Liz Smith: Madonna and Miss Lopez — Please Don’t Let Them Be Misunderstood

And more from our Gossip Girl: fine feathers and slow zombies

“I CANNOT get over the energy that Barbara Walters and Liz Smith still have, working in this business!”

This is what super agent Sue Mengers confided only two weeks before her death to her former aide Michael Black. Nice to be linked with Barbara!

Mr. Black and I became close friends long ago and we two have a motto of our own — to wit, “Suckez les oeufs.” Michael has used this to good effect in his business handling temperamental stars. I use it less often, not being as courageous as Michael.

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IT’S NOT easy being “misunderstood on a global level” as Madonna remarked to a reporter over the weekend at the London premiere of her movie “W.E.” The pop icon-turned-director was actually speaking about identifying with the heroine of her film, Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. But she was having her own local misunderstandings just as she was talking. Fans who had waited for hours to see Madonna were apparently angry that she didn’t spend more time on the red carpet. They booed her. Well, I’ve seen the crowd boo stars who stood twenty minutes outside — because they always want more, more, more. (Apparently, five fans out of several thousand were annoyed.  As our London source tells us:  “They were totally hysterical for her, in a good way!”)

The atmosphere was friendlier in the theater. “W.E.” received a standing ovation and the audience — perhaps because they were Brits — seemed to pay keener, appreciative attention to the film, rather than dismiss it out of hand because of Madonna’s involvement. Madonna looked glamorous and appropriate in black velvet.

Unfortunately, her older brother, Anthony, has recently added to the “global misunderstanding” of the star. The long-troubled Mr. Ciccone claims his entire family — father, stepmother and his seven other siblings — have turned their backs on him, allowing him to “live under a bridge” in Michigan. He gave an interview to a local newspaper, asked rhetorically “Why am I homeless when my sister is a multi-millionaire?” Then he gave another interview in which he insisted he wanted nothing from her. (Naturally, he did not ask at any point, “Why am I homeless when I have such a large family — aside from the rich one?”)

Anthony should take a page – literally — from his brother Christopher’s book. Christopher is probably still living off the money he received for his tell-all about M. several years ago. If Anthony Ciccone is lucid enough to give interviews and remember who his famous sister is—and how much she is worth– he’s lucid enough to write it up and profit.

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JENNIFER LOPEZ wants to make sure there is no misunderstanding about her! She loved all her men. Except the waiter. And the last one.

Miss Lopez performed a song in concert recently dedicated to love, during which she cried. Some people in the audience cried, too — in shock — when they saw dancing guys onstage who appeared to be representing Jennifer’s second husband Chris Judd, her dangerous liaison, Sean Combs, and her reluctant consort, Ben Affleck. (We printed our own analysis of Jennifer’s history just the other day.)

Lopez’s first hubby, Ojani Noa and her soon-to-be-ex Marc Anthony, were not enacted on the stage of the Mohegan Sun Arena by chorus boys.

However, I hear there is a dancing version of Bradley Cooper waiting in the wings.

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I’VE BEEN picking up the papers and magazines and seeing lots of feathers entwined in hair, in hats, in vests and probably on shoes for all I know.

This made me wonder; are they killing birds for feathers, just as they did historically? The other night, Turner Classic Movies ran down memory lane extolling the erratic but sometimes brilliant work of auteur Nicholas Ray.

They showed a 1958 movie titled “Wind Across the Everglades,” starring a classic Burl Ives, a young and handsome Christopher Plummer, and the onetime stripper deluxe, Gypsy Rose Lee. This is a perfectly terrible movie but it does show us about as much as you can stand of the heroic Plummer trying to police a bunch of drunken, rowdy criminals who are killing birds for profit. (And the women in the movie are all feathered, fit to kill.)

People have become more ecologically sensitive and the Everglades, deluded, imperiled and stripped as it is today, has probably gotten rid of a lot of the types who commit mayhem on nature. One thing is for sure, nothing is new under the sun! And when I see grown men killing birds, it makes me wonder what’s what with their souls? But down on the King Ranch in Texas and similar environs, I’ll sure they are still shooting birds for eating, for fun, for profit and then there’s that famous coyote who was plugged by a celebrity jogger. Everybody keeps asking, where did the runner stash his gun?

But guns are popular and the latter is running for president.

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SPEAKING OF things I have seen on TV. I’m no big fan of zombie movies, but AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has received such rave notices, had such a record-breaking second season premiere and, well — it is AMC, the home of two of my favorite shows, “Mad Men” and Breaking Bad.” I broke down and took a look.

All I can say is — derivative to the max. Just as I never understand most alien invasion movies, I certainly don’t understand the lure of the zombie genre. When the aliens, with their huge space ships, superpowers and high intelligence, land on little old earth, they never manage to beat us — there’s always a band of rugged guerilla fighters, who avoid the death rays or whatever. And zombies? They shuffle. I mean they are zombies, not athletes. In “The Walking Dead” as in most zombie tales, the whole world is paralyzed and fleeing from a bunch a slow moving albeit hungry and mean half-dead former humans. You are going to tell me the U.S. Army couldn’t mow down hundreds of them at a time? Especially since they have to bite a chunk out of you to turn you into a lumbering loon with a taste for flesh.

Just as “District 9” presented a whole new take on alien invasion — they arrived, but found themselves at our mercy — the zombie genre needs to be updated. We need zombies with a skip in their step and a fast one-two punch.

7 Responses so far.

  1. avatar rick gould says:

    I lived for 30 years in Traverse City, where that bridge is located, that Madonna’s brother now calls home. The word is that Papa Ciccone and various family/friends have tried to help the brother, over the years, to no avail.
    There’s often a reason why people end up homeless, and it’s not always about of money. I currently live in Portland, OR, which is one of the go-to cities for the homeless. Because the city is fairly lax about living on the street…though there are programs/shelters for people. But the rule is no drink/drugs, and so more than a few prefer the streets.
    I walk and take public transportation and running the gauntlet of “Do you have a cigarette, change, phone to use, etc.” gets pretty old, day after day. And I refuse to say “I’m sorry” anymore, because I’m not. I say no. I give to people who I know are going to buy food or pay a bill or something.
    It’s a complex situation. But I think that allowing people to live on the streets is not the answer…and I know I am going to get a lot of shit for saying that…but I think more than a few people feel the same way.

    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      @rick gould. No stuff from me. The Count lives in Austin Texas which also attracts a flux of homeless people. No, I am not insensitive to their plight, but I also refuse to say I am sorry. I am not. I am not sorry I won’t give you a cigarette, change, etc. I am sorry you are in the state you are, but am not sorry that in these economic times I am sometimes unable to share. I do share when I can though. We just went through 6 months of 100 degree-plus weather. I did carry around a cooler of water bottles, and gave to the folks who panhandled at the intersections. Most of them were quite grateful, and I got to know a couple personally.

      • avatar rick gould says:

        Funny, Count… I’ve often thought of what it would be like to live in Austin during the winter months and live in Portland in the summer months– I think they are very similar in terms of people! In fact, I was just wondering the other day, after thinking about another rainy PDX winter 😉

        I am not heartless…you can tell when someone’s having a hard time…I’ve reached into my grocery bags more than once…but I’ve been burned more than once, as well. There’s actually a lot of good programs and outreach here. I donate to them.

  2. avatar Barbara says:

    I’m in agreement on the birds and feathers. And the famous men who like to brag about shooting all kinds of wild life. The same uber-conservatives who insist that every life is precious. Apparently precious only until they want to kill them from death row or their jogging trail. A little hypocritical maybe???

  3. avatar Lila says:

    Just one more example of how money ruins relationships. The earner should not have to hand away her earnings to everyone who has less, just because they are pouting and find it “unfair.” And from the other end, the “poor” family members see the wealthy one as selfish and uncaring. No one can just have a loving relationship with all those $$$ hanging over their heads.

  4. avatar Lila says:

    Re: the feathers, yes. The birds are typically killed. Some were going to be killed for food anyway but others are bred specifically for the feathers.