ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE

Edited by R.T. Jordan
Author, SET SAIL FOR MURDER,
FINAL CURTAIN
, etc.

www.Rtjordan.com

So, a homeless guy walks up to a stranger and says, “I haven’t eaten in so long I’ve forgotten how it tastes.” Stranger says, “It tastes about the same.”
“Knock-knock.” Forget it. Knock-knock jokes are completely wasted on the homeless.

BOO! HISS!!  Yeah, we feel the same outrage that you do. We are completely unhinged and on board with your indignation. There’s absolutely no levity in homelessness. Plus, jokes about the homeless are as difficult to come up with as reasons to buy Dick Cheney’s new autobiography. N’est-ce pas?

Unlike the plethora of Helen Keller jokes: What was Helen Keller’s favorite color? Corduroy. How did Helen Keller’s parents punish her? They left the plunger in the toilet. What did Helen Keller say when she found the cheese grater? It was the most violent book she’d ever read.

Or blonde jokes: Three blondes were walking through the forest when they came upon a set of tracks. The first blonde said, “Those are deer tracks.” The second blonde said, “No, those are elk tracks.” The third blonde said, “You’re both wrong, those are moose tracks.” The blondes were still arguing when the train hit them. Q: What do you call a swimming pool full of blondes? A: Frosted Flakes.  Q: What job function does a blonde have in an M&M factory? A. Proof reader.

Or the gutter variety lame (but still funny) jokes: Two guys are walking down the street and see a dog on the lawn, licking his balls.  One guy says to the other, “Man, I sure wish I could do that.” The other guy says, “Don’t you think you ought to pet him first?”

Okay, so there’s a really good reason why there aren’t a lot of jokes about homeless people.

BECAUSE BEING HOMELESS SUCKS!
IT’S F’ING INSANELY BEYOND TERRIBLE!
THERE’S NOTHING REMOTELY AMUSING ABOUT IT!

(It’s far worse than that totally gross, but apparently becoming common practice among new mothers of eating their placenta, ya know that bloody after birth discharge messy stuff. Placenta paté? Placenta omelets? Placenta polenta? At least she has something to eat!)

Illustration by Mark Machto for TIME


THIS COMPLETELY SUCKS
(And not in a
moist fun way)

We at BRUISES THE GIN have a former colleague whose address is wherever his car is parked. We’re totally reeling about the situation. Makes us jazzed to get our own mortgage statements each month and know that we can pay the insane price of property in SoCal. That goes for tax and insurance bills, utilities, refuse hauling, gardener, pool man, handyman, cleaning lady, bug exterminator, cell phone and cable TV invoices as well as the frivolous amounts of moolah we spend at that coffee place that’s so ubiquitous they no longer even use their name on the their logo. We seriously don’t mind paying these bills!

AN INSANELY MISERABLE AND “IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME” STORY
By
R.T. Jordan

Scuzzy apartment building.

Until a couple of years ago, Mike, a friend of BRUISES THE GIN, worked in Hollywood. In the film publicity biz. At The Walt Disney Studios. He wasn’t an exec, just a hard-working “cast member.” So this guy decides to do something to better his life. To continue his formal education. Long story short, he’s accepted into a good school. Moves to Michigan. Does well with his classes. Then the economy tanks, like Obama’s approval rating. Guy is laid off from a part-time job. Can’t find another. Even a soul-numbing gig behind the Clinique counter at freakin’ Macy’s. Guy runs out of money. Forced to drop out of school. Lives on potatoes  (for the cost and various ways of preparation, he said). Eventually, can’t pay his rent. Loses apartment. Moves in with a friend. Friend changes her mind. Guy gets a room in an icky motel @ $35.00 a night. Eventually runs out of what little coin he’d saved. Sleeps in his car. Calls parents for help. Is told to go away. Hits a homeless shelter in Detroit. Conditions are so appalling and dangerous he flees. Police hassle him for sleeping in his car parked on a residential street. Cell phone gets turned off. All communication, save for using the internet at libraries, is gone. What the hell is he (or anyone in this predicament) to do? When one falls so far down that deep hole, how does one climb back up and crawl out without showering for an interview, or having a phone to receive a job offer? How did this happen to Mike? How could it have been avoided? Crappy karma? A broken mirror? Voodoo spell? Bio-waste known as “Scary Shari” Draper, choking the life-force energy out of every being on the planet (an inside joke that Mike, and readers of the Ben Tyler novel Tricks of the Trade and a buncha Hollywood insiders will get.)

"Scary Shari" Draper. On a good day.

There’s no happy ending. Yet.

CONSCIOUS/UNCONSCIOUS THOUGHTS THAT GIVE US NIGHTMARES

These are some of the notes we receive now and again from our homeless chum. We don’t know how he manages to maintain a decent sense of humor, but he actually does. More power, man. [Ed. note: Verbatim]

“Yep, it sucks.  I just went out to the parking lot and cried in my car!  I haven’t slept in 3 nights.  I slept a little (maybe two hours) at that sketchy Salvation Army, where I didn’t shower.  Too many crackheads, and everything I own is in my car.  My Low Fuel light is on in my car.  

I can’t drive anywhere, but I can’t stay in this town. I just want one night of sleep without worrying the cops will now notice my moving van (car) again. I switched neighborhoods last night but of course a cop cruised by slowly at 4am (I was still up and watching every set of headlights) so I left for fear that he’d turn around.  Headed to Meijer and just sat there. Then here to the library where I’ve been for 7 hours. No food, just drinking fountain water.  I could barely read anything because it was all blurry.  I think I may have seen an article on how sleep deprivation can kill you 🙂  I may have a place to be starting Thursday, but I’ll never make it!”

An expected follow-up: “He more or less backed out.  Or seemed apprehensive.  He did buy me Chicken McNuggets though.  I saw his house, definitely decorated by a woman in the 1950s.  Anyways, he just didn’t say much and when I left he said “let me know how it goes.”  The decor wouldn’t have worked for me anyway, primarily due to his lack of a TV….. no TV!?”

Just this morning: I doubt he’ll change his mind. But, it doesn’t really matter anyway, I’m getting used to disappointment 😦  On a positive note, I did work 8 hours yesterday.  $48!  Since I hadn’t showered in a week I got my motel room for $35, $10 in gas (which, given the current gas prices, amounted to just over 1/4 tank) and $2 in food. I was left with one dollar.  But by 11pm last night I couldn’t sleep because I was STILL so hungry. I laid in bed last night contemplating how I would spend that one dollar on food today. But then it occurred to me, if I only have one dollar to eat on Friday, that will leave me with nothing to eat on Saturday. Then, being so hungry and only having the one dollar, I figured what difference did it make whether I had no food on Friday or whether it was no food on Saturday? So, at 11:30pm last night I made a beeline for Taco Bell and spent my last dollar.  I chose to begin my “no food” regiment today. Now, if I were a smart man, I would have skipped the motel, put more $$ in my gas tank, and had more $$ for food.  But my body was SO dirty. I hadn’t changed clothes all week, including underwear and socks.  In fact I could feel my feet sticking to the insides of my shoes.  I badly needed to wash. I hope another job comes up soon, but with it being Friday, I’ll most likely have to wait until Monday morning to see if something else turns up on the job front. And that’s only a “maybe.” It’s gonna be a loooong weekend.”

IT’S THE JOURNEY, MAN
(Huh?)

We’re just sayin’ that this dude, and every other dislocated human being on the planet, was once someone’s baby, with a clean slate and unlimited potential. With a smile. Who cried. Wanted hugs. And plush animal toys. And more hugs. And more kisses. All the body contact stuff that every  miraculous soul in the universe needs and craves and of which no number of iPad2s or 80” flat screen televisions or

My eyes say it all. I'm totally scared. I just want my life to turn out happy.

Starbucks double ristretto venti nonfat organic chocolate brownie frrappuccino extra hot coffees can ever take the place.

The world is a contradiction between the platinum haves and hungry have-nots. It’s Jen Aniston constantly in your face obvious. If you’ve got IT (whatever commodity IT is this week), unzip it, bring it out for public display in the perfect California sunshine and show it off for fun and profit beside your pebble-teched swimming pool––the one with the built-in liquor bar and the salt water hot tub and the fixed underwater digital camera for catching skin and genitalia for your collection of pool porn). Build that McMansion on the corner lot. Out-do Louis XVI with a super-sized Beverly Hills estate. But for god’s sake, avert your eyes from anything remotely unpleasant like um, er, headline news. Stick to the “reality” of The Real Wives of Beverly Hills, Millionaire Matchmaker, or Fat Daddy Wants to Buy a Freakin’ Trophy Baby Wife. Ya know? The important stuff.

So. To Mike. To every other hungry and displaced being on the planet facing an unexpectedly (and temporary) derailed life and asking the totally reasonable questions: “What the f***? How am I going to survive another minute, hour, day? I’m alone and afraid, but what can I do?” We at BTG are getting all metaphysical and tree-huggy and Zen on you and saying that “thoughts are things” and we’re absolutely sending you our most powerful thought vibrations for serenity and peace and jobs and food and clothes and apartments and girlfriends and transcendent love and sex and soap bubbles filled with unlimited possibilities and Napa Valley wines.

We’d at least like to offer the following government information for any of you who are homeless or know someone who is homeless: http://portal.hud.gov:80/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/homelessness

$ $ $

PRESS RELEASE:
For Immediate Attention.

BGN IS CASHIN’ IN

Note to Michele: Leave it to the Pros, Honey!

Dear bright, empathetic and amazingly indulgent readers of BTG, we’re totally taking advantage of this untapped metropolitan media market called homelessness, the way Michele Bachmann and her dreamy chubby hubby Marcus’ reparative therapy center exploits men and women who are told to loathe themselves ’cause their biological natures are in polar opposition to a godless church teaching, or they’re from families of cretin Creationists like the fence straddling Rick Perry, or whatever. BTG Network (BGN), our all-new cable outlet, is launching HOMELESS but not CHROMELESS: The New Upwardly Mobile,™ an original unscripted television series that’s certain to make the rest of us feel good about our Nestle Crunch Bars lot in life.

Our motto: “THERE’S ALWAYS ONE STEP FURTHER
DOWN YOU CAN GO.”

BRUISES THE GIN NETWORK in HD! (Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle)

Taking its place among the most satanic shows in the pantheon of reality series, such as Celebrity Detox Camp, Whose Your Daddy and Britain’s Worst Teeth, each weekly episode, will feature an attractive homeless person (casting for John Benjamin Hickey look-a-likes) with nothing more than his Honda, Mercedes or Dodge Ram (shopping carts not accepted) and the total lifetime accumulation of physical possessions all stuffed into the trunk and every available interior space. It’s Hoarders meets Pimp My Ride meets Extreme Makeover: Cardboard Refrigerator-Box Edition. Our LHP (Lucky Homeless Person), unaware that the crock of crap we’re throwing on him isn’t just another episode in a life-long sequence of waking nightmares, will be evicted from his vehicle by a Kardashian posing as a hot repo agent, and stalked throughout the week by a hidden camera spying on LHP as he goes from raiding trash cans to peeing in storm drains to modeling at freeway off-ramps in a desperate search for the meaning of life. If he’s not dead from malnutrition, hypothermia or another homeless person beating his brains against a curb for LHP’s shoes, he’ll be reunited with his all-new classy chassy.

Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle

Imagine LHP’s surprise when he sees how we’ve invaded the only private space he had left in the universe.

AMENITIES WILL INCLUDE:

* Full wine rack
* Exercise area

* Library of cookbooks and bound compilations of
Architectural Digest

* Krups coffee maker

Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle

* Game area
* Diaper changing station
* Pet kennel

* Home theater
* Laundry area
* Day spa

MEET RENOWNED INTERIOR DESIGNER AND FRIEND TO THE HOMELESS, MARK REINHART.

We’ve invited noted Los Angeles interior designer Mark Reinhart to create a sketch of revamped wheels for this otherwise shelterless John Doe.

A native of Merrillville, Indiana, Reinhart has spent his life in the arts. From an early age he studied art, music, scenic design, voice, acting, choreography and piano. For 25 years he appeared in musical theater productions directed and produced by his parents. After graduating from Indiana University he relocated to California where he created LASTING IMPRESSIONS,  a design firm which provides complete interior makeovers, custom murals, illustrations and graphic designs. Among Reinhart’s most admired work is the Hollywood Hills home re-do he created for novelist Ben Tyler (“Tricks of the Trade”)

Hollywood Hills home designed by Mark Reinhart

and his partner of a hundred thousand years, composer/lyricist Billy Barnes (“Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?”).

"Whenever you're tired of something (or some one), redecorate!" -- Mark Reinhart

“Our hill-top home reflects our uncluttered lifestyle, of which the homeless would be the first to appreciate,” says Tyler who generously invited scavengers to the “dumpster-do” in which he had tossed practically everything the couple had collected during their centuries old union.

“How many Tiffany & Co. sterling silver pen and pencil sets does a family need?” asks Barnes.

“We’re very philanthropic. Screenwriters sleep on our couch in the media room,” Tyler adds.

Tyler and Barnes enjoy hosting intimate dinner parties at their Hollywood Hills pied-à-terre and give leftovers to Rico, who lives in the bushes near their home.

Q&A WITH DESIGNER MARK REINHART

BTG: WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF INTERIOR DESIGN?
MR: Keep it simple, personal, uncluttered and inviting. All at a discounted price of course!
BTG: WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE AMATEURS MAKE WHEN DECORATING A ROOM?
MR: Probably not seeing the big picture. Most people get focused on one thing and don’t realize how it will connect or reflect on everything else in the room. You want to make a room visually balanced.
BTG: WHAT’S THE “IN” DESIGN FASHION TREND RIGHT NOW?
MR: 
Bold colors are very popular now with vivid blues, greens, orange, pinks and purples being everywhere. It’s still popular to mix old and new pieces in a room.
BTG: WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT TREND. ANY IDEAS?
MR: I think the next “trend” will revolve around new technologies coming into households. This will expand upon the concept of mixing new technologies with things that have a sense of history.
BTG: WHICH TV DESIGN SHOWS DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO TACKLE A DESIGN PROJECT?
MR: Most TV design shows will give you ideas rather than “how to” information. For ideas, I like Divine Design and for outdoors, Curb Appeal. Both are on HGTV.
BTG: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DESIGN STYLE?
MR: I’ve always loved Arts & Crafts style. I really think the color pallete and the natural woods used are both beautiful and striking.
BTG: WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNERS?
MR: One of my favorite designers is Candice Olsen on HGTV. I love how she re-purposes a room. It’s always perfectly designed from the lighting to the floors and with great taste. Another favorite designer is a friend Mark Zancanaro (www.markzancanarodesign.com). I love his level of taste. Never too much or too little. Always the right combination of materials that makes a room inviting.
BTG: HOW OFTEN SHOULD ONE REDECORATE?
MR: I’m sure everyone has a different opinion about this. But I think whenever you’re tired of something, redecorate. Especially if it’s been 10 years or more.
BTG: IF YOU COULD DECORATE ONE CELEBRITY HOME, WHOSE WOULD IT BE?
MR: I would do Hugh Jackman’s home. A trip to Australia and hang with Hugh. Need I say more? [Ed note. ‘Nuf said, indeed!]

Let’s take a look at what our divine designer has come up with for his big creative challenge: Making a homeless person feel at home. In his car.

We think we’d be ultra comfortable in this amazing car. Truckers at rest stops will be impressed enough to keep Homer Homeless warm at night.

Be sure to tune in to the BRUISES THE GIN NETWORK (BGN) for HOMELESS but not CHROMELESS, as well as these other great new shows:

DUMPSTER DIVING WITH THE STARS! (Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle)

Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle

Visit us again on September 15. We’ll be profiling two amazing and talented women in the arts: The legendary LYNDA TRAPNELL, owner and editor of Musical Stages, Europe’s most prominent and respected theater magazine, as well as ALEXIS IACONO, the star of the new indie suspense film, Prescott Place.

Until then, it’s still summertime, so take your eyes off your handy-dandy computer porn and open an engrossing book. Here’s a very fun whodunit, that we absolutely MAD ABOUT and which is perfect for taking to the pool or Martha’s Vineyard or for reading during that long wait to be rescued in the river that used to be your street until hurricane Irene came along and washed away the road: Dorothy Howell’s CLUTCHES AND CURSES.

BUY ME!

On behalf of the tireless staff of BRUISES THE GIN (especially  Andrew W.M. Beierle for creating amazing visuals), we thank you for taking the time to read our diatribes and intensely vituperative (your word of the week) condemnations of some of the most beastly aspects of the condition known as being human. We hope you’ll subscribe to this E-zine/blog and check in with us on the 1st and 15th of each month. We promise plenty of vitriol (where required), Butylated hydroxyanisole, deep fried mayonnaise balls and of course, a map (with roadside attractions icons) of the path to the one True God: Hephaestus, Allah, Jehovah, Pele, Brighid, Anteros, Yèuhuang Taiz, and the thousands of other authentic, legit, genuine, historical, honest-to-goodness Divine Mind Godheads!

Peace! Serenity! Subscribe!

HAPPY FEET: An Interview with the Dancer’s Dancer, FRED CURT … But First …

Stir, never shake ...

Editor: R.T. Jordan
Author
, SET SAIL FOR MURDER,
A TALENT FOR MURDER, etc.

www.Rtjordan.com

At BRUISES THE GIN we live to foment debate and insurrection and mildly indecent or inappropriate social behavior. Our office shrink blames the lack of tact represented in this Ezine/blog on poor potty training and/or breast-feeding that lasted far later in life than Dr. Oz  recommends.

Thanks, for the mammary ...

We’re thinkin’ the root cause of our inability to play well with others is probably the parental ridicule and punishment received while going through the anal stage in our psychosexual development (talk to Freud). Retentive? Expulsive? It’s  two, two, two mints in one!

BTG is a lot of things about A LOT of trifles––mostly anything that departs from an accepted social standard (which is actually the definition of aberrant!). So of course we went nutsy-cuckoo for the lovely and talented Neil Patrick Harris performing Adam Schlesinger and David Javerbaum’s tasty special material, Not Just for Gays Anymore, as the opening production number on this year’s Tony® Awards show. (See it here on YouTube.) Yeah, old news, but bear with us, it ties in with everything we stand for.

Who's the adorable puppy? You are! You are!

The sophisticated and campy lyrics are reminiscent of  legendary Billy Barnes’ best special material extravaganzas for the Academy Awards® telecasts in the 1970s. The Schlesinger/Javerbaum song/performance obviously scrunched up Brooke Shields’  Victoria’s Secret panties, and we’re hoping it did the same for millions of others watching.

Unable (and not really trying) to get the song (or Mr. Harris) out of our collective thoughts, we at BRUISES THE GIN are reminded that there has always been a guesstimated gazillion freakishly talented and primarily anonymous peeps out there who contribute as much as any so-called “star” to the success/flop of musicals on Broadway and in Hollywood or even church basement productions of Tits a Wonderful Life. (The exception being the Westboro Baptist Community Church with their bake and hate sale, demon roasting contest and Christian Kids Say the Most Malevolent Things Protest Sign Painting workshop, run buy the FDA rejected piece of horse meat who goes by the name of Fred Phelps.)

Ed. Note: Cick here for substantiated proof that some religions are like Raid on roaches.

Think of the anonymous tuxed-out dudes surrounding Marilyn Monroe in the Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Of course MM is lickably sensuous, but really, with the exception of shakin’ her impressive lady parts, her coterie of beaus are doing ALL the heavy lifting.

Another thought. Glee. Ya know that ubiquitous guy who never speaks but just happens to be at the piano in the McKinley High School glee club rehearsal room ready to accompany the kids whenever they want to emote with a song about the satisfaction of sticky sex and the hay ride of teen pregnancy and the transcendence of boys sniffing other boys, and whose real name is Brad Ellis? Well, he’s a hugely talented but relatively unheralded (except among his peers here in Hollywood) composer, musical director, orchestrator and jazz pianist. He’s crawling out of anonymity and it’s about time! (Also see Ron Abel at his piano on Fran Drescher’s actually sorta kinda funny new sitcom, Happily Divorced.)

Keepin' it cool, Brad Ellis.

Therefore, in this edition of BRUISES THE GIN, as much as we value our Gaga and Beyoncé and Katy Perry and Bieber (Ed. note: Totally jerking your joint about the Bieb), we’re calling attention to one of the great “Who’s that guy?” talents you’ve seen in every old movie musical (if you’re of an age) but never knew who the super talented stud was. Our guest interviewee for this edition of BTG is the dancer’s dancer and choreographer (and sweetheart of a talented guy), MR. FRED CURT.

ξ

FEATURED Q&A WITH
FRED CURT
by R.T. Jordan

“Dancing with the feet is one thing,
but dancing with the heart is another.”

FRED CURT

You’ve seen Fred Curt in a gazillion feature films, including  Hello, Dolly!, Bye, Bye, Birdie, Gypsy, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Pajama Game, Paint Your Wagon, Carousel, Mame and Lost Horizon, to name only a fraction of his movie creds. How ‘bout B’way and national tours: Call Me Madam, Guys and Dolls and Pardon Our French. We can only begin to get into his television work because it’s so extensive, but we’ll mention The Ed Sullivan Show, The Mitzi Gaynor Hour

Brilliant and beautiful Mitzi Gaynor

(Ed note: we love our Mitzi and want her to play sleuth Polly Pepper in the television series adaptation of the popular Polly Pepper mystery novels!), Carol Channing Specials, Bob Hope specials, etc. Way too much for this limited space.

♠ ♣ ♦

So, let’s talk to Fred Curt. (Perhaps we’ll find out why almost everyone still says that Jerome Robbins was a dick to work for.)

A New England Yankee, transplanted at an early age from Massachusetts to Newark, New Jersey, Fred says he started dancing “After I made the fatal mistake of going with my mother to a cousin’s dance recital. I watched and thought, that might be fun. I could do all the gymnastic things on my own. So I said, instead of becoming a doctor, I’d like to try dance.”

All was well and good with Fred’s mom, but  dad was a different pair of toe shoes. “I said to my mother that I’d like to go to dancing school. She said, ‘I don’t know about your father.'”

As expected the senior Mr. Curt had what we now call a meltdown. Fred says, “He screamed and ranted, ‘I don’t want any flame …’ In the ’20s and ’30s, when he was around, ‘flame’ meant a gay person. But my mother knew how to take care of it. She pointed out, ‘Is Fred Astaire a flame?’ My father lost that one.”

Our Fred began his study by taking tap and acrobatic dance. After a few months of diligence and proving his talent and dedication, his teacher suggested that he also take ballet classes. Round two with Fred’s dad was again lost when the now tried and true, “Is Fred Astaire a flame?” retort was invoked. “I took ballet one hour a week for like three months,” Fred says. “Then the teacher said to my mother that I should come to New York on Saturdays to take her class with professionals.”

Fred in Walt Disney's feature film "Pete's Dragon"

Fred went to NYC, and although he says it was tough, he kept up with the professionals in class. Then, one day the dancers were talking about an open call audition for a Broadway show. Newbee to the theater that teenager Fred was, he asked, “What’s an open call?” The so-called “kids” explained, then suggested he go with them, if only to hang out.

“I remember it was summer,” Fred says. “I was wearing a striped shirt, and we went to the theater. I stayed out of the way watching from backstage. Near the end of the day, the people I was with didn’t get picked, so they waved for me to leave with them. As I walked across the stage, a female voice from the audience said, ‘Does the young man in the striped shirt dance?’

“Ninety people looked down at their chest and I was the only one with a striped shirt, so I pointed at myself and the voice said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, I dance a little.”

Fred reminds us that this was his first time on a theater stage and the light shining from the house made it impossible for him to see who was in the audience. “The voice said, ‘Would you dance for me?’ I didn’t want to be impolite so I said, Okay. She told me what to do and I did a few jetés. Then she asked if I could do acrobatics. I said, yes. And then she wanted to know if I could do a cartwheel. I said, One hand or two?  She asked, ‘Can you do them without hands?’ I said yes. I did the cartwheels and she said, ‘Thank you very much.’ Then I left the stage.

“As I was exiting with my friends the stage manager came over and said, ‘You. Striped shirt. Go stand at the end of that line.’ He pointed to where seven guys were on stage. I took my place and the woman’s voice asked, ‘The young man with the striped shirt. What’s your name?’ I said, Fred Curt. With a C. I stood back and waited a moment then raised my hand and lead forward. She said, ‘Yes?’ And  asked, What’s your name?

“The whole line gasped! And without a beat or hesitation she said, ‘Agnes de Mille. With a D.’ She hired me.”

Agnes de Mille

And thus began Fred Curt’s life as a professional dancer. The show was the national tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical, Allegro. After working in that production, Mr. Curt almost immediately went into another national touring company, the musical revue Inside U.S.A., by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, and starring the legendary Bea Lillie.

Bea Lillie

With a weekly paycheck of $85.00, and having to pay for his own accommodations on the road, Curt and his austerity-conscious fellow dancers ghosted hotel rooms to save on their dough. As he explains, “Ghosting was when one person signed for a room, and four of us would live in the room to split the costs. It worked out just fine, as long as we were all out before the maid came in!”

BTG: MR. CURT. WE’D LIKE TO PLAY CELEBRITY NAME ASSOCIATION WITH YOU. WE’LL OFFER A FAMOUS NAME AND YOU GIVE US YOUR GUT RESPONSE BASED ON WORKING WITH THAT STAR. LET’S BEGIN WITH BARBRA STREISAND, WITH WHOM YOU WORKED ON THE FILM VERSION OF HELLO, DOLLY!

FC: Barbra. She was smaller than I thought she would be. Shorter. I couldn’t wait to work with her. She was wonderful to us on Hello, Dolly! She really was. I loved her, and had every album by then. I loved working with her and she was just so professional. So right on.

BTG: NATALIE WOOD

FC: Natalie Wood was the sweetest … she was just so real. She was the nicest person and she was one of the most beautiful women in the world. Gorgeous, sweet, so petite. I was afraid to pick her up for fear I’d break her. I cried for days after I found she had died.

BTG: ROSALIND RUSSELL

FC: Roz Russell was the only reason I wanted to do Gypsy. Jerry (Robbins) called and asked me to do the role of Caroline (the cow). I (jokingly) said, I don’t do animals. Then I said I’d do the front end. I remember standing on set one day and a voice said to me, ‘Isn’t it hot in there?’ I said, Yes, Miss Russell. She was a lovely lady. I just fell in love with her. She was very arthritic and at the end of each take she had what looked like a little square silver box or bag that she’d put in between her hands, which were very crippled. It was a heater for her hands. But the minute they would say, ‘We’re ready,’ her hands would straighten out. Roz was a true professional, and so nice to everyone. A brilliant actress.

BTG: BOB FOSSE

FC: Strange man. I met Bob Fosse when I was dancing on The Jackie Gleason Show, before Bob was Bob Fosse. He was very nice to me. We did Pajama Game and Damn Yankees together. In fact, I was supposed to do six weeks of work on Sweet Charity with him. He found out that Michael Kidd had offered me a year of work on Hello, Dolly! But I’m the kind of guy who if I said yes to a shorter job and a longer one comes along, I’ll go with the first. Bob was really nice. He called Michael and said, ‘Freddy’s going to come to work for you.’ I didn’t know about that until an assistant told me the story.

Bob was brilliant in what he did, but that comes from Jack Cole and from being with Gwen Verdon. If there was no Jack Cole, there’d be no Gwen Verdon, and if there wasn’t Gwen Verdon, there’d be no Bob Fosse. Bobby was good, but the Gwen Verdon touch on Bobby came from Jack Cole, all the hats and fingers, that’s Jack. Most choreographers are very nice. It’s the insecure ones that are terrible

BTG:  WAS JEROME ROBBINS INSECURE?

FC: No. I don’t think Jerome Robbins was insecure. I think he didn’t know what he wanted out of life. Being gay I think scared him a lot. I don’t know. One day on Peter Pan he yelled at us all day long. Then after it was over, he called out, ‘Hey Fred!’ I was afraid to answer. He asked what I was doing for dinner. I thought oh, my god I’m getting fired. So we went out to dinner and he was very charming. But he said, ‘You know what really turns me off? When people yell at other people so much.’ I nearly fell off my chair!

But Jerome Robbins was brilliant. There was no one more brilliant as a choreographer. He could go from musical comedy to ballet to anything else. I think maybe his brilliance was the problem. But he could have yelled at me all day and I’d still work for him. It would be an honor to work for him.

BTG: CHITA RIVERA

FC: Oh Chita! She’s like my kid sister. We were both teenagers and first dance partners when we started. We can go for a long time without hearing from each other but then pick right up as if no time has passed. For example, I hadn’t seen her in a long time and she came to Pasadena to do Kiss of the Spider Woman. I was working wardrobe and she came walking in. I’m in the wings and she was coming in from the bright sun to the darkend theater, so she couldn’t see me. I didn’t move. Then, when she got near me I cleared my throat and said, ‘Oh, the famous diva!’ She adjusted her eyes, looked at me, and yelled, ‘Freddy!’ She  grabbed me and pulled me on stage and began telling everyone that I was her first dance partner. She went on and on and told great stories about us.

BTG: TOMMY TUNE

FC: I love Tommy. He’s very nice. When he came in to do Hello, Dolly! the movie, that’s when I met him. Very talented and very sweet.

¤ ¤ ¤

When one spends time with Fred Curt, it becomes obvious why he’s adored not only by his wide coterie of friends, co-workers and of course, dancers. He exudes a love for people, as well as his life and his accomplishments in the arts. We asked, What has been the highlight of your life? Without a moment’s hesitation he said, “Residuals!”

However, after a quick laugh Mr. Curt added, “I got to do what made me happy. I got to meet so many wonderful people. Dancing came from my heart. It was fulfilling. It was freedom. Even when you fell down, you picked yourself up, you laughed about it and kept going. Sometimes I was on the most glamorous movie sets. Hello, Dolly! was certainly the most glamorous I’d ever been on. Dancers who are dancers from the heart all have something in common: camaraderie. If you ever watch So You Think You Can Dance you’ll see it. The minute that someone gets picked the others are hugging them.”

Mr. Curt continues to work in the theater, although these days it’s backstage at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, where he has been a costumer since 1985. When we indelicately asked the stupid question, When did you decide to hang up your tap shoes? Mr. Curt replied, “I haven’t, yet! I just don’t make my living as a dancer anymore.” He further explained, “One day I was somewhere with Chita, and someone asked me ‘What do you do?’ I said, Oh, I used to be a dancer. Chita said, ‘STOP!’ She looked at me and chewed me out. She said, ‘Don’t you ever say that again! Once a dancer, always a dancer!’

“Mentally you never stop. Physically, you have to. But I’ve been very lucky,” Mr. Curt concludes. “I’ve danced longer than anybody I know. Age is a state of mind. If you move to the wrong state, you’re dead,” he says with a sardonic grin.

THANK YOU, MR. CURT. It was enormous fun spending time with you.

(Ed. Note: Be sure to click on the above referenced links to see some of Fred Curt’s amazing work in Hollywood motion pictures.)

† † †

RAZORS and COMBS

For a swell time, text The Beast at 6666666

The August 1 edition of BRUISES THE GIN elicited some curious (or perhaps not so curious) expressions of disapproval by several groups of religious servants (which was sorta/kinda the point of the piece in the first place). However, at BTG, we only truly enjoy throwing kerosene on conflagrations that are likely to further augment the flames of apocryphal rumors such as the richly satisfying and smoothly digestible one about slattern Ann Coulter contracting a STD after a slumber party at the Stonewall Democratic Club or Rick Santorum being exposed by airport security body scans as wearing alligator clips on his #2 pencil eraser-size nips or anything that reeks of political or sexual hypocrisy in Washington or your local rectory or a Hollywood celebrity colon irrigation spa.

Therefore, although the Internet is jammed with multi-gigabytes of corroborating texts tattling on The Watchtower Society for their supposed more than a century of pleasuring their biddables with a soul-scratching seven different dates for the downbeat to the Armageddon Symphony, we’ll play along and borrow a line from the lyric to the Gershwin Bros. song, It Ain’t Necessarily So.

“DEY TELL ALL YOU CHILLUN DE DEBBLE’S A VILLAIN, BUT ‘TAINT NECESSARILY SO.”

As our Jehovah’s Witness friends remind us:

(Source: Awake! 3/22/93 pg. 4)

Armageddon, or the set of any Michael Bay movie.

With those sage words to keep us moist, we at BTG would like to acknowledge that just because a few Eeyores have assiduously chronicled the many End Times predictions faux pas from among a ton o’ so-called “prophets” throughout the past couple thousand years, we don’t wish to imply that any “true religion” has a patent on holy book(s) misinterpretations. When it comes to scripture, ya gotta take it all with a grain of what’s left of that pillar of Ruth.

Post Rapture yard work. "Daddy. Did Jesus kill Timmy because he was a homo?"

Just as we don’t know the exact moment when/if the research monkeys that are strapped to gurneys in the lab down here in the basement where we rent our office space are going to rip off the electrodes pasted to their shaved skulls and rush to disembowel the staff and snack on our respective pancreases and livers and brains, and genitals and such, the time of the end of the world as we know it is just as uncertain, and as random (and as intensely icky) as playing spin the bottle and having said bottle point to Newt Gingrich. We’re just sayin’.

WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT, SORTA.

In the last edition of BRUISES THE GIN, a few celebs offered up their lists of ten things they wouldn’t want to be on the planet without in a post-rapture/apocalypse world. We asked our readers to submit their own lists. A cool prize (Laura Levine’s latest funny murder mystery, PAMPERED TO DEATH, was offered for the best top 10 list.

Our winning entry was easy to select, mainly because we only received three.  But here it is. Sent by Paul Raskin, from New York, New York.

MY CREEPY PREDICAMENT AND WHAT I NEED TO SURVIVE AFTER THE RAPTURE

1. Lithium. Although it’s possible that what made me bi-polar in the first place is all the other people who used to be on the planet with me.
2. The Kingda Ka roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, mainly because I love throwing up hot dogs and coke and pizza and nachos in public places.
3. Cameron Diaz movies. She makes me laugh. And makes me think that her pits smell like jasmine.
4. Disneyland. Although I would personally dismantle the “It’s A Small World” ride. That too, may be the cause for my need for lithium.
5. Books, of course. Since there won’t be any new ones printed, I might catch up on the classics. However, if the only book left on the planet is Silas Marner, I’ll kill myself before having to relive high school lit class all over again.
6. Condoms won’t be necessary. But porn will definitely prove useful.
7. Wine! Who needs any other source of hydration?
8. Metamucil. With all the crap I’ll be eating, since there won’t any pizza places or deli’s, I’ll need the extra push in the bathroom.
9. Nail clippers. Even though I’m alone, therefore no will care about the length of my toe nails, personal grooming will still be important.
10. Classical music. Wagner will suit the first few days of carnage. After that, I’ll need Ravel and Debussy and Doris Day and The Mamas and the Pappas and The Beatles and Air Supply.

Ed. Note: We wish Paul success with his bi-polar issues. We agree that Silas Marner is a killer. Therefore, Paul wins the prize: an autographed copy of Laura Levine’s laugh-out-loud murder mystery, PAMPERED TO DEATH. BTW, we couldn’t wait for the official release of this latest work in Levine’s Jaine Austen mystery series, so if the dust jacket appears a little smudged, it’s because it’s been read and circulated around the office. Everyone at BTG, without exception, highly recommends this novel. However, we now have to wait a full year for another book from Levine. Pooh!

We’ll be back on September 1 with the next edition of BRUISES THE GIN. Our editorial staff intern will circulate a general warning in advance as a heads up to anyone freaking out about our next societal plight  to  lambaste: Interior design, for the home and the homeless.

Contact us at www.Bruisesthegin.com, or www.Rtjordan.com

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