The Dryness

There is something self is seriously loving about Anjelica Huston, and it’s her sense of humor. It is so tongue-in-cheek. Not that she mugs her way through this book. But there’s a lot of slyness going on there.

She only wishes Huston’s editor had made her restrain all the angst regarding Jack Nicholson, especially in the book’s first 50 or so pages. It does this great actress such a disservice, made self dread reading the rest of the book.

But, anyhoo, here’s Huston on her first movie with Woody Allen (who clearly was not attracted to her at all — self thinks that was why he cast her in Crimes and Misdemeanors. P.S. Another actress who Woody was not in love with was Naomi Watts. And he didn’t give her a good role, either).

There’s a lot of subtext going on here. Huston’s character is named Dolores:

. . .  he had chosen a seriously ugly argyle sweater for Dolores, and although I felt it was a deeply unflattering shape and pattern, I kept my mouth shut. I had heard that Woody had fired a famous actress when she refused to wear a jacket of his choice, so I was determined to love my wardrobe.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Sentence of the Day: Anjelica Huston

“He was as weak and transparent as lace.”

— Anjelica Huston describes her father, the legendary film director John Huston, on his 81st birthday. From Watch Me, her second memoir

The trouble with self is that she cannot stop at just the one sentence. Here’s another good one, describing John Huston, post-embalming: “a rather florid paint job. He looked benign, if a little pink and waxy.”

Halfway through Huston’s book. Next: E. L. James’s Grey. Which she expects to breeze through, lol.

Stay tuned.

British Museum, Lines

Today at the British Museum: for the first time, serious security check. Everyone had to line up outside and pass through a white tent (Why a white tent? Self has no idea) and have their bags inspected. First time ever (and self has been to the Museum many times). There was a police van parked right outside the main entrance to the Museum (Also a first; last summer, security was very discreet. Now, the British are flaunting it.)

Met an American pathologist from Seattle who, having wrapped up her conference, was sightseeing. This was her third visit to the museum in a week. Self told her about the “Sunken Cities” special exhibit, and the woman asked if self had seen the Rosetta Stone. Do you know, in how many visits to the British Museum, self has never actually laid eyes on the Rosetta Stone? Go figure. As soon as we got inside the museum, the woman led self straight to it. (There’s a 20-minute Rosetta Stone tour, free, every Friday)

Self was in London last July. All those weeks, and she never set foot inside the British Museum. Not once. Instead, she remembers just holing up in her room and writing. And writing. And writing. London was full of pigeons and tourists and ice cream trucks. It was incredibly hot and muggy. She went on a Jack the Ripper tour of Whitechapel.

Part of the reason she bought her ticket so far in advance this year is because she realizes she needs that push. The British Museum is overwhelming. In the last gallery of the “Sunken Cities” exhibit, a woman about self’s age seated herself on a bench and lowered her face in her hands. Self knew just how she felt.

The gallery of Greek antiquities has these colossal statues. They are completely stunning. A rider at full gallop on a gigantic horse. A running leopard. A mastiff. She hasn’t seen such massive things since the Olmec exhibit at the de Young, several years ago. You talk about Greek sculpture and you think: classical. You think: refinement. But these were from only one period (Hellenistic? 350 AD?) After that, Greek sculptural representations no longer have that gigantic, absolutely in-your-face, larger-than-life ethos (Why?)

There is a piece showing Aphrodite being surprised during a bath. Seeing the statue from the front, self walked right by. As she was leaving the gallery, she saw that same Aphrodite statue from the back. And, gosh, from the back, it is beautiful. Look at the dimples of her lower back! And the hips! OMG the hips!

AphroditeBritishMuseumFriMay20

Aphrodite, Surprised at Her Bath: British Museum, Friday, 20 May

Self thinks she’ll walk around a bit more. Stay tuned.

2nd Fan Fiction Quote of the Day

The show at the British Museum is timed entry. She bought her ticket on-line, ages ago, and her entry time isn’t until 10:30 a.m., so she decides to wait up in her room.

Which is really just an excuse to continue reading a story she found early this morning. This one’s so good, self is temporarily ditching Watch Me in favor of. Even though, after googling a bit, self realizes this particular fan fic author has been off the grid for two years and isn’t likely coming back, which means the work is incomplete and likely will remain so.

  • I really did try to give the class a chance because I really do enjoy lit and poetry, but after listening to a group of self-proclaimed “intellects” wax on poetically about the beauty of Sylvia Plath’s multiple suicide attempts, I only go to class now to turn in assignments and take tests. I hate when people talk about the beauty in suicide or death, because if either is something you’ve experienced you know there isn’t any beauty. Death is dreadful.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Sentence of the Day: Fan Fiction

You can smell the desperation in the air — and it smells like home baked goods and hair products, and it wears Lilly and pearls.

—  Katniss Everdeen

How about another?

Adderall burns when you snort it, and it tastes awful, but I can’t ignore my pre-library tradition.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Brutal

The more self reads of Anjelica Huston’s Watch Me, the more her respect for Huston grows. The book is called Watch Me for a reason. It reminds her of the saying: “A person who has something to prove can move mountains.” That quote might have come from Robert Greene, in his 48 Laws of Power.

Quoting directly from the book, “no talent agency wanted to take me on prior to Prizzi’s Honor. Most didn’t even bother to return my phone calls. Eventually, I joined the Yvette Bikoff Agency. It was a small agency, but Yvette seemed to have more confidence in me than the others.”

Huston wants Yvette to try and get her paid more for her part in Prizzi’s Honor. Yvette tells Huston that she tried, but the producers “refuse to even discuss it.” Huston keeps pressing, until finally, with Huston in her office, Yvette places a call to a producer and puts him on speaker phone:

An irritated voice came on the line. “You want more money for Anjelica Huston? You must be kidding . . . go ahead, ask me!” said the voice. “We’d like nothing more than to see her dropped from the film. She has no talent. Her boyfriend is the star and her father is the director, that’s the only reason we are even having this conversation.”

If you’ve never heard of Prizzi’s Honor, go rent it from Netflix. Self only saw it once, but she can still remember the last minutes of the film so clearly. Anjelica Huston was absolutely right for that role. She is so physically imposing, which is why, when she projects vulnerability, it just breaks your heart.

Anyhoo, it’s almost midnight in London. Self had a grueling day. Swore she’d never take a cab from Heathrow, got lost at least three times looking for the Heathrow Express, carting her heavy, overweight luggage. She didn’t ask for help and no one offered any. (Good). She made it to Paddington. She was so famished she ate two meals sitting on a bench. She got into a taxi. She hauled luggage up four flights of stairs.

This is definitely a city. By that she means people are largely indifferent. But it’s a great city. She knew when the cab got near to Bloomsbury. Great Russell Street is her own little patch of London.

Self loves the parks: Regency Park, Hyde Park, Kensington. If all she does while in London is visit one park after another, and look at the Serpentine, and drop by Battersea and gawk at the huge Tate Modern, and then pay a visit to the exquisite Wallace Collection, she’ll be happy. Oh no, wait. No visit to London is complete without Chez Mamie. She even made a reservation because the place is always full now. And to think when she met Emily there last year, we were even wondering whether it would last a year! It’s still only got six tables, but for some reason, the last few times self has been in there, there seem to be a lot of Americans. All in suits. Conducting who knows what kind of negotiations.

Tomorrow she’s going to the British Museum to see an exhibit called “Sunken Egypt.” It’ll help her finish a story she started at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, a story called “Residents of the Deep.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Acting Class

Once Anjelica Huston stops writing so much about Jack Nicholson (which she does in the first 50 or so pages of her memoir), self actually finds Watch Me to be hugely entertaining.

At the age of 28, after a bad car accident (She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, her nose was “broken in eight places” — self never knew a nose could be broken in that many places! Self is so impressed by that detail that she immediately writes an Everlark something about Katniss having her nose broken during a torture session in the heinous Capitol), Huston decides that life’s too short and decides to go after her dream of being an actress.

Her father, the venerable director John Huston, helpful as always, says “Dear, aren’t you a little old to try something like that?”

But Anjelica is undeterred.

After a few less than fulfilling acting jobs, her friend Carol Kane suggests ACTING CLASS!

Prior to this, Huston had been acting purely on instinct. But she dutifully decides to give acting class a whirl. And this is what it’s like:

  • There was some neck rolling, loud yawns and sighs, and stretching on the floor. A few improvisations followed . . .

LOL!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Faces 4: Women Celebrate

First: Women Celebrate in Oxford, UK. Jenny Lewis raises a toast in Jericho Tavern, 2014 Saboteur Awards

Second: Women Celebrate in Cork, Ireland. Geraldine O’Toole rocks red in front of the Café Paradiso, Lancaster Quay, Cork.

Third: Women Celebrate in Minneapolis, 2015 AWP Book Fair. Charlotte Pence is the Poetry Editor of Bluestem. The journal published self’s dystopian future story, “The Freeze.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Marlon Brando, In a Petticoat

This book. THIS book. Although the incidents are strung together in extremely random fashion, there are gems. For example:

Jack Nicholson is shooting a movie (The Missouri Breaks) in Montana. Marlon Brando plays the bad guy and dresses in a petticoat, which he keeps on even when the film is not shooting. It’s called: “staying in character.”

Harry Dean Stanton is in the movie as well. Just before Stanton’s climactic death scene , he is “taut with tension” (because he is a “Method actor”?). His character is wounded and staggers to a riverbank, where Marlon Brando’s mercenary is to deliver the coup de grace. The director of the movie, Arthur Penn, yells “Action.” Shooting begins. “Marlon dismounted from his mule, wagging, skipping, inventing snatches of dialogue, mugging through the death scene, which was meandering on. He was obviously having a whale of a time. Suddenly, Stanton . . . lurched to his feet in the muddy river and lunged at Marlon, bringing him facedown in the water. A brief skirmish followed, a lot of white water, kicking and petticoats, and finally” Stanton and Brando emerge, “soaked from bonnet to boots, laughing hysterically.”

“Seriously, he was taking too long,” Harry Dean explained.

OMG! Self did not stop laughing for at least 10 minutes.

No mention of the director’s reaction.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Break from Anjelica Huston Angst

Self is on yet another bus in Ireland. Heading back north.

In Watch Me, Anjelica Huston is bored out of her mind at a Lakers game.

As a break from Huston’s boredom, self turns to another book she’s brought with her all the way from California: Lydia’s Funeral Video, by Sam Chanse.

This book is fascinating and entertaining — sort of like a hip primer on being an American.

Which feels, actually, very deflating right now because OMG is Trump really going up against whoever and OMG what?

Never mind that.

In Lydia’s Funeral Video, which is about an unmarried 28-year-old American named Lydia, Lydia feels compelled to buy a pregnancy test:

And the pharmacist is explaining how this test works by checking for a hormone in the saliva or something, and she instructs me to listen for the three consecutive beeps before checking the color of the light– red for not pregnant, green for pregnant.

“You know, if you’re pregnant, green for go!” the pharmacist says — which I think they’re supposed to say to make pregnancy sound like happy fun time and encourage you to go ahead and have the kid . . .

Okay, sorry dear blog readers but typing this on a careening bus is making self dizzy.

(To be continued)

 

 

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