For the second time in my life I didn’t watch the Oscars. It felt like I wasn’t observing Thanksgiving.
As many of you know, Sunday is my TV night. First HBO hooked me; now ABC. I don’t accept phone calls or check e-mail then. I know The Sopranos–and Six Feet Under are always on, and on HBO on demand. But those are two shows I like watching live so to speak. I hate the year long wait; but appreciate the quality of the shows. So much better than most movies out now.
I love Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal. But I have a DVR that lets me watch one show while recording another.
I was going to have a James Spader chick film festival for myself. But White Palace won’t be out on DVD until tomorrow. Yes I have it on order; and will have the chick flick festival just for me, then. Secretary, Sex Lies and Videotape, and White Palace in one night. Can my heart stop pounding so fast?
I read a sort of review of Boston Legal somewhere. The reviewer said she first thought that James Spader (just love typing that name) had been Botoxed to death. Then she realized he couldn’t have expressions because if he did all his rage would be exposed. I understood that some time ago.
I have only had two crushes on actors in my life. The first was a life long crush on Alan Bates; the second one is on James Spader.
I’m going to write this as if Alan Bates is still alive, because as long as his movies are shown he will be.
He was a brilliant stage actor. I saw every show he did in New York, and some that didn’t make it to New York, but should have, in London. Especially, A Patriot for Me, which was the most brilliant show I have seen anywhere. Period. My family saw it 20 years ago; my sister and I still talk about it.
While they are very different, there are many similarities to their styles. They both act with their whole bodies; they both know how to edit their performances to get the most mileage out of a simple look, glare, smile, frown, and much more.
I felt at a loss last night. When I looked out my windows–six in a two and half room apartment–both bathrooms have one–I saw many large screened TV’s all showing one station. Some of the TVs are so big I can actually watch them from my apartment, but that’s scuzzy and would have been cheating, anyway.
Like Tarawho I mention because she was one of my first blogging buddies, is a fellow Manhattanite, and did have a party last night, the Oscars were a big night in my house growing up. When I grew up and lived on 63rd Street I would have Oscar parties. Some years they were fancy dress, which wasn’t a stretch for the gay guys but was for everybody else in the mid to late 1970′s.
Actually I was the girl who would go to gay clubs, and be mistaken for a transvestite, because I dressed in vintage ’30′s gowns. I loved dressing up and didn’t understand why everybody else didn’t. I won’t mention what clubs; they were many. Some were in the meat market before it became the trendiest place in town. The guys/girls/Mary’s (whatever they were calling themselves that day) wouldn’t let me go to the Anvil as they were very protective of me. The Anvil had toilets, and I’ll let you imagine the rest.
Except for The Bum, none of my boyfriends were homophobic. Even The Bum loved my ability to throw a good party. My forty five foot long studio was really a mini loft, with a separate kitchen and a five foot long archway that was perfect for placing food.
Back in the late ’70′s there wasn’t a take-out store on every corner; nor were there Korean groceries. However I lived near Bloomingdale’s which had a great and very pricey food store. When it came to a party I would spare no expense. The bar would be fully stocked, there would be five kinds of cheese, every type of serve yourself appetizer I could find, including stuffed grape leafs and other Greek foods–just liked them. I actually cooked then and would make three kinds of marinated chicken legs–the marinades would change depending on my mood, chicken legs baked in corn flakes, very fancy potato salad that I made and would change the recipe depending on my mood, hummus always because it was easy to make in a blender, uncooked and blanched for a second vegetables, breads, crackers, and many different kinds of deserts.
Everyone smoked then, and I would allow pot smoking, always. Any other drug wasn’t acceptable, though I’ve heard all the reasons why my tiny bathroom with a huge tub was never actually available for peeing. Okay, since I’m into this honesty thing–very very occasionally I would partake.
The Oscars was basically just an excuse to have a party. Since it was on Monday nights then the parties were smaller. That’s small compared to my twice yearly Saturday night party where over the course of the night there might be 200 people.
Since I lived off Fifth Avenue, people would come the first time because they were curious, and they’d come back because the only time in my life I was truly relaxed was when I was playing hostess. Before Cd’s there were tapes and I had many. Though personally I didn’t like late ’70′s disco–early ’70′s disco was much more nuanced I thought, I had disco tapes. I would insist on beginning the party with Motown which is always a crowd pleaser. Even people who want disco, or people who don’t dance would dance to Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding–I could go on just listing names, but you get the picture.
I just loved having parties. I had a party for Princess Diana’s wedding; blizzard parties; a Hurricane Gloria party for the hurricane that never came but everybody had the day off. I only played different variations of the song Gloria, with The Doors being the beginning, middle and end songs.
When people began having children I had to can the Oscar party and go to other people’s houses. (I’m not from The Bronx, but I think that might have been a Queens thing too.) While I still lived on the East Side most of my friends lived on the Upper West Side. It was the one night of the year where everybody would converge on the streets at once. Cab drivers said that it would have been their second biggest night of the year after New Years Eve, but it was generally a loss since nobody was out during Oscar hours. Since everybody came out at once it was a difficult night to be a cab driver and many took the night off.
By 1991, the night I didn’t watch them, they had lost most of their luster.
I miss how exciting Oscar night was then; I miss making giant parties where I didn’t care about the state of my apartment because with a few scented candles, pink light bulbs, dozens of flowers, and a beautifully arranged table overflowing with food who, including me, saw all the flaws in my apartment? I was an early pink wall person. Before pink; I had yellow walls.
The thing about Manhattan is that you have to make it your own Manhattan; and color helps. It’s great to have a room or two or three of your own; filled with color, beautiful things–even huge paper colored flowers, much music, and something, anything that helps you get the city grunge out of your soul and transport you to a world of your own.
I think about leaving all the time and probably will. But when I look at the wall unit I had a carpenter build and think about how beautiful it is and all that it symbolizes–I came up with the concept, and Lucia, my very own best friend, designed it, I know that I’m not ready.
I will take pictures when I get my new digital camera this week–after the nor’easter ends. Yes, once that would have been cause for a party; or at least a sleep-over. Once when Lucia was living on West 45th Street she risked death to come to Patrick’s house to be snowed in with Patrick, his lover and me. Some more people came over.
Another time I insisted that friends from work get a hotel room with me during a blizzard. The only room we could find was at The Hotel Taft; about eight of us, including my boyfriend at the time, had a snow ball fight with the women of the street. That’s all I really remember about that night; that and it was truly immature and truly fun.
Many of my pictures were destroyed in the massive floods my apartment eventually became a magnet for, so if anybody knows me and has pictures of me, please send them. Fortunately, my father took mega pictures; Lucia has many; and I’m sure I can track more down. I know that my friend, Elana has pictures of me during the period I was a size five, and all my ribs stuck out, but I thought that I looked great. Oh society pressure, thy name was Pia, though being too skinny for a year every five years was the only society standard I ever conformed to.