From: Farklempt <Farklempt@brown.edu>
Subject: Viva La Diva
Andy produced and put together this lecture along with Stacy Wolf, a professor at George Washington University who specializes in the history of musical comedy. It was really more of a performance than a lecture, and it was the videotapes that made it so successful, along with the winning personalities of Andy and Stacy.
The presentation was sold out. There is nothing more frightening that watching scores of Jewish women who are being restrained from entering an auditorium to hear about their darling Barbra and Bubbles and Bette and Roberta. "Do you know who I am? Do you know how much I give to this museum?" But the guards were firm and unrelenting. The auditorium was filled.
Andy and Stacy sat at the side of the stage behind a desk with microphones, like co-anchors at a TV show. Center stage was a large screen onto which slides and video clips were projected. Here are some of the highlights:
1. The easy interaction and collaboration between Andy and Stacy, who
are both winning, good-looking, and quick with repartee and side remarks.
They were very much at ease with each other.
2. The clear and coherent cerebral content that they presented.
3. The exquisite interplay between the cerebral and theoretical and the performances on videotape.
4. The outrageous Bette Midler, dismissing her critics who grumbled at her success as a producer, by singing, onstage in Las Vegas, "Everything's coming up roses, for me....so fuck you!"
5. The Divine Miss M., performing at a UJA telethon in Madison Square Garden, offering to drop her dress for the first pledge of only $5,000.
6. A clip of Roberta Peters on Edward R. Murrow's show, where he visits her and her husband in their homes. When I first saw these shows as a kid, I had no idea that the people were reading from scripts. I thought that was the way famous people talked. Now, you see Roberta Peters, with that fake upper-class trilled "r" showing Ed her new-born baby, saying, "We're so glad that he came to join us in our home," as though he had come into her world through the front door rather than through her vagina. After a few minutes, she gives the baby to a nana, as though the baby were a piece of doo-doo that she was glad to be rid of. Roberta Peters had told Andy and Stacy that she would come to the lecture, but when she learned that the other divas would not be coming, she decided not come, because it would have been rather undiva-like to be the only one to show up. It's a good thing she stayed home, because if she had heard the audience roaring with laughter at her artificial phoniness, she would have walked out in the middle of it.
7. The exhuberance of the audience that gave a very long ovation with
cheers at the end.
8. The celebratory dinner afterwards at Joanna's, a nearby restaurant. We had a table, and Stacy's family had a table. Nancy and Gilda and Daniella and Belleruth and Aaron came (Yael came to the lecture but had to leave). Marjorie was busy putting together the Oxygen show, which premiered live today.
9. You would have been so proud of your grandson. We all were, too.
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