Wednesday, January 31

Recycled Content: Liza Minnelli

A conversation about Liza Minnelli yesterday reminded me of the following post, which I wrote on the original Daily Dave on March 24, 2001:

I See "Cabaret" And Discover More Reasons To Despise Liza Minnelli

I was never a fan of Liza Minnelli, but I truly began to hate her doe eyes and doughy ass after seeing "Cabaret" on DVD.

Here was a movie whose sole mission seemed to be to showcase an overrated singer and terrible actress. With Liza-With-a-Z Minnelli on the marquee, the stories of Berlin nightlife in the 1930s and the rise of Nazism became afterthoughts. In fact, I'm sure the director would have written the cabaret itself out of the movie, except that then he'd have change the name of the film and find somewhere else for Liza Minnelli's character to show off her smoky screech.

The ultimate insult, of course, is that "Cabaret" implies that gay men aren't really gay -- they just want to sleep with men because they haven't met the right woman yet. And, horror of horrors, the right woman just happens to be Liza Minnelli.

I don't much care for musicals in the first place, so after seeing the movie I scratched "Cabaret" and Liza Minnelli off my list for life. That's why I was surprised earlier today to find myself sitting in the gallery of Morsani Hall at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, watching the house lights dim as the Kit Kat Klub sparkled to life onstage.

When "Cabaret" came to town, Cherie Jacobs, a co-worker and a Broadway diva in training, promised me the stage version was nothing like the film. So when Gary Haber, another work pal, mentioned that he was thinking about going, I scrounged up two nosebleed seats from the box office and decided to see the show with an open mind.

I'm happy I did.

"Cabaret" on the stage bears little resemblance to "Cabaret" on the screen. The musical's story line is wholly different, its musical numbers and dance routines are delightfully bawdier. What's more, characters and subplots integral to the film never appear under the spotlight, leading me to believe that whole sections of "Cabaret" were rewritten for the movie so that Liza Minnelli's character would play a larger role in the story.

The stage version titillates and proselytizes, weaving through several characters to give the audience a fictional glimpse of raunchy Berlin just as the Nazis were rising to power. In the movie, however, the camera lens never strays too far from Liza Minnelli's character.

Building "Cabaret" around Liza Minnelli, even though she may be a star, shortchanges the audience. I walked away from the DVD version upset by its myopic vision, but I cheered as I left the theater after seeing the stage version.

I was relieved to see that the stage version of "Cabaret" doesn't reflect the film version's biggest flaw: it doesn't portray gay men unfairly. When cabaret singer Sally Bowles announces she's pregnant, it's left vague whether she has had sex with Clifford Bradshaw, the gay writer who has come to Berlin. When Clifford says "I could be the father," I believe he's saying that he can help raise the child, not that he is one of the men that may have gotten Sally pregnant.

The film version of "Cabaret," in my opinion, pales next to the stage production. Perhaps the video should come with a disclaimer, warning viewers to not prejudge the stage version of "Cabaret" after seeing the movie.

I'm still not a fan of musicals, but I'm glad I gave this one a second chance and I despise Liza Minnelli all the more for almost making me miss a wonderful performance.

Life is a cabaret, old chum, so come to the cabaret.

Just don't bring Liza with you.


The kicker to this story is that a year and a half after I wrote it, I received the following e-mail:

From: JUDYLIZA@---.com
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 2002 16:01:33 EDT
Subject: don't dis liza!!
To: mail@---.com

Liza Minnelli is one of the most talented people on the planet and by saying what you've said about her it just shows how little you really know about real acting and real singing. If you knew a good actress/singer when you saw one and if you weren't just a jealous person then you wouldn't have said what you did about Liza Minnelli. I take it you are willing to take on a lot of Academy Awards judges about Liza Minnelli?!! Obviously not considering she won a best actress award for her amazing performance in this beautiful film. She sings like an angel and acts perfectly, and i know a LOT of people who would agree with that.

From a dedicated Liza Minnelli fan,
Rosie Cogdell, 14, Bristol, England


I typed up the following short, nasty response, but decided against e-mailing it directly to Rosie. I did, however, post it on my site.

Sheesh, get a life! Are you part of some militant teenage Liza fan club -- the Minnelli Youth? I suggest you find something better to do with your time than prowling around the Internet and reading strangers' Web sites. You might consider creating your own Web site to showcase your love for Liza -- and maybe, just mabye, one day you'll get your own e-mail message from a disagreeable, snotnosed kid on the other side of the Atlantic.

Tuesday, January 30

Elephants Gone Wild

I don't like the flippant anti-elephant tone of the following Wall Street Journal report. I must alert the Elephant Anti-Defamation League.

Monday, January 29

Chilly Haiku

Right now in Tampa it is 46 degrees. Later tonight the temperature is expected to dip to 34 degrees. I believe this situation merits a haiku:

What global warming?
Adjust the thermostat, Britt --
Freezing my ass off.

Sunday, January 28

Merger

How serendipitous! Two of my favorite things, Macs and the BBC comedy "Peep Show," have finally been integrated into one entity: a British ad campaign.


More ads can be found at Apple's UK Web site.

Today's Memo: Epic Movie

To: Epic Movie
From: Dave
Date: Sunday, Jan. 28
Re: Suckitude

I was expecting you to suck, but I had no idea how much you would suck. Your suckiness-to-joke ratio is so high that I would have to take several years' worth of advanced mathematics and number theory to even begin to comprehend the implications of a number so large. If I wanted to sit through a joyless, lifeless, wholly inspiring spectacle, I could have stayed home and watched any of this season's Buccaneers games on TV.

Sunday, January 21

Super Bowl

At last we know who will be playing in Super Bowl XLI: the Bears and the Colts. I'd be happy seeing either team win, but I'm probably going to root for the Colts because I'd like to see Tony Dungy hoist the Lombardi Trophy in the air.

Friday, January 19

My Brother's Books

The following item is cross-posted at the Mike Simanoff Memorial Site:

I have started to catalog my brother's book collection. In addition to compiling a large database on my Mac with Delicious Library, I am also toying around with a new Web site called Shelfari.com.

I have just uploaded about 100 book titles to Shelfari. You can browse Shelfari right here:


Obviously, what you're seeing here is just a sliver of Michael's collection of books, CDs and movies -- it's small taste, to be sure, but enough to give you a good feel for Michael's interests: graphic novels, Judaism, technology, Russian literature and, of course, baseball.

Few of these books have much individual meaning for me. Together, though, they're more than a shrine to my brother -- they are reminders of the things he loved: the passions that fueled him, the stories that engaged him, the ideas that excited him. It's impossible to explore Michael's library without exploring Michael's life.

Today's Memo: New Orleans Saints

To: The New Orleans Saints
From: Dave
Date: Friday, Jan. 19, 2007
Subject: Uniforms

I love the all-black uniforms with gold lamé touches! You look like you're wearing leotards with lots of chunky jewelry. It reminds me, for some reason, of the early-bird dinner crowd in Boca Raton.

Good luck in the NFC Championship Game. I hope your fans are just as classy as they were last week.

Thursday, January 18

Juliamix

Here's a CD I recently made for a co-worker's daughter. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 17

Wednesday Evening Photo Dump

Here are several shots I recently took with my cameraphone:

0115071941.jpg
Why have one freestanding lobster tank and one mechanical claw vending machine when you can combine both contraptions into one!

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The University of Tampa on a picture-perfect day

Michael celebrates the Gators' victory
Did Michael Fechter wear pajamas to work last Tuesday because (a) he didn't know any better, (b) he's experiencing early symptoms of senility, or (c) he's celebrating the Gators' victory over the Buckeyes in the BCS Championship Game. Answer: Yes.

Why is "The Confession" filed under New Fiction at Borders?
I am perturbed to find James E. McGreevey's autobiography filed under fiction at Borders.

Shiterature

Here's my two-word review of the following book: Fucking awesome!

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Ice, Ice Baby

Scott Nelson, one of my favorite humans, passes along the link to the following YouTube video. Apparently, this is what it's like today in Portland, Ore. As a Floridian, I'm unaccustomed to seeing ice in non-cube form.

Friday, January 12

Hair!

Here's the best haircut I saw today on teevee:

This is the best hair I saw on teevee today