Eartha Kitt’s Gay Agenda

Watch middle-aged Eartha Kitt turn all of these straight married men into extremely gay chorus boys! God, I was born in the wrong time.

 

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Eartha Kitt Welcomes You to Timbuktu

God, Broadway has gotten boring.

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The Name on Everybody’s Lips Is Gonna Be Liza

You know how Liza Minnelli played Roxie Hart in the original 1975 production of Chicago, right? No? Well, when star Gwen Verdon swallowed some confetti (this a decade after she swallowed a feather in Sweet Charity) and the show was already faltering at the box office, what choice did director Bob Fosse and songwriters Kander and Ebb have but to turn to their secret weapon, Liza with a z? She learned the entire role in a week flat; there was no advance publicity; she didn’t even get billing. And apparently attending one of those performances in that month was like being at a rock show.

More importantly, you can hear Liza performing “Roxie” live! She has a wildly different take on the role than either Verdon/Reinking or Renee Zellweger, but it’s amazing to hear her sounding amazing live on stage. (Also included here is Liza’s high-energy performance set to a lounge music version of “My Own Best Friend” on Sammy and Co.)

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Liza Loves Frank Mills

I really hate this song from Hair, and Liza’s bizarre, psychedelic cover on TV, all zoned out eyes and tentative upper register, doesn’t make me like it any more. And yet I can’t look away.

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Angela Lansbury Gets Mean at the Oscars

My jaw was literally hanging open watching this awkward song from Angela Lansbury, Joan Collins, and Dana Wynter at the 1959 Academy Awards, during which they insult nominees Susan Hayward, Shirley McLaine, and Rosalind Russell (“Your mother could’ve scored in Auntie Mame,” particularly choice given what would eventually make Lansbury a star). Please watch it and remember that the Oscars have always enjoyed insulting its nominees; that’s not just a Ricky Gervais innovation. There is nothing new ever.

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Even High Schoolers Need a Gimmick

Today has been lost in a haze of YouTube videos capturing… unusual high school productions of musicals. Maybe I should post the bizarre production of Dreamgirls, featuring a skinny Effie and a spoken version of “It’s All Over.” Or something from a wildly extravagant production of Chicago? But instead, I will post this high school production of Gypsy and the showstopping “You Gotta Get a Gimmick.” You’re welcome.

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The Love Child and Mom Jeans of Sweet Sensation

For those of us whose favorite Supremes song is “Love Child,” this music video from Sweet Sensation is very important. Bonus! After just one viewing, I think I know all the choreography by heart!

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Turns Out I’m Not Bacall’s Biggest FAN

Lauren Bacall The FanI realized, this very morning, that we have never spoken here of The Fan.

Do you know what that is? Do you? Do you? Because it’s an Important Film.

As it happens, it’s also basically Lauren Bacall’s farewell to stardom. Never again would she be the lead in a film—and certainly never again would she be the object of obsessive desire. (On film, at least.)

In it, she stars as a Broadway star about to make her debut in a musical comedy. And she’s terrified! Compounding her insecurities are her ex-husband, James Garner (he has one scene, but try to prove that to him), and the creepy letters she’s getting from an admirer (dare I say a fan?). And her assistant got slashed up in the subway! And oh my god, these dance routines!

Needless to say, Bacall’s fan is a homosexual. Shocking, I know. Even more shocking is that, in this 1981 motion picture, homosexuals were not portrayed as pleasant people! This one, for instance, kills a man in the YMCA pool, then kills another gay who looks like him, sets his body on fire, and leaves a suicide note. That’s all it takes for a jittery Bacall to say, “To hell with fear! My stalker is dead, on with the show!”

What follows is the climactic moment of the musical, the big production number “Hearts, Not Diamonds.” The metaphors are as labored as Bacall’s navigation of the notes (plural is a generous way of phrasing it), but by god, she sells it! Almost. Mostly. Who the hell cares, it’s Lauren Bacall croaking a tune in black sequins, carried around stage by chorus boys, while her fan watches from the audience.

Later that night, after all the guests have left and the star of this apparently hit Broadway musical is alone in the theater, that fan will go backstage and… but why ruin it for you?

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Vanna White Wants You Slim!

The worst thing about Vanna White’s exercise video is that Brenda Dickson did it so much better. The best thing about it? Everything.

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Real Talk: Jeepers Creepers

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 09.54.29While watching the motion picture Jeepers Creepers, I went searching for the titular song. What I found instead was far better!

I discovered “minced oaths.”

Now, you’re probably familiar with many minced oaths. “Dang” is a minced oath for “damn.” Heck. Gosh. You’ve heard them all your life. But did you know that “jeepers creepers” is a minced version of “Jesus Christ”? Or that “zounds!” is minced for “wounds,” referring to the marks on Christ’s body? (Kind of a forgotten version of the Brits’ beloved “bloody.”) In fact, there were a lot of swear words that referred to Christ, the nails on the cross, and the crucifixion in general. I guess in the 17th century if you really wanted to make a point, you invoked the dead savior. That still holds true, I guess!

(By the way, a minced oath for “cunt” is “berk” because “cunt” rhymes with England’s foxhound pack Berkeley Hunt and that got abbreviated to “berk” in the 1930s Language is fun!)

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