C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Suddenly, Last Summer

Steve Hayes reviews the not-so-subtly gay-themed 1959 film:
Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn and Montgomery Clift take a walk on the wild side in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER. Taken from a Tennessee Williams' one-act play and adapted for the screen by Gore Vidal, but with Williams taking credit for the screenplay, this film was so controversial Cardinal Spellman himself publicly banned it. This, of course, brought the audiences out in droves and made it one of the highest grossing pictures of the year. The plot deals with homosexuality, murder, madness, lobotomies, greed and revenge with casual references to, incest, nymphomania, suicide and various Oedipal complexes. In short, it's classic Williams done to perfection by a star-studded cast at the top of their game. Provocative, disturbing and fascinating, SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER is ultimately unforgettable.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In Memoriam: Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011

Elizabeth Taylor sunning herself in Marfa, Texas,
on the set of Giant, 1955

Dazzling beauty, a diamond-studded life, and the adoration of the world:  but everything comes with a cost.  NYT:
During a lifetime of emotional and physical setbacks, life-threatening illnesses and accidents, and several near-death experiences, Ms. Taylor was a survivor. “I’ve been lucky all my life,” she said in 1992, just before turning 60. “Everything was handed to me. Looks, fame, wealth, honors, love. I rarely had to fight for anything. But I’ve paid for that luck with disasters.” At 65, she said on the ABC News program “20-20”: “I’m like a living example of what people can go through and survive. I’m not like anyone. I’m me.”
Of course, those of us who lived through the AIDS epidemic - which is still not over, you know - can never forget that Liz raised millions of dollars for AIDS research and was a staunch friend in a day and time when nobody wanted to even think about the gays.

Rest in peace, honey.  You earned it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Flamingo Road

Johnny does Sam Spade, and Steve Hayes reviews the 1949 Crawford film noir vehicle:
Joan Crawford is once again a gal with a gun, who's up to her neck in trouble in FLAMINGO ROAD (1949). Under the watchful eye of Mildred Pierce director Michael Curtiz, Crawford has a melodramatic field day as a carnival girl from the wrong side of the tracks in search of respectability at any cost. Along for the ride is former co-star and resident sleazebag Zachary Scott, and newcomer David Brian, both vying for her romantic attention - and the menacing and magnificent Sydney Greenstreet, sweating, spitting and sinister as the local sheriff who wants her out of town. With veteran character actresses Gladys George, Gertrude Michael and Iris Adrian rounding out the cast, FLAMINGO ROAD is Joan Crawford at her Warner Brothers best.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Probably Causes Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Nuclear Meltdowns, Ya Know

. . . isn't it great?

Youtube seems to be eighty-sixing uploads of the big scene as fast as they can, but here's a link to the video that will probably stay up.

Honk to Midwestern Malaise  for the idea.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Double Indemnity

Steve Hayes dishes up a fabulous review of one of your Head Trucker's faves, the classic, sexy, suspenseful 1944 film noir:
Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck plot the perfect murder in Billy Wilder's classic film noir DOUBLE IMDEMNITY. With a script by Wilder and veteran noir novelist Raymond Chandler, taken from a hard-boiled story by James M. Cain, DOUBLE INDEMNITY set the benchmark for every noir filmed since. With sterling support from Edward G. Robinson, the plot twists, the dialogue and the sexual heat between Stanwyck and MacMurray heighten the ever-mounting and unforgettable suspense. Nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, DOUBLE INDEMNITY is murder.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Pork Boys Do Mardi Gras

We let the bon temps rouler last night - although, this being Texas and not New Orleans, we had no parades, no floats, no screaming drag queens.  Which is probably just as well. 

But true to his Cajun roots, M.P. outdid himself with a scrumpdillyicious Louisiana feast.  And not just plain old gumbo or jambalaya, either, but some wonderful old recipes handed down from his family, and sometimes slightly improved upon.

To start with, he made not one, not two, but three kinds of appetizers:  a platter he called Southern Fried Fun, and boy howdy was it, with three kinds of dipping sauces too.

Counter-clockwise from top:  fried pickles, fried shrimp, and M. P.'s latest innovation, apple slices wrapped in bacon, battered and fried.  Major yum, I tell you what.
The three sauces are Ranch, Remoulade, and Barbecue Remoulade - all homemade.

Moving on to the meal proper, we began with the soup course, of course:  a new invention that M. P. calls Bacon Florentine Soup - bacon and spinach in a chicken-stock base with various savory seasonings.  Lovely.

M. P.'s charming table setting, with beads, doubloons, feathered masks, and tea lights in the proper Mardi Gras colors.  He's really getting to be rah-ther at that sort of thing.

Bacon Florentine Soup

Then a very pretty salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and slices of hard-boiled eggs, very prettily garnished with radish rosettes the way both our mamas used to do.

At this point, we refilled our wine glasses (White Zin) and took a cigarette break, both of us devoutly believing that a leisurely dinner with good conversation is one of life's finer and higher pleasures.  Then we came to the main course:  Beef Daube, made just the way M. P.'s mama did it, and served over rice.  Of course, first you make a roux.  Then you add the Holy Trinity - i. e., celery, onions, and bell peppers, natch.  Plus some sauteed mushrooms.  And then you cook it all in a slow oven with your roast, which comes out fork tender and sopping in the most delicious gravy you ever put in your mouth.  I tell you what.

M. P. doesn't have a written recipe for his mama's daube, but after numerous experiements he thinks he's finally got it figured out just right.  I think Mama would have been real proud, it's lip-smacking good.
Not be confused with what some people call daube glacee, which is a cold, congealed meat and veggie dish.

The accompaniment was Maque Choux, another of his mama's specialties:  corn and the Holy Trinity and butter and egg and some green onions and tomatoes for color.  Then you bake it all in the oven till it's done.  Mmmm-mmmm good - believe me when I tell you, boys.  On the side we had fresh French bread and honest-to-God butter.

Maque Choux - a name neither of us can make any sense of - is another re-creation M. P. has worked hard on, and finally gotten to turn out just like Mama made it.

By this time, the Pork Boys were approaching abdominal overload - we just can't pack it away like we used to in our younger days, fellas, and that's a damn shame.  You know what I mean?  So we took another break and rested our dinner while drinking some more wine - purely as an aid to digestion, you understand.  And of course more cigarettes and more chitchat.  Which gave Miss Thing M. P. plenty of time to play with his Mardi Gras beads - wish I could show you boys what a neat choker-and-swag effect he came up with, very fetching on him I thought, and so festive - but alas he wouldn't let me take a picture of that for some reason.  Grin.

Chef M. P. in Mardi Gras beads - the only picture he would approve for publication.
If only I could tell you boys where and how he got those beads in the first place . . . oh but never mind.

When we finally felt restored and ready, we approached the grande finale:  M. P.'s homemade King Cake, faithfully made from scratch to his Aunt Viola's recipe, and oh my what a wonderful flavor it had, with nutmeg and lemon zest featuring prominently among the ingredients.  Not like your modern store-bought king cakes that taste like stale bread with no flavor.

In good Cajun tradition, M. P. substituted a pecan for the Baby Jesus -
but alas, neither of us got it in our slices, doggone it.

We washed it down with both coffee and champagne - what the Pork Boys always say is, why do things by halves? 

And so after more drinks and smokes and talk and laughter, we finally came to the end of another larrupping good meal - I brought the French bread, the butter, and the champagne, all credit for the rest goes to the Chef.   And so went another very enjoyable evening with the Pork Boys.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Waitin' for the Weekend

Arthur Keller

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Singin' in the Rain

Damn, that Johnny is soooo studly, especially with a beard.  Here's the fabulous Steve Hayes with a review and lots of fascinating inside stories about the 1952 classic:
Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor dance and sing their way into your heart in Stanley Donen's tribute to the good old days of movie making, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Done in the Technicolor splendor that was MGM in its prime, the film boasts a book by Comden and Green, dancing by luscious Cyd Charisse and an hysterical Oscar nominated performance by Jean Hagen as the silent star who can't adjust to talkies. Gene Kelly has never been better, Debbie is adorable, but it's Donald O'Connor who proves he was one of the true geniuses of musical comedy. It's a fun filled trip into Hollywood nostalgia that has rightly earned its place as one of the greatest musicals ever filmed. And oh, those numbers!

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