• Steven Spielberg was looking for an actor to play Oskar Schindler in the movie Schindler’s List when he and his family saw Irish actor Liam Neeson in the play Anna Christie. The mother of Mr. Spielberg’s wife, Kate Capshaw, was visibly moved by the play and was crying, so Mr. Neeson hugged her. Ms. Capshaw later told her husband, “That’s exactly what Schindler would have done.” Mr. Neeson got the role.
• Actor Patrick Macnee once appeared in a play titled The Assassin, whose lead character died in his arms at the end of the play. Playing the assassin was Peter Glenville, who added a few seconds to the death scene each time he played it. After one performance, Mr. Macnee staggered home, collapsed on a couch, then told his wife, “Tonight Peter Glenville took seven minutes to die!”
• Actors and actresses have strange skills. One day, Roger Prout was passing by Elizabeth Vaughan’s dressing room, where he heard her coughing and coughing as if she were about to die. Concerned, he asked if he could do anything to help her, but she stopped coughing, smiled, and then said, “It’s all right — I was just practicing.”
• As a young, impoverished actor, Harry H. Corbett traveled with a troupe in a very old truck. Frequently, the police would order that the truck be repaired in a shop. The mechanics did what they could, but on the bill they would write, “We are no longer responsible for the state of this vehicle.”
• Dr. Samuel Johnson could be complimentary when he wanted to be. When he received a visit from the actress Mrs. Siddons, one of his servants was slow in bringing her a chair. Referring to her ability to sell out a theater, Dr. Johnson said, “You see, madam, wherever you go, there are no seats to be had.”
• Two great Dames of the English theatre — Dame Sybil Thorndike and Dame Edith Evans — appeared together when they were aged. This caused a major problem for the manager of the theater: Which Dame should get the star dressing room? He went to Dame Sybil and explained the problem. The two dressing rooms in question were both very good, but the number two dressing room was at the top of a flight of stairs. Dame Sybil replied, “Well, then, there’s no problem. Dame Edith must have the number one dressing room — I can still climb stairs.”
• When Sir Ralph Richardson was 74 years old, Richard Eyre visited him in his dressing room, where he was surprised to see Sir Ralph using makeup to put lines under his eyes, the way young actors do. Sir Ralph noticed the look of surprise on Mr. Eyre’s face, so he explained, “Ah, I’m playing an old character, you see.”
• When theatrical maven George Abbott was 95 years ago, he had to get a pacemaker. When he asked about its disadvantages, the doctor joked, “You’ll have to have a new battery after 10 years.” As it happened, when Mr. Abbott was 105 years old, he needed a new battery. Eventually, he died at age 107.
• The last time Leslie Caron saw Fred Astaire was at a benefit for Gene Kelly. A waiter accidentally brushed against her and knocked her off-balance. Mr. Astaire, then 85 years old, immediately grabbed her wrist and steadied her. Ms. Caron told him, “Fred, you haven’t lost your grip.”
• Diana Adams auditioned for George Balanchine for the Broadway show Dream with Music, which would star Vera Zorina, but before the audition her agent told her not to settle for anything less than the second dancing lead. After the audition, Mr. Balanchine told Diana that she had passed the audition and he would hire her. Immediately, she remembered what her agent had told her, and so she told Mr. Balanchine that she wanted the second dancing lead. Mr. Balanchine looked at her and replied, “In this show, there is only one dancing lead.”
© Copyright Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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BRUCE'S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC
Music: "Trauma Queen"
Album: TRAUMA QUEEN
Artist: Slut Magic
Artist Location: Brooklyn, New York
“All those pretty, bi-looking people back there must be the Slut Magic crew.”
— overheard at Slut Magic show
“Slut Magic is an angsty, sonic make-out session from Brooklyn, New York. MIT, the World Health Organization, and your mom all agree that Slut Magic has the most attractive fans in the world.”
“Over the past three years, the band — composed of Emma Sky (vocals and violin), Hot Boyfriend (guitar), Shannon Zakarison (drums), and Marc Hall (bass) — has made dream-inspired indie punk and garage pop with Laruicci Records and Rock Hand Records.
“Slut Magic's 2020 album, TRAUMA QUEEN was unleashed on toxic-green vinyl via Rock Hand Records. Due to the ongoing apocalypse, the release party was an Elvira-inspired Total Request Live—each track was accompanied by a music video.
“The group can be found rewatching their videos of scantily clad hotties in both Dark Purple and Rainbow Eyes (featuring Polaroid Purple and Gud Babu, respectively). By 2022 they expect to be on at least 83% of domestic and international government watchlists; the events leading to this are unrelated to any hate mail they may have received for IN MY MOUTH (2018).”
Price: $1 (USD) for track; $5 (USD) for nine-track album
Slut Magic on Bandcamp
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Michelle in AZ
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Went in to the office - Christmas in September!
(I'm proofreading Christmas catalogs full of pretty, shiny things)
Creative Arts Awards
Guest Actor Emmys
Claire Foy, Courtney B. Vance, Maya Rudolph and Dave Chappelle won guest actor Emmys at Sunday’s creative arts awards ceremony.
On the drama series side, Foy was honored for “The Crown” and her reprisal of Queen Elizabeth II, the role that won her a lead actress Emmy in 2018. Vance won for his role in “Lovecraft Country.”
Rudolph and Chappelle won comedy series guest acting trophies as hosts of “Saturday Night Live.” For Rudolph, it was a repeat of her victory in the category last year, also for “SNL.”
In the short-form comedy or drama series, the winners were J.B. Smoove for “Mapleworth Murders” and Keke Palmer for “Keke Palmer’s Turnt Up with the Taylors.”
The creative arts awards were presented in non-televised weekend ceremonies that will be part of a special set for Saturday on FXX. The awards are precursors to the main Emmys ceremony airing Sunday, Sept. 19, on CBS.
Guest Actor Emmys
Weekend Box Office
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” stayed on top at the box office, collecting $35.8 million in ticket sales in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Warner Bros.' “Malignant,” a horror thriller directed by James Wan, was the only sizable new competition for “Shang-Chi." It debuted softly with $5.6 million. Overseas, it added $6.3 million from 69 markets. Like all Warner Bros. releases this year, “Malignant” was also released on HBO Max for subscribers. The studio has said it will return to debuting films with an exclusive theatrical window next year.
The weak debut for “Malignant” allowed Disney to also take the second spot this weekend. The Ryan Reynolds action comedy “Free Guy,” from Disney's 20th Century Studios, grossed $5.8 million in its fifth week of release, bringing its domestic tally to $101.5 million. It has made $276 million worldwide.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings,” $35.8 million ($35.2 million internationally).
2. “Free Guy,” $5.8 million, ($17.3 million internationally).
3. “Malignant,” $5.6 million, ($6.3 million internationally).
4. “Candyman,” $4.8 million, ($1.3 million internationally).
5. “Jungle Cruise,” $2.45 million, ($700,000 internationally).
6. “Paw Patrol,” $2.2 million, ($5.7 million internationally).
7. “Don't Breathe 2,” $1.15 million.
8. “The Card Counter,” $1.1 million.
9. “Show Me the Father,” $700,000.
10. “Respect,” $503,000.
Defiling Groucho's Memory
‘You Bet Your Life’
Seven years after he signed off as host of “The Tonight Show,” Jay Leno is ready to dive back into the daily TV grind as emcee of “You Bet Your Life,” a revival of the classic quiz show hosted for years on radio and TV by Groucho Marx.
Leno’s edition of the durable game show bows Sept. 13 in syndication, distributed by Fox Corp.’s Fox First Run division.
The veteran comedian has been offered hosting gigs on many game shows over the years, but Leno didn’t have much interest in a show with a lot of involved game play. The highlight of the original “YBYL” — which began on radio in 1947 and expanded to TV on NBC for a decade-long run from 1950 to 1961 — was always Marx’s famously fast zingers and his banter with everyday contestants. That made it a perfect fit for Leno, who sees it as a version of his longtime person-on-the-street interview segment “Jaywalking” that aired on “Tonight Show” during his 22-year run at NBC.
As with the original, contestants will be everyday people but with offbeat personalities, unusual occupations and other colorful characteristics that Leno will explore. Another aspect of the original that will be retained is the low value of the cash winnings available to contestants. The small amount of money at stake also helps make for a lighter mood. The most a contestant can win is about $5,500.
Yes, there will still be a “Secret Word” of the day — a pre-selected term that if stated by a contestant brings them $500 — but no, it won’t be announced by a Groucho-styled duck puppet lowered down on a wire as in the original series.
‘You Bet Your Life’
Judge Cancels Trial
A Florida judge has canceled the trial for rock icon Rod Stewart and his adult son and scheduled a hearing next month to discuss a plea deal to resolve charges stemming from a New Year's Eve altercation with a hotel security guard nearly two years ago.
Court records show the hearing with Judge August Bonavita is set for Oct. 22 regarding a plea agreement to close the case without them needing to appear in court. The trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday but was canceled on Thursday.
If convicted, the Stewarts were facing a year in jail, or probation and a $1,000 fine. The terms of the agreement are not clear yet, and attorney Guy Fronstin did not respond to an email and phone call seeking comment.
The Stewarts’ battery charges have taken long to resolve because of the pandemic and settlement negotiations.
Stewart and his son are accused of pushing and shoving security guard Jessie Dixon at the upscale The Breakers Hotel on Dec. 31, 2019, because he wouldn’t let them into a New Year’s Eve party.
Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, Americans were reasonably positive about the state of their rights and liberties. Today, after 20 years, not as much.
That’s according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that builds on work conducted in 2011, one decade after the pivotal moment in U.S. history. Some questions were also asked on polls conducted in 2013 and 2015.
Americans were relatively united around the idea that the government did a good job protecting many basic rights a decade after the terrorist attacks, which produced a massive overhaul of the country’s intelligence services and the creation of agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security. Along with those changes came a creeping concern about government overreach, although Americans as a whole remained fairly positive.
That attitude has eroded in the years since, with far fewer people now saying the government is doing a good job protecting rights including the freedom of speech, the right to vote, the right to bear arms and others.
For example, the poll finds that 45% of Americans now say they think the U.S. government is doing a good job defending freedom of speech, compared with 32% who say it’s doing a poor job and 23% who say neither. The share saying the government is doing a good job is down from 71% in 2011 and from 59% in 2015.
Charity As Whitewash
Jeff Bezos's recent trip into space and the questionable intentions behind his large charitable donations tied to his trip have reignited national conversations around whether the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes. As President Biden continues to push for ambitious new tax increases on wealthy Americans and increased enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service, the question of "what do billionaires owe the rest of us?" has never been more important.
A recent ProPublica exposé showed that the 25 richest Americans paid $13.6 billion dollars in taxes from 2014 to 2018 as their wealth rose over $400 billion in the same time period, a true tax rate of only 3.4% as determined by ProPublica. Warren Buffett, who is perhaps best known for his support for higher taxes on the wealthy and his plan to donate $4.1 billion to various charitable funds, paid the smallest amount of his wealth in taxes of all the American billionaires profiled in the explosive piece. As his wealth grew by over $24 billion in the mid-2010s, he managed to pay just 0.1% of that in federal income taxes.
In 2006, when Buffett and other wealthy individuals announced that they would be giving away at least 50% (and in some cases up to 99%) of their wealth to charity, it was met with praise by many in the media and in charitable organizations around the world. But if the last year has taught us anything, the most charitable thing billionaires like Buffett and Bezos can do to move our country forward would be paying more in federal taxes. Instead of holding billionaires accountable to the commitments they've made, The Giving Pledge enables and rewards them for moving slowly on charitable donations through the US tax code.
Elected representatives should be able to select how to use money for the public good, rather than relying on billionaires that give to charities in ways that are often in their own personal best interest. For example, while Bezos gave hundreds of millions away to charity to make his self-funded trip into space a little more palatable, he almost certainly spent the same or more amount of money on that very trip, in what was perhaps the most expensive self-indulgence in human history.
The huge trickle-up effect that has taken place in our country for decades, driven in large part by policy changes that favor billionaires, has led to a slowly disappearing middle class, lack of investment in the public good and a deterioration of democracy. Meanwhile the rich continue to amass their wealth at the expense of the country, so much wealth that they can fund their own extraterrestrial travel and then expect that same country to cheer them on.
On Saturday, Donald Trump (R-Lock Him Up) spoke at a conference organized by Hak Ja Han Moon, the widow of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the controversial Unification Church.
Donald Trump was a featured keynote speaker at the "Rally of Hope" event, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
In his speech, Trump said, "I want to thank the Universal Peace Federation and in particular Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, a tremendous person, for her incredible work on behalf of peace all over the world."
In 1991, Trump was reported to have been considering selling his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago to Reverend Moon, but the church leader later denied being interested in the property.
Hyung Jin "Sean" Moon, the son of the Moons, campaigned for Donald Trump and attended the Capitol insurrection on January 6.
I’m old enough to remember when the Republican party stood for limited government and Ronald Reagan (R-My Lady) thundered “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
Today’s Republican party, while still claiming to stand for limited government, is practicing just the opposite: government intrusion everywhere.
Republican lawmakers are banning masks in schools. Iowa, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona and South Carolina are prohibiting public schools from requiring students wear them.
Across the country, Republican lawmakers are making it harder for people to vote. So far, they’ve enacted more than 30 laws that reduce access to polling places, number of days for voting and availability of absentee voting.
This is not limited government, folks. To the contrary, these Republican lawmakers have a particular ideology, and they are now imposing those views and values on citizens holding different views and values.
Graveyard of Viruses
Huge swaths of our DNA library are made up of non-coding genes that were long regarded as "junk DNA". Recent findings, however, have shown these bits of DNA actually have many purposes in mammals.
Some help form the structure in our DNA molecules so they can be packaged neatly within our cell nuclei while others are involved in gene regulation. Now, researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia have discovered another potential purpose for these non-coding instructions, within the genomes of marsupials.
Some of the gene sequences once considered "junk" are actually fragments of viruses left buried in our DNA from an infection in a long-forgotten ancestor.
Whenever a virus infects you, there's a chance it will leave behind a piece of itself within your DNA, and if this happens in an egg or sperm cell, it will then be passed on through the generations. These are known as endogenous viral elements (EVEs).
In humans, fragments of viral DNA make up around 8 percent of our genome. They can provide a record of viral infections through our evolutionary history, like genetic memory.