They Had Faces Then


796.jpgSo I was skimming through the bad news in The Guardian early this morning when I saw this photo illustrating a story about the acclaimed photographer Peter Lindbergh’s “Best Photograph.” (Read it here:


It reminded me of many hours spent in Cafe Tabac on E. 9th Street, which was a model/modelizer hangout in the 1990s, and one of my hangouts too as it was conveniently located a half-block away from the brownstone where I used to live.


It also reminded me of the interview I did with Cindy Crawford at that time, in the Revlon offices after she’d been hired as a face of the brand. She picked at a piece or two of sushi, rolled her eyes at the groveling PRs, and, when I asked her if she was a Buddhist like her then-husband, Richard Gere, she shook her head.

“I have my own Cindy Crawford religion,” she said.


In case you were wondering.



One of my favorite actresses has died at the age of 82. The Guardian’s Michael Coveney summed it up best in his (non-sexist) obit: Geraldine McEwan “could purr like a kitten, snap like a viper and, like Shakespeare’s Bottom, roar you as gently as any sucking dove. She was a brilliant, distinctive and decisive performer whose career incorporated high comedy on the West End stage, Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon, Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre, and a cult television following in EF Benson’s Mapp and Lucia (1985-86).”


If you haven’t seen (or read) Mapp and Lucia, oh how you are in for a treat!


Geraldine was as wonderful on the small screen as she was in movies or on stage. Recent fans know her as Miss Marple, but one of my favorite performances was in Robin Hood—the version starring Kevin Costner. Geraldine played the Witch and my friend Alan Rickman the evil Sheriff, and not surprisingly the two of them were so rivetingly brilliant in their scenes together than many of them were cut down so as not to upstage poor little Robin of Hood. Of course. That’s Hollywood, right?


And I remember seeing her in a fantastic staging of Ionesco’s The Chairs at The Royal Court.


She was a marvel.

RUPE’S RUBBISH x 1,000,000,000,000,000

Not long after I posted my blog about Uncle Rupe’s staggering baloney about climate change yesterday, I read this excerpt from book, Hack Attack, at The Guardian’s website:

Please, do yourself and the world a favor and read this. Then read the subsequent excerpts. They are a must, especially in this media world run by the bullies and sycophants in Murdoch’s employ.

To say that Rupert Murdoch is a monster is an insult to monsters. He is one sick piece of rubbish and there is not one decent shred of humanity in this worthless, hateful, horrible scumpig. To read the details of how many lives were ruined solely to make more profits for News Corporation is to despair of humanity.

Too bad the people who most need to read this and believe it—the idiots who fall for the daily crap on Fox News, for example—will find it way to coherent and intellectually challenging.

So let me spell it out for them: Rupert Murdoch is the Stalin of the media.

He doesn’t care who gets harmed as long as he gets what he wants.


Two days ago I wrote about drones. Today I am also writing about drones—or, rather, the droning sexist pile of blithering twinkleberries known as male music critics in the UK.

Their revolting sexism was on full display when a beautiful young Irish mezzo-soprano named Tara Erraught debuted at Glyndebourne as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. Yes, her costume was ill-fitted—so blame the costume director–but did that give these black puddings of bile license to critique Tara’s body? No, it did not. The Guardian’s Andrew Clements said, “It’s hard to imagine this stocky Octavian as this willowy women’s plausible lover.” The Independent’s Michael Church said she had “the demeanor of a scullery maid.” The Telegraph’s Rupert Christiansen called her “dumpy of stature.” The Financial Times’ Andrew Clark called her a “chubby bundle of puppy-fat” while adding that costar Kate Royal was “unusually slim.”

The only fat around here is between the ears of these cretins.

Opera has always had larger-than-life players. Yet society’s current and persistent double-standards about the female form—versus the rotund Pavarotti blubber bellies that didn’t get called out for blubbering, now, did they—somehow gave these critics the authority to savage Tara’s body when what mattered was her glorious voice and her just-as-glorious acting ability. 

As long as sexist pigs like these feel free to launch such dismissive and disrespectful comments at a wonderful talent, I feel free to call them what they really are: Unprofessional hypocrites.



One of the documentary shorts nominated for an Oscar this year is The Lady in Number 6. It tells the amazing story of Alice’s life as a pianist, mother, kind soul, and as the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor. She just died, age 110. (No, that is not a typo!)

Alice’s family was from Prague, and she, her husband Leopold Sommer, and their son Raphael were shipped to Theresienstadt in 1943. Leopold was sent to Auschwitz in 1944, where he died. Miraculously, Alice and Raphael survived, in large part due to her musical skill. As a member of the camp orchestra, she was permitted to live, as the Nazis needed their “showcase” camp to be “thriving” as a front for the atrocities and murders perpetrated elsewhere.

Once the war was over, Alice moved to Tel Aviv and then London. In an interview with The Guardian in 2006, she accounts her resisilience to this:  “My temperament. This optimism and this discipline. Punctually, at 10am, I am sitting there at the piano, with everything in order around me. For 30 years I have eaten the same, fish or chicken. Good soup, and this is all. I don’t drink, not tea, not coffee, not alcohol. Hot water. I walk a lot with terrible pains, but after 20 minutes it is much better. Sitting or lying is not good.

“I am looking for the nice things in life. I know about the bad things, but I look only for the good things.

The world is wonderful, it’s full of beauty and full of miracles. Our brain, the memory, how does it work? Not to speak of art and music … It is a miracle.”

This extraordinary woman lost most of her family and friends in the Holocaust, but her attitude toward life is one we should all strive for. I hope this film wins the Oscar, if only to serve her blessed memory with grace and love.

For more info about it:


Another writer gone this week. Doris Lessing has died at age 94 after a long and astonishingly productive life; she wrote over 50 novels, nonfiction books, and books of poetry. She won a much-deserved Nobel Prize in 2007. Best-known for The Golden Notebook and her fiercely outspoken political views, she was also, self-admittedly, a terrible mother and curmudgeon. But she still gave a voice to women writers decades ahead of her time.

There is a lovely remembrance written by the incomparable Margaret Atwood here:

As one commenter on that site said, “More is Lessing.”


Over at Murdoch-owned Fox News, one of the constant memes is all about conservative, family values. Imagine the shock, then, when the sordid revelation of a long affair between Rupert’s fave babe, former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, and her deputy, Andy Coulson. Becky and Andy are now on trial for hacking in the UK.

Yeah, those are family values, all right. Naughty, naughty!

It’s a huge story. It exposes the entire disgusting underbelly of how low Fleet Street would stoop to get a scoop.  And don’t think for a moment that Fox News doesn’t stoop to equally low tactics. They take their direction from the top, after all.

Stay tuned. Be sure to read The Guardian online, as they broke this story years ago and were savaged and ridiculed for it, with Murdoch’s minions trying to undermine their investigation.

For once, the bad guys got the boot and the rot was exposed. Murdoch has already paid out tens of millions with much more to come.

Hope Fox News goes crashing down with him.

Read more:




Michael Douglas has been famous for so long, and such a fixture in the tabloids, that he’d have to do something outrageous to get himself back on Page One.

Well, he just did it.

After successfully battling throat cancer, Douglas announced that is particular strain was caused by the HPV virus—and that he got it from oral sex.

Douglas has since backtracked, but he can’t get around the fact that this is what he said, in an interview with The Guardian: “Because without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus.”

Okay. Thank you so much for sharing. Ewwww.

Yes, HPV is at epidemic levels and any warnings about its effects are a good thing, especially as the WHO states that HPV is linked to more than 5 percent of all cancers worldwide. But the overwhelming majority of throat cancers are still caused by smoking and drinking, both of which Douglas did for years.

And Douglas’ stunning admission led to reporters hounding his ex-wife, Diandra, who claimed that she didn’t have HPV. Talk about intrusive.

Next time you want some attention, Michael Douglas, make a new movie. Stay off the booze and cigars.

And keep your sex life to yourself.


 No, I don’t mean Republican hypocrites caught in flagrante.

In memory of the late Ray Manzarek, The Guardian unearthed this interview with Jim Morrison that ran in The New York Times in December 1968.

Morrison referred to The Doors as “erotic politicians,” which I think is a brilliant turn of phrase. He comes across as smart, funny, eclectic, forthcoming, and pragmatic. Nothing like the image his legend has conjured.

Read it for yourself:

It’s a step back in time.



Since it’s a new year, let’s start with something old. As in really, really old.

Some time ago, I came upon a wonderful article in The Guardian about an upcoming exhibition at the British Museum, opening in February, called Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind. Read it at

I’ve already written about the cave art found in France and the astonishing beauty and vitality that artists used with found materials. This exhibit takes a comprehensive look at all sorts of marvelous creations, made with unbelievable skill and patience, and using only primitive tools. These works of art will be presented alongside modern works by Henry Moore, Mondrian and Matisse. Plus ca change, right?

For those who know that Marco Rubio was fudging when he finally confessed to knowing how old the earth is, the period when Ice Age art was created was about 40,000 and 10,000 years ago.  The artists carved ivory from mammoth ivory and antlers from reindeer. They created pigments. They invented different geometric and abstract patterns to adorn walls and objects. They made pottery. There is even a puppet.

Maybe we aren’t so advanced or original, after all.

For more info and tickets, go to