RHINESTONE COWGIRL…These boots are made for walking, talking and singing, FLICKER BITS: Who gets Two Big Toes up?

by Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave on September 29, 2006


She’s got the Big Hair…She’s got the Moxie…She’s got Country…in other words she’s Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Her name is Girtie Sue and she aims to become a Country Singer. But what’s a girl to do with nothing but a can of Hair Spray and a bunch on Sequins? Well, with all the elements at hand to become a big SuperCountryStar – all she needs now is some cheap gas for her Winnebago.

And, just who is this Rhinestone Gal that all the men are tipping their hats for? You know her. You’ve seen her before as Mae West in ‘Dirty Blonde’ at NCTC. Her name is Stephanie Temple and she was the best ‘Dirty Blonde’ that I’ve seen on stage. Now, as great Country Stars, she shines again — or is it the Rhinestone’s? Nope, it’s Temple. In this little country hoedown at NCT – Temple captures our hearts with her sweet simplicity as she tells her story interspersed with wonderful renditions of ‘Stand By Your Man’, ‘Crazy’ and other “He Loves me, but he left me” songs. An Aching Torch Song story to be sure – but presented in such a light, delightful way that you just want to get up on the stage and hug her. She meets an Elvis Impersonator along the way and falls in love with him. They have a quickie marriage…but Elvis has a roaming personality. Yep, it turns out that he has a “Cheating Heart”. Now, who would have foreseen that? Especially in the Country! She sighs – “Did I shave my legs for this?”

The multi-purpose set by Bruce Walters is such fun. It’s a niteclub (nee bar) it’s a makeup room and its Gertie Sues living room. The Sound and lights by Brian Morse set the perfect mood in ‘The Saddle Room Saloon’. Allen Sawyer’s direction is loaded and revelatory and Trauma Flintstone who was last on the NCTC stage in the wonderful ‘When Pigs Fly’ is the musical director. It’s his imagination that keeps this musical in the devilishly-funny category. I positively loved the show. Stephanie Temple is relentlessly delectable.
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! At The New Conservatory till October 15.

(By the publicists’ best friend)

HOLLYWOODLAND: Great looking movie, except for the unnecessary street fight scene at the beginning. Mr. De Palma – cut that scene. Sensational Camera work – but convoluted story. A little bit of L.A. Confidential, but doesn’t hold up. Ben Affleck and cast are not near perfect…they ARE perfect. Wonderful Noir feel to it. RATING: ONE BIG TOE UP!

THE BLACK DAHLIA: In forties talk: “It’s a swell film Joe – but what’s going on?” That’s the problem. Gorgeous film – super acting. However, the story takes so many twists and turns that is gets too confusing…but does exude mystique and shows us the dark side of HollywoodSleaze. With stylish and sexy acting by fabulous looking babes and swarthy men…Noir looks good in color. And who knew? Josh Hartnett can act and show his naked rear end. RATING: TWO BIG TOES UP!

OVERLORD: ONE MORE REASON TO NOT HAVE WARS. Overlord is the codename for D-Day. This remarkable realistic film takes place in 1944 as the Brits are shipped off to become sacrifice in the D-Day fight. Young men, who have no idea where they are going, do know one thing. They have this gut feeling that they are going to die. Thousands did. This film is more realistic than any Hollywood cranked out version of war could ever be. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Strong stuff. This wonderful anti-war pix has been found again and restored. a Opens at select theaters in the Bay Area. RATING: TWO BIG TOES UP!!

Joshua Jackson and Donald Sutherland in Aurora Borealis

AURORA BOREALIS: Has a fantastic cast of actors. There is Joshua Jackson who never met a job from which he couldn’t be fired. His Grandmother, Louise Fletcher does a wonderful job as a caregiver to her husband Donald Sutherland who has the beginning of Alzheimer’s. Kate comes along and save Joshua from complete meltdown as Sutherland charms everyone that comes into contact with him. There are dark, sad moments in this film, but there is plenty of fun and humor. I highly recommend it. The film will open at the Bridge Theater this weekend. RATING: TWO BIG THUMBS UP!!

Remember this? Percy Hammond, a New York critic himself, called dramatic criticism “venom from contented rattlesnakes.” Well, that kinda puts things in perspective doesn’t it?

Buzzin’s advice column”

Dear Buzzin: I hate musicals and my girlfriend loves them. What should I do? “Learn to sing in the shower”.

Dear Buzzin: I want to be a famous dancer – but I just can’t seem to get noticed. “Try dancing across the Golden Gate Bridge Nude. I guarantee that you will get press coverage.”

Dear Buzzin: I’ve always wanted to see Cindrella on the stage. Do you think that will ever happen? “Funny that you asked. It’s your lucky day because the New Conservatory will unveil ‘Cinderella’ soon.”

Dear Buzzin: What makes you a critic. Did you just wake up one day and say: “I’ll think I’ll be a critic?”. Actually it happened while I was in a mental institution. I didn’t like the place and found that I liked making critical remarks about it. It just bloomed from then on”.

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Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave

Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave is a longtime theater critic in the San Francisco Bay Area. His reviews appear each Friday in Beyond Chron.

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