And more from our Liz: Cher the movie maven on TCM … the very dark side of Martha’s Vineyard … Oprah grills Ralph Lauren
“THE TALMUD states, ‘You have shaken your male member in a place where it doesn’t belong. I too, will shake the earth!’”
That’s New York Rabbi Yehuda Levin. He says the little earthquake that rumbled along the East Coast was …because of the gays.
Oh, and here I thought the first one to be blamed would be Barack Obama. Although I am sure Perry, Bachmann and others have been holding meetings trying to somehow pin nature’s vagaries on the president. I also figured those who approve of a woman’s right to choose would come in for some blame. But, no—the gays got first dibs.
The rabbi says he doesn’t hate gay people. Maybe, but I don’t think any gays are kvelling over his remarks. It wasn’t a mitzvah, that’s for sure.
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GOOD NEWS for Cher fans and for movie fans. On September 7th, the one and only Cher will sit with Robert Osborne for a night of film-watching and discussion. Cher will be the night’s guest programmer. She is a huge fan of vintage cinema, and quite knowledgeable, too. (I once spent an hour with her in a hotel suite. We sat on a little couch and did nothing but jabber about old movies. I was astonished by her expertise and passion.)
The three films Cher has chosen are the 1936 Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire musical “Follow the Fleet”…Barbara Stanwyck’s fabulous 1942 backstage murder mystery, “Lady of Burlesque” (you haven’t lived till you see Miss Stanwyck warble “Take It Off the E-String, Play it on the G-String.”) And finally, Cher and Bob will discuss the great Lucille Ball film “The Big Street,” based on the Damon Runyon tale of a crippled, embittered showgirl who treats Henry Fonda like dirt. Miss Ball is brilliant. (The late Kay Thompson always said Lucy was exactly like her character in “The Big Street.” She did not love Lucy.)
This should be a fun night on TV. Now, when is Cher going to sit down with Mr. O and talk about her own career?
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IF YOU miss Oprah Winfrey in her interview mode, you might enjoy “An Evening With Ralph Lauren” at Lincoln Center on October 24th The Great and Powerful O will lead an “intimate and personal” conversation with the great and powerful Mr. Lauren, designer and philanthropist deluxe.
The evening will benefit The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention as well as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Call 212-875-5460 for tix info.
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SO, the president is on Martha’s Vineyard, referred to by Barack Obama as “one of those magical places where people of all different walks of life come together, where they take each other at face value.”
Well, there is a lot of folksy getting together on the Vineyard. It’s hard to escape people there, and you run into them, VIP’s or not, at the bookstore or the fudge shop or the Black Dog Café or at the fruit and corn stands or at the store that sells shirts with fish on them in Menemsha or at the Bite where folks eat standing up from the hood of their cars.
I have had a lot of high old times on the Vineyard where I rubbed elbows with my old pals Mike Wallace, the writers Bill Styron and Art Buchwald or with Katharine Graham or Lady Bird Johnson. I could add Mike Nichols…Diane Sawyer…Hillary Clinton…Elaine May…Doug Cramer…Evelyn and Lynn Rothschild…Vernon Jordan and Ann Richards…One upon a time I even partied with the great actress Kit Cornell and her producer Gert Macy and their friend, the playwright Lillian Hellman. And I flirted with the former Secretary of State George Shultz. Plus the fact that I was often the coddled houseguest of Louise and Henry Grunwald; he, being the last great editor of Time magazine in its heyday; she, being the social and fashionable hostess par excellence. So I know the Vineyard can be magic.
But I had to read reporter Melissa Whitworth in the London Daily Telegraph to get a contra view of Martha’s Vineyard. She didn’t bring up Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick—except to mention that Lady Gaga had bought property there. And she avoided mentioning the Vineyard as destination for John Kennedy Jr., his wife and sister-in-law. But Whitworth has plenty of bad vibes about the Vineyard.
She refers to the Vineyard winters as “long, bleak and depressing.” She cites author Robert Harris and his view of “a place with about 15,000 eccentric locals and vast millionaires’ estates that sit cold and unlived in for most of the year.” When the summer high of about 100,000 visitors depart, “Local police, counselors and doctors see a spike in depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, crime and domestic violence.” Police Chief Erik Blake of Oak Bluffs says “People look at Martha’s Vineyard and think there is tons of money there, but we have a lot of people out of work. The cost of living is very high…in the winter you have people out of work, their unemployment has run out.”
The Vineyard, along with the Elizabeth Island of Dukes County has the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse in Massachusetts. Demand is high for substance abuse programs. Boredom, unemployment, drugs and alcohol make a toxic mix that often leads to violence. There were 520 domestic disputes last year which is a rather high number considering the population. Locals say 12% of pupils in high school attempted suicide last year.
Then there are the Brazilian immigrants who have lived for decades on the Vineyard. There are about 3,000 of them and they are responsible for a third of all Vineyard births. They are a shadow population and contribute as housekeepers, nannies, chefs, gardeners, handymen, required in the summer months. Now they are the center of a controversy over an accident that happened in 2008. A young white girl was killed in a car crash with an illegal Brazilian immigrant. Writer Whitworth describes it: “Miss Gibson, 20, was traveling at 82 mph. The delivery van driven by Francellyo Dias at 9 mph. Racial tensions have been fully exposed.”
There is always trouble in so-called Paradise.