A few years before she died, I took my mother to see Dame Edna, the flamboyant Australian diva, then in the midst of a heroic 8 month Broadway run.

I had managed to score front-row seats at the box office for a decent price. But I was warned: “If you sit in the front row, Edna (Barry Humphries) might decide to pull you up onstage.”

Dame Edna’s show was highly interactive. She sat one couple down at a table and ordered them a full meal from a bistro down the street (which was delivered, onstage, about 30 minutes later). She made a prank call to the baby-sitter of another couple. My mother and several others were given Halloween props to impersonate members of the royal family (thus the rubber ears in the photo: my mother was Prince Charles).

I got a lesson in celebrity when, after the show, we made our way up the isle toward the lobby and main exit. Seeing my mother, random audience members recognized her and reacted as they would if she were Angela Lansbury or Betty White. “That’s Nancy…hi, Nancy” and so on. She was literally living her 5 minutes of fame. I whispered: “Mom, do you realize you just made your Broadway debut?” She shrugged it off. And as for the flash of personal attention, as far as she was concerned, it was all just good manners. She never gave it a second thought.

Here is a dose of Dame Edna: watch how she toys mercilessly with a woman in the front row. My mother briefly served this function (we were warned) but I have to say, Edna was considerably kinder to her.

Here is Edna reeking havoc on “The View”. Watch how, within seconds, she takes over the show.

{ 0 comments }

In Praise of Bill Greaves – 1926-2014

June 20, 2014

Years ago I took a job as assistant film editor for William Greaves, a New York documentary filmmaker.

Read the full article →

Beverly Wolff (1928 – 2005)

September 2, 2013

Like a lot of “fiddle players,” I started as a classical violin, and one summer had the great pleasure (in the Brevard Festival Orchestra) of accompanying the mezzo soprano, Beverly Wolff. I was 15 at the time, and developed a little crush on this lively creature. For one thing, she was both Southern and Jewish, […]

Read the full article →

John Lincoln Wright: Too Old to Die Young Now

January 21, 2012

John Lincoln Wright and the Sour Mash Boys brought modern country music to New England, and along the way, gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people. That’s not a bad way to have spent a life.

Read the full article →

Ry Cooder – My 1970 Interview with the Guitar Wizard

August 11, 2010

[Click for Part 2] Ry Cooder, was in New York, on tour with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. He had just put out his first record (see below), and from the moment I heard it, I was hooked on whatever he was doing. I wasn’t even sure what it was, but I wanted to […]

Read the full article →

Ry Cooder – Part 2 of My 1970 Interview with the Guitar Wizard

August 10, 2010

[Click for Part 1] Ry Cooder hit New York in the winter of 1970 opening for Captain Beefheart, a bigger name at the time, in support of his first record, Ry Cooder. As obscure as it was, I had already discovered that record (I worked at a radio station) and I can still say today, […]

Read the full article →

Will the Real Jared Please Step Forward?

July 31, 2010

I love it when actors fool me. Jared Harris, for instance. I first saw him on Madmen, as the twerpy, creepy Englishman installed to run Sterling Cooper when they sell out to a UK mega giant. Later I caught up with The Curious Tale of Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt and Kate Blanchett) in which he […]

Read the full article →

Daily Digest for July 18th

July 18, 2010

Molly=awesome show. Love a southerner doing a New Yawkah doing a southerner! [oldbaldguy] While OBG slumbered he tweeted about the West Side of NY 4 times. Same tweet 4 times. Can’t somebody stop him? Somebody? [oldbaldguy] Microsoft co-founder to give half his fortune away. http://nyti.ms/cyuYKc Sounds good. I think I will too. [oldbaldguy]

Read the full article →

Daily Digest for July 17th

July 17, 2010

OBG has awakened from his long slumber to attend Molly Buckley’s BIG show Harvey Wallbanger (also a former drinking acquaintance of OMG’s). [oldbaldguy]

Read the full article →

Goodby, Dear Old Dysfunctionals

May 30, 2010

Just heard Tom Rush sing “Child’s Song” on A Prairie Home Companion. Tom Rush was one of the “original folk” performers who rose to prominence during the sweet, brief ascendancy of 70s acoustic music–which produced some fine haunting tracks by Joni Mitchell, the early James Taylor, James’s brother Livingston, Jonathan Edwards, Boni Raitt, and others. […]

Read the full article →