Friday, June 7, 2013


Her eyes -- over-wide, intensely focused -- she looks as if she's 21 not 41.

I look at her and find myself remembering such different, clashing visions of her -- Jerry Lee Lewis' child bride in "Great Balls of Fire,"  Richard Gere's exquisitely young, dying lover in "Autumn in New York," the powerfully dangerous girl who lusted for Proctor, the hero played by Daniel Day Lewis in the "The Crucible."  

She's been an important, interesting, unique actress, more than a star, a real presence in the film industry since she was fifteen-years-old.

Those over-bright eyes -- the stabbing focus of them -- did someone tell the actress what to think,what to have on her mind as an actress, when being photographed?

I wondered if she would disappear after her arrest, her shop-lifting trial in 2002, that the famous lawyer bungled (Mark Geragos who defended Michael Jackson, not well, in one of Michael's trials).

Winona Ryder hasn't disappeared, but I can't turn off my sense that the inner-child of the girl-child she plays -- she IS -- was bent, IS still bent by the smear, the mud, the pity for her that has been in the air around her for nine years.

I remember Bess Myerson -- Miss America, TV commentator -- the headlines about her shoplifting. When I met Bess, I found her "bent" (excessively, nervously self-promoting). Remember the gorgeous "Charlies' Angel" Farrah Fawcet, who shoplifted?  Britney Spears, was accused of shoplifting, and Lindsay Lohan has been accused of shoplifting, more than once.

I shoplifted a fake ring from a 5 and 10cent store when I was ten. Late for an appointment, I shoplifted barrettes when I was 26, but the policeman who caught me, kindly, didn't report me. A couple of  years ago, when the drugstore raised the price on Mineral oil from $ $5, I put a bottle in my purse. (Okay, before I got into the  line at the cash -register, I put in back on the shelf, but the shoplifting intention was there.)

Why does one shop-lift? Anger? A desperate sense of need? Is there something about the danger that makes shoplifting fun, or is it a ruin-yourself, semi-suicidal attempt? 

Anyhow, I really admire Winona Ryder as an artist, a truly committed, gifted, major actress, who works at her work with that big-eyed intense focus that tells us, shouts -- I'm here -- see me -- enjoy me for what I am.

Over the years, she hasn't changed a great deal. The outfits change. The boyfriends change. Her attitude is mostly a mischievous girl, (not a woman), sort of laughing at herself and the situation she finds herself in.

Here's Winona is talking about her role in "Black Swan."

Here are bits from Arthur Miller's television film of "The Crucible," where I think Winona Ryder's performance was stunning.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


The guy who wrote this best seller book, back in 2007, A.J. Jacobs, said that he sees his life as a series of experiments in which he immerses himself in a project or lifestyle, for better or worse.

Jacobs is what publishers call a "stunt" writer.

Editor at large for Esquire, contributor to NPR, New York Times Entertainment Weekly, and the New Yorker, 45-year-old Jacobs wrote his first book at age 26, "The Two Kings: Elvis and Jesus," an irreverent comedic comparison of Elvis Presley and Jesus. (Wow, fun idea.)

"The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World," that he wrote after reading 32 volumes of the "Encyclopedia Britannica," was published in 2004. After "Living Biblically," (2007), came "The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment," (2009), and last year, Simon and Schuster published, "Drop Dead Healthy, One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection," which A.J. wrote on his treadmill desk, in the course of 1200 milesm Jacobs said.

All the titles of his books interest me, but "Living Biblically" fascinates me. Jacobs said he was an irreligious Jew, who never believed in his religion or pursued any religion -- he wondered if there was something that he'd learn, if he obeyed all the rules, did everything that was suggested in the bible for a whole year -- and that is exactly what he did. .

Here's A.J. in this video -- direct, honest -- easy to get to know, as he explained what he learned to this interviewer. What author A.J, said is what I've thought on and off about religion, over the years. I felt as if I was sitting there with these two guys -- chuckling, and nodding.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Her double mastectomy stunned us.

Her attitude toward it, stunned us, and amazed us.

Her telling us stunned, amazed, and impressed us.

Her plans about removing her ovaries -- hey, wait a minute -- what's going on here?

She's done many things that prove that she's an exceptionally caring woman, deeply concerned -- personally and artistically -- about women and children.

I have written about Angelina Jolie before. I didn't trust her because of things she has said and done in her younger years continue to echo. But, like you and me, she's grown up. And doubled (tripled) her fame and her name, while expanding her beliefs -- her commitments to the family and life she's created with Brad Pitt -- as well as her commitments to the films she's starred in, and the causes she passionately supports.

And now Angelina is saying -- loudly and clearly and bravely -- what she has done to make sure she won't get cancer is what other women could, and should do.


I've got to say --loudly and clearly and bravely -- I have ideas based on my life -- my name, fame, the work I've passionately "starred" in, my successes and failures
as do all other women and men..

Angelina is just 37, still a young woman with many possibilities
 -- personal and professional -- and she's very, very wealthy. What she's advising is based on her age, her enormous fame, name, financial status.

We are interested in Angelina Jolie's feelings about life and death. but her advice fits who she is -- not others around her age, or me, or women in general.