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Entries in Liza Minnelli (26)

Friday
Sep292017

would you rather...?

It's our stoopid 'hang with celebrities' thought game courtesy of the joys of curating your own image on Instagram. This week's confessional poll.

Would you rather
...judge everyone with Anna Kendrick and her owl friend?
... take an empty subway car ride with Molly Pope?
...hang out at the piano with Liza Minnelli, no big deal?
...go see Isaac Mizrahi's cabaret show with Allysa Milano?
... freshen up your gloss with Gwynnie?
... snuggle with Jesse Bradford and a piglet?
... plan the Hurricane Bianca 2 sequel with Bianca del Rio & Rachel Dratch?
... harvesting the bounty with Oprah?

Pictures after the jump to help you decide.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr292017

Drag Race S937: Madonna & 'Snatch Game' Do-Overs

Nathaniel R stepping in for Chris Feil, our usual lipsynch queen, who has the weekend off which gives yours truly a chance to funk with his "current rankings" in Drag Race's 9th season. [Insert evil cackle here].

I didn't know when I offered to sub that I'd be paired with the do-over of the Madonna runway. Since Madonna is my all time favorite celeb and the last episode devoted to the Queen was arguably Drag Race's most embarrassing (how could they allow their entire cast to act like the big M had only ever come up with 4 looks when she popularized giving yourself a makeover every single damn time you showed up to werq? [You can't see me but I'm stroking the chip on my shoulder. Shhhhh baby. There, he quiet now.]

No mini-challenge and no Pit crew again? May I suggest a mini-challenge...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec212016

Judy by the Numbers: "Hello, Dolly!"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

With only two weeks left in the year, how do we cover the five remaining years of Judy Garland's life? I've tried as much as possible to deliver beautiful numbers and biographical details as near as I could verify in between bits of high-spirited hagiography. Unfortunately, the complicated myth built by talent, timing, and Hollywood studios only amplified after her death, making fact and fiction nearly impossible to untangle...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec072016

Judy by the Numbers: "The Judy Garland Christmas Show"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

Full disclosure: I am in the middle of finals hell, wherein I have to write roughly 45 pages and grade exactly 48 exams before I can finally collapse at home for the holidays. So this episode is an especially selfish choice on my part. Since it's been a rocky year, I thought the best choice would be to post the entire episode, so that we could come together over a warm Christmas computer and spend the holidays with Judy.

The ShowThe Judy Garland Show Episode 15
The Songwriters: Various, arrangement by Mel Torme
The Cast: Judy Garland, Mel Torme, Liza Minnelli, directed by Dean Whitmore

The Story: Call me a sap (and I am), but I cannot watch Judy Garland sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" while she and her children watch fake snow fall out of a studio set window. In a season that seems to demand yearly special televised events, The Judy Garland Christmas Show ranks as one of the most special Like every episode of The Judy Garland Show, there are some nasty rumors that have risen to the level of legend: that Judy and Mel were fighting, which caused her to flub his name and two song lyrics, that Judy refused to rehearse, that she was high, etc. But somehow the backstage antipathy doesn't diminish the near-camp joy of Judy and co. sitting around a mid-century fireplace singing the songs that she made famous. Much of it has to do with her kids: as the Luft siblings and Liza make appearances, their improvised bits may be stagey, but their affection for their mother is real. Gaffes, bad jokes, and creepy Santa dancers notwithstanding, The Judy Garland Christmas Show remains a classic staple of holiday television.

Wednesday
Oct052016

Judy by the Numbers: "Together Wherever We Go"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

Episode 3 of The Judy Garland Show (which would eventually air in its eighth week) was an episode of personal importance for Judy. Her oldest daughter, Liza Minnelli, was joining her for a family-themed show. Liza was only 16 at the time, but she'd already begun building an entertainment resume. While in high school (or rather, while skipping high school) Liza appeared on a Gene Kelly TV special, The Jack Paar Program, Talent Scouts, her mother's London Palladium concert, and was in rehearsals for her Off-Broadway debut in Best Foot Forward. However, young Liza somehow found time in her every-busier schedule to put on a family act.

The Show: The Judy Garland Show Episode 3
The Songwriters: Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics)
The Cast: Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, directed by Bill Hobin

The Story: Two observations stand out watching this clip: 1) These are two talented women who love to perform and 2) These are two talented women who love to perform together. There's something delightfully meta-textual about their decision to sing a song from Broadway's most dysfunctionally overbearing stage mom. As Judy watches Liza, Garland exudes nothing but pride and excitement to share the stage with her daughter. Likewise, teenage Liza - not yet fully confident in her own overwhelming talent - takes her cue from her mother.

Though they're both polished and skilled performers, this song does not come off as a professional production number. Every improvised forehead touch, handhold, or giggle renders a public performance into a personal mother/daughter moment, exposing that vein of reckless vulnerability that made both women incomparable performers. Anyone who grew up in a musical household will recognize this kind of musical intimacy. This is a mother and a daughter goofing off around the piano at home, or belting showtunes in the car on the way to school. Liza and Judy sing together with real affection and private joy. It just happens a TV camera caught it on tape.

Wednesday
Jun152016

Judy by the Numbers: "Look For The Silver Lining"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

Believe it or not, 1946 actually represented a change of pace in Judy Garland's career. Judy only had three credits to her name that year: one starring role (The Harvey Girls), one cameo delayed by reshoots (Ziegfeld Follies), and one appearance in a biopic (Till The Clouds Roll By). In fact, this change of pace was a conscious choice on the part of Mr. & Mrs. Minnelli. If Judy looks like she's glowing a bit more than usual under those arclights, that's because Judy Garland was pregnant.

 
 
The Movie:
 Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)
The Songwriter: Jerome Kern (music), Buddy G. DeSylva (lyrics)
The Players: Judy Garland, Robert Walker, Van Heflin, June Allyson, Lucille Bremer, directed by Richard Whorf & Vincente Minnelli 

The StoryTill The Clouds Roll By is a Jerome Kern biopic, which (in the true MGM style) fabricates or glosses over nearly all of the composer's life in favor of a Technicolor musical extravaganza. Judy plays Marilyn Miller, a megawatt Ziegfeld Follies star whose heyday was encompassed the 1920s. At her peak, Miller had had musicals and songs written for her on Broadway, including "Look For The Silver Lining," from Kern's musical Sally. Miller was even beginning to break into Hollywood when illness, substance abuse, and alcoholism forced her into retirement in the early 1930s. Marilyn Miller died in 1936 at age 37, another sad showbusiness story. None of this makes it into the movie, though. Besides, Judy was so focused on the upcoming birth that she may have missed the all-to-prescient warning of the woman she portrayed.

When Garland filmed her two songs for the Jerome Kern biopic, she was already four months pregnant. MGM covered up the pregnancy by fitting her clothes a little looser, and inserting a sink, some dishes (and some dancers' hands) between Judy and the camera. Five months later (nine months before the movie was released) Judy and Vincente welcomed into the world a bouncing baby talent: Liza May Minnelli.