Sunday, October 13, 2013
Move Over, Darlings: Vintage Beaverhausen
The landlord of my last apartment on 5th Ave in Manhattan destroyed most of this trunk, including an entire, large scrapbook of photos now gone forever. (All those Throwback Thursdays shot to hell, not to mention my personal memories.) Claiming he needed to repair my floorboards, my trunk was placed on the fire escape by said landlord and his super-cum-henchman (wrapped in plastic, assured that was sufficient protection against the elements of rain, sleet and snow that season). At that time, unbeknownst to me, he was selling the building (and trying to drive rent-stabilized tenants like me out, obviously by any means possible). I moved to Bay Ridge shortly thereafter and, by the time I opened the trunk, many things were severely water damaged.
Be that as it may, my hard copies of Move Over, Darlings survived. Here's half of one column I just love, I admit, because of the memories, when I look back 13 years later. Hope you enjoy it, too:
What becomes a legend most? Well, it certainly isn't sitting on your fat can when said legend gracefully extends her hand to you. And yet, that's just what I did when the fantastic Miss Eartha Kitt approached me, briefly but graciously, after her act at the Cafe Carlyle.
Stupefied by this ever-so-close encounter, I unimaginatively stammered, "You were... fabulous!" "Thank you very much," Eartha uttered perfunctorily, but I just knew she was appalled by my lack of etiquette. After all, when a diva humbles herself and walks among her adoring audience, pressing the flesh with one hand while clutching a fan's bouquet of roses in the other, you are expected to stand before her in a gentlemanly fashion; not sit like a lazy, uncouth stiff in front of his tv set. I thought I even saw her looking down to see if I had a remote panel in hand.
To my socially correct friend, Kevin, who stood to greet the star, she gushed coquettishly: "You have such a great face! I kept looking at it from the stage and it kept me going!" So, like, you looked at my face and it almost stopped you in your tracks, is that the inference?
Eartha's act was a melange of tunes in French (including her signature, "C'est Si Bon"), Turkish and Japanese (you ain't lived till you hear Eartha sing "Come On'a My House" Nipponese-style) as well as hoary survivor songs we're all sick of, like "I'm Still Here" and "I Will Survive." Eartha makes them work because of her unparalleled phrasing and enunciation, and just because she's Eartha Kitt and she'll sing what she damned well pleases!
She still does her golddigger schtick. (La Eartha is 79. When she sang "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," I wondered just how fucking old might Daddy be.) She also does her pussycat thing and her Parisian waif routine, and gets away with it all because, as a performer, she is legendary and absolutely unique in every way.
Ms. Kitt looked far younger than her years, even when seen close up, and she was in fine shape as was evident in her form-fitting gown with the low-cut back. As they say, "Kitt don't crack." And that's the truth.