Saturday, November 7, 2009


Here's the N.Y. Times movie trailer

I'm wondering if those who die young, before their time -- before we have a chance to see them age, say "he's aged" -- live on more vividly than perhaps they should.

Elvis, Garland, Piaf, as well as Heath Ledger -- JFK and RFK and MLK -- we cherish the last visions of them. Will this vision of Michael Jackson just before he died be cherished by his fans? Will it be lauded by the critics?

In my family we don't read our own reviews. Why? Because the negative remarks echo, and haunt you for years. When we read reviews of new shows (plays, musicals, TV), based on what we know about the reviewer, we decide whether or not to see it.

(Not a very grown up, wise, way of choosing entertainment -- but that's what we do. And we see very few shows.)

The early reviews for "This is It" are interesting, quite good -- sympathetic, admiring, but not raves.

[R. Corliss, Time]
"It proves that at the end, onstage, he was still a thriller. Fans and doubters alike can look at the gentle, driven singer-dancer in the movie and say " This is the Michael we want to remember."

[O. Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly]
“"This Is It' is not in any way ghoulish. It has now been established that when Jackson died, he was, physically speaking, a relatively healthy man. And so we’re spared the macabre spectacle of combing the movie for any literal signs that he was knocking at death’s door. It should also be said, though, that in 'This Is It,' Jackson shows no telltale signs of a broken spirit, either. From the moment he takes the stage, he’s loose, robust, and in control.”

[L. Loumenick, New York Post]
“Neither a concert film nor a documentary but a ghoulish 'event' offered just in time for Halloween, 'This is It' is sadly — and reprehensively, if you ask me — the movie equivalent to the National Enquirer’s infamous post-mortem shot of Elvis Presley.”

[E. Gardner, USA Today]
“Let’s be honest, though: That’s not what most of us expected from 'This Is It,' which opens wide today. The Jackson who shook off his mortal coil on June 25 wasn’t the vibrant young performer who regularly electrified stadiums, and hadn’t been for many years.”

[L. Rozen, People]
"Ardent fans will be happy to gaze at their idol in action; moviegoers hoping to understand more fully who Jackson was and what made him tick, besides performing, won’t find answers here.”

[A. Pulver, Guardian]
“The big fear, though, was that fulsome homages to the man and his talent would smother 'This Is It' in a coating of treacle; thankfully, Ortega limits it to the occasional sobbing outburst from the dancers or choreographers. We are instead offered genuinely interesting tidbits of Jackson’s stagecraft, in the shape of intense discussion of cues, cherry-pickers and trapdoors – presumably to demonstrate how hands-on he was.”

[WSJ staff, Wall Street Journal ]
"The five-day total already makes 'This Is It' the highest-grossing concert film of all time, far outpacing 'Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour,' which grossed more than $70 million world-wide when it was released it last year."

Okay, so will you see it? Will I? Do the quotes (there are many more) tell you, tell me this movie documentary is something to see?

I'm not a fan, but I've blogged about him -- see: "Michael Jackson" 6/26; "Hypnotizing Media Funeral, "7/8; "Echoes on the Echoes" 8/8 -- gee -- wow -- I hadn't realized there are already three post on M.J in Em's Talkery.

Hmm -- that's a lot of finger-work, brain-work on a subject that isn't major, isn't involved in my life ...

And writing this, I put in a few hours reading the reviews that strangers wrote ... a job I do only for my two actor guys ...

Furthermore, I do not want to see a tape of him that manufactures a sense of what he was in rehearsals a few days before he died.

I guess, maybe, I'm realizing as I write this, that this talented, weird boy/man/guy IS -- whether I like it or not -- a part of my life -- it's ridiculous, being affected by what he created -- but I am.

Am I really ?

Yes. I really am.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Pharmaceutical companies and doctors are worried. The fact that fake pills help, sometimes as well or better than real pills, is creating panic and problems in the various "feel-good" businesses.

Whenever there's talk about placebos, the story of a nurse, during World War II is told. The nurse, because they were out of supplies, injected a wounded soldier with salt water, telling him it was morphine. That it relieved the soldier's agony and prevented the onset of shock amazed everyone.

Do we fool ourselves? Yes. You take a medicine, not knowing it's a placebo (Latin; the verb placebo means "I shall please"), and if the Doctor says you'll feel better, you very likely will feel better.

There's also a nocebo effect. (Latin, the verb nocere" means "to do harm.") A nocebo response is an actual negative outcome. For instance, if the ad for the medication mentions side effects, such as vomiting, or nausea, you may vomit and be nauseous after taking the placebo (sugar pill).

The feel-good doctor business has been front page news ever since the death of Michael Jackson, who was helped, succored, and medicated by the now infamous Dr. Murray who was living with Jackson, and injecting medications that should only be given in a hospital.

Elvis had his Dr. Nick, who provided him with pills; Anna Nicole got prescriptions here and there using her real name, Vickie Lynn Marshall, as well as her friends' and lawyer's names -- the postmortems on both turned up 14 drugs for Elvis, 9 for Anna -- more than enough drugs to kill a horse or human.

Jack Kennedy and his constant pain were helped by the world renown Dr. Max Jacobson, who injected him with concoctions of amphetamines; Jackie, also, was Dr. Max's patient -- his injections helped her get through her husband's funeral.

What was in the concoction? According to William Bryk's article in the NY Sun -- and what was told to me personally by some of his patients -- it was various neural energizers known as speed, mixed with multivitamins, steroids, enzymes, hormones, and solubilized placenta, bone marrow, and animal organ cells.

I met Dr Max when JC and I arrived in Boston (very hush-hush). We were staying in Alan J. Lerner's suite, while he stayed on his yacht with Dr. Max. Lerner, the man who wrote "My Fair Lady," wanted JC to rehearse one week and replace the French movie actor Louis Jourdan as the leading man, in "On a Clear Day" (the musical, lyrics by Alan, music by Burton Lane).

I was pregnant. Dr Max liked me and offered, in a kindly, paternal way, to help me through the long hours of hanging around in the background.

It was a whirlwind; we were ensconced in Lerner's hotel suite, where jC was actually rehearsing with the director and choregrapher. The rooms were littered with empty, inch-high injection bottles and syringes.

was being helped by Dr. Max -- the tailor who was making JC gorgeous costumes (5 sports jackets), Lerner, choreographer Herb Ross, director Bobby Lewis raved about how wonderful he made them feel , mentioning (in a whisper) other celebrities whom "Miracle Max" was helping -- Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin, Oleg Cassini, Marlene Dietrich, Anythony Quinn, Tennessee Williams ... on and on went the list.

During the nights we spent in Alan's suite, the phone rang -- long distance calls from all over the world ... desperate patients, begging, crying, even screaming for Dr. Max to help them -- send them stuff or they'd die.

The 1989 biography, "A Woman Named Jackie," by C. David Heymann, talks about Jackie's injections when she was decorating the White House, and quotes Truman Capote, another patient, who said: 'Instant euphoria. You feel like Superman. You're flying. Ideas come at the speed of light. You go 72 hours straight without so much as a coffee break. You don't need sleep, you don't need nourishment. If it's sex you're after, you go all night. Then you crash -- it's like falling down a well...You go running back to [Miracle Max]. You're looking for the German mosquito, the insect with the magic pinprick. He stings you, and all at once you're soaring again.'

Did JC take it? NO. He drank, but he never did, nor ever has been involved with feel good pills.

Did I let Dr. Max Help me? No. I'd taken amphetamines on the road--when I had to drive all night and dance the next morning. They saved my life (I thought) because the guy who 'd been hired to drive the carbus was a terrible driver. I did take speed for at performance at BAM (Bklyn Academy of Music), because I drove all night to get there from our performance in Ohio the night before.

It was wow -- dancing on air! I did everything more so, better, fearlessly. I was wonderful (I thought).

A few days later I realized my ability to judge myself was gone. My fabulous pirouettes, my spectacularly high split leaps were fabulous and spectacularly high in my mind. The reality was -- a few little flubs ... a jiggle, a misstep, an improvisation when I almost stumbled ... a place where I need to be perfectly poised and I wasn't.

Others with whom I've discussed speed, and other feel better, feel great pills ... we all agree, the trip down from the high is bad. Depressing, so darkly depressing that it isn't worth it.

These days I can get myself high with my mind -- with what I say to myself, repeat to myself -- sometimes even, I say things over and over and brain-wash myself.

Yes, it's possible to defeat placebo benefits and overcome nocebo problems by being aware of them. Mind, in other words, it's MIND over mind.

James Brown singing "I Feel Good" says what I feel when I'm dancing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Well for one thing ... the guy blinks too much; also he keeps changing his mind.

And his Jewishness bothers me. (I'll explain why in a minute.)

I've collected words, sentences from what people are saying about him right now -- not pro and con -- all I can find is negative remarks.

HE IS ...
● ...a cover-all-bases guy.
● ...befuddled, befuddling us.
● ...explains what he wants with double negatives..
● ...conning us.
● ...a hawk on the war, dove-advocate for domestic social issues.
● ...a puppet of insurance lobbies, (got $2.6 million from them since 1989).
● it for himself.
● ...trying to make a name for himself in history.
● Olympia Snow, a minor player hoping to be a major power broker.
● ...hateful.
● ...a "nebbish."

RE "Jewishiness."
I'm Jewish (father an agnostic son of a rabbi, Mother irreligious till the year both my father and brother died), so it isn't race prejudice.

When Gore chose Lieberman for VP, my eyebrows went up. Lieberman seemed frail, weak, and wishy-washy even then, but I figured he was a practical choice for Gore, a way of getting the Jewish vote in New York Florida, and California. And in the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky days, Lieberman had a reputation as a voice of reason.

Not anymore.

Progressives, quite a few Democrats can't stand him, mostly because they can't rely on him. (Maybe like me, they can't stand the lumpy, saggy insecure look of him.)

On "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer, Lieberman said, "I want to have health care reform, I want to be able to say yes." But when host Schieffer asked if his position could mean ending up with nothing, Lieberman said that was fine. He blamed the Democrats for putting the public option in the bill, when there was "broad bipartisan support" for a bill without one.

Again the host said, "So nothing is better than a government health insurance, that includes a public option? Nothing is better than that?"

Chuckling, Lieberman responded -- "Well, the truth is that nothing is better than that, because I think we ought to follow, if I may, the doctor's oath in Congress as we deal with health care reform -- do no harm."

(Seeing a clip of that scene, I'm groaning -- he's cowardly -- he lacks conviction -- he takes a position, then he wriggles to to the other side of the fence.)

Senator Lieberman warned us -- he will switch families and vote with the Republicans to whack the Democrats' health insurance bill unless it is stripped -- the public option removed.

His support of McCain and the Republicans, should have cost him his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee -- some Democrats grumbled, others shrugged -- he was allowed to keep his gavel.

BIG MISTAKE -- I wish he'd been de-activated then and there!

And what about his wife, "Hadassah?"

The Lieberman family has financial ties to the health industry. During her husband’s 2006 reelection campaign, Hadassah Lieberman’s job as a "senior counselor" to Hill & Knowlton (a major lobbying firm), became a big issue. Her clients were in the pharmaceutical and insurance business. She won't say what she did for those clients.

In a press release, she declared-- "I have had a lifelong commitment to helping people gain better healthcare. I am excited about the opportunity to work with the talented team at Hill & Knowlton to counsel a terrific stable of clients toward that same goal."

Having earned $77 thousand that year, Hadassah quit, and since then, has refused to discuss her professional activities (though she's worked in the corporate health business for most of the past thirty years).

A few days ago, an 11/1 article in the New York Times said, "Lieberman's wife, Hadassah, is his most loyal supporter. She is not shy about urging him on when she thinks he's doing the right thing, or nudging him when she doesn't."

So -- if Democrats are disappointed by Lieberman’s threat to filibuster any healthcare reform bill that includes a public option -- they shouldn't be.

Here's a nasty tidbit from the "Dickipedia " (a spoof of the online"Wikipedia").

"Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman ... is a former Democratic candidate for Vice President, an Independent Senator from Connecticut, a supporter of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, and a dick.

"Lieberman's strongest dick quality is his propensity to betray those who have been loyal to him. Whether it’s trading in his kind-of-Jewish first wife Betty for his super-Jewish second wife Hadassah, selling out running mate Al Gore on Meet the Press about counting crucial Florida overseas absentee ballots, or screwing over the Democratic party by campaigning for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

"Lieberman has proven to be a world class stabber of backs. He probably only gets away with such treachery because he looks like the live action version of beloved cartoon character Droopy Dog."

Well ...
All his wrong choices .. all that blinking ...
Maybe he needs a new pair of glasses?
Maybe I do ?
But ...
He does sort of resemble the pooch in this picture.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Fran (my blog coach) sent this in an e-mail -- click -- it's a fun stairway exercise .

Fran knows I'm a dancing nut -- every once in a while, my husband and I meet in the hall between our offices and bow to each other, clasp hands above our heads, and dance a stately minuet, humming a tune we both know (but aren't sure if it's Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart).

Having seen the stairs in Odenplan, Stockholm, I searched YouTube, and found piano stairs in Tokyo -- found myself remembering the movie "Big" -- the great scene when Tom Hanks and his friend were dancing -- playing chopsticks on a giant keyboard at F A O Schwarz.

Whoosh -- memories of my piano lesson days came over me. I was going to be a concert pianist, or a doctor, or a ballerina.

Ah yes -- but my best friend, Harriet, was a natural at the piano. Her hands, her stubby fingers with pillows on the end of each finger -- those fingers said she was born to play. When Harriet played anything -- even without the pedal -- the keys had resonance -- her music filled the room.

Not so for Em. I loved to put Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" on the record player, and pretend I was playing it. Whenever I played the piano, I swayed -- let my body feel and display the emotions -- the ripples, the chords, and boy -- did I ever use the pedal!

When I read that pianists practiced for hours each day I was sure it was going to be my career. I knew once my piano teacher gave me a piece of music to play, I'd practice morning! noon! and night!

My piano teacher, Mrs. Gregg, with her huge, up-lifted, corseted front, was shaped like the prow of a ship, and gave orders like a captain, commander in chief. She had me playing Czerny scales, and dinky kiddie tunes. After I begged, she gave me a piece of sheet music -- Poldini's "General Bum-Bum." She said, "Practice it, memorize it, my dear, and you'll play it at the piano recital you and my students will be giving at my church."

I would have preferred to play Beethoven's "Fur Elise," but another one of her students had dibbs on that.

Alas, "General Bum Bum" was a boring march, with nothing for me to feel. The more I practiced, the dumber, the stiffer, the worse it sounded.

On the recital day, I was very nervous. As the hour approached I felt nauseous. Sitting in the church pew, waiting for my name to be called, I was shivering.

I marched down the aisle. Sat on the piano bench. My hands were chunks of ice but I proceeded to play "General Bum Bum" -- made no mistakes, but gee -- it sounded dumb, dead, stiff, awful.

Afterwards Mrs. Gregg folded me into her chest and said "Excellent, my dear. Next week I'll give you Poldini's Opus 79 to master. It's a lyric waltz, in three quarter time."

Mom said, "You played all right, dear" ' but I knew from my cold hands, shivering, and the wish I were dead feeling I had when I walked from the pew to the piano bench, sat, and put my hands on the keyboard, that I was not going to be a famous concert pianist.

Doctor was better. Ballerina was much better-- so it was after that performance that I set to work on convincing my father that I had to have ballet lessons.

Well, I danced in Tokyo ...

So, if I ever go back to Tokyo, or visit Odenplan, would I use the piano stairs?

Yes, I would! I'd like to do what Tom Hanks did in "Big."

After chop-sticks, with my feet on half-toe, I'd plunk out the opening of "General Bum Bum," thanking my lucky stars that I went for ballerina, NOT concert pianist.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Bye-bye Mickey Mouse, Donald, Goofy.
Bye-bye Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas!
Who needs Aladdin, Tarzan, Peter Pan, or Prince Charming?

Disney is auditioning kids, picking them while they're young, ripe but educatable. Locking in the lucky, right-looking few – signing them up to a contract that offers EVERYTHING.

It's a contract that's breakable, but who would want to break it? Disney's providing more than what Fox, Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros. offered to Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, Lana, Rita, Mickey Rooney -- even the young Tom C.

"We've gotten smart about how to build talent," says Gary Marsh, President of Disney Entertainment, in a recent interview in Time Magazine.

March referred to Britney and Hillary Duff, who walked out on Disney. He mentioned the opportunities Disney now creates for its teen talent (about 12 each year) -- guest spots on other shows, their own show (a"zit" com), on Disney Cable channel, their voice on Disney Sound tracks, recordings on Disney owned Hollywood records, Radio Disney, concert tours booked by Buena Vista Concerts, a huge merchandising bonanza at Disney Stores.

The youngsters don't have time for schooling. Reading, writing, "rithmatic"-- all the basics are taken care of by tutoring. "Talent" is a number-one seminar, that newbies (the new batch of potential stars ) take with parents or guardians.

Newbies are trained -- how to look, dress, and talk, how to act, sing, and dance, how to pose for photo-shoots, handle fans, interviews and all media relationships, as well as personal security (for instance, no mailbox at your home -- no outlandish best friends -- absolutely NO pals with "camera" phones).

So doting parents, grandparents, guardians, be alerted -- if your darling dances and sings, jokes, cavorts amusingly or sexily, enacts characters he/she has seen in some shows -- get to work. Study the yellow pages! Look for an agent! Sign the kid up for one of Disney's casting calls.

And get your kid to study "Waverly Place" -- Zac's practically over the hill and no doubt about it -- Mylie is getting old. .

Here's a spoof by, the parody newspaper tabloid, that shows you what lies ahead, if your darling becomes your jackpot.

Monday, November 2, 2009


He's a blimp, filled with hot air.

Great voice, great show-bizzy deliverer of his ideas, his point of view, his truths which bang against mine like our shutter in a wind storm.

It keeps me awake at night (the shutter, not Rush).

He was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and went to South Missouri State University. I danced there, possibly when he was a student. The smallish towns where he learned to be what he is now, are all towns I know, have passed through, and given performances that may still echo in the minds of some people.

Rush Limbaugh's shows echo in the minds of millions of people -- it's one of the most popular radio shows in the country.

I don't listen to his daily thee-hour broadcast -- I'm not part of his 13.5 million listeners, but I recognize the sound of his voice, and know what he's said about a lot of things. To me, Limbaugh is like Howard Stern before Stern disappeared (expanded, doubled tripled his audience on Satellite radio which is a domain I don't visit or know much about.) But Stern is outrageous, amusing. Limbaugh is outrageous, scary.

Here's Rush in action:

Yes, he's a blimp -- as defined by my dictionary -- "... a smallish airship or barrage balloon, an obese person, a pompous reactionary ala Colonel Blimp." (A World War I, cartoon character, who proclaimed passionate opinions about current affairs, from the Turkish bathhouse he frequented, wrapped in his towel).

Here are some of Rush's ugliest proclamations:

● Michael J. Fox, Rush claimed, was putting on an act,
exaggerating effects of his Parkinson's disease.

● Rush raved and ranted about soldiers who disagreed
with the Iraq War, calling them "Phony soldiers."

● Rush tried to create "Operation Chaos" in Ohio,
galvanizing his fans to switch parties (fraudulently),
register as Democrats, and vote for Hillary (so that
Obama would be defeated in Ohio).

● Rush promoted "Barack the Magic Negro" -- a parody,
sung to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon."

● Rush, just before inauguration day, stated his hopes for
the Obama presidency -- "I hope he fails ... Liberalism is
our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously
close to the precipice here ..."

Click and hear what Rush said about Obama using Lincoln's bible.

In March 1 of this year, when Obama's Chief Of Staff said he thought Limbaugh represented the Republican party, Michael Steele, Republican Party Chairman, stated angrily that Limbaugh is "an entertainer" with "incendiary, ugly rhetoric."

Limbaugh replied that he would not want to run the RNC in its "sad sack state."

Alas, I'm convinced Rush IS the voice of the party, not Michael Steele, but Steele, not a lovely guy, would still be better for the White House.

Everything Obama is working on is constantly being negated by the Colonel Rush, the Blimp.

Bloated with hot air, stretched by his successes beyond his size, maybe Rush Limbaugh will go too far -- and pop, and burn up like Hindenburg.

Maybe, like the Good Year Blimp, he'll be brought out and noticed less and less, and obsolesce -- become an old-fashioned, self-advertising thing in the sky over head, that we'll hardly notice.

My fingers are crossed. That's what I'm hoping for.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I saw the movie trailer for the movie --"2012."

Powerful music ... streets, buildings near where I actually live were toppling, breaking into pieces, dashed to earth before my eyes.

Too real ... More than frightening, it was.

Whew! Here we go -- a huge movie promotion campaign is already underway, and it'll be getting more and more intense as mid November and the opening of the movie "2012" approaches.

Nostradamus talk, the predictions of the 16th century French physician and astrologer, have always interested me. And, yes, it fascinates me, but I keep away from it.

Back online, I watched half of this clip that 5 million people have watched -- "DECEMBER 21 THE END (Part 1 of 6).

If someone YOU knew and trusted, recommended an astrologer, more than recommended -- in glowing terms described the astrologer's background, intuition, insightful understanding -- would you go and talk with the astrologer?

I wouldn't.

If I'd known in advance what has happened to me -- car crash, broken back, dancing in Philharmonic hall -- other events --too many to throw into a quick little list -- NO. I would not have wanted to know. And I won't want to know what's next for me.

I want to handle things as they come, and be the controller of my "fate" -- not some external fate or destiny, not something that's in the stars.

I could watch the second half of THE END Part 1 link. And there's a part 2 thru 6, to further educate me, prepare me for what's supposed happen on December 21, 2012 -- the Winter Solstice -- powerful, memorable date -- it's chilling like 9/11/2001.

Not for Em. I'm living now. I'm doing my day. I do my day one day at a time.