Friday, 17 April 2015

Disco strings

Another frustrating week crawls to an end...

According to Auntie Beeb, we have a sunny (if not warm) weekend to look forward to, so what better to get the party started than a "Non-Stop Dance Medley" from the inimitable James Last Orchestra?

Thank - ahem - Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one!

James Last (born Hans Last, 17th April 1929)

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Magic carpet ride

Goin' Back:

I think I'm goin' back
To the things I learned so well in my youth,
I think I'm returning to
The days when I was young enough to know the truth

Now there are no games
To only pass the time
No more colouring books,
No Christmas bells to chime
But thinking young and growing older is no sin
And I can play the game of life to win

I can recall a time,
When I wasn't afraid to reach out to a friend
And now I think I've got
A lot more than a skipping rope to lift

Now there's more to do
Than watch my sailboat glide
Then everyday can be my magic carpet ride
And I can play hide and seek with my fears,
And live my life instead of counting my years

Let everyone debate the true reality,
I'd rather see the world the way it used to be
A little bit of freedom, all we're left
So catch me if you can
I'm goin' back

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

Another day, another Dusty...

Happy birthday, Miss Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien OBE (16th April 1939 – 2nd March 1999)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Thought for the day

He's good with his hands!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


"When I die they will donate my body to Tupperware." - Joan Rivers
A revolutionary new type of plastic surgery does not make people look worse than they did before.

Innovative techniques mean patients will no longer resemble varnished shop window dummies that have slightly melted in a fire.

Plastic surgeon Stephen Malley said: “Previously we thought the inevitable outcome of face lifts and rhinoplasties was to give patients an unsettling, not-quite-human appearance like the Autons in Doctor Who.

“But we have perfected a series of radical new techniques, such as not chiselling perfectly normal noses into unusual shapes that don’t exist in nature.

“We’re also experimenting with not doing something weird to people’s eyelids or carving their face into the likeness of a startled skeleton.”

Malley will also turn his attention to other areas of cosmetic surgery, including breast implants that are breast-shaped rather than looking like half an 18th century naval cannonball.

The Daily Mash.

Of course.

Monday, 13 April 2015

"Just be fabulous" - and it was

From This Is Cabaret:
After what looked like a last minute reprieve only last Wednesday, Camden’s iconic gay pub The Black Cap has been closed by its owners ahead of possible redevelopment.

The Black Cap’s rollercoaster of a year came to a sudden halt last night as the pub’s owners, Faucet Inn, shuttered the venue with very little in the way of advance warning. Virgin Xtravaganzah headlined what proved to be the final show while Holestar sang a poignant Hello, Goodbye from the stage.

This is a sad and bewildering end to one of London’s longest-serving drag dens and a gay haunt since at least the mid 1960s. Famous names like Adrella and Danny La Rue have performed there with the first floor bar and terrace named after much-loved stars Mrs Shufflewick and Her Imperial Highness Regina Fong respectively.

If anything, the Black Cap – whose stated motto is “Just Be Fabulous” – was on something of a upturn over the last year or so with packed out shows featuring home-grown and international drag talent. The Meth Lab, for example, had seen numerous contestants of RuPaul’s Drag Race lip-sync for the lives of the Cap faithful.

The beginning of what looks like the venue’s end came in January when Camden Council gave notice that it was minded to approve planning permission for a residential redevelopment of the building’s first, second and third floor. This would have meant the destruction of both the bar and the terrace. Fears were raised that the suggested sound proofing would be inadequate; as seen in the case of the George Tavern, even a single noise complaint could in theory endanger a publican’s licence.

The plans were fought tooth and nail. At a public meeting the following month, representations from cabaret journalist Ben Walters, Camden resident and foster carer for LGBT youth Nigel Bevington and local planning expert Colin Leadbetter all decried the proposals, as did senior councillors. Leader of the Council Sarah Hayward and her deputy Pat Callaghan both lent their support, the former calling the Black Cap a “vital asset for a community that still sadly suffers discrimination.” Faucet Inn failed to send representation which was just as well: the Council chose to reject the redevelopment plans as they stood.

It looked like the tide had turned, especially when only last Wednesday the Black Cap successfully applied to be recognised as an asset of community value (ACV). The application was made by Nigel Harris, director of Camden LGBT Forum. At the time, Harris proclaimed that “it ensures our local residents have a safe space to go and meet other LGBT people. Because it holds great memories for our older members who have been visiting for decades. Because it provides a space for LGBT groups and outreach. Because it puts Camden on the map with its grand history of top talent and support for equal rights.”

The venue had been given ACV status before in 2013 but the owners overturned that decision soon after. Fingers were crossed that Faucet Inn would not choose to challenge the status this time. Those fingers are probably still crossed that something positive can come from this situation.

What exactly drove Faucet Inn to the drastic action of shuttering their own property in such a sudden fashion is as yet unknown. One possible motivation mentioned has been that if the venue is closed for long enough, it will no longer be deemed “a community asset” which would endanger its ACV status. Others on social media have wondered whether Faucet Inn would have kept the Black Cap open if the redevelopment had gone ahead as planned. The truth is that we’ll never know and that, for now at least, it looks like the Black Cap joins a number of other LGBT venues lost to ever-encroaching gentrification.
Complaints, questions and comments should be forwarded for the attention of Faucet Inn CEO Steve Cox va the contact page on the company's website. I have already written.

Here are just a few examples of The Cap's - ahem - illustrious variety...

"Triple X" (Regina Fong, Sandra Hush and Heather) - Hollywood:

Hazell Dean - This is My Life:

Resurrection Xtravaganzah - Somewhere That's Gay:

HIH Regina Fong - Tell Me What He Said:

It is a sad day for LGBT history.

The Black Cap on Wikipedia

Totty of the Day

Oh. My. Gawd.

David Cassidy is 65 years old!

As if getting up for work wasn't bad enough... Now I feel very old indeed.

Never mind - it is also Tacky Music Monday, so let's harken back to when The Beauteous One was indeed still beautiful - and here introducing some particularly illustrious company, including Carol Channing and Lauren Bacall - in this all-too-brief song-and-dance (rare for a purveyor such as he of heartthrob-ballads and soft rock numbers) rendition of Give My Regards To Broadway from the Parade of Stars in 1983...

  • At his peak, David Cassidy was the world's highest paid live entertainer, out-selling Elvis and the Beatles; he was voted Number 1 of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" by TV Guide in 2005.
  • His father Jack's second marriage was to actress Shirley Jones, and he has three half-brothers, two of whom have successful musical careers of their own: Shaun, Patrick and Ryan.
  • David made his Broadway debut in 1969 in the musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling at the same time his father and stepmother opened on Broadway in their only play together,Maggie Flynn; both shows were notorious flops, the former closing in less than two weeks.
  • He has been married three times, to actress Kay Lenz, to horse breeder Meryl Tanz, and to Sue Shifrin; they divorced after 23 years last year.
  • His struggles with alcoholism have been splattered over the tabloids over the years - he has been arrested for "driving under the influence" three times, and has been in and out of rehab.
  • Despite having sold over 30 million records, David recently filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • He continues to tour the USA.
David Bruce Cassidy (born 12th April 1950)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Ya either got it, or ya ain't. And, boys, I got it!

Imelda Staunton has become the “go to” person to tackle larger-than-life characters on stage. If you thought her award-winning turn as Sweeney Todd’s Mrs Lovett was a knock-out then wait until you see her in her Stephen Sondheim follow-up, Gypsy. - Anne Cox, Stage Review
It was indeed a stunning performance, and altogether a stunning show - as our gang (me, Madam Arcati, Sal, Hils, Crog, Russ, Joe and Jim) found to our great joy when we turned up en masse at that glittering Art Deco masterpiece the Savoy Theatre last night.

Gypsy is one of Stephen Sondheim's most celebrated classics, with music by Jule Styne and book by Athur Laurents, and is indeed our #1 house favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers. Unsurprising, really - it has been described by many an aficionado as "the greatest ever American musical" - Sondheim actually wrote it for our Great Earth Mother Ethel Merman, and it is one of the most archly camp of Mr S's works. Its last appearance here in London was 42 years ago, coincidentally also providing the star vehicle for the last West End appearance of that other musical icon of ours Dame Angela Lansbury, prior to her reappearance last year in Blithe Spirit.

The buzz about the show's long-overdue revival has been going on for years, but finally the Great Man's seal of approval is all over this production from Chichester Festival Theatre (a powerhouse of British theatrical successes, alongside our beloved Menier Chocolate Factory), directed by Jonathan Kent and choreographed by Stephen Mear. Indeed, the saintly Sondheim himself went backstage during the recent similarly triumphal revival of his Sweeney Todd and decreed that Imelda Staunton should play Rose. “From that moment,” she said, his suggestion “has been hanging over me like a commandment”.

Reluctantly "commanded" or not, Miss Staunton takes the role of "Madame Rose" and makes it her own. It takes all the skills of an Oscar-nominated actress such as she to really capture all the complexities of this "Gorgon", the "showbiz mother-from-hell", a complex blend of fragile damaged child (abandoned by her own mother), frustratedly ambitious showgirl and psychotic control-freak (with an apparent inability to form emotional bonds, even with her own children).

The part of "Rose" is notoriously challenging for any performer, not least one whose full-time career is not entirely musical - but we were totally and utterly blown away by just how brilliant Miss Staunton's singing abilities are. From sweet (Small World, You'll Never Get Away From Me) to brassy (Some People) to simply hilarious (Mr Goldstone), she was convincing and confident at every turn.

Wringing every sinister emotion out of the scene where Rose's vicarious ambitions turn from the recently-departed June to (the openly terrified) Louise, her Everything's Coming Up Roses was not so much an uplifting number celebrating triumph over adversity as a demonic threat against a child completely under Mother's thrall. The big, big number of the show - Rose's Turn - was similarly transformed from what in other hands might come close to a bitchily defiant "striptease-pastiche" into a frankly terrifying manifestation of a woman who is cracking up in the face of complete defeat.

Sheer perfection.

Of course, Gypsy is more than merely the "Momma Rose Story" - so, what of the rest of the show? Well, the casting director needs some congratulation here, too. The whole ensemble is top-notch, from the remarkably-talented children - especially "Baby June" (who (I think) was played in our showing by Isla Huggins-Blair; there are two child actors credited per role, for obvious reasons) and the "Newsboys" - to the surprisingly good (for a non-singer) Peter Davison as "Herbie" and the cute Dan Burton as "Tulsa".

Special mention must go to Louise Gold ("Mazeppa"), Anita Louise Combe ("Tessie Tura") and Julie Legrand ("Electra"), the three rough-as-rats faded strippers whose show-stopper You Gotta Get A Gimmick convinces "Louise" to emerge from her shell, who were utterly fantabulosa in the campest number of the whole show. It was hilarious - and we had a bit of a "Mexican Wave tit-shake" going on throughout!

Lara Pulver is sublime as the neglected, second-rate, lonely "Louise", whose transformation from "ugly duckling" to the most successful burlesque artiste in history Miss Gypsy Rose Lee is the raison d'etre of the story - based as it is upon the real-life lady's memoirs. She really encapsulated "Louise/Gypsy"'s palpable relief at escaping Momma's shadow (as expressed so well in her duet with the "grown-up June" Gemma Sutton on If Momma Was Married), and her self-discovery through stripping... Let Me Entertain You? She certainly did!

We all left utterly drained and exhausted with the joy and emotion of it all - always a sign of a good show. I can go one better than "good", however. I have not enjoyed a musical as much as this one in absolute ages - it is MAGNIFICENT.

The trailer (footage from its Chichester run) doesn't begin to do it justice:

Gypsy is at the Savoy Theatre "for a strictly limited season".