life: Of The Artist


It has been said all successful actors do something for their artist before 10am. Now there are no rules (AT LEAST I DON’T THINK) for this discipline, as long as you are doing something towards the growth of your artist.

I have always loved books, a trait I know I inherited from my grandmother… while she enjoys fiction, I have always been a non fiction sort of chick. Autobiographies and Biographies have always bought me the most joy. I don’t know I just seem to get more out of history.Like I have said before I am obsessed with people…We are such interesting beings.

A few years back I was on the hunt for Veronica Lakes autobiography. I have read many autobiographies of the great stars of the past, yet hers was one, I just had to get my hands on. Of course it was like searching for a needle in a haystack and it was a 60.00 investment for a small paperback.  When I got the book, surprisingly I read a few pages and stopped reading it all together. Yet for some reason this week I was inspired to pick it up and start reading it again. Yet being the Gemini that I am, I can’t just read one book, I have to read two.

So on my train ride this morning @8:00am, I satisfied both of my egos and read both. First was a play called “Lady Day at Emerson Bar and Grill” (which I completed.) All I can say is AMAZING. It’s a very simple play, it can almost be considered a one woman show. The words and music of Billie Holiday take you on a roller coaster of emotions. Its set at at Bar in Philadelphia 4 months before Holidays death. A combination of some of Holidays most famous and favorite songs as well as repartee and monologues the reader/audience not only gets a first hand look at the life of a jazz icon, but also an intimate look at the nightclub circuit. I have always been curious to know what went on inside of some of those joints. Birdland, The Copacabana, The Waldorf, Cafe Society etc. This play definitely gave me some insight. While every performer is different, and has a different relationship with the audience, there is a sort of laid back element to each jazz performer that I think the playwright Lanie Robertson captured beautifully with Billie. If anyone can get their hands on the play (IT’S WORTH IT.) Its not only a great read, it’s also a quick one.

Now I didn’t get to finish Veronica, but I left off on page 148. I am hooked. Her feistiness and down to earth nature, makes her an engaging storyteller. There is something so human about her, its almost as grounded as Ava Gardner’s autobiography (which has to be number 2 on my favorite list.) She wrote the book a few years before she died, and her days as the Peek-A-Boo girl were gone. She had suffered mental illness, began drinking heavily and started working as a cocktail waitress. It’s painful to read of her descent as one of Hollywoods most sought after stars to penniless and alone, yet it shows you, no one is exempt from the struggles of LIFE. I should be finished reading by Monday, hopefully my newest treasure will arrive soon after (Suicide Blonde: The Life of Gloria Grahame.) Another book I spent wayyyy to much money for, but I had to have it, I mean she had an affair with her husbands son! (they later married.)

I am an artist who thrives on inspiration, so I am so glad to have been touched by these two ladies today.

Anyway I have rambled on…. time to do some Lena work. I’ll leave you with a little Lady Day!

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. maedez says:

    I have loved Veronica Lake for as long as I can remember. I actually just posted about her autobiography last week. Of course, I bought my used copy at a state fair back in the ’90s. I think it cost me less than $1.00! (Suicide Blonde is also a roller coaster of a read, just like its subject.)

  2. Ryan Jillian says:

    Oh man, I wish!!! Cannot wait for Gloria Grahame. I know that book is going to be a debacle of epic proportions.

  3. maedez says:

    You won’t be disappointed!

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