Monday, September 29, 2008

New York City !!!

The Countess always gets excited before a trip to New York City. Just thinking about walking along the Avenues, taking in all the people, the marquees, the sights and smells and noise of the city, makes my heart beat faster.

On my last visit, I saw Passing Strange which got a lot of Tony awards but still closed a month later. This time I am seeing [title of show] which got lots of great reviews but is closing on October 12th. I like these different shows that entertain but make you think a little; too bad that they don't seem to be commercial successes.

Also on the agenda is meeting up with some of my friends who have recently moved to NYC. I can't wait to hear about their new jobs and their NYC adventures....and we will be seeing two of our favorite Berkshire Theatre actors....Tommy Schrider in Close Ties and Bhavesh Patel in The Tempest.

Only one more day to go!

Countess Bedelia 9/29/2008 11:50:00 PM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

RENT.....Broadway Musical closes its doors

RENT, the musical that defined a generation, has finally closed its doors on Broadway after a 12 year run. It has such a cult fandom that it seemed it could go on forever; but like other iconic shows, its run had run its course. This play spawned a hit movie, made superstars out of its original cast, and has a legend that will take it into Broadway history.

Former and current cast members sang "Seasons of Love" at the end of the final performance of "Rent."

I will take away Idina Menzel as Maureen.............who went on to become a legend as the original Elphaba in WICKED. She is one of the most fantastic divas to take the stage. Then learn about the real life fantasy of Idina and Taye Diggs, meeting and performing in RENT, falling in love and marrying; then performing again in WICKED as Elphaba and Fiyero....if that doesn't make Broadway history, I don't know what would. It is a fairy tale come true.

Anyway, RENT.....The final Broadway coming to a theater near you tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. Check it out. I will be going tomorrow to try to relive this magic once again on the big screen. It won't be the same as being there in person.....a recording never is.....but it IS historic!

Check out your local theater and see if a performance will be screened in your area. If you couldn't get to New York City to see this in person, this is the next best thing.
Countess Bedelia 9/24/2008 11:24:00 PM | 0 comments |

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bailing out the U.S.S. Wall Street

Are you like me? Worked everyday for the past 40+ years, put your money into savings and 401k plans and some investments. Trusted in the financial institutions of this country, in the SEC to govern Wall Street, and in the basics of that good old American Capitalism to provide for your 'old age'. Well, old age doesn't come so fast anymore. 65 is the new 50. Thanks to the mantra of the modern age: Exercise, Diet, and Reading People magazine to keep up with the latest fashion trends, we are living longer and, best of all, having fun longer. But will the good life continue? As Geena Davis said in "The Fly"....Be afraid. Be very afraid!

All of my work life I maintained a professional integrity, took responsibility for the job I did, and accepted responsibility if I fucked something up. Now I....and YOU....are supposed to pay for other people's arrogance, greed, and stupidity. Not only did they fuck up....they got caught. But they don't get fired, get sued for damages, or thrown in jail for misuse of their considerable authority. Nooooo....they get a trillion dollars from the government to fix their mistakes and still get to keep their McMansions and stock portfolios. Tell me, dear readers, doesn't this make you just a little bit MAD?

I hope all those RED states that voted for Bush are happy now. 8 years of this stupidity has cost me a lot of money, not to mention self respect in the world community. We are the laughing stock of the globe. Thank you very much, Dunce.

Robert Reich has posted a very good workout solution in his blog and I feel that it should be repeated all over the internet as much as possible:

"What Wall Street Should Be Required to Do, to Get A Blank Check From Taxpayers

The frame has been set, the dye cast. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, presumably representing the Bush administration but indirectly representing Wall Street, and Fed Chief Ben Bernanke, want a blank check from Congress for $700 billion or possibly a trillion dollars or more to take bad debt off Wall Street’s balance sheets. Never before in the history of American capitalism has so much been asked of so many for (at least in the first instance) so few.

Put yourself in the shoes of a member of Congress, including our two presidential candidates. The Treasury Secretary and Fed Chair have told you this is necessary to save the economy. If you don’t agree, you risk a meltdown of the entire global financial system. Your own constituents’ savings could go down with it. An election is six weeks away. Besides, in the last two days of trading, since rumors spread that the Treasury and the Fed were planning something of this sort, stock prices revived.

Now – quick -- what do you do? You have no choice but to say yes.

But you might also set some conditions on Wall Street.

The public doesn’t like a blank check. They think this whole bailout idea is nuts. They see fat cats on Wall Street who have raked in zillions for years, now extorting in effect $2,000 to $5,000 from every American family to make up for their own nonfeasance, malfeasance, greed, and just plain stupidity. Wall Street’s request for a blank check comes at the same time most of the public is worried about their jobs and declining wages, and having enough money to pay for gas and food and health insurance, meet their car payments and mortgage payments, and save for their retirement and childrens’ college education. And so the public is asking: Why should Wall Street get bailed out by me when I’m getting screwed?

So if you are a member of Congress, you just might be in a position to demand from Wall Street certain conditions in return for the blank check.

My five nominees:

1. The government (i.e. taxpayers) gets an equity stake in every Wall Street financial company proportional to the amount of bad debt that company shoves onto the public. So when and if Wall Street shares rise, taxpayers are rewarded for accepting so much risk.

2. Wall Street executives and directors of Wall Street firms relinquish their current stock options and this year’s other forms of compensation, and agree to future compensation linked to a rolling five-year average of firm profitability. Why should taxpayers feather their already amply-feathered nests?

3. All Wall Street executives immediately cease making campaign contributions to any candidate for public office in this election cycle or next, all Wall Street PACs be closed, and Wall Street lobbyists curtail their activities unless specifically asked for information by policymakers. Why should taxpayers finance Wall Street’s outsized political power – especially when that power is being exercised to get favorable terms from taxpayers?

4. Wall Street firms agree to comply with new regulations over disclosure, capital requirements, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation. The regulations will emerge in ninety days from a bi-partisan working group, to be convened immediately. After all, inadequate regulation and lack of oversight got us into this mess.

5. Wall Street agrees to give bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, so homeowners have a fighting chance to keep their homes. Why should distressed homeowners lose their homes when Wall Streeters receive taxpayer money that helps them keep their fancy ones?Wall Streeters may not like these conditions. Well, you should tell them that the public doesn’t like the idea of bailing out Wall Street. So if Wall Street doesn’t accept these conditions, it doesn’t get the blank check."

Robert B. Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written eleven books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His articles have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His weekly commentaries on public radio’s "Marketplace" are heard by nearly five million people.

ETA: I apologize to my friend, The South Beach Bum, for not crediting him with originally finding the Robert Reich Blog. My humble apologies, my friend.

Countess Bedelia 9/23/2008 10:56:00 PM | 1 comments |

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gossip Girl !! and Sordid Lives !!

Not since Sex and The City has The Countess been so enamoured with a TV show like Gossip Girl. I love the New York City locations and the summer in the Hamptons. I love the great apartments that only the very, very rich can afford in NYC. I love the privileged children and the totally corrupted adults who populate this series. I love the absolutely trivial life situations that are unfolded week by week. It is a Diva's Dream.

The Cast of Gossip Girl: (Back Row) Penn Badgley as Dan, Ed Westwick as Chuck, Taylor Momsen as Jenny. (Middle Row) Leighton Meester as Blair, Chace Crawford as Nate. (Front Row) Blake Lively as Serena.

Are you watching this show? If not, why not?

My other obsession is Sordid Lives written by Del Shore, who wrote many of the Queer as Folk episodes.

This series is on the LOGO channel and is totally hilarious. Just think about it..... you have Rue McClanahan from the Golden Girls, Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Bedelia, Caroline Rhea, and Leslie Jordan as 'Brother Boy'. But if you haven't seen Sissy (played by Beth Grant) cook over the stove while smoking a haven't seen anything!

Here are two great shows that The Countess has recommended. What are you waiting for?

Countess Bedelia 9/18/2008 10:29:00 PM | 2 comments |

Monday, September 15, 2008

Northern Court Summit Meeting

I would have never believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes! Here is the late, great Countess duBarry arriving from the STILL FROZEN tundra....she says it is the Land of Nufain....I think her brain is frozen!

But of course it was wonderful to see her and so the Northern Court convened and talked of many important matters; such as.....the treachery of 'The Mrs. Astor' who used the Countess duBarry's hats BEHIND HER BACK at a 'Ladies do Lunch' soiree in South Beach. This event put duBarry on her death bed and she still hasn't recovered.

This is the official court photograph. Countess Bedelia and James, Duke of Providence, the adorable commoner Kyle who we invited just to feast our eyes on, Officer Brian, and the late, great Countess duBarry....

There was much reminiscing of times past and some disagreements about whose memories were correct. I offer photographic evidence that there were NO tiaras given out on New Years Eve, only glasses.....beautiful glasses though they were....

Officer Brian, Chief of Countess Security, had fond memories of meeting Diane Sawyer on a cruise so I pulled this old photo out of the vault......

And there was some talk about the town whore of Ogunquit, whoever she might be.....

There was also talk of a visit to the Southern Court for Halloween. This has become a tradition and costumes were discussed.....but that is classified information.

Countess Bedelia 9/15/2008 12:28:00 AM | 0 comments |

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

The Northern Court will convene in Boston at 2 pm today. The late, great Countess duBarry will rise from her mausoleum and grace us with her presence. The Countess Bedelia and her Chief of Security, Officer Brian, will be in attendance. And James, Duke of Providence, will arrive in his Golden Carriage.

Important matters of state will be discussed over brunch and cocktails at Clink, the restaurant at The Liberty Hotel.

What does it say about the Northern Court that we are meeting in the building that used to be the old Charles Street Jail?
Countess Bedelia 9/14/2008 11:24:00 AM | 0 comments |

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lights! Camera! Action!

A couple of weeks ago The Countess got all dolled up to be an extra in a movie. Maurice Peterson, that fabulous entertainer, was filming his "Dreamcatcher" act at Rumpy's Tavern and everyone in the bar would be extras in his movie.

Rumpy's was set up with Lights! Camera! Action!

Maurice performed his set....
Then Maurice, his partner Mark, and I might have enjoyed a cocktail or two.....
And I met a new hairdresser, Michael, who works at SEVEN Salon in Stockbridge, which is the salon that Mark and Maurice own. Michael wants to give me a makeover....hmmmmm
Michael is a cutie!
Countess Bedelia 9/13/2008 05:13:00 PM | 0 comments |

Friday, September 12, 2008

Guest post by Cristina

I first met Cristina a few years ago when she was only about 20 years old. Even then I was impressed with her maturity, intelligence, and determination. Since then she has finished college and grad school and is now writing and teaching. When I read the following post in her blog, I asked if I could share her message because I think she has something important to say.....

"These next two months are going to be incredibly stressful. I voted in the last election and things did not turn out the way I wanted them to. It has taken me four years to actually give a damn about a candidate again. I voted for Clinton in the primary because I liked what she had to say and also because I thought she’d be more electable than Obama. I thought there was no way that a black man would ever be able to get so far in a presidential race, knowing the pervading attitudes of racism in our country.

But then he started winning. And he kept on winning. And I was surprised and so overwhelmed by the response that I started reading up on him and realized how impressive he actually was.
Barack Obama has sparked something in me and I will be honored to vote for him in November.

This country is in desperate need of a change. I feel completely betrayed by our current administration. They took a tragedy and turned it into an opportunity to earn our trust, only to turn around and manipulate us into supporting a war that we had no business starting. Hearing politicians (I’m talking to you, Guliani) use 9/11 to further their own agendas makes me sick.

I’m a half hour outside of the city, my family lives there, and my father was a NYPD officer at the time. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I found out what happened. I remember being completely terrified and still having to sit through four more hours of school, where my teachers weren’t giving me any answers. I have an uncle who works in the Pentagon and many other family members who are in the armed forces. That whole day? Not one I ever want to live through again.

When President Bush came up to New York and offered his love, support, and strength…I bought into it. I believed in him because he seemed to know what to say. I thought he would help. I needed him to help, we all did. Then he lied to us, again and again. I cannot take another four years of a Republican administration.

I am hoping and praying that all Americans come out to the polls this year, but especially the young people. It seems that a majority of us do want Obama in office. If young people come out and show others that we do care, our opinions and concerns will be legitimized.

As for McCain and his candidate for VP? There aren’t enough words in the world to express my disgust and disappointment. It terrifies me to think that people believe the bullshit that Palin is spouting. To have a vice presidential candidate who thinks that a woman should not have the right to choose what she wants to do with her own body, even in the case of rape or incest is baffling. And the idea that I’m supposed to vote for Palin because she’s a woman is incredibly offensive. I am not voting for a candidate because she has a vagina. I’m smarter than that. I’m better than that. I deserve more."

Countess Bedelia 9/12/2008 09:02:00 AM | 0 comments |

Thursday, September 11, 2008

on 9/11 it is important to remember that we 'should' have freedom in this country...

Quoted from the Blog of Carlos Miller:

As John McCain touted the virtues of freedom during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week, hundreds of citizens, including a significant number of journalists, were getting arrested for the crime of “unlawful assembly.”
They were rounded up like cattle by indistinguishable police officers clad in riot gear and gas masks. They were doused with pepper spray and suffocated with smoke bombs. And they were stripped of their rights and dignity and in many cases, their journalistic credentials and cameras.
By the time McCain had finished his speech, more than 300 people had been arrested. And so far, not a single account that any had been acting out in violence.

"Thomas Jefferson, the Father of Democracy, would have been disgusted, judging by his following comment.

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

Jefferson would have been especially peeved at the arrests of the journalists.

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”"
Countess Bedelia 9/11/2008 10:50:00 PM | 0 comments |

9-11-01 Never Forget

It is 12:05 am on 9/11/08. Seven years have passed since the horrific tragedy that took so many innocent lives including my friend Janis Lasden and her boyfriend Don DiTullio. They were on American Flight 11 on their way to a vacation in Palm Springs.

I took this picture of the World Trade Center site two years ago and it hasn't changed much since then.

It is supposed to look like this ......

But money, bureaucracy, greed, and politics have it looking much the same as it did two years ago.

Have you been to the site? It brings up your heart rate, brings tears to your eyes, and makes you wonder if we have learned anything in these past seven years. As a nation we are encouraging people to hate and fear us even more than they did then. As a nation we are encouraging people to commit suicide bombing missions against us. Have we not learned anything from all this?

If you are in New York City, go to St. Paul's Church and see the testimony of so many who sacrificed to help the people trapped in the towers. See the badges of the police and fire departments who volunteered their time to work in the debri and devastation.

There is a sycamore tree that saved St. Paul's from destruction on that fateful day. The sycamore in question is known as "the tree that saved St. Paul's Chapel," because it took the brunt of damage from debris falling from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and the chapel remained relatively unscathed. Steve Tobin has made a sculpture of the tree root from this sycamore. Watch the video here.

And to remind you of the truly terrifying moments that individuals faced that day, I honor Karen Martin, the first class flight attendant on Flight 11 from my home town.

Read this actual account from another stewardess who managed to make phone contact until Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Never forget.

Countess Bedelia 9/11/2008 12:05:00 AM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

As the Cheshire Cat said, "We're all mad here".

Last weekend I had a chance to see my friend Tony Lee Thomas and his band perform. Tony is such a great entertainer. When I had a dinner party earlier this summer, Tony put on a solo show for us that everyone is still talking about. Check out his MySpace page to hear some of his music.

Tony and The Countess

I also went to Michael's of Stockbridge to see Brianne, one of my favorite bartenders....

Andy and Sean run the karaoke at Michael's on Friday and Saturday nights.....

The Countess and Sean were practicing our 'wave'.....

Saturday night was a bit wet with the torrential rain pouring down because of Tropical Storm Hannah but that didn't keep the Berkshire Theatre Festival's production of Oliver from being sold out. BTF!Plays is the educational division of the theater and "Oliver" featured over 100 children and adults from the local community performing.

My hat is off to Gray Simons and Travis Daly who directed this incredible production! I don't know how they kept track of everyone! It was a most delightful evening of theater.

Tyler Stanton as The Artful Dodger and Victoria Flower as Oliver
(BTF website photo)

The Countess met up with Travis later at Rumpy's Tavern with Justina and we toasted to the success of "Oliver".....

and had a chance to say goodbye to Prince Troy's beautiful mother, Maggi, before she flew back to Las Vegas.....

Another adventure in Wonderland!!!

Countess Bedelia 9/10/2008 06:50:00 PM | 0 comments |

Thursday, September 04, 2008

BANKSY comes to New Orleans...

Rain Girl

Do you know about the English street artist, Banksy?

ABC News reports that he decorated New Orleans on August 28th, just before the 3rd anniversary of Katrina.

"Banksy is considered by many to be the world's foremost "art terrorist." With his signature "guerilla" graffiti, Banksy, who the BBC believes is 33-year-old Robert Banks, has made such a name for himself that his pieces sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On August 28, just a day before the third Katrina anniversary, Banksy set his artistic sights on New Orleans and painted politically-themed works throughout the city."

You can read about Banksy's art on his wiki page or on his website. He has never been positively identified but there is an interesting supposition by the London Daily Mail here.

I first came to notice him because of this wall.....

Apparently the "kissing policemen" have been painted in several locations around London as you can see from this photo which is on a different building than the one above....

That graffiti is located on a London street near Notting Hill in 2005 according to this journal:

"I decided to spend the day at one of London’s many famous parks. Battersea Park in fact. But on the way - driving through the streets of London on the way there - I happened to spot what looked like a sophisticated piece of graffiti on the wall of a house at the North end of Ladbroke Grove - which is a relatively well-known street that connects the Harrow Road in North Kensington to the Notting Hill area in the West End of London."

When two Russian policemen posed for this photo last year....

"Russia's culture minister, Alexander Sokolov, announced that he is banning a Bansky-inspired photo of two kissing policemen, and 16 other works, from a Paris exhibition of contemporary Russian art. " according to this article.

The Countess loves odd, interesting things like Banksy's art. Apparently he makes a good living at it too according to this article in The New Yorker!

Countess Bedelia 9/04/2008 07:41:00 PM | 1 comments |

Watch Jon Stewart show up the pundits for what they really are.

Click on this link and watch Jon Stewart show clips of Karl Rove and others as they trip over themselves distorting the truth and giving typical political double-speak about Sarah Palin.

Also, don't forget these points about Sarah Palin that highlight where she stands and what she believes in....

-Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task." She's even admitted she hasn't thought about the war much—just last year she was quoted saying, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

-Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin told members of the group—who advocate for a vote on secession from the union—to "keep up the good work" and "wished the party luck on what she called its 'inspiring convention.'"

-Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. She hasn't made clear whether she thinks evolution is a fact.

-Palin doesn't believe that humans contribute to global warming. Speaking about climate change, she said, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being manmade."

-Palin has close ties to Big Oil. Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP.

-Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn't even support abortion in the case of rape or incest.

-Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches.

-As mayor, Palin tried to ban books from the library. Palin asked the library how she might go about banning books because some had inappropriate language in them—shocking the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker. According to Time, "news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor."

-She DID support the Bridge to Nowhere (before she opposed it). Palin claimed that she said "thanks, but no thanks" to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But in 2006, Palin supported the project repeatedly, saying that Alaska should take advantage of earmarks "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist."

The plain fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin did a bang-up job delivering a Karl Rove-style political attack speech last night. That makes her a skilled politician but it doesn't make her views any more palatable for voters. Americans don't really want another far-right, anti-science ideologue in the White House.

Countess Bedelia 9/04/2008 03:38:00 PM | 0 comments |