Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel -- a Review

It is wonderful! It is marvelous. The costumes! The costumes are so Audrey Hepburn. The music is so Broadway. The street scenes are so New York! The humor! The humor is so funny! I love it!

The only caveat I have is that if you have tender ears, the language may be too coarse for you. But, then considering the current administration is also from New York, maybe it's just a sort of New York accent.

If, however, that is of no concern to you -- it is wonderful!

1958 New York City -- our vivacious, innocent (relatively,) enthusiastic heroine has graduated from Bryn Mawr, has been married to Mr. Right for four years, has two children (one of each,) and lives in a palatial apartment on NYC's Upper West Side (just a couple of floors down from her parents.) She follows the correct beauty regime, has the right kind of friends, is a wonderful cook, and is very supportive of her husband's dream to be a stand-up comedian.

What could go wrong?

Oh, my goodness. I want to tell you so bad. But I have this thing about spoilers. Suffice it to say, everything that goes wrong is surprising and great material for a stand-up comedy routine. And I don't mean HIS. Kudos to the creator and writer Amy Sherman-Palladino along with Daniel Palladino.

Rachel Brosnahan is our Miriam "Midge" Maisel. She's already received a Critics' Choice Award and The Golden Globe as Best Actress for her performance in the series. And she is perfect.

You will be forgiven if you alternate between remembering Audrey Hepburn and Marlo Thomas's That Girl. Add a dash of Marabel Morgan's The Total Woman and a great dollop of Joan Rivers and you've got The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

There are even shadows of Downton Abbey -- The Weissmans (Midge's parents -- he's a professor at Columbia and she's a doyenne) did not raise their daughter to work!

Is she an exaggeration? I don't know. Maybe. Probably. But I do remember that my own mother did not grow up expecting to work outside the home. And, although we lived in a very small town in the middle of a fly-over state, she always dressed to go into The City. That meant hat, gloves, and matching bag and shoes.

Oh and the characters around the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! The most perfectly WRONG kind of friends.

First and foremost Susie, played by Alex Borstein, who does not live on the Upper West Side, didn't go to Bryn Mawr, and who grew up in a family that didn't give a damn what she did. But Susie gets Midge. She recognizes talent when she sees it. She can imagine a STAR.

Borstein was nominated for a Critics Choice Award as Best Supporting Actress.

And Lenny Bruce! Yes, THE Lenny Bruce.

When I asked my daughter Grace and her friend if they knew who Lenny Bruce was. That drew blank looks.

"Was he a writer?" she asked.

Books and writers. Bookstores and libraries. These are the things that I've raised my children with.

"No!" I said. "He was a comedian!"

She and her friend Spencer broke into the lyric from Rent's La Vie Boheme, "Lenny Bruce. Langston Hughes. To the stage!"

That got a blank look from me. I have seen Rent and I do like it. But I don't know the lyrics, for heaven's sake.

Spencer immediately googled Lenny Bruce on their phone. "He was prosecuted and convicted for obscenity."

"Yes! Yes! That was him," I cried. "A comedian."

They had no idea.

"You probably don't even know who Bella Abzug was, do you?" I accused. "Feminist? Congress Woman from New York?"

"No but we know who Shirley Chisholm and Betty Friedan were," they responded.

 At least that's something. However, none of these women have anything to do with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

I did suggest that perhaps Grace and Spencer were not old enough to enjoy the series.

Grace pointed out "You enjoy Downton Abbey and you're not that old."

Well, that did rather burst my bubble. Having spent my fervor, I admitted a couple of anachronisms that a good editor would have caught. Things that should not have been in the scripts because they didn't exist yet. Keeping in mind the story is set in 1958. There were musical nods to later Rock and Roll.

And "Midge mentions 'pantyhose' which we didn't start wearing until the mid-60s," I said.

Blank looks.

"Remember girdles and garter belts?" I asked.

More blank looks.

Maybe not as old as Downton Abbey, but oh my. When did I get this old?

Never mind.

Watch it with Google close at hand. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is available on Amazon Prime.

P.S. The second season starts filming in March. (Filming? They probably don't use film anymore. "Starts production" I should say to cover whatever it is they do these days.)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Women's March

from the Denver Post

Two weeks ago yesterday people all over the country took to the streets. Denver's 2018 Women's March was more than 50,000 strong and I was one of them.

Last year I couldn't participate, because I was between knee surgeries. This year I could and did. My friend Lou and I caught the light rail at Federal Station, the second to western most stop on the  line. Waiting at the station were people of all ages and genders. A good number of marchers were already on the train. As we got closer to Denver the train filled nicely. My daughter Grace and her fiance Bob joined us at the Sheridan station. Along with many others on the train, Grace and Bob wore pink pussy hats. (Well, technically Bob's was a Pokemon hat, but it was pink with ears. Close enough.)

We stopped for breakfast, then took one of the 16th Street Mall buses to Civic Center Park. The Regional Transit District added cars to all the light rail lines and were running extra buses on 16th Street Mall.

Even so, the buses were packed. There were a few people on the bus who were trying to get to work. You should have seen all the jockying around and stepping off and back on to let them out. (Reminded me of those videos of the Japanese trains where uniformed transportation folk push and shove, packing riders into the train.)

Luckily Lou and I were able to get seats. It was a good thing, too. Even with our new knees the milling around in the park before the walk and then the walk were tough tests of our endurance.

                                   Grace and Bob had hats              I didn't, so I wore pink hair!

Early in the week, the weather forecast for The March was, cold and cloudy with snow flurries. By the day before The March, the local meteorologists were promising sunshine and no snow until after dark. It was still pretty chilly, so most everybody was layered up.

We got to Civic Center Park early. As you can see,
we had bluebird skies.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a sign!
Some determined

            Several men and children carried these           And a bit of a tribute to Teddy Roosevelt.
             with their arrows pointing to all of us.

There were signs supporting a grand variety of Civil Rights Issues -- "Women's Rights are Civil Rights," "Girls just want to have fun-damental rights," "Black Lives Matter." Signs supporting DACA. Rainbows to include the LGBTQ members of our community. My favorite was "This is what Trans looks like" (carried by a very tall trans woman.)

 Many were anti-'rump and quite witty.    


Some of the anti-Groper-in-Chief signs were in (shall we say) questionable taste and I didn't take pictures of them. There was one I wish I had. It said "Grab him by the mid-terms." And to that end there were people everywhere registering people to vote, though I think that most of us there, who were qualified to vote, were already registered.

There were so many people in the park that once it started, it took us more than an hour to get to the ACTUAL starting line. Grace described The March as more of a Shuffle. Between the sun and all that body heat we were coming out of our jackets.

The ACTUAL starting line.

By then Lou and I were about tuckered out, so we peeled off and headed back toward 16th Street Mall and somewhere for lunch.

All the eating places from sidewalk to upscale indoors dining were crowded with pink hats and signs!

There was no way to get on a bus to make our way back to the light rail. Too crowded. Sooooo, we walked  -- 22 more blocks, to be exact.

Next year, we're not going to wait in the park for The Women's March to begin. We are going directly to the ACTUAL starting line. And you can bet we're going to vote this fall.