each other in agonies of lust.  Eddie's girlfriend, this gorgeous Englishwoman named Christina, came in and grabbed the bar, moaning, while Beth said, "what's wrong with you?"  Quite a scene!

I remember standing next to him, and talk about GUH...sorry Alan Rickman had no effect on me, but he had SERIOUS competition!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Nun's Story: Supernatural, 9x17, "Mother's Little Helper"

Let me start off by being incredibly superficial.  In "Mother's Little Helper," written by Adam Glass and directed by first-time director Misha Collins, I HATED Sam's hair.  Usually it isn't a distraction, but WTF?  That slicked-down, unmoving 60s flip?  There were scenes that were meant to be intense, but I wondered, "why is Sam's hair in place when he's fighting an evil possessed nun?"

spn_917 Sam hair 2

spn_919 Marlo

Sorry, Sam, Marlo Thomas wore it way better. Maybe this was Misha's revenge for all of the shit Jared Padalecki has given him over the years.  Misha, it worked.  That thing never moved!
"Mother's Little Helper" is a song by the Rolling Stones about housewives downing tranquilizers to get them through the day.  Big thing in the "Mad Men" days.  Let's get meta: the title means nuns, addictions of all kinds, addictions being little helpers, etc. I feel so smart now.

"Mother's Little Helper" is a solid episode.  It benefits from focusing less on the Winchesters and more on the flashbacks of how Henry Winchester and Josie teamed up to solve a case--which ended in Josie letting Abbadon take her meatsuit.  Since the Winchesters are unkillable and many episodes involve tying them up when you know they're going to break free and save the day, it lowers the stakes more than the show seems willing to admit.  Having Josie and Henry working a case is a breath of fresh air.

THEN: The whole season up until now, with extra Men O' Letters.

 NOW: A teacher comes home, where her husband is watching tv.  "What's for dinner?" he calls out.  "Meatloaf."  "Again?" he whines.  Big mistake, mister.  His wife picks up a huge candle-holder and beats him to a bloody pulp, while saying: "Meatloaf" (WHACK) "with mashed potatoes" (WHACK) "and broccoli!" (WHACK). I giggled like a moron through the whole thing.  'Cause I'm married.

At the bunker, Dean is sifting through papers.  He looks like angry crap.  Sam enters with a possible case--people in Milton, Ohio are going Godzilla on other people for no apparent reason.  But Dean declines to accompany him.

OH.MY.GOD. SAM GETS TO WORK A CASE BY HIMSELF.  That Dean lets his brother drive off alone in Baby means serious shit is going on in Dean's head.

spn_917 Dean Sam concern 2  
"Dean, come on, I'm busting out the empathy here."
"Go fuck yourself."

As soon as Sam is out of the door, Dean sneaks a bottle of the hard stuff out and takes a swig.  His hand shakes uncontrollably as he remembers holding the First Blade.

spn_917 Dean drunk
Dean contemplates the hair growing on his palms.

When Sam arrives in Milton, he goes to the diner.  Billy, a local man stabs a waitress in the hand with a knife.  Sam goes to the police station, where the cells are full of people acting crazy.  The woman who beat her husband into "ground chuck" has hung herself.  When he finds Billy, he splashes him with holy water.  However, instead of burning, Bill charges the bars.  There's something in Billy's affect that reminds him of Soulless!Sam (great use of flashbacks). Someone is harvesting souls. At the police station, an elderly woman is trying to talk to the desk clerk about the crazy.  "Don't patronize me, you little turd," she snaps.  And is instantly my favorite character in this episode.  She pegs Sam as a Man O' Letters. “I say demons and you don’t bat an eye when everyone else around here thinks I’m nuts on toast.”

It seems the same thing happened in 1958.  Julia* an ex-nun who was at the local convent when Josie and Henry turned up.  Jenny O'Hara, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Shirley MaClaine, plays Julia.  AND SHE DOESN'T GET KILLED OFF!!

spn_917 Julia
 "I used to wear my hair like that!"

I immediately recognized her from "House" episode in which she plays an older woman who almost hooks up with a young dominatrix before she has a seizure. At the time that she was a novitiate, so were Henry and Josie.  (Reviewers note: why why why do writers always begin exposition dumps with "why are we here again?".)  They are working in the field prior to be initiated into the soon-to-be-massacred Men of Letters.

spn_917 Abaddon Henry
"Do you truly understand the word of God?  Here, have a pamphlet."

Long story short: Mother Superior is possessed by Abbadon!  Josie and Henry goes to a nun's room, which has carvings on the walls that Josie remembers as "pre-Enochian."  (What? Has she turned into Kevin?)  This is the same as Sam not recognizing Enochian on Baby in the last episode.  Mother Superior is a piece of work who has "I Am Evil" on a plaque on the wall behind her.
Back to the future!  Dean is dutifully drinking himself to death when Crowley turns up.  Seems Dean had dialed him but hung up.

spn_917 Crowley Dean
Symbolism time! The devil on Dean's shoulder! 

Dean tries to ignore Crowley, who taunts that Dean is scared of the feelings the Blade stirred up in him.  But that Dean is jonesing to touch it again (no, that's not a metaphor).  Crowley hangs out with Dean and dialogues a whole lot with many gay entendres.  Tell me again, why was Crowley in bed with a woman last week and why did he enjoy Asian porn? And is it wrong that this was the best part of the episode for me?  I have got to get some serious help.  If Sam's hair had been better...

spn_917 Dean Crowley bar  
"Have you seen Sam's hair? He looks like a girl's school graduate circa 1963."
"Go fuck yourself."

Crowley goes to take a piss.  While he's in the mens room, a young hunter prepares to take him out.  Dean warns the hunter that many dire things will come to pass if the hunter kills the demon.  Uh, Dean, have you noticed that very few dire things have come to pass these past few years when demons get killed?  The hunter was a plant by Crowley to see if Dean would protect the deposed King of Hell.  It worked.  Crowley has embraced his addiction to human blood* and he encourages Dean to give in to his need for the blade.

Back to 1958!  Julia awakes in the night, gets banged on the head, and ends up in the basement, where she, Josie, Henry and some random woman are tied to chairs.  Random woman is dragged into another room, where bright white light streams through the panels.  There's some more stuff, then Mother Superior reveals that she is Abbadon.  She thinks Henry will make a mighty nice meatsuit.  Josie begs Abbadon to take her, because Josie is in unrequited loooove with Henry.

spn_917 Josie
You'll be sorry...but you'll have fantastic hair. Unlike you-know-who.

So Abbadon takes her brand new meatsuit.  She plays Josie convincingly when the unconscious Henry wakes up.  He thinks all of the nuns are dead, but Julia knows what really happened.  They drive away in a huge black Chrysler Imperial.

Sam goes to the now-abandoned convent (which apparently was shot in an actual abandoned convent!  Cool!) and finds a demon nun who has been harvesting souls. Like angel grace, they twinkle away in stoppered jars. As we learned way way back in Season 3, demons were once human, when Ruby 1.0's history was recounted.  These souls will be twisted into demons to form Abbadon's army, and similar operations are going on all over the place.

Nitpick here: what's the difference between the souls trapped in the veil and the ones the demons are harvesting?  Might not some of those souls choose becoming demons rather than trapped in God's outer office with no magazines?

Sam and Demon Nun fight.  When she chokes him as he exorcises her, he tosses his cellphone on the ground--with a recorded exorcism!  As she smashes the phone, Sam plunges the demon blade into her back.  His hair hasn't moved at all.  In fact, one side hangs down in over-gelled strands.  Damn you, Misha!

Sam opens the jars of souls, and there is a lovely scene of the souls, like white fireflies, returning to their owners.  Who are all now stuck in jail for having committed heinous crimes they don't remember committing.  Sorry, folks, collateral damage.  Talk to Jerome, who's still in that storage locker from "Captives."

(When Sam got his soul back, it was pushed into his body by Death.  Sam screamed like a motherfucker, but nowadays souls are new and improved and they slide in ever so smoothly. But if I kept caring about continuity, I'd end up like one of those poor bastards in jail, beating my head against the bars.)

Sam bids Julia goodbye and returns to the bunker.  He's 100% with the program now.  So back at the bunker, he grabs some folders, slams them down on another table, and starts reading.

spn_919 Dean Sam end
In unison: "Go fuck yourself."

Next time on "Supernatural" : Metatron in a swanky dressing gown!  Dean in the shower!  And...uh...some other stuff.  See you in two weeks.

*Julia is named after the administrator of the invaluable Supernatural Wiki, at  Check it out.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I'm sitting at my desk, using Twitter.  I'm in my shortie polka dot nightgown.  I need to take a shower.  "Classic Rock" is on MusicChoice on television.  The Doors's "The End" starts.

As soon as I hear the first chords, I am frozen in place.  Inside my head, there's a simultaneous clunk and "oh, shit".  I have my right hand on the mouse, my arm is leaning on the desk.  My legs are slightly drawn up, resting on my toes, at angles to each other.  My left hand...rests lightly on the keyboard stand.

I.Can't.Move.Anything.  My eyes cannot look away from the monitor.  I'm hyperaware of my body as the song plays, the pressure on my left arm, my hand resting on the mouse, my toes.  Nothing moves.  I try to move my eyes, which usually snaps me out of it.  It doesn't work.  I move my head--YES!  But instead of getting up, I slump sideways, face down, on my desk, my arms hanging at my sides, my legs still in the same position.

Jim Morrison sings.  My blonde hair is a curtain around my head.  I'm staring at edges of paper.  The desk, once my dad's, smells like pencils.  My entire world is here, my nose pushed into the desk.  I try to lift my head.  I can feel muscles and vertebrae strain, but nothing happens.  The top of my head clenches, but nothing happens.  "It's not a stroke," I tell myself  "I'm still breathing."  Long deep breaths.  I move my jaw and tongue.  I try to speak.  I can't, beyond small noises.  I try to move my right arm.  The whole world has become my body.  Which cannot move.  My legs and feet might as well not exist, although they are getting sore from being in the same rigid position.  I forcibly relax all of my muscles but it doesn't help.

That fucking song is still playing.  It's 15 minutes longI have to turn it off. If I manage to somehow get out of this chair, will I fall on the floor and stay there?  Jeff can't find me like this.  I have to move.  If it kills me, I will move.  I pull my head up against what's pushing it down.  I move my head back and forth.  My right arm moves, my legs move.  I use my right arm to push myself up, hanging onto the desk.  Holding on to the furniture, I make my way to the coffee table, pick up the remote and turn off the tv.

I sit down, hard, on the couch, hyperventilating, heart pounding.  My teeth chatter.  I can't control myself.  I dial my sister on my cel, and she talks me down.  I had a series of these incidents in 2005, which is when I went to the epilepsy ward at Columbia Presbyterian.  They thought I might have progressive temporal lobe epilepsy.  I don't.  These episodes are emotional, I know that.  My body once again in service to my mind.

As I talk to my sister, I still can't walk straight, but my relationship to the physical universe is changing back to normal.  She's the one who uses the word "hyperaware." I lie back and my bed and realize I'm in a large room, the blue ceiling above me, everything seems far away but this is how it's supposed to feel.

My heart is still hammering.  I take a shower, balancing against the wall.  That damn handicap bar still hasn't been installed.  I dress.

I sit to write this down before I forget.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crowley Rules: Supernatural Review, Ep. 9x16, "Blade Runners"

Hell has frozen over.  Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner have written a good episode.

Directed by DP Serge Ladouceur , "Blade Runners" focuses on one story, keeps a brisk pace, minimizes the brother angst, and best of all, brings back Crowley with a bang (literally).  As he always does, Mark Sheppard steals every scene.  We get some forward momentum! Unfortunately, it also continues the trope of introducing great characters and finishing them off in less time than it takes to eat a plate of barbecued ribs. 

THEN: Major exposition dump.  Men of letters, First Blade, Mark of Cain, Grandpa Winchester, MOL, Crowley mainlining human blood.

NOW:  Dean has been obsessively leaving voicemails on Crowley's phone (Dean's ID is "Not Moose".  Do I smell bromance?), since Crowley is supposedly searching for the First Blade. The guys summon a crossroads demon - Snooki.  She can't act, and the promos ruined the surprise, so let's forget we saw it, okay?

Crowley has become a hopeless human blood junkie.  Our first sight of the erstwhile King of Hell is in bed, finishing up sex with a comely female demon.  Was I the only one surprised that it wasn't a dude?  Oh, Supernatural, you can be so cowardly sometimes.  Overseen by a comely brunette demon, Lola, reminiscent of Ruby, Crowley is spending time having sex, eating pizza, and getting blood injections.  He has been reduced to blubbering over the ending of "Casablanca" and reading "Little Women".  Lola rats him out to Abbadon's lackey.  Of course Crowley knows it.  He kills her.  The peak moment is Crowley shooting up to Lou Reed's "Heroin."  Crowley looks at himself in the mirror, and calls Not Moose for help.

spn_916 Crowley  
When I'm rushing on my run, And I feel just like Jesus' la la la...

“Look at you," Dean snaps when they get there.  "You’re a mess. Are you just gonna let Hell go to hell?” They take him back to the bunker and lock him up to detox.  While Sam tries to get work done, Crowley wheedles that they "shared a mo at the church". I do smell bromance!
Crowley spins the tale of the First Blade, which is now owned by a private collector.  While Dean and Sam wait for their contact, Crowley tries stealing candy from a vending machine. *snort*.

spn_916 Crowley candy  
Did you know that detox makes you crave sugar? This PSA brought to you by Supernatural.

"Image, man!" Dean yells at him. "You're the King of Rotten."  Crowley gets it together.  When the envoy of the collector shows up and won't give them the intel, Crowley possesses him and gets the information.

Let's skip to the good part, okay?  The blade is in the possession of Magnus, a disgraced Men of Letters who has set himself up in an invisible house.  It's filled with magic spells, a personal zoo of monsters, and some lovely interior decoration.  Magnus is fun, which means he's toast.  C'mon, cut the viewers a break here!  He would have been a neat character to have around.  Sort of the anti-Crowley.

Magnus sends Sam back to the outside where Crowley waits.  So that Magnus can put the First Blade in Dean's hand and watch Dean fill with animal rage.  We've seen many versions of murderous Sam, but we've never seen Dean like this.  It's primal and frightening.  Jensen Ackles manages to walk the very fine line between ridiculous and scary, coming squarely down on scary.  Magnus is so delighted, he wants Dean as part of the matching set.  And like Metatron, he's lonely. Hey, bud, that's what happens. Being a crazed control-freak guarantees no one will want to hang with you.

SPN_916 Matching set
"My, this blade matches the green fire of your eyes." 

Crowley works the spell so that he and Sam are back in Magnus's castle.  In no time flat, Magnus reads the "every episode" checklist and chains up Sam.

SPN_916 Magnus  
Sorry, dude, it's on the list, okay?

He starts slicing and dicing on Sam's beautiful face, but before the torture porn can really get going (thank God), Crowley frees Dean from his chains and gives him the First Blade.

SPN_916 Sam sliced  
Stop slicing him and muss up his hair, you'll make us all so happy.

Dean lops off Magnus's head.  Aw, come on, Dean, he was cool!  And well dressed!  The blade in his hand, Dean hulks out.  He is fucking scary.  Crowley watches, clearly assessing the situation.

spn_916 Dean killer 2  
Oh no!  Dean's turning into a French waiter!

Sam breaks Dean's murderous trance by begging him to drop the blade.  Finally, Dean looks at his brother and drops it.

They leave Magnus's invisible house and discover THE MOST HORRIBLE THING OF THEM ALL!

spn_916 Baby


At the end, we leave a broken and dazed Dean crouching by his beloved.

spn_916 Baby and Dean
It's not really the end, but who cares?

Actually, Dean tries to kill Crowley  (dumb bastard) and Crowley vanishes with the blade.  The End.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March Came In Like A Polar Bear

Today was supposed to be warmer.  I bundled up Fletcher, took him to the park, and it was 19 degrees.  19 fucking degrees.  The poor little guy gets sooooo cold.  Everywhere is solid ice.

 Rupert has the right idea.

 I'm on a diuretic to help with my blood pressure.  My doctor FINALLY admitted that the other drugs interact with my nervous system.  Thanks, genius.  I spent every summer for several years shut in my apartment, because if I went out, my legs would give out from under me.  Then I'd see the neurologist.  He'd have me briskly stagger down the hall, turn fast and crash against the wall, and stagger back again.  They did two cranial MRIs.  The first one--boy howdy, my brain was messed up.  But the next one, as my doctor put it, "showed the same exquisite abnormalities as the last one."  I'm not sure he used that word, because a doctor at the Lenox Hill psych ward in 2009, who saw me collapse every day when I was given Abilify, said I had an exquisitely sensitive system.  It doesn't seem to have much effect other than a faint feeling I need to pee.

And I'm having trouble with my eating.  Again.  It's probably because I hit 210, and that scares me.  Getting thinner scares me, it always has.  I haven't binged, but I'm eating just enough to make sure my weight doesn't go down.  Combined with not going aside unless necessary, recipe for weight gain.  I don't exercise nearly enough, even though at intervals I enjoy it.  For the past two years I had a joint membership at the Y, which I didn't use.  This go-round I told him to re-up as a single member.  I'll go with a guest pass.  The resentment level has dropped precipitously.  Now I can look for a disability dance class without feeling guilty.  I can do everything ten times better to music, and I love dancing.

Today I'm taking another bash at the play intro, and then sending it in.  Fuck it, even if it's filler, I have to get it off my to-do list.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Thin Man Sucketh: Review of Supernatural 9x15, "#THINMAN"

I had high hopes for "#THINMAN", written by Jenny Klein and directed by Jeanne Swarcoz.  Because they were bringing back fan favorites Harry Spengler and Ed Zeddmore, the "Ghostfacers". They starred in one of my favorite episodes, Season 3's "Ghostfacers," a hilarious reality-TV parody written by (sob) Ben Edlund.  Their names are tributes to characters in "Ghostbusters."  (RIP Harold Ramis.)  Ed (A.J. Buckley) and Harry (Travis Wester) led a team of wanna-be ghost hunters.  The concept and execution were hysterically funny, including Sam and Dean spouting expletives that were bleeped out with a little Ghostfacer logo over their mouths.

I wish this show was on cable.  Jensen Ackles is 36 and Jared Padalecki is 31.  Aren't they a little too old to be saying "friggin" ?  Or to be on the CW? Watching the CW network promos, Sam, Dean and sometimes Cas make split-second appearances.  The rest is devoted to the twenty-somethings starring on the prettier shows.  If 14-year-old Chandler Riggs can say "shitface" on "The Walking Dead," why can't these guys?

So! A light-hearted hour of fun after all of the manpain?  Uh, no. I'm hobbling around on crutches because so many anvils fell on my feet.  This time Ed and Harry are brought on to be bizzaro Winchesters, with one of them carrying a secret that will destroy their relationship.

THEN: Clips from earlier "Ghostfacers", reminding us of better episodes.  Sam and Dean talk about working together as a business, not family.  Much angst. Sam says The Line that sums up the episode, and I wish they'd stopped there.  "You didn't save me for me.  You saved me for you."

NOW: A young girl is in her bedroom in front of a mirror, posing for selfies on her phone.  Then she sees a ghostly character standing behind her.  She freaks, and in time-tested horror movie fashion, doesn't run out the door, but locks herself in her closet.  Her throat is slashed, and blood pours out of the pretty white shutters.  COOL.

At the bunker, Sam is on his ever-present laptop.  It occurred to me that like many people with their faces buried in a computer, maybe Sam belongs to some online community his brother doesn't know about, like or Dean walks by, "lah lah lah I don't care if you're in the room I'm leaving fuck you lah lah."  He announces he's found a case, and reluctantly lets Sam come along.  (Note: Jared Padalecki mugs through this whole episode, even during the serious scenes.  Why make one facial expression when you make three?)

Let's keep this short, shall we?  The Ghostfacers have already shown up at the murder scene.  Ed, Harry, Sam and Dean have a face-off (the best scene in the show) at a diner.  Harry: “The Winchesters. Yay."
Ed: “Says nobody." Harry: “Ever." 
Harry and Ed have all of the best lines in the show, of course.  I gather the actors improvised, which would explain it.

SPN_915 Diner
A diner scene with no reference to pie.  First sign that this episode is crap.

They are interrupted by a manager berating a busboy.  Which means that one of them is probably the culprit.  Because you don't get random camera time unless you're a bad guy.  The killer is known on the interwebs as "Thinman".  He appears in the back of photographs of people he's about to kill.

Sam finds that Ed and Harry have written a book on "Thinman".  Which makes the later reveal that Ed made it all up to keep Harry around make even less sense.

SPN_915 Ed
Ed begs Sam and Dean not to blame him for his dialogue

I don't have the patience to list all of the plot-holes and timeline problems this episode has. Once the Winchesters show up, Ed wants to bail.  He's lost the other Ghostfacers because they went on to live 'normal' lives.  Harry met a girl, broke up because of "Thinman" and is now fixated on her.  Ed confesses to Harry, who is aghast and furious.

SPN_915 Jenga
"Dude, where's my life?"

"Thinman" is in reality two local thrill-killers, the deputy and the busboy.  Both of whom get offed.

In a scene photographed and written as a mirror to the ending of "Road Trip", Harry leaves Ed, and Ed cries quietly.  The two actors really sell their scenes.  But the characters themselves are too light to carry that kind of dramatic weight.  Harry drives off with the Winchesters, sadly talking about two rocking chairs, on of them empty. This reminds me of a quote from Jared Padalecki in 2009: ''I don't want to be cheesy and here's Sam and Dean at age 50 sitting in wheelchairs with grandchildren."

It's gettin' mighty cheesy 'round here.

Real Life-Type Entry, With Extra Stuff!

Let me kick this off with the best one. My publicist, Stephanie Schroeder, is sending copies of The Abortionist's Daughter to various experts for cover blurbs.  She got one two days after she sent out the PDF:

"Truly entertaining and entertainingly true, DeCarlo's novel gives us the unforgettable and flawed Melanie Daniels, a heroine not only of her time, but of every time that women struggle to be fully human."  –Ruthann Robson, Professor of Law & University Distinguished Professor, CUNY School of Law, author of Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality, and Democracy


Also, for those who care, the e-book edition of The Abortionist's Daughter is on discount on Smashwords during "Read An Ebook Week," ending March 8.  The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisa DeCarlo 75% off through March 8!

We watched the Oscars.  So glad that "12 Years A Slave" won!!  I was also hoping the leading actor would win, but Matthew McCounaghey was so brilliant in "Dallas Buyers Club" I'm okay with it.  (Noblesse oblige and all that.)  Too bad they stuffed in that bzuh? tribute to "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."  But it beat those usual "Tribute to Hollywood" crappy production numbers.  And HOW AWESOME WAS U2??  Then I stayed up and watching The Walking Dead.  Earlier on Sunday, we went to one of our local art cinemas, which was playing "20 Feet From Stardom," which won best documentary!   It's good, a history of black back-up singers.  Some became stars (Darlene Love), others did not, but they kept singing.  And some didn't.

So Monday, I was no good at all.  But today it's not as ass-freezingly cold and the laundry is done.  How are all of you?