Liz Smith: Chaz Bono To Be Nimble and Quick on “Dancing With the Stars”

Chaz Bono & Vamps at Sea

And more from our Liz: Vampires cruise Alaska…”Mary Poppins” hits the 2,000 performances mark on Broadway… HBO celebrates Latino groundbreakers

“AS FAR as I’m concerned, being any gender is a drag,” said the singer Patti Smith.

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SPEAKING OF gender, “Dancing With the Stars” doesn’t care what you are, were, or plan to become. The show wants ratings and publicity.

To that end they have booked Chaz Bono to get down and boogie. Chaz has not yet completely transitioned, but certainly intends to, and certainly identifies himself and considers himself a man.

This will be a good thing for Chaz, emotionally — to feel more accepted. Chaz is nothing if not determined and unashamed. And, frankly, this will be a great way for Chaz to drop a pound or thirty. He is a big guy. (We worry about your health, honey!)

Look what “DWTS” did for Kirstie Alley!

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WELL, The Hamptons certainly didn’t allow Hurricane Irene to put a damper on late summer events. Tomorrow, Kelly Ripa, Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane preside over an all-new 3D version of Disney’s animated classic “The Lion King.” (Broderick and Lane were two of the great talents who lent their voices to the movie. Others include Whoopi Goldberg, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons and Cheech Marin.)

Disney and The Cinema Society are the sponsors. It happens at the East Hampton UA Cinema, on 30 Main Street. Food and drinks follow.

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AND WHILE we have things Disney on the brain — on Sunday, Broadway’s “Mary Poppins” celebrates its two thousandth performance, speeding toward its fifth anniversary in New York on November 16.

The six worldwide productions of “Mary Poppins” have grossed over $600 million dollars since 2004, when it premiered in London’s West End.

I know I fly against millions of fans of the movie, but the stage version of “Poppins” is so far superior to that 1964 film! And Julie Andrews’ Oscar for “Poppins?” Uhhhh….

Miss Andrews is a fabulous talent, a great woman and deserved Oscar recognition for other roles. She was nominated for both “The Sound of Music” and “Victor/Victoria.” But in 1964 Hollywood was going through spasm of guilt because Julie, an unknown quantity in films, had not been cast in the movie version of “My Fair Lady,” the role she originated onstage. (Box office favorite Audrey Hepburn won the plum role of Eliza Dolittle.)

“My Fair Lady” was a big hit, and Audrey was simply divine onscreen, but her vocals were dubbed (a crushing thing for her.) “Mary Poppins” was an even bigger hit, and of course, Julie needed no dubbing. The upshot was Audrey didn’t even receive a nod from Oscar that year, and Julie walked away with the little golden guy, perhaps as a “consolation prize” for not getting the chance to put her Eliza onscreen.

Miss Hepburn and Miss Andrews were super-gracious about the whole thing. Well, they were both rich and young and beautiful. What’s an Oscar, anyway?

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ALASKA is not generally thought of as a gathering place for vampires. Pause. No, no cheap shots at the Palin family. Although I suppose even mentioning them will be considered a “cheap shot” by fans.

Anyway, next June, vampire “fans” will converge on Alaska for something called “Vamps at Sea: A Vampire Convention.” The event takes place on Holland America’s Zuiderdam cruise ship, and will visit the ports of Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway and Ketchikan.

Along with rubbing capes with Dacre Stoker, the great- grandnephew of “Dracula” creator Bram Stoker — and the author of his own tome, “Dracula: The Undead” — guests will enjoy such merriment as The Vampire Ball, Team Trivia Contest, The Scavenger Hunt (my heart stops when I think what exactly they will be scavenging for!) and an auction. The proceeds from the auction go to — get this —the Blood Donor Division of the Red Cross.) Vampire scholar John Edgar Browning will also be lurking around, hosting a vampish film festival.

All the activities will only take place when the ship is at sea … never during port times. Uh, never during the daylight?

This is a private event — well, we know how much the undead value their alone time. Cruise fares start at $1,060 per person. But having lived for centuries, this is pocket change for smart vampires. Log on to www.VampsAtSea.com. Or call Linda Wolf 818-346-7003. I am assuming casket costs will be waived.

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ONE SEPTEMBER 26th at the Brooklyn Museum, photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders debuts his new exhibition “The Latino List.” This comprises 25 portraits of influential Latinos from the worlds of culture, politics, business and sports. This is something of a follow-up to the photographers acclaimed 2008 show, “The Black List Project.”

The night Timothy’s new show opens, HBO will also screen, at the Brooklyn Museum, a new documentary, also titled “The Latino List” and directed by Mr. Greenfield-Sanders. (Interviews conducted by Sandra Guzman and Maria Hinojosa.)  This is a special event, but don’t worry, the documentary airs on HBOLatino on Sept. 28 and on HBO non Latino, on Sept. 29.

22 comments so far.

  1. avatar Lila says:

    All the best to Chaz, although as far as acceptance goes – this will be a hard haul for him. Check out other articles and the comments that follow; while there is a good bit of support, there is also already a lot of flak from those who believe this takes the show out of “family” territory. Have seen some pretty hateful comments about how they don’t want their kids “exposed” or to have to explain things to them. Never mind that there have been gays and a very publicly unwed teen mom on the show, these folks draw some kind of line at the thought of a transgendered person. To the point that they are swearing off not only the show, but ABC in general.

    Well, that’s OK, haters. Go back to your cocoons and cosset your children against the fact that there are people out there who are not like you. Way to prepare them for the diversity of humanity.

  2. avatar Kathy says:

    Not sure what Liz means by, “Chaz has not completely transitioned…”  He had female-to-male  surgery and has been legally a male for over a year.  But he does need to lose weight.  I’ve seen him on talk shows and found him to be bright, articulate and very personable.  But he weighs well over 300 pounds – he’s going to have a very short life as a man if he doesn’t get it under control.

    • avatar Jay Gentile says:

      No, she didn’t. Ms. Bono had her breasts removed, and is taking massive amounts of male hormones to stimulate, for example, the growth of that scruffy beard on her chin. But down to the XX chromosomes, Bono is still a woman, despite how she chooses to identify herself. She has not had her female organs removed, nor has she had a penis installed (what’s the right word?). I  can call myself the Queen of England and plop a tiara on my head. But that doesn’t make me royalty, no matter how much I might wish otherwise.

  3. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Chastity Bono now looks like an unattrative woman trying to look like a man. She is a woman and will always be a woman.  No matter what she has removed or added to her body.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Belinda…

      But I am sure you support people attempting to find peace of mind and live a good, honest  life, no matter how they look–to you– or what they say they are.

      Yes? 

      • avatar Linda Myers says:

        Listening to him speak, rather than asking for others to accept him – his message was he finally was able to accept himself. That alone is huge for anybody.

  4. avatar Liz Smith says:

    Dear Kathy…

    So sorry,  I thought Chaz had only gone so far as to have his breasts removed.   He is bright and articulate and very self-confident.

    Forgive my error.  I missed a surgery somehow!

    best,liz smith 

  5. avatar Liz Smith says:

    Dear Kathy 2…

    Well, forgive my apology—I was correct.  Chaz has not had the ultimate below-the-belt surgery, though he is now legally considered a man.

    I wish him well, and twinkling toes, too.

    Liz Smith 

  6. avatar phillipg says:

    Dear Liz

    You did not miss a surgery ref Chaz.  

    On-to anothe topic, Doris Day is releasing a new album MY HEART Sept 5 in the UK, and she has given several radio interviews from her home and now Paul McCartney is going to interview her for one of the papers over there. You have been such a supporter of hers for a long time, how about you do an interview?

    http://www.dorisdaytribute.com/blog/2011/08/31/legendary-beatles-star-paul-mccartney-talks-to-doris-day-for-an-exclusive-new-british-interview

  7. avatar Rho says:

    I don’t watch these shows, but I wish Chaz well.  I am a big fan of Chaz’s mom, Cher.  Funny, but I just cannot say “him”

  8. avatar Linda Myers says:

    I am not going to judge Chaz, he has repeatedly said for years that he did not feel he was a girl. To each his own. I did find a clip I watched of Cynthia McFaddens story about Jack/Jackie interesting in relation to what Chaz had said of himself in the past and during an interview with Oprah. I just wish him a peaceful life, without the hate and bigotry.

  9. avatar mary burdt says:

    Poor Chaz—calling him out for changing genders and then calling him fat is like a double whammy. I wish he wasn’t going to be on DWTS because I think he will feel unaccepted in most parts of the country due to bigotry. I wish him luck and a happy life.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Mary…

      I think he’ll be fine. He’s cool.  But  he  is fat.  Dangerously overweight.  This will be a good thing for him.

  10. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I think the whole affair is a tragedy in the making. This was discussed before.  She should have waited until she was in fact he before announcing it.  Personally I think she has some pretty unrealistic expectations but I support her and have no problem with referring to her as him. When she becomes him. Which she hasn’t.  There will be public comment about it.  Which will not be pleasant. For her. Or for her mother. Not an easy road ahead for either of them.

    Free to be.  You and me.  In all our various sizes, shapes, flavors and genders.

  11. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Some manage the transition well. Others don’t. Chaz looks like a woman. Or a man. In time she will probably look more like a man.  Women seem to do better in that respect than many men who change their gender. Although some men, well, there have been some spectacular showgirls in Las Vegas that no one ever suspected were once men. We tend to judge a book by its cover as they say. Rather than what’s inside.  And what’s inside is what is coming out so to speak when a woman becomes a man or a man becomes a woman.

    • avatar Lila says:

      You know, Snooks, maybe I am just clueless but… I went into The Crying Game blind, not knowing what it was really about… and was just as shocked as the protagonist when he undressed his “girlfriend” for the first time, and discovered… a penis! Oops. And even after I knew there was a penis under there, I still thought of the character Dil as “she.” Jaye Davidson has since had other (manly) roles but he did a very womanly job in that movie.

      I always thought the ending of the movie was thought-provoking, since it seems the protagonist — a straight man who was physically sick upon first discovering the truth — will continue the relationship after all.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        I don’t know what the law, or standard, is in California but I vaguely recall that in most states it is “genitalia” so until someone has the “new” genitalia they are legally the “old” gender. 

        One of the interesting things on Cynthia McFadden’s report last night, which Liz Smith should have possibly tipped everyone off to, was the man who became a woman who became a man. He joked his “new” equipment worked better than the “old” equipment.  So who knows Chaz Bono may became a real “ladies man” in the end.  

        Cher came out on Twitter and defended Chaz’s decision to appear on the show so she is obviously “coming around” and I suppose as she does, others will as well.

  12. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    Chaz Bono is the only reason I am going to tune into that fakakta sh0w. That, and the hope that I will see Nancy Grace fall on her ass and hopefully break her ankle. Or better yet, her jawbone, that would require her mouth being wired shut for a few decades.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Now, now be nice. I cannot stand Nancy Grace when she turns into a screeching banshee but I know what it is to be “revictmized” by our deplorable justice system and I applaud her for taking it on. Few are willing to.  Although to be honest we all turning into screeching banshees.  I do from time to time. Takes one to become one I suppose. 

      • avatar Count Snarkula says:

        @Baby – As usual, I cannot argue with you. I have certainly been guilty of turning into a screeching banshee. Although, I think with age I am mellowing a little. Human injustice, and the denial of basic civil rights for ALL in this country will get me screeching sometimes however. That and deliberate cruelty, although that is now-a-days more likely to result in tears rather than screeching.

  13. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    @Baby – But if I withdraw the broken ankle/jawbone wish, can I still hope to see her fall on her ass? And be a reasonably good person?

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      No.  But if they ask Mark Fuhrmann, who I just discovered is now on Fox News as a “contributor” although I’m not sure what “expertise” he has to “contribute” apart from being a disgraced racist cop, appears on the show, well, anything goes. Fox News really needs to be taken off the air.  The glove probably did fit. But planting the glove, well….