Thursday, June 22, 2017

Easing Into Summer...with Judy Garland and PRIDE

THIS is what my childhood looked like. Conway, SC circa 1960s
Aaah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.
Darell Hammond

Happy Second Day of Summer (June 22nd, 2017!
June 22 is the 173rd day of the year . There are 192 days remaining until the end of the year.
On Monday night, this rainbow stretched across the tri-state area!
My horoscope tells me that I have a magical way with words today and can use them to paint a picture, tell a story or persuade someone to support your position.. I hope to give that impression! The 'WORD' for the day is INCREDIBLE . Think of this word as your mantra for the day. First apply the word to yourself, THEN apply this word to EVERYONE YOU meet. Think of this word as you respond to EVERY POST you see throughout the day. The 'word 'for TODAY is INCREDIBLE ! Please pay it forward...
Judy Garland by Al Hirschfeld (whose birthday was yesterday)
Today's blog is a stream of consciousness blog about things that are on my mind today. 

As I write my blog today, I am listening to Judy Garland
48 years ago today, she passed on. I remember the day like it was yesterday. 
I was eight years ago and cried like a baby. 
I was sad that "Dorothy' had passed. She was 48 and what a legacy she left behind. This blog is dedicated to her and her amazing body of 'worth'! It is also dedicated to my Aunt Grace. She was my Daddy's oldest sibling. As I was working on today's blog, my sister called to tell me that she passed away today. 
I got word earlier this week that it was inevitably probably going to happen this week. I loved her so much and my heart is broken. Interestingly enough, she gave me one of my first Judy Garland biography's, Rainbow by Christopher Finch in 1975. Aunt Grace, you are loved and will be missed. 
What was it within the heart and mind of an
eight year old boy that resonated so deeply? Believe it or not, I've heard similar stories from so many others. 
During the past 8 years and with the inception of this blog, I've had the privilege of interviewing and getting to know thousands of honored and dominant people, and I'm always fascinated by what makes one person end up more successfully than another.
Obviously, Judy had the talent to succeed. Events also led to her eventual success...and demise...at
MGM and beyond. 
Why did Judy Garland go on to achieve the success that she had that eluded her sisters and parents? 

Some observers of the Gay Rights' Movement in the sixties go so far as to argue that Garland's passing sparked the modern gay-rights movement; the Stonewall riots occurred in Manhattan's West Village just hours after her funeral, in New York in June of 1969.
 
My husband and I (together 27 years, married almost six years)
William Goldman described the final night of Judy Garland's Palace run in Esquire. 
The Rainbow flag represents our community.  It is commonly known as the gay pride flag or LGBT pride flag and is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements.There has been a lot of controversy lately about  adding new color stripes and symbols to add more diversity. The colors represent various aspects of our lives and do not have anything to do with gender and/or race, and therefore, I, in my humble opinion, don't believe they have any place in this flag.
The truth of the matter, however, according to Wikipedia, is that it as undergone several revisions since its debut in 1978, first to remove colors then restore them based on availability of fabrics. The most common variant consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is typically flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.  

I get nostalgic every year at this time. It took me a lifetime to appreciate what I had as a kid and I long desperately to hold those memories in my heart.
Bette Midler feels that you can't move ahead if you are looking back. I feel the opposite. I think looking back can propel us to where we need to be.
photo taken from Google to show you a tobacco field
I think back to the days of my youth in South Carolina. 
I grew up in tobacco territory in Conway, South Carolina. 

I’m not a smoker. Never have been. However, I grew up in a world of tobacco. My grandfather had one of the largest tobacco farms in South Carolina and it was the main source of income for some of my Aunts and Uncles and cousins. 
Not so, with my own parents.When I was very young, my father was an insurance salesman, but eventually became a welder for Carolina Pipeline Company. I don't even think they are in business anymore. My mom worked for a factory called AVX
AVX is a leading manufacturer of advanced electronic passive components and interconnect solutions with multiple manufacturing facilities around the world. Long after I moved to NY in 79, my mom continued to work with them until she retired.
When I was thirteen, my Uncle Joe gave me my first job, for $36.00 a week!
It afforded me the opportunity to go see a movie once in a while or to buy a book (my passion) without having to ask mom and dad. 
It was a small pittance but I truly didn't need any more.
But I knew there was a life beyond this and I was going to go after it. I knew that I wanted to be in show business. I lived and breathed that thought constantly. I would perform at the drtop of a hat. My goal was to make people laugh. When I was thirteen, I auditioned for my first show,
Gower Champion, far left (Today is his Birthday). Who knew these people would play such an integral part of my life
Mame, with The Theater of the Republic in my hometown.

I had a two line walk in and appeared in a couple of ensemble numbers.
It was a start and my foot was through the door.I also announced to anyone that would listen that I was moving to New York as soon as I graduated from high school and I did. I got very little support but I was determined!
If my life was a movie, the title would be From Conway to Broadway.
I am part of a generation whose sensibilities were shaped by the Great Depression and World War II.
In my home town, you are born there, you go to school there, you get married, have children (not always in that order), most likely go into the family business there, and eventually pass on there. What I did was very unusual and almost 37 years later, my family still has no idea how to process me. I have always been my own person. 

I have very few friends from my home town. They don't relate.
That being said, and I do love to look back, Bette, I feel that my life truly began in the waning days of summer, on August 5th, 1979, as I arrived in New York and forged a life for myself. 
I'm reminded of Judy Garland's song from The Harvey Girls, It's A Great Big World
I am a work in progress and I desire to be the best I can be.
This is my thirty seventh summer since I left South Carolina. For the first few years that I was here, I tried to get home ever Christmas and summer. Then life began to happen and I was unable to get home as often as I'd like. Either tomorrow or first thing Saturday morning, I am flying home again.
This time,  under sadder circumstances. But as Judy Garland encourages me, I just have to Smile.  

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!

Charles Busch posted this on Facebook (I hope he doesn't mind my using it!)
What a wonderful afternoon at Richard Skipper Celebrates... (June 18th) I'd had a very trying morning on Sunday, and I wasn't in the best of moods when I arrived, but within seconds of the show starting, all tension slipped away and I could feel the smile creeping across my face, a smile I kept for days after. 
-Doug Devita, NYC
I was most impressed with the balance and variety of Richard Skipper Celebrates... on June 18th.  I love hearing Sarah Rice, and her Bourne-Jones beauty is a joy on top of that.  That segment was really top notch.  David Sabella was so moving when he was talking about his children, and the Sondheim montage was unexpectedly thrilling.  I liked the little table where I was sitting because I could watch Richard Skipper's reactions to everything, and that just added to the joy.  I don't think a smile left my face for the entire show.  Good for Richard!!!!
Jacqueline Parker, NYC


What a wonderful afternoon at Richard Skipper Celebrates... at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on June 18th.
Do you remember Johnny Carson and the Tonight Show or WNEW AM from years ago.This show brought me back to those days. Besides being a wonderful entertainer, Richard is an fascinating interviewer. His guests in this show included Sarah Rice and Mark Watson, David Sabella, Warren Schein and special guest Sharon McNight.
It's been such a long time since I have seen such a wonderful show.
Richard has this event as a Sunday Brunch once a month. He is taking the summer off but will return with a blockbuster show on Sunday September 10th.
If you are in the New York area please join me to witness talent that is rare seen any more. (September 10th, brunch at the Laurie Beechman Theater on West 42nd Street)
Elaine Marlowe Mitchell, NYC

Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs , 





CallonDolly.com

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   

Keeping America great through Art!     


Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com







Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It's Not Always About Trying Harder


Hip-hop artist Mos Def wrote, All the things that are worth doing take time.

Happy Tuesday, June 20th, 2017!

June 20 is the 171st day of the year. There are 194 days remaining until the end of the year. This date is slightly more likely to fall on a Monday, Wednesday or Saturday (58 in 400 years each) than on Thursday or Friday (57), and slightly less likely to occur on a Tuesday or Sunday (56).
Tomorrow is the first day of summer! What is your favorite season?
So you can see this is a rare June 20th! Wishing Jon Ossoff great success today. Go Georgia!!
My horoscope tells me that I wish I could relax in a familiar safe space today, but my dreams are calling and I'm driven to answer. TRUE!
I don't settle! I pursue your goals and enjoy the journey. Every day is a gift.
As I sat down to begin today's blog, I was listening to Lullaby of Broadway from the original Broadway production of 42nd Street.
42nd Street, with a book by Michael Stewart, who  also wrote Hello, Dolly!, and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer, and music by Harry Warren. 
Taking the summer off from entertaining to focus on my CallonDolly project

I listen to songs and they immediately take me on a journey. In this instance, it brought me back to a more innocent time in my life and as I look back and realize that every day events happen that take us down unusual and sometimes amazing paths.
I feel like I'm just hitting my stride as an entertainer (with Glenn Hochburg 6/18/17)
I was 19 when 42nd Street opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theater. I had been in New York exactly one year.
It was a different time in New York. I was still finding out who I was. I was living in the Bronx with a woman named Lydia DiVito.
Me in the summer of '79 with The Unsinkable Millie Brown
When I had first come to New York the previous August, I met a woman named Millie Brown, or The Unsinkable Millie Brown, as I called her.
As I've written before, I arrived in New York on August 5th, 1979. I came to New York ALONE at the age of eighteen with $500.00! I had made up my mind five years prior that I would do that on THAT date  and I did. I did it without the encouragement of almost anyone. I had a dream and I went for it. I'm still going for it. There were many who tried to discourage me and/or talk me out of it. My dream was bigger than me. I remember saying at one time that I think those with no ambition might be at a greater advantage. My aspirations and dreams consume almost every waking moment of my life. It even seeps into my dreams.
The point is that I still work at it daily. I'm very disciplined. I get up every morning, grab a cup of ambition, go into my office and am driven until Danny comes home at night. Then, I TRY and shut down. It's not always easy. I'm consumed with the slings and arrows of this business.
Some might say my goals are unrealistic but I have little doubt that you can reach them if I continue to be persistent. Social media has made it increasingly difficult!
I saw a clip last night of Gavin Creel after he won his Tony Award. He said that he is not on social media. It is difficult to be an actor when we are focused on these devices instead of our craft and what's going on 'out there'. I have hit many snags and detours in my life and career.
When I first started having relationships, in my twenties, I often morphed into what my partners desired me to be. I also wanted to be as accessible to them as possible.
As a result my ambitions and career took a back burner. I met my husband, Danny, in the summer of 1990. I was 29. My entire 20s had been spent trying to secure my roots here in NY. My twenties found me drifting from various 'relationships' AND various room mates AND various survival jobs.
As an artist, it has taken me a lifetime to learn firsthand that success is not always about trying harder. It is about aligning myself with the right people, those that are on the same wave length as I.
I have met various people along the way who convinced me that they believed in my talent and desired to catapult me to the next level in my career. This has included agents, managers, producers and various other characters of that ilk. Unfortunately, their agenda was about lining their pockets from my blood, sweat, and tears.
Bette Midler: Current Toast of Broadway and our hearts
Each time, I was left with VERY LITTLE, a lot of heart ache, and a little bit wiser.
I look at Bette Midler's trajectory in her career. She came to New York to be a Broadway actress. She got cast in Fiddler in '64. Interestingly enough, at that time, the other big hit on Broadway was Hello, Dolly! 
Creating her future required her to build a solid foundation first.
She met Barry Manilow and they became the toast of New York with their shows at the Continental Baths.
That led to an amazing career!
She has been honored with multiple Grammy Awards and Oscar nominations for her work in films like The Rose and Beaches. Earlier this month, she won a Tony Award for her starring role in the revival of Hello, Dolly! She has definitely earned this phase of her life!
Recently, CBS Sunday morning did a rare interview/profile on Bette. She said she never looks back. She went on to say you can't move forward if you are constantly looking back.
I have learned the hard way that trying harder at doing the wrong things, making poor choices, and doing the same 'mistakes' over and over much too often, will not bring you closer to success.
Yesterday, I wrote about 'friendships' in social media. It has given most a false sense of acquaintances, friends, and colleagues. I am clearing the deck!
I cherish my friends, my audiences, my followers, and all who have a genuine interest in who I am and what I have to offer. If you find that we are no longer 'Facebook friends', think about the last time we communicated either with a phone call, an email, or even on Facebook. I am probably one of the most accessible people around. I am seeking a totally immersive interactive relationship that I call friend on EVERY level!
I'm not going to be able to soar as I'd like if we all aren't on the same page.
Cherishing my Friends Peggy Eason and Natasha Castillo
That doesn't mean we cut ties. Feel free to reach out anytime. As a matter of fact, I welcome that. I'm just shifting my paradigm. It's ALL good!
Also, if you've been 'unfriended' on Facebook, it's a business decision and not a personal one. It's just the direction I am taking my business.
Reach out to me and I'm here for you, ALWAYS! 

Let's Be Friends! I promise you a great experience!
On this date in 1975 – The film Jaws is released in the United States, becoming the highest-grossing film of that time and starting the trend of films known as "summer blockbusters".
Thank you Alison Arngrim for a great interview today on Facebook LIVE today!

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!

On June 18th, 2017,  I had the great good pleasure of singing in one of Richard Skipper’s Extravaganzas par Excellence at the Laurie Beechman Theater. This one celebrated Father's Day. It was a  terrific show and Richard was, as always, a wonderful host and singer.   The show ran smoothly and professionally and the
Tomorrow is the first day of summer! Celebrate!!
performance level was exceedingly high.  Upbeat and fun it reminded me of those wonderful TV variety shows of my youth.  But it isn’t an imitation of one of them, it is Richard’s own, unique creation.  If you have never been to one, I recommend it highly, if you are one of the regulars, you are already hooked.

 Mark Watson

Anyone who has an opportunity to see Richard Skipper's cabaret shows should BY ALL MEANS do so! They're sensational! Great entertainers, wonderful music, lots of laughs, just the best way to spend an afternoon! I just cannot wait for the next show because I will DEFINITELY be in the audience (quietly singing along)!
Arlene Jacks, New York, NY

Richard Skipper is the consummate host.  I always enjoy the shows and all the performers--and even the little film intros by Michael Masci!  The theme song Michael picked for the Father's Day opening montage is one of my favorite TV themes--how did you know? Keep up the good work Richard--looking forward to your next season of shows!
Glenn Hochberg, Easton, PA

Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs , 




CallonDolly.com

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   

Keeping America great through Art!     


Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com













Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Last Call: Being a FRIEND in the age of Social Media

Hello, Dolly! It's Nice To Have You Back Where You Belong!!
The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it. Hubert H. Humphrey

Happy Juneteenth, 2017!
Also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate South.
Thanks to ALL my FRIENDS who contributed to the success of yesterday's show and all of the shows this season!
It is also National Martini Day! It's a good thing I don't drink! Today's political climate could force anyone to drink, regardless of what 'side' you are on!


Today is the 170th day of the year. 
My horoscope today tells me that I'm still riding a creative wave but it takes a more practical turn today, enabling me to craft my ideas into something tangible. I FEEL IT! The 'WORD' for the day is IDEA . Think of this word as your mantra for the day. First apply the word to yourself, THEN apply this word to EVERYONE YOU meet. Think of this word as you respond to EVERY POST you see throughout the day. The 'word 'for TODAY is IDEA ! Please pay it forward...
What has challenged you today? I'll tell you what has challenged me. Social media. I am making major changes and purging my contacts! 
This Wednesday (6/21) we celebrate the Summer Solstice, a spiritual time when warmth and blessings flow forward.In order to allow this, we all have to let go of that which is weighing us down.
I get a newsletter from Dee Wallace who is a very spiritual person. I have had the pleasure of interviewing her and I look forward to her newsletter. Today,in her newsletter, another lesson jumped out at me.  They always do! 

Her newsletter begins today with Conscious: Awake to one's own creation.
She goes on to say that "What we teach in this community is creating our lives because we are awake to our own existence.
With Raquel Welch (No reason to post here except I like it!)
We are awake to the Power of Who We Are and choose to create ourselves fully in the moment and in a conscious state. "
She goes on to say, "In Neale Donald Walsh's book Conversations With God, Book Four, God states: The degree a species is living in an awakened state is reflected by the degree to which that species self regulates.
The challenge we are all fortunate enough to play with right now, no matter how frustrating that might be, is choosing to be in the moment...every moment...so the muscle of conscious choice is exercised consistently and permanently.
We are in the state of grace of awakening ourselves to the self-creation we are here to experience. "
I have achieved some great successes in my life and some massive failures. I am far from where I desire to be at this point in my life.  I do realize that up to this point, there have been some who have helped me along the way and have kept me up and going.

There have also been some that have impeded my progress. Guess what? I allow it. 
I'm still allowing it. I am responsible for the people I allow into my life AND those that I keep around who seem to continuously bring me down over and over. 
I have mentioned also in previous blogs that I have received the distinction of having 5,000 friends on Facebook. It is more of a hindrance than an asset. Out of those 5,000 friends, according to where I am today, I have 3,196 people following me. How many of those do I actually know or who actually know me?
How many are actually interested in my day to day comings and goings? 
When was the last time they reached out to me genuinely because they desired something instead of because they were/are interested in me and what I have to offer beyond a need.  
The point is that I am seeking a totally immersive interactive experience, not only through social media but with ALL who desire to call me friend or whom I call friend.
Those of you who are creating this with me, you are staying. I am, however, making some cuts.
Years ago, in my late thirties, I was in a rather abusive caustic relationship. I ended up in therapy to figure out WHY I was gravitating towards this. My therapist at the time came in one day and gave me a gift, an address book! Remember those?
She asked me to transfer names from my old address book to the new one. Here was the criteria for transference: When I came across a name, did that name engender a warm fuzzy feeling or a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach or indifference. ONLY the ones who gave me that happy feeling were to be transferred.
Even if it was someone with whom I had not corresponded in some time, the same criteria applied to all. 
ONE person in this photo is a TRUE friend. The others, sadly, at least to me, are merely acquaintances (a bitter pill to swallow!)

Facebook has created these strange little kingdoms in which we are the kings and/or queens of those kingdom's. Each person is determining who and what is acceptable or allowed. People are banished if they have a differing view than you. People have become snarky and bitchy and catty, oh my!
This is no way for us to be communicating with one another!

As I sat down to begin today's blog, I was listening to Louis Armstrong's iconic recording of Hello, Dolly! That recording had a major impact on the success of the original run of Dolly. 
Publicity photo or true friends out for dinner?
Several years ago, I was asked to speak about Dolly to a high school that was doing a production of Dolly. One of the kids asked me what the core of the show was. I had not thought about it before, but without missing a beat, I said, "She must be a great tipper. Why else would waiters be doing cartwheels at the mere mention of her name?" The kids all laughed and the director told me that gave him a glimpse into the direction he would take with his Dolly.
I've thought about that quite often. 
All who know me know that I am writing a book preserving the oral histories of those who have been part of this landmark musical. 


When I first considered writing this book, I made sure nobody had published anything like it.
I have interviewed many actresses who have played Dolly.
I have also interviewed those who have worked with ladies. I've heard it all! The good AND the bad! 
Because I choose to CELEBRATE, I will not share the negative aspects that I have heard!

I am on a path that is so well trodden, but if we don't know what others have gone through, we will probably feel alone in the wilderness. I have been feeling a lot of that lately.
It is my hope that this blog will have a positive
Why, Millie, you're a boob. We could have made it on cut glass alone.
effect on your angst, reassuring you that others are facing the same difficult issues.

I want to be that person that people gravitates towards, like Dolly, instead of retreating when I walk into a room!
On Friday, I went into a deep funk that was hard to shake. 
It actually sent me into several 'aha' moments. I will try and hopefully clarify this seismic shift in terms of where I am in terms of my friends, acquaintances, and business contacts. Some reading this blog might ask, "Does this mean me?" If you ask, perhaps it does.
I'm a people person. I always have been and human interaction is very important to me.
My answer: Good Conversation and being out with nfriends not consumed with their devices
 

It was something I craved before the dawn of social media and I am finding that I am craving it now more than ever.
Social media was supposed to bring us closer together and yet it has drifted us further apart.
How I would LOVE to go back, as I've mentioned in previous blogs, to three TV channels black and white, all stations off around Midnight, except on Friday night.
Annie 'EQUALITY' Hughes: A TRUE Friend!
Best shows of the week were on Friday night at 9pm. Going to the Library weekly. Converse was the Number One brand of tennis shoe AND it was affordable. We had to go to each place and pay our bills. Captain Kangaroo.



I'm throwing back the curtain and showing my followers the little man behind the Wizard who is always trying to put forth a positive image of a man. 

Let's Be Friends! I promise you a great experience! 


Today's blog is dedicated to Guy Lombardo who was born on this date in 1902. He made New Year's Eve an event to Look forward to!

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!

Thank you, Kathleen Hassett Hochberg

Richard Skipper Celebrates is the Greatest show(s) on earth! Richard Skipper is the ultimate host, performer, artist, friend and quick witted delight!! Every show we have been to, he has made us feel like part of the family of incredibly talented performers gathered. September can't come soon enough😘
Kathleen Hochberg, Easton, PA
Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.-Judy Garland
Though I have not have the great fortune to see Richard's show's live (Please come to Vegas!!!)   I do have the great fortune of calling him one of my dearest friends. And that dear ones, is  a great blessing indeed.   Richard is a blessing to all who he encounters.   His positivity will help you through the hardest of days.   Truly one in a million :)  May God continue to bless all you do!  
Love, Jamie Farrar


Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!


Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs , 
 


Original Ernestina Money: Mary Jo Catlett


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NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!  
  

Keeping America great through Art!     


Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com