December 29, 2006

Emerging From the Depths With the Beales

I don't think I've ever gone an entire week without blogging. Didja miss me? My family and I had some wonderfully relaxing moments at Christmas in Indiana, lounging around in jammie pants until nearly lunchtime, taking slow ponderous walks around our improbably quaint Main Street, reminiscing and reconnecting with longtime family friends. More on that once I have time to digest all that went on.

I've been rekindling my obsession with all things Edie and Beale with the marvelous Beales of Grey Gardens. If you haven't seen the original Grey Gardens, a sort of sad love letter to the once glorious, now fallen cousins of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, you should. The story is utterly mesmerizing, and it's one of those movies you find yourself thinking about in countless unexpected moments later. There's drama, and tragedy, and great humor, and dark psychology, and fashion, and cats. Lots and lots of cats.

At K-Rock's recommendation, I've also enjoyed several intense viewings of When Stand Up Stood Out, about the boom of the Boston comedy scene, the effect on the scene nationwide, and the way huge success and opportunities changed the relationships between the comics in the tightly-knit Beantown stand-up culture. It's interesting to realize it was almost entirely a white male scene that prompted the explosion of stand-up across the states in the '80's (yeah, that "dude with a mic in front of brick wall on every other cable channel" era). It's also very instructive to see how success (and the opportunities for success) shifted alliances and sometimes destroyed camaraderie among comics. This parallels some of the things I'm observing in the Chicago scene, as scouts swoop through town looking for the best and brightest, and some are lucky enough to nab spots on the schedule of Big Important Comedy Festivals.

4 comments:

Prego said...

You could follow up that "Stood Out" viewing by revisiting that insipid Hanks/Fields vehicle from that epoch.

nancy said...

During my holiday Netflix viewing, I saw lots of old-school comedians on the Dick Cavitt shows from the 70s. The format is insanely long, and makes something like *Inside the Actors Sudio* seem short by comparison.

The segment I most enjoyed was with Carol Burnett, talking about physical comedy...and some of the Woody Allen is candid and Jerry Lewis is the most handsome devil...

Coaster Punchman said...

And for those that love "Grey Gardens" - the documentary, there is now the new smash Broadway musical of the same name, based on the story of those gals. It's wonderful.

And yes, we missed you.

Dale said...

Coaster Punchman's right. The musical's astounding in its own right. Act 2 is more or less a recreation of moments from the film and the performers are more excellent than you could imagine.