Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wishful Drinking at Grey Gardens




Our Families. They can screw us up. They can be hurtful. They can be the most support we'll ever get. They can give us all the love in the world.

Tonight I went with my friend Michael to legendary Studio 54, now a Broadway house managed by the Roundabout Theatre Company, to see Carrie Fisher's one-woman show - Wishful Drinking. I don't know where you've been living if you don't know Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia. She's the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. The girl has had quite the life.

She's the child of Hollywood stars. She's an actress in her own right. She's a novelist and a screenwriter. She's had a drug problem and suffers from bipolar disorder. She's the child of divorce. She's damn funny!!

She spent two hours telling us stories about her family. The divorce, the remarriages, the redivorces. Her own marriage to Paul Simon and their divorce. Her relationship with the man who fathered her child and then left her for another man. The prescription pills, Star Wars, electroshock therapy treatments, her grandmother, her bipolar disorder, rehab, and the mental hospital. It must have been hell going through it all, but she makes the shit of her life damn funny.

She does a fantastic impersonation of her mother. Truth! She said Debbie still calls her and says, "This is your mother, Debbie." Gotta love it!

She told us three stories, that I can remember, all involving her maternal grandmother.
1. It seems that Debbie was put in a closet as punishment one evening and after about an hour asked her mother for a glass of water. Her mother asked her why she wanted a glass of water. To which Debbie replied that she had already spit on all of her mom's dresses and now wanted to spit on her shoes.
2. Her grandmother said, "A fly is as likely to land on shit as it is on pie."
3. Not sure if this was said to Debbie or Carrie, but her grandmother said, "Cry all you want, you'll pee less later."

I have many memories of laughter and shit from my own life. One of my favorite memories is from my senior year of high school. My parents would leave for work at 7am. The bus typically came at 7:05am. Many days I would tell my parents that I had a ride to school when I didn't. They would leave for work and my sister would run back to the house from the end of the driveway where she was waiting for the bus. I would then drive my mom's car, a metallic blue, tinted-windowed Monte Carlo Super Sport, to school. My sister, even though 7.5 years younger than I, never told on me or threatened to tell on me because she enjoyed a bus free day as much as I did. It was just a few years ago that my sister and I revealed this bit of information to our parents. There was much laughter and surprise, but the best part was my dad saying that I wasn't too old to be put across his knee and spanked. Doubt it Dad. That's just one of many memories that will probably be shared in this blog. Stay tuned.

Speaking of families I must give a shout out to the Beales. The HBO film Grey Gardens, based on the documentary of the same name, won the Emmy for Best Made For TV Movie tonight (hbo.com/films/greygardens). Jessica Lange won Best Actress in a Made For TV Movie playing Big Edie Beale and Ken Howard won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Made For TV Movie playing Phelan Beale. "Mother Darling, I love you."