WEIRDLAND: “Marilyn, Madness and Me”, All the Beautiful Girls

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

“Marilyn, Madness and Me”, All the Beautiful Girls

Cal State University, San Bernardino, Palm Desert is doing a month-long tribute to the Rat Pack and they’re now presenting local writer Frank Furino’s stage fantasy of what could have caused Marilyn Monroe's death in “Marilyn, Madness and Me” at the school’s Indian Wells Theater. The story is “an intriguing fantasy that speculates on many rumors about legendary events in Marilyn Monroe's life and fits them into a pat, plausible hypothesis." The Rat Pack celebration continues March 16-17 with a tribute show to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., and March 23 with cocktails at Melvyn's, where Sinatra held his pre-wedding party in 1976. 

And watch for the world premiere of "Becoming Marilyn Monroe" at the next American Documentary Film Festival April 6-14. “Marilyn, Madness and Me,” a play by Frank Furino as part of the Rat Pack in the Desert celebration, 6:30 p.m. wine reception, 7 p.m. play, Indian Wells Theater, CSUSB Palm Desert campus, 37500 Cook St., Palm Desert. Source:

In All the Beautiful Girls (2018), a novel by Elizabeth J. Church's, Lily Decker becomes a Las Vegas showgirl in the 1960s. Her feathery, sequined reinvention on the Vegas strip introduces a world of romance, riches and fame, but perhaps only love and a true sense of agency can banish the shadow of her past. This touching and deftly written novel moves from the tragedy of untold pain into a glamorous world of Ratpackers and movie stars. Las Vegas in the 1960s with its neon lights, topless showgirls, high rollers, glamorous superstars like Frank Sinatra, is the glittering backdrop for this novel. Feeling guilty for the car accident that killed Lily's parents, ‘The Aviator,’ whom Lily nicknames Sloan, funds her dancing classes. As a showgirl in Vegas, she wears sky-high headdresses, stilettoes, and costumes dripping with feathers and rhinestones. Gaudy Vegas and life in the sixties at the dawning of more liberal times is conjured skillfully in a novel that also explores the complex issues that era presented for our loveable yet flawed heroine.  Source:

Miami Beach, Florida, February 1965: Frank Sinatra was going to be performing at the Fontainebleau Hotel for a few dates and had invited me to fly over with him from Vegas. Frank never referred to him and the guys as the Rat Pack. That came from the newspapers. He always referred to their meetings in Vegas and their shows at the Sands, as the Summit. The limo took us along Collins Avenue, which ran parallel to the beach, and before long the hotel loomed ahead of us. It also fronted the beach and was the most lavish hotel in Miami Beach. Frank had filmed a scene from the movie A Hole in the Head at the hotel in 1959. In 1960 it was also the setting for Jerry Lewis’ movie The Bellboy. Jerry shrugged, looking up at the dancing stage. “I wouldn’t mind meetin’ some of them girls.” I said: “You’re such a bullshitter, Jerry.” He jerked his head back to me. “Huh?” “You’re way too much of a shy gentleman to meet those girls,” I said. “Maybe,” he said, almost indignantly, “I ain’t as shy as I used to be.” He’d been super shy with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, but maybe he had changed since then. I remember he was big brother friendly with those ladies. —"I Only Have Lies For You: A Rat Pack Mystery" (2018) by Robert J. Randisi

A new study by a group of psychologists at SUNY Buffalo led by associate professor of psychology Julie Bowker is the first to show  that a type of social withdrawal could have a positive effect – they found that creativity was linked specifically to unsociability. They also found that unsociability had no correlation with aggression (shyness and avoidance did). Some people withdraw out of fear or anxiety. This type of social withdrawal is associated with shyness. This was significant because while previous research had suggested that unsociability might be harmless, Bowker and colleagues’ research paper showed that it could actually be beneficial. Source:

Jerry kept stealing glances at me. He was completely drawn to my orbit, acting like a schoolboy pursuing his first crush. I thought he was so cute in the way he kept trying to sneak a peak at me which made me feel so sexy. Without saying a word he'd grab me by the waist and kiss me. When there were people around, Jerry usually acted like the perfect putz. Nobody suspected that we were amorous with each other. There was something about his naiveté that made me as hot as a firecracker. One night I was seated on the edge of the bed, peeling off my stockings. “I don’t care what kind of girl you are,” he said. “I'm sure it's my kind!” the jokes never seemed to cease with Jerry. That night he looked a little wistful and he mumbled: “I don't really expect you to believe me but I care about you.” That caught me off guard and I just said “you’re being awfully decent and I believe you.” —"Jerry Lewis, the Bombshell and  The Last Vegas Show" by Jeanne Harvey Source:

In most relationships we don’t encounter an entire person; we experience a composite of the bits of that person we want. The felt burden of this is what, in a poem, D H Lawrence termed ‘image-making love.’ The truth is we like to use people. For validation, for entertainment, for simple relief from boredom. Perhaps (as Marx argued) this dynamic is intensified by capitalism, which makes commodities of people, transactions of relationships. But our instrumentalism runs deeper than this. Capitalism only exploits what is already lurking there: our all-too-easy tendency toward a vicious, unwavering selfishness. Real love, the sort of love people wander through their lives craving, wants above all to distance itself from lust by shedding its preening self-regard. Falling in love is partly the terrifying realisation that you have stepped into reciprocity; that someone is now able to cause you terrible pain. Even if indiscriminate love is impossible, it is a glorious and gloriously daunting ideal. Even ‘in the mud and scum of things,’ said Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘there alway, alway something sings.’  Source:

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