"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." -- Dorothy Parker
I have written over and over and even did a documentary extolling the talents of the greatest paparazzo of them all, my longtime friend Ron Galella. Ron was chief of all he flicked at back in the '60s, '70s and '80's and there will never be another like him because today everybody thinks he/she-or-it is a photographer.
But Ron made a real historical record for us and he has recently sent me his new book, "Ron Galella: New York," which has Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall on the cover. I have had a really good time reliving the highlights. Ron even autographed it to me so I expect it is worth a lot in these crazy days when every jot, tittle and scrap of anything can be called valuable. (Ron, of course, included the photo of himself wearing a football helmet for protection after Marlon Brando clocked him one. He was then warned legally not to continue to pursue Brando so closely.)
Those were the days when people had a sense of proportion and humor and didn't go around suing everybody who displeased them or said a cross word to them.
The thing about Ron Galella's "New York" book is that it seems so advanced for its time. It is full of photos of famous people and those trying to be famous, really living to extremes, in spite of the slightly still Puritanical feeling back then. Full of outrageous nudity, full frontal some of it, people kissing and carrying on. Except for the fact that Ron's subjects are all real live "stars," you'd think it was today!
His book is a preview of the era we are living in now. There is the shock, the nudity and scandal that the Page Sixes of the world now reach for. This is a moment when everybody thinks they are a star and the more outrageous they sound and behave the better.
They are all here, the stars who made Studio 54 a hilarious and shocking show and many of the names now gone from us, but a few are still together and around (like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. It was a pleasure to see that some things never change.) You want to see Sean Penn in the Madonna days, fisticuffs and all? They are right here. There's Woody Allen with his tiny son Satchel, who was then too young to reject him.
Society and fashion taking off its clothes! You think you can shock me? Why, I saw it all before and Ron Galella photographed it.
I can't wait for the Emmy Awards happening August 25 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
This will be my only chance to try to match the nominees and winners with the shows I don't really know about or haven't seen. It will definitely be an important learning experience.
I hope to memorize a few names so I can tell Jesse Tyler Ferguson from Julie Bowen. And as everybody in "Modern Family" is just great, I hope to learn why these two actors were nominated over others in an outstanding cast.
"I'll Drink to That" sounds like it might be an early biographical look at the life of Elaine Stritch, but it's not. It's instead a book by Betty Halbreich, with Rebecca Paley.
A Chicago native, Betty moved to New York at 20 marrying a dashing Sonny Halbreich. But she found him emotionally distant and the good-looking Betty moved on to become her own legend as a personal shopper for Bergdorf Goodman's posh customers. She quickly became a legend and won the confidence of international designers, movie costume creators and social types high and low.
At 86, she is called "the true fashion original" and her personal services have been examined by The New Yorker and in the 2013 documentary, "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's."
Lena Dunham found Halbreich an inspiration for an upcoming HBO TV series.
I NEVER THOUGHT I'd be the mother of the bride or groom, or of the groom and groom, or whatever. But it has happened. My trusty helper, writer, genius adviser and keeper of all historical show biz thoughts, Denis Ferrara, a free soul if ever there was one -- got married yesterday in Hoboken, New Jersey, to his partner of 38 years, one Bruce Cherksey, a research scientist.
I wish Denis and Bruce all happiness, love, respect and devotion and thank them for lighting up my life. And I thank the state of New Jersey for its social progression.
I can't wait for the wedding celebration party, which is probably being masterminded by the great press agent Liz Rosenberg, who has advised show biz greats through the years. She loves Denis even more than she loves her dogs and perhaps her own husband, Phil Citron. (Nah, Phil is pretty adorable. Denis has to take second place there.)
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
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