Meet The Lady has been on hiatus ever since the closure of 92Y Tribeca, but thanks to New York Comic Con we’ll be back in full force this fall! Come to see us on October 11th at Union Hall for Meet The Lady: Bullets & Bracelets, our tribute to all things Wonder Woman! Join us for clips, live performances, and a costume contest, followed by a rager with DJ Accident Report.
My show-buddy Kevin Maher and I have been pining for the days of 92Y Tribeca, where we each presented variety shows for several years (my Meet The Lady is a direct descendant of Kevin Geeks Out). We recently concocted a new joint show to test-run at The Actor’s Fund Arts Center in downtown Brooklyn — one which we envisioned as an excuse to simply screen and chat about our favorite obscure film clips, inviting occasional guests to do the same.
Our show on July 15th was a modest success, made less modest by the contributions of burlesque sensation Fem Appeal and VICE journalist Harmon Leon. Below are a few pics courtesy of Tom Henning, I’ll be sure to post an announcement when we have the next date booked.
…I’ll be hosting this “Moulin Rouge” Singalong event at Alamo Drafthouse (NYC-area), the day after Valentine’s Day!
• On January 5th I’ll be hosting the first Kitty Nights Burlesque show of 2014. Come check out the newly renovated Mug Lounge and listen as I read excerpts from Hollywood memoirs between performances.
• On January 15th I’ll be appearing in Los Angeles to help out with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s will-call event at Dark Delicacies. Please come and say hi!
• On January 30th, the Never Sleep Alone crew will be descending onto Joe’s Pub yet again to teach the sexy, freshly-scrubbed masses how to get dirty with each other.
I attended MoMA PS1′s drag ball this weekend and turned a few heads with my “sparkling, towering mummy bride” get-up (including Style.com’s – here I am in their Style File post about the event).
I wanted to do a campy riff on “The Bride of Frankenstein,” since this year has been all about the Reprint Elsa campaign. In fact, I was also featured on the Opening Ceremony blog (see picture below) and they quoted me about the project:
Do you have anything in common with your costume character?
“I’m actually working on a campaign to get Elsa Lanchester’s out-of-print memoir reprinted. [Lanchester starred in the 1935 version of The Bride of Frankenstein.] I’m trying to get her book out there again.”
I’m hosting/producing a gaggle of seemingly unrelated events in the next few weeks, at locations all over New York City. Come and see!
• 10/19 – KEVIN GEEKS OUT: ALL ABOUT EVIL
The Alamo Drafthouse, Yonkers NY
• 10/25 – ‘CLUE’ FILM SCREENING
Q&A with Michael McKean and director Jonathan Lynn
The Actor’s Fund Community Arts Festival, Brooklyn
• 10/26 – ‘DEATH & THE MAIDEN’ MEDITATION
plus Mass of Chaos (Black and Silver)
The Public School, Brooklyn
• 11/8 – NEVER SLEEP ALONE
Joe’s Pub, NYC
[UPDATE: Our "Reprint Elsa" campaign was just featured on the LOGO TV site The Backlot! Go check it out!]
At our January 2013 Elsa Lanchester tribute show, Meet The Lady publicly announced its intent to have Lanchester’s out-of-print 1983 memoir, Elsa Lanchester Herself, republished.
Currently we have a growing Facebook fan campaign and we’ve submitted a proposal to the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which controls her estate. You can track our progress on Twitter via the #ReprintElsa hashtag. The campaign was covered by Fangoria in early 2013.
Elsa Lanchester embodied nearly every facet of the early 20th century zeitgeist. She was born to radical Socialists in 1902, studied dance with Isadora Duncan, became one of London’s notorious Bohemian it-girls, married an Oscar-winning film star, became a Hollywood glamour icon in her own right as “The Bride of Frankenstein,” and spent decades bemusing audiences as a cabaret star and celebrated character actress.
In her time she was greatly overshadowed by the career of her husband, Charles Laughton. Their thirty-year marriage itself was overshadowed by his homosexuality, which Elsa accepted as best she could. This aspect of their private life – and the price they paid for it – reveals itself to be the central story of Elsa Lanchester, Herself.
WHY THIS BOOK?
Unlike many Hollywood memoirs, Elsa Lanchester Herself contains no fluff or PR massaging; it’s written with astonishing candor by a born writer with few regrets and nothing left to lose. Lanchester is an almost frighteningly vivid storyteller, recreating scenes and people in remarkable detail. No one is spared her keen eye and devastating wit, herself least of all.
This book is also a valuable document in GLBTQ history, a detailed insight into a relationship that was both unusual for its time, and still sadly all-too-common. Almost never has an arrangement between a gay husband and his long-suffering wife been so thoroughly or poignantly explored in full public view. Just like their husbands, women like Lanchester are victims of homophobia; her book teaches about the terrible physical and psychological toll this can take on both partners.
In 1983 when the book was originally published, this was not the kind of story that the mainstream was interested in hearing. Not about Hollywood, nor about homosexuality, and especially not about Charles Laughton. It was simultaneously too old-fashioned and too outré. Thirty years later, Elsa Lanchester Herself seems written far ahead of its time, reaching out to the new century’s artists, intellectuals, sexual voyagers, cultural scavengers, and history buffs, all of whom will find great interest and inspiration in her wild tales.
No one would describe Lanchester as a major star, but The Bride of Frankenstein endures as one of the most iconic cinematic performances of the 20th century, and her endlessly recycled image remains a point of fascination to this day. Lanchester had no lines in the film (except in the prologue, as author Mary Shelley), but thanks to her book we have a voice worthy of pairing with that unforgettable image.
HOW CAN I HELP?
The MPTF controls Lanchester’s estate. They have our proposal! In the meantime please contact them and encourage them to republish Lanchester’s memoir.
Sharon Siefert, Dir. of Legal Affairs
Motion Picture & Television Fund
The Wasserman Campus
23388 Mulholland Drive
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
2. Join Our “Reprint Elsa” Facebook Group
That will be the fastest place to find recent updates and requests as things proceed.
3. Share Lanchester’s Quotes and Images with Your Friends
Feel free to steal/repost any of our photos and quotes. Linking back to us is great and helps spread the word, but anything that puts Elsa’s name out there is a win for everyone.
4. Buy the Book
5. Follow Meet The Lady on Tumblr
We’ll be posting updates here too, but Elsa’s not the only incredible lady we’re interested in. Our various events and projects may catch your eye in the future.
^^^Snapped this shot of Jojo, Xosha Roquemore, Molly Tarlov, and Andrea Bowen just before the L.A. premiere of “G.B.F.” at Outfest. They’re smiling because they don’t know that they’re about to have to ascend (and then descend) some very tricky stairs in towering heels to take a bow in front of the entire audience.
^^^Pushed my way through the crowd to pester director Darren Stein for a photo alongside the drag entity Lady Bear, who may actually double as security detail, because honestly who is going to even try it when you’ve got that on your side?
^^^This is what you get if you spot Harry Dean Stanton standing silently on the edge of a balcony at a film premiere in Los Angeles, and very politely ask him if you can take his picture with the moon setting in the background. The movie is, after all, entitled “9 Full Moons.”
^^^This is what you get if you stand in the background snapping pictures of Beth Grant being interviewed by some TV-type reporter who mistakenly thinks she’s in the movie he’s reporting on. Someone call the police, I believe a spotlight has been stolen!
^^^This is what you get when Beth lures you over to photograph her with Dale Dickey, someone she’s often mistaken for (the two should play sisters). Incidentally, this is also how you learn that Dickey knows every millimeter of her own face, working the most flattering possible angles so that she looks magical in every single one of your photos; it’s probably the same ability that lets her look so devastated on film whenever it’s required of her (which is often).
Dear Everyone, I’ve departed New York for a whirlwind tour of all points West. First stop San Diego Comic Con, where I sold gothic perfume at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s gala, and snapped a bunch of photos for Word & Film — in the process getting a giant squishy hug from “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy” star Doug Jones. I had the honor of informing him that I recognized his hand in “John Dies at the End” before they even showed his face.
If you’re into lustrous photos of film actors, I’ll be posting more tomorrow! Until then, you may follow my modest whereabouts on Twitter, where I’ve been a lot more active lately!
Your faithful correspondent