Liz Smith: Lena Dunham Says

Lena-Dunham-Playboy-interview“I HATE the conventional wisdom that men are supposedly complete pieces of s**t and it’s our job as women to put up with them. Men are just as sensitive and easily victimized as women are … that drives me nuts. We’re all humans and doing human stuff.”

That’s Lena Dunham, the creator and star of HBO’s “Girls” chatting with David Rensin for Playboy. She is the most talked about, profiled, loved and not loved woman of the year (so far.)

Untitled-10And every other celebrity is asked about her, too. Lily Tomlin gives a fascinating interview to Vanity Fair online.

Queried about Dunham’s show she says: “You know, I don’t have a profound judgment on it. I think it’s too sexually focused. I think it should have a little more range. The sexuality is what is going to bring in the audience, and a lot of girls, I suppose, puzzling over what to do and what not to do or how to do it.

“Life is very different from the time I was 20 and the time Lena is … I don’t try to speak for people that young. I’m not that young myself anymore. But my own sense of self — I wouldn’t give myself away that easily.”

Laura_DernAND WHILE we have HBO on the brain, what a pity they couldn’t see it through to allow Laura Dern’s “Enlightened” series to continue for at least one more season. This was one of the most aggravatingly thought-provoking and poignant offerings on cable. Miss Dern, who created and produced it with Mike White was brilliant in a role meant to drive viewers crazy.

“Enlightened” couldn’t have cost a huge amount to make — there were no castles, CGI, exotic locations or spectacular costumes. I’d suggest that Showtime pick it up, but that would probably mean Miss Dern would be required to go topless every episode. (I love Showtime, but sex and nudity are their yeasty bread and creamy butter.)

Oh, well. Congrats to Miss Dern and her “Enlightened” cast and crew. It was two fascinating seasons, kids.

JoplinOUT IN Los Angeles, critics and audiences are raving about Randy Johnson’s “One Night With Janis Joplin,” starring Mary Bridget Davies as Joplin. Reaction to the show has been so positive — it has played to equally ecstatic reviews in Washington D.C. and other spots across the country — that theater types say the Great White Way is “One Night’s …” next stop. It will play at Pasadena Playhouse until April 21.

For many years the story of Joplin’s short, tragic life has been optioned for this or that various screen treatment. Nothing has ever jelled. I always say that the tale has already been told, under the title “The Rose.” This was a fictionalized version of Janis, but the similarities were quite obvious.

Especially as The Rose was played by Bette Midler in what is the greatest dramatic performance of her career. The phone booth scene alone (you fans know what I mean) should have won Bette the Oscar hands down. Midler was nominated, but lost to Sally Field. No offense to the talented two-time Oscar winner Sally — so great with Daniel Day-Lewis as Mary Todd Lincoln — but there was simply no comparison that year.

In any case, Joplin remains a fascinating figure, “The Judy Garland of Rock and Roll” as Rolling Stone rather cruelly noted. (Janis was not pleased with this comparison to the recently deceased Garland.) Maybe “One Night With Janis” will make it to Broadway and then finally the movies. Until then, we’ve got “The Rose.”

1_163385SPEAKING OF The Divine Miss Midler, she will soon open on Broadway playing the late super-agent, recluse and scathing wit, Sue Mengers. The show is called “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers.”

In Vanity Fair, Bette admits to a bit of nervousness, because “I’ve never played a real-life person before.” Well, there was the above mentioned “The Rose,” but that was fictionalized.

However, a number of years back, Bette, Nathan Lane and Stockard Channing made a rather odd movie titled “Isn’t She Great.” This purported to tell the story of novelist Jackie Susann. (Valley of the Dolls, Once Is Not Enough, etc) It was written by the talented Paul Rudnick. Everybody gave their all — maybe they gave too much! But the film didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be. Still, nothing with a cast like this is a waste of time.

The real problem for Bette, as Vanity Fair points out, is that she spends the entire 90 minutes of “I’ll Eat You Last” reclining, just as Sue did in most of her later years. If you’ve ever seen Bette Mildler perform, onstage or onscreen, you know she is a tiny bundle of kinetic energy. Even standing still, she seems to vibrate. This will be a challenge. But for an actress of Bette’s versatility and determination, I’m betting she’ll turn that couch into a vibrating water bed, and Sue Mengers into one of her great characterizations.

NICK SYMMONDS, the star track runner and two-time Olympian is often referred to as “The Brad Pitt of Runners.” His good looks and engaging personality have attracted a lot of female attention, including, briefly, Paris Hilton. But fast on his feet, Nick appears to dash off before anything gets too serious.

Now he has caught the eye of L.A. newswoman Christina Pascucci of KTLA Ch 5. She’s a very sporty girl, which is a plus in her favor. They are texting madly.

Nick is now out of L.A. to begin his outdoor track season and his quest for a 6th straight US title in the 800 meter race. This will give him an opportunity for the World Games in Moscow this summer.

Good luck Nick. But you could slow down just a bit, just enough to get caught. Perhaps even by Ms. Pascucci.

NickSymmonds

Magpage-1ENDQUOTE: “If a zombie presents an immediate danger and lethal force is necessary, then the zombie could be killed … since there is no statute of limitations on murder, it could be prosecuted long after the zombie apocalypse is over.”

This is James Daly, a lawyer at Stanford University, who took quite seriously Playboy’s question about the TV series “The Walking Dead” — is its hero committing a crime by killing all those zombies?

You can find some pretty funny stuff in Playboy. Well, at least I can.

This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 3/22/13

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