BACK TO BASICS

Monday, August 28, 2006

Clarence Thomas, Emmys, and More!

Well dear friends, it’s clearly been quite some time since I’ve regaled you with another smash-hit showbiz story. As I’m sure inquiring minds want to know, I’ll give you a little dish on where I’ve been, who I’ve seen, and what I’ve been doing since late March.

First, as I’m sure you read in Washed Up Weekly, I’ve been touring Back to Basics, my ever changing cabaret act, around this lovely country of ours (and in a few, very select, very drunken engagements in Mexico. Don’t drink the water. Trust me.) The show has brought a whirlwind of press, emotions, and hurled Molotov cocktails. Geoffrey met a lovely fella named Jeffrey. Clarence Thomas said he liked my cans. Oh, and Winnie Mandela took time off from ordering people’s murders and gave me a lovely boxed set of Small Wonder DVDs.

Other than the show, I did have a little legal ballyhoo that needed settling. It seems that in New York State, strolling down the street to get some eggs in the nude is against John Q. Law’s idea of decency. Well, what can I tell you? I was drunk, bored and needed eggs. And as Dr. Kitty Carlysle Hart used to say: “Who’s got time for pants?” Well, fear not faithful Gomes fan; I eluded charges with a slap on the wrist. Well, it was more a slap on the bottom. Seems there’s one judge in this county who enjoys a little Regis Philbin action…if you get my drift.

Well, now that you know what I’ve been up to, let’s get down to brass tax. Lots of people are hemming and hawing about this Mel Gibson fiasco. But I say it’s all hooey. If I was scrutinized for every anti-Semitic thing I said, Elie Wiesel wouldn’t have officiated my 8th wedding to celebrated novelist Irving Berlin. So, I won’t rag on Mel. Instead I’d like to address some of the hoopla that’s surrounding the upcoming Emmy awards, to be broadcast on NBC; that network of undateable gays named Will and poor starving people weeping on a desert island. I thought this would make an interesting story as I could shed some light on my ill-fated 1972 television show Face Down in the Alley Way: Crystal Gomes Reads the News. So turn off your pagers, silence your telegraph machines, and leave your crying babies with the ushers, because here we go.

I was living in Los Angeles for a month or two in the early 70’s, trying to make a go at it in the pictures. Later on, as I’m sure you know, I found some success in the films Daytona Call Girl: P.I., Four Monkeys Rob the Louvre, and Three Men and a Little Quaalude Habit. But, in the beginning, the going was rough. It wasn’t until Merv Griffin, drunk at Elliot Gould’s Yum Kippur party, approached me about this pilot he had bouncing around that the storm clouds began to part.

The concept was crackerjack: Me and some weekly celebrity guests discuss love, life, and never architecture in a real urban environment. The strange thing about this little project was that while appearing to be spontaneous, it was all scripted. I liked the idea, as I was not one to speak off-the-cuff at that time. We booked a young upstart named Bill Cosby and a bejeweled Lloyd Bridges for the pilot. Buzz was big, my drinks were cold, and little Geoffrey was floggin’ the bishop to a picture of Joey Heatherton somewhere in suburban Dallas. (Geoffrey, honey don’t get mad about that. I’m going for verite.)

Well shooting came and went, and we were hearing cash registers. Literally. We couldn’t afford studio space, so we filmed the show at an Ocean State Job Lot in Pawtucket. But what can you do, it was a gig. On the first episode we discussed Watergate, the growing crisis in Iran, and sandwiches. Lloyd Bridges always loved a Reuben. Me? I could take ‘em or leave ‘em.

But, I digress. The important thing about this is that we were an instant success. When we premiered in September we were number four. Which, for a new show, with far more drinking than Sherwood Schwartz’s little priss fest, was a big deal. We had eight glorious episodes filled with interesting debate, fabulous celebrities, and expertly choreographed wig changes (a young Kenny Ortega, doing his finest work before High School Musical.) Then, as always, disaster struck. It was episode nine. Shooting went fine, we saw no bumps in the road. The viewing audience, apparently, begged to differ. Apparently they didn’t like that fifteen minutes in, the episode devolved into a grainy snuff film where a young starlet named Faye Dunaway almost got the knife. We thought it was dynamite. Faye loved it. But…the public is fickle, my friends. After all the arrests (our 2nd AD, Gill Withers, was sent to prison for ten to fifteen,) things did cool down. But needless to say, we were given the ax and come Emmy time, we got nothing.

There are many awards I’ve lost and many I’ve never been nominated for. Lady Emmy, sadly, is one of the latter. I’ve never gone back to television, save the taped version of Songs for a New Face: Let’s Save Kenny Rogers, that was aired recently on Spokane public access. So…I’ll raise a glass to the current Emmy nominees. My pick to win it all? Jon Cryer. Two and Half Men is Albee done right. Believe me, I’ve seen enough bum productions of Zoo Story to know the difference.

How about you dear fans? Have you missed me? Who are your Emmy favorites? Leave a note with your email address and I promise to get back to you personally.

Well, this is Ms. Gomes signing off for the evening. And remember, you’re all gems. Whether you’re scraping the horse grease off the griddle at McDonald’s or contemplating suicide as a failed and scandal-embroiled investment banker, you’re only as small as you wanna be. Hell, that little kid who played Webster (another Emmy fave) was actually six feet tall. He just never believed.

Please believe. Goodnight. Remember to shave. And come see the show. I’ll be at the St. James, Utah Econolodge next Tuesday night. Save the date.

Posted by Geoffrey :: 12:28 PM :: 7 Fan Mail:

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Celebrity Animal Stories!

In light of the exposee that came out recently in PETA Monthy regarding Crystal and her fur consumption, we here in The Gomes Group would like to share a story that proves Crystal's love for animals as well as combats the allegations that she is "a heartless Cruella Deville, intent on killing and wearing anything that grows hair."

As anyone knows who’s seen me at the stage door, I love furs. I have twenty-eight fur coats (all Russian hamster), three mink hats, two pairs of Irish Setter booties, and sixteen salmon stoles. Many people get angry at me for my choice of wearing fur. On one horrible occasion in the early 90’s, a patchouli smelling lesbian-type threw paint on me because “she” thought I was wearing a rhino skin trench coat. I was in actuality just wearing my bathing suit at the public pool. It was, needless to say, something of an insult. But let me set the record straight: I love animals. Any fur I wear was collected from an already dead animal. If Geoffrey’s ’92 Geo Prizm happens to be the cause of that animal’s unfortunate death, well then who am I to say anything?
I’m talking about animals because I think that many of you would be curious to know about some of my celebrity pals’ various encounters and dealings with their pets and other, perhaps more exotic animals. So let’s go down a wonderful road through the Showbiz Zoo.
First is a story that many of you are probably already familiar with. I am of course talking about the time that my lover for many years, Pablo Escobar, saved my front teeth. I was down in Colombia rehearsing my show “I Can’t Fake It With You: A Tribute to the 1978 Finnish Olympic Swimming Team” and Pablo and I were enjoying a lovely little fling. Now, I had no knowledge of Pablo’s illegal dealings with druggery, I thought he was a baking soda salesman, so everything was just peachy. Well, there was one night when he and I enjoyed a nice dinner of rice and beans at a little café in Bogota. After dinner and several pitchers of sangria (all mine, by the way; Pablo never drank or smoked or rode escalators,) we decided to go for a nice evening stroll. Well wouldn’t you know it? I innocently tossed my cigarette into the wrong ass’s ass, and before I know it, he’s bucking his back legs like Gloria Steinem at a Wellesley mixer. Now Pablo, ever the gentleman, jumped in front of me, blocking the ass’s kicks from my highly valuable face. Poor Pablo took two right in the kisser, knocking out most of his teeth. Interestingly enough, his subsequent denture use led to his arrest for his various drug associations. (If I told him once, I told him a thousand times: Never leave your dentures at the Burbank Marriot!) Poor Pablo. There’s one animal I’d like to see skinned and mounted in a six by ten at Leavenworth.
Another wonderful animal story is the time that Betty Grable was brutally attacked by her helper monkey, Dr. Ernesto Livingston. Well, on second thought, that story isn’t so much wonderful as it is deeply terrifying. Betty was never able to look at a tennis racquet or a Ming vase again.
Oh let’s see…let’s see. Animal stories… Oh! Me and some of my pals, notably Peter Lorre, Montgomery Cliff, Burt Lancaster, and Glenda Jackson, used to call Johnny Weissmuller “the Animal” because of his strange and interesting sexual habits. Geoffrey? Geoffrey honey? Can I talk about that thing. Oh you know the thing, with the croquet… No? No, I can’t? Oh. Okay. Well then. Moving on
Oh here we go. June Lockhart, that walking brandy distillery, had a cat named Claudio Morales that she used to carry in a brown paper bag. She carried this thing everywhere. There’s a photo, I’m sure you can find it on that interweb thing, on that Gogol thing, of June at the ’68 Governor’s Ball with Claudio in an Yves Saint Laurent brown paper bag. I remember that night so well. I wasn’t drinking that night, because I was trying to change my life (and because, earlier that night, I had taken a small Chinese man’s weight in barbiturates in the ladies’ loo at the Shriner’s Auditorium.) So I very clearly remember Coco Chanel, back when she was in that dangerous romance with Gregory Peck and his sixth wife Donna Dewberry, throwing the brown paper bag, full of Claudio Morales, into a trash can. June Lockhart just about plotzed. She ended up spiking Coco’s drink with No. 5, nearly killing Coco. Luckily, due to a series of painful surgeries, Coco learned to live with her subsequent perfume addiction. Claudio Morales lived to be eighteen years old. He was buried in his favorite brown paper bag, while June played “Nearer My God to Thee” on the left-handed harmonica.
There are celebrities who have imaginary pets. Some examples? Well, there was Annette O’Toole’s “Shar Pei” Dominic who was just molded Gruyere cheese. Julie Newmar’s parakeet Shoe Shiner was actually a pile of dried cranberries (Geoffrey tells me they’re now called “craisins.”) Gomer Pyle thought he had a mastodon named Agatha that later turned out to be a dead hobo by the name of Gill Withers who had curled up and died in Gomer’s backyard. Vanessa Redgrave thought that her beautiful daughter, Natasha Richardson, was a Persian cat named Maliki Haki Mu for thirteen years. And Sergio Mendes’ pet pig Lulu? A drugged Peter Finch wearing a coal miner’s hat.
In the end, all of this animal talk makes me fondly remember my late pet puma, Lady Eleanor Grimlywicke, who at her lowest tried to eat my housecleaner’s four year old daughter, and at her highest held a very important seat in the House of Commons. I first met Ellie in the jungles of the Belgian Congo. I was there on an ill-fated trip to find King Solomon’s mines, but all I ran into was a pack of murderous gray gorillas and one black one that tried to speak to me in sign language, which I promptly shot.
Well on our last day, Ellie came out of the woods and, after devouring my first assistant, Clydesdale, nuzzled herself against my leg and began to purr. We fell instantly in love. Ellie died three winters ago, after I mistakenly tried to feed her a few Beefeater bottles in an effort to hide my (very, very light) drinking from a few Japanese businessmen who were looking to fund my show “One of These Things is Not Like Two Thousand Others: Crystal Live at the Apollo.” Well, I felt terrible, but I resolved to only remember the good times. Oh, and I suppose I miss Clydesdale every now and then. But really, he wasn’t much of an assistant. He was always trying to get me to go out for a walk or donate my hard earned money to some charity. Nah, give me Geoffrey any day. He keeps my gin cold, my elbows waxed, and Ellie’s taxidermied corpse full of fresh Bermuda sand.
Animals and assistants, ain’t they just grand?

Posted by Geoffrey :: 2:43 PM :: 0 Fan Mail:

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gayle/Gomes Feud Revealed!

After quite a bit of soul-searching, Crystal has asked that we finally release the details of her ongoing feud with country legend, Crystal Gayle. Come see Crystal recount the painful story in person at her next show in the visitors center at the Hoover Dam. Thanks and enjoy.

"I have always been known for my generous and loving nature, which is why it confuses people when a publicly insult and denigrate Crystal Gayle. The truth is that I haven’t always hated that ratfink bitch. And I would like to set the record straight about our sordid past.

Back in our youth, Crystal and I used to be the best of friends. We did everything together. In fact, it was my idea to grow our hair long and sing country-western music. We were known as a pair; The Nashville Crystal Combo and we were an overnight success. We were singing sold-out shows every night and we regularly opened for Dolly, Loretta and Johnny, whenever they happened back into town. Of course, Jimmy Tunes accompanied and wrote much of our act. We had a knee-slapping “Dueling Banjos” number where Crystal played the Jew-harp and I smoked cigarettes that was one of Jimmy’s favorite bits.

Things couldn’t have been better. We were young, successful and all three of us lived in an apartment that the Nashville elite referred to as The Combo’s Condo. As you can imagine success changes people, and as soon as we were getting some notoriety Crystal started to cop an attitude. She claimed that I cared more about bedding the mayor of Nashville than I cared about our music. She claimed that showing up three hours late for rehearsals was “unprofessional” and that I “was drunk for every performance.” Well, it was clear to me that Crystal was teeming with jealousy. It wasn’t my fault that the mayor was taking a liking to me, and that he gave me a case of Tennessee bourbon for my birthday. What was I going to do? Not drink it? Show up on time? Please. But, I was trying to be the bigger Crystal and not let her bickering get the best of our act.

The final straw came on a blustery day in October. I came home from a long night at the mayor’s mansion, with the heel broken off of my Bob Mackie pumps and my floor length hair in a tangle. I arrived in the condo and was having a struggle unbuckling my shoe and not walking on my hair when I looked up and saw Crystal and Jimmy Tunes in a compromising position that is burned in my memory from now until the end of time. I won’t get into the unsavory details here, but let’s just say that Jimmy was using Gayle’s hair like a horse’s reigns and Crystal found a new way to play the Jew-harp that will never make it to the stage.

I was enraged. I could not believe that the two of them would betray me like that. Sure, I know that I wasn’t involved with Jimmy (at least that’s what I told the mayor) and that I had said to Crystal the previous afternoon, “Gayle, why don’t you get a stiff rodgering? You look like ten miles of bad road.” But she knew full-well that I didn’t mean Jimmy and how I felt and still feel about Mr. Tunes from Tallahassee on.

Well, I hobbled straight into the bathroom and took some gardening shears to my signature locks. I didn’t want to have any association with Gayle or The Nashville Crystal Combo ever again.

I could hear Crystal screaming from the bedroom, “We’re in love, Crystal! You good-for-nothing drunk!” I always knew that Crystal had a thing for Jimmy, but I also knew that she meant nothing to my darling Mr. Tunes. He would never love another woman, especially not another Crystal. I swung open the bathroom door, took my handful of newly shorn hair, and started to strangle Crystal with it (who was still very naked). In order to defend herself, she started strangling me with her attached hair, which was slightly less effective. As we strangled and hurled obscenities at each other, Jimmy managed to break a vase full of geraniums over my head, rendering me immobile. I’m very grateful to Jimmy for this, because I was moments away from completely suffocating that bitch and I’ve never looked good in a neon-orange jumpsuit (I’m a “spring”).

Well, we both woke up the next morning in the Nashville hospital. I never spoke to her directly again, although we’ve had several run-ins since. Jimmy and I moved out of The Combo Condo as soon as I was released from the hospital and we started our second journey to the Big Apple. A few months after the incident, Crystal came out with her hit, “Don’t You Make my Brown Eyes Blue” which was meant as a declaration of love for Jimmy and a jab at my struggle with nearsightedness. "


Posted by Geoffrey :: 3:50 PM :: 0 Fan Mail:

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Oscar Party of One


We've had a lot of emails and phone calls inquiring after why Ms. Gomes was not seen at the Academy Awards this year. Although Ms. Gomes was invited to the Oscars and had dress and formal turban prepared, she unexpectectedly and due to unforseen circumstances, passed out on her kitchen floor. Crystal is perfectly fine however and even made this remark after she was helped up;
"Geoffrey, did I go to the Oscars? No? Damn it. "

Posted by Geoffrey :: 4:41 PM :: 0 Fan Mail:

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Delightful Tony Memories

Here's another excerpt from America's favorite tell-all! Ms Gomes would also like to send the following message: "Dear Sir or Madam: It was not me who ran over your pet duck. I was nowhere near the scene and have not driven since that horrible incident with Princess Grace (she came out of nowhere, I swear!) I am terribly sorry for your loss, I'm sure he was a nice duck. Enclosed are two seats to my latest show, Back to Basics, which will be playing the Duane Reade stock room this coming Tuesday night. Warmest regards, Crystal."

And here it is...

"You know what they say, the first time is always the best. Except of course when it comes to making whoopee. Or, as the case may be (and is), when it comes to winning a Tony. In fact, the third time I won a Tony was the most memorable. It was a night filled with drunken recriminations, several murder attempts, and the inevitable tarring and feathering of celebrated flutist/ornery detective Jerry Orbach. But, as that particular night is documented so thoroughly in my groundbreaking 1978 show, Time to Pay the Piper: Conversations with Pol Pot, I won’t go into it here. But, on the Tony theme, I will tell you about my first..

The year was 1968, I was a young thing just out of Tallahassee, with nothing but a dashingly drunk accompanist named Jimmy Tunes and a sack of oranges. Well, back then I was living in an old refrigerator on 145th St. Jimmy managed to curl up in the freezer on nights when he wasn’t staying at the Plaza with some dizzy dame. He and I were playing shows at Dinah Shore’s Hoedown Hut every Tuesday morning. The crowd wasn’t huge, usually just Dinah and a confused hobo or Dutch tourist, but we were living the dream. They paid us in refrigerator magnets, and I eventually got enough to put my name, address, and a warning to stay away from my sack of oranges on the front of my house.

Well, as luck would have it, one of Dinah Shore’s prize acts, Mandy Patinkin, who did sword swallowing and German burlesque, called in sick for the very popular Friday night slot. And who did crazy old Dinah call to fill in? That valium machine Debbie Reynolds. But, as luck would have it again, Debbie accidentally killed a dancer from 42nd Street and was tied up in legal ballyhoo. So we were on. What a rush. I wore my favorite denim pantsuit and soiled footy pajama turban. (Well, they weren’t my favorite, but they were all I had. Hell, Diller used to wear an old Chinese sailor suit when she first started.) Jimmy tore up the piano. Literally. It cost us 700 hundred magnets to replace it.

Anyway there was a big time Broadway producer in the audience that night . After the show, I was going from glass to glass, drinking whatever people had left, and he sidled up to me and said, “You’re gonna be a star.” I nearly choked on the 28 maraschino cherries and 17 olives I had stuffed in my mouth to eat later. “Phhanks miffftah.” I said, as smooth as can be. Turns out he was producing what would later become one of my biggest hits, Kandor & Ebbs little known masterpiece, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, Pussy in a Cold Dark Basement. A young whippersnapper named Bobby Fosse was the choreographer and head queer (it was all very official back then, not like the fairy fest you have down on the White way these days.)

Well, needless to say, I was a hit, and come June was nominated for a Tony. It was a lovely ceremony that year, Abe Vigoda hosted, with musical numbers sung by a nearly comatose Vivienne Leigh, backed up by the Vienna Boys Choir. Their rendition of “Talky Talky” from South Pacific lives in infamy as the noise that scared Hal Prince straight. (For about a minute. I saw him and Fosse messing around in the ladies’ powder room during a commercial break.) Now I had had a little fun before the show started, and at the time that my category was being called, I was trying to coax a coat rack to buy me another old-fashioned. Suddenly I heard a great round of applause and some little lady ran up to me and said “Ms. Gomes you won! You won!!” I assumed she was talking about the Russian mafia’s numbers racket, which I still play every day, so I looked the girl straight in the eyes and said “Don’t take my numbers. They’re my numbers!” The girl looked very confused and ran off.

Well, just then I had the urge to run to the ladies room, but wasn’t quite sure where it was. So I began wandering around, and wouldn’t you know, ended up stumbling on stage with my unspeakables around my ankles. Boy was Al Hirschfeld surprised! Either way, I took the award, remembered to wipe, and promptly went to lie down on the set they’d brought out for a Carousel number. The spinning wasn’t all that fun, but the look on Vivienne’s face as I threw up on her dress and she finally woke up and realized that she wasn’t at home with the girls was priceless. She ended up running off stage and I did the rest of the musical numbers. I didn’t have anything prepared so I just sang off the cuff about whatever was on my mind. The crowd especially loved my piece called “Refrigerator Days” for which I had boys from the choir sing the angry Puerto Rican hooker part.

I knew I was in when the crowd gave me a standing ovation at the end of the night. Abe Vigoda felt a little upstaged, but I just patted his withered old head (it’s always been like that, ever since a horrible snow shoeing accident) and said “Get used to it, Abey. Get used to it.” Well, it turns out that I wasn’t talking to Abe Vigoda at all, just a pile of oily rags that someone had left backstage. But I think he got the message. Jimmy Tunes was there to congratulate me and Dinah Shore sent a big bag of old cocktail olives to the refrigerator. Needless to say I didn’t stay there much longer; I found a place next to Mamie Eisenhower’s Summer Palace (as she insisted on calling it) down at 38th and 8th.

Most days I don’t give one look to old Tony sitting up there on the mantle. Why you can hardly see him amongst the numerous other awards, medals, medallions, empty gin bottles, and Peruvian shrunken heads I’ve crammed up there. He’s alone in a crowded world, just as I was when I moved up to New York. Lost, alone, and surrounded by shrunken heads. But hey, at least he’s not living in a refrigerator.

Man, Jimmy really hated that freezer."

(C) 2006 Gomes Group Inc.


Posted by Geoffrey :: 12:45 AM :: 1 Fan Mail:

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Crystal's Very Special Family


Well, we're back with another rousing excerpt from Ms. Gomes' show, "Back to Basics," which just finished a smash-hit run at the Branson, MO Stuff 'N' Go or Stay a family-style buffet restaurant, gas station, and 3 Aluminum Star Motel. Enjoy!

"I’m sure everyone has at least one cherished family memory. Maybe it was a very special Christmas when daddy put down the bottle and picked up a Santa hat. Maybe it’s when cousin Jenny showed you how to fly solo all the way to tingly town. I too have some very cherished family memories. Now, I don’t mean my actual family. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I had a rough and tumble upbringing. More tumble than rough, as I had a debilitating disease that prevented me from properly descending staircases. Anyway, my father was an admiral in the Merchant Marines, traveling the globe protecting but more often accidentally slaying merchants. It was on his travels that he met my mother, the daughter of a Danish governor. They had a brief courtship and were soon married and living in Cheyenne, Wyoming where yours truly was born. Or so I’m told. The truth of the matter is, both Mum and the Admiral (as I was made to call him) were so knee deep in snuff and opium addictions they don’t really remember when or where I was born. So, needless to say, I don’t have very many fond memories of them, except for looking back at them from the window of a DeSoto sedan as I sped east to the big city.

When I say family, I mean the extended network of friends that I have made during my years in showbiz. These friends include, of course, many beloved celebrities; Peebo Bryson, the late Alan Alda (mongoloid attack, I’m told), and TV’s first lady, Joy Philbin, but also my assistant Geoffrey and his dog Ethel Steinberg, and my lover for many years, Senator Strom Thurmond. Oh I have many lovely memories of this family, boating accidents in Biarritz, hilarious misunderstandings at the Vietnamese border, performing on stage for two hours with my shoes and wig on backwards. But I think that one of my favorites has to be the first time Uta Hagen tried to poison me.

At the time I was in the Big Apple wrapping up my one woman show “Crystal Can Can-Can, but Doesn’t Wanna,” a hilarious send up of the French told through song, dance, and ethnic slurs. Well, the night of my last performance, Geoffrey told me that Uta Hagen was in the audience, disguising herself as she often did as a Japanese business man. Uta and I had met once before, at one of Jackie Mason’s most horrifying Arbor Day parties on record, and I told Geoffrey to send a note that I’d love to say hello afterwards. Of course when she got the note she pretended to not understand “Eng-rish” and just shook her head, but after the show, there she was waiting at the bar around the corner, The Bloody Tap Shoe. We had a few drinks, a few laughs, and got to talking about our mutual friend Agatha Christie who had, for a number of reasons (a heavy gambling debt chief among them,) recently taken up both the bottle and the Communist party. Now before all this happened Aggie had promised Uta that she’d write her into her next mystery as a wise-cracking private eye named Uta St. Pierre, so Uta was a little worried that Agatha’s new political habits would get in the way of the book being written. I told her not to worry, that the same thing happened with Valerie Harper and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and everything had worked out just fine. Now what I didn’t tell her, but I will say here, is that I wanted Uta off the Commie subject fast. I was worried she’d start asking too many questions and would eventually find out that I’d been sending Chairman Mao three thousand dollar care packages every six months.

But that Uta, she was a tricky broad, and eventually in her quest to cure Aggie of her case of Pinko, she uncovered my various dealings with extremist groups, from Mao to the Simbianese Liberation Army (Patty Hearst had it coming. She knows why.) But now I didn’t know she had figured this out. So when Uta telegrammed a few months later to invite me over for a few glasses of sherry and some corn fritters, I happily obliged.

Now Uta’s house was a really wild sight. Candy wrappers and empty cans of Dr. Pepper everywhere. A very strange smell, something like gasoline and old gyros (a smell I’ve come to love later in life.) Patty Duke and Andy Griffith were passed out in her mudroom. But I figured what the hell, I’d stay and have a little sherry and then make my exit. Well, six glasses later, Uta and I were playing Chutes & Ladders and laughing our heads off. Then, all of a sudden, Uta gets this glassy look in her eyes and says to me “Oh Crystal, I’m sorry.” And I just said, “Sorry? Uta baby, for what?” And that’s when she told me that she had put rubbing alcohol in my sherry. She told me how she found out that I was giving money to Chairman Mao and that she just hated communists more than anything. I then told her that I wasn’t giving money to the Communists, I just owed the little chinaman for a bet we made about Judy Garland’s Oscar chances for A Star is Born.

But what I couldn’t figure out is why she put rubbing alcohol in my drink. Well poor Uta is very impressionable, turns out some of her students had been funning her, telling her all kinds of things when she asked about how to poison someone. Well one of them said rubbing alcohol would do the trick and that I’d never notice (that student was a young Carl Reiner!). Well, I sure didn’t notice, but like I told her, if rubbing alcohol was poison, Gladys Knight and all of the Pips would have been dead years ago. After that, Uta and I made up, had a few more laughs, a few more glasses of rubbing alcohol, and called it a night.

Of course Uta tried to poison me a few more times after that, the last attempt resulting in her own death. But, why you may ask is this one of my favorite “family” memories? Well, mainly because it’s one of the few that I can remember fully given that I only had sixteen glasses of sherry, but also because it reminds me of a simpler place and time, when poisoning someone was pretty run of the mill. When Agatha Christie was still alive and writing mysteries about Uta St. Pierre and her trusty Peregrine falcon Alfonso (Uta’s idea.) It was a different, better time, chock full of absolute crazies like Uta, people who aren’t with us anymore. And if that’s not what a family memory is all about, well then you can call me crazy. And pass the rubbing alcohol."


(C) 2006 Gomes Group Inc.


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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

We'll Miss You Wendy


Ms. Gomes recently shared the following words about her friend and colleague, playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who succumbed to cancer yesterday.

"You know, Geoffrey it's funny. It's real, real funny. There are some broads, some dizzy dames who just don't
get it. You know? Bo Derek comes to mind. She was always running around, trying to make everyone happy, trying to sleep with all the best in the business. I mean, come on! Burt Lancaster?? Old Burt hadn't had a crisp pickle since Ursula Andress ran off with that hang-gliding instructor. But man oh man. Wendy? Yeah she was the real deal. I saw "Rosensweig" in London. I was there doing my show "How to Suceed in Crystal Without Really Trying: A Tribute to Daniel Day Lewis," and I got to catch a Sunday matinee of that show. And what a funny, sad, little tart it was. Just like Wendy herself, who I met at the Tony's the following June. Just a strong little bundle of energy and smarts and "lady-tude." Well, she'll certainly be missed here on the Great White Way. I've always said: 'We need more Mermans, more Channings, more Striches.' And now I'll add Wassersteins. I mean, the Jew thing I can get over. When it comes to a gal like Wendy, there ain't anything I can't get over. Except of course, her being gone... So, let's raise our glasses to a hell of a writer, a hell of a New Yorker, and a hell of a lady."

Wendy Wasserstein 1951-2006. She will be missed.


Posted by Geoffrey :: 12:07 AM :: 0 Fan Mail:

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