16 December 2002

In the old days of vaudeville, it was common for performers to do an afteroon show and an evening show, a 2-a-day schedule. Today was my 2-a-day.

It started with a leisurely morning lounging around with the cats, laughing at their antics and taking pix of Michael cuddling with them. The relationship between Michael and these two cats is so beautiful to see, and they are both lovely feline Americans.

In the late morning we decided to go out for breakfast and Michael suggested a grungy roadhouse in Malibu, which had a lot of "character" (Patrick's Roadhouse). Apparently the last time he was there, Zsa Zsa was eating a mountain of french fries and Johnny Carson has also been spotted there--definitely an unlikely place to expect to find celebrities.

Interestingly, it was on the route that I biked when Walt and I went biking the day after the recent wedding at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. I recogized all the landmarks.

Unfortunately, Patrick's was closed due to fire, so after a somewhat fruitless drive up the coast (a gorgeous drive, but no quaint eateries), we turned around and headed up thru Topanga Canyon.

This is the place where rich hippies went to retire. The place where there are more peace signs than America flags, where mansions may sit on wild, untamed land, where trailers rent for $600/month and where you really expect to have a flower child hand you a daisy when you get out of your car.

We found a nice Mexican place, out of the way, funky decor, clietele a mixture of folks like us and "locals," and the food delicious. (Michael also liked the added touch of discovering we were locked in after our meals because the handle on the front door was broken!)

And then we continued up the canyon and thru town to the Victory Theatre, where we were to meet Steve and Jimmy to see a show called Judy's Scary Little Christmas. Michael and I, the two Judy Queens, had been toying with the idea of going, but Jimmy and Steve also wanted to go because Ethel Merman was also supposed to be in the cast. (You're just going to have to check the web site to get a feel for why we wanted to go).

Jim and Steve decided that they had enough time to see the matinee and still get to the Zephyr theatre for their own performance at 7. We met at the theatre.

The L.A. Times critic called this a "side-splitting parody" with impersonations that are "so dead on that you want to package them and present them to your friends."

Bzzt. Wrong. Thank you for playing. Goodbye!

The woman playing Judy Garland (Connie Champagne) is by far the best thing in the show. She has Garland down pat (Jimmy's comment: "how strange to see a woman impersonating Judy Garland!") She has the voice, the mannerisms, and speech patterns. She was marvelous.

It fell apart after that. I may not be an Ethel Queen, but even Merman didn't deserve the ghastly "impersonation" she received in this show. Jimmy does a much better Merman in The Big Voice--and he doesn't even have the benefit of costume or makeup!

Others in the cast included Bing Crosby (he was OK, meaning I didn't have any strong feelings about him, but I just couldn't warm up to him--he was trying too hard to get it right), Liberace, who was also OK--one of the better impersonations but definitely far from "right on."

The high point of the first act (its only high point) was a duet by Richard Nixon and Lillian Helman entitled "Are you now or have you ever been in love?"

There were a couple of fleeting moderately funny bits, but mostly the four of us sat there with our hands in our laps (Steve was dozing) while the audience around us laughed hysterically and clapped enthusiastically.

At intermission, we unanimously agreed it was the worst piece of crap we'd ever seen and decided not to go back for Act 2. (One review said Act 1 was the strongest, and that the show kind of fell apart in Act 2, so given how bad we felt Act 1 was, we certainly had no incentive to stick around for an act that was going to "fall apart.")

Instead Steve and Jimmy went home to nap, Michael and I came here to chat and in about an hour, Steve and Jimmy picked me up to take me to see The Big Voice again. I hadn't decided, one way or the other, if I was going to see it tonight, but I had to see a good show to take the taste of Judy's Scary Little Christmas out of my mouth--and it didn't disappointed.

The frustrating thing is--this crappy show is getting sell-out houses, and while TBV is doing OK and everyone who sees it loves it, it is by no means the hottest ticket in town.

There's something wrong with that.

But now it's pushing 11:30 and Steve is coming to pick me up at 6:30 to take me to the airport so I'm going to go get some sleep--and hope that my internal alarm clock wakes me up in time (so Michael doesn't have to get up to make sure I'm packed and ready to go).

It sure has been a lovely weekend. Well...except for an hour+ this afternoon!

For those who are interested, I have posted my annual Christmas letter here (tho why anybody reading this journal for any length of time needs to read a year-end re-cap, I don't know!)

Quote of the Day

Christmas is a time when everybody wants his past forgotten and his present remembered. What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.

~ Phyllis Diller

Photo of the Day

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One Year Ago
Happy Birthday, Ludwig
Question: What's brown and sitting
on the piano bench?
Answer: Beethoven's last movement

Ouch. Bad, Beverly. What a thing to do to such a classy classical composer.

Two Years Ago
Party Girl
I got my first camera when I was 10 years old and after that I became the photographer for all the parties. A camera is a wonderful tool to hide behind. You can be at a party, but not really part of the party because you’re the one recording everything.

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Created 12/10/02