Sunday, July 31, 2011

Celebrating Joan Crowe and Don Murray!

" The trouble with the public is that there is too much of it."
-Don Marquis, American journalist (poet and dramatist, 1878-1937)

Happy Last Day of July!
How did THAT happen!?!?! I didn't even make it to a beach this month. I made it to a pool ONCE! And even then, I had to cut it short. I cut it short because I was heading into the city for a night of music. Music is what keeps me going when the world is falling apart around me. What a crazy month July was with the outcome of The Casey Anthony trial, the murder of an 8 year old Brooklyn boy, the debt ceiling debate, the Norway massacre! That's just this July!

Now, the highlights of July 2011 for me including singing at The Salon, seeing David McBride at The Metropolitan Room, celebrating Marriage Equality at The Nyack Seaport, seeing Baby Jane Dexter at The Metropolitan Room, being at Ann Hampton and Liz Callaway's cd release launch at Barnes and Noble and getting the cd, BOOM!, getting married!

Wow what a month!!(This is David McBride's incredible trio!)

As we creep into the dog days of summer, I am looking forward to dinners with friends, Jane Fonda, The Kong Show at The Iguana, Audie Moran's wedding, FOLLIES!, and Vickie Phillips in Vickie Schlepped Here!

As I've written on numerous occasions, I ALWAYS have music playing! Once again, I believe that if everyone would begin every day with a show tune, there would be no violence in the world.
I have a LOT of cds. 85% of them, I have bought. %10 percent of them are given to me by friends and then 5% of them are given to me as gifts. No matter which of these categories my cds fall in to, many of them just pile up in my closet until I can get around to listening to them in their entirety or downloading them into my Ipod which is always on shuffle. Such is the case with the cd I pulled to listen to this AM in its entirety, Joan Crowe's BIRD ON THE WIRE.
My apologies to Joan but this is the first time I got around to listening to this. I was blown away! Joan, THIS IS GREAT! From the moment that I heard the opening strains of Fever, I was hooked. And when I heard the closing notes of Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss, I was disappointed, because I did not desire this to end! Everyone, order this cd! I have known Joan a loonnngggg time. I have no idea how many years. All the years in my life as far as my friends are concerned are a blur. I do remember that I met Joan through Sue Matsuki, an incredible performer in her own right and someone I have written about previously. Sue is even the godmother of Joan's two kids, fast becoming young adults. What a sexy mama she is!
Order Joan Crowe: Bird On The Wire Here

Joan Crowe started her musical career in cabaret but “caught the jazz bug” when she opened for Joe Lovano in 2002. On her Debut Jazz CD, BIRD ON THE WIRE, she is joined by Tedd Firth on Piano, Jay Leonhardt on Bass, Scott Neuman on Drums, George Walker Petit on guitar, and Justin Flynn on Sax Her shows combine Jazz with a bit of comedy "sprinked in". . She performs regularly with her band, High Society Rhythm. Her credits include performances at The Rainbow Room, The Oak Room in Grand Prospect Hall , The Carnegie Club, Trumpets Jazz Club, The Manor, The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, Westchester Conservatory of Music, Rockland Center for the Arts, The Emelin Theatre, Archie’s Place, The Plaza Hotel, Don’t Tell Mama, Brunelli’s, Eighty-Eights, Orchard Street and The Globe, Harry’s of Hartsdale, Coyote Flaco, Zuppas, Danny’s Skylight Room, The Duplex, Judy’s Chelsea, The Cinegrill in Los Angeles, Odettes, Teddy Cares, the National Society of Arts and Letters, the ASCAP songwriters’ showcase, and the Mable Mercer Cabaret Convention at Town Hall. She is very proud of the money she has raised for Breast Cancer and other charities performing one of her four Cabaret shows: Women of Note, a tribute to Women Songwriters. Time Out New York selected her as “Critic’s Pick” for her cabaret show, Shooting Stars, which earned her first MAC Award nomination in 2000. Her show As the Crowe Flies was dubbed “Fabulous!” by Bloomberg Radio, and “Hilarious!” by the Associated Press and earned her a second MAC Award nomination. The Devil in Miss Joan, a hysterical look at good and evil” garnered her the coveted MAC Award for Musical Comedy in 2002. Before she switched to singing, she was well known to daytime viewers in a recurring role on All My Children, Joan has also appeared on screen in Working Girl and An Eye For An Eye, with Sally Field. Classically trained with a MFA from the Asolo State Theatre and a BFA in Theatre from Indiana University at Bloomington, her acting credits are extensive.
She has performed Regionally at the Asolo State Theater, Kennedy Center, Indiana Repertory, The Phoenix. Her New York acting credits include Dance Theatre Workshop, Altered Stages and Theatre Works USA. She’s married to actor/producer Robb Pruitt.

Joan Crowe’s debut album “Bird on a Wire” walks an electrifying line, fusing jazz with a nest of musical styles. Whether putting a gospel groove to Leonard Cohen’s song for the title track or a Reggae beat to the obscure Beatles’ tune, I’m Only Sleeping; this album exemplifies her creative flights of fancy. She puts her sensual, soldering iron to work when she melds Peggy Lee’s Fever with Diane Shure’s I Caught a Touch of your Love. Her jazzy renditions of Never Never Land and Everything will make you believe that this lullaby and pop tune were always meant to swing. She will seduce you with her sexy, soulful voice on the country ballad Every Night I Sleep with an Angel, then have you tapping your feet to her original tune, Petite Southern Woman. Her smokey voice feels almost translucent on the sentimental The Way You Look Tonight and aches with longing on the haunting I Cover the Waterfront. This MAC award winner for comedy allows her wry sense of humor to enchant you throughout, but it comes through particularly strong on the whimsical Boom Boom, and Twisted.
Joan weaves a unique artistic home by building her musical nest with a little jazz, a little country and a dose of whimsy all held together with an honest voice, and a genuine joy of singing. This lovely Crowe walks a fine line indeed balancing on this wire!

These reviews are from: Bird on The Wire (Audio CD), AMAZON.COM
I've had the pleasure of seeing Joan Crowe perform her singing magic a number of times.
She has the unique ability to sing a beautiful, heartfelt piece and then entertain you with her great sense of humor in between songs. It's always a great time.

I heard about this singer while in New York City recently. They told me she was a hit at Birdland.
Listened to a pod cast and now bought the CD. Keep your eye on this talent.

Thank you, Joan, for all you give us!

Today is also Don Murray's 82nd birthday! I've had a crush on Don ever since I saw him in BUS STOP at The Regency Theatre in 1983!

Donald Patrick "Don" Murray (born July 31, 1929) is an American actor and director.

Murray was born in Hollywood, California.
He attended East Rockaway High School (class of 1947) in East Rockaway, New York where he played football and track, was a member of the student government and glee club and joined the Alpha Phi Chapter of the Omega Gamma Delta Fraternity. From high school he went on to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Murray had a long and varied career in films and television, including his role as Sid Fairgate in the long-running prime-time soap opera Knots Landing from 1979 to 1981. He was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actor in Bus Stop (1956) in which he co-starred with Marilyn Monroe.

He starred as a blackmailed United States senator in Advise & Consent (1961), a film version of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Allen Drury that was directed by Otto Preminger and cast Murray opposite Henry Fonda and Charles Laughton. He also co-starred with Steve McQueen in the film Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965) and played the ape-hating Governor Breck in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972).

In addition to acting, Murray directed a film based on the book The Cross and the Switchblade (1970) starring Pat Boone and Erik Estrada, and he scripted two episodes of Knots Landing ("Hitchhike" parts 1 & 2) in 1980.

Murray starred with Otis Young in the ground breaking ABC western television series The Outcasts (1968-69) featuring an interracial bounty hunter team in the post-Civil War West.

Murray decided to leave Knots Landing after two years to concentrate on other projects, although some sources say he left over a salary dispute. The character's death was notable at the time because it was considered rare to "kill off" a star character. The death came in the second episode of season three, following up on season two's cliffhanger in which Sid's car careered off a cliff. To make viewers off doubt the character would actually die, Murray was listed in the newly created credit sequence for season three; the character survived the plunge off the cliff (thus temporarily reassuring viewers), but died shortly afterwards in hospital.
But THIS is what started it for me!

Happy Birthday, Don! And THANK YOU!

"If I have offended one person, I have offended one person too many" Here's to an INCREDIBLE weekend for ALL!


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Richard Skipper,

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's Up Doc? A Celebration Of my favorite Peter Bogdanovich movie

Do you know the meaning of the word propriety?

Happy Saturday!!
I would like to celebrate a birthday today...not of a man who added to my teen years, Peter Bogdanovich in the 70s!

One of my all time favorite movies is WHAT'S UP DOC? written by Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton and directed by Peter Bogdanovich in 1972. I was 11 years old when that film opened and I thought it was one of the funniest movies I had ever seen. I was already in love with Barbra Streisand!

The year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. Within the context of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) it was the longest year ever, as two leap seconds were added during this 366-day year, an event which has not since been repeated.
It was on this date in 1972, that Jane Fonda was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
She has since apologized.

Hugh: I find that as difficult to swallow as this potage au gelee.
Judy: How would you like to swallow one sandwich d'knuckles?

What's Up, Doc? is a 1972 screwball comedy film released by Warner Bros., directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, and Madeline Kahn (in her first full-length film role, which was also her first Golden Globe-nominated role). It was intended to pay homage to comedy films of the 1930s, especially Bringing Up Baby,as well as old Bugs Bunny cartoons (another WB product).

Judy: You don't wanna marry someone who's gonna get all wrinkled, lined and flabby!
Howard: Everyone gets wrinkled, lined and flabby!
Judy: By next week?

The film was a success, and became the third-highest grossing film of 1972. The film won the Writers Guild of America 1973 "Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen" award for writers Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton. It was placed at number 61 on the list of 100 greatest comedies published by the American Film Institute, and at number 68 on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions.

The story, which takes place in San Francisco, centers on four identical plaid overnight bags and the people who own them.

One of the bags belongs to Howard Bannister, Ph.D. (played by Ryan O'Neal), and is filled with igneous "tambula" rocks that have certain musical properties. Bannister, a musicologist from the Iowa Conservatory of Music, and his tightly-wound, overbearing fiancée, Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn), have come to San Francisco from Iowa in the hope of winning a grant funded by Frederick Larrabee (Austin Pendleton). Howard has a theory about how ancient man may have used rocks to create music. Howard's rival for the grant is the ethically-challenged, dubiously-accented Hugh Simon (Kenneth Mars), who apparently is from Yugoslavia (Croatia) but seems to be doing work in Western Europe.

The second bag belongs to Judy Maxwell (Barbra Streisand), and is filled with her clothes, and, interestingly enough, a large dictionary. No matter where Judy goes, trouble happens, from car crashes to spontaneous combustion of hotel rooms. She never finished college, but nevertheless has amassed a considerable amount of knowledge from all of the courses she took at the many institutions of higher learning from which she was expelled.

Howard: What am I gonna tell Eunice?
Judy: That's the easy part. You go up to her room. She answers the door; now she will have been crying so her eyes will be all bloodshot and her nose will be all red and runny, but you look past all that. You stare purposefully into those red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and you say, "Eunice, my dear, there's been a terrible mistake. I've behaved like a cad, a bounder! But now I see everything clearly and I've decided that Judy and I are gonna put you into a home."
Howard: That is not funny!

The third bag belongs to Mrs. Van Hoskins (Mabel Albertson), a rich woman who is using it to store her valuable jewels.

he fourth and last overnight bag belongs to the mysterious "Mr. Smith" (Michael Murphy) and contains top-secret government papers. There is at least some indication that he has them illegally and wishes to make them public. The equally mysterious "Mr. Jones" (Philip Roth) identifies himself as a being from the government, and is on a mission to recover the documents.

Howard, Eunice, Mrs. Van Hoskins, and Mr. Smith all happen to check into the Hotel Bristol at the same time, whereupon Judy lodges herself there without paying and begins pursuing Howard (to his bewilderment). Two hotel employees (Sorrell Brooks and Stefan Gierasch) attempt to steal the jewels belonging to Mrs. Van Hoskins, while Mr. Jones attempts to get the bag belonging to Mr. Smith. Over the course of the evening, the bags get switched haphazardly from room to room as the four parties unwittingly take one another's suitcases. Howard ends up with the jewels, Judy with the documents, Mr. Smith with the clothes, and the thieves end up with the rocks. Few people ever actually open the bags to confirm that what they think they have is what they actually possess. Meanwhile, Judy manages both to secure the grant for Howard while masquerading as Eunice and to destroy his hotel room. The following day, everyone makes their way to Mr. Larrabee's home where a shooting ensues, Howard and Judy take all the bags and are chased up and down the hills of San Francisco on a delivery bike and a Volkswagen Beetle (after they crash the bike into a costume shop) by the thieves, Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones, Eunice, Simon, Larabee and a few roped-in bystanders. They go through Chinatown, down Lombard Street, and eventually into San Francisco Bay. All the protagonists finally end up in court, under the gavel of a world-weary and curmudgeonly judge (Liam Dunn) who, improbably, turns out to be Judy's father.

Judy: I know I'm different, but from now on I'm going to try and be the same.
Howard: The same as what?
Judy: The same as people who aren't different.

Eunice: [while Judge Maxwell is making a list of crimes with which to charge a group of people] They tried to molest me.
Judge Maxwell: That's...
[looks at Eunice]
Judge Maxwell: unbelievable.

In the end, everything is cleared up, Mrs. Van Hoskins pays the considerable damages in Howard's name with the reward money he would have received for the return of her jewels, the hotel thieves are forced to flee the country and the papers are put back in the hands of the government (though perhaps not for long ...). More importantly, Judy exposes Simon as a fraud and plagiarist (thus getting Howard the grant), Eunice leaves Howard for Larrabee and Judy announces she is taking one more pass at college — studying Music History at the Iowa Conservatory of Music. The film ends on a suitably romantic (and silly) note as Howard and Judy share an airborne kiss while their in-flight movie shows the Bugs Bunny cartoon that gave the film its name.

Barbra Streisand as Judy Maxwell!

Judy: I don't know who he is but I hate him.

Judge Maxwell: I think I want to skip over this part, too.
Howard: That night, I went back to my room and she was in the bath.
Judge Maxwell: Who was there? No, don't tell me, just go on.
Howard: When Eunice walked in and the drapes caught fire, everything burned. They asked me to leave. I really don't blame them.
Judge Maxwell: Good boy. Is there more?
Howard: Sure.
Judge Maxwell: There's more.
Howard: Well, the next day, today, Mr. Larrabee asked me to his house with my rocks and to bring Eunice. Or rather, Burnsy, the one he thinks is Eunice. Is that clear?
Judge Maxwell: No, but it's consistent.
Howard: Shall I go back over it?
Judge Maxwell: No, please, I beg you, don't. Just go on.
Howard: It gets kind of complicated now. First, there was this trouble between me and Hugh.
Judge Maxwell: You and me?
Howard: No, not you. Hugh.
Hugh: I am Hugh.
Judge Maxwell: You are me?
Hugh: No, I am Hugh.
Judge Maxwell: Stop saying that!
[to bayliff]
Judge Maxwell: Make him stop saying that!
Hugh: Don't touch me, I'm a doctor.
Judge Maxwell: Of what?
Hugh: Music.
Judge Maxwell: Can you fix a hi-fi?
Hugh: No, sir.
Judge Maxwell: Then shut up!

God, Do I Love this movie! Happy Birthday, Peter! And THANK YOU!

"If I have offended one person, I have offended one person too many" Here's to an INCREDIBLE weekend for ALL!

Become A Facebook friend of mine!
Follow me on Twitter
If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at

Tomorrow's blog will be a YOU TELL ME...I'm open to suggestions!


And help us get Carol Channing the 2011 Kennedy Center Honor!
Contact me for details!
Richard Skipper,

Friday, July 29, 2011


"The idea of my life as a fairy tale is itself a fairy tale."
-Grace Kelly, American born actress and Princess consort of Monaco (1929-1982)

Happy Friday!
I hope this finds you in great spirits this AM. I hope that you've had a great week and are looking forward to a wonderful weekend. I love the above quote from Grace Kelly. She came at a time, maybe a time that STILL exists, in which the images of our celebrity icons are determined by the press that was/is given to them.
I remember vividly the day Princess Grace died. It affected me on such a deep level. I felt I was losing a friend. Of course her end was tragic. But what a charmed life she led, or so I thought. On the other hand, when Amy Winehouse died last week, I felt what a waste of talent and energy and opportunities. It's not that I was insensitive. It was that it felt as it was inevitable. Was that REALLY the image she wanted to project to the world?

When Grace Kelly was in Hollywood, the publicity machinery worked over time to give this wholesome image and the icing on the cake was her marriage to Prince Rainier III.
It was the perfect end to an already incredible career. And they remained till "death did them part." We ALWAYS had a positive image of her.

Even Rainier was concerned about his image. He was determined to make Monaco accessible to the middle class, as well as to businessmen who dreamed of finding a tax haven for themselves and their companies.

The Prince therefore sought the construction of less expensive hotels, even as Aristotle Onassis asserted that what the place needed were more exclusive resorts. Tension grew between them, especially after Rainier persuaded his National Council to create some 600,000 new shares in the Society of Sea Baths, to be purchased and held by the government. This maneuver caused Mr. Onassis's holdings to plummet from 52 percent to less than 33 percent of Sea Baths stock.
Wonder how Obama and/or Boehner would have handled this situation!

However, there are still many, me included that feel that Grace Kelly stole the Oscar from Judy Garland in 1954! You decide!

This year, best supporting actress winner, Melissa Leo, dropped the "F" Bomb! Her big moment and she will always be remembered for that Nothing succeeds like CLASS!

Listen to Joan Crawford's idea of what a star is:

Amy Winehouse, on the other hand, was tragedy personified. Yes, she had an incredible voice but those demons were just too much for anyone to endure. That to me is sad! Did she have a support system...or was EVERYONE an enabler? Did anyone ever say no to her. Success is a funny thing...people gravitate to it whetherit is a positive image or a negative image.
Can you imagine any of our cultural icons of years prior behaving the way that Charlie Sheen has this year?

What happened? What happened to operating and living our lives with a modicum ofclass, dignity, and respect not only for each other...but also for ourselves?
I had an email exchange this week with someone known to all in the cabaret community. He is ALWAYS putting out an image through EVERYTHING he sends out of being in dire straits. I wrote to him not to chastise him but rather to give him a wake-up call. I told him that a successful image will attract people to him and customers! If it looks like a sinking ship, people will flee.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to tell Christine Quinn how much I love, admire, and respect her. The image that she puts out, at least to me, is someone who genuinely cares about ALL New Yorkers and the challenges we ALL face.

Of course gay marriage has been a hot topic of discussion this week. Elizabeth Hasselbeck from The View added positively to her public image this week, at least with me when she spoke out against those protesters who protested o what was for many a very positive day in New York.
Not so sure about Sherri Sheppard's image after this!
Wendy Torrington does a little jump and Kimberley Moreno (right)...see below... smiles outside the Manhattan City Clerk's office. [Image via Getty]
Me, left, and my partner, Daniel Sherman, of Sparkill, N.Y., wait to get married at the Manhattan City Clerk's office, Sunday, July 24, 2011, in New York. Photo: Jason DeCrow / AP

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So to wrap up today, I asked for five positive role models. Stephen Mosher sent me this list. I happen to agree with him. Thank you, Stephen!

Jamie Oliver, who tries to teach people how to treat themselves better by living healthier lifestyles and caring about what foods they put in their bodies.

Dan Savage, who uses his art, his passion, his brain and his voice to help (not only) gay youth through their struggles, as well as call out bigotry when it raises its' ugly head.

Reese Witherspoon, who uses her visibility as a popular, young, hollywood star to show people that you don't have to be an indiscrimate, ill behaved, embarrassment to get far in the world - that there IS a place for good manners and good breeding, in the public eye.

Michelle Obama, who sets many an example as the First Lady of this country; more than I can, personally, name. And, finally,

Ben Cohen, who always speaks up for what is right and good, who left his career in sports to do other things that would help change the world and make it a better place to live, who always leads with his heart and his sensitivity, in spite of a career that might lead people to think of him as a macho dude, which could not be further from the truth.

And from Ron Tunning Five People who project A Negative Image:

1. Eric Cantor

2. Stephen Baldwin

3. Anita Bryant

4. Sarah Palin

5. Michele Bachmann
She should be praying about the image she projects. But I think she is praying the gay away...but he's still there!

Last night I was thrilled that MY quote, "If I have offended one person, I have offended one person too many" was tweeted! That made my day. I hope this blog makes yours! What image are YOU putting out today? Here's to an INCREDIBLE weekend for ALL!

Become A Facebook friend of mine!
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If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at

Tomorrow's blog will be a YOU TELL ME...I'm open to suggestions!


And help us get Carol Channing the 2011 Kennedy Center Honor!
Contact me for details!
Richard Skipper,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"I Aspire" A Celebration of Truman Capote's Famed Black and White Ball

"Beware of monotony;it's the mother of all the deadly sins."
_Edith Wharton, Anerican author (1862-1937)

Happy Thursday!
Light the candles...get the ice out...
I hope this finds you well and BUSY! I got up this morning and the above quote was the first quote I saw today and I love it! Many things can be said about me. Monotonous is not one of them. mo·not·o·ny/məˈnätn-ē/Noun
1. Lack of variety and interest; tedious repetition and routine.
2. Sameness of pitch or tone in a sound or utterance.

I'm planning a big event for October and I'm using Truman Capote's infamous black and white ball as my template. Only the positive aspects of course. Truman Capote was a literary legend, and two major motion pictures focused on how he created his masterpiece, In Cold Blood.
Flush with the bestsellerdom of In Cold Blood, which earned him millions, Capote decided to throw an extraordinary masked ball-partly in honor of his friend the Washington Post president Katherine Graham and partly to celebrate his own success at the end of the grueling process of writing the book-at New York's legendary Plaza Hotel. For several months, the most sought-after piece of paper in New York and jet-setting society was the tasteful white card bearing the words, " Mr. Truman Capote requests your company at a Black and White Dance." Capote boasted that he invited 500 friends but made fifteen thousand enemies-those who weren't invited.

The glittering roster of guests included Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, the young actress Candice Bergan, literary lions Norman Mailor and William F. Buckley, and various international crowned heads, Kennedys, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Whitneys.

Social snubs and prickly rivalries, no doubt, swirled through the ballroom at New York's Plaza Hotel that night in 1966... on the night Benson photographed Truman Capote's notorious Black & White Ball. Tallulah Bankhead insulted Norman Mailer, Lauren Bacall spurned eager dance partners, and the host himself tried to physically block the exit when Frank Sinatra and then-wife Mia Farrow departed at midnight.

Desiring to keep the party mix interesting and unpredictable, Capote also invited people from the town where the murders from In Cold Blood occurred, publishing types, and even the doorman from the UN Plaza, his apartment building.

In PARTY OF THE CENTURY* THE FABULOUS STORY OF TRUMAN CAPOTE AND HIS BLACK AND WHITE BALL, Deborah Davis, in fascinating detail, captures the drama and excitement of The ball itself.
(Katherine Graham And Truman Capote)

If you opened your mailbox in the fall of 1966 and found this invitation in your mailbox, you knew you were on the "it" list: "In honor of Mrs. Katharine Graham / Mr. Truman Capote / requests the pleasure of your company / at a Black and White Dance / on Monday, the twenty-eighth of November / at ten o'clock / Grand Ballroom, The Plaza / DRESS Gentlemen: Black tie; Black mask. Ladies: Black or White dress; White mask; fan. R.S.V.P. Miss Elizabeth Davis, 465 Park Avenue, New York." This was the most coveted invitation of the 1960s, the card asking the recipient to attend the "Party of the Century", Truman Capote's legendary Black and White Ball.
One of the most iconic and memorable dinner parties ever thrown, the Black and White Ball still holds a special place in the history of American high society. This is its story.

Truman Capote is perhaps best known for his 1958 novella "Breakfast at Tiffany's" which was later translated into the Audrey Hepburn film classic of the same name.
(Jack Mitchell photographed Truman Capote in his United Nations Plaza apartment (above) in color and black and white for the Chicago Tribune Magazine. When Mitchell asked Capote why there was water in a vase containing artificial calla lilies, Capote replied "To make them look real, of course!" The blog is all about parties!
- Craig B. Highberger)

Already a well respected author and popular figure on the social scene by the mid-1960s, Capote's fame and status skyrocketed with the huge commercial success of his 1965 book "In Cold Blood", which would also later become a movie. "In Cold Blood" told the story of the brutal murders of a farmer and his family in Kansas, and despite some question as to how factually accurate Capote's account of the events were, the book is widely acknowledged as the first true crime book, thus launching the genre.
The success of "In Cold Blood" made Truman Capote a millionaire (although by his own account, the $2 million he made is less impressive when the six years spent researching and writing the book are taken into account), and helped to secure his place in high society.
(Tallulah Bankhead)

William Frank Buckley, Jr.

(November 24, 1925 – February 27, 2008) was an American conservative authorand commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing was noted for extensive vocabulary.

The Plaza Hotel in New York City is jointly owned by Elad Properties and Kingdom Holdings, a Saudia Arabia based corporation. It has been managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts since 1999.

The commercial and social success that Truman Capote achieved for himself was the pinnacle of the dreams of the young Alabama boy whose motto was, "I aspire". Capote was already a fixture on the New York social scene before the release of "In Cold Blood" and had a group of society ladies with whom he often dined known as his "flock of swans". Truman's blueblood "swans" included fixtures of American society: Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Gloria Guinness, Lee Radziwill (sister of Jacqueline Kennedy), C.Z. Guest, and Marella Agnelli. The socialites of New York affectionately referred to Truman Capote as Tru Heart or Tru Love, and he was like their favorite little pet (albeit one with a sharp tongue and an attitude).

To celebrate his grand achievements, Capote decided to throw a party. Not just a party, but the party, the one to which everyone who was anyone would desperately desire to be invited. He set the date for November 28, 1966 in the Grand Ballroom of New York's legendary Plaza Hotel. Capote wanted his party to be spectacular, to make a splash, and he set about making that come true. The event was much more than a party to Capote, it was performance art, and a childhood dream come true. Realizing that it would look better to at least pretend that the party was in honor of someone else, Capote designated Washington Post publisher Katharine (Kay) Graham as the guest of honor.

Speaking of the guest list, it is one of the most interesting parts of the story behind the Black and White Ball. Truman Capote was a skilled social climber and a master manipulator. When it was he who held the power, he decided to take the opportunity to make or break people socially. Capote taunted potential guests by saying, "Well maybe you'll be invited, and maybe you won't". He was fond of saying that when he threw his famous party, he made 500 friends and 15,000 enemies.
Some said that it was less about whom Capote did invite, and more about the people whom he consciously snubbed. Capote meant for the guest list to the Black and White Ball to become the 20th Century's answer to the famous "400" of the Gilded Age (an 1892 list of the four hundred members of high society who could fit in Mrs. Astor's ballroom on 5th Avenue), and in many ways it did.

An expert at self-promotion, Capote got the kind of publicity for his upcoming party that had never been seen before. People were desperate to score invitations to the Party of the Century.
Pleas were made, cash bribes were offered, and would-be party goers phoned so often that Capote was finally driven out of New York for a time. One of the few guests whose begging was successful was a man who told Capote that his wife had threatened suicide if she did not make it onto the "in" list. Not wanting to be the cause of a death (his own mother had been a suicide), Capote did agree to extend an invitation to the unfortunate woman and her husband.

(Gloria Guinness, William and Babe Paley)

Barbara "Babe" Cushing Mortimer Paley (July 5, 1915 – July 6, 1978) was an American socialite and style icon. She was first privately, and later publicly, known by the popular name "Babe" for most of her life. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1958.

Some women are born into their fortunes, others earn them the old fashioned way: they marry them. Lady Slim Keith fell into the latter category. Born Nancy Gross in Salinas, California, Slim was an unremarkable girl in a strict, unhappy home ruled by her bigoted father. Her difficult childhood was made more bearable by her mother, as well as the John Steinbecks, their neighbors and good friends.

Read more: Slim Keith - the Fashion Spot

(Gloria Guinness and her daughter, Dolores Guinness
both wearing Balenciaga. Photograph by Henry Clarke for French Vogue, 1957)
Gloria Guinness (August 27, 1912 – November 9, 1980),
born Gloria Rubio y Alatorre, was a Mexican-born socialite and fashion icon of the 20th century, and a contributing editor to Harper's Bazaar from 1963 until 1971. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1964.

Lee Radziwill:

PARTY OF THE CENTURY* THE FABULOUS STORY OF TRUMAN CAPOTE AND HIS BLACK AND WHITE BALL lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings of the guests and their gorgeous and extravagant costumes, masks, and jewels and including the guest list, the recipe for the Plaza chicken hash served at the ball, and other memorabilia, this portrait of revelry at the height of the swirling, swinging, turbulent sixties will be the book of the season for anyone interested in American popular culture and the lifestyles and legacies of the rich, famous, and talented.

C.Z. Guest with her son

Capote carried a composition notebook around with him for weeks, working on the guest list. Names went on the list, names were removed, and some were placed back on. When the final guest list was complete, it included 540 people, of whom close to 500 ultimately attended the ball. To hear it told, though, quite a few more people were invited; there were plenty of social climbers who told their friends that they had been invited to the Black and White Ball, but had to be in London or Paris on that night (and then actually left the country to keep up the charade!). Their efforts were all for naught, however, as Capote "leaked" the guest list to the New York Times, which published it in its entirety the day after the party.

Thank you Truman Capote for creating a world we will probably never see again and thank you Deborah Davis for creating a fascinating look into that world with PARTY OF THE CENTURY* THE FABULOUS STORY OF TRUMAN CAPOTE AND HIS BLACK AND WHITE BALL !


Also, Truman Capote's Black And White Ball

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